And now…yon starting Skrull-ified line up for the GOD SQUAD!
Collecteth all VI V and on the decease
6 feet, 5 inches! Calling Thebes, Greece home…Hercules: incompetent!
5 feet, 10 inches! Hailing from the Arctic Circle…Snowbird: dearly departed
6 feet, 1 inch! Eternally from Olympia, Antarctica…Ajak: everlasting bore!
Shape-Shifting all the way from Yomi, the Japanese Land of the Dead…Mikaboshi: poetic ponce!
Direct from the Sun (and hungry!)…Atum a.k.a.: famished fool!
Rookie: 5 feet, 6 inches! From Tuscan, Arizona…Amadeus Cho (with pup Skrull in tow!): you must be joking!
(Flashback, years ago, narrated by Kly‘bn)
“For now I say unto you, in the Passage of the 1 of the Book of Worlds, it was always already written that: as the Changing People rose up against the last unchanging Unworthies of the Homeworld, Skrullos, and revealed their true identities, children putting mothers to the knife, trusted servants disemboweling masters; Sl’gur’t, Headwoman of the Changing led her victorios legions to the heart of the Fossil Ones’ stronghold in the Valley of the Esul, and found kneeling there in meditation the last of the Eternals of Skrullos.
“What do they call you?” Sl’gur’t taunted him. “I pray you, tell us, for we shall use our science magic to stake you along the ridge overlooking the Esul with your fellows, and we wish the blessed lance that renders your Eternal heart inoperable to bear the correct name”. The kneeling Skrull turns and removes his cloak, replying ‘The Space Gods named by Klb’yn when they made me - and you must not kill me!’ he told Sl’gur’t, who scoffed as she asked ‘And why is that, coward?’, not knowing what she said. ‘Because I am you!’ Kly’bn replied, ‘And you cannot kill me without killing yourselves!’ he exclaimed.
The truth of Kly’bn’s words struck Sl’gur’t and her followers dumb, and they could not but listen as he continued, telling Sl’gur’t that she has purged the Unworthies from this world, but that there are countless galaxies of Fossil Ones beyond Skrullos, trapped in their singular forms and their ignorance, waiting, though they do not know it, to be saved. ‘For I say to you that the entire universe is a Book of Worlds with blank pages, upon which the Changing People shall write the destiny - and I shall be the constant star you steer your course by. I will be the you that always IS you, no matter what outer form you may take. For I am Kly’bn. I am the Eternal Skrull…and I love you!’
And so it was that the Changing People rejoiced, and accepted Kly’bn as their guide and their light. Sl’gur’t, enraptured, pledged her whole being to Kly’bn, who accepted her hand - and the Truth transformed them from Eternal and Deviant into Gods, drawn up into Heaven where Sl’gur’t told her husband that because he would stay behind, and never change his own shape, sacrificing himself for his people’s sake, she too would make a sacrifice, and pledged never to keep the same form for more than a few moments, which pleased Kly’bn who said it befit his wife well, she whose name means, in the Frti dialect…
‘…Infinite Names!’ the Eternal Skrull, Kly’bn declares as he and Sl’gur’t stand before the God Squad - Hercules, Ajak, Mikaboshi, Atum, and Hercules’ side-kick, Amadeus Cho - at the citadel in the dreamtime. ‘For as it is written, so it has been!’ Kly’bn declares, boasting that their inspiration has led the Skrulls to convert and save worlds, ‘Just as we shall save your Earth, pretender deities!’ he exclaims, to which Hercules shouts back ‘Not while the Prince of Power still draws breath!’, and motions for the God Squad to follow him, ‘These demons have the blood of our comrade Snowbird on their hands - follow me and let us take payment from their hides!’ he exclaims.
But, suddenly, Ajak shouts ‘NO!’ and blasts Hercules with a beam of energy. ‘Ajak? What…?’ he asks, rubbing his jaw, while Ajak exclaims that Snowbird’s blood is on Hercules’ hands, ‘Your impetuous lack of planning. Your bluster and over-confidence. Your sentimental blindness. You and the boy allowed a Skrull infiltrator to board and destroy our ship. Even our chart back to Earth was lost with Snowbird!’ Ajak declares, while Hercules and Amadeus watch him in awe. ‘You dare -’ Hercules begins, but Ajak interrupts him, pointing out that they, and their world, cannot afford any more of Hercules’ so-called “leadership”, and announces that he is assuming command of the team. Kly’bn smiles as he watches Hercules and Ajak argue.
