Tblunka, the divided capital of the Baltic nation known as Slorenia. Beneath the night sky, the sound of mortar-fire rolls in on the mountain mist. In the ragged northern quarter, urgent voices cut the chilly air - the peasant families do not want to leave, but the state troops have evacuation papers. The civil war is moving this way and will engulf them if they stay. ‘Get them out of here!’ growls one of the officers, before he heads upstairs to search for more peasants. He is tired and his stomach is empty. He is thinking about hot soup and his warm bed back at the barracks. He hears his colleague stammer out an old folk curse, and suddenly feels the aching cold - and sees the last thing he will ever see - a mysterious being with green energy flashing around him suddenly lash out with sharp claws and slice the soldier apart.
Meanwhile, half a world away, inside the Vroom Room, the high-tech training suite at the Works HQ in Ventura, California. Nineteen hours have passed since Force Works’ baptism of fire in Houston. Now, the Scarlet Witch a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff, exorcises as she exercises. Hard-light holograms of Master Pandemonium’s horde reel as she gets rid of her angers and anxieties. At least some of them do - others, like her father, Magneto, haunt her - as does Wonder Man, whose sudden death has robbed Force Works of a priceless element, and Wanda of a long-time friend. Am image of Wonder Man appears in Wanda’s mind - she cannot center the hurt and deal with it. It consumes her.
Wanda calls out to Plato and tells him to end the program, adding that she is going to the Chaos Chamber. Suddenly, the enigmatic Recorder approaches Wanda. ‘Early riser, I see’ the Recorder remarks, to which the surprised Scarlet Witch replies ‘What? Recorder! Yes…good morning’. The Scarlet Witch tells herself that she hates the way the Recorder lurks around the place. ‘We must decide what to do with it!’ she adds. Moments later, Wanda enters the Chaos Computer’s data flow, telling herself that she will deal with the Recorder later, and begins to use her hex power within the Chaos Computer as Iron Man showed her.
Wanda reminds herself that Wonder Man claimed he was immortal, that it was impossible to disrupt his ionized form in any permanent way. ‘If there’s any chance that’s true, maybe I can locate his -’ Wanda begins, when suddenly, an alert appears on the Chaos Computer, informing Wanda of an emergency in Slorenia. ‘What on Earth?’ Wanda gaps, before calling out to Plato. The hologram appears and tells Wanda that he sees it - a major spike in the probability curve. Wanda declares that it came out of nowhere as she was probing the dataflow, before ordering Plato to get the others here now.
In her quarters, Julia “Spider-Woman” Carpenter sits at the breakfast table, while her daughter, Rachel, stands nearby, and Consuela - Rachel’s nanny and former housekeeper to the Avengers West Coast - busies herself in the kitchen. Suddenly, Plato appears, apologizing for the intrusion, he informs Julia that there is a situation. ‘Hi, Plato. Want some toast?’ Rachel asks the hologram, while Julia tells her daughter that duty calls again, but Consuela will fix her breakfast. ‘Okay, Mom. I guess I’ll see you later’ Rachel replies.
In the quarters of the handsome Johnny Walker a.k.a. USAgent, the aggressive hero is woken by Plato, who informs him that he is to report to the Chaos Vault. ‘Find. Good morning to you too, neon boy’ USAgent mutters as he gets out of bed, which is under a large poster of the United States flag, the words Long May She Wave written on it.
In his newly assigned quarters, the alien Century is watching Beavis and Butthead on television. ‘I will go there directly, Plato’ Century declares after Plato informs him of the situation. Century then vanishes via teleportation, and Plato remarks to himself that it really freaks him when Century does that.
Meanwhile, in the foyer of the Works HQ, Tony Stark is introducing Veronica Benning to Amanda Chaney and Fisher Todd. Stark explains that Amanda will be handling all of Force Works public relations, while Fisher is the technical chief. ‘Hello’ Amanda remarks. ‘He there, Miss Benning’ Fisher smiles. Tony is about to announce when they are going to run through the introduction briefing, when Plato suddenly materializes. ‘What’s up?’ Tony asks, to which Plato announces that something requires his immediate attention. This causes Veronica to shout ‘Enough!’, telling Tony that he is driving himself too hard. ‘Even Felix agrees…remember him? Your COO back at Stark Enterprises?’. Tony smiles as he tells Veronica that sarcasm doesn’t suit her, and declares that he has to tend to this matter. He bows as he tells Amanda and Fisher that he will see them shortly, and welcomes them aboard, adding that Plato will supervise the briefing in his absence.
