Marvel Fanfare

Force Works/

West Coast Avengers

The lies that make the World go 'round

Part 1

The first shot

Deep Space, the planet Xandar, home of the Nova Corps

Queen Adora, leader of the reconstructed planet of Xandar and Prime Commandant of the intergalactic police force known as the Nova Corps, couldn't remember another time in history when as many people relied upon her people for protection and aid as they did now. It hadn't always been this way, of course.

To begin with, the planet Xandar had once been rendered lifeless by the space pirate Nebula and her pirate armada, Xandar destroyed almost to the last man, woman and child and it's legendary police force, the Nova Corps, wiped out as well. But luckily for Xandar and those who now depended on them, that was only a temporary state of affairs. Richard Rider, the man called Nova and his young superhero companions, the New Warriors, had managed to reactivate Xandar's all important supercomputer, the Worldmind, who in turn resurrected Xandar back to it's old glory. Since that time, the returned planet welcomed with open arms refugees from dozens of different galaxies fleeing all manners of wars. The finest among these refugees were even rewarded with membership in the revived Nova Corps. Though the citizens of Xandar were an odd collection from too many different planets and cultures to count, they were loyal one and all to the revived planet and the ideals of its powerful police force.

But even these warriors and their queen oft times wondered if they were strong enough to carry the burden they were now faced with. Recently, the Shi'ar Empire, the strongest and largest (albeit by a narrow margin) power in the known universe, was almost completely crippled. Dozens of Shi'ar worlds were destroyed by an unknown force, utterly laid to waste. As if that wasn't enough, the worlds destroyed were seemingly selected for their importance to the Shi'ar. They were targeted for being strategically placed military bases, worlds rich in rare minerals or involved in the construction of vital machinery. It was a wonder that the Shi'ar Empire survived at all.

But while the Shi'ar Empire did indeed survive, it retreated inwards, silently abandoning its defense treaties and security that the large empire once offered to satellite planets. And unfortunately, the Skrull and Kree Empires were still going strong. They were hardly thriving, but the militaristic empires had plenty of muscle to spare.

So naturally, planets began flocking to Xandar for defense and security, as it was the only empire remotely strong enough to ward off the remaining two. So many planets were fleeing to Xandar's aid in fact that it was decided to move the head of the empire to Galador, as it was the best location from which to deploy peace-keepers, among other reasons. And that meant even more work for the Queen, who often felt as though she had the weight of the universe upon her shoulders (and she wasn't far off). As she sat in her throne at the head of her command table surrounded by her many advisors, she found herself almost wishing she'd never been resurrected.

"Planet Forso reports that a plague has broken out amongst its population." An adviser informed the Queen, "so far the death toll has been low, but no one expects that to last. What are your suggestions?"

"Planet Forso is due to meet with an envoy from the Skrull Empire in four weeks time," Adora said matter of factly, "that's likely all the time that is needed for this plague to become a full scale epidemic. Begin studying Skrull anti bodies immediately. I very much doubt they would allow their custom made plague to harm themselves. And begin planning a raid of Ohmar 4, where the Skrulls store their bioweapons. We've tolerated them long enough. Next order of business?"

Another advisor looked at his space age note-pad, "The Kree have begun placing hyper-spacial missiles on Turhun 9. From that planet, they have an excellent line of sight at Khan 2, where the majority of our cargo ships are being retrofitted. If they take out that port, they'll…

"Be able to do nothing." Queen Adora finished for the advisor. "Turhun 9 is at the far edge of the Kree Empire. The system around Khan 2 has no natural star gates, and can't support artificially created ones either. As a result, any Kree invasion from that system would be almost completely devoid of supply lines. At any rate, increase sensor scans to discourage anymore build up, and please be more careful in the future. Now more than ever, we cannot allow ourselves to fall for the Supreme Intelligence's feints."

"True words were never spoken, my Queen." The holographic image representing the Xandar Worldmind shimmered into sight above the table. A blue hologram of a scholarly bald, bearded man looked at his queen with a seriousness that instantly drew her attention, "And fittingly enough, it is because of the Supreme Intelligence that I feel compelled to interrupt this meeting."

"Then speak. What concerns you?"