Ajak commands Mikaboshi and Demogorge to take on Sl’gur’t, while announcing that he will take on his fellow Eternal, Kly’bn, and orders Hercules to remain as a second-wave, as they may need his strength. ‘Hang back and help whoever seems most in need. Can you handle that? Now…FOR EARTH!’ Ajak shouts as he unleashes energy at Kly’bn, who also releases energy. The energies clash, while Kly’bn exclaims to Ajak ‘Do not delude yourself into thinking us equals, “He Who Talks to Celestials”!’
Atum the God-Eater approaches Sl’gur’t, opening his mouth wide, his body shifting to compensate the form which Sl’gur’t has transformed herself into. ‘All I ask, is that of all the forms you could take - you choose one without an aftertaste!’ Atum declares as he swallows the Skrull God.
While debris floats all around them, a forlorn Hercules exclaims ‘Ajak calls me a fool. And maybe he’s right’. He tells Amadeus that, on this journey, he has tried to keep him out of the thick of things as if he had to protect him, ‘But you and I triumphed over Zom, SHIELD, and even the God of War himself!’ Hercules points out, before telling Amadeus that they will now stand together once again and show the Earth and Skrull Gods alike the folly of their ways. ‘I know you’ve been working that big brain of yours…so let’s hear your plan, boy!’ Hercules exclaims, smiling. Amadeus just uncomfortable looks away, saying nothing. ‘Ah. You too, then’ Hercules sighs.
‘You fight well, cousin…with all the ancient power of your kind…’ Kly’bn tells Ajak as they continue to pour power onto one another. Mikaboshi stands near Atum the God-Eater who is liking his fingers after devouring Sl’gur’t, and remarks ‘Well. That was easier than expected’, before letting out a little grumble. Kly’bn declares that Ajak merely pretends to be a God, ‘While I BECAME one!’ he shouts as his power proves too much for Ajak, who is suddenly decapitated by the force of Kly’bn’s power.
Atum’s stomach suddenly expands, and he screams, before exclaiming ‘Too many Godheads - encompassed in one - Infinite…Infinite Na -’ he utters before he body explodes as Sl’gur’t bursts through her devourer, sending bones, body parts and blood splattering everywhere. Hercules watches as a very large bone begins bouncing towards Amadeus, who is already calculating the velocity of the bone, but Hercules shouts at him to move - too late though, Amadeus is struck in the chest by the bone, and he knocked to the ground, where he begins bouncing towards the edge of the citadel - ‘NO! I’ve got you, boy! I’ve….no…’ Hercules exclaims as he lunges towards Amadeus, but Amadeus has already been knocked off the edge of the citadel and out into open space. ‘Gone…just like Hylas…’ Hercules utters as he touches some blood on the ground.
‘You could have been your world’s greatest deity…but for a God, you evidence such a strange aversion to sacrifice!’ Kly’bn remarks as he steps over Ajak’s body, and walks past the scattered body parts, approaching Hercules, while Mikaboshi takes on Sl’gur’t. ‘You let your feelings for one blind you to the needs of the many. It’s so…endearing!’ Kly’bn remarks, adding ‘This is why I’ve come to you, and why you’ve come to me, Hercules. You are so flawed. So in need of what I can give you. I love you too, Hercules’ Kly’bn smirks, extending a hand. ‘R-really?’ Hercules replies, ‘Too bad you’re not my type!’ he booms as he smashes Kly’bn backwards with a powerful blow.
