(St. Vincent’s Hospital, New York City)
A hospital orderly visits Dagger as she lies in her hospital bed in a coma. They’re from a secret admirer, and he’s about to put them near the window when she lights up the room using her powers.
(St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Downtown)
Molly is casually carrying a huge crate of donations as Cloak watches her. He apologizes for not pitching in but, since Tandy went into hospital, he finds his powers have been stretched to the limit. Father Lantom appears and suggests that he go catch some Z’s downstairs. He can look after the girl. Cloak appreciates it, and heads off for a few minutes repose.
Molly asks Father Lantom if they live in this castle. Not exactly, he replies. Cloak and Dagger are guests of the church, and he normally resides… elsewhere. He asks her to accompany him. There’s something he’s like to give her.
In an alleyway, Spider-Man speaks with Victor Mancha and Gert. Spidey asks Vic if he’s the son of Electro, upon seeing blue sparks emanating from his mouth. Victor replies that he’s Ultron’s kid. Spidey takes that with some reservations, and turns to Gert, asking if she’s from another planet or something. She replies that she isn’t, but her dog’s a genetically engineered psychic dinosaur from the 87th century, usually. Vic says they’re not lying, and Spidey replies that he wasn’t being sarcastic. What with all the nutty wamajama he’s seen in his life, he’s whatever is the opposite of a skeptic.
Gert asks if they’re supposed to fight him now. “Do you want to fight?” he asks. Gert admits that she doesn’t, but they do want to help their buddy, Cloak, and every spandex cowboy in the city is out to get him. Spidey wonders if they mean the Avengers, because they’re good people. But, just because they’re on the same team doesn’t mean they always see eye to eye. Vic thinks it’s cool that he’s really with the Avengers now. Spidey jokes that they were offering a low annual fee, so he decided to enroll in the trial membership. As he’s freezing his cepalothorax off out there, he suggests heading to a local sushi bar and finishing this conversation indoors. Gert is more than pleased to toss her foul burrito away en route.
(a pocket dimension somewhere in time and space)
Pusher Man orders the room cleared. Things are about to get nasty. Bo watches Chase as Nico recovers from having the Staff of One yanked from her body. She asks Pusher Man if he wants to cave in their skulls, and he replies that she can kill the boy, but she should keep the Asian sensation. He’s sure he can find a use for her. Chase warns that if she lays a finger on Nico, the only thing he’ll be pushing up is daisies. Bo tells him that if he talks to her boss like that again, she’ll give his girlfriend a taste of her own voodoo.
Chase asks if they have any idea who sent them there. Nico asks him not to drag the others into this, but Chase has a plan. Pusher Man asks, politely, which super-powered Boy Scout troop they’re a part of. The Young Avengers? Or maybe those New Warrior cats from the TV? Chase doesn’t miss a beat. “We work for the Pride.” Pusher Man and Bo stop in their tracks as they digest this snippet of (false) information.
Pusher Man asks what the hell he’s talking about. Chase informs him that they’re the Pride’s kids. They wanted him and Nico to have a talk with him. Bo says Chase is lying. The Pride is dead. She saw it on 60 Minutes. Chase asks if they don’t know the old saying; the greatest trick the devil ever played was… convincing the world he got blown up, or whatever. Nico groans.
Chase continues to inform their captors that their folks new their rep was starting to leak out beyond the underworld, so they faked their deaths and sent them out to be their soldiers. Where do they think Nico got the Staff of One from? Plus, he adds, because they’re all minors, even if they get pinched, the law can only hold them until they turn eighteen.
Pusher Man doesn’t believe it. He doesn’t believe they’re still alive. His demeanor suddenly changes and he hugs Chase. He can’t believe it. He’s a huuuuge fan of his folks. Chase replies that they like his work too. Pusher Man stutters as he asks,” The Pride knows who I am?” He asks Chase to tell them he’s been following the rules. He doesn’t deal anywhere near Los Angeles. The only place he peddles is between dimensions, outside the feds’ jurisdiction.
