POTU: Guardians of the Galaxy #1Written and Edited by Morfex, Contributions by Mystic, and WarlorTVor
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in
THE COSMIC POWERS UNLIMITED FANZINE ISSUE #33
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of the Galaxy: Emergence
Part One of Two: “...To Stand the Test of Time!"
((Note: Reprinted from segments of CPU’s Star Masters 1-5 and Protectors 1-5. Drax’s appearance precedes Marvel’s Captain Marvel series by PAD. For other stories taking place in this continuity, see the POTU Archive Page.)
more on the characters in this story, see our new
Official Handbook to Protectors Universe
Drax the Destroyer was a green skinned behemoth, clothed in purple. Thanks to the efforts of his daughter, the former Avenger known as Moondragon,* Drax had regained his intellect and was a contributing member of the Protectors of the Universe subgroup known as the Star Masters. Of the eight Star Masters, only Starhawk accompanied Drax on their present mission.
(*See Marvel’s CPU #4 for details.)
Starhawk was fair skinned, with a light blue bodysuit and thin strips of yellow protruding from his back that gave the appearance of an outline for wings. The son of Kismet and Quasar, Stakar Vaughn was a 21st Century native of the Primary Universe of Marvels, unlike his 31st Century alternate Universe counterpart.
The two Star Masters approached the hole in space-time in a Spinsterhood shuttle for convenience. Both teammates could withstand the rigors of space unencumbered for extended periods, but that mode of transportation did not afford them as much convenience as this. The spatial aperture shimmered and fluctuated in its orbit just beyond Earth’s atmosphere, just as Stakar had left it during the Cosmic Union.*
(*See Cosmic Union for details.)
The two Star Masters emerged from the spacecraft. Communicators allowed normal conversation in the void.
"This is the place I was drawn to, Drax, when I made
contact with my future self during the first wave of the Union. It has grown
slightly since my last visit here."
Drax passed the handheld telemetry equipment over the temporal rift. "Tell me again, Stakar, what were your first memories of this place?"
Starhawk paused to consider. "My memories seem clearer the closer I get to the aperture. I emerged from a months-old cocoon at the very instant that the first Cosmic Union shock wave struck simultaneously throughout the cosmos. Still disoriented by my sudden nascence, I was swept here by the second wave of the Union effect. It was through this aperture that I briefly made contact with the 31st Century. The third Union wave carried me to the edge of Asgard, where I first encountered Thor."*
(*See Cosmic Union #1 for details.)
Drax reconsidered every aspect of the tale for a potential theory to explain the aperture and Starhawk’s apparent relationship with it. "You say when you were here that you made contact with the future?"
"Yes. This was before the Union wave that nullified all trans-temporal distortion. I was compelled to enter the flux before us and I found myself in a realm outside of time. An obscure corner of Limbo, perhaps. My future self was there as well, I know not how. We touched hands, and a telepathic connection was made. I lived his recurring lives in that timeless instant. I felt his emotions, his personal connections with others, as if they were… my own."
Drax reviewed the telemetry data, concerned. He turned the
mechanism toward Stakar. The readings corroborated his suspicions. "Stakar,
your cosmic energy is somehow synchronized with this Union remnant before us.
Given sufficient time, it may expand to the point that a premature recurrence of
the next Union event would transpire. I have forwarded our findings to Io
Central Command and Epoch agrees that the aperture must be sealed."
"Shouldn’t Epoch call in her covert temporal team, the Timeless?"
"No, this has more to do with you than with time-travel. Your very birth is somehow intimately entwined with the Cosmic Union. Your existence may be the reason this rend in space-time even exists."
The two allies were suddenly bombarded with ripples of cosmic energy from the rift. Drax yelled, "Starhawk, retreat! Your proximity may have exacerbated its instability!"
Before Stakar could respond, the aperture seemed to pucker a moment, then exude a metallic mass that seemed larger than the opening it penetrated. The near-blinding display of light that accompanied the vessel’s arrival momentarily disoriented both Protectors of the Universe.
