Protectors of the Universe: Defenders #5

Written by WarlorTVor, Edited & Co-plotted by Morfex
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

Characters are the properties of Marvel Comics

Protectors of the Universe: Defenders
"Future Crimes: Part Five - 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, Master Genis?”


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 better?”

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 few moments.

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 to find…

“No,” he hushed through clench teeth. “No!”

He had been right all along! Jones had…

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 a response.

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 Rick Jones.

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 as quickly.

“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 wrong!”

“I have triumphed!”

Quasar roared victoriously, arms raised.

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 timeline.

“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 it!

“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 him.

Then it happened!

“No,” Captain Marvel hushed in dark revelation.

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 skull…

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?”

“I dare!”

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 demand you!”

“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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