Marvel Contest of Champions: Heroes of Earth (Epic X-Men Spin-Off)
In the days where humanity and mutant relations were wounded and raw with anger, there were a small group of individuals known to you and I as the X-Men. Professor Charles Xavier, a powerful telepath and mentor to the X-Men, had the school set within his mansion, inherited to him after the death of his mother. Though he wasn't initially excited about the creation of the mutant team, he couldn't have been more glad for their creation after seeing the good they had done. Defeating Magneto when he invaded Wakanda and even kidnapped Xavier. Stopping the Brotherhood whenever they tried to impose, intimidate, and even attack innocent civilians. They even assisted the superhero community and SHIELD, a governmental organization designed to deal with threats to national and global security, whenever they could get the chance. They prepared a lot and the future would have them face deadlier threats than what they faced before......and their first encounter with the cosmic aspect of their world would start this night, as Xavier is in his study writing and processing the test results of the X-Men. Soon, they would graduate and Xavier couldn't be prouder.
"Come in", he called to the visitor on the other side of the door.
"I knew ya would be still up. Still, I hope I am not intruding", Moira said quietly. Charles looked to the clock and found that it was much later than he had anticipated. About 11:30 pm to be exact.
"That's quite amazing because I surely didn't expect it", Charles admits bashfully
"Anyone who knows ya well enough can tell that ya have been busy. Trying to get your students as quickly to graduation as ye could. I have to wonder, has anyone asked ye how you're doing?", Moira asked as she took a seat at the other die of the desk.
"Well, Jean has asked me, multiple times, in fact. Beast has been analyzing me closely to make sure Magneto had not damaged me. And Scott has been taking more initiative in dictating the teams routines. They are trying to be there for me", Xavier says analytically.
"Perhaps because you aren't letting them in?", Moira says. He raised his eye-brow in reflex before remembering exactly who he was talking to. Moira would not mince words that needed to be said.
"I am not meaning to. It's just....what is there to say exactly? I have shown my appreciation and, frankly, I'd much rather not recall the incident that nearly endangered everyone's lives", Xavier says with a sigh.
"Oh. So, ye having a bit of trauma?", she asks.
"No. It's nothing like that", he answers.
"It's guilt", the voice of Jean Grey says as she walks into the room.
"Of course it is! What else would it be?", Moira rolls her eyes.
"No! You need to understand that no one blames you for being held against your will. For all your power, you aren't a god. Hell, I have heard stories of even Thor, an actual god, having trouble with Magneto. Magneto had been planning this, since the very beginning. You can't take on the guilt like this", Jean says firmly to him. The man chuckles at her fierceness. She had really grown beyond that little girl he visited.
"You're right, Jean", Xavier says warmly.
"Of course she is, Charles. Ye taught her well", Moira said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"You should get some credit as well, Moira. A good role-model for all of the students of a hard-working woman. every bit as intelligent as you are determined", Xavier says earnestly.
"Oh, stop with the flattery", she chuckles.
"You know, Professor, you have been very much the inspiration, the thing that keeps us together. We all felt the same feeling the moment we realized they took you from us.....", Jean said somberly.
"We would have gone to get you. One way, or another. We can't do this without you", Jean says seriously.
"I disagree, personally. You all were the ones who convinced me into creating this team. You all are the life that breathes into the workings of the X-Men. And, if you all still feel as such, I would expect you all to carry on beyond me. Make no mistake though, I am not going anywhere yet-"
The next thing would have been hilarious in description for the pure irony.....depending on your audience. Were you tell Jean Grey this aloud, she would have had more than a thing or two to say after she is encased in a light that forces her off of her feat. Gravity defies, but no sonic boom takes place. This wasn't her telekinesis though. She could feel it. This was something far more alien.....but she fails to think further as she loses concentration.
".....what?", Jean uttered as she blinked her eyes open. How long had she been out? She oughta ask the Professor about-
"Actually, I go by the Collector in these parts. Sweetheart, get our guest the garment I requested", a humanoid looking man said as he took a drink from his glass and pointed over to a cart for a non-humanoid looking individual to grab.
