This is the second in a series of alternate-timeline Avengers fanfics. The timeline diverges after Roger Stern & John Buscema's "Assault on Olympus" arc. To read my first Avengers fanfic, "The Omega Sequence", visit http://www.avengersforever.org/fanfiction/
Thor swept across a bright blue late-summer sky in all his godly glory. His recent victory over the Asgardian death-goddess Hela had resulted in a healthy new body minus the scarred face and brittle bones the old one had acquired. So it was that Thor had disposed of the beard and the armor, neither of which served a purpose anymore. The thunder god’s return to a familiar appearance was greeted with cheers from people on rooftops and at windowsills. Thor might have reveled in the well-wishing, except that he had far more somber things on his mind.
Spotting an Avengers quinjet hovering above the parking lot of a cemetery – conspicuous, yes, but far better than taking away parking space from civilians – Thor fixated on his fellow Avengers (She-Hulk, Black Knight, Sub-Mariner, and team chairwoman Captain Marvel) walking towards a freshly dug grave, and he made a quiet landing beside them. Brief looks and nods were exchanged between Thor and his teammates, but no greetings were spoken.
The Avengers had done their best to provide a good funeral service for their fallen teammate, Dr. Druid. But sometimes even the best comes up short. All calls to Anthony Druid’s relatives had gone unanswered; several priests had turned down the service, due to Druid’s occult practices; and other than the Avengers, the only people now standing at Druid’s grave were a handful of collegiate misfits who knew Druid only as an author of books on the supernatural.
Once the priest had finished his duties, countless minutes passed while none of the Avengers spoke up. Druid had, after all, been aloof, supercilious, self-serving, and insubordinate to his fellow Avengers, so they could be forgiven for not finding a positive word to say.
Finally, Captain Marvel spoke up. “Druid was not a perfect person, but none of us are perfect. It’s a pity that he was taken from us so fast that we never got to see other, more pleasant sides of him. I hope that, wherever he is now, he’s found friendship and happiness. Rest in peace, Avenger.”
“Well said, Captain, well said indeed.” Thor replied.
She-Hulk, who had been particularly hurt by a cruel prank of Druid’s, was the first to turn around and head back to the quinjet. The Black Knight, who had recently started a relationship with She-Hulk, was next, and the others quickly and quietly followed suit.
Suddenly, the Black Knight shivered. His teammates had no way of knowing that, for a split second, he had been overwhelmed by a vision of Druid’s soul being imprisoned and tortured by the Fomor, a team of monstrous-looking Celtic mystics whom the Avengers had opposed some time ago. She-Hulk gently put her arm over one of the Black Knight’s shoulders, while she stroked his other shoulder with equal tenderness.
“What’s wrong?” she whispered.
He struggled to reply, but quickly gave up. “Nothing…it was nothing.”
She-Hulk held him tighter and said, “I think you’ve really been working too hard.”
That much was true. His constant upgrades to the Avengers’ technology, and the time-space machine in particular, had been turning into an obsession. For the moment, he decided to dismiss his vision as a waking nightmare, and tried to put it out of his mind by thinking of what he and She-Hulk might do together that night.
Much later, Captain Marvel was sound asleep at her home, when suddenly, a sensation she had never experienced before left her wide awake, sitting bolt upright in her bed.
Every wall between her and the secrets of cosmos had been torn down. Red and purple waterfalls of crackling energy tumbled into worlds within worlds, while bits and pieces of the most esoteric knowledge blew every which way like raindrops in a storm.
And the mysterious cosmic entity within her began to talk more clearly. “#^%&##%$&^ INVASION @#$#$#$%^ KREE INVADERS (*(&%%%$%$ MUST BE STOPPED!”
Captain Marvel closed her eyes and gritted her teeth and screamed mentally at the entity. “This is all too much for me at once!”
Instantaneously, the bizarre imagery cohered into a vision of a Kree starship orbiting the Earth from a distance where it could not be detected by conventional means, while on the surface of Earth, in a secret Kree base disguised on the outside as just another cave, a dark-haired female Kree labored over a strange-looking machine. When the image focused on the female Kree, the entity within Captain Marvel became agitated. &*&**& MINERVA &**&&* EVIL TORMENTOR *(&*(* MUST DIE!” The imagery became shaky before abruptly disappearing altogether, leaving only the sight of Captain Marvel’s bedroom with the lights out.
Without hesitation, Captain Marvel picked up the miniature communicator on her nightstand, activated it, and turned on all the channels. She then spoke loud and clear. “Avengers assemble!”
Once the coordinates were entered into the Avengers’ computer, one monitor showed the deceptively plain cave from the outside, while another showed the Kree starship being scanned and analyzed. The Avengers were lined up together in front of the monitors.
Captain Marvel, now in her super-hero costume, pointed at relevant areas while she outlined her battle plan. “We’ll have one quinjet in air fighter mode, with Namor and Marrina inside, and another quinjet in land fighter mode, with Dane and Jennifer inside, while I can use my speed to hit them both high and low. Thor, not me but Thor, will deal with the lone Kree inside the base, because the thing inside me has a vendetta against her, and that could lead to trouble.”
Namor piped up. “Captain, if I may, I believe that having Marrina in the field is not a wise idea.”
Marrina sulked and slouched, while Captain Marvel fixed Namor with a scowl. “And why not?”
Namor closed his eyes while he found the words. “Because it would lead to the same kind of trouble you mentioned a moment ago.”
Captain Marvel shook her head and sighed. “There’s no time for this. Sorry, Marrina, you’ll be sitting this one out.”
Marrina pouted, then turned around and walked out of the command center.
Captain Marvel shifted to energy mode and turned to face the other Avengers. “We don’t have a minute to lose. Let’s roll.”
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART II