‘I did it. I stopped him. I stopped Onslaught!’ Rikki Barnes the girl called Bucky exclaims to herself. ‘And I’m… alive?’ she realizes. Suddenly, ‘You are. Though not for long’ a voice calls out. It’s Onslaught, who looms over the young hero not of this world. Onslaught has found a portal to his world, but it was vanishing quickly, he knows he won’t make it through in time. So he uses the bulk of his essence to consume Rikki, and sends her through a portal, his tether, his last hope - his creation. And shortly, Rikki lands on a world not her own.
‘If that’s the case, then she isn’t real and there’s no reason not to pull the plug’ Moon Knight a.k.a. Marc Spector remarks, while his fellow Secret Avengers Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff the Black Widow stand nearby. They are in a Roxxon compound hidden in a jungle in Colombia. ‘Hey, no, I don’t think so’ Anya “Spider-Girl” Corazon declares as she steps between Rikki, now known as Nomad, and possessed by Onslaught, and the Moon Knight, who warns Spider-Girl to get out of his way. ‘That’s my best friend you’re so eager to hurt!’ Spider-Girl snaps. Steve tells Moon Knight that they don’t know if what Onslaught is telling them is the truth, either. ‘And you would jeopardize us all on a maybe?’ Moon Knight queries. The Black Widow remarks that Moon Knight has a point - regardless of the truth, if Onslaught returns to this world, it is bad for everyone. ‘You would just let Nomad die?’ Steve asks Moon Knight, grabbing him by his cape. ‘Steve, we need to be rational about this…’ Natasha tells her friend.
‘Yes, Steve… be rational. Be cold and calculating, like Black Widow and Moon Knight’ Onslaught calls out through Nomad, who is hovering in the air, energy all around her. ‘Or let your emotions guide you. Or be any other way you’d like… since it doesn’t matter. There’s enough of me here now that I’m far too powerful for you to stop’. Steve, Moon Knight, the Black Widow, Spider-Girl and the other heroes in the lab - Dr Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, Angelica “Firestar” Jones and Greg “Gravity” Willis look up, and Gravity shouts ‘He’s bluffing! Or she is, whatever!’ and boasts that he thinks they can knock its purple block clean off. ‘You don’t believe me, Gravity? Then I suppose you might want…a display’ Onslaught responds. ‘Ohhh, I’m so brilliant’ Gravity mutters, before energy is released from Onslaught, knocking all of the heroes back.
‘No… please, stop…’ Rikki calls out. Onslaught surrounds her. ‘Stop?’ he asks. ‘But this is only the beginning’. He announces that once he has pulled himself all the way out of the Negative Zone, Rikki will be seeing much more of this, so she had best get used to it. ‘Please… they’re my friends…’ Rikki calls out. ‘Friends? How can you have friends when you’re not even a living thing? You’re my puppet. My anchor. You’re my appendage, Rebecca, and you can’t possibly resist me’ Onslaught responds, as Rebecca just frowns.
Outside, in the Secret Avengers Quincarrier, Sharon Carter struggles to get to her feet, while Onslaught’s voice calls out to Eric O’Grady, Ant-Man, Sharon’s teammate who is inside her ear canal. ‘You have to finish her, Ant-Man’ Onslaught instructs him. ‘No’ Ant-Man replies, clutching his head. ‘Yes. Grow inside her now, Eric. You have no choice’ Onslaught commands. ‘I may be…a little bit easy, pal…but I won’t let you - won’t let you -’ Ant-Man replies, when suddenly, Sharon puts her head under a tap and water pours into her ear. ‘AAAA!’ Ant-Man cries out as he is tossed about. Sharon then exit’s the Quincarrier, ‘Steve? It’s Sharon. Can you read me?’ she calls out over the communicator. ‘Ant-Man is -’ Sharon begins, when suddenly, a large hand reaches down to grab her, ‘Didn’t think you’d wash me away that easily, did you, Sharon?’ Ant-Man asks as he pulls her close to him in his giant form.
‘I’m a much bigger problem to handle than that!’ Ant-Man boasts, while Sharon is caught in his tight grasp and starts hitting his hand. ‘Whoever’s in there in Ant-Man’s head, here’s your problem - you may be able to control minds - but unless either you or the subject’s a trained fighter - you’re all mine’ Sharon calls out to the person possessing Ant-Man, as she breaks free from Ant-Man’s grasp, kicks him in his leg on the way to the ground, she then strikes his other leg, causing Ant-Man to drop to his knees, Sharon leaps up and strikes him in his neck, knocking him out.
Elsewhere within the Roxxon complex, Benny “Toro” Serrano is on the trail of his old companion, El Dragon. He drops into another room, where a voice calls out ‘I thought, if I brought you back here - if I could just talk sense to you, Toro…we could be brothers again. And we’d run Cuchillo’s empire together. No chance of that, is there?’ Toro responds to the voice, addressing El Dragon by his true name of Marco, he tells him that if he can’t see that Cuchillo used them, that the things they did for him were wrong, then there is nothing left to say. ‘Okay, traitor. Have it your way. But remember I gave you a chance to share…’ El Dragon responds.
