4145, the Kang Dynasty:
Kang sits on his throne. ‘I am many things. Warrior. Conqueror. Master of time. But to you, today, I am a generous saint offering great kindness’. He looks at a tank which has a colony of ants inside the dirt. Several tunnels can be seen, and in one of the tunnels, several ants are fighting with two ant-sized men, one of whom has fallen. ‘Kindness poor Eric O’Grady and Scott Lang would be envious of’ Kang remarks, referring to the two men known as “Ant-Man” trapped inside the tank. He declares that he will offer no clemency to the treacherous men, nor any who attempt to usurp him. ‘The only kindness I show rebels is the glorious death of a warrior’ Kang declares, turning to two armored youngsters who stand before him - the Apocalypse Twins, Uriel and his sister Eimin.
Kang tells the Apocalypse Twins that he offers them much more, for they are the best hope for mutantkind, the chosen caretakers of these genetic monsters. ‘I take pity on you, for in all timelines - you fail your charge. Kang tells them to rest east, for Father Kang has plucked them from their ruinous path and offered them a chance at greatness. He reveals that he has encountered them in many timelines, and defeated them soundly in each, so the mercy he shows them now is for selfish reasons, for it is clear to him that peaceful cohabitation with the mutant species is the impossible dream of an ideologue, leaving pragmatists, such as himself, with a more simple solution - segregation.
Kang continues, stating that humanity will eradicate the mutants if the Apocalypse Twins fail to lead them to salvation - that is a fact. ‘Without me, without my guidance - you fail your people utterly’ he declares. ‘We don’t want to fail, Father Kang’ Uriel replies. So Kang tells them that they must begin preparing them for this great destiny. Kang stands up and looms over the Apocalypse Twins, informing them that they must prepare to bloody their hands, to destroy, without hesitation, any who stand in their way. Uriel asks why they should be concerned with battle, as they can use the chrono-tech to go back in time and kill their enemies before they rise. Kang tells Uriel to think before he speaks, to study his dear sister’s reverence, lest he continue to embarrass himself. Kang states that there is no honor in the facile killing of infants, but that is scarcely the only reason. ‘Leading us to today’s lesson’ he declares, pressing a button on the bracelet around his wrist, he and the Apocalypse Twins vanish…
The Age of Ultron:
…and rematerialize in another reality. ‘We are now in the era of your birth, though the timeline has been altered’ Kang informs the Apocalypse Twins, explaining that it changed when Wolverine travelled to the past and murdered Hank Pym. ‘Wolverine? The savage mutant who butchered our father?’ Eimin inquires. ‘The same’ Kang confirms, adding that sometimes when a player prematurely goes missing from the board, the unexpected occurs. ‘For example, were I to kill a young Reed Richards, Galactus would devour the Earth, finding my own future’ he explains. ‘Interesting’ Eimin remarks, while Kang tells them that here, without Pym, the Avengers disbanded, the Vision was never created and Odin ceded Earth to Morgana Le Fay after Thor was killed.
Their presence goes about unnoticed, as they approach a man whom Kang tells the Apocalypse Twins is Steve Rogers - Colonel America. ‘He will oppose you in every possible future. You must learn to defeat him in battle, to kill him with your hands. You’re gold enough now. Working together, you might stand a chance’ he explains. Kang adds that he will not interfere, that they will not have the use of his chronal gifts, that their victory must be clean. ‘Humans will cause your kind so much pain… and there is no human more difficult to kill than Colonel America’. Uriel offers to kill him now, as Colonel America opens up a manhole in the middle of the street and prepares to climb down. ‘Any dullard can backstab a man… conquerors meet their foes on the field of battle. Which are you, Uriel? Assassin… or conqueror?’ Kang asks.
Colonel America lands down in the sewer, ‘I know you’re down here, Callisto. I’m not looking for a fight’ he calls out. A figure appears behind him, ‘The hell with the Morlocks, pretty-pretty?’ Callisto asks as she steps forward, holding a knife. ‘Alex Summers. I need to see him. Would you be so kind?’ Colonel America asks. ‘Alex Summers? Ain’t you heard? He’s dead, “Colonel”. He don’t exist anymore… but I can take you to meet Havok’ Callisto offers.
