Protectors of the Universe: Defenders #5
Written by WarlorTVor, Edited &
Co-plotted by Morfex
Protectors of the Universe: Defenders
"Future Crimes: Part Six - False Hopes"
This story takes place after Defenders
#1, Defenders #2, Defenders
#3, and Defenders #4
Note: The Defenders is an alternate future to the current POTU titles
“What is happening to me?!”
The screams of pain tore away in
the darkened quarters of Genis-Vell, while the enraged Genis thrashed about
violently, destroying all things within arm’s length.
“Does something trouble you,
Genis swirled around, his arms
toppling bottle after bottle of liquor off their respective places onto the
ground. The bottles shattered upon impact, spewing their thick multi-colored
contents onto the ice-cold surface of the ground. Before him stood Savannah
DeVoors. Her slender hands were clasped behind her back, her head slightly
cocked to one side, her thick, curly blond hair cascading down the side of her
head. He had not heard her enter the room, but nonetheless there she stood. She
was dressed in clothes that in other more conservative circles would have been
considered taboo. A day ago, possibly even an hour ago, Genis would have felt
uncontrollable passion descend upon him, but now … he had more
important and demanding concerns to deal with besides a stroll through the
valley of carnal pleasures.
“I said,” she approached him
slowly, her tone was light and breezy and was suggestive as she breathed heavily
on certain words, “is something wrong?” She rested one of her hands upon his
muscular chest. He wanted to recoil into the darkness, for the jolt of heat that
surged through his body was unwanted. Her other hand rummaged back and forth
across his square chin, her fingers running through the goatee of white hair.
She moved her full lush lips toward his ear and hushed, “Can I make it all
He pushed her away and walked over
to a nearby cabinet, where he opened the glass door and removed a large bottle
of scotch from where it stood, collecting a thick layer of dust. He pulled open
the lid and took a deep smell of it. He then placed the bottle away from his
nostrils and read the label. He then placed the lid back where it belonged and
with no preamble he threw it at her.
“Be gone!” he screamed.
Devoors had barely enough time to
duck, before the bottle with a swish of air flew by and collided with a nearby
wall behind her, shattering upon impact. She let out a curse, and was about to
head off toward Genis, her arm recoiled as if to slap him, but she had no time
to move, let alone to land a blow against him.
One moment she was standing, the
next she was on the ground, both hands instinctively cradling her injured face,
above her stood an enraged Genis, his arm was extended in a swooping motion till
he lowered it to his side. She could feel her face starting to swell, where he
had backhanded her, a faint trickle of blood rolled down from the corner of her
mouth. “Leave me now, woman!” Genis demanded.
Without standing she recoiled
backward, tears of pain welling up in her green eyes. Her lips were trembling.
Without any words she staggered out of his main bedchambers, gasps of pain and
tears roared from her mouth, her hands covering her once unblemished visage.
He nodded, and turned his back away
from the door alcove as the doors closed in on themselves. He looked at his
reflection upon the broken mirror that hung over one of the many liquor
cabinets. He stared at himself for a moment, in disgust.
He turned away and looked back only
to see the image of Rick Jones once more. They stared at once another.
Genis stormed toward the broken
mirror, brought his hands up and slammed a barreled fist against the portion of
the glass that was not too badly damaged. The glass gave way, and the thick warm
blood poured from his hands that were now cut in several places.
Then he felt it!
It struck him like a fist.
Pain surged throughout his body. As
he dropped to one knee, the world around him spun out of control. His chest
heaved upward in a futile attempt to force air into his lungs. The pounding in
his head roared to a deafening pitch, his chest constricted in on itself, as did
his vision. He roared out in all his fury.
Eventually, the pain subsided.
He stood there for a moment,
amongst shattered liquor containers and broken lives. He brought up the Nega-Bands
to eye level, rebellious strains of white hair cascaded before
his eyes obscuring his vision but he did not brush them aside. He was too
focused on his coming actions.
He brought the two bands together;
his breathing became erratic, even frantic. He tried to control his staggered
breathing but after a few moments he really did not care. After all, it did not
matter to him. The only thing that did matter was what would happen in the next
He brought them closer and closer
and then the two Nega-Bands collided with one another and… and…
And nothing happened!
He let out a sigh of relief and
allowed his body to sag toward the ground.
