Protectors of the Universe: Defenders #4
Written by WarlorTVor, Edited &
Co-plotted by Morfex
Protectors of the Universe: Defenders
"Future Crimes: Part Four - Facets"
This story takes place after Defenders #1, Defenders
#2, and Defenders #3
Note: The Defenders is an alternate future to the current POTU titles
The golden orange blast of light and power lanced forth, colliding with the water covered rooftop.
Adam Warlock barely had time to move out of the way when the blast of pure energy slammed against the surface of the roof. He leaped forward, arms stretched outward. Behind him the blast struck violently, releasing debris and a thick layer of gray smoke into the air. The shock wave slammed into him and sent him flying into the air.
He cursed his hindsight.
For he and Strange were alone within the safe house. It was around the same time that Rick Jones vanished without a trace, which gave Warlock an unsettling sensation. Quasar had left to follow him and collect as much intelligence as he could.
And not too long ago the Defenders had received a message from Rick Jones at the Avengers Mansion that he had gathered some information that may be key to their survival and possibly could ensure them victory. But the ending portion of the message was badly garbled and scrambled, his tone went from one of utter calm to that of emergency, then the transmission was abruptly cut of in a wave of static. Thor took the remaining Defenders to go to the Mansion and aid Rick in getting the information back to them.
Warlock and Strange had stayed behind in order to "hold down the fort" as Quasar had put it. And now he was beginning to regret that decision. Granted, at the time the decision was needed and the situation demanded it, but now
Warlock swirled around, his shoulder colliding harshly against the far edge of the loosened gravel that compromised the entire surface of the roof. His golden form skidded across the surface of the roof for a moment or two until the ledge was upon him.
He went over!
The distant, lifeless streets awaited him. He let out a grunt of defiance, another blast striking the torrid surface of the roof. Blast after blast of pure golden energy continued to slam into the roof unendingly, and through it all Warlock could hear the tormented laughter of the dark version of Quasar filter through the explosions.
Warlock rolled off the ledge of the roof, and nearly plummeted toward the ice-cold streets below. He only had one chance, a slim one but a chance nonetheless. His hands quickly sought any form of grip on the vertical surface. His fingers quickly dug deeply into several crevices in the gray rock of the ledge.
He could feel the building being pulverized. His fingers delved deeper and deeper into the crumbling thing that was the rock ledge. Razor sharp shards of rock started to cut his hands, the warm ichor of blood seeped down his muscular forearms. He winced in pain, his lower row of teeth punctured his inner lower lip. The taste of blood filtered through his mouth, small twin streams of blood ran out from the corners of his mouth.
He tried to pull himself upward, when the ledge gave way slightly and threatened to topple in on itself.
Warlock swore under his breath, and cast his gaze earthward where the streets of New York threatened to greet him, personally.
Thor crouched down and surveyed his surroundings.
His massive hand reached toward the ground and rested upon a pool of glass before him. He picked one of the shards up into his massive hand and angled it into the light for a moment or two, the light gleamed eerily off the reflective surface. He scanned the debris that flanked him and his comrades on either side. He placed the glass down upon the floor once more, slowly, soundlessly. "A great battle has taken place here in this noble household," Thor uttered to himself.
Standing at his right hand side stood the Silver Surfer, he was dressed in a tan brown trench coat that covered his silver body, and a tan hat covered his silver gleaming head. On the other side of the kneeling thunder god stood Genis-Vell, better known as Captain Marvel. He was clad in a simple pair of faded blue jeans and a torn black leather jacket covering a stained white T-shirt. The two were scanning the devastation from where they stood. A look of sorrow was painted on all of their collective visages.
"This this destruction all the pain and turmoil that that we are supposed to cause what caused all this " Thor's voice wandered off, he arose to his full height and took a few small, calculated steps deeper into the pool of glass.
"What indeed?" Norrin Radd responded distractedly.
They fell silent once more, staring into the remains of what was once the Avengers' Mansion.
"You, Thor, are correct," a dark and sinister voice chimed slowly. "This once was the site of a glorious battle, of noble sacrifice in the highest degree. Where every person who has had the displeasure of calling themselves an Avenger laid their lives down to be butchered." The sound of disgust filled in the air. "You can still feel the tension in the air, still smell the stench where dozens upon dozens of people were slaughtered violently." A dark cold laugh was heard from the darkness. "And now this will be the site of your deaths, foolish Defenders!"
The three powerless heroes swirled around to see a dark form dropping out of the shadows and taking formation before them. Fire, green flame, encompassed his levitating figure. His hands were to his sides but slightly extended on either side started to throb with untold mystical power. Finally, the figure dropped out of the shadows and the green light that burned around him was cast upon his face, revealing the owner of the voice.
