Protectors of the Universe #8Written by Morfex, Edited by E.A. Morrissey and Anomaly
Logo created by Lord Thanos
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in
THE COSMIC POWERS UNLIMITED FANZINE ISSUE #30
Characters are the properties of Marvel Comics
Protectors of the Universe #8
"Assault and Battery"
"The old faiths light their candles all about, but burly Truth comes by and puts them out."
Lizette W. Reese, Truth
(Note: This story continues from Protectors of the Universe #7. For other stories taking place in this continuity, see the POTU Archive Page.)
(Gabriel Lan, Xandarian) former Herald of Galactus, former Captain of the
Xandarian starship "Way-Opener," where he served with Pyreus Kril (Firelord).
Recently reclaimed his original organic body. Leader of the Protectors division
known as the Powers Cosmic.
Beta Ray Bill
(Betarebil, Korbinite) former Defender of a fleet of refugee vessels from the
Burning Galaxy. The Korbinite fleet has since been destroyed by the Axi-Tun.
Granted Asgardian citizenship and power by All-Father Odin. Bearer of the Uru
hammer Stormbreaker. Aboard his vessel, Scuttlebutt, Bill and Dawn, the last of
their kind willing to procreate attempted to reestablish their species.
Jack of Hearts
(Jack Hart, half-Terran, half-Contraxian) immersed in Zero Fluid, Jack developed
energy manipulative powers. Until recently, he was forced to wear a containment
suit to regulate the energies that coursed through his system. Although
currently romantically involved with Ganymede of the Spinsterhood, Jack has an
obsessive attraction for the goddess Alevolen, who helped him regain control of
his fully human physical body.
(Frankie Raye, Terran) former Herald of Galactus, former ally of the Fantastic
Four. Current member of the Powers Cosmic.
(Wendell "Dell" Vaughn, Terran) former Avenger, former SHIELD agent,
former Security Director of Project: Pegasus. Assigned by the Cosmic Being Eon
to serve as the Protector of the Universe, his various allies included Eon’s
daughter Epoch, and Kismet (formerly Her). Active member of the previous and
current incarnations of the Star Masters. Recently learned that Starhawk is his
Bal, Zenn Lavian) former Empress of Zenn La, formerly inhabited the Punisher
construct that defended Galactus’ Worldship. Member of the Powers Cosmic.
Unlike the other four members, Starglow does not occupy her birth-body; her soul
inhabits a Power Cosmic-created body, which, unbeknownst to her, is a time bomb
of Cosmic energy building up toward critical levels.
Eight of Ten: "Assault and Battery."
Imperial Strategy Chamber, Rune listened with interest as Starfox elaborated on
his proposed trap. "The goal is to avoid fatalities on either side…
because those lives will be of more value when sacrificed later."
at the half-truth, no stranger to the manipulations of court. "Very well,
the plan is a sound one. It will take your former colleagues off guard, and
achieve the desired effect. Proceed. Utilize as many of my legions as necessary
to accomplish the task."
Bill, Jack of Hearts, Quasar, Nova, Air-Walker and Starglow were six of the most
powerful mortals alive.
discovering that the planetary defense grid of Sirus X was impenetrable, they
were attempting to keep a low profile until such time that they received word
from any of their teammates and allies currently operating on the Church’s
Throneworld. Ganymede, Gamora, Kismet, Aleta, Replica, Starhawk and Alevolen
were all engaged in covert activities. Adam Warlock and Starfox had gone
missing, but that surprised no one, as both were infamous for agendas of their
own. To the Protectors’ knowledge, even Moondragon and Mantis were present
They are not. See Spinsterhood #3 - 4 for details.)
powerhouses were anxious to act against the tyranny of Rune, Dark God of the
self-styled Universal Church of Truth. They knew that their level of power would
be put to better use in a full frontal assault on the Church when the timing was
precisely right. For now, they must bide their time and let covert operatives
achieve the proper climate to ensure their victory without the loss of innocent
life. Otherwise, they might inadvertently trigger the threat that Epoch felt was
more deadly than Galactus the Devourer or Thanos, the Mad Titan.
