14076/Shi'ar: The War of Queens, Opening Salvos

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Shi'ar: The War of Queens, Opening Salvos
Date of Scene: 26 February 2023
Location: Zegaria IV
Synopsis: Zegaria IV is cut off from the Shi'ar hyperspace network, and a fleet scrambles to investigate - flying head first into a terrible trap. They find only a single ship, but are unable to destroy it as a powerful being turns the energy of their weapons against them. Worse, the sector Admiral placed in command uses the opportunity to defect and bring ships over to the usurper cause. Members of the Imperial Guard reserve act quickly to stop his plan, although the odds are all against them. Although they perish in the effort, Lord Samedar goes with them, and a rogue space cop manages to escape the scene to tell the tale.
Cast of Characters: Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Carol Danvers, Belinda Gutierrez, Tabitha Smith

Jean Grey has posed:
The Zegaria system is a fairly unremarkable one, and given its location toward the anticenter of the M33 galaxy, roughly 912 kiloparsecs from Earth... not a place most Earthlings even know exists, let alone have much interest in.

Like most systems in the region, it falls under Shi'ar authority, although there are no interesting tales of brutal conquest and tyranny involved. Its habitable (and indeed, pleasantly verdant) 4th planet had a pre-spaceflight civilization at contact, and 'grew up' within the Empire, becoming a well-integrated world of happy, productive citizens. Like many such worlds, it relies on the Imperial structure for security and commerce.

Which makes it an attractive target for those who want to up-end that order.

Several days prior, it's local hyperspace beacon went offline. The Shi'ar use a complex system that mixes stand-alone propulsion and static gateway networks. Hence, the destruction does not fully isolate the planet, but it makes reaching it more difficult, more 'distant,' by the strange geometries of that other-space.

Not surprisingly, a Naval task force is quickly dispatched, although its arrival is delayed by the disruption. As are its communications, which end abruptly. "It is the second Usurper. Deathbird has brought-"

The message is enough to provoke a much more serious response. When the Shi'ar arrive the second time, it is with every ship within the sector, though more distant reinforcements will be slower to arrive unless the beacon can be reactivated. A dozen cruisers gather under Lord Admiral Samedar. The Imperial Guard, operating under its own hierarchy (answering to the Majestrix directly in theory, or whoever holds the loyalty of the Praetor in practice), is present across several of the ships, although most are reservist Subguardians.

A holographic projection of the prime Mentor stands on the bridge of one of the smaller ships, alongside one of his own Subguardians who attends in the flesh. They look almost identical, although the green skin of the physical version contrasts with the faint blue tint of the hologram. "The Flagship reports all vessels accounted for and in position, sensors confirm," reports the organic, as the construct watches. "Beacon station thirteen degrees beyond horizon at current. Approaching."

"Remain observant," instructs Mentor Prime. "My calculations refuse to resolve on this present mission, suggesting unknown variables. As of yet, I cannot localize. There is a high probability of unexpected mission outcome."

As the ships move so that the orbital horizon falls away, the beacon station comes into view. It is burning in space. Only a single ship hangs nearby, equal in size to the other cruisers, but now outnumbered a dozen-to-one.

Emma Frost has posed:
On the ship with Mentor, Nightside of the Shi'Ar Imperial Guard waits, looking out along the distance of space. Moving to glance out at the ship that had been disabled and was drifting. "Suggest seeing if we can remotely take the logs from the ship and download them remotely." It was completely obvious that it was some sort of trap if they did go to board it.

The Guard could of course handle such a thing but best to not take chances when they were dealing with the usurper. Deathbird was a rather cunning adversary.

Carol Danvers has posed:
The Earth doesn't enjoy a well-integrated connection to the wider universe. Certainly, SWORD and other agencies with a vested interest in distant stars hear mutterings, but it is comparatively very little. No, this is the end of a trail of bread crumbs that Carol has been following for a few days. A visit to Knowhere, a stop for beverages with old Star Force compatriots, and even arm-wrestling a member of the Nova Corps to spill the beans. All of it lead to Zegaria.

"Zegaria?" Captain Marvel says to herself with a wrinkle of her nose, emerging without any effort to be stealthy from the outer heliosphere of the system, "Never heard of it."

