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The issue begins with a Phalanx infected Rich Rider leading a number of other Phalanx Shock Troopers through the Kree World, Hala’s, atmosphere. We get a look inside of Rich’s thought process of becoming one of the Phalanx Select. In his own words, he expresses it as, “Having an understanding of the Universe to a degree of detail that makes even the analytical overview of the Worldmind seem dull and unenlightened.”
When Rich lands on Hala, he is greeted by Gamora. However, that greeting also comes with a flashback of Ko-Rel, as she was dying in Rich’s arms saying, “This isn’t you.”
Gamora embraces him, explaining that she had missed him; and Rich explains that it had only been five hours, and he and the Phalanx Shock Troopers were rounding up terrorists on Han-Lar.
All the while a voice keeps whispering, “Why aren’t you screaming?” inside of Rich’s mind. While walking and talking with Gamora, Rich is greeted with another flashback of Ko-Rel’s death in his hands. The voice comes again, and the flashback repeats itself; until Rich begins freaking out.
Suddenly the world of Rich Rider changes. All images bleed away and suddenly there is only a white light – and then a figure standing there. Rich finds himself facing… himself – but the one he faces is in the older, more classic version of the Nova outfit. Rich grabs this classic Nova, and threatens him – and the classic Rich simply replies, “You even talk like a cheap super villain. Why are you just accepting what’s happened to you? Why aren’t you screaming?”
Rich explains that there is nothing to scream about; nothing to fight. That becoming a Phalanx Select was the best thing to ever happen to him – but the classic Rich reveals that Rich is inside fighting the effects of the Phalanx – and reveals a number of Nova Corps battling within him – his subconscious – all in a wild attempt to stop the Phalanx. Then he sees Ko-Rel again. The classic Rich explains that Ko-Rel will haunt his mind for a long time to come – she had been the reason that Rich was able to subconsciously begin to battle the Phalanx – and while he would never, ever truly be free of the Phalanx – like any form of cancerous virus – they could fight it into remission.
Classic Rich asks again, “So tell me, why aren’t you screaming?”
Rich put his hands on his head and lets out a scream.
Classic Rich simply smiles and says, “Attaboy.”
Rich sees Ko-Rel one more time, and all she says is, “His name is Zam. He’s just a little boy. Please save him.”
And suddenly the world snaps back. Rich looks up at Gamora – but his eyes are clear once again – and the Phalanx is officially in remission. Gamora is surprised by this change, allowing Nova to get the drop on her and blast her away. Nova makes for an escape, and is informed by the Worldmind that it is taking nearly eighty-three percent of the Nova Force to keep the Phalanx virus in “remission.”
The scene switches and we see Gamora approach Drax the Destroyer, who has officially become a Phalanx Select – and informs Drax that the time for payback has arrived – and that the two of them will hunt Nova down.
The scene switches again, and Worldmind takes Nova to a neutron star – which is a collapsed remnant of a massive star. Worldmind then informs Nova that despite the risk of being smashed down to the size smaller than an atom – they needed to open up a Hyper-Gravimetric Wormhole through the neutron star if they had any hope of escaping.
When Drax and Gamora appear, Nova briefly engages them until Worldmind informs Rich that he is operating at only seventeen percent efficiency. Nova retreats and escapes through the wormhole in the neutron star he creates – unaware that both Gamora and Drax are also pulled into it.
When Rich comes through – Worldmind informs him that they have gone much further than anticipated – and that Worldmind has no indication of where they are – as they seemed to be in uncharted space!