Warden John Walker aka U.S. Agent gives his report on the events of 8-18. The federal supermax facility protocol requires a full composite log of the entire day, so he is personally questioning each employee on the Raft. Security tech advisor Norbert Ebersol aka The Fixer traces the blackout to a localized electromagnetic pulse, not a system failure. This suggests an outside factor from either of two developments earlier in the day. The first involves the arranged tour of a group of powered youths from the Avengers Academy. Hank Pym arranged the visit with Luke Cage as part of a “scared straight” program with the Thunderbolts.
The second scenario involves the Thunderbolts themselves, who were still in a cave in New Guinea looking for lost S.H.I.E.L.D. and U.N. teams. The S.H.I.E.L.D. squad had been mutated by the Terrigen Mist and had incapacitated Moonstone, Cage and Juggernaut. This left Crossbones, Juggernaut and Man-Thing to retaliate.
In the cave in New Guinea, the corrupted S.H.I.E.L.D. agents advance on the remaining Thunderbolts. Ghost, inhabiting the armor of the unconscious Mach V, tells Crossbones not to let them touch his skin. Crossbones realizes Ghost is in the Mach V armor and so Ghost tells him that the creatures touched Abe’s skin. Crossbones tells Ghost to go low whilst he goes high with the handheld rotary cannon he found. Crossbones slaughters the creatures in a spray of bloody gunfire. Ghost is sorrier at his part in the ensuing carnage but he still does so.
Further back in the cave, Moonstone comes around to find a one of the creatures advancing on her. Its long tongue is seeking her out and it is mere feet away. The tongue reaches out to her but, before it can make contact, it is grabbed by the swampy hand of Man-Thing. The monster screams in pain and wraps its tentacles around Man-Thing. Moonstone can only watch, musing on how she will stay on Man-Thing’s good side, as he rips the creature apart.
Juggernaut is recovering after being burned by the creatures. He spots one crawling towards him and so he pushes a boulder at it, squashing it into the cave wall. Luke Cage gets to his feet and sees Mach V fighting the creatures. He calls out to him but Ghost tells him that Abe is unconscious but his armor is proving useful. Nearly all the creatures have been killed but Crossbones spots one trying to escape. He drops his rotary cannon and goes after it with a smaller gun. He approaches it and says he loves it best when their heads explode with hollow point rounds. He shoots the creature, spraying blood everywhere. As he kills it, though, he slips on some blood and he falls down a slope to where the Terrigen crystals are growing. He lands next to them and accidentally inhales some of the mist.
Cage yells to him and gathers the team together. He realizes there’s no helping the
S.H.I.E.L.D. agents but his team is still together. Man-Thing carries a very grateful Moonstone and Ghost continues to operate Mach V’s armor as Abe’s pulse is still very low. Cage tells them they are going back to get medical attention and to be decontaminated. But before they do that, they need to make sure no one ever enters the cave again. He gets Juggernaut to close the entrance up. He marvels aloud how they got lucky today as none of them ended up like the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, oblivious to the silent stare from Crossbones, who keeps quiet about his dose of the mutagenic mist.
In the medical bay on the Raft, the doctor is examining the team and she confirms everyone is free of contaminants, which surprises Crossbones. Cage asks about Mach V, who is lying unconscious in another bed. The doctor says they expect him to make a full recovery but he should be out of commission for a few weeks. Juggernaut asks if they will be reamed for using deadly force. He says they won’t because the report says reversing Terrigen mutations is impossible. Those S.H.I.E.L.D agents had to go down or more innocents would have died.
Moonstone says that she thought the cave floor would be the last thing she saw. But it was all worth it for forcing Ghost to have a shower. She watches as Ghost, now out of his armor, is lead out of a shower by a guard. Fixer contacts Cage on his wrist device and tells him that Hank Pym has brought the Avengers Academy kids for a visit. He tells him he’ll be right there and he tells the team to get back to the tower.
John Walker continues his report and says that the blackout happened shortly after the arrival of the students. Though the Thunderbolts required more time to recuperate, they managed to meet with the Academy kids. Cage had Moonstone and Ghost sent back to their cells, as he was unsatisfied with what they told the kids. Ten minutes later, the power grid went down. The emergency walls would hold until the power grid kicked back in but walker knew some of the prisoners were out. He knew the guards A.I. guns were disabled, so his first thought was to contain the prisoners who were out. Walker entered one of the cell blocks to find some of the prisoners walking free.
