(New York City)
With Chronok’s soldiers littering the skies in pursuit of any unfortunate super heroes that are willing to put up some form of resistance, the remaining few are on the run. Speedball and Gravity enter an alleyway where they notice Terror throttling one of his victims. Gravity tells him a little help would be nice… if he’s a good guy, that is. He admits he’s had a little trouble with that in the past. Terror replies that if he had a modicum of intelligence, he would realize that he’s not wearing spandex. He can’t help them.
Out of nowhere, dodging gunfire from Chronok’s troops, come Arana and X-23. They are willing to help. One of the soldiers blasts Terror and creates a gaping hole in his torso. He isn’t too happy about that. Above them, another hero comes into view. It’s Sleepwalker and, though he’s happy to help in this crisis, he cannot understand how his host, Rick Sheridan, can sleep through all this. With the city in ruins, it appears the battle is pretty much over. Yet, the area below him seems to be the only place where fighting is still taking place. He will investigate, though he wonders, judging by the numbers of heroes compared to the amount of soldiers on their tail, whether they have already lost.
Terror says this is the last straw. He was willing to walk away, but now he needs a new torso, and he aims to get it… from one of the soldiers. Below them, Darkhawk is present having journeyed from Los Angeles. Dagger is beside him, though Cloak is nowhere to be seen. Dagger tries to motivate the gang not to give up, and Darkhawk asks for everyone to regroup. They do a good job of trying to bring the team together.
Away from the pursuing soldiers, the assembled heroes turn to the impressive Darkhawk. Arana asks him what the plan is. Before he can answer, the soldiers close in on them, and Darkhawk notices that things have gone quiet. Something’s wrong! “Why aren’t they firing?” he asks. Chronok appears through the rising smoke, clutching Captain America’s shield. “Because I told them not to, that’s why,” he replies.
He pauses, and asks if they can hear that. Do they know what that is? Silence. They’re in the middle of New York City at the start of the twenty-first century. There are no cars, no people, nothing. The heroes are dead and the people are in hiding, fearful for their lives. Chronok rejoices in the fact that he has won. This world is his. Dagger asks Chronok who he is. Chronok obliges, and answers her question.
He explains that, when he concocted this plan, his only regret was that he would never get to gloat. He wouldn’t really be able to bask in the glory of his achievements. He’s come back to this time, even though all the people he’s hated and every enemy he’s ever had hasn’t even been born yet. This is his opportunity to brag.
He reaches into a pocket and tells the heroes that he compiled a database of every stitch of information they had on all the heroes in this timespace. This told him which restaurants they ate at, where their secret labs were… everything. He pulls a small device from his pocket and informs them that it is a chronometer, which he used to come back to this time with his army. What they see is just a fraction of the forces he has brought. He has thousands of soldiers under his command, and in less than a day they have triumphed. “So who am I, you ask? I am Chronok, newly self-appointed supreme ruler of…”
His rhetoric is brought to an abrupt conclusion by a gunshot from Terror that strikes him on the forehead. The bullet ricochets off his helmet, but he is momentarily stunned. Terror’s heard enough. Chronok calls for his men to kill the heroes, every last one of them.
As gunfire reigns down on them, Darkhawk uses his power to blast an escape route. Above them, Gravity is caught by a laser strike, which slices through the side of his torso. Terror is also wounded, as, in addition to the gaping hole in his chest, his right arm is shot clean off. Sleepwalker fires his eyebeams at the soldier’s weapons, rendering them harmless, whilst X-23 picks up Gravity and the heroes make a run for it. Darkhawk takes the lead, but he is blindsided by Captain America’s shield, thrown by Chronok, who then follows this up by pouncing on Darkhawk. He wasn’t planning on getting his hands dirty, but he tells Chris that he was inspired by holding the shield.