frayed and tempers were flaring, particularly among a certain former Herald of
dead meat, pretty boy!" Nova and Quasar had been sparring to keep
themselves at peak levels of their skills, but Frankie Raye had not expected
Quasar to release his Quantum hold on her so suddenly. She had overcompensated
and hit the Training Room wall with the force of a comet. Since the
alien-constructed walls were purposely designed to absorb kinetic energy,
avoiding damage (similar to the outer walls of the vessel). The sudden influx of
energy caused the systems to overcompensate as well, trapping Nova in an energy
draining feedback loop.
attempted to suppress his laughter, but unsuccessfully.
and feeling humiliated, like a struggling fly in an electrical spider web, Nova
was clearly… annoyed. "That’s it! When I get out of this, your tail is
and Gabriel Lan sat in "StarBack’s," a small café near the
spaceport where they had docked. Power Cosmic glaze retracted, and wearing
typical Sirusian clothing, they appeared to fit in among the people that
frequented the establishment. For Shalla Bal, the organic appearance was but an
illusion, a manipulation of the molecules in her body to appear human.
Even in this
time of national emergency, the shops and restaurants of the district attempted
to maintain a semblance of normality. The former Heralds attempted the same, but
with dubious success. The fate of their comrades, the Silver Surfer and Firelord,
had been foremost on their minds since the state of emergency was announced on
Sirus X a few days before. However, for now, they sought to find some respite
from their troubles, albeit momentary.
sipped from a cup of a steaming beverage, a popular Sirusian bean extract.
"Hmmm. I am surprised by how much I have missed the simplest organic
pleasures like this."
bowed her head, averting her eyes. Gabriel immediately extended his hands across
the table to hold one of hers. "That was insensitive of me. I did not mean
put her other hand on his. "It is not your fault, my friend. My physical
body remains among the Zenn-Lavians and Xandarians in the dimension-containing
sphere back on Io.* Nothing can be done about that for a time. I would not be a
very good friend if I did not feel genuinely happy for you."
See Cosmic Union, final chapters for details.)
felt the vitality of the beautiful woman before him. Despite the circumstances,
her smile filled him with a contentment he had not known in ages. Instinctively,
he leaned in closer, as did Shalla Bal. The sudden attraction between them was
completely unexpected by both. Slowly, tentatively, their lips began to approach
each other’s. When they were mere centimeters apart, Shalla Bal said,
waitress that had served them their beverages approached once more, unnoticed by
the distracted former Heralds. Clearly in a state of great distress, she looked
about in every direction, as if for affirmation (or perhaps for an escape
route). Finally, she quickly slapped a strange metallic adhesive strip to
Gabriel’s neck. The sudden contact startled the two Protectors. Gabriel
instinctively placed his hands up to his neck to remove the foreign object, then
froze. Without warning, a multitude of Grand Inquisitor troops surrounded their
table, weapons directed at them. The waitress ran away between the soldiers,
commander of the group spoke in a matter-of-fact tone. "If either of you
activates any fluctuation in use of the Power Cosmic in the immediate area, it
will trigger the patch’s attack mechanism to the brain and kill you instantly.
If you try to remove it, the same thing will happen. Surrender now, or commit
suicide, we do not care which."
analyzed Jack of Hearts with the medical scanner. "You are right, Jack.
Your body, though still organic, seems to be slowly reverting to its energy
don’t understand it! I continue my chants, my herbs, and my meditation. What
ventured a hypothesis that he knew would not go over well with his teammate.
right, of course. I have to find her, Bill!"
the emergency claxons filled the air with a shrill screech. Jack and Bill rushed
down the ship’s corridor just as Nova and Quasar joined them.
Evacuate the vessel immediately, by Decree of the Dark God!" The voice form
outside penetrated the communication systems throughout the starship.
voice continued. "Your ship is surrounded by an amplification sheath.
Attempt to breach it or apply force to it in any way and a similar sheath will
begin to constrict about a group of children outside your vessel. The choice is
do we do? Do we fight?" Nova, still riding an adrenaline rush from her
combat with Quasar, seemed ready to take on the entire planet.
considered. "Nay. We cannot endanger innocent lives."
endanger far more lives by turning ourselves in. We need to be free to save them
later!" Nova would not be swayed.
adamant. "Nay. We play along for now. Put your trust in me."
that!" said Nova. Having only regained her organic body recently,* she had
grown unaccustomed to the internal changes of her body chemistry. She burst out
through the ship’s exit hatch and hit the energy field surrounding the vessel
with a full super-nova burst. She watched in shock as a twin bubble containing
children in the spaceport began to contract. Screaming and crying, the children
appeared terrified for their lives.
