Colombia, inside a Roxxon facility, two groups of heroes are battling with trouble. Angelica “Firestar” Jones, Anya “Spider-Girl” Corazon and Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, face off against child soldiers. Nearby, Greg Willis a.k.a. Gravity and Marc Spector the Moon Knight do the same. Benito Serrano a.k.a. Toro and Steve Rogers are up against El Dragon, while Sharon Carter is inside the Secret Avengers’ transport craft outside, and in a laboratory within the complex Dr Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast and Eric O’Grady, the third Ant-Man, have witnessed something shocking involving Rikki “Nomad” Barnes.
A voice describes: ‘It was an eternity. An eternity of perpetual dissolution. My essence, unable to hold shape, scattering across an entire dimension’. The voice continues, adding that all that time, one thing kept him from complete insanity, one thing brought some form of solace. ‘That I would find you. Thanks to the discovery of the smallest pinhole in the fabric of space, I was able to reach out to you, and now that you’re here, Rebecca… I can finally come home!’ the being called Onslaught boasts, the energy of his form surrounding and possessing the young heroine.
Within the Negative Zone:
‘Onslaught. You’re behind Toro being kidnapped, aren’t you? You used him to lure me here!’ Nomad exclaims. Onslaught replies that he simply took advantage of existing impulses to make events unfold as they have, as it was all he could do until he drew her close enough to become his conduit. ‘Uh, no thanks. I’m not gonna be your stupid conduit’ Rikki replies, reminding Onslaught that she stopped him from destroying a world once before, and swears that she will do it again. ‘You don’t have a choice, Rebecca. You are now my puppet. My vessel. As soon as you understand yourself, you’ll understand why’.
Ant-Man and the Beast continue to watch Nomad, surrounded by Onslaught, and Ant-Man asks ‘Doc… uh… I take it the creepy girl there is that Nomad you mentioned?’ The Beast confirms so, and points out that right now she appears to be in the thrall of the darkest impulses of Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto, along with all of their power, made manifest. Onslaught and Nomad look down at the Beast: ‘Hello, Henry. You’ve… changed’ The Beast orders Onslaught to let the girl be. ‘Why would I do that? Because you say so?’ Onslaught asks, adding that he really wishes he could reach into that arrogant mind and turn Henry into his namesake. ‘But I’m afraid there’s just not enough of me here quite yet for that’. Onslaught continues, announcing that he does have the capacity to influence lesser minds into performing simpler tasks.
Back down the corridor, Moon Knight tells Gravity that these children should be put down. ‘Hey! They’re kids! Not rabid dogs!’ Gravity replies. ‘Isn’t there enough killing in the - oh, crap’ Gravity shouts ‘GRENADE!’ and there is an explosion an instant later.
‘Gravity!’ Firestar screams from outside the complex when she sees the explosion. She starts to call out to him once more, but a child soldier punches her in the face. ‘Child or not, you’ll be bloodied for that!’ the Black Widow declares, grabbing the boy, when suddenly, ‘Your face…what’s…?’ the Black Widow calls out, as all of the soldiers stop shooting at once. ‘It’s like they’re -’ Natasha begins, before all of the child soldiers start to run back into the complex. ‘Whoa. That’s creepy’ Spider-Girl remarks to the Black Widow, but gets no response. ‘That’s creepy, right?’ she asks once more.
In another part of the complex, Steve Rogers’ bloodied face looks up at the battle before him, as El Dragon speaks to Toro in their native Spanish. ‘It isn’t right that we should be fighting, brother - but it’s nice to finally see your true face revealed’ he remarks. But Toro tells his former friend that this is not him, that it is just what Chuhillo’s drug made him into. El Dragon forces Toro down, ‘Not Cuchillo’s, Benito. Roxxon’s’ El Dragon announces, revealing that the drug was Roxxon’s payment in exchange for this land. ‘So Cuchillo still thinks of me as his property? Is that why I’m here?’ Toro asks. El Dragon announces that he killed Cuchillo, and that his cartel and property now belongs to him.
‘I’ve got him!’ Steve Rogers exclaims as he leaps onto the back of El Dragon. ‘Toro isn’t anyone’s property! He’s a person!’ Steve exclaims. ‘This is not your business, American!’ El Dragon retorts, reaching around, he grabs Steve by his neck, and pulls him away.
