Powers Cosmic #6

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

Characters are the properties of Marvel Comics

Powers Cosmic #6
"Posterity" - Prologue: Background Check.

(Note: This story continues takes place after Galactus: The Devourer!)

"Posterity" - Prologue: Background Check.

The Powers Cosmic was a team of space-faring heroes consisting of the former Heralds of Galactus. In order of service, they were: the Silver Surfer, Air-Walker, Firelord, and Nova.

Shalla Bal, the fifth and final member, had also served Galactus faithfully prior to her rebirth during the Cosmic Union.* For a time, unbeknownst to all until recently, she had served as the spirit that inhabited the “Punisher” construct assigned to defense of the Mighty Devourer’s Worldship.

(*See Cosmic Union for details.)

For a very brief time, she had also animated the “Herald” called Ardina, the Zenn Lavian term of endearment that translated approximately to “star glow.” Years before the Cosmic Union event, Ardina had been a golden hued beauty designed to seduce the Surfer back into Galactus’ service.

Galactus, a neutral being by nature, was in fact created from Galan, a humanoid from a prior Universe. Galan was offered continued existence beyond his native Universe’s collapse by the Abstract Entity that embodied that previous Universe. Thus, although Galactus evolved into a Cosmic Force of Nature beyond Good and Evil, he was nonetheless originated from a fallible, imperfect humanoid.

Despite his neutrality, Galactus’ mortal origins allowed him periodic access to a conscience, as well as to the potential for extremes of both Good and Evil. On the occasion of Galactus’ desire to reclaim Norrin Radd from Earth, he summoned all that was evil within his formerly mortal self. The evil was evoked to determine a duplicitous means of retaining the Silver Surfer’s companionship. This portion of himself Galactus referred to as “Master Guile.”*

(*See the Silver Surfer Graphic Novel by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for details.)

Guile was the mastermind behind Ardina’s creation, rationalizing that love was the only means of coercing the Surfer. For the Surfer to be tempted by passion, Master Guile concluded that Shalla Bal was the logical choice to animate the newest Herald. Although Galactus heeded Guile’s advice, the Devourer was disgusted by the evil presence taken physical form, and reabsorbed Guile back into the balance that was Galactus’ very essence.

Shalla’s existence as Ardina was all too brief, and when Ardina was returned from whence she had come, so too did Shalla’s soul return to its former container, the “Punisher” robot. In one alternate Reality, the Surfer continued his service to Galactus immediately upon Ardina’s passing. In the primary Marvel Universe, the Surfer (and humanity’s) memories of the events were clouded by the Devourer, and Norrin Radd was returned to his exile on Earth. His return to service as Herald would not take place until years later.*

(* See Galactus the Devourer #3 for details.)

Nothing was heard of Guile, Galan, or Ardina again, until that fateful day during the Cosmic Union when the Silver Surfer discovered the original birth bodies of himself and his former Heralds. Norrin Radd, Pyreus Kril, Gabriel Lan, Frankie Raye, Tyros the Untamed and Morg all had their bodies and souls reunified. All but Morg had those organic bodies replenished by Galactus with access to the universal energy source known as the Power Cosmic.

Shalla Bal’s soul was nearly lost in a heroic act of sacrifice during the Union, but the rejuvenated former Heralds (excluding    Morg) each sacrificed a portion of his or her power to create a body of solid energy for her, much like the ones they had inhabited for years.

Shalla Bal’s wounded body, along with the near-dead organic form of Morg, was kept in stasis along with hundreds of thousands of Zenn Lavians and Xandarians in a cosmic orb that held a pocket dimension. Despite its temporary impenetrability, the orb required safekeeping. The Heralds had agreed to share that burden, and so the small orb was currently contained within Norrin Radd’s cosmic surfboard. The Power Cosmic glaze that now surrounded it added that much more defense, but according to Epoch, until the dimension within was fully healed, the orb could not be violated.

At the end of the Cosmic Union event, the newly reformed Shalla Bal took the name “Starglow” and joined the division of the Protectors of the Universe that consisted of former Heralds.

