Wolverine wanders around the space ship whilst Paradox sleeps and Monark Starstalker meditates. Ulysses, the golden robot owl flies around, providing Logan with details of what they are doing there in outer space.
The lengthy explanation is that their organization, VEGS (Venture Executives for Galactic Security), acts in a non-governmental capacity in an environment that encourages risk and imagination and which needs growth and development, to cultivate secure territories in which business and capital may flourish. Logan listens but all he can think about is how much space sucks and how bad Paradox’s clothing collection is. Ulysses continues to say that VEGS has, amongst other things, averted terrorist actions and alternate dimension incursions. This has opened up market access to over a trillion customers.
VEGS, it adds, is looking to branch out into this corner of the cosmos, laying the groundwork for future investment. Logan soon has enough of its explanations and asks for details about the current mission. Ulysses replies that it can’t do that, as the information is private, so Logan asks instead for the skinny on his two new companions. As he prepares to press a switch on the control panel, Monark appears and asks him not to touch it. Logan presses it anyway, figuring he could survive the consequences. He asks what it does, but Monark admits he hasn’t a clue. As far as he knows, it generates a black hole in the nearest gravity well. Logan looks out the window and nothing happens, which he figured. He asks Monark what happens if he touches him.
He replies by asking what he means by “him.” Does he mean him in the solid format before him or as a disbursed nano-cloud? He’d need to pierce his shields and armor to find out if there’s anything solid behind it. By then, he adds, Ulysses would be all over Wolverine with his weapons systems, which are geared towards battlefield conditions. Finally, if Logan really hurt him, he’d have to worry about his nanites cohesing into a self-destruct device in order to protect their proprietary technology. But, as with the ship, he doesn’t really have a clue because he’s new to being a nano-tool. The owner’s manual is a foot thick, virtually. “Similar to your skull in that respect,” adds Paradox who is now out of bed.
Paradox says that all he can tell Logan is that he is from the Terrain calendar 2181 A.D. He asks Logan what year it is. Logan tells him it’s 2011. Paradox informs Monark that he is from an alternate 2181 with the approximate technological accomplishment of 2030. Monark corrects him, explaining that he’s from a parallel alternate space-time stream where it’s only 2022, and his body is still more advanced than Paradox’s crappy gun. Paradox asks Wolverine to decide whose body is more technically advanced. Wolverine tells them that they’re both pretty so they should stop fighting. He wishes to know what kind of job their bosses have them doing on planet Earth.
Monark tells him it’s client-privileged information. Paradox adds that they are bounty hunters looking for a crazy guy with some controlled weapons-grade material. Monark can’t believe he just told him that but cannot stop him opening his mouth. Paradox continues to explain that they’re after a technecrotic virus which, according to their brief, is a variation on Technarcy DNA, akin to the Phalanx mutation but not really alive. Logan is all too familiar with Technarcy and the Phalanx. “Not really alive?” he asks. Paradox reckons it’s like an undead mutation. “Zombie techno-organic material?” asks Logan. Monark interjects and asks Ulysses to give them the low-down.
The robot informs them that while the Technarcy are self-replicating techno-organic life forms and the Phalanx a mutation thereof, technecrotic material is a techno-organic virus that infects organic and non-organic hosts, imbuing them with a semblance of “life.” Paradox says he likes to call them zombies, as they’re mindless killing things with no heartbeats. Wolverine asks what happened to Driver Reese. Where did she catch the infection? Monark thinks that’s a good question and essentially the reason they brought Logan with them. That, adds Paradox, and the fact the he seems adept at killing big things and is also immune to the technecrotic zombie stuff. “Virus” Monark reminds him. “Whatever,” replies Paradox.
Logan thinks he has a pretty good idea how she got infected. He tussled recently with a guy who called himself Contagion. He collected stuff like that and she spent some time around his place. They ask if he can be specific about the location but Logan tells them it doesn’t matter. Contagion’s no longer a concern. However, he had some nasty employees and he has a feeling one of them may have grabbed this technecrotic stuff. Paradox asks if he cares to share. They could pay a small finder’s fee. Logan replies that he can take his money and shove it. He won’t say any more until he knows more about who they’re working for.
They inform him that they came through the Fault. They’re space-time refugees, or St’rugees. Logan asks what the Fault is. Ulysses explains that it’s a hole in the fabric of space-time that lies along the border between the Shi’Ar and Kree empires, seven parsecs at its widest point. It was created by the detonation of the T-Bomb. It appears to serve as a portal for life forms and objects to pass from alternate physical-temporal dimensions.
