In a dream:
Lower East Side, New York City, where a girls only game night is underway. Seated around a table are Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel, Jessica Drew the original Spider-Woman, Kamala Khan the current Ms Marvel, Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. the Black Widow, and Jane Foster the Mighty Thor. Chewie the cat – or, rather, Flerken, sits at Thor's feet and yawns.
Carol looks closely at her cards and decides that everything is coming up aces – she can't lose. She doesn't usually get the good cards, she just knows how to play the crap hand she is dealt – and never fold. 'Blackjack!' Carol exclaims, throwing her cards down. She stands up, grinning. 'Team Mizzxap for the win again – and the crowd goes wild!' Jessica Drew declares, throwing her arms into the air, while Kamala stands up, grinning. 'Wait, wait. I got it. Hashtag Women of Mar-Vell' the Black Widow remarks while reading a comic book. 'Mizzcap? Aren't they supposed to hate each other?' Thor asks, pointing at Carol and Jessica. 'Keep up, Thor. I'm wearing a tutu. This is a dream' the Black Widow replies.
Suddenly, there is a knock at the door. 'Pizza's here -' someone calls out. 'That's no pizza' someone warns as an armored fist punches through the door. 'Extra cheese. With a side of – door!' declares Iron Man. The card table is broken in half as Carol flies over to Iron Man and starts to fight him. 'What – is your problem – Tony?' she shouts at him. 'Wait – did you just say “Tony”? Danvers, who do you think this is?' Iron Man replies.
'Danvers -' a voice calls out, as Carol suddenly lunges forward, sitting up in the chair she had fallen asleep in. 'Tony, enough!' Carol shouts, startling Chewie, who leaps up from Carol's lap. 'Colonel Danvers...? Six minutes. Thirty seconds longer than last time' a voice remarks.
Carol is hooked up to a machine which appears to be monitoring her, while the voice belongs to a female therapist who sits nearby. 'It's been weeks and I still can't sleep. That nightmare...' Carol begins. Still fighting Iron Man?' the therapist asks. Carol reveals that she wakes up right before he opens his helmet – every time. 'Why?' the therapist enquires. 'Cause it's a dream? Or he's got a creepy clown face? Or sudden onset Vader baldness? If I don't sleep soon I'll...' Carol begins. '...punch an asteroid?' the therapist suggests. 'Or twenty' Carol adds. Chewie approaches the therapist as she asks Carol, speaking of fights, whether she has talked to Jess yet – not as Spider-Woman but as her closest friend.
'I'm busy, she's busy. She just had a baby. I have a freakin' Flerken cat' Carol replies. 'So you had a falling out. Talk to her. Friends fight. So do heroes...' the therapist points out, before asking Carol if she gives up on everyone she doesn't agree with. 'Can we just skip to the part where you tell me why I can't sleep and how to fix it, doc?' Carol asks while her Flerken cat pats away at the therapist's notepad. 'Is that your job? To fix everything?' the therapist asks. 'Fixing things, punching asteroids. Just not feelings talk' Carol replies.
The therapist suggests that Carol's insomnia probably stems from anxiety – too much combat, too many lost friends, too little attention to how that all feels – not enough talking about it. The Flerken cat snorts, before the therapist tells Carol that the Alpha Flight Board mandated their sessions for a reason. 'Blasting a few NASA satellites out of the sky? I thought they were asteroids. I was doing my job' Carol replies.
The Therapist suggests that Carol's brain is stuck on the battlefield and tells her that she might by the mightiest superhero on this planet, but that if she can't move past that, then she will also be the most dangerous. 'You want to know dangerous? While we sit here and chat feelings, doc, the world is falling apart and nobody even blinks' Carol snaps, pointing out of the window. 'I don't have that luxury. I'm the Alpha Flight commander. It's my job to blink' Carol adds. 'Is it?' the therapist enquires. 'I was just in a war where I could see the future and I could barely keep up then. Now I have to do it all without that power?' Carol replies. The therapist asks her if that is how she feels – powerless. 'This isn't about me!' Carol exclaims. 'But this is about you, Colonel. And your feelings and your losses. You won't be able to hold them in forever. You'll explode' the therapist points out. 'You get that I can swallow the sun, right?' Carol asks, before announcing that she is done talking. 'So how about I send you a limited edition #carolcorps poster for all your trouble? I've signed five hundred of them for fans, I can spare a few'.