"Who are you?! Where am I?! What-"
"Have you done to my dear Professor! Well, darling, I heard it all before. Each of your friends we picked off from your home asked relatively the same question", the man said before he took a drink from his glass. "As I told them, though, all will be revealed later on. So, if you please- oof!"
With the invisible psionic force she wielded, she slams him against the wall and pins his entire body. Once the shock wore off from the act, the man simply smiled amusedly at her, which only irritated her more.
"Now, come now. Don't-"
"-do anything rash? You aren't the only one who has heard it all before! I want answers now and I will get them one way or another! So- AAH!", she screamed as she clutched her head. Behind her were two guards dressed in high-tech suits Jean had never seen anywhere on Earth. Had this been a different situation, she probably would have taken time to reflect on the fact she could say she has been enough places to say confidently technology like that doesn't exist on Earth.
"You have the answers you're looking for now, girlie?", the Collector said with a smirk as he watched her try to regain her composure enough to deal with the guards. Leaving her, Collector looks with a disappointed look to the tipped glass on the floor with the red drink spread all over the floor until a small robot came to clean it up. "Get someone to bring me another one."
The Collector turns back to Jean to find the two guards knocked cold out onto the floor with her panting, hair still disheveled and in a robe.
"Oh yes. Just as I thought. You are a perfect candidate. Bring it over", he tells the alien servant, who was briefly paralyzed from fear before snapping out of their daze to follow their masters order.
"Is this the garment request?"
"That's my Marvel Girl costume......Who are you?", Jean asked in shock.
".....The Collector. I am pretty sure I told you as much already", he said with a deadpanned expression. "Now, hop to it! Get ready! We have more to do and your foolishness has put us behind schedule as it is. Hope things we will go a lot smoother from here on-"
"HRRAAAAAAGH!!!!", a loud roar rang from elsewhere. This actually caught the man off-guard, for unknown to Jean, these walls were supposed to be sound-proof.
"Oh dear. That must be the green one. Your personal attendant will escort you to the main hall where you shall meet everyone. I will leave you to it, while I-"
They both flinch as they hear a loud crash in the distance.
".......deal with that one......", he said as he sighed a walked out of the room calmly.
The alien being hands her the garment and back away to keep their distance from her, wondering if she would turn her rage on them next. Jean looks at it and then out the window for the first time since she woke up. She did a double take as what meets her eyes was the image of the Earth, as beautiful as it was when she saw it on Asteroid M.
"I can't reach anyone.....How is this possible.....Please be okay, Scott.....", she said before turning to behind a screen to change.
"You find her yet?"
"As I told you ten minutes ago Scott, I still have not found them. More than Jean was taken last night, you know?", Emma snapped as the man known as Scott Summers enters Cerebro.
"Please, for once, set aside the false bravado, Emma and-"
"Nuh-uh! If there is anything you should never doubt about me Scott Summers, it's that I am as deadly and true to my goals. Nothing about me is false", Emma said firmly as she turned off Cerebro.
"What the hell are you-", Scott says before sighing. "Okay, I am sorry. You can tell how anxious I am about getting them home safe. Berate me and do whatever. I don't care! Just please-"
"As much as I like to be begged as the next girl, Scott, its clear that even with Cerebro, I am not gonna find them anywhere. Not until we get the required upgrades from Moira and Hank.....", Emma says thoughtfully.
"Wait, what? I just saw you using Cerebro? What improvements could it possibly need?", Scott as perplexedly.
"Well, I think our guest will have all the answers you need, Mr. Summers", Emma says coyly just before the doorbell rings across the mansion. Scott looks at Emma questioningly who simply gets up and walks out of Cerebro with Scott trailing behind. They get to the door with Moira, Hank, Bobby, Lorna, and Alex to meet their new visitor, who would bring them the answers they needed.
