(Days ago, the Moon)
A gold-colored space ship lands on the Earth’s moon, its landing jets kicking up a fine mist of the lunar soil. In short order, three people and several Mindless Ones exit the craft. Leading the group is a spacesuit-clad man with giant eyeball in place of a head, followed by a hulking man clad in a gold-colored version of Iron Man’s earliest armor. The armored individual, Dr. Midas, informs the Orb that he hopes that he knows that if he cannot deliver on what he has promised… he will literally tear that ridiculous head of his off his shoulders and hurl it into orbit. Seemingly unworried by the threat, the Orb glances back, noting that he didn’t come there to die. None of them did. They came to be reborn.
Hearing this, the third of their party, Exterminatrix, the daughter of Dr. Midas, chimes in that she thought they came to rob the Watcher. That too, the Orb replies. This way, he then announces, follow him. With that, he leads them down a hill toward a massive complex off in the distance. Arriving in short order, they come to a massive door with a purple-luminescent lock in its center. Almost sheepishly, the Orb speaks to the lock, introducing himself. He then announces that he’s had dreams about this place and… he thinks that means he was invited…? Strange, the Orb then notes innocently. It doesn’t seem to be letting them in. Hearing what seems to be proof of a complete lack of a plan, Midas pronounces the Orb an imbecile and promises that he will flay him alive for… Suddenly, the doors slide open with an almost humming VMMMMM. See? the Orb ask, presenting their new entrance with a gesture. He told him he wasn’t crazy.
Immediately, Exterminatrix takes point, charging into the bowels of the Watcher’s home. She orders them all to spread out. Find anything that looks like a vault or an armory. They have to move fast. He’s the Watcher. He sees everything. They won’t have long before he… Exterminatrix stops mid-sentence as she finds Uatu the Watcher standing before them, blocking their way. I see you, the cosmic giant informs them. “Plan B,” Midas announces, raising his arms and pointing his guantlet’s repulsor at their foe. “Kill the bastard.”
In short order, the tower at the center of the Watcher’s suffers a massive explosion.
(Now, the Moon)
At the center of the Watcher’s home, what remains of the central tower still stretches upward from the lunar landscape. Suddenly, something impacts with incredible force a short distance away with an audible WHOOOM, thanks to being within the Moon’s “Blue Area” atmosphere. So great was the impact that, even by the time the ejecta has cleared, the projectile in question, the Hulk, has not yet recovered.
Meanwhile, in Earth orbit, the space-suit clad Luke Cage freefalls, unconscious and unaware of the message relayed via his comm system. Avengers priority alert, the voice announces, this is Captain America, requesting backup from any and all space-faring operatives. They are engaged in battle in Earth’s orbit. The target… is Nick Fury.
At the source of the transmission, the assembled Avengers all attempt to close in on the now-aged Nicky Fury, who stands on an incredibly small, orbiting asteroid and is clad in an augmented spacesuit. In his hands he holds an energy rifle, which projects against his attackers: Iron Man, Black Widow, Wolverine, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man and the Falcon. Meanwhile, still on Fury’s cloaked space station, Captain America continues his report, even as he takes on a host of Nicky Fury LMDs. He blasted the Hulk into the Moon, he continues. Consider him armed and dangerous. Ending his transmission, Cap mutters a curse to Nick, wondering what the hell has he gone and done this time.
Attacking with speed, Iron Man arcs around for a strafing run at Fury. Nice armor, he mocks his opponent. Where’d he get the alien tech? And why is he an old man all of a sudden? Did he miss when that happened? He’s missed a lot of things over the years, Fury tells “Stark.” More than he could possible imagine. Him, though… he doesn’t miss. With that, Fury fires and hits Iron Man in the chest, ending his attack vector before it can begin.
And what’d he miss? Falcon asks. What’d he do to deserve being lied to? Other than watch his back for years? Attacking at the same time, Wolverine announces that they trusted him. That’s where they went wrong. Won’t happen again. He even violated the sanctity of “meat night,” you sonuva… The double-attack of Falcon and Wolverine pays off and the two quickly disarm Fury and hold his arms tightly. Appearing before the now-captive Fury, her guns drawn, Black Widow demands that he tell them what’s happening. Help them understand this. He wishes he could, Fury replies. He wishes there were time. With that, Fury shrugs off his captors, propelling them away from him and into the void.
Fury’s respite is short-lived, however, as Captain America appears from above him, his shield leading his charge. There is time, Nicky, Cap announces. Time for him to stand down. But it’s running out. Even if he could explain things, Fury replies, engaging in hand-to-hand defense, Cap would still hate him more than anyone. Damn it, Fury, Cap rejoins. He’s always know who he is, and he’s always respected him. Don’t cross a line he can’t come back from. Not after everything they’ve been through. Lifting the two off of the small asteroid, Fury replies that he crossed that line a long time ago. For all the right reasons. Look behind him, he then tells “Steve,” referring to the Earth. In the days to come, as he starts to understand what’s really happening there… he wants him to remember this view. And know he’s not sorry for anything he did. Except this. Punctuating his statement, Nick Fury delivers a right cross, knocking Cap away.