And there stood the dark form of Doctor Stephen Strange.
Doctor Stephen Strange dashed with all his speed and might to reach the elevator shaft that was still a long way from him, on the other side of the crumbling roof.
His legs and arms pumped at dramatic speeds; sweat glistened on his brow and trickled down his face, obscuring his vision. Only a few feet behind him, explosion after explosion roared and sent a thick layers of gray dust into the air. He wanted to search for Adam Warlock but the thick smoke and ash that now filled his surroundings would not allow Strange to find his fellow Defender.
Strange found it difficult to breathe.
His chest heaved upward and drastically retracted rhythmically. He desperately fought to get air into his lungs, air that would no come! He made his way through the thick layers of smoke and ash. The faint outline of the elevator shaft was dead ahead.
Only a few more feet ahead! He thought.
Pain clutched onto his body, and he felt agony's talons crushing down upon him, tearing through his physical form and taking hold of his spiritual one. The nerves and tendons in the back of his legs started to churn and contort in unpleasant ways.
His body wanted to give up, to give into the pain and merely collapse there, upon the water-covered ground.
But Strange endured it, and strode for the destination that was almost within his grasp.
He paid no mind to the pain and agony surging through his body relentlessly. He continued onward at his best speed, given the circumstances. Whenever he felt his body was going to buckle and give in, he ran that much faster, pushed his body that much harder.
The smoke and layers of debris that had not yet settled cleared away revealing the elevator shaft. The smoke went to one side or another, and for a split second Strange wondered if this was what Moses had felt like when the Red Sea had parted. He quickly shook his head, dismissing the inconsequential thought, pushing it back to the farthest reaches of his mind.
Then Strange took note that the elevator within the shaft was no longer there!
It must have been summoned earthward, for all that remain in the shaft was two thick steel cables. Strange did not slow his pace down one iota. He was not deterred by the fact that the lift was no longer in place where it had been when he arrived after leaving Warlock on the rooftop only a few moments prior.
He lunged forward, arms out stretched toward the twin cables before him, within the elevator shaft, a yell of utter defiance tearing away at the night air.
Another explosion sounded at the exact moment that Thor lunged through the air. Cobalt bolts of energy were searing through the air around his muscular body. His body slammed against the nearby floor boards of the utterly destroyed Avenger's Mansion, his body collided with the floor and he quickly rolled behind an out-cropping of fallen debris that laid only a few feet away from where he had stood moments earlier.
He moved out of the way just as another bolt of mystical energy smashed against the floorboards, shattering the once sturdy wood into nothing more than splinters.
Thor peered over his shoulder for only a moment, while Strange had his back toward him, launching an offensive against Norrin Radd who was scrambling frantically for shelter. Then he noticed something, something that could prove the difference between victory and death.
Strange's body was covered in a mystical green hue. Thor had surmised that it might have been a defensive shield against mystical and technological assaults upon his person. But every time this dark incarnation of Doctor Strange used his mysticism as a weapon the shield would temporarily fade out of existence, then return. However, the green light was not as intense at it had been before the onslaught of energies. Could it be weakening?
Thor gave off a thin smirk. A plan was formulating in his mind, one that may even give him and the other Defenders an edge in this conflict a faint edge, yes, but one nonetheless.
"Genis," Thor beckoned. Genis-Vell was crouched under several fallen pillars, only a few feet away from the Norse god of thunder, and he peered his white haired head outward in order to get a better perspective of Thor. "Quickly, Captain, find the one called Rick Jones. The information that he wields is imperative to our survival! Now!" his tone was low, but carried a well-deserved sense of urgency to it.
Genis knew that the thunderer spoke the truth, for Rick Jones' message conveyed at least that much. Jones had stated that he had stumbled upon a means to defeat their dark incarnations and the message in its last few moments of static and garble stated that he was in a state of emergency.
Looks like we were right, Genis mused, as another cobalt blue energy blast lanced forward, missing his head by only a few centimeters. If he had not woven his head out of the blast's unbridled path of destruction his brain would have been smeared over the better portion of the majestic Avenger's throw rug.
The one who was known as Captain Marvel, son of the original man to wield the title of power and honor, gave off a crisp nod. Then in a quick blur he bolted up a nearby wooden set of stairs that were only a few feet to the left of him. The only problem was that he had to give up his only means of dense against Strange's mystical onslaught. Fortunately for the young Kree-Titan hybrid, the dark sorcerer supreme was already preoccupied with destroying the Silver Surfer, who with grace avoided every attack launched at him thus far.
