(S.H.I.E.L.D. Command Ship, now)
The general asks Tony Stark to tell him if he isn’t correct in what he understands. The city of Atlantis has been destroyed by a massive explosion that Iron Man had nothing to do with. Only one corpse was found at the scene which appears to be Namor’s and every other Atlantean is missing in action. To top it off, Nitro, the terrorist responsible for the carnage at Stamford, is also missing. Stark replies that he’s correct, but they’re doing everything they can to figure this one out. The general feels that ‘everything’ may not be enough. He doesn’t know what worries him more: a sovereign Atlantis with Namor on the throne, or a dead Namor and a half-million Atlanteans missing. He warns Stark that time isn’t on their side.
(five days ago, the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning)
Namor has made his way to Westchester. Wolverine warns Namor that this is the last place he should be. Namor replies that he’s come as an ally. Logan can’t seriously believe that he was responsible for the attack in Kansas? Logan says it doesn’t matter what he believes. Namor is public enemy number one. Sentinels are watching their every move and there are kids crawling all over the place. Did he think about the danger to them? Namor replies that Xavier’s students can handle themselves just fine. Besides, he won’t be long. Wolverine tells him he doesn’t get it. Imagine Bin Laden comes knocking on his door. Doesn’t he think that the feds would be swarming all over this mansion in a second? He can’t let Namor turn the school into collateral damage.
Namor doesn’t have time for this, but Logan swiftly puts his claws right to Namor’s head and reiterates that he has to leave… now! “You first,” replies Namor, before punching Wolverine up over the school, through the chimney and into the roof tiles. Logan groans as Namor flies up to speak to him again. He assures Logan that they’re on the same side. He has a job for him. All he asks is that he sheathes his claws and listens. Logan tells him that he has a funny way of asking for help but, he adds as he reaches for Namor’s hand, if he seriously needs a hand, he has it. He then plunges three of his claws into Namor’s chest, causing him to fall from the roof and into the garden.
Namor is rightly angry and, when Logan drops to the ground, he smashes him against the wall. He then makes for the pool to replenish his strength. Thinking quickly, Wolverine leaps for a control panel and an energy field covers the pool. He asks Namor to simmer down, but Namor ducks underwater and rams the pool wall at high speed, smashing the side of it. He grabs Wolverine and gets him airborne, before hurling him at high velocity back into the ground.
Stubborn to the end, Wolverine reckons he’s just crushed every organ he’s got, but his healing factor works quickly, and he promises to kick Namor’s butt. Namor asks if he is forgetting that, only moments ago, he plunged his claws into his body in a clumsy attempt to kill him. Before any further blows can be thrown, Professor Charles Xavier appears and says hello to the Sub-Mariner. Xavier trusts that the King of Atlantis is there for more than a scenic tour of the grounds, and suggests they head inside. Logan can join them when they’re ready.
Inside the mansion, Charles admits that Namor is the last person he expected to see there. Namor asks if this is the time that Charles pokes around his head to see if he’s guilty as charged, but Charles knows that he isn’t a mass murderer. Namor is pleased to hear that at least one person on the surface has managed to retain their sanity. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t blood on your hands,” replies Charles. Namor knows that. Why does Charles think he risked leaving his citizens surrounded by a fleet of trigger-happy S.H.I.E.L.D. ships to visit him?
Charles asks why he is there. Namor informs him that he believes that a rogue Atlantean sleeper cell is responsible for the attack, but they’re still at large and he doesn’t know who, or where, they are. He doesn’t have much time, either. Charles asks Namor to follow him, and he leads him towards Cerebra. Charles thinks that the machine will be of use to them, as he considers Atlanteans to have common origins with the human race, and they could be considered the first mutants.
Namor would like to think that any link they have to those on the surface has long been erased. Charles says he can think that way if he pleases, but you can never erase that which you are. His DNA tells a different story, no matter what he chooses to acknowledge. He seats himself at the machine and, with a slight psychic adjustment, he believes he will be able to find the whereabouts of any Atlanteans on the continent.
Charles then creates a map of the United States of America, and in several states including California, Oregon, Minnesota, Maine and Montana, lights indicate the presence of Atlanteans. Charles asks how this can be. He was under the impression that he had recalled all his cells from American soil. Namor replies that he had to do what he thought necessary. This attack wasn’t supposed to happen. He adds that twelve of the cells are under his control. This 13th Cell was placed on the continent without his knowledge. They are the guilty ones.
Namor points to the state of Washington and informs Charles that he never placed a cell there. It must be the culprits. He found an artifact at the site of the attack in Kansas. He asks Charles if he can use it to further pinpoint their location. Charles becomes agitated and tells Namor that he believe that he was trying to right a situation not of his doing, but to place agents on U.S. soil and then lie about their removal is unconscionable. If cracks in his plans allowed the cell to slip away and attack innocents, then he is to blame. No one is going to help him. He orders Namor to leave right away.