Luke Cage is tasked with finding three of the students who had gone missing. He sends Juggernaut in one direction while he goes in another. Fixer contacts Cage and says he has the comm. system up. Cage asks about the force fields and Fixer says he’s working on it, although he could really do with Mach V. Cage asks if Songbird can help but she replies that she doesn’t know what a node looks like and she has her hands full. She is using her sonic powers to plug up a hole in the bars in the women’s wing. In a nearby cell, Moonstone says she would help but Luke caged her. Songbird yells that she knows she can rip open the bars so help or shut up. Moonstone still won’t help but, in the cage next to her, Gunna uses her strength to bend the bars of her cell so she can get out.
Outside Man-Thing’s habitat, the guard, Dennis, sends out a distress call. He is lying injured against the wall. He tells them he was opening the door to test the nitrogen levels when the power went out. He says Man-Thing has now escaped.
Elsewhere, Juggernaut rips open a door looking for the kids to find two prisoners assaulting a guard. They are holding him upside down, each one holding a leg. Juggernaut walks up to them and they tell him the guard is nothing without his weapons and armor. Juggernaut tells them it’s a little easy though. One of them says the Thunderbolts have tamed him and they ain’t letting him go ever. They’ve got nothing to lose, so they are going to eat the guard’s heart. He is never getting out but the other guards will respect him when they remember their friend. Juggernaut calls them a couple of quitters for not trying to escape when they have the chance. One of them says that the out section is sealed off, no one is getting out. Juggernaut says no one can stop the Juggernaut. The prisoners throw the guard to the floor and ask Juggernaut to lead the way.
Fixer contacts Cage and says his gear should be online now. As his wristband springs to life, Cage replies that he is able to get into the secure sections now. He enters the area and sees Grey Gargoyle with his head jammed in a cog mechanism. A voice comes from behind him and says the Gargoyle uses his head to stop the bars from dropping. But even the killers around here can’t open the bars with all their muscles. Cage sees the Purple Man and a team of prisoners walking towards him. He says Cage should have known he was in there, what with all the good times they’ve had in the past. He asks how Jessica is and says he hasn’t seen her in ages. Cage shuts the door of the secure area and prepares to fight.
In his area, Walker leaps from his wheelchair and punches one of the prisoners in the face. Swinging off him, he spins and kicks another. As he floors the first one, he swipes his prosthetic arm and slashes a third across the face. All three prisoners are knocked out on the floor and he stands over them, balancing on his good leg. Other prisoners approach him, but he asks who else wants to be top dog. One of them walks up to him with his wheelchair and he orders them all back to their cells.
In the women’s wing, Songbird is being overpowered by the prisoners. She yells for Moonstone but no help comes. She falls to the ground but still keeps up a force field. The prisoners starts to overpower her but, just as they are about to kill her, Gunna jumps into the fray. She fights the prisoners as an annoyed Moonstone looks on. Songbird gets back up and helps Gunna. Moonstone rips the bars off her cell and uses them to block the rest of the prisoners. She claims she saved the day but Songbird points out she was only there for the photofinish… Gunna was the one who saved the day.
Luke Cage runs into the prisoners, sending them flying. In a flurry of kicks and punches, he takes out every single prisoner except for the Purple Man, who was standing and watching. With his hands in his pockets, he tells Cage that the job hasn’t made him soft. Cage replies that he’s going to see firsthand. The Purple Man points out he can control Cage’s mind but Cage tells him he can’t. He has nanites in his that are designed for one purpose… to negate the Purple Man’s power. With that, he walks up to the villain and head buts him, knocking him out.
Outside the Raft, Juggernaut has made a hole through the walls and the two prisoners are escaping. They jump into the water as Juggernaut looks on from inside the Raft. Cage radios over and says the kids have been found but he needs him to round up Man-Thing. He watches as the two prisoners are assaulted by the jellyfish that live in the waters around the island.
Warden Walker continues his report on the day. The cell force fields were at full power again in thirty-one minutes. Three guards were hospitalized and several prisoners were injured. Two remain in critical condition after encountering the islands bio-defenses. No one escaped. Three of Pym’s students took advantage of the blackout to go after Norman Osborn. No one was happy with this outcome and the scared straight program has been suspended. Whilst the time to the system restart should have been shortened and they still need to pinpoint the cause, he is satisfied nonetheless. The word is already spreading about the chaos of the day and how it ended. The reputation of the Raft is growing.