Not long ago:
At the edge of everything, the prison where the being known as the Challenger float at the Far Shore. The once great Challenger has powerful cosmic restraints around his hands and ankles as he looks up at monitors which depict Avengers in combat. Voyager hovers alongside him, as the Challenger addresses her by her given name, Va Nee Gast, and tells her that he doesn't fully understand this, and asks what makes these Avengers fight like they do against gods and god killers? 'They're just... mortal. What drives them on? What could possibly -' the Challenger begins, before he and Voyager are both overcome by a strange pain that surges through their bodies. 'What was that? That burst of agony...' the confused Challenger asks. Voyager tells the Challenger that she felt it, too, like something tearing at the skin of the universe. She opens a portal to Mount Olympus. 'Immortals at play...' Challenger mutters. 'A nostalgic sight, but -' he begins, before Voyager shushes him and tells him to watch.
An instant later, the ground breaks up beneath Mount Olympus, and a striking pale-skinned woman in a black dress appears, with several other pale-skinned beings, the twins Apate and Dolos. Apate has red markings on her face and arms, while Dolos is balding and has blue markings. Hypnos wears a costume like Thor, and is a large powerful figure, and finally Oizys, a strange, slithering create with glowing green eyes. 'Gods of Olympus. Do you remember my name?' the woman calls out. Zeus look on in horror, wide-eyed, 'It cannot be...' he utters, before telling Hermes to run and find Hercules, to tell him that the Queen of Night has returned. 'I do your bidding, father -' Hermes begins as he speeds away, while Hypnos steps in front of him and declares that he must do his mother's bidding, as he casts a sleep-dust over Hermes, who stops in his tracks and falls into Hypnos' arms. 'It'll go easier that way' Hypnos remarks as he plunges a sword into Hermes' chest.
'You locked me away, Lord Zeus. Sent me to rot until the sun was parted from the Earth. But then the sun was torn from the sky. I am free – free to see what you've all been doing. And what do I find?' Nyx calls out, while Apate grabs Artemis, 'No – too fast -' Artemis utters, as Dolos leaps towards Athena who raises her shield and asks their father for help. Nyx declares that the Olympians' only epics are past glories, their once-great poetry now mere banter – they are unworshipped and uncaring. 'Murderers! I'll destroy you for -' Apollo calls out as he leaps towards Nyx, a radiant glow surrounding him, but he is overcome by Nyx, whose darkness wraps around him as she remarks that the Olympians are too weak to resist the true death. 'NO!' Zeus booms as lightning crackles around his fists as he tells the Queen of Night that she will die for this. 'Foul demon of the dark -' Zeus begins, his lightning striking Nyx, but she stands her ground, doesn't even flinch. 'Demon? I gave you all I had. I gave you the unknown and the unknowable. I gave you the night -' Nyx frowns as she grabs Zeus by his throat and tells him that he wasted it.
'She's killed them all -' Voyager gasps, as the Challenger tells her that this is revenge, a motive he understands, and that the Queen of Night won't be stopped until someone stops her. Voyager is conflicted, she tells the Challenger that she can't leave, as she has a responsibility. 'Someone has to guard you -' she begins, which causes the Challenger to smirk and ask her if she can stay. 'When did the Earth part from the sun? Was it when we moved it? For our game?' the Challenger wonders. 'Did you free her?' he asks Voyager.
The Queen of Night touches Zeus' face as Oizys wraps herself around Zeus' neck, 'Despair...despair' she projects into Zeus' mind. 'Oh...oh this grief... my heart...' Zeus utters, while Nyx tells him to hush, and that he has been touched by her most favored offspring – Misery. Nyx puts her face against Zeus' and asks him what he did with the night shards within her soul when he cast her down and took the night shards. Tears fall from Zeus' eyes as he reveals that he placed one with an ally in a place of knowledge, one with an enemy in a place of dreams and one in a far-off paradise. Lightning begins to dart from Zeus' eyes as he tries to resist Nyx, he declares that Nyx will learn no more. 'I see' Nyx responds, while Zeus warns her that when his son learns of this, he will being the forces of the age upon her head. Zeus declares that her has felt the power of the new heroes, the Avengers of the wronged. 'They are truly Earth's mightiest – and you will never -' Zeus starts to say, before Nyx snaps his neck, 'The light is yours no longer. You will not be missed' she utters.
Fires burn across Mount Olympus, as the gods lay fallen. Nyx turns to her children and tells them that the gods are dead, but that there is on more yet to be done – this universe is spoiled. Nyx explains to her children that once she regains the shards of her missing power, she can wipe this universe clean and start a better one – but for now, now she lays claim to Mighty Zeus' throne. Nyx smiles as she declares that the bare beginning of her full power – the day of the Gods is done. 'Let fall the night' she calls out as she snaps her fingers, and plunges the universe into darkness. Nyx sits on Zeus' throne, and her children gather around her.
