“The World,” home of the M’Kraan Crystal.
As a fleet of Scy’ar Tal ships approach the planet, their command – the Eldest – observes everything. He recalls he has longed for the darkness, all these centuries, so he could gaze upon the Godstone. And now, finally to return… it is righteous. “My brothers,” the Eldest proclaims proudly, “we are home,”
Flanking their leader, one of the soldiers informs the Eldest that the Shi’ar are coming. They intend to fight. “Good,” the Eldest coldly, his teeth bared for combat.
The wing of K’ythri,
Major-General Ka’ardum’s battlecruiser…
Araki declares to Lilandra and Ka’ardum that their enemies have to die. Lilandra warns the traitor to be quiet. It is foul enough that his presence there is a concession to a madman and, if Araki had any honor, he would end his own life for acting against his empress. Araki realizes Lilandra still doesn’t understand. These heretics, he says, these Scy’ar Tal… they threaten the entire fabric of the Shi’ar civilization. Lilandra points out that nobody hates the Scy’ar Tal more than she does, but they are there to prevent them from taking the Crystal while the Starjammers destroy the Scy’ar Tal’s star weapon. She will show the Scy’ar Tal the error of their ways and make them admit the truth… but she will not exterminate a species.
Araki mocks this was the reason why Lilandra was a weak ruler. Because she isn’t willing to do what must be done, even though she knows it is right. He wants the Scy’ar Tal to die. That is what the Shi’ar people want. But he thinks Lilandra is so removed from her people that she doesn’t see it.
“Enough,” Ka’ardum shouts. The end is beginning. He suggests they pray that Havok makes sure it won’t be their end. Now addressing all Shi’ar ships, he orders all ships to open fire.
As the attack rages, one soldier calls to the Eldest. Misinterpreting the interruption, the Eldest calls for silence, reminding his soldier that their brothers die to make the Shi’ar pay, and they must honor that. However, the soldier clarifies, explaining that he has received a distress call from the Finality. Surprised, the Eldest orders to be shown and, a moment later a hologram of a panicked soldier appears. The soldier warns the Eldest that they are under attack and that Finality has been discovered. The Eldest asks the soldier by whom they are under attack, believing it’s the Shi’ar. “No,” the soldier corrects. It’s… the Starjammers!
Protected by an immense, green, magnetic force field created by Polaris, the Starjammers’ ship flies through the Scy’ar Tal’s fleet, destroying all in its path. “Perhaps not the most subtle strategy,” Ch’od jokes while standing next to a concentrating Lorna. He also mocks it’s lucky they are incredibly outnumbered.
Raza rather enjoys all the damage they are causing. He jokes that Ch’od is getting soft. Raza also thinks Hepzibah is probably sorry she is missing all this. He only wishes they were killing the Shi’ar. Present company excluded, of course, as Raza refers to Korvus. As he sits behind the control panels of the ship, Korvus thanks Raza for the kind compliment.
Meanwhile, Rachel is using her telepathic powers, a blue Phoenix symbol dancing across her right eye while he does. She reads that two ships are approaching starboard… one more under them. She explains that the M’Kraan have been guarding the Fatality station for over a hundred years. Behind them, three more ships are coming in. The Imperial Guard are engaging them, but they can’t keep this up for long. Nearby, Lorna replies that they’ll hold up for as long as they have to. People are depending on them. Namely Alex and… Emperor Vulcan.
Outside, near the Finality station…
Outside, in the vacuum of space, Vulcan flies past all the ships and explosions and makes his way to the Finality station. There, he fires a blast through a wall of the station to get inside. Havok, wearing a protective air helmet and sitting in a small spaceship, follows his brother inside. Once the station has repaired the full breach with emergency force fields and has restored the atmosphere, Alex gets out of his ship, reminding Gabriel that they’ll only disable the weapon and then get back to the fleet, because they can’t hold out for long.
As he fires a blast at approaching Scy’ar Tal soldiers, killing them all, Vulcan mocks Alex for being boring. He doesn’t think it’s enough to destroy the weapon… the Scy’ar Tal have to know. They have to see the bodies. They have to be afraid. As he also fights some soldiers, Alex replies that they are there to save lives, not play games. Gabriel looks at his brother and quips that they are actually working together, like X-Men. “The professor would be so proud,” he mocks. But he agrees with Alex: no games. That’s for later. The games are for when he will kill Havok.
