Wondra and the New Warriors stand in a stalemate with the Alphaclan, an imposing, seven-member villain team. With their power packs drained, their leader missing, and their morale low, the New Warriors teeter on the brink of defeat. Wondra, however, refuses to give up.
The Alphaclan leader offers the New Warriors a chance to submit and leave with their lives. Jubilee refuses, reminding them they are number twelve on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most wanted list. “I suggest you surrender,” she tells them, “…but I’m kind of hoping you don’t.”
Wondra’s teammate, Ripcord, quietly acknowledges her leader’s bluff. The rest of the New Warriors tell Wondra that they cannot go on for much longer without a recharge. Agreeing they need to end the battle quickly, Jubilee signals Jono to commence one of their rehearsed formation attacks.
The smug Alphaclan leader once more asks the New Warriors to surrender, and once more, Wondra refuses to comply. She instead tells the Alphaclan to look behind them. They initially scoff at her obvious diversion; however, one of the female members of the villainous team lets her curiosity get the better of her. As she looks behind her, her terrified expression quickly spreads to her Alphaclan teammates. Immediately behind them stands a towering projection of Decibel!
The Clan leader turns and fires at the image, which then fractures into dozens of smaller versions of Decibel. The apparitions begin to attack. The New Warriors, meanwhile, take advantage of Alphaclan’s confused state and launch an attack of their own. Wondra opens with a concussive blast to the ground, which unsteadies their opponents. The rest of the New Warriors descend on Alphaclan and begin picking them off. A hard slap by Wondra sends a burly, grey-haired Clan member to the ground. Sofia, meanwhile, activates her Dr. Octopus arms, ascends to a vantage point, and zaps a barbaric, hooded villain. She immediately follows up on her attack by snaring one of the shirtless villains by the leg and throwing him into the purple-suited, female Clan member.
The tide of battle, however, quickly turns against the New Warriors. Wondra’s fallen opponent counters her assault with a deafening blow to her jaw. She falls. A gaseous Alphaclan villain emits a cloud of discharge, which engulfs Phaser. Blackwing’s sadistic opponent grabs him by the throat and draws blood. Wondra, staggering from the blow she just took, struggles to find her footing. As she pulls herself up off the ground, the hooded criminal approaches her from behind. “All you had to do was let us pass,” he says, before adding that he and the Alpha Clan are not responsible for what is about to happen. He raises his weapon high over his head, and brings it down in a violent arc over Wondra’s body.
The would-be executioner stares in amazement at his target. Somehow, his maul passed right through her body. Wondra, surprisingly, shares his astonishment. “I’m not…dead?” she says, examining her sudden intangibility. The battle comes to a halt as both the New Warriors and the Alphaclan realize that the New Warriors are now completely, inexplicably intangible.
Suddenly, Night Thrasher steps forward, bearing a device that controls what he calls “Ghost Mode.” Decibel then takes advantage of the Alphaclan’s inattentiveness and unleashes a sonic scream that incapacitates the entire team. The Alphaclan falls to the ground, defeated. Skybolt stares at his teammate in disbelief. “Jono…and you didn’t do that in the first place, why?”
Meanwhile, Wondra angrily confronts her prodigal team leader. She asks where he was, but Night Thrasher just tells her that is his business.
Later, Jubilee relates her perspective on these events to Jono. He does not seem to share her concerns. “I almost got killed. We’re in the fight of our lives when he just disappears and that’s all he can say??” Jono, who nonchalantly floats in the middle of the New Warriors’ armory in a meditative stance, tries to compare Night Thrasher’s disappearance to Wolverine’s occasional absence from the X-Men. Jubilee has trouble understanding the connection; after all, the X-Men knew and trusted Wolverine. None of the New Warriors know anything about Night Thrasher. In fact, they are not even certain of his true identity.
Jubilee then extrapolates a frightening scenario. She reminds Jono that Night Thrasher was able to install and activate intangibility technology into their uniforms without telling them. “What else does he have built into this crap? Kill switches? Pym Particles?” she asks. “Is he going to shrink us into sub-atomica if we don’t do things his way??”
Jono finally concedes to her point; Night Thrasher is somewhat sneaky. However, Jono still does not understand what Jubilee proposes to do with this information. He asks if she plans on usurping the team, or just quitting. “Maybe,” she says. “He’s putting us in a danger he’s not willing to face himself. Why? Where does he go? What’s he doing?”
“Okay – you got me,” Jono says. He continues to argue with Jubilee anyway. This time, he defends Night Thrasher because, in addition to forming the New Warriors, he helped Jono during a difficult period in his life. Jubilee asks how this excuses his current actions. Jono does not outright say they do, but implies that they ought to have some faith in their leader. Jubilee reminds him that she does indeed respect Night Thrasher; after all, she was the first depowered mutant to join the New Warriors. She refuses, however, to follow him blindly.
The two friends continue their verbal sparring, their attacks becoming more personal each time. Jono finally goes too far when he asks Jubilee if she would rather go back to living in a halfway house with other depowered, misfit mutants. Visibly hurt by this remark, Jubilee begins to walk away. Jono immediately realizes his comment was unfair, and apologizes. He then shares with Jubilee something that he has not told anyone: he was on the verge of committing suicide when Night Thrasher recruited him. Jubilee is utterly shocked to hear this.
