“Look at this,” Gideon says, smiling as he looks into the gaping mouth of Marvel Boy. “I pulled the tooth right out!” He notes the tooth extraction got awfully messy because of the roots. Trying something else, he cuts through Marvel Boy’s lip with his newfound telekinetic powers. It’s as easy as using a knife! Next, he applies a little bit of telekinetic pressure to his victim’s nose, and watches it crumble like aluminum foil. This is the first time Gideon has ever duped a telekinetic—and he’s loving it. The possibilities are quite endless. Now that he’s had his fun, he wants to know why the New Warriors are in his residence.
Although he’s badly battered, Marvel Boy manages to tell Gideon to drop dead. Wrong answer, Gideon tells him. Haven’t they come to the realization yet that they’re utterly and undeniably defeated? It’s their own fault, too! They chose to invade his home and confront him. Now that they have lost, Gideon wants what is his due: he wants the truth, and he wants it now.
The rest of the New Warriors hang in restraints all around the room. Most of them are unconscious. Firestar remains awake. She tells Gideon to stop torturing Marvel Boy; he’ll never crack anyway! “But you might, lovely Firestar?” Gideon says, grinning deviously. “It would be a shame to use your own powers against you…”
Finally, Marvel Boy cracks and says he’ll tell Gideon whatever he wants to know—as long as he doesn’t touch Firestar. He says they came to get information, both from Gideon and about Gideon.
While flying to Vail, Colorado in a Taylor Foundation jet, the team asks Dwayne Taylor if their destination isn’t a weird place for a supervillain to reside. Dwayne explains that Gideon isn’t a supervillain in the same vein as Terrax. He’s a businessman, and although he’s dangerous, he’s still a businessman. Silhouette reminds them this began when they discovered the Taylor Foundation had business ties with a company owned by Gideon. Worse, that same company—the Ophrah Foundation—was involved with their recent encounter with Proteus. Obviously, it isn’t a legitimate business corporation. If Gideon was indeed the primary backer behind Advanced Idea Mechanics, and if he still has ties to the Taylor Foundation…
“…then we just talk to him and get the scoop on the troubles with your little company, right, Taylor?” Richard Rider asks. Dwayne wishes it were that simple. Robbie asks if he’s talking about Andrew Chord, their former mentor. Dwayne confirms this. Chord was like a father to him his entire life. To find out his life was built on lies, and to see Chord shoot himself in the head like he did just because he was afraid to tell the truth, is all too much for Dwayne to bear. He needs answers.
Namorita reminds Dwayne that Chord still clings to life. There is still hope he may pull through the ordeal. Angelica agrees; they all hope Chord gets better. But why did he attempt suicide? Angelica just doesn’t understand. Even at her lowest, she never thought of doing something like that. They’ve all had their share of troubles, Vance tells her; everyone does. “But you work through them, Vance—not run away like Chord did,” Angelica says. Vance isn’t arguing with that. He asks what they should do now. Dwayne tells him the Taylor Foundation pilot—who believes his passengers to be student study group—will land them at the airport, after which Dwayne will use the info he hacked from the security firm that designed Gideon’s systems and break into his fortress to find what they need to know!
So they tried to confront him, Gideon says, by trespassing into his home? By illegally breaking and entering?! Marvel Boy tells him that sometimes, to make an omelette, one must break a few eggs. Gideon clobbers him over the head with a telekinetic bolt. What a self-serving attitude, he tells the young mutant. He tells Marvel Boy he has tired of both him and his telekinetic powers.
Nearby, Firestar screams. She begs with Gideon to not hurt Marvel Boy. “Such an inner spark!” Gideon says to her, craning his neck. “You really care for the man-boy, don’t you?” Duplicating Silhouette’s shadow-melting powers, he materializes closer to Firestar—so their conversation can be more intimate. As he nears her, his body resonates with Firestar’s energy template. She’s quite the powerful one, he says. He strokes her wavy, red hair. Her microwave manipulation powers impress him. Giving them a try, he clutches a handful of hair and incinerates it with his borrowed microwave powers. “I do love the smell of burnt hair,” he says.
