- Well, I had my ego beaten out of me by Henry Bendix, the most self-deluded superior bastard to ever walk this world...And you might think yourself the best thing since sliced Daemonite...BUT TO ME, YOU'RE JUST ANOTHER BITCH WITH A THING FOR SWORDS!
- -- Midnighter
Appearing in "The Protectorate (Part 3 of 3): Knock Down, Drag Out"
- Love Rocket (Apparent Death)
- Pagan (Apparent Death)
- Luisa Biondi
- Team-7 (Behind the scenes)
Synopsis for "The Protectorate (Part 3 of 3): Knock Down, Drag Out"
As Midnighter and Zealot engage in combat against each other, Petrified Girl watches with the others. She recounts how she used to be part of The Paladins. She also remembers how after spending decades in the Number of the Beast program, she and the other Paladins awoke just in time for the end of the world during Number of the Beast. She also recounts that after being out of action for so long she decided to help Zealot because she felt Zealot had a good plan.
Zealot and Midnighter are beating each other senseless. Midnighter argues that Zealot is more worried about Kheran superiority than the human race. When Midnighter cuts Zealot with a sharp rock, she says he's changed the conditions of their fight and grabs her swords as Midnighter grabs his staff.
Jackson King and Ladytron converse with the mysterious Aeon. He claims to be here to save the Earth but the heroes are understandably cautious about his claims. Aeon teleports Voodoo and Sir Edwin from Skywatch III to his location. Spartan fears they are being attacked but Aeon assures Spartan that they've met before. But before Aeon can tell them more, a huge burst of magical energy erupts from the ground and out into space. Aeon tells them that it must be contained or else it will destabilize their Earth further. But with the magical blasts comes a host of odd monstrous creatures ready to attack.
Spartan dispatches Mago and Team Achilles to their location. He then shares his frustrations with Link about not having his legs anymore. But Link said he knew Spartan would ask for some new legs eventually and that he'd been working on some prototypes.
Midnighter and Zealot continue their fight with their weapons. Zealot calls Midnighter a hypocrite because of all the people he's killed. But Zealot finally hits a nerve when she says she intends to protect the children of this world sometimes she says Midnighter couldn't do concerning protecting his own child (Jenny Quarx). Midnighter's anger distracts him long enough for Zealot to stab him through the chest. She withdraws her sword and claims victory but Midnighter's not quitting. They grab each other by the throat but then Maul suddenly grows large (accidentally knocking out Petrified Girl in the process) and jumps between the two combatants.
In the moment as Maul jumps between them, he realizes Zealot is slicing at him out of reflex. Maul has no time to dodge so his only solution is to shrink down as small as he can to avoid her blade. He does but to everyone else it appears he disintegrated. Midnighter tells Zealot she lost because she needs Maul to run the machines. But Zealot just tells him that they'll move elsewhere. Midnighter vows to follow her wherever she goes as he doubles over in pain.
Team Achilles arrives to help Jackson and the others. Then Mago arrives and binds them with magic after they realize there are humans within each monster. Aeon then absorbs all of the magic into himself. The fact he can do this disturbs the other heroes. But before the heroes can get more information out of him, Aeon teleports them all to Egypt.
Back on Skywatch III, Grunge makes contact with John Lynch. He tells Lynch that Spartan made him second in command. Lynch tells him that's great and to tell Spartan he and Team 7 are doing fine. As Lynch signs off, Grunge uses the Door technology he's been playing with and is able to open a small Door that will spy on Lynch and Team 7.
Warblade prepares to help nurse Luisa Biondi find her family back on Earth. But before they enter the teleporter, Midnighter teleports in. Warblade asks Midnighter if he's alright but he walks past without answering. In his quarters, Midnighter silently holds a picture of Apollo, himself, and Jenny.
- The cover to this issue links up with the cover to The Authority: World's End #24.
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