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Recap / Secret Empire 8

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In the forest that Johann "Red Skull" Shmidt claimed was Hell, the figure claiming to be Steve "Captain America" Rogers pulls himself out of the lake he'd previously thrown himself and Shmidt into.

In Nevada, Rayshaun "Patriot" Lucas and Raz "Giant-Man" Malhotra go over their plan again. Malhotra has built a time machine which will first sit in the ground for 100 years, by which point HYDRA will hopefully have been defeated and the Darkforce Dome and planetary shield will hopefully be destroyed. Then the time machine will beam a message into space and into Manhattan (as neither will be blocked off at that point) and then send those messages back in time to before the Dome and shield were raised. The messages will wait around until after the shield and Dome go up, ensuring that the messages are with the stranded heroes of Manhattan and Alpha Flight, and then broadcast themselves so everyone can hear them. This will allow the Underground to send messages to both groups of heroes in order to enable a coordinated attack. Lucas asks why they can't just send a message back in time to warn people about Rogers being evil, but Malhotra says that would create a temporal paradox.

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The message plays in both Manhattan and on the Alpha Flight station. It features Sam "Captain America" Wilson, who has once again donned his outfit. Wilson first says that his teams' thoughts and prayers have been with the stranded heroes, and they believe all the trapped heroes have found a way to survive. He explains that there's an Underground movement fighting HYDRA and briefly sums up how they're looking for shards of the cosmic cube that corrupted Rogers in the first place. Wilson adds that HYDRA has most of the shards but the Underground found the last one and learned that the shards can rewrite reality just a little bit, and they plan to use their shard to bring down the planetary shield as well as the Darkforce Dome. Then all the heroes will be able to unite and take down Rogers.

At an airfield, Wilson and the Tony Stark AI go over the plan. Wilson will fly up to a point exactly halfway between the Darkforce Dome over Manhattan and Earth's shield and then will try to will the cosmic cube fragment into destroying both. At the same time, the heroes in space and in Manhattan will attack the shield and Dome respectively with everything they have. Hopefully, the heroes conclude, the combination will be sufficient to break both the shield and Doime. Clint "Hawkeye" Barton warns Wilson that HYDRA will send its air force at him, but Misty Knight vouches for him. Wilson flies into the sky.

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In space, Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers says they have to do anything they can to help break the shield. Peter "Star-Lord" Quill and Rocket Raccoon say they can help, revealing that they gave up going around the galaxy and asking others to help them, and instead decided to just steal an extremely powerful Nullifier Bomb from Annihilus. Danvers asks how they'll deliver the bomb, and Quill says they can just keep it in the Alpha Flight satellite and send the satellite into the shield.

In Manhattan, Jessica Jones says there's nothing they can do to help, and Luke "Power Man" Cage concurs. However, Stephen "Doctor" Strange arrives and says he acquired some magic that might help. Earlier he went to the New York Public Library and talked to the magical Librarians, who offered to trade him a powerful spell in exchange for his brownstone. Strange made the deal and obtained a powerful amplification spell. He thinks he can use it in conjunction with the illumination abilities of Tandy "Dagger" Bowen and the Darkforce-traveling powers of Ty "Cloak" Johnson. Claire "Night Nurse" Temple says they have to try it since Bowen is on her last legs and won't be able to illuminate the city for much longer.

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The heroes move into action, with Wilson flying high into the sky and evading HYDRA planes. However, there are too many enemies and he's quickly shot down. He crashes into the water below as Misty screams his name and Bobbi "Mockingbird" Morse comforts her. At the same time, Strange's magic fails to penetrate the Dome and Danvers' bomb fails to breach the shield around Earth. Strange sighs that he at least gets to keep his brownstone, while Danvers tells America Chavez they need to evacuate into another dimension. At that moment, though, Avril "Quasar" Kincaid steps into the room; she has woken from her coma and is ready to fight.

The cosmic cube shard glows as it drifts out of Wilson's hand, and Wilson's body begins to float back to the surface. At the same time, Kincaid goes to attack the shield. Danvers exposits that Kincaid was able to destroy just over half of the shield's energy during testing, and Monica "Spectrum" Rambeaux is skeptical that she'll do better now, but Danvers believes in her. Wilson flies out of the water, uninjured, as Kincaid blasts the shield and destroys it.

Danvers immediately flies to Earth and blows up the facility with the Chitauri queen eggs to stop the aliens from continuing to attack Earth. Simultaneous, the Underground attacks the prison that Sinthea "Sin" Schmidt and Brock "Crossbones" Rumlow set up for captured heroes. In the confusion, Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan is able to relay to Maria Hill information he got from Wade "Deadpool" Wilson as to which cell Marcus "Blackout" Daniels is in. Hill slips into the prison and finds Daniels, who believes himself to be Bob Hofstedder, a mild-manner innocent civilian persona which was created as part of the Pleasant Hill project. Daniels says he vaguely understands he did something bad to New York City but doesn't really get what's going on and just wants to see his family. Hill tells him everything will be fine and helps him revert to his supervillain form with a touch. She then notes that the heroes need her to be something other than a hero and shoots Daniels in the head, which destroys the Darkforce Dome and frees Manhattan.

Wilson flies to the other heroes and embraces Knight as all the other heroes who were stranded in space or Manhattan join up to them. The Tony Stark AI says that he's seen reports that HYDRA beat both New Tian and Wakanda and has their shards, meaning now HYDRA has all the shards except for the one that the heroes have. At that moment, Namor McKenzie leaps out of the water and says he has a plan of his own. Knight is skeptical since McKenzie gave his own cosmic cube shard to HYDRA before, but McKenzie said that was all part of his strategy. He then reveals Bucky "Winter Soldier" Barnes to them, and Barnes says he has a plan. At that, all the heroes charge to fight HYDRA while "Black Panther" T'Challa is led away in handcuffs and Rogers examines his almost-completed cube.

Back in the forest, Rogers sees the mysterious women again. He demands to know who she is and guesses she might be Sharon Carter. The woman vanishes but Kobik appears, saying that they're all alone now.


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