|Dates run:||May 25-31, 2008|
|Read the logs:||Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil|
"Shut your filthy mouth, Kane!" The change was startling, the sardonic, phlegmatic, almost stereotypically German facade disappearing as if a discarded mask and giving way of unbridled rage. Zemo was almost spitting with fury as he towered over the table. "You myopic old man, with your pitiful ambitions that can't surpass some brainless bimbo! You have no conception of the world, of my true place in it, of my dreams! You have no capacity whatosoever to even comprehend what you meddling has cost me and through me - Humanity! I will see you dead here and now, Kane. DEAD! And you will die knowing that your pathetic fumblings cost you not only your life but those you have brought here with you!"
Thirty-five years ago, Christian Kane and a group of his allies tracked down Baron Zemo, a dangerous genius, and his self-styled Masters of Evil to their Doom Fortress, and destroyed it, believing Zemo to be trapped inside. However, a number of thefts and minor incidents worldwide reach Kane's attention, and raises suspicions that his old adversary may yet be alive.
No Mister Kane, I Expect You To Die
At Christian's request, a small team of the X-Men travel to Europe to meet with some of Kane's old allies, to see if they can help confirm his suspicions. Montoya and Batroc provide some additional research and rumours, but once reaching Shostakov in Moscow, he provides parts from a vault broken into recently that Adrienne's powers are able to confirm as belonging to Baron Zemo. On returning to the Blackbird, they found themselves surrounded by armed men, under the command of the Enchantress, who was once a member of the Masters of Evil.
They are taken to a secret lair, where the Kanes are shackled to a stove-like table and the others are locked inside a cell which is boobytrapped with a super cooled nitrogen discharge if they attempt to use their powers. Baron Zemo himself makes an appearance to gloat over Christian before retiring. Fortunately, Ororo's skills are enough to get free from the cell and they disable the guards. Likewise, Garrison is able to break his father free long enough to release them from the table and steal Zemo's plans before meeting up with the others and escaping.
Once back at the mansion, examination of the plans reveals that Zemo is planning to build some sort of superweapon, and needs special components to do so. The X-Men and X-Force split up, along with Kane's allies in unlikely groups to try and reach them before the Masters of Evil.
Y Tu Monkey Tambien
The first piece is a mystical gem, located in a temple deep in the rain forests of Indonesia. Stephen Strange is about to locate the temple, and leads them through the jungle to it. Just before reaching it, they discover their way is blocked by Zemo's thugs, and a collection of traps in the jungle and then the temple itself. Slowly making their way to the centre of the temple, they discover the gem in the hands of Skurge the Executioner, an Asgardian who also is the minion of the Enchantress. During the battle, Skurge nearly kills Cain and Monet before escaping with the gem.
Zemo's next target was an experimental power source that had been used to power a Soviet science city nestled deep in the waters off of Vladivostok. With the help of Natasha Romanova, a team of X-Men was able to get codes for the abandoned facility, and stowed away in one of Zemo's own subs to reach the city. Splitting into two teams, they headed for the power room and the likely command centre for the Melter separately, in order to strike them at the same time.
The Melter's men, plus the power of his melting ray fought the X-Men to a standstill, but gained the second team enough time to reach the core and begin to extract the power source, despite internal disorder over Natasha's lethal methods in dealing with the Melter's men. Before the core could be freed, the Melter made a dangerous gamble by melting his way down to the command centre to take the source from them. His wild shots had ruined the internal integrity of the deep sea station, and it began to crumple under the pressure of the ocean depth.
With a combination of Crystal and Alex's powers, the team was able to blast themselves out of the station and back to the surface without harm, although failing to stop the Melter or the destruction of the city.