Soon, ‘Some welcoming committee, Alex’ Colonel America remarks as he stands before Alex “Havok” Summers, who wears a trench coat over his costume, and now sports facial hair. Rogue stands at his side, while a large number of Morlocks stand around them, and on the pipes above them. ‘Ever since Sinister’s attempt at wiping us out, we tend to be a bit guarded when uninvited visitors come calling’ Havok explains. Colonel America tells him that he understands, and that he will keep this brief. ‘I need to bring Caliban back to face a murder charge’ he announces. Colonel America guarantees that Caliban will receive a decent public defender and a fair trial. ‘I’ve discussed this with your brother and -’ Colonel America begins, to which Havok interrupts, stating that he doesn’t have a brother, and if he did, Cable would be down here, helping the people who need him most.
Havok adds that Cable would be down here, huddling in the darkness with them, instead of sitting in a shiny tower, waiting for the maid service to turn down his bed. ‘I understand your situation, and I admire your devotion to the Morlocks, Alex. I know you and Rogue nearly died stopping the mutant massacre. But that doesn’t undo the work your brother is doing opposing Morgana Le Fay’s forces with the Defenders. You two are more alike than you know -’ Colonel America begins, before Rogue interrupts, declaring that Havok is nothing like his brother, that he is a Morlock, the man in black, protector of the weak.
In the dank, dingy tunnels, Havok tells Colonel America that when any member of a society is forced to hide underground, living above them and ignoring them is saying it is okay, and be ignoring their plight, they accept their station. ‘Living above these people because I can pass as a human would make me complacent in their neglect. My brother lost sight of this. Lost sight of what Xavier was trying to teach us’ he explains.
Colonel America’s face is shown clearly, and he wears a patch over his left eye, which has three large claw marks across it. Colonel America announces that Xavier’s teachings can be interpreted in any number of ways, and he doesn’t think this militant attitude that Alex holds is the only extrapolation available. Colonel America adds that Wanda spent her life searching for a way to bring man and mutant together, and she saw that as Xavier’s dream.
‘The Witch didn’t lift a finger for us -’ Callisto points out, but Colonel America quickly interrupts, telling Callisto that he will take all the grief she can sling, but that he will not hear a word against his murdered wife.
‘This isn’t getting us anywhere’ Havok points out, so Colonel America asks him to call it - ‘Do I have your permission to escort Caliban back to the surface for trial?’ he asks. ‘Caliban was being chased like a rat. Your “murder” was self-defense. Plain and simple’ Havok replies. Colonel America suspects that Havok is correct, and suggests they allow the courts to prove it. ‘Human courts. Human judge. Human jury’ Rogue mutters as she walks over to a refrigerator and pulls a drink from it. ‘My wife makes a good point’ Alex points out. Colonel America asks Alex to trust him, to let him bring Caliban in. ‘If not - they’ll send worse to take him.
Rogue looks at Havok, and Havok tells Steve that he can’t do that. The Morlocks start to move in closer to Colonel America ‘You should go…I can’t guarantee your safety’ Havok remarks, when suddenly, a voice calls out ‘No one can - for this human swine has been marked for death!’
Colonel America turns around and raises his shield as he sees Uriel and Eimin flying above him. ‘Be brave, Morlocks - the Apocalypse Twins will shatter the souls of any who oppress our people!’ Eimin declares as she releases shards of energy down at Colonel America, who raises his shield to protect himself. Colonel America asks Havok to call them off, as he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. ‘You don’t want to hurt any humans. But I have a feeling for these poor mutants you’d make an exception!’ Uriel declares as he flies down closer to Colonel America and attempts to strike him.
