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  Runaways (3rd series) #2
Author : Last Modified : 5/11/2009 2:23:10 PM

Issue Date: November 2008

Story Title: Dead Wrong - part two

Staff: Terry Moore (writer), Humberto Ramos (penciler), Dave Meikis (inker), Christina Strain (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Irene Lee (production), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Runaways created by Vaughan & Alphona

Brief Description:
The Majesdanians have arrived and the Runaways have a brief battle to save Karolina from the General. Nico, thinking fast, screams a spell - “Scatter”, which causes vaRikk to vanish to Africa, for deHalle to disappear to Antarctica and for the General to arrive on the Great Wall of China. Victor notices that vaDanti hasn't disappeared along with the rest, and the Runaways immediately hold him captive, wondering what is different about vaDanti from the others. vaDanti angrily tells the Runaways why they are hunting Karolina and informs them about the annihilation of Majesdane, prompting Karolina to suffer an emotional breakdown. Sometime later, the General (in China) signals their spaceship to come pick him up. Using a signalling device, he decides to go pick up deHalle and vaRikk, and then return to Los Angeles to continue his attack on the Runaways. In Los Angeles, a guilt-ridden Karolina begins to act strangely, prompting Xavin to wonder if the two of them are okay. Meanwhile, at the general hospital, Val Rhymin speaks to his unconscious station manager, Bob. He later leaves the room, but not before Bob’s heart stops beating.

Full synopsis:
(continuing from the previous issue)
As the smoke clears, the General calls for Karolina. Nico looks at all the shining Majesdanians, then to Karolina, and angrily asks Karolina what she did to make them appear. Karolina, surprised, says she doesn't know what she did. The General calls for deHalle, who blasts her solar energy straight to Karolina through special gloves. The energy hits Karolina, which lifts her towards the Majesdanians. A female Xavin with the Thing's arms attempts to reach for Karolina, but is shoved into Chase. As Karolina is pulled towards the Majesdanians, the General tells her she can't hide from her judgement. But Nico calls "When blood is shed..." and her old Staff slowly emerges from her chest. Just when the Majesdanians are about to fire their energy and kidnap Karolina, Nico calls "Scatter!" and the Majesdanians disappear, leaving Karolina crumpled on the ground.

Nico helps get Karolina to her feet, until Victor notices that one of the Majesdanians still remains: vaDanti. Before vaDanti runs away, Victor metallically controls the kitchen knives to make them fly towards vaDanti, leaving them hovering an inch away from him. vaDanti tells them he won't move, prompting the Runaways to hold him captive. Chase, Molly, and Victor become angry with vaDanti, and begin berating him for barging in like that with the other three. Xavin helps Karolina recover, recognizing them as Majesdanians. Victor causes a large metal rod to wrap around vaDanti so he can't move. Karolina mentions she doesn't know who they are, and only knew them as Majesdanian soldiers. Klara thinks they might be outlaws. Xavin asks Karolina why the General said she had to face the consequences of her actions. Karolina has no idea what they could be. This prompts Victor to ask Nico where she sent the other Majesdanians. Nico, blushing, says, "Well..."

vaRikk blasts his solar energy... and hits a tree. He exclaims, "What the sun?!" when he finds he is in Africa. A monkey angrily jumps off the tree. vaRikk, confused, looks around, and discovers a male African lion is behind him. Elsewhere, deHalle lands in snow... and hears squawking. Panicked, she looks around and finds penguins all around her. She realizes she is in a frozen tundra, on a block of ice, with at least a hundred penguins in Antarctica. The General, angry, finds he has landed on the Great Wall of China. He wonders where he is.

Back in Los Angeles, the neighbours, who had heard the violent explosions, arrive at the door, calling 911. Xavin shape shifts into the form of a young man and answers the door. The panicked neighbours explain that they heard the noises all the way from the beach. Xavin tells them it was nothing, and, "One of the teenagers left the gas on and blew the window out." The neighbours fall for the lie, and Xavin impatiently attempts to shake them off, though with difficulty. Finally, the neighbours leave. Xavin shuts the door and heads back inside, shape-shifting back into her female form. She looks over the rubble in the house, to where the Runaways have circled around a tied-up vaDanti, and are questioning him and his motives. They ask who he is, and vaDanti introduces himself.

Chase asks why the Majesdanians attempted to kill them. vaDanti says that, "If our intent was to kill you, you'd be dead." Karolina asks why Majesdane would send soldiers after her, and vaDanti tells her flatly that there is no longer a Majesdane, and he isn't a soldier. Karolina corrects him and says she is referring to the survivors, and it's hard to tell civilian from soldier when all four of the Majesdanians had been shooting at them. vaDanti corrects her and says he wasn't shooting at her, because he believes in truth, not violence. Chase angrily gets up and throws away his chair, telling vaDanti that he argues like a girl. vaDanti finally snaps, and with rage he explains how the Dean family is the reason Majesdane is destroyed, and how the blood of billions is on Karolina Dean's head.