Moving on, he asks Firestar what gave her the right to invade his home and question his business ethics. What makes the scars on his life ripe for her capricious judgment? He bores a hole under her eye with a precision beam of microwaves. She screams. Gideon tells her to answer him… or burn.
In a dark alley, two thuggish-looking men approach another man—this one relatively well-dressed—who leans against a wall. The well-dressed man asks if they’re carrying. They are; clean trade, they say. The well-dressed man pulls out a white bundle. “Smack for thwack,” he says as they lift their guns.
Right as they make the deal, however, they hear a growling coming from the above rooftop. They look up in time to see beastly creature with long, red claws and a chain around its neck leap down to the alley, its form silhouetted against a streetlight. It begins ripping the men to shreds. Moments later, they lie strewn about the alley, their bodies eviscerated. Their killer suddenly catches a whiff in the alley. It turns and beholds a man who comments on its ferocity and anger. “You are the tiger who smiles at the kill,” this tattooed man says to the feral creature. “Yet you know so little about yourself. Come with me, Smiling Tiger. Allow me to be your guiding hand of darkness…”
Mt. Sinai Hospital. Manhattan, New York…
The man who has, in many ways, been the New Warriors’ mentor and teacher lies closer to death than life. Miyami Chord enters the hospital room of her unconscious husband, Andrew Chord, and remarks how much she misses him. Look at him now, she laments; look at what that pact has done to him. She sighs at her foolish husband and her foolish life. Suddenly, Miyami recognizes a familiar smell in the room. Her expression of grief shifts into one of terror. She screams and bolts out of the room. Behind her, in the shadows, Tai grins an evil grin.
The Vail, Colorado home of Gideon…
Gideon demands Firestar answer his question. He wants to know of her heroic superiority! He wants to know how she came to his home to smite him, diminish him, and belittle him! He demands to know why she thinks she is so much better than him. Firestar, sobbing, fesses up and tells him her team had a plan…
“You sure about this, Thrash?” Nova asks as he carries Night Thrasher and Robbie Baldwin over the snowy slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Robbie, clutching a snowboard to his chest, sarcastically asks Nova when one of Night Thrasher’s brilliant offensive strategies have ever failed. Thrash tells him to zip it. His plan will work; while their teammates set off the mountain base alarm systems, he and Robbie will sneak in from the top.
He gives their aerial teammate the signal, and he releases them. Dwayne and Robbie clip on their snowboards as they fall toward the slopes. As they speed down the mountain, Thrash asks why Robbie had to be the only one of his teammates who knows how to snowboard. “Ah, you love me and you know it!” Robbie says.
After seeing that the two snowboarders are clear, Nova flies back to his other teammates, intending to trigger some of Gideon’s motion sensors as he goes. He needs to draw attention away from Night Thrasher and Robbie—especially since Robbie can’t use his superpowers while snowboarding.
Inside Gideon’s headquarters, one of his security advisors, Adam, informs his master of the unwanted company. When Gideon asks who it is, Adam says he doesn’t know—but the rate at which the intruder moves suggests superhuman abilities. Gideon tells him to see to it on his own without disturbing him any further.
Outside, Nova zips through the trees outside of Gideon’s home, hoping to trigger some alarms. To his dismay, nothing seems to happen. Suddenly, he flies right into a net fashioned from titanium alloy and finds himself hopelessly entangled. While he struggles to escape from it, his teammate Firestar arrives and cuts him free with her microwave powers. “Thanks, Red. Almost singed my butt, though,” Nova tells her. If that’s the case, Namorita hopes she didn’t damage any brain cells.
After mock-laughing at his teammate’s joke, Nova asks for a sit-rep. Marvel Boy tells him they activated full security measures—though he doubts any of Gideon’s sentry guns could do them any serious damage. He casually destroys a few with his telekinetic powers. That may be, Nova says, but he acknowledges that the guns are slowing them down a bit—and they need to be on time to help their teammates. Namorita suggests they hustle.
