Protectors of the Universe #6

Written by Morfex, Edited by Morfex
Logo created by Lord Thanos
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

Characters are the properties of Marvel Comics

Protectors of the Universe #6

(Note: This story continues from Protectors of the Universe #5.  For other stories taking place in this continuity, see the POTU Archive Page.)

The Players:

Adam Warlock – (former alias: Him, God Slayer.) created by the Enclave. Former Supreme Being and wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet. Bearer of the last existing Soul Gem. Reluctant reserve member of the Protectors of the Universe. After months of inexplicable emotional upheaval, Adam recently reclaimed his birth body, as well as the Good and Evil that he had banished from his psyche while Supreme.

Alevolen – (Malevolence, daughter of Mephisto.) claiming to be a Goddess of Light, Alevolen helped Jack of Hearts regain a semblance of human physicality (at a price yet to be determined). Meeting the Protectors, she offered to help in the siege against Rune’s Universal Church of Truth. She seemingly betrayed Starhawk and joined forces with Rune.

Ayesha – (former alias: Her II.) according to Crucible, Ayesha is a purebred lifeform grown from the “Ayesha Sample.” This Sample of DNA was previously used by the Enclave in the development of Adam Warlock and Kismet. Ayesha recently gave birth to twin cocoons that are rapidly reaching maturity.

Binary –  (true name unknown.) Months ago, Carol Danvers was used in a laboratory experiment by the Brood. She was unaware that the entity that was originally Binary had been superimposed with her, attempting to replace that which had been taken by Rogue. As an unwitting symbiotic being, Binary served for a time with the Starjammers. When Carol Danvers began losing her Binary abilities (see Marvel’s Avengers Vol. 3 #1-5), the original Binary entity reasserted its individuality and fled the confines of Earth while Carol slept. Binary has since sought purpose in service to the Universal Church of Truth.

Crucible – (Wladyslav Shinski, formerly of the Enclave) brilliant geneticist, who utilized the mysterious “Ayesha Sample” to further his Master Race of soldiers. Warlock and Kismet both owe their existence to his efforts. Crucible and Ayesha are apparently now mates. Crucible wears armor resembling that of Doctor Doom.

Gamora – (Astral Samurai) trained by Thanos as a living weapon, Gamora has since served as a member of the Infinity Watch, guardians of the Infinity Gems. During the Cosmic Union, Gamora’s body was used as a host for the Phoenix Force. In service to the Protectors, Gamora has recently attempted to reclaim her criminal past. She fears that her past is attempting to reclaim her. In recent hours, her body began decomposing as a result

Ganymede  - one of the last remaining members of an ancient race of astral warrior women called the Spinsterhood, Ganymede has had a romantic connection with Jack of Hearts. She is currently working undercover as Gehenna Midas, a Grand Inquisitor for the Universal Church. Through time travel, Ganymede spent one year of her life in the brutal Church military.

Goddess – formerly, the entity that embodied the dispelled Good that was within Adam Warlock. Since Adam reclaimed that part of himself, that which remained unabsorbed had enough of a unique identity that it quickened the soulless female unborn twin of Ayesha.

Kismet / the Matriarch – (former aliases: Paragon, Her I) Kismet was the second successful Enclave experiment in mixing human DNA with the Ayesha Sample. She is a Cosmic entity who sought procreation and chose Quasar as her ideal mate. Kismet has since learned that Starhawk is her son. As a member of the Protectors, she is working undercover, posing as the prophesied “Matriarch” that would help the Protégé bring about the dawning of a new era.

Magus - – formerly, the entity that embodied the dispelled Evil that was within Adam Warlock. Since Adam reclaimed that part of himself, that which remained unabsorbed had enough of a unique identity that it quickened the soulless male unborn twin of Ayesha.

Protégé / Kireleon / Gemini / Noel and Erik – formerly, two brothers raised as an experiment in the application of Shu Ji energy in the Ultraverse. The twins later learned that Adam Warlock’s DNA sample was used in their creation. One brother was heir to the Curse of Rune after the Dark God’s apparent demise. The brothers can exist separately, although, like Rune, they suffer from extra-universal withdrawal symptoms if kept apart too long in the Marvel Universe.

Rune – the Dark God, vampiric entity from the Ultraverse that fed off of superhuman souls and life forces. Establisher of the Universal Church of Truth on Sirus X during Earth’s Hyborean Age. Rune suffers from extra-universal withdrawal symptoms which can only be staved off by feeding off humanoids more frequently, or merging both Universes into one…

Starhawk – son of Quasar and Kismet, born of the embryo implanted upon Quasar as a test by Kismet to determine the ideal mate. Discarded as a presumably unfertilized bio-mass, Stakar awoke as a full adult after passing through the wake of the first wave of the Cosmic Union event. Having made contact across time to his 31st century counterpart, he is aware of many of that Stakar’s memories and emotional attachments.

