It had been several weeks since the showdown in Antarctica and the heroes were finally getting a few moments to themselves. The events at the SHIELD base had been covered up so the public did not know how close their world came to ending, which also meant they didn’t know they owed their lives to The Outsiders and a bunch of villains. In the past two weeks the heroes had spent their time being debriefed by various governments and agencies while simultaneously policing any remaining aliens that were found, though many just disappeared.
Ollie and Safer had been summoned to the Helicarrier to speak with Nick Fury. Inside a briefing room they sat with Hawkeye and Black Widow as Fury offered them their jobs back. He had never worked with them personally, but they came highly recommended and had obviously proved themselves in Antarctica. Both accepted and Ollie became a full agent again while Safer returned to his advisory capacity. During this, Mephisto revealed to Safer that he now had a constant mental link with him and could talk to him and manifest an image of himself in Safer’s mind. Nick Fury provided Ollie with his first assignment, but said the mission wouldn’t expire for a few weeks so he had time to do other things. Leaving the ship, Ollie decided he would approach the X-Men and Charles Xavier to see if he could learn about his mutant abilities. Safer, meanwhile, decided to seek out Dr. Strange and see if he could locate the Book of Vishanti; a priceless tome of white magic that contains every counter spell.
Batman and The Grey were each off on their own at the moment. Sitting in his cave, Batman was examining the soil sample he took from Antarctica which turned out to be Antarctic Vibranium. It was illegal to mine it so SHIELD had been involved in some off the books activity. After speaking with Alfred and checking to see if there were any current crimes or other problems in the city Batman decided to go to SHIELD and ask Fury for more samples of alien blood to try and develop counter-measures. Meanwhile, The Grey was sitting in the SWORD satellite taking English lessons from Abigail Brand. He managed to learn a few words (though he might not be able to make all the sounds perfectly) and managed to ask Miss Brand to accompany him to an art museum. Before he left, he also convinced her to re-purpose some of their resources so he could send a message towards his homeworld in the hopes of any survivors. He sent a heartfelt message, then opened a portal back into New York City.
Ollie had arrived at the X-Mansion to be greeted by Xavier and Jean Grey. After a few minutes conversation he was taken to the Danger Room. There was no way to determine what his powers were besides testing. Taking turns, Cyclops, Iceman, and Colossus all hit him. It became apparent that Ollie could absorb kinetic energy to empower himself. They then ran a Danger Room simulation (with Sentinels and then Terminators) to try and see if it developed further under stress, though it did not. Oliver Storm now knew his mutant power. Xavier even offered for Ollie to come back anytime and asked Forge to build The Outsiders their own Danger Room.
Back in NYC Dr. Strange had told Safer that the book of Vishanti lay at the top of a mountain in Tibet and was guarded by a griffin. Due to his weak condition, Strange could not accompany him but did give him a map and teleported him to the mountain itself. Unbeknownst to Safer, he was actually back at his own base. Mephisto had taken control of his mind and was trying to get Safer to allow him deeper access. The Grey, returning from his English lesson, found Safer curled in the corner, vomiting and convulsing. Grey tried to help him but Safer repelled him with a magical barrier. Running out of ideas, he opened up the communicator Batman had given him and begged for assistance. They immediately contacted Dr. Strange and an hour later they had managed to transport Safer to the home of the Sorcerer Supreme.
Dr. Strange discovered what Mephisto was doing and decided to send the two heroes into Safer’s mind to try and pull him out. However, there was a catch. Whatever task Mephisto was having Safer complete was really to unlock the inner parts of his mind. If Safer completed the task, he would be lost to Mephisto’s control. Since Safer didn’t know what was going on if they tried to tell him what was happening it could damage his psyche. Batman and Grey had to convince their friend to abandon his quest to find an artifact he believed would end his curse. Batman asked about how powers would work in Safer’s mind to which Dr. Strange informed him that since it was a mental environment they could do anything, but obviously anything out of the ordinary could cause Safer to become confused and damage him.
Agreeing to the venture (and Batman setting up his own failsafe) the heroes plunged into their friends mind. They appeared directly in front of Safer who was already making his way up the mountain impeded by some demons. Mephisto, recognizing the heroes attempt, had Safer’s nemesis Robert de Sablé appear with them. Safer immediately questioned their motives since they were seemingly allied with a man trying to kill him. The sky went dark. Batman and Grey fought Sablé in the hopes that it might earn Safer’s trust while trying to convince him to give up the book. Safer, frustrated at everyone, tried to bind them all in chains so he could take a moment to figure out what was going on. Batman, realizing if he was incapacitated he could be no help, used ‘Magic Bat-Repellent Spray’ to avoid the chains. The sky turned red as Safer outburst about something he believed impossible.
The heroes continued to argue even after Sablé was taken down. The Grey, realizing it was fruitless, burrowed into the mountain to areas unknown. Batman thought he could convince his friend something was wrong by asking him if he believed the spray he just used could even be possible. The sky cracked, but held. Safer trudged on to his goal when all of a sudden Dr. Strange appeared in front of him. It was actually The Grey in disguise taking advantage of his ability to do anything. Unfortunately, Mephisto talked to Safer as Dr. Strange in his head and further confused the young man. With Batman not making any sense and two impossible Dr. Stranges he reached out to try and find The Grey and his innocent wisdom. When he found his friends mind inside that of the Dr. Strange before him the sky shattered.
All of them were ripped from Safer’s mind, including Safer himself. He observed as a specter above the scene while his friends frantically explained to Dr. Strange what had happened. With Safer’s psyche broken, Mephisto was taking over his body. With no other choice, Dr. Strange pulled Mephisto’s presence into himself. Safer awoke moments later to Dr. Strange lying comatose on a table next to him. Frantic explanations and some fighting occurred between the heroes with Batman and Safer feeling like some trust was lost. They had to put the argument aside for the sake of Dr. Strange and decided now that the real Book of Vishanti might be their only hope.