After a moment to recover their vision, Drax and Stakar stared in surprise as Earth’s Cosmic Union remnant completely sealed off behind the vessel that had emerged.
"Life signs?" Stakar inquired anxiously.
"Several… eight apparently." Drax replied, trying to understand the data before him. "Very strange. The vessel also emits residual energy signatures from a variety of known super-powered entities: you, Justice, the Phoenix, Ghost Rider, Wonderman, Vision, Yellowjacket, and Firelord; none of whom are currently on board. What do those diverse beings have in common?"
Stakar swallowed loudly, then whispered, "Guardians…"
According to Drax’s datapad, the ship was losing internal atmosphere. It had clearly gone through great distress recently. Perhaps a battle, perhaps a planetfall, perhaps battered by the timestream itself. Starhawk and Drax quickly lowered the vessel to the edge of the Mojave Desert at a vector that minimized overheating upon entering Earth’s atmosphere. Drax, with logical precaution, used the datapad to inform the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. of their arrival.
Stakar and Drax forcibly opened the vessel’s portal. One person rolled down the opening plank and landed on her back in the early evening sand.
Stakar’s heart jumped at this vision of loveliness before him. Was this what romantic affection felt like? His life had thus far been so brief, he had no basis of comparison. "Aleta! Aleta, beloved!!"
Drax carried the other seven unconscious passengers off the damaged vessel. He had to force several doorways open. It was as if the ship had been fused in time at the moment of entry into this era. The mechanical workings of the futuristic ship would remain a secret in the present. Drax wondered why technology from the future had never been reverse-engineered on Earth before, at least to his knowledge. The point was moot in the case of this hunk of fused metal.
Ultimately, the desert evening bore eight new individuals from the future: Aleta, Yondu, Martinex, Charlie-27, Nikki, Talon, Replica, and Ripjak.
Martinex was a Pluvian, genetically bred for survival and work on the Sol System's most distant planet. His diamond hard skin seemed sculpted into multiple facets. He was one of the founding members of the Guardians, and he was instrumental in expanding the roster of the team into a larger amalgamation that he dubbed the Galactic Guardians
Aleta was the stunningly beautiful adoptive sister and former wife of the 31st century Starhawk. She had shared one physical body with Stakar for years, but now functioned independently of him. Her tragic past included the death of her two children, which she blamed on Starhawk for a time. Her powers were related to the mysterious Hawk God. She was romantically involved with Major Victory, Vance Astro from their alternate future.
Captain Charlie 27 was a Jovian, genetically bred to withstand the pressures and atmosphere of Io's mother planet, Jupiter. He was also a founding member of the team.
Yondu Odonta was not of Terran descent. His deep blue pigmentation and the tall red crest growing from his back marked him as a member of the race of Centaurians. He was a holy man to his people, as well as a skilled warrior with non-technological weaponry. Another founding member, Yondu worshipped a deity called Anthos, whom he recently learned might actually be Thanos of Titan. The revelation was more than he could bear, and he fell into a state of complete denial, wreaking havoc with his delicate spiritual balance.
Nicholette, or Nikki, was a Mercurian, the last survivor of her kind. She was the first female member of the Guardians. With flames for hair, her body could reach the temperature of the surface of Mercury and still survive. She was the lover of Charlie 27, whose durable hide could withstand the heat.
Talon was an Inhuman, and a disciple of the 31st Century Sorcerer Supreme, Krugarr. His body had undergone various changes in recent months, relative to his timeframe. He now bore a sleeker feline frame, unlike the monstrously brutish form that had emphasized his bestial nature. His mystical possessions, like the Eye of Agamotto, remained in the 31st Century to avoid the chaos of a multiple presence in one era.
Replica was a shape-changing Skrull female, the youngest member of the team. She was a devout believer in the Universal Church of Truth.
Ripjak was the last of the Martians, considered for a time to be a cosmic serial killer. Instead, his motivations had proven merciful, as the euthanizing of several plague worlds did avert untold suffering and inevitable, drawn out deaths. He bore red, gold, and silver armor that made his physical form seem humanoid. The only human part of him was the genetic makeup of the final survivor of an alternate Earth's 21st Century heroes' last stand in the Martian War of the Worlds, the amazing Spider-Man.
