Yon-Rogg never tells Vers who he sees when he visits the Supreme Intelligence, no matter how much she badgers him about it over the years.
He isn’t like some of the Kree, who see the Supreme Intelligence with an ever changing face.
He isn’t fickle like that.
And yet, when he stands before the ruler of the Kree Empire, after his failure to subdue the Skrulls and Vers’ defection, the new form he sees seems only natural.
She wears that mockery of their uniform, and has a stubborn, fierce look in her eyes. Her whole body glows with the full force of her powers.
She has abandoned the Kree for the Skrulls and returned him to Hala in disgrace. She has embraced her emotions and wrenched herself from their control.
But still … she is magnificent.
And he can’t help but admire her.
Carol isn’t fond of close contact fighting anymore.
She doesn’t like to bleed.
Or, rather, she hates to see the colour of her blood.
She’s come to terms with the fact that she’s a Human-Kree hybrid, and using her powers and strength to help others makes her feel like she’s atoning a little for those years with Starforce.
But when she sees her blood, she remembers the transfusion in her early days on Hala, remembers six years when she felt so proud to have her mentor’s blood running through her veins, binding the two of them together.
Now it is more of a shackle, an unpleasant memory of a betrayal she never expected.
Yon-Rogg is still part of her. He always will be.
A reminder that some people are not as easily forgotten as she might wish.
Vers doesn’t know how long it’s been since she was captured.
Hours, days, weeks … the drugs they are using to keep her subdued have completely confused her sense of time.
She can only vaguely remember being ambushed during the mission, and she has no idea who her captors are. They are clearly well prepared, though, because they’ve prevented her from using her photon blasts with heavy hand restraints that she thinks she’d struggle to remove even if she wasn’t half-unconscious.
She hears a pair of voices talking about some sort of memory probe, but she can’t focus for long and they soon move out of earshot.
This must be the work of the Skrulls, she thinks. Starforce members are highly trained, and very good at spotting a Skrull imposter, but all it takes is one mistake and the whole mission can go sideways.
She tries to catalogue her injuries, but discovers to her surprise that she cannot feel any of the effects of recent torture, just a lightheadedness that can be attributed to the cocktail of drugs coursing through her veins and keeping her from attempting an escape.
For a few brief moments, she considers trying to come up with an escape plan, but she feels so tired … she just wants to close her eyes …
More time passes, but the next time she thinks she’s relatively aware, she hears crashes, bangs, shouts and roars outside the cell she’s in.
And then, suddenly, the door is shoved open.
Yon-Rogg looks blindingly furious.
She can that see his uniform and face are splattered with Skrull blood, and his golden eyes are burning fiercely.
He strides forward and she tries to keep her head from lolling to the side as he begins to remove her restraints.
“Focus, Vers,” his voice is harsh, but he is surprisingly gentle when trying to get her free.
She lifts her head, but it feels so heavy that she can only hold it up for a few seconds at a time.
“At least I know now why there wasn’t a trail of unconscious Skrull to lead us to you,” he mutters, wrapping an arm around her waist to steady her, “they must have you on about ten different drugs. You’re absolutely useless like this.”
“It’s good to see you too, Commander,” she murmurs, trying to smile but not quite able to summon the energy for it.
“Now is not the time for your terrible attempts at humour, Vers,” he says as he half-supports, half-drags her towards the door.
“I’m fine … ish,” she insists, “just let me get my bearings.”
He sighs, “I’ve told you before, Vers, you’re not as strong as you think you are. You’re still vulnerable.”
“I am a noble warrior hero,” she insists, giggling a little.
“You are … oh what is the word those primitive planets use? … stoned.”
He helps her down a number of corridors, where she only vaguely notices the Skrull bodies that are laying still on the floor.
“We are doubling your training once we get back to Hala,” he warns her, “if you are going to insist on repeating the stupid action of taking on ten Skrulls alone – and I have no doubt that you will, Vers – then you are going to be properly prepared for it.”
He sounds annoyed, but concerned too, and it strikes Vers that he might have actually been worried about her.
The thought makes her smile.
He sees her expression, though he doesn’t know the reason behind it, “you won’t be smiling when we’re back to training, Vers.”
She keeps smiling, though.
She knows he cares.
Yon-Rogg has always done his duty.
As a child he followed the path his father laid out for him.
As an adult he serves the Kree as commander of their elite Starforce team, dedicated to the expansion of the Kree Empire and the destruction of the Skrulls.
And then he finds her.
Brave and brash and stubborn, on the backwater planet Mar-Vell has hidden herself on.
After she shoots the core he brings her back to Hala, sparking energy that her feeble body cannot handle.
And he remakes her, gives her his blood and an implant to tamp down her powers to a controllable level.
His blood connects them, and when the Supreme Intelligence gives him the task of training her, he finds that he … well he likes her.
She can be frustrating and overly emotional, aggressive and dismissive of the command structure. But she’s clever and determined too, amusing and strong.
And sometimes he forgets that this is simply duty, not friendship. At times he wonders if one day she will have to die, and such a thought … it hurts.
He cannot allow himself to think like this. His duty is to follow the orders of the Supreme Intelligence and serve the Kree Empire.
So when Vers grins at him, Yon-Rogg studiously ignores the fondness he feels for her, and tamps down his desire to smile back.
He will always do his duty, no matter what.
For the good of all Kree.
Vers turns up at his apartment in the early hours, as she does most nights.
But while it is usually a sparring partner she's searching for, on occasion she comes looking for something else entirely.
She surges forward as soon as the door is half-open, slanting her lips hungrily across his.
One of his hands goes around her waist and the other to the nape of her neck as he pulls her closer.
Sex between warriors isn’t against the rules, even when those involved are of different ranks. In fact it is considered a useful tool to help them de-stress.
What is frowned upon is sex that leads to emotional connections.
It isn’t appropriate on the battlefield for any warrior to consider saving one member of their team over another for sentimental reasons. That, they are always reminded, is what gets people killed and only serves the enemy’s interests.
Yon-Rogg knows he shouldn’t be doing this, that he should draw a line with Vers and stick solely to training.
Because, despite years of managing perfectly well without any emotional attachments, he now finds himself inexplicably, but undeniably, caring about someone.
And not just anyone, not even a Kree. No, his emotions have been stirred by a Terran-Kree hybrid with the power of Mar-Vell’s core running though her, someone brought to Hala to be moulded into a tool for the purpose of Kree expansion.
The sex is good, fantastic even. But it isn’t simply stress relief anymore. He finds himself trying not to laugh at her ridiculous jokes, resisting the urge to kiss her, and smiling when she stays the night in his bed.
He needs to stop, needs to make sure he isn’t led by the emotions that he is always telling Vers she needs to get under control.
