There was a time when the concept of religion was just a baby. Early man in those days had a lot of choices as far as who or what he wanted to worship. Gods. Demons. And even beings who were a bit of both.
Cyttorak is such a being. There came a time when Cyttorak’s influence on Earth was limited… he had been banished to another dimension known as the crimson cosmos. He wanted to change that. So, the hulking, juggernaut-like being tore a part off his chest and created the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak from it.
Through the gem, he sees an East-Asian village. A moment later, the gem appears there and a man picks it up. As he touches it, the Earth swallows him whole. Moments later, he is reborn, granted immeasurable superhuman strength and invulnerability. Unstoppable. A Juggernaut.
Cain Marko aka the current Juggernaut has walked through the ocean floor. Emerging from the waves, he tears through a Korean fisher village, ignoring the stones hurled at him. Cain muses that these days he isn’t so invulnerable, let alone unstoppable. Sure, these fishermen don’t pose much of a threat to him, but if things keep heading where they are heading… who knows. Every day he gets weaker and weaker, all because he no longer does the bidding of Cyttorak.
In his path stands a frightened old woman. Juggernaut looks at her, then turns away, walking off. He doesn’t want to be bad anymore. Only he’s learned that that isn’t so easy.
A voice inside of him calls him a wuss. He should have trampled that old broad. That voice isn’t a demon or even Cyttorak; it’s Cain himself. Those thoughts people have from time to time in the back of their heads. The ones you usually don’t act on, brought to the front of his mind by the gem. They are constant, unfiltered and intense. After a while, they start to influence you and that’s what Cyttorak wants. Cain only wants the thoughts to stop and the only way he is going to get that is by confronting the big guy himself.
Cain has reached a clearing. He pronounces, “By the living heart of Cyttorak,” and from the ground a temple rises in response.
Inside a helicopter, the other members of Excalibur are impatiently waiting for Sage to get some results on their teammate. Defensively, Sage points out that South Korea is a big country. And she’s come across nothing that fits Cain’s description.
TJ complains that the others aren’t taking this seriously enough. Captain Britain points out that Cain is probably just blowing off some steam… his way of adjusting to his power loss. He never does anything small. TJ stresses that he is not adjusting. Dazzler butts in, remarking that Cain is the toughest guy she knows. He’ll be fine. Like she cares, TJ scoffs under her breath. Excuse me? asks an annoyed Dazzler.
Captain Britain steps in between the two, trying to change the subject as he remarks how lucky it is that Sage is fluent in Korean. Sage rattles off that she’s fluent in over 123 languages. Here we go, mutters Wisdom, rolling his eyes. Sage begins berating him. Perhaps she could be more entertaining if she didn’t have to comb through every Korean news channel and website because of their lack of intelligence. That is supposed to be Wisdom’s department, right? Pete tells her to just be thankful Cyttorak’s temple is in South Korea, not North.
Suddenly, there is breaking news from a news channel and Sage believes to have found something. The Black Knight asks them to stop bickering for a minute and look out the window. There’s a path of destruction leading through the village. He believes they’ve found him, he adds unnecessarily. My God, Cap murmurs, while Wisdom remarks that as Cap said the man does not do anything small.
At the temple, the voice of Cyttorak welcomes the Juggernaut home. Can the sweet talk, Cain replies. He knows what Cain is there for. Yes, the voice replies. The question is, though, does Cain?
Juggernaut walks to a hand-shaped altar. On it is the ruby-red gem. There’s the solution to Cain’s troubles. That which he believes will stop the voice in his head and return him to his former glory and power. Cain reaches for the stone greedily, but a forcefield appears and engulfs the gem. Mockingly, the voice announces he knows it’s not that simple. He knows he’ll have to earn it.
Another man in a Korean-styled Juggernaut armour, armed with a sword appears behind him. Who is he? Cain demands. A labourer from Seoul, who’s run into a bout of bad luck, Cyttorak explains. Even has a background in martial arts, he believes. Cain announces that he won’t do this. He can’t. He doesn’t want to do these things anymore. For old times’ sake, he asks Cyttorak to please just give him the gem. He needs it. The voice inside of him protests. Since when does the Juggernaut say “please?” Cain shouts at it to please shut the #$%& up!
Cyttorak remarks that Cain’s inner voice may be crude but he echoes the sentiment. Cain has become disloyal and weak. Perhaps the time has indeed come. Perhaps he really needs a new Juggernaut. After all, it’s not like Cain was his first choice anyway. What’s that supposed to mean asks Cain, genuinely confused.
In the meantime, the team is following Juggernaut’s path. A disgruntled Dazzler keeps on pressing Nocturne to explain her previous comment while the younger woman is trying to ignore her. Captain Britain tries to make peace as he steps between the women, suggesting that TJ is just worried about Cain. Wisdom interrupts, suggesting Brian let them work it out by themselves. Cap snaps back that Wisdom should take his own advice.
Dazzler remarks that she’s had enough of this. All of TJ’s dirty looks and mumblings under her breath lately. Staring her in the face, she suggests that if she has a problem with her she should have the guts to say it to her face. Fine, TJ agrees with a nasty smirk. You ‘re the phoniest person I know.. Confused, Dazzler tries to interrupt her, but Nocturne tells her she isn’t done. Ali wanted this. Now she’s gonna get it.
She always talks about how she is finished with the biz, how she doesn’t want another record contract or another shot at the big time, but it’s all bull. She doesn’t only want it… she needs it. She is as addicted to it as Cain is to that gem or Wisdom is to his cigarettes. Wisdom begins to protests and is summarily ignored as TJ continues that Ali absolutely craves that look she gets from fans… the blind adulation, the little kick that being a celebrity gives her. And these days, Cain is the only one she still gets that from.
Stepping closer so that she is close to Ali’s face, TJ remarks that’s why Ali’s never once deterred him, even though she clearly doesn’t feel about him the way he feels about her. Stepping away, she accuses Ali of being a tease and a pathetic fame junkie. And she makes her sick. Helplessly, Cap tries to tell the fuming Dazzler that she doesn’t really mean it, only to be ignored as well. Ali grabs TJ by the hair. The younger woman in response slugs her in the face.
Good, Alison smirks and fires laser beams at TJ. Cap protests that this is ridiculous. Holding him back, Wisdom tells him to let this go. Nothing wrong with a little catfight to clear the air. Cap orders him to be quiet as he violently shoves him away. Just like Ali before Wisdom smirks and remarks “good.” A little later, they are embroiled in a fight as well.
Shouldn’t they do something? the Black Knight suggests to Sage, who remarks that she is… with Wisdom. Probably best to get this all out into the open, but if he’s feeling all hero-y, he can knock himself out.
Dane gets between the two parties. In an attempt to get their attention, he slams his sword into the ground and cries “enough,” wondering the next moment that this didn’t feel right.
As the others look at him, puzzled, he shouts at them, demanding to know what’s wrong with them. They had fights when he was an Avenger, but nothing like this. The Champions weren’t even that bad. And they want him to join? HA!. He sheathes the blade and continues on his way with the others wordless. Oh, I like this one Sage smirks. They follow unaware of the fact that warriors dressed in crimson armour watch them.
Back at Cyttorak’s temple, Cain shouts that Cyttorak is just saying that. Cyttorak replies with a question. Why would he have wanted to pick Cain, who was a complete failure up until that point in his life? He urges Cain to remember that day… remember who he was with. He was never meant to be the Juggernaut, he was. And Cain beholds an image of his step-brother, Charles Xavier.