With the merger of organic forms and the Power Cosmic among Starglow’s teammates, the Hunger of Galactus soon plagued them all. Shalla Bal ultimately conceived of a stopgap measure to alleviate their voracity with the help of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.  Richards arranged to tap the unlimited energies of his comatose grandson Hyperstorm, who had been imprisoned in another dimension. Starglow inserted implants among her teammates to access a continuous feed of hyperspacial energy, curtailing the insane pangs of Hunger that threatened to overcome them all as Galactus once had.  For a time, the solution seemed ideal.

That all changed the day Bubonicus and the non-mutant Phoenix battled over Hyperstorm’s fate.* Ultimately, a plague-infested Hyperstorm was euthanized by the Phoenix, and the implants became useless and were removed. More ominous still, the Silver Surfer had returned to the team to confirm what they all had sensed deep within the subtle rapport they shared with other wielders of the Power Cosmic: Galactus was dead.**

(*See POTU # 11 for details.)

(**See Marvel’s Galactus the Devourer #6 for details.)

Only weeks before, Firelord had caused the deaths of over a thousand sentients during his Hunger-induced insanity,* a fact he was still coming to terms with. Hyperstorm’s passing was a terrible blow for Pyreus Kril. Fortunately, the Hunger did not arise unless the Heralds were forced to access their powers above a specific threshold of intensity. Their pre-organic power limits were well within that threshold, so the likelihood of the Hunger consuming them was for the most part in their control.

(*See Powers Cosmic #5 for details.)

This was of little consolation to Starglow however, especially with the recent news confirming Galactus’ passing. Shalla Bal remembered the words of the Living Tribunal in the dimensional realm of Hyperstorm before Bubonicus’ plague had struck. "DO NOT SEEK TO USE HYPERSTORM AS A MEANS OF CURTAILING THE DEVOURER'S HUNGER. I HAVE DECREED THAT GALACTUS CAN NO LONGER AVOID HIS OBLIGATIONS TO THE UNIVERSE. HIS PURPOSE IN THE GREAT BALANCE IS TO FEED. THE HERALDS ARE NOT INTENDED TO SERVE THE BALANCE… IN THAT MANNER."

Shalla Bal shuddered at the memory. With Galactus and Hyperstorm dead, would the Herald’s destiny be to replace the Devourer in his cosmic duties to the balance between Eternity and Mistress Death? Would the Powers Cosmic team be receiving visitations from the Abstract Entities? Beta Ray Bill had encountered Mistress Death following the Cosmic Union,* but Eternity’s fate remained unknown to the Protectors. Why had he, according to Norrin’s account, not manifested at Galactus’ demise?

(*See Star Masters #2 for details.)

Shalla Bal’s concern for the ominous destiny that might await her friends was equal to her concern over her own unstable power levels. Her imprisonment and power siphoning by Rune and his allies had confirmed what Doctor Victor Von Doom* had already secretly surmised: the Power Cosmic was in a state of flux, having fundamentally changed due to the recent events of the Cosmic Union. The Devourer's choice to unite the former Heralds with their original organic forms might have been inspired neither by altruism nor by a desire to teach his former Heralds a lesson in humility. Perhaps an organic host was a necessary stabilizing factor for post-Union usage of the Power Cosmic. Starglow was non-organic and therefore unstable. Her energies surged and flowed erratically. She feared that, unless she was reunited with her physical form, she might suffer the Power Cosmic equivalent of a reactor meltdown.

(*See Powers Cosmic #5 for details.)

These circumstances would seem complicated enough, but other mysteries abounded. What was the identity of the new Tyrant that had emerged from the events of the Cosmic Union? What was the fate of his strike force of “Anti-Heralds”? What would become of Terrax, trapped within a planetary barrier of his own making? What had become of the latest Herald that Shalla Bal had glimpsed before Galactus’ death? The Surfer had called him Red Shift. Was he truly dead? Why did Galactus’ final remains manifest as a stellar object with no gravitation or heat?

