starring Captain Marvel
with Ms. Marvel, Hercules, Drax, and Eros

by Van Allen Plexico

This story first appeared in MV1's CAPTAIN MARVEL #63-69



Yon-Rogg gaped at the figure of Genis-Vell. Still bloody and battered, his costume in tatters, Genis nonetheless seemed to stand taller and straighter now as he slowly advanced on the Enemy.

Recovering, Yon-Rogg nodded. "You live. Very well. I shall kill you again, then. I shall kill you over and over, if need be, until you and your accursed family troubles me no more!" He whirled, gesturing towards Mek-Kwade, who apparently had recovered from his disorientation of moments earlier. "Set a course for Earth, Mek-Kwade-- full speed! I want the last thing Genis and his fellows see to be that world in flames, burning at the touch of my nuclear arsenal!"

"As you wish, sire." The Kree officer signalled to the others, and the ship began to move away from Titan and the rest of the fleet.

"The only thing.... that's going to be burning..... Yon-Rogg...." Genis breathed, "...will be YOU!" He surged forward, hurling himself into the Enemy, and both of them into the bulkhead beyond, with a deafening clash. Photon blasts and universal weapon energy spiked and radiated out in every direction as they tumbled, each struggling to gain the upper hand.

Hercules and Drax both sought to pull themselves up from the deck. Both were still reeling from their clash with the Enemy and the mind-controlled Eros.

"Beware, Drax-- as surely as thou wert controlled by the Enemy before, our compariot Eros now suffers from a similar condition."

Drax nodded once. "He caught us by surprise before, Hercules. He will not be so fortunate this time."

Eros noticed their recovery and started towards them. At that moment, Genis also spotted them, and called out, "Herc! Drax! We're leaving Titan space! You've got to get out of this ship and help stop the attack! I'll take care of Earth."

Hercules frowned, unsure, but then Eros charged, smashing him to the floor. As they stood, Drax launched himself into both of them and carried them both through the bulkhead and out into space. The decompression tore at the room momentarily, until Mek-Kwade managed to seal the breach with a forcefield and summon a repair crew.

Nearby, Ms. Marvel lay, still half-frozen, out of sight of the others. Coming to, she shivered involuntarily at the after-effects of Yon-Rogg's freezing weapon, and, keeping one eye on the battle raging nearby, began massaging feeling back into her limbs.

Hercules, still in his spacesuit, floated between Drax and Eros, dodging the occasional energy blast as the two circled one another yet again. "Friend Drax, we must bring Eros to his senses soon, or there will be nothing of Titan left to save!"

Drax said nothing, instead continuing to seek an opening to attack.

At last Hercules could stand no more of it, and lurched out, siezing Eros by the shoulders. Before the startled Eros could react, Hercules shouted at him, the sound carried over the headset communicator that both, miraculously, still wore. "Eros! Hear me!"

"Let me go! You must be stopped!"

"Whose orders are you following?"

"The Great Leader! The one you call the Enemy!"

"Because you agree with him? Because you... LOVE him?"

Eros blinked. "Because I-- wha?"

"Who do you love, Eros? Who do you truly love and obey?"

Eros blinked again, shook his head violently, and then his eyes refocused on Hercules. It was as if a curtain dropped from in front of them. "Myself, of course," he replied.

"I would say thou art recovered again," Hercules observed.

"Indeed," Eros replied. "Thank you. Now, let's get on with the task at hand."

The three raced after the enemy fleet over Titan.

Genis-Vell and Yon-Rogg continued to slug it out aboard the flagship, even as the enormous vessel moved closer towards Earth and took up position just beyond the rest of the attack fleet. All around, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and other super heroes continued to battle to keep the fleet at bay.

"The Terrans have been remarkably successful in preventing our attack so far," Mek-Kwade reported, "but a handful of our ships, including this one, have managed to reach Earth orbit intact." He glanced back toward his leader. "Is the bombardment order given, sire?"