"Greetings, Moira and students", said the man they all knew to be Nick Fury, Director of the global security force, SHIELD. "I am sure you all are wondering why I have stopped by-"
"Well, most of you all are wondering why I am here....unless assuming your telepath-"
"Told them all? I could never steal your thunder, Nicholas", Emma says in a patronizing tone.
With the role of his eyes, he heads over to the office he has visited many times before when he had meetings with the Professor. He sits in the chair casually turns the chair and sits in front of the desk as he faced the team standing in front of the door.
"If you're done with the suspenseful theatrics, Fury, can you tell me why exactly you're here? What do you know about the Professor, Jean, and Orroro's whereabouts?", Scott said irritably in a tone that caused Fury to raise an eyebrow at him in challenge. Scott made no move to apologize or give any sign of faltering in his resolve.
"Scott, that's enough! The man came to help us after I called 'im over. Ya should be ashamed of yourself. He is here to help and we can only expect the best results if we cooperate", Moira scolded.
"She is right, Scott. I think it's time for you to simmer down before I make you. Please, don't make me do this, Scott", Emma said as she sets a hand on his shoulder. This was getting him nowhere.....he ultimately knew they were right. So, after a sigh, he nods and listens intently at Fury.
"Now that I have your attention, I would like to formerly ask in person from this point to start operating with SHIELD protocol before we continue. This is all highly classified, for being a threat more dangerous than any you had faced before, X-Men. Move forward with us, not only will you have access to our resources, but you will be working with the heroes we have access to, like the Fantastic Four and Avengers. This will not be a permanent arrangement, since Xavier is not here to put his hand in this conversation, as well as your other two teammates. After this, we could see. We may have worked together, but operating separately largely enough with good results. For this though, we will need to be united. What will you say, team? You in?", he asks frankly.
They all look to each other wordlessly, yet the answer clear on all of their faces.
"We are in, Fury. We follow your lead. Now, what do you know?", Scott says determinedly.
"Very good", the man nods before pulling out a small device that then projects a screen on the wall. "As you all well know, last night, your teammates and Professor had been taken in a flash of light. We found this alarming since this was the exact event that was described by other kidnapped cases that same day to us. Heroes across the world, disappeared in this light, transported from their dwelling places to somewhere outside Earth's atmosphere", Fury explains.
"Which explains why Cerebro cannot pick up any signs of them", Emma chimes in.
"Can your device's range extend farther?"
"Not yet, Nicholas. As we speak though, I had alerted both Hank and Moira of the issue and they are thinking collaboratively through our telepathic link to increasing its range as we speak", Emma notifies the man.
"That is perfect. How's about we add our top SHIELD scientists and a certain other select scientists and engineers to this project, Miss Frost. Scientists like.....Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, Pepper Potts temporary CEO of Stark Enterprise and current CEO of Stark Resilient, and Princess Shuri of Wakanda to name a few."
"Really?!", Hank asks excitedly.
"You can also count on my financial support if necessary, Fury", Warren speaks up.
"Will your parents be alright with that?", Fury asks bluntly.
"Hah, please! I have my own savings that is far from gone at this point, just sitting collecting dust. Plus, soon, I will take over the company on my own, so if this should be a long-term thing, I will at some point have supreme say over what happens", Warren says.
"You can count on my contribution as well financially to go along with my telepathic gifts", Emma says.
"I will keep that in mind, Miss Frost and Mister Worthington, but for now, all we will need is your cooperation and the talents of the most powerful telepath on the planet", Fury said.
"Wait, that's right. With Xavier and Jean gone, Emma takes the role as the most powerful telepath on the planet, doesn't she?", Bobby thought aloud.
"Speaking of, any clues ass to where they went at all?", Lorna asks.
"Well- yes?", he says suddenly as he puts a fingeer to a small device on his ear. "......okay......Turn on the television. We will want to see this......"
They obey to find on every station was the same program that answered almost all their questions as to what happened to their teammates.