Aleta began to compose herself first, shaking off her semiconscious haze. She looked up at Starhawk, surprised. "Stakar, I thought that Mainframe said you were inexplicably time-barred from this era! How can you be here?"
Starhawk managed to contain his sentiments, knowing that this vision before him believed that he was another. "I am not from your future, Aleta. I was born in the last days of the Twentieth Century. But I am familiar with your Stakar’s… life experiences, through a brief meeting that we shared across time. I suspect my existence is the explanation you seek for your Starhawk being ‘time-barred,’ as you call it."
Martinex groggily stood up and looked toward his fallen teammates. He was shocked to see Ripjak’s form begin to spasm suddenly. He interrupted the others. "Aleta, Starhawk! Ripjak’s body has started to convulse with temporal feedback. It’s as if he’s partially time-barred. How is that possible? We chose our team specifically to avoid early Twenty-first Century counterparts."
Starhawk responded. "Martinex, in the present, Eon’s offspring Epoch has amassed a group of time-travelling Protectors of the Universe. Ripjak, or a nearly identical alternate counterpart, is among them."
Drax turned to Stakar. "How do you know that, Starhawk? Epoch has kept their identities secret to us all."
"I don’t know how… I just… know…"
Charlie-27 shook off the air deprivation that had incapacitated them all. He looked up to see Drax towering over him. He stood hastily and instinctively yelled out, "Guardians, take down Drax the Destroyer!"*
(* Whom they battled in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy #53.)
Drax the Destroyer knew that a costly battle would ensue if he did not act quickly. He must convince the disoriented Guardians of the Galaxy that he did not pose a threat to them. Drax considered several alternatives, then settled for the most expedient. He quickly sat down on the sand, cross-legged, hands on his head. "I surrender."
Charlie-27, Nikki, and Talon were the Guardians most enthusiastically prepared to combat him. They were surprised by his action, and briefly held back. This gave Starhawk sufficient time to speak. "Please, everyone! Drax is here as a friend. He helped you escape your vessel before you all suffocated. This is the early 21st Century. Drax is an honored hero in this era."
Yondu spoke up quickly. "We are disoriented from our journey, my friends, but his words ring true. These two have offered us aid. Let us give them the benefit of the doubt… for now."
By this time, Martinex had reached Ripjak's convulsing body. "Someone help me hold him down before he hurts himself!"
Talon was quick to pounce to his side. With an incantation and a specific sequence of hand motions, the Inhuman sorcerer created an orange hued sphere of magical energy around Ripjak. The Martian's body ceased its violent spasms.
Replica ran to Talon's side. "Good work, kitty cat. What did you do to him?"
Talon's feline pupils narrowed as he turned to the young Skrull. "A simple spell of protection seems to have cut Ripjak off from whatever temporal feedback was harming him. But it won't last forever. We've got to figure out a way to help him or to send him back to where and when we came from."
Starhawk turned to the still sitting Destroyer. "Drax, with the Cosmic Union remnant seemingly gone, they cannot return the way they came. We should take the Guardians back to the Jovian moon with us. Epoch may know a means of helping them."
The green Protector stood once more. He noted the suspicion still in the eyes of several Guardians, but paid no heed. "I agree. I am certain that this remnant's disappearance is directly related to the Guardians' appearance. We must ensure that this remnant does not return. Perhaps Epoch can locate another remnant for them."
Martinex spoke up. "We are not here by accident, Starhawk. We have a mission of vital importance! We must prevent the…" The Guardian's expression was one of bafflement. "Why are we here?" He turned to Aleta.
Aleta seemed to concentrate. "I don't recall either! Perhaps the ship's logs…"
Drax took a cautious step toward Aleta. "Seized up upon entry to our era. No technology from the future seems to be working. Your database entries may be gone, but we have telepaths such as my daughter, Moondragon, who is one of the greatest minds in the galaxy. Perhaps she can help you to understand your memory gaps."