And he … began to laugh. He had
feared that in some way still unknown to him that his alter ego … no not his
alter ego … rather his other self, the yin to his yang, had reemerged and
reasserted itself. Which, upon reflection, he found ludicrous! After all, Rick
Jones’ soul had been devoured by the Warlock entity, before Warlock’s soul
had possessed the vessel that was Rick Jones’ body. And there was no … no…
The pain returned.
He screamed aloud, his body jerking
to the floor and thrashing about from side to side, the shards of glass that
rested all over the floor delved into his body, creating even more pain. He
managed to peel himself off the floor and stare into the shattered mirror, only
“No,” he hushed through clench
He had been right all along! Jones
Golden light erupted from all
points of the room at once; it was everywhere and yet at the same time nowhere,
all in that brief moment in time. On the floor, lying crumbled and feeble was
the physical form of…
Genis-Vell stormed upstairs
quickly, and checked every room for signs of life. Particularly the life of Rick
Jones, who had been the one to summon the Defenders to the Avengers’ Mansion
in the first place, stating that he had information vital to the destruction of
this timelines’ Defenders.
From time to time, in a hushed tone
so as not to draw attention to himself, he would call out Jones name, peering
his head into the darkened room. “Jones,” he called forth, no response. It
was not until he made it toward one of the last rooms in the hallway that he got
There was a stir in the shadows
from behind him!
He swirled around, just in time to
see Rick Jones melt from the shadows.
“Rick!” Genis exclaimed in
spite of himself.
Rick Jones said nothing, he stopped
and merely stood there for a moment or two, his eyes were glazed, a telltale
sign that he was in the process of considering something, something that would
hold dire consequence for all involved. Then without preamble Jones continued to
stalk forward from the shadows, a hideous grin plastered on his face.
Thor stood there, the pillar of
mystical energy bearing down upon him at lightening fast speeds.
Yet he did not move. He wait and
timed everything to the last possible nanosecond. And it seemed as if time stood
still, or at least passed at a crawl. Thor leaned forward in a semi-kneeling
posture, and waited.
The mystical energy seared through
the air heating it up a hundred-fold. Sweat and perspiration glistened down on
either side of his face, a determined look burned within his eyes.
“Victory is mine!”
The pillar of energy was roughly a
few centimeters away from Thor’s barrel chest. Thor leaped forward, in a swift
fluid motion, clearing the blast by only a few centimeters. He roared defiantly,
“I say thee nay!” He dropped to the ground in a crouching posture, then
propelled himself forward, his clenched fists pressed against one another and
slammed with full strength against Strange’s open midsection. Strange
pin-whirled backward. The Thunder God quickly landed on his feet, graceful in
spite of his massive bulk. He then swung his fist upward once more, the two
massive fists soared heavenward then slammed into the side of Strange’s
visage, sending him tumbling earthward. Thor called out, quickly, he had little
time to act, “Norrin Radd! Attack now, before Strange can recover and
reactivate his mystic barrier!”
By this time, Genis-Vell had
arrived onto the main floor of the Avengers’ Mansion. In tow behind him was
Then from the shadows and thick
smoke, the Silver Surfer emerged, ready for the right time to launch his attack
against this dark shade of Doctor Strange.
Thor, once again, swept in from the
left side, and ducked himself in something of a running crouched posture, under
Strange’s form. His right hand slammed into the side of Strange’s head. In a
swift jerk upward, the open palm of his left hand soared, slamming against
Strange’s jaw. Strange’s head whirled up and he stumbled backward, into the
waiting arms of the Silver Surfer.
The Surfer spread out his
fingertips and pressed them deeply into Strange’s face. The plan had been a
simple one. Thor would distract the Sorcerer Supreme and try to drain him of
energy, giving Genis and himself enough time to launch their own offensives. But
while Captain Marvel merely had to attack against Strange’s physical form,
Norrin Radd took it upon himself to attempt to absorb some of Strange’s
mystical power into himself. Of course he was not sure if the ploy would bare
fruition, since the Tribunals stripped every member of the past incarnation of
the Defenders of their powers. He was not certain if he had been stripped of the
ability to absorb energy and to be able to yield it on his own. But he had to
try! For it would give them an edge in their war against their future selves and
perhaps hold the key to victory itself.
