The survivors of the Annihilation Wave’s assault on the Nova Corps – Beta Ray Bill, Tana Nile and Richard Ryder, Nova Prime – emerge from the hasty stargate Richard created with the help of the Xandarian Worldmind. Because Skuttlebutt’s warp drives were damaged in the attack, they limp at sublight speed for a week before reaching Nycos Aristedes, a colony planet of the Aakonian race.
But there is no help to be had there – 18 million colonists are desperate for assistance and the Aakonian authorities are unable to maintain order. Meanwhile, refugee ships keep coming through the local stargate – as does a Omega Core prison transport ship that dumps all its passengers (which include Drax the Destroyer and his young sidekick Cammi) rather than take them to the now-destroyed Kyln.
While Bill attempts repairs to Skuttlebutt, Nova Prime and Tana Nile connect with the Aakonian authorities, who demand to know when the Nova Corps will arrive. Richard sidesteps the issue while Tana plunders the local datanet to develop a full info-picture of local conditions. She also patches into the datafeed from the stargate – and finds that an Annihilation Wave scouting force is coming through and attacking the Aakonian fleet!
Nova Prime and Beta Ray Bill head into space to attack the scouting force – but some ground assault forces get past them, and Drax and Tana work to fight them off. Disobeying the orders of the Worldmind, Richard shuts down the stargate with a gravimetric pulse – this stops any more Wave forces from entering the system, but the Wave commanders send a subspace signal to tell Annihilus they have found the Nova Force! His confidence overcharged by his growing power, Richard attacks the remaining Wave forces and is overwhelmed, thrown unconscious back down to Nycos Aristedes.
On the ground, Drax slaughters his way through the Wave forces while Tana Nile reviews all the data she has gathered, looking for some way to evacuate the millions of colonists. Instead, noting that the planet has some unusual energies at its core, she hits upon an impossible plan – to draw those energies through the colony’s geothermal tap power system and create a planet-sized dimensional portal, pulling all of Nycos Aristedes through to Dimension Eleven!
Following Tana’s plan, Beta Ray Bill flies back to the planet, channelling the power of the geothermal core while opening a rainbow bridge to Dimension 11 using his magical hammer Stormbreaker. Bill’s power alone is not enough to open the portal before Wave forces overwhelm the planet – so Drax fights his way over to the badly-injured Nova Prime and rouses him so that he can assist. Richard attempts to stabilise the portal, but he can’t manage it – so rather than fail, he gives control of his consciousness over to the Worldmind, which takes over his body and mind and completes the portal with Bill.
The rainbow light of Asgard washes over all of Nycos Aristedes, blackening with the energies of Dimension 11 and drawing the whole planet out of this universe and away from the Wave. But before the portal can close, an intruder smashes into it – Annihilus’ gigantic flagship, clawing open its own negative-energy stargate and opening fire upon the colony even as the portal closes behind it!