Charlie-27 added a comment. "I wonder if the technology freeze is affecting Ripjak's containment suit. It's from the future too. Maybe that's what's happening to his body."
Talon turned to the Jovian. "Well, Geeze, the spell I whipped up is separating his entire armored form from the environment around him, not his organic body from his suit."
Yondu added a theory. "Perhaps our memories are also being degraded retroactively by the time jump, like the technology."
Nikki disagreed. "We've been to this era before without this effect. What's so different about time-travel now?"
Starhawk considered her words. "The Cosmic Union… We must get the Guardians to Epoch immediately, Drax! If I am correct, we do not have a moment to spare!"
It was a simple matter for their remote shuttle, still in orbit near the former site of the remnant, to recover the Guardians, Drax, and Starhawk. Soon they were nearing the Spinsterhood retreat on the Jovian moon of Io.
Charlie-27 stared from the observation screen at the planet of his birth, looming large in the night sky. "Jupiter. Even with its harsh climate, it inspires my peace of mind."
Nikki turned Charlie's eyes toward her by gently pulling on his chin. Once he looked down, he offered her a tender kiss.
"I was thinking, Chunky. This visit to the past seems different from the others, somehow. I get this strange feeling we're… not going back."
"I'm not sure why, Nicholette, but I feel like there isn't anything left to go back to. I think Yondu was right, my memories are getting worse by the hour. I vaguely remember our decision to prevent the War of the Worlds, then a crash landing on the planet where…"
Nikki rubbed her temples with her eyes closed as she nodded in agreement. Her flaming eyebrows lapped at the pressure points. "Yeah, the planet where Vance and Hollywood…"
"Harkov's bones! That's it!" said Charlie-27, his calm demeanor replaced with agitation. "Get a recording device before that memory slips away too!"
The next day, as measured on Earth, Epoch addressed Air-Walker and Starhawk in her Study on Io. "Take Starglow, Nova, Aleta, and Replica with you in a shuttle to the coordinates on your datapad. There, you will relieve Gladiator, whom I require here for a time."
Starhawk seemed confused by the request. "What of the other Guardians of the Galaxy, Epoch?"*
(* See Star Masters #2 - 4 for details.)
Epoch was growing increasingly impatient with such questions. Her response was curt. "Obviously, they shall remain here."
Epoch's large yellow eye blinked at Starhawk's expression of astonishment, then begrudgingly elaborated. "As for Aleta and Replica, I cannot slow or halt their conditions as yet, so accompanying you will not alter their chances of recovery. Not even cryogenic suspension would accomplish that, as evidenced by Ripjak's continued memory deterioration. I will continue to monitor their conditions from here. At their current rate of retroactive memory loss, they will only lose a few months of subjective recent experience by the time you return. I have weighed the options, and consider it a worthwhile risk to have them accompany you, given what they have been able to tell me. Now please, do not try my patience further."
Starhawk pressed the matter with conviction. "But then, why don't the other Guardians come as well?"
"Because I am Epoch, and my will shall not be questioned!"
Air-Walker was also taken aback by the growing attitude of annoyance the Scion of Eon displayed. "Epoch, are you alright?"
"Of course I am alright! I SIMPLY DO NOT INTEND TO MAKE A HABIT OF EXPLAINING MYSELF TO MORTALS! You are both dismissed."
Starhawk did not know how to respond, and looked to Air-Walker for guidance. The former Herald of Galactus nodded in assurance, and the two Protectors of the Universe stepped out of the room without another word.
Outside the library, Starhawk and Air-Walker looked at each other, dumbfounded. Stakar spoke first. "Epoch seems so… hostile! What should we do?"
Air-Walker rubbed his chin contemplatively. As a former officer of the Xandarian military, he knew the value of a chain of command. "We follow orders. For the present, at least…"*
Concluded in Guardians of the Galaxy: Emergence, Part Two of Two: "Due Date"! Appearing in this issue!
(*Follow the continuing exploits of Air-Walker and Starhawk in Protectors of the Universe #1 – 10.)
Continued in Guardians of the Galaxy #2 in this issue! 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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