Among the many unexplained phenomena of the universe are stargates, access points into a space beyond space where even intergalactic distances collapse into feasibility. Inside the orbit of Mercury, some 32 million miles from Earth’s sun, is one such stargate. An alien starship has just flown into it, seeking a quick passage back to the Shi’ar Empire. To prevent the stargate’s guardians - the cosmic Avenger Quasar and his powerful companion, Her - thwarting the jump, the Shi’ar have dispatched two superhuman champions of their own. ‘Whouggh! I felt that!’ Wendell “Quasar” Vaughn thinks to himself as a powerful punch from the Imperial Guardsman called Neutron knocks him backwards, although Quasar does manage to create a quantum-shield to deflect the blow, only Neutron is strong, and the shield begins to crack. Covering his face with the shield, Quasar fires a concussive blast at Neutron, but the powerful warrior just flies towards Quasar, and punches him threw space, over to where Her is hovering after knocking Starbolt back with a blast of energy.
Her manages to catch Quasar, just as Starbolt fires a blast of energy at Quasar. Her rescues Quasar from the energy, and Quasar thanks Her, ‘Another foot and the fiery guy would’ve toasted me!’ he exclaims. Quasar remarks that he isn’t having much luck stopping “Star-Muscles” and decides that “Hot-Stuff” is another matter, as he fires a quantum beam at Starbolt, trapping him in a quantum bubble. Quasar decides that the bubble looks like it will hold, and tells Her that they will need to tag-team the other enemy. “Tag-Team”? Her asks, confused. Quasar decides that their opponent’s body seems to absorb his quantum-energy both from the blasts and constructs, and convert them into strength. ‘What other tricks do I have up my sleeve?’ Quasar wonders.
Quasar thinks that he and Her should both bombard their enemy with a barrage of wavelengths simultaneously, so the alien won’t be able to synthesize them all. They engage this option, but it doesn’t work, and Quasar almost hits Her with his energies as well. Quasar tells himself that there is only one option left, assuming he can get in close enough without having his head handed to him. He flies towards Neutron and grabs onto him, before there is a flash of energy, and Her watches as they vanish. ‘Quasar must have quantum jumped!’ she thinks to herself.
Indeed, Quasar and Neutron re-materialize elsewhere. Neutron thrashes about, and Quasar tells him to stop squirming. ‘If I let go of you I may never find you’ he explains. ‘Where have you taken me?’ Neutron demands. ‘A relaxing little place I call the Quantum Zone. We’ll be out of it in a minute’ Quasar explains, and an instant later, they appear in space. ‘Back in real space!’ Quasar exclaims, pointing to a speck of light in the distance, he informs Neutron that Earth’s sun, and that they are about a light year away. Quasar starts to fly away from Neutron, and tells him to keep an eye on the speck. ‘While I’m jumping back, you’re going to have to get there on your own power. Assuming you can make near-light speed, see you in a little over a year!’ Quasar calls out as he quantum jumps once more, with Neutron unable to catch him.
And soon, ‘I’m back! We won’t have to worry about Chunky for a while!’ Quasar exclaims as he appears next to Her, who asks ‘What did you -?’, and Quasar tells Her that he sent their foe on a little trip. Looking at the quantum bubble, Quasar sees that Starbolt is still captured, and declares that he will finally be able to go after the escaping Shi’ar ship. ‘Take me with you’ Her asks, but Quasar points to Starbolt and replies that it is not that he couldn’t use her help, but it would be nice if he had someone here he could count on to guard the prisoner and the stargate. Quasar pulls out his Avengers communication card and contacts his teammates, via the eight-minute transmission delay, he reports that he is off to the Shi’ar galaxy in pursuit of the ship, and that Her will remain at the stargate. Her looks away from Quasar as he touches her face and thanks her, assuring her that he will be back as soon as he can. With that, Quasar speeds away through the stars.
Countless light years ahead, inside the Shi’ar star cruiser, Oracle, Scintilla and Electron stand over the Kree Warrior, Captain Atlas, as he is placed in a restraining device. ‘That’s it, Electron. This Kree’s been physically drained of all strategic information’ one of the Imperial Guard remarks. Oracle enquires as to what they do with him now, and Electron points out that he is a prisoner of war. Suddenly, a voice over a loud-speaker calls out to all Imperial Guardsmen, reporting that an unidentified object passed through the stargate ten light minutes behind them. ‘Quasar!’ Oracle exclaims. ‘If so, Neutron and Starbolt sacrificed themselves for nothing!’ another member of the Imperial Guard points out.
