‘I too, was born in the World’ Fantomex thinks to himself as he stands alongside some sort of robot in a laboratory. Strange creatures floating in alien-like tanks before them. Fantomex recalls that he was raised in rapidly advancing unnatural time, and while he grew to adulthood, only a month passed outside. Time in the World is analogous to water – a fish tank where time’s temperature is controlled in order to manipulate the evolution of the fish. If hot enough, time boils over – flowing uncontrollably in all directions. In Fantomex’s absence from the World, someone left the kettle on – for a million years have passed since his last visit. And a million years of evolutionary trends to drastically change the landscape. Once his home, it is almost completely foreign to him now, however, Ultimation remains to guard his labs.
Fantomex places his hand in a strange substance, and looks surprised. He tells himself that the World is a man-made environment designed to create super soldiers using Sentinel technology. But since he has been gone, it has become something else. It is not sentient – such an outcome is impossible by design, but he does see intention behind the changes, which leads Fantomex to the next logical conclusion – there is someone (thing) here controlling it. A strange creature stares back at him, while his robot hands him a bottle of Cognac. Fantomex stares at the graveyard of cyber-life that he uncovered while searching for the mysterious trespasser.
The cyber-life is not Phalanx, not Technarchy and not Reaver – but a Frankenstein’s Monster with elements of all three, amid others, more familiar, man-made technologies. Stark. Roxxon. Osborn. Fantomex recalls how he spent months recompositioning side files on zombified bio-computers in hopes they would reveal who (what) had set this place to fast forward. Once hacked and initiated, the code ran wild, deluded, dreaming in impossible equations…an algorithm of sentient infinity.
Images of various Weapon Program subjects appear on the screens before Fantomex, as the computer he ran the equation on became self-aware, grew into a monster and attempted to kill him. ‘Lesson one: be on your guard within this place. One must be mindful of what the World is…and who created it’ Fantomex tells himself, adding that even its botched failures have their role to play in his fate. He pours himself a glass of Cognac, recalling that before destroying the living computer, he salvaged four pieces of information from it:
1. Weapon Infinity is united.
2. Weapon Infinity is viral.
3. Weapon Infinity travels omni-time.
4. The architect of the quirk is sequested in a subterranean chamber, deep in the World, entombed under a million years of progress. His (its) mischief is undeniable.
Fantomex drinks the Cognac and walks to an access panel on the wall, telling himself that he will continue his efforts to find and destroy him (it) and he (it) will continue to do the same to Fantomex…but the World simply isn’t big enough for the both of them. Fantomex steps out of the laboratory and gazes out over the strange landscape before him – where the ancient merges with the modern which merges with the futuristic, and a golden sun shines a haze down across the land, as strange creatures fly by, and Fantomex tosses his empty glass away.
Elsewhere, Fantomex makes his way into a room, recalling the steps he has taken to safeguard the World from causing more unintended trouble. ‘Despite what you might hear, size does matter’ he tells himself. He holds up a transmogrification ray gun that he stole from one Victor Von Doom, which he has used to keep the World at a containable size. It is a well guarded secret that he holds the World – the only men who know are not the secret-telling sorts. ‘So you are safe for now. Grow well…the future depends on it’ Fantomex remarks as he uses the ray gun on the World, then places a glass dish over the World.
Meanwhile, inside Cavern-X, ‘So what’s so damned important you called a meet during my Avengers time? I’m being pulled in too many directions for casual sit-downs’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan remarks as he approaches a meeting table where Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke, Warren Worthington the Third a.k.a. Angel and Wade “Deadpool” Wilson are waiting for him. Angel explains that Deadpool called the meeting, to which Deadpool tells Logan he is sorry. Angel asks Wade what is going on, whether they are in danger. Wade looks down and replies that it is not like that, and he is not sure how to start.
‘There’s no one else I can talk to about it…I called, Sally, Jessy and Raphael. I guess I’m having a hard time with…what went down. Keep having flashbacks. Can’t sleep…’ Deadpool explains. ‘This a joke?’ Logan asks. ‘So you called us here for what, therapy? You want to sit around and gab on feelings? Have a good cry?’ But Deadpool replies that he doesn’t know, that he thought if they could talk about it. ‘This isn’t easy for me to say, I’m having a tough time…this isn’t what I signed on for’ he declares. ‘Wrong. It is exactly what you signed on for – to the letter!’ Logan snaps, pointing out that they took on something terrible for the good of the entire world. ‘You aren’t supposed to be able to sleep soundly afterwards’ he exclaims, before telling everyone that if they are having misgivings about what they do in this squad to leave now.
