Nina McCabe kneels over the body of her dead father, blaming Elektra for his death. She calls Elektra a murderer, before picking up a piece of wood to attack her with. Elektra defends herself, but the arrival of a police car brings the fight to a quick halt and Nina returns to her father. A large metal pike sticks out of his torso. Elektra tries to apologize, but Nina tells her that she’s evil. Her father never hurt anyone. Two officers step out of the patrol car and order them to freeze, but Elektra doesn’t want to stick around.
She leaps onto a fire escape and disappears into the night, as questions run through her mind. Who primed her nemesis, her assassin Bullseye, so that he knew so much about her? What lies in his apartment? What ineluctable law of physics or psychology makes shoving your boot through a solid door so therapeutic? The door crumbles under Elektra’s strength, and she enters the seemingly empty apartment. It’s like walking into a museum where she is the only exhibit. There are photographs of her, clothes, letters and other items scattered around. How dare they raid her life like this?
She picks up a photo of herself standing between her father and Stavros. She recalls how Stavros helped make the necklace she has picked up; later torn from her papa’s neck. She senses movement behind her and quickly leaps into action, raising her sai above her head. It swings at her opponents, but slides right through them. Elektra realizes that they are perfect Elektra holograms. She laughs at the thought of fighting herself; the real deep-down soul-deep enemy? She imagines how months of training with these ghost Elektras gave Bullseye his ability to read and predict her every move.
As she looks at one of them, a figure exits the room, a man in a mask and cape. Elektra follows him as he runs through the streets, leaping from building to building with ease.
Nina McCabe, a sixteen year-old redhead, has tears streaming down her cheeks as she is rushed through a hospital corridor on a trolley. A member of staff tries to reassure her that everything’s gonna be okay, and that they’re gonna give her something to make her feel better. Nina replies that she doesn’t want to feel better. She can still see in her mind’s eye her father with the metal pike perforating his body.
Meanwhile, Elektra trails the man to a club across town. A party is going on inside and the dancers are moving to the sounds of the Prodigy’s Firestarter. As she steps through the doorway, a voice calls to her, almost sounding English, asking her to join him. She finds the mask and cape on the floor. The man informs her that the masked man has gone, but the chap behind all this, the Architect, is on his way. She grabs him by the collar and demands to know what an architect has to do with this. The man smiles back at her. “Not an architect… The Architect,” he tells her.
He explains that the Architect is older than the Ancient One, and he hedges his bets under a starry firmament of names. He is the center of the fire… lord of treachery and illusions… master of snakes and ladders. A woman interjects, informing Elektra that he makes them speak. They are his loyal puppets. The Architect is gathering assassins, psycho-killers and riders of the dark way, like Bullseye. He calls them to New York to battle for an honorable prize, she adds. The man tells Elektra that she proved herself by defeating Bullseye. “And we gave him all the help we could,” adds another man.
Elektra grabs this man by the neck and lifts him from his seat. She asks what they’re talking about. Who gave Bullseye her father’s necklace? Does this Architect know who killed her father? The guy replies that he is coming. Through the fire he does travel. In fire he was fashioned. The shining one. The glowing one. Elektra looks around to see flames inside the club up to the ceiling. They seemed to have come from nowhere and everywhere. People; automatons, stand there oblivious to their fate, but Elektra knows that she must escape the inferno. She runs from the club and gets clear, before turning to see the figure of a man standing in the doorway, enveloped by flames, watching her.
The streets are abandoned. Elektra’s mind races with thoughts of her father and the gathering storms. She wishes, in a rare moment of weakness, that she had someone to talk to – someone she could be open with. Someone she could be silly and childish and honest to. She thinks of King Lau and McKinley Stewart, but doesn’t feel right burdening them. She thinks about Stick, but he is her mentor, not her friend. Wolverine’s face appears in her thoughts. He has enough on his plate, but Matt Murdock? There was a time, once, a long time ago, but time passes and things change.
She walks to Karine’s bar and wishes she could just walk in there, order a beer and find a nice under-achieving boyfriend to laugh and dance with. She could forget about death and duty, about redemption, and about a fire-starting Architect. She continues on to the dojo and hesitates outside its window before entering. Stewart and Lau rush to her, thankful that she is all right. Stewart asks about Bullseye. Elektra replies that he has been dealt with. Lau asks what that means, but she only replies that he’s out of the picture. She asks about Rat. Stewart explains that he’s critical but stable. Bullseye did a real number on him. Lau asks her to sit down. They’ll fix her something to eat and get some hot water to clean her wounds. She looks like she’s gone twenty rounds. She replies that she’ll just go straight to bed. The wounds will heal themselves.
Liar, she thinks. Why can she not accept their help? she thinks. Another voice in her head reminds her it’s because she can’t allow them to get too close. She’s already almost got them killed. She feels her body about to give in, but remains upright and strong. She asks them to check the news to see if there was a fire last night near the Bowery. She then asks to be woken at first light, which is only two hours away. She begins to tell them that she needs to help a girl that she has to find but, as she speaks, her head feels faint and she collapses into McKinley Stewart’s arms. He asks why she has to put on that show for them. King Lau has a feeling that it’s as much for herself. They’ll let her sleep for as long as she needs. Stewart thinks she feels to light – like she’s gonna break up in his arms.
(later, at the hospital)
Nina lies recovering in bed, pretending to be asleep, as her grandparents and a couple of police officers look on. The grandparents explain to the cops that Nina’s father couldn’t cope and went to pieces when his wife passed away from leukemia in her early forties. They will look after now, and bring her up just like they brought up her mother. A female officer tells Nina, despite pretending to be asleep, that when she feels well enough, they’d like to ask her some questions.