Shortly, the aircraft known as the Pegasus streaks across a cloudy sky, and Spider-Woman announces that it is cruising at mach three, with the course logged and status green. ‘Cozy…the whole gang’s here! The alien, too. Just like he was a member of the team already, eh, Century?’ USAgent remarks as he pilots the aircraft. The Scarlet Witch tells Walker that she understands the liveware helmet he wears allows thought control of this hex ship provided he is concentration. ‘So concentrate and keep quiet’ she orders. USAgent just scowls at Century, who grimaces in return.
Iron Man tells everyone that the Slorenia crisis is a real surprise, and he cannot understand why it peaked so high without alerting them. Wanda declares that she only stumbled on it because she was trying to ascertain the certainty of Wonder Man’s death. ‘Do you think he might still be alive?’ she asks Iron Man. Tony replies that he believes Wonder Man’s statement that his ionized being was virtually immortal, that it could self-repair by reconfiguring its energy pattern. ‘But when that Kree warship went up, it discorporated him at an atomic level. His energy still exists, but the essence that gave it structure is gone’. Tony pauses before adding ‘Simon’s dead. If only -’, but Spider-Woman urgently interrupts him, telling everyone to hold on, as they are about to enter Slorenian airspace. ‘What’s the story here?’ Julia asks.
Iron Man explains that Slorenia is an ex-soviet satellite that gained independence when the USSR busted up. ‘It overthrew the communists and set up a free market economy governed by the heads of state’. Iron Man adds that the new regime has been petitioning Stark Enterprises for industrial aid and investment. The Scarlet Witch tells her friends that Slorenia borders Transia, where she and her brother Quicksilver were born. ‘I knew it well’ she adds, before revealing that there are two very distinct ethnic groups - the ruling Slorenes and a fiercely independent minority called the Dudak. ‘There have been racial tensions for years’.
Tony tells everyone that they are still in the dark about the nature of the crisis the Chaos Computer picked up, but his guess is that they are walking into the middle of a civil war. ‘Head’s up, gang!’ USAgent announces, declaring that they have two Slorenian air-force on a shadow intercept. In their native tongue, one of the Slorene shouts something over the communicator. ‘Yeah, right…uh, Wanda?’ USAgent mutters. Wanda replies to the Slorene, who responds in kind. ‘Doi, but I would prefer English!’ the Scarlet Witch announces, informing the soldier that they are inbound from the United States as emissaries of Stark Enterprises. Wanda adds that they request a dialogue with their government.
The soldier replies that they will escort Force Works to Tblunka Airport, where representatives of the council will meet with them. Suddenly, the two air-force jets are blown out of the sky by ground ’Sweet Lord! Ground fire! Tearing into us!’ USAgent announces as he steadies the hex craft. Julia announces that the liveware is down and that they are losing peripherals. ‘I know it!’ Walker declares, asking Spider-Woman to cut him to manual. ‘Everyone else…hang on to your lunch!’.
Moments later, the hex craft bounces along the rocky ground. ‘Ow, ow, ow!’ someone exclaims, before the door to the hex craft opens and Force Works emerge. ‘Nice landing, Agent’ Spider-Woman exclaims, to which Walker snaps back ‘We’re alive, ain’t we?’ Wanda tells Johnny that Julia was being sincere. ‘Your crash control was superb’ she tells him, before ordering everyone into a tight formation. ‘Let’s find out wh -’ Wanda begins, before they discover several soldiers scattered across the terrain, their vehicles upturned behind them. ‘These warriors…they are non-functioning / dormant / desta -’ Century begins, before Iron Man interrupts, telling him that the world is “dead”.
