The moon, where, not long ago, Quasar and eight of Earth’s mightiest space faring super humans (Darkstar, Vanguard, Binary, Captain Marvel, Hyperion, Ikaris, Adam Warlock and Black Bolt), were on the other side of the moon, attempting to deactivate a device pushing the moon out of orbit. While that was happening, members of the extra-terrestrial gang of brigands known as the Starblasters were on Earth, kidnapping Quasar’s girlfriend, among other things, for Quasar’s girlfriend, Kayla Ballentine, is the current possessor of the Starbrand, a power source like none this universe has ever seen - and it is something the Starblasters will stop at nothing to possess!
Right now, Wendell “Quasar” Vaughan soars down towards the home base of Uatu, the Watcher. ‘You’d better be in a helping mood, Watcher, cause I’ve never needed anybody’s help like I need help now!’ the young cosmic hero thinks to himself. Dropping down to the moon surface, Wendell thinks to himself that the Watcher must have seen what went on, as he lives on the moon. ‘So he’s got to know just how dire the stakes are here!’. Quasar thinks to himself that just because the Watcher has no door to his facility, it may keep out unwanted peddlers, but not him, as he uses his quantum bands to phase through the outer wall.
Quasar begins searching the facility: ‘WATCHER! You’ve got a visitor! An impatient one!’ Wendell shouts. He calls out to the Watcher again as he flies through the facility. ‘Hey, come on out! I know you’re here somewhere!’ Wendell calls out, remarking that the Watcher almost never leaves his home. ‘You’re too afraid you might miss something important to wander far from your observation post!’ Quasar calls out, while thinking to himself that this is weird, as it is the fourth time he has been here, and that all the other times the Watcher has met him somewhere so he didn’t have the chance to snoop around too much. ‘Where the heck is he this time?’ Wendell wonders.
‘Could he actually be doing some field work - maybe checking out the impact site of the Moonthruster device?’ Wendell wonders, while calling out to the Watcher again: ‘Where are you?’. As Wendell searches the observation tower, he is unaware that he is being watched by a mysterious figure with a mohawk. Quasar suddenly realizes that he didn’t check out the Watcher’s favorite room, his viewing chamber. As he makes his way to the viewing room, Wendell notices what look like scorch marks on a wall. Analyzing it, he decides that they are from a blast, and notices the weird particulate residue. Wendell goes wide-eyed as he wonders if it was possible that the Watcher was in a struggle with somebody and that he lost. ‘What kind of power could take out an all-seeing Watcher?’ Wendell wonders, his mind drifting back to when he and the others took out the Moonthruster, Quasar wonders if it has anything to do with the Watcher’s disappearance. ‘Maybe the creeps who planted it were here also?’
Within moments, Quasar is flying back into open space, ‘If I’m adding up all the clues correctly, this just keeps getting bigger and bigger!’ Wendell tells himself that with the moon being shoved out of orbit, Kayla’s abduction by aliens and now the Watcher’s disappearance, he is starting to need help. Quasar touches one of his quantum bands, ‘Epoch? This is Quasar. You there?’ Wendell asks. A projection of Epoch appears, and replies ‘Of course I’m here, but I still have not had a chance to locate your friend. As I told you an hour ago, I am in the middle of my final examination here at the Learning Institute…and I do not have the concentration to separate for making random galaxy-wide telepathic sweeps!’ Epoch replies.
‘Um, a different favor, Eppy! It won’t take nearly as much brainpower. I need to contact some people fast!’ Wendell replies. ‘Wasn’t it your people who developed the communication device called the telephone? It’s on my test!’ Epoch exclaims. ‘Yes, but the people I need to talk to aren’t reachable by “phone”…’.
At that very moment, four figures streak from the moon, bound for Earth - Captain Marvel a.k.a. Monica Rambeau, Carol “Binary” Danvers, Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme, and the Eternal known as Ikaris. Hyperion, who is not of this Earth, looks at the other three and thinks to himself that this world has produced an astounding array of superhumans. ‘Enough to make my home world look like quite the underachiever’ Hyperion tells himself, adding that he is glad he is not the only one who is unable to teleport back to Earth.
