It is a small problem, the Collector announces regarding the fact that Valeria and Franklin Richards are floating outside in space, trapped in small bubbles. It is not, X-23 replies gravely. That’s because she is mortal, he retorts. When you are as old as the universe, all problems are small. Hellion remarks he is just an old guy who lives on a space dump. If that ever happens to him, someone put him out of his misery! The Collector offers to oblige him.
They are going to die, if he doesn’t hurry! X-23 snaps. Everyone dies, he replies, except for him. He has finally found what he was looking for among his hoard. A see-through device that will allow Laura to leave the ship and fetch the children.
Hellion asks if he doesn’t have a tractor beam under all that junk. It… is… not… junk! he replies angrily. None of this stuff matters, Hellion replies.
Laura interrupts their argument: she must save the kids. The Collector helps her put on the helmet. Laura threatens she will kill him if he interferes with the rescue. Julian offers to keep him in line. Oh, spare him! the Collector scoffs. He helps Laura put on the rest of the suit. He tells her to back up against the airlock. Julian is still suspicious but Laura reminds him she has no choice and he tells her to be careful.
Laura is sucked outside and she steers towards the kids. Looking outside, Julian marvels she is the bravest person he knows. If he says so, the Collector replies disinterested.
Val shouts they have plenty of air, but Laura can’t hear her.
What’s taking so long? Julian asks. The Collector smirks. Apparently, he forgot to give his friend the means to return the pods to the ship. Do something about it! Julian orders. Tell him about his hands first! the Collector demands. Angrily, Julian orders him to help Laura. And why would he do that? He grabs the boy by the throat. He knows his kind. He knows of Wolverine, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers. For more years than he can count, he’s wanted them for his collection. Alive or dead! He was prepared to be vexed about the opening of a portal onto his ship as well as the theft of one of his prized specimen, but it was a blessing. He knows who these children belong to. Sue and Reed Richards. Imagine what they would give him in return for their children.
Hellion vows they won’t let him do this. Funny, the Collector replies. He thinks he’ll take his hands first, and then her claws, once the girl’s device shuts off… In 30 seconds or so… she won’t be alive to fight the extraction.
Laura looks back to the ship. Val suggests she try to activate a propulsion unit in the pod. So now she’s trying to figure out the controls, Franklin bickers while Laura tries to grab the pods and drag them towards the ship.
However, her suit suddenly fades. Unprotected in the vacuum of space, blood begins to come from her mouth.
The Collector looks forward to her death and addition to his collection. Laura begins to claw at the ship, damaging the device that holds up a protective field in front of the entrance. Both the Collector and Julian are sucked out into space.
The Collector immediately throws up a protective forcefield. Julian emulates this with his telekinesis which works again outside the ship. He flies towards the unconscious Laura and grabs her, as well as the pods, and flies towards the ship. The Collector is already aboard, muttering about the chaos to his precious things. The entrance is about to close. Hellion speeds up and barely manages to get them all aboard. However, inside the ship his powers fade again.
While the Collector’s attention is on Hellion, Valeria frees herself from the globe and tries CPR on Laura.
He ruined everything! the Collector shouts at Julian. He will take his hands in payment and then hang his skeleton from his bridge!
Laura stabs him in the throat. He will do no such thing! The Collector flashes her a bloody smile. He is immortal! Nothing she will do can stop him. Perhaps, or perhaps not, she replies and gets to work.
When she’s done Val is still working on freeing Franklin. Laura worries that will not keep the Collector for long. Leave that to her, Val smirks. The controls for the transporter are easy. He even stored the dragon’s world’s coordinates. Is that thing going to eat them? Julian wonders. Maybe him, Franklin snarks.
Val sends the dragon through the portal and then change coordinates. This should take them back to New York. Laura holds on the kids as they step through. They find themselves home in the Baxter Building. Which is as they left it – a mess. How long before their parents are home? Julian asks. Ten minutes, he is told. They are screwed, he announces.
Ten minutes of very hard work later the place looks normal again and the Richards come home to find Val and Franklin sleeping on the couch next to Laura. He’s never seen them that tired, Reed wonders. They went for a… walk, Laura explains.
A short time later, Laura leaves. Julian is waiting downstairs and asks if they bought it. It went well, she replies, then wishes him a good night. He grabs her arm. They still need to talk. He was brave tonight, she tells him and thanks him for his help. Julian swears, then kisses her. Everything is going to be different now, he tells her smiling.
She knows and tells him good-bye. Just for tonight, right? he asks confused. No, she replies. So she is leaving the city? No, she is staying. What the hell is she saying to him. She is saying there is nothing between them. After all these years? he shouts angrily she’s lying. Or maybe she’s just incapable of feeling anything. Maybe what everyone says is true. She really is just a machine! She’ll never want anyone!
He is wrong! Laura replies. She feels. Wants. She just does not want him. With that parting shot she leaves.
Later she sits in a diner, barely touching her food. He heard a dragon flew through Times Square tonight, Gambit remarks as he sits down. She hurt Julian, she replies. Permanently? he asks hopefully. Laura explains he meant something to her. Before, when she was with the X-Men. She still feels something, but it is not the same. She does not know why.
He tells her people change. She’s changed… He watched it happen. Sometimes relationships survive and get better because of that. Sometimes they don’t and you have to let them go.
Has he ever let go of someone? Easier said than done! he laughs. He suggests they leave. She can tell him about the dragon during the drive.
He leaves her in one of the apartments belonging to him. When she enters, she finds Jubilee waiting for her.