Elsewhere, Night Thrasher and Robbie Baldwin approach Gideon’s mansion. Robbie comments on the digs, and asks what place like that must cost. Night Thrasher tells him to be quiet. On the back patio, Gideon relaxes in his Jacuzzi tub while Adam relays news of the intruders. He tells his master they have slowed the frontal attack, but they’re picking up downward activity in the rear section. Lifting his shades, Gideon glances up at the slopes and plainly sees Night Thrasher and Robbie approaching on their snowboards. “Never mind, Adam,” he tells his security advisor.
Wasting no time, Night Thrasher leaps off his snowboard and allows his momentum to carry him directly toward Gideon. He and the New Warriors want some answers, he shouts! Gideon sighs. “Yeah, you better be petrified, dude!” Robbie adds. Gideon asks if they wish to join him in his Jacuzzi. While Robbie activates his kinetic field, transforming into Speedball, Night Thrasher crashes into the water and puts a hand to Gideon’s throat and demands to know about Gideon’s dealings with the Taylor Foundation. “Pound it out of him like a civilized person would,” Speedball cheers.
“Indeed,” Gideon says, considering this suggestion. He blasts Night Thrasher in the face with a kinetic attack, a skill he borrows from Speedball using his mutant power to emulate superhuman genetic templates. Next, he uses this power against Speedball himself by launching himself into the air and socking Robbie in the face. As Speedball falls unconscious, he asks if Gideon mentioned something about having a mutant power. Gideon confirms this. He carries Speedball’s limp body safely to the ground, complimenting the New Warrior on his remarkable power imprint.
Gideon, holding the unconscious Robbie Baldwin by the collar in front of his imprisoned teammates, relays how fascinating the boy’s transformation was after he knocked him out. Loss of mass, completely different body proportions… does Robbie even know how interesting his powers are? Night Thrasher snaps back at Gideon; they didn’t come there to answer his questions, he says. Gideon slaps him across the face, shattering his facemask. “Oh, do please shut up!” he says. He understands where Thrash may have gotten this bad impression about him. After all, Forbes Magazine called him the Prince of Thieves, while TIME called him the Ziggy Stardust of Boardroom Backstabbers. He supposes for all intents and purposes he is a villain—but what does that make the New Warriors?
“We’re the ones who throw garbage like you out and close the lid!” Night Thrasher says. Gideon busts him across the face, further damaging his helmet. He turns his attention to Namorita, who hangs in suspension above the others in the room, her arms encased all the way up to her shoulders. The super-strength he obtained from her is quite impressive, he says. He didn’t expect to so easily shatter Night Thrasher’s armor. However, he notes her powers make him very thirsty.
“Back to the matter at hand,” Gideon says, “…if I’m the villain, why are you the ones breaking the law to accomplish your goals?” Because the truth is more important than the law, Nova answers. Gideon sneers at him. Is that so? And who, he asks, is the arbiter of truth? Them? Nova? Who judges them to be justified when they are so busy doing the right thing? What makes the New Warriors think they are better than Gideon? He grabs Nova by the jaw. “If your kind is so right and mine so wrong,” he asks, “then why did you lose to me?”
Gideon, having just emerged from his Jacuzzi tub, stands dressed in a red robe, ready to defend himself against Night Thrasher. He has Speedball’s kinetic-bubble powers as a defense. He tells Night Thrasher not to make another move, gesturing to his teammate he clutches in his left hand. Speedball, gasping for breath, manages to ask Gideon how he makes his bubbles behave that way. Thrash informs Gideon that Speedball cannot be hurt. That may be true, Gideon says, but he can certainly drain the boy’s kinetic field in its entirety. He guarantees he wouldn’t survive that—let alone exist as a physical being any longer. Calmly, he asks Night Thrasher why they invaded his home. They want answers regarding his corporate corruption, Thrash says.
“…but we’ll get them the hard way!” a voice says from behind. Gideon turns to see the rest of the New Warriors—Marvel Boy, Firestar, Nova, Namorita and Silhouette—descending on his back patio. Gideon scoffs at them. Marvel Boy insists they did not come for a fight; he advises Gideon not to start something he cannot finish. As Gideon cracks Speedball across the skull, he tells Marvel Boy he’ll be sure to heed his advice.