Vers pulls him towards his bedroom. He doesn’t try to stop her, only moves his hands so she can tug her shirt off.
She’s already here now, and he can’t find it in himself to send her away.
He just wants one more night.
He tells himself this will be the last time.
(he knows it won't).
The first time Carol sees Yon-Rogg after sending him back to Hala in disgrace, she punches him in the face.
He doesn’t block her, perhaps thinking he deserves that much.
When she goes to hit him for a fourth time, though, he hits back.
Carol hasn’t slept in about four days, she’s learnt far more than she wants to about the sex-trafficking trade on Contraxia, and she is in no mood to deal with this particular reminder of her past.
She is, however, in dire need of a good fight. And in this respect, Yon-Rogg’s appearance is perfect timing.
Carol knows she could probably take Yon-Rogg down with one blast, but what she really wants is a fight that will give her a really good workout, one that will exhaust her enough that she’ll sleep through the night.
She remembers his words back on earth, trying to get her to fight him without her powers.
Looks like he’s finally going to get his wish, decades later.
In some ways it’s like being back in the training room on Hala.
In other ways, not so much. There’s something broken between them now.
“It’s been a while, Vers,” he says as they circle each other, “did you miss me?”
“It’s Carol,” she reminds him through gritted teeth.
She refuses to say anything else. He’s always been able to tell when she’s lying and he’ll be unbearably smug if he realises that, even now, after everything, there is a part of her that has missed him.
They get into a rhythm soon enough, a dance of sorts.
Punch, kick, duck, turn, flip.
Yon-Rogg was very, very good when she was on Hala. He’s even better now.
But so is she, even without the advantage of her powers.
“You’ve been practicing,” he says as she dodges his kick.
He looks genuinely proud and she kind of hates that a part of her is pleased by his acknowledgement of how she’s improved.
She answers flippantly, though, because she doesn’t want to show weakness to him, “well sometimes it gets boring just blasting people and I want a bit of variety.”
His golden eyes twinkle a bit, as if he knows her real thoughts. In response she steps up the pace, determined to beat him.
By the time fifteen minutes have passed, they are certainly a little worse for the wear, and both have bloody lips and aching limbs.
Carol throws a punch, but Yon-Rogg is moving to block it before her fist gets anywhere near him.
“You’re still telegraphing your moves,” he scolds her.
She scowls at him indignantly, having made a conscious effort over the past few years to be less obvious with her hits, “I am not!”
He smiles then, the expression one that used to make her stomach flutter back on Hala, “well maybe I’m just good at reading you.”
She growls, mostly because he’s right and she absolutely can’t stand that. It’s been a long time since she’s seen him, but they spent six years in close quarters and it’s clear he remembers her fighting style, despite how she has tried to improve and amend it over time.
She moves with renewed vigour and a desperate desire to knock him over and keep him down.
Powers aside, she has to admit he was always a better fighter than her when they were on Hala. They’ve both gotten stronger over the years, but she thinks they might be more evenly matched now.
She’s certainly holding her own, at least, and for longer than she ever managed when they sparred together in the training rooms on Hala.
When she gets him with an uppercut that he fails to block, she thinks she might be close to winning, but he picks himself back up quickly, wipes some blood away from his mouth and gives her a smile that is all teeth, “good try, but you’ll have to do better than that.”
So she does.
At one point she fleetingly wonders what they might look like to anyone who happened to wander over to this deserted field.
Probably like two people who seem determined to beat each other to death.
The thing is, she doesn’t want to kill Yon-Rogg.
Seriously maim, yes, but not kill.
Which is why, nearly an hour after she threw the first punch, when their energy is seriously flagging and their movements are becoming sluggish, Carol simply drops down onto the ground and sits there.
Yon-Rogg eyes her suspiciously, clearly wondering if this is some kind of trap.
“Not giving up, are you?” he asks.
She laughs loudly at him, “hardly, but it’s no fun when we’re both this tired. I think we can call it a draw.”
He raises an eyebrow at her, “I was clearly winning.”
She rolls her eyes, “you’re clearly delusional.”
She gets to her feet and turns to walk to her ship.
“Don’t want to wait around for round two?” he shouts after her.
She turns to wink at him, “oh I’m sure we’ll meet again soon enough.”
She pauses and then sends a photon blast towards Yon-Rogg’s ship in the distance.
“Sorry,” she shrugs at his furious expression, “can’t have you following me.”
She hurries away and takes off quickly before he can try to do any damage to her own ship.
She can feel all the bruises and aches. They’ll fade soon enough, but she thinks she’s finally had a really good workout.
“Round two, indeed,” she murmurs to herself.
She looks forward to it.
“You can’t do this!” Vers protests loudly.
He raises an eyebrow, “I am your commander, Vers. And if I don’t think you’re fit to be flying right now, then I am perfectly within my rights to ground you until you’re ready.”
“But I can help,” she protests, “I’m a fantastic flier.”
“You are,” he agrees, “you have not, however, been doing very well at keeping control of your emotions recently.”
She flushes when she thinks of the training session they finished only a few minutes ago. She’d lost count of how many times she’d hit him with her photon blasts when it reached double digits.
“I won’t let it affect my flying,” she insists.
He sighs, tapping her forehead and then her still-glowing fists, “you need to learn to use your head more, Vers, and to keep control.”
“How long?” she growls.
“A few weeks,” he tells her, “and then I’ll reevaluate.”
She clenches her fists in frustration, but she knows Yon-Rogg won’t change his mind.
“We’ll up your training, Vers,” he says, “I just want you to be the best version of yourself, you know that, don’t you?”
She nods. Yon-Rogg has always supported her, and though constant mantra of ‘control’ often annoys her, she knows he’s only trying to help her.
“You can head back to your rooms, Vers,” he says, even though she knows they’re supposed to be training for another hour or so, “you’re not in the right frame of mind to train right now.”
As she heads back towards her room, she grimaces at the thought of being grounded for weeks. She loves flying – it feels right in a way few other things do.
Tonight she’ll rest, and tomorrow she will put all her focus into training.
She wants to be back in the air as soon as possible.
They tell her that she’s a hero.
Planets she helps liberate, those that she saves, the Avengers on Earth who ask her to fight with them.
Time and time again they say it.
But she never quite believes it.
"And you're a Kree? A race of noble warriors?"
"Heroes ... noble warrior heroes."
She thought she was a hero once before, and look how that turned out.
“We’re saving the galaxy, Vers.”
That’s what Yon-Rogg said to her once.
A lie, as it turns out. Just one of many he told her over the years.
She’s got blood on her hands and a mind full of regrets.
They say heroes don’t have to be perfect. She knows and understands that, sees heroes across the galaxy who have made mistakes just as she has.
