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This issue is a part of the WAR OF KINGS saga.
The issue opens with Centurion Suki Yumiko in the sky, disbelieving her own eyes. Centurion Robbie Rider, is speaking with her and acting (in his words) as her “guy in the sky.” He asks to describe what she sees, and she can not put it into words. Centurion Irani tries to inform Robbie that keeping an open link with her is inadvisable, as their role is to be tactical analysis. Qubit chimes in, explaining that it’s because she’s cute that Robbie is doing this. Robbie insists that it’s because she’s scared. Suki goes over her objective of securing the Kree planet, Nil-Rast, which is a planet rich in resources and fuel, and the Shi’ar are seeking to annex it. While she explains this, Centurion Lucas Maats dies besides her by being incinerated by a blast, which rattles the already nervous Suki even further. She lands on the planet and is assisted by Centurion Tarcel.
As Centurion Tarcel’s group move in on the Shi’ar, it’s Suki who saves Tarcel now, by incinerating a Shi’ar that was about to shoot Tarcel from the back. Suki is visibly shaken by the fact that she was forced to take someone’s life. Tarcel, also a Shi’ar, explains that she should feel no remorse for these Shi’ar for they have thrown their alliance in with the traitorous Vulcan. Irani reports that the Shi’ar seem to be fleeing the surface, when suddenly there’s a large teleport signature… a teleport signature that marks the arrival of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, led by none other than Gladiator.
Elsewhere, Rich Rider with the Quantum Bands on and the ghostly wisp of the form Quasar have followed Ego, the living planet, which is now Nu-Xandar to the planet Zaros-Three, where it is seen recruiting several thousand native Zarosians for the battle ahead.
Back on Nil-Rast, a Nova Corp tells Gladiator to stand down – however, Gladiator simply flies through the Nova Corp, sundering the Corp’s body in half. He tells the rest of the Imperial Guard to have the situation in control within the next sixty minutes. The Imperial Guard begin doing just that – easily taking down the inexperienced Nova Corps. Centurion Tarcel stands up against Gladiator, but even with his power he is not match for the leader of the Imperial Guard. Suki tries to help and is only wounded in the process. Gladiator informs Tarcel to tell all of the Centurions to stand down immediately or he will persist with killing anyone who resists him. Tarcel is forced to surrender, for the sake of the Centurions. The arrival of a female Strontian (the same race as Gladiator, and her new “name” where it had previously been mentioned as “Xenith”) surprises him, as she reports that she is to watch over the prisoners and that Vulcan has commanded that Gladiator return to the ship immediately. Gladiator agrees, and takes Tarcel with him since he is Shi’ar. When one of the guards ask what they should do with the prisoners, Strontian smirks, “What prisoners? All I see is target practice.” And moments later, aboard Nu-Xandar, Robbie and the others report all life lost from Tarcel’s group.
Outside Nu-Xandar, Rich manages to distract Ego/Worldmind, and launch into Ego/Worldmind’s inner workings, where he finds what he’s looking for – the Ego/Worldmind’s Cerebral Cortex – where he finds Worldmind has loaded itself into Ego’s brain. However, when Worldmind turns around, it is Ego wearing the helmet – but Rich doesn’t have much time to ponder it before he is blasted…