If a holographic representation of an entire world' cultures and knowledge could visibly show alarm, it was doing so now, "I have reason to believe that the Supreme Intelligence has a mole in Earth's mightiest heroes, the Avengers."

Queen Adora barely prevented herself from gasping aloud in fear, while all but one member of her staff gasped aloud and quickly began murmuring amongst themselves.

"I must say, I fail to see any cause for concern. Why should we be worried about a small band of adventurers from some backwater world?" The lone advisor said, cutting thru all conversations and discussions like a hot knife thru butter. Slowly, those whose mouths weren't gaping open in astonishment turned and began glaring daggers at the man.

"What?"

"When the Kree Skrull came to a standstill for the first time in thousands of years," Adora stated thru gritted teeth, absolutely appalled by the advisor's ignorance, "the Avengers were directly involved. When the Shi'ar and Kree went to war, it was the Avengers who tipped the scales in the Shi'ar's favor. When the Kree sought to reinstate their empire on Earth, it was the Avengers who thwarted them. And when the Shi'ar Empire was devastated, the Avengers were similarly involved. That is why we are concerned."

"To say nothing of the other groups of terrains." Another advisor muttered, "those Starjammers and that whole Phoenix debacle…

The advisor slunk into his chair and tried to make himself as invisible as best he could while Queen Adora turned her attention back to the Worldmind, "I'm aware of the majority of Avengers who have served, Worldmind. Whom is believed to be the mole?"

"Captain Marvel, of Titan."

This time, Queen Adora had to prevent herself from scowling, "That half breed bastard continues to be a stain on his father's legacy, it seems."

"So it appears. Our spies closest to the Kree commander tell me that they have some sort of alliance. Sadly, our intelligence on what sort of alliance is sketchy at best."

"I remember reading some reports about this whelp. Isn't he gifted with cosmic awareness like his father?" Adora asked, "he may be spying on us as we speak."

"The boy does indeed possess cosmic awareness." The Worldmind answered, "thankfully, I believe our head scientist, after a fashion, has discovered a way to confuse and hide ourselves from his notice."

"How can you be certain?"

"Because we're still here." The Worldmind dead-panned.

Queen Adora steepled her hands together before her, "Very well. Thankfully, the Nova Corps has an agent on earth, one more than willing to leap into the maw of death to investigate these claims, if need be."

Earth, Metro City

"No freakin' way, Adora! Find yourself some other cannon fodder to get their heads caved in!"

Queen Adora, or at least a shimmering aquatic blue holographic projection being beamed from the planet Xandar into the bathroom of Richard Rider, otherwise known as Nova the Human Rocket, rubbed the bridge of her nose in frustration. She expected some reluctance, but hardly expected the level of resentment she was seeing now from one of the Nova Corps' most legendary member.

Richard Rider, clad only in a pair of boxer shorts, pointed an accusing finger at Queen Adora, an act consider as obscene on Xandar as spitting on the flag in America, and his chest tightening in anger as he said "I'm not a damned dog who asks how high when you say jump. Especially when you say 'go after the Avengers!'"

"No, you're not a dog," Adora snapped, "you're a member of the Nova Corps…"

"Whom you've all but disowned up until now." Nova snarled, "Remember?"

"After you defied a direct order!"

"I was in the middle of saving my world! What'd you expect?" Nova demanded.

"For you to do your duty as a member of the Nova Corps!"

"I've done my duty better than any other damn member you've got." Nova spat venomously. He knew it was risky talking to Queen Adora like this, but some things he felt just had to be said, "I was the one who turned the tide in the final battle with the Skrulls. I was the one who single handily revived Xandar, and the one who defeated Kraa!" Nova held up three fingers, "That's three times I did a job no one else in the Corps could. And my thanks? You took away my life…I mean my powers twice and left me to rot. So forgive me for not trusting you and needing something more than 'investigate Captain Marvel's alliance with the Avengers' when you bark out orders. Spill it, Adora. What's the deal? I'm not gonna jump thru hoops and piss off the most powerful heroes on my planet just because you say so."

Adora sighed, her anger at being disrespected so tempered by the fact that Rider did have a point. He had a right to be both distrustful and angry, after all "Very well, Rider. My spies within the Kree Empire tell me that the Supreme Intelligence has some sort of alliance with Captain Marvel. I'll be honest, we don't know what the agreement is, save that it exists. I swear this to you upon my royal honor."

