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Trapped within the most secure superhuman penal colony ever devised, hunted by the most dangerous teenaged killing machine ever incarcerated, the Young Avengers and the Runaways might even stand a chance of survival—if they could put aside their mutual dislike for just one minute!
 
(the Cube, maximum security penitentiary)
Several Young Avengers and runaways have been captured by the Cube's Warden. Billy tries to cast a spell to make him stop what he's doing, but to no avail. The Warden puts down his scalpel. He grins as he comments that it shouldn't really be this hard, but they usually install power dampeners with their surgeo-machines under heavy anaesthetic. He is old-fashioned and prefers to do it by hand. However, it makes life difficult in Hulkling's case when his organs keep moving out of the way. He turns his attentions to Wiccan and informs him that his spells don't work if he can't hear them himself. A device planted in his ear makes him listen to anything but his own voice.

He asks Billy to keep trying, though. He finds it very soothing.

Two scientists enter the operating room and tell him that he's needed outside. They have a situation with Noh-Varr. The Warden reckons his little cockroach is more trouble than he's worth. One of the scientist’s points out that Xavin's neck is broken. Should they vaporize his body? The Warden reckons he's fine where he is for the moment. Billy continues to try and cast a spell as the Warden departs. In another room he finds Noh-Varr with the Vision's arm sticking out of his chest. Noh-Varr is unconscious.

The scientist explains that they assumed Noh-Varr had suffered a puncture wound, but this appendage appears to be phased into his chest. What's worse, he continues, is that the nanites in his blood are reacting negatively to the technology. They need authorization to use the phase-cutter. The Warden asks the sleeping Noh-Varr what he said when he first came to him. He said that in five months, the Cube would be the capital city of the new Kree Empire. "Look at yourself now. A broken plaything barely able to stand." The Warden orders his men to leave the arm where it is so they can see what happens. In the meantime, he has some other toys to play with.

(outside)
Eli watches the Cube through a pair of binoculars. Kate and Chase do likewise. Eli thinks they could be in trouble, but Chase reckons it's not that bad. The Vision asks him not to be fooled. The cluster of holding cells known as the Cube is largely underground. It is classified as an 'infinite security facility.' Extricating their friends is virtually impossible. Elsewhere, Speed asks what it is with Old Lace. It's the third time she's tried to mark her territory on him. Molly reckons she's still made at them for goofing off earlier. Tommy asks what Chase's problem is. Has he always treated her like he's her dad? Molly groans that he was fun before Gert died, like a big brother. She doesn't really care as Chase is stupid. Cassie, meanwhile, is caring for Victor. She explains that they have to keep him away from the Vision or their shared Ultron code will freak each other out again. Vic asks what the others are planning. He thinks she's his guardian angel.

Eli asks the Vision why he's gone quiet. Is there something he's not telling them? The Vision replies that the Cube might not be entirely impenetrable. Eli wants to hear his plan. The Vision tells him that his predecessor once took control of the U.S. government's computer systems... all of them. He's sure the Cube's system is based on the same architecture. If he could get to the mainframe, he could control it. He adds that he has spent months preparing failsafes to prevent himself from doing just that. It's possible, but he feels like he'll be losing a piece of himself. Chase reckons there's a joke there somewhere, but he lets it go.

Kate is with Nico who is biting her nails. Kate asks her to go easy on them, but Nico isn't doing it out of nervousness. A spot of blood seeps from the edge of her nail and she utters the magic words, "When blood is shed, let the Staff of One emerge!" The staff exits her chest, and she asks the Vision if he's got a thesaurus in his computer brain. Of course, he replies. Nico asks him that, as she's been having trouble with her spells recently, she needs to expand her vocabulary. Now!

The Warden places his operating room off the grid for a few hours. He has some top secret work to carry out. All the while, Billy tries to cast a spell, wanting the Warden to go to sleep. The Warden asks if he really wants that. Does he want to punish him? Hurt him? He presumes that because of his youth, he is above such murderous thoughts. He grabs a scalpel and approaches Teddy who is strapped to a wall. He wonders if he can change his tune. As the scalpel begins to whirr into life, Billy is beginning to become a little frantic, yet he continues trying to cast his spell.

