8,000 years ago:
Hala, the Kree Empire, where an Accuser with long white hair and white beard holds a hammer-like weapon as he stands between two blue-skinned members of the Kree Army, the trio standing before a cell with a display screen, they look into the cell and the Accuser asks 'Where did you find them?' The male Kree warrior reports that they were found in the dark matter flow of a collapsed universe, by a remote team of imperial xenotomologists and that they observed that the hive began to mimic and then adapt to their behavior. He suggests that the behavior wasn't abnormal, but that it deserved a closer look. The female Kree warrior states that it was only after they realized the creatures were luring, trapping and parasitically consuming members of the team that they understood they were dealing with an ancient, highly adaptive, aggressive species. 'And so it was brought to our attention, and from us, the information flowed to you' the woman adds. 'Adaptive how?' the Accuser asks, looking into the cell, where an alien Brood scuttles past the display screen.
'They consume not just the host but also the knowledge that host contained' the male Kree informs the Accuser, while inside the cell, the Brood can be seen confronting another alien. 'Watch' the Kree remarks, as the Brood shoves the end of its forked tail into the other alien, pinning it to the floor, before suddenly, that alien begins to transform into a Brood also. 'Fascinating' the Accuser remarks, before asking what the structure of the Brood is, as he reaches for the display screen hatch. The male Kree reports that the Brood are matriarchal, like many rapidily reproductive hive societies. The Accuser opens the cell and steps inside it, raising his large hammer weapon above the Brood, he asks the other Kree what they propose. The female Kree explains that they want to genetically seed the hive with a biological control mechanism and tells the Accuser that left to its own volition, the hive will evolve along a predictable – and seasonal – path of factional queens and dueling hives. The Accuser slams his hammer down on one of the Brood, causing green blood to spray up around him and splatter the cell display screen. The male Kree adds that they want to produce a patriarchal element that – when introduced to the hive – will seize control of the entire society and turn them into a weapon to disrupt rival advanced civilizations.
The Accuser slams his hammer into the second Brood, more green blood sprays about, before he turns to the Kree and asks them what they call this plan. 'A King Egg' the male Kree responds, holding up an example of the egg. The Accuser steps through the hatch back out into the chamber and asks the Kree if they have any other data to divulge, or if this completes their presentation. The male Kree informs the Accuser that is everything, to which the Accuser asks if they are ready to hear judgment. 'Yes' the Kree responds. The Accuser looks further down the chamber, to a large stasis tank, where the head-like form of the Supreme Intelligence floats. The Accuser tells the Supreme Intelligence that it falls to him, 'What say you? Is this a weapon worth building?' the Accuser asks. 'The usefulness of any weapon requires a target against which to be judged' the Supreme Intelligence responds, before continuing, stating 'Considering the viral nature the hive society – and also the limiting nature of its singular replication model – we project a timeline of no less than eight millennia for a hive society possessing sufficient volume and intelligence to topple a rival empire'.
The Supreme Intelligence announces that potential rivals existing within that scale include the Skrulls, the Badoon, the Galdor, the Shi'ar and the Cotati. The Supreme Intelligence adds that the highest probable effectiveness are spiral galaxies with an abnormal number of dwarf systems, and that the most favorable target is the Shi'ar, before the Supreme Intelligence approves the weapon. 'Though we will long have passed, our legacy is a work that will deliver a great victory millennia from now' the male Kree utters, while the female Kree thanks the Supremor.
Shi'ar space, where a small space craft containing several powerful mutants moves swiftly through the darkness of space – followed by two Acanti, large aliens that are controlled by the Brood to act as transport for the deadly aliens. 'They're gaining on us' Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops announces as he pilots the space craft, adding that he doesn't think they can stay ahead of the Brood for much longer. Sitting at his side is his brother Gabriel a.k.a. Vulcan, and standing behind them is their brother, Alex a.k.a. Havok. Jean Grey, sometimes called Marvel Girl, stands behind Havok, while the alien Broo – a Brood himself – sits nearby, holding the Brood King Egg. Suddenly, Alex points at the viewscreen and tells his brother that he doesn't think they have to worry about who is behind them, 'Look!' he shouts, as dozens of Acanti can be seen floating ahead of the X-Men's space craft, with Brood scuttling out of some of them.
Elsewhere, aboard a space station, 'You've kept me waiting, child...there's a cost associated with that. For either you pay... or your confidants do' an Accuser demand as he speaks with Roberto Da Costa a.k.a. Sunspot via a holographic projection, asking him where the King Egg is. Inside a cell, the Starjammers – Corsair, Hepzibah, Raza Longknife and Ch'od – are shackled, while the holographic projection of Sunspot remarks 'Okay, so...you're gonna be mad – maybe not as mad as your captives there – but mad nonetheless. Anyway, here it goes...I totally forgot about the egg thing. Completely slipped my mind. What happened was Sam and I started watching the Shi'ar version of “Jeopardy” and, gotta tell you, we did not know any of the answers. It was very frustrating'. Corsair is not impressed by Sunspot's babbling, and grits his teeth as he mutters 'Da Costa...when I get my hands on you...' to which Sunspot tells Corsair to relax, and that he is joking. Sunspot announces that he made some calls and the good news is that he found the egg thing – and it's actually headed in their direction.
