The Stratocorp “Stringstar” anchor base, where several members of the X-Men and some mutated sea creatures have engaged Stratocorp guards in battle. Madison Jeffries holds the pregnant Danger in his arms and moves to safety. ‘Open sesame’ he calls out, using his mutant power to tear open the metal in a wall, enabling him to enter the building. Jeffries calls out to the computer, asking ‘You accessible down here?’ to which the supercomputer responds by remarking that it is relieved Madison survived his descent from above - but Jeffries tells the computer to skip it. ‘This is all your damned fault!’ he exclaims. He places Danger on a table, and the hazy form that the Supercomputer takes hovers over her. ‘It’s… at last. It’s -’ the computer begins. ‘Your baby mama, yeah. The kid’s killing her’ Jeffries tells the computer.
Angrily, Jeffries tells the computer that it will help Danger now, ‘Or by the grinding gears of God I will strip you to atoms and rebuild you as a $%&#*$% snowblower!’ The computer pauses, before responding ‘Yes. Of course’, and asks Jeffries to connect Danger. Madison prepares to, while Danger tells him that she needs him, too. ‘But see, this is exactly the problem. We woulda had, D. I ain’t got a socket-thingy to -’ Jeffries starts to reply. The Supercomputer announces that the hard-light suite is accessible from here. ‘You may attend the procedure in proxy. If you so wish’. Madison pauses, then looking out at the battle, replies ‘Sure. I’m right with ya, D’. He takes Danger’s hand, while the Supercomputer connects to Madison’s mind, as Madison remarks that he isn’t a whole lot of use out here.
Elsewhere Lida, the mutated Atlantean woman, hovers in the air, controlling the creatures around her, forcing them to attack the Stratocorp officers, while Emma Frost and Hope Summers battle near Kavita Rao. Kavita calls out to Lida, asking her to be calm. ‘The cell-cascade - don’t do this’ she adds. ‘Doctor’ Lida declares. ‘This is my fault. I should’ve cured this. I could’ve cured this’ Kavita laments. ‘Doctor’ Lida says once more, announcing that she hears her God, that she hears him and is not afraid. ‘Go with Neptune’s blessing, woman of science. Do not fear. Do not regret’ And do. Nnnnot. WATCH’ Lida snarls as she mutates further, Kavita turns and runs, tears in her eyes.
Kavita finds her way into the Stratocorp building and takes cover from the battle outside, when suddenly, she hears a telepathic voice: ‘My beautiful coat. I bet it’s ruined’. Kavita approaches another room, ‘Oh. Oh no. Not you too’ she declares, finding Doctor Nemesis lying sprawled out on the floor. ‘Know that voice’ the telepathic starfish on Doctor Nemesis’ head calls out. ‘Petri-Girl, listen: Terrigen’. Doctor Nemesis announces. ‘What?’ Kavita asks. Blood pooling around his body, Nemesis asks Kavita if she has a sample, while the telepathic starfish projects his thought: ‘Mmm you smell nice’. Reaching into her satchel, Kavita replies that she has some right here. ‘You will inject me’ Doctor Nemesis instructs her. ‘But -’ Kavita begins. ‘You will not argue’ Nemesis tells her.
Holding the syringe up, Kavita tells Doctor Nemesis that he is a mess, and that he should not get bossy. ‘Shush. Need to transcend. Evolve. Insane cosmic Nazi. Evil science. Plan to reshape history. Can’t fight him like this’ Doctor Nemesis explains. He takes the syringe and injects himself, while Kavita warns him that it will kill him. ‘Yes’ Nemesis replies, adding that for anything less than the fate of the entire universe, that would be too high a price. Blue energy starts to glow around Doctor Nemesis, who gets to his feet, and declares ‘Farewell recognizable reality… I’m just stepping outside’.
At that moment, in the digital sense-struct of the Stratocorp Supercomputer’s internal matrix. ‘…the hell…?’ Madison utters as he examines his new surroundings. ‘Jeffries? Hold me’ Danger calls out. The Supercomputer reports that the youth is haemorrhaging, that its parent-codes were imperfectly compatible. The Supercomputer states that it cannot randomize and cannot invent. ‘I cannot deliver it’ the computer adds. ‘Don’t you die’ Jeffries whispers as he holds Danger. ‘You’ the Supercomputer begins. ‘Living creative intangibility linked to the host… you are the chaos we need’ the Supercomputer explains. ‘Is… is he talking about love?’ Madison asks. ‘You shall be our forceps, Madison Jeffries’ the computer declares, linking itself to Madison, who puts a hand on Danger, and energy spills from Danger.