She has heard of the Shi'ar, however. Their presence is ... startling, to say the least. But then, it made sense. Deathbird was someone she'd only ever heard about, and what she'd heard had her on high alert.

She'll ping on alien sensors without much effort. The confusing thing may be that, on close inspection, she's not a vessel but an individual. Flying through space at incredible speeds under her own power.

Belinda Gutierrez has posed:
Arms crossed, the Imperial Guardsman, Impulse, stands stoically as he gazes out the viewscreen at the ruins before him. "Thus explains the lack of beacon," he remarks wryly, buzzing voice a faint ripple of sound from his suit. He glances to one side, sparing an 'eye' to the nearest surveillance monitor. "Unable to ascertain if there are survivors on the station. Too much interference. Also--"

He gestures, wry amusement in his words as he states the obvious. "-- the beacon is leaking volatiles, and on fire."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Hypernova might be chomping at the bit for now. Spacetravel is a whole lot of distance and boring and really, she just wants to get out and blast something into nothing. The damn Imp Guard wouldn't take her but she found her place eventually. And it's one she enjoys. When she's not stuck with so much down time.

Jean Grey has posed:
Whatever thoughts the Imperial Guard have, the Lord Admiral continues the maneuver the fleet. The tactics are standard, but with numbers like these, what's the risk? The various crusiers spread out, to flank and create a wide covering arc of fire, around the single presumed rebel ship and the nearby beacon. Samedar's demands to the lone ship are echo'd on viewscreens of all the other vessels in the fleet:

"In the name of Majestrix Lilandra Neramani of the Shi'ar Imperium surrender your vessel immediately. Power down main engines, disengage shields, and prepare to be boarded. This is your only warning." There is no immediate response.


On their own ship, the two versions of Mentor continue their analysis. The Subguardian glances at his counterpart. "The beacon station's computers are non-responsive. As for the enemy vessel, electronic retrieval will not be possible while their shields are raised. But you would be capable of inserting a team." Even Shi'ar shields don't interact with the strange dimension Nightside accesses. "If-"

"Signature detected," interrupts the fake-real Mentor, glancing at a console. Although he cannot physically interact with it, he nonetheless remotely activates it, and soon a sensor readout appears, showing empty space. It zooms in, then zooms in again... and a few more times, before resolving a flying... person. Very smol, as space goes. But the power signature definitely registers. "Probabilities altered." Carol has that way about her. But it's not the only thing both of him are noticing. As the allied formation fans out, each ship a dot on the display, both figures frown slightly. "Unusual."

The Subguardian version looks toward Nightside. "You will launch a boarding mission... of the Lord Admiral's ship. This is situation is a trap."

Hyper-intelligences are weird, and a lot of what Mentor says can be hard for lesser beings to understand. Not to mention that the order is... well, potentially treasonous. But that's not unusual for life in the Guard. They've fought on both sides of this civil conflict, as the Neramani siblings have warred with one another. Loyalty is an odd beast.

Meanwhile, the single ship runs out its chance to surrender, and the fleet opens fire. A dozen ships unleash a myriad of energy weapons on a single target. It holds. Perhaps strangely.

Emma Frost has posed:
Something is amiss here. The Imperial Guardswoman is aware of it. But her position is to serve. Mentar is her commanding officer and she snaps to obey him. Her eyes close then as she calls upon the Darkforce energies as she listens to Mentar.

The High Admiral is in command of the Shi'Ar Military. But the Imperial Guard serves the Nobility, an dthe Empress.

Mentar is the representative of the Empress here. In the well drilled mind of Nightside, that trumps all other orders. She goes tos peka to the hyper-intelligent subguardian.

"As you command." Then her form goe sto flicker, a corridor of darkness appearing between nothingness and reality. From the Darkforce she puts forth tendrils to take the group to the Admiral's ship . His chambers personally. Those going along will have a very disorienting, disquieting experience. The same way it always is with her.

Carol Danvers has posed:
Carol makes the assumption that she's been detected by the vessel. She has a decent understanding of the Shi'ar Empire and their capabilities, and their sensors are more than capable of picking up what she was laying down so to speak. She draws closer to the fleet, perhaps lacking the ability to communicate with them or at least lacking the desire to do so.

Still, her eyes follow the subguardians as they make their moves to disembark and ... board what looks like the flagship. Her brows furrow. Mutiny in the Shi'ar Empire? It wouldn't be the first time, but still.