Norrin Radd closed his eyes, and
concentrated intensely. He could feel the power! Unimaginable power titillated
his fingers, the strange tingling sensation rode upward through his arms.
Strange churned from side to side, his body withering in the Silver Surfer’s
grasp. The Surfer, for his part, could feel the power gently surge through his
body. It was not the Power Cosmic that his former master, Galactus, had infused
him with all those years ago. No, this energy was mystical in nature. He
welcomed the power that now coursed through his veins. His breathing became more
deep and massive lungs full of air lifted his chest greatly, then collapsed just
“He’s doing it!” cried out
Genis-Vell, he stood beside Thor and thrust his arm through the air in victory,
Jones stood somberly by, a dark smile emerging on his thin, blood- covered lips.
Thor was silent,
uncharacteristically so. Then he said in no uncertain terms, “Something is
“I have triumphed!”
Quasar roared victoriously, arms
He was standing over the limp form
of Adam Warlock, who had, foolishly, tried a frontal physical assault against
him. The attempt failed, and now he lay before him, almost near death. A few
yards behind him the motionless form of Doctor Stephen Strange was in much the
same condition. Quasar had won! Now nothing stood in his way! Once he had
destroyed this version of the Defenders, he would soon challenge Myth-Breaker
for the power of the gods, that only Myth-Breaker himself had the power to
control. And once the pantheons were out of the way … he would ponder such
glorious possibilities when he came to that proverbial bridge. For right now, he
had to finish the two off before they could recover and mount another futile
offensive against him.
“I have waited a long time for
this, Soul-drinker. And I shall not be denied.”
He tapped his two Quantum Bands
together, power churned, encompassing his fist. He moved his hands outward, to
the point where they hovered over Warlock’s body. Pools of golden energy now
fluctuated in a fluid motion. Quasar closed his eyes in the sheer wonder of the
moment. He must truly savor this, he reminded himself. The power reached its
peak and it was then that…
A commanding voice called out to
him, causing him to snap his eyes open and swirl around in a blur. “Stop!”
the voice beckoned. “I command you!” The voice struck a chord with Quasar
and he slowly turned to a mirror image of himself. Himself of the past, rather.
“Ah, I was wondering when I would
meet you,” The empowered Quasar stated matter-of-factly.
“Well here I am, failure!”
“Yes, there you are. Now prepare
to face your destruction!” A dark shade of the man before him, Quasar brought
back his arms, golden power radiating from his bands, brightening up the
darkened skies with energy anew.
“I’m ready,” the past version
of Quasar stated boldy.
“We shall see.”
And with that Quasar let lose the
cosmic onslaught of energy in the direction of his past self from an alternate
“Something is wrong!”
“What?” Genis-Vell’s head
snapped from the unfazed statue that was Thor, then to the scene unfolding
before the two.
The Silver Surfer’s eyes snapped
wide open in shock. Indeed! Something was wrong! The power burned, it no longer
filled him with life anew. He let out a scream, of pain and agony, his breathing
became shallow, his body began to tremble massively. He felt the cold hands of
Strange upon his own hands, still locked onto either side of the dark mystic’s
face. Laughter filled the silence, and cut through Norrin Radd’s screams of
pain. “Interesting tactic, Thunder God,” Strange commented. “Brilliant
strategy, if I do say so myself. Bravo, you should be commended!” His tone
darkened, enormously, now it was a total difference in comparison to the
seemingly conversationalist attitude he had when he addressed the powerless
Thunder God. “And you, Silver Surfer, will pay dearly for this
transgression!” Strange quickly spun the Silver Surfer around quickly,
slamming against an outcropping of splintered floorboards and twisted wet
debris. The Surfer for his part was in a dazed state of agony. Already the pain
that was pulsating through his form caused his vision to darken.
Thor and Genis-Vell charged
forward, in an attempt to aid their fellow Defender. Strange’s head whipped
around to see the two running straight toward him, and all he did was give off a
quick nod of his head. He stopped the two warriors dead in their tracks. A
mystical green shield emerged from the floorboard where the two stood and
quickly reached upward. When the wall of mystic energies reach a certain height
it arched backward and continued downward creating a domed half-sphere in the
midst of the Avengers’ Mansion. The dome encompassed both Doctor Strange and
the battered Silver Surfer in a shield of bright green, mystical energy.
