Devos the Devastator venerates a pathologically insane creed where war is such a crime, it must be punished with destruction. My Inhuman family has just let the Kree stellar empire to victory over the Shi’ar Imperium. Therefore we have become the latest focus of his wrath. At the first waves of his cybernetic persecutors descend upon Attilan, we steel ourselves to face yet another duty that comes with sovereignty. It is, of course, easy to say how effectively that duty would have been performed. It is easy to say what might have been. In reality, there is an unforeseen entanglement.
The Royal City of Attilan, Hala, where Queen Medusa enters a chamber where her fellow royal Inhumans are observing the events going on in the city beneath their palace. ‘They are sort of…in the way’ Maximus remarks. ‘And uninvited’ Gorgon adds. ‘That too’ Maximus agrees. ‘Karnak? Maximus?’ Medusa calls out. ‘Yes, my Queen?’ Maximus asks. ‘Is there any way of interpreting this situation that doesn’t begin with the words…Earth’s Mightiest Heroes take it upon themselves to meddle in the affairs of the Inhumans yet again?’ Medusa asks, as down below five members of the Avengers battle Devos’ cybernetic warriors!
The Mighty Hercules rips the head off one of the droids with his massive strength, while Johnny “USAgent” Walker engages another in physical combat. The new Vision blasts one of them with his laser beam, while Dr Hank Pym a.k.a. the new Wasp flits about, firing his ray gun, as Cassie “Stature” Lang picks one of the droids up. All around them more cybernetic droids arrive, fires burn, and the city is in chaos. ‘Well, this kind of torpedoes our plans to pay the Inhumans a friendly bridge-building visit’ Hank remarks, before telling the Avengers that a quick check of his data-bank form book suggests that this is Devos.
‘So they decided to ditch the red plastic hats?’ USAgent remarks as he shoots one of the cybernetic droids. ‘I don’t get it’ Stature remarks as she prepares to stomp on one of Devos’ battle-cruisers. ‘Devo? Whip it? Forget it. Geez, Stature, your generation just doesn’t appreciate the classics’ USAgent remarks, while the new Vision flies through one of the cybernetics and becomes solid halfway through, telling his allies that as the aggressors are cybernetic in nature there is no need for the Avengers to pull their punches. Hank points out that the question remains as to why they are assaulting the Inhuman City, to which Hercules asks him if he did not heed the Vision’s words. ‘These are not men! They are robots!’ Hercules exclaims. ‘Your point?’ Hank asks. ‘We can hit them very hard! Then there will be glory in victory! And, later, banqueting!’ the Olympian boasts, before motioning to where Gorgon and a squad of Inhuman warriors have joined the battle.
Gorgon addresses the warriors as the new Inhuman Elite and tells them to target and destroy Devos’ attack drones. ‘Hail, Gorgon! Well me, old -’ Hercules begins, before Gorgon rushes over to him, ‘What kind of idiots are you, exactly?’ he asks. While the miniature Hank fires his blaster some more, Hercules looks confused, ‘What? Gorgon, it is I…Hercules! You know me!’ he exclaims, asking Gorgon why he rebukes him in such a tone. ‘The Avengers have arrived in time to help you smite this menace!’ he declares. ‘Who said we needed help?’ the savage Gorgon asks as he rips the head off of one of the droids. Hercules continues his own attack, remarking ‘But by Zeus, I like the cut of his wrath!’ Stature asks if everyone talks this way on Olympus all the time. ‘I feel like Shakespeare puked in my brain’ she remarks.
At this point, however, I knew nothing of the crisis unfolding in the streets of Attilan. I was deep in the undercity, with my husband, Ronan of the Kree. And we were facing a mortal threat of our own….
‘Alpha Primitives! Crystal, get behind me!’ Ronan exclaims. As the Alpha Primitives snarl at Crystal and Ronan, the elemental remarks that something has agitated them, spurred them to violence. ‘Indeed…but I will not permit them to harm you’ Ronan exclaims. ‘Husband, I can perfectly well take care of myself’ Crystal replies, when suddenly, the Alpha Primitives are tossed about as if in a hurricane, which whips around them. ‘Crystal, do your winds -?’ Ronan begins, before the wind dies down, and Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff of the Avengers comes into view. ‘She can take care of herself. But I can finish this quickly!’ Quicksilver smirks as he passes his ex-wife.
Quicksilver, from whom I am divorced, arrived alongside his Avengers teammates but, on seeing the crisis, set out at once with his peerless speed to make sure I was safe. Old habits die hard.
‘Pietro?’ Crystal exclaims, before asking Pietro what he is doing here. ‘It’s complicated’ Pietro replies, before asking ‘Wait, did she just call you husband?’ as he looks at Ronan. ‘Well…this is awkward’ Crystal exclaims, looking to the ground as Ronan eyes Quicksilver up.