"The order is--MMMPHHH!!" Genis's fist smashed into Yon-Rogg's mouth before he could complete his sentence. The Kree officer stood patiently by, doing nothing, awaiting the command.

Genis did not intend to allow Yon-Rogg the opportunity to say a word. Though his own strength was fast fading, and he'd had to reach deep inside himself to even recover as he had from the first battle, he somehow reached down again and dredged up the very last of his energy, and surged forward on the attack again.

Yon-Rogg, startled and confused, fell back yet again under the onslaught. Photon blasts crashed again and again into his armor, beginning to penetrate the dense material in places and genuinely frightening him.

Genis sensed the opening and struck, smashing Yon-Rogg and driving him hard into the deck. Genis's face, now all bloody and bruised nearly beyond recognition, leaned in close toward the Enemy's. "Your battle is OVER, murderer! I'm putting an end to you NOW!" He raised his fist, the nega-band shimmering with the last of his power--

--and suddenly Genis felt as if he were elsewhere. His mind seemed to disconnect from his body, to leave it, to float away on the cosmic winds. He was no longer in the flagship, but somewhere else....

"Genis," the voice came. "Do you hear me?"

"I hear you," he replied, though there was no sound when he spoke.

The aether rippled around him. Images moved through his mind.

"Genis, the time has come for you to truly become that which you have always been destined to be."

".... What-- Who--?"

"The Protector. Of Earth. Of the Universe. The Humans have a grand destiny awaiting them, but they must be protected while they're still in the nursery. Take up that task. Protect them. Know them. Become one of them."

Genis took all this in, then slowly nodded. "Yes...... I understand... I will-- I..." He blinked, the aether shimmering within his perceptions. "... Father?"

The voice faded, vanished. Sight returned to him. With that sight came a rush of knowledge, a sensation beyond anything he'd ever known, a sensation far beyond the limited awareness he'd possessed before. He saw the events surrounding him with a clarity he'd been unable to imagine previously. He saw the hands of Lord Chaos and of Master Order, and beyond them, of Chronos himself, reaching out, manipulating events. And there, directly before him, he saw--

"Yon-Rogg!" He glared. "YOU! The Champion of Chaos! I see it now! They chose you, just as they've chosen me as your opposite number!" Fire and fury swelled within him. "We've both been puppets!"

Yon-Rogg stared back at him, his defenses now completely dropped as fear gripped his black heart. "You-- you KNOW? You are--"

"--aware! He has become AWARE!"

"Yes, Lord Chaos. We did not foresee this possibility, when we granted him the power and the mantle he now wears."

"I fear events are about to overtake our ability to manage them, Master Order."

"For once, I fear I can only agree, Lord Chaos."

Genis's fist crashed down again and again upon Yon-Rogg. "I've seen where you come from, Yon-Rogg! I've seen it all!" He glared, advancing again, energy blazing in angry halos around his wristbands. "You were saved by Chronos and his footsoldiers, Chaos and Order, in order to remain in reserve should they ever require a champion. A simulacrum was put in your place at your supposed 'death,' one so craftily shaped that it convinced my father you were dead. They kept you at the ready, and when Earth seemed ready to begin its prophesied Golden Age, to expand outwards, to rule the heavens, they felt they had to act."

Mek-Kwade cried out as the ship lurched suddenly. "Sire! Your battle has damaged the controls! We're entering the Earth's gravity well! We're going down!"

Genis ignored the words, and smashed his fist again into Yon-Rogg, driving the Enemy back into the wall. "Chaos and Order feared that the coming Golden Age of Earth would impose too much order on the universe. They feared that the universal balance would be disrupted. So they called upon you-- granted you power, the power to sway followers to your side, followers from many races who resent the destiny of the Humans-- and sent you out as their Champion of Chaos."

"--Yes--" Yon-Rogg stumbled, falling to his knees.