Chase runs with it. He continues to inform Pusher Man that their parents appreciate it. However, a few nights ago, some dopehead got high on his mutant junk and dressed up like a do-gooder named Cloak. He teleported inside one of his dad’s workshops and stole some really valuable… cyber pants. His old man needs to know who he sold the drugs to. Pusher Man steps back, and replies that he doesn’t think so. If he starts giving out customer’s names, his “bidness dries up with a quickness.” He’s sure Chase’s daddy will understand.
Chase gets a little bolder, warning Pusher Man that his dad could buy and sell him a thousand times. Pusher Man then asks why it is then that he sent Chase to negotiate. He’s got respect for his family, but no uppity boy starts talking trash on his turf without getting the back of a pimp hand. Nico asks Chase to cut his losses and go home, but Chase is lost in his role. He tells Pusher Man that he isn’t scared of a dude wearing a cheap knockoff of his old Fistigons. When he kills a guy, he does it with his bare hands.
Pusher Man asks who exactly he has offed. Chase replies that it was some carjacker who tried taking his car when he was sixteen. He beat the life out of him and dumped his body in a landfill. He almost dares Pusher Man to take a shot. It’ll be the last thing he ever does. Pusher Man likes the way Chase rolls. He reminds him of when he himself was young. He asks Bo to give him the name of the freak who bought a dime bag of darkforce from them last week.
Bo isn’t happy about this, but complies and hands Nico her Staff of One back. She jests that this is why they’re not running the world - ‘cause when women see a younger version of themselves, it just makes them angry. Nico replies that, if she hadn’t already turned something into a dog today, she’d do it to her. Chase grabs her hand and yanks her away before they get grounded. As they depart, the naive Pusher Man asks Bo to fetch them a bottle of Cristal. He thinks they’ve just made some valuable friends.
Chase and Nico slip through the swirling gateway through which they entered Pusher man’s hangout, and Chase asks her to remind him to send Cloak back there to wipe them out. Nico, in her exuberance and glee, grabs Chase and lands a smacker on his lips. He pushes her away and asks what she’s doing. Nico says she doesn’t know. She was just so thankful to him for saving their lives. Chase reminds her that he has a girlfriend, and that he’s not into love triangles. Besides, he adds, he’s not into her like that.
Nico looks dejected. She doesn’t know what’s wrong with her. She doesn’t know why she keeps doing that. She feels evil. Chase assures her that it’s him who is evil, or at least he would be if Gert wasn’t there to keep him from going over the edge. Nico asks if what he said back there is true about him killing that carjacker. She hopes he was bluffing. Chase cuts the conversation short and suggests they go find some action.
Spider-Man, Victor and Gert (with Old Yeller in tow) grab a bite to eat where it’s warm, despite the sign saying it’s closed. They’re getting a free meal due to Spidey saving the place from Hydro Man a few months back. Gert tells him that this grub still won’t get them to provide him with Cloak’s whereabouts. It takes more than free food to sell out their friends. Spidey says he’s not asking them to betray anyone. He’s been falsely accused of plenty of awful stuff in his life to give Cloak the benefit of the doubt. He just wants to find Tyrone before a trigger-happy S.W.A.T team or some angry mob does.
Vic suggests that he won’t have to do that if they can nab Cloak’s impostor, right? Maybe they can help each other. Spidey, whilst eating his sushi, replies that he got into this game when he was their age, so he’d feel like a hypocrite telling them to stay out of trouble, but if they really want to help, he figures they should lay low while he clears Ty’s name. Vic uses his powers subtly to manipulate his cutlery. He says they have powers and, in Spidey’s photographer friend’s book, Webs, it states that his motto is ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’
Gert reckons that’s stupid, because most people in life don’t have great power, and the few that do are almost never responsible with it. The people who have the greatest responsibility are the kids with no power, because they’re the ones who have to keep everyone else in check. Spidey looks at her. “Wow. You are totally gonna be an Avenger when you grow up.”
