Cataclysm Chapter 7


In the depths of space, the remaining guardians kept at their job, minus their leader. The Remnants of SHIELD had asked them to find any shards off world, specifically to keep them out of the hands of any offworld villains like the Collector or god forbid, Galactus. Groot was entrusted with keeping ahold of them, the group figured that he’d be best with it, given his biology.

After taking care of some lunatic in the Kyln who was hoarding four of them to try and clear the prison, they were on their way back to Terra to drop off the Shards. Rocket kept checking in on Groot, who gave a chipper confirmation of his name in return. Gamora kept piloting the ship, occasionally letting her eyes flicker to the empty seat where Star-Lord would sit. She missed him, he vanished when the waves first began, luckily the rest of her team had been spared the following waves; from what they’d had reported to them from Captain Marvel about a month ago, The Winter Soldier, Falcon, US Agent and Baron Zemo had all vanished in a contained event; since they didn’t see any reality warping. 

For now, they were about 20 minutes away from Earth; where hopefully there wasn’t going to be any trouble.

On Earth, Wong was tutoring Nico of the Runaways, something he lamented aloud was Stephen’s Job. Strange was currently messing around with a shard himself, out of desperation to find a solution to the vanishings. Any spell he cast on it didn’t seem to do anything, but there was a small hope.

Nico had asked him if he was sure his spells wouldn’t send everyone in the Sanctorum away like the waves caused by energy, but Strange was confident nothing would happen. However recently he had felt, not to make the pun himself, strange; especially around the shard.

He took the gloves the SHIELD agents had given him for safety off and winced as he noticed his hands. He had a crack in his palm, glowing slightly pink; almost like the shard. 

He wasted no time, and called for Wong to summon the Night Nurse.

Vision had managed to send a message, a tiny, hard to hear one, but a message nonetheless; what it was froze their blood in their veins.


SHIELD had contracted the X-Men to stand in for the Avengers while they worked on a solution to try and get Vision to come back. Professor X, alongside Kitty Pryde, Beast, Storm and Iceman were serving as Earth’s Mightiest heroes in the meantime, with Hank Pym, a recovering She-Hulk, Wasp and Luke Cage to help round the numbers. 

On a special bureaucratic mission from Wakanda, King T’Challa was there too. The vanishings had begun affecting them and he, as the king, was not going to allow anything to harm his subjects.

For now, they awaited the guardians returning, deciding that they needed to keep as much of these shards to themselves as they could.

Pym hadn’t felt too good recently. He had been working on the shards a lot, staying in his Ant-Man garb almost constantly in case he were to be taken by a wave. His wife was worried, this was worse than when he had created Ultron. He seemed distant, like he wasn’t there. Luke had offered to talk to him, a slap against him would hardly do anything; but Janet declined. She could feel something was wrong with him, something beyond mental and physical health. 

Maria Hill sat in Fury’s vacant office, he hadn’t used it for months; not here anyway. Her earpiece sounded off, Dr Strange had news. Her surprise at none other than the Night Nurse, Linda Carter warning her to keep anyone away from the shards. She shot up in Fury’s seat. Night Nurse explained that the shards contained something she couldn’t fully recognise, but was clearly doing something to people around them.

Maria didn’t even reply, she just ran to Pym’s lab.

In the playground, Pietro approached the black tower. The radio kept crackling instructions to him. Telling him to approach it, to not be afraid. He swallowed his fear and reached the base. As he looked up, he felt like he had seen this before, in some other time. He readied to run, and began to charge up the tower.

Pym had been locked up until they could confirm the infection would cease; peeling him from his suit, they discovered he was covered in the same scars that adorned Dr Strange’s hand. Work on the shards had stalled until they could find a way to protect their scientists. Ignoring Pym shouting at them to let him out, Hill ordered everyone to attend to their duties. Pym slammed on the glass and shouted at them to listen. Finally getting the room’s attention. He spat at them that he’d figured out what the shards were composed of. The room fell silent, giving him their full attention; a thing he noticed and, with his corrupting mind: took pleasure in. 

He explained in a condescending tone, often used to remind everyone of his Scientist Supreme status, that the shards were composed of none other than ISO-8, but a corrupted version of it. The room stayed quiet as he mockingly told them that anyone who stays near too many of them will only get worse, the longer it gets.

As if he’d summoned it with his words; the Milano crash landed nearby.

The guardians scrambled out of the ship as Strange and the X-men arrived on the scene. Luckily for them, the street was almost entirely unoccupied, the residents having vanished a while ago. Kitty Pryde took on the role of scouring the wreckage to save anyone left behind. 