Cosmic Union for details.)
do not resist or you will be directly responsible for their deaths. This is your
Nova shouted in fury and frustration, but ultimately descended to the landing
pad. She joined the others, who already stood outside the ship. "Bill, we
can’t just give up! There has to be another way!"
Bill looked at the horrified faces of the Sirusian children and thought of Delta
Ray Dawn.* Their attempt to create children of their species was the most
precious of all their obligations. These Sirusian children’s parents must be
disconsolate with concern for their whereabouts. "We surrender."
(* See Star
Masters #5 for details.)
pondered the situation. "They knew where to find us. They knew how to force
us to give up. They had to have had inside help…"
in agreement. "At least Shalla Bal and Gabriel Lan are still free…"
device was reminiscent of one used by Tyrant to bind and drain a number of
cosmic heroes long before the Cosmic Union event*. The siphon device used the
heroes as a battery to charge the artificial aperture into another existence
that stood beside it.
(* See Silver Surfer Vol. 3, #60 for
Starfox and Alevolen stood atop a platform adjacent to the construct. At the
base of the platform, Jack of Hearts activated the dimensional generator. The
energy drained forcibly from the five heroes. The agony was unbearable, the
heroes felt as though their blood was beginning to boil. Their brains were
feverish, their tongues swelling, their hearts palpitating irregularly.
conscious, Beta Ray Bill was not surprised to see Alevolen at the side of Rune.
Sif had been right all along, and the Korbinite’s foolish pride caused him to
miss the obvious. Bill chided himself in silence, convinced that he had no right
to lead the Star Masters. Seeing Jack at the base of the platform, Bill knew
that his teammate could not be acting of his own accord.
shocked to find Eros on the platform. Had Ganymede been right about him? Was
Starfox switching sides for some selfish purpose that Dell could not fathom?
draining from the heroes swirled and collided. They were consolidated and
refocused toward a gleaming circular mechanism reminiscent of a Shi’ar
Stargate constructed in miniature. The energy created a shimmering yellow sheath
over the empty center of the object. One moment passed, then another. Alevolen
looked toward Rune, then back toward the gate. "Where is he?" she
Replica entered the Beehive through underground passages. As they exited to the
main chamber, they were met with an amazing sight. Starhawk, Adam Warlock,
Kismet, and Gamora walked side by side with a group of people, many of whom were
unknown to them.
Aleta and Replica knew of the Protégé, they did not recognize Crucible, Ayesha,
the newly dubbed Him and Her, Gehenna Midas (Ganymede), Binary, or White Raven.
pressed for time, cut to the point. "Stakar! Rune plans to summon Bubonicus!"
eyes widened in recognition and horror. Adam Warlock spoke in a demanding tone.
"Starhawk, tell us everything you know about this ‘Bubonicus’."
memories of the 31st Century were vague, having shared them briefly
with his future counterpart at the onset of the Cosmic Union. Still, he knew the
implications of her words. "Adam, there is not a moment to lose.
the main entryway of the Beehive burst open. "Seize them!" Brotus
stormed the building with at least three thousand Inquisitors trailing behind
him. "Kireleon! You and your companions are hereby charged with conspiracy,
treason, and heresy!"
only caused the pain to strengthen.
increased exponentially as his blood boiled, and his brain screamed. Gabriel
attempted to relax his body but it was akin to
a memory he had had as a child when he still wore the human form. A swarm
of insects made a nest in his body. When Gabriel attempted to relax, those
memories came like torrents as the insect eggs hatched and began to nourish
themselves. Never had his body experienced such pain until this moment.
attempted to relax his body between convulsions caused by the siphon device. He
managed to turn his head enough toward Shalla Bal to discover that she was
glowing brighter than any of the others. "Starglow..?" he managed.
something is… changing inside me…"
Bill attempted to reason with Jack of Hearts. "Jack, stop this! You have
human eyes shed human tears for the first time in years. "No! If this is
the price of my humanity, then so be it!"
his head. "No, Jack. You… lost your human body… but never your
humanity… until now…"
crimson boot tip appeared through the human-scale Stargate.
beckoned Rune, wringing his gray-brown claws in anticipation. "Finally, my
ascendance is assured!"
Continued in Protectors of the Universe #9! 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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