White Raven – mercenary and assassin for hire. Trained with Gamora under the tutelage of Thanos. Registered agent of the galactic underworld of organized crime led by the mysterious Grinner. Apparently, she is romantically involved with Kireleon.

Chapter Six: “Lineage.”

Adam Warlock knew what must be done. He knew that his soul had transcended the limits of his original body, his powers had evolved beyond even that near-perfect form’s ability to cope. His life essence burned with an intensity that would consume this mortal husk in less than a day.

Adam was by nature a blunt man, a being not prone to waste time with trivialities, niceties and diplomacy. He was Machiavellian, believing the end justified the means, but tact and strategy were entirely different things. On a good day, he was barely tolerant of others’ needs for pleasantries and ‘small talk.’ Now, his life could be measured in hours. He had no time to waste.

He looked about him in the Beehive chamber reconstructed on Sirus X, the Throneworld of Rune’s Universal Church of Truth.  Crucible, Ayesha, Kismet, and the Protégé that he had once known in the Ultraverse as Gemini stood before him, watching anxiously for what would happen next. Behind them all, the two cocoons bearing Ayesha’s twins continued to gestate and pulsate with energy. Finally, Adam first addressed the tentacle-haired dominatrix that had sought to assert her will upon him.

“Ayesha, you claim to be, if not my birth mother, then the source of one half of the genetic material within me. I acknowledge our genetic similarity, but your power over me is rescinded.”

Ayesha, startled by the harsh tone of a subservient being, yelled, “Kneel!” Her eyes widened as Adam did not change his stance, nor did he seem to exert any effort in defying her command. She focused her powers of persuasion doubly upon him. “Kneel down before me!” But to no avail. Her psychic focus faltered, and she nearly tripped sideways, reeling in surprise at the indomitable will before her. On some level, she was secretly proud of Adam, but quickly buried the unwanted sentiment.

It was the first time Crucible had ever witnessed Ayesha failing to achieve control. Strangely, the Enclave scientist found it more endearing than her dominant side. He held her for support, offering it willingly. Ayesha turned to him suspiciously at first, then less reluctantly, and finally allowed him to help her without resistance. She too felt the prone circumstance to be oddly… comforting.

Adam addressed Shinski, the Enclave scientist who had brought him into being. “Crucible, your claim is that, as master geneticist of the Enclave, you contributed your own DNA sample to complement the Ayesha Sample and create a human/superhuman hybrid to usher in a superior Master Race. Very well, if your schemes and designs lean toward delusions of parenthood, then recognize this once and for all. You hold no sway over me any longer. My emotional turmoil gave you and Ayesha a temporary edge, but I am my own Master once more.”

Adam turned to the purple hued Matriarch, formerly his fellow Protector known as Kismet. “This charade has gone on far enough. Your undercover work serves no further purpose. Epoch informed me of the code word, the mental trigger, needed to reveal to you the truth of who you are. So I say to you… ‘Paragon!’”

The Matriarch was suddenly dizzy, and nearly collapsed to the ground. Her flesh began to alter in skin tone, returning to its natural golden hue in streaks and waves, making the surface of her body appear to be composed of flowing liquid. She stiffened finally, shook her head as her right forefinger and middle finger rubbed her right temple forcefully. Eventually, she spoke. “Thank you, Adam.” She stood tall adjacent to Warlock, facing down Crucible, Ayesha and the Protégé. “I believe we are now more evenly matched.”

“Not so,” a deep masculine voice from behind the trio stated. Everyone turned to see that the Magus and the Goddess had fully emerged from their cocoons. They appeared almost identical to Adam and Kismet, except for their violet skin tone and the short-cropped hair they both bore. Adam’s hair was shoulder length, while Kismet’s reached to her waist.

Protégé whispered under his breath, “This is the true Matriarch!”

The Goddess bristled with an aura of golden energy. Without pause, she shot toward Kismet at full speed. The attack was swift and furious.

Crucible wanted to intercede, but Ayesha held him back, still recovering from her loss of control over Warlock. “Let our progeny prove themselves, beloved. It is in our nature to conquer.”

Meanwhile, the Protégé Kireleon remained apart, observing the scenario with great interest.