She doesn’t want to go down that road again, though.
To her, being a hero is just a reminder of betrayal, and of Yon-Rogg’s deception, which still hurts her even decades later.
She’s always happy to help, and to fight for those who need it.
She thinks, however, that she’s done with being a hero.
Vers turns up for training looking like she’s half-dead.
“I’m fine,” she mutters, sounding anything but.
He is not familiar with Terran biology, nor is he completely sure how illness might be suffered by a Terran-Kree hybrid like Vers. But whatever is wrong with her, he doesn’t think she should be out of bed right now.
She’s swaying slightly, her nose is leaking, her voice is scratchy and there is an unusual flush in her cheeks.
“You look terrible, Vers,” he says, “go back to your rooms and stay there.”
He pushes her in training, because he wants her to control her powers, but even he isn’t about to force her to partake in sparring when she looks like she’s about to fall over.
She scowls at him, “I can still fight.”
He almost laughs, but settles for rolling his eyes instead. Sometimes he admires Vers’ stubborn determination.
Other times it’s just a pain.
“Fine,” he says, deciding Vers needs a physical demonstration of why it is pointless for her to train right now, “if you can land a single blow on me in the next ten minutes, then you can stay.”
She manages a decent fighting stance, but when they starting circling each other he can see that she’s struggling to keep her balance.
He flips her easily less than a minute in and she crashes down onto the mat. Normally, she gets up again in a few seconds, more bent on winning than ever, but now she just lies there, her eyes unfocussed.
“Go to bed, Vers,” he tells her, “if you die because you pushed your body too hard then you’ll have no one to blame but yourself, and I won’t mourn a fool.”
“You’d miss me,” she counters.
She gives him a weak version of her usual grin, but it makes him smile a little nonetheless.
He offers her his hand, and though he knows it annoys her to admit weakness, she takes it and lets him pull her to her feet.
“I’ll be here tomorrow,” she insists, although he imagines she will actually be stuck in her rooms for a few days at least, not least because he doesn’t want her to hear her coughing and spluttering her way through their training.
He sighs quietly as he watches her walk away. Even with his Kree blood and the powers she received from Mar-Vell’s core, Vers is still susceptible to certain viruses that do not affect those of entirely Kree heritage, even if there is little danger of them seriously harming her. Terrans are so fragile after all, and even Kree blood cannot entirely change that.
Yon-Rogg knows Vers is a weapon to be used for Kree glory, and this illness should remind him of how superior the Kree are, and how beneath him she is, even with her enhancements.
Instead, all it has done is highlight her stubborn determination, a trait he cannot help but admire, however troublesome it is sometimes.
A couple of days away from her while she recovers suddenly seems like a piece of luck.
A little space and he’s sure he can shake this … fondness.
(somehow, though, he doesn’t think it will be as easy as that).
Minn-Erva watches Yon-Rogg and Vers with envious eyes.
She used to be the rising star, the Starforce favourite.
All that changed the day Yon-Rogg stopped her from killing the human who had destroyed the energy-core.
Her commander looks at the human with interested eyes, and watches her glowing form with a mix of fascination and curiosity.
And it only gets worse when they return to Hala.
A transfusion is required, both to save the human’s life and to bind her to the Kree Empire. Yon-Rogg offers his blood with only the briefest hesitation, despite the intimate connotations such a thing usually brings.
(Minn-Erva herself has needed transfusions five times during her time with Starforce. Her commander has never offered her his own blood).
“She’s dangerous,” Minn-Erva insists, “we don’t know what her powers could do to us.”
Yon-Rogg shakes his head, “the Supreme Intelligence agrees with my assessment. Vers will be an invaluable asset once she is properly trained, a perfect weapon to use against the Skrulls.”
“And what if she remembers?”
Minn-Erva would never usually dare to be so argumentative with her commander, but there is so much that could go wrong with this plan.
“The medics say she remembers nothing from her old life,” he counters, “and it is not for you to question the will of the Supreme Intelligence, Minn-Erva.”
She steps back and nods contritely, although she is not at all satisfied with how the day has gone.
When she stalks off towards her apartment, Yon-Rogg is still staring at the new Human-Kree Hybrid.
It has only become worse over the six years that Vers has been on Hala.
Yon-Rogg usually spars with her now, and only rarely with Minn-Erva. He dedicates hours every day to try and make Vers control her emotions, a task Minn-Erva feels is rather futile. She doesn’t believe Vers has the discipline for Starforce, but her concerns are ignored.
It is not that Vers doesn’t do her share of subduing the Skrulls … it is that her powers are still so unstable, still prone to putting not only Skrulls, but also the other Starforce members, in danger.
She’s a loose cannon and Minn-Erva doesn’t like it.
She also doesn’t like all the time Yon-Rogg spends with the blonde hybrid, or how Vers has slipped easily into the role of his favourite (the position Minn-Erva once held) without even really trying.
She isn’t jealous.
Besides, it will all come to an explosive end eventually, Minn-Erva thinks.
One day, Yon-Rogg’s little experiment will backfire spectacularly.
And then things will be the way they were before Vers came.
Minn-Erva can’t wait.
Sometimes, Yon-Rogg thinks that Vers is an exhausting amount of trouble.
She’s an excellent addition to Starforce, and her powers (once she is fully able to control them) will be a huge asset in fighting the Skrulls. She is loyal and fierce and has a sense of humour even he can appreciate.
But she’s also quick-tempered, prone to being led by her emotions and irritatingly good at slipping out into the city when she is supposed to stay within their compound.
It grates on her, the rules and restrictions they impose, all in the name of her safety.
He tries to make her understand that it is for her own good. She isn’t familiar with all of their customs yet, and it also wouldn’t do for some ignorant Kree or visitor to Hala to ruin all his hard work by causing her to question what he has told her.
She isn’t always good at listening, though. And when the stress gets to her she has a tendency to disappear into the city for a few hours.
Which is why, when he just want to rest after their mission, Yon-Rogg is now scouring all of her favourite bars in search of Vers.
Next time she’s in the medical wing, he decides, he’s getting a tracker implanted into her arm. It will probably do wonders for his stress levels.
Yon-Rogg doesn’t find her until he reaches the edge of the city, when he peers into the window of a brightly lit bar and spots her dancing around a small stage, a microphone in her hand.
He rolls his eyes when he realises what she’s doing.
He personally thinks karaoke is completely ridiculous, but for some reason Vers seems to find it very amusing. If they ever have any downtime when they visit other planets, she is always drawn to the closest place that allows visitors to abuse the ears of their fellow patrons by massacring tunes that are otherwise only mildly annoying.
He steels himself when he enters the bar, ready for the assault on his ears …
However, he finds that Vers isn’t a bad singer. She is in fact rather good.