"Welcome, people of Earth and in every part of the universe and dimension and beyond, to our first annual competition of heroes across the universe. Welcome, to the CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS!"
*Contest of Champions Main Hall*
"This way if you please", the attendant said as they led Jean down a narrow hall leading to a large exit. She read their mind as thorough she could and it was more information than she could hope for. Still, the attendant wasn't aware of the intricate planning of the higher ups, or even who they were beyond the Collector. What little information she got was that this was a space ship, designed to project across the universe a certain signal for communication. What that message would be, Jean hadn't the foggiest. Nor did the attendant. It was newly built from what rumor had said and the attendant, as luck would have it, was newly chosen among others to attend specifically the captured. Those that served the Collector and whoever personally would be held elsewhere. The place was psi-proof through and through on multiple levels. It was difficult to simply even feel a stray emotion in this environment, let alone a simple thought. They vastly prepared for her. She couldn't afford to give in though. First thing was first though.......
"This is your final stop for now, Jean Grey."
"Thank you. By the way, I....am sorry for scaring you earlier. I-"
"Oh, no need. It doesn't matter what I felt. I am here for you, whatever you need for as long as you are here", the attendant said.
"It matters to me, believe it or not. As an empath, I can feel every emotion you feel. And unlike....whoever you have served before, I don't relish in hurting or scaring anybody. So, at least for my own sake, I am apologizing and swearing that I am not a threat to you. I know you have nothing to do with any of this. And if I am able to, I can try to help you escape with me", Jean offered earnestly.
"That is fine. I don't exactly have anywhere to go or any purpose outside what I was given for. Thank you, anyways and good luck", the alien said.
"Thanks", Jean said before starting towards the door. It starts to open and she gets the tail end of an announcement.
"WELCOME TO THE CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS!!", a loud and obnoxious voice said over a loud speaker in the large hall filled with an audience of many alien species Jean had never even considered could exist. Actually, the very concept of aliens sounded farfetched to Jean, though as she though of it, Thor was technically an alien himself. Still, it was hard to consider him as such with how human he looked. It was a real once in a lifetime opportunity to see this, despite the malicious nature of how she got there. "I am your host, known to you all as the voluptuous and fantastical MOJO! "
The crowd roared filling Jean's ears as their thoughts filled her head. This was real and they were hungry for some entertainment. She tried to block out the noise and concentrate on Mojo, but the static was still prevalent. The alien themself was a grotesquely yellow creature with mechanical legs similar to an arachnid, with a tail that had what looked to be the barrel of a gun or cannon. They was morbidly obese, with flabby triceps and incredibly skinny forearms with long, spindly clawed fingers. Multiple tubes pierced his skin near their head and they had long connectors that attached and pulled back their eyes, making them look as if they were to pop from their sockets in their head. To top it all off, the dirty and sleazy image of the alien had on top of his head wiring that lead down its back and into the mechanical bottom that held them up.
She looked to her side to find Orroro appearing from the doorway and running over to hug Jean tightly. They both sighed in relief with the knowledge that the other was okay.
"Orroro, thank god! Are you alright? Did they-"
"Hurt me? No. I am quite okay, despite the circumstances. Have you seen anyone else?"
"I think it is safe to assume none of us had seen anyone we knew until this moment", a mechanized voice said. The two women looked behind Jean to find the man the world knew to be Iron Man. "Good to see you, ladies. I would surmise none of us knows whats going on here, but your friend here is a telepath, isn't she, Storm?"
The two looked around to see other superheroes looking to them for answers. Of anyone here, Jean really was the only one with the best case for figuring out what was going on.
"Hello. I, uh, am Marvel Girl and....I am a telepath", Jean said awkwardly at suddenly being the center of attention.
"Pleasure to meet you. If I amm not correct, you are an X-Man, no?"
Jean turned to the owner of the deep voice and became wide-eyed at who it was.
"Captain America? They took you as well?!", Jean exclaimed.
