Tony Stark, arms folded and eyes narrowed, stands in the shadows of an NYPD conference room. He has just surprised Detectives Harry Givens and Bev Sykes nearly to death. “What the hell are you doing here, Stark??” Detective Givens yells at the intruder. Tony calmly replies it was he who summoned the detectives; he wants to clear up a few of their misconceptions. “None of what was in that file you gave me was true. The Atlanteans, none of it,” Stark says, referring to the information given to the detectives by Frontline reporter Ben Urich. He emphasizes the inaccuracy of the accusation that he secretly funds the New Warriors.
Because of their presence at the recent SWAT disaster, Stark adds, Givens and Sykes’ careers are essentially finished. Sykes tries to argue it was not their fault; they even tried to stop the SWAT team from swarming the house. Stark cares not; he plans on using their impending dismissal as leverage. He tells them they can either continue their work under his authority, or say goodbye to their law enforcement careers forever.
Givens is not a fan of blackmail. He shoves his finger in Stark’s face and tells him he is not afraid of him or impressed by his elitism. Stark, however, does not budge. Save the tough talk for someone who’s actually afraid of you, and don’t mistake a privileged childhood for weakness, he tells Givens. “We can take this into the alley and I will kick your tail. Then I’ll throw you in jail. You got that?” Stark says.
With the situation back in his control, Stark commends their integrity, admits he would rather work with them than in opposition, and acknowledges their previous work with the New Warriors. With that, he proposes the detectives run a special task force he is forming his special task force. “From now one, your one and only job will be to bring in the New Warriors,” Stark says.
Judging by Machinesmith’s current treatment of the New Warriors, it looks as if Givens and Sykes might be out of a job. Decibel, Phaser, Skybolt, and Tempest have been abandoned by their teammates and their tech is running low. Additionally, Machinesmith has once again ambushed them, and holds Tempest captive in one of his tentacles. He repels a pitiful attack by Skybolt and Phaser before shooting a barrage of spikes into Decibel’s body. Jono falls unconscious. With their interim leader defeated, the remaining New Warriors brace themselves for annihilation. Vincent says goodbye to Christian, while Angel stares helplessly as Machinesmith raises his plasma cannon to her face. “Time to end this, my dear,” he says to his victim.
Suddenly, Machinesmith is blown across the room by a large explosion. Wondra, Blackwing, Renascence, and Ripcord are finally back with Night Thrasher, only Night Thrasher sports some imposing new tech. Where he previously wore a simple suit of body armor, he now wears an entire mechanical suit that rivals Machinesmith’s. “You guys didn’t think we forgot about you, did you?” Ripcord says as they walk through the smoking debris and flames. Machinesmith tells them they should have stayed away, and asks if they really think they can do better than before. Thrasher, extending his palm toward Machinesmith, invites the villain to reserve his judgment. While he charges his blaster shot, Thrasher summons some extra help; the three combat training robots, controlled by Aja, Grace, and Kaz, step out of the smoke behind the New Warriors and face Machinesmith. Night Thrasher and the robots blast Machinesmith with their plasma cannons.
Grace, Aja, and Kaz, still at the New Warriors headquarters, observe their progress from a safe distance. Each of the tech handlers controls their robot using an advanced, interactive holographic interface; Aja comments that it is better than playing Bioshock! Grace, however, resents being left directly out of the action. Kaz tells his peers to focus. They only have a short window of time in which to upload a computer virus into Machinesmith’s mainframe. Then, he adds, they only have a few minutes to escape before the entire compound erupts.
Back in the battle, the New Warriors tend to Jono’s wounds, Blackwing reunites with Tempest, and Night Thrasher staves off Machinesmith. As soon as he has the villain under control, he orders Grace, Kaz and Aja to find the mainframe and upload the computer virus. The rest of the New Warriors he orders to escape. They try to follow his orders, but find the exit sealed by Machinesmith’s commands. Wondra orders Renascence to blast through the walls, turns, and heads back to aid Night Thrasher. She enters the battle with a swift, super-powered kick to Machinesmith’s head.
The three tech handlers navigate Machinesmith’s lair via remote control. Kaz tells his teammates that, according to his quincorder, they are nearing the mainframe. “What do you mean, your quincorder??” Aja asks. “I’m the one who created it!”
“But I perfected it. Yours had more bugs than a crack house,” Kaz replies. Grace tells them to shut up; immediately before them stands futuristic-looking room that is undoubtedly Machinesmith’s mainframe.
