Starcore Station was built primarily for the study of our sun. But it is also equipped with a broadcast magnification chamber through which a message can be sent to any corner of the universe - and beyond. Aboard Starcore, currently in orbit around the sun, someone calls out ‘Prepare for teleportation to the magnification hub’. Today, Genocide, son of Apocalypse, has come to make a request to the cosmos. A call to serve the gods of his father. Aboard the magnifcation hub now, Genocide is accompanied by the Final Horsemen - Famine, Pestilence and War. ‘How do we activate the beacon?’ Genocide asks. Pestilence explains that he is the beacon - and that the chamber is imagination-driven, as they have discussed. Genocide asks Pestilence why there is doubt in her voice, stating that today is a good day. ‘I’ll be christened the New Apocalypse of Earth. Don’t you think I’ll make a good one?’ he asks.
Pestilence reminds Genocide that he is little more than fifteen years old. Genocide turns to her and remarks that it is her children who were the rightful heirs to Apocalypse’s throne. ‘Yes’ Pestilence replies calmly. ‘But they are lost to us, and there is no Death left to rise. I’m the next in line, by birthright!’ Genocide declares. ‘Of course, forgive me’ Pestilence replies, assuring Genocide that she is his devoted servant. Genocide thanks Pestilence, whose real name is Ichisumi, and tells her, War and Famine that he is going to need them all to believe in him. Energy pours from his eyes, as a portal opens in the sky above them - and from it, emerges a Celestial.
Moments ago, the Celestial Gardener was on the far side of the black matter nucleus that protests this universe. Upon hearing the call of a caretaker, the space god leapt, effortlessly, across space and time. The Celestial has come to tend its evolutionary garden - Earth.
‘I hear you. I’m prepared to serve the greater cosmic will - to accept the burden. I won’t fail!’ Genocide states. The Celestial senses the boy, reads his soul, checks for bruises and welts - and finds him worthy. The first item is delivered. The Death Seed that will empower his most trusted servant. A strange alien creature lowers the Death Seed from the Celestial, which marks Genocide as the chosen successor to the throne of Apocalypse. ‘The new branches will not be lost within the old withered veins… I hereby serve evolution… to the end of my life. I stand ready to receive the armor!’ Genocide declares as he drops to his knees, the Death-Seed hovering before him.
Suddenly, a voice calls out ‘You’ll have no use for it - for you need not concern yourself with the weight of this duty, bastard son of Apocalypse!’ It is the female Apocalypse Twin, Eimin, she and her brother wearing strange Japanese-style armor, both with large wings. She boasts that the Apocalypse Twins will guide Homo Superior to deliverance. ‘We are the heirs of Archangel, rightful servants of this era! We’ve returned to claim our throne! Because unlike you… we do not bend to our knees!’ Uriel declares, raising the axe called Janbjorn overhead. The Celestial looks with curiosity upon the aggressive mutant - curious, or the closest thing to our understanding of the concept.
Uriel lowers the great axe, cleaving the unbreakable hull of the cosmic god - releasing its remaining energies. ‘We serve no master, cosmic manipulator!’ Uriel declares at the same time, as the essence of the Celestial spills out, incinerating the crew aboard the Starcore Station - the Celestial’s curiosity shifts to something altogether different - sadness. Not for itself, but for the life it has tended for so long - for the assassination of a Celestial has never occurred before… and the consequences will be severe.
The Celestial’s essence spills out into space, while Eimin calls out to her mother, telling her that she must come with them. ‘Eimin? My daughter?’ Ichisumi asks as she is knocked backwards. Eimin flies down to her mother, ‘You’ve returned to me…’ Ichisumi utters. ‘You’ll be proud of us. We have the fate of our people finally in our hands’ she declares.
There is a drumming, as Famine approaches Eimin. She tells the Horseman that he cannot harm her, and Famine tells the behemoth War that it is up to him. ‘You have chosen the weaker candidate to support’ Eimin tells the Horsemen as balls of acid appear before her and move towards War and Famine. The acid born of Eimin’s mutant gift has been augmented - it burns through time itself. Its victims aflame in an eternity of waking untime. Frozen - passing through infinity at an exponentially increasing intensity of agony, so says the expression on Famine’s face.
