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The issue begins with Sphinx taking Nova and Powerhouse by surprise and rendering them unconscious with the intention of probing their minds and stealing their knowledge. He then turns to Kur, who had used Condor’s gun with the intention of being rid of Sphinx, but hitting Condor instead. Sphinx sentences Kur to a month in hell – transporting him to a fiery domain resembling what Hell. It turns out to be only an illusion within Kur’s mind – but ever so real to Kur. Sayge approaches Sphinx saying that it is a minor victory that he is gloating over; and once again, Sphinx tells Sayge not to look him directly in the eyes, because of what he sees reflected in Sayge’s face.
We then move over to see Ginger chasing down Bernie. Ginger explains to Bernie that Rich did not show up to class and that he has been acting strangely. Bernie dismisses it, explaining that Rich failed his midterms and may be too embarrassed at the moment to come to school or talk about. However, when Ginger walks off – Bernie thinks to himself about how Rich has been acting strange and how he plans on finding out exactly what is up with him!
Sphinx does a soliloquy about how he has plucked the memories and knowledge of ten thousand minds and still not found what he seeks. However when he plucks the mind of Nova he is surprised to find “they key” that he needs to finally be free. Sayge appears and explains, “What you must know, Sphinx, he can not tell because it is what makes him Nova – preventing the words from ever being uttered. While he is Nova he will not be able to tell you anything.”
Sphinx then turns Nova into Richard Rider. He explains that he will send Richard Rider back down to Earth, where he will be wiped of his memories and lack the knowledge of ever being Nova – and with his mind at ease, Sphinx will be able to steal away the “key” that he needs. He also takes Powerhouse and wipes his mind and sends him to a different country entirely. We pick up with Rich running in late to school where he is told to go see the Guidance Council who informs him that he’s failing – but all the teachers say the same thing of him; bright, but not applying himself. Rich promises to try harder and leaves where Mike runs into him and pushes him over. Rich has lunch with Ginger, Bernie and Caps and they keep mentioning his accident – which triggers strange memories in Rich’s mind. After briefly touring the television station – and seeing a science fiction show on – all of Rich’s memories return. Including his days and powers as Nova!
Sphinx appears before Nova claiming he has come to uncover “the key” within Nova’s mind. Nova tries a full fledged punch which does not even phase Sphinx. Sphinx returns the favor by punch Nova into some cables which send volts of electricity through him. Before he can recover, Sphinx picks him up and tosses him into a wall. Then breaks off a metallic unit and brings it down over Nova’s head. Nova rises again, only to be zapped by the Ka Stone on Sphinx’s head. Still he rises, so Sphinx brings down tons of metal onto Nova. And yet again, he rises and lunges for Sphinx. Sphinx admits he can’t take what he needs from Nova; and admits at being wrong about another thing. He had called Nova a child; and tonight he proved, if anything, that Nova is a man!