This is somewhat of a surprise to him as the karaoke performances he has been unfortunate enough to hear previously (thankfully not many) have usually been horrific. Still, though, he has admittedly never heard Vers sing before.
His plan had been to drag her back to the Starforce base as soon as possible, but he finds himself settling down at one of the tables near the door instead.
She looks … happy.
Yon-Rogg isn’t a monster. Vers is an asset to be cultivated, but he knows that she will be a more effective one if she isn’t miserable.
He’ll give her a couple of night patrols as punishment, because he can’t let her think she’s managed to get away with this breach of the rules.
All that can wait until tomorrow, however.
For now, he’s content to let her have her fun.
She doesn’t properly process it until nearly a week has passed.
And then it hits her. The betrayal, the secrets.
All the lies.
Talos doesn’t ask questions when she requests a room on the ship to rest in. She tells him she wants to take a break from flying alongside the ship and, though he looks at her with concerned eyes, he agrees easily.
And inside the small, soundproofed room, Carol finally gives voice to her emotions.
She screams. She cries. She wants to hit things, but she’s worried she’ll do serious damage to the ship.
Because she had really enjoyed her life on Hala. Her nightmares had made her question things sometimes, but for the most part she was happy.
And it turns out that that life was all a lie.
A lie concocted by Yon-Rogg and the Supreme Intelligence.
The rage she feels towards the Supreme Intelligence is distant in a way, but what she feels towards Yon-Rogg …
It burns inside her.
She had trusted Yon-Rogg, had looked up to him, and considered him to be her closest friend and ally.
It is his lies that truly hurt her. Because now she can’t be sure how much of it was real.
She likes to think that it wasn’t all fake, that the confidences and laughter and camaraderie they shared meant something to him.
Perhaps she’ll never know the truth.
She’s not sure she wants to.
It's all over.
Thanos is defeated and half of the universe has been released from the soul stone.
And Carol ...
Carol is lying on her grass staring up at the sky, murmuring the names of all the stars.
She doesn't know how long she's been out there, when she hears a rustling to her left and turns to see the glint of a metal arm.
Bucky Barnes, Captain Rogers had told her. One of those who had been trapped in the stone.
He lies down next to her, "Steve says you've had problems with your memory, sorta like me."
"Yes," she admits.
She doesn't really like talking about her past, but if the bits and pieces she's heard about Barnes are true, then he's experienced a similar thing, worse even.
"I lost most of my life before I managed to get away from Hydra," he tells her, "I'm remembering more now, but I imagine there will always be holes."
"Everything was a blank for me when I woke up on Hala," she says softly, "even now I've only got a little bit, flashes of memories. Maria and Monica, my friends ... my family, really ... they've got some of my old stuff, and they tell me stories. It helps, but ..."
"But it's still just a story, not a memory," he finishes, "yeah, I get that too."
There is a companionable silence between them for a few minutes, before Barnes speaks tentatively.
“Steve … he said you were a soldier too.”
“I was in the Air Force when I was human, and then a military unit called Starforce when I was on Hala. We were elite, the best of the best. And … and I thought I was doing the right thing, that I was protecting people. We were supposed to be heroes.”
She knows she sounds bitter, but it’s something that gets to her, even now.
“From what everyone’s told me, it sounds like you did the best you could with the information you had.”
Carol shrugs, “perhaps. But I wasn’t like you, Barnes. I wasn’t tortured or frozen … I made my own choices.”
Barnes scowls at her, “having your entire memory removed sounds fairly torturous to me, and kinda like brainwashing. They turned you into a weapon, just like they turned me into one.”
She sighs, “I took their word for it, once I woke up. They told me the Skrulls were evil and I just believed them, without ever wondering if I should get a non-Kree opinion.”
“Sounds like you simply trusted the wrong people.”
“Trust,” she murmurs quietly.
She hadn’t gotten along with all of the Starforce members, especially Minn-Erva, but she’d always trusted them to have her back.
And Yon-Rogg. She had trusted him, more than anyone else.
Maybe that’s why it hurts so much.
“You made mistakes,” Barnes tells her, “we all do. But I think it’s pretty obvious that you’re a good person.”
She gives him a small, thankful smile.
“You’re one too, Barnes – a good person … a great one.”
He doesn’t say anything. She can understand why, and can certainly relate to the guilt he feels.
She only hopes that one day they can both forgive themselves.
Her nightmares now are different to the ones she had when she was on Hala.
But they are still about the crash.
Sometimes Yon-Rogg does not hold his fire, but shoots immediately. The blood that pools around her is red, and she dies completely human while he examines the wreckage in an attempt to find the energy-core.
Other times, she stands next to Yon-Rogg, and it is her hand that fires the blast which kills Mar-Vell. Yon-Rogg smiles proudly at her and she rejoices in the blow they have dealt to their Skrull enemies.
She dreams a hundred variations on such things. She’d once thought that figuring out the truth about the crash would set her free from the nightmares. It seems, however, that it has only changed them.
She can fill her days with gruelling activities, and mock spar with the Skrulls until she is exhausted.
Sometimes she can even manage a night or two of dreamless sleep.
Eventually, though, the nightmares return.
She suspects they always will.
He has to stay close.
It isn’t a personal preference, he insists to Minn-Erva, when she complains about the amount of time he spends with their new teammate. It is simply that he needs to keep an eye on Vers, and ensure her loyalty is solely to the Kree.
His excuse is a good one, but it isn’t the whole story.
Because Yon-Rogg is drawn to Vers in a way he never expects.
Despite the power of Mar-Vell’s core, and his own blood running through her veins, Vers was still born a Terran, inferior to the Kree.
Yet it is the human parts of her, which occasionally bleed through despite the memory wipe, that he finds …
Interesting, curious … endearing.
The sharing of blood is a ritual of significance to the Kree, though he doubts Vers is aware of that. It creates a bond that cannot be broken and isn’t entered into lightly.
Yon-Rogg had been reluctant to begin with, but he had followed the Supreme Intelligence’s orders for the good of the Kree.
Now he has … an awareness of sorts.
There is a reason why he is always ready to answer his door when Vers comes searching for a sparring partner in the middle of the night. It is no coincidence that he usually ends their training sessions right around the time that her exhaustion makes them unproductive.
And it is the bond that exists between them that makes him worry for her when she allows her emotions to rule her and does something foolish.
(or so he tells himself … though a part of him wonders if Vers could inspire this feeling in him whether she had his blood or not).
Sometimes, when she’s angry or frustrated, Vers tells Yon-Rogg that he’s controlling.
“I just worry, Vers,” he insists, his expression carefully calculated but still mostly genuine, “I don’t want you to get hurt because you can’t control your powers. I just feel a little … protective of you, considering the way we found you and all the damage the Skrulls caused.”