Carol holds a remote up to the therapist, who tells her that she can click the remote all she wants, but that there is no off button for feelings. With that, the therpaist vanishes. 'I feel fine. I feel great. In fact, you could say I'm on the top of the world...literally' Carol remarks, as the view of tall buildings vanishes from the window, and a viewing screen depicting space, and planet Earth below, is revealed. Carol is in a room on the Alpha Flight Space Station, 250 miles above the Earth. The Flerken cat covers its head, while Carol informs the communications system that she is back online, and asks what she missed. 'There are nighty-eight new crisis reports in the main dataport queue since you logged off, commander' a voice replies. 'That was fast. Better get to it' Carol tells herself.
With the Flerken cat at her feet, Carol goes onto the bridge, where she finds Lieutenant Wendy Kawasaki, and asks her if anything is on fire. 'No, Commander. <cough> no menacing space debris for you to attack with lasers <cough> again'. Wendy jokes. 'I was doing my job. A debris field rolling right past Alpha Flight? A little convenient, don't you think?' Carol replies. 'For who?' Wendy asks. Carol stands over Wendy and points out that it could have been tactical coverage, but Wendy tells Carol that sometimes garbage is just garbage. 'And some people like a clean workspace, Wendy' Carol remarks. 'Yes, but a clean space space?' Wendy asks. 'So sue me...' Carol mutters. Wendy tells her that she will leave that to NASA. 'You got served today' Wendy announces, handing Carol an envelope. 'Jeez, everyone's so worked up about me blasting a few little satellites...while Earth's got a whole flood of desperate alien refugees arriving from three different galaxies...and they can hardly get any support at all' Carol exclaims, looking at the monitors in front of her and Wendy, depicting the refugee camp.
Wendy points out that they are doing what they can, but Carol declares that they can do more. Wendy informs her that they towed in three stalled lifepods today alone. Looking at the monitors, Carol instructs Wendy to get Puck and scan for heat signatures, as they don't want to miss anyone else out there, then to tell Brand that she wants a full update after their guests settle in, and to get Sasquatch on NASA to help with civilian transport. Wendy assures Carol that she will go through them herself. 'You need to... we all want you to... rest' Wendy remarks. 'We? Is this a mutiny? Are you saying my own crew thinks -' Carol begins, looking down at Wendy, when suddenly, Eugene “Puck” Judd's voice can be heard over the communication system: 'Is Commander Crankypants up from her nap yet?' he asks. 'That's... you know...Puck is just...' Wendy utters, nervously. Carol frowns as Puck continues talking, reporting that he was trying to keep their crisis hotline off-line until the kraken awakens, but now they are getting flooded with urgent requests. 'So...got any better ideas?' Puck asks. 'Reroute all reports to my office, Puck. I'm on my way' Carol responds.
'Sorry, is that...? Did she just...? Cap...?' Puck asks, dropping his head into his hands. 'That's Commander Crankypants to you. Take us off-line again and I'll send you to babysit an actual Kraken, is that clear?' 'Off – off – turn it off -' Puck tells himself. Carol starts to inform Wendy that she will be in her office, when she suddenly notices something on Wendy's collar: 'Wait, are you wearing a Hala star?' she asks. Moving away from Carol and closing one eye, Wendy admits to joining Carol's club. 'I have a club?' Carol asks. 'Clubs. Fan club, sir...and cosplay club...and then there's the fan-fic forum... I'm the moderator' Wendy reveals. 'You guys think this is hilarious, don't you?' Carol asks. 'Permission not to respond, sir?' Wendy replies. 'Denied' Carol tells her, so Wendy tells Carol that she will answer if Carol personalizes her limited edition poster: 'With this special gold pen!' she shouts, shoving the poster of Carol towards the surprised woman. 'Err....' Carol utters, before scribbling on the poster, and telling Wendy that they have actual work to do, and she wants those reports, stat. 'On it, Commander Crank...Sir' Wendy replies.