The Goddess grabbed Kismet’s long tresses with both hands, pulling the golden woman’s chin brusquely against her knee. Kismet reeled at the blow, stumbling, but quickly recovered in time to roll on the ground to avoid an energy attack to the chest. Kismet, still on the floor, kicked the Goddess’ legs out from under her, causing the purple hued creature to fall as well. Both beings, still sprawled on the floor, let loose bursts of radiant power aimed at each other in broad waves. The energy blasts pressed against each other in a stalemate of unyielding light.

Adam and the Magus circled each other warily, both stiff shouldered and stoic. It was like two mirrors facing each other, neither certain of which one was the original image and which one was the reflection.

Ultimately, Adam revealed a rare smile. “You shall find that your former incarnations will not so readily adapt to the constraints of true mortal forms, limited, as you were by abstract extremes of Good and Evil. No, the true humanity you now bear will take some getting used to…”

With that exclamation, slow, horrified realization crossed the facial expressions of the newborn twins. Their minds were suddenly plummeted into the reality of their new human natures, running the gamut from the potential for Good to the capacity for Evil and back with each self-assessment.

The shock was too much to bear. The Magus dropped to the ground, joining the Goddess. Both entities curled up into fetal positions as Kismet stood once more, dusting herself off.

“What have you done?!” exclaimed Ayesha as she leaped to the side of her suffering children. Crucible, having a medical degree, rapidly removed his Doom-like mask to examine them more closely. They cared not if Adam or Kismet attempted to flee or attack. Their concern was only for their newborns.

“Analysis paralysis,” mused Adam. “In my first months, I suffered it often as well, although rarely to the point of catatonia.”

The Protégé continued to observe the rapid chain of events unfold before him. Adam and Kismet turned toward Kireleon, who smiled and pointed toward an entryway. At that moment, White Raven burst through the portal clearing a path for the horizontal hover-gurney bearing Gamora. Adam was the first to react. “There is no time for further conflict, Noel and Erik. Attack me if you dare,” he addressed Kireleon, “but Gamora’s life comes first.” Then to his sister he proclaimed, “Quickly, Kismet, prepare Gamora’s birth-body for transference, just as you did with mine!”

Kismet nodded and flew over to where the inanimate bodies of Gamora and Pip still stood, adjacent to the graves that the forms had occupied for years. Kismet’s original powers had revived Warlock’s birth body to the peak of health, the seemingly perfect receptacle for his soul to inhabit. She used her energies to do the same for Gamora’s birth form as well.

Warlock’s mastery of the Soul Gem was evident to all as he caused an intense beam of green light to expand from the jewel to a cone encompassing Gamora’s entire mummified flesh. “Her soul! It is nearly beyond my reach!” Adam’s efforts took their toll. As the emerald spotlight intensified, he fell to his knees redoubling his efforts. “She is being claimed! NO! Gamora come back… for… me!”

With that, the emerald energy cone detached itself from the withering corpse, attached instead to a green hued female spirit-form, more stunningly beautiful than anything Adam had ever seen in his many experiences. Adam slowly bore the form before him toward Kismet’s position. He aimed his line of sight toward Gamora’s original body, and the spirit settled in comfortably.

Her eyes fluttered momentarily, then Gamora grinned, turning to face White Raven and the Protégé, standing side by side. “Rave, I knew I could count on you.” She shook her old friend’s hand at the wrist in Assassin Guild fashion. “Kireleon, friend or foe, you are a lucky man to love her.” She turned to Kismet. “As much as it pains me to admit it, I owe you my life. You have my thanks… Sister.” It was the first time that Gamora had ever used the Spinsterhood reference with sincerity toward anyone.

Kismet was filled with an emotion she could only liken to affection for the Astral Samurai. At a loss for other words, she simply uttered, “You are welcome, Sister.”

Gamora turned, at last, to Adam Warlock. “Adam, there is something different about you… not just your original body…” She looked deeply into his eyes. The vacant, soulless gaze of pure intellect was no longer there, nor was the mad intensity of uncontrolled emotions. “Adam! Your soul! You’ve reclaimed its errant facets!” She approached him, then stopped her lips only centimeters from his.

Adam Warlock lifted his hands to hold her gently by the shoulders. He leaned his lips toward her right ear. His whisper was inaudible to all but Gamora. “Almost. Good and Evil are mine once more. One aspect of my soul still remains unclaimed…” Adam remembered the joy of their first reunion in Soul World following his turning Thanos into a statue so long ago. He felt the same joy now. He longed to tell her many things, but even though he felt more emotionally well adjusted than in the past few months, he still knew how to prioritize business before pleasure. “Gemini or Protégé or whatever you are calling yourself now. Whatever our past association or conflict, we must join forces to confront the Dark God Rune before it is too late.”  