Nova's jaw dropped, and the queen of Xandar continued,

"I'm not asking you to combat the Avengers. How you approach the situation is up to you. But for the good of the Xandar and those who now need our help, I need to know. Any more questions?"

Nova rubbed the back of his neck and glanced away, now feeling a little guilty about his suspicions. Once Adora quoted Royal honor, all reservations disappeared. Back on Xandar, Royal Honor was like honor's honor's honor on Xandar. No way was Adora yanking his chain, "Just one. Does this Cap have cosmic consciousness like his dad?"

"Cosmic awareness." Adora corrected, "and yes, Captain Marvel does indeed possess it much like his father."

"So what's to prevent him from seeing us coming a mile away?" Nova inquired, "if you're right and this guy's working for the Kree, then I'd be walking into a trap face first."

"Our greatest scientist has devised a method with which to conceal yourself from the from his prying eyes." The image of Adora altered and shifted, into that of a blue globe. Slowly, the blue globe contracted inwards to reveal a single silver wristband, "This was created by our greatest scientist, Professor Plaut. This plaut devise should protect you while you plan your next move."

"Plaut devise. Lord…" Nova muttered.

"Any more questions?"

"No, I guess."

"Good. I'll await your report."

Nova eyed the plaut devise he held in his hand and sighed, "Dani's gonna love this."

"No freakin' way!" Shouted Danielle Moonstar, leader of Force Works.

Force Works was gathered in their meeting hall, sitting patiently in full uniform and watching as, for what had to be the thousandth time, Richard Rider and Danielle Moonstar, argued about team tactics.

"We're not taking on the West Coast Avengers!" Mirage repeated.

"I'm not talkin' about fighting the Avengers, just confronting them and seeing what the deal is with Captain Marvel." Nova stated.

"Yeah, we all know how rare it is for two different hero teams to come into conflict over a misunderstanding." Speedball quipped.

"Robbie, shut up."

"Richie, are you sure about this?" Namorita, Nova's long time lover, asked.

"Positive. As much as it tears me up to say this, Adora ain't yanking our chains here. If she says that Captain Marvel is working with the Kree, then he's workin' with the Kree."

"But these are the Avengers." Arsenal stated, "I mean, they wouldn't let someone they didn't trust onto the team, would they?"

"Why not? We did." Speedball answered, thumbing towards X-Treme. X-Treme ignored the insinuation.

"To be honest, Rich, I'm not to sure about this." X-Treme said, "I've met Captain Marvel, and got a good feel for the guy. He doesn't strike me as someone to ally with the Kree."

"That may be, Adam.. Adora didn't know what the situation was exactly. For all we know, he may just run pizza for them."

"Couldn't we call the other Avengers? The east coast Avengers?" Tarene asked.

"It's just the Avengers, dear." Kymaera informed her, "and we don't exactly have the most credibility with them."

"Why's that?" Wolfsbane asked.

"Because me, Nova and 'Nita broke into Avengers mansion to steal a quinjet to fight an evil, magical housekeeper." Speedball said with a straight face.

Dani pressed her hand to her head and muttered, "Spirits, I'm in charge of a loony bin."

"So, what are we going to do?" Nova asked, "if you guys don't want to do this, fine. I'll do it myself.. But it has to be done."

"Then lets do it right," Mirage stated, her tone laced with authority, "First, we need to double check what Adora told you. No offense Rich, but we've all see how leaders can be misled by faulty intelligence into making poor decisions. Adam?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you have any sources on earth that could possibly confirm what Adora's said?"

"I have one source. I'll need Bobby, though."

"Okay. While Adam's doing that, Nova I want you to use your spaceship and call... Titan was it? If anyone knows there's something wrong with Captain Marvel, it would be them."

"Got it."

"Taki, I want you to start researching any and all ways to combat the current roster of West Coast Avengers. Weapons, battle tactics, anything you can think of. And do it quickly."

The team suddenly, Minus Wiz Kid, stared at Dani like she'd just suggested assaulting the president.

"Uhh, Dani? Isn't that a little harsh?" Arsenal asked.

"Spare me." Dani snapped, "Worst case scenario, Captain Marvel and Supreme Intelligence are close allies and he's using Captain Marvel as his mole in the Avengers. He's had plenty of time now to get them under his thumb."

