Protectors of the Universe: Captain Marvel #1
Written by Morfex, Edited by Azmodi and
Protectors of the Universe:
Captain Marvel #1
Those fans of Marvel's cosmic comics who frequent the Captain Marvel and Silver Surfer Message Boards may already be familiar with the "round robin" fan fiction that became the epic known as "Cosmic Union." This collaborative effort was a great success in drawing together several imaginative minds in an attempt to reclaim the glory days of Marvel's rich staple of cosmic characters. One of those characters was Genis-Vell, an irreverent half-Kree test-tube baby, artificially aged to about 19 years old, who had difficulty living up to his family legacy of heroism. Genis has appeared in a variety of Marvel titles over the last decade, including Silver Surfer, Cosmic Powers, Secret Defenders, Avengers Unplugged, and the Warlock Limited Series. He even received his own short-lived title once before. But Genis lived on through the Internet, until the fateful day Marvel opted to include him in Avengers Forever. The rest, as they say, is history.
If you have followed the exploits of the spin-offs that followed the "Cosmic Union" saga, particularly Star Masters in the Cosmic Powers Unlimited e-zine, then you know that Genis was a regular there until his abrupt disappearance in Star Masters #4. That chapter was specifically written as the prequel to the current Genis' appearance in Marvel's Avengers Forever #12, but set in the "Cosmic Unionverse" fanfic continuity. "Protectors of the Universe: Captain Marvel #1" is set sometime roughly after Peter David's Captain Marvel #2, but before Moondragon and Rick meet up in #3 or 4
Chapter One - "Epoch Ellipse, Now?!"
Genis-Vell, son of Mar-Vell of Kree-Lar and Elysius of Titan, gently landed on a Santa Monica rooftop to enjoy the red and orange hues of the California sunset. He spoke aloud, though he appeared to be alone. "Rick, are you there?"
"Where else would I be, Spaceface?" The voice could only be heard by this newest incarnation of Captain Marvel. Genis was now molecularly bonded to his father's former partner, Rick Jones. Their symbiosis still took some getting used to, but both ultimately knew that the bonding had been necessary.* While one partner was physically in the Earthly plane of existence, the other was an astral shade trapped in the Negative Zone. All the earthbound one had to do was clasp his Nega-Bands together and the two would transpose.
(*See Marvel's Avengers Forever #12 for details.)
"Rick, there's something important I've been wanting to tell you since we became partners." Genis looked into a reflective surface on the rooftop, a large generator box of some kind, to see Rick looking back at him.
Rick's appearance was one of surprise. "Don't tell me! You're gay."
"No! I mean, not that there is anything wrong with that but, no!"
"That's one too many 'Seinfeld' reruns for you, Marv."
Genis whispered under his breath, "( although, come to think of it, my old girlfriend Steck'ee wasn't exclusively female ) but, no! Really!!"
Rick ignored the half-muttered reference. "So what then?"
"Well, there's this super-team that I belong to "
"You've been holding out on me? What's it all about?"
"I'm a Protector of the Universe, you know, like my father was."
"I thought that that Quasar guy was the chosen successor to your father's title."
"Not 'the' Protector, 'a' Protector. As in, one of several. A new team that formed recently "
"Ah, and you were going to tell me this when?"
"Right now, Rick, if you would just let me finish. Hear me out. Before my future self decided to save your life by bonding you to my present self "
Rick's reflection rubbed his temples. " That part still gives me a headache, but go on "
" I roamed the cosmos trying to make a name for myself. And I did! Only not a very good one. So then came this big cosmic-level Crisis "
Rick smirked. "Don't tell me: On Infinite Earths? In Time? Times Five? Or was it one of those Infinity conflicts?"
"Actually I think it's been labeled the 'Cosmic Union.'"
"Are you sure you don't mean 'Unity', or 'Amalgam', or even 'Deathmate'?"
"No, no, no. I'm sure it was 'Cosmic Union.' After the crisis was over, the heroes that helped resolve it were asked by Eon's daughter Epoch to serve as Protectors of the Universe. So I accepted. I belong to one of four full-time divisions of the P.O.T.U. called the Star Masters."
"Sure! I know all about them. Corsair, Hepzibah, Cho'd, Raza, all great at parties!"
"No, Rick, not the Starjammers. The Star Masters!"
"Oh, right! I heard about them too! With some characters named Xenith and Morfex rounding out the big guns."
"That's them! Only, Xenith and Morfex aren't members anymore."
"So why did you hesitate mentioning your involvement? Sounds like cool cosmic adventure to me!"
"Well, I owe it to you to let you continue your life here on Earth without my obligations getting in your way, so I'm resigning from active duty with the Protectors."