Colonel America leaps to safety, and raising his shield to deflect Eimin’s energy attack, he points out that he came in peace. ‘This is how your Morlocks respond?’ he asks Havok, who quickly replies ‘They aren’t ours!’ Colonel America calls the Apocalypse Twins careless fools, and points out that their salvo is injuring Morlocks. He tosses his shield upwards, but the energy bounces off it, striking some of the Morlocks. ‘Move!’ Rogue shouts as she leaps forward and shoves Havok out of the way. ‘Look out!’ another Morlock calls out. ‘My son!’ another shouts. Havok tells Colonel America to go, to put some distance between him and the Morlocks, and he will stop the Apocalypse Twins. Realizing that the situation is untenable and degenerating, Colonel America decides to get clear. He trudges down one sewer tunnel and realizes that Havok is unnerved, as the attackers are not Morlocks. He decides that he must get clear and take them down away from the civilians. Havok tells Rogue to take care of the injured and lock down the camp, as he is going to save Colonel America.
‘He went in here. I’m sure I saw him’ Uriel tells his sister as they fly away from the Morlocks and down another tunnel. He adds that they can’t mess this up. ‘Father Kang is watching’ Eimin declares. ‘If we don’t bring him the head of this human…’ Uriel begins. ‘…the loss of my sight is reminder enough of what awaits us should we fail Father Kang’ Eimin concludes.
Further down the tunnel, Colonel America does not look impressed. ‘Kang?’ he thinks to himself. ‘These kids are pawns - likely in way over their heads’ he tells himself, knowing that this puts him at a disadvantage. They are out for blood, hunting him for a kill - yet he is a fan of mercy, and as he detects their approach behind them slams his shield upwards, straight into Eimin. Uriel calls out to his sister, while Colonel America tells them that he doesn’t know what lies Kang has told them, but he can promise them one thing - killing people only accelerates the cycle of violence. ‘You talk to me of violence?’ Uriel declares as he lashes out at Colonel America, while Eimin falls into the water. ‘I’ve seen the future for mutants! Lived in the Skull’s camps -’ Uriel begins, before Colonel America lunges out of the water, and forces Uriel backwards, ‘You’re not a mutant to me, son - just a dumb kid who’s in too deep’ he declares as the fall out of the tunnel into a lower part of the sewer system below.
‘What I am is the warrior who buries you!’ Uriel boasts as he forces himself into the dominant position, pushing Colonel America into the water below first. Colonel America realizes that his opponent is faster and stronger than him, but he can’t break Uriel’s grip, the kid is as strong as they come. Colonel America detects that Uriel’s training is soft, he is relying on his strength, going to use the easy way out, simply drown him. He gives Uriel three punches to the jaw, then smashes his head against Uriel’s, for no matter how tough they re, a hard shot to the nose is a hell of a thing. ‘Kang’s tool won’t earn his gold star that easily’ Colonel America thinks to himself, while Kang appears to Uriel, telling him that the soldier is prone, without his shield, now is the time to strike him down.
Uriel gasps for air as he flies out of the water. ‘No more running!’ he calls out as he hovers above Colonel America, who has emerged from the water and goes over to where some Morlocks are huddled by their shacks. ‘Move! Go-go-go!’ he urges them, realizing that Uriel is blind with rage, that he doesn’t see the Morlocks - and then he unleashes shards of energy, striking Colonel America in the back as he tries to protect the helpless Morlocks. Kang’s image appears before Uriel and tells him not to hesitate, to sieze his victory. ‘I’m - I just need a moment…’ Uriel replies. Colonel America feels like he is on fire, poisoned by the energy shards, while Kang replies ‘A moment to what - fail?’ he asks Uriel. Some of the Morlocks make a run for it, while Colonel America realizes that Uriel its talking to someone.