Nina’s mind runs through her father’s death over and over. She recalls the time, four months ago, when she heard the news about her mother, the funeral that followed and her father telling her that they were broke from the medical expenses. He told her that they’d have to live with her grandparents in New York for a while. They mean well, her father used to say.
Her grandfather informs the officer that they’ll let him know as soon as she’s ready to talk. Her grandmother thinks she’ll get better one they get home and they give her plenty of loving. The officer’s leave the ward. “Poor kid,” remarks the female officer. “Yeah,” replies her colleague, “Seeing your own father killed.” She looks back at Nina. “That too.”
Elektra wonders what she can do to stop Nina from turning against the world as she did. She hooks up with Wolverine once again outside the destroyed bar. Wolverine tells her that, if she’d walked away from that fight with Bullseye, he’d have caught up with her sooner or later. She’s no more to blame for the death of her father as she is for this mess. He asks how many kids died in the fire. Thirty-three and counting, she replies. Is he sure he’s never heard of the Architect? Logan is sure. But, if he’s claiming to be older than the Ancient One, and if he can start fires out of nothing, she should have a world with Doctor Strange. As for a bunch of assassins and psycho-killers converging on the big apple, who’d notice? He asks if she’d like a ride, but she tells him that she has a hospital visit to make. It’s to see Rat, the wannabe gangster she told him about.
Elektra is in the hospital visiting Rat. A machine beeps away as he lies there, unconscious, following his encounter with Bullseye. She talks to him regardless, telling him that it’s Elektra - the one who gave him the big speech about turning his life around. Elektra who is so keen to sort out other people’s problems, but sometimes loses grip on her won. It seems the only requirement for having someone to listen to her is that they be in a coma.
Elektra then returns to Nina’s ward and finds that she has gone. How can this be? Her grandparents had already discovered this. Her clothes and possessions had gone too and her grandparents had threatened to get a lawyer.
Nina has woken up and made her way onto the streets of New York City. Before she came, she thought that New York scared her. Now, she feels invulnerable. A couple of guys in suits approach her as she sits against a wall and introduce themselves as Andrew and Dmitri. Andrew asks if she wants a roof over her head and food in her belly. Nina watches television and has even seen Taxi Driver. She knows that they’re scum. If she goes with them she might end up just another crime statistic. “Sure,” she replies. “Nothing to lose.”
Elektra trawls the dark side of the city where the lost, lonely and vulnerable eventually turn up. More than once, a girl’s face transmutes into Nina’s. More than once, Elektra thinks, ‘There but for the grace of God.’ Meanwhile, King Lau and McKinley Stewart check out the bars and clubs. Elektra wonders what chance she has of finding her in a city so large. Just one chance, she reckons. Her past.
She makes her way to one of the Kingpin’s clubs and meets with some old acquaintances. She asks for their help, and because she worked for the Kingpin once, their leader, Larry, says he’ll put the word out. But, the big man will be back soon and she’ll owe him for this, he adds.
While she waits for news, she continues her restless search and finds herself outside Konrad Weiss’ dance theater. She enters and Konrad is pleased to see her, despite her being absent for a few days without telling him. She apologizes. He shows her the stage and tells her that he took the liberty of creating a set for her. It’s idealized Greece: the Theater of Dionysus. Elektra is impressed. Konrad asks her to do a few spins, just so he knows that her dancing wasn’t just a wonderful, cruel dream. Elektra doesn’t feel like dancing right now. He offers her tea and asks if she wants to talk about it, but she isn’t in the mood for that, either.
Word soon reaches her, and she visits the Kingpin’s club to see what the score is. Larry informs her that a couple of Ukrainian guys with some ex-Russian hardware are trying to make a name for themselves. They handle drugs, prostitution and protection, but nothing nasty. He gives her the address and she thanks him. She then asks if he’s heard about any assassins coming to town. Larry thinks there are a few heavyweights around. Maybe something’s cooking.
Elektra returns home and prepares herself. This is what she is good at. This is why the Kingpin employed her. She’s really good at this. Elsewhere, the Ukrainians and some of their friends are gathered together, and Andrew is telling Nina that he wants her to be nice to an important gentleman for the evening. Nina replies that she was real crazy when she met them and probably shouldn’t have come along with them. She’d like to go now. They all have a good laugh at that one. She asks what’s so funny. Andrew’s demeanor changes and he tells her that there’s nothing funny about this. She will start playing ball or when he’s finished with her, no gentleman in their right mind is gonna be interested in her.
The door suddenly shatters as Elektra’s boot destroys it. The goons open fire at their unseen target, and Andrew soon calls for a halt to the noise. A cough behind them alerts them to Elektra’s presence. Andrew is impressed by her appearance, but Nina wonders if she should be relieved, or even more scared. Elektra informs Andrew that a big part of her would like to hurt him, a lot. But, she’s just going to leave with Nina. Andrew raises his pistol and tells her he has a much better idea. Elektra leaps at him in an instant, kicking the weapon from his grasp. Sais are thrown into the palms of two men and, in a second, the fight is over almost before it has begun.
Nina recognizes Elektra as being the one who killed her dad. Elektra says they can talk about it later. All that awaits her there is prostitution. Andrew looks up from the floor and asks her not to knock it. In a few years, she’ll be able to set herself up. She’ll be his special girl and get plenty of money. He asks her to hand him his gun, but Nina is recalling how the metal spike killed her father. Elektra tells her that she knows how she feels. She knows how she wants to hurt the world and herself.
Nina picks up the gun and aims it at Elektra. “No!” she screams. “You can’t know how… Exactly how I…” Her words trail off and she lowers the weapon. She apologizes and Elektra assures her that it’s okay. It’s going to be all right, just as soon as they get out of there. Unfortunately, they look up to see themselves surrounded by gangsters, all aiming their guns at them.