Uriel drops down near Genocide and tells him that there is nothing he can do here to steal a victory. ‘Bow to me - bow and pledge your life to the Twins of the Apocalypse and you may serve us as Death’ Uriel offers Genocide. ‘Death? I am chosen - this is MY day!’ Genocide retorts. ‘I AM THE HEIR OF APOCALYPSE’ he shouts as he raises a hand and blasts an intense focus of energy towards Uriel. Genocide’s bio-plasma is as hot as the core of the sun they orbit. But, Uriel is a chronomancer. The blast enters a pocket of artificially accelerated time, disappearing through the false years. ‘Do you have any idea what you’ve done? You’ve killed a Celestial! There will be hell to pay!’ Genocide calls out as Uriel takes flight. ‘I’m counting on it’ Uriel replies as he releases red daggers of energy towards Genocide.
Meanwhile, on Earth, outside Avengers Mansion, reporters and camera crew stand waiting at the closed gates, while inside a meeting room, Alex “Havok” Summers thinks to himself that this is not going as planned. ‘I should be on some morning talk show. Maybe Make Jon Stewart. Talk up the teachings of Charles Xavier’ he tells himself, but instead, Rogue killed Wonder Man’s brother in from of the entire world - and things got messy.
‘You people are doing a hell of a job’ Commander Maria Hill of SHIELD remarks as she sits, arms folded, across from Havok. ‘To be fair, Commander Hill, we haven’t actually started being a team yet’ Havok tells the brash woman. ‘Well, then if this is any indicator, an outright war between humans and mutants should be just around the corner’ Nick Fury Jr remarks as he sits in between Hill and Havok. Havok explains that Rogue killed the Grim Reaper in self-defense, and points out that she was paramount in stopping the Red Skull.
Nick Fury Jr states that the world press has another spin - “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants joins Avengers, kills deranged man”. Havok scowls and replies that he likes his own better. Nick Fury Jr pulls some photos from an envelope, ‘First the Avalanche attack, the Red Riot, and now this… I don’t want to upset you, Mr Summers, but attacks on mutants are escalating since the Red Skull’s uprising. The photos are of crimes against mutants, and Nick Fury Jr points out that the Red Skull’s movement is spreading on its own. ‘And an idea is a hard enemy to fight’ he adds.
In one of the living areas, Thor, Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff, Rogue, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan and Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp are gathered. An image of the Red Skull is on a monitor. Wolverine tells his teammates that day by day the Red Skull is learning how to master Xavier’s powers, so if they don’t take him down soon, there will be even more trouble. Wanda, sitting on a couch while everyone else stands, asks Rogue if she remembers anything from her time in the Red Skull’s School for Gifted Humans that could offer clues to its location. ‘Sorry, I was too busy fighting you’ Rogue points out. ‘After she saved you from the S-Men, yes?’ the Wasp shoots back.
Havok enters the room, ‘Sorry to interrupt. The SHIELD types are gone’ he tells everyone. Thor asks how SHIELD suggests they move forward. Havok announces that the kill was clean and there will be no charges.
Rogue’s face is hidden by her hood, as Havok tells her that Hill will clear her name to the swarming press, but he doesn’t know if it will do much help. ‘I never meant to kill him. I never in my life would’ Rogue remarks. Havok tells her that they all know that, before explaining that he had to make a few concessions. ‘Concessions?’ Rogue asks. Havok informs her that they need to keep her off the field, just for a few months. ‘All these years and you don’t know a single thing about me, do you?’ Rogue asks Havok, pointing out that she isn’t that interested in being here in the first place. Rogue starts to leave the room, announcing that she won’t be benched. ‘And if this is how you back up your members - good luck with your “team”!’ she calls back.
Thor grabs Rogue by her shoulder before she can leave, and he tells Havok that Rogue is right. ‘She is one of our own now. She was made an Avenger! Does that no longer hold value?’ he asks. Thor points out that Rogue was defending her teammates, and that they will stand by her. ‘No politics, Havok, as was your decree’ he reminds Alex.
Wanda announces that under normal circumstances, she would agree, but that this cannot be allowed to endanger the team’s missions so early in its inception. ‘Endanger? You’re the only danger, Wanda’ Rogue retorts. ‘You were Grim Reaper’s target. Skull’s target too, for that matter. Our own walking, talking WMD’.
The Wasp steps forward and points out that Wanda has earned a second chance, that she is family - she is a real Avenger. ‘Well, congratulations to you, sweetheart - she’s a real peach!’ Rogue snaps back.