"So we need to be prepared." Kymaera finished.

"For the fight of our lives if it comes down to it," Danielle stated in all seriousness, "because I don't care how good we think we are, these are the Avengers. 'Nuff said."

"I can't believe you don't come up here more often." Speedball confided to Nova as he looked down upon the entirety of earth that lay outside the window. Speedball was riding shotgun with Nova in one of his smaller ships while the Human Rocket piloted the ship.

"Why? The view's not that great and space is cold, dark and empty." Nova answered as he kept looking forward, "like your love life."

"Oh, that was beneath the belt, man. So do you know the phone number for Titan?"

Nova eased the ship into the landing bay with practiced skill and then stood up from his chair and strolled towards the ship's exit and walked down the ramp, "No, but it's programmed into the ship's computers I think. We'll just give them a buzz, get a low down on this Captain Marvel loser and go from there."

"This an awful lot of fuss over one guy, ya know." Speedball commented as the two former Warriors strolled down the hall.

"Not really." Nova countered, "see, if this guy's anything like his dad, we might be in serious trouble. Mar-vell, he was a freaking legend, man. I mean, the Nova Corps made Mar-vell an honorary member just like the Avengers. Captain Mar-vell was like the Captain America of outer space, whuppin' ass despite incredible odds."

By now, the two had reached the communication bay. Nova pulled up a chair and began pressing buttons, bringing the systems to readiness.

"Hope the voice command still works." Nova wished aloud, "Computer? Open a…umm…"

"Channel?"

"Yeah, computer, open a channel to Titan."

Acknowledged. The synthetic computer voice droned.

"Guess those hours of Star Trek paid off, huh?"

"Says the guy who can't even use his own tools."

No response. Next command?

"Maybe the line's busy?" Speedball proposed. Nova ignored the comment and typed a few commands into the consul.

"This can't be right…"

"What?"

Nova leaned back in his chair and rubbed his chin thoughtfully, "According to the sensors, Titan, the planet, isn't there any more."

"Uhh, that's a joke, right bucket head?" Speedball asked incredulously. He didn't want to think about the power needed to make a planet disappear, or worse, destroy it.

"Probably. I've always had a hard time makin' heads or tails of most of the stuff around here to begin with." Nova turned the sensors off and stood up, "Come on, lets get outta here. I just hope Adam's having better luck than us with his 'big source'."

Florida Everglades

Having spent the last two hours trudging thru thick swamp waters and at times cutting their way thru what almost seemed, alien fauna, Arsenal found himself for the first time questioning his friend's sanity. After all, Adam stopped at seemingly random times to turn in a new direction, then minutes later changing direction yet again and heading even deeper into the swamp. Arsenal almost suspected X-Treme was lost and simply didn't want to admit it, but Adam's face bore a look of both serious and aloofness. It was almost as if X-Treme was mediating while he walked. Finally, Adam stopped on a dime and pointed.

"There. The people we need to see are there."

"Lemme get this straight. One of the most reliable sources for information in the known universe, is in there." Bobby asked, unable to hide his utter disbelief. After all, X-Treme was pointing at a dilapidated shack that looked too rustic for even the local wildlife to squat in.

"Correct."

"You know Adam, I've never doubted you before, but now seems like a good time to start."

X-Treme said nothing in reply as they approached the shack. Rather, he reached into his pocket, withdrew some silver dust, and sprinkled it in front of the entryway. Still ignoring Arsenal, Adam clasped his hands together and began chanting. words Arsenal couldn't hope to understand. He'd heard Adam speak (and curse) in Shi'ar once or twice before, and the chanting he heard now sounded nothing like that. After several minutes, Adam stopped suddenly and motioned for Arsenal to approach.

"They're waiting." Was all Adam said as he cracked open the door to the shack, a bright black light escaping thru the cracks. Arsenal brought his arms up to defend himself as he and X-Treme as the black light reached out from inside the cabin and engulfed the two heroes.

When Arsenal opened his eyes again, the sight that greeted him was unlike anything he'd ever seen before. The landscape was a lush, alien world with bright red trees, insects the size large dogs fluttering about and waterfalls that drained sideways into invisible lakes.

"Okay, did you slip me some alien drug or something?" Arsenal inquired as he scanned the alien landscape.

