You'll take my life, but I'll take yours too

You'll fire your musket, but I'll run you through

So when you're waiting for the next attack

You'd better stand there's no turning back

The bugle sounds as the charge begins

But on this battlefield no one wins

The smell of acrid smoke and horses breath

As you plunge into a certain death

Iron Maiden - "The Trooper"

Finally, the day came. The sky over New York turned red, and a giant Earth was visible in the sky. There was a huge chaos in the streets, but the Ultimates had calculated it and stayed away from street level. Instead, they evacuated a strategically located building, and waited at the top. Hawkeye reminded Fury that they had started working together back in the Cold War, and that they were now leading a superhero group against the end of the world. Fury only allowed himself a brief smile. Hawkeye mentioned then that he was not sure about the plan. Wait the enemy in there? "What would you have me do?", asked Fury, "send all our helicarriers through the gate and start firing at everything that moves?". "Well… kinda. That would be initiative", replied Hawkeye. Fury stood a bit taller and quoted "'Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him'". "Wow!" replied Hawkeye, "what a phrase! Who said it? Was it cap?". Fury smiled and said "Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War'". Then he completed the idea. "When Vision explained the events at Earth-2, I paid full attention, not just to the incursions but also to valuable strategic information said between lines. And one thing I noticed is that they clearly outgun us. They have dozens, perhaps hundreds of metahumans, and their mutant community is still thriving; their attack power is clearly beyond ours, even in our heyday. And it's not just brute power: they still have their Captain America, they also have a Stark, their Peter Parker and Reed Richards are adult superheroes. No. If we attack them, they would obliterate us. So we'll wait, they will send a task force, and fall into our trap."

There was no need to wait too long. A group appeared soon: Iron Man, a man with wings dressed as Captain America, Hulk, Spider-Woman, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, a female Thor and the adult Spider-Man. They landed in the rooftop, as planned… and fell to the ground, like puppets who suddenly had their strings cut. Sue dropped then the invisibility field. "There are four females in this group", said Fury. "Jean, is any of them the one we need?". She said no.

"I guess that you came here expecting to have a big and grand fight, the ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny. Well, we ain't having any of that nonsense," said Fury to the extradimensional heroes. "Ms. Jean Grey here has disabled your main motor skills, so you won't try anything funny. And you, Iron Man, don't bother trying to use your armor. We are inside a EMP area, one kilometer wide. Those kids below will not have their selfies with the incursion, but I'm not joking around here". "You think…" replied Iron Man, with visible difficulty to talk, "that by this stage of my career I don't know how to deal with an EMP?" "I'm sure you do… so this EMP was prepared by our own Tony Stark, specifically having your armor in mind", was Fury calm response. Hawkeye was disappointed, as he was expecting a fight. "Here's more Sun Tzu wisdom for you, Barton: 'the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting'".

"Hey, Miles. Nice to meet you again", said the adult Spider-Man, "How have you been?". Miles pointed that things had not been easy lately, not with Galactus almost destroying the world, telling his father about his secret ID and now the incursions. "Ah, yes, end of the world and whatnot. I had Dr. Octopus living in my body for a time, but you beat me with that. I understand that your Nick Fury is calling the shots here, but can I ask you a little favor? I have a little itch on my left shoulder". "Sorry, Mr. Parker. As you said, Fury is in charge". They were interrupted by Captain America, who had fell next to Spider-Man. "Parker? Like your boss Peter Parker, the owner of Parker Industries? Hey, I didn't suspect it was you! I'm a big fan!". He only muttered "I hate this city!"

"But… we are not your enemies!" protested Iron Man to Fury from the ground. "We are not behind the incursions!". "Yes, I know, you are not the villains here, but we're not the Great Society either. We'll talk, but from a position of strength. We have been watching you, and we know of your failed attempts to save the multiverse." "Then, you must know that there is no hope! There's nothing that can be done!", said Stark, losing his patience. "Oh, there is something that can be done. We have a plan. It's a bit of a longshot, yes, but..." Fury could not end his explanation. "You do? You have a plan? What? What is it?" asked Stark. "We need someone from your dimension. She's called Miss America Chavez. Then…"

He could not continue. Suddenly, they saw the head of a blonde woman with blue lipstick. She said with a grave voice. "IRON MAN! CAPTAIN AMERICA! COME AT ONCE! IT HAS BEGUN! GALACTUS IS DEVOURING THE PLANET!". Vision looked to the other earth and confirmed it: "She's right. The great destroyer is there. He's on top of the Baxter building, preparing his machines to consume the planet. We do not have much time".

