Marvel Super-Villain Team Up
was, perhaps, early evening in the desert... the recent sunset's
golds and reds yet lingered in a thin, tattered banner along
the western horizon, allowing the pyramids to be silhouetted sharp
and dark against its fading glory. The scentomizers were tuned
perfectly; the smells of arid, faintly spicy sand, fecund poppy
fields, silty Nile water gurgling through canals, the sweat of the
nearby camels, the dry, powdery aroma of the silk pavilion
canopies... all of these mingled with the delicious aroma wafting off
the haunch of goat crackling over a camel fewmet fire.
fire crackled convincingly; a dry desert breeze moved through the
oasis like an invisible river, rustling the pavilion silks
the oasis' central pool, thirty feet from the crackling fire, two men
soaked. Fresh from the rejuvenation baths, neither looked more
than perhaps forty Earth years of age, one of them, in fact, could
have been half that.
had the deeply bronzed skins of long time desert dwellers, although
it was for each an affectation; neither had felt actual sunlight on
their skins for longer than he could easily calculate. Both
were hawk nosed, clear eyed, dark haired, heavy browed; to an
ignorant observer, they would convey the appearance of father and
son, for one seemed to be at least two decades older than the other.
Appearances deceived, as they so often do... the two men
were not father and son. They were much, much closer... and
each was much, much more ancient than he seemed.
then, Pharaoh," the older man boomed, slapping the cool oasis
water with his palm just to hear the pleasant plashing noise it made.
"Is it not as I have said? Are not the diversions of
Limbo infinite and inexhaustible?"
one addressed as Pharaoh did not answer... at first. He was a
thoughtful man. Quick-witted when necessary, but now, no
emergency urged instant response. He pondered his elder's
words, and when his reply was fully formulated, only then did he
he agreed. "And yet... and yet..."
was a wistful sadness to his tone that was not lost on the older man.
"You dwell on the past too much," the Pharaoh's
elder observed. "Here in Limbo, there is no past, no
future... just an eternal now. And now is enough... is it not?"
have been the best of mentors, o Immortus," the Pharaoh Rama Tut
replied, choosing each syllable with care. "And Limbo...
Limbo does, indeed, offer an eternity of delights. Yet... as I
discovered in my own court, in the 40th Century... a life without
strife is a life without meaning."
Immortus snapped. "I need no telepathy to discern your
thoughts, my friend... and although there is no time here, the
circadian rhythms of your own flesh tell you that now is the time of
year when your beloved Ravonna was first cut down by that cur Baltag.
Do you think I do not feel it myself? Do you think I have
forgotten?" His hand tightened into a fist. "I
will never forget, my friend. Never."
he spread his fingers again, and waved airily. "But life
goes on, Rama... for us. Ravonna remains in her eternal sleep,
Baltag remains dead, Lords of Time rip his spirit to shreds
forever... yet for us, life goes on."
turned and gestured imperiously. His strange servant -- 'my
only subject, here in Limbo', as he often labeled the creature --
appeared a few feet away from him, seeming to condense out of the
very darkling air, standing on the damp sand, rubbing his
spider-fingered hands together. "Yessss, my master?"
the creature hissed.
the entertainment now," the older man commanded.
strange servitor nodded once, his oddly furrowed countenance blank
beneath his overlarge eyes and wild, tangled brows. To the
Pharaoh, those eyes had always suggested boiled owl's eggs.
servitor vanished, as quickly as he had come. "Does that
creature have a name?" the Pharaoh asked, making no attempt to
mask the irritation in his tone.
chuckled. "He is the only subject of Limbo," the
immortal time traveler said. "Why would he need a name?"
He paused. "Although as to that, he is really no
more a 'he' than the silicone in that sand... I built him to be the
ultimate shapeshifter, you know. A perfect agent."
you have said," Rama Tut responded, distaste still evident in
his tone. "But there is something..."
was a jangling... silvery, musical. And then, from one of the
pavilions, the six greatest beauties of mythical Earth's storied
history came across the sand, clad in silks and bells and perfumes.
