Around Mr. Mystery, the world stops making sense, but the rest of the team doesn’t even notice. The world unravels, coming apart only to re-integrate in a new and different way.
And as the world resets, and Adam XII shreds into nothingness, a bestial-looking young woman is slammed to the ground by a giant hand! The hand belongs to a monstrosity 9’ tall and 5’ wide, with skin of translucent slimy membrane, under which thousands of dark shapes seem to be writhing, a gigantic gelatinous sack with some being beneath it.
Mr. Mystery charges up a butterfly yo-yo with electricity… meanwhile, the bestial-looking woman slashes open the monstrosity, and is covered with slime and slugs. Ew. Octave whirls and hammers the monstrosity with a massed guitar chord, slamming him to the ground and off the woman, then follows up with a shot against a largish man wearing high-tech, metallic football armor. The third shot seems to have done some damage to the man, and he snarls and points his arm at Octave, in a definite challenge.
Dr. Gauss grabs the armor with the handgun and attempts to throw him into the armor with the autocannon, but the second man steps out of the way and aims the cannon at Gauss. Midnight targets the autocannon, wrapping it in a writhing cloud of darkness, pulling it out of the way. The autocannon fires anyway, explosive shells tracking Gauss, then bending around the magnetic field around him, wreathing him in fire and smoke.
That massive pistol fires two enormous plasma bolts at Captain Wonder, who dodges one, but is knocked back and scorched by the second. Meanwhile, the one in football armor growls, “You’re going to find out what it’s like to be hit by a Meteor,” and streaks at Octave. Octave almost dodges, but takes a fist to the midriff, to the tune of jangled and broken guitar chords.
The sound is overwhelmed by a blast of thunder! Captain Wonder streaks down out of the sky and dives through Slugfest, calling down a lightning strike on the creature, cooking him.
Octave quips, “You know the thing about meteors? They come down out of the sky, get one hit, then hit the ground hard.” In a matter of seconds, from three different directions, she surrounds Meteor with the sound of amplified feedback, knocking him to the ground and stunning him, and a giant leopard leaps upon Meteor, batting his head back and forth. Killzone swings the autocannon around to fire at Midnight, but Captain Wonder interposes himself and takes the hit instead. Killzone then calls, “Get the jewels!” and blows away the window of the jewelry store.
Midnight grabs the charged yo-yo from Mr. Mystery, and teleports it inside Killzone’s suit. Then Killzone screams, and the suit starts jerking and twitching uncontrollably.
Bolo takes aim at Captain Wonder, firing the plasma bolt twice more; Captain Wonder knocks them both aside. With a determined effort, Dr. Gauss wraps magnetic fields around the plasma gun, yanking it out of his hand and crushing it.
Mr. Mystery reaches into his coat and pulls out a flashlight cell and a canister of Morton’s salt, tapes the two together, and drops the resulting contraption into Slugfest. “Time for a little assault and battery…” The explosion mists Slugfest into a bunch of flopping alien leeches.
Bolo starts to run, and then everything just stops.
Mr. Mystery recognizes the Endless Moment — the ORC’s method of stopping situations that are getting out of control. ORC arrests Walter Skepansky for the retcon and murder of Lucas Hennessey. Midnight warns the arresting officers that Walter has a lawyer, who will be present during his questioning.
The rest of the villains are neatly packed up and sent off with the Pinnacle City PD, and we head back to HQ with the shapeshifter. She calls herself Chimera, and she’s been living on the streets because her family threw her out after she changed…and Gauss confirms that she’s one of us, a child of the Sentinel.
Gauss and Wonder go to check on Adam XII. Adam’s flying car, which was destroyed in the explosion that created us all, is entirely functional and parked in front of his apartment. The face on his voicemail is very mechanical, not at all like the face we are accustomed to.
Meanwhile, McClane goes to be Walter’s attorney, sitting in on his interrogation. Walter is charged with using a retcon to cover up the murder of Lucas Hennessey. Hennessey was killed with a round fired from what apppeared to be one of Mr. Mystery’s guns. Walter’s being interrogated by an ORC supervisor named Sienna, a strangely androgynous individual. The interrogation is mild, even almost friendly.
Back at HQ, Dennis is going stir-crazy; he’s been stuck in the room all day, and despite being a vegetarian, he’s craving a bacon cheeseburger. He’s also forgotten the existence of Adam XII as a member of the team.
So we have several loose ends: Chimera, our memory of Adam XII, the super-fight.
We convince Walter to let Dr. Gauss scan his mind, and the results are interesting. Walter has a waveform in his mind that seems to be almost the inversion of the one that identifies us. And once Dr. Gauss scans him, Walter starts “hearing” music.
Between Walter and Octave, we manage to re-create the music he’s hearing, and when the music outside syncs with the music inside, Walter starts having hallucinations.
The Baron, from the alternate history newspapers that we found in the Sentinel’s apartment, in chains, in an executioner’s chamber. “Listen well: In three seconds, we’re going to make a better world than you can ever imagine.” Walter was the attending physician.
Walter, as someone else: more intense, crazier, angrier, with a mask. A is A. “Leave the convincing to me.”
Walter, sitting at a table with the Baron, Banshee, Smoking Mirror, the Void, Chessman, Ba-Pef — major league villains. And one of the Grand Coordinators: “I will not agree to this. We will not agree to this.” The Baron’s response: “The choice is simple: cooperate, or be erased.”
And Walter starts babbling. “It’s a lie, it’s all a lie. Everything we know is a lie. We have met the enemy, and it is us…”