Suddenly, the four flying heroes come to a stop as a spacecraft leaving Earth’s atmosphere flies by. Ikaris sees that the vessel is manned, while Binary realizes that it is not a U.S. ship. Ikaris thinks to himself that it is annoying they are unable to speak in space due to the airless void, but realizes that his three companions seem as curious about the Ship as he is. The four Earth-bound heroes look for a way into the ship, just as two moon-bound heroes exit the ship - those two heroes being the godly Perun and the robotic Vostok - two of the People’s Protectorate of Russia. Ikaris looks puzzled as Perun and Vostok begin gesturing to them, as to accompany them into the aircraft.
Suddenly, a large astral projection of Quasar’s face appears overhead, he greets the six heroes as he explains that he is speaking to them via quantum hologram, before informing them that he needs help, revealing that the business with the moon being pushed towards Earth was just a subterfuge for what is really going on. ‘And I think it’s something big!’ he exclaims, telling them that if they are interested in following up on this, to meet him at the following coordinates, which he transmits to them.
Binary, Captain Marvel, Hyperion, Ikaris, Perun and Vostok are not the only ones to witness Quasar’s apparition, for across the Earth Quasar’s image appears to a hand-selection of Earth’s most space-worthy champions:
In Russia, at the home of Siberforce, Laynia “Darkstar” Petrovna and her brother Nicolai “Vanguard” Krylenko, just arrived back home, before receiving Quasar’s message. Vanguard asks his sister if they go to help Quasar, or whether they have done enough already. Laynia suggests that they see what Father Garnoff advises.
At the seaside amusement park camp-out of the Inhumans, Black Bolt and Lockjaw also receive the summons, and look skyward.
In the Atlantic Ocean, on Monster Island, Adam Warlock and Pip the Troll also receive the summons. Warlock remarks that they have a choice - to either answer Quasar’s summons, or to investigate the madness that has beset the Thunder God, Thor. ‘You forgot out third option: kick back and party!’ Pip replies.
At the New Warriors headquarters in Manhattan, Richard Rider a.k.a. Nova also sees the projection as he lays in bed, complaining that he has not even had time to recover from his punch-up with those space goons on the Upper West Side.
In Midtown Manhattan, Thunderstrike is facing off against a foe, wondering what all the noise is about the moon, he tells himself that he could drop what he is doing here and join in, if he wanted to.
In the communications room at Avengers Mansion, the Black Widow remarks to the android Vision that she wishes they could keep track of when Quasar is on Earth or not.
At Project Pegasus, two of the Squadron Supreme - Doctor Spectrum and the Whizzer are in one of the labs when they too receive the message from Quasar. Doctor Spectrum tells his friend that Hyperion was supposed to be investigating that situation on the moon, but he has not returned. ‘Should we wait for him or run off?’ Doctor Spectrum asks. ‘You’re asking the wrong guy. I’m always up to run!’ the Whizzer replies, suggesting they check with Power Princess.
On Muir Island, Scotland, the home of Excalibur, where Nightcrawler, Meggan and Rachel “Phoenix” Summers also receive Quasar’s message. ‘I remember this fellow’ Nightcrawler tells his teammates, to which Rachel replies that she does too, as she fought him once. Rachel tells her teammates that she could probably make it to Quasar’s coordinates in under an hour, before asking if this is any of Excalibur’s concern.
Meanwhile, at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere, Quasar thanks Epoch for his help in getting his message across, to which Epoch replies that he must return to his studies. ‘Gotcha!’ Wendell replies, before using his quantum bands to create a “pie in the sky” meeting place, and something to sit on. A large circular platform is created, and Wendell adds a sun chair for him to lounge on. ‘And now wait for somebody to show up…assuming someone will’ he thinks to himself as he kicks back and grabs a moment to relax.
Somewhere outside the orbit of the moon, Gladiator of the Imperial Guard flies alongside a Shi’ar vessel, until he receives announcement that the airlock is secure. Gladiator enters the vessel, where the Shi’ar captain asks for a reconnaissance report. Gladiator replies that they were wise to remain after that business with the human Nova, and that some noteworthy things are going on in this system, including the abduction of a Watcher by parties unknown. Gladiator tells the Shi’ar captain that he recommends further investigation, to which the captain agrees, and announces that he will notify the home world.
