Protectors of the Universe #11Written and Edited by Morfex and WarlorTVor
Logo created by Lord Thanos
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in
THE COSMIC POWERS UNLIMITED FANZINE ISSUE #35
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Protectors of the Universe
(Note: This story continues from Protectors of the Universe #10. 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
Eleven of Twelve: "Ultraverse Unleashed!"
that is in tune with thee, O Universe, is in tune with me!”
One (written by Morfex)
I am Oera,
the Watcher. I have taken upon myself the task of observing the exploits of the
cosmic heroes known as the Protectors of the Universe. Today, a majority of the
Protectors stand against the onset of an encroaching alternate Universe, a place
referred to in the past as the Ultraverse.
The Ultraverse was a place of marvels in and
of itself. Ultra-Earth bore numerous heroes in its past: the Strangers, the
Solution, Freex, Exiles, the Squad, Firearm, Solitaire, Sludge, Mantra,
Warstrike, Nightman, Elven, Wrath, Shuriken, Eliminator, Foxfire, Siren, and
Several Ultra-heroes bound together to form
Ultraforce, the ultimate expression of heroism on that alternate Earth. Native
Ultra members of Ultraforce included Hardcase, Prime, Prototype, Topaz, Ghoul,
Pixx, and Contrary.
inevitably seems to be the case, the light of the heroes was counterbalanced
with the darkness of numerous villains, including: Necromantra, Primevil, Lord
Pumpkin, Boneyard, Argus, Doctor Gross, Rhiannon,
and the ultimate predator of all Ultras, Rune, Prince of Void. It is because of
the machinations of Rune, the Dark God, that the Ultraverse threatens to
superimpose itself upon the Universe of Marvels.
All this, my
people have witnessed through the recurring windows between universes that have
caused trans-universal exchange in both directions. Several entities from the
Universe of Marvels have interacted with the Ultraverse in the past: the Black
Knight, Sersi, Loki, Thor, the Grandmaster, the Avengers, Spiderman, the X-Men,
Juggernaut, Reaper, Siena Blaze, Adam Warlock, the Phoenix Force, Conan the
Barbarian, and others.
The nexus of
godly activity in the Ultraverse was a multidimensional complex known as the
Godwheel. As the foremost representation of the outer extents of the Ultraverse,
it was the first to crossover into this Universe. The Asgardian thunder god Thor
was the first from this Universe to visit the parallel Ultraverse many months
ago, arriving in Vandalla, a segment of the Godwheel reminiscent of Asgard. The
Godwheel was the now abandoned home of many such pantheons.
point is now just beyond the planetary defense grid that locked down all travel
to and from the surface of Sirus X. From here, I can see that the Godwheel now
encircles the planet. It reminds me of the rings around the planet Saturn in the
Sol System that originated so many of the Protectors. The Godwheel’s
circumference was just within Sirus X’s planetary defense barrier, as Rune
presumably had intended to avoid outside interference with his plans. Rune chose
the planet well during Earth’s long ago Hyborean Age, for Sirus X is the
“closest” point in this dimension of reality from which to access the
Ultraverse without involving Earth’s heroes from either Universe. Thus, his
native adversaries like Prime and Mantra, two of the preeminent defenders of
Ultra-Earth, would not be able to thwart his efforts.
the Cosmic Union in this Universe,* the physical laws of cross-universal
visitation and transposition changed forevermore. I witness the coming events
with trepidation. Although Rune has succeeded in bringing about an increasing
Ultra-Marvel overlap, the ramifications to both universes are not clear. The
ever expanding sphere of overlap has surpassed the planetary barrier, and will
soon encompass this system’s sun.
Watcher, I can only continue to observe the events as they transpire, and
secretly hope that the Herculean efforts of the Protectors will suffice to save
the Cosmic Union Saga for details.)
felt his powers turned inside out as he made contact with the Cosmic Union
remnant in Rune’s possession. His inexperience had led him to an impetuous
attack, which may have doomed the Universe he had sworn to protect. He stood
frozen next to the Dark God, swirls of astral mist encompassing his transfixed
internally to set the matter aright, he delved into the very depths of his
powers, searching for clues to reverse the damage.