‘STOP’ Alex tells everyone. ‘Let’s try to see the hypocrisy of this team working together under the name of Charles Xavier yet having displayed a total inability to get along’ he remarks. ‘Thank you. It’s been like junior high school since we moved back in’ the Wasp states. ‘Leave it alone, Fashion Fly’ Wolverine tells her. Havok holds his arms and asks Rogue if she can please be the bigger person and do what he is asking her. ‘A desk job, Alex?’ Rogue replies. ‘Magneto. I want you to head up the investigation’ Alex informs her. ‘Oh, better yet, I get to hunt down people I care for’ Rogue announces as she walks away. ‘It’s a good call, Alex… who better to hunt down my father than one of his floozies?’ Wanda bitches.
In the meantime, aboard the Peak, staging ground of the Sentient World Observation and Response Department – SWORD:
Inside a control room, Agent Abigail Brand thanks Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America and Shiro “Sunfire” Yoshida for coming. ‘I wouldn’t bother you with this if it wasn’t the most horrifying thing I’d ever seen in my life’ she adds. Captain America assures Agent Brand that the Avengers are always on call. ‘Hold on to your stripes, Cap - we’ve got big trouble’. She shows them both footage on a monitor, explaining that it came back from Starcore Station one hour before they lost contact. Brand tells them that at first, she thought it must be a hoax of some kind, but the energies they picked up confirm it - they are witnessing the assassination of a Celestial. ‘God…’ Cap utters as he looks at the monitors.
Agent Brand tells Captain America that she is glad he appreciates the scope of this, adding that this is “Fate of the Galaxy” big. ‘Any information you might have -’ she begins, but Sunfire interrupts, explaining that the fiery beast is Genocide, the son of Apocalypse, and the others he has not seen before. ‘Though they do resemble -’ he begins, before one of Brand’s staff calls out to her with urgency, reporting that a Celestial craft is exiting warp and is in attack position.
Back at Avengers Mansion, Wanda calls out ‘Simon?’ as she stands at the door to his quarters, asking if she can come in. Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man is sitting on the side of his bed, a small photograph in his hand. Simon’s costume is currently draped over a mannequin. ‘Eric was right, wasn’t he, Wanda? I’m an abomination?’ Simon asks his friend. Wearing an elegant red dress, Wanda tells Simon ‘Of course now. Your life is as real as anyone’s’. ‘Yeah. Sure. What else would you say? The Wicked Witch who brought us back to life’ Simon replies, turning to Wanda, who points out that he has never dead - just someplace else - someplace she found him.
Simon looks back down at the photo of his brother, ‘Wherever I was I only survived to be back with you. Dammit, Wanda…don’t we deserve some happiness?’ he asks. Wanda sits down beside him, their faces move towards each other, lips drawing closer. ‘I love you so much I came back from the dead for you’ Simon whispers. Wanda then pulls away, ‘I…I love you, too, Simon. I do’. She gets to her feet and walks away, ‘Like a brother. Right now I need family more than anything else’ Wanda explains. ‘Sure. I get it… and I know how important a brother can be’ Simon replies.
In another room, Havok and the Wasp are seated on a sofa, some alcohol on the side table, several monitors in front of them display the Wasp’s latest fashion line, which she tells Alex is called “Unity” and reveals that the launch lines are already sold out. ‘Wow’ Alex replies, while looking at the clothing displayed on the monitors. ‘Their parents may hate and fear mutants, but their kids will idolize and emulate you’ Janet assures him. ‘Progressive hipster propaganda. It does feel a bit…crass’ Alex points out, but Janet disagrees, telling Alex that popular culture has a long history of helping ease people into accepting the different. ‘Jazz, hip-hop, punk, rock…music and fashion can change the world’ Jan assures Alex, adding that this is lucrative stuff, too, that this will make enough to find the team and then some. ‘Wasn’t really my goal, but some people are just lucky’ Jan remarks. ‘Yeah. Not a problem I’ve ever had’ Alex replies.
See, right there, that’s the major difference between the Avengers and you X-types…we’re a more optimistically lot in general. But me? Oh, darling, I’m beaming with unbridled optimism. It’s my thing’ Jan smiles. Alex asks Jan to forgive him, pointing out that his life has been a bit crap lately - being lost in space, a messy break-up, and his brother…. ‘Doleful Alex, we all have terrible stuff happening to us all the time’ Jan replies, pointing out that she was stranded in the Microverse for months, and came home to learn that in the near future, her corpse will be transformed into a Deathlok trooper. ‘Yikes,’ Alex smiles. Jan tells Alex that he should choose to see the positive side - and reminds him that he is one of the chairmen of the Avengers - which is one hell of a promotion. ‘Has everyone wondering who you slept with to land the job’ she adds.