While the New Warriors toil to create an exit, Wondra approaches the fallen Machinesmith. “You’ll never get a chance to use that Techno-Organic virus, machine-mutt,” she says.
Machinesmith responds in earnest. “‘Virus’?? I don’t know what you’re talking about, girl.” As he hits her with an uppercut, he explains he only fights the New Warriors because they violated the sanctity of his lair. Ripcord surprises Machinesmith from behind and sends a surge of electricity through his body, buying them more time to escape. Another attack by Night Thrasher expands this window of opportunity even further.
Grace and Aja admire the advanced, almost alien technology of the mainframe while Kaz busily uploads the computer virus. As he proceeds, three new copies of Machinesmith’s armor materialize in the middle of the room. Aja tells Kaz to keep working while he and Grace deal with the security system. Grace and Aja succeed in keeping the robots at bay long enough for Kaz to finish, although Grace does have to remind her companion robot, “Dimrod,” to watch his own back.
The virus finally finishes uploading. Machinesmith immediately detects the breech and tries to get to the mainframe; however, he is too late. His mechanical body begins to decompose. The New Warriors look around the room and suddenly realize the entire facility is undergoing a similar, rapid decomposition. The walls melt, the floor turns into liquid, and they soon find themselves swimming through viscous gel. An explosion knocks Wondra nearly unconscious and she begins to sink into the fluid. She receives an unexpected rescue by Grace, despite their previous argument. “No hard feelings,” Grace says as she carries her peer to safety. Several other New Warriors begin to drown, but between Renascence’s mechanical octopus arms and the battle robots, everyone manages to find a ride to safety.
The team soars out of the facility as fast as they can, barely escaping the cataclysmic explosion that follows. They land on a nearby shore and, now at a safe distance, calmly observe the billows of smoke pouring into the sky. Night Thrasher commends his team on a job well done. “Everyone did good. We got our team back and averted the threat of Machinesmith’s Techno-Organic virus.”
“Cut the crap,” Wondra says. This is not exactly the response Night Thrasher expected. Her teammates sigh and ask what she means now. She explains that the entire operation was a ruse to get the New Warriors into doing more of Night Thrasher’s dirty work. Vin scoffs at her and asks how she knows any of that. “Machinesmith said as much when I mentioned it. He knew nothing about a virus,” Jubilee replies.
Thrasher approaches his teammate. In his imposing robotic suit, he towers over the former X-Man. He chastises her for believing the lies of a super-villain. Jubilee, however, insists Machinesmith would have no reason to lie.
Vin interjects and tells Jubilee that villains lie all the time. It sucks she would believe someone like Machinesmith over her own leader. Jubilee replies that it is unfortunate Night Thrasher has put her in this position. Miranda then asks how Night Thrasher managed to manipulate a device like the Transmap. He didn’t have to, Jubilee says. “I think the Transmap was bogus from the gate. How could Trash have invented technology so sophisticated that it goes beyond what even Cerebro can do?”
When Jubilee presented this argument to her teammates before, they rejected it. This time, however, they understand her reasoning. Night Thrasher’s most devoted follower, Vin, turns and asks his leader to say something in his defense; he needs to hear proof that Jubilee is wrong. To Vin’s utter disappointment, Night Thrasher remains silent.
After a protracted pause, Night Thasher speaks. “I did what I had to do, Vin. For the good of the team. For the good of our cause.” Shocked to hear this admission of guilt, the team lashes out. Christian casts blame on Night Thrasher for the death of his sister, Christine. Barnell, meanwhile, simply reminds Thrash they trusted him.
Night Thrasher still cannot defend himself. He changes the subject, reminding the team of Jono’s need for immediate medical attention. He then turns and leaves.
“This isn’t over,” Wondra says. “Not by a long shot.”
In a secret meeting on top of a New York City skyscraper, Midnight’s Fire presents his bounty to Night Thasher. He hands Diablo’s Book of A’lchem to Thrasher. However, he is curious as to what Night Thrasher wants with magical artifacts such as this tome.
Night Thrasher reiterates that while science is one thing, magic is another thing entirely. He tells Midnight’s Fire of one more artifact he needs to collect. “I hope it’s not what I think it is,” Midnight’s Fire replies. “You’re playing with Fire, Taylor. If you make one mistake--”
Thrasher tells Midnight’s Fire not to worry about it, and jumps off the rooftop toward the bustling streets below