'She won't be stopped' Voyager utters, realizing that there is no choice. 'No. You can't fight it alone, either' the Challenger tells Voyager, smirking as he tells her to go assemble her Avengers. 'I look forward to your return' he tells Voyager as she vanishes through a portal.
Sometimes, people ask Hawkeye how he odes what he does – wondering if he is just lucky, or what. But Clint Barton knows that there is actually a pretty simply secret, in this world, one minute everything is kay, or not okay, but predictable. But it never lasts. Your luck runs out – and there is never any warning. And suddenly, it's all on you. To fight gods and god killers. To fight a whole world that wants to crush you and crush your friends. You've only got what's in your hands. A bow and arrow against the lightning. So how does he do it? How do you fight when there is no hope? How do you fight the end of the world – how do you do what he does? Hawkeye has no idea – there has gotta be something to it, it can't just be luck. All he knows is, if he stopped to think about he would never get anything done.
So, Hawkeye acts without thinking - everybody knows that – like when he sees this crazy god-killing chick put her claws through Wanda's head – there is no time for hesitation – this isn't a carefully considered action – it's all about instinct. 'The Avengers of the wronged – frankly, I expected more' Nyx smiles as Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch falls limply to the ground once Nyx removes her hand from Wanda's head. The Vision and Rocket Raccoon look on in shock, while lightning crackles behind some pillars. Hawkeye reaches behind himself and grabs several arrows, quickly firing them at Nyx, they explode around her, startling the Queen of Night, setting her off balance. 'Yup, that's the Clint Barton way - “shoot first, get scared later”' Clint thinks to himself as the Vision, Rocket, the Hulk, Voyager and the Mighty Hercules rally around him. 'YOU! YOU WILL PAY WITH BLOOD FOR WHAT YOU'VE DONE!' Hercules booms.
'Scratch that' Hawkeye thinks to himself as he watches Nyx dodge Hercules' punch and the laser beam that the Vision shoots at her. Clint admits to himself that he is a bit freaked out now. He slows his breathing, knowing that he has to keep his head in the game. He fires some more arrows towards Nyx – no, not at her, where she is gonna end up. Nyx dodges another of Hercules' punches as she tells him that his father spoke of his prowess. 'Why don't you show me?' she asks him. 'I'll wipe that smile from your lips, wench!' Hercules responds, but Nyx just grins and tells him to hush as she slashes her fingers across Hercules' throat. She takes his head in her hands, Hercules goes wide-eyed as Nyx looks into his eyes and informs him that her soul was broken into shards and scattered across the universe. She asks him if he knew that, and reveals that she is at her weakest. 'I thought that might at least make this entertaining' Nyx remarks, dropping Hercules to the ground. 'Apparently not -' Nyx begins, as the Hulk rushes up behind her and attempts to grab her – but her body phases through his powerful green hands.
Thinking the Hulk has caught Nyx Rocket tells him to hold her steady as he begins to fire his weapon – but the Hulk is confused to discover that Nyx has escaped his grasp, and falls backwards when the energy fired from Rocket's weapon strikes him. 'I am darkness itself, you fool. I cannot be held!' Nyx boasts as she slices her sharp finger nails down the surprised Hulk's back. Hawkeye thinks to himself that Nyx is toying with them, like this is all a game. 'C-Clint?' Wanda utters, sitting up and covering her face with her hands. Clint puts a hand on his friend's shoulder and tells her that he is here, and to hold on. 'I... I can't see...'Wanda gasps.
'Is that all? I was told the forces of the age would come to thwart me. I expected heroes' Nyx calls out, declaring that she could have left this battle to her children. Suddenly, 'We'll bring you to justice for what you've done!' Voyager boasts as she appears through a portal that opens next to Nyx, and punches the Queen of Night hard in the face. 'Will you now?'Nyx asks as she gathers herself, and slices her finger nails across Voyager, who screams. The Vision hears the voice of Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Spectrum, whose electrical form is currently inside his own. She tells him that if they strike simultaneously, they might be able to give Hercules enough time to hit her hard. The Vision agrees, and tells Spectrum that they must time it perfectly, so she should stay hidden within his circuitry until he gives the signal. The Vision fires an energy blast at Nyx, but she dodges it with ease.