"But… that can not be!", replied a surprised Stark. "Galactus? Now? Why? But Pym told us that the Beyonders killed all the cosmic beings!" Fury also seemed to be troubled by this new development. "The why is clear, and it should be for you too. Galactus will try to consume your earth to destroy it, end the incursion and save your universe at the price of your planet. You had seen it at the world where you found Terrax. As for him being alive… perhaps you didn't know it, but your Wolverine caused a disaster by abusing of time travel, and that displaced your Galactus to our universe. We barely managed to get rid of him by moving him to the N-Zone. What happened after that, your guess is as good an mine, but I suspect that he survived in there the intergalactic genocide of his peers and then found a way back to his dimension." For a moment, he considered the options, and continued. "As Helmuth van Moltke put it, 'No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy'. This changes the whole situation. We can not allow your earth to be destroyed. Jean, release them. Stark, turn off the EMP. Now."

The heroes stood up, and Iron Man was visibly confused by this reaction. "I do not understand. This attack of Galactus was a stroke of luck for your universe. You just had to keep us contained, and let Galactus do your job for you. Why are you helping us?" Nick Fury look to the ground, with an ashamed face, and simply said "because I made a promise". But, before they could continue, they saw a projectile crashing over the building next block. It turned out it was Rick Jones, Captain Marvel. "Sorry, guys! I'm still training with planetary entry, I don't know how to get the right speed yet. But in a pair of weeks, top, I will manage to land perfectly, like a superhero!". All the Ultimate heroes facepalmed. "He's their Captain Marvel", mentioned Carol Danvers, who pointed the other "Earth-2" heroes that she had met him some months ago, and reminded them that their own Rick Jones wasn't the brightest bulb in the shed either. He said that the Watchers of the Universe sensed the upcoming crisis and sent him to Earth, but got lost in the way and arrived five months later than intended. Nick Fury called him apart and gave him some instructions, and Captain Marvel teleported somewhere else. Fury told then that they were ready, and both groups departed to the so called "Earth-2".

Pestered by super heroes, Galactus had summoned his army of "Punishers", his destructive robots, to keep them at bay. But this time he was not facing just the Fantastic Four like the first time he tried to consume the planet. Now, everybody was there: the Avengers, the X-Men, the Inhumans, the Young Avengers, the Fearless Defenders, the Avengers Academy, the Eternals, the Runaways, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and even superheroes that usually work alone, like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Punisher. A number of them, including ones who were returning from Earth-1, suddenly vanished in a flash of light, but the others kept fighting. The robots were thus destroyed after some minutes, and the superheroes started attacking him and his machines. Unfazed by the attacks, Galactus said "I have endured enough annoyance from you puny space insects. The time has come to rid myself of such petty nuisances. I can tolerate no further delays, for I have a cosmic time table to observe". And after saying that, he raised his hands to the sky. There was no energy attack from him, but his action became clear soon enough: he derailed the Moon from its orbit and attracted it to himself. Of course, it didn't reach the planet in one piece: first it was deformed by the tidal waves, and then broke in pieces once it crossed the Roche limit. But Galactus did not allow those pieces to drift into Earth's orbit and create a ring, and kept attracting them to himself. It would be a massive asteroid rain, destroying everything in a huge radius, and killing all the superheroes around him. But he was Galactus: he could easily be inside a star if he wanted to, so the asteroids would do nothing to him. Once it was done, he could proceed and destroy the rest of the planet at will.

And yet, there was a handful of survivors. Both teams were coming from the incursion portal while Galactus did this, and the Invisible Woman managed to protect a small area with her forcefield. She did it at random: she did not know anyone from this planet, nor had a lot a time to select. She managed to save some of the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy, along with their equipment, but everything else as far as they could see, the once proud city of New York, was now a devastated wasteland.

"Oh, my stars and garters!" said Beast, "we would all be dead if Sue… wait a moment, you are not Sue! You are a lot younger than her!". The two teams arrived, and got immediately into business. "That's because I'm not the Susan Storm of this world, I'm from the world at the other side of the incursion. But there's no time for pleasantries. We have defeated this monster in our world some months ago, by opening a portal to the N-Zone and pushing him inside of it.", and she quickly started instructing him data for his machines to open the portal. The time-displaced X-Men already knew this other world, but the others were still puzzled by them. Still, no questions were asked, the disaster around them did not allow room for levities.