He punches Darkhawk to the ground, but is then knocked off balance by Speedball. Dagger finds a maintenance hole and directs the heroes down it. She figures that they can’t all follow. It’s a bottleneck. They disappear underground, and Sleepwalker fires off a final defensive burst from his eyes to distort the road leading to the hole. Chronok orders his men not to follow them. Instead, a seeker will be sent down. That will take care of them. His assistant clicks a few buttons on a holographic display, and a seeker pops out of his backpack.
Dagger calls for the wounded to be taken to safety. If the soldiers follow one at a time, they might stand a chance. She then notices the small spherical seeker dropping down to join them, and she doesn’t like the look of it. They run, but as Speedball and Arana sprint through the murky water, the seeker catches up with them and explodes. “Fire in the hole!” yells Speedball, as he bounces through the sewer.
As the smoke begins to clear, Dagger asks everyone if they’re okay. Everyone appears to be fine, but Dagger then notices Arana’s dismembered arm lying on the ground behind Speedball. Robbie is shocked. He didn’t even notice she was gone. Dagger assures him that it’s not his fault. They are then horrified when Terror picks up the arm and attaches it onto his right shoulder. What are the odds? he asks. It’s the same arm he lost fifteen minutes ago. The heroes look at him with disdain, but he tells them that it’s not like she’s going to use it now. “Waste not, want not.”
Dagger can’t even begin to find the words. X-23 changes the subject. With tears forming at the edges of her eyes, she snikts her claws, and informs the others that she hid. When those guys attacked the X-Mansion, she hid. She didn’t help the others fight and, when Wolverine was killed right in front of her, she was terrified and just hid. She then found Arana while she was running. She thought it was an isolated attack. Arana helped her, and now she’s dead. Dagger tries to calm her down, and points out that the fault is none of theirs. Before she ran into Darkhawk and met up with them, she saw Cloak killed. There was nothing she could do but to watch it happen.
Gravity adds that he had tried to help Luke Cage, but they melted him. He hadn’t even realized he was dead until it was too late. Chris knows they’ve been through a lot and seen a great number of people die, but that doesn’t give them a pass. If they really are the last heroes left, they have to do something to stop this guy. Terror reminds him that they killed the Avengers, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. What can they do?
Speedball then chips in. With everything that happened with Arana, he almost forgot that, during the big fight, he grabbed Chronok’s time machine. He holds up the small device, which glows invitingly. Gravity is eager to use it in order to save the world. Dagger is apprehensive about being able to figure out how it works, but Darkhawk takes a look and explains that it’s a pretty basic design. There are only a few buttons and it’s even displaying the time it was in before this one. He assumes this is where Chronok came from.
Sleepwalker comments that, if they were to go to the future to stop this man, how could they be sure they’d even be able to find him? Speedball suggests that they go to the future a month before he came back. That gives them thirty days to find and catch him. Gravity then points out that they don’t know anything about the future. It could be underwater or run by dinosaurs… or maybe the air isn’t breathable. They don’t know what they’d be getting into. Dagger isn’t so cautious. She figures the seven of them could cover a lot of ground in a month, and with the size of Chronok’s army, they should be able to find him. X-23 agrees that they should give it a try. If they don’t do something, it’s only a matter of time before they’re found again.
Darkhawk and Speedball are all for it, and Darkhawk says that anyone who wishes to go is welcome. There’ll be no hard feelings if anyone declines. No one refuses, and so Chris sets the machine for one month before the given date, and operates the mechanism. A purple portal appears, and the heroes enter one by one.
They arrive underground, and make their way topside. Chris figures that their best bet is to find a newspaper or something. They should spend a day learning about this time and, with any luck, this Chronok character will be in the news. Darkhawk exits via a maintenance hole, but he is almost immediately run over by a car. The driver is furious, and tells Darkhawk he could have killed him. Chris apologizes, but explains that his car is silent. He didn’t know he was there.
As they all assemble topside, a voice causes them to look upwards. “Uh, guys… I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but in about two minutes this place is going to be crawling with Sentinels. So, uh… follow me if you want to live… I guess.”