After leaving Sirocco’s party to follow one of the Ming Yuewei’s entourage, Proteus dons his vigilante persona and trails the criminal known as Blackout to a secret meeting at the abandoned docks on Bowden Island. There he discovers that The Iron Dragon Triad has been dealing with The Bowden Island Movement to bring in cargo. As he’s getting ready to make his move, Blackjack suddenly notices that he’s not alone in watching the transaction. He spies a half dozen individuals taking positions around the meeting party, but before he can react, some one shouts out, announcing that the Genovisi family will never stand for the secret alliance between the Triad and the Bowden Island gang. A fierce shoot out follows, breaking up the sale, and as the Bowden Island members scramble to safety, Blackout takes cover in the cargo container that was carrying the goods he had come for.
Intervening, Blackjack discovers that the Genovisi trigger men are in fact some sort of Clockwork automaton, made of brass and iron. Using his powers to generate heat, he quickly reduces one of them to slag. Meanwhile the others retreat as Blackout escapes into his own car. Not willing to let the criminal escape with whatever was in the container, Blackjack gives chase and leaps onto the car and then over, using his abilities to redirect energy to flip over the car.
After climbing out of the overturned vehicle, Blackout, seeming strangly unharmed, stands up and challenges the vigilante, but not before drawing all the light out of the area around them both. A fierce battle ensues, where Blackjack discovers that his opponent is capable of making himself stronger with each attack that the vigilane lands on him. After suffering several crippling blows, and with the impending arrival of the police, Blackjack is forced to withdraw.
The next afternoon, he arrives at the Clubhouse, hiding his bruises, and discovers that both Sirocco and Doppler are in less than stellar shape themselves, following their battle with Roach earlier that morning. As Glitch arrives to discuss the party the night before, she gets withdraws as she gets a call from an old friend of hers from the streets of Bowden Island. She quietly enlists Proteus’ help in getting to the Bowden Island slums, but not ready to be left behind, Sirocco drags Doppler along to follow the pair.
Proteus and Glitch arrive at an apartment slated for demolition, and discover an old friend of Glitch’s is in hiding there. Displaying the remarkable power to remove parts of her body and animate them, the young woman introduces herself as Simone.
She explains to Proteus and Glitch that she has been followed by a group of people for a prolonged period of time, one of the main reasons she was hiding in the slums in the first place. They caught up with her the previous evening and she barely managed to escape. After assessing that the danger to Glitch is minimal, Proteus calls in Doppler and Sirocco, letting them know he knew they were listening from the opposite roof the whole time. Everyone packs into Proteus’s car and deciding not to make this an official Protectors case, decide to head to Doppler’s place to use it as a safe house.
There, Simone explains that a secret magical organization known as the Council of Stars has been chasing her for some years. She explains that magic is a very real force in the world, and the Council works very hard to keep that magic secret. During conversation with her, Sirocco also determines that the woman is not actually a real human, but something called a simulacrum, a creature akin to a magical clone. Being sensitive to magical energies, Simone also openly confronts Doppler about the fact that he is not a mutant, but in fact uses magic. The others share a mix of disbelief and suprise over this matter, and Doppler explains that he learned his powers from a magical book he found as a youth. The party ultimately decides to help Simone confront the Council agents searching for her, and concoct a plan to use Simone and Glitch as bait to draw them out in the alleyways of Bowden Island.
Deciding to wait until night fall, and with some private matters to attend to, Proteus, Doppler and Sirocco leave Simone and Glitch to catch up. Arriving at his office with the Pacifica branch of the UN, Doppler has a secret meeting with a man identifying himself as Andre LeFraine, a Knight of the Council of Stars and the man tasked with finding Simone.