The Order #50
- [Jaffan, Trans-Sabal]
The Apprentices began their assault on the Tower, those in back
throwing damaged cars and human bones at it while those in front
slammed against the walls and reinforced doors. Within moments, the
doors crumbled and the crowds began to flood in.
The vampiric guards stood ready in the lobby, wielding axes, swords,
katars, daggers, and even the occasional rocket launcher. The two
very different, very unnatural crowds entered battle with one
The Apprentice frontlines pummeled the vampires with the arms and
legs of fallen humans, beating them back. Those with rocket
launchers were targeted first, the Apprentices' numbers swelling the
greatest around them. They were decapitated within minutes, leaving
only the vampires who were experts with handheld weaponry.
Machine Man held out a hand which quickly shifted into a force gun
as Android X-4 aimed a pistol in one and a rifle in the other
hand. "It's just me," Ice Queen replied.
"Our apologies," Machine Man stated, "you still have the appearance
of one of those creatures and --"
Ice Queen stopped him by grabbing onto his face, turning her hand to
ice-spikes and thrashing his face. She was simultaneously doing the
same to Android X-4. The robotic pair fell over, circuits sparking.
Ice Queen grinned as she tore open the doors. Gas seeped out as she
took the Abominable Snowman down from his chains. "My Master has
need of you," Ice Queen smirked as she threw the large, shaggy man
over her own large shoulder and exited the room.
"You're with them," Ion Man stammered, "you... you're letting it use
you... to betray us!"
"Get over it," Ice Queen roared, "you'll be dead soon enough, either
They aren't S.H.I.E.L.D. They aren't the Defenders. They aren't even
the Great Lakes Avengers. What they are is the public face of a
vast, secret organization, intent on using its great resources to
rid the world of the plague of evil through both public and covert
means. They are The Order.
The Order #50
"The Sore Sir Saga
...and the gods made love"
Tutu Guru: Daniel Gordon
Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
Editor: Josh Greer
Editor-in-Chief: Thomas Logue
Ion Man aimed his pistols at Ice Queen, his hands shaking as the
sweat burst loose from his body. She laughed as she walked past him,
completely confidant in his inability to hurt her. He knew she was
somewhere within the Apprentice still. He wouldn't --
Ice Queen screeched as she felt a sharp pain in her upper back. She
dropped the Abominable Snowman for a moment and stretched to rip the
object out. It was a dagger. Ion Man's, to be precise.
"You don't get it," Ice Queen snarled, "you can't win, we --"
"No," Ion Man snorted, "you don't get it. I never win, not in the
end. And at this point, I don't really care anymore. I know I can
never have a normal life. I know I can never stop being used by
giant secret ops, Hulkbusters, the Order, whoever. I know I can
never be rid of all my failures. I don't care."
"I was beginning to fall for you," Ion Man admitted as he marched
towards Ice Queen, pistols in his hands, "but I know now that it
would never work out. Women always desert me, sooner or later. No,
at this point, I'm just going to do my job."
Ion Man lifted his right arm, aiming at Ice Queen's heart. "My job
is to protect that lifeform from you jerks. Even if I have to kill
every last person to do it..."
Ion Man's energy blast went up as Ice Queen threw Abominable Snowman
onto him as he fired. Ion Man hurled the Snowman behind him as Ice
Queen lunged at him, kneeing him in the groin. Ion Man went flying
back into the subterranean walls.
Ice Queen smashed his pistols under her feet. "We Apprentices of the
Sore Sir are --"
"Damn ugly bitches," Ion Man interrupted, a green aura beginning to
glow around him. He had stopped sweating, though he didn't notice
that. Ice Queen noticed that his eyes had become green.
Ion Man pounded on the ground with strength that Ice Queen had never
before seen him possess. The shockwave knocked her from her feet and
nearly split the ground itself asunder.
Ice Queen used the wall to lift herself onto her knees and glared,
groggily, at Ion Man, whose skin was rapidly growing more and more
green. Small lumps were beginning to form beneath the surface.
Utilizing Ice Queen's memories, the Apprentice knew what was
beginning and, for the first time, actually experienced fear.
The green, misshapen monstrosity who had once been known as Ion Man
howled, his cries echoing in the cavernous basements of the Tower.
Ice Queen saw that the Snowman was beginning to wake. Now, if she
could just get past this one, somehow...