The glowing-gold Avenger darts about amidst the fleet's armada of ships, coming to a stop near the flagship. This may give the Shi'ar a visual confirmation of Captain Marvel in the flesh.

Belinda Gutierrez has posed:
Impulse glowers at the viewscreen a second longer, nodding toward the Mentor(s) as he moves to take position alongside Nightside. Uniformed frame stiffening as the strange... not-place of the Guardswoman's transporting takes effect.

A buzzy rumble thrums from Impulse's containment suit before he re-rezzes into himself. "Guard aboard," he remarks to the communicator. And aside, for his team's ears alone. "And that is still not a habit forming experience. Unpleasant. Apologies to you, Nightside."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The life of a a Death Commando has many a perk and as many dangers. Follow orders, kill who you're told to kill. That bit is a perk but sometimes you kinda want to kill more. It's like that weird food on the terran spaceport. The weird golden coated bird meat in a tangy yellow sauce. With out the sauce it tastes like everything else Hypernova had ever eaten.

Terran's are really weird. Kinda hot females though but she's always on the clock to her dismay.

For now though it's back to work after so long flying and doing little else but be bored with her team mates. This probably makes it easier to want to do her job when she's sent to make a boarding action. This puts a bigh wicked grin on her lips when things kick off. All she awaits now is the order to start killing.

Jean Grey has posed:
Mentor has given one strange order, and expects it to be carried out. Evidently, it is transmited to some of the other ships as well; nearly all of them have Imperial Guard forces aboard to some degree or another, although given the haste to bring the fleet together, they are not well organized. Not all of them have teleportation. Some just fly out into space!

Afterward, he - both of him, really - turns his attention elsewhere, to readouts of the battle itself. "Sensor data is inexplicable. Sustained output of a D-class cruiser should be sufficient to overwhelm a peer in 27 seconds of uninterrupted fire. The combined output of the assembled ships should cause shield failure in two point two five. Shields continue to hold. No energy fall-off. Extending sensor band range and re-factoring..."

The Guard boarding party continues to receive Mentor's intel until they step through the blackness, replaced by total nothingness... and the it re-ups on the other side. The 'Ally' vessel, of course, has its shield frequencies synchronized so that communication is still possible. "...my conclusion is that all allied weapon fire is being redirected or absorbed, prior to interface with the target shields." Cool intel, though less valuable to the strike team. They have other concerns.

The Admiral's office is rather fancy, full of various marks of his status and rank, trophies and collector's items, although it is currently empty. He does have a large desk with a computer terminal. And of course, there are doors, that by the standard layout, should lead right out onto the bridge. Handy if Hypernova wants to start murdering at maximum speed...

Meanwhile, Carol gets a communication, from the Admiral's ship. "Unidentified Kree agent." She might not be that exactly, but apparently she reads as something close-enough for their sensor profiles. "This area of space is outside your jurisdiction. Please identify your purpose."

Emma Frost has posed:
And from the void aboard the ship comes NIghtside and those members of the Imperial Guard that have accompanied her. "As you command." She would speak through the communications link to Mentar. Her hands going to fold together even as she goes to simply walk towards the door. Rather than bothering to press a button to open it, she simply goes to fold darkness over in front of her, and ahead of her. She's presuming that the admiral is on the bridge..

Failing that, she'll simply take whatever she needs from the crewmembers upon it. And darkness envelops her.. And recedes from her as she goes to appear over around in front of the command area.

"YOu have a great deal to answer for."

Carol Danvers has posed:
"This is Captain Marvel," Carol says in response to the communication, painted lips curling into a self-pleased little smile within her helmet, "And you might want to update your records. I'm not a Kree Agent any more than you are. And I'm here because whatever's happening is getting people's attention in the neighboring galaxy."

She pauses, looking towards the burning beacon. The other vessels. She raises a hand, ready to make her own purpose-built entryway to the ship should the need arise. At the same time she's reaching out to the other vessels, communicator pinging them.

"So ... you know ... stop that."

Belinda Gutierrez has posed:
Impulse stands behind Nightside, to one side. Energy gleams in blue-white pulses from his hands, a glitter of the same from beneath the opaque visor across masked features. Nightside diplomacizes; he supplies impetus in the form of the carefully applied threat of firepower.