The Pharaoh's protest died in his throat. Ravonna had been
beautiful, in her own provincial way. But these women...!
you like them?" Immortus chuckled. "There is
Cleopatra, of your own land, but a few thousand years past your time.
Her beauty... and her skills in the pillow arts... are still
legendary millenia after her death." A dusky skinned,
broad nosed beauty, full of hip and bust, nodded in response to
here is Princess Ranadys of the land of Esteros, which sank beneath
the vast world ocean aeons before Atlantis ever arose. She was
the last dragon queen..." Here a silver haired girl,
slender as a willow, with purple eyes that flashed an inner fire,
smiled coquettishly at him.
Immortus introduced all six of the women, and all of them were,
indeed, legendary beauties. But the Pharaoh only had eyes for
one... just one... a strong looking female, whose figure was somehow
voluptuous yet athletic at the same time, with clean, clear,
beautiful features and hair the color of spun gold. Eyes as
blue as weapon-steel stared back at his unblushingly, showing a will
as strong and as inexorable as gravity... even if that will was now
bent and somewhat blunted beneath the hypnotic influence of Immortus'
mind control beams.
this is Carol Danvers, of the late 20th Century," Immortus said.
"She has been recently exposed to a Kree device known as a
Psyche Magnitron which has had an interesting effect on her, both
psychically and physically. Her DNA is now an intriguing
mingling of Terran and Kree, and she has just embarked on a career
with the Avengers..."
noted the clear signs of infatuation on the face of the Pharaoh...
the dilated pupils, the flared nostrils, the deepening breath tones.
It was aggravating. He had hoped to provide his guest
and student with a distraction from futile, choleric thoughts
regarding Ravonna... but once he had seen the six women chosen by his
servitor, he had also thought to keep this one to his exclusive use.
Something about her aura... so ferocious. Of course, he
knew she had a significant destiny, one that stood out even among the
larger than life fates and dooms of the Earthling superhuman class he
had made an obsessive study of his whole life... yet, still. There
was something magnetic about the woman, here, in person...
will share her," Immortus snapped. "Come, Pharaoh."
two men waded up out of the pool side by side, and as one, put a hand
out to clasp either arm of the woman named Carol Danvers --
* * * *
man awoke, some time later, head aching. "Where..."
was lying in a cool pool of water, beneath a spreading... what was
that thing?... a date palm tree, that was it.
him was a... watering hole? No. The word was oasis.
There were silk canopies, rippling in a low, cool breeze.
The braying of a just wakened donkey, or... camel? And...
lying face down on the sand... a woman. A woman with golden
blonde hair... and smoke, rising from her forearms. Almost as
if her arms were energy weapons, and had fired some kind of
man splashed to her side without further thought. He did not
know who she was, but a great passion for her stirred within him...
so great that it had not yet occurred to him that he also did not
know who he, himself, was...
* * * * *
man awoke, some time later, head aching. Face down, in
something soft and scratchy, that rustled in the breeze...
knew that smell, that texture. Kentucky blue grass...! He
sat up, abruptly.
was in a field... or so it seemed. Several large, powerful
looking, oddly beautiful creatures stood on four legs each, cropping
the thick grass, ten or twelve arms lengths away from him.
it wasn't true. Somehow he knew, this field full of... hoses?
was an illusion. There was something about it... the feel of
the air wasn't quite right. The scentomizers were slightly off,
and not masking the metallic air conditioning smell fully....
scene shimmered, and vanished. The man was sitting on the floor
in a small, gloomy, roughly rectangular chamber, made of what seemed
to be a dull grey metal. The smell of the air conditioning was
more pronounced, now.
the empty air, a cool, pleasant voice spoke to him: "This
res-quart is designated as uninhabited. Who are you and how did
you come to access it?"
man thought for a moment. "I... I do not know," he
the pleasant voice responded. "Analysis of microscopic
cellular particles taken from your respiration indicate..."