In the back
of his mind, Starhawk recalled his own words at the resolution of the Cosmic
Union. "I am Stakar, also known as Starhawk. My biological parents are
Kismet and Quasar. An alternate future version of myself will one day serve with
the Guardians of the Galaxy as 'The One Who Knows.' Although I am not
all-knowing, I do have abilities beyond those of my birthright. I wish to learn
of my heritage and develop in the use of my abilities as they expand. I believe
that among the Protectors I can learn more about my powers' origins, and my
From POTU Spotlight #1.)
echoed in his mind. Without meaning to, he had stumbled upon another clue to his
powers. He was somehow intimately related to the Union event and its various
remnants throughout the Universe. His first encounters with a Union remnant were
during the Cosmic Union itself, then during the emergence of the Guardians of
the Galaxy to this era.* Three interactions had to be more than mere
POTU: Guardians of the Galaxy #1 for details.)
additional powers derive from the Union event itself? Or was it an energy that
waxed and waned as did the cyclic event? Would he live to see the next Union
cycle? Who was the last Union cycle’s avatar, prior to his birth?
thoughts raced through his mind simultaneously as he internally struggled to
reverse the expanding overlap of two realities. Externally he remained a statue
representing the interplay of trans-universal forces. Stakar swore to himself
again, I will find a way…
the streets of every city on Sirus X. In a matter of hours, Sirusians had been
swept with a plague and then had been purged of it. They had learned the
bi-theistic Truth of their Universal Church, and witnessed the Godwheel’s
looming presence appear over their skies, blocking out nearly a fifth of their
sunlight. Madness ran rampant among the populace, as all their Dark Prophecies
seemed to be approaching fulfillment.
breaking out all over the capital city. Mama Alpha and Heater Delight, friends
of Mantis, Starfox and Pip the Troll, took shelter in the basement levels of
Mama Alpha’s nightclub. They feared for their friends, and for their lives.
Spaceport rocked with explosions from overheated engines. Everyone was
attempting to escape the planet’s terrible fate, but the planetary defense
grid barrier held. None could depart until the crisis was over, and by then it
might be too late.
Hearts, Beta Ray Bill, and Quasar confirmed that Nova, Air-Walker, and Starglow
had stabilized their powers sufficiently to reenter the fray. Replica, Aleta,
and Brotus secured their position near the dimensional gateway. The Phoenix
emerged from the portal bearing the still form of Hyperstorm, to the immediate
realization and horror of the former Heralds of Galactus. For Hyperstorm had
served as an energy conduit that guaranteed avoidance of the onset of
Galactus’ Hunger upon their now mortal frames.* The Phoenix gently placed
Hyperstorm’s lifeless body on the ground, then turned to the others. In a
voice that echoed the anger and frustration that they all shared, Phoenix asked,
“Where is Rune?”
Powers Cosmic #5 for details.)
stared at the woman before him, equal parts of every female hero on Sirus X, as
well as hints of a group consciousness touching every woman on the planet. It
was like hearing the legendary World-Mother herself. “I…” Brotus saw the
beauty as well as the purpose, and could not help but think of his beloved Mandy
Celestine* and her abrupt departure.** Shaking off the bitter recollection, he
turned to his wrist communicator. Addressing the Protégé, he spoke. “Sire,
we have succeeded in uniting forces with the others.” Nodding to the Phoenix,
he continued. “Rune and Starfox have surely sequestered themselves in the
Primal Temple to revel in the success of their efforts. We will rendezvous with
Mantis’ stage name.)
See Spinsterhood #4 for details.)
his Quantum Bands to encase Hyperstorm in a nigh-impenetrable energy coffin,
still choking on the idea that Eros could be a traitor to their cause. He
remembered Ganymede’s warning,* and shuddered. Jack blasted the dimensional
jump gate, ensuring that no further surprises would emerge. As one, the varied
entities assembled departed for the Temple in question.
Star Masters #5 for details.)
Back in the
laboratory labeled Lock 43 in the reconstructed Beehive, Adam Warlock noted that
the appearance of the Godwheel was wreaking havoc with the planet’s
telecommunications satellite network. His broadcast of the Magus would have to
wait, but Adam always had a backup plan.
turned to Adam Warlock as he disconnected his wrist communicator after Brotus’
message. “It is too late, Adam. Rune has succeeded. I suspect that
Starhawk’s disappearance is directly related to the current state of events.
