Prologue Part I The Floating City of Attilan, Upper Atmosphere Two Months Ago
Maximus grinned, watching the Inhuman city of Attilan - his city - rise through the clouds above Niagara Falls. This was the end of Project Number Nine. He was excited again, like he seldom had been since winning his Silent War against his brother. Blackagar had been cast into exile before the Purge, and Maximus had been much amused by the famed Black Bolt’s descent into the muck. He found himself bored by the tedium of Attilan’s new status quo - not much excitement was to be had when the city’s entire population had been made mentally his. There was the occasional issues to be resolved, but rarely anything exciting.
The Projects were Maximus’ solution to the boredom. Project Number Nine was cosmic in its ambitions. He had located an object in deep space, with a distinct magnetic signature. The signature was growing fainted - the object was moving away. Maximus viewed this not unlike a hunt, and had embraced the project with great fervor. He had built a great device, as he was wont to do, one that would snare the object and bring it to Earth. It had performed to task, as he knew it would. It was on the moon, now.
Attilan left Earth, and eventually settled back in the Blue Area of the Moon. It would return to its Bureau-approved place in Niagara soon. He left in a shuttle with a retinue to inspect the object, bringing all his favorites: Luna, Ahura, Karnak, and others. The only one who was essential was the elderly Karnak. Maximus had long ago conquered aging, but Karnak had annoyed him and been left to the ravages of time. He had his uses, Maximus could not deny. They disembarked, marveling at the object Maximus had brought from space.
It appeared to be a massive silver bullet, a weapon that could break worlds.
“Fascinating.” Maximus said, then pointed to Karnak. “Break it!”
Karnak mumbled a curse, but could not deny his master’s will. Maximus knew that Karnak alone would be able see the shatterpoints in the object. The Inhuman slave found one soon enough, and attempted to exploit it. Karnak’s hand shattered instead, leaving only a crack behind. The old Inhuman collapsed, both due to overexertion and due to the pain. Luna began to run to him, intending to help. That impulse was then repressed.
Maximus scowled, disappointed but not caught unprepared. Signalling his lackeys, he had one of his devices brought forth and Karnak dragged off. The device was fairly large, roughly the size of Maximus himself. This of course was little compared to the bullet, but he was certain that the device would be capable of exploiting the weakness that Karnak had exposed. Maximus was soon proved correct as the device pulsed with a green light and then exploded, a massive hole put in the side of the bullet. Those who were unlucky enough to be outside Maximus’ personal barrier suffered, but the cloning chambers would replace them.
Before Maximus’ servants could venture inside, a figure stumbled out from the cloud of debris. As it approached, he could see it looked much like one of his people. Maximus knew all the Inhumans, however, and so he knew that this was not one. A human, perhaps a spartoi, or a skrull morphed to look like one, Maximus counted off the possibilities. None made any sense, much to his delight. There was still a mystery for him to solve.
“Nahrees!” Maximus said. “Grab it.”
The figure had emerged from the cloud, and Maximus could see that it was a brown-haired female, dressed in black and yellow. Nahrees went to grab her, but passed straight through her. The mysterious figure did not react, beyond turning her head to look at the Inhumans. “It’s intangible!” He thought, and his servants acted likewise. The occasional terrigenesis had rendered upon him an intangible servants, and he had long since engineered a solution. A little adjustment to the standard inhibitor collar was all that was needed to circumvent such a condition.
Kitty Pryde was brought aboard the ship.
Outskirts of Sinister Seoul, the Slums
Boris Baryshnikov took a drag on his cigarette before tossing it into the gutter.
The Slums of Sinister Seoul were as dreadful as ever. It was here that humanity had been congregated, and in the other ghettos. They had no choice in the matter, and many considered it lucky that High Majesty Sinister had seen fit to let them live at all. They were not allowed to live in the countryside, let alone Sinister Seoul proper. None of the Sinister Cities were open to those outside the System.
That fact was something the Rebellion had made sure Boris was absolutely clear of. The Sinister System was not something one chose. In the Sister Empire, 95% of humanoid life was of the Sinister species, the manpower of the Sinister System. 40% of non-humanoid life was also part of the Sinister System. The Sinister System is not a choice, it is in their very DNA. The Sinister System did not accept humans. The Rebellion was not one done in the name of the populous. The Sinister System could not be turned against Sinister himself. Total victory for the Rebellion would be History’s bloodiest coup d’etat. The Rebellion was survival. The Sinister System was not a choice.
The ghettos, including the Slums of Sinister Seoul, and their human inhabitants were allowed to exist because there were some jobs considered too lower for even the Sinister Plebeians to handle. The slum dwellers were the lowest of the low, the Untouchables, no better than slaves. For this reason, the members of the Sinister Species rarely visited the slums when it was not time to recruit labor. The Slums had their own so-called government, which the Sinister Empire supplied with propaganda and minor assistance for the purpose of making them tools.
Boris, much to his annoyance, had been sent back home to the Slums to do some searching. There were reports of a vigilante with an anti-Sinister agenda. He was instructed to find this vigilante, who reportedly styled himself after the old shinobi. Recruitment was a possibility, but primarily the Rebellion wished to ensure that this vigilante would not interfere with their most delicately laid plans. Boris chuckled at the thought that there was anything delicate in the Rebellion’s plans for the Slums.
Boris took another cigarette from his pack and lit it, the light from the flame reflecting off his dark eyes in the shadowy streets. The streetlamps cast a dim yellow light. Boris’ head was bald, his clothes were black and plain, a concealed handgun in his belt. One did not need to worry about standing out or blending in while in the Slums, so long as one avoided the rare Sinisters, but Boris tried all the same. He did not like attention while walking the streets. He wanted to find the target and get the hell out of the Slums.