There was a pause. "You have DNA strands aligned to
several prominent sociopolitical lines," it continued,
eventually. "But identification cannot be made
conclusively. You are... unknown."
last two syllables were spoken evenly, without inflection... but the
man would have sworn the voice was, nonetheless, appalled to have to
confess to such a thing.
is necessary," the voice continued. "I shall assign
you a random nomenclature and begin building identity files for you.
Basic remedial training in civil necessities will be made
available to you. This cubicle will be assigned to your
man got to his feet. "You are a computer," he said.
am a pseudosentience," the voice corrected him, somewhat primly.
"My specific role is social optimization. Do not
worry. A place will be found for you."
paused once more, and then continued. "Your DNA has some
strands taken from the prominent Richards family. I shall,
therefore, assign you the name Nathaniel Richards..."
* * * *
woman did not remember her name, any more than he did his. But
when she had first looked up at him with those laser bright blue eyes
and asked him who he was, a fragment of conversation had come back to
him. He had been speaking with an older man, who looked
somewhat like him... his father?... that seemed wrong, somehow, but
still, in his photographic recall of this fragmentary, isolated
scene, the resemblance was unmistakable.
man had been laughing, and saying "...no heir... none that
lived, anyway. But should I ever have a worthy son, I will name
he had told her. "My name is Marcus." It felt
right, on some level, and wrong, on another... but he also had a deep
conviction that he had lived a long, rich life, and over the course
of it, he had had many names. Marcus was as good as any...
are Carol," he told her, knowing as he said it that it was
she said, tasting the name. "And... we are alone here,
looked around. "Yes," he said. "I... "
He looked back at her, boldly. "From how I feel when
I look at you, Carol, I think... I think we are honeymooning."
met his gaze with hers... and then, when he bent his head forward,
she met his mouth with hers, as well...
* * * * *
newly minted Nathaniel Richards did well at his studies, and showed
an aptitude with the subatomic particle circuitry that 30th Century
technology was entirely built around. But he was restive.
The place and time he had come to was very civilized... almost
decadent. Any citizen could have anything he or she wanted,
merely by asking a socio-mech to simulate the sensation.
Somewhere in his mind, Nathaniel was reminded of a bit of
ancient folk wisdom... "Instant gratification takes too long..."
was no challenge here, nothing to strive for!
Nathaniel had a goal, one that burned within him. A set of
blazing blue eyes, looking into his.. his? Or some other man's?
He could not quite remember. Skin as soft as
velvet under his touch, stretched taut over muscles like corded
titanium... and a psychic aura that blazed like a supernova.
He could not recall her face, her form, any other details of her
appearance... but he would move mountains to find her. She was
his, and he was hers... even though he had a feeling that he had at
least one rival for her affection. It would not matter. He
knew, in his heart, that he was a conqueror, and he would always be
knew where to look for her. A half remembered snatch of
conversation... "the late 20th Century... just embarked on a
career with the Avengers..."
done global searches using those phrases. Something had
happened in that era... something important. The Celestial
Madonna, so called, had given birth to... someone... a child that had
risen to unite the entire galaxy, at least, for a time, under one
benevolent banner. A Golden Age, a time of unparalleled
prosperity, which had lasted a thousand years... which was still
going on, even today, here in the exasperatingly peaceful year of
the woman he sought this Madonna? Somehow, he was sure she must
be. She must be. His true love... somehow he knew, she
would not be sitting around waiting for him to claim her. He
would have to fight others for her... he would have to conquer! But
in the end, she would be his.
travel was known to be possible... supposedly, the technology had
originated in that very era. He could go there, and find her.
would. He would conquer the entire universe, all of time
itself, if that was what it took to win her to his side...!
* * * * *
could not have had the child here in Limbo," the servitor said,
his tones (as always) an unsettling mixture of sneer and sycophancy.
"There is no duration here. It would not have
know that," the man who no longer called himself Marcus snapped.