Back at the scene of the main battle, Hank flits by the new Vision, remarking that he is sensing more than a hint of ingratitude here. The new Vision replies that the Inhumans are not the reluctant exiles that they once knew. ‘They now rule a stellar empire. They have new-found confidence and authority. It is quite likely that they find our arrival here both intrusive and disrespectful’. ‘Disrespectful? Pah! Ya try and do someone a favor…maybe we should just go and leave them to get their butts kicked’ Walker exclaims as he fires his weapon at the enemy drones.
Suddenly, the Inhuman dog Lockjaw teleports in with Karnak and several more warriors. ‘On the contrary, we have already located our attackers’ vulnerabilities and are not targeting them’ Karnak announces as he kicks one of the headless drones over, adding that it has become slightly more complicated ever since the Avengers got in the firing line. Karnak explains that their defensive options have been limited by their desire not to hit the Avengers. ‘A courtesy extended to acknowledge our long association’ he points out. ‘What Karnak means is…if you’re intent on helping, do so with a purpose!’ Gorgon shouts as he swats the droids away with a mace-like weapon. ‘Wow, these guys are scary’ Stature exclaims.
The Wasp flits over to Karnak, telling him that he would be more than happy to direct the Avengers’ efforts. ‘I was about to suggest that -’ Hank begins, before Karnak interrupts, announcing that Devos himself will be the weak link, and although formidable, the entire orchestration of this cyber-ware relies upon him. ‘Words right out of my mouth’ Hank mutters, before Karnak remarks that the prime Devos unit can be distinguished. ‘Can you have the Visi-’ he begins, before Hank interrupts, ‘Vision! I need you to read the situation electromagnetically!’ Hank tells him. The new Vision replies that he is already doing so, and that the complex pattern of electromagnetic signals linking all of these individual mechanisms can be traced to one cyber-tank, which he motions towards.
Gorgon races towards the cyber-tank, while everyone else gathers nearby. Hercules joins Gorgon on the front of the cyber-tank. ‘Open wide!’ Gorgon exclaims as he stomps on the windshield. ‘Put your back into it, friend!’ Hercules calls out, before they burst inside, followed by Karnak and USAgent. There stands Devos, various wires connected to his body, he shouts ‘Your crimes are uncounted! Your dead victims demand this restitution! You have instigated war! You have committed the ultimate -’, before Walker exclaims ‘Somebody shut that jerk up!’. ‘Gladly’ Karnak declares as he taps Devos’ temple, causing him to fall to the floor. ‘Now perhaps you would be so good as to -’ Karnak begins, but Hank interrupts: ‘Interface Devos’ command systems with the central Kree war-net so that Attilan can take control of his cyber-ware and shut it down? Sure!’, and he smiles as he flits past Karnak.
Meanwhile, ‘So, you’re married to him?’ Quicksilver asks Crystal as they walk away from the pile of motionless Alpha Primitives. ‘Yes’ Crystal replies. ‘That great oaf?’ Pietro asks. ‘He’s actually rather sweet’ Crystal tells him. ‘It’s a marriage of convenience, obviously. A political thing’ Quicksilver exclaims. ‘It’s a -’ Crystal begins, before telling her ex-husband that she does not have to justify anything to him. ‘No, of course you don’t’ Pietro replies, before asking if Ronan makes her happy. ‘Pietro!’ Crystal snaps. ‘Does he make you feel like I used to?’ Pietro asks. Crystal frowns and replies ‘No, he doesn’t, thank Randac he doesn’t!’ before asking Pietro why he has come here.
Quicksilver rubs his forehead as he replies that he has come to make amends, and to issue a formal apology to the Inhumans for his past actions. ‘I’m not getting off on the right foot, am I?’ Quicksilver asks, to which Crystal tells him that his tone could use some work. ‘Indeed. Needling you over your new husband is probably not the most endearing approach, is it?’ Pietro remarks. ‘No. Explain it all, Pietro. From the beginning’ Crystal tells him, as Ronan approaches them.
Later, Hank walks behind Medusa on the balcony of the Inhuman palace. ‘We meant no offense, your majesty’ Hank tells Medusa, who replies that times have changed. ‘The Inhumans are no longer a troop of beleaguered outcasts who jump up in bright-eyed delight every time the Avengers arrive to save them’ she exclaims. ‘That’s really not fair’ Hank replies. ‘Perhaps it is not. But the Avengers have nothing to prove. The legacy of your achievements is widely known’. They stand and observe the Avengers and Inhumans who are supervising the rounding-up of the remaining Devos drones, and Medusa tells Hank that the Inhumans have everything to prove. ‘We are not a “super team”, Dr Pym. We are a royal house. A cosmic dynasty. We must clearly demonstrate our ability to rule and protect. We do not need to be bailed out by celebrity heroes’.
