Four seemingly unrelated events:
In Regent’s Park Zoo, the Warwolves exhibit has been closed.
In Shanghai, China, Lum Kwai-Tse, the Far East managing director of Fraser’s Bank is found dead.
In Bangladore, India, people find another corpse – that of Muaharam Ram multimillionaire and one of the foremost network programmers in the subcontinent.
In London, the capital of the United Kingdom, the Juggernaut is on trial at the central criminal court, the “Old Bailey.”
The prosecution begins, accusing Cain Marko of having once again proven himself a menace to society. He has violated his parole and should therefore spend the rest of his unnatural life behind bars. Cain protests, trying to explain that he was trying to save lives. Doesn’t that count for anything? The judge orders him to be quiet.
Juggernaut’s lawyer, Jennifer Walters aka the She-Hulk, speaks on his behalf. She points out the same thing as Cain, albeit better-phrased, that the need to prevent the ongoing commission of major crimes, including terrorism, were the cause of those admittedly regrettable incidents. Her client should not be held accountable.
Perhaps that’s how they do things in New York, the prosecutor snipes, but England is governed by the rule of the law. Why should Marko, a convicted felon, be granted a freedom of action and an absolution of all responsibility, even British officers of the police are denied?
Cain whispers to Jennifer that the jury is eating up the prosecution’s words. He is doomed.
However, a new player enters the court, Peter Wisdom, on Her Majesty’s service. Away from the public’s eyes, with only judge, prosecution, Cain and Jennifer present, Pete quickly makes his point by giving the judge a written order, dictating that in the interest of national security all charges against Cain are vacated, meaning he is free to go.
The prosecutor vehemently protests. The judge sardonically wishes her luck. With the order signed by the secretary and the prime minister, she will need a miracle. The prosecutor grabs the order, demanding to see it. Wisdom sarcastically advises her to pay close attention to the letterhead. It displays the royal coat-of-arms. The big galoot has friends in the very highest of places, Wisdom adds unnecessarily.
A little later outside the Old Bailey, Jennifer is hurt in her pride, as she tells Wisdom that she would have won the case without any help. They couldn’t afford to take that chance, Wisdom replies. And they need to establish Cain’s “Get out of jail free” card for future reference.
Juggernaut demands to know what the deal is. Who is “we”? He points at Wisdom who mildly tells him to stop it. He reminds Cain that he works for MI-13, the department of her Britannic Majesty’s Intelligence Service responsible for all matter metaphysical. Which includes him? Juggernaut asks. Something like that. Does he have to work for them in return, Juggernaut asks. He isn’t here to force him, Wisdom replies, but he is suggesting Cain should connect the dots.
In her flat, Sage is watching a webcast, namely show by the mystery revolutionary known only as Bean, who sees it as his job to let the public know about information the establishment is trying to keep secret.
He begins talking about the massacre of the Grey family in Annandale-on-Hudson by a team of interstellar bounty hunters, the Shi’ar Death Commandos, for the crime of being related to the X-Man known as Phoenix.
Meanwhile, the X-Men themselves are still residing under the watchful aegis of the federal office of national emergency and their Sentinels. Bean asks some uncomfortable questions: namely who tamed those robots whose original programming was to exterminate mutants? Where did they come from and what are their current directives? Cant hey truly be trusted. The X-Men’s role has always been to act as the defenders of both mutantkind and humanity itself. These days you have to wonder – who will defend them?
Bean ends his broadcast with reminding his audience of Thomas Jefferson’s classic dictum: “ A little revolution now and then can be a very good thing.”
Elsewhere, in the shopping area Covent Garden is T.J. Wagner aka Nocturne, who is phoning her “father” Nightcrawler at the Xavier Institute after having seen Bean’s Webcast.
Kurt Wagner answers from the X-Men’s infirmary where he and Psylocke are recovering after having received injuries battling the Shi’ar. He admits that the report was true but quickly calms his “daughter,” telling her that he and Psylocke are recovering quite nicely. Nocturne is relieved and inadvertently calls him “daddy,” before apologizing profusely for that slip of tongue. He sounds and acts so perfectly like her dad, that talking to Kurt is like talking to her real father. Kurt tells her she has nothing to apologize for. She honours him more than he dares say. Relieved she thanks him.
“Instant fatherhood. That’s a very neat trick,” Scott Summers who has entered the infirmary teases Kurt. Should they offer congratulations? None of them is aware that Sage is spying on them as she is on the Sentinels and on Nocturne (and God knows on who else).
Kurt jokes that considering he had nothing to do with it, he thinks T.J. turned out rather well. But, he continues, the strangest aspect of all this is that, in Nocturne’s reality, his wife, Nocturne’s mother, is the Scarlet Witch. Cyclops gives him a very odd look, one that Sage instantly picks on. What about Wanda Maximoff makes him react at the mere mention of her name with such worry and concern? Why is he so afraid? she wonders idly, while drawing a gun from her sleeve, having noticed an uninvited guest.
It’s Pete Wisdom offering cheap wine and Chinese takeout. She needs better locks, Sage states. Won’t help, he predicts. He’s that good? she asks. Depends, is that a conclusion or a challenge? he retorts. They click glasses and he proposes a bored toast.
He admires her different screens. She sees all she’s able, Sage states. Not as much as she’d like. Even the shadow mob, even in prison, Pete states, referring to the evil X-Men. Especially in prison, she states. She wanted them dead, didn’t she? he asks. Absolutely, she smirks. He admits that the same goes for him.
