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- It's the same for all of them. Young men. Weak. Looking for purpose. I found the flag. You found the badge. They found the Skull. He tells them what they've always longed to hear. That they secretly are great. That the whole world is against them. That if they're truly men, they'll fight back. And bingo - that's their purpose. That's what they'll live for. And that's what they'll die for.
Appearing in "All Die Young: Part IX"
- Captain America (Steve Rogers) (Main story and recap)
- Power Elite
- Detective Dave Brennan (First appearance)
- Jamie Brennan (First appearance)
- The "Nukes"
- The "Skulls"
- The "Sons of Selene"
- S.H.I.E.L.D. (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Hell (Invoked)
Synopsis for "All Die Young: Part IX"
At the mansion, Sin was packing up her guns for the mission to meet her new Skeleton Crew, when Alexa came in to give her a pep talk. Sin had not been in a receptive mood, but Alexa had pushed through - Sin was not being sent away to divide her from her father, but because her skills made her perfect for the job. That while people might look at her and see the Red Skull's daughter, she was formidable in her own right, and that this mission should be considered a platform upon which she proved that to the world.
At the meeting, a goon tries to sexually harass Sin to assert dominance. She punches him, and, after a brief fight, overpowers him before shooting him dead.
At Lenox Hill Hospital, Americans are dying. An anti-Captain America rally in Central Park had devolved into a fistfight between different nationalist factions, and then been attacked by an IED. Captain America tells one of the detectives that they should get some sleep, but he declines - his brother Jamie is one of the wounded nationalists. The detective cannot understand how his brother, unemployed and living off his family, would find a path leading from such anonymity to an end like this - but Captain America can, because he has been there himself. In his youth, able-bodied American men were summoned to serve, and to find brotherhood in the cause of fighting fascism - but not Steve Rogers, the 4-F reject who couldn't beg or bribe his way into the army. In his humiliation, he had been willing to follow any path to prove himself, even the dangerous experiments of the super-soldier program. Jamie, living off of others while his brother succeeded, would've felt the same... except that where his brother found belonging in the cops and Steve found it in the flag, Jamie found it in the Red Skull, through a spiral of internet videos that led him to this hospital.
The detective describes the effect the bomb is having on its victims and starts to buckle under guilt - but Captain America brings him up short. These men are the Red Skull's victims, and he needs to be brought to justice for his crimes. The detective agrees to give Captain America all the files on the bombing.
At the mansion, Aleksander Lukin is taking a minute from administrating the Red Skull's internet video presence to make a phonecall to Sin. She says she has made her new Skeleton Crew understand what must be done. As he thinks on the varied factions who are mustering across the country at their call, Lukin remarks that while a man will gladly struggle to improve the world, he will kill to save himself from a perceived humiliation.
At the base of the Daughters of Liberty, Dr Toni Ho has added the NYPD's files on the bomb to her own knowledge, and come up short - the data they now have suggests a device that defied the normal laws of physics. Ordinarily, as she explains, she would chalk this up to a faulty algorithm, but to be sure, she has called in a friend - Agatha Harkness, the Daughters' expert on magic. Looking over the notes, Agatha recognizes the bomb as based on something she built for the Daughters in the past. Her original design was intended to impart positive emotions on soldiers during critical moments, but this new design seems built to draw negative emotions off of people to power itself. Agatha is sure that the components for this device would be both rare to find and expensive to work, but Steve is certain there are more out there. Misty Knights walks in - the camera footage from the NYPD files yielded some low and nefarious names, but it took Sharon Carter's ex-SHIELD contacts to come up with the data to link a face to a lead - Sin, last seen in Chicago.
At a rally in Chicago, Sin is in a sniper's perch above the crowd, watching the scuffles between pro-Cap and anti-Cap protestors. She is suddenly jumped by Captain America, while Sharon scans the area for bomb components. Sin goes down immediately, and Captain America calls Sharon to update her... but Sin does not stay down. She throws a knife, cutting at Cap's unarmored legs, and as Cap turns to face her, he realizes that there was a drug on the blade, which disorients him.
As her Skeleton Crew arrives to back her up, Sin thinks back to something Alexa said to her before she left the mansion: about how her skill lies in murder, but that sometimes the most effective method of murder is to humiliate your target so much that everyone thinks they died. Grinning, Sin pulls out her phone and records a video of the disoriented Captain America being beaten up by fascists before being rescued by Sharon Carter.
By the time Captain America has awoken from the drugs, a new video has been uploaded: Red Skull, talking over the video about how the modern American man is a weak caretaker who needs a *woman* to save him, and how the Skull stands for aggressive assertion, for blood and iron. "I offer you the sword of manhood."
At the Daughters of Liberty base, Sharon Carter is applying bandages to Captain America's wounds. Captain America tries to wave away the loss he suffered, but Sharon underlines the core issue: Steve has been fighting on the board, but the Lukins have been fighting to destroy the board altogether. From the violent mercenaries they added to the NYPD, to Selene's followers in Adamsville, all the way back to the Nuke Clones they sent to D.C. at the start of this campaign, the Power Elite has been trying to attack the idea of America.
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