(Days Ago, the Moon)
In the tower arising from the center of the Watcher’s complex, Nick Fury looks up at the silent yet scowling Uatu the Watcher, purple energy leaking from his now empty eye socket. He’s been robbed, Fury notes. How the hell does that happen? Receiving no reply, Fury tells Uatu not to mind that for now. Just tell him who did it. Still, the Watcher does not reply. Scowling himself, Fury voices that they may have taken his eye, but he knows he still sees everything. He knows who they are and where they came from, and probably where they’re headed right now. Just tell him, and he’ll take care of the rest. Still, Uatu the Watcher does not reply.
Cursing, Fury tells Uatu that there isn’t time for this! Look at the damn place, he then says, waving his arm around at the ruins of the Watcher’s home. It’s been looted! And they both know what sort of trinkets he liked to keep there! If just one of those things has fallen into the wrong hands, the entire Earth is in… Suddenly, Uatu the Watcher speaks. He is correct, he tells “Nicholas Fury.” He does see all things. Even the unseen.
With a gesture, the Watcher conjures images of Fury’s actions, defending the Earth with lethal means from threats it never knew existed. For a moment, Fury is dumbfounded, but soon finds his voice. You son of a bitch, he proclaims.
(Now, the Moon)
Unaware that seven Watchers gaze down at them from above, Dr. Midas walks through the ruins of the Watcher’s complex, his arms spread wide. Yes, there is great power here, he announces. In the walls, in the air, enough power to enslave worlds. To put galaxies to the torch. Enough power to change the course of creation. And this time… they will take it all.
Leading his party, consisting of his daughter Exterminatrix and four Mindless Ones, Midas walks deeper into the complex until he finds the resting place of the Watcher’s corpse, now laid out on a table in respect. There is power in the Watcher’s dead flesh as well, Midas continues. Pointing with his rocky arm, the same as the Thing’s but adorned with blue light at its cracks, Midas orders them to take the Watcher apart, so that he may drink his blood and consume his knowledge, one bite at a time. In life, all this fool did was watch. Through his death… all they shall do is conquer.
Suddenly, Midas’ extended arm explodes at the wrist. As the rocky hand falls to the ground, the heavily armored and heavily armed Nick Fury announces that he won’t with that hand. Fury, Midas fumes as he holds his rocky stump and gazes upon the two Watcher’s eyes he holds in his hand. He will gladly trade him the hand in exchange for all his eyes. To his daughter and minions, Midas orders them to kill him!
Immediately, the four no-longer-mindless Mindless Ones rush at Fury. Fury is the bringer of sin, one literally thinks aloud. Fury is the master of secrets, another proclaims. Kill the one who made us know, the third thinks. The one who damned them, the fourth adds. Seemingly unworried, Fury mocks that he thought Mindless Ones were smarter than this. A moment later, the four massive, extra-dimensional creatures launch themselves at Fury, who responds in kind, delivering blast against blast.
(Days Ago, the Moon)
Fuming, Fury orders the Watcher not to dare look at him like that. Who the hell is he to judge him? What has he ever done… but stand around and watch? Watch as Fury fought to save the world. Fury then adds that he won’t make apologizes for how he did it. Especially not to Uatu. Pointing his finger, Fury continues that Uatu had the power to stop him, if he’d wanted. He had the power to stop it all. But all he ever did… was nothing. He knows, he knows, Fury then mocks, Uatu’s bound to bear witness and not interfere, as part of some crazy cosmic order of Peeping Toms. And he likes to brag about how he’s broken that vow, more times than anyone can count, right? Because what, he showed up to shout a warning? Fury’s been down there day after day, in blood up to his knees. Uatu wouldn’t have an Earth to stand above and stare at if it wasn’t for him. And he’s not gonna let Uatu through all that away now. Everything he did was worth it, so long as that Earth is still spinning. So tell him what he saw! Tell him who he has to kill next!
His diatribe spent, Fury pauses in silence for a moment, a silence which is ended by Uatu. “You already know,” Uatu the Watcher tells him.
(Now, the Moon)
Impossibly, Fury sends the four Mindless Ones hurdling backward. Still clutching his stump with his remaining hand, Dr. Midas watches the battle and mutters that he will turn this to his advantage. He always does. He will grow a better hand. Nevertheless, he then says to his daughter, they should probably save the old one. Just in case. He’s right, Exterminatrix replies, bending to pick up her father’s severed extremity. There is power in the air. Here, and with every breath, it tells her… if they stay, they’re going to die.