At that moment, Quasar streaks forward, and uses his Quantum Bands to contact Epoch. ‘You there, little goddaughter?’ he calls out. ‘Of course. I am in constant interface with your Quantum Bands’ Epoch replies. Quasar announces that he needs some information, and asks Epoch what she knows about the Shi’ar. ‘Would you prefer that I focus my energies on this rather than the previous exercise you posed me?’ Epoch enquires. ‘You don’t know anything off the top of your head?’ Quasar asks, to which Epoch replies that she doesn’t. Quasar tells Epoch to work on the Shi’ar thing as he is heading towards the heart of their empire. ‘Will do’ Epoch assures him, before Quasar begins another distance-crumbling quantum jump.
An instant later, ‘All right! How’s that for precision? Nearly zapped in up their tailpipe!’ Quasar thinks to himself as he appears within sight of the Shi’ar cruiser. He tells himself that there is no polite way to ask to be let in, as he doesn’t speak Shi’arese, and Epoch was less than a lot of help. ‘Guess I’ll just barge right in. What the heck - this is war’ Wendell decides, and he uses a wraparound quantum energy drill-bit, which pierces the side of the Shi’ar star cruiser. ‘Never thought I’d miss the screeching sound of a drill, but the experience seems oh - empty without it. Of course even if I surrounded it with an atmosphere filled bubble I probably wouldn’t heart much here inside the drill-bit’ he decides.
Shortly, Quasar is inside the star cruiser and dissolves the drill-bit, reforming the energy into a plug for the side of the cruiser. He supposes that his presence must be noted by now, and won’t know if a klaxon is going off in his honor until he reaches a section of the ship that he hasn’t blown the air out of. He makes his way down a corridor, and comes to a major air-seal. ‘I must be getting closer to the center of -’ Wendell thinks to himself, when suddenly, eight of the Imperial Guard appear before him - Oracle, Nightside, Electron, Manta, Warstar, Tempest, Scintlla and Hobgoblin. ‘Halt, terran!’ Electron orders. ‘“Terran”? You mean you aliens actually do call us that? Hmh!’ Quasar muses, while Oracle telepathically informs Tempest that Quasar’s mind is proof against psionic control. ‘We are the IMPERIAL GUARD!’ Electron booms.
Quasar smiles and tells the Imperial Guard that they look like they are trying to intimidate him. ‘You want me to take you all on? You got it!’ the plucky hero exclaims, but Oracle points out that to engage Quasar here would only serve to cause considerable damage to their star cruiser. ‘Gee, you’re right. Now why didn’t I think of that?’ Quasar remarks, to which Oracle tells him that his sarcasm is less than amusing, and suggests that they negotiate. ‘Fine by me. First I want you to release your prisoner to me’ Quasar declares. ‘Very well’ Oracle replies, ordering Warstar to fetch “the Kree man” as she calls him.
And, shortly, ‘Here’ Warstar calls out as he marches Captain Atlas towards Quasar, who requests that Captain Atlas’s binds be removed. Atlas is surprised to see Quasar, who explains that he has come to rescue him. Quasar asks Atlas what they did to him, and the Kree warrior explains that he was interrogated, informing Quasar that the woman is a telepath as he looks at Oracle. ‘What happened to the Nega-Bands you stole?’ Quasar asks. ‘What do you think?’ Atlas replies. ‘Lady -’ Quasar begins, ‘I am Oracle!’ Oracle interrupts him. ‘Oracle, next I want the bracelets you took from him’ Quasar announces, but Oracle explains that that is not possible, as they don’t have them. ‘Don’t try to bull me, lady’ Quasar warns her.
Oracle assures him that she is not, revealing that when they reached this galaxy they matter transmitted the Nega-Bands to their home star system. ‘Why? What are you going to use them for?’ Quasar enquires. Electron informs him that that information is classified, explaining that no one aboard this vessel, himself included, is privy to that bit of intelligence. Quasar tells the Imperial Guard that he has no reason to take their word, but informs them that he has energy-scanned their entire star cruiser while they were talking and he couldn’t detect the Nega-Bands, so decides he may as well trust them. Quasar asks the Imperial Guard what planet they transmitted the bands to, but Electron tells him that they will reveal no more. ‘Doesn’t matter. I hae my own way of finding out’ Quasar replies, before announcing that he is taking Atlas and leaving, unless they want to have the fight they mentioned. ‘Don’t tempt us, terran’ Electron replies.
