EARTH'S LAST STAND!
"DIE, son of Mar-Vell! Die at the hands of
A blue-green gauntleted fist lashed out, smashing Genis
across the face, sending him tumbling away, blood
splattering across the floor. The big figure advanced
after him, fists coming up again.
"I have many weapons at my disposal,
Genis-Vell--" Yon-Rogg grinned, --"but I think
that all I shall require for this task will be my own two
hands." He reached out to grasp the fallen warrior.
"The situation appears
hopeless, Lord Chaos."
"Indeed, Master Order. I fear
that when we selected the one known as Yon-Rogg to be one
of our Champions, we chose far too well."
"It seems inconceivable that
we could have failed to foresee that the designated
'Protector of the Universe' and Champion of Order would
only survive a scant handful of years more, before
succumbing to mortal disease, Lord Chaos."
"Yet fail we did, Master
Order. Just as we failed to foresee that those who
followed him would prove far less capable in the role,
thus rendering his opposite number all the more
effective, and placing him in a far superior position in
the great game."
"We did not foresee any of
these things, Lord Chaos, and now we, and the entire
universe, may suffer the consequences."
"Perhaps not yet, Master
Order. For as long as a piece still remains on the board,
there exists the possibility of--"
"--VICTORY!" Yon-Rogg smashed his armored fist
again into Genis's face as the hero sought to rise.
"I WILL NOT BE DENIED MY FINAL VICTORY!"
"Sire!" A Kree officer called out, being
careful to stay out of the way of his master's wildly
Yon-Rogg scarcely looked up from his brutal work.
"What is it, Mek-Kwade?"
The ships we sent towards Earth report that they have
been engaged by a group of Terran super-beings far out
beyond Earth orbit."
"How are they faring?"
"They have suffered surprising losses thus far, but
are continuing to attack."
"Excellent. I care not how many ships we lose--
their job is to soften up the Humans' defenses prior to
our final assault."
Mek-Kwade bowed. "As you say, sire."
"Order them to redouble their efforts, Mek-Kwade.
Earth must fall!"
The Kree officer bowed again and shuffled away as
Yon-Rogg returned his attention to the limp form of
Genis-Vell before him.
Ms. Marvel had scarcely travelled any distance at all
towards Earth when she pulled up short and hung there, in
space, fear gripping her heart. She'd become so
accustomed to all this recent travel and combat in space,
so reminiscent of her time as Binary, that she'd almost
forgotten that she currently lacked the means to survive
prolonged exposure to vaccuum.
"Okay, settle down, Carol," she told herself.
"Genis charged you with enough solar energy to
survive for this long, so just pick the closest safe
place and head there quickly. Shouldn't be any problem at
Her momentary panic behind her, she looked around for a
safe haven, when suddenly her seventh sense knocked her
for a loop. Crying out, she watched as snippets of images
moved across her mind: Super heroes from Earth, racing
out from the planet to challenge the Enemy's strike force
before it could reach its target.... Eros, Drax, and
Hercules, recovering from their earlier defeats to once
again harrass the larger fleet..... Genis-Vell, in
tremendous pain, perhaps even dying, at the hands of--
"HALA!" Without a second's hesitation or a
further thought for her own plight, Carol spun around and
streaked back in the direction of the Enemy's fleet.
Hercules extracted his fist from the smashed remains of a
Skrull saucer's window and watched the atmosphere blow
out. "Eros, Drax," he called over his headset
communicator, "are you there, my friends?"
"I'm back among the
living," Eros replied faintly. "I didn't fair
so well at first, but now I believe I have these beggars
on the run."
"I, too, am experiencing more success than
before," Drax answered, his signal closer. "I
can see you, Hercules. One moment--"
To Hercules's right, a Kree battle cruiser suddenly
exploded in a fountain of light, and from the center of
the deadly blossom streaked Drax the Destroyer. The
purple-clad figure navigated alongside the Olympian and
they fought back-to-back.
"The aliens don't seem to be working with such a
unified purpose any longer," Eros noted, sailing
"Indeed not," Drax responded. "It is as if
whatever force has been driving them on has become...
Mek-Kwade paused in mid-step, then glanced around at the
crewmembers around him. He felt strange, all of a sudden.
He eyed the others suspiciously, especially the Skrulls,
his senses crying out that something, somehow, was
drastically wrong here.
Across the huge room, Yon-Rogg continued to bash the
now-helpless Genis-Vell with single-minded glee.
"Mentor says they're starting to smash their way
through the outer layer of Titan," Eros reported.
"They'd have been through it long ago if not for our
efforts," Drax growled as he continued to lay waste
to enemy ships.
"Tis true, friend Destroyer," Hercules agreed,
"yet I fear we must redouble our efforts if Titan
and Earth itself are to survive."
Just then, the black and red streak of Ms. Marvel flashed
past them, headed straight for the heart of the fleet.
The others glanced at one another curiously.