'Hala's great halls of mercy! We're being boarded!' the Accuser exclaims as he turns to a door when he hears some loud thudding noises. 'The bad news is Sam's wife tracked you and you've got something else coming your way' Suspot adds. 'Bang. Bang. Dummies' Sam Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball smiles when he appears on the holographic projection. A door is suddenly blown open, and Gladiator steps through along with his son, Kid Gladiator, and teammates Oracle and Manta, dragging several unconscious Kree soldiers with them. 'It seems you are lost, Accuser. This is Shi'ar space, and we are a people free of Kree judgment' Gladiator announces. The Accuser tells Gladiator that all will be judged, and that this is a righteous, millennial work that he is engaged in – and that one such as Gladiator should fall in its doing only makes it more so.
'Hey, Dad?' Kid Gladiator calls out. 'Yes?' Gladiator asks, turning to his son. 'You know how you're always busy running the empire, and you promised this would be some uninterrupted me-and-you time? Without any imperial nonsense?' Kid Gladiator reminds his father. 'I do' Gladiator responds, to which Kid Gladiator tells his father that he will forgive him if he %#^&! this guy up for him. Gladiator smiles – almost – before he flies towards the Accuser, who raises his weapon – but it's no use, as the Accuser is smashed by Gladiator through the side of the space station, sending him careening backwards through space, past the X-Men's space craft which is under attack by several Brood, and towards the large gaping mouth of one of the Acanti. The Acanti closes its mouth, chomping down on the Accuser, and narrowly missing the X-Men's space craft.
Inside the space craft, Vulcan reports that he can't keep the ship steady, and that they are going down. Jean suggests that they have two options – the space station up ahead or the planetoid that it is orbiting. Cyclops announces that they will head to the planet, as there is a bigger canvas to work with, and points out that the space station is going to get chewed up by the Brood in their wake. Havok sends a holographic message to the space station, warning them that they need to evacuate immediately, as there is a Brood swarm on the way. He interrupts his message when he sees his father, Corsair, being freed from his shackles by Gladiator. 'What the -' Alex begins. Corsair turns to the projection of his son and tells him that he knows this is not the reunion he was hoping for, but that they can catch up later. 'Right now I need to know if you happen to have a Brood King Egg on you' Corsair declares. Havok confirms that they do, and Gladiator remarks that he now understands what this is about – a King Egg. Gladiator asks the X-Men if they are landing on the planet below, to which Cyclops responds 'Landing? Not likely'.
The X-Men's space craft careens towards the planet below, narrowly missing the space station, which suddenly explodes when one of the massive Acanti crashes into it, which causes space station rubble to begin falling towards the planet as well. Several Acanti continue to fly towards the planet, while some of the rubble begins to strike the planet's surface. Among the rubble, the Starjammers and the Shi'ar emerge. 'This way!' Jean Grey calls out to them as she, Havok, Cyclops, Vulcan and Broo appear, Jean lifting the space craft rubble telekinetically. Everyone rushes towards a cave system, with Cyclops asking Jean if she can get through to the Brood, but Jean reports that she can't, as their thoughts are manic, madness, driven by the fear of their queens. 'Scott, you need to imagine the control each of these queens must have. It must be absolute. Total' Jean utters.
In the darkness, several Brood scurry about, while Jean tells Scott 'Imagine living your entire life as a predator – hunting whatever you felt needed to be hunted. Consuming whatever you desired to consume. Just consider what it would be like having millions of your species – millions of your race – willing to die just so you could have more than what you already had. Consider the appetite of it...the power of it. Try to imagine what it must feel like'. Countless Brood can be seen scuttling into a cave system, while Jean continues: 'Now, imagine something unexpected – unforeseen – that could take all of it away from you. And worse than that...it would turn you into that which you have lorded over for thousands of years: a drone. How badly would you overreact to this threat? How badly would you want that threat to die?' Jean asks.
Inside the cavern system, the X-Men, Starjammers and Shi'ar find themselves inside the same set of caves, which enter some sort of strange palace-like facility, that the Brood are in. Havok blasts a first wave of Brood with his solar energy, while Cyclops unleashes a beam of optic fury against several more, and Gladiator smashes a Brood open with his bare fist. Jean states that these queens would sacrifice everything to hold on to their power, as the others join the battle, smashing, ripping and blasting their way through the Brood. Jean announces that such is the threat the King Egg is – that they will kill everything that stands in between them and the King Egg – everything. A large Brood closes in on Vulcan, wrapping its pincer-like legs around his body, while Jean slams another Brood with a telekinetic blast, she calls out to Scott, warning him to look out, she screams his name – and suddenly, Jean, Cyclops, Havok and Vulcan are surrounded by a huge swarm of the Brood – who suddenly stop in their tracks.
'They've just stopped' Havok remarks. 'They've lost their fire' Vulcan suggests, covered in the green Brood blood. Cyclops tells the others that he will take a win any way they can get it, before Oracle announces that this isn't a win, and explains that the Brood are a hive mind with a singular goal – meaning this is something larger. 'This shouldn't be happening' she adds. 'No. It shouldn't. Where the hell's that egg?' Corsair asks, trying to fling some of the Brood blood off of his hands. Suddenly, everyone turns to look at Broo, who looks up at the others, the broken King Egg in his hands. 'Sorry. I ate it' he tells them, sitting on some sort of podium or throne.
In the adjacent space of a million broken civilizations, there is a Shi'ar graveyard. A spawning ground for parasites – for Brood. Ten thousand worlds, six trillion drones, one thousand queens – and now...one king.