From Monaco With Love
The third piece of the machine, a targeting system, was once in the hands of Arcade as a curio in his Japanese office. However, it was stolen a little over a year ago from the man. When contacted by Remy about the system, Arcade offered a deal to his former victim; he help them retrieve the system in exchange for him being able to settle the score with the people who stole it from him. Through contacts, they were able to trace the people responsible to an Asian gang, who had invested heavily in an upcoming poker tournament in Monaco. Arcade struck a deal with them that the victor of the tournament would claim the system as the prize. However, one of the Masters of Evil, Radioactive Man, had made the same deal with the gang.
During the tournament, Batroc and Dani manipulated the other tables to feed weaker players to Remy's table, and allowing the Cajun to amass a substantial chip lead. Meanwhile, Ororo and Jubilee worked with Arcade to compromise the casino's security and gain them access to the house vault holding the targeting system in case of betrayal.
Radioactive Man and Remy met at the final table, but surprisingly, Remy was beaten at the table by him. Until Doug and Sofia also made the final table, Remy's loss being a ploy to draw out Radioactive Man's tells and make him vulnerable to Sofia and Doug while the rest of them moved into the hotel's security area to reach the device. As expected, Zemo's men had planned a double cross, and even as Doug won at the poker table, goons were breaking through the house vault. In a pitched battle, they were forced to allow Radioactive Man to escape, or risk killing hundreds in a battle in the casino.
Swim and Let Dry
The final piece of the machine, a pair of reflectors fallen into the hands of the black market, are tracked to Bermuda, where Wisdom and Kane led a group to find who would have access to it. With the help of Trotsky, they cover the resort he once worked at, making connections with the various parties there to find out who in the region could have access to the reflectors. Eventually, they receive a name; 'Little Papi' Beauchamp, a man both Wisdom and Kane know from their time at British Intelligence.
Torturing Beauchamp, they discover it was his son who wanted the mirrors, and had stolen a sword from the British Museum. He indicated they were on a boat in a hidden harbour, one which Kane knew of, and the team rejoined there.
The harbour and ship were fully staffed with Zemo's men, as well as Beauchamp's son, who was now wielding the sword of Black Knight, one of the Masters of Evil. In an intense fight, the ship itself was breached and sank, with Black Knight escaping with the reflectors on a speed boat, leaving them to paddle back to shore.
On Her Majesty's Mutant Service
Shiro Yoshida, Marius Laverne, John Allerdyce, Angelica Jones, Jubilation Lee, Ororo Munroe, Kyle Gibney, Mark Sheppard, Angelo Espinosa, Wanda Maximoff, Pete Wisdom, Cain Marko, Monet St. Croix, Nathan Dayspring, Tabitha Smith, Remy LeBeau, Doug Ramsey, Sofia Mantega-Barret, Betsy Braddock, Marie-Ange Colbert, Forge, Garrison Kane, Jennie Stavros, Kurt Sefton
While occupied trying to stop Zemo from reaching his devices, the Enchantress used her godlike mystic abilities to enter the mansion, and enthrall John, Angel, Jubilee, Marius, and Shiro into following her and teleporting away.
The same day, the UN security council was summoned to a room which had been sealed for decades; a private communications channel for them alone, on which Baron Zemo contacted them as he used to do in the 60s and 70s. There the Baron displayed the device he'd been seeking elements for; the Thermal Gigantinator. It had the ability to amplify thermal energy to an unheard of level, and strapped to the machine were the five mutants he'd captured, all of them able to generate a massive output of thermal energy, which the machine would amplify and direct into the earth's centre, causing giant seismic events all over the world unless Zemo's demands were not met.
Fortunately, the X-Men and X-Force were able to track Zemo to his hideout in Symkaria, buried deep into a dormant volcano. Splitting into four teams, the mutants attacked the Doom Fortress II, first neutralizing his power core, the security system, and mainframe before reaching those trapped in the machine. During the conflict, the Masters of Evil were defeated one by one, including Black Knight, who was killed during the conflict. Baron Zemo himself led the final attack, but the explosions in the fortress had reawakened the volcano, sending the teams escaping just ahead of the lava, and leaving Baron Zemo in the collapsed base, believed killed by a cave in or the rising lava.