"You don't have to do that! They can just make me an honorary member! I'm used to that from the Avengers! (It's not like they ever gave me a real membership )"
"No. Too dangerous."
"How do you justify our adventures here on Earth then?"
"Two words: No Thanos."
"I want to inform my team as soon as possible. You know, sufficient notice of resignation. Common courtesy."
"You mean you want to go NOW!? What about Marlo's invitation for tonight? I can't blow that off! We were planning a little belated* Christmas dinner! It's the first time she's agreed to see me since those fiascos with the giant snake and the Wendigo!"**
(* Note: The Cosmic Union saga ended on January 1, 2000, Marvel Universe fan fiction standard time. PAD's Captain Marvel #2 is set on 1/15/00.)
(** See Wizard's Captain Marvel #0 and Marvel's Captain Marvel #1 & 2 for details.)
"We'll definitely be back before then."
"Oh, right. A quick trip to another galaxy and back before 7 p.m. Like that'll happen."
"Actually the Protectors' base is only as far as the Jovian moons. A quick ellipse through the solar system and we'd be done."
"Great, that's just in the neighborhood. Sheesh!"
"Let me put it another way: I told you that the mentor of the Protectors is Epoch, the daughter of Eon. Wasn't Eon the one that helped my dad get a grip on his Cosmic Awareness?"
Rick took about half a second to consider. "When do we leave?"
Captain Marvel walked along the musty halls of the Spinsterhood retreat on the Jovian moon of Io. The Protectors had only recently established this development as their base of operations. Although Ganymede had spent months renovating it, Genis' unpredictable cosmic awareness nearly overwhelmed his other senses with a cognizance of the building's age and history. He tried his best to put it out of his mind.
The same Rigellian Recorder that had interviewed the myriad Protectors only weeks before* addressed Genis. "Epoch will see you now."
(*See Protectors Spotlight #1 for details.)
"Hey, since when have Recorders served as social secretaries?" Genis' remark received no reply from the robotic entity. Genis followed the Recorder into a chamber that had been converted into a vast computer library. Within stood a physical manifestation of the Cosmic Being known as Epoch.
"Hello, Eppy! May I call you Eppy? That was Quasar's idea." The tentacled ochre entity before Genis did not appear to be amused. "No? Sorry " Genis was getting unnecessarily nervous, and when he was nervous or excited, he spoke more quickly. " I came back to tell you I want to resign from active duty in the Star Masters team altogether, and just stick with the Protectors' as-needed reserve team, the Defenders. I'm asking to be placed on reserve status because of some recent changes in my life. I've just been involved in the Destiny War, and "
"Oh, that. I know."
"You know? Oh, of course you know. Cosmic beings know everything. Got it."
"No, I know because of the time-traveling team of Protectors who keep me informed of temporal anomalies and distortions."
Rick interrupted. "Get to the point already, Marv! Marlo will kill me if we don't get back in time for her Christmas dinner."
"Will you be quiet?! I'm trying to have a conversation here!"
Epoch interjected. "Ah, I see now. You require medical leave to treat your schizophrenia. I understand."
"No! I'm not mentally ill, I just "
Rick chimed in. "Ask Epoch about the Protectors' Benefits Package. Does she have a list of pre-approved primary care physicians on Earth?"
"For the last time, will you be quiet!? I'm trying to speak here. Oh, no! Not you, Epoch! It's just that I'm not just one person anymore. I'm molecularly bonded to Rick Jones now, and I've got this Cosmic Awareness that's out of control "
"I see. Eon's memories outline these types of situations. Your father went through much the same thing, you know. Thor too. Why do you think he is a reserve member of the Protectors?"
"Thor has Cosmic Awareness?"
"No, Thor is bonded to a mortal. But regarding your Cosmic Awareness, my parent helped your parent with his adaptation period. I regret that I cannot do the same at this juncture. I simply do not know how yet. Despite my cosmic standing, I am no older than you are. I am truly sorry. I do know that control does lie within you, and there are those who can guide you to it As for leaving active duty, I cannot say I am surprised, given your current circumstances."
"So you understand? And it's okay? I thought the Protectors roster was some kind of unyielding fate thing. You made it seem like our destined place in the cosmos."
"Not at all, I just subdivided the groups randomly, on a whim."
"On a whim!? Do the others know?"
"Well, Adam Warlock and I had a good laugh about it, but no. None of the others do."
"Of all the pretentious "
"Genis-Vell, mind your tone. A cosmic being's whim is still far superior to a mortal being's best-laid plans. You would do well to remember that."
"Okay, okay. I was talking about Warlock, by the way. Anyway, I'm new to all this reserve status stuff. What do I do now?"
"Return to Earth, I suppose. Let Rick Jones live out his life in peace. Have lots of silly adventures and easily avoidable misunderstandings and battles with heroes you will eventually team up with, like the Hulk, for example. You know, the typical terrestrial superhero business."