Shortly, Atlas has been placed in a quantum tube and Quasar exit’s the star cruiser with him. Wendell contacts the Imperial Guard and suggests to them that they shut off their star drive as soon as possible. ‘Thanks to a little terran tinkering I have feeling it’s going to malfunction if you don’t!’ he warns them. Quasar turns to Atlas and asks him if he has any idea what they want with the Nega-Bands, before noticing five of the Imperial Guard follow him out of the star cruiser and into space. ‘Looks like they were just waiting for me to clear the ship before they pressed their attack’ Quasar decides, before he vanishes thanks to a quantum jump, ‘They can’t touch this!’ he boasts, leaving the Imperial Guard behind.
Meanwhile, on a planet in a star system in a galaxy far removed from where Quasar has quantum jumped, life goes on as usual, oblivious so far to the events taking Earth’s Mightiest Heroes from their native sphere. But here on the half of the world where it is now night, on Staten Island, a borough of New York City, a major metropolis on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, there is a house. Inside, it sleeps the five members of the Ballantine family. The youngest, whom is Kayla, who happens to work as Quasar’s secretary during the rare times he devotes to his security consultancy firm. For Kayla, life has not been going on as usual. For the past few days, her body seems to have become a stranger to her. Her muscles throb for no reason, her skin feels tingly all over, she sees and hears things that are not there, and there’s been a burning sensation in the back of her neck.
Kayla’s dreams have also become uncharacteristically vivid and violent. Soon, all of these ailments will seem minor. Kayla moans, and suddenly, she finds herself floating up to the ceiling of her bedroom. She thuds against the ceiling, before falling back down onto her bed. ‘My God! I thought - I felt I was - I was just dreaming about -’ she thinks to herself, before getting up and going into the bathroom attached to her bedroom, she tells herself that there is something terribly wrong with her lately, and doesn’t know whether she is going insane, or if she has come down with some sort of horrible disease. Kayla decides that she can’t put it off any longer, that she has to go and see a doctor.
Looking into a mirror, Kayla wishes that Wendell was here, for perhaps with his Quasar powers he could figure what has been happening to her all of a sudden. ‘Unless…wait, what if what if hanging around with him is the cause of what is wrong with her. ‘Maybe his energy - whatever it is - leaks out like radiation or something…and eventually makes other people sick’. As Kayla wonders whether this is happening to anyone else, she is unaware that outside the bathroom, clinging to the house, a strange, angled humanoid watches her, and utters something in an indecipherable language.
Meantime, at the imperial stargate on Chandilar, the throne world of the Shi’ar Empire. ‘We are the Avengers of Earth. We mean you no harm. We wish to speak to your leader. Do you understand me?’ Captain Marvel a.k.a. Monica Rambeau asks an elderly Shi’ar official, as she stands with her fellow Avengers of East and Coast branches - Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch, Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man and Miguel Santos a.k.a. Living Lightning of the Avengers West Coast, and the Vision and the new Thor a.k.a. Eric Masterton of the East Coast branch. Inside the sprawling star gate complex, Shi’ar guards go about their duties, while Thor tells himself that he is glad Captain Narvel is the spokesman of this little envoy and not him, as he would be sure to lose his cool trying to communicate with the feather-haired aliens.
‘You are…Queen Lilandra?’ Captain Marvel enquires. ‘No. I am the Empress’s Prime Minister, Araki. You will see me first’ Araki replies, adding that the Empress is extremely busy, he asks Captain Marvel what she wishes to speak with her about. Captain Marvel looks annoyed as she replies ‘Simply this’ and tells Araki that the Shi’ar are employing stargates near their world’s sun in order to transport ordnance to the Kree galaxy. Captain Marvel explains that this is disturbing their sun, creating abnormal solar flare and sunspot activity, and as a consequence, one of their manned solar satellites has been destroyed. She adds that they fear the Earth itself is in great jeopardy. ‘Bottom line: we want you to promise to cease and desist immediately. Any further use will be considered an act of aggression against the planet Earth and will be dealt with accordingly’.
‘Hmm! I will inform the Empress of your message, and if she wishes to speak with you further -’ Arakai begins, until Thor slams his hammer on the floor, lightning charges flicker about, and he booms ‘NO! We are the Avengers! We’ve already beaten Gladiator, the leader of your legion of super-lackeys! You will tell your queen she’d better listen to us now, or we’re going to bring this planet down around your ears! Right, guys?’ Thor calls out. ‘Uh…’ Living Lightning and Wonder Man both utter as they look at each other. ‘Yeah!’ Wonder Man exclaims as he moves forward, but Arakai turns and walks away, announcing that he will inform the queen of their brutish threats. The Avengers stand and watch Araki leave, while Captain Marvel asks Thor if he has ever thought about a career as a diplomat. Thor points out that it did the trick, as Araki is scurrying to fetch the queen. He then thanks Wonder Man and the Living Lightning for back him up.