Suddenly, ‘Enough!’ shouts Havok as he appears. Looking up at Uriel, he tells him that he has done enough, hurt enough people, so if he wants Colonel America, he will have to get through him to reach him. Havok turns to Colonel America and tells him to get out of here, while asking Uriel ‘If Colonel America dies down here, at the hands of a mutant - what do you think happens?’ and Havok releases his plasma energy towards Uriel, staring that the surface world will land on his Morlocks like a ton of bricks. ‘Don’t blame me because you’re too weak to defend your people’ ‘Strength is measured in a lot of ways - that smarts is the type that usually pulls out the big win. ‘You can’t be dumb enough to see killing humans as the solution’ Havok adds.
Uriel replies that he only sees evolution, that he sees two species vying for domination of a world and only one can win - the strong one. He adds that he has seen the Red Skull’s onslaught, and he knows what the humans will do. Kang tells Uriel that is enough talk, and that if he cannot kill those who stand in his way, then the future of his people is lost. ‘Now! Take the first step in saving your people!’ Kang urges Uriel, who releases his deadly shards of energy towards Havok, boasting that he will kill anyone who stands in his way. ‘I can help you!’ Havok calls out, explaining that everyone down here, they were all once afraid, just like he. ‘This segregation isn’t forever - we can all live in this world as brother and sister! Man and mutant need not maintain this menacing distinction!’ Havok urges, adding that they can provide all children a safe future.
‘There is no safe future for us while they survive - and no unity among our people while soft-hearted liars spread such illusions!’ Uriel declares as he flies closer to Havok, who screams as Uriel’s razor-sharp wings slice across his waist, severing him in two. Colonel America hears the scream and turns around, while Uriel drops to the ground, ‘I warned you! I’ve seen the future - it takes strength to protect our people, not ideology!’ he declares. Kang tells Uriel that he has done well, that he has taken his first step, but points out that his true target still lives. ‘Hurry - do not fail -’ he urges, when suddenly, ‘Looking for a fight, Sugah?’ Rogue calls out as she drops down, kicking Uriel in the face. ‘I just got -’ Rogue begins, before going wide-eyed as she sees Alex’s severed body lying in a pool of blood on the ground. ‘You son of a bitch!’ Rogue exclaims. ‘You cold-blooded son of a bitch!’ she screams, before punching Uriel hard in the face, and forcing him to the ground.
‘Get off! I’m warning you -’ Uriel begins, but Rogue is distraught, ‘You come into my home - you kill my husband! You thinkn you know why you came down here, but you’re wrong - you came down here to die!’ Rogue screams as her punches continue. But, ‘I warned you’ Uriel points out, as he shoves one of his wings through Rogue’s chest, telling her that she didn’t give him any choice. ‘I didn’t come here to hunt mutants…’ he begins, while Rogue, wide-eyed, quietly asks ‘Who…are you?’ as blood drips from her nose. She manages to remove a glove from her hand, and presses her bare hand to Uriel’s fdace. ‘Oh - oh, God -’ she utters as she absorbs his memories. ‘Release me!’ Uriel demands, as he tosses Rogue to the ground. ‘You - you’re Warren’s boy? But your world…? So strange?’ Rogue utters, looking up at him.
‘How - what have you done?’ Uriel asks, confused. Rogue looks up at him, tears in her eyes, she explains that she has absorbed his memories, and tells Uriel that he doesn’t belong here, that Kang is using him, using his sister, this evil scheme he has sold them on is no solution. ‘You have to see that…’ she utters, telling Uriel that Kang abducted him, stole him from his mother, that he is twisting his soul. ‘I know. Know he’s a bad person. My sister and I, we both know, believe me’ Uriel replies. ‘My God, Uriel. The things he’s made her…’ Rogue begins. Uriel confesses that Kang is a cruel man, but that he is teaching them how to protect mutants, to take their people to a safe place where they can flourish. ‘This task…it’s what our father would have wanted, similar to what he was working towards when Wolverine had him assassinated’ Uriel explains.