Toro starts punching El Dragon, ‘The drug made me see the truth of who I used to be! I saw how Cuchillo manipulated me into becoming a cold-bloodied killer! He did it to you, too, Marco!’ Benny tells his old friend. ‘No Marco. El Dragon!’ comes the response, as El Dragon slashes at Toro’s face with his claws, drawing blood. Benny drops to the ground and clutches his neck, ‘The drug freed my inner self. It showed me my destiny…and it lies in this place’ El Dragon declares, asking Toro if he doesn’t feel it - the darkness, all around them, that it must be calling to him, too. ‘I hear nothing but stupidity!’ Toro responds as he head-butts El Dragon. El Dragon wipes the blood on his face and tells Toro that he no longer knows him, that he is not his brother. ‘There’s nowhere for you to go, El Dragon. Give up peacefully and there won’t be -’ Steve Rogers calls out, before El Dragon breathes fire over the two heroes, an then runs from the room.
Steve uses a fire extinguisher to put the flames out, and asks Toro if he is all right. ‘I am… not harmed’ the young hero replies, before they shake hands and Toro thanks him. Steve adds that he wouldn’t have known Toro was here if not for Nomad. ‘She is here?’ Toro asks. ‘No, she’s back home’ Steve responds. Toro announces that he must go, he must find Marco. ‘I’ll come with you -’ Steve begins, but Toro thanks him and explains that he must do this. ‘You know?’ he asks. ‘I think I do’ Steve replies, assuring Toro that he will still be here, at the site’s control center, if he needs him. Toro thanks Commander Rogers, and watches as the renowned hero rushes down the corridor, ‘Can I get a sit-rep?’ Steve asks as he presses his communication device. ‘Hello? Anyone? Sharon?’ Steve calls out.
And, at the Secret Avengers Quincarrier, Sharon Carter sits at the controls, ‘Repeating to all open Avengers comm channels - this is Sharon Carter calling for any and all assistance! Current location is - current -’ Sharon stops herself, frowning, there is too much electromagnetic interference. She slams her fist onto the control panel, and tells herself that she has to leave them, just fort a little bit, head back to the States and get some back up. But suddenly, the inside of the Quincarrier goes dark.
Outside the complex, Firestar moans and rubs the back of her head. ‘Hey. You okay?’ Spider-Girl enquires. ‘Headache. Sore. But yeah, I think so’ Angelica tells her new friend, before asking what happened to Gravity. Spider-Girl replies that she didn’t see, but she is sure he is fine, as he is with the Moon Knight guy. ‘Wait, you left him?’ Firestar asks. Spider-Girl reveals that the Black Widow said either the guys are okay, or they’re not, and in either case, they are better off following the preteen gun club. ‘Besides, we had to get you to safety’ she adds. ‘Spider-Girl, he fell on a grenade. We’re better off making sure he’s fine and sticking together’ Angelica declares. ‘Well, that’s what I thought too, but she has a way -’ Anya begins to reply, as Firestar points out that the Black Widow has a different set of priorities than either of them. ‘Which is, you know, fine, but -’ she starts to say, before the Black Widow appears. ‘You’re awake. Good. We need to get moving’ the Black Widow announces. ‘See. She has a way’ Anya tells Firestar.
‘Got it!’ Gravity shouts as he bursts forth from the rubble of the destroyed part of the complex. ‘We need to leave this place’ Moon Knight calls out as he pushes some rubble off of himself. ‘Wait, you mean, like, run away?’ Gravity asks, before dropping to the ground, several feet from Moon Knight, who announces that there is a razor-thin line between bravery and stupidity. He then suggests that whatever is going on here, it is far more dangerous than anyone seems to have predicted, and they need assistance. ‘Yeah, but I’ve got friends in there right now, and those Lord of the Flies whatevers could be doing terrible things to them’ Gravity exclaims as he flies back into the complex, telling Moon Knight that he should do what he feels. ‘I’m going in’ he announces.
But Moon Knight follows the young hero into the complex, ‘So, Moon Knight…’ Gravity begins. ‘Yes, Gravity’ Moon Knight replies. ‘You, uh…you’ve seen a fair amount of death in your time, right? Innocent people, people who deserved it, whatever?’ Gravity asks. Moon Knight replies that there is no fair amount, but he knows what Gravity means, and confirms that he has seen a lot. ‘Does it get any…? I mean…’ Gravity begins. Moon Knight tells him that it can, if you let it. ‘I recommend that you let it’ he adds. Gravity continues to float alongside Moon Knight down the corridor, and asks ‘Doesn’t that mean that life and death would ultimately mean less to me? I mean, that doesn’t seem like a very good alterna-’ Gravity begins, until Moon Knight raises a hand: ‘Stop. Quiet’ he calls out. ‘Why, what’s -?’ Gravity asks, and as he peers around the corner of the corridor, into another room, he sees if filled with the blank-expression child soldiers, holding their weapons, while tubes of the red energy flow into the room. ‘Oh. Creepy’ Gravity utters.