Elsewhere in Chandilar’s solar system, Quasar flies amongst the large system of space stations and space ships, with Captain Atlas still in the quantum tube, Wendell contacts Epoch, asking if this is where the Nega-Bands were taken. Epoch confirms that it is, and Wendell decides that they this place looks like some sort of starship building yard, before thanking Epoch, and telling her that she really came through for him on this one. Wendell thinks to himself that finding unusual energy-emitting inanimate objects must be easier than the general information hunts he has asked Epoch to put her budding cosmic senses to work at in the past. ‘She actually got me an answer I could use in a useful span of time’ Wendell decides. He knows that from here though it will be up to him to pinpoint the Nega-Bands’ precise location. ‘Shouldn’t be too much of a -’ he starts to think, when suddenly, he detects a very small, heavy duty energy source rapidly approaching.
‘Wow! So bright, it’s blinding. What is it?’ Wendell wonders as the energy moves closer to him - until finally, he sees a woman, and wonders if she is another member of the Imperial Guard. Quasar asks Captain Atlas if he recognizes her, but the Kree warrior replies that he doesn’t. ‘well, she’s approaching with her sunbeams turned way up. Maybe it’s her way to say hi’ Wendell decides, before deciding to show her what he thinks of people with messy energy discharges, and he creates a quantum funnel, which he uses to vacuum the energy up and send it away from him. He realizes that the mysterious woman has taken the hint, as she dims her corona by a factor of 100.
Clad in a red and white costume, the woman tells Quasar to come no further or he will have to answer to her. ‘And who are you?’ Quasar enquires. ‘I am…Binary!’ Carol Danvers responds, only for Quasar to surround her in a quantum bubble. ‘Well, ma’am, as much as I liked the dramatic way you paused before saying your name, I’m afraid I’m going to have to consider you a threat to me and my mission’ Quasar declares. He adds that he may be an over-reactor, but that something in her energy barrage and the tone of her words made a little voice go off in his head saying “this lady might be trouble, she’d be safer in a bubble”.
Binary releases a powerful flare of energy inside the bubble, and Quasar decides that she didn’t like that very much. ‘Stop that so I can talk to you!’ Quasar calls out as he creates a funnel into the bubble which he speaks through. Binary stops releasing her energy, giving Quasar the chance to ask her what the big idea is attacking him. ‘I was simply trying to get your attention -’ Binary begins. ‘Yeah, right’ Quasar mutters, but Binary tells him that his interference may cost the Empire countless lives. ‘What interference? How do you know who I am or what I’m doing here? You one of the Imperial Guard?’ Quasar enquires, confused. Binary reveals that she is with the Starjammers, to which Quasar replies that he has never heard of them. He tells Binary that he would love to stay and chat, but that he has got some Nega-Bands to find.
‘I’ll see about letting you out of there when I get -’ Quasar calls out to Binary as he flies away, but he stops himself mid-sentence when he almost flies into a fist that is outstretched in front of him. The fist smacks into his face, and Quasar falls backwards through space. ‘Never saw it coming! But how could anyone have gotten so close to me without detection?’ Wendell wonders, knowing that if it wasn’t for his quantum aura, the punch would have taken his head off. ‘A masterful blow as usual, Onslaught. Now hover aside - it’s my turn!’ a man with a long flowing green cape calls out to the warrior in a brown costume called Onslaught. A portal is closing in space behind them, as three more figures emerge. ‘Excellent, Moondancer! You guided us right to him!’ a man carrying a staff calls out to the blue-skinned woman, while a round, pink alien with short arms and legs follows them, ‘Wait for Glom - Glom not through yet!’ he exclaims.
‘Feel the fury of the Solar Wind!’ the man with the long green cape snarls as he blasts Quasar with some energy, knocking him backwards. ‘More Imperial Guard? Or are they Starjammers? The Shi’ar seem to boast almost as many super-champions as Earth does’ Quasar thinks to himself. The strange alien, Glom, latches on to the quantum bubble where Binary is kept, and starts biting it. ‘Glom sees ball of energy - Glom hungry!’ the alien exclaims. ‘Glom eat your bubble, fire-top feminoid!’ the strange alien adds, while Onslaught kicks Quasar hard in the face. Solar Wind tells him to keep Quasar occupied, as Voyager is almost in place, as the man with the staff flies towards Quasar. Wendell coils backwards, and tells himself that he is being buffeted about so hard he hasn’t figured out what kind of defense to whip up.
