Gabriel Summers, now known as Vulcan, is a powerful mutant out on a mission of vengeance for things that were done long before he was Vulcan. He recently learned of his true origin and, although the memories are too hard to bear, he cannot stop thinking about it.
(flashback to Gabriel’s birth)
Christopher and Katherine Summers were kidnapped from Earth by the Shi’ar Advance Scouts, while his mother was pregnant with Gabriel. Christopher tried valiantly to protect them from the evil emperor D’Ken, but his efforts were in vain, and he was forced to watch D’Ken ripping Gabriel from his dying mother’s womb. Gabriel almost died but he was placed inside an incubation-accelerator where he grew up to suitable slave age in only months.
Knowing these things would be bad enough for Vulcan, but having actually seen the images in his own memory and seeing the madman laughing over his mother’s corpse is enough to drive him across the great blackness of space. He wishes to find this Emperor D’Ken and make him pay. With each passing day, he wishes he hadn’t made Marvel Girl and Charles Xavier show him how he came to be, because he cannot wash these images away. So, he will have to burn them out instead.
He has lost track of the days since he left Earth but it’s been at least a week. He approaches a Shi’ar star cruiser at high speed. They are unprepared for him, and that’s something he’s been counting on. He ploughs straight through the ship, destroying it. Its crew float into space, helpless against their attacker.
The remains of the ship drift into the emptiness of space along with the crew. It’s almost too easy, thinks Vulcan. There must be more to the Shi’ar than this! He grabs a hold of one crewmember wearing a space suit, which allows him to survive the cold, oxygen-free environment of the vacuum. He asks the man if he understands him, to which he replies that he does. Shi’ar galaxians learn nearly every spoken language. He asks, though, how Vulcan manages to speak in the emptiness. Vulcan replies that his voice is pure energy, transmitting to his communicator.
The man asks why he has attacked them. They aren’t a warship. Vulcan tells him that they are Shi’ar - isn’t that enough? The man assures him that the Shi’ar are no longer a threat to Earth, but Vulcan asks rhetorically if that is supposed to erase the things they have done. He doesn’t think so. He asks how far away the Shi’ar homeworld is. The man replies that he will never make it to Chandilar alive. Throneworld’s defenses could hold back Galactus himself for days. Vulcan clenches his fist and asks if he’d rather die for his corrupt empire. The man quickly agrees to tell him what he needs to know.
He informs Vulcan that even at his speed, it would take several years to reach Chandilar. The Stargates are the only way to arrive more swiftly. However, only Shi’ar vessels may activate the gates. A man flying alone under his own power through the heavenly terrain, as wondrous as Vulcan may be, will not be able to activate them.
Vulcan figures he’ll have to find another ship, because he has business with his emperor, D’Ken, and he doesn’t intend to wait years to settle it. “D’Ken?” replies the man, surprised. He informs Vulcan that he’s waited too long. D’Ken has lain in the sleep of the near-dead for many cycles. Lilandra is empress of the Shi’ar. “What!” barks Vulcan. The man adds that he seeks vengeance on a ghost. He rages at history. Vulcan, having let the man go, flies towards him and replies, “No… I rage at you.” He unleashes a burst of energy from his hand that rips right through his unfortunate victim leaving him a smoldering carcass as he floats away.
Vulcan realizes that the man is right. He needs a ship in order to travel more quickly. He extends his arms outwards. Through his exposure to a massive amount of mutant energy, Vulcan was not only awakened from his own near-death state, but his abilities were elevated to omega-level. He now remembers his training and the words of Professor Xavier, and his senses reach out into the blackness around him, searching until he feels the power cells of three Shi’ar ships pulsing in the distance. Following their trail is straight-forward after that.
As he approaches the Shi’ar warships, they don’t hesitate to attack. They fire rockets at Vulcan but he explodes them before they reach. He is knocked backwards by the shock wave, but turns to fight. He only needs one of the ships intact, but he would like the ship’s crew to serve him of their own will. His brief memories of his father’s time with the Shi’ar show the Shi’ar to respect that which can defeat them. They respect what they fear. He knows that it will take most of his energy to destroy two of the ships, and he’s not even certain that it can be done.
Vulcan flies around the ships, causing their seeker missiles to follow him back towards them. Two of the ships are damaged; their power sources exploding when the missiles hit home. Their weapons, life support and artificial gravity shut down, and the two warships drift towards each other swiftly, until colliding, destroying both.
With the little energy he has left, Vulcan communicates with the remaining warship. He gives them a choice: either join their companions in death or surrender their vessel to his command. He gives the captain one minute to decide. The captain doesn’t know how weak Vulcan is now, but he does figure that he cannot stand against such a powerful figure. He clenches his fist. “We are defeated!”
Vulcan boards his ship and is hailed by the captain who offers him a sword. Vulcan tells him to keep it. He doesn’t need one, and the captain might want to fall on it at some point in the near future.
Vulcan is resting in his chambers when the captain arrives. Vulcan asks if his orders are understood. The captain replies that they will be followed, but he doesn’t understand why the stargates must be destroyed as they pass through them. It will cripple interstellar travel for the empire. Vulcan is sure it will, but he’s not that concerned about the Shi’ar. He’s thinking of the Earthmen who will follow him. The captain informs him that Earthers cannot access the gates, but Vulcan warns him not to underestimate them.
He then asks about Lilandra. The captain explains that Lilandra inherited the throne when great Emperor D’Ken was taken by illness. She is the youngest sister of the Neremani line. Her older sister is in exile, and her name is Deathbird. No one has heard of her for a while, but it is believed she still lives. Vulcan finds this information interesting. He suggests the captain take a seat, and then asks for a crash course on Shi’ar history. He needs to know what he is up against.
Days pass, and Vulcan’s knowledge of the Shi’ar grows with each of them. His newly acquired ship passes through the outer territories of Shi’ar space, spreading destruction in its wake. Vulcan watches from his seat on the command deck, knowing that his legend is growing with each attack. He also knows that rumor and fear of his arrival has by now reached the Throneworld. It’s a perfect plan, like that of his hero, Julius Caesar.
The Warbird exits another stargate, taking it into the inner realms of the Shi’ar Empire. Vulcan orders them to blow the gate, and the stargate explodes behind them. He orders his crew to prepare to repel the borders, but a crewmember informs him that there are no ships within scanning range. Then, another crewman informs Vulcan that they are being hailed from space. Vulcan thought as much. He orders them to put them on the comm.
Outside the ship, Gladiator and three members of the Imperial Guard are in the ship’s path, leaving their own ship behind. Gladiator informs the captain of the M’Kaedo that he is guilty of treason against the imperium. He is ordered to surrender his vessel and turn himself in for summary judgment, or face the wrath of the Imperial Guard!