Flux, as he was known in this state, lumbered forward, myriad
energies spiraling out from his irradiated body. Ice Queen converted
her entire form to gas as he threw a punch which shattered the wall
Ice Queen side-stepped Flux and turned back to ice, slamming her
hammer-shaped fists into the back of his neck. They shattered, he
growled, but his neck remained intact. Ice Queen began to feel a bit
woozy, the radiations being emitted working against her extra-
The spark of life the Apprentice had been granted by the Sore Sir
now began to fade, under the effects of the severe radiation
exposure it was now experiencing. As the Apprentice body began to
fade, Ice Queen's living ice form, as well as consciousness, began
to take over.
Flux saw that his foe was turning to glass. Still insane with rage,
he shattered her form with his oversized fist, striking through her
entirety. Ice Queen's body lay in a puddle on the floor, dead once
more. Flux no longer cared either way. In his mind, everything had
already been taken from him before he even had a chance, anyway.
[Directly outside the Tower]
Pyron continued to slam down the tail of the Apprentice army with
giant hands of flame. P'Shaw leapt into the fray, bouncing from cars
onto the crowd of Apprentices, bashing in the occasional Apprentice
skull with his baseball bat-axe. Phantom covered Pyron's attacks
with his slingshot, striking the Apprentices with spiky, metal
balls. Half Life hacked away with a knife, while slicing away with a
katar on the other hand.
"The vampires can't be doing that much better than us," Pyron
"No, they probably aren't," P'Shaw replied truthfully as he slashed
at one Apprentice with a curved sword, its latest owner's hand still
attached, "you want to give up?"
"Not a chance," Pyron retorted, scooping up five more Apprentices
and smacking them down in the sand. Their scales were burnt away by
his flame, leaving their softer, easier-to-injure skin as their
outer most layer. If only he had the power to do this to all of them
in one move...
"Hate to be bearer of bad news," Phantom spoke, "but I'm out of
"Yeah, yeah, you know what I meant, smartass," Phantom snarled as he
crouched, banging his wrists against his knees. Blades popped out of
his wrists, and he slashed the closest three Apprentices with them,
before pulling out a revolver to slow those who were approaching
towards him in retaliation.
P'Shaw coughed before launching into battle once more. As he swung,
an Apprentice swatted him in the chest, sending him back through a
second-story window and crashing through a table within. He lie on
the ground, rolling back and forth as he tried to force himself back
up. He had been running nonstop for several minutes against those
near-unbeatable monstrosities. Now, he needed a rest.
He knew he couldn't stop and rest, and clawed at a counter. He
grabbed onto a wire as his arm fell, bringing an iron down on his
temple. It knocked him out.
The Phantom slashed at the Apprentices with his blades, but it was
obvious that it wasn't effective enough. Pyron continued to burn
Apprentices, but he couldn't reach very many at a time, and was
beginning to breathe quite heavily.
"Cane," Phantom requested. Pyron understood and threw him his cane.
Pyron was leaning against a wall now, anyway.
The Phantom swung the cane around, using it to keep the Apprentices
back. There were too many turning back and coming for them, though.
No two men could stop them all.
Half Life, meanwhile, fought in the very middle of the crowd of
Apprentices, not minding occasionally being torn in half in the
midst of battle. He slashed away at the Apprentices with his katars,
cutting them open.
One Apprentice back-handed him, sending him crashing into a wall. He
groaned, rubbing his aching head. Temporarily out of the battle, he
looked around, examining the current battlefield. P'Shaw was gone,
now. Though there were significantly less Apprentices than
originally, there were still tens, possibly hundreds, of them,
crowding the streets up to the Tower, let alone how many might
already be in the Tower itself.
Half Life threw open his arms, flinging his katars to the sides.
Each stuck in the forehead of one Apprentice, immediately dropping
him dead. It was time for him to try something new, maybe even...
He jumped onto one Apprentice's back, causing it to swing around,
trying to remove the pest. He tried to absorb its power, its very
life force, but was blocked. He strained his hardest to suck it out,
focusing all he had on it. He felt himself beginning to pass out...
...then he was through, penetrating the mystic barriers that had
been preventing his power from affecting the Apprentice.
Half Life sucked the Apprentice dry, feeling much stronger already.
Two Apprentices saw what he had done and, horrified, grabbed his
arms and tackled him to the ground. He absorbed them, as well, and
threw them off. He clawed onto the face of another, sucking out even
the Apprentice's very molecular bonds, causing it to fall dead and
immediately fall apart.
Half Life threw his head back and laughed as he punched through one
Apprentice's face while kicking another in the chest, breaking
several internal organs. He threw one several dozen feet up into the
air, to land in the middle of the desert, then casually snapped the
neck of another.