Calling his daughter by her given name, Oubliette, Midas tells her that he wants her to put a golden bullet in that old man’s skull. And then he wants her to bring him… Turning to where his daughter stood but a moment before, Midas finds her gone, along with his severed hand. OUBLIETTE! he roars into the air, but Exterminatrix is gone, running away, her father’s immense, rocky hand clasped to her chest. Goodbye, father, she says to herself. She’ll always keep him close to her heart.
Back at the battle, Fury continues his thrashing of the Mindless Ones. They can’t win, he tells them. Believe him, he knows. With these eyes, he can see all things. Yes, a new voice interjects, but he’s not the only one. Turning to the source, Fury spies the Orb, who confidently approaches. He’s been touched by this eyes as well, he says to Fury, referring to the two, gouged eyes Fury clasps in his hand by their optic nerves. Would Fury like to know what they showed him about Nicholas Fury? Not particularly, Fury bluntly rejoins. Ignoring Fury’s words, the Orb replies that they showed him where his soul is weakest. A moment later, purple energy projects from the Orb’s head, knocking Fury back off his feet and causing him to let loose of the two eyes. As well as his armor, the Orb then adds, stepping toward the dropped eyes.
No, Fury says simply, rising back to his feet. He doesn’t deserve so many eyes, the Orb tells him, not when he couldn’t even keep all the ones he was born with. He took the first eye, Fury yells, delivering a right hook at the same time. He started it! It’s his fault Uatu’s dead! Unaffected by the blow, the Orb replies that he thought Fury said he could see the truth. In everything but his own lies, he supposes. As a Mindless Ones joins the battle, knocking Fury back, the Orb stoops to recover the eyes. He still doesn’t understand the biggest truth, does he? he asks Fury. They didn’t start this. Any of this. They didn’t choose him or his eyes. He chose them. Unfortunately for Fury, he is unable to respond, as the four Mindless Ones have him pinned to the ground and deliver blow after blow against him.
(Days Ago, the Moon)
For a moment, Fury takes in what Uatu has just said. Finally, he asks why did they take his eye? He knows this place, he continues. He’s searched it himself, when he’s passed out in one of his fugue states. He’s had the whole place bugged for years. He’s been watching him, he then asks of Uatu. Well, guess what, he has been watching him too, pal. And he never writes anything down. All his secrets, everything he sees, and he doesn’t record any of it. Or does he? The secrets are in the eyes, aren’t they? He knows how many lives he could save with those secrets? He knows how many lives could be lost or ruined if they end up in the wrong hands? Who was there? Who took his eye?
Silently, the Watcher watches. Angered by the lack of reply, Fury raises his pistol. Damn it, answer him! he orders. What did he see?! For a moment, Uatu does not reply. However, a moment later, he drops his head, looking down in what seems to be shame. He has seen… too much, he replies. It is time… for someone else to watch.
Raising his right hand, the Watcher begins to produce luminescent, purple energy. What is he doing? Fury demands. Put his hands down. He’s not the enemy there! He’s trying to protect the damn world! Uatu will not stand in the way of… Fury’s words trail as Uatu raises his other hand, which also glows with purple energy. Damn it, no, you bastard! Fury curses. Don’t make him…!
(Now, the Moon)
As the Mindless Ones continue to pound on Fury, the Orb regards the two Watcher’s eyes, one in each hand. There are so many things they’re going to see together, he says to them. He can’t wait to get started. Yes, he feels them stirring, he tells them. They like that idea, don’t th… Suddenly the one of the two eyes moves on its own accord, wrapping its optic nerve around the Orb’s throat and squeezing. Immediately, the Orb drops the other eye and tries to pull the attacking one off of his neck.
Nearby, the Mindless Ones take pause on their beating of Fury. Can’t die now, Fury mutters to himself. Not until he knows… it was worth it. Until he knows this isn’t the end… To this, one of the Mindless Ones mentally projects that it looks like the end to them. They may be mindless, Doctor Strange suddenly announces, but they’re not wrong. This ends now. With that, the assembled heroes of Fury’s candidates attack. Thank God, Fury mutters weakly. They’re there to see him answer for his crimes, Black Panther informs him. Stay down.