Hawkeye fires another arrow, but this one just phases through Nyx, while Hawkeye thinks to himself 'She's trouncing myths, monsters and cosmic elders like they're nothing. If she gets ahold of me... when she gets ahold of me...' Clint tells himself, before realizing that he shouldn't think about it, as sweat pours down his face. 'If I think about it... I won't... I can't...' Clint frowns as a voice echoes in his head: 'Your skills are worthless here...as is your courage. Worthless. Worthless'. Clint wonders what good he is as Oizys can be seen latching onto him. 'I don't want to die here...' Wanda utters, while Clint thinks to himself that he is a cocky guy with a bow – so what chance has he got? 'No chance. No chance at all. At all. At all' Oizys tells him, grinning.
The Vision continues to fire energy beams at Nyx, who still manages to dodge the attack. 'Spectrum – now!' the Vision shouts, and an intantaneously, Spectrum emerges from the Vision's circuitry, hurling a brilliant blast of energy upwards which distracts Nyx, who stumbles backwards and screams. 'To hells with you all...' Nyx mutters. 'Show us the way – and I'll gladly follow!' Hercules shouts as he rushes forward and punches Nyx hard, hurling her backwards. 'There now! Finally a worthy blow from the son of Zeus' Nyx smirks, wiping the blood from her mouth as she tells Hercules to come defend the graves of his family.
'No! If she's goading us – this is all a distraction! If her children aren't here, she must have sent them to retrieve the shards of her soul!' Voyager calls out to the other heroes, she informs them that now she can see Nyx's power, she can sense the location of her children. 'We must intercept them!' Voyager urges the others as she begins to open a portal. Hercules falls back through the portal, 'No! I will slay Nyx here and -' he begins, while another portal opens around Hulk and Rocket, 'Enough with the portal poppin!' Rocket mutters, while Hawkeye wonders where they are going now, as portals rise up around he and Wanda, which intrigues Oizys. Vision starts to call out to Voyager, before he and Spectrum vanish through another portal. 'Go!' Voyager calls out before Nyx grabs her by her neck and forces her to the ground. 'Your power...it intrigues me!' Nyx exclaims. 'You're a finder, aren't you?' she asks, deciding that this is useful, as she pushes Voyager towards Oizys, who laughs as she puts her fingers to Voyager's head.
There is darkness, when suddenly, Clint opens his eyes. He discovers that he is in a hospital bed, and wonders how he got here. He sits up in the bed and calls out to Wanda, and to the Vision. 'Anybody! Is anybody there?' Clint shouts, but gets no answer. 'Hello?' he utters quietly. Clint tells himself not to panic, to breathe and put it together – he knows he is in a hospital, and decides that is not surprising given that the last thing he remembers is shooting sticks at a god, and, yet again, he lived to tell the tale. 'Clint Barton, professional weeble. He wobbles, but he won't fall down' Clint jokes to himself, supposing that there had to have been another battle, someone brought him here for some reason – but whatever happened, he seems to be all right – just the usual post-slobberknocker aches and pains.
Suddenly, a look of horror falls across Clint's face as he sees bandages covering one of his hands. 'Hello? Nurse? Doctor? CAN ANYBODY HEAR ME?' Clint shouts. No answer, so he falls back into the bed, and wonders what he expected. 'Look at who you are. Look at where you've been' Clint suggests to himself, recalling how a reporter once wanted to know how a guy with a bow and arrow managed, after all these years, to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Thor and Iron Man, wondering if he had some secret super powers. He remembers saying to her, in a gin-fueled moment of candor, that there was an airplane accident, a guy falls from 8,000 feet, no chute, nothing below him, but farmland – not a prayer of survival, that the ground was coming up fast – give thousand feet, and he is a goner. Three thousand – and then he saw a haystack, so, in desperation, he twists and turns his body, the haystack his only chance to break his fall – he was going to make it, five hundred feet, then one hundred – except he is gonna be off to the left by about ten lousy feet.
Clint's story continues, as a huge gust of wind kicked up and nudged him exactly ten feet over – BAM – right into the haystack he goes, lands like a marshmallow. The guy was pulling hay out of his hair as a farmer came running up, “Dear God” the farmer said. “I can't believe it! That was incredible! You must be the luckiest man alive” to which the guy replied “Nah, that's Clint Barton”. Clint tells himself to admit the truth for once, that all he has ever really had to offer the Avengers is the fact that he was lucky – but that's the thing about luck – you can't run with super-soldiers and world-beaters forever. Eventually...your luck runs out – and there is never any warning – so try not to think about it. Suddenly, 'Barton?' a voice calls out, and Clint looks up to see the Hulk standing over him. 'Guess what, Barton? You're alone. Time to settle up' the Hulk smirks.