Namor turns and heads for the door, asking Charles how he dare judge him. He will bring his affairs to a conclusion with or without his assistance. Heaven help anyone who gets in his way. Logan is standing outside. “Leaving so soon, bub?” he remarks. Namor ignores him, but says that mutants like to think that their kind is different from the humans, but they’re all the same to him.
As Namor heads into the fresh air, he is targeted by sensors aboard one of the massive Sentinels guarding the institute. The pilot of Sentinel 4 informs his superiors that Namor is leaving and asks for permission to intercept. Permission is granted. Sentinel 4 orders Namor, by order of the O*N*E on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D., to stand down immediately. Namor is ordered to get on the ground, but he hasn’t the time or patience for this. He takes to the air immediately and evades a blast from the Sentinel’s palm before ripping off its arm. He knows they can’t be cheap, and suggests they go back to the old models, as he smashes the arm against a second Sentinel before toppling the first. He flies away, leaving the Sentinels in the dust.
Three members of the rogue 13th Cell, Krakos, Kamar and Arath, have disguised themselves as garbage disposal workers. Instead of collecting litter, they empty the truck’s contents at the side of the street. When they have enough room for their payload, they drive off. They figure that once they install the final payload their extractor will be complete. Krakos asks where they will go to watch their moment of glory. Kamar has a special place in mind.
Soon, they are high up in the Seattle Space Needle, taking the elevator to the observation deck. Kamar notes that humans tend to destroy all the nature around them, and with each new monstrosity they create in its place, they convince themselves that they are much more invulnerable. When their extractor engages, they will be reminded just how vulnerable they are, and Namor’s downfall will be all but assured.
(S.H.I.E.L.D. command ship on the perimeter of Atlantis)
Maria Hill is nervous. It’s awfully quiet. Tony Stark asks if she’s more nervous than ten thousand Atlantean warriors appearing from the city to fight for the death. Maria says that at least then they would know their intentions. Stark reminds her that their instructions were to contain Atlantis and that’s what they’re doing. Maria doesn’t think it adds up: Namor runs away from Atlantis leaving the city without its leader; its fate hanging in the balance. And then that is followed by… nothing. Stark tells her that Namor is no coward. He wasn’t running away from anything. He saw a look in his eyes that showed he was a man on a mission. His biggest fear is that he has lost control of Atlantis and that his leadership is in peril. Atlantis under new ownership? Now that is a frightening prospect. He departs, asking Maria to ensure that their men stay vigilant. He has a feeling something is happening in there.
(meanwhile, in Atlantis)
Two groups of warriors are assembled. One group serves Kamar, whilst the other is loyal to Prince Namor. Zoran leads Kamar’s men. He informs his brothers that their time is at hand. Soon, they shall take control of Atlantis and annihilate the surface dwellers who dare surround their city. He has just received word that Kamar has reached Seattle and a second attack on the surface world is imminent. As Kamar strikes America, they shall clean their own house. Tonight, they will destroy those traitors in the Atlantean military who still crawl at Namor’s feet. Tonight, he concludes, the ocean’s waters will run red, beginning with the blood of Namor’s pet… Argos.
Argos, meanwhile, speaks to his own men - loyal followers of Namor. He tells them that they must be prepared. Atlantis is beset on all sides. Not only are there barbarians at their gate, but there are threats from within their kingdom. Namor has gone to the surface to destroy those who have stained Atlantis’ reputation with their treacherous actions. He has sworn to defend their city in Namor’s absence, and he counts on them to stand by his side. Never in Atlantean history has a king been crowned through a coup, and it will not happen on his watch. He asks them to be vigilant for the traitors who would challenge them. He will save a special place on his trident for their heads.
As he flies across a wooded area, soldiers below allow Venom to fire a weapon at Namor which chokes him. He stops in his tracks before being brought to the ground by Venom, who is carrying a really big gun. He can’t believe the gun actually works. Namor crashes to the earth. Venom admits that he wasn’t crazy about the whole Thunderbolts arrangement when it all began, but it ain’t half bad. It’s amazing, for instance, the toys they allow him to play with. He fires the gun at Namor’s face and he finds it difficult to breathe. Venom explains that it sends a bunch of nanotech spores into his lungs and bloodstream to suck every last bit of oxygen from his body.
With Namor helpless, Venom envelops Namor in his symbiotic body and holds him upside down. He explains that he is allowed to do anything he wants, and he’s always hated the little wings on Namor’s feet. He rips them off, and Namor silently screams.