“Overprotective, more like,” she mutters.
Still, he can see that, while she is annoyed, she’s also a little bit pleased. He’s been careful to ensure that he is the one she trusts, and he knows that while she sometimes feels he is stifling, she also enjoys the fact that someone cares enough to want to keep an eye on her.
It’s all in the name of keeping Vers close. She is their secret weapon after all.
That is what he tells the Supreme Intelligence, Minn-Erva and anyone else who questions his closeness with Vers.
He won’t admit that maybe she’s snuck under his skin. That his overprotective behaviour is not simply an act.
He won’t contemplate the idea that she isn’t just a weapon to him, and that it’s not only their blood bond that makes him itch to keep her close.
Because sometimes he thinks he might truly care.
And that’s what scares him the most.
“I’m so proud of you. You’ve come a long way since that day I found you by the lake.”
She’s dreamt about hearing those words from Yon-Rogg for so long.
But it feels all wrong.
It was never supposed to happen this way.
She’s pictured it a thousand different times.
Another successful mission … finally landing a punch on him without using her photon blasts … gaining full control over her powers.
Not like this.
Standing on the planet she’s only just discovered is her home world. Yon-Rogg no longer a mentor, a friend, a lover … but a liar instead.
Six years she has spent training with him, learning from him, laughing with him … craving his approval.
And it is only now, when her whole world has fallen apart, that he finally tells her that he’s proud.
Is he being genuine, or is this another trick, a last-ditch attempt to entice her back to the Kree side?
They stare silently at each other for a few moments, and Carol tries to read the truth in Yon-Rogg’s golden eyes, to determine whether the pride shining there is real.
Just a few days ago she would have trusted what she saw there, but now …
Now she isn’t sure.
She doesn’t think she’ll ever be sure again.
Vers’ first mission with Starforce goes off without a hitch.
Her second … not so much.
“Twenty-four hours,” the doctors tell them from the other side of the glass, “just to be safe.”
Yon-Rogg’s golden eyes are burning with frustration, but Vers refuses to be cowed.
It’s only one day of quarantine, and it’s not her fault.
Well, not entirely …
So maybe it’s 95% her fault.
(but the other 5% of the blame definitely lies with Minn-Erva).
“Reckless,” Yon-Rogg lectures as soon as the doctors have left them alone, “rash, impulsive, irresponsible, foolish, reckless –”
“You’ve said that one already,” Vers interrupts.
He glares and she feels a brief twinge of regret. Yon-Rogg lets her get away with more than most commanders would, but he is always serious about training and missions.
“You’ve got to control your emotions, Vers,” he tells her firmly, “this is what happens when you forget that.”
She flushes pink. She’d tried to stop her fists glowing, but she’d become frustrated during the fight and had accidentally managed to blast open a crate and release what the doctors said was a toxic dust of some sort.
The rest of the Starforce team had been far enough away to escape the effects, but Vers had been covered in the dust and Yon-Rogg, who had come over to try and help her, had ended up inhaling enough that the doctors had insisted he be quarantined with her.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers, “I just … I get angry and I can’t think straight.”
Yon-Rogg’s expression softens and he takes her hands, brushing his thumbs over her knuckles, “these are powerful weapons, Vers, if you can control them. Otherwise, they have the potential to be dangerous liabilities.”
She winces a little at his rebuke, even if it’s probably deserved.
“Don’t worry, Vers,” he says, gentler than usual, “I promised you, remember, they day we brought you back to Hala following the Skrull attack. I’ll help you. We’ll do this together, so that you can be the best version of yourself.”
She nods, giving him a tentative smile.
“Now,” he says, tapping her forehead, “time to use this. We’ve got plenty of time on our hands and nothing else to do, so I want you to tell me what parts of the mission went wrong and how the errors could have been avoided.”
Vers rattles off her analysis in as much depth as possible, determined to learn from this mission.
Just one step on the road to becoming the best version of herself.
Almost everything with Yon-Rogg is rough.
Training, sex … even most of their conversations are more verbal sparring than anything else.
And she doesn’t mind that, enjoys it even.
But every now and then, she wonders …
Vers has no memories of the time before she came to Hala, and no point of reference beyond Yon-Rogg, with whom she spends most of her time.
It’s true that he isn’t a particularly demonstrative sort. Still, she thinks he cares. He puts so much effort into training her, never turns her away when she comes to him following a nightmare, and always gets angry when she puts herself in danger or someone tries to hurt her.
She thinks this is normal, to begin with. And she doesn’t question it, because Yon-Rogg looks at her with fierce golden eyes and makes her feel special.
It is only over time that she starts to realise that there might be other ways to care for someone.
He grips her hips so hard that, even with their rapid healing, the bruises won’t fade for at least a day. And though she quite likes the mix of pain and pleasure, she also feels the ghost of gentle, tentative touches on her skin.
Their lips collide in a bruising kiss, but somehow she almost remembers soft, warm lips against hers.
He barks out a frustrated order for her to ‘control it’ when her fists begin to glow, and she hears the echo of her own laugher mixed in with another woman’s.
Yon-Rogg is her commander, her mentor, her lover, and the closest thing she has to a friend. She doesn’t know what she’d do without his support, his dry comments, his help.
She’s starting to think, however, that there might be something else out there.
Not entirely rough. Gentler.
She only wishes she could figure it out.
Vers knows she’s the odd one out on the base. She hears what they whisper about her.
The soldier with no memory. The trainee being mentored by the commander of Starforce. The one who seems to spend most of her time in the training rooms, attempting (and often failing) to get her photon blasts under control.
Everyone is polite to her face. No one wants to offend Yon-Rogg, or question the wisdom of the Supreme Intelligence, whose decision it was to put Vers on the fast-track to membership of the elite Starforce team.
But she doesn’t fit in, and they give her a wide berth, especially after she accidentally blasts half of the training room roof off when she loses control of her powers.
(Yon-Rogg arranges a private room for them to practice in after that incident, much to her relief).
She thinks, however, that when she is finally cleared to join Starforce, things might be different.
The elite group are made up of an eclectic mix of characters, all with talents that differentiate them from the regular Kree soldiers.
Vers hopes that in Starforce she can find someone (other than Yon-Rogg) who isn’t scared or nervous around her.
And it would be nice to have company on the rare evenings when she’s free to visit the city bars. Yon-Rogg joins her sometimes, but part of her feels like she misses female friendship.
(She gets flashes sometimes. Dark hair, a wide smile, loud laughter. Yon-Rogg tells her it’s an overactive imagination trying to fill in the blanks inn her memory, but she likes to think that maybe something lingered in her mind despite everything the Skrull attack took from her).
Vers gets her wish. Partly.
