Quicksilver tears urgently through a wet and windy evening, as forked lightning strikes behind him; his feet simply a blur as they barely make contact with ground beneath him. In a new, correspondence file, Crys-206, he tells his wife that he owes her an explanation. He knows he should have returned with Lockjaw to New Attilan, to explain to her and her family why he and the Avengers needed his teleporting abilities and how came to be wounded. First, though, he must return to the haven in upstate New York, where he left the Knights of Wundagore behind to look after the High Evolutionary, after they found him in the Savage Land. He is worried about the Evolutionary’s physical and mental state. He arrives at the door to the haven and wonders why there is no sentry; it is most unlike Sir Ram and he feels something is definitely wrong.
He carefully opens the door and enters, dripping with water. What he finds shocks him. Instead of the Knights and the High Evolutionary, he discovers what appears to be a war zone. He recognizes the creatures he sees before him as the Heroes for Hire, their costumes giving their identity away, despite them being in a subhuman state. He first notices his rival for Crystal’s affections, the Black Knight, and then Iron Fist. He guesses the others are Luke Cage and Ant-Man but not the one he knew from the Avengers, Hank Pym. He deduces that the woman must be White Tiger but wonders how she came to be so grievously wounded, thinking that maybe the others had done this in their devolved state. Blood oozes around White Tiger’s body as she lies on the floor amidst her four teammates, who appear intent on wrecking the place. Ignatz flies above them harmlessly. The Black Knight chews on his shield as Iron Fist smashes a picture of the High Evolutionary, whose work Quicksilver determines this must be. Pietro wonders if Wyndham has finally lost his mind, for this is surely madness.
Quickly, he dashes to White Tiger and notices that she has a sword wound and wonders if the Black Knight lashed out at her in his subhuman state; maybe one of the Knights? As he reaches for her, she utters the word traitor twice and Pietro asks, “Who? Who is the traitor?” She cannot answer him and he picks her up, realizing that she is dying and her only hope is to receive medical attention, fast; the Knights will have to wait. As he cradles her in his arms, Iron Fist lets out a deep growl and Pietro thinks this is just what he needs. Even in his condition, it seems Iron Fist is ready to protect his companion. “Tiger ours,” Iron Fist says as he raises his arms, preparing to bring them down on Quicksilver. He figures it wouldn’t do much good telling him he’s not trying to hurt her and instead decides they’ll talk later, whisking White Tiger out of the castle and in the direction of Oracle Inc., which he guesses is her best hope. A hospital wouldn’t know what to do with her. After she is taken care of, he can figure out what went on at the haven and find out where the High Evolutionary went.
The High Evolutionary and the Knights are now in mid-flight to Transia and Sir Ram has cut their travel time by taking their craft out of the atmosphere and using the Earth’s rotation to do their work for them. Lord Tyger congratulates him on his piloting skills before asking why he supposes Lord Anon and the Evolutionary have spent so much of their trip apart from the rest and in conversation. Sir Ram offers the suggestion that it is about how he struck down White Tiger and Lord Tyger replies that it troubles him to doubt their lord, but there is something about Lord Anon that he does not trust. Behind them, the pair sit chatting, the Evolutionary telling Anon that he sometimes doubts himself and his judgement. His powers fluctuate, their forces dwindle, White Tiger is wounded, Sir Churchill is dead and Quicksilver has abandoned the Knights. Perhaps, he adds, it is not the time to attack Exodus and Magneto’s Acolytes.
Lord Anon reassures him by saying that the time has come for them to reclaim their home. If he will permit him, Lord Anon says he shall lead the assault if the Evolutionary is unable. The Evolutionary places a hand on his shoulder and tells him that he speaks with courage, but if anyone is to lead this assault it must be himself, while he is still able. He removes his helmet and a release of steam jets outwards as the pressure is lowered. He continues to say that he built the citadel of science and it is his home. For the moment, he is human but everyone knows how his state varies from sub-human to near deity. Isotope E helps but it is unstable. “Then the Heroes for Hire will revert to being human?” asks Lord Anon. The Evolutionary replies that perhaps they will, or they may get stuck in varying phases of their evolution.
He holds his eyelids with his fingers, clearly feeling the pressure, and tells Lord Anon that this is another of his sins. “Could it be that this is my punishment for trying to play god?” he asks, “To see my allies harmed, my creations killed or attacking each other?” Lord Anon clenches his fist and brings it down on the chair arm, insisting that White Tiger attacked him because he is wolf, the same reason he hid his true face from all the Knights. She confused his scent with the Man-Beast’s, his first wolfen Knight who was created to destroy. The High Evolutionary looks to the floor, saying that maybe it’s time to stop all this, to walk away from Wundagore Mountain and allow the Knights their freedom. Lord Anon replies that if he believes nothing else, he must believe that everything is as it should be. He promises that he shall receive everything that is his due. He must trust him and not call off the assault.