Now there is but one recourse left…”
suspected what the tone of her lover meant. “Kireleon, I…”
Raven. I know that our ‘alliance’ was one of convenience for both of us from
the onset. Please, do not try to make it into more than what it was.”
sorrow for her friend. She was ashamed at herself for having thought that White
Raven was simply sleeping her way to the top. Clearly, genuine emotion had
entered the interplay between the mercenary and the Protégé.
was an independent woman, opportunistic and ambitious. These were qualities that
frightened of most men, but the Protégé had clearly been attracted to them. In
her profession as a mercenary, spy, and assassin, romance was always a minor
consideration. Physical gratification was found often enough, but not the
meaningful relationships that she convinced herself she never wanted. Kireleon
made her want to change all that. She had once joked with Gamora about going
soft, but when Gamora looked toward Adam Warlock when she thought nobody was
watching… White Raven knew that was the same look she gave the Protégé. A
feeling of… dare she think it? Commitment.
Kireleon was willing to return to the Ultraverse, she could not follow. Her
affair was not only star-crossed, it was universe-crossed. What hope was there
for her to have a happy ending? That is what I get, she thought, for letting him
get too close…
knew that the Protégé, the entity that once bore the names Noel and Erik, was
correct. Addressing everyone gathered, Adam spoke. “Come, it will take all our
efforts combined if we are to salvage victory from our present circumstances.”
Crucible, Ayesha, the Magus called Him, the Goddess referred to as Her, Kismet,
Gamora, Ganymede still in her guise as Gehenna Midas, Binary, the Protégé, and
White Raven all gave varying gestures of assent.
spoke up suddenly, with the air of a self-styled general addressing his troops.
Adam nearly interrupted the old scientist for wasting their time, but Kismet’s
silent plea for tolerance was unmistakable. “Adam Warlock, Kismet, Ayesha,
Gemini, Him, Her. You and Starhawk all share a genetic structure that binds you
forever to me and to each other as family.” Crucible could not disguise the
pride in his voice. “You are my legacy, my clan, all I ever wanted in a
dynasty of power. Like every family, you have internal conflicts, rivalries and
issues that cannot be swept away by one old man’s speech. But I am confident
that you can set aside your differences and rally to a common cause: defending
the Lineage from the base intentions of the Dark God Rune. Fight each other
tomorrow, if you must. But for today, we stand united!”
everyone, the usually dominating Ayesha placed her hand gently into her
husband’s and gave him a look of genuine respect and affection. It was the
hint of a gentle side of her that none but Crucible had seen before. Perhaps
family could prove her salvation, thought Kismet.
departed the Beehive amid the incoherent babbles of soldiers soiling themselves
in confusion. The Inquisitors were victims of their own zealotry, torn between
the worship of the Dark God Rune and the memories of the God they called the
Magus. But not every Inquisitor was inflected with such internal conflict…
Two (written by WarlorTVor)
Primal Temple, Rune commanded his Army of loyal Inquisitors, most too young to
be confused by the appearance of the Magus, numbering in the thousands. Starfox
was nowhere to be seen, but Starhawk hovered adjacent to the Dark God, suspended
in the swirling astral mist that was the Union remnant bequeathed to the Prince
of Void by Bubonicus.*
POTU #8 for details.)
that, among the Inquisitors, no care was given to avoiding friendly fire.
Literally thousands of multicolored energy beams pierced the sky and ground,
none relenting until the Protectors were captured or dead.
Protectors did not have the same luxury. They must take care not to unduly
injure or slay any of the attackers. They stood for all life in the Universe,
even the lives of the misguided fanatics who now sought their destruction in
their religious fervor.
Protectors and their allies formed a circle facing outward, hoping to use their
skills, training, and weaponry to deflect the onslaught, and give them
sufficient time to reach the Dark God. Many of the Protectors present could fly,
but were burdened by the strafing fire of a seemingly limitless supply of aerial
Beta Ray Bill sought to clear a path in the swarm of attackers, but to no avail.
Although not overpowered, they were literally buried in assailants from every
out people!" Quasar called out to the others. "Here they come!"