"Actually, I've brought you to a pocket dimension that's the home of a great cosmic contemplator and philosopher. Operating on the higher plains as he does, he's privy to a great deal of information."

"Ah, Adam. It's been quite some since you've graced me with your presence." A voice boomed over the landscape. Arsenal began searching for the source of the voice, and found no one besides him and X-Treme in the alien landscape. He observed X-Treme looking skyward, and followed suit.

And despite all he'd seen in his time as a member of Force Works, what he saw left him utterly speechless. High up in the star filled sky was plump, bald robed man literally looking down from the sky. The man wasn't looking down from the sky, rather he was the sky. Starts defined his head, his eyes and mouth. It was as if someone turned the Big Dipper into a Buddha.

"Greetings Adam, to you and your friend. What brings you to my humble abode?"

"Oh great thinker, Ahl Bundi," Arsenal looked at X-Treme with a raised eye brow, "we seek information regarding a possible alliance between Captain Marvel and the Kree's Supreme Intelligence."

"This I know, Adam Sol. However, you know my rule." The great cosmic thinker stated, "I can give nothing without first receiving."

"That is why have brought my friend." X-Treme answered.

"Uhhh, Adam, what's the idea here?"

"Bobby, just me trust me."

Before Arsenal could react, he felt a chill down his spine, and a slight buzzing in his skull for several short seconds. Once it was over, Bobby felt more clear headed than he could ever remember.

"What happened?"

"I merely copied your life's memories, which I will examine and meditate on later." The cosmic contemplator explained, "they look to be most interesting and rest assured, no one but myself shall ever know of this transaction."

"We have given you our payment, great Bundi. Now it is time for your part of the bargain." Adam stated evenly.

"You stand on formality far too much, young warrior." The cosmic thinker expression turned serious, "it actually pleases me to inform someone of the lower plains of Captain Marvel's doing. He does indeed have an alliance with the Supreme Intelligence, one of military support. Beyond that, I simply don't know. The Supreme Intelligence is a crafty creature, sadly."

X-Treme bowed respectfully, "Thank you for the information, great Bundhi. We will be on our way. Please be well."

As the two heroes left, the great cosmic contemplator shook his head remorsefully. He dearly wished he could have told them more, but like so many mortals, they simply didn't ask the right questions.

"So, what do we have?" Danielle asked as Force Works was once again gathered in their meeting hall, this time to compare notes.

"Nothing to refute what Adora was saying, and everything to confirm it." Namorita summerize.

"And if it comes to it, a few anti-Avengers tricks." Wiz Kid added proudly.

"Did you come up with that other thing I asked for?" Mirage inquired.

"Of course."

"Good." Danielle leaned back in her chair and thought about the risky task ahead of her team and the potential for things to go very wrong. She wondered if this was how Custer felt when he fought his last against her ancestors, "Okay, here's what we're going to do. We're going to fly to the West Coast and confront the Avengers with what we've found. I don't care if they're on a mission or at home, they are going to see us and we are going to get this matter resolved. But under no conditions do we throw the first punch or fire the first shot. And if it comes to a fight, we can't pull our punches. Earth's mightiest heroes isn't hyperbole. Understand?"

No one answered audibly, rather they allowed the awkward silence speak for them., and it spoke volumes.

"Good. Now lets head out and hope this is all a pointless exercise."

"I'm positive everything is fine," Tarene said reassuringly, "I mean, the Avengers are earth's mightiest heroes. They wouldn't let anyone join they didn't trust, would they?"

"I really don't trust that guy." Darkhawk muttered to himself as he observed Captain Marvel outside the quinjet window. The team had gotten a distress call from Blackhawk Airforce Base, something about an experimental generator being hijacked in transit, and Captain Marvel had, as always, shown up just in time to be apart of the mission. Like always, Captain Marvel choose to fly under his own power, apart from his teammates.

"What was that 'Hawk?" Vagabond asked from her seat in front of the former vigilant.

"Uhh, are we there yet?"

"We're almost there now, 'Hawk, hold your horses." Hawkeye answered from the pilot's seat. Within another thirty seconds, the quinjet was within the military base's airspace and Hawkeye thumbed the jet's communicator, "Marv! We're coming up on the base now. Cover us while we set down." Hawkeye looked over his shoulder at Warbird and Iron Man, "You two go help the star spangled kid, just in case."