Shi'ar diplomacy, 101.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
They have their taget. Anyone else in the way is fair game. She's not Imperial Guard after all, that does mean she's glorified cannon fodder but that hasn't stopped her yet. Neither has most ships crews and guards. Even now on her way to 'secure' the bridge.

If they didn't want anyone terminated they wouldn't have sent her and her own comrades.

It's probably a bad day for most of this crew as Hypernova starts discharging her energy. Anyone hit is just suddeny but however brief, painfully gone, disintegrated on the spot. A look of satisfaction on her features and a half nibble of her lower lip as she works, directing her shots to anyone taking aim at her. Not so much protection for anyone not a fellow Death Commando either but they might benefit from very scary vaporising cover fire.

Jean Grey has posed:
"We are in the process of stopping it, as you might observe. Your presence is unneeded. Please depart." That's as much explanation as Carol gets.


The others push out onto the bridge, be it via normal means or teleportation. Nightside's sudden emergence is first, and no doubt carries the element of surprise. She steps out by the large command console, although the Admiral is a few steps ahead of it nearer to the viewscreen, but quite close by. A whole great deal of data is laid out in front of him and his various officers. Of course, there are screens showing the burning station, and the 'enemy' ship. But several others seem to be monitoring other vessels in the fleet. Perhaps Mentor was right.

He's right 99.98% of the time.

Yet as Nighstide steps out, she feels another looming presence behind her, and can see, around the bridge, that several others react. Other Guardsmen. /Actual/ Superguardians, albeit several of them of less... prestigeous designations. A bug-like claw grips her shoulder.

Hypernova finds a trooper by the door, who she goes through like butter. But suddenly there's a squadron of other unique aliens blocking her path. Fight time!

"Oh?" Samedar wonders, looking back, to address Nightside. "One treason to match another, I suppose. Do it."

"We are detecting sensor retargeting, and a buildup near the rebel vessel, it is channeling-" And then Mentor cuts out. Those friendly shields just went unfriendly.


Outside, about half of the Shi'ar vessels suddenly change their targets, the barrage of weapon fire pausing only long enough for their sensors to re-acquire. This must have been what Mentor saw, as not only the sudden ambush, but the positioning of each ship puts the sudden turncoats at immediate advantage.

That's not the worst of it, though. That comes in the form of a sudden, massive lance of energy from the rebel ship, aimed at the vessel that the three Subguardians had arrived in. It slices through the shields and punches a hole through the hull in one shot, with several secondary explosions to follow.

"...we are hit," reports the Subguardian Mentor.

Emma Frost has posed:
There's a look of distaste over on the face of Nightside, "Traitors will be dealthw ith as thier station deserves." The sudden explosiosn don't distract her. They have their own things to deal with. Namely their own survival! They have to focus on one objective at a time. They are here for investigation.

Unfortunately that can mean just having enough survivors to flee and make a report or ask for reinforcements. Nightside's eyes go to lose thier glow, as does her body, moving to meld over into the darkness.

For those around her - that claw over on her shoulder, she simply phases over. The ground warps with her. As does several meters in each direction as it turns to inky blotness.

Those around her that are hostile (or that she perceives to be) simply vanish over into the darkness. Where they're faced with thier greatest fears going ot consume them, threaten them, and attempt to overwhelm them via sheer fear and terror. Those of the Imperial Guard with her often find it disquieting. But they are used to it and she attempts to restrict it as much as possible.

Here, when she's looking to eliminate threats? Those within her are being terrified to literal death and considered by their traumas. The Darkforce ethers snap shut, permanently condemning them to the darkness.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Oh look, there's actual resistance coming up. Hypernova never did make it to the Superguardian spot, couldn't dial down her powers. But really, they were just flutarking finicky about that stuff. They wanted a Hussar that could not kill if she wanted to with her blasts.

There loss, her gain.

Slipping behind a bulkhead door, a sweep of her hand lets another blast attempt to take out more of the resisting aliens.

The one that looked like a mollusc to start with. "Bet that thing feels disgusting if it lands on your head." she guesses and lines up her shot.

Carol Danvers has posed:

Think of the universe as a big neighborhood. The inhabitants of one galaxy are getting noisy, and the neighboring galaxy are alarmed. So, they call the space police. Except it's not really anything like that, as nobody called Carol and she's here of her own volition. Close enough.