Half Life eventually made his way to Pyron and the Phantom. Blue
energies flowed freely from him to them, restoring their bodies and
ridding them of the fatigue that had begun to overwhelm them.
"Well," Pyron began, "thanks."
"Yeah," Phantom added.
"No problem, guys," Half Life stood, confident and quite pleased
The threesome spun to see as cries of war echoed from behind Pyron.
Shadows of the oncoming soldiers revealed another crowd of
Apprentices arriving on the scene, just as large as the last.
"Here we go again?" Pyron sighed, "Oh, boy..."
"Maybe not," Half Life grinned, mischievously, "Since I sucked some
of their power, I think I can open up a portal to their dimension."
"How will that help us?" Phantom inquired as he picked up P'Shaw's
bat-axe from the ground and hurled it at an Apprentice.
"I'll suck every last ounce of energy from them," Half Life snarled,
savagely, "then there won't be anything left to send here."
"Alright, open it up," Pyron commanded, "We're going."
"No," Half Life stated, softly, "I have a feeling... this might just
be a suicide mission. Bye, guys, it's been fun."
Blue energy swirled from his open palm, and a twirling portal
appeared before him. Half Life leapt into it and it closed up behind
him, before Phantom and Pyron could have a chance to follow.
"Braver man than I give him credit for," Pyron admitted as he shot
fire onto the chest of an Apprentice swinging at him.
"Or just plain nuts," Phantom suggested, ducking a blow and shoving
his blade into an Apprentice's intestines.
Half Life fell onto the green dirt ground. He saw that he was on a
cliff and looked down. In the valley below, stretching beyond the
horizon, where billions upon billions of Apprentices. "Oh... snap,"
Half Life muttered to himself.
He stood and turned on his heel. On this side of him, the land
stretched out, flat, for as far as he could see. Covering nearly
every square inch there were billions upon billions of Apprentices.
High in the sky above was a giant, ugly green cathedral.
A disgusting voice hissed from within, "You have desecrated the Sore
Sir's homeland! For this, you shall surely be destroyed!"
"Don't count on it," Half Life snarled, his hands curled up into
The legions below began to crawl up the cliff wall as the legions on
his level began to advance on him. Half Life grinned as he grabbed
the nearest one, sucking the life from him. The next two punched
through him simultaneously, and he slit his sharp, strong
fingernails through their next simultaneously, as well.
"To defeat all my legions," Sore Sir mused, "it would require an
entire eternity to accomplish such a feat!"
"Yeah, well," Half Life joked as he smashed in one Apprentice's
skull, while several more pushed him down, "I've got time."
The Apprentices began to shrivel as he absorbed their power. He then
threw them off him, pushing all the other legions back. "And when
I'm done with them, I'm coming for you."
Sore Sir knew that it was not an idle threat. Eventually, after
millennia of effort, Sore Sir knew that the Half Life being would
succeed. "We can share the power of every other dimension..."
"Forget it, ass," Half Life snarled, punching a hole in the chest of
an Apprentice while another group pounded on him. "All I care about
is taking you out, even if it takes me forever to do it!"
One Apprentice slammed full-force into him, head-to-head, breaking
both their necks. Half Life rose, cracking his neck back into
place. "Son of a bitch."
Half Life turned towards the cathedral in the sky and began to wade
towards it, killing dozens of Apprentices at a time with his energy
blasts. Reinforcements would continue to come, delaying Half Life
forever, so long as the Sore Sir kept his entire concentration on
the task. Unfortunately, that meant his plans of devouring all other
universes would have to be put on hold until the Half Life was
evicted from his, somehow.
For the first time, the Sore Sir felt fear.
The Abominable Snowman felt an influx of all sorts of emotions. His
head was beginning to thaw out, for what seemed to be the first time
in ages. Five Apprentices stormed the basement, easily capturing him
and carrying him away.
They believed they had succeeded in their mission, until Flux landed
before them, his energies lashing dangerously out of control. He
smashed his fists down on one of them, smashing the Apprentice to a
bloody pulp. The other four quickly began to decompose as a result
of the energies released by him.
Frightened by the expression of power, the Abominable Snowman
struggled to his feet and fled Flux. The Snowman hopped over one
Apprentice's head and sprinted down a tight alleyway. The Apprentice
realized who it was and chased after him.
Flux turned back towards the Tower. He knew rage, but knew not why.
All he could do in response was destroy. He hobbled to the Tower,
smashing the Apprentices in his way, their numbers beginning to
slowly dwindle now.