The two Avengers said nothing as they stood up and left via the drop-hatch. They both suspected Hawkeye had sent them out for reasons other than to assist Captain Marvel, but kept those thoughts to themselves.

Hawkeye tensed his nerves as the quinjet flew over the main landing strip of the airfield. Even though three powerful Avengers were on hand to protect them while they landed, he knew from experience how easy it was for a single to slip past the most alert protectors. His nerves weren't helped in the slightest when he saw that, stationed at the end of the strip, were over two dozen heavily armed men casually standing about, as if waiting for something.

Surprisingly however, landing was easy. The men made no moves to attack whatsoever while Hawkeye set the quinjet down. As he jumped out of the quinjet, Hawkeye quickly accessed the situation. No airmen were in sight, and the two dozen men were all dressed in combat fatigues and carrying assault rifles were impossible to confuse with any serving military men. Five of the men (three men two women, actually), stood towards the front, wearing similar combat fatigues with special harnesses that glowed yellow and black which to Hawkeye's experienced mind clearly indicated superpowers.

And so, flanked by his teammates, Hawkeye decided to open a dialogue. To gauge the situation, if nothing else, "I don't suppose you guys have a perfectly good reason for being here, do you?"

A muscular, well built man stepped forward and said, "The name's Hardtime, and we're Shadowforce, Avenger. We're here for money and revenge against the government for using us as experiments." One of the men behind Hardtime grew to a height of 24 feet and regarded the Avengers with a contemptuous chuckle, "that good enough for you?"

"Nope," Hawkeye removed an arrow from his quiver, notched it in his bow and let it fly, where it harmlessly exploded against Hardtime's hardair shield, "Iron Man, get Paul Bunion! Warbird, Cap, take out their big guns while I get the boss! Rest of you, nail the cannon fodder!"

Earth's mightiest heroes leaped into action as the legendary battle cry went out, "Avengers Assemble!"

Iron Man rocketed towards the giant member of Shadowforce known as Oversize. Oversize pulled his fist back, intending to swat the much smaller man out of the air. Before he was able to put his plan into action, Iron Man unleashed a quick photon volley that blinded the behemoth.

"Yeearrg!" Blinded, the man never saw the haymaker that snapped his head backwards and dislodged several watermelon sized teeth.

"Ambush will tear you apart, little girl!" Vagabond barely ducked under the feral lunge (and subsequent claws) of the lion woman who'd chosen Priscilla as a sparring partner. As the woman continued on her path, Vagabond spun around to face her foe and quickly developed a plan.

"You? Pul-leeze! You're just some sad copy of some other two bit loser." Vagabond mocked.

With a snarl, Ambush attacked the Avenger exactly like before, even more intent on removing Vagabond's head from her shoulders. Only this time, Vagabond was prepared. As Ambushed soared towards her, Vagabond lashed out with the palm of her left hand and smashed it into Ambush's lower jaw while she reached out with her right hand and gripped the other woman's wrist whole she was still in midair. In one quick fluid motion, Vagabond pulled the stunned Ambush up and over and then slammed the woman back on the ground, hard. Ambush was out like a light.

"Booya!" Vagabond shouted triumphantly over Ambush's defeated form.

Captain Marvel observed his teammates defeat Shadowforce and their hired mercenaries with general disinterest. His teammates didn't need his power to defeat these men, so Genis thought it best to concentrate on why these men were here. He could sense that the energy generator that they'd been called in to protect was already spirited away, so why did the men remain? Genis could also sense that none of the airmen stationed at the base had signaled the distress call, another mystery. So Genis concentrated and focused his vast cosmic awareness on the situation. Soon, all would be laid out before him, clear as water..

Generally, the process took only a few seconds. But after twenty seconds of concentration, Genis, utterly astonished, found himself saying something he never thought he'd ever say again, "I...don't know."

In one smooth motion, Hawkeye leaped forward to dodge a giant solid air hammer that crushed the earth where he'd just been, pulled an arrow from his quiver as he rolled forward and leveled it at Hardtime, "Stand down buddy, or else. We've just about wrapped up your friends."

"That arrow won't do jack against my hardair shield, Avenger. I know what I'm doing." Hardtime sneered as he pulled his fist back for another shot.