In Transia, the battered exterior of the citadel of science still shows the signs of Exodus’ attack. It was here that the High Evolutionary performed his experiments and created the Knights of Wundagore but it is now where the mutant fanatic Exodus and his followers, Magneto’s Acolytes, reside. Exodus, however, is not at peace. Amelia Voght finds him standing alone in the caverns beneath the citadel and asks why he has hidden himself there. She receives no reply and says his name again. He informs her that he heard her the first time but asks if she can feel it. “What?” she replies. “The power. This cavern is alive with it. But it is at rest. If I can find a way to wake it, to harness it, my strength would be…” Amelia cuts him off by finishing his sentence for him, suggesting that it could be greater than Magneto’s. Exodus glances behind him and asks why she has sought him. She tells him that the Genoshan mutates have been dispatched, as he commanded. Exodus replies that it is for the best, adding that they were a blight on the dream of their martyred lord Magneto.
That can’t have been the only reason she has disturbed him, he asks. She tells him, as they walk back into the citadel, that their sensors have located Isotope E at a castle owned by the High Evolutionary in upstate New York. Amelia has gathered the Acolytes to receive his orders on how to proceed. Excellent, he replies, as he opens the door to find the group of Acolytes waiting on his word. As they stand facing their leader, he tells them that Isotope E is once again within their reach, telling them to leave immediately to secure it and to exterminate the High Evolutionary and the Knights. He lets them know that Amelia Voght will lead them and warns them not to fail him as they did in the Savage Land.
This news surprises Fabian Cortez. He asks whether Exodus should really be leading this team himself but Exodus angrily snarls back at him, asking if he dares to question his orders again. The destruction of the High Evolutionary and the acquisition of Isotope E is but a small part of the greater plan. He tells Cortez that this is why he consistently fails; he doesn’t see the big picture. He doesn’t understand Magneto’s dream for homo superior. He has work to do there and he shall remain, asking if Cortez has any further objections. Duly castigated, Cortez replies that he doesn’t.
Scanner asks Exodus what they should do with Quicksilver if he tries to stop them. One of the Kleinstock brothers says they should kill the flatscan-loving traitor but Carmella Unuscione reminds him that he is the son of Magneto. Exodus says this is true but he has betrayed his father’s dream and asks him to be brought before him; then he shall decide his fate. Decay asks for Pietro to be fed to him. He would love to have even a portion of Magneto’s power coursing through his veins. Exodus tells him that if Quicksilver refuses to join them the perhaps he will allow that before commanding them to go, wanting them on their way within thirty minutes.
Over in New York, at the skyscraper headquarters of Oracle Inc., Quicksilver has placed White Tiger in the hands of Jim Hammond and Dr. Jane Foster, who have the High Evolutionary’s creation linked to a large, impressive monitoring machine. Dr. Foster says that her vital signs have stabilized but the wounds are severe, adding that she should rest. White Tiger is incredibly weak, but says, “No, must stop the traitor!” Jim says she should leave that to the others and he has called She-Hulk and Thena to assist the devolved team. Hercules, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four could not be reached. Quicksilver informs them that he can do nothing there and says he is returning to the haven in order to find out where the High Evolutionary and the Knights have gone. If the Evolutionary has lost control of his power, then there’s no telling the damage he could do. Jim watches him depart, telling him that She-Hulk and Thena are waiting for him in their Atlantean transport ship. He grins back at Hammond, saying they can catch up with him later as their ship would only slow him down.
In the haven, the devolved heroes continue to wreak havoc until they are disturbed by a group of Acolytes, who teleport in. Projector erects a forcefield, which they bang on to no effect, as Gargouille comments that they look like the work of the High Evolutionary. Amelia Voght says that’s all the more reason to destroy them and orders the Acolytes to kill them. A fresh brawl erupts, with the Acolytes more than a match for their now slow-witted opponents. They revel in the punishment they deal out but are shocked when a voice behind them says, “Foul, wretched, cowardly, murdering, contemptible rabble!” They look around and see Quicksilver standing before them. He looks at them disdainfully and asks rhetorically that they strike those who are incapable of defending themselves and think themselves warriors? He orders them to stand down or by the heavens, he will teach them war.
The Kleinstock brothers retort by telling him that he betrayed his father’s dream and they won’t take orders from a traitor to mutant-kind. As Quicksilver knocks them to the floor in an effortless split-second, he asks if they would rather take orders from a fanatic who pretends to know his father’s will. He stands over the downed brothers, calling them fools as Magneto is no more and Exodus is mad. They would create a nightmare. Fabian Cortez smiles and says that he is correct. Perhaps the time has come for him to lead his father’s chosen. Pietro replies that he isn’t interested in leading anyone and certainly not in consorting with murdering scum like Cortez. Unuscione attacks him with a psionically-constructed barrel, part of her psionic exoskeleton, which she hurls while telling Pietro that if he doesn’t follow Magneto’s dream then he is an enemy to his kind. Quicksilver dashes around the room, avoiding both the barrel and the physical attacks of several Acolytes. Amelia orders Unuscione to stop, as Exodus wants Quicksilver alive and tells him to give it up; there’s no way he can fight all of them.