Wanda announces that it is a Slorenian army unit. ‘Torn to pieces…what in Heaven’s name did this?’ she wonders solemnly. Iron Man reports that there are no traces of conventional weaponry and that the blast which took them down wasn’t started ground-to-air technology either. ‘What the? The air temperature just dropped ten degrees!’ Iron Man announces. Indeed, frosty breath can be seen coming from Force Works, while Century declares that he believes they should rotate their attention to the contrary position. ‘I think he means…behind us!’ Spider-Woman exclaims.
Green energy ripples around them and fire burns, as the mysterious super being who earlier killed the troopers stands amongst the dead bodies of these soldiers, and shouts something in his native tongue. ‘I never took Slorene 101, but your meaning’s clear enough!’ USAgent exclaims as he ignites a photon shield from each of his gauntlets, and slams the energy into the mysterious villain. But Walker’s photon energy shields have no effect, the villain just shrugs them off, before casting his own energy towards the heroes, slamming USAgent into Century, both men are knocked against a large structure, which begins to crumble. An instant later, Century has teleported himself and Walker to safety. ‘You transported us clear?’ Walker exclaims. ‘Indeed…cool, was it not, you dumb jerk?’ Century asks, picking up language he learnt from Beavis and Butthead.
‘We have got to censor that guy’s TV viewing…if we ever get home again!’ Julia exclaims as she leaps into the air, and casts some psi-webs at the villain, narrowly dodging his energy claws, which shred through her webbing. The villain shouts something at Spider-Woman, who lands on the other side of him, ‘Now I’m a sitting duck!’ Julia tells herself. The villain shouts something else, when the Scarlet Witch jumps in front of Julia, telling her friend to stay behind her, as she has hexed-up a barricade of debris, which should slow him down - but he just smashes the debris aside.
Iron Man hovers over the villain: ‘That’s four of my team you’ve swatted like bugs. I don’t need a better excuse to take you down!’ Iron Man blasts the villain with phased plasma streams. ‘Hurts, doesn’t it?’ Iron Man asks, while the villain screams in agony, blood spills from his mouth, while green energy continues to flow from his eyes and hands, and he shouts something else in his native language, before he begins to block Iron Man’s second assault with his own energy weapon. Tony continues to fight back, thinking that the villain’s power is abnormal, supernatural. ‘My suit system’s already overloading - can’t discharge the energy!’ Tony thinks to himself, before his system shuts down, and he falls to the ground, where his teammates have gathered.
After a time of unconsciousness, Tony asks them if they are okay, ‘Or is that a stupid question?’ he asks, before USAgent asks ‘What happened?’. Tony replies that his systems overloaded, and the energy backlash hit them all hard. ‘Whoever…whatever he was…I’ve never encountered a force of that type before’ Iron Man remarks, while Century adds that he has not either, but points out that their foe seems to have vanished during their unconsciousness. Century announces that he does however sense something else approaching them, and the heroes look up, where they see a turbo-copter gunship with Slorene markings.
‘Let’s not be undiplomatically shall we?’ Tony suggests. ‘Who, us? Besides, it’s only an army chopper…full of killer robots!’ USAgent exclaims, surprised as several armored beings approach Force Works, one of them looks different to the others, and exclaims ‘Attention…foreign interlopers. You have violated Slorene air-space. You downed two air-force migs. You decimated a national army unit. You were give no provocation for these acts’. The armored being reveals that he is appointed protector of the Slorene nation. ‘I am Black Brigade. And now I make you pay!’ he booms….
Works HQ, in the conference room, Plato addresses Amanda Chaney and Fisher Todd who sit at the conference table, various files laid out in front of them. Plato informs them that Mr Stark regrets that he is unable to conduct the briefing in person, and hopes that they will not mind being lectured to by he, a hologram analog. ‘I think we can contain our disappointment, Plato’ Amanda Chaney replies dryly, while headshots of Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, USAgent, Spider-Woman, Wonder Man and Century appears on a monitor.