Solar Wind fires another energy blast at Quasar, who tells himself that if they were hitting him with some kind of energy like Binary did, they would be easy to deal with. He suddenly senses something energetic behind him, as Voyager has created a portal, which Quasar falls into. ‘Good work, Solar Wind! Right through the portal!’ At that moment, Glom has broken through the quantum bubble holding Binary, freeing her, while Moondancer calls out to her teammates: ‘Follow me, Guardsmen!’ she exclaims as she flies into the portal. ‘Where…did they go?’ Binary calls out. ‘Glom not know. Someplace where enemy cannot find way back from’ he remarks, while Captain Atlas floats nearby, still trapped in the quantum capsule. Binary remarks that it looks like Lilandra will be about to launch the payload without interference, thanks to them. ‘Yes, um, you have any spare energy from Glom to snack on?’ the alien asks.
On the planet below, ‘Status report!’ a projection of Lilandra demands as she appears before two Shi’ar officers, who bow before her. ‘It works, Majestrix, just as our theoreticians have predicted’ one of the officers reports. He adds that they have split the Kree Nega-Bands open and created a sphere of anti-matter of sufficient power to propagate the death-light throughout the system. ‘Excellent! You and your staff are to be commended’ Lilandra exclaims. She orders him to assemble all the Nega-Bands’ components and prepare for launch, before announcing that she will come to Targon in person to watch. ‘Yes, Majestrix!’ the officer replies, while thinking to himself ‘And Sharra help me if the deaths of billions of Kree weight upon my conscience!’
Elsewhere, Quasar throws up a quantum shield just as Onslaught kicks him again. Wendell realizes he has been blown through a portal, but not sure where he is. Quasar sees the others flying towards him, and decides that he has had enough of Being Onslaught’s bop bag, so he armors up like he did earlier - and as Onslaught lands another punch, he recoils in pain from striking Quasar’s quantum armor. ‘Gotcha!’ Wendell thinks to himself. Solar Wind fires yet another blast of energy at Quasar, which knocks him into an asteroid. Solar Wind tells Onslaught to get back as they are moving out. Quasar falls through a series of small asteroids, knocked about as he hits them. ‘Just when I think I’ve got my job down pat, jokers like these guys come along!’ Wendell thinks to himself.
Quasar regains his traction through space and flies forward, ‘I’m mad now! No more funny business!’ he thinks to himself, but when he clears the asteroids, he finds that the Imperial Guard members are gone. He sees the residue of a teleport effect and realizes that they have left him here. Quasar drops his armor and recalls that this was the same trick he pulled on their teammate a few hours ago, but unlike the stargate, this was an artificial teleportal, and now that it is closed, there is no way for him to go through it or even trace energy signatures through it. He decides that he best figure out where he is and jump back, as he was supposed to recover the Nega-Bands.
Quasar contacts Epoch and informs her that he has been teleported some place and he isn’t sure where. He asks her if she could use her cosmic awareness to tell him where in the universe he is. Epoch asks Quasar if he knows what galaxy he is in, and Quasar replies that he thinks it is the Shi’ar. Epoch tells Quasar that she will try to identify his position from the configuration of stars in the sky. Quasar asks Epoch to do it as fast as she can, as he doesn’t think he has much time. ‘I’ve got an awful feeling the Shi’ar are planning to do something terrible with the Nega-Bands!’ Quasar exclaims.
Back in Shi’ar space, ‘Glom eat prisoner out of tube now?’ Glom asks as he latches on to the tube that Captain Atlas is trapped in. ‘No, Glom - he needs the air inside it to -’ Binary explains, before she notices an energy pulse, as Voyager, Moondancer, Solar Wind and Onslaught return. Voyager announces that Quasar has been taken care of, and now the launch may proceed without his interference. He suggests they take the Kree to the surface, as a prisoner of war may prove useful.
Soon, beneath the throne world, ‘Let me out of here, you stinking aliens!’ Captain Atlas declares as he thrashes about in the quantum tube which Onslaught and Voyager carry towards the holding cells. Glom lumbers after them, ‘Now can Glom eat quantum capsule?’ he asks. ‘In a moment, impatient one!’ Voayger declares.
Shortly, Captain Atlas is no longer in the quantum tube, but behind a stasis field in a cell. He thinks to himself that he has been a pawn in this war - a prisoner - for far too long, and decides that he must free himself so that he can learn what sinister purpose the Shi’ar are putting the Kree Nega-Bands to. He wishes that he could contact his beloved Dr Minerva through their empathic link. He knows they are galaxies apart, but supposes that her extrasensory abilities might be trans-spatial. Within minutes, ‘What’s happening - a figure! Minerva?’ Atlas thinks to himself as someone materializes before him. ‘Who are you?’ Atlas calls out to the figure in silver armor. ‘Your rescuer’ comes the enigmatic reply….