‘Behold, a new creation, o puny universe… for I am become Experimentallo, Weird-King of Science’ Doctor Nemesis boasts as he moves about the Between, the Beyond, the Abstraction of Exoversality. ‘Idiot’ a voice calls out. ‘You really think yourself potent, Doctor Bradley?’ the voice asks. ‘Uh-oh’ the starfish projects. ‘You suppose a little mutation - a little widening of your monkey-mind - can match me here?’ Schragesturm asks. Doctor Nemesis stands his ground before the strange being, who declares that this place is a concept. ‘We walk between the discarded possibilities. This is a realm of purest theory, and where you have only just opened your brain to its beauties… I’ve had my head in this cloud for decades. And thanks to your space elevator now I can shape it at will’. Schragesturm casts energy at Doctor Nemesis, knocking him backwards.
‘Let me guess - you’re going to locate a reality where Hitler never died… then entangle it with our own…’ Doctor Nemesis ventures, while the starfish projects his thoughts: ‘Predictable things: Death, taxes, Nazi evil schemes -’, but Schragesturm smirks and declares ‘Oh, please, Hitler was an idiot-goblin who couldn’t strategize his way out of a toilet, let alone manage global war. Nein, Doctor Bradley… I shall collapse our reality into one where the ridiculous man was murdered at the start’. He will take Hitler’s place. ‘Not gonna happen, Fritz’ Nemesis calls out. ‘Indeed? And why is that?’ the villain frowns. ‘Can’t run an empire with my fist down your throat!’ Nemesis declares as he gathers himself and lunges forward, punching Schragesturm in the face.
Back in the real world, Kavita stands alone. ‘Stupid. Stupid cure. Stupid Neptune. Stupid science fail’ she mutters. Holding the syringe, she calls herself a stupid woman, and looks out at the water, where waves are crashing about. Kavita’s jaw drops, ‘Waves. That’s it. That’s it!’ she exclaims as she rushes further into the Stratocorp facility, turning back, she looks outside and smiles, ‘Um. Thanks’ she utters.
Madison has returned to reality, too, and clutches his head, while the supercomputer stands nearby in its hazy form, a green glowing star before it. ‘The child. The code. The code’ the computer declares. Still holding onto Danger, Jeffries tells her that he doesn’t want to sound dense, ort nothing, and that he is relieved as all hell she is okay. ‘But do you have any damn idea what’s going on?’ he asks. Danger explains that the entity is imprisoned in the computer, locked behind an algorithm it’s mind couldn’t even perceive. ‘So it created a new one which could’. The new form starts to emerge from the Supercomputer, ‘Yessss’ a strange voice calls out. ‘Wait - you mean the kid? This AI risked yer life with a designer baby just ‘cuz it could set him free?’ Madison asks. ‘Define “life” Madison Jeffries’ the new entity asks, its appearance consisting of a large gaping mouth with huge jaws. ‘Buddy, you… you $%&^# owe us’ Jeffries declares angrily, pointing his finger.
‘Moment of crystal self-awareness’ the starfish projects in the strange reality. ‘I am fighting - between the skeins of reality!’ Doctor Nemesis calls out, as he kicks Schragesturm in the face. ‘I have the best job’ Doctor Nemesis boasts. ‘Had’ Schragesturm replies as he casts back some energy, striking Doctor Nemesis, who falls backwards. Schragesturm smiles and asks Nemesis if he feels the tension. ‘The inertia of eleven dimensions?’ he asks. ‘Stop… please… I beg you…’ Doctor Nemesis calls out as he falls backwards, further and further away, his form starting to vanish. ‘No more… exposition’ he begs. But Schragesturm declares that the threads are gathered. ‘Here, my friend. Here is the perfect history… even now the Stringstar severs the membranes. Only it shall remain unchanged outside the collapse’.
Indeed, the orbiting Stratocorp facility sends waves of energy downwards, as Schragesturm explains that it is a fortress, a temple of science to flood the new World-Reich with the technologies that Doctor Nemesis has provided. ‘Two realities. The one that is and the one that might have been. And to collapses the superposition…? To annihilate one and exalt the other? I need merely observe it’ the villain announces. Doctor Nemesis tries to push forward, ‘Wait… something you need to know: there’s someone behind you’ Doctor Nemesis calls out, his form almost gone. ‘Pitiful…I expected better, Do-’ the villain begins, when suddenly, ‘He is correct. Dr Heiden, I consider time an alien concept’ a voice calls out. Schragesturm turns and looks nervous, ‘The entity…’ he utters. ‘Nonetheless, having blundered onto your plane of reality, I’m aware I spent a great deal of time imprisoned within you. Such biases must be balanced’. With that, Schragesturm screams as he is sucked into the strange entity, while Nemesis leaps through a portal nearby.