Uriel kneels down beside Rogue and tells her that it has to be this way, as he has seen what happens. ‘You’ve seen it, too. Seen the camps. You have to agree…a rapture is the only perfect solution’ he points out as he takes Rogue in his arms. Rogue tells him that he has to stop this, stop this twisted idea. Uriel asks Rogue if there is a healer among her people and she confirms that there is. Uriel takes flight, with Rogue in her arms and tells her that he is sorry he hurt her. ‘I didn’t want to kill your husband, I’ll save you, Rogue…I swear it’ he assures her. But, as he flies into another tunnel, he finds Kang standing on the walkway alongside the sewer, and Eimin hovering before him. ‘You shouldn’t tease the poor wretch with false hope, brother’ Eimin calls out, while Kang instructs Eimin to finish Rogue, to join her brother in taking her first life. ‘Yes, Father Kang’ Eimin replies as she fires beams of energy, ‘Still time…time to stop it…don’t do it, Uriel…’ Rogue manages to utter before the energy beams strike her and wither her body to a corpse. ‘No! She didn’t need to die! Didn’t deserve it…’ Uriel declares.
Uriel flies towards his sister and pushes her against the wall, ‘She was a mutant! One of our people! We’re supposed to protect her!’ he calls out. ‘Your sister merely finished your incompetent work’ Kang announces, while Uriel asks how murdering a helpless, injured woman is the act of a conqueror. Kang states that Eimin faced her opponents in battle and emerged victorious, while pointing out that he had to prod Uriel to kill Havok and when he stepped back, he showed nothing but weakness with Rogue. ‘I found strength in mercy’ Uriel explains. Kang just laughs and holds up Rogue’s hood from her cloak, he tells Uriel that if he embraces that idea, then the mutants are truly doomed. He suggests to Eimin that they collect her first trophy, while announcing that both the Apocalypse Twins have unfortunately failed the real test, as Colonel America lives, and allowed to escape, he has called reinforcements, so it is time to withdraw. ‘But at least I know Eimin has the heart for what comes next’ Kang adds as he presses the device on his wrist, while leaving the rest of Rogue’s remains floating in the tunnel.
4145, the Kang Dynasty:
Kang and the Apocalypse Twins re-appear in Kang’s sprawling trophy room. ‘It’s incredible’ Eimin utters looking around. ‘Home, sweet home. It’s a sight I never grow weary of’ Kang remarks, while Uriel asks him ‘Did you really slay everyone here?’. ‘In battle. By hand’ Kang replies, while telling Uriel that all is lost for him, but that he thinks more severe surroundings may be called for, as he fears his palace has softened him. ‘I’m sorry, father Kang, please…’ Uriel utters as Kang places Rogue’s cloak on a stand. Other artefacts in the room include various faceplates from Iron Man’s armors, Colonel America’s shields, Dr Octopus’s tentacles, Thor’s hammer, Spider-Man’s mask, the Vision’s android body, Elektra’s daggers, Cyclops’s visor, Daredevil’s costume, Magneto’s helmet, Mr Fantastic’s long, stretched out costume, among others.
‘Quit your sniveling. Never be sorry… be victorious’ Kang declares. Looking up, Uriel and Eimin see a weapon hanging from the ceiling. ‘What’s that, Father Kang? I’ve never seen that trophy before’ Uriel remarks. ‘Ah, yes. Jarnbjorn. That is a very special axe. Enchanted specifically to cut through Celestial armor…’ Kang reveals. Kang explains that it is the weapon he has used to kill all who dared ascend to the throne of Apocalypse. ‘More about this when you return’ he remarks, before telling the Uriel that he must now be sent away for a more rigorous education. ‘We mustn’t be separated. I will share my brother’s punishment’ Eimin announces. ‘No!’ Uriel declares. Looking at the armor belonging to Ahab, Kang replies ‘Very well’ and points out that a few more years at camp should do the trick, adding that another round of Ahab’s cruelty will serve to remind them of humanity’s malice towards their people.
With his back turned to the Apocalypse Twins, Kang adds that hopefully the memory will dissuade them from further failures, motivate them to enact the rapture, save their people and live forever as gods. ‘And if you don’t survive it… then neither will mutantkind…’ Kang reveals, while Uriel and Eimin just stand underneath the powerful axe Janbjorn….