Maximum Vengeance #5
Written by R.A. Sidor,
Edited by Marvelite
Continued from Maximum Vengeance issue #1, issue #2, issue #3, and issue #4.
"I can't believe the Capster is gone." Hawkeye murmured to himself.
The Avenger team assigned to the Shi'ar throneworld – Starfox, Warbird, Hercules, Jack of Hearts, and Hawkeye – sat around the conference table with Lilandra at the royal palace. It had been an hour since the battle in space, in which Captain America was on the shuttle when it exploded.
"I am sorry for your loss." Lilandra said sadly.
"Cap would still be alive if you hadn't sent us into that battle with the Kree, lady. It's your stinkin' fault he's a goner!" Hawkeye cried out.
"We volunteered to get involved in this conflict. It's no ones fault except Ronan's." Jack of Hearts said, trying to calm down the archer.
Hercules nodded, "Our ally be correct. At least Captain America went out in the field of battle, with honor. The way he would have wanted it to be."
General Nortor entered the room, "The funeral is to be held tomorrow." he stated. "Captain America's name shall long be remembered amongst the Shi'ar people."
Lilandra and the Avengers continued to mourn their loss of a friend, leader, and ally.
Nearly hundreds of miles away aboard the Kree battleship, the Conquest, Captain America opened his eyes and found himself laying on a cot in a small plain room. A prison cell. He sat upright and rubbed his throbbing head. The last thing he remembered was being surrounded by fire then he saw Ronan's fist striking him in the face and everything went black. The first thing he realized was that his shield was missing. He saw it on a table outside the brig.
"I see you've awaken." Ronan the Accuser said as he walked into the room and stood outside Captain America's cell.
"What's going on Ronan?" Cap demanded.
"Just before your shuttle was destroyed I had you teleported here to the Conquest, the largest battleship in the Kree fleet. I'm sure by now your comrades have declared you as 'dead'. That is fortunate for me because I require your combat skills."
Captain America shook his head in disbelief, "I'll never help, no matter what you want or require."
Ronan nodded understandingly, "Then I shall torture you, and your friends can't help you. After all you are dead to them."
Ronan pressed a button on the wall and Del-Mor entered the room. He carried a steel case. He placed the case on the table and opened it. Captain America was unable to see it's contents.
"Which should we use?" Del-Mor asked.
Ronan thought for a brief moment, "The laser beam."
Del-Mor removed a long metal tube from the case. He pressed a button and a thin, searing hot, laser extended out. Captain America knew this would hurt. "I won't break, Ronan. I've been tortured by Nazis during a war on Earth. I can take it."
Ronan nodded again, "We shall see, won't we?" Then he and Del-Mor stepped into Captain America's cell.
The Sanctuary II sailed through space under Thanos' command. He sat on the bridge with ten other lieutenants, including Nartissa. "We're receiving a transmission, Master." a crewman said from his post.
"Play it." replied Thanos.
Corsair's, leader of the Starjammers, voice came out over the intercom, "Attention Thanos of Titan. My allies and I have discovered you were the one who posed as Lilandra to order us to bomb Hala."
Vision's voice then sounded, "We have found your current location and are on our way to apprehend you. It would seem that you have five of our friends as your prisoners and we do not like that very much. Vision out."
Thanos stood up and punched his fist through the wall in a rage. His plan had already failed. But at least now he'd get the chance to hurt some Avengers and Starjammers.
At the planet where Quasar had exiled himself since the day he became the host body for Ego. Reed Richards and Goliath continued their research. Reed had just finished his experiment on one of the Kree warriors they had captured. He had startling results.
Reed summoned the Silver Surfer, Quasar, and the Thing so he could explain his find. "What's goin' on Strecho? I was sleepin'!" Ben Grim complained.
Reed spoke, "I just discovered something about the newly evolved Kree. The 'blue' Kree's DNA can't handle the mutation. Their bodies are rejecting the cells that allowed them to evolve. I estimate this is happening to the 'blues' all across the galaxy. They are all going to eventually die!"
"What about the 'pink' Kree?" asked Goliath.
"They all seem normal and behaving fine to the evolved cells. It's only the 'blues' that are effected by it. I double checked this repeatedly and I always come up with the same results."
Reed then showed his experiment to Goliath who came up with the same conclusion about the Kree.
"Then half of the Kree population will perish!" responded the Silver Surfer.
Goliath nodded agreeing with the Silver Surfer. "I'm not a fan of the Kree but we have to stop this somehow!"
Reed put his head down, "I'm afraid that is impossible."
The Avengers on Earth stayed at the Mansion. They were U.S. Agent, Tigra, Falcon, Triathlon, Spider-Woman, She-Hulk, the Black Widow, Quicksilver, and his sister the Scarlet Witch. Things had been rather calm since their recent conflict with a Kree Sentry that was taking note of Earth's defenses.
They received an emergency communication from Starfox on the Shi'ar throneworld. The Earth Avengers team piled up in the comm. room.
"There is no easy way to say this," Starfox told them, "but it would seem that Captain America is no longer with us. We were all on a shuttle during a battle, and we were hit. Only Cap didn't make it off the shuttle in time. He's gone."