Flux smashed into the Tower, snorting in anger. He began to feel
Machine Man put a hand on his shoulder, his usually-purple plating
now glowing a bright green. "I am redirecting your gamma and ionic
energies deep into outer space, where they will, hopefully, do no
harm. However, you are generating energy at such an intense rate
that I must request you calm down."
Flux heard his words and, for the first time in hours, realized what
they meant. He was out of control. Now, not only had he failed in
love and war, he had failed in controlling himself.
Ion Man slumped to the ground, his fist blooded as he took one final
swing at the Tower, tears streaming down his face. "I'm... sorry..."
Machine Man had no reply.
P'Shaw winced as the doctor put the last stitch in his cheek, his
pink fur shaved off on his head so that they could examine his
injuries. The Phantom wore civilian clothes and his ragged mask, the
rest of his costume irreparably destroyed in the battle. He helped
Pyron throw Apprentice corpses onto the back of a truck that would
take them away to be incinerated. He would do it himself, except
that he wasn't entirely sure he even could use his powers this
morning. Last night had drained everyone on the team.
Machine Man made the last few adjustments to Ion Man's new armor. It
would allow him to transform to his far more powerful Flux form,
without endangering anyone with high radiation emissions.
"It's been an honor working with you," Pyron said to Ion Man.
"Same here, with everyone," Ion Man replied, holding back his
emotions, barely. "When Ice Queen wakes up... tell her... tell her
that I'm sorry..."
Ion Man tapped a button on the metal ball clipped onto his belt and
disappeared in a flash of blue light. He had resigned from the
Order, and they had decided not to protest the decision. Right now,
he needed to find his path in life.
The Order's scientists watched in curiosity and awe as Ice Queen's
bodily puddle slowly did begin to reform. At first, it was the
occasional twitch, a few molecules here and there shifting into ice
or gaseous form. But slowly, more and more of the puddle began to
meld together and take shape.
Android X-4's face was still being rebuilt from Ice Queen's attack.
The Order heard a loud thud several blocks away. The Phantom raised
his sword, the only weapon he was currently using since he couldn't
store anything in his nonexistent costume.
Pyron, Phantom, P'Shaw, and Machine Man all stood still as two
silhouettes formed on a wall. Slowly, the dual figures came closer.
Turning a corner, they came into full view.
"The Hulk?" Phantom asked.
"Afraid not," Pyron answered.
Machine Man powered up, forming force guns in his hands.
P'Shaw hopped off the tabletop he had been on and smiled, "I'm quite
glad to see you two decided to accept my invitation."
"I'm just sorry we stopped overnight for some rest," Chi Demon said,
glancing around, "it looks like you held one wild party last night."
"If this is what we can come to expect," Ravage grinned, "then
consider us in."
- Reno, Nevada.
On the street after dark, Marlo Jones screamed as the paramedics rushed to strap Rick Jones into his gurney and put him into the back of the ambulance. He had been torn wide open by the Slashers. (1)
Her thoughts swam, incoherently, as she covered her face with her hands and kept watching him, hoping that somehow he would instantaneously recover as though there was nothing wrong, no gaping wounds in his abdomen.
She went with them to the hospital, not listening to a single word anyone said. Rick remained unconscious, mumbling occasionally, meaningless phrases.
Finally, they arrived at the hospital, and Marlo had to wait. Rick was rushed into an operating room and that was that.
While she sat there, helpless, the Magistrate watched, invisible, the light bending around his body effortlessly. He derived no joy in being here, but it was his duty. Not only because this man had been his father's partner in defending the universe, once upon a time, but because it was necessary in his role as the Magistrate for him to be here today.
This was the day that Rick Jones was to die.
The Magistrate entered the operating room and froze time. The doctors and nurses stood stuck in place, Rick stuck between feeble heart beats, near the end of his song.
Shining with bright light, Genis-Vell gently, quietly removed his golden nega-bands from his wrists, one at a time. He clasped them onto the dying sidekick's wrists, clicking them into place and soldering them, melding them to his genetic sequence.
They were bonded to him now, as they had been before.
The photonic energy illuminated the entire room as the bands changed Rick as much as he changed them, charging his body with an energy that would add to his natural physical healing properties just enough for him to make it through.
He would live, and the timestream was forever altered, irrevocably, in that moment. Genis hoped his father would have approved and would not have condemned him for his foolish act.
In saving Rick Jones's life, he had also damned him.