Monark spills the beans on how he got there. He hitched a ride through on a lost Nova Corps vessel. He didn’t realize where or when he was going and it’s too late now. He can’t go back. The good news is that in this space-time, he is self-aware and self-determining. He’s almost the man he thought he was. Monark Starstalker… swashbuckling bounty hunter. Turns out, though, he is a Technos Group shill. Every bounty he ever collected back there and every job was to extend Technos’ interests. He didn’t know the word Nanotool until he found out he was one.
Paradox then explains that he is a spy. Technically, he’s there to spy on this Monkey-verse and gather what intelligence he can. He feels that the Interplanetary Security Agency views him as a loose cannon and flushed him through the Fault in the hope that he’d never return. He reckons it’s their loss as he was by far their best agent and all he ever got out of it was a kinky paranormal body that slows his inevitable demise from radiation poisoning.
Between them, they explain how they met at a St’rugee bar in Shi’Ar space. Paradox was in a seductive female form and Monark inevitably kissed her before Paradox revealed himself to his new friend. Monark realized he didn’t mind this situation and even took advantage of the shape-shifting possibilities Paradox offered. They eventually formed a partnership which, mostly, has worked. Logan asks where VEGS comes in. Monark explains that they were offered a job which suited a couple of St’rugees.
Monark heads to the computers to see if he can find the Terra Grid again. Logan asks Paradox if Monark can’t run his own ship. He explains that the ship isn’t his, to which Monark adds that they needed a ship in order to book the job. Logan asks, in that case, whose is it? At that moment, Ulysses warns them of incoming hostiles. They turn to see another ship outside and four smaller craft coming from it heading their way. Paradox can’t believe that the ship’s owners found them so fast. Logan looks at the computers, figuring there must be a weapons system somewhere. Outside, General Kosrouschah orders them to surrender his vessel immediately. If it remains intact, he adds, he promises them no more than an eternity of pain. Paradox informs Logan that he’s a kinky piece of cybernetics and maybe just a little bit peeved that he misrepresented himself to him. “And you stole his ship,” replies Logan.
The general warns them that, if they force him to damage his ship, he will wrack their soul on the wheels of dismay. Paradox points out that the General actually gave him the ship as a wedding present. The fact he thought he was giving it to a woman who looked unhealthily similar to his mother is beside the point. Logan asks how tough these guys are. Monark replies, “Oh, very.” He looks at the four small craft heading towards them. He explains that the pinkish thing is a P’tah. Their whole race was exiled for meanness. The golden space suit thing is a Pheragot… hugely strong. The General is a sadist, in case Logan hadn’t gathered and the one with the claws is a Scatter. It barely has a mind and exists to kill and eat. He warns Logan not to let it scratch him.
The general tells them that their silence speaks their doom! As the P’tah approaches the window riding a space shark, Logan asks if there’s a vacuum suit around. Monark admits he hasn’t looked as he’s a robot. “You have to breathe?” asks Paradox. “Occasionally,” replies Logan. Paradox morphs into a more muscular being and asks Logan to hold his breath as the shark that the P’tah is riding crashes through the window into the ship. “#### spacemen,” sighs Logan.
Logan snikts his claws and jams them into the floor to prevent him from being sucked out into space, whilst Paradox blasts the P’tah with some kind of energy bolt, slicing him in two. Monark takes on the Pheragot, slicing him through the chest with his sword as Logan thrusts his other claws into the Scatter’s body. Ulysses makes itself useful by attacking the shark.
The battle rages on in an oxygen-free vacuum. Paradox does well but Monark Starstalker has to be helped out by Ulysses, who sinks its talons into the Pheragot’s skull. Unfortunately for Wolverine, the Scatter unleashes a horde of spidery creatures on him, which immediately begin to bite into his flesh. Paradox decapitates the Scatter, using one of the flying craft and then proceeds to stamp on the critters, calling them nasty, disgusting beasts. Ulysses erects an emergency force field and stabilizes the atmosphere as Monark blasts more of the creatures into oblivion.
Monark asks Logan and Paradox if any of them scratched him. Paradox replies that in the form he is in it would take an orbital laser to scratch him. Good, replies Monark, as all they have to do to lay eggs inside of you is scratch the skin. Logan looks down and with impending realization replies, “Eggs?” A second later, hundreds of the creatures begin to hatch from his body and begin to overrun him.