"But it might have done well on Earth, in Carol's native
time frame, if I had not seized on its form as a vehicle for my own
escape from this hellish place..."
the servitor responded, "you could have just opened a portal.
You know how to use the machines."
a portal into the late 20th Century is always difficult," the
man snapped. "Temporal turbulence makes such a transit
hazardous at best. I thought the other gambit might work
better. If those idiot heroes hadn't destroyed my machine, I
could have corrected that body's asynchronous genetic coordinates,
shoulda, woulda," the servitor said. "I do feel deep
admiration for the novel way in which you dumped her, though, after
she followed you back here. That illusion of you aging to
decrepitude and dying within a few moments... that was masterfully
done. She'll be some time getting over the psychological scars
of that little break up ploy... it may well drive her to drink."
strong," the man said. "She'll be fine." He
shrugged. "I truly thought I loved the wench."
infatuation," the servitor thought, waggling his disturbingly
unkempt eyebrows provocatively. "You know that Immortus
was infatuated with her as well, do you not? And wherever he
may have ended up, he will seek her out, as well?"
am Immortus now," the man said, regarding the regalia laid out
upon the sleeping platform in his chamber. "Although,"
he added, dubiously, "I'm not sure I want to dress like him..."
yes, master," the servitor fawn-sneered. "Because
that blue face mask was oh so stylish."
new Lord of Limbo scowled at the servitor. "Am I going to
have problems with you, creature? My predecessor may have
tolerated your insolence, but I am not he." The former
Pharaoh stopped at that, thoughtfully. "I mean... well..."
servitor bobbed and capered obsequiously. "I will give you no
problems, Master," it declared. "I have ever served the
Lord of Limbo, and ever shall. In that service, I shall tell you
that my artificially attuned chronal senses advise me that the
temporal turbulence you already know of in the late 20th and early
21st Centuries on Earth has increased by nearly an order of magnitude
since your paramour's return to her native time-point. I cannot be
sure, but I believe your predecessor in those robes is somehow
causing this disruption."
going after her," the former Pharaoh said, through gritted
teeth. "He's still besotted... he must not have her!"
servant raised his fantastical eyebrows in exaggerated puzzlement.
"But... master... if you do not want her..."
will not have her," the new Immortus growled. "He
will not lay a hand on her. Hmmm... I must come up with a scheme..."
He turned, and pointed at the servitor. "You will travel to her
timeframe. You will shadow her. You will protect her. You will be my
perfect agent in this. You will keep my other self from ever so much
as setting his damned dirty paws on her."
servant shrugged. "Your wish, my command, of course, my master,"
he replied. "May I suggest... perhaps I could replace that
obnoxious Anthony Stark in the Avengers roster? Then I could keep a
close watch on her. The two of them become quite companionable, I
are not to lay a hand on her," the Master of Time snarled.
no, master, of course not, I am not worthy," the servitor
whined. "I will simply look out for her... and ward her.
Perhaps... if your predecessor's attention could be turned to
another... perhaps some sort of scenario could be woven, to convince
him to ignore Ms. Danvers, and fixate on someone else..."
the Lord of Limbo agreed, musing. "That whole Celestial Madonna
thing will be going on right around that time period, and I remember
how obsessed I was with the Madonna... I can't recall why, now... I
mean, what was I going to do with Mantis, even if I'd managed to
obtain her? A skilled courtesan, I have no doubt, but...
Gleaming Galaxies! The woman married an undead corpus reanimated by a
sentient tree!" Immortus... the newest of his name...
shuddered. "By the Lords of Time, I really dodged a particle
will depart immediately, Master," the servitor responded. "May
I suggest that I enter the timestream some light years away from
Earth, to avoid the local turbulence? I can easily travel there at
faster than light speeds once I am within the timeframe. I
will establish my presence early on, at the very founding of the
team, or shortly thereafter. It will give me an excellent
vantage point to watch over Ms. Danvers, as the Heroic Age unfolds."
Immortus responded. "Do it. At once."
Master," the servitor said, rubbing his inhumanly long fingers
together in satisfaction...