Kly’bn crashes to the ground, but quickly blasts Hercules with an energy beam, though Hercules dodges it, then smacks the ground with his fists, causing a seismic shock which sends some rubble upwards, smacking Kly’bn in the face. Hercules then pulls a massive slab of stone up from the citadel, and uses it as a shield to block Kly’bn’s next energy attack. Eventually though, Kly’bn wears down the stone slab, while Hercules exclaims ‘You can pretty up your madness with all the theology you want, but you can’t fool me!’, before bursting through what is left of the stone slab and smacking Kly’bn backwards, ‘You’re so scared of the world that you’d murder everything in it that isn’t you!’ Hercules exclaims, while remarking that he has walked so long among mortals that he has tried to hold back his own killing ways. ‘But since you just took away the only reason I could have had not to fight…I’m ready to play God!’ he exclaims as he tosses Kly’bn upwards with a huge punch.
Meanwhile, floating through the Skrull Dreamtime, is Amadeus, who thinks to himself ‘I did it, Herc…I did it…just like Athena told me…’. as he recalls Athena telling that all their efforts will fail unless he can help Hercules when Hercules is at his weakest. ‘By doing the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do’ she told him. Amadeus thinks that ever since his family died, when he sees a friend in need, the hardest thing for him to do now, is nothing. As he floats downwards, Amadeus can see what Athena meant now, as Hercules is too human, and is always fighting for the person he is standing next to, he cannot put aside the here and now for the big picture.
‘So in order for you to do this job right…I had to disappear. I did it. I saved the world. And now I’m gonna die. What a rip-off’ Amadeus thinks to himself, closing his eyes, suddenly, something - someone - grabs his jacket, and he is pulled upwards - ‘Snowbird? SNOWBIRD!’ Amadeus shouts as the Goddess swoops back upwards, pulling the human boy along. ‘Amadeus’ she replies calmly. ’We thought you were dead!’ Amadeus exclaims. ’Weren’t you dead?’ he asks. ’I’ve died before. I know how’. Narya replies, revealing that is why, as she fell with the hordes Gods, she remembered how easy dying is - and how much harder - and how much greater an honor to her fallen teammates and her current comrades, would it be to live.
The beautiful Snowbird explains that she transformed into a cloud of mosquitoes and slipped from her enemies’ grasp, where she has been flying back to join the rest of the God Squad ever since. As Snowbird drops Amadeus down on the citadel, she tells him that she fears Kly’bn’s slave Gods are right behind her, and asks how they can find Hercules. ‘Easy. Just follow the sound of pontificating Skrull!’ Amadeus jokes, as indeed, Hercules and Kly’bn are punching each other up. ‘Yield, Hercules - we’re evenly matched - you cannot survive this fight!’ Kly’bn shouts. ‘Then neither can you!’ Hercules retorts, while telling his enemy not to worry, as his Uncle Pluto is always happy to make room for the guests that he sends him.
‘Still you can’t understand? Still you take affront at our incalculable gift? Without us, the people and Gods of your Earth will destroy themselves in strife and war - just as your comrades have!’ Kly’bn exclaims as he smacks Hercules hard in the face. ‘Accepting our embrace is the only way you can survive!’ Kly’bn shouts, only for Hercules to punch him back, while, overhead, Mikaboshi and Sl’gur’t have both transformed into the same horrifying creature as they battle it out. ‘We will be you better than you ever could!’ Kly’bn practically screams as he bathes Hercules in a massive dose of his energy.
Nearby, Amadeus is calculating a plan, and sees Demogorge’s massive spine lying nearby. ‘Snowbird -’ he begins, ‘Right!’ the founding Alphan exclaims, understanding the plan already.
Hercules gathers himself, ’Really, Kly’bn?’ he asks. ’You could actually replace my fallen comrades? And perfect them? My brothers and sisters. Amadeus Cho and Snowbird and yes, even Ajak and the God-Eater, who were so tragically flawed that their noble deeds and sacrifices taught me more than your endless blather ever could?’
Snowbird begins flying towards Hercules and Kly’bn, using her enhanced strength to carry Atum’s spine, while Hercules picks Kly’bn up, and holds his mouth, shouting ‘Nay! They are the true “Infinite Names!” The universe is filled with them! And your shallow sameness will never touch them again!’ Hercules declares as he throws Kly’bn towards Snowbird, who shoves the God-Eater’s spine through Kly’bn’s chest. The Eternal Skrull screams, and green blood splatters everywhere.
For we shall use our science magic to stake you along the ridge overlooking the Esul with your fellows, and we wish the blessed lance that renders your Eternal heart inoperable to bear the correct name.