Plato begins by introducing the Scarlet Witch a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff, explaining that her mutant hex power allows her to manipulate probabilities which she supplements with a knowledge of applied magicks. Various images of the Scarlet Witch over the years are displayed, as are headshots of her father and brother. Plato announces that Wanda’s father is Magneto and her brother Quicksilver, to which Amanda interrupts, declaring that the Scarlet Witch’s family background is public knowledge, before commenting that the Scarlet Witch has been made team leader. ‘Indeed. A job which she is amply qualified for’ Plato replies as an image of the Scarlet Witch alongside Captain America, Hawkeye and Quicksilver appears on the screen, and Plato remarks that as an Avenger, the Scarlet Witch served with one of that team’s earliest and most illustrious line-ups.
USAgent is next on screen, and Plato introduces him by his alias Jack Daniels, opposed to his true name John Walker, and reveals that he acted as a replacement for Captain America for a time, before becoming USAgent. Plato points out that upon joining Force Works, USAgent ditched his old costume and shield, both of which had been modelled on the Captain’s originals, and Walker’s new Stark-designed armor boasts gauntlet-mounted photon shields. ‘According to the file, this guy is notoriously difficult to handle’ Amanda remarks.
Next up on the monitor is Spider-Woman a.k.a. Julia Carpenter, and Plato explains that she derives her arachnid power from a latent psionic source. Headshots of her daughter Rachel and the child’s nanny, Consuela are projected as Plato explains that they are also stationed at Works HQ. ‘Wow!’ Fisher mumbles, eyes-wide, as he checks Spider-Woman, whose image is making a striking pose, out.
‘Iron Man…surely needs little introduction’ Plato remarks as Iron Man in various armors that he has donned over the years appears on the monitor next. Plato remarks that as an Avenger and guardian of Stark Enterprises, Iron Man’s exploits are world famous. He adds that the latest generation armor suit is the most capable yet made. ‘So who is he?’ Fisher Todd asks. ‘Mr Todd?’ Plato replies, taken aback. Fisher declares that he and Amanda have the highest possible clearance, and know the names of the others. ‘Why not Iron Man?’ he asks.
Plato simply replies that he cannot discuss that, and moves on to Wonder Man, whose image appears next on the monitor. Plato explains that Wonder Man was to be the fifth member, but he was tragically killed in action during an attack by a Kree hit squad earlier this month. ‘Tragic is right. Bad publicity like that is the last thing a new team needs’ Amanda remarks.
The alien Century appears on the screen and Plato explains that he is a mystery who appeared by dimensional teleport during the aforementioned Kree incident. ‘Nothing has been made official as to his status’ Plato points out. Amanda Chaney points at the screen and states that she hopes that changes soon, as the public will react badly if they find out an untested - possibly illegal - alien has been casually inducted into the team. She adds that she will have to talk to Stark and Iron Man about this, before telling Plato that she would like to interview Century without delay.
Plato informs Amanda Chaney that such meetings will have to wait until the team returns from its current mission in Slorenia. ‘Slorenia? That’s a non-NATO affiliated country with serious internal problems!’ Amanda screams furiously, adding that Stark Enterprises has steered clear of it for months. ‘How am I expected to run smooth PR if they recruit aliens and gatecrash foreign wars?’ Amanda asks. Fisher tells Amanda to take it easy, to which Amanda exclaims ‘Easy, Fisher? This is -’ she gets out of her seat, but before she can continue, the doors to the conference room open. ‘Hi, I’m Rachel! What are you doing in here?’ Spider-Woman’s curious daughter asks, smiling.
Amanda Chaney tells Rachel that she should not be in here and that this is an important meeting. Rachel apologizes and explains that she just got back from school, and is bored. Fisher asks Rachel if she would like a tour of the complex from someone who knows how it works. ‘Neat!’ Rachel smiles, to which Fisher tells her ‘Then let’s go!’ and introduces himself as he leads her out of the conference room, telling Amanda to hold the fort here. ‘Public relations is your department, anyway…’ Fisher calls out as he leaves the room. ‘Darn!’ Amanda mutters, before telling Plato to run the introduction once more, as she sits down at the table, and an image of the Force Works team appears on the monitor.