At that moment, back on Quasar’s quantum platform, Darkstar and Vanguard arrive, followed moments later by Black Bolt and Lockjaw. ‘Ah! Some of my favorite teleporters. Long time no see!’ Wendell jokes, to which Vanguard tells him to spare them his American humor and tell them of the urgent matter he so cryptically alluded them all to. ‘Just the facts, huh?’ Wendell replies, adding that he would prefer to wait a bit to see if anybody else is going to show up. ‘But…any of you know who the Watcher is?’ he asks.
Before Wendell can explain any further, Binary, Captain Marvel, Perun, Hyperion and Ikaris drop down onto the platform. Captain Marvel greets her fellow former Avenger, assuring him that they got here as soon as they could, while Ikaris suggests to him that, next time, he might like to arrange for a tele-transport for them. Hyperion thinks to himself that, perhaps now he will learn the names of some of the others whom he fought alongside on the moon. Perun approaches Quasar and introduces himself as Lord of Storms, and explains that he is the chosen emissary of the People’s Protectorate of Russia to this gathering. Quasar shakes Perun’s hand and asks him to take a seat. ‘I’ve got one for everybody’ Wendell exclaims as he uses his quantum bands to make more loungers. ’Ho! Is useful power you have making chairs!’ Perun exclaims.
Everyone takes a seat, with Vanguard looking nervously at his enemy, Perun. Quasar sits facing everyone else, with Lockjaw at his feet as he begins ‘Now then…here’s what’s going on’. Wendell explains that firstly, some unidentified extraterrestrial parties planted a gravitational device on the far side of the moon, powerful enough to push the moon out of orbit, except with the aid of most of those here, they managed to deactivate it. Quasar adds that, secondly, an Earth woman, possessing a cosmic power from another universe has been kidnapped, and a credible eyewitness claims it was aliens. Wendell remarks that one might guess the two incidents occurring almost simultaneously were related, and he believes that the whole moon-moving business was just a diversion so the aliens could nab the girl.
‘Third -’ Wendell begins, when, suddenly, an astral projection of Moondragon appears before him. ‘Quasar, this is your old friend, Moondragon’ the haughty woman exclaims, to which Wendell asks her if she has come to audit this meeting. Moondragon replies ‘Not quite’ before explaining that Warlock asked her to tell him that he will be unable to attend this little get-together as he has more important business on Earth. ‘Oh, and don’t bother looking for the Infinity Watch, Thor, or the Silver Surfer, as we are likewise engaged’ Moondragon replies, before her cold image vanishes. ‘Message received, lady’ Wendell mutters.
Some of the heroes look at Quasar like is insane: ‘Ah, Quasar? Did your attention start to wander or are you talking to somebody the rest of us cannot see?’ Monica asks. Vanguard whispers to his sister in Russian that Quasar is one odd fellow, even by American standards. Wendell turns to his allies and apologizes to them for the interruption as he received a telepathic RSVP. ‘Where was I? Oh, yeah’ Wendell begins, informing the others that there is an ancient alien living on the moon called the Watcher who is also missing, and while there are no witnesses, the evidence points to another abduction.
Quasar gets to his feet as he declares that the bottom line is that whoever has done the three things he just explained has power out the wazoo, and even more if they manage to get the power of the missing woman. Quasar announces that he intends to lead a search party and tells his allies that he would love to have all of them in it. ‘You’ve gotten my curiosity aroused’ Ikaris remarks as he and the others all get to their feet. Wendell tells everyone that he has a bad feeling this is going to be bigger than he can even guess, to which Perun declares that a space voyage sounds fun, and he thinks they should all go along. Carol tells Quasar that she owes him one, so he can count her in. Wendell tells his friends and allies that he really appreciates this, before raising his hand in the air, using his quantum bands to turn the platform into an airtight dome, before they take off.