"Uh, duh. Hes here, isn't he?", another voice said. Jean turned to them to see another individual whom she recognized was called the Punisher. Not a hero by any definition she would use, but his thoughts disagreed plainly.
"Ah, lay off her, Castle. She ain't used to this kind of bull anymore than any of us are."
Jean turned again to the owner of the deeper voice and sighed at the sight of someone she considered at this point, a friend.
"Hey, Red. So, mind filling us in on what's going on?"
"I wish I could give something...more informative, but as it stands, they had psi-buffers unlike any I have encountered before. I can't seem to catch any sign of anything beyond these walls. Had I not had the view of the Earth before, I would have been completely in the dark as to where we were. As it stands though, it seems we are on a space station that traveled to Earth to broadcast some event involving us, for whatever reason", Jean said.
"Everything you just said was actually the most info we have gotten since we gotten to this blasted place, Red. Anything more would also be appreciated", Logan said as he took a look around at the surrounding audience. Most talking among themselves excitedly. Others watched them with curiosity, while others were on high-tech devices for what Logan assumed to be the equivalent of Earth's phones and tablets. Or hell maybe something more than that.
"Well, from what I got from my attendants mind, this was a newly created place. The attendants were bought...like slaves of some sort. Mine is resigned to their fate, feeling there is nowhere better to go and perhaps scared even of what the bastards could do to them if they dare attempt to help us or escape themself", Jean said sadly, keeping the anger down beneath the surface to keep a cooler head.
"Typical. Criminals from beyond the star come and garner slaves for entertainment and luxury. On Asgard, our servants are little more than volunteers, choosing to serve thy father for his greatness and thyself in support of our kingdom. Seeing others forced to do things out of fear.......Thy sweareth that when things turn in our favor, tis' the captain's of this ship who will meet their end when thy comes face to face with them", Thor swore as his hammer began to spark reactively.
"Agreed, but first we will need to figure a way out to begin with", Iron Man said as he looked around for his scanners to search for a weak point. "Damn it, their tech seems to be jamming my signals."
"And the energy field is keeping us in the center of the hall. I don't see any possible way out", Spider-Man says as he wall-crawls along the wall of the area.
"And I assure you that you won't find any no matter how thoroughly you search", a voice said. Teleporting in was the Collector standing next tot he owner of the voice. A man with blue skin and a grand looking black and yellow outfit. Though he looked relatively humanoid, Jean could just feel the alien power radiating from him psychically. "Welcome, to my tournament. As it stands, you all were selectively chosen in particular to compete for the ultimate prize, whatever that may be for you all, in this Contest of Earth's Champions!"
"And should we refuse?", Thor challenged with a raised eyebrow.
"You get sent home without your prize. Though trust me, it is a wonderful one that is tailored to each and every one of you. But you may only choose among one of the prizes", the man said as he gestured behind him to a hologram of a bunch of prisoners held in suspended animation...very familiar prisoners in fact....
"Professor!!", Jean exclaimed. They did get him. There he was. Floating helplessly and unaware of his surroundings.
"Ah hell!', Logan exclaimed as he saw everyone's reactions.
"Jarvis!", Tony Stark exclaimed as he saw his butler alongside the Professor.
"They took Mary Jane, too! Why?! Why take any of these people! They didn't have anything to do with-"
"Don't lie to me, little spider. What they have to do with this is be incentive for you all to stay and fight. Granted, you are heroes and would fight to have any lives that come in harms way, but I don't want anyone holding back in this contest. Nor do I want anyone throwing their fights. I want full commitment to winning, at whatever cost. So decrees I, the Grandmaster!"
"My dear brother by power, the Collector, chosen you all specifically for your potential in giving riveting entertainment to our dear guests here! And I will see to it that all have a good time. Once your time is finished, you all will return home....losers, but you will return alive. A small consolation for your participation", Grandmaster explained.
"And what of the prisoners of those who lost?", Captain America asks the man.