The two Defenders stood outside the
shield, helpless. Strange smiled darkly and turned his attention to the Silver
Surfer, who was on his stomach trying to claw his way to safety. Strange extend
his arms slowly. He stretched out his fingers so that they were angled for the
small of the Silver Surfer’s back. Mystical power began materializing around
his arms. Thor screamed out a warning, his massive fist pounding against the
dome that would not give way. Genis followed Thor’s example, but found the
entire thing to be impenetrable. Perhaps if he was still in command of his Nega-Bands,
he might be able to penetrate the shield. However his now feeble strength was
not doing a thing to the mystical shield. It did not even so much as ripple
against the onslaught of unenhanced strength.
The reddish blue power that swam
around Strange’s arms lunged forward, slamming against the small of the Silver
Surfer’s back. His upper torso jerked heavenward and he let out a scream of
death, which echoed through the destroyed ruins of the Avengers’ Mansion. Soon
the pillar of energy died out, and Norrin Radd’s body slumped downward onto
the debris that he rested upon. A thick layer of smoke arose from the blast
point. Groans of pain escaped his slightly opened maw, his face was contorted in
utter pain, and his eyes were held firmly shut. The Surfer’s body slightly
twisted, and he rolled over onto his backside. He moved his back upon the rough
surface of wood as if it would ward off the pain that surged through him, it was
a futile hope. Strange raised his arms once more.
“Stop it!” Genis pleaded, in
desperation. He dropped to his knees. “Stop it! You are killing him!”
Strange turned to him and smiled wanly. “That is
the general idea.”
Quasar cursed under his breath, he
fell to the ground of the roof. He coughed a lung full of blood fingered out
into the air, cascading on his already stained white civilian style shirt. He
coughed for a few moments, before turning to face his dark shade, who was
approaching ever closer.
“You know something?” the dark
shade stated nonchalantly for the death and destruction flanking him on all
sides. “I am really going to enjoy killing you!”
The uncorrupted Quasar coughed,
then rolled onto his feet, in a semi-standing posture. He threw his back against
a nearby pile of debris that had been smoldering in the distance and braced
himself for combat. The front of his white tunic was scarred with a massive
black area of ash, where the power of the Quantum Bands had hit with full force.
A thick patch of smoke slowly rose from the burnt area.
“Make … it … quick then … I
can’t stand to look … at you for another moment … you disgust me!” he
managed to get out in a hoarse, rasping voice, through fits of spewing blood
from his mouth and gasping for air.
“Do not worry … all in due time
… all in due time…”
And once more, Quasar heard the
faint hum filter through the air, the telltale sign that power was once again
being collected via the Quantum Bands. The battered man, who had been stripped
of his powers stood there, bracing himself for what was to come. He had seen the
worst part of himself – a part that no man should see – unleashed in this
incarnation before him. Quasar closed his eyes and waited for death … a death
that would come in only a matter of moments….
Genis could not believe his eyes.
Power roared and raged within the
sphere, as this time frame’s Doctor Strange released a pillar of mystical
energy against the Silver Surfer, but whereas the original strike was only a
small burst of his power, this one was a continuous, unrelenting blast of
energy. The bolt of energy slammed against the Surfer’s chest, and the Silver
Surfer began absorbing the massive amounts of energy into him. He could not stop
“I cannot control it … the energy…!” The Silver
Surfer screamed aloud. His arm reached out toward Thor, silently pleading with
the Thunder God to do something. But there was nothing that the powerless god
could do other than exact his strength, which had been greatly diminished since
their arrival into this time frame, against the mystical shield. He raised his
fists, placing one hand into the other and once more pounded with all his
strength, with all his heart, against the mystical shielding. The sound echoed
outward for a moment or two, but other than that there was no change. The
Surfer’s arm went limp and dropped to the ground, he could feel the end upon
Then it happened!
“No,” Captain Marvel hushed in
The Silver Surfer clutched his
chest it felt as if it was on fire, which was not far from the truth. The two
Defenders alongside a stoic form of Rick Jones looked upon the spectacle in
sheer horror and disgust.
In the wake of the Cosmic Union,
the Silver Surfer alongside his fellow Heralds, Terrax, Air-Walker, Nova and
Firelord, learned the dark truth of their true state. They learned that their
“bodies” were nothing more than vessels of living Power Cosmic, and that
their true physical forms, the forms that they had occupied before encountering
Galactus, were in stasis in the Worldship. Galactus’ motives, as ever,
remained a mystery.