As Fury’s candidates do battle against the Mindless Ones, he weakly mutters to them. They’re there because they’ve seen the truth in what he said, he tells them. And for that, he’s sorry… He’s sorry to have to pass this burden on. It ain’t an easy road. Wasn’t for him. Won’t be for any of them. But it’s a road… somebody’s gotta walk. For the sake of them all. Hearing this, despite the weak speaker, Black Panther replies to Fury that they’re not there to redeem him. They’re there because there’s one last sin he hasn’t confessed to. Now on his feet, Fury shuffles to pick up the remaining eye. One last sin… he repeats. Damn it Fury, Strange yells, mid-spell. Say it! Yes, he… he… he did it, Fury admits weekly. I killed the Watcher.
(Days Ago, the Moon)
Fury pulls the trigger and fires a shot point-blank into the forehead of Uatu the Watcher. The cosmic giant falls backward.
(Now, the Moon)
Staring at the Watcher’s eye in his hand, Fury asks God help him.
As the rest continue their battle, the Winter Soldier directs his attention to Fury and already has his gun drawn when he gets Fury’s attention and orders him to put the eyeball down. This is finished. No, Buck, Fury rejoins. Not quite yet it again. Midas is still inside, and growing stronger. He can feel it. Somebody’s gotta stop him. He’s the only one who can. He’s gotta save the world on last time… or else… Lowering his weapon, the Winter Soldier tells Fury that he’s going to die if he doesn’t give this up. Let them finish it. They can save the world too. Yeah, Fury replies, glancing back for a moment. He sure hopes they can. Fury then begins to walk off, voicing that he can do this. He’s got one more sin left in him. Just get everybody back before…
Suddenly, a thunderous FA-BOOOM! reverberates through the complex. Taken aback, the Winter Soldier looks up and asks Nick what the hell is going on. This whole place looks like it’s gonna come down around their… By the time he looks down, he sees that Nick has shuffled off a great distance. Down the hallway, Fury hears the Winter Soldier calling for him, but ignores him. Instead, he focusses on the radiant, blue light from the chamber ahead. Reaching the chamber’s entrance, he finds Dr. Midas, located within a sphere of energy and levitated above the corpse of the Watcher. All this power and all he ever did was stand around and stare, Midas muses to Fury. Such a pathetic waste. He’s glad Fury killed him, he says. Now, give him the Watcher’s eye and he promises… he won’t have to watch what comes next.
Elsewhere, the eye attacking the Orb has gotten the upper hand. However, rather than strangling the Orb, it has wrapped him in purple energy and then begins to embed itself in the Orb’s chest. As the Orb yells in excruciating pain, the seven Watchers appear around him. They cannot interfere, a female Watcher reminds her colleagues. All they can do… is observe.
Meanwhile, as debris rains down around them, Strange suggests that they all pull back and regroup outside. They can’t, the Winter Soldier replies. Fury’s still in there. To this, the Black Panther notes that something tells him that Fury is right where he belongs.
(Days Ago, the Moon)
He had no choice, Fury says aloud to the murderer Uatu as he digs out the cosmic giant’s remaining eye. The job complete, Fury takes the eye in hand and notes that it’ll all be worth it in the end. He swears… He swears…
(Now, the Moon)
Once again, Fury is standing over the corpse of Uatu. Calling him “big guy,” Fury almost sheepishly suggests that they hope he was right. Descending from his levitation point back to the ground, Dr. Midas voices that he’s still not sure how Fury did it. The Watcher had the power to kill him a thousand times over. So why didn’t he? Because Uatu the Watcher wasn’t a murderer, Fury replies. Unfortunately, for him, he tells Dr. Midas, he sure as hell it. Incredulous, Midas asks if Fury is going to kill him… with a dead man’s eyeball? Apparently the years have turned Fury senile as well as… Midas’ words trail as Fury steps forward and presses the eye against Midas’ chest. As blue and white electricity arcs through his body and the air around them, Midas screams in agony.
Though Midas’ screams go unheard outside the complex, Fury’s candidates see well the electrical storm raging from the complex’s central tower. Whoever comes out of that, Black Panther tells his colleagues, they take down. Hard. Watching the fireworks, the Winter Soldier suggests that they can’t just stand there and watch. He sure about that? Emma Frost asks. Seeing where Emma is looking, the rest of the group turns their eyes upwards and spies seven Watchers watching the same energy storm. Two take a moment to glance in the direction of the heroes.