With their opponents subdued, Vulcan grabs one by its throat and demands to be informed about Finality. Barely paying attention, Havok instead remarks at the heat. Even with the force fields, it’s like they’re standing on the surface of the sun. He asks Rachel if she’s reading him and explains they’re on the main deck and are proceeding to the core. Meanwhile, the alien finally begins to talk and calls Vulcan a pretender, promising that his end is near. “He” is near, the alien continues… the Eldest is coming for Vulcan. “Oh, hell,” a panicking Alex utters, realizing what’s about to happen.
A moment later, a teleportation portal opens, crackling with electrical energy. The Eldest and two of his guards have arrived. “The not-Shi’ar brothers,” the Eldest says upon noticing Alex and Gabriel. He is pleased that they have come together, as this way they will not die alone. The Eldest swears they won’t stop from taking the Shi’ar like they took the M’Kraan Crystal from them. He then indicates the brothers to prepare themselves.
The battle has finally taken its toll on Rachel, who worries that there are too many to keep track of. Polaris, however, replies that Rachel’s doing a good job. Unfortunately, Rachel disagrees, announcing that they’re coming around again. She can’t…
On that moment, Gladiator flies through the approaching enemy ship and destroys it. Inside the Guardman’s ship, Oracle grins and thinks the Starjammers should thank them. Nightshade, however, believes the “Earther mutants” should die in fire. Ignoring the statement, Oracle “translates” to Marvel Girl that Nightshade wants her to tell her that the Imperial Guard would hate to see them come to any harm, as they are their newest valued allies.
Rachel reports to Lorna that Oracle is still blocking her, disabling her to read the minds of both Vulcan and the Imperial Guard. She’s sure they’ve got something planned but can’t figure out what. Lorna agrees, suggesting that they’ll just have to be ready for that. She then instructs Rachel stay in contact with Alex, then tell the guard to… Rachel interrupts, suddenly detecting something troubling. The Eldest has there, she replies. “Okay, plan “A” is over,” Lorna sighs. She orders Ch’od to get them out of there… now!
Havok and Vulcan combine their blasts on the Eldest, who screams. A moment later, however, the Eldest defends himself and fires a blast against Vulcan himself. Alex screams via his com at Rachel, wants her to tell Lorna not to come here. He then tells Vulcan to contact the Imperial Guard so they can blow up this station. As the Eldest grabs Alex by his throat, Vulcan, having recovered from the earlier blast, refuses to let the Guard do that while he’s still in the station. However, he does contact the Guard so they can come to his aid.
Knowing what’s coming, the Eldest then throws Alex against his brother, just a moment before the arrival of the Imperial Guard, ready to protect their Emperor. “More alien puppets,” the Eldest laughs. He wonders if the M’Kraan are the only free people left in this universe. He informs the Guard that, though the end of the Shi’ar is near, they don’t have to be with them. Gladiator punches the Eldest and proudly answers the members of the Guard are Shi’ar by their actions. And the Empire will not fall while the Imperial Guard stands!
In response, the Eldest releases a fire blast against Gladiator, calling him foolish for defending the ones who enslave them. To this, he adds that the end has come for the Shi’ar and all who stand with them! Annoyed by the Eldest’s constant ranting, Vulcan wishes someone would cut out his tongue. Alex tells Vulcan to shut up, as he just noticed something. The other Scy’ar Tal aren’t fighting anymore, while their Eldest battles the Imperial Guard. They aren’t even watching?!
After the Eldest punches through the armor of Warstar, screaming in his victory, Alex thinks he knows what’s going on. But before he can warn his brother, Vulcan and Gladiator have already started shooting at the Eldest. Havok warns that they need to work together. They need to attack as one at the same points. They have to try to overload the Eldest.
Jahf is standing in front of the M’Kraan Crystal, somewhere on an isolated rock in space. He watches the battle around him, while the Shi’ar do their best to prevent the Crystal from coming to any harm.
Meanwhile, Ka’ardum is sitting in one of the Sh’iar ships and asks for a status report. A pilot reports that their fleet has a seventeen percent of casualties, while the Scy’ar Tal only have four. On that moment, the Scy’ar Tal fire a huge blast through one Shi’ar ship. The pilot panics and informs Ka’ardum that the Eternal Raptor is gone. Nevertheless, Ka’ardum refuses to give up and orders the fleet to continue engaging their enemies. When Lilandra then asks her uncle what’s happening, he replies that he fears that the Shi’ar are being defeated.
