December 18, 2016
352. MARCO CRUX
The Seventh Immortal
Earth, Possibly Prehistoric Times (Core Reality)
Power Rating: 1 – 100
POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS
Marco Crux can sense and manipulate the movement of stars. He can also emit concussive and destructive energy beams from his hands. Crux is immortal and is imbued with incredible strength, speed and durability. He can fly, exist comfortably in extremely harsh environments such as space and underwater, and his centuries of existence have provided him with monumental amounts of knowledge.
My name is Captain Noble, and I was born and raised to be the perfect superhero. To that end, I’ve fulfilled my calling in every possible way. During my nearly two decades of hero work on behalf of the United States government, however, I was also conscripted to train to be the captain of the Starship Stratalight. Our first official commission came during an alien invasion of Earth by the Tromokratesians, led by Emperor Kako. The following is an excerpt from the memoir I’m writing to accompany the ship’s log.
Stratalight Maiden Voyage, Day 119
It has been 4 months since my crew and I blasted off from Earth on the Starship Stratalight with the third piece of the triplos asteri. For that first month, we were relentlessly pursued by the leader of a powerful alien race, the Tromokratesians, and his massive fleet of battlecruisers and warships. And though they are no longer directly on our tail, I am sure we are not even close to being out of the proverbial woods. The star we carried has the power to give Emperor Kako a portion of the goddess of Armonia, which of course would transform him into a god as well. He is singularly intent on achieving this goal. We were commissioned by the US Government and the Galaxias Kyklos Force to take the star and hide it in a far-off secret location, and I am proud to say that as of this writing, it seems we’ve succeeded. We’ve dropped the star off in a secret part of the universe, and are now awaiting new orders from NASA and the GKF.
WEIGHT: 278 lbs.
Honestly, we would not have succeeded if not for the unexpected help of a mysterious stranger, who would eventually come to be a beloved and trusted member of the Stratalight Crew. He is called Marco Crux, the Seventh Immortal.
No one knows just how old Marco Crux is, or how far across the cosmos he’s traveled, but you need only be in his presence for a few moments to realize that he has seen more and traveled to more places than any of us can imagine. With a penchant for storytelling, Marco Crux has thrilled the crew with tall tales of incredible adventures, including the time he claimed to have battled alongside a race of god-beings against another race of god-beings. In a vacuum the story is wholly unbelievable, but to hear him talk about it, you’d think you were there with him as it happened. Plus, who am I to claim anything is unbelievable? I’ve been in the presence of all-encompassing beings such as the Zhibdean Master Hosho, and battled against the likes of the Wormhole Witch Fata Morgana. Additionally, I spent nearly a year lost in space, during which I landed on a planet called Friki, and battled through a world of vampires, werewolves, and all sorts of insane creatures. And of course, Emperor Kako himself is the most powerful entity I’ve ever had the displeasure of engaging in battle.
So yes, I’ve seen unbelievable, but still, Marco Crux just had this air about him that there were some things he’d seen which were so spectacular, there were no words in any language (of which he speaks thousands) could possibly describe. He simply continues to use the word “spectacular”, and again, who am I to discount his stories?
In fact, “spectacular” is precisely the word I would use to describe the manner in which he saved the Stratalight from certain destruction. We had successfully eluded the Tromokratesian fleet yet again, and landed on a secret world in a small pocket universe, about 500 light years away from Earth. It was a brand new planet, less than a year old, as it had come into existence during a cataclysmic event in which the timeline of a parallel universe, called the Infiniverse, had collided with the timeline of our own Core Reality. Marco Crux then explained to us that the collision had nearly caused the entire Multiverse to crumble, due to a series of metaphysical fractures across the space-time continuum. But thanks to the actions of several hyper-beings from several different points of time on the continuum – including a mysterious being named Maximilian Finch – the timeline fractures were fixed, and existence did not cease to exist.
We had been aware of the Infiniverse because of the arrival of Captain Infinity and the Infinity Force heroes, and the intergalactic council known as the Unity had discovered the pocket universes and new planets. However, the series of timeline fractures was totally new information to us. Marco Crux explained how his immortality and connection to the stars gave him a sixth sense about disruptions in the space-time continuum.
It so happened that his connection to the stars also gave him the tools he needed to save us. As I mentioned, we arrived at the pocket universe planet – it had been named Rwijenzen-12. A small contingent of Unity agents, led by Yana Tremly, a hyper-human woman who possessed the power of invisibility, greeted us. She had been briefed on the importance of keeping the triplos completely hidden until further notice, and we happily handed it over to her. Unfortunately, as they’d done so many times before, the Tromokratesians tracked us!
As we were leaving the planet, they appeared, and unleashed a massive payload of bombs and lasers. Rwijenzen-12 was instantly destroyed! Fortunately Placebo, my communications officer, was able to telekinetically grab the star, and bring it back onto the Stratalight. We took off and shot back through the portal that had brought us into the pocket universe, but upon exiting we found ourselves surrounded by the entirety of the Tromokratesian Armada. It seemed it had nearly tripled in size since the the previous time we’d battled them.
