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Quote1 He has to die. Quote2
Black Widow

Appearing in 1st story

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Synopsis for 1st story

Following Hydra's assault, the Underground mobilizes rescue efforts in the many damaged areas of Las Vegas, where very few people survived. Observing the atmosphere of despair, Black Widow declares that Captain America has to die.

Meanwhile, inside the Darkforce dome in Manhattan, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are looting a pharmacy for supplies when they find themselves surrounded by demonic creatures. They are assisted by Jessica Jones, and the three all go to Mercy General Hospital, where Claire Temple is helping nurse the injured and ill. An entire wing of patients is afflicted with typhoid due to water supply contamination, and hepatitis A has broken out due to poor sanitation. The climate outside the hospital is no better, there's no power or communication with the outside world, food and drinkable water is becoming scarce, and people are crowding together. Dagger is the only source of light for the entire island, using her Lightforce abilities to cast light for hours at a time, but her performance is getting worse, barely enduring for four hours when she used to reach twelve in the beginning. In another part of Manhattan, a group of armed men attempt to ransack a church for medicines. Kingpin intervenes, killing one of the would-be robbers and offering his protection to the church, with the sole condition that once the crisis is over, they remember it was him who kept them safe.

At The Mount, the heroes have barely returned when Black Widow calls their attention with a gunshot. She seeks out volunteers to help her assassinate Steve Rogers, claiming they have no other choice left. The Tony Stark A.I. interrupts her in order to reveal a recording from Rick Jones, taken from the data disk given to him by Shaun Lucas. In the posthumous video message, Rick unveils the cause of Captain America's change of sides, explaining Kobik and her involvement with the Red Skull. Jones also explains that once Kobik had been turned back into Cube fragments, Erik Selvig scattered the shards to keep them from Hydra. Before being forced to cut off the video, Jones reveals he has attached all of Hydra's intel on the search for the fragments to the video. Rick encourages the heroes not to lose hope, and the transmission ends. Hawkeye back ups Tony's idea of looking for the fragments, whereas Black Widow opposes it. When Hawkeye argues that the real Steve Rogers would oppose killing, Natasha retorts that if the real Steve knew what he was being used for, he would beg them to kill him, and leaves.

After giving a speech in light of the attack on Las Vegas, Captain America talks with Baron Zemo in private. It's revealed Rogers didn't order the attack. He had actually given Madame Hydra the power to do it. The other members of the High Council are unaware of that, for which their dissension has been quelled. Zemo additionally commends Steve's decision, claiming that it's a display of his strength as a leader, capable of having the devotion and faith he gives to the people he loves returned to him. When they touch on the topic of the Cosmic Cube fragments, Captain America tasks Baron Zemo with locating the pieces whatever the cost.

Back at The Mount, Hawkeye comes up to Black Widow. They attempt to discuss their differences, and reflect on how Bucky Barnes's death affected Natasha in a similar way to which Bruce Banner's influenced Clint. When he asks Natasha to give him one more chance, she tries to make him promise that if his plan doesn't work, he'll do it her way. Clint hesitates, and replies that he can't help who he is. After sharing a kiss, Natasha knocks Clint out and runs away on a motorcycle.

Once he wakes up, Clint alerts A.I. Tony about Natasha's leave. From inside a vent, Spider-Man spies on them. Noticing that with Black Widow on the move they need to move faster, Tony reveals he has devised a way to track down the Cube fragments, and has assembled a group of volunteers to find them: Hercules, Ant-Man, Quicksilver and Mockingbird. When Clint comments on the fact that Selvig couldn't have hidden the fragments within Hydra territory, Ant-Man suggests seeking help with a certain someone in order to get out of the country.

A day later, Black Widow arrives to a safehouse in Colorado, and notices that Spider-Man has been following her. When Natasha questions if Miles has followed her to stop her, he states that she won't do it, bringing up the fact that according to Ulysses Cain's vision, he's the one to do it. Miles admits that he's through with running from this possible destiny, and wishes to confront it and let whatever might happen, happen. The young members of the Underground have followed Miles, and decide to join Natasha, but object the prospect of killing. Black Widow proceeds to welcome them to the Red Room. In Montana, A.I. Tony's team arrives to a truck stop, where Scott Langs directs them to the person that could help them cross the border, Sam Wilson.

Somewhere else, in the middle of a forest, a young woman is running away from three members of the Serpent Society, they catch up to her and proceed to beat her up. A shadowed figure appears from behind and confronts the villains, effortlessly defeating them. The woman reaches for his hand, asking for her rescuer's identity. He identifies himself as Steve Rogers, wearing a torn WWII army uniform, and states that he's trying to get home.

Solicit Synopsis

Enshrouded in darkness, plagued by the minions of Baron Mordo and cut off from all assistance, The Defenders and Doctor Strange struggle to save the lives of the innocent people consigned to this hell on Earth. Will Dagger prove to be the key to stopping this nightmare? Meanwhile, will the appearance of a new hero provide Iron Man with the key to Captain America’s startling change? THE SECRET EMPIRE WILL DEFEND YOU!

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