Thor nodded, not waiting to see if Genis could reach the first platform without Strange's notice. He lunged his body forward toward the aid of his silver clad comrade and to a victory that might be within his grasp.
The twin elevator cables were just within Strange's grasp!
He could hear Quasar's distant laughter filtering through the night sky.
Then the cables that were within his grasp exploded before him. There was no preamble, no sign of the explosion that occurred directly in front of him. The sudden explosion sent his limbs and disoriented body flying back several feet. then landing back first against a portion of the roof that was covered in jagged concrete and steel beams, which had moments earlier served as the support for the roof.
Strange rolled over so that his front was lying on the ground. At first, he had placed his hands down upon the water-covered roof, and he tried to push himself upward. Pain surged through his body unrelentingly. He moaned, and collapsed in on his weakened arms, weak, tired.
Strange cursed under his breath, silently.
He turned his head forward to see a dark shroud of a man emerging from the ash and smoke that filled the night sky. He figure made one step out of the smoke and dust, his lower half of the body was the first to emerge from the thick ash and smoke. Laughter, pierced through the profound ringing that had manifested itself in his ears.
Then Strange's vision turned crimson red with blood, his blood! He let out a harsh breath and did the only thing he could do in his powerless state
He gave in to the darkness.
The thick layer of dark brown smoke and debris blinded him, temporarily.
Thor peered over the wooden wreckage that he had thrown himself behind, escaping the pillar of mystical energy only moments ago. At first Thor saw nothing at all, but soon certain areas of the dust cleared and the powerless Thunder God could make out the faint outline of Doctor Strange, slowly making his way through the clearing smoke and thick layer of dust.
The doctor's back was arched forward, his hands, which were at his sides, started to glow with a hellish green light that pierced through the layers upon layers of receding smoke. His thick eyebrows covered the sadistic glint that his blue eyes captured; he smiled demonically, revealing his pure white teeth.
Timing was everything if Thor's gambit was to succeed. He arose to his full towering height, squaring off his massive shoulders. His jaw was set, and he arched his back forward. He had to plan it just right.
He came closer, ever so closer, laughter filled the unsettling silence. The Thunder God's eyes turned into cold hard slits, his back lurched forward, that much more, and streams of perspiration glistened his brow, soaking his long blond hair. Doctor Strange was now upon him.
"Victory is mine!" Strange said valiantly, still making is approach. "I've waited so long for this, Thor, and I shall not be denied!"
Strange lanced his arms forward, laughter roaring over the sound of the mystical energy that roared toward the Thunder God, who merely stood his ground not moving.
Quasar stood over the limp form of Strange, satisfaction danced across his daunting visage. "With your death, Strange, and the death of your fellow Defenders, nothing shall stand in my way. I shall defeat our common foe, Myth-Breaker. He may have brought you to his time frame to eliminate me from the field of battle, eliminating the only competition he has for his throne of power. But I shall reign victorious."
"This will not end this way."
The bold words jerked Quasar out of his paranoid rants. He swirled around to see the owner of the voice. The silhouette of a man started to take shape through the layers of dust and debris. The man slowly emerged from the smoke and ash. The dark Quasar stood poised for battle. His Quantum Bands began glowing with golden flame.
The war ceased momentarily. The two warriors stood there, unscathed, staring at one another. Lightening and thunder roared their unholy might in the distance.
"Thou shalt not rule me, Myth-Breaker."
"Foolish being! Join us, Thor, my brother, stop this quarrelsome conflict thou dost wage between myself and the fellow deities, 'tis not worth the struggle. Together, thou and I can rule, and nothing can stand in our way."
"Yes. I shall stand in thy way, I shall challenge thee with my last dying breath. And thou wilt never silence my voice, dark shadow of my soul!"
"We shall see."
"Have at thee!"
"Let the battle begin anew!"
And the war continued as it always did. As it always will till one or the other reigned victoriously.
Warlock stood there, swirls of dust around him parted on either side.
Quasar laughed. "And who is going to stop me?" the former Protector of the Universe retorted.
Adam Warlock charged forward, and leapt into the air. He swung his body to one side, the outside of his leg slammed against its target, and he quickly jerked his other leg around and struck with the inner part of his left leg. But even though the sound of a great impact echoed through the night air, Warlock's attacks never came into contact with Quasar's body, for a field of rippling cobalt blue energy washed over his form. Every time something came into contact with the field it would reveal ripples of blue energy for a moment, much like the surface of a still pond being disturbed, then would vanish as if nothing had happened in the first place. The sudden force of energy sent Warlock backward, where he tripped over a slab of cool garnet, He tried to catch himself but could not, and he fell upon a section of the roof that had been completely renovated.
