“Not Apocalypse. Not Sinister. Not the Shadow King. Not the Brood or the Brrotherhood or the Hellfire Club. But you.” The image of Cyttorak makes Cain Marko relieve the moment when Onslaught took his Gem as he asks those questions. Commenting on the memories, he asks Cain why Xavier of all the enemies he had considered Cain the most dangerous. After all, he was the one who needed his immediate attention upon his becoming Onslaught.
Cyttorak also provides the answer: Xavier was afraid of Cain… or to be more precise, he was afraid of what spawned him… the gem. He knew. Knew that the gem which he was still called to even then, was intended for him all along. That he, Charles Xavier, was Cyttorak’s first choice to become the Juggernaut. After all, wasn’t he the most powerful telepath on Earth?
Flashback to Xavier and Cain coming upon the temple of Cyttorak:
Wouldn’t he have been a better choice than a lifelong failure with father issues? Cyttorak asks, as the memories are replayed.
Younger Cain triumphantly grabs the gem, while present Cain comments that, if Cyttorak was so friggin’ great, how come he is stuck the lifelong failure with father issues?
Because being the Juggernaut was the one thing in life he didn’t fail at, Cyttorak replies suddenly.
Past Cain is buried in the temple as Xavier flees. And Cyttorak continues that he was angry at his father. Angry at Xavier. Angry at the world. It made him strong. It made him ruthless. That anger made him a perfect agent of destruction.
And past Cain was reborn as Juggernaut.
Cyttorak concludes that Cain’s disloyalty has left him not other choice but to seek out his replacement. And behind Cain appears another man in a more Oriental-style Juggernaut armor.
Not too far away, the members of Excalibur silently follow the trail of their missing teammate. Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom shoot each other filthy looks and so do Dazzler and Nocturne. Non-member Black Knight is the first to break the oppressive silence, as he shouts at Sage that this is ridiculous. How are they supposed to find Cain and face whatever it is they’ll have to face when no one is even talking to each other?
Working her computer interface, Sage replies that she finds it quite nice actually. Tranquil. Allows her to concentrate better. Is anyone in this group sane? he sighs. Says the man who is addicted to a sword, she deadpans. With a smile he admits she’s got him there. Besides, she continues calmly, they’ll have plenty of time to act like a team in about 14,6 seconds.
Dane wants to ask what she is saying only to notice, as do all the others that they are surrounded by crimson-clad swordfighers. He thinks she was off by a second or two, the Knight observes. Well perhaps if a certain someone wasn’t talking her ear off, whining about morale… she replies as she draws a gun. He recommends she just shut up and fight.
Watching the two Juggernaut aspirants fight, Cyttorak remarks that this is how it was meant to be. Two warriors, the power of the Juggernaut for one… death for the other. The Korean challenger hurts Cain with a sword stroke to the back and Cain falls, bleeding. As the other man gets ready for the killing stroke, Cain grabs the blade and breaks it, before pummelling the other man with it. He begins to wildly hit him, while Cyttorak remarks that this is the Juggernaut he knows.
Not far away, the members of Excalibur fight the guardians of Cyttorak’s temple. Sage assumes that they are part of the reason for the fights the others had earlier. She believes Cyttorak and his minions have the ability to bring the negative thoughts and emotions to the forefront.
Shooting hotknives, Pete admits that, in his case, they didn’t have to go all that far to have him take a swing at Braddock. He notices one of the guards trying to sneak up on him. While the guardian fires throwing stars at him, Pete precisely shoots off hotknives and then blows up the man’s Nunchaku in his face. Believing he is the man in charge, he orders him to call off the others and tell him were Cain is. He emphasizes his point by heating up the man’s face.
Cap tells him this is enough; he’ll kill the man! Now he’s getting it, Pete replies. Either this joker ends this all right now or he’ll have to go through life as a soddin’ jack o’ lantern. Cap tries to order him off but suddenly all the guardians disintegrate. So it’s mass suicide over interrogation, Wisdom remarks. Whatever works. He strides off. Looking after him, Ali assumes that he was bluffing. He wasn’t, Sage replies. As much as they all like to tweak him on occasion, they shouldn’t forget that Pete Wisdom can be a very dangerous man.
In the temple, Cyttorak still urges Cain to kill the pretender to regain what he once was. What is he waiting for? Yes, what is he waiting for? asks Captain Britain, as the team has caught up with Cain. Cyttorak directly addresses them, about to enlighten them what it means to be a Juggernaut.
Cain has had predecessors to the Juggernaut’s mantle. One such individual was Jin Taiko. Jin had served Cyttorak well for decades, but then came a day when he did not. On that day, Cyttorak did what he often does when confronted with a disloyal Juggernaut. He chose to have him replaced. Cain Marko had touched the gem of Cyttorak, which gave him the right to challenge for the mantle of Juggernaut. To actually become Juggernaut however there is only one way to accomplish that. Cain fought and killed Jin Taiko.