The Flerken car is perched on Carol's head as Carol enters her office aboard the AFSS, which she finds has been decorated with Carol Corps posters. 'Ugh. Who put these up?' Carol mutters, telling Chewie that she will never hear the end of this – she is now the literal poster child for saving the world. 'Love what you've...' someone begins, coming up behind Carol and putting a hand on Carol's shoulder. 'Wha -? Huh -?' Carol exclaims, spinning around and knocking Commander Abigail Brand backwards, and sending the Flerken cat falling to the floor. 'Hey – OW!' Brand declares, before finishing what she was originally saying to Carol: '...done with the place'. Carol apologizes to Brand, but asks her what she epxected, creeping around like that. Brand tells Carol that the crew can't take much more of this. 'You're losing it' she declares. 'I'm not losing it, Brand. I can -' Carol begins, but Brand tells Carol not to give her that “swallow the sun” crap. 'You're only half Kree. You're still human enough to lose it' she points out.
Carol pauses, before sitting down on the floor next to Brand, who exclaims 'You're Captain Marvel. You've put away some bad dudes this year, and had some big wins. How about you shut up and take your victory lap already?' to which Carol informs Brand that her dad would have liked her. Brand looks at Carol, who sighs, and asks why winning sucks so bad. 'Half human, remember?' Brand replies. Carol asks her why winning always means losing so much. 'Why even bother?' she wonders, pointing out that the higher she flies, the farther away everyone else gets.
'Are you kidding me? Do you really not get it?' Brand declares. She puts her arm around Carol's shoulder and tells her that she flies because the rest of them are stuck on the ground – she isn't flying away from them, she is flying for them. 'This is awkward' Carol remarks, as Puck and Wendy walk towards her. 'Commander... should we come back?' Puck asks. 'What? Haven't you ever seen a feelings talk before?' Carol replies.
Puck is carrying a box, which he hands to Carol. 'Special delivery' Wendy remarks. Puck informs Carol that it is from Boston and asks her what she got. Carol opens the box and looks through it, explaining that it is some of her old things from storage, for her new apartment – her dad's bowling ball, her Sox pennant. 'You a Sox fan? Jays man, myself' Puck tells Carol, who smiles when she sees her first telescope. Everything in the box is a memory that Carol couldn't get rid of if she tried.
Flashback in Carol's memory:
Boston's BakBay, where a young Carol Danvers looked out her window at nighttime through her telescope. By first grade, she knew the names of the stars better than the Sox's outfield – sacrilege. Especially for Carol's family. All her brothers Joe and Stevie, and her father, Joseph, cared about was baseball and bowling. They watched baseball at Fenway Park, in Boston, and went bowling at the South Boston Candlepin. The last time they all went bowling was the worst night of her life.
'I should have gotten that strike, Pops. Bowling is just physics – and I got an “A” in physics' Carol remarked, looking at the bowling ball in her hands. 'Game's over, Bean. Better hit the skee-ball before Stevie and Joe play your dime' Joseph Danvers told his daughter. Carol informed her father that she was studying astrophysics when she got to U Mass – that is the best major for astronauts. 'How do you know?' Joseph asked. 'I called' Carol told him. 'Who?' Joseph asked his daughter, who announced that she called NASA. 'Ah, Bean...' Joseph's voice trailed off, before they sat down, and Joseph revealed to Carol that since his tour of duty ended, things had been tight. 'College tuition...' his voice trailed off as Carol told him that she would get a part-time job. 'You start in gift wrapping at Filene's on Tuesday. Full-time' Joseph informed his daughter, who asked him if he was joking. Joseph explained to Carol that he can pay for one tuition – for Stevie, as Joe has good hands and can frame houses with him. A forlorn Carol told her father that wasn't fair, and asked what she was supposed to do. Joseph suggested she find herself a nice boy – a nice astronaut – and settle down. 'Pops, no! There's no way -' Carol protested, but he told her that there was a way: 'Put on a a skirt once in a while. Comb that crazy hair, all that girl stuff...'