Epoch had ventured a guess that
Galactus’ motive for creating pure Power Cosmic forms of his Heralds was
simple practicality. If any of them were severely damaged to the point that they
were near death or could not be of further use to their master, that the
original physical forms would be used for a template to reconstruct another.
This “new” Herald would have no
recollection of their apparently exaggerated “death.” At the same time they
would be able to recollect the other memories that the previous body had
collected, one of the many safeguards that Galactus had devised in order to
maintain his control over those who served him. During the Union they were
forced to merge their Power Cosmic forms with those of their original physical
ones, in order to survive. But this mutual survival came with a great price. For
in their merged forms, they
“inherited” the curse that was Galactus, they became dependent on devouring
worlds much like their master.
Starglow was once the love of
Norrin Radd’s life, Shalla Bal, later transformed into Galactus’ Punisher
Construct, and was now nothing more than living Power Cosmic as the other
Heralds once were. If not for Starglow, then the Heralds would have been
overwhelmed with the Hunger. She was the only one unaffected by the Hunger since
she was not one with her physical form.
She underwent several trials and
tribulations in order to save her comrades, going from forging a dark alliance
with Doctor Doom, an alliance that ended in betrayal, to finally going to Reed
Richards and Doctor Strange for help. They agreed to help and a solution was
found, concerning tapping into the energy of Reed’s yet unborn grandson,
Hyperstorm, who was entrapped in a “prison” dimension that was beyond the
effects of space and time. The Heralds’ control was restored, their Hunger
seemingly staved off indefinitely.
Reed Richards had invented an
implant device that would regulate the power absorption of the former Heralds.
Through the pain and disorientation, it finally occurred to Norrin Radd that the
implant might still be in place. If so, forcibly removing it might overload the
Tribunals’ power dampening! If only he could reach the base of his own
Doctor Strange, satisfied that the
Surfer sensed a glimmer of hope, proceeded to douse it. “Enough games! My
spells purposely simulated your former absorption abilities. You have known
false hope, now know despair!”
The Silver Surfer felt himself
being burned away into nothingness, torn asunder. His body continued to be
bombarded by mystic energy and he could feel his pinkish tanned skin starting to
burn and peel away from the rest of him. The Silver Surfer screamed, and the
world around him exploded in bright white light.
White light exploded from
everywhere and no where all at once. The Silver Surfer screamed in his death
throes, and the dark incarnation of Doctor Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme,
roared in laughter. And through the sounds of death and laughter came the words
of Strange, “Victory is mine!”
The dark from of Quasar stood
proudly over his opponent’s outstretched body.
“You have lost, as I knew you
would,” the dark shade that was Quasar chimed in a dark insidious tonality.
“Now prepare to meet Death, for the last time!”
Energy crackled and began
manifesting itself around his curled fist. Then the power lanced forward toward
Quasar’s past-self. For his part, and to his credit, he did nothing, not even
so much as scream as the power seared the air to him . . . then . . . the power
exploded all around him . . .
A shock wave stretched forward and
slammed Quasar in the chest, sending him once more flying backward and slamming
his physical form into a pile of debris.
But to both Quasars’ utter shock
and astonishment . . . the power did not strike the man that it was targeted at.
“What?” the dark shade uttered.
“What treachery is this? Who dares?”
The voice came from nowhere and
everywhere all at once, but it did not come from Strange or Warlock. The
uncorrupted version of Quasar slowly limped toward Strange, who was wavering in
and out of consciousness.
The dark Quasar slowly arose into
the sky. His head jerked from side to side as if to find where the voice had
come from. “Where are you? Are you a coward?!”
No response was forthcoming.
The eerie silence was starting to
agitate Quasar. He was about to snap! And he began to scream.
“Myth-Breaker! Show yourself. I
“I am not this . . .
Myth-Breaker,” the voice answered back, and Quasar got a bearing from where it
was coming from! He swirled around in a blur, his cape whipping around him
violently and there among the clouds, a man stood.
“No . . .” he hushed. “The
One . . . the Other . . .” Dark revelation was upon the Quasar of this
corrupted future, who was fixated on the form before him.
Continued in Defenders #6
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