That said, the Shi'ar love to fight amongst themselves. Most of the big, militant empires did. She doesn't take sides. Doesn't get involved in that way. For now, she's just focusing on keeping people alive. As the ships blast each other, she moves from vessel to vessel. Energy projections close up some damaged hulls, while others can be covered over by strips of flying debris repurposed through molecular rearrangement.

"This is why we can't have nice things."

Jean Grey has posed:
The two fights play out rather in the opposite ways. On the bridge? Even outnumbered, the surprise factor of their little strike team pays off in instant, violent results. The big squid (Webwing!) flies at her, but comes apart at the molecular seams before he quite makes it the whole way, taking one of those disintegrating blasts to the center of his body. She gets covered in goo, and a few dismembered tentacles... but that's one down.

Similarly, Impulse doesn't hold back on the opening, firing a powerful concussive blast. He may have better control, but when they hear Mentor's comms cut out? Yeah, screw holding back. The first shot takes N'Rill'Iree in the chest, sending the huge alien flying heavily into the far side of the bridge.

Nightside is perhaps even more terrifying with the use of her abilities, banishing foes nearly at will, both armed Naval troopers and more dangerous Guard foes, melting away as they try to strike back. Perhaps her only weaknesses is that while she can touch that place, she cannot ever truly be one with it - for fear of losing herself.


Outside, the 'friendly' fleet is losing fast. Their own ship is already burning, and two other cruisers quickly see their shields collapse, succumbing less instantly, but no less inevitably, to the heavy combined fire of their traitorous allies, trapped between hostile broadsides.

Carol is managing evacuations, and she can pluck some of the decompressed soldiers out of the vaccuum, seal away breaches, but it's like bailing out water from a sinking ship... with a hundred holes in its hull, and more being made every moment.

Then there's another one of those huge, devastating blasts from the single original rebel ship, coring out another cruiser right before her eyes. This time, it pierces the core, and it's gone in a single instant of engine containment breach, a momentary star in the sky.

"You really should go." This time, it's a different voice that reaches her. The ship is closing, but a man is out there in space, flying ahead of it. He wears red and gold, and a cape that is still in the motionlessness of space. He his dark hair is shortly cropped, framing a very human visage, classically chiseled, oddly familiar. "Those who've come here today have only two choices. To serve the true Majestrix, or to die in the cold vaccuum. You, as an outsider, we grant leniency in that. But do not test it."

Emma Frost has posed:
Nightside gazes at the darkness. The darkness gazes back. It is home for her. It is also terror. Knowing that in great ennui that if she veers too far into it she will, in proper gothic fashion merely become as empty as those things that she hurtles into the void. And while she might let herself be consumed by it and fully embrace it.. She has something stronger than that.


She goes to speak along the comm to Mentar (The Mindbreaker!) and moves to speak along the comms <<Bridge secured>> FUrther orders will be given as they are needed. They do, however.. Seem to have been outplayed for now, in the midst of the violence and the losses.

She expects that Mentar will be ordering them to retreat soon enough or to fall back. Nightside readies to if need be to coordinate a withdraw of her team back to the escape pods - or to their own ship.

And in her bones she feels that they have lost no matter thier own efforts. In a most humiliating fashion.

Carol Danvers has posed:
Carol finds no time for a witty retort, focusing on saving everyone ... until it becomes a matter of saving everyone she can. She can only seal off so many people in bubbles, mend the breaches in so many ships. She's already giving everything that is in her, resisting the urge to call on energies that are far more powerful but much less agreeable to being controlled.

"I don't need your damn leniency," Captain Marvel growls through gritted teeth, "You stop firing now before I make you stop ... "

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The non human redhead manages to scrunch her features up in disgust at being covered with goo and left over tentacles. The white glow of her energy blasts making for some impressive X-ray looks as matter mostly just stops existing in it's current state.

She can bathe later as she runs to take her next spot of cover and line up the next closest shot. A sweep of her hand and white hot beams at the multiheaded being, center mass. less chance of missing despitre haviing multiple heads to choose from.

Eventually the fight ends and they have the bridge. Hypernova looking ansty, she had good all over her and she might feel like she hasn't killed enough people yet.

