(the Cube - location undisclosed)
The Cube's warden is entertaining S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill. It's been a while since an agent was sent there, and he was beginning to think that the higher-ups were embarrassed by them. Maria assures him that the U.S. government is grateful for the work he does, but she's sure that he can appreciate the need to distance themselves from his 'villain rehabilitation program.' "Especially when 'rehabilitation' is a myth of our 'tolerant' society," replies the warden. As they walk through the facility, the warden says that to break behavior patterns, you must break souls. It's a hard concept for her carnival barkers to spin, he feels. Hill tells him that they're called Press Agents, and besides, this isn't the time to debate policy.
She asks if he has been briefed on their situation in Los Angeles. The warden replies that he has. Her unlicensed runaways are proving difficult to apprehend. He asks if she believes that one of his special projects will help. Hill replies that they have been given special leeway to use his unconventional assets to bring the illegals in. The warden says that what she needs is a maggot. Society is a living, breathing organism and superhumans are an infection that must be removed. As he swipes his card under a laser scanner, he tells her that in New York their job is easy, but Los Angeles is different. Maggots thrive in carcasses, eating dead flesh. Placed in an organism they will seek out infected tissue and consume it efficiently... ruthlessly.
The warden pushes open a door and reveals his answer. Inside a tank filled with liquid is Noh-Varr, a Kree super-soldier, gene-perfected with insect DNA. He believes that Noh-Varr is just the maggot she is looking for. Noh-Varr is unconscious, breathing through feeds inserted into his mouth, and with numerous cables and needles inserted into his flesh.
(Los Angeles, beneath La Brea Tar Pits)
Karolina asks Nico why there are cosplay Avengers in their lair. Nico doesn't know, but tells her that if they don't leave, they're going to get disassembled. Eli replies that Molly is fine. She attacked them. Cassie points out the problem with the Vision, and they see both their teammate and Victor Mancha jerking under the influence of electrical bolts that flick back and forth between them. Xavin tells her that it's cowardice to use a robot to ambush them. Wiccan asks Xavin to let Cassie through as she can talk to him, but Xavin morphs into her Skrull form and creates Thing-like arms. Hulkling steps up to challenge her. Wiccan is surprised as he thought the Super Skrull left with the Kree Armada.
Xavin asks if they are blind. She is a Super-Skrull in training from Tarnax IV. She doesn't even look like the great Kl'rt. Hulkling clenches his fist and tells Xavin that he doesn't wish to be un-pc, but they all look the same to him. He punches Xavin hard, sending her flying.
Cassie rushes to the Vision. Nico asks Chase to get Molly while she takes care of Paris Hilton. As Nico moves, she is grabbed by the collar. Kate smacks her which causes Nico to tumble. She insists they are there to help. Nico picks herself up and summons the Staff of One which emerges from her chest. She uses 'Get Lost,' which disorientates Kate. Meanwhile, Eli tells Chase that they're wasting time. If they'd only listen... Chase orders him to put down Molly, so that his arms can be free when he beats the @&#$ out of him. Speed appears in a blur and tells Patriot that he's got this one. With arrogant self-confidence, he informs Chase that they have a super-soldier, a giant girl, a robot from the 30th century, a Skrull/Kree super-soldier, Billy (who is kinda lame but can cast spells), an Olympic class archer and martial artist... and him. "And really, me's all you need." He asks Chase what he has that makes him think he shouldn't just give up. Chase puts his hand to his chin. He says that Speed is right; he doesn't have any powers. "Oh," he exclaims, sarcastically, "But wait! I do have a psychic link to a prehistoric eating machine. Sorry, I really can't pronounce its species."
Old Lace leaps at Speed but he manages to evade her attack. As Hulkling and Xavin continue their battle, Karolina takes on Wiccan. Billy says that the Skrull's kind of a blowhard. Karolina informs him that it's her betrothed he's talking about, and when he's a she, she's actually really sweet. As she uses her energy attack which he defends with a force field, he seems surprised that she's dating a Skrull! Karolina strains as she pours on the power, and asks him if he's got a problem with that. Billy replies no, as he is kinda doing that, too.
Meanwhile, the super-sized Cassie manages to pull Vision away from Victor. He thanks her and she asks what's going on. Vision replies that he doesn't know. Cassie is then shocked at Victor's appearance, and wonders what they did to him. Nico, meanwhile, has Kate on the defensive as she can't see where she's going due to Nico's spell. Nico clonks her with the Staff of One. Eli then grabs the staff and tells her that's enough. He says that every adult hero in the country is wrapped up in a war with each other. They thought that maybe they needed to stick together. But, he adds, maybe they're no better than they are. He lets go of the staff, and Nico uses the opportunity to use 'chill out.' This stops everyone in their tracks.
The warden is in Noh-Varr's cell on board a plane, talking to Maria Hill over a visual link. She isn't particularly happy that he's going to the site personally. The warden replies that it's quite necessary. He informs her that the boy was stranded on Earth with an army of interdimensional Kree, all linked by an alien supercomputer: a hive mind. When his companions were slaughtered, it was the only friend Noh-Varr had left. They killed the bloated intelligence of course, as its multi-dimensional ideas were far too dangerous. However, he adds as he holds Noh-Varr's face in his grimy hands, he took it upon himself to mimic its voice. He had unlimited access to Noh-Varr's consciousness. He had fun stomping around inside his mind. As a result, he takes orders directly from him.