‘It was Thor’ Alex replies. ‘I knew it’ Jan remarks, adding ‘Choose to see the positive side. It could have been the Hulk’. Jan leans in closer to Alex, and tells him that she understands the stress he is under more than anyone, that it is gnarly. ‘I know how hard it is to run the Avengers with the normal mashing of personalities - but this is a new level of discourse’. Alex reaches for his glass of alcohol, while Jan tells him that she wants him to know she is here for anything that he needs. ‘Wasp -’ Alex replies, ‘Janet’ Jan tells him. ‘Janet… the thing is, while I’m flattered, a new complication isn’t exactly -’ he begins, but Jan tells him: ‘Nonsense, in this job, you never know how long you’ll be alive for. Don’t you risk wasting a single chance to -’ but she doesn’t finish her sentence, as a red light fills the room, and a voice calls out ‘Alert. All Avengers to the Command Room. Alert!’ ‘As I was saying…’ Jan mutters.
Havok and the Wasp enter the Command Room, where Wolverine, Wonder Man, Thor, the Scarlet Witch and Rogue are already waiting. Captain America’s image appears on a monitor, while Wonder Man tells him that just can’t be right. ‘It’s right. Someone massacred a Celestial and they’re en route to the Peak Station. Sunfire says it’s Apocalypse’s Ship’ Cap replies. ‘What’s the happy news?’ Alex asks. ‘It sounds like Apocalypse’ Wanda tells him. An image of Uriel appears on the monitor, as Cap reports that he is the man who killed the Celestial, and the weapon he used to do it, but it is not on any of the books, nothing on record. Both Wolverine and Thor lock up at the sight - ghosts from their past call. Both men scowl. This image holds a much deeper significance. Dark secrets each man thought long put to rest. Cap announces that they need immediate reinforcements.
The communication starts to get interference, as Cap explains that Agent Brand isn’t sure if the Peak can withstand an attack from Apocalypse’s Ship, before the signal is lost. ‘Damn - cut off. All right. Get it together’ Alex tells everyone, before instructing Janet to fire up the Quinbird, he asks Simon to stay behind to play “eyes and ears”. ‘Will do’ Simon replies. Alex turns to Thor and is about to give him some instructions, but Thor is gone. ‘Where the hell is Thor?’ Havok asks.
Back aboard the Peak, Apocalypse’s Ship approaches, while Captain America asks Agent Brand if the Peak can withstand an attack. ‘They’re not preparing to attack - they’re on a full on collision course!’ Brand replies, before ordering a full evacuation. ‘To the escape coffins! Now!’ she tells her officers. ‘Let’s go!’ one of them shouts. ‘Move - move - move!’ another declares as they enter the pods. As Agent Brand gets into one, Sunfire asks ‘We flee in the face of danger?’ to which Cap tells him that he is welcome to stay if he wishes, but he doesn’t recommend it. They both go over to escape coffins, but Cap’s one is locked. ‘Then it looks like I’ll get my wish’ Sunfire remarks, as he pushes Cap into one of the others. ‘Sunfire! Shio! Open this doo-’ Cap calls out, but before he can finish his protest, Captain America is jettisoned away, along with dozens of other escape pods, into space, leaving Sunfire alone to ponder his split second gallantry.
As Apocalypse’s Ship is seen very close to the Peak, ‘By Ameratsu’s light… suddenly I regret this’ Sunfire remarks to himself, before the Celestial behemoth strikes the Peak Station, smashing through its defensive shields as if they were nonexistent. The shattering force of the impact is felt across the four corners of the globe - the spectacular explosion lights up the sky, a sobering warning sent to the billions below - gods have come to Earth in search of war. Fire and debris rain down to Earth. But, there are other gods on Earth - mighty, sworn protectors of mankind. As, Thor, God of Thunder, gazes upon the million tons of burning metal falling towards Brazil - his memory replays a terrible mistake he made centuries ago. The image of his great axe Janbjorn and the stern words of his father. Thor spins his mighty hammer, and flies through the debris, while frowning, as the words replay in his mind: “Be it tomorrow or a thousand years from now…the mistakes you have made will doom us all”….