Later as they are more comfortable in front of a fire, he explains that he wants her, Braddock, Nocturne Dazzler and Juggernaut. The mutant world just took a major fall, leaving a lot of bad blood on all sides, with some very nasty folks looking to take the advantage, simply because there aren’t enough heroes to stop them anymore. She walks out onto the balcony and asks if he is offering a job. The hardest and most miserable he knows, Pete replies, but someone’s gotta do it.
Back at Covent Garden, T.J. is in for the shock of her life. Is Alison saying the Beatles broke up? she demands to know of Dazzler. Ali explains that actually John Lennon and George Harrison are dead. Is it different where she comes from? T.J shows her her I-pod with the picture of the Beatle’s 40th anniversary album. She’s got their entire catalogue. Ali begs if she can listen. T.J states she’s heard Ali is looking for a replacement bike. She’ll share the ride if T.J. shares the music, Ali offers.
Wych Cross, a suburb of greater London where Rana Mousabi, a seemingly demure Pakistani woman, is attacked by two men. The woman easily defends herself, asking if they have any idea who they are dealing with. Rana draws a gun and identifies herself as an agent of MI-13. She shoots the one man, but the shot only manages to tear his face off, revealing silver skin underneath. Angrily, the Warwolf sheds its skin, shouting that Rana ruined his brand-new face!
Near the ruins of Excalibur’s lighthouse stands Brian Bradock, who desperately shouts out the name of his missing wife, Meggan. It’s like he expects an answer, a voice announces. He supposes he does, Brian replies as he turns to Courtney Ross. Courtney reminds him that Meggan sacrificed herself to save all creation. He insists that he’d know if she were dead. What he doesn’t understand is why he can’t transit back to Otherworld. Well, what does he know? Courtney asks. Nothing but dreams and speculation. And standing here, screaming her name, solves…? Courtney goads. What does she want, he asks impatiently.
Courtney back off and apologises. But while he is worrying about his far-off Meggan, Courtney is there, thinking about him. She reaches out for him, but he warns her that he doesn’t want to hurt her. Too late for that, she replies. Long before he became Captain Britain, she was his first love. Whatever happens, that will never change. She touches his cheek.
Later at the restaurant “The Wild Rover” in London they talk more about their lives. Brian asks if she ever found anybody else. She explains that she’s hardly been celibate but has found nobody to love. As dear Mick so loves to sing “You can’t always get what you want”. As he recalls, she always did, Brian deadpans.
The waiter informs Courtney that her credit card has been declined. A little later, she calls her bank. Angrily, she demands to know why all her credit cards have been cancelled. She is even using her friend’s mobile phone, because her cellular account has been withdrawn as well.
“Having a bad day, Ms. Ross?” asks a woman in a uniform, very much reminiscent of Captain Britain’s first costume. Brian introduces her as Kelsey Leigh aka Lionheart. He asks Kelsey if this is an official visit. Last he’d heard, she was with the Avengers. She replies that the Avengers as he knew them no longer exist. As for why she’s there, he may consider it payback. She strikes at him and Courtney with her staff.
Lionheart again tries to hit Courtney, as she asks if she knows what he has done to her. Something unforgivable, she is sure, Courtney quips. Pissed off, Lionheart warns her not to make fun. The likes of her wouldn’t understand. He told Kelsey she was dead. He offered her a chance to be reborn. He offered her power. She told him all she wanted was to save her children. He told her to choose her own destiny. He was talking about protecting the realm. She was desperate about her babies! Is it any wonder she chose the sword?
Brian, now in Captain Britain garb, grabs her hand and informs her that the amulet represents the quest for knowledge, for truth. Violence is a last resort. The sword speaks for itself. It’s a test of the spirit, of their souls. Their nature defines their destiny. He trips her. Major mistake, Courtney mumbles.
Enraged, Kelsey kicks Cap. Is he laying this on her? she demands. He needed her to save his sodding miserable life. He should have told her the price; that she’d never with her children again. He stole everything from her that gave life meaning. Now she’s going to do the same to him. She raises her sword, ready to strike.
Mike’s Motors, a small garage near King’s Cross Station:
Dazzler informs T.J. that this is where she will find the best in bikes. And in guys, T.J. agrees, ogling the mechanics. How are they supposed to choose? Not her problem as she is broke, Ali replies.
She greets Cain as they are joined by the Juggernaut, who was told by Sage that they are shopping. Dazzler is not happy about her keeping tabs on them. Cain wants to talk to Ali about Wisdom and his offer. Ali simply states that she doesn’t like Wisdom, as she tries out a bike. Cain agrees and offers to buy her the bike. He has some money stashed. She thanks him, but… She’d rather carry her own weight, he finishes the thought. ‘Fraid so, Ali tells him, That’s one thing he loves about her, he begins, when suddenly he tosses her aside, to save her from an energy blast.
The attackers are four Warwolves, two of them wearing human shapes. One of the human ones fired the energy weapon that even managed to stop the Juggernaut. With him out of the way, they intend to have some fun, meaning they’ll take everyone’s faces and lives.
At Sage’s place, the doorbell rings. Gun in hand, she walk to the door to see it is Special Agent Rana Mousabi, Pete’s colleague. Rana claims it is an emergency. Sage opens he door and “Rana” violently kicks her. Sage fires her gun and “Rana” shouts in panic, “not the new skin.. Another Warwolf covers her and tells her to stop whining. It jumps Sage and begins the process that will kill Sage and allow it to wear her skin.