Genis ripped at the armor covering the Enemy's form, and tore sections of it away. "But you've succeeded TOO WELL for them, haven't you? You've gone beyond anything they'd imagined. They didn't take into account your abiding hatred for my father, and for the Earth. Now you're going to wipe the Earth out entirely, and that's not what they had in mind. They'd prepared another champion, one for the other side of the equation-- my father! * But he was dead. So they turned to me. They wanted to simply use me as an agent, to slow you down, and then they could throw me aside. But they made a critical error, Yon-Rogg. To win, I had to become your equal. I had to become a Champion of Order."

*So that's what was up with Marvel Spotlight #3! --Van

Yon-Rogg blinked up at him. "....But.... but HOW--?"

"I don't know. I'm not certain. Perhaps someone... someone up there... intervened on my behalf. And perhaps I just caused it to happen through my own actions. But I'm your equal now, Yon-Rogg, and more-- I'm your BETTER!" And with that, Genis ripped away the last of the armor and smashed the Enemy to the floor. Yon-Rogg lay there, still, unmoving.

Nearby, Mek-Kwade and the other bridge personnel suddenly jerked as if electrocuted. Whirling around, they all cried out in surprise at once. Freed of the mind control of the Enemy, they quickly realized what had been happening. They were not happy about it. Unfortunately, they had more pressing matters to tend to-- the ship was falling to Earth!

At the center of the room, Genis stood over Yon-Rogg, gasping for breath, the fury which had sustained him now leaving him and draining him of his strength.

Nearby, Ms. Marvel finally freed herself of the last of the ice and rushed to the ship's controls, shoving Mek-Kwade aside. "Out of the way," she barked. "I'll get us down in one piece!"

Never doubting the truth of those words, Genis collapsed to the deck, entirely exhausted.

"Genis? Can you hear me?"

Genis-Vell's eyes fluttered open. He blinked at the light, staring up into the face of--


Elysius smiled warmly. "I think he's okay," she said to those behind her.

"Mom-- You're okay! Ugggh--" Genis struggled to sit up, and realized he lay in bed, covered in bandages. "Ohhh-- every bit of my body aches," he moaned. Then he saw who was behind his mother.

"The lad seems fit enough, given what he hath endured of late," Hercules observed.

"Indeed," Drax agreed. "You are entitled to your share of rest, Genis."

Eros grinned and rubbed Genis on the one spot on his head that wasn't bandaged.

"So--what happened?" Genis asked anxiously. "What--?"

Ms. Marvel leaned forward, between the men, and reported, "It's all over. Once you defeated Yon-Rogg, the aliens were freed of his control. Of course, they immediately forgot all about Earth, and Titan, and turned on one another. The last report we had, the ships from what was left of their so-called fleet were engaged in a massive battle out beyond Neptune."

Eros chimed in, "Not before we'd done them serious damage, though, eh, Herc? Drax?"

The Olympian laughed and Drax bowed his head in agreement.

"What about the flagship?"

The others turned to Ms. Marvel, who shrugged. "Nothing to it. I have the training of the finest Kree pilots in my genes. I got us down in one piece--" Carol grinned, "--more or less."

Genis nodded. "And Titan?"

"It suffered a bit of damage," Elysius replied, "but nothing that can't be repaired, in time. It's recovered from worse before."

"But what about you, Mother?"

"The poison?" Elysius smiled. "Mentor found an antidote within Yon-Rogg's computers, but I hardly needed it. It seems 'the Enemy' underestimated my constitution. I'm still a little queasy, but I'll be fine."

Eros smiled warmly. "So, we all live happily ever after, eh?"

Genis nodded. "But there's just one more bit of business I have to tend to. There are a couple of disembodied heads I need to have a serious talk with."

"Tell 'em Earth's off limits," Carol said. "Tell them we're doing just fine, and don't need any more of their interference."

"I'll tell 'em, alright," Genis agreed. "I'm not any more intimidated by them than Dad was."

And somewhere, elsewhere, beyond the realm of mortal existence, a certain someone was very proud of those words.

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