But, just as the domed platform reaches the stratosphere, two figures arrive moments later - Nova and Rachel Summers. ‘Hey! Hello there!’ Nova calls out. ‘Hi yourself!’ Rachel replies, before Nova introduces himself. Rachel does the same, and asks him if he received Quasar’s message too. Nova replies that he did, while wondering where the caped cosmoid is. Rachel motions to the golden dome and replies that she imagines Quasar is soaring out of sight in that, and asks Nova if he wants to try catching up to it. ‘Not particularly’ Nova replies, explaining that he has just come back from a space trip, and is all spaced out. ‘How about you?’ he asks Rachel. Rachel replies that she has a lot of personal matters to attend to. ‘I’ll claim we got here too late to catch up with it if you will!’ Nova smiles. ‘You have a deal!’ Rachel replies as they shake hands.
Flying off in separate directions, Nova tells Rachel that it was nice meeting her, and that he hopes they run into each other again. ‘So do I…’ Rachel tells him, while Nova thinks to himself ‘Wow!’, when, out of the corner of his eye, he notices an Avengers Quinjet soar past. ‘Glad I’m not the only johnny-come-lately’ Nova tells himself as he flies along side the Quinjet, just as the android Avenger known as the Vision phases through the Quinjet. ‘You’re the Vision, huh?’ Nova asks. ‘And you’re one of the New Warriors’ the Vision replies, before Nova tells him that if he is looking for Quasar, then he is too late. ‘He went that away!’ Nova exclaims, motioning upwards.
Deeper in space, Quasar’s dome soars onwards, while someone asks Wendell how long the air is going to last. ‘Indefinitely’ Wendell replies, explaining that he has an interspatial pipeline to a very oxygen-rich pocket of atmosphere he shunts in. Vanguard and Darkstar stand away from everyone else as Nicolai tells his sister to keep on eye on Perun, reminding her they have good reason not to trust him. Perun sits with Ikaris and Captain Marvel, who asks if anyone thought to bring along a deck of cards or a monopoly game. ‘Not me…we could swap origin stories to pass the time’ Hyperion suggests. Carol gazes out into the darkness of space and thinks that, after all these months, being here reminds her of how much she misses the Starjammers.
45 minutes later, Binary announces that she detects a ship within star-drive, to which Quasar replies that he is picking it up too. Wendell thinks to himself that this might be the ship that Kayla is in, and knows that he could quantum-jump away and check himself, but he knows that would be too team leader-like, so he announces that they need to investigate. Darkstar remarks that she can teleport aboard the ship and reconnoiter, explaining that conventional scanners cannot detect her force field. ‘All right. Take me with you’ Quasar replies, to which Vanguard rushes over and declares that where his sister goes, he goes. Laynia reminds her brother that she can teleport the two of them, while Quasar informs the others that he, Darkstar and Vanguard are going to investigate the other ship. He announces that Captain Marvel, former Avenger’s Chairwoman, is in charge until he returns, and asks Binary to use her energy to keep the dome on its present course. Darkstar takes the men by the hand, and the three teleport away via the Darkforce.
Carol announces that she senses a human-sized object approaching, to which Captain Marvel asks Hyperion to intercept it. ‘Aye, Captain!’ Hyperion replies, smiling, but as he prepares to leave, Black Bolt grabs him, and points to Lockjaw. ‘Why’s this guy gesturing to his dog? He wants me to walk it?’ Hyperion wonders, before putting a hand on Lockjaw, ‘Nice doggie, nice. Uh, I’m not sure what you want me to -’ he begins, only to realize that they have teleported into open space. There is no air in space to propagate sound. Thus Hyperion’s meeting of an irresistibly forceful extraterrestrial and an immovably strong extra dimensional goes unaccompanied by the cacophonous crash that such an impact would make on Earth - as he clashes with…Gladiator!
‘Who is this guy? He’s humanoid in form but of no earthly hue!’ Hyperion tells himself, as he realizes just how strong his foe is as Gladiator forces him backwards. Hyperion recalls that he hasn’t fought anyone with this much power since his evil duplicate some time ago. Both superhumans grimace as they grasp each other, forcing the other backwards. They are uncannily matched, and, now only are each of their diamond-hard physiques empowered by cosmic rather than electrochemical process, they also each mentally manipulate anti-gravitons, enabling them to bend gravity to their wills. Therefore, it may appear that the two motionless super-beings are simply flexing their steely muscles in dynamic opposition, it is the grappling of two opposing gravimetric fields that exerts the planet-pulverizing force cascading from their forms.