The Runaways stare with dumb-founded shock. Karolina, exasperated, tells vaDanti, "That is not how it happened!" and Molly agrees that it was stupid adults, not Karolina. Chase once again reverts to his angry state, telling vaDanti that he is so full of it. Xavin also tells vaDanti that he has two seconds to explain himself before she throws him to the bottom of the ocean. However, vaDanti is so angry with what Nico did to his sister deHalle, vaRikk, and the General that he refuses to speak. Nico assures him that she didn't kill them, and that she just sent them far away to buy them some time. Klara is astounded with Nico's witchcraft; but this causes Molly to wonder why vaDanti didn't vanish with the other three. Nico agrees, and curiously states that vaDanti is different from the others. They wonder why. vaDanti asks Nico if she's a mystic of some sort, Nico explains she is a witch, and orders vaDanti to explain himself before the other Majesdanians get back, because the Runaways have seen their best shot; Nico threatens vaDanti that he wouldn't like the Runaways when they were mad.

vaDanti finally explains his story; he isn't a soldier, only a student at university. He was off Majesdane, visiting deHalle when the disaster happened. Karolina asks who deHalle is, and vaDanti explains she is his sister, the woman in the group. Chase remembers her, calling her hot. This earns him an angry look from Victor and Karolina, but Nico finally loses her temper. She turns to the Runaways and explodes, threatening that the next person to interrupt vaDanti will literally spend a night in the pickle jar. She turns back to vaDanti, apologizing, telling him that seven people means seven mouths. She tells vaDanti to continue with his story.

vaDanti begins. On Gheshua 9, one of Majesdane's moons, is the Light Brigade, Majesdane's elite military corps. vaDanti was visiting deHalle, a lieutenant, when they had heard the news. A Skrull war ship had launched two thermonutrons at Majesdane. Within minutes they would reach the poles of the planet. The explosions would start a fiery chain reaction in the atmosphere that could never be stopped. As the Light Brigade and vaDanti watch the screen, they could see the thermonutron missiles fly towards Majesdane. There was nothing they could do, there was no time. In three, four minutes the missiles would arrive. Majesdane fired a counterattack at the closest Skrull moon, but what difference does it make? Maybe 20, 000 Skrull lives for 8 billion Majesdanes. As the missiles hit the planet, they could only watch, helpless, as their entire planet, their civilization was destroyed. The screams, the children... all their accomplishments... gone. The Light Brigade and vaDanti, on Gheshua 9, watched as the screen blanked out. One minute after the missiles hit, every living thing on Majesdane was dead. Majesdane burned for hours before the heat disintegrated the core, splitting the planet into pieces that gradually fell into the sun.

As vaDanti finishes telling his story, the Runaways sit in shock. Victor is praying, Molly and Klara look miserable. Nico's face is blank, and both Chase and a female Xavin have grim looks. Karolina, however, is entirely broken hearted. After a pause, Xavin says the Annihilation was a tragedy, but vaDanti shouldn't hold Karolina responsible. She tried to stop the Skrull/Majesdane violence. Why does vaDanti accuse her? vaDanti, with a dark look on his face, says that Karolina's father, Frank Dean, gave the Skrulls the coordinates for their planet. A crying Karolina tells vaDanti that her father was a monster, and she isn't him. That's why she thought her marriage to a Skrull would help stop the war. vaDanti doesn't care; as her father caused it, so she is equally in trouble. Karolina explains that it isn't fair, but vaDanti says it is the truth. vaDanti says it was her father who made it possible for the Skrulls to find Majesdane. His action that led the invasion of Majesdane. His action that led to the destruction. Chase turns to Xavin and asks, "Xavin, what is it with you Skrulls invading things? Not cool.” Nico tells him to shut up, but vaDanti, realizing that Xavin is a Skrull (therefore, one of the destroyers) disgustedly looks at Xavin. Xavin finally freaks out, bursting into her Skrull form, burning with fire (literally) and towering over vaDanti. Outraged, she tells him he should apologize to Karolina and swallow the venom in his mouth.

After Xavin calms down, she reverts to a more friendly Skrull form, but with long black hair (a female Skrull). vaDanti isn't the least bit frightened of Xavin; on the contrary, he says, "It's worse than we thought - still Karolina Dean cavorts with the enemies.” Xavin explains that she is no more her father than Karolina is hers. Xavin doesn't agree with the aggression of her people; she did not attack Majesdane, she didn't invade Earth. Xavin says that on Earth, she learnt another way. She learnt to love.

Nico tells vaDanti that Karolina and Xavin love each other, Skrull and Majesdane. Does that sound like someone who would destroy a planet? vaDanti, however, says he thinks it's perverted. Karolina, shocked and angry, slaps vaDanti across the face with all her might, causing vaDanti to bleed heavily. Karolina, crying, states that she is not her father. She is proud to be a Majesdane, and would never betray their own people. She says Majesdane doesn't want justice, they want a scapegoat; the one responsible for the destruction of Majesdane is dead (Frank Dean). There's nothing anyone can do about it now. As Karolina leaves the room, she ends off saying if vaDanti wants to find a pervert in the room, he should look for the one with a heart full of hate (himself).