Half Kree. Half Titan. A bastard child, born in a laboratory. Some even say he's destined for greatness. Destined to become something above the photonic energy manipulating powerhouse he is right now. He is Genis-Vell. He is Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel #88
Writer: John Flint
Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
"I came as soon as I could," Betty Banner said, hugging Marlo in the waiting room, "how is he?"
"They haven't told me anything yet," Marlo said.
"He will pull through," the Magistrate said, revealing his presence to them, blinding them with his white light which emanated from every cell of his body. It masked him, so that they would not know he was Genis-Vell, the former Captain Marvel.
"Ah no, not again," Marlo said, "more cosmic confusion, please, just leave us alone "
"Richard Millhouse Jones would not survive if I had not interfered," the Magistrate revealed, "I apologize for my intrusion into your personal lives, but I found it necessary this once. I am the Magistrate.
"Your husband will be healed through the molecular process of bonding to the nega-bands; in return, he will heal the mind and soul of another who is quite ill."
"Who is that?"
"Genis-Vell," the Magistrate said, not bothering to explain that the other body the bands were bonded to was an alternate reality version of himself who went by the codename of Captain Photon and whom he had driven crazy with insane visions provided by Entropy. (2) "He is also bonded to the bands."
"Oh no," Marlo said, covering her face in her hand, "Rick told me about this "
"You're going to punish him for being stabbed open by some super-villains?" Betty said, indignant, poking her finger into the blindingly bright man's chest, "I'm going to tell you what you're going to do, you're going to"
"I appreciate your concern," the Magistrate said, "but it has been done. It cannot be undone."
"I'll find some way to undo it," Betty said, "then I'll sic my husband on you."
The Magistrate disappeared in a final flash of light, having run out of words to say to the women.
[The next morning.]
`Morning, sunshine. Ready to eat some eyeballs?'
"Huh?" Rick awoke with a start, and realized immediately he was not in his bed. Before freaking out, he accessed the situation, as Captain America had taught him to do. He realized he was in a hospital room and breathed a sigh of relief as he felt at the blanket covering him.
`Clap those wrists together and let's have some fun '
Rick saw horrifying images in his mind and slammed his eyes shut. The room was still dark and yet the images were as though they were there, right before his eyes, vivid.
"Mar," Rick said, getting out of the bed and shaking her awake.
He went to the door and eventually found the light switch. "What's going on, hon?"
He looked down at his hands and saw the shining nega-bands on his wrists. "Aw, no!"
`That's right, sugarplum. It's just you and me in here. Let me out and I'll tear your woman apart and let you watch. There's nothing I won't do when I get back into your world '
"Then I'll never let you out, monster," Rick promised.
[One week later.]
"Please, help him," Marlo said, "he hasn't shaved, showered, he hasn't slept, his wounds aren't healing right, I don't know what to do "
"I'll have a look at him," Doc Samson promised as Marlo closed the door behind him. "Mind if I have a private session with him?"
"Of course, go ahead," Marlo said, "I'll see if the tea is ready "
Doc Samson stepped into the bedroom. He was now no longer superhuman, his long ponytail brown, his frame chunky rather than beefy. He wore a suit and glasses.
The man he saw before him he hardly recognized as Rick Jones. The man was in his underclothes, stank, and had tied his hands to ropes leading to opposite ends of the room, one tied to the filing cabinet in the corner and the other to his desk.
"Cut it off cut it off cut it off," Rick begged the doctor, "cut off one of my hands either of them then he can't use me can't make me bang them together can't make me bring him back"
"I won't do that," Doc Samson said, "Marlo told me about your situation. I understand he constantly bombards you with violent imagery, mostly of what he'll do to your wife and friends if he trades places with you. But you know that won't happen, don't you?"
"Do you do you do you?" Rick said, panting, sweating, eyes shifting wildly about the room before coming back to Samson and laughing. "You aren't even green anymore! Bruce is dead dead and gone and he thought I'd be strong enough to heal him but I'm not he's too strong constant almost clapped my hands together the first night home almost brought him here almost killed Marlo almost killed everyone killed the world"
"I'm going to give you a tranquilizer, Rick," Doc Samson said, "it'll calm you down and let you get some sleep. I promise, I will see to it that he never sets foot in this world. Whatever it takes. As soon as I leave this room, I'm calling in the Avengers."
"Avengers Defenders Champions X-Men doesn't matter doesn't matter," Rick said and began to laugh again, madly. "We're already dead."
[To be continued ]
1. See issue #82.
2. See Daniel Gordon Presents #77.