Scientists working for the warden are in their control room when the floor is ripped to shreds. The remaining runaways and Young Avengers appear, with a large glowing monster shape all around them. Nico asks Vision what exactly 'Prodigium Effodio,' means. He informs her that it's Latin for 'Excavating Monster.' She wonders just how much time he spent in the library. "I am a library," he replies, coldly. Eli orders everyone to look alive. They have work to do. Kate starts things off by kicking one of the guards in an impressive display of athleticism. The Vision makes his way to the computer console and disables the fail-safes. A wounded guard activates mobile defense unit 564, and as he utters the code, Noh-Varr comes to life. He breaks the shackles he has been placed in, and rushes past two scientists who can only watch him leave in a blur.

Meanwhile, the Warden finds Hulkling's body amazing. Even unconscious, his body seems to anticipate every incision he makes. It shifts his biomass to protect his vital organs. He wonders if that's a function of his Skrull physiology. No matter, he feels. He can cut and cut for days on end and he won't die. He turns his attentions to the whispering Billy. Tears trickle from his eyes as his spell has no effect on the villain. The Warden asks if he has anything to say to him. Billy stops chanting and angrily screams at the Warden, "I want you to die." The Warden grins. Perhaps he does have a war on his hands.

A voice from behind surprises the Warden. "You wish to know of war, old man?" Xavin sits up and rips Karolina's shackles apart. She asks her to free the others, and clicks her neck back into place. She tells the Warden that she saw the blood flow as two worlds snuffed each other out. She saw the black hatred of generations extinguish themselves. Her father killed a family of screaming Majesdanians in front of her when she was five. She cried, so she was left with the corpses for three days. She has no innocence or ideals. "You wish to see war, old man ?" she asks. She shifts into her Skrull form and rushes at him. "I will show you the face of war!!"

Elsewhere, the Young Avengers and runaways combat the facility's guards, with Old Lace enjoying the action as much as any of them. As Chase quips about the fact that Molly and Speed should be playing patty-cake right about now, Molly asks him who the guy approaching is. He looks up to see Noh-Varr running sideways along the wall high above them. In a flash, Noh-Varr drops down and grabs Old Lace by the mouth. He prizes her mouth apart, and the pain projects itself to Chase through their empathic link. Molly rushes towards Noh-Varr and grabs him, but he tosses her aside, and Old Lace with her.

Back in the operating room, the Warden tries to put the room back on the grid, as Xavin grabs him around the throat. She tells the Warden that it's too late for that. As she is about to land a killing blow, Hulkling grabs her hand and prevents her from doing something stupid. She warns Teddy to unhand her. He must pay for what he has done. Teddy says he can't let her do that. Xavin is surprised that Hulkling, the prophesied savior of the Skrull Empire, shies away from a simple act of vengeance. "The Young Avengers don't kill," replies Teddy. Xavin reminds that his own teammate wanted the insect dead just minutes ago. Billy says that he thought the guy was going to kill Teddy. He hopes that wasn't him talking.

Karolina asks Xavin to listen. Teddy tells her that he can't let her kill. If she wants to kill the Warden, she'll have to kill him, too. He means it. Xavin furrows her brow, saying that the prophecy is a lie. He is not the great uniter of the Skrull Empire. He is not a savior. However, she acquiesces. Karolina jumps on her and gives her a hug. She knew she wouldn't do it. Teddy, now in his human form, is tossed aside as Xavin hugs Karolina back. The Vision then contacts them, informing them that there isn't much time. He explains that he has taken control of the mainframe. They're getting them out of there, but they don't have much time. He asks them to follow his voice. They run along dark tunnels, following the voice projected at regular intervals along them.

Back at the fight scene, Chase cuddles Molly and asks if she's all right. Molly weakly asks if she did okay. Chase says she did. She saved his dinosaur. She apologizes, but is quickly falling asleep. He hugs her tightly. "That's okay, Molly. I'll take care of you." She knows that. He's like her big brother. As she drifts away, Chase turns to Noh-Varr and warns him to stay away from her. She's just a baby. Noh-Varr lifts a chunk of heavy machinery and tells him that it's better to die than grow old in the Cube. As he prepares to drop the machinery on them, a green glow appears besides Chase. The glow forms into a kind of symbiotic fluid and it cover him. In an instant, he takes on the Vision's form and smashes the machinery apart. "I'm afraid we see more options than you do," he remarks. Chase then checks out the Vision armor. "Sweet!"