Jean Grey has posed:
The fight drags on for a few more bloody seconds. Hypernova seems to get all the tentacle monsters for some reason, first the squid, then some weird thing with a giant eye. It's only as she gets to the second target that she feels her reflexes slowing a little, some lingering effect, her body slowy going numb.

The goo. For fuck's sake...

Trypthe's huge one-eyed head comes off to another slash of her energized whip, but as its body collapses, she'll look down to see the oddly sharp end of one of those tentacles, where it's pierced her stomach. Maybe she should have worn more armor...

Impulse keeps blasting, not different targets, but the same one. N'Rill'Iree is built like a tank, keeps trying to stand, and so he keeps turning it up...

And all the while, Nightside manages to banish enough of the foes to get to the console, get some manner of control. Mentor doesn't answer. Not even the hologram, the more distant prime version. She'll see why. The comms are jammed. Nothing is getting out of this system now. The fleet burns around them, the traitors rally. And no one will know what happened.


"Unfortunately, my heart belongs to another," the floating figure answers Carol. Then he tilts his head. "But you really should leave, if you're not declaring a side."

Floating there, he turns to observe some of the battle. Three of the 'loyal' cruisers are all that's left, and they've managed to try and take a more defennsible formation, focusing their fire not on the rebel ship, but one of their traitorous companions. And they're damaging it.

Until the floating figure lifts a hand, and the energy volleys... stop in mid air... er, space. "Do you wish to fight me, then?" he wonders, while seemingly holding the energy captive by his will, and then slowly turning the beams, bending them back toward their sources. There's a slight sadism to the slow approach, letting them watch and marvel at the inexplicable physics of bent light.

Emma Frost has posed:
The scenario is.. Disquieting. They have lost communications with Mentar. The tactical situation is.. Unfavorable. Without further orders, and unlikely to get them, the best they can do is fall back. Nightside takes a moment to select over on the vidscreen. "There." She watches dispassionately over at the melee, of all their comrades dying in the deep void.

She selects a small one of the traitor's ships. "We weill seize it and withdraw back to friendly territory and re-establish communications with the Empress." Who will be most displeased.

"We will seize the bridge of it. Kill all those in our way but do so -quickly- and without damaging the ship. As soon as we have secured the bridge, make way to retreat at best possible speed." Nightside doesn't go into a rallying speach.

While at the same time she goes to engage the autopilot of the cruiser, moves to point it towards the biggest cluster of traitor ships, locks it down and arms scuttling charges to give them cover. Another few taps set the shields to full forwards.

And then she is making her pathway of darkness, leading the group towards the selected bridge of the traitor ship.

It is but their last chance - and a poor one.

But she will have done her duty.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
There have been worse dates that Hypernova has been on. But the goo when she realises it is what's making her lethargic just makes her swear in her own races' native language. The spiky end of a tentacle in her abdomen. She's had them in worse places. Or better, she has been around the galaxy a few times after all.

the numbness is a problem though. But she did know what was expected. Homicidal she may be. She was still loyal to the Empire.

One last shot? Yeah she's gonna go out kill stealing and take a blast at N'Rill'Iree. see how armor like that stacks up.

How far she gets, Hypernova might not know right this second.

Carol Danvers has posed:
Carol has done what she can for now. She's moved the survivors she was able to get to into one of the surviving vessels, though as time wears on it becomes clearer that she won't get them all. It's enough to make her bare her teeth and furrow her eyebrows, turning away from the commotion and facing off with the other individual in their cape.

Her fists ball at her sides, glowing brighter until it's like the heart of a star is forming between her fingers.

"You're god damn right I do."

Both fists are brought forward, directed at the figure.

"Guess I'm calling a side," she mutters to herself.

Jean Grey has posed:
Nightside chooses duty over glory. And perhaps self-preservation. Although even that seems a tennuous goal, as things are going.

N'Rill'Iree makes one last charge, barreling forward, somehow pushing through the blast as Impulse strains. He nearly reaches the Subguardian...

And then dies. Somewhat spectacularly. It's not clear how the intersection of those powers works exactly, if Hypernova disintegrates enough of him to open up a soft gooey inside for Impulse, or the other way around, but the end result is a body torn apart from the center outward, leaving just his limbs and his strange fish-bear head.