None of the members of Starforce seem afraid of her, at least not openly. She can even joke and laugh with some of them, though Minn-Erva seems to rather dislike her, for reasons Vers has not yet worked out. But, despite all that, she doesn’t find any close connections among them.
They’re a team, and they work well together. That’s it though. She still trains almost exclusively with Yon-Rogg, still spends her evenings off trying to persuade him to come out with her (“I won’t get into another bar fight,” she says, “I promise.”), still doesn’t think of anyone else but him to go to and badger into sparring with her when nightmares stop her sleeping.
She has this … yearning.
She feels like she wants something more.
She thinks she had one once, and for a while she thought that perhaps Starforce could become her family.
It was a silly thought.
She’s a warrior hero, helping to save the universe from Skrull attacks. She’s living a life others only dream of.
And Yon-Rogg tells her to focus on the present.
“No sense in missing what you can’t remember, Vers – it will only distract you.”
He’s right, of course. He’s always right …
But sometimes … sometimes she wonders.
She wakes feeling like her skin is on fire.
She has no idea where she is, and no clue who she is.
There is a flurry of movement as she tries to sit up, only for her aching, exhausted body to fall back against the bed she is lying on.
She can hear voices all around her, but she can’t focus on any of them long enough to tell what they’re saying.
And then, suddenly, a hand brushes her arm.
Her skin cools, her mind settles.
She opens her eyes to see someone sitting next to her, dark haired, with golden eyes that are watching her carefully.
He takes one of her hands, his thumb brushing gently over her palm. She feels more normal now, less like she’s burning alive.
“Don’t try to move yet,” he tells her, “you’re still weak from the surgery and the transfusion.”
“What happened? Where … where am I?” she rasps.
He looks at her sympathetically, “I’m afraid that’s rather a long story, and you need your rest. I’ll be here when you wake up and I’ll explain everything then.”
She nods, her eyes heavy, and within a few minutes she has drifted back to sleep, her hand still entwined with his.
Vers tosses and turns in the bed, her skin itching and stopping her from getting comfortable.
She is obviously grateful to Yon-Rogg and his team for saving her from the Skrulls, but the side effect of the blood transfusion that had been required to save her life is playing havoc with her sleep schedule.
Transfusions are apparently rare among the Kree, since they create a permanent bond, although its effects fade significantly over time. Things are hardest in the first few weeks, when the donee experiences significant discomfort if separated from the donor … discomfort that can be reduced by close proximity but only fully alleviated by physical contact.
So Vers, as well as being thrown into a new life with no memories of her old one, has found herself sharing extremely close quarters with Yon-Rogg, who has been given the task of preparing her to join the fight against the Skrulls.
She can’t remember her past, but she’s fairly sure that sharing an apartment and a bed with a stranger isn’t generally considered the norm.
It isn’t bad, though. Yon-Rogg doesn’t act like she’s a nuisance, and he’s very patient when he explains things to her. She thinks she’ll enjoy being part of Starforce and helping in the fight against the tyranny of the Skrulls.
It’s only been a week since the transfusion, though, and every time Yon-Rogg is called away somewhere she can’t follow, like a classified briefing, Vers finds herself uncomfortable and counting down the seconds until he returns.
Just as she’s deciding it might be a good idea to move around a bit, despite how tired she is, she hears the door open and looks up to see Yon-Rogg.
“Sorry, Vers,” he says apologetically as he takes off his shoes and strips off most of his clothes, “there was an emergency.”
He climbs into the bed next to her and she immediately feels better, especially when he reaches out and tugs her a little closer.
“Better get some rest,” he says as she burrows into her pillow, “we’ve got an early morning training session and I’m not going easy on you this time.”
She snorts, “you never go easy on me.”
He pinches her side and she laughs.
“Rest, Vers,” he repeats, “now.”
And, with his comforting warmth next to her and his arm around her, Vers sleeps.
Yon-Rogg doesn’t enjoy undercover operations.
Covert is fine – he’s had plenty of practice and training in getting around unseen – but undercover, in his mind, means vulnerability.
He’s an exemplary soldier and he knows it, but it makes him uneasy to be in a potentially hostile environment with reduced weaponry, and without his multi-purpose, high-tech Starforce suit. Besides, subterfuge is not his preferred method of combat.
Usually, as commander, he can delegate such unpleasant tasks. But this situation is a delicate one, and the Supreme Intelligence does not wish to entrust it to anyone outside of Starforce.
He and Vers have been chosen as the unlucky duo due to the simple fact that they lack the distinctive blue Kree skin, Vers because of her Terran birth and he because he belongs to the hardier, if minority, group of Kree without blue skin.
So now here they are visiting a small village suspected of harbouring Skrull sympathisers.
And Vers is driving him crazy.
“You really should look a little happier,” she says as they stroll through the marketplace, “we’re supposed to be married after all.”
“Our spies suspect the Skrulls are using this village to store weapons capable of inflicting horrific damage on our people, Vers – it isn’t the time to be smiling.”
She rolls her eyes and grabs his hand, “we are not Starforce right now,” she whispers, “we are newly-weds who wanted to escape from the big city and visit a quaint little village. If you blow our cover then we’re going to have to start blasting people and this won’t be a secret mission anymore.”
He sighs. Loudly. But when he looks back at her, his eyes are warm, his mouth curves with a little smile and his hand tightens around hers.
Vers gets a little lost in his expression, just for a few seconds. She knows this is an act … an act she has reminded him that he needs to perform – but she really does like his smile.
His mouth twists into a smirk, “now who’s distracted, Vers?”
She elbows him in the side, “come on, the quicker we get what we came for, the faster we can leave and you can get back to torturing me in training.”
He raises an eyebrow at her joke – he knows how much she loves training – and she only shrugs.
“I bet I can talk someone into giving us information quicker than you,” she challenges him.
He snorts, “you’re good, Vers, but I’ve been at this a lot longer than you have.”
“Loser has to take all the winner’s night watches for the next month?” she suggests.
They shake on it and walk determinedly towards the nearest store.
Vers beats him in the end, by about thirty seconds. He doesn’t seem bothered, though, only proud.
She teases him about it for all of six hours, until they return to Hala and he completely wipes the floor with her in training.
They call the day a draw.
They call her Carol now, or Danvers, or Captain Marvel.
No one calls her Vers anymore.
On occasion, she thinks she hears her Kree name, and she always looks around, wary and worried.
Sometimes, even a little bit curious.
But she never sees a face she remembers from Hala.
It takes a while, getting used to her old name. It feels new to her, and sometimes she has to be called three or four times before she realises someone is talking to her.
And when she is asked her name, she often has to stop herself half-way through giving the answer of Vers.
Vers is a name that conjures up memories of her life on Hala, of the Kree, of Yon Rogg.