The Eldest grabs the throat of Gladiator, who screams. Alex warns Vulcan not to let up. After awhile, the Eldest finally gives up and falls on the ground. They’ve done it, Gladiator states, returning to his feet. The Eldest is finished. “That’s what he gets for touching me,” Vulcan coldly replies. “That’s what they all get.” Alex, however, corrects that it isn’t over yet.
The other Scy’ar Tal all gather around their leader, and repeatedly say his name. The Eldest rises, absorbing energy emanating from his people, until he is restored. “You seek to break our brotherhood, puppets?” the Eldest mocks. The M’Kraan cannot be broken. The end cannot be stopped. They will have what is theirs.
Incredulous, Vulcan can’t believe this is happening. “And the Shi’ar will pay,” the Eldest screams as he launches another attack. He scratches Vulcan across his back and fires powerful blasts against Gladiator. Turning the Eldest on the defensive, Havok fires his powers and shouts at Gladiator and Vulcan to get up. Meanwhile, as before, the other Scy’ar Tal again don’t interfere while their leader fights.
Nearly out of breath, Vulcan tells Havok to kill this thing. Havok, however, still firing at the Eldest, tells Gabriel to stop – and look at their opponent. He tells Gabriel to use his power to observe the other Scy’ar. Alex believes they are helping the Eldest somehow. Can Gabriel feel any energy. If he can feel… Gabriel interrupts Alex because he’s doing so. As the Eldest overpowers Alex, Vulcan now sees what’s going on. He sees the Scy’ar Tal extending their arms while the Eldest fights, energy flowing from them to him.
Grinning from the realization, Vulcan quips that the Eldest takes his power from his people. Maybe his entire species. “Let’s see what we can do about that,” Vulcan smiles. He attacks the Eldest again, this time with different energy. The Eldest in turn screams, followed by the other Scy’ar Tal. Falling to his knees, the Eldest asks what Vulcan has done to him. He cannot feel his brothers! One of the Scy’ar Tal is confused and asks the Eldest what is happening. What should they do? Is… is he the Eldest? “Not anymore,” Vulcan smiles, flames dancing from his clenched fist.
Back on his comm. Alex contacts Rachel again for a status report. Rachel asks Alex what he just did because it seems like the Scy’ar Tal have lost communications. They’re still fighting, but it’s like they don’t know what they’re doing anymore. Lorna informs Ka’ardum about the situation through their communicators. Ka’ardum explains they’re having the same situation. Whatever Vulcan and Havok just did, it turned the tide of the battle.
Rachel begins to wonder if they just won, but then trails… until she begins to scream Alex’s name. She has lost contact with Alex! Lorna orders Ch’od to teleport Alex out of there. Ch’od tries but something is jamming their sensors and he can’t get a lock. Lorna believes that means Vulcan is making his move. They have to go down there right away. Ch’od informs Lorna they’ve got a new situation: Flashfire, Mantis, Plutonia and Electron are underway to attack them. Perhaps Alex needs to be rescuing them?
On the station, Havok suggests to the Eldest a peace offer. He wants the Eldest to call off all of his people. If the Shi’ar truly took the M’Kraan Crystal from him, perhaps they can work something out. To this, Vulcan mocks that the Crystal was never theirs, and that the Scy’ar Tal homes were actually destroyed by artificial moons. He read the file. The M’Kraan did find the Crystal, but so did the Shi’ar. They just weren’t strong enough to keep it. But he is.
In demonstration, Vulcan fires a blast against the Scy’ar Tal soldier and the Eldest, redcing them to bones and ash. Incensed, Havok pushes his brother against a wall to stop him. “I took care of that myself,” Gabriel smiles pleased with himself. “See you in hell, Alex”. Havok fires a blast at Havok, pushing him through a window of the station, plummeting to the planet below them.
Titan, Starbolt, Warstar and Gladiator gather around their Emperor, and Vulcan watches his brother falls. Now, Vulcan states, he wants to show the Scy’ar Tal with whom they messed. It’s time they are shown what “finality” really means.