"How did you know about ? Never mind. What about the Protectors?"
"Oh, that. Well, come by whenever you can. Have a pleasant trip back to Earth."
"That's it? No 'we shall miss you, revered icon' or anything? Well, of all the ungrateful "
"Is that what prompted you to service among the Protectors of the Universe, Captain? The gratitude of others?"
"No, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice once in a while."
Epoch flexed her rarely demonstrated, and clearly unpolished sense of humor. "I see. Well, Captain Marvel, you have evinced exemplary service and meritorious conduct how does that old Earth medal-giving ceremony go? I must brush up on it again soon, what with all the insecure Terrans on the team."
"Great. Cosmic sarcasm. I'm outta here."
"Genis-Vell," Epoch's teasing tone disappeared. "Thank you for your efforts. You will be missed. Please return to us soon. May we call you if need be, as a valued member of the reserve Protectors' team: the Defenders?"
"Well when you put it that way "
Genis dreaded saying goodbye to the seven other Star Masters he had begun to consider as his surrogate family. He knew that most of them were on assignment, including his foster father, Starfox. Fortunately, Gladiator of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard was currently on Io.
Genis entered the Strategy Room to find the Praetor leaning over tri-dimensional images of a solar system.
"Captain Marvel. I heard you were back." Gladiator of the Shi'ar stood in full uniform, an imposing presence.
"Yes sir, Praetor, but it's just for a visit. I'm resigning from the Star Masters for the time being and relocating to Earth."
"But what of your training, your progress, everything we had begun to accomplish?"
"It will all be put to good use on Earth, sir. Because of your help, I went from an undisciplined, self-absorbed show-off to a well-adjusted, focused, if still-naive hero (in the span between my two series)! Besides, I'm now bonded to an innocent civilian. Would you want me to endanger him in constant cosmic combat situations?"
"Clearly not. So you will be retiring from adventuring altogether?"
"No! How could you even suggest something like that?"
"Well, you would be endangering the life of your innocent civilian as much on Earth as here, correct?"
"Yes. I mean no, I mean Ugh! How can I put this? Two words: No Thanos."
"Thank you for your 'basic training,' Praetor. You are a good soldier. The Protectors are lucky to have you."
"You will be missed. By the way, Moondragon has departed for Earth to find you. Her undercover operation on Sirus X was compromised,* and her memories were affected. Please don't mention any events to her from the past few months, she is liable to go into shock."
(*See the upcoming Spinsterhood #3 for details.)
"Wow. Thanks for the warning, Gladiator. I'll be sure to play dumb."
Rick's voice echoed for only Genis to hear. "Like that'll be a stretch." Genis chose to ignore the jibe.
Gladiator's usually stern features parted with a rare half-smile. "Safe journey, Captain. As far as I'm concerned, you have earned the rank."
Genis smiled warmly at that. "Please say goodbye to the rest of the team for me, especially Quasar. Have Eros call me when he can, alright?"
They shook hands at the wrists in Shi'ar fashion, and parted.
Rick rang the doorbell nervously. He looked at his watch. 7:22 p.m. "Marlo! Sorry I'm a few minutes late!"
"Wait, don't tell me. You were in outer space resolving some interstellar conflict."
"Funny you should put it that way, but yeah, I guess I was "
After dinner, Rick excused himself and entered the bathroom.
Rick looked in the bathroom mirror to find Genis looking back enthusiastically. Genis had promised to keep quiet throughout dinner, and was anxiously waiting to talk.
"Okay, you lived up to your part of the deal. Have your say."
"Grozit! Marlo's dinner reminded me of my mom's Primyat! It was so bad, I had to feed it to my Turtog Krintch after a Habjat game! And Peengoo Bareenhoo, I smoked my mom, because she engrammed that I had eaten it! But when my Turtog got sick, the Swak hit the Phran! I sent myself a Brainmail never to do that again! Next time, the Primyat goes straight to the BlupperWare! By the way, Marlo has a Grooby Flusher! Did I ever tell you about the Flusher some Snacking Sent pointed out to me in a Stim-Den in the Old Port sector of D'Bana Crux? I went in and some Kra-Vaat was getting his Bejoobies crunched with a spark for watching two Synthsents doing the Big Trot "
Rick smacked the mirror with a flick of his hand. "You idiot! Wrong series!"
Genis laughed. "Can I at least keep 'Grozit'?"
The End (for now!)
Now leave us comments below, and be sure to check out the POTU Archive Pages for more information on this continuity and more stories contained in it. Now, go check out Morfex's Defenders #1 in our CPU 2000 Special... and then Spinsterhood #3 in CPU #13!
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