We prepared for another grueling fight, but this time instead of firing on us with artillery, we were hit with a cavalcade of tractor beams. Dozens of them… hundreds of them! I looked to my crew for options, but despite the Stratalight’s myriad of extraordinary capabilities, it seemed the Tromokratesians, after tracking us for nearly a hundred days, had finally figured out a way to sufficiently calibrate their beams and pin us down. We knew we were finished, but we also knew we weren’t going down without a fight. We prepared to engage the alien race in hand-to-hand combat.
That’s when Marco Crux appeared. Apparently Rwijenzen-12 had recently become his home, and Yana Tremly had recently become the focus of his love and affection. Once he realized she’d met her demise along with the planet, he did not hesitate to seek revenge. Then, in an incredible display of power, the likes I’d never seen before, Crux began to manipulate the stars! The cosmos around us swirled and danced, and before long dozens of massive balls of gas, rock and stardust were crashing into the Tromokratesian warships.
It was utter chaos! The fleet immediately turned all firepower on Crux, hitting him with massive blows, and sending him streaking across the orbital battlefield. Despite the punishment, however, Marco kept on fighting. That was the first clue we got that he was immortal. He then began to unleash incredibly powerful streams of energy from his hands, which disabled several more ships. The calmness with which he wielded such power was mesmerizing to watch.
But, while it was clear Marco Crux could not be killed, it was also apparent that the sheer number of ships, the power of the Tromokratesians, and the idea that Kako would eventually jump into the fray, would most likely still end with the rest of us dead, and the triplos in the hands of the indomitable emperor. I ordered Placebo to send a telepathic message to Marco Crux, explaining the situation to him, and asking him to assist us with getting away from the fleet. At the same time, I considered new options for hiding the star, now that the original plan had been thwarted. That’s when I remembered my journey to one place in the universe that was impossible for anyone to find, if they did not know exactly where it was – The Stavro Dome.
I was one of only a few mortals who had that knowledge, thanks to my time on Planet Friki, with a great warrior named Astor Rathegalia. But we would need Crux’s help to get to the entry point. Fortunately, Placebo convinced him to help us. Marco turned his focus to disabling the tractor beams, then unleashed a blast of energy that cleared a path for us. I commanded HyperThrust to cycle up the hyper-drive, and a few seconds later we blasted out of there, with our savior and new crew member on board.
Over the next couple of weeks, as I led us through an intricate and complicated series of portals and wormholes, we got to know Marco. He eventually agreed to become the ship’s navigator, as his ability to sense and manipulate stars, along with his near-infinite knowledge of the cosmos, made him a perfect candidate for the job. The fact that he was an insanely powerful immortal being was a very nice bonus. His decision to stay with us was cemented by the fact that he’d never seen anything like the Stratalight, despite all he’d seen throughout his thousands of years of existence. It also helped that he and Chief Two Strike hit it off almost immediately.
After a few more twists and turns we finally reached the Stavro Dome. We were greeted by the Everlife Celestial being called Pathfinder. I was relieved to see him, and expressed as much. He informed me that he’d had his eye on me ever since my first journey to the Stavro Dome. I laughed a little, because of course he kept an eye on me; he sees everything.
I introduced him to my crew, most of whom had never ever seen an Everlife. Marco Crux, of course, had been in the presence of a number of Everlifes over his many years of existence. His respect and deference to Pathfinder was almost mythical. We could literally feel Crux’s reverence. All the other crew members followed Crux’s lead, except for my communications officer, Placebo. I noticed her face was wrapped in deep concentration, as if she was trying with all her might to read Pathfinder’s mind. Though I know she meant no disrespect, her scowl was beginning to fill the air with tension. I looked to her and, in my mind, asked her to stand down. She shot me a look I’d never seen from her before – anger, mixed with what seemed to be a flash of desperation. Whatever was bothering her, however, she couldn’t seem to put a finger on it, so after a few moments she seemed to drop it.
It was at that point that Pathfinder spoke up. He informed me he had indeed been following everything that had been happening with the Tromokratesians and Emperor Kako. He then reminded me that he, like most Everlife Celestials, could not directly interfere in events between non-celestial beings. However, he was willing to allow us to stash the triplos asteri in the Stavro Dome until a more suitable place could be found, or until a way to defeat Kako could be discovered.
I retrieved the star from the Stratalight, and Pathfinder directed me to a chamber at the base of a mountain in which we could place the star. I thanked him profusely, then congratulated the crew on a job well done. We boarded the Stratalight; Pathfinder opened a portal for us, and we blasted back out into the cosmos. Once we were clear of the Stavro Dome, I ordered Placebo to send a tele-wave back to Nasa Central Command, informing them that Operation: StarCover was a success and that we were awaiting new orders…