It is the name she hears in her dreams, usually spoken by Yon-Rogg in a voice that changes from indulgent to frustrated to amused.
It is her time with Starforce - all the things she learnt and the places she saw, all the lives she took and the lies she was told.
It is six years of her life that she tries to make peace with.
Vers is … bittersweet.
She’s Carol now.
Vers will always live inside her, though.
“What were you thinking?”
Vers winces at the tone of Yon-Rogg’s voice, which is low and rough, with a rumbling undertone that always makes her feel nervous.
He never shouts when he’s truly angry, but his expression tightens and sometimes he speaks in barely a whisper.
It doesn’t make him any less intimidating.
She’s not really in the mood for a lecture right now, though. She doesn’t even know what she did wrong, really.
There were civilians in danger, the rest of the team were preoccupied with some of the Skrulls, and all Vers had done was gone to their rescue.
Yes, technically, Yon-Rogg had told her they weren’t supposed to split up, and that she shouldn’t try to engage the Skrulls alone.
But what could she do? They were supposed to be heroes, and heroes rescued people.
Besides, it had all worked out in the end.
She had dispatched the Skrulls, got the civilians out of danger and lived to tell the tale.
There is the small matter of the gaping wound in her stomach, which is leaking blood at a rather alarming rate, and the leg she is fairly sure is broken … but it is nothing the medics can’t fix.
Clearly, Yon-Rogg disagrees. Because he is looming over her bed in the medical centre looking for all the world like he wants to strangle her.
“Vers!” he glares at her, “I repeat – What. Were. You. Thinking?”
“I was thinking that the civilians needed help.”
Her tone is biting and defensive. She really shouldn’t be speaking to her commander like this, but she can’t help it.
“You might have died, Vers.”
He looks tired, more so than usual. Tired and irritated and …
“You were worried,” she says softly.
“I was disappointed you disobeyed orders, Vers.”
His golden eyes are tight, though, and she knows she’s right.
“I’m fine,” she insists, “I just didn’t want the civilians to get hurt. We’re heroes, right? And heroes help.”
“Not by running recklessly into danger without any back-up. We’re supposed to be a team, Vers, and I don’t want to lose any of my team.”
It’s probably the closest she’s going to get to an admission, so she doesn’t pester him anymore.
“So I guess I’m getting double training sessions for this?”
“Triple sessions,” he tells her with a wry smile, “plus extra patrol shifts. And you’re grounded from flying the ships for the next six weeks.”
She goes to protest, but he gives her a stern look and she simply huffs.
He stands up to leave, but leans forward to kiss her on the forehead gently before he goes.
She feels her skin hum at the contact, a side effect, she thinks, of the blood they share thanks to the transfusion he had given her when she first awoke on Hala.
“I’m glad you’re ok, Vers.”
She smiles as he heads out of the door.
Yes … he’d definitely been worried.
When Nova Prime contacts Carol about Ronan’s campaign to destroy Xandar, she is far enough away that it will take nearly a week to reach the planet.
She begins the journey anyway, in the hope that she might reach them in time to do something.
In the end, although many lives are lost, Xandar is saved by a group calling themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ronan is obliterated by the Infinity Stone he had been using in his attempt to commit genocide.
Though this new group seem quite unconventional, Carol is glad the universe has more heroes. There is so much injustice across the galaxies, and even someone with Carol’s powers can only do so much.
She carries on to Xandar because, though the immediate threat is over, she still wants to do what she can to help.
Nova Prime welcomes her warmly, accepting her condolences and her apologies for not being close enough to assist.
When she invites Carol to sit in on the emergency talks with a Kree delegation, Carol scarcely hesitates before agreeing.
She doesn’t anticipate that the talks will be too much trouble. The Kree Empire mostly abide by their peace treaty with Xandar’s Nova Corps, although she knows the Supreme Intelligence likely sanctions covert missions that seek to weaken Xandar’s power. Ronan had hated the treaty, as had certain other Kree fanatics, but it has always been understood that this group represent a generally uncontrollable minority. Carol doesn’t see why there should be any real difficulty in renewing the peace – though the death toll from Ronan’s attack will merit sanctions, the Kree are powerful enough that even the Nova Corps will tread lightly. Besides, the perpetrator is now dead, and he had been a rogue element anyway, considered controversial even by the Kree.
In any event, Carol enters the room for the talks expecting no real surprises.
Only to find that of the three Kree who make up the delegation, only two are the unremarkable diplomats she expects.
The other is Yon-Rogg.
Her fists begin to glow immediately, and it takes considerable effort for her to force the power away.
Thankfully, no one else in the room notices.
At least, no one but Yon-Rogg.
Carol can see him watching her intently, a tiny smile playing on the corner of his mouth.
She wants to punch him in the face.
“Welcome, everyone,” Nova Prime says, distracting Carol momentarily, “talks will begin shortly, but please do take this time to get to know one another.”
Carol looks around the room, trying to find the best exit. But she’s not quick enough. As soon as his two colleagues begin talking quietly, Yon-Rogg is out of his seat and right in front of her, blocking her from making an easy escape.
“I didn’t think you were a coward, Vers.”
“My name is Carol,” she growls.
“Vers suits you better.”
“I could blast you into space right now,” she reminds him.
He cocks his head and watches her the same way he used to on Hala, analysing her.
“You wouldn’t jeopardise the talks,” he says, “you want to see justice done.”
“Justice would be you rotting in a prison cell.”
He shakes his head at her, “you should know better. I served the Kree Empire loyally long before I ever found you on C-53. What happened with you was a set-back, but not one I could not recover from.”
She snorts, “so you’re a diplomat now?”
“Not usually,” he answers, “but the Supreme Intelligence thought you might like to see a familiar face. And we still have hope that you’ll return to us one day, come back to where you belong.”
She can feel her hands heating up again, the anger coursing through her, “you’d like that, wouldn’t you,” she snipes back.
“Yes. I would,” he says simply. Sincerely.
She can’t help but flush, her anger sapping away quickly. She remembers how hard it was for her to have an argument with Yon-Rogg back on Hala – no matter how riled up she got, he almost always remained perfectly calm, only occasionally letting his frustration bleed through.
She had never considered it much, not until she found out the truth about her life on Hala and realised how good he had been at diffusing any of her anger or suspicion.
She’s not going to let him get the better of her now. She knows what she can do, knows that she can beat him.
“I’ll be watching you,” she says fiercely, “if this is some trick of the Supreme Intelligence’s then I will not hesitate to send you all hurtling back to Hala in a burning ship.
“Well,” Yon-Rogg muses, cool and collected, “these talks will certainly be more interesting than I anticipated.”
Carol promises herself she’ll push him out of a window later, when there are no witnesses.