Vance cannot believe what just happened; Gideon knocked out Speedball! No one has ever done that! He infers Gideon must have some kind of superhuman ability. It would have helped to know that before they came, Namorita says. Vance agrees. He plans to take Gideon out right away with a telekinetic shove. As he fires his bolt at Gideon, however, it passes through his suddenly shadowed body and refracts to the left, instead colliding with Night Thrasher. Gideon laughs; Silhouette’s ability to interact with the Darkforce is serving him well!
Nova strikes next, barreling at Gideon with his fist outstretched. Gideon casually blocks the attack with the palm of his hand. Nova notices the sudden appearance of Robbie’s bubbles, which Gideon is using to absorb the kinetic thrust of the punch. He follows this up by using his new Darkforce powers to shadow-melt his fist through Nova’s torso. He hurls his limp body at Firestar.
Marvel Boy watches his team getting ripped apart. He and Namorita team up for a flank attack. After Vance nails him in the back with a telekinetic bolt, Namorita decks him from the side. They don’t plan on giving up, she says! Gideon didn’t think they would; why can’t their kind just accept reality? He turns to his latest two assailants and, using Marvel Boy’s powers, knocks out Vance while telekinetically binding Namorita in place. She struggles, but Gideon advises her not to even try—and asks if she’s surprised he’s able to so effectively use Marvel Boy’s powers. Even Marvel Boy might be surprised, Gideon laughs. They were wrong to approach him so arrogantly and overconfidently, Gideon tells her; it reminds him of his younger self. Namorita swears the New Warriors would never turn out like him! “Because I chose to use my superiority to create a base of financial power for myself,” Gideon asks, “—instead of doing ‘good deeds’ for the cattle of the world?” He advises her not to answer, as a microwave assault has nicely dehydrated her and rendered her unconscious.
“It’s not over yet, Gideon!” a lone voice says. Gideon turns to see the last remaining New Warrior, Silhouette, standing with her crutches in defiance. She may not be able to match his powers, but she can hide in the Darkforce dimension and strike out at him when he least expects it! “And I don’t give in—I never give in,” she adds. Admittedly, Gideon admires her spirit, but unfortunately, as they speak, he uses his telekinesis to seal her access to the Darkforce dimension—essentially rendering her powerless. Silhouette gasps. In one swift motion, Gideon blasts her to the ground.
With all his assailants unconscious, Gideon takes a breather, at least acknowledging the tussle made for a refreshing evening workout. He orders Adam to place their guests in sub-basement four and to activate the dampener fields—but allow him to access their genetic template wavelengths. Adam asks Gideon if he would also like him to scrub his buttocks clean. “Just do it, Adam,” Gideon says.
“And it was that easy, wasn’t it?” Gideon asks the New Warriors. It’s such a shame that good doesn’t always triumph over evil, he adds. He imparts on the New Warriors some wisdom that he learned a short while ago—likely the same lesson they’ve learned from their failure today. Today’s world, he says, is not about right and wrong, good and evil, or truth and lies. It is about success, whatever the cost. He asks the New Warriors if they are prepared to face that fact. In order to succeed, are they prepared to cheat, lie, steal and kill? That is what they will have to do to travel the road they have chosen, after all. Gideon knows this firsthand, because he has had to do all those things—and more.
He approaches Marvel Boy and asks him again: are they willing to do what Gideon has told them in order to achieve their goals? “If it means doing what’s right—helping others—finding the truth—yes,” Marvel Boy says as he hangs his head.
“And does that make you better than me?” Gideon asks.
“…no,” Marvel Boy admits.
“Very well then,” Gideon laughs, “…let me tell you of what I know of your oh, so-important Taylor Foundation.” What he tells them—the truth—shall either set them free, or crush their spirits beneath its inexorable grinding heel. Truth, they will discover, can play the game for fair and foul. With that out of the way, Gideon tells the New Warriors to listen and learn.