The streets of the Inferno (formerly Manhattan):
What a mess! a goblin-like man sighs as he examines the injured Boom Boom. Master wants fresh meat, of course he does. Impossible! he told him, nothing up top but old dirty demons, would have bet his whole skin. Glad he didn’t, ‘cause here she lies. Cut, bleeding, somehow still ticking.
Boom Boom screams as he rummages around in her guts. Then she falls unconscious with shock. He tells her to quit that bellyaching. Didn’t she hear what he said? She’s not dead yet. Master will stitch her up, send that death packing. Though death can have a soft touch when compared to what master— he chuckles and drags her along into the underground. She’ll see soon enough, won’t she?
Soon, he arrives in a lab and announces he got the fresh meat the master wanted.
Madelyne Pryor the Goblin Queen has gathered her goblin horde. Above her, she telekinetically floats Colossus. She tells them she knows they are anxious for battle. She sympathizes but, if this shiny fellow is to be believed, their little war might be coming to an end. She introduces him as the Darkchild’s brother. He thinks he can succeed where their army has always failed. He plans to topple dear sister from her tower and drag her horned butt back through the great beyond. Is one metal man hard enough to take on the Darkchild on his own? To end her rule? If such a man existed, they would follow him tomorrow, but come on, there’s no way in hell!
Risky move, S’ym mutters to Havok. If that guy is as important as she says, the goblins might just peel the foil back and eat him for lunch. The plan won’t work, if they don’t respect him, Havok replies. This is how he’ll earn it. The Queen knows what she’s doing. Well if Havok, the “keister prince” is on board, he’s sure the plan is water-tight, S’ym mocks.
So let’s do the guy a favor and end his self-delusion, Madelyne suggests and drops him amidst the goblin hordes. Shouldn’t take long.
The goblins attack. Colossus realizes his team is scattered, their window closing. Six of his 24 hours already passed and they are no closer to having Illyana. He has no time for Maddie Pryor’s Goblin Queen nonsense.
A tentacle grabs him and he is smashed to the ground. He takes the initiative and attacks the giant goblin but his right arm turns against him and hits himself. The smaller goblin explains that he controls demons and that arm of his, well… has a little hell in her. He orders his ride Sparky to put that mutant fool out of his misery. He tosses him into the other goblins.
Above, Havok begins to agree with S’ym. Madelyne replies this looks perfect. Goblin sympathy is no simple thing. Equal parts respect and fear. They need to know what happens when this man’s back is against a wall. They need to watch him claw his way back from the brink. If they want him to lead them in the battle against the Darkchild, he has to scare them first. Now shut his pretty mouth and let Momma work.
Maddie levitates the goblins away and Peter sees Illyana’s Soulsword abandoned in the corpse of a large goblin. His demon arm takes over and takes the sword. With it, he cleaves the large goblin chasing him in two. The others surrender, to Maddie’s pleasure.
Meanwhile, in the Goblin Queen’s prison, Domino is greeted by a small boy whose left side is horribly scarred. He carries a ridiculously large gun and tells her she is pretty. She identifies his weapon as a Hammer F-class plasma canon. They start talking shop and she tries to tell him how to heighten the gun’s output. He proves he rigged it himself by shooting the goblin guard. He tells her not to worry. He’s just a goblin. He’ll re-spawn sometime tomorrow. He actually has a G-class in his room. Supposed to be way more powerful but the stupid thing keeps overheating. Could be a loose central coil. She could show him how to re-spool it. He agrees and switches off the flame bars of her cage. He asks her not to tell his mom. The Goblin Queen hates it when he plays with the prisoners.
The Darkchild’s base of operations:
The Darkchild tries to break the will of her prisoner Nightcrawler, who relies on his faith to give him strength. Father’s a demon, mother’s a shapeshifting super-villain, N’astirh sighs. How did those to cook up a bouncing baby X-Man of the cloth? He is also a child of Doom, Nightcrawler replies. He has a soul all of his own. That gives Darkchild an idea. She yanks his soul out. Now she can control him.
The Goblin Queen’s home:
Colossus asks Madelyne where she got Illyana’s Soulsword. His sister gets cocky in battle, she replies. She left it buried in one of Madelyne’s beefier goblins a bit longer than she should have. They seized the opportunity. But why would she give it to him? he wonders silently. Madelyne corrects him that he took it. He tells her to stop reading his mind and she refuses, amused.
Not just anyone can wield the Soulsword, she continues. Alex and she couldn’t budge it. Every Goblin who even came close burst into flame. She had a hunch that Rasputin blood flowing through his demonic arm might make him their Arthur. What makes her think he will help her? Peter demands. Amused, Maddie retorts she is offering to help him. She’s seen this year’s rescue team. “Paltry” would be a compliment. Meanwhile, the Darkchild controls ten times the demons she did last year. Only a fool invades Russia in winter. Without her goblins, he won’t make it inside the door.
He knows this isn’t about him but about her wish to rule in Illyana’s place. She’s not hiding anything, she reacts to his unspoken thoughts. Angrily, he repeats his order, for her to stay out of his mind. She tells him if he had a problem with that he’d be thinking in Russian. Of course this benefits her as well. Altruism isn’t her game. But what does he care about Inferno politics? He just wants his sister back. Alive, he stresses. She can only promise so much, Madelyne sighs. The Soulsword can and will destroy Darkchild. If there is any of Illyana left inside, that’s how he’ll get her out. And if there’s not? he asks. Then what does any of it matter, she shrugs. Maybe he can finally give this a rest.
Suddenly, a grenade is thrown at her feet. She protects herself with a telekinetic field as Domino comes storming in, a surprised little boy at her heels.
The boy topples Domino and is angry at her betraying him and attacking his mom. He waves his gun in her face and asks why she did that. Colossus slices the gun apart with the Soulsword. He dangles the boy from his arm and asks who this is. Her son, Madelyne announces and tells Nathan to say hello. His name is Cable! he insists. Maddie rolls her eyes and agrees.
She feels like she’s missed something important, Domino announces and glares. Madelyne explains she just offered her man an alliance. Her goblin horde and she will get them into the throne room. Defeat the Darkchild with her own Soulsword and everybody wins. He takes his sister home. Madelyne will take her throne.
Empire State Building:
A small demon, Bagzee, nervously approaches the Darkchild’s headquarters, sure his lady is not going to like this. Annoyed, Darkchild asks him what it is. He informs her that her brother has joined with the Goblin Queen and wields her sword. They’ve got the demons in full retreat. Colossus is making headway as leader of the Goblin army.
Darkchild and N’astirh watch their progress from the top of the Empire State Building. Look at that, she jokes. Brother bear making friends. Bagzee asks what she would have them do. They don’t stand a chance against that. It’s all right, she replies. She snaps her fingers and manifests Nightcrawler, now changed into a teleporting dragon. They won’t have to.
And the dragon roars…