Kireleon spoke at last. “Adam Warlock, I have not forgotten our last encounter. Indeed, it ended on a note of friendship.* In the name of that friendship, I accept your offer. I ask you to hear me out, for I am well aware of Rune’s intentions, and I have a plan of my own to counteract it. It is the reason I brought you all here.”

(* See Ultraverse Unlimited #1.)

Just then, Binary and Ganymede (still posing as Inquisitor Gehenna Midas) arrived in response to White Raven’s summons. Although Binary seemed shaken, she said nothing to reveal Ganymedes' secret identity.* Ganymede breathed an internal sigh of relief, at least for now.

(* See POTU #5 for details.)

Binary looked at Adam Warlock with suspicion. “What is the meaning of this? We must alert Imperial Security immediately.”

Ganymede, as a Grand Inquisitor, was forced to play along. “Gamora, your recovery was suitably miraculous! Still, White Raven, Gamora, why have you not taken this being in for formal questioning?”

Kireleon was the first to respond. “Ah, funny you should put it in such terms, Inquisitor Midas, for questioning is exactly what you must accomplish this day. Observe.”

With a wave of his hand over a wrist sensor, the Protégé activated a holographic screen before them all. In the image, Rune arrived at a ceremonial ritual site with an entourage, much like he had attempted to do with them. In this case, Rune was seen to attack his travel party, devouring their throats one by one. In an unholy stupor, the remaining entourage members succumbed willingly to Rune’s violent advances.

Kireleon turned to face Binary, Gamora, and Gehenna Midas. “This would have been your fate had I not activated the planetary defense grid only hours ago. If you do not feel you owe me anything for saving your three lives, then perhaps you feel that the threat Rune poses justifies your joining our righteous cause.”

Binary and Gehenna did not respond. Binary struggled with her desire to disbelieve the evidence before her, but she knew that the tamper-proof holo-records were unaltered. What could she do? Meanwhile, Gehenna wondered if maintaining the charade served any further purpose.

Kireleon turned to face Kismet. “It is quite fortunate that Rune opted to grant me custody over the Protector known as Starhawk.”

Kismet responded quickly. “Starhawk? Where is my son,  Protégé?”

“Behold!” With another gesture from the Protégé, a wall panel slid aside.

Stakar seemed disoriented at first, then stepped forward to embrace Kismet. “Mother, are you all right?”

Kismet returned the gesture with a maternal kiss on the cheek. “I am fine, my son, knowing that you are safe.” Turning her head toward Protégé, she continued. “Kireleon, you have shown me nothing but hospitality, and now you deliver my son safely back to me. Whatever your plans against the Dark God, you have my support.”

Starhawk turned to Warlock, his mother’s brother. “Adam, we must tell Jack of Hearts about Alevolen’s betrayal immediately!”

At that moment, Crucible and Ayesha approached them all, both  bearing one of their newborn adult twins, apparently unconscious in their arms. “Protégé! This is your fault! You manipulated events to reach this juncture! Now our children can barely speak, much less fight for our cause!”

Kireleon approached the helpless twins in their parents’ arms. “Crucible, Ayesha, though your choices of the past mark you repeatedly as villains, still there remains an opportunity for redemption. Help us rid the Universe of the malignant tumor that is Rune and I can help your newborns. On this, you have my word.”

Crucible and Ayesha looked at each other for approval, surprised to find themselves doing so. Both knew the value of the Protégé’s promise, despite all else. With simple eye contact they both understood each other’s desire to save their offspring by whatever means necessary. They both turned toward the Protégé and nodded agreement.

Kireleon raised his hands to touch the foreheads of the two fallen entities. Gamora instinctively looked toward Adam for the signal to attack and interrupt the process, but Adam gave a barely perceptible shake of his head. Warlock wanted to observe the Protégé’s powers in action.

Energy began to flow between Kireleon’s fingers and spread across the forms of the Magus and the Goddess. Within moments, they managed to stand on their own. “No longer are you the Magus and the Goddess, for such titles must be earned. In your family tradition, let the Universe know you as Him and Her until you choose a name for yourselves!”

Seemingly unaffected by the energy depletion, the Protégé Kireleon observed the gathered beings before him. He smiled as he spoke. “Adam Warlock, Kismet, White Raven, Gamora, Binary, Gehenna Midas, Starhawk, Crucible, Ayesha, Him and Her. At last! I have gathered an army of sufficient might to topple the false god Rune and return him to his rightful Universe before his heinous schemes reach fruition. My once and former allies, I ask you to join me now, willingly, in this righteous effort!”

Continued in Protectors of the Universe #7!  Be sure to also check out our Cosmic Union Continuity Reference Page and Protectors of the Universe Reference Page for other stories in this continuity.  And don't forget to send some comments below!





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