Hank tells Medusa that Devos’ assault was real and credible, to which Medusa replies that they had appraised it and were about to contain it with a suite of countermeasures including sentries, destructoids and the planetary shield grid. She explains that Maximus has greatly enhanced the Kree war-net, and though Devos’ attack was unexpected, it was an ideal opportunity to prove how swiftly and thoroughly they could deal with a threat. ‘And we got in the way’ Hank mutters. ‘The Avengers need do nothing to earn our respect…except respect us’ Medusa tells him.
Dr Pym and Medusa look at each other as Hank tells her that he was truly saddened to learn of the fate of Black Bolt. ‘The fate of Black Bolt is not yet decided’ Medusa replies. ‘Of course. But I know how you feel, Medusa. I lost my wife to the Skrull invasion’ Hank replies. ‘Janet. I’m sure you remember her’ Hank remarks, adding that, ultimately, it was the Skrull invasion that took Medusa’s husband from her also. ‘We have both adopted our beloved partner’s role…Wasp’ Medusa replies. ‘Indeed, your majesty’ Hank responds. Medusa smiles, before asking if the loss will ever ease. ‘I hope not. It’s all I have to remind me how it felt to be in love with her’ Hank replies, before Medusa asks him why he came here. ‘One of our number needed to say sorry’ Hank reveals.
The next day, Pietro and Crystal walk side-by-side through Attilan, and Quicksilver remarks that times have changed, that he has never seen the Inhumans so positive, so determined and so purposeful. Crystal replies that it is a new era for them now, and that for too long they have allowed others to shape their destiny. While their daughter, Luna, watches from a balcony, Quicksilver tells Crystal to be careful. ‘Don’t run before you can walk’ he tells her. ‘Ha! That’s fine advice coming from you!’ Crystal replies. Pietro replies that he can be quite vexing. ‘Until later…’ he remarks as he leaves Crystal, while Ronan approaches his comely wife and asks her if everything is all right.
Crystal replies that Pietro was just admiring the new confidence of the Inhumans and the Kree. ‘Really, I wasn’t prying’ Ronan assures Crystal, who tells him that she knows he wasn’t, and kisses him on his cheek. Crystal takes Ronan’s arm and tells him that they must urgently consider the incident yesterday - the revolt of the Alpha Primitives. ‘It is a matter of domestic terrorism, and thus falls under my remit’ Crystal adds, before asking Ronan if, when this ceremony is done, he will help her to investigate. ‘Gladly’ Ronan replies, while Medusa joins Luna in watching Crystal.
How much pain have the Skrulls caused us? It was a Skrull army in the form of my ex-husband Pietro who stole the Terrigen Crystals from us. Now, to make amends for the way his identity was likewise abused, and to repair the rift between him and my people, Pietro is returning the long-thought missing Xerogen Crystals to us. The Avengers recently rediscovered the crystals during an operation on Earth. They are a reminder of a dark place in Inhuman history that we will never speak of. Still, we celebrate Pietro’s gesture and exculpate his shame.
A lavish ceremony is held in which Quicksilver hands the Xerogen Crystals over to the Inhumans, and is forgiven for his past crimes.
Later, Hala City, the Northern Radius suburbs, where, inside a laboratory, Lord Zaerk asks Doctor Vere if he is claiming that the test was a success. Doctor Vere replies that it was, adding that it is perhaps unfortunate that the assault by Devos gained more attention than the incident. ‘But, a success? Ronan and the Inhuman female survived’ Lord Zarek exclaims. ‘Oh, wake up, my Lord!’ the Doctor remarks, before revealing a strange piece of machinery, exclaiming that, within a week, the Alpha Primitives will rise in mass, and a berserk revolt will follow. ‘And we ill have complete control of their frenzy!’ Doctor Vere exclaims. He adds that the ancient, noble houses of the Kree, so diminished since the Annihilation War, will be restored to full eminence and power. ‘And the Inhuman usurpers will be driven from their palaces and killed!’ Lord Zaerk boasts.
On the day that we stood beside the Mighty Avengers and denied Devos the Devastator, the mission commanded by my cousin Triton was entering the Fault. His mission was to assess the danger the vast rip in time and space caused by our former King’s Terrigen-bomb posed to imperial security.
‘Triton! Come look!’ the Kree called Ra-Venn exclaims from within a small space craft flying alongside the Fault. Triton asks her what she has got, to which Ra-Venn exclaims ‘Almost too much data to process! The energetic turbulence is extreme!’. Triton examines the monitor and replies that he has seen that from the helm. Ra-Venn tells hi that the whole region is awash with exotic energies that they have never seen before. ‘Look, I think we’re detecting forms of temporal particles previously unknown to science’ she exclaims. ‘Extraordinary!’ Triton declares.
Ra-Venn replies that none of that is why she called him aside, announcing that she has just detected an acoustic source deep in the Fault ahead of them. ‘An…acoustic source?’ Triton asks. Ra-Venn explains that she has scanned it carefully and that the wavelength signature is unmistakable. Triton asks Ra-Venn what she is saying, to which Ra-Venn replies that it is a voice. ‘The voice of Black Bolt!’.…