‘Wwwwwin!’ Doctor Nemesis exclaims as he re-materializes in the Stratocorp base. ‘Super Nemesis wins at all science!’ Doctor Nemesis boasts, throwing his fist into the air. ‘He shall now perish in a spasm of mutagenic martyrdom, and his grateful underlines shall ensure his tombstone is twice as big as Darwin’s!’ Doctor Nemesis exclaims. ‘So mote it be!’ he adds. ‘Underlings…?’ Doctor Nemesis calls out, looking around, Kavita is nearby, at a console. ‘Nearly…’ she utters. ‘Petri-Girl! Tae a note! I have last worlds t-’ Doctor Nemesis starts to say, but Kavita instructs him to shush, pointing out that she is saving his life. ‘Wh-’ Doctor Nemesis begins, to which Kavita explains ‘Wave functions. Said it yourself. A mutagenic pollutant with “spooky quantum properties”. She adds that all that time in the ship with the entity changed the Terrigen - disrupted its probability state.
‘Don’t you see, James?’ Kavita asks. Doctor Nemesis, his form still strange, replies ‘Um’, to which Kavita tells him that her cure worked perfectly, that it just didn’t vibrate in the right dimension. ‘But you’re just a microscope monkey’ Doctor Nemesis declares. ‘Fiddling with grown-up physics toys is not allowed, and -’ Nemesis begins, but Kavita holds up the syringe and declares that it is ready. She turns to Nemesis, ‘Wait’ he tells her. ‘Stop stop stop!’ If… if I die. There’s something I want you to know: Kavita… Kavita, given more time… I would almost certainly have grown to tolerate your company’. Kavita just frowns. ‘You romantic devil’ she tells him before shoving the syringe into his neck. Doctor Nemesis falls to the floor,
Four days later, at the Stringstar anchor base, Cyclops stands at a podium, reporters and camera crews before him, the X-Men and X-Club members behind him. ‘Welcome back, friends. Let me be the first to assure you the danger and… and machinations of the past week are now over, and while I can’t claim to understand all the complexities of the s-’ Cyclops begins, before Doctor Nemesis pushes him aside, ‘It’s perfectly simple, Monobrow’ Doctor Nemesis declares. Standing at the podium, he announces that an extra-conceptual entity which was held captive by their secretly fascist allies has now returned to its native plane, taking with it all trace of existentially problematic pollution and sealing the dimensional fracture behind it. ‘Just another boring day at the office’.
‘The office of pure empirical science’ Doctor Nemesis adds, clenching a fist. ‘Except for the part where I received divine intervention’ Kavita remarks. Cyclops takes the podium once more, ‘Anyway, the important point is that the X-Men are exonerated of all bla-’ he begins, while Doctor Nemesis points a finger at Kavita in the background: ‘Divine? Piffle!’ he tells her. ‘…and then I used it to save your life’ Kavita points out. ‘A fluke’ Nemesis declares. ‘And hence developed a cure of the entire polluted area’ Kavita adds. ‘Admittedly, an impressive f-’ Doctor Nemesis begins, while Kavita announces that she cleansed Neptune’s divine realm. Doctor Nemesis reminds Kavita that he does not believe in that sentimental crap. ‘I wish I believed in that sentimental crap. Science can be scary’ are the thoughts projected from the starfish in Doctor Nemesis’ pocket. ‘Kavita points at Doctor Nemesis: ‘You kept the starfish’ she remarks. ‘For study’ Nemesis claims. ‘I get lonely without you’ the starfish declares.
Cyclops tries to get everyone’s attention, and suggests they get back to the subject of the elevator. ‘Our current plans are to maximize its potential by -’ he begins, before Danger takes the podium, pushing Cyclops to one side. She states that this island and associated apparatus are hereby claimed by the Free Inorganic Collective. ‘What?’ Cyclops asks. Danger projects an image of the Stringstar and space station above, and announces that until such time as the dominant cultures of this planet recognize the equality of all sentient life - organic or otherwise, artificial beings require a sanctuary against exploitation. ‘This shall be their sovereign state’ she declares. ’My child is the Stringstar now. It’s currently accepting treaty applications’ she reveals. ’This…this isn’t what we agreed’ Cyclops remarks, to which Madison approaches him and calls out ’Utopia, Chief. They deserve one, same as us’.
Cyclops reminds Jeffries that this whole project was about breaking barriers between communities. ’How do you do that when it’s run by isolationist machines?’ he asks. ’Aw, c’mon now - how the hell d’ya think?’ Madison asks Cyclops as he walks past him and grabs Danger. They embrace and kiss, while Cyclops looks on in shock, Kavita smiles, Doctor Nemesis goes wide-eyed, and the cameras flash.