Moments ago, the Whirldemon King revealed himself to the FF and X-23 and possessed Valeria Richards, giving them his ultimatum: Activate the device or he will kill the child. Val’s parents protest angrily but the demon only grins, announcing they will give him what he wants or their child will die.
Sue Richards offers her body instead. Maybe, he laughs, after his people are free. Are they just gonna stand there? the Thing whispers and Reed orders him to stay.
The demon king announces he can feel the edge of the prison. He can taste its cold air. This device lets him escape; it will do the same for the others.
Richards remarks they don’t know how it worked the first time. He believes he will be motivated to find a solution, the Whirldemon King replies. If not, then the child will aid him. Her mind is quite fluid. He can almost sense the answer in her thoughts.
Laura warns Sue and Reed that he will kill Val no matter what they do. Sue is convinced, though Reed insists she not destroy the device. They need time. Laura unsheathes her claws. She tells the king she is the one he wants, if he wishes to see his people again. Sue protests he should take her. She is Val’s mother!
Disagreeing, Laura tells her that Sue is needed by others. Laura is not! She reasons her presence activated the device and called the king to come through. It will do so again for his people. What makes her different? the demon asks. She doesn’t know. Perhaps he will learn this too.
He agrees and moves from Valeria’s body to X-23’s, after which Mr. Fantastic quickly snatches Val away to safety. Spider-Man tries to calm Laura on whose forehead the sigil has appeared. She slashes him. She is trapped in a forcefield.
Struggling with the demon, Laura shouts at Sue to destroy the device. Reed tries to reverse the order. The portal activates. Laura runs towards it. The Thing gets in her way. Laura orders him away. Behind him, the portal opens. The king begins to groan. Laura moves. When the Thing doesn’t react, she struggles with herself, then somersaults over him. She tells Sue what needs to be done. Sue throws her the device and Laura jumps into the tunnel. She falls into the darkness towards a light.
She awakes at the feet of the king’s throne, pinned to the ground. Angrily, he announces she tricked him. She knew he would not be able to possess her entirely. He is not the first to try to control her, she explains. She was raised by men to be controlled. She resisted them. He is nothing in comparison. He admits he was a fool and strove for freedom. Look what it gained him. Nothing, she tells him. And her an eternity of pain, he threatens. For what good? Keeping that world safe? Was the sacrifice worth it? Yes, she announces.
He wonders if she will still say the same thing a year from now or ten years or hundred years. He is not going to kill her; he is going to keep her alive. She will wish for death before long…
One of his servants severs her right hand at the wrist with a knife. Fascinated, he stares at the starshaped scar in her palm. She must tell him about his. He hasn’t seen this symbol in eons. It is the mark of the starsword. It is a sign of power.
The scar begins to glow and the energy engulfs him. He drops the hand. Laura grabs it and calmly reattaches it. She knows nothing of signs. She only knows action and death.
A light from above engulfs her and the Uni-power turns her into Captain Universe. She knows he will never defeat her. With her added power, she diminishes the attacking army.
He has hungered for this, the king announces. He has dreamed of extinguishing the light that imprisoned his people. Oh he has dreamed! Laura attacks. Energy hits energy. He vows that never again the Uni-power will harm his kind. It is nothing! Just a memory of light in the body of a girl! A dead star. He throws her down.
No, she refuses to accept. Light pours forth from her chest and hits him. They could battle for a thousand years, but she is never going home, he promises. She is trapped for eternity!
Is she? Laura looks up. She can still see the stars. She can’t touch them, he mocks. She doesn’t need to, she insists. She is made of stars. With that, she flies upwards, hearing a voice: My little star, my chosen vessel. How bright you burn. Never forget. This is just the beginning.
Laura flies into the darkness and wakes up in a bed in the Baxter Building. Sue is sitting beside her. Sue explains that Laura returned to the lab moments after she leapt through the portal. She’s been asleep for days. What happened?
Laura tells her what she remembers, but isn’t sure what happened. What happened is that she sacrificed herself to save her daughter, Sue tells her. She must forget how young she really is.
Spidey peeks in, happy to see Laura awake. He’s found some people who have been worried about her. Worried? Cecilia Reyes mocks. Gambit here was freaking out. Sue reminds Laura she has a lot of friends. Laura doesn’t understand. Sue tells her she is needed more than she knows.
Later, Laura meets Alex Cinicini, who still doesn’t know what she wanted from him. He’s sure they never met. It was years ago, Laura replies reluctantly. Years ago, he was living in Hong Kong, Alex remembers. She was there, Laura agrees. Why did she want to find him? he asks. No reason, she announces and apologizes for bothering him. She is sorry.
She leaves without further explanation and tells Gambit she couldn’t tell Alex that she murdered his parents. She lied to him. She has never lied to anyone. What a crime! he mocks. It would have been a crime to make him remember the pain of his loss, she decides. He seemed happy. She would have burdened him with an unnecessary truth, just so she would feel better. He is proud of her, Gambit tells her. Why? Laura asks. She will understand eventually, he promises.