The fight with the guards continues as Victor begins to get some life back in his legs. He tells Cassie that his biomechanical systems are continuing to repair him. Maybe he can help. As Chase tries to blast Noh-Varr, the Kree soldier reroutes his repulsor rays and makes him blast Karolina instead. "You are part of me... I am part of you," says Noh-Varr, standing there with the Vision's arm still stuck in his chest. Victor begins to walk towards the action. Cassie asks what he's doing. If he gets too close he'll make the Vision go all freaky. "Exactly, " replies Victor. As he approaches, the Vision armor begins to disperse, and Victor touches Chase's back. A short-circuit takes down Victor, Chase and Noh-Varr in a flash of green light.

As Noh-Varr falls, he wishes for all this to end. Eli asks the Vision, who remains conscious having reformed his body, what he's doing. The Vision replies that Noh-Varr was correct. His circuitry has merged with the nanites in his blood. Already they work to revive him. Eli says that they got what they came for. He should retrieve his arm and go. The Vision points out that they can not outrun Noh-Varr. His internal operating system has been mangled by foreign code, as if by a child with a hammer. He must be in constant pain, unable to discern who he even is. Eli asks what he suggests. The Vision replies that they should fix him.

(moments later)
The warden, flanked by several armed guards, enters the room asking why he wasn't notified sooner. A guard reminds him that he ordered a surveillance blackout. The Warden tells him to shut up. It doesn't matter, he feels, for Noh-Varr will not allow the children to escape. He approaches Noh-Varr to find him kneeling on the floor as if meditating. The Vision's arm is gone. "What is wrong with you?" the warden demands to know. Noh-Varr stands and grabs the warden's arm. "That will be enough of that. There is nothing wrong with me. In fact, I'm feeling much, much better." The Warden's face drops as he looks into Noh-Varr's eyes.

Outside, the teams find their respective transports. Chase asks where Molly has gotten to. Speed suddenly appears carrying her. He asks Chase to try and be nicer to her. She kind of looks up to him. Chase is surprised by this, but Tommy tells him that she thinks he's great. She told him. Meanwhile, Vic thanks Cassie for babysitting him. Chase looks over. "Whoa. Weird," he exclaims. The Vision asks what's up. Chase tells him that, all of a sudden, Cassie's like the prettiest, most perfect girl in the world. But he didn't think that before... The Vision turns and informs him that the armor which he inhabits is controlled by thought. Though they didn't fully merge, there will be psychic feedback. Chase works out that those thoughts must be the Vision's. "Man, I... you're one lonely dude," he says. The Vision tells him that it's strangely alienating to find a brother in Victor and be unable to commune with him. Perhaps it is his lot to be alone. Chase asks him not to be so down. If nothing else he has by far the coolest costume on their team. The Vision thanks him for that.

Karolina takes to the air and Xavin remarks how beautiful she is. "What's that?" asks Teddy. Xavin continues to point out that Karolina is so tender and soft. He has lost his homeworld. She is all she has left. She is all that makes her life good. She would not have understood, had she done what she wanted to do with their captor. She would have lost her. She smiles and thanks Teddy. "Perhaps you did save me today, Dorekk VIII. Perhaps you are a savior." Eli tells Nico that they work well together, and they're halfway to New York already. Have they thought about joining the anti-registration resistance?

Nico apologizes, but they have their friends back, and that's all they wanted. Eli seems surprised, and asks if she can turn her back on justice after seeing the people they're dealing with. Nico replies that she saw a bunch of people who work for the United States government - people who probably think they're the good guys. You play grown-up long enough and you lose your perspective on right and wrong. Why not put it off for as long as possible? She turns and walks to her friends, adding that they'll leave the avenging to them. Eli asks if they're just going to walk away. Nico says that when the world goes crazy, you runaway.

(epilogue)
Maria Hill appears on the Wardens screen. She says that the Cube has disappeared from the grid. They need a status report. There is no reply. Maria Hill warns him that his behavior has been unacceptable and erratic. She is unaware that at this moment, the Warden is lying on his back, groaning. Noh-Varr is using him as a foot stool. "An entire world to change and I've been stuck here for how long?" he wonders. "Never mind. Welcome to the capital city of the new Kree Empire!"


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