He’s sorry too, Nick, Cap replies. Sorry it had to be like this. Thor… “Aye, Captain,” Thor replies, entering the fray. This will take but a moment. Indeed, less than a moment later, Thor impacts hammer-first into Fury’s mid-section. As Thor presses, Cap apologizes to Fury that he didn’t see sooner what was happening. He’s been manipulating this investigation from the very start. And he’s afraid to find out why. But he will. No matter how much it hurts them both. As Cap speaks, Thor continues his assault, cracking Fury’s space helmet with his hammer, Mjolnir.
Meanwhile, still on the cloaked space station, Fury’s assembled heroes debate their next action. Ant-Man suggests that they should be helping the Avengers, but Emma Frost notes that they should be getting the hell out of there, as it could look bad for them. Like they’ve been working for Fury. To this, Moon Knight point out that they have been working for Fury. Some of them may still be working for him, Black Panther corrects as watches Doctor Strange continue to work his spell on the doorway. Hearing this, the Winter Soldier asks if he’s referring to him. He’s the one who cut Fury’s head off, remember? Yes, Black Panther agrees. And also brought the real Fury the Watcher’s eye. Winter Soldier then point out that maybe the Panther missed the part where he shocked him with his old-man cane and took it. To this, Panther asks what about the part where he blew up Moon Knight’s ship? What about him, “Mr. High-and-Mighty Panther,” the Soldier counters, pointing his finger accusatorily. He’s the one who recruited them all into this?
As the two continue to argue, Ant-Man asks Moon Knight if they are still picking sides. An easy call, he then notes. He’s siding with the Avengers. To this, Moon Knight replies that he honestly doesn’t know anymore. Fury has gone to some insane lengths, but… he’s done it for the right reasons, hasn’t he?
Suddenly, Black Panther spies the Punisher, Gamora and Rocket departing and asks where they hell they are going. Some place where they don’t have to listen to them, Punisher replies. In agreement, Gamora adds that she’s on the side of the man who wears the skull. Glancing back, Rocket adds that he’s still not even sure why he’s there. He just knows he hates all of them.
Nobody’s going anywhere! Doctor Strange announces. They are in this whether they like it or not. All of them. And together they’re going to decide their course of action. Regardless of Fury’s reasons, he’s still a mass murderer. He votes that they take him down. Who else wants to be on the right side of history?
Does he get a vote? the Orb asks, holding the upper half of a Fury LMD, severed at the abdomen, by its hair. Because he votes they kill him. And take every last damn one of his eyes. To the surprise of the heroes, the Orb seems transformed. Luminescent purple energy swirls around his head. Cursing to the Hoary Hosts, Strange asks the Orb what Fury did to him. She doesn’t think it was Fury, Emma interjects. Ignoring the two, the Black Panther asks what the Orb meant when he said he was being changed by what he stole. What exactly did he see, villain? Other than eyeballs. Secrets, the Orb replies. He stole all the secrets. Including this one:
Half a breath later, the luminescent swirls around the Orb expand, knocking the heroes off of their feet.
(Days ago, the Watcher’s Lair)
Uatu the Watcher watches no more. Now he acts. Surrounded and beset by Mindless Ones, the Watcher holds back the optic blasts of three, while projecting energy from his hand to knock back a fourth.
Watching nearby, the Orb marvels at the actions of the Watcher and asks Exterminatrix if she can imagine having power like that. Her arms full of devices, she replies that they found the armory. Grab everything he can carry and go! His single, massive iris still fixated on the battle, the Orb wonders what it’s like… to be him. To see what he sees. He wonders…
Now speaking to the Watcher directly, the Orb asks Uatu that he’s scared, isn’t he? He’s holding back. Because he saw… what did he see? Now raising the immense, high-tech rifle against his shoulder, the Orb tells the Watcher that he saw his own death, didn’t he? Yes, he can see it himself, in his eyes. Poor Watcher… He can help him. He can make sure… he never has to see anything again! With that, the Orb fires his weapon and a spray of blood spatters from Uatu’s temple.
(Now, Earth’s orbit)
Protected from the vacuum of space by his spacesuit, Spider-Man activates his web-shooters, capturing both of the Watcher’s eyes. Reporting his accomplishment via their comm, he asks, just curious, what happens if he throws up in his space helmet. Also, guys, these things are really glowing like crazy. They remember the last time one of them did that, right? Bomb full of secrets? Anyone?
Still in direct, single combat with Fury, Thor continues his hammer blows. Yield! he commands Fury. The time has come to explain thyself! Thor then notes that his metal suit is failing, and he does not wish to harm him. Same to him, big guy, Fury replies, but he’s afraid this is going to hurt. So… he sees he’s got a sister, and he also sees… Hearing this, Thor realizes Fury has had access to the Watcher’s secrets and begins to ask how. Learn from this hurt, Fury orders Thor. Learn and be better for it. Never forget that it wasn’t a punch that took him down. That despite all his strength, in the end when he was beaten… all it took was a whisper.
With that, Fury leans in toward Thor and whispers. Suddenly, Thor’s eyes go wide and his mouth gapes. What…? he asks. What didst thou say?