Behind them, another voice informs them that he doesn’t have to fight alone. They turn and see the Heroes for Hire, now back to their normal state, the High Evolutionary’s Isotope E blast having worn off. They are ready to stand at Quicksilver’s side. One of the Kleinstock's says they should kill the flatscans but, luckily for them, Voght has a clear head and tells them that another battle does not serve their goals. They are at the haven for one reason and that is to find the High Evolutionary and Isotope E. Luke uncharacteristically puts his foot in it and tells them that they’re too late as he’s high-tailed it back to Wundagore Mountain.
Voght is annoyed and makes a call to base on her headset, telling her contact that their objective is on its way to Transia and they need a teleport, now! Quicksilver says he isn’t going to allow them to go anywhere, to which Voght replies that he may be fast, but he’s not faster than a teleporter. They vanish as Pietro as the Heroes for Hire launch their attack. Pietro tells Luke that he can’t believe he told them where the Evolutionary and the Knights are going. He’s put all their lives in danger. Luke replies that, the way he sees it, he owes them nothing. The Evolutionary zapped them and one of those freaks tried to kill White Tiger. Iron Fist cuts in, concerned about White Tiger’s condition. Quicksilver informs him that he took her to Oracle, as she was badly hurt, but they stabilized her. Right now, though, they have more important things to worry about. He tells them that the Evolutionary has been using Isotope E to control his transformation but it is unstable and so is he. They can’t let something that dangerous fall into Exodus’s hands.
Meanwhile, at the base of Wundagore Mountain, the Knights’ craft is parked outside the large protective doors, which sit uncomfortably inside the rock face. Inside, the Knights are armoring up, preparing themselves for the coming battle. Only Bova remains as she was as the others grab an array of weaponry from the armory. Lord Tyger is surprised that Exodus and his minions haven’t ransacked the place and Sir Ram replies that they have spent so much time trying to find their lord that he doubts they’ve explored the secrets of Wundagore Mountain. “It is a mistake they will pay with their lives,” adds Lord Gator. Lady Ursula agrees, eager to test her sword’s steel against them. Lady Vermin has added wings to her blaster unit in order that she can improve her mobility. Bova asks the Evolutionary what her role is to be in the coming fight. He replies that she is of no use in battle and she should prepare the infirmary; there are bound to be casualties. Bova departs with an anxious glance behind her.
Holding his scepter tight, the Evolutionary tells his Knights to check their weapons and atomic steeds, as nothing must go wrong. When he returns, the battle shall begin. Lord Tyger, with a determined look, says that they will be ready. Lord Anon, however, upon watching the High Evolutionary depart, sees what might be his last chance to carry out his nefarious plan. The Evolutionary is going to use Isotope E upon himself and does not wish for any of them to be exposed to it. Lord Anon follows secretly as his fellow Knights continue their checks.
In the infirmary, Bova realizes that her lord is caught in one of his mood swings; she can tell from how he speaks and fears what is to come. She decides to check the medical supplies cabinet but, upon opening it, she lets out a scream of horror. The Knights hear her and rush headlong up the passageways, towards the infirmary. When they arrive, they find Bova with her head in her hand, pointing at the cabinet. Inside is a humanoid wolf skeleton with a sword stuck through its chest. It appears to have been there a long time but it is still wearing Lord Anon’s colors. Lord Gator, holding the rags, wonders how this can be and asks Bova if she knows who did this. Bova replies that she fears she does and recalls events from a few months ago.
In the days that followed Exodus’ first assault on Wundagore Mountain, their lord realized that the battle was beginning and decided that he needed to create new Knights to defend the citadel using Isotope E. It was then that he created Lady Vermin and White Tiger. He also created another wolf, believing that a wolf’s ferocity would be useful in the war to come. He knew that the wolf would not be trusted by his other Knights, as the last wolf became their enemy, the Man-Beast, and so he proclaimed that the new Knight must keep his identity hidden, dubbing him Lord Anon and providing him with body armor which covered him entirely, disguising his scent.
Sir Ram says that, by the look of it, the body has been there at least a year, which means that the Lord Anon who has been fighting at their sides is an impostor. He sets off running, ordering his Knights to follow as he fears their lord may be in grave danger. While in motion, Lady Vermin, now airborne, asks Bova who the Man-Beast was. She replies that he is their lord’s greatest failure and their most dangerous enemy. “More dangerous than Exodus?” she replies. Sir Ram asks them to stand ready as they arrive at the Evolutionary’s sanctum and, upon entering, finds his creator lying on the floor with Lord Anon standing over him, his sword raised. He senses the arrival of the Knights and turns, saying, “Come to welcome the wolf back into the fold brothers? No longer Lord Anon; nor Karnivor as last you knew me. You may call me by the name our fallen creator gave me. It is the Man-Beast, who now holds Isotope E, and that makes me master of you all!” He holds the scepter in his hands and has a devilish grin.