Meanwhile, hovering over Earth is the Skrull flagship.
For now I say unto you in the passage of the 979 of the Book of the Worlds, it was always already written that:
There is nothing special about you…
You have caused untold death and suffering for nothing…
The Gods will no longer help you lie to yourselves…
Look upon the naked face of your own petty veniality…
Several Skrulls are inside a chamber, lit up by a glowing pink crystal, worshipping their Gods, when suddenly, the crystal explodes, sending fragments everywhere, cutting the Skrulls who are knocked back by the blast. The crystal is actually the master copy of the Book of Words, and a frightened Skrull gasps ‘The master copy…of the Book of Worlds…destroyed itself!’. ‘We are lost!’ another Skrull exclaims. ‘All is lost!’ another remarks, when suddenly, a communicator goes off, and a voice can be heard informing the Skrulls that they need back up on the scout-ship IV. ‘Where is everyone? Reed Richards has escaped!’
Back in the Skrull Dreamtime, Mikaboshi and Sl’gur’t are now battling it out both wearing Mikaboshi’s form. ‘You think you’ll match me?’ one of them asks. ‘Only to get close enough…to end your haiku!’ exclaims the other, revealing itself as Sl’gur’t, and using her form to rip Mikaboshi down the middle. ‘Whoa! Mikaboshi! Flame out in the home stretch!’ Amadeus gasps as he watches. Hercules sees his young friend, and calls out to him. ‘Herc. ‘sup?’ Amadeus exclaims, telling him that there is no need to make a big scene about this, as Hercules embraces him. ‘Dude…ribs!’ Amadeus gasps, while Snowbird stands back, watching her companions.
Suddenly, there is a mighty rumbling sound, as the citadel begins to crumble. Hercules bashes the falling rubble that comes close to himself and Amadeus, before the ground beneath them collapses, and they begin to freefall. ‘Enough with the falling!’ Amadeus exclaims, before he and Hercules land on an enormous white bird, which quickly takes flight away from the falling debris. ‘Narya! Is that you?’ Hercules exclaims. ‘Of course not’ the bird replies. ‘It’s that other Demigoddess who turns into giant, white Arctic animals’. Clinging to the bird’s feathers, Hercules replies ‘Was that…was that a joke? You do jokes?’ he asks. ‘When times are grim enough…’ Snowbird replies, before asking about Ajak and the God Eater.
‘Both fallen. Mikaboshi too’ Hercules replies as he thinks of his fallen comrades, before pointing out that Demogorge was destined to kill them all at the end of all things, and reminds everyone that he had sworn to slay Mikaboshi for murdering his father, Zeus. Hercules tells Snowbird and Amadeus to shed no tears for Ajak, as Earthbound Eternals have a habit of resurrecting themselves. ‘So better they died today as friends…and heroes’ he exclaims, before adding ‘No tears even for Kirby, for the pup who perished here was a Skrull. We may yet see our true friend again!’ Hercules points out. ‘Okay. Okay. But then why…why are you crying?’ Amadeus asks, wiping away his own tears.
‘Because sometimes, boy, we cry not for what we’ve lost…but what we have!’ Hercules explains, indeed teary-eyed. ‘Oh…!’ Amadeus replies, while Snowbird tells her companions not to get her feathers wet, before having a little sniffle herself as she flies onwards.
Meanwhile…at the remains of the citadel, Sl’gur’t holds up Kly’bn, while the two sides of Mikaboshi lie at her feet - and the hordes of Slave Gods whom Snowbird escaped from, finally returned, hover around. ‘Poor slaves…your Gods die…but your cause endures, for now…MIKABOSHI rules!’ exclaims Mikaboshi as he transforms from Sl’gur’ts form, just as the split body at his feet returns to its true form - Sl’gur’t. Mikaboshi, speaking to the slave Gods, declares that they shall have their revenge, and the slave Gods rally around him.
Elsewhere, an owl hoots, ‘Yes, Pallas!’ exclaims Athena as she sits and watches the proceedings of her brother through a viewing pool, and as Mikaboshi cries that he and the slave Gods will have their revenge, Athena exclaims ‘It’s all going even better than we had planned…’.