His last orders were muffled as a swinging pulse-rifle butt came colliding with
his jaw. He spun around, clutching onto his bleeding face to see an Inquisitor
before him, rifle set on maximum.
word exchanged between them the ex-Heralds of the Devourer of Worlds, Nova,
Air-Walker and Starglow took flight, as the battle raged on the ground. Finally
it was Shalla Bal who spoke. "This is madness, Gabriel!"
afford indecision in the coming moments for it may lead to our undoing. Come! We
must join the battle!" He soared toward the ground in a blur and Nova
followed. The only one who remained hovering above the ground of Sirus X was
Starglow. She took it all in and finally found a target.
to be exact.
plummeted toward the battle, a fiery blast of Power Cosmic lancing from her
extended hands, striking the ground nearest to the Prince of the Void, Rune. The
ground exploded all around the vampire and he merely took a step back toward
Starhawk, his long arms shielding them both from the onslaught of Power Cosmic
that was exploding all around them. He roared in defiance. The roar was more
like a deadly hiss of venom, as his long fangs were exposed.
eyes widened madly while taking flight; his fangs were extended ready to drain
the life out of yet another victim. He shouted back to one of his loyal
Inquisitors, “Secure Starhawk and the Union remnant!”
Nova called out. Gabriel Lan slammed his fist, sending a massive Grand
Inquisitor doubling over. After watching his adversary crumple to the ground, he
swirled around to see where Nova was pointing. She gestured toward the
white-golden form of Starglow. At first he could not comprehend what was wrong
and warranted such a response from Frankie Raye. Then he noticed the long,
leathery wings of Rune, who was in close pursuit of the former Herald.
is she doing?!" Nova demanded.
“Go see to
Starhawk!” he responded. He took flight once again, in pursuit behind Rune.
Blast after blast of Power Cosmic lanced from his fingertips, searing the air
around the vampiric creature. He had to be careful not to exceed his previous
power limits lest he bring about the Hunger of Galactus within himself now that
Hyperstorm was dead.
Then a plan
formulated in his mind. He stopped his futile, scattered attacks upon Rune, and
started to channel all the Power Cosmic into his hands. Pools of golden and blue
light manifested around his clenched fists. Then he clapped both hands together
and fired off one massive bolt of energy that streaked through the heavens.
struck Rune in the small of his back, sending him spiraling out of control. He
roared, pain surging through his entire form. The Prince of the Void soon
regained control and stood there in midair. His face contorted, he gave voice to
a howl of vengeance.
nodded, and watched as Rune began to head in his direction. Without a word, the
ex-Herald of Galactus swirled around and headed planet-ward, in a blur. At
speeds faster than the speed of sound, he soared down, passing layer after layer
of white clouds. He could see the battle on the ground being waged, and even
from this distance he could tell that it was not good for the Protectors of the
Universe. Then he heard… laughter?!?
around to see nothing! Rune had not followed him! "Shalla Bal," he
hushed under his breath and through clenched teeth. His plan was to draw the
vampire away from his fellow Herald, so that he could buy time for Starglow to
regroup and remount a coordinated and well thought out offensive, instead of a
spur of the moment attack that had pulled them into this situation.
"Starglow!" Air-Walker shouted. He was in the process of converting
all of the Power Cosmic energy in his being to gain even more speed in order to
do something -- anything! -- to aid his companion, the Hunger of Galactus be
damned! For Rune was almost upon her. He knew it, he could see it play out in
his mind's eye, the Dark God’s long fangs extended ready to strike and dig
deeply into Starglow. "Starglow! Look out!" His words boomed through
the thin upper atmosphere of Sirus X.
warning came too late.
stopped for a moment, in order to turn and look behind her in disorientation.
"Gabriel, what are you…?" Her question died in her throat. Her eyes
widened in sheer terror and fear of what was to come. The dark shadow of Rune
was upon her. He hissed in anticipation of the soul that he would soon devour.
He held onto Starglow's slender, white-golden arms, which glistened under the
pale light of world's suns, his fangs inching ever closer to her slender neck.
She wanted to lash out with all her might, but she was frozen. Traumatized!
Somehow this Rune creature was affecting her! That had to be answer! Her eyes
rolled up into the back of her head, her body started to tremble, she could feel
the tips of Rune's fangs slowly beginning to pierce the solid Power Cosmic that
was her physical form.
trails of blood seeped from the small wounds in her neck down Rune’s yearning
throat. Rune was taken aback. “Bah! This one is useless to me!”
darted through the heavens in a blur. He came upon the horrific sight that
greeted him. Rune was upon Starglow, his head angled skyward. Shalla Bal was
deathly still in the arms of the Prince of Void.
blasted toward the beast, power churning in his hands. He stopped for only a
moment behind the Prince of Void, his hands collapsing on either side of
Rune’s head. Gabriel pooled all the Power Cosmic that he had accumulated in
the last few moments and released all of it in one concentrated blast against
screamed, his hands releasing Starglow, her body plummeting earthward.
pushed past the dazed Rune, and soared toward the ground, arms outstretched to
his fellow Herald.