For years, Carol’s life on Hala remains mostly a mystery to Maria.
Part of that is distance. Carol gives Maria and Monica a rudimentary communication device when she leaves with the Skrulls, but it is a cobbled together mix of earth items and the little bit of Kree tech she has left – like the pager she gives to Fury, it can only send a signal and not a message.
It is five years before Carol makes it back to earth, with a bag full of interesting items as presents and the news that she has helped the Skrulls get settled at a distance from the Kree Empire.
She’s happy to share stories of her travels, but she clams up whenever Maria or Monica mention anything Kree-related.
Maria knows not to push, not yet, and she makes sure Monica doesn’t either, despite her curiosity.
They spend three months together, like the family they used to be before the crash, and everything seems wonderful.
Things aren’t quite as perfect as they seem – Carol wakes screaming every other night, holds herself tensely whenever they are out in public, and is so on edge sometimes that she ends up getting into six separate bar fights during her visit – but they’re still good, and when she goes this time, Carol leaves them with a small, handheld device so that they can send proper messages.
There isn’t another visit for a long time after that. Countless messages fly back and forth across the universe, but Carol always seem to find herself dragged into another mess, or distracted by those who need her help, just as she’s thinking of making the trip back to earth.
The communication devices get fancier over time, so at least Carol can see them, can watch Monica grow up and smile proudly the first time Maria’s little (or not so little anymore) girl shows off her new NASA ID badge.
Maria and Monica change physically and Carol doesn’t, though her eyes betray her age.
But through it all, no matter how much she grins and laughs, or how many planets or civilisations she offers aid to, Carol’s refusal to speak of Hala betrays the conflicted feelings she has about the planet she called home for six years, and about those who lived there.
Maria is no fool, however. She knows who Carol’s mind usually lingers on.
Her friend talks apathetically about most of her Starforce team, and frowns when speaking of the one called Minn-Erva, with whom Maria gathers Carol shared some animosity.
But the name of her old commander never passes Carol’s lips. Not once.
Maria can only guess at what passed between the two during Carol’s time on Hala. It is clear, however, that Yon-Rogg was the foremost influence on her for those six years, and one not easily forgotten.
Maria worries. Carol is strong, both physically and mentally but, as far as Maria can gather, she trusted Yon-Rogg more than anyone else, and the revelation of all his lies must have been hard for her to bear.
But Maria is wary of forcing any confidences and so she keeps quiet, hoping that eventually Carol will talk to her.
It is only after Thanos is defeated, nearly a quarter of a century after she left Hala, that Carol finally brings up Yon-Rogg of her own accord with Maria.
The Avengers compound is overflowing, and so Maria, Monica and Carol are all sharing a room. Monica is asleep on a mattress on the floor, while Maria and Carol talk quietly, neither able to sleep just yet.
“He was alive,” Carol says suddenly, during a lull in their conversation.
Maria looks at her quizzically, “what do you mean?”
“Yon-Rogg,” Carol almost whispers his name, “when Thanos wiped out half the population. You were gone, and Monica, Fury and Talos … and yet he remained. I checked on my way back to earth – I keep tabs on him, just to be safe – and he was fine.”
“You got us back, though,” Maria reminds her, “helped save the universe.”
“But if I hadn’t,” Carol says, “if we hadn’t fixed it … he would have been the only one left who knew me … really, truly knew me.”
Maria makes a face and Carol gives her a small, sad smile, “he does know me, however much I might dislike it. And I can’t hate him, not completely. What he did was terrible, but he is a product of his environment, devoted to the glory of the Kree above all else. And however much he used me, I think … I know, that part of him cared for me.”
Maria can’t help but protest, “you should be kicking his ass, not forgiving him.”
Carol laughs a little at Maria’s indignant look and squeezes her hand reassuringly, “I haven’t forgiven him, not yet. I will, though, eventually. Still, I won’t forget, and the tables have turned – I can launch him into space with one blast and he knows it. But he taught me a lot on Hala, and there’s more I could learn from him, in time.”
Maria frowns, “what he did to you … it was wrong on so many levels.”
“I know,” Carol admits, “and I think a part of him knows it too. He just justifies it as being for the good of all Kree. I’ll make him understand, though, eventually.”
Maria can’t help but grin a little at the stubborn determination on her friend’s face.
She hates Yon-Rogg for what he did to Carol, but right now she can’t help but feel a little bit of pity for him.
Because she thinks Carol’s going to make him see the error of his ways, whether he wants that or not.
They get called zealots once.
It’s during a mission, about four years after her arrival on Hala. The accusation is hurled at them by some Skrull sympathisers on a border planet following a skirmish.
She’s terribly offended by it. To her, a zealot is someone like Ronan – they might be on the same side but he is rigidly uncompromising and extreme in a way the majority of the Kree are not. Ronan skirts the terrorist line, but Starforce are heroes – enthusiastic, of course, but not dangerously fanatical like the Accusers.
Yon-Rogg shows no reaction. Of course, he is better at controlling his emotions than she is, but she wonders why he isn’t more affected by their benevolent intentions being so misunderstood.
“They were acting as though we were Ronan,” she rants as they head back to their ship.
Ronan has a history of civilian casualties, a disregard for the lives of foot soldiers and a taste for violence. Yon-Rogg, on the other hand, always tries to ensure civilians are kept safely away from any conflicts, has risked his own neck half a dozen times to save Vers, and abhors Ronan’s more destructive tendencies.
“Not everyone knows what is right for them,” Yon-Rogg reminds her, “they must be guided to realise that we only have the best of intentions, and that we simply seek a unified and peaceful empire free of Skrull treachery. Perhaps we are zealots – devoted to our cause and diligent in our pursuit of it – but why should that be a bad thing, Vers?”
Years later, when she’s far away from the Kree, Carol winces at the thought of how black and white her world view had been then.
Nevertheless, while Yon-Rogg lied to her about many things, she thinks he may have been right when he said being a zealot was not always bad, despite the negative connotations associated with the word.
Being devoted to a cause and determined in working towards your goal is a positive thing …
As long as what you are working towards is good.
And therein lies the problem.
The Kree see themselves as altruistic leaders, utterly convinced that they are acting ‘for the good of all Kree’. And yet, to so many others, they are a militaristic race who will stop at nothing to control the galaxy.
Even Carol herself, only ever trying to help, sometimes finds herself accused of interfering when it isn’t wanted, or of trying to impose a peace where none is desired.
Good is relative after all.
Carol is never going to stop being zealous in her endeavours. It’s just a part of her personality.
And she can’t do much about those who think what she does is wrong. She can only try to be informed, to make her own choices and mistakes.
She only hopes that she’ll never be as blind as she was during her time on Hala.