Hawkeye clucked his tongue in irritation and left his shaft fly, "So do I. I'm not blind, by the way."

The shaft would have hit Hardtime right between the eyes were it not for his forcefield. It stuck the shield, snapped...and then exploded in a blinding burst of light. Hardtime shouted out in pain, but to his credit managed to keep his forcefield surrounding his body.

Hawkeye notched another arrow, but before he could fire it, a red haired woman sheathed in an orange and black forcefield like the X-Men's Cannonball, slammed into the ground twelve feet away like a run away comet. Her name was Airborne, and her costume was torn and frayed while her face looked like it'd just seen several barfights, but to her credit, she was still conscious, if only barely. She struggled to lift herself up with her hands, but after a second the effort became too much and she slumped unconscious.

"Hawk, stop playing around and finish the guy." Warbird sighed as she lowered herself to the ground, not a scratch or mark to be seen on her entire body. There was a minor tremor that followed that indicated that Iron Man had defeated his oppenent.

And so, without further delay, Hawkeye fired a tear gas arrow at Hardtime. Despite the fact that his forcefield protected him from almost all physical attacks, by it's very nature it was porous to allow the man within to still breath. Hardtime began hacking and wheezing as the tear gas burned his lungs and his eyes watered uncontrollably.

Turning away from his opponent, Hawkeye did a quick assessment of the battlefield. Dawkhawk and Two-Gun had mopped up the Shadowforce's hired help while Warbird, Iron Man and Vagabond had finished Shadowforce themselves while Captain Marvel...hovered several hundred feet above the airstrip.

"What the hell is he doing?" Hawkeye asked Warbird, astonished by the cosmic Avenger's random behavior in the middle of a fight. Carol simply shrugged her shoulders in response.

"Yo 'Hawk, these guys are fading out!" Vagabond cried out. The Avenging archer turned his attention towards the mercenaries. In particular, how they were slowly surrounded by blue globes on energy that shrank inwards, spiriting the men away with them.

"Jus' what in tarnation is goin' on?" Two-Gun Kid exclaimed.

"Damn it, they're teleporting out! Iron Man...!"

"I've got their teleporter frequency, Clint." Iron Man's filtered, electronic voice stated, unconcerned, "anywhere they go, we can follow. Wait..."

"What is it?"

"According to my sensors, there are two different frequencies leading to two different locations."

"We'll figure it out in a sec." Hawkeye pointed towards Captain Marvel, "but we need to have a little sit down with Cap about the concept of teamwork and following freakin' orders."

"Hawkeye, we may have another problem. My sensors just detected an unknown aircraft approaching our location."

"We've been made." X-Treme reported to Mirage as he and Arsenal guided the Stealthwing towards the Avenger's present location. Captain Marvel could be seen far in the distance thru glass of the main cockpit, but he fast approaching.

"Stay ready. I don't think he'll make a move in front of the others, but you never know." Mirage ordered, "we want to avoid a fight, if possible."

Captain Marvel struggled to get a reading of the craft that (unknown to him) carried Force Works, but it was proving damn near impossible. The plaut possessed by Nova emitted a special vibrational frequency that weakened the barrier between alternate realities in ways unpercievably to all but the most powerful of sensors and of course, those gifted with cosmic awareness. Every time he attempted to bring his powerful gift to bear with regards to Force Works, his mind was deluged with thousands upon thousands of possibilities, a world dominated by flying rodents, a world where an alein cast from his home planet was adopted by simple farmers and became his world's greatest hero, a flying purple dinosuar, and more still. His mind was forced to shut down his cosmic awareness lest he go mad from pure information overload.

In fact, his vast powers of knowledge could divine only one thing about these sudden new comers. Not that they were heroes, not that they came in prepared peace. No, whether it was his cosmic awareness, his barely developed and under trained personal instincts or something else entirely, he only knew one thing about these new comers for certain.

That, whoever these people approaching were, they knew one of his secrets. Genis knew this for a fact, otherwise why would they be armed with a devise specially designed to confuse and obstruct his cosmic awareness?

So Genis, cosmic protector and heir to the legacy of the great Captain Marvel, his father, did the only thing he could do in a situation like this.

He raised his negabands towards Force Works' plane...and fired.