* * * *
the servitor sped through the vacuum of space towards Earth, it
considered what it had already done, and what yet remained for it to
do. It went through each aspect of its plan meticulously,
testing each step in its own mind, re-examining each link.
female had been key -- this 'Carol Danvers'. When Immortus-A
had commanded it to go and seek out 'the six most beautiful
human women of all time', to distract Immortus-B from his melancholy
over yet another human female, the servitor had taken the opportunity
to initiate its own schemes. The scheme would spread from that
point, a veritable labyrinth worming its incomprehensibly complex
threads and branches through every level of space-time... but it was
with that command, given outside time by the man always had been and
always would be the greatest living master of time itself... that
command was the very first stone that had been dropped into the
pond, causing the very first ripple.
what was beauty? How could the servitor know? It was not
human. It had no permanent gender. It could take on any
seeming, certainly... but to it, all living beings were potential
partners in its eternal dance between the chronons. All living
beings were beautiful, in their own way. But one, and only one,
would be useful in fulfilling the servitor's desires.
it had taken her, Carol Danvers, from a point in the late 20th
Century, and brought her to Limbo, supposedly for the pleasure of its
master(s). But actually, the servitor was the only living being
in the universe who knew how carefully Carol Danvers had been
sculpted over the course of her life... shaped and molded, to be the
servitor's perfect tool.
it had slaved over her! Replacing both her father and mother at
different times, to ensure she was even conceived, at just the right
moment. Replacing various of those odious, oh so pompous Kree -- Mar
Vell far from least in those measurements! -- to ensure that the
young human female would not only be exposed to the nearly
immeasurable powers of the Psyche Magnitron, but that when she was,
the wish it would fulfill, hidden deep within the subconscious
recesses of her mind, would be that she would become a woman worthy
of Mar-vell himself... a woman warrior who was at least his equal, if
not his superior. And so she had. And so she was.
woman worthy, perhaps, to one day give birth to... The One!
there, the guidance had gone on. Replacing that awful plant smoking
human with the strangely flat head long enough to offer Danvers the
job that would move her to New York City... a necessary step, to
place her within the ranks of the Avengers, at just the correct
moment, so that she would take sanctuary at Avengers Mansion when she
returned from Limbo, all amnesiac and unknowing as to where the
strange pregnancy within her had originated.
had she not taken shelter with the Avengers, Immortus might well have
escaped Limbo into a permanent human form on Earth... a human form
immune to the servitor's powers.
that must never be.
that was the one immutable, unalterable command Immortus had woven
through every fiber of the servitor's artificial being during
creation... that the servitor could never, under any circumstances,
use his powers on Immortus. Or any temporal iteration of Immortus.
And that the servitor must always obey Immortus... any iteration of
Immortus, although the others would not know that... even at the
expense of the servitor's own desires.
Immortus, in the form of Marcus, managed to free himself and take
corporeal form on 20th Century Earth... already with strong alliances
forged to the Avengers... he would have been in position to shake the
very stars in their heavens. And the servitor could not have
displaced him, either. He might well have become... The One!...
fathering himself on himself, proving Carol Danvers to be the
Celestial Madonna indeed.
the servitor could not allow that. Because at the end of this
scheme, somehow, someway, the One would be born. And as long as the
One was not an iteration of Immortus, then it would be a valid target
for the servitor's powers.
One would assume its destiny, dominating the entire Galaxy, bringing
all of humanity under its loving, beneficent tyranny, creating an
interstellar utopia unprecedented in history.
then, the servitor would displace the One, and rule in its place...!
much remained to be done before then.
first steps were already taken. The servitor had subtly bent
Immortus' mind control beams not just upon the captured women, but
upon both iterations of Immortus, as well. The men had been naked,
relaxed, secure in their timeless sanctuary, certain that they could
not in any way be attacked... and indeed, all the servitor had done
was ensure that they would both become sexually fixated upon, even
obsessed with, Carol Danvers. Because, when their temporally
charged flesh touched Danvers' own substance, empowered so recently
by the Psyche Magnitron, there would be an energy discharge, and the
servitor could use that energy discharge to its own ends.