Back in the lab, Onslaught remarks that Gravity and Firestar seem fairly close. ‘The occasional romantic twitch, but mostly a deep fraternal bond. Mutant and human living in harmony’ Onslaught declares as he grabs both of them with a large first of energy. ‘NO!’ Firestar calls out, firing microwave energy at Onslaught, instead she strikes Gravity, causing him to cry out in pain. ‘Steve, we need to work this out quickly’ Natasha exclaims. ‘You know how I feel about Rikki, but she’s from a manufactured universe. In a way, she was never really real. We need to consider that’ the Black Widow points out. ‘Yes, but also consider the Vision - an android with human-engram coding, but every bit as real as you or I’ the Beast suggests. ‘Arguing whether she’s a person misses the point, Beast… the demon must be stopped at any cost’ Moon Knight declares, while Steve Rogers remains silent.
Suddenly, Toro comes across El Dragon who has hooked himself up to a large machine. ‘What are you doing?’ Toro asks. El Dragon grins and asks Toro if he remembers those dark whispers he mentioned, the ones inside this place? ‘They’re coming from inside these tubes. They led me here. Said I could drink their energies. All I have to do is pull the switch’ El Dragon declares. ‘You got money, drugs and a mall army at your disposal. You got super-powers. All that power, Marco. What’ll this give you that you don’t already have?’ Toro asks. ‘Mas’ El Dragon responds, tongue flicking out of his grinning mouth.
Firestar’s hand is before Gravity’s face, ‘No more. Stop. Mutant kills human. Hero kills hero. It’s… lacking something’ Onslaught remarks, adding that Gravity truly believes that his inability to cope with death is pulling him toward a dark path, and tells the young hero that he hasn’t experienced true darkness, not even remotely. ‘But you’re about to’. Several child soldiers enter the room, one of them is unarmed. ‘A helpless, unarmed child. What if you, virtuous hero that you are, used your powers to tear this child’s limbs off slowly, one at a time, and then pulled his still functioned head apart?’ Onslaught asks. ‘We call that sublevel one and then work our way down from there’ Onslaught declares, through Nomad, who leans over Gravity. ‘No… I won’t…’ Gravity calls out.
‘Go on now’ Onslaught replies, before Gravity is pulled away from the other heroes. ‘I can’t move’ Spider-Girl calls out. The Beast explains that none of them can, as enough of Onslaught’s essence has crossed into their world, and they are lost against his will. ‘Try not to see it, Gravity. Let consciousness fade!’ Moon Knight calls out. ‘Kill him now, Gravity. Kill this one child or I’ll have the others kill two’ Onslaught declares, and the child appears in Gravity’s image. ‘Please…please…’ the child cries.
In the other room: ‘Get ready to meet your new god…’ El Dragon declares as he presses a button on the machine he stands in, linking himself to the machine through the wires, energy pours into El Dragon, who roars.
Suddenly, ‘NOOOO! My power!’ Onslaught cries out. Appearing in a more human-like form, he turns to Nomad and declares that the transference has been disrupted. ‘How is this possible?’ he asks. ‘You said I was powerless inside my own mind ‘cause it and me are just a copy of a figment. But then I kinda realized something. So are you!’ Nomad shouts as she grabs Onslaught by his neck. ‘What have you done, child?’ Onslaught demands. Nomad tells him that while he has been stroking his own ego, she tricked El Dragon into drinking from his power tap. ‘That’s why you’re feeling a little faint right now - and it’s why I’m about to kick your purple puss!’ Nomad shouts as she punches Onslaught in the face, knocking him back.
In the lab, the heroes look up at Nomad’s body, still trapped in the energy over them, and they see her struggling. ‘What’s happening to her?’ Spider-Girl asks. Steve Rogers smiles and announces that she is fighting, and that she might be winning.
In the other part of the complex, ‘Marco…?’ Toro calls out, as El Dragon slowly rises, his body smoldering after the surge of energy. ‘I felt it…I felt the Devil’s soul, Toro. It was beautiful!’ El Dragon grins. ‘Let me show you!’ El Dragon calls out as he lunges forward and shoves his hand through Toro’s stomach. ‘TORO!’ Nomad screams. ‘I’m coming!’ she calls out to him as her astral form races through the complex. El Dragon looms over Toro’s motionless body and tells him that he didn’t get the power he wanted, but that he doesn’t want power anymore. ‘You’ll like it. You’ll see’ he adds. ‘when we’re both in Hell -’ El Dragon begins, when Nomad punches him to the ground. ‘Benny? Benny…it’s me. I came all this way to rescue you’ Nomad tells him. ‘Rikki’ Benny replies, looking up.
In the lab, Gravity sits on the ground, hugging himself, while the Beast calls out to Steve: ‘If there were ever a time to throw the proverbial monkey wrench…it’s you call, of course…’ the Beast’ voice trails off. Everyone looks at Steve, who just hangs his head in silence.
‘Don’t go, Benny. You’re my roomie. My Espanol teacher…’ Nomad calls out as she sits over Toro. ‘I never told you this, but…back on my world? The Benny I knew there? For a little while, we…we were…’ Nomad begins, when suddenly, she starts to vanish. ‘Ri…Rikki?’ Toro calls out as he watches her disappear.
The Beast reports that the machine has just powered down. ‘On its own?’ Steve enquires. ‘Apparently. Which more than likely means -’ the Beast begins, before there is a loud rumbling and Onslaught calls out ‘That’s correct, Henry…ONSLAUGHT has won!’ and with that, the roof of the complex opens, and Onslaught, fully materialized in this reality, peers down at the heroes….