“Do you know what it’s like looking like this?” Jono says. “So I’m not a blazing furnace anymore. But I am still an Apocalypse-made monster.” He describes an intense burning he feels within he fears could burst free at any time. This worried him so much he decided to end his life. If it were not for Night Thrasher’s sudden appearance, he might have gone through with it.
This story softens Jubilee up. Quickly forgiving Jono’s harsh words moments earlier, she steps forward and rests her hand on his back. “I – I didn’t know,” she says. Jono confides in her that she is his closest friend on the team, and he would hate to see her risk her status with the New Warriors. Jubilee understands, but still asserts that she believes Night Thrasher is up to something devious. Unbeknownst to both her and Jono, Kaz eavesdrops on this entire conversation.
Donyell Taylor solders some computer circuitry in his secluded lab when his door alarm alerts him of an approaching visitor. The visitor is Kaz, who normally can enter the lab freely. This time, Kaz finds that his password is no longer valid for entry. Inside, Donyell quickly throws on his Night Thrasher mask and opens the door. Kaz asks Night Thrasher if he changed the door’s access codes. Thrasher admits he has. Kaz asks why, but Night Thrasher changes the topic and asks what Kaz wants.
While nervously scratching the back of his neck, Kaz explains that the New Warriors are beginning to get a little suspicious about their leader. He implores Night Thrasher to do something to alleviate their suspicions before he ends up with a mutiny. “I’m way ahead of you,” Thrasher says while pulling the drape off of a computer monitor. Kaz asks what he is looking at, and Thrasher responds that it is something that will keep the team obedient for a while. He just needs Kaz’s help to pull it off.
Harry Givens watches a news report about the New Warriors. The news anchor recounts the team’s recent defeat of Alphaclan before segueing into a report about their sudden, nationwide stardom. In addition to being adored by males aged 18-34, teenage girls also walk around sporting “NW” tattoos on their midriffs, and a major toy company even expressed interest in developing a line of New Warriors action figures. Bev Sykes, who sits with her back to the TV, asks Harry to turn it off.
Harry senses unease in his partner’s voice and asks if she is alright. Bev replies that she does not really know; their discovery that Tony Stark might be secretly funding the New Warriors makes her feel like a marionette in someone’s puppet show. She claims the super-hero business never used to be so political.
Harry disagrees. He reveals to Bev that he too comes from a family of police officers, all of whom struggled with corruption within the force. “Politics and crime go hand in hand,” he says. Bev asks if he is referring to the Mason Case; Harry nods in agreement. After some slight probing, he tells his part of the much-publicized story to Bev.
He recounts how, as a young police officer, he busted two mob associates who turned out to be corrupt cops. In pursuing the case, he discovered the corruption reached into the highest levels of law enforcement. It became evident that if he convicted everyone involved, it would ruin the entire police force. Meanwhile, these same corrupt officers began to implicate Harry in the crime instead. Harry refused to sacrifice his integrity merely to avoid a false conviction. However, during chance meeting with another good cop, Harry accepted some advice that changed his perspective. He reveals to Bev that this other good cop her father, Mike Sykes.
Bev is shocked by this revelation; she had no idea Harry knew her father! Harry quickly corrects her by adding that he did not know Mike Sykes very well. They merely happened to have had similar experiences with corrupt law officers. “He told me that I could do more good out on the streets as an honest cop learning to play ball, than buck the system as a hero sittin’ in jail,” Harry says. “See, scum will always be with us. But if all the good guys are inside, who’s going to be there to stop them on the outside?”
Another officer enters the room suddenly, interrupting Bev and Harry’s conversation. He informs them of a developing super-villain situation in Yorktown. The two detectives grab their gear and depart.
Back in Night Thrasher’s lab…
A pensive Kaz stares at his leader’s presentation. He agrees that Thrasher’s plan might work with the right amount of convincing, assuming they tie it in with a familiar concept with theoretical plausibility. Kaz suggests linking the project to the deceased mutant Destiny and her precognitive diaries. Night Thrasher argues that some of the experienced team members, like Jubilee, would see right through this ruse. “If the team is going to be convinced, this concept needs to be simple enough for them to understand, yet complex enough to instill confidence in its validity,” Thrasher adds.
Kaz says sees his point. Night Thrasher hears some doubt in his words, though, and asks what is bothering him. While Kaz initially denies anything is wrong, he quickly caves and admits he has reservations about deceiving the New Warriors. Night Thrasher justifies the deception by saying it’s for the team’s own good. “I’ve heard that one before,” Kaz mumbles.
Night Thrasher reminds Kaz of what he rescued him from: life as a runaway, abusive parents, moving between foster homes, sleeping in alleys, and eating out of garbage cans. “This isn’t about payback, Kaz,” Thrasher says. “If you feel uncomfortable with what I’m asking you to do, don’t do it. No harm, no foul. I mean that.” Thrasher insists that he only wants Kaz to trust him. He promises to reveal the truth about everything to the New Warriors once his plan is complete.
“Then I’m your man,” Kaz says. He looks away with uncertainty.