|"The danger rises to explosive levels as the psychotic cyborg Durant continues his war against Sarif Industries. With the future of human evolution hanging in the balance, Adam Jensen engages in a relentless hunt for his former friend and current nemesis."|
|- Synopsis, DC Comics|
The issue opens with Arkady Vronsky speeding down the interstate, arguing with someone on the phone after he gives his body guards the slip. As he's telling the person on the other end that it's time to have some fun, Vronsky is beheaded by Quincy Durant. His motorcycle crashes and explodes, and his head rolls along the interstate.
Adam Jensen and Katrina Sutherland are arriving in Jensen's apartment. He has offered her a place to stay because her hotel suite was destroyed in the attempt on their lives. He offers her a drink. She requests a single-malt, but Jensen says that the best he can offer is cheap bourbon. Jensen apologizes for sneaking up on her in the shower, but Katrina says flirtatiously that she might return the favor some day. Jensen asks her how she got in to her line of business, and she begins to explain her backstory. She explains that, even though her father "pissed away the family fortune" on gambling and prostitutes, there was a trust in her name large enough to ensure her place at Oxford and for her to train in shooting, fencing and horseback riding; sports she refers to as "the old aristocratic sports." All that changed when she was in an accident while racing horses. With her body ruined and her insurance refusing to pay on account of her having had alcohol at the time of the accident, Katrina is approached by "a drab little man" from MI-5, offering to rebuild her in exchange for her services. She accepts and goes through extensive augmentations to repair the damage to her body. She spent the next decade in MI-5 before leaving to work for Belltower Associates. She left Belltower after a year and a half due to moral concerns, and has been freelance ever since, using the company name Britania Solutions. She asks Jensen what they should drink to, and he suggests the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Katrina wonders what his definition of friendship is, and they are leaning in to kiss when Pritchard sounds a code red alarm, telling Jensen that he's needed immediately.
Jensen is running through a list of victims verbally as their deaths are depicted on the page. The first is Vronsky, whose murder was shown in the opening pages. It is revealed that Vronsky was an AI developer. The second murdered is Michael Griffin, Director of Nano-Processing, killed in front of his family when a fragmentation mine strapped to his car detonated. The final victim is Anna Perez, Cyber Systems Analyst, killed by a sniper from over a mile away as she was exiting her vehicle. All three are connected to Sarif Industries. Jensen explains that, after the Sarif Incident, the surviving scientists went dark. They were housed in a network of secure locations to continue their work. He notes that the locations aren't quite as secure as everyone thought. Before he can finish the thought, Jake Dredger arrives and quips that hiring Jensen to protect someone is as good as signing that person's death certificate. He says that he's talked to Sarif, and that Jensen must have a chip malfunctioning if he thinks that Quincy Durant is back from the dead "waging a private war on Sarif Industries." Katrina attempts to vouch for the claims, but Dredger won't take the word of "an urban mercenary with a dubious reputation." Katrina hits back by saying "At least I have a reputation, Agent Drudger." Jensen begins to fire back at Dredger. He states the facts very plainly:
|"Quincy Durant bombed the Humanity Front rally with a military weapon stolen from Sarif Industries, probably in an attempt to incriminate Sarif. Now, he's targeting the scientists of our company. Three dead already...""|
He says that that's more than he wants to live with, and tells Dredger to either do his job or "Stay the hell out of [his] way." Katrina asks if Dredger is another old friend of Jensen's. Jensen says he isn't. Faridah Malik cuts in on coms, informing Jensen that the evacuation squads are in the air, and that the science team are all safe, except for one woman who was involved in Jensen's augmentation procedure.
The scene changes to the LIMB clinic in Detroit. Dr. Vera Marcovic is operating on a patient when a clerk buzzes her on the intercom, informing her that Jensen is is on the line, and that it's a matter of life or death. Marcovic tells the clerk that the operation is also a matter of life or death, and tells him not to bother her again. The clerk passes the news on to Jensen, who is rushing to the clinic. After the surgery, Marcovic is greeted by two Sarif Industries security personnel. They tell her that there is a possible threat to her life, but, when she inquires if it is Purity First, they tell her that they are not at liberty to say. The guard in the lead is assuring her that they'll be safe with him when Durant, invisible thanks to his Glass-Shield Cloaking System, grabs the man's neck, and twists it all the way around, breaking it. Durant de-cloaks and tells Marcovic that she should ask for a second opinion on that. The second guard attempts to shoot Durant in the head, but is thrown out the window before he has a chance to pull the trigger.
Jensen is explaining to Katrina that Jake Dredger was with internal affairs for the Detroit PD back when Jensen was on the force. Jensen tells her that when Durant got involved with the underworld, Jensen went to Dredger with the evidence. Two days later, right after the Mexicantown Massacre, Durant had an opportunity to kill Jensen, and Jensen believes that Dredger set him up, but couldn't prove it. As he finishes the story, the guard that Durant threw out the window lands on Jensen's car, and Katrina notes that they probably have the right place. The two rush in to the L.I.M.B. Clinic to find two slaughtered doctors, but no Dr. Marcovic.