"Unfortunately, only one will make it out of this alive. The rest I am afraid will be kept with us. They will still live their lives, serving us and whatever other guests we decide to invite to these games. Though if we don't get the proper cooperation we expect...well, we will have less prisoners and contestants to deal with", the Collector says vaguely, though the message was clear.
"With the word from our sponsors finished, let us introduce our contestants, starting with one of our most well-known heroes. Honorable as he is strong, he holds his shield proudly as the one and only, CAPTAIN AMERICA!", Mojo announced as the spotlight shown onto Cap with the holographic screens displaying certain moments in his history against evil.
"And next to him, his fellow Avenger and a tech genius! The smartest man in the world after Reed Richards himself, the Invincible Iron Man!"
"Next one is another fellow Avenger, but this one hardly famous for his power. The fear that delves by his very existence only is the understatement to his overall strength powered by an endless well of anger. The greenest and strongest there is, HULK!"
Jean looked around confusingly for the green monster they spoke of. When she found no one fitting the description, she took a peak and found the hidden anger beneath the surface, held at bay by a series of alien tranquilizers and tech to keep him calm. The Hulk, hidden beneath the man named Bruce Banner. From what she felt from their emotions, he in particular scared most of them, though the looks themselves told that Jean had no need to be a telepath to see what they were thinking after hearing that announcement.
"No. I am not alright. Both I and the Hulk are fuming. Its what they are hoping for....and its sadly what they will get when it starts. I'm sorry, Cap", the man said remorsefully without looking him in the eye.
"Next up in our contestants arena is New York's vigilante of justice for the little people below and the tall skyscraping men above. The power of a spider wielded by the intelligence of a human, your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man!"
"Here we go from men of humble dwellings to legendary god's! The thunder and lightning are his to command and his hammer deem's him worthy of the title, God of Thunder! Praise his glory! Thor!"
"Next, we go from the brightest of lights in heroics to the grayer areas. Executioner of the wicked and demolition expert at large! The Deadliest Man alive, the Punisher!"
"From men to monsters to spiders to gods to animals! We have it all folks, including the mystery animal to even themself. working off of instinct witht heir indestructible Adamantium claws, beware of the best! The Wolverine!"
"We aren't done yet folks, for we have the next contestant here to heat things up hotter than a supernova! The ladies man himself, the Human Torch!"
"And his sister, the leading lady of the Fantastic Four team and devoted wife to the smartest man alive. One of the smartest and most powerful women on the planet who you will never see coming until its too late. A girl no more, I introduce you to the Invisible Woman!"
"And, next, we have a king of a hidden nation, filled with the rarest metal after Adamantium! Welcome one and all the ruler of Wakanda, the Black Panther!"
"Hello, Orroro. I wish we were meeting again under better circumstances."
"It seems to be what our lives have become these days, hasn't it?"
"Yet, you still have only looked stronger for it."
".....who did they take from you, T'Challa?"
"From king of a nation to ambassador and peacekeeper of the universe out there, we even have our very own Avenger wielding pure cosmic power and strength unmatched by any aside from the Hulk and Thor themselves. Yes, she is a match equaling even the strongest the Avengers have to offer! So, be prepared for the one and only, Captain Marvel!"
"Next, we have one space goddess to our Earth godess. Worshipped for her supreme control of mother nature's elements, face the fury of the Storm!"
"From one who controls the weather with the will of her mind to one who can read and control the minds of anyone and everyone on the planet. Yes, the fiery red-head and most powerful psychic the world has known, true to her name, welcome one and all, Marvel Girl!"
"Why'd they describe me like that? I would never-"
"Just ignore them, Jean. They are only hyping up the audience with such-"
"No, Storm....they may be right this time. If I don't fight with everything I have.....we may not have a chance to save the Professor..."
"Yes, folks! The next stage in evolution is here and they come with a vengeance for the ones tortured by mankinds unjust judgement of their neighbors. So behold, the one who will lead them, the Master of Magnetism-"