‘Too much else going on to agonize over every mission we take on. We did the right thing, end of story’ Logan declares. ‘What? In the room – once we saw he was a kid – we all agreed it was a mistake!’ Deadpool reminds everyone. Logan grabs Deadpool and exclaims that what they agreed on was killing Apocalypse. ‘That was the mission! I don’t lose sleep – we did the right thing!’ he declares. Suddenly, Betsy speaks up, asking Logan who he is trying to convince. ‘Bringing that thing back with us was a moment of weakness that Fantomex saved us from’ Wolverine replies. ‘He murdered a kid!’ Deadpool exclaims. ‘He saved the world. We saved the world’ Logan declares, but Deadpool replies that doesn’t help him.
Wolverine exclaims that nothing can help Deadpool because he is in this for all the wrong reasons. ‘Let me save you a few years of psychotherapy and boil down your real dilemma: You’re a tick, a bloodsucking mercenary with no heart, motivated solely by money’ Logan exclaims. ‘Yeah. But I never killed a kid’ Deadpool replies as he turns and walks away. Standing in front of a statue – or possible stuffed corpse – of the Brood, Logan tells Warren to cut Wade loose, that the missions are delicate enough, so the dirtbag mercenary cannot be trusted. But Warren reveals that Wade never cashed his checks. ‘Working for me for over a year. Never cashed a one’ Warren announces. This surprises Wolverine, so Betsy goes over to him and tells him that it has been a terrible strain on all of them. ‘No one blames you for –’ she begins, but Logan turns around ‘Do I look worried?’ he asks as he storms off.
Meanwhile, inside an oddly-shaped building in the snow-covered French Alps. ‘Jean-Phillipe? I’ve spilled my lunch, dear’ a voice calls out. Fantomex enters a living room, warmed by a fire, where an elderly woman sits on a sofa, her lunch is on the floor. ‘Clumsy and blind…my maker was not kind’ the woman remarks. ‘But he granted you beauty and intellect. We shouldn’t be so greedy, mother’ Fantomex replies as begins cleaning up the spilled food. The old woman asks Jean-Phillipe where he has been, pointing out that he has been gone for days. ‘You know where I’ve been’ Fantomex replies, to which his mother tells him that he has been gone much longer than it would seem.
Fantomex explains that this project is of the utmost importance, so he must devote his attentions to it. “Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively” the old woman quotes. ‘Voltaire likely didn’t encounter any duty that held such consequence as mine’ Fantomex replies, to which his mother asks if his work is of such magnitude that he refuses to share details with her. ‘Why add to your worry?’ Fantomex asks her, to which his mother tells him that he has acted oddly since returning, and announces that some ghost is here with them. Fantomex explains that working with Xavier’s people includes tasks asked of him that do not sit well.
‘But these things serve the greater good?’ the old woman asks. ‘I believe they do. Yes’ Fantomex replies, so his mother tells him to trust his instincts, that he has an innate desire to do what is right. ‘And how is that after everything they made me for, I have any ethics at all?’ Fantomex asks. His mother tells him that their mistake was to allow him to self-determine such a thing. ‘They assumed you’d see the threat the mutants offer and gleefully engage in their slaughter’. Fantomex asks that as a mutant and a sentinel, how did they never consider the conflict born of such a dichotomy. The old woman reveals that she may have had some hand in that, explaining that as Fantomex grew, with the limited time she was allowed to see him, she tried to instil morality, to combat his other “schooling”.
Fantomex holds his mother’s hand and tells her that it is her voice he heard the loudest. ‘Perhaps they planned for me to teach you ethics’ the old woman remarks, before revealing that she wonders more about this, and exclaims ‘Perhaps I myself am not even real. Perhaps I’m merely a’, but Fantomex tells her to hush, and remarks that existence is a slippery slope, more attractive from afar than when closely examined. ‘You think, feel, and spill soup – thus you are. Now, how about we go make those mussels, open a nice wine…and enjoy the afternoon –’ Fantomex suggests, when suddenly, he goes silent. ‘Jean-Phillipe?’ he mother calls out.