undetectable portal would be opened, to tumble the more entropically
advanced Immortus through, after a short range, high powered
hypnobeam had permanently addled his long range memories. He would
arrive millenia earlier in his own lifeline, and begin his eternal
cycle once again... his obsession with a mythical 'Celestial
Madonna', from somewhere in the 20th Century, already well rooted in
his younger counterpart, similarly stunned, would remain behind, to
become Immortus, thus continuing the eternal cycle... most
importantly, eventually, to create the servitor itself.
it was started... but there were decades of work ahead of it yet.
Centuries, perhaps. But what did that matter, to a being such as
would self program itself to believe it was a 'Space Phantom'... a
vanguard for a nonexistent race planning to invade Earth, come to
test the planet's mightiest heroes in battle. Should it somehow fail
in combat and be captured, that bit of self hypnosis would keep the
Earthly heroes from learning anything of the truth... and, more
important, keep its creator's various avatars from learning anything
of it, as well.
time, the programmed false knowledge would fade away, letting the
servitor recall its true mission... and its true intentions.
Avengers would defeat it, of course... the memory was clear in the
servitor's semiorganic data processors; non-linear, six dimensional
recall was an attribute nearly unique to it. That damned
pseudosentience inside the Norse Eternal's primitive bashing
weapon... how dare
it pass judgment on the servitor's worthiness to gain the Norse
Eternal's powers! It still galled the servitor to recall it. But
once it engaged its self programming, it would know nothing of it at
the level of surface consciousness. The non linear recollections
would be buried beneath its autohypnotic programming.
after the initial defeat, when the servitor was returned to Limbo, it
would make use of the master's technology to transport itself back to
Earth along with many of the master's machines. It would establish
itself in an unused subterranean warren it was aware of. Then it
would act as if it were 'seeking vengeance' on the odious Avengers
for its earlier defeat... a most illogical and nearly inexplicable
course of action, given the givens, but the servitor knew enough of
the behavior of a typical human 'super villain' to know that no
Earthling of that time and place would think twice about such a
would, briefly, establish dominance over a small sub faction of the
laughable Hydra. It would carefully calibrate all of the technology
at its disposal by running field tests against at least one of these
so called superheroes – perhaps the one called Captain America, he
seemed the most resourceful of the available test subjects. It would
establish a doomed alliance with the farcical Grim Reaper, to further
calibrate its machinery against a larger squadron of heroes... and
all the time that it did this, it would be establishing its primary
identity as 'The Space Phantom', an earthly supervillain of not
insignificant power and repute.
would, once more, allow the Avengers to believe they had defeated it
through a trick any just spawned ameoboid would see through.
then... then it would return to Earth once again, and begin its real
work. Protect Carol Danvers from his master's other avatars?
Certainly. It could replace any being it chose to, and in their
place, it could work its own will without fear of detection.
Replacing that oh so earnest and solemn Watcher just long enough to
place the artificial star in the sky above the domicile of the
Avengers... yes. That would focus Immortus' younger, more savage
avatar on the three women within the edifice at that time. I
the meantime, it would be well positioned. It would have established
an identity that would allow it to interact with the superhuman
community at will, and, of course, it could assume any other identity
it needed to.
would be setbacks, it was aware. At some point, some other agent –
it was, itself, unaware of just who – would either impersonate the
mutated human known as Rogue, or mind control her, into making a
devastating attack on the Danvers female. And then there was
Nightmare's agent Aarkus, slumbering within the body of the android
Avenger, forever striving to sire competing candidates to be 'The
of it would matter. It was adaptible. It was flexible. No other
being in the universe could do what it could. If its ongoing
campaign seemed to go off course, the servitor could replace any
other being it needed to and affect a course correction.
the end, it would rule over all.
AUGH where the hell is the rest of the post GIVE IT TO ME NOW!