For over a minute, the two combatants bring their fullest might to bear upon the other - then, realizing they could be deadlocked this way for untold hours, Gladiator recalls another of his abilities that he hopes his opponent does not also have. As his eyes light up though, so do Hyperion’s, and Gladiator’s hopes are in vain as eyebeams of cosmic energy erupt from his head at approximately the same time that Hyperion triggers his own. The resulting feedback is so forceful that it breaks both their hand-grips and their gravimetric field interface at the same moment, and sends them careening away from one another at frictionless projectile speed.
Gladiator is the first to recover, and he soars the several miles that separates them towards Hyperion, who has only recently regained his ocular abilities and requires several more seconds recovery time. But, just as Gladiator’s steely fist is about to impact Hyperion’s face, Hyperion raises his own fists, just in time, forcing Gladiator backwards. Gladiator thinks to himself that his opponent’s battery of attributes rivals his own, yet he appears to be of Earthly origin. Hyperion thinks to himself that he doesn’t know what “mister Mohawk” wants, but that it has become a matter of principle for him to find a way to stop him.
Hyperion is shocked as Gladiator manages to force his own hand behind his back, and Hyperion admits that his foe is not only matched in power, but he is also a skilled fighter. Hyperion recalls that where he is from, he almost never encountered anyone he could go all-out with, so he hasn’t been able to hone his battle skills past a certain point. ‘Mohawk doesn’t seem to have had that problem’ Hyperion realizes, telling himself that it means he will have to get inventive, so he reaches his free hand upwards and grabs the front of Gladiator’s Mohawk, and yanks a chunk of hair out. ‘If there’s anything in the world tough enough to hurt this guy, maybe steely spikes produced by his own body are it!’ Hyperion wonders, as he forces the spikes into Gladiator’s face.
‘Did I get him?’ Hyperion wonders, while Gladiator attempts to shout ‘Barbarian! You nearly blinded me!’, only, there is no sound in space, - even so, Hyperion swears that his ears perceive the sound of vertebrae breaking movements before blackness overtakes him, as Gladiator breaks his back! Gladiator watches as Hyperion goes limp. ‘I have vanquished him…or killed him’ Gladiator tells himself, while wondering where the dog is that accompanied Hyperion. Looking around, Gladiator cannot see Lockjaw, and decides that he can now continue his mission to determine who approaches the star-cruiser. But as Gladiator uses his powers to scan the quantum dome floating nearby, he sees that it is empty. ‘Peculiar’ he thinks to himself, before picking up Hyperion’s unmoving body and flying back to the imperium ship to see if he can revive his opponent and question him.
Moments later, Gladiator arrives inside, only to find the Shi’ar crew chained by quantum and Darkforce energies. ‘Gladiator! Intruders have boarded this vessel! Beware!’ one of the Shi’ar crew calls out. Moments later, still carrying Hyperion, Gladiator arrives on the astro deck, where he finds more imprisoned Shi’ar officers, along with Quasar, Darkstar, Vanguard, Binary, Perun, Captain Marvel,, Ikaris, Black Bolt and Lockjaw. ‘This vehicle has been commandeered in the name of the Earth!’ Quasar shouts, ordering Gladiator to surrender his prisoner.
Meanwhile, half-way toward the sun, aboard the Starblaster, Skeletron calls out to Insidio, who is working in one of the labs. ‘Are we out of this backwater star system yet?’ Insidio asks the Starblaster’s leader. ‘Not yet’ Skeletron replies, before informing Insidio that he has come to inspect his charges. Insidio motions to Kayla Ballentine, imprisoned in a vat, Skeletron tells Insidio that he does not want him touching her in any way, as she is far too dangerous to tamper with. ‘When we get to our destination and her power is removed, then you can have her. Do you acknowledge?’ Skeletron remarks. ‘Perfectly, Sire’ Insidio replies, telling Skeletron that he is quite content for the duration to ply his trade on their other prisoner, the Watcher!
Indeed, Uatu the Watcher sits paralyzed, Insidio’s contraptions stuck to him. If Uatu’s thoughts were knowable to us, we might learn that the Starblasters have underestimated his abilities though, for, truthfully, he could escape anytime he wishes. But more than anything else in the universe, this is where he desires to be right now…prisoner of the intergalactic Starblasters!