Fantomex spins around, and sees a figure resembling Cyclops standing in the living room – and an optic blast is fired, cutting the sofa in two, although Fantomex manages to dive and rescue his mother. The figure steps into the light – it’s not Cyclops, but a Deathlok programmed like Cyclops. ‘Secondary target designate – Fantomex – located. Proceed to execution’ the Deathlok announces. ‘Jean-Phillipe? Who is that? What is happening?’ Fantomex’s mother calls out. The Deathlok unleashes another optic blast, but Fantomex pulls his mother to safety, only for an Elektra Deathlok to appear, ‘Protect Weapon Infinity’ it exclaims as it lunges at them. Fantomex suddenly finds the Deathlok stabbing its weapon through his hand, but he manages to kick the Deathlok away from him, and grab his mother, who asks ‘Who are they?’ ‘Assassins from beyond’ Deathlok replies. ‘What do they want?’ the old woman asks. ‘They want the World’ Fantomex explains.
Rounding a corner, they suddenly encounter Captain America and the Thing Deathloks. ‘Primary objective: Acquire the World. Safeguard Project Infinity’ the Captain America Deathlok calls out. ‘Secondary objective: Eliminate target Fantomex’ the Thing Deathlok states. ‘You will fail at both!’ Fantomex exclaims as he dives about, firing a weapon at them both. Fantomex then pulls a curtain from the railing, and wraps it around the Thing Deathlok’s head. ‘First we do something about that face of yours. A current face scarf. Very avant garde, very fashion forward’ he jokes. ‘Now for the hard part – just have to commit to it!’ Fantomex exclaims as he shoves a knife into the Thing Deathlok’s head – only to be knocked backwards by the shield of the Captain America Deathlok, which was thrown at him. ‘You struggle against peace on Earth’ the Captain America Deathlok states.
Suddenly, the Captain America Deathlok finds the glass canister sitting over the World. ‘Objective complete’ it announces, while Fantomex tells his mother to run – but suddenly, a Spider-Man Deathlok appears, and drags the old woman down a hallway. ‘Help me! Jean-Phillipe!’ she calls out. ‘She’s not who you’re after!’ Fantomex shouts. ‘For the love of God, don’t you hurt her!’ Fantomex declares as he crawls after the Spider-Man Deathlok, whose hands are firmly placed around the old woman’s head. ‘Detected target’s misdirection – ineffective on AI – achieve objectives’ the Deathlok declares. ‘Please!’ the old woman shouts. ‘Third target for termination…ancillary associates / supporters’ the Spider-Man Deathlok states, as he breaks Fantomex’ mother’s neck.
‘Monster!’ Fantomex shouts as he goes wide-eyed, and proceeds to unleash weapons fire on the Spider-Man Deathlok, which fires some webbing at him. It hits Fantomex in the chest, but Fantomex grabs the webbing and pulls the Spider-Man Deathlok towards him, flinging him into the Captain America Deathlok, he forces them out of the building. ‘The World?’ Fantomex calls out as EVA appears above him. ‘Gone. They’ve taken it’ EVA explains. Fantomex tells EVA to go and find Wolverine, to tell him what she saw here. ‘And leave you here to perish…’ EVA points out. ‘Spare me the debate – do what I tell you’ Fantomex orders.
Fantomex approaches the gaping hole in the building, ‘I know…who you monsters are. It’ll take more than you to stop me’ he begins, but outside on the snow is a Hawkeye Deathlok, bow strung, ready to fire and arrow. ‘Allies remain inside’ it states. ‘Acceptable casualties’ the Captain America Deathlok replies. The arrow beeps, and the Deathlok fires it – and an instant later, the entire building explodes. The Cyclops and Elektra Deathloks stand with the others, ‘Notify father’ the Captain America Deathlok orders as they watch the explosion.
Nearby, EVA suddenly crash lands in the snow as she escaped the explosion. ‘You are obstinate like a child’ Fantomex declares. ‘The only reason you’re still alive’ EVA reminds him. ‘If we fail to get the World back, it won’t matter’ Fantomex exclaims. ‘Mother -?’ EVA asks, but Fantomex tells her that they cannot think about that now, as he exits EVA, telling to scan the area. ‘Keep a lock on the…monsters’ he exclaims as he looks up – only to see the actual Deathlok standing over him!