Back in Earth-1, a computer was suddenly activated. "Incursion in progress, 58% complete. Maker I is dead. Maker II is not here. Initiating project Liferaft." The City destroyed the buildings it had on top and floated like a massive ship, and headed to the incursion point. But Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, was also there, as he was also going towards the incursion point. He only managed to say "what the…?" and clinged to the ship. Whatever was happening, whatever was going on, he thought, that ship had to be involved somehow, and he would have a chance to do something from it.

Sue could not end her instructions: most of the Ultimate heroes suddenly vanished in a flash of light, similar to the one that took the adult Spider-Man, Captain Marvel and some others some minutes earlier. Only the Falcon remained. Sue's help, however, was enough. Beast managed to figure out the missing parts, and opened the portal. But the suction force was not enough to get Galactus inside. Henry Pym decided that it was up to him to get Galactus inside the portal. Beast reminded him that it was not just a thing of size, that Galactus had massive cosmic powers, and Pym had just the amplified strength of a common man. But he insisted: if not him, who else? All the heroes outside the forcefield were dead. He approached Galactus thinking "this is my moment! This is what people will remember about me!". But things did not went the way he thought. When he got near Galactus, the cosmic monster turned and gave him a giant slap. From then on, it was clear that he was not going to be enough.

"Well, so much for that idea!", said a resigned Rocket. "I said that we shouldn't had come to this giant, stinkin' piece of garbage, but as usual, nobody cares about what I say". Falcon then had an idea. "Wait a moment... do you mean that you are aliens? And do you have a space ship?". "Of course we are aliens!" replied an angry Rocket. "What, do I look like a stinkin' human?". "Sorry, I'm from another universe, and I'm not sure what to expect. For all I know, you could be either a mutated human, or the emissary of a superior and enlightened alien race". Rocket suddenly smiled. "Ha! A superior alien race! I like this guy, y'all. Yes, if that's the way you want to spend your last moments, let's go and see the Milano, my space ship". So they teleported to the ship, that fortunately was stationed in a high orbit. Sam, however, was only interested in the propulsion systems, and the light-speed capabilities. Rocket explained that there was a system that increased the speed exponentially, and then another that made the jump to lightspeed. Sam already suspected it, but had another plan: to turn on the light speed mode right away. "Are you out of your flarkin' mind? Do you have any idea of what would happen if an object suddenly got into light speed like that? And here, still in a planetary area?" Yes, Sam had a very good idea of it. He aimed the ship to the portal, said "This is for Vision!" and turned it on. In an instant, Galactus and Pym were cut in half, and then sucked by the portal. The force of impact is (0. V2) / D, with M being the mass of the milano, D the distance between it and Galactus, and V... the speed of light. The force of impact of this solid object was in the thousands of millions of giganewtons, and not even Galactus could withstand that.

Nick Fury, Sue Storm, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Vision, Jean Grey, Kitty Pryde and Jimmy Hudson found themselves into the City, the great ship. Nick and Sue were furious, they had not ordered it to do this, and now it may have endangered everything. But the city insisted: the survival of the Maker and the City's experiments was of utmost importance, so it released a gas to render them all unconscious. It also released a wave that affected Vision's brain, causing a similar effect. The ship moved to the central area in the point between the incursions, were survival was most likely. The life raft of the Earth-2 Future Foundation did the same thing. Peter Parker was still clinging to the ship. And yes, he felt tempted to cry out "Mephisto!", and for a moment he thought he saw his red visage in the distance. Or was it just an optical illusion? Or a mere case of pareidolia? In any case, no sound came out of his mouth.

Galactus was finally defeated and the portal closed, but there was no time to celebrate: the incursion ended. A great white light consumed all. The Multiverse was destroyed. The last remaining universes collided. The heroes of Earth-1 and Earth-2 were powerless to stop it. The final incursion destroyed everything in existence.

Will silence set in?

Will existence begin again?

From far beyond, the ending of all time

I saw the light, saving me from the night

Iron Savior - "Prisoners of the void"

The Ultimate heroes will return