Maria Hill asks him to spare her the details. She just wants assurance that the boy is capable of dealing with their problem. The warden replies that her intel says there is a Skrull amongst her runaways. He uploads a vial into Noh-Varr's nostril, explaining that it's a scent from one of their captive Skrulls. Noh-Varr may be from another dimension, but he is a Kree all the same. He'll find the Skrull within the hour. He drags Noh-Varr to an exit and shoves him through it. Noh-Varr then falls to Earth over Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, the runaways and the Young Avengers have made their peace and are outside the cave, "Chill out, really?" asks Karolina. Nico admits that it's hard thinking of new spells every time she gets the Staff of One out. Besides, it did the job. Everyone sits around trying to get warm again. Chase tells Nico that she turned their secret underground lair into the Planet Hoth. He was eyeing Old Lace like she was a Tauntaun there for a minute. Eli appreciates Nico putting a stop to the fighting. If they're going to get them out of there they don't have much time. Nico asks him to slow down a minute. What makes him think that they need their help? They don't even know who they are. Kate informs her that they are the Young Avengers. Nico asks if they're like deputies. Aren't the Avengers behind all the heat they got in Santa Monica? Kate admits it was some of them, but they're just trying to help Victor who was blown apart. The Vision interjects, pointing out that it's more complicated than it seems.
The Vision apologizes for his behavior earlier, and informs them that he and Victor appear to share many of the same programming codes and electromagnetic signatures. This is why he felt pain when he saw him damaged on the news. His synaptic responses were transmitted through the television signal. Kate asks how that is possible. Vision's armor is telekinetic armor from the 60th century. How can that share code with 21st century tech? Vision replies that his programming is nothing more than the original software developed by Ultron in the late 20th century. Chase tells him that Victor is Ultron’s son - or at least a version of him. He developed Victor to kill every super hero on Earth and eventually take over the Earth. Wiccan is surprised that they have a future murderous despot on their team too. Iron Lad was the future Kang the Conqueror. It was pretty hard to deal with. Karolina admits that it does raise a lot of moral questions. The Vision thinks their similarity must be so confusing that they create confusing feedback
Molly asks if they're all friends now. Speed guesses that they are. Molly says his hair is really white. Is he, like, a hundred years old? "Why don't you go back to nap time..." he replies. Molly asks what his powers are. He tells her that he's really quick, and if he shakes things really fast they blow up. Molly grabs his hand and drags him away wanting to see how it's done. Meanwhile, the Vision wonders if he might be able to help Victor, maybe at the secret Avengers headquarters. He can use their maintenance machinery to work on him remotely. Eli thinks it's settled. They'll take Victor to Captain America. Nico doesn't like that idea. The last time they saw him, he placed them in foster homes. Besides, she adds, how do they know hat being around their android isn't making Vic worse? Eli thinks it's a chance worth taking. His side is the only one that will help people like them. Chase asks what side that is. "Unregistered heroes," replies Eli. Kate asks if they don't watch the news. Nico says that they do, but picking a side makes them no better than they are. Before they can continue talking, a sonic boom nearby forces them to look over to Molly and Tommy. Molly seems ecstatic that he can make rocks blow up.
Noh-Varr has landed hard and created a small crater upon impact. He helps get a small child out of a damaged vehicle and then raises the baby above his head, almost willing to kill it just to rebel against the warden's voice in his head, before sniffing Skrull in the air. He hands the child to his mother, and heads off. Chase, meanwhile, watches Molly playing with Tommy. He doesn't like the Young Avengers much, but Karolina asks him to let them go. He hasn't played with Molly like that since... "Yeah, I know..." interrupts Chase, "Since Gert died." They joke about their costumes, but Nico admits that Patriot is kinda cute. Cassie tells Eli that this really is a war. They have to help the runaways. Eli says they can only do that if they allow them to.
Xavin apologizes to Hulkling and Wiccan, explaining that Skrulls aren't exactly known for their patience. Wiccan jests that Teddy is half-Skrull, but all of him is impatient. Xavin shakes Teddy's hand as Billy adds that he's also half-Kree. His mom was a Skrull empress and his dad was Captain Marvel. Xavin's mouth drops open. "Y-you are Dorrek VII - the great unifier who will bring union to the Skrull member worlds?" He drops to his knees and genuflects Hulkling, as he casually replies that he passed on the job. Xavin informs him that the Skrull Empire is fractured and in disarray. The destruction of their homeworld could have been prevented if their empire had been unified. His destiny is much too important to simply 'pass' on. Teddy shrugs and says that Earth is his home. Xavin becomes agitated with Teddy's attitude, saying that it's unacceptable. Teddy has been chosen for a great duty and will embrace it or live in shame. As he speaks, they don’t even see Noh-Varr coming. He grabs Xavin by the neck as he whizzes past and snaps her neck. He holds Xavin in his arms and asks them a question. "Who's next?"
Nico's comments about the Young Avengers being disassembled if they don't leave is a joke on the main Avengers title going through a storyline called Disassembled. The story ran through Captain America and the Falcon #5 - 7, Iron Man #84 - 85, Spectacular Spider-Man #15 - 20, Thor #80 - 81, Avengers #500 - 503, Excalibur #8, Thor #82 - 85 and Avengers Finale with several other issues dealing with the aftermath.