Rune for his
part quickly recovered from the attack, and headed in the Herald's direction but
thought better of it and decided that it was not worth his effort. After all,
there would be more than enough time to feast upon souls when his plans reached
fruition. He decided that he would merely watch and wait, all the time laughing
paid no mind to the laughter taunting him. He merely continued downward.
just in his grasp.
his body to its limits and beyond!
And for a
moment time itself seemed to stand still.
onto Starglow, only a few meters above the surface. Air-Walker pulled upward,
his proximity to the ground caused the patches of grass and dirt to be uprooted
and to break free form the planet that gave them life.
covered kilometers in seconds, and finally stopped at a small patch of grass. He
rested the white-golden form of Starglow onto the ground. He called out to her,
over and over again, but there was no answer, merely a deathly silence.
Air-Walker feared the worst. Her head lulled upon her shoulder, and at that
moment Lan's heart missed several beats.
time, he knew that expending any further energy would bring about the Hunger to
consume worlds. He also knew, in the light of rationality, that he could not
save her if it meant betraying their oaths as Protectors of the Universe. She
would not forgive him so high a price. His sorrow deepened.
he hushed, breathlessly, his face lowering into his hands. He had been wrong! If
he and the fellow members of the Powers Cosmic had challenged Epoch’s decree
and not come to Sirus X, they would be aiding the Silver Surfer as Nova and
Starglow had suggested. He would not be presiding over the deathly still form of
Starglow at that moment. He screamed in rage. He had been wrong and it had cost
the life of one he was coming to cherish.
arose from his kneeling position and turned away, a tear streaming from his eye.
His head hung low in submission.
heard it. A sudden gasp of air!
Starglow's position. Air-Walker's eyes widened and he swirled around to see the
white-golden form of Starglow move. The bloodless wounds on her neck were no
more. She was completely healed! He darted toward her and kneeled beside her in
the wet grass. "Starglow?" he asked. No response. "Shalla
Bal?" His tone became more firm and he reached for her slender hand, and
took it into his own, adding pressure to it.
lazily rolled over to face him. And she smiled sweetly. Her head was pounding in
her ears and her memories of the last few moments were nothing more than a daze.
"What… what happened…?” He actually managed a faint smile at this.
And he felt the strangest thing emerging from Starglow. Power! Life! It seemed
to vibrate from her very being. It was as if everything that had just transpired
had never happened! It was strange. Rune should have sucked the soul from her,
but now he felt that she was stronger than ever. Could it be the Power Cosmic in
some way? Was it related to her power surge at the dimensional gate? Air-Walker
thought for a moment, but then realized in a rush of happiness that he simply
did not care.
thank the Gods," was the only thing he could manage to sigh, as he lowered
his head and held her tightly.
Three (by Morfex)
above the din and observed all. His signature ear to ear toothy grin emerged as
he turned to face the being once known in the Ultraverse as Gemini.
Protégé Kireleon addressed the Dark God. “This confrontation was inevitable,
grinned. “My son, it is the stuff of legend. Come, embrace your father.”
brothers balked at this. “You are not my sire, nor is Adam Warlock. I deny
your bloody heritage!”
lengthy bat-like wings flapped loudly to maintain his altitude. “What choice
have we? We are at cruel Destiny’s whim.” Almost to quickly to follow, Rune
was upon him.
defended himself with a burst of cosmic energy akin to Adam Warlock’s. “I do
not believe in predestination! My fate is my own to decide!” Kireleon fired a
bolt of energy that frayed the edge of one membranous wing.
Rune stung at the pain, but never lost his smile. “Fool! We all serve our parts in the tapestry of Eternity. And my designated purpose is to conquer all in a swath of bile and gore!” The Dark God descended on the Protégé, hungering fangs bared…
Continued in Protectors of the Universe #12
Continued in Protectors of the Universe #12! 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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