Carol decided that it was a lonely thing when the people you love don't know who you are, so she gave up on her father and enlisted in the Air Force the very next day. She was a hard worker, and her record showed it – Air Force enlisted, Air Force command, NASA scrub, NASA command, NASA security brass, and every CO said the same thing – she was the top of her class and the fastest of anyone, the best of the best – for a girl. But Carol didn't care, she knew that if she could just get up to space, no one could tell her who she couldn't be or what she couldn't do. And once she was in the air, she fought with the noise in her head, with the noise of the engines. She drowned out all the voices that said she was nothing – she only heard what she knew. That she had always been something.
So what happened that night? That night when she stumbled across her future? In a single moment, she inherited the powers of a planet and a people she had never known. She became stronger and faster – she flew higher and burned brighter. What had she found? People see what they wanted to see. To the NSA, it's an anomalous artifact. To the Kree, a Psyche-Magnetron. To others, a Mirari, a thing of wonder, a source of marvels. Maybe to her Pops, it would be her astronaut husband. The truth is, she doesn't care what it is called. She doesn't care if it found her, or she found it – she doesn't even care why. All she knows is she went to lose herself in the stars, but instead, that is where she found herself – her true self. All of her. Carol Danvers. And Captain Marvel.
Carol is in her office, the Flerken cat sitting on her desk as she goes through the box of her things when an alarm sounds, and a voice over the communication system informs Captain Marvel that they need her on the bridge. 'The doorbell's ringing, Chewie. Let's go see who's there' Carol tells the Flerken cat. Carol rushes out into the corridor, and Dr Walter Langkowski a.k.a. Sasquatch follows her. 'Command to all Alpha Flight personnel. We got company' Carol announces over her communicator. She confirms a perimeter breach of station airspace and states that this is a code yellow. 'Repeat. We are not at green. Let's just check things out' Carol remarks as the Flerken and Puck follow her and Sasquatch.
'Coming up on your starboard now' Brand reports as they all arrive on the bridge. Carol sees an aircraft on the monitor and Carol reports that she knows it – she has flown it. She asks if it is from Earth, but Brand tells her 'Not anymore. That thing is not friendly. Coming in too fast and too hot'. Carol declares that it is not the Girl Scouts, and asks who it is. Wendy is at the console and announces that she isn't sure, but that they have reached ramming speed and are on a direct collision course. Carol uses the communications system to inform everyone that they are moving to green and are combat ready. Carol tells Wendy to do the math and asks if there is any way that thing can stop, or if their front door is going to have to be the thing that stops it. 'Our front door, sir. Unless something stops it first' she adds. 'Funny. That's just what I was thinking' Carol remarks.
Carol rushes down a corridor. She knows what she has to do to keep her team safe – because Wendy and Puck and Sasquatch and Brand – all of her Alphans – that is their missions, that is why she flies – that is her family now. She admits that Brand was right – she isn't flying away from them. She is flying for them. Carol slams her hand on a panel, and a door opens, she changes into her costume, then she soars out into open space. Via communicator, Carol asks Wendy if she is getting heat signatures. Wendy confirms this and tells Carol that they are organic but of unknown origin. 'Puck, how about Sox versus Jays? If I fastball thaty ship your way, can you hit it with the tractor beam?' Carol asks. 'Why not?' Puck replies. 'Is that a yes?' Carol asks. 'It's not a no, Cap' comes Puck's response. 'Good enough' Carol tells him, before instructing Sasquatch to let NASA know that they are going to swing for the bleachers on this one. 'Just try not to shoot their stuff down this time, Captain' someone replies. 'Really? We're gonna go there now?' Carol asks.