Nightside opens her portal. The darkness waits, somehow a little more terrifying, howling and hungry. At this point, Hypernova can barely walk, the toxin seeping in, but Impulse moves over to give her an arm up, support her over. They make it a few steps, nearly there...


Outside, the both Carol and her strange opponent are treated the exposive decompression of the Flagship's deck. He frowns.

"Lose so many Admirals that way. Probably for the best. An opportunist like that- his service would have been a disgrace."

Now he turns to her, looking at those glowing hands of her, and smiles. "I can do that too." His eyes brighten, glowing orange yellow and then pure white, bleeding energy. But that's not the most intimidating thing.

It's that her own hands start to dim in response.


On one of the many smaller ships dogfighting amidst the chaotic battle, a black void opens and spits forth... two bodies, and Impulse's empty, tattered suit. Maybe N'rill managed to grab him, maybe it was one of the others, maybe it was just shrapnel. But in those last moments, the suit's containment failed.

The plus side is that some of the blast makes it through into the ship they're boarding, enough to kill those aboard, and perhaps not totally fry the controls. Bleeding, broken, they can manage to bring up the engine status.

[ Error. Error. Hyperspace field matrix unable to initialize. Interference from unknown energy source. ]

And with the engines dead, so is their hope. Or maybe not.

As the small shuttle lists through the battlefield, they will see it, not on sensors, but outside the window. Two figures suspended in space, glowing with the power of battling stars. Those in the shuttle, however, can make out a detail that Carol doesn't: the symbol on the figure's gold chest plate. It is the Praetor's badge of office... and he is definitely not Kallark. False honor. The champion of the Usurper. And the woman, Kree or not? The Shi'ar have that phrase too, 'the enemy of my enemy.'

Emma Frost has posed:
They have but moments here. She knows that they have failed in their primary objective. They're not going anywhere here. By the time she calculates another extraction, they will die. They're at too close quarters that even debris might throw them about and kill them..

But they have at least one more thing to do. The Kree woman - she wears the armor of the adversarial empire, they're united in loathing agaisnt the traitor. So this..

She goes to open her mind to Carol's - whatever is the figure inside the battle armor. <<We require aid. We need assistance transiting to hyperspace and we can call for assistance. If you can disrupt his jamming we can escape>> And let others know what is going on.

Carol Danvers has posed:
Carol looks down at her hands as the power is drained from them, already feeling the energy within her cells beginning to deplete. Not long before she loses the ability to sustain herself at all out here, the radiation from the system's star being all that keeps that eventuality at bay. She opens her mouth to reply when she hears the voice in her communicator. Her brow furrows and she takes one look at the flagship, in time to see it destroyed.

"I've got you," she replies back to whoever it was speaking to her on the other end.

Then she wheels about, disappearing in a starburst of golden light. Off to relay that last message to the Shi'ar Empire ... and her own allies. Cursing herself the whole time.

Jean Grey has posed:
There is a momentary look of... surprise and dismay at how quickly Carol departs. She may have felt it too, an attempt, a flex of those strange powers, to wrestle with the cosmic winds that bear her. But it doesn't work. And she's gone too fast to press the issue further. "No matter," the man remarks, now speaking to truly no one but the void around him, to a debris-strewn expanse of space full of burning ships. Truly, a special touch of narcissism, to gloat over the dead. And yet, he smiles, he basks in it.

"Let them all know my victory."


In that shuttle, the remaining Subguardians drift, waiting for the end. At first, they must endure it in silence, but eventually, they enjoy one last surprise, as the communicator crackles to life, albeit full of static, breaking in and out.

"This is Mentor." -Their- version, not the hologram, not the Superguardian commanding them from light years distant. To many, they would seem identical, but to them, the subtle differences are unmistakable. "I regret-t-t to inform you that my calcu-lations indicate that your vessel's life s-s-s-upport systems are failing. Mine have already done so, and O2 levels will fail s-s-shortly." A little bleak there, guy.

"Still, I b-b-b-elieve it is prudent to inform you that the escape of the anomalous variable-" Carol "-improved outc-c-c-comes in my final calculations. We s-s-s-erved well. Long l-l-l-ive the Empire."

After that, the communication goes out. And not long after, the shuttle's power. Yet one figure remains, streaking away from Zegaria's orbit, beyond the planetary gravity, the star itself, and out into space.