“Who the hell are you?” asks a grimacing Chronok when he notices the gathered heroes in Reed Richards’ lab. The heroes strike a pose, and Speedball replies, “We’re the Avengers!” All dressed in costumes similar to that of Chad Channing, and joined by Reed Richards in his Thing body armor, they look a formidable bunch. Unfortunately, so do Lord Chronok and his army.
Darkhawk reminds his friend that they’re not the Avengers, but Robbie points out that Chronok doesn’t know that. He bounces towards the villain, but is knocked backwards by a powerful punch. Chronok replies that he would have figured that out on his own very quickly, before ordering his troops to open fire.
As gunfire surrounds the team, Darkhawk once again displays his developing leadership abilities. He figures they won’t get a second shot at this, so they should make it count. Dagger reacts immediately, hurling her light daggers at the opposition. Terror grins. He is up for a little fun while they’re at it. Gunfire reins down on Reed Richards, but the blasts zap harmlessly against his armor. He hopes they have higher settings for their guns. Chad asks how, if their lasers can’t hurt him, are they gonna take out Ben Grimm when they go back in time. Reed presumes that their experience with him in this time might have caused them to rethink their weapons and improve upon them. That means he might be responsible for Ben’s death. Of course, if they succeed there, they won’t get a chance to kill him a second time.
The battle rages on, and Chronok is toppled from his flying disc by Sleepwalker. Darkhawk is impressed that they have the army trapped in the lab. This means the soldiers have little space in which to maneuver, unlike when they went to the past. Chronok responds to his being toppled by punching Sleepwalker and also Dagger, whose light daggers fail to have much impact on him. Darkhawk notices the assault, and calls her out name. Speedball recognizes his anger. “Oh man... it’s on now.”
Darkhawk flies in towards Chronok and tells him that he’s going to regret doing that. Chronok wants to know how Darkhawk knows his name. Chris replies that they know everything about him and what he’s been planning. They also know he’s going to fail. He smashes Chronok in the mouth, which fazes him, though the big guy says nothing is set in stone, and he’s fairly positive that Darkhawk’s not going to live through this.
Reed gives Mutant 2099 an instruction, calling for him to leave. Chad exits stage left as Gravity compliments X-23 on her fighting skills. She’s really kicking butt today. She thanks him, but asks him to try and stay focused. Terror is having the time of his life. He’s going to weep when Arana’s arm rots so much he has to replace it, and he doesn’t even have tear ducts. Soon, Chad returns carrying a really big gun. Reed smashes the heads of two soldiers together and asks him to hand the contraption over. As Darkhawk blasts Chronok using energy that pours from his chest plate, Reed straps on the weapon and charges it up. He asks everyone to look out, before unleashing an almighty blast, which separates the soldiers; thinning them out.
Speedball is becoming more positive about how they’re doing, until Darkhawk notices that Chronok seems to have vanished. He spots him crouching near the bodies of some of his soldiers, holding the small chronometer in his right hand. He is grinning, and tells them they can defeat his army for all he cares. He can always assemble another one. They may have thwarted his plans, but he has the time machine. With it, he can simply go back in time, relax and then start over. They’ll never be able to stop him as long as he has it.
Gravity attempts to grab it from his hand, but is swatted away like a fly. Chronok then twiddles with the device and opens a diamond shaped portal, which he begins to step through. “Now if you’ll excuse me,” he tells his antagonists, “I’ve got worlds to conquer.” Darkhawk cries out, and thinking quickly, he fires two small projectiles from his gauntlet which shatters the chronometer. With its destruction, the portal closes, leaving Chronok caught half way through. Half his body is sent elsewhere, whilst the other half drops to the floor with a sickening thud. He is definitely dead.
Gravity is grossed out and Dagger thinks she’s going to vomit. Terror grins his usual joyous grin when he sees fresh meat. He asks Reed if he can get the body on ice. He doesn’t need the parts right now, but… He turns to see the astonished looks on his comrade’s faces. “What?” he asks. “Excuse me for being practical.”
So, the heroes have won, but Reed realizes they have a considerable mess to clean up. They’ll know in a few minutes whether the fight went undetected by the Sentinels. Chad tells them they’re going to have to get the soldiers out of there before they wake up - the ones that are going to wake up, anyway. Speedball is anxious to get started. The sooner they’re done, the sooner he’ll be able to get back to his own time and see his friends all safe and sound. He hopes they’re in the mood for a little bragging.
