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Appearing in ""Xs and Os""

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Synopsis for ""Xs and Os""

5 years ago, at the Darkmoor Research facility, Brian Braddock is slumped at his desk. Professor Walshe rouses him from his sleep, and sends him home to sleep, despite Brian wanting to stay and continue his research into Nuclear energy.

5 years later, Excalibur arrive at the Darkmoor Nuclear facility, as escalating protests threaten to become violent. Despite the protestors thinking he is on their side, Captain Britain orders them to disperse. Kitty is shocked, and argues with him over the protestors right to assemble and protest. Before it can get any worse, Excalibur are invited in by Dr Walshe. In the crowd, two mysterious figures look on…

As the argument between Kitty, Brian and Dr Walshe continue inside, one of the lab assistants is shocked to see Excalibur, just as he is about to put his plan into action. There is an explosion, and through the gaping hole in the wall come Sandman, Paladin, Silver Sable and Rocket Racer, all heroes for hire. Under the pay of the Symkerian government, they’ve come to take Dr Walshe with them for stealing Symkerian technology. As Excalibur hold them off, Dr Walshe runs for it, while Nightcrawler knocks the Lab assistant to the floor to protect him. However, he is sent flying as the lab assistant reveals himself to be The Prowler, a colleague of the Heroes for Hire.

In the lab, Sandman and Captain Britain fight, during which Captain Britain tries to educate Sandman on English slang. Nearby, Meggan battles Silver Sable, who reveals the Symkerians want the return of their biolnuclear simulator. As she gets the upper hand, Phoenix freezes her in mid air, but Paladin stuns her with a bolt from his gun.

Meanwhile, Nightcrawler battles Rocket Racer, and using his tail and a well positioned girder, slingshots him into the wall, just as The Prowler returns. He throws him across the room, and he collides with Shadowcat, sending them both tumbling through a wall into the next room. As Captain Britain escapes from the Sandman’s trap, he gets a direct hit, that causes the Sandman to disperse across the room. As he reconstitutes, Shadowcat and the Prowler announce their discovery. The two teams break into the next room, to discover Dr Walshe, with a group of lifeless clones and the bionuclear simulator, where he announces his intention to create a nuclear war resistant strain of humanity. He then tears off his mask, to reveal himself as a faulty robot, built by Dr Zola. As Paladin’s radiation sensors begin to go off, they realise that the machine has been affected and is about to go into meltdown. As Rachel uses the Phoenix to hold it in place, the irradiated clones begin to come to life. Shadowcat phases through the Zola robot in an attempt to shut everything down, but it only serves to activate a defense mechanism, which generates a huge monster known as the Shepherd. With the circuits he uses to control the clones fused, the robot is helpless as the two teams take on the clones and their Shepherd. As they fight, Brian comforts the dying robot, who still desperately wants to be Dr Walshe, his mentor and friend to humanity. It begs him to destroy it, but he can’t do it. Meggan, transforming into sandman, infiltrates his circuitry and destroys it. The clones and Shephered drop dead, and the Heroes for Hire depart with the bionuclear simulator. Brian comforts Dr Walshe, just as the screen fades to static, while Excalibur look on.

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