In the present day, Doc Holly Day and Steam were flown to London via a Quinjet piloted by Ben Grimm. They met up with Special Agent Pendergast and his liaison with Scotland Yard, Detective Inspector John Smith. The Royal Family was holding a time-honored traditional ceremony introducing the newly born Prince to the people of the United Kingdom, and Pendergast suspected the Joker was planning an attack.
The Clock Tower at Parliament, and the home to Big Ben, was under renovations. Because of this, the bells were out of commission, but a massive speaker system had been put in play the tolling of the bells at noon, a critical part of the ceremony. Agent Pendergast suspected that Joker and his men had infiltrated the Clock Tower, which had line of sight and was within the shooting range of a master marksman like Joker.
Steam, Doc, Pendergast and Smith went in and immediately subdued a gunman in disguise as a construction worker. His fears confirmed, Doc Holly Day began circling the outside while invisible, searching for a sniper’s nest, while Steam and the two police officers took an interior route. After a gun battle, with a quick save by Doc, it was decided that Steam and Doc would immediately fly to the belfry, while Smith and Pendergast attempted to sneak to the top.
Doc and Steam flew to the belfry and saw both Joker and Harley Quinn. Steam knocked out Harley with a mighty blow, and Doc subdued the Joker. But for a bunch of Chipotle wrappers, a loose CD and a giant balloon-like object, there was nothing out of the ordinary, and no weapons. The Police Officers used disguise to bluff their way past the guards, and arrived at the top. Joker tried to get who he perceived to be his men to help him, but the police officers immediately made it clear that they were on the side of the super heroes.
Joker refused to reveal what his plan was, but just as Agent Pendergast figured out it had something to do with the loudspeakers, the clock struck noon. Rather than tolling bells, the sounds were that of prolonged flatulence. Joker fell over with laughter, and the heroes, super and not, were deafened and reeling from the noise. Thanks to ear plugs, Joker was able to act enough to free himself, but rather than killing the heroes, he reveled in the execution of his joke. The final, twelfth toll, however, was not audible. Instead, the balloon, more like a giant Whoopee Cushion, filled the belfry with a toxic laughing gas.
Steam was the only one able to resist the effects, and imprisoned Joker in a cage of flame. As the effects of the gas began to take its toll, Steam had FAITH teleport the heroes to a hospital while he waited for the SWAT forces to take Joker into custody. Joker took an opportunity to shoot the still-unconscious Harley Quinn, knocking her from the belfry. Steam rescued Harley from death, and after a pursuit, let the Joker go in order to save more lives.
Doc Holly Day, S.A. Pendergast, and D.I. Smith survived the poison gas, and despite that the Joker escaped, the only people that died were the Joker’s henchmen.
The Avengers Nightingale, Nu and the Stand felt they were running out of time. The Stand confronted Nu about her apparent lack of respect for Earth’s history. Nu asserted that history or no, she could not just allow atrocities to happen which she knew she could prevent. The Stand became increasingly worried about changes to the timeline; with the Vandals retreating from the city instead of being driven out by the Black Mask, what impact would that have on history?
In the Vandal camp, the King Gunderic’s chief adviser Vandar Adg, who had been earlier knocked unconscious by Nu and thrown down as part of her challenge to the King, had recovered. He had been promised governorship over Riems at the conclusion of the siege, but with the Vandals retreating, his prize went with it. King Gunderic refused to change his mind, and Adg challenged him for leadership of the Vandals. Adg killed Gunderic and became King. He ordered the Vandals to return to Riems, and to raze the city.
As the Vandals returned to the city, the Avengers went into action. With history already off-track, the Stand determined it would be less of an impact to drive out the Vandals rather than have the city destroyed. He and Nightingale entered the city through the secret tunnels, and worked to defeat the Vandals and rescue the citizens.
Nu flew back and confronted King Adg. When he refused to honor the agreement that King Gunderic had made, Nu, again claiming to be the Angel of Death, challenged him for leadership. The two fought, and while Adg fared better this time, he was still defeated. Nu demanded that the Vandals leave, but did not take the mantle as Queen. Instead, Gunderic’s half-brother, Genseric, took leadership of the Vandals. Adg, while not dead, had been defeated in a leadership challenge and so could no longer command the respect of the Vandals. King Genseric called for an immediate retreat, and Riems was saved a second time.
With the risk of future fighting gone, the Avengers turned their thoughts toward returning home. The Stand, using the remnants of Ghost’s armor, created two devices which could neutralize the TDUs in their chests. But that still left one, and after much discussion, it was decided that one of them would have to undergo surgery to destroy the remaining TDU. Due to Nu’s tough cellular structure (though currently weakened) and that the Stand would need to make micro adjustments to the TDU disrupters, it was determined that Nightingale would have to undergo the surgery. They enlisted Eutropia to gather ingredients for a makeshift anesthetic, and once administered, the Stand quickly and effectively destroyed the TDU in Nightingale’s chest, his last InstaPatch used to slow the blood loss, and Nightingale was instantly transported to the future.
With Nightingale gone, the Stand used the TDU disrupters, first on Nu and then on himself, and both found themselves transported to their appropriate place in history.