His excitement is cut short, however, when Reed Richards points out one non-so-minor detail. He informs them that it’s true that he could use the chronometer that they brought to the future to send them back in time, but not their own time. The events that occurred today did not prevent the horrible events that brought them there from happening in their timeline. They just ensured that another timeline, where they didn’t occur, exists. He’s not exactly sure what would happen if they just went back in time. They may just return to the timeline where Chronok succeeded, since that’s where they’re from. “What are you saying?” asks Darkhawk. Reed tells him that he can’t send them back in time to before this all happened, because they’re already there.
(later, in another part of Reed’s lab)
Chris approaches Tandy and asks how she’s holding up. She tells him she’s fine, considering what they’ve just been told. She’s been thinking about Cloak, and the fact that she knows she’s never going to see him again. It’s almost like he’s still dead. However, she likes it that there’s somewhere out there where she’s with him and nothing ever happened. He was like a brother to her, and she’s going to miss him lots. On top of that, after spending almost a month in the future, she was kind of looking forward to going home.
Chris admits that he wasn’t really looking forward to going back in time. This future isn’t perfect, but it is in need of some heroes. They could really do some good. After a month there, they’ve already made new lives for themselves. They have new friends, new enemies… new relationships. Dagger’s eyes light up when she hears the last words. “New relationships?” she smiles. Chris leans in towards her and the couple kiss. They break it off, and Tandy tells him she’s really impressed with how he was today. Chris grins, and says he’s pretty great every day. Maybe not as great as he was today, but still… Tandy tells him he’s pushing it now. “Thought so,” he replies, mischievously.
(in yet another part of Reed’s spacious lab)
Sleepwalker is chatting with Terror. He realizes he is to be forever without a host. He will never again know the comfort of a mindscape. He is like Terror; flesh and blood. He will have to sleep and bathe and do all the things that he does. Terror tells him it could be worse. Sleepwalker asks how it is that he manages to cherish his abilities one minute and yet consider them a burden the next. It confuses him.
Terror doesn’t really respond, but instead turns to where Gravity and X-23 are having a romantic moment. he points to them, and thinks it’s pretty disgusting. Sleepwalker thinks Terror is the strangest human he’s ever met. Terror thanks him for what he perceives to be a compliment. Gravity thinks he’s going to love living in the future. X-23 replies that he will, and she’ll make sure of it.
Elsewhere, Reed has a quiet moment with Chad. He figures their new friends are going to be there on a permanent basis. Chad comments that they’ve been thinking about expanding for a while. Maybe they should listen to Speedball. They could re-establish the Avengers, or the Fantastic Nine or something. Reed doesn’t think that’s out of the question. They could recruit others too, who were too scared to join them before. They might be able to abolish the Sentinel program altogether, or at least force them to change things. They have much to talk about in the coming weeks. Chad has to jet. He’s going to meet his girlfriend, Keshia, and his parents are probably wondering where he is.
Chris Powell appears and asks Reed if it’s okay if they stay a while, until they can find somewhere else. Reed says he wouldn’t have it any other way. He could use the company. Sleepwalker and Terror are more than welcome, as he can’t see either of them getting a lease approved. Good point, replies Chris. Gravity comes into the conversation, asking if anyone’s seen Speedball. He hasn’t been seen since they finished loading the soldiers into the transport. That was almost two hours ago. Reed informs them that his sensors indicate Robbie is on the roof. This isn’t ideal, as Sentinels could detect him up there. Chris decides to check things out.
Soon, Chris arrives on the rooftop, and he finds Robbie sitting on the edge. He asks Robbie if he’s okay, and he replies that he’s fine. He’s just a little upset about how everything ended up, even though he knows he shouldn’t be. Chris tells him he understands. They’ll never see their friends or families again, but he has to take some comfort from the fact that they’re alive and that they prevented this great catastrophe from ever occurring. They defeated Chronok and his soldiers and saved the world and everyone in it. All the heroes they saw die are alive; doing what they do and protecting the world, all because of them.
Robbie knows he’s right. They saved the world, but he kinda wishes that they were getting a parade. The president’s not going to call and congratulate them and they don’t even get to shake Captain America’s hand and have him say, “Good job.” Chris asks him what exactly it is he’s getting at. Robbie says they saved the world. They undid this great wrong and ensured that somewhere out there, there’s a world that is safe. It wasn’t attacked by Chronok and all the heroes of the world weren’t killed. They did that; the unknowns, the sideliners and the rejects. They pulled it off. The thing that’s bugging him is that they did this great thing that could have pushed them to the next level. It could have made them great, and nobody will ever know they did it.
Chris puts a reassuring arm around Robbie’s shoulder. He agrees with what he’s saying. They saved hundreds if not thousands of people, and they don’t even get a medal. They don’t get a statue or even a thank you, but doesn’t Robbie understand? That’s what makes them heroes.