Carol flies towards the approaching vessel, telling herself that she knows the drill – higher, further, faster...more. The ship is coming in faster than she thought, but Carol slams her fist into the ship, 'Okay. That one stings' she thinks to herself as the ship hurls off in another direction. Carol latches onto it, 'Now, Puck!' she orders as the vessel spins away from the AFSS. 'Got it!' Puck calls back as he uses the tractor beam to catch the ship. 'And it's a grand slam for the Jays!' Puck jokes, to which Carol tells him that the Sox loaded those bases for him. 'Suddenly, someone aboard the AFSS asks Carol if she is seeing anything out there, as they are picking up another signal. 'It's another ship' Carol declares as she looks over and sees the ship nearby.
Soon, Carol and Brand walk through a hangar bay, where AFSS crew are assisting alien refugees. The aliens glow pink, yellow and blue, and Brand reports that smugglers were moving human cargo – refugees from a remote part of the Majesdanian system. 'And the NASA ship?' Carol asks. Brand explains that it was decomissioned and stolen out of the Air & Space Museum, if you can believe it. 'I believe it' Carol replies, adding that there is a lot of money to be made when people are desperate. 'And the second ship?' Carol asks. 'They say they were being chased' Brand explains. 'By?' Carol asks. 'That's the funny thing – they thought it was us' Brand reveals. Carol looks at the aliens, among them are families, and she asks Brand to take care of their new friends. 'Of course' Brand replies, before asking Carol where she is going. 'To take care of an old friend' Carol announces.
It was the baby amongst the family of alien refugees that reminded Carol – and thinking about her Pops – she knew what she had to do. She drops down to a diner on Earth, where Jessica Drew sits at the counter, a television is on, and a report indicates that alien refugee camp populations are hitting record numbers, and a crisis is looming because of it. 'Bad time to be an alien, hey Danvers?' Jessica calls out. 'Jess, you came' Carol replies. Jess replies that she doesn't get that many 3 AM texts from space. Carol apologizes and explains that she can sleep these days. 'I'd be surprised if you could...after Rhodey and Bruce and Tony...' Jess' voice trails off, as Carol tells her that shre needs to move forward – they both do. 'Easy for you to say' Jess replies. 'It's not. I know it's been weird. And I know I've made a lot of frenemies -' Carol begins, but Jessica interrupts her: 'I think those are just called enemies'.
Carol sits beside Jessica and tells her that she has been fighting people her whole life for what she believes in – and she gave up a lot to get here. 'When the people I was closest to didn't understand me, I didn't just walk away. I flew' Carol remarks. 'I know, Carol...' Jess replies. Carol tells Jess that she can't walk away from her, and that friends fight, people disagree, right or wrong. 'Pretty sure I was right' Jess remarks. 'We need each other. You have a baby now and I -' Carol begins. 'Can be a baby' Jessica suggests. 'Drew, can you just let me apologize?' Carol asks. 'Is that what that was?' Jessica asks. Carol tells her that, technically, it was an explanation, but the tone, that was an apology. Jessica tells Carol that she accepts her expology, because she can't handle this fight anymore. 'I can barely handle single-mom laundry' she adds. 'Love you, Spock' Jess tells Carol. 'Love you too, Kirk' Carol replies as they hug, before Carol asks 'Hmm, my head is nestled in spit-up, isn't it?' 'Shhhhh' Jess replies, telling Carol to go to sleep.
Meanwhile, at the Alpha Flight Displaced Alien Refugee Camp, makeshifts tents fill a fenced area which is access restricted. A figure wearing a high-tech mask and covered in a cloak, armed with weapons, skulks about the camp, where the colorful aliens are currently residing. The figure comes to a building, and announces that the bounty is located, the Hala child is inside. 'I can feel it...'.
Back on the AFSS, Carol Danvers finally falls asleep – and the dream continues.
In Carol's dream:
'Enough, Tony...' Carol calls out as she battles Iron Man. 'Tony? Who do you think this is, Danvers?' the voice within the Iron Man armor responds. 'Not the Jedi in the Dagobah Cave thing -' Carol replies, as the unmasked Iron Man is revealed to be Carol herself. 'Yes, the Jedi in the Dagobah Cave thing -' the Carol-Iron Man declares as she forces Carol through a window.
Carol knows that the nightmare isn't over yet – she is still fighting herself, and she sometimes wonders if it will ever stop – and that is when she wakes up.