Shalla Bal felt certain that the answers to the multitude of questions that plagued her psyche would be found at the site of the Devourer’s final resting place. It was more than instinct, it was a compulsion to travel there, one shared by her teammates. Perhaps Tyrant, Red Shift, Morg, and Terrax would feel the pull as well. Perhaps there was a valuable clue to their destinies in Galactus’ remains. Time was of the essence. The Powers Cosmic could no longer delay their journey to the very heart of the Shi’ar Imperium where the Mighty Devourer of Worlds finally met his undoing.

As the Powers Cosmic approached Shi’ar space and their rendezvous with the stellar remains of their former Master, Shalla Bal chose to ride on the Surfer’s board. Her hands were firmly on his waist, just as Mantis’ had been only a day before.* This was an effort to conserve her erratic energies until their arrival.

(*See CPU’s Protectors of the Universe #12-15 for details.)

The five teammates traveled together at faster than light speeds, intent upon their destination. Each member was eerily silent, mulling over dark thoughts of what might be in store for their futures.

Shalla Bal watched the other Heralds, and thought about how they must be feeling. Firelord’s nervous tension was palpable, He seemed more highly strung than usual, if that were possible.

Nova seemed distracted, withdrawn into her own thoughts. Shalla suspected that Frankie Raye must be mourning the death of Galactus very differently than the rest of them. Her romantic feelings for the Devourer had been apparent enough during her tenure as active Herald, even if she would not admit them to herself. As the “Punisher” construct, Starglow witnessed in Nova the behavioral patterns of a woman in love more than once.

Air Walker was a paragon of poise under pressure. It did not surprise Starglow that Gabriel had possessed a title of responsibility among the Xandarians, as well as the role of leader among the Powers Cosmic. Her mind returned to that moment they had shared on the surface of Sirus X, that sudden intense spark that had quite nearly led to a kiss. Hours later, he had held her tightly, having feared that Rune had killed her. Clearly his sentiments for her extended beyond friendship. And she was conflicted in her own sentiments.

Was this a sign of her weakness? Was it a slap in the face of what she had shared with her beloved Norrin Radd? For over two centuries she had dreamt of a reunion with the Silver Surfer, dissuading every man that had desired to court her. She had borne Norrin’s child and witnessed three generations of family tragedy, remaining single all the while. She had survived the attack by the Other thanks to Galactus’ inexplicable mercy, served as the Devourer’s “Punisher”, then as a pawn for Mephisto on numerous occasions. She had taken the Power Cosmic form of Ardina for a brief time, been blessed with a small fraction of the Power Cosmic by the Surfer, became Empress, and later learned of Norrin’s relations with Mantis and Nova. She had even become romantically involved with the man she had been deceived by Mephisto into believing was Norrin’s brother.*

(*In an Untold Tale of the POTU.)

Why was it now, when she was finally together with her beloved Norrin, that she entertained emotions for another man? Was it out of petty jealousy for his current relationship with the Terran Alicia Masters? Or the competition clearly posed by the seductive Mantis?

Norrin… He seemed so preoccupied, as if the weight of the Universe was upon him. He took every perceived setback or defeat so personally, as if he were the sole Protector of the Universe in existence. How familiar it was. Shalla Bal remembered the day, centuries before, that Norrin departed from Zenn La. Shalla had offered to accompany him, but he would not even consider sharing the burden. It was his alone to bear.

Galactus’ death may have affected the Surfer more profoundly than any other. He had witnessed the Devourer’s passing, and he felt personally responsible for what was most certainly to come as a result of the demise of a cornerstone of the Cosmic Balance. Shalla Bal could not help but let the thought reach the surface of her consciousness. Perhaps he was to blame…

Shalla Bal shook her head quickly at the thought, ashamed. Could she have done any differently? She gripped Norrin’s waist more tightly from behind, and he offered a brief glance back at her. His eyes bespoke a sadness that made very clear the possibility that he suspected what she was thinking, and sadder still, that he totally agreed with her.

End Prologue  

Continued in "Posterity" Part One

Continued in Powers Cosmic #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 or by e-mailing cpufeedback@yahoo.com 

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