Some distance away, Captain America rides atop an orbiting satellite, kneeling on it as it falls around the planet. Anybody have eyes on Fury, he asks. Thor? Thor, come in. What the hell’s happening out there? Unfortunately for him, Cap’s questions go unanswered… and an Asgardian hammer made of uru metal impacts on the lunar surface a short distance from the unconscious Hulk.
Hearing nothing from Thor, Captain America radios Iron Man, asking if he’s seen any sign of Thor or Fury. Negative, Iron Man replies. All he sees is… The armored Avenger pauses for a moment and then notes that something just hit the Moon. It’s… Glancing down toward the lunar surface, he spies Thor attempting in vain to pick-up his hammer. He must be seeing things, Iron Man mutters. It looks like Thor… trying to pick up his hammer. Over the comm, Cap replies, asking him to say again. It sounded like he said…
Engrossed both in Cap’s words and the sight below him, Iron Man does not see Nick Fury free fall next to him. “Stark, override code…” Hearing the code that follows, Iron Man has but a moment to wonder how Fury knows of it. Before he can react, his armor follows its programing and flies off. Seeing this, Cap begins to ask where he’s going and then asks for any other Avengers to come in… Anybody?
Over the comm, Cap hears the voice of Nicky Fury, who notes that even though he was a robot, he wasn’t a liar. Bastogne. The best steak he ever had. Still trying to understand, Cap asks what he has done. All he sees is truth now, Fury explains. Ever since he opened the eyes, that’s what he showed them. Truth. Did he know Wolverine once murdered his own children? And Natasha… she’ll never understand why he didn’t choose her. It’s because she’s a lot more like Cap than Fury these days. He was hoping she could stay that way.
Touching off from the satellite, Cap tries to reason with Fury, telling him that, whatever he’s done, there’s still time to stop. Just talk to him. Just tell him… He doesn’t have to try and forgive him, Fury replies over the radio. He’s not asking him to. Years ago, he watched a man die. A man who’d given his life to a greater cause, and with his last words he ask him if it had been worth it. He didn’t have time to answer. He wishes now he’d said yes. She wishes he’d told him how sometimes the worst of them have to walk point, and do whatever it takes to clear the way, for the best of them to follow. He wishes that man had met him, he tells Steve. He’s sure glad he did. Good-bye.
With that, Fury activates the boosters on the bottom of his feet, rocketing him into the black. Cap calls out Nick’s name, but Fury orders the comms off. Set course… for the Moon.
Meanwhile, a gold-colored space ship has landed on the Earth’s moon and two people and a couple of Mindless Ones have exited the craft. Leading the group is Dr. Midas, his body the same as that of the Thing, save for the blue which glows between cracks of his rocky skin. His daughter, Exterminatrix, walks behind, followed by two Mindless Ones, which are no longer mindless. After this, they make them mindless again, yes? one of the Mindless Ones inquires. They take away the thinking? Just like they promised? Trust him, Midas replies, as he leads the group toward the Watcher’s complex. After this… he’ll take everything.
A short distance away, the Hulk struggles to his feet, muttering that he will smash. Hulk will smash. However, before he can completely recover, luminescent, purple energy bowls him over. This is it. This is what his dreams were all about, the Orb proclaims as he passes, ignoring (and being ignored by) Thor in the distance. This is why he was meant to be there. To see the Watcher’s last secret. To see the secret that killed him.
In his armed spacesuit, Nick Fury approaches the Watcher’s complex, its central tower still aflame. Over the radio, Fury is informed by one of his LMDs that it sounded like he said “I can see you.” Then there was an explosion, and the line went dead. When Fury asks if that’s it, the LMD confirms. All Moon-based listening devices are currently off-line. He knew it was a good idea bugging this place, Fury voices. He’s going in. To this, the LMD asks Fury if he’s sure about this, given his condition? And his past history with the… Interrupting, Fury tells “Matilda” that he knows what to do if he doesn’t come back. Call them. Tell them everything. Asked “everything?” Fury replies “Every last damn thing.” Show them the unseen. That’s an order. Show ‘em why it had to be this way.
There’s definitely been a break-in, Fury reports via his comm as he enters a new chamber. Helluva fight, too. Can’t tell what was taken but he’s guessing there was… Fury’s words trail as he suddenly happens upon the Watcher, bent on one knee and holding his eye socket, which leaks luminescent, purple energy. Oh, hell, Fury mutters as Uatu the Watcher looks up with his single, good eye and gazes upon the latest intruder to his home. Taking in the grim look from the cosmic giant, Fury quips that he guesses the Watcher didn’t take out his left eye just to mock him. Tell him what happened there. Tell him what he saw.
Nick Fury begins to decelerate as he descends to the lunar surface. In short order, he is at the main entrance of the Watcher’s complex. He saw it all back then, didn’t he? Fury asks the departed Watcher. Even this, he bets, then mocking him as a big, bad sonuvabitch. As the door opens, Fury notes that at least this time… there’s nobody watching.
Unseen by Fury, seven Watcher gaze down at the former home of Uatu… and watch.