The guardians, sans Groot, turned back to the ship. Rocket in particular was enraged; shouting for whatever had Groot to let him go. The heroes of Earth all watched out of horror or confusion as a horrific sight of Groot, Purple Crystals growing out of him, stepped out of the wreckage of the Milano and roared.

Pym, taking advantage of the distraction, quickly picked the lock to the door. As he left to see what was going on he passed the wave grenades they had liberated from the HYDRA base. A devious smile spread across his face. Whatever it was, he could deal with it easily with this.

Pietro stood at the top of the tower as the radio told him to turn it up. He hesitated at this and asked what the hell it was going to do. The radio only replied that he needed to tune through the static, wait for a wave, and reach for his sister. Pietro, the mere mention of Wanda spurring him on, turned up the radio and let the static play louder.

Pym stood over the fight and watched it play through, they were doing terribly. The guardians had all been slaughtered by the corrupted Groot, except for Mantis and Nebula. Rocket didn’t even stand a chance. Gamora was thrown through a window to a confused Rhodes’ bewilderment, before he too noticed what was going on and suited up. 

Drax had been punched clean in half by him, Rocket was unconscious but bleeding heavily, War Machine was swatted away unceremoniously. Nico, who arrived with Strange, shot some sort of attack that Pym didn’t recognise before it practically bounced off the corrupted guardian. 

Dr Strange, figuring that he was already infected with whatever this was, quickly used his Crimson bands to drag down debris in an attempt to crush the Flora colossus, but he found himself ensnared by Groot’s branches and dragged into the collapsing debris. Pym watched as Strange desperately tried to cast a spell to get himself out of it as he readied the grenade and threw it.

Pietro held the radio high and kept his eyes wide open, waiting for any sign of his sister. 

Strange saw the wreckage bolt towards him, as Black Panther went in for a strike. Strange closed his eyes as a grenade dropped by them. Before anyone could react, Strange’s soul leapt from his body in a bid to survive the assault as the wave grenade exploded, everyone shielded their eyes except for Groot, who went to attack Black Panther back.

Pietro’s eyes widened as he saw something change, in the corner of his eye he saw what looked like a list. He focused harder, and saw a side-profile of his sister. A gasp of relief and wonder left him as he reached his arm out.

Strange was caught in the wave, but something happened. His corruption on his hand stayed, when it hit the artificial wave it spread across him and he began to warp.

He was no stranger to the madness of the multiverse and recognised what was being shown to him, but not what he saw. He saw a ninja, skull burning like Ghost Rider, fighting a ninja that showed ice adaptivity that would impress Iceman. A man dressed as a bat fighting a clown, he saw himself as a zombie, tearing out the second Spider-man’s throat.

What he saw next astounded him. A planet, the seams between areas visible, as if it were cobbled together by some other force. He landed in a slick looking avengers tower and saw captain america’s shield. Is this where they were all sent?

Pietro touched the image of his sister as Strange touched the shield.

There was not a single person in any universe that didn’t feel the wave.

Pietro landed back in New York, the radio completely silent. His head was killing him. He could remember things he couldn’t before, he remembered speeding through Xavier Mansion while it was exploding, he remembered dying to save hawkeye, he remembered gloating to a red clad speedster about his pathetic speed-force not existing here. He sat up and saw his sister, dressed in a red jacket and jeans rather than her previous attire, weeping. She bawled about watching him be shot and clung to him as he clung back. She rambled about remembering destroying the phoenix, being a zombie and contained by vision, about fighting a woman dressed in a tuxedo and tophat. Pietro asked about her outfit, she didn’t know why she was wearing it. 

In a morgue, hastily built in the damaged avengers tower, the doors to the tombs that held the bodies of the fallen heroes had banging and calls for help emanating from them, scaring the bejesus out of the morgue worker. A green fist belonging to the hulk blasted through one of the doors, a disgruntled Hulk stumbled out, quickly tearing off the doors for his comrades. 

They all stood, reminiscing on their new memories. Alive. 

The avengers had re-assembled.

Dr Strange stood in his Sanctorum, his flesh body restored, hand cured of corruption. He had seen something he wasn’t supposed to, something diabolical. He turned to face his home, he had to try again and find out who created that place.

Groot hadn’t been cured of his corruption. Starlord, overjoyed to see his friends but horrified at the state of Groot, joined the fight. The monstrous Groot prepared to repeat his massacre, this time adding the displaced Black Panther and War Machine to it until suddenly, he burst into flames. The corruption and crystals inside him began to fly out as he tore a part of his wood out of him and threw it at Rocket, who caught the thankfully unlit piece. 

The possessed Flora Colossus fell dead as the Guardians saw their saviour.

Howard quacked at them. “What’d I miss, fellas?”