U.S. Agent stepped up to the communications screen without emotion, "What happened to Iron Man's team. We haven't heard from them."
Starfox nodded, "The last we saw of them was when we left Earth. It is to our understanding that they have been captured. Either by the Kree, or possibly pirates. I'll keep you informed, Starfox out."
The Avengers remained silent for a long time. It was indeed a dark day for them.
Captain America lay on his cot in his cell aboard the Conquest. He had just underwent a series of tortures, involving a laser and cutting tools, for refusing to help Ronan the Accuser. He wasn't even yet told what Ronan wanted from him. He was tortured for just saying "no" to his offer. Captain America knew his fellow Avengers couldn't help him since they were under the impression that he was killed during the Kree's attempt to invade the Shi'ar throneworld.
Outside his cell, mounted on the wall, was the Kree equivalent to a TV set. The screen showed the new Kree ruler, Sintariis. Captain America thought there was something strange about the way Sintariis acted. He didn't seem like the same Sintariis that Captain America fought on the Kree space station in Earth orbit those weeks ago.
Ronan stepped into the room. He saw Sintariis on the screen and drew his power mallet. A single shot put a hole in the screen. "That piece of filth, Sintariis!" Ronan shouted out in his rage.
Captain America noted Ronan's behavior. It seemed Lilandra was right when she said Ronan may be trying to take control of the Kree Empire. A civil was a possibility.
"After the unpleasantness you experienced, will you change your mind?" Ronan asked the Avenger.
Captain America sat upright, "I'll consider it if you tell me, at least what you want."
Ronan nodded, "Fair enough, Captain. I seek to assume complete control over the Kree Empire. I have seventy percent of the armies and navies behind me. I require your battle expertise to form strategies on the best way to do this. I don't normally overthrow political leaders. You are the best choice for this, due to your time, in what you have dubbed as, World War II. If the information you provide is useful, then once I am in command I will keep the Kree presence out of Earth's system and let you go."
Captain America shook his head, "The Kree are too deceitful. I can't trust you."
"Isn't better to take that chance? With Sintariis as the Supremor, he'll for sure invade your primitive planet."
Captain America sighed, he'd hate to do this, "All right, Ronan. I'll do it, but God help you if you're lying to me because nothing would be able to stop me from taking you down!"
Ronan chuckled, "That's the spirit!"
Reed Richards and Hank Pym sat in the landed quinjet that served as their lab for while they occupied this barren planet. Laying on the floor. where the shriveled up remains of a "blue" Kree. "It looks like you were just proven right about the blues' body rejecting the evolved cells." Goliath stated.
Reed nodded, "The same thing that happened to this officer will soon happen to all the blue Kree across the galaxy. We must find a possible cure."
"I'll continue to experiment with extracting the Ego spores from Quasar." replied Goliath. "I removed a small portion from his tissue sample. Now we have to see if that tissue sample will stay how it is now or die."
Across the universe, Thanos of Titan sat on the bridge of the Sanctuary II. Nartissa came to him with her status report, "We have lost the Kree shuttle, that the Avengers are using, on our scanners. They may be in subspace, tracking us down."
"Good. We shall be ready for them when they arrive. They're only three Avengers and four Starjammers. I have a warship the size of a small planet. They pose no threat to us. They shall pay most dearly though, for ruining my scheme for the takeover of the Kree Empire."
And on that hijacked Kree cargo shuttle that Thanos speaks of, Hepzibah of the Starjammers and the Avenger, Vision sat in the cockpit, following the Sanctuary II at a far distance.
"The way you were able to block us from Thanos' scanners works great." Photon said to Corsair.
"Yes, that technique is mostly favored by smugglers." Corsair answered, "but it is being used for us to rescue your friends who are being held by Thanos aboard his ship."
Raza spoke up, "How are we supposed to get aboard the Sanctuary II without Thanos knowing it? That seems pretty impossible."
Vision turned around to give Raza the answer, "Photon and I can pass directly through the ship's hull. From there we would have no problem with freeing our fellow Avengers and defeating Thanos' pirate crew."
Raza nodded. It was the same exact thing that Vision and Photon did to get aboard the Kree shuttle that the Starjammers had commandeered. Then, Thor, Corsair, Raza, Hepzibah, and Ch'od would remain on the shuttle to monitor the Avengers' progress and serve as backup should the need arise.
The funeral for Captain America was held outside of the Royal Palace at the Shi'ar throneworld. Hundreds of Shi'ar commandos and military leaders, that had fought alongside him to stop Ronan's invasion, had attended to honor the human who had died to save the Shi'ar people. Majestrix Lilandra and General Nortor were among those who gave speeches. As did the others on the Avenger team that Captain America led in the battle, Starfox, Jack of Hearts, Warbird, Hercules, and Hawkeye.
At the end Nortor and Lilandra lit an enormous torch that would forever stay lighten in memory of Steve Rogers, Captain America. At the finale of the service all of the Shi'ar present cheered his name in respect. Even hours after the mourning crowd left, the flame continued to burn.
To be continued.
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