Chase and Nico enter the establishment at that moment. Nico asks if they’re okay. They saw Old Lace tied up outside and figured they must be in trouble. Chase checks out Spidey’s threads and says red and blue looks lame on him. He should go back to the black and white getup he wore when Chase was in grade school. Gert apologizes for her boyfriend. Spidey whispers, “He’s not related to a guy named Flash, is he?”
Vic informs Nico that it’s under control, but Nico isn’t so trusting. She aims her Staff of One at Spidey and orders him to step back from his prisoners. Spidey replies that she must have a majorette malfunction, and asks her to drop her baton. Nico attacks immediately by saying the word Hellfire. A burst of orange flames shoots out of the staff towards Spidey, who uses his agility to steer himself clear of danger. He fires his webs and grabs the staff, but Nico uses the word Dreamtime, which puts Spidey to sleep.
Vic asks what’s wrong with her. She assures him that it’s only a sleeping spell and will wear off quickly. Vic informs her that Spidey was trying to help them. Chase tells Vic that he’s new in their club, and they have one rule that they follow. They don’t trust people like him. “Heroes?” asks Vic. “No, adults,” replies Chase.
Gert actually backs them up, adding that Spidey was probably just trying to lure them into his web so he could turn Cloak and them over to the cops. Nico tells them that they have other pests to worry about. She and Chase just found out that a creep named Reginald Mantz traded pharmaceuticals stolen from the hospital where he works for MGH laced with the same drug that made Cloak. Gert asks her to back up. Did she say he works for a hospital?
(St. Vincent’s Hospital)
The hospital orderly asks Dagger to stop glowing like that, despite her being in a coma. If she keeps it up, they’re gonna take her out of there, and he can’t let that happen. He says he’s loved her ever since he first saw her picture in the Daily Bugle. That’s why he brought her there after… after she was so bad to him; so they could still be close. He’s done everything to be the kinda man she needs, hasn’t he? He gulps down a pill of MGH and a rapid transformation begins. He transforms into a Cloak-like figure, as he asks why she’s trying to ruin what they have. Didn’t she like his flowers? Dagger remains seemingly oblivious to his insane muttering.
(St. Patrick’s Cathedral)
Father Lantom and Molly are sat in the pews, and he gives her a present. It’s a new phone, and Molly asks if it has Tetris on it. Father Lantom replies that what it does have is his number at the rectory programmed into its memory. He’s just the touch of a button away from her now. He explains that he’s been working with runaways long enough to know that he can’t force her into foster care, but if the day ever comes when she wants to be with a family again, she shouldn’t hesitate to call.
Molly doesn’t think she can take the phone. She already has a family - Chase, Old Lace, Gert, Nico and even Victor… except when he’s being a butt-tard. The priest tells her that it might seem like fun now, but children her age need guidance and stability. His sentence is interrupted by Captain America, who has entered the cathedral. He is flanked by fellow Avengers, Iron Man and Wolverine. Cap was wondering if they might ask him a few questions.
Father Lantom stands and asks what they’re doing. This is a sanctuary. Molly is surprised but happy to see Wolverine there. Iron Man says that he’s sorry to disturb him, but Captain America has reason to believe he is harboring a fugitive named…
Cap interrupts, and remarks that he knows the girl. She’s one of the Pride’s children. Wolverine asks Iron Man to watch the door. He’ll guard the kid. Father Lantom puts his arm around molly to protect her, but Wolverine approaches quickly, jumping over the pews. He warns him to get away from Molly.
Molly doesn’t see the danger. She asks Wolverine if she can touch his hair. Her friend Karolina said that he uses gel, but she thinks that it just grows that way ‘cause he’s a mutant, too. She adds that she used to have a poster of him and Doop in her bedroom when she was little. She thinks he’s even cooler than Doop, and she liked that time when he and the other X-Men met the Fantastic Four and…
Father Lantom warns Wolverine that he’s making a terrible mistake, and that everyone in the church is innocent. Wolverine snikts his claws. “Get away from her!!” he shouts. Molly’s eyes begin to glow as she screams.