Gravity asks Moon Knight what he thinks they are doing, before a voice announces ‘We’ve been watching them for a minute or two now…and they’ve not moved a muscle’. It’s the Black Widow, who points out that the soldiers look to be under a spell of some kind. ‘You’re okay!’ Firestar exclaims as she, Gravity and Spider-Girl embrace. ‘As okay I can be with the scary guy’ Gravity replies. Moon Knight reminds the Black Widow that Beast and Ant-Man were in this room, but now, there are just children guarding something. The Black Widow reports that she heard a strange voice inside, and explains that they are protecting a person.
Further in the room: ‘No… no… it’s not true. None of it’s true!’ Nomad exclaims, tears rolling down her face. ‘If that’s what you choose to believe, I won’t stop you. It makes no difference to me, Rebecca’ Onslaught responds, adding that he should think that Rebecca would want to understand her own nature, as it is the only way for her to grasp what is happening here. Onslaught holds Nomad in the palm of his very large hand and tells her that he is growing even stronger in this world, ‘But you will remain as you are. As you have been since your very first breath’ he points out. ‘Powerless’ he reminds her, staring into her eyes.
‘An unplugged power converter?’ Sharon remarks as she holds a small torch between her teeth and checks some cables in the Quinncarriuer. ‘Sabotage. That’s super…’ she mutters, before poking her head up from under the control panel, small gun in her hand. She moves slowly around the Quincarrier with stealth, before calling out ‘I can hear you! Show yourself and you won’t get hurt!’ She holds her gun out, ‘Where are you?’ Sharon shouts. ‘I’m standing on your eardrum, Sharon’ a voice responds. ‘Ant-Man?’ Sharon gasps. Ant-Man tells her that he is really sorry, but that he can’t seem to help himself. Sharon then clutches her ear and screams, before collapsing to the floor of the aircraft.
Back inside, Spider-Girl asks what the plan is here, while Firestar declares that it has to be a plan that involves those kids remaining unharmed. ‘Not if who or what they’re defending is behind the dark undercurrents in this place’ Moon Knight tells her. ‘I am not fighting ten year olds’ Gravity declares, to which the Black Widow points out that he might not have a choice.
‘What are they doing here?’ Steve Rogers asks as he runs towards the group. ‘Um… stuff’ Gravity replies, while Spider-Girl asks after Toro. The Black Widow informs Steve that Nomad brought them here. ‘Nomad? And where is she?’ Cap enquires. ‘Steve? Steve, I’m in here’ a voice calls out. Steve, Natasha, Marc, Angelica, Anya and Greg rush into the room, glowing red, they look up, and see Nomad hovering in the air, Onslaught surrounding her. ‘My apologies for the… muscle, but I had to make sure no one could get to me until I was powerful enough to fend for myself’ Onslaught explains. He adds that he realizes he sounds somewhat like Nomad, but assures the group that will not last much longer - much like all of them. ‘My God…’ Steve utters. ‘Commander, look, Dr McCoy -’ Moon Knight calls out, as they see the Beast skewered to the wall with several spikes through his body.
‘Oh, yes. Henry thought he could stop me from crossing over from the Negative Zone, so I felt it necessary to restrain him’ Onslaught explains. ‘It’s Onslaught, Steve. Onslaught has returned’ the Beast manages to call out. ‘Let them go, Onslaught. Both of them. Now!’ Steve commands. Onslaught assures Steve that there is nothing to be done about his dear former sidekick. ‘But you can have the furry, blue moralist’ he declares, as energy rips the Beast off the spikes, causing the mutant her to cry out in pain. ‘Firestar! Help me cauterize his wounds!’ the Black Widow calls out as they both rush over to the fallen hero. ‘What is this? Is this about revenge for Nomad saving her world from you?’ Steve asks. ‘That would be impossible’ Onslaught responds. Spider-Girl calls out to her friend, ‘Nomad! I know you can fight this dude, whoever he is! Fight him!’ she urges her friend.
‘There’s really no point in addressing her anymore, child. In a way, there never was’ Onslaught announces. ‘Enough of this. You’re going back to wherever you came from…’ Steve exclaims as he punches the control panel. ‘NO!’ the Beast shouts, as Firestar flies him over to the group, the Beast tells Steve that he can’t, for if he breaks that console the resultant collision of anti-particles would take out half of South America. Firestar puts the Beast on the ground, as the Beast announces that they will find a way to stop that monster, they have to. ‘But Steve… there’s something you don’t know’ Hank begins. ‘Your friend, she… she isn’t…’ Hank begins. ‘What is it Hank?’ Steve asks. ‘That isn’t the Rikki Barnes you knew. She died in the Negative Zone’ the Beat reveals, and the solemn heroes fall silent….