Cyttorak continues that he is a demanding master, requiring his name to be spread throughout the world through endless violence and destruction. He is also not without his jealousies. So when Jin Taiko’s village began to worship another in his stead, he demanded the village be razed to its ground and for everyone and everything to be annihilated. Taiko’s refusal became the source of their disassociation. Fortunately, his replacement had no such reservations.
The team watches in horror the past replay as Cain Marko destroyed the village killing everybody. Without a word they leave. Only Nocturne remains behind. She touches his face as she insists he’s not that person anymore. Does it really matter? he asks. TJ insists it does. She’s gotten to know him and believes he is really trying to be a better person now. He’s got to put his past behind him. Swatting away her hand he tells her he appreciates it, but this might not be the best time to sort out this thing between them whatever that thing is. Jerk! she announces and leaves as well.
Cain looks at the gem that is now his for the taking.
Two days later, back in London at Excalibur’s headquarters. Cain walks out on the balcony to find Pete out there smoking. Taken aback, Cain apologizes. He didn’t know anyone was out there…
Out there smoking? Pete finishes his sentence. His smoking is the worst kept secret around here, he adds. With a smirk, he admits that he’s glad Cain came, so he can be Pete’s witness. This is his last cigarette ever. He’s seen a lot when it comes to this team lately… he and his smokes, Cain with his gem, Ali with her fame… even that Whitman tosser and his blade. They’re all a bunch of dirty little addicts, aren’t they? But not him, he adds forcefully as he extinguishes the cigarette. This rot is not going to get the best of him. His mum raised him a tad tougher that that.
Good for him, Cain replies, not really interested. Pete notices that and remarks that Cain is probably more interested in the little meeting they had. For starters they all had to clear the air a little bit. He heard they did a little bit of that in Korea. Can points out. A little, Pete agrees. This time it was a tad more civilized. He and Brian? They’re never gonna be “buddies” as the yanks say. But he’s not going to sneak in his room tonight and slit his throat either (much as he may want to). Maybe they can all recognize that they’re all here for the same purpose and they don’t have to be the best of friends to get this done.
Sort of like the ’78 Yankees, Juggernaut remarks. Whatever that means, Pete continues undeterred. The bottom line is they are trying to help mutants post M-day. Nobody says they can’t help themselves along the way. But that’s not it, is it? Cain asks. He can’t figure all that “Kumbaya” talk included him.
Well, Pete admits after what some of the other members saw, with the things Cain did, even though he said he left the gem behind… there’s something of a trust issue here. And some awkwardness. And maybe a little anger. OK, maybe a lot of anger. Cain asks him to give it to him straight. Is he off the team? Well, Pete admits, there was some talk of a vote. Cain interrupts him, no need for that. He’ll have his stuff out there by morning.
Pete tells him not to jump to conclusion. There was talk of a vote, but that was as far as it got. He saw to that. Here’s the thing: they can go back and forth about who’s in charge or not, but the reality is the guy who pays the bill get the only vote that counts. Otherwise, he just takes his ball and goes home. They understood. Things may be a bit bumpy at first, but they’ll work it out… happy family that they are.
Cain doesn’t get it. They aren’t exactly close so why would Pete do this for him? Wisdom hints that he knows what it’s like, to have some things in your past you aren’t too proud of. Horrible things even. Turning his back on Cain, he warns him not to let him down. He wouldn’t want him to have to experience what some of those horrible things are like first hand…
Cain looks down the balcony at Brian Braddock, saying farewell to Dane Whitman. Brian jokes that all their infighting and half their members being murderers probably made Dane’s decision a bit easier. Nah, Dane retorts. If anything, it made him want to join the team more. He likes a challenge. With all their fighting about leadership, maybe he was actually the guy who could get them straightened up. They could certainly do worse, Brian admits.
All joking aside, the real reason for him not joining? This. Dane shows him the Ebony Blade. And states that it isn’ t the Ebony Blade. It’s something he’s come to realize only recently. Somehow, the sword he touched in Camelot and this one are not the same. And now he needs to find out why that is. Not to mention how this is even possible. Brian offers to have the team help. Dane declines. This he has to do on his own. He asks him to say goodbye to everyone and give his best to Meggan when e sees her. Brian begins he’s not able to…
He will be, Dane states simply as he gets into the car. If anyone can do whatever needs doing, it’s Captain Britain.
The car leaves. Cain steps into his room and opens his bag. Within it is the Gem of Cyttorak. He looks at it, an unreadable expression on his face.