Eros watched her vanish in the distance, then frowned.
"Verily, wherever Carol Danvers may be, there will
we find the true battle," Hercules replied.
The three warriors launched themselves in her wake.
Yon-Rogg reached down, grasped Genis by the collar, and
held the limp form up above his head. Genis's face was
mostly bruise by now, swollen nearly beyond recognition.
Blood leaked from both nostrils and the corner of his
mouth. His head rolled back, then slumped forward.
Yon-Rogg grinned. "You see now who is truly the
Enemy, eh, son of Mar-Vell?" He laughed. "I am
the chosen Champion of Chaos, selected by Chronos himself
to prevent the Earth from bringing utter, relentless
order to the universe." He spat the word
"order" as if it were a curse. "But such
things matter little to me. I care not why these
celestial entities should choose to grant me the power I
now possess. All I care about--" and he tossed Genis
across the room casually, "--is that the hated
Earth, and the hated Mar-Vell, or at least his loved
ones, suffer greatly!" He strode slowly,
purposefully across the chamber, bearing down on his
nearly comatose victim. "And suffer you shall,
Genis-Vell. As your mother has suffered from the poison I
caused her to ingest. As your homeworld, Titan, shall
suffer from my nuclear bombardment. And as the Earth
shall suffer, when I direct my arsenal at it!" The
armor-clad Enemy towered over Genis, bent down, and
reached out to grasp him again--
--and Ms. Marvel smashed through the bulkhead, her fists
continuing to move as they impacted Yon-Rogg's chin and
sent him hurtling backwards, to crash into a bank of
Carol rushed to Genis's side and cradled his head.
"Genis? Can you hear me? Are you--?"
"The boy is beyond your help, woman." Pulling
himself up, Yon-Rogg studied her closely. "I know
you. I remember. You are the human whose genetic
structure was reshaped along Kree lines." He smiled
wickedly. "Perfect. From you shall come the heirs to
my universal empire!"
"Stuff it, Yon-Rogg." Ms. Marvel evaded his
defenses and struck again, quickly, once again sending
the villain to his knees.
No sooner had Yon-Rogg recovered, however, than the
universal weapon appeared in his hand. Beams of energy
lanced out, with Carol just managing to dodge each blast.
"You'll have to do better than that," Ms.
Marvel barked as she dove towards him again, fists
flying. "Ronan could barely hit me with that-- I
doubt you ever will!"
"I will not have to, woman," Yon-Rogg replied,
his opposite hand lashing out. The blow stunned Carol
long enough for him to bathe her in a freeze ray, and ice
formed over much of her body. Frozen, she could not avoid
the next blast, and she slumped to the floor,
Yon-Rogg looked her over. "Have her removed to my
private quarters, Mek-Kwade. I shall enjoy the
post-victory celebration a great deal, I think."
"Yes, sire." But as the Kree officer started
forward, three more figures raced in via the opening
Carol had created.
Hercules, Drax, and Eros stood between the two fallen
warriors and the Enemy. "Stand back, base
villain," Hercules cried. "Your lair is
invaded, your plans at an end!"
"Hardly," Yon-Rogg replied. The universal
weapon lashed out, too quick for Hercules to evade. It
smashed him down, and even as he dropped, the Enemy had
already unleashed a blast from his other glove, driving
Drax backwards into the bulkhead. Whirling, he faced Eros
eye to eye.
"You cannot harm me," Eros declared
confidently. "You like me too much. You LOVE
"No, foolish one, it is YOU who obey ME!"
Eros stared back into those eyes for a long moment, then
nodded slowly. "Of course. As you say."
"Now, kill Hercules and Drax."
"Instantly." Eros seized the form of Hercules
as the dazed Olympian struggled to stand, and shoved him
into Drax as the Destroyer was rushing forward again. The
impact sent both down again, at which point Yon-Rogg
blasted both with incredibly powerful bolts from his
"Finish them, Eros," the Enemy directed.
"Of course." Eros grasped both of the others
and pulled them up, then smashed their heads together
Yon-Rogg surveyed the carnage about him with a satisfied
nod. Hercules and Drax lay at his feet, immobile. Ms.
Marvel was frozen from neck to feet, immobile yet
scarcely damaged. Eros stood at his side, a fresh
convert. And Genis--
"Genis?" Yon-Rogg whirled around, anger flaring
in his eyes. "WHERE IS GENIS?"
"HERE!" The bloody, battered form of Genis-Vell
staggered forward, glaring back at the Enemy.
Yon-Rogg gaped. "But-- HOW?? I beat you! I-- I all
but KILLED you!"
"I'm not dead yet, Yon-Rogg," Genis whispered
hoarsely. "And as long as I live, you haven't
"Then we shall have to remedy that situation!"
Genis pulled himself fully upright. "Is that a touch
of... fear... I see in your eyes?"
Yon-Rogg roared in fury. The ship's crew covered their
eyes at the glare of the conflict, as the two figures
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