Back in the complex, Fury literally presses his advantage, keeping the eye in constant contact with the reeling Dr. Midas. He wanted the power, Fury reminds him. Take it all, you sonuva bitch. Vainly, Midas pleads for Fury to stop, yelling that it’s too much. Too much! He can’t…! Get it off! Get it off! A moment later, Midas explodes, his form discorporating and leaving only the Watcher’s eye behind. The crisis passed, Fury weakly chuckles to himself. Death by eyeball. Looks like… he’s finally getting what he deserves. They all do sooner or later, don’t they? he asks Uatu’s corpse. Slowly collapsing to the ground, Fury curses. What he wouldn’t give for a good Cuban right about…
From their vantage point a distance away, the assembled heroes watch as the entire complex explodes. Damn it, Nick, the Winter Soldier whispers. High above, the female Watcher sheds a tear and whispers goodbye to Uatu. Soon thereafter, the flames of the explosion subside, leaving behind only the wreckage of what was once Uatu the Watcher’s home.
With the arrival of Avengers, Cap recaps what they know. Nicky Fury is dead. They know that. He’s seen the sack of bloody stew that proves it. And they’ve got another sack they tell him is Dr. Midas. What they don’t have… is a reason why. Fury’s satellite full of LMDs… it disappeared the second he died. There’s no sign of the Orb or Exterminatrix, and all those Mindless Ones that were so chatty before are suddenly mindless again. Whatever was there they were all after… Whatever the Watcher and Fury died for… it’s gone now too. Along with all the Watchers. There’s nobody left who can tell them why one of his oldest friends suddenly went crazy and died. Unless… Turning to Black Panther and Doctor Strange, Cap asks if there’s something they would like to add?
Soon thereafter, as Cap walks away, Strange asks Black Panther why he didn’t tell him. He doesn’t tell anyone anything, Black Panther replies. Why didn’t Strange tell him? He doesn’t know, Strange admits. He still might, he supposes. But with the way things are after all this… No one trusts anyone now. With so many of their secrets dragged into the light, somehow it’s made them all more secretive than ever. For now… he thinks they’ve all suffered enough for their sins. Maybe this one should die with Fury. To this, Black Panther suggests they hope that it is actually dead.
A short distance from a golden spaceship, which has crashed in a desert, Exterminatrix sits on a rock, her father’s severed hand lying on the ground a short distance away. The power’s gone, she remarks to no one at all. Her father’s gone. Without him, his empire will crumble. The world as she’s always known it is finished. This was not one of their more successful capers. He got too greedy, she then tells her non-present father. Wanting the power of a god, all for himself. He should’ve known, you can’t take over the world in a day.
Suddenly, Exterminatrix spies a desert snake, which has just bitten her father’s hand. Seeing it turned to gold after having tried to bite her father’s hand, she picks it up. You’ve got to do it the old fashioned way, she continues, one golden bullet at a time. So begins… the new Midas empire.
Elsewhere, a knock brings a woman wielding a knife to the door. Blood spattered across her tank top shirt, she yells for the knocker to go away. He can’t stop her! Gesturing to a bloodied man whom she has tied to a chair, his hands bound behind his back, she adds that she’s had enough! Enough of him treating her like a fool! Enough of his stupid eyes! So leave her alone! He can’t stop her from killing him! Standing in the doorway is the Orb, the Watcher’s eye embedded in his chest and looking outward. Lady, he’s not there to stop her, he tells her. He just wants to watch.
In Rocket’s space ship, the former candidates of Nick Fury are being taken home. They told Cap everything, Ant-Man supposes of Black Panther and Doctor Strange. Must’ve been hard, hearing how his friend went crazy like that, he then adds. He means… they can all agree he went crazy, right? Despite his questions, no one responds. However, another question suddenly occurs to Ant-Man. Aren’t they missing somebody?
Elsewhere, a small craft piloted by a reptilian humanoid circles the Earth. It is just as they have heard, the alien reports. Their forces are in chaos, their Watcher is dead. The Earth is ripe for the taking! They should attack now. They should attack and… Suddenly, the alien’s space helmet is shattered by a gunshot, exploding the alien’s skull and knocking him off of his craft and into the void. A distance away, the Winter Soldier stands on a small asteroid, holding a giant rifle previously used by Nick Fury… and having completed a task previously assigned to the same man.
Elsewhere, among the ruins of what was once Uatu the Watcher’s home, a figure that was once Nick Fury walks. Clad in a blue cloak, he is barefoot and trailing a chain which is wrapped around his whole body. He is the Unseen. There will always be someone watching. Someone who sees all things. All the beauty and horror. All the secrets and sins. Someone whose sacred duty it is to record the life of their world. To observe them from afar. To watch… but never interfere. To remain forevermore… unseen. This is his burden now. This is his curse.
High above him, the Earth, a lone, blue sphere among the stars, continues to spin.