Back at Sarif Industries, Zhao Yun Ru is giving David Sarif the details of the meeting that she invited him to between he, her and William Taggart. She tells him that the meeting will be held at the Diogenes Club in central London. She tells him that the club is very respectful of privacy, and suggests that he apply for membership. Sarif declines, telling her that he likes being his own man, and wants to know if anyone else will be attending the meeting. All Zhao will tell him is that highly influential individuals will be there. "The Power behind the Power." She tells Sarif that he should be grateful that they see his potential, saying that he may soon needs friends in high places. She then ends the transmission.
Meanwhile at Sarif HQ, Pritchard is helping to track down Durant. He tells Jensen and Katrina that Durant's accomplices stole an ambulance, then jammed surveillance cameras and switched vehicles. Pritchard is attempting to locate the vehicle, but isn't having much luck. Jensen wants to know how Durant found the scientists' whereabouts. Pritchard says that their system is secure, and that the only other source that that intel could have come from is Homeland Security. Homeland Security took the investigation from the Detroit PD after the initial attacks, and it was Homeland Security that took over protection duty for the scientists. After hacking in to the Homeland Security network, Pritchard learns that the data about the scientists' locations were downloaded from the terminal a week earlier by none other than Jake Dredger.
The scene shifts to a high-rise building. Eliza Cassan is reporting about riots in Manhattan in advance of the vote on regulations for the biotech industry. She reports that William Taggart is using the attack on his rally to bolster his position for regulation, and that two more victims of the bombing have died in a Detroit hospital. She continues to report on the Homeland Security investigation, but is cut off when Dredger is thrown in to the television by Jensen. Jensen demands to know where Durant is. Dredger is still defiant, knowing that Jensen is too much of a hero to torture him. Katrina tells him that she is not as good of a person as Jensen, implying that she is more than willing to torture Dredger. The scene shifts to Dredger being held upside down over the edge of the roof, spilling everything to Katrina. He informs her that Marcovic is being held in the old Delaney car plant. He says they'll never get in because it's like Durant's own private fortress, guarded by augmented mercenaries. Katrina pulls him in and Jensen changes tack to discuss the older business of Dredger setting him up. Dredger insists that he didn't know Durant planned to kill Jensen. He says that he followed Jensen to the rendezvous and heard the encounter. After Jensen staggered out, he went in and found Durant barely alive. He called in a medical team and stabilized Durant, then made sure that a body and the right DNA made it to the right people for Durant to be declared dead. He further explains that he acted as Durant's controller, but that he started becoming unstable, killing "everything that moved." Jensen demands to know who's controlling Durant. Durant begins to tell him about the Illuminati, describing them as the "Power behind the Power." Before he gets far, however, his Dragon-Fire Implant activates and he begins to disintegrate. Katrina comments that the "power behind the power obviously likes to stay in the shadows."
The scene changes to a stormy night outside the Delaney car plant in Detroit. Jensen approaches a guard and, using his Quicksilver Reflex Booster, knocks him out before he has much chance to react. Pritchard jokes that Jensen isn't exactly in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize, and informs him that he's hacked in to their security so he can keep Jensen hidden. Thanks to Pritchard, Jensen is ready when the next guard comes around the corner, and takes him out with a crossbow. Jensen reports that he's in, and asks Pritchard what he's got. Pritchard says that he hasn't found Marcovic, but that there are a group of mercenaries on break in a nearby break room with a ventilation system that he can access. In the break room, one merc is telling the other that something "ain't exactly what [he] signed up for." The other merc tells him to "grow some balls," but the first merc insists that Durant went too far when he bombed the Humanity Front rally, and that they should be payed more. The first merc is saying something about what Durant made Marcovic do to him when Jensen tosses an EMP grenade in to the room, disabling at least three mercs. Jensen uses his visual augmentations to peer through a wall to a neighboring room, where he sees a figure leaning on a counter, and a figure tied to a chair. Inside the room, the officer that Jensen fought in the bar back in 2018 is talking to Marcovic, telling her how he only used to be interested in "mammary" augmentations, but that he's impressed with the work she did on Durant. He says that now he appreciates intelligent women, like Eliza Cassan. The merc tells Marcovic that Cassan gives him a "hard-on," and that he currently has one as well, seemingly implying his intent to rape marcovic. After using his vision augment to see that the former officer is standing near the wall, Jensen breaks through it and breaks the man's neck. Jensen comes through the hole he made in the wall, telling Marcovic that he's here to rescue her. She says that Durant didn't hurt her, but that he's insane. She says that he forced her to upgrade his augmentations, and that he's like a living weapon. As he's untying Marcovic, Jensen is tased from behind by a now even more-heavily augmented Durant. Durant tells him that he's not human anymore, that's he's more. He finishes by saying "Deus ex machina. God from the machine."