Somewhere in space: The man called Nova is first hurled through it at unbelievable speed, then flies by himself, the Phoenix hot on his heels.
Nova urges himself to fly faster towards Earth, knowing it to be the Phoenix’ eventual goal. Everything he ever loved is counting on him. His friends. His family. He loves all of them. What else does he love? Sportcenter. Snickers. Dubstep. The Cardinals. Everything! He loves everything on Earth, he prays, and please don’t take it from him! He can’t stop. It’s right behind him, devouring every planet in its path. His job is only to survive, get there first and warn Earth’s mightiest that the Phoenix is coming!
Paul Revere rode all night. He has no idea how long he’s been riding. Five minutes? Five weeks? At hyperspeed, the answer is freakier than the question. Because the answer’s both. The helmet he wears feeds info right into his brain and forces him to multitask, allowing him to dodge everything ahead and all sped up.
Suddenly, the starlight seems red to him. Why red? he wonders. The helmet answers. Filtered color is an automatic collision warning when he concentrates. Means he’s approaching targeted celestial destination. Or as he calls it, home.
Nova can no longer tell which words are his and which the helmet’s. Another red. The signal for him to decelerate and reintegrate, once the helmet senses Earth’s unique gravity signature.
Being too new at this, Nova misses the downshift by a split second and enters the atmosphere too fast. As he falls, he tries to focus and listen to the helmet. He tries to remember what he’s supposed to do as he nears a large city. Something important. The Cardinals. Snickers. Sportscenter. Don’t lose it! he tells himself as he flashes past a skyscraper.
Coming in too fast… a chopper is in his way. He searches for control, trying to see red and manages it long enough to swerve around the helicopter. But now he is spent. He can only pray that when God racks up the overall tally the people in the copter will count for him against the ones he didn’t have the strength to avoid. He’s sorry is his last thought as he crashes into a skyscraper.
Slowly, Nova awakes, seeing stars, blue and red. The image solidifies and he realizes he is seeing Captain America who calls for a medical crew. The Avengers have arrived
He thought Nova died, Hawkeye remarks. If he lives through this, he’ll wish he had, Ms. Marvel remarks darkly. Iron Man sharply corrects her. Nova was falling not attacking.
Cap asks him to speak… It’s coming! Nova relates his message. Cap wants to know more but, before Nova can tell him about the Phoenix, unconsciousness washes over him. Iron Man finds nothing on the interstellar radar. Nova tries to stay awake. He can’t let them take him to a hospital. He can’t let them take the helmet off.
It’s coming! he repeats and no longer hears the Avengers question him as they transport him away.