(later)
Karolina is outside, on the beach. She is standing in the shallow water, letting the water ripple gently across her feet. As she looks into the setting sun, her mind lost in thought, she hears splashed footsteps behind her, but doesn't look around. Nico arrives by her side. For a moment, the two of them stare into the sun, until Nico sighs and looks at her friend. After a pause, she tells Karolina that they all love her. Karolina doesn't say anything, but rests her head on Nico's shoulder. Nico comforts her friend.

In China, the General (using a signal from the device that was attached to his wrist) signals the Majesdanian spaceship they had arrived in. The ship arrives. Speaking into the wrist turbine, he contacts deHalle, who is freezing in Antarctica. He asks where she is. She tells him she doesn't know, it's freezing, and the birds are fat (the penguins). The General concludes that she is nowhere near him. He doesn't know how long it will be before he can get her and then vaRikk, but he has to find them on the ship's energy scope. deHalle tells him to hurry. As the ship hovers over the Great Wall of China, the General calls for vaRikk, and tells him he will have to get deHalle first. The General asks vaRikk if he's safe. vaRikk, in an African tree with a monkey attempting to kiss him, says he is safe, but has a theory why these humans are so primitive.

(in Los Angeles)
Nico, Klara, and Molly are in the kitchen, which had been repaired by Nico. The kitchen resembles a sort of cottage. Molly dislikes it's gloominess, though Klara mentions that she enjoyed seeing the ocean. Nico says that she isn't a designer, and that she'll change the room for the last time. "Ocean View!” she states. With a burst of purple smoke/electricity, the room changes and shifts and by the time it has cleared, the kitchen has been restored to a bright, summer-type kitchen. Klara enjoys it, though Molly suggests Nico should add a video arcade to one wall. Nico says Molly shouldn't push her luck.

Chase, in the living room, informs them that the pizza has turned up. Nico, Klara, and Molly arrive in the living room where everyone (in pyjamas) is eating the pizza that has arrived. Karolina is the only one not in the room. Chase sorts the boxes, cheese, veggie, everything, and something he can't identify. Victor, annoyed, says he likes sardines and pineapples. Chase tells him he is wrong, and he should reprogram his buds. For a couple of seconds, the Runaways sit eating while vaDanti (tied in the metal rod) sits glaring at them. Finally, Klara says the pizza is delicious, and asks what is it called. Nico says pizza. Klara, confused, asks, "Piece of what?" Xavin, unnoticed by the others, grabs a slice of pizza and a can of coke, and silently leaves the room. Victor turns to Klara and offers to teach her about life in the 21st century. A grateful Klara agrees, wishing to tell Victor more about 1907. Molly tells the glum vaDanti that she is willing to untie him and give him pizza, as long as he doesn't act funny. He flatly states he isn't funny.

Outside, it's dark. Xavin arrives on the porch where Karolina is looking out into the dark ocean. Xavin asks Karolina if she'd like to come inside because they have pizza. Silently, Karolina states that she isn't hungry. Xavin gives her a look and puts the pizza and coke beside Karolina, and also looks out into the ocean. For a couple of seconds, the two are silent as the breeze washes over them. Xavin says that something has changed, and Karolina agrees. Xavin finally asks "Are we okay?" to which a crying Karolina miserably replies that she doesn't know.

(elsewhere, at a hospital)
Val Rhymin, Chase's DJ idol, looks down onto the hospital bed where Bob, the station manager lies. Bob is unconscious, and the only sound heard is the steady "Beep. Beep. Beep," of the monitor showing Bob's heartbeat. Val finally speaks to the sleeping Bob, revealing that the doctor said he would be fine. Surviving a heart attack and a 20-story fall? Val says Bob's a tough one, and he'll give him that. Val says, "Life's a funny thing. All the years spent trying to be somebody, to make something of yourself. Sometimes you come so close, you can smell it, y'know? But there's always that annoying little troll standing in the way, dumping gloom and reality on the dream. Do you know what I'm talking about? No. I didn't think so. Let me put it to you this way, Bob. Life would be so much better if you weren't here."

And with that, Val leaves Bob's hospital room, but not before he hears the steady "Beep. Beep. Beep," turning into one long "Beeeeeeep.".

Characters:
Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes, Victor Mancha, Nico Minoru, Klara Prast, Chase Stein, Xavin (all Runaways)
Old Lace

deHalle, vaDanti, vaDrann and vaRikk (all Majesdanians)

Neighbors
Bob, Val Rhymin

(in flashback)
deHalle and vaDanti
Unnamed Majesdanians

Notes:
The Pizza was first introduced into the United States, probably around 1905, so Klara just probably hadn’t seen anywhere that sold them before she time-traveled.

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