Quasar laughed. "Fool!"
He placed his arms before him, the twin Quantum Bands touching one another, power churned forth, lighting up the darkened skies ahead. The light created demonic shadows to dance upon everything on the rooftop. His hands were angled directly for the golden form before him.
"I shall destroy you!"
The power was unleashed And the world around Adam Warlock was plunged into eternal darkness.
Myth-Breaker stood there, shrouded in the darkened shadows of his main chambers in New Asgard.
He stared down upon the small tear in the fabric of space and time that stood before him, blue and red light raged from within the tear, lighting up the chambers with no discernible pattern. From time to time the blood red and sky blue colors would stop and then as one unleash their wrath against the glass sheen that separated the tear from the rest of the known universe.
Myth-Breaker stared down into his refection, with an air of arrogant superiority, a hellish smirk danced across his thin, slightly smooth lips. He reached out with his enormous and muscular right hand and pressed it upon the glass sheen that was only a few centimeters thick, separating him from the rift of blue and red energy.
He opened his mouth in order to say something when he heard the sound of distant footsteps echoing in the darkness. With incredible speed, in spite of his monstrous bulk, he swirled around in a blur, his hand reaching outward into the shadows. His fingers extended, he summoned his might weapon, the great hammer created out of Uru, Mjolnir, which rested in a slight slanting downward tilt in the shadows near Myth-Breaker's chair. Soon with speeds unfathomed the hammer was in his hands, his eyes started to burn with green flame.
"It is I, Sire Myth-Breaker." The voice was accustomed to taunt and jibe, but to the revered Myth-Breaker, it was always humbled. And rightfully so, Myth-Breaker mused to himself with a nod of satisfaction. He recognized the voice instantly as the voice of Genis-Vell. "I bring news, news most dire in fact."
Genis gave a curt nod of his head in Myth-Breaker's direction. "Our dear friend and comrade, Wendell, has gone and done something quite rash. That jeopardizes our plans, I fear it could spell the end of us all, as the Prophecy dictates."
Myth-Breaker grunted at this. "I hold no stake in the prophecies of lesser beings!"
"As you wish," he bowed humbly.
While still in a bowing posture, Genis-Vell cast his gaze upon the small crystal glass that was firmly in his grasp. He began moving his hand slowly in small circles, creating ripples to branch outward and collide with the glass' surface. He stared into the green contents of the glass only to see his own reflection. But then for no known reason the reflection changed, the reflection was no longer his own, but rather that of Rick Jones!
He blinked for a moment, his eyes wincing shut, then with a quick jerk of his head Genis opened his eyes once more, only to see that the reflection of Rick Jones was no longer there, replaced once more with his own reflection.
Myth-Breaker grew annoyed with the sudden and long lapse of silence from the man who had just interrupted his musings. He took several steps forward and rose his hammer in Genis-Vell's direction. Golden lightening started to swirl around the metal of his formidable weapon. "Speak quickly or I shall forever silence thy tongue."
"What " Genis was startled. He finally realized that he was still in his bowing posture, quickly he straightened upward, and tried to recompose himself, the best that he could. A wave of dizziness clutched onto him, and he tried his best not to stagger backward too obviously.
Then, like a snap of his fingers it all came back to him in a mere instant. "Oh " he cleared his throat in an unsure manner. "Yes," he tried to regain his lost composure, pushing the image of Jones' reflection within his cup of hard liquor to the farthest reaches of his mind. "Quasar has taken it upon himself to attack the Defenders' current safe-house. A preemptive strike if you will, Milord."
Myth-Breaker was enraged. "Why?"
"He feels that you have somehow brought these past versions of ourselves in order to destroy him."
Genis forced a laugh, downing the remainder of his contents.
Then he saw Myth-Breaker's darkened expression, and his laughter died in his throat.
Finally after a long silence, Myth-Breaker said some troubling words, which sent a cold eerie feeling surging down Genis' spine. "Who am I to let Quasar's thoughts and paranoia to go unanswered?" He smiled, and turned his back toward the man with the now empty glass. Myth-Breaker rested his palm once more onto the glass sheen that separated him from the rift that pulsated within. The power surged between him and the container, a faint blue hue encased the god's massive hand. Soon the hue reached outward till it outlined his entire form.
"Leave me, Genis."
"Milord." He nodded his head and without a word of protest left the darkened chambers.
The footsteps retreated into the darkness and then .
The war continued, from within.
To Be Continued
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