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Avengers Crisis on Infinite Earths

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Chapter 29

On this evening of the victory of the Crisis, the Madame President gave a message to the nation on the events produced. Everyone was staring at the television screen showing the President speaking. At the X-Mansion, professors and students were silent. Everyone was watching the President's speech. Kara watched her at home, along with Thor, Alex, Kate, and Peter. At Star Labs, Barry and Caitlin watched the President's speech on a television screen. In the bunker, Sara watched the presidential speech with all of Team Arrow and all of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Clint watched the President on television at home, along with all of his family. Nate and Ava watched the speech in the Waverider. T'Challa watched the presidential speech in Wakanda, along with Shuri, his mother, and Okoye. In San Francisco, Scott and Hope watched the President's speech with emotion, thinking back to everything that happened in the Crisis.

« My fellow Americans, today our way of life, our world, almost came to an end. An entity known as the Anti-Monitor attacked Earth intent on its destruction. Thankfully, we were saved by Earth's greatest heroes… »

At the Diggles' house, John and Lyla were watching the President's speech on television, with their son on coloring. Then, their daughter Sara joined them tenderly, putting her hands around her father.

"Hey, Sara," said John moved.

"Hey, sweetie." said Lyla, smiling at her daughter.

"Baby, come over here. Your brother wants to play with you." said her father, gesturing to his daughter to leave him.

« … Their unity and strength should be an example for us all. I'm told this assembly was led by Star City's Oliver Queen otherwise known as the Green Arrow. We give thanks to these brave women and men who, with great tenacity, tireless work, and the utmost courage, put their lives on the line for our country, our planet. »

As Superman listened to the President's speech in Heaven, he received a call from his wife.

"Hey, Lois."

"Clark, I need you to get to Metropolis now." she told him abruptly. "It's the boys."

Superman looked stunned when he heard « the boys ». So on this new Earth, he has two kids?

"The boys?"

"Yeah, honey, your sons." replied Lois with a big smile.

Then he resumed his flight to Metropolis.

« While in a hard-fought battle, loss is expected. It never gets any easier, so it is with great sadness that I must inform you that Oliver Queen sacrificed his life for our world's survival. He is known to us as the first of our heroes, and while this is a devastating loss, we can take solace in knowing that he lived as he died, with honor. I ask all of you to join me in a moment of silence to honor him now. »

All remained silent, praying to the memory of Oliver Queen. The hero who had sacrificed his life for this new universe. Heroes, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men… All didn't say a word and honored Star City's hero. Team Arrow was in tears. Rocket and Groot huddled together, moved by the speech. Even on the Bartons' farm, Clint had tears in his eyes following the death of Oliver Queen. At Kara's, Peter couldn't help but have tear up his eyes.

« A grateful nation thanks you, Mr. Queen. May you finally find rest in the hereafter. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Good night. »


In the end, there was only one, a single black infinitude. Then the infinitude found release. And finally, the Darkness broke, filling it with life… With the Multiverse.

Earth – 2

An Earth defended by a Legion of heroes including Stargirl who defended it with the Starman's Cosmic Staff.

Every existence multiplied by possibility.

Earth – 12

An Earth defended by the Green Lantern Corps.

And spread out before space and time in infinite measure.

Earth – 19

The Swamp Thing's Earth.

Civilizations rose and fell.

Earth – 9

A Earth protected by a young Legion of heroes. The Titans.

And rose again across reality's grasping expanse.

Earth – 21

An Earth defended by the superheroes Robotman, Negative Man, Crazy Jane and Elasti-Girl.

Life, a precious gift, persevering in the face of every obstacle.

Earth – 96

An Earth defended by the only one Kryptonian: Superman with his red and yellow coat of arms of the House of El.

Earth – 962

An Earth where New York City was defended by a protector that everyone admired and saw as an example: Spider-Man. Who was also Peter Parker. Someone who knew how to balance the duty of a superhero and the time to be with his new family, including his wife Mary-Jane.

Earth – V

An Earth that had known heroes like Superman and Batman. They both founded the Justice League to protect their world. Until one day Superman suffered a tragedy that transformed him forever. He had ceased to be a hero and had become a dreadful tyrant who reigned supreme over all the Earth. Until the appearance of other heroes from another dimension, namely another Justice League and two Avengers. Wanda Maximoff and Vision. All had fought alongside Batman and the Insurgency to overthrow the Superman's Regime. Wanda and Vision had found their new home in this new world and were helping Batman make the world a better place before the tyranny of one who was once Earth's greatest hero.

Until, finally, the age of heroes was born.


Earth – Prime

In a condemned building owned by Star Labs, a few heroes were gathered. J'onn J'onzz, Batwoman, White Canary, Supergirl, Thor, Flash, Black Lightning, Wolverine, T'Challa, Spider-Man and Superman.

They paid a final tribute to Oliver Queen who was Green Arrow.

Supergirl took a few steps towards the display case where the Green Archer outfit was displayed, under the American flag.

Moved, she spoke as if she wanted to address Oliver:

"Thanks for saving us, Oliver. The world has hope again. I have hope again. We'll never forget you."

Then she went back to the heroes.

Then it was the turn of Thor who joined the costume of Green Arrow.

"Oliver Queen. I bid you take your place in the halls of Valhalla. Where the brave shall live forever. Nor shall we mourn but rejoice for those that have died the glorious death. I promised you I'd protect this universe. And I will. I'll protect it until my last breath. Just know that I'll never forget you. Rest in peace, Green Arrow. Goodbye old friend."

Then he joined the other heroes.

Spider-Man removed his mask, revealing Peter Parker's face, and walked over to the archer's costume display.

"Oliver. Thank you for giving me hope. I know what I did during this Crisis. But I… we wouldn't be here, if you hadn't been there. Thanks to you, I learned that failure only makes us better. Thanks to you, I became Spider-Man again and you have never ceased to have faith in me. So I promise you that I will never disappoint you. To never betray your memory. You gave me a reason to fight for myself and my loved ones. Because it is my responsibility. With great power comes great responsibility. Thanks, Green Arrow. I'm gonna miss you very much."

Moved, he joined the line of superheroes. And it was Barry's turn who went to join the display.

"Thanks for believing in me even when I didn't. You had this way of bringing out the very best in all of us. I'm gonna miss you too, man."

Then he joined the troop of heroes. Taking a deep breath, Sara walked over to the Green Arrow costume display and spoke in turn.

"I've lost a lot of people that I love. But I never imagined my life without you in it. You were always there for me. And now… Ollie, you changed my fate for the better. Thank you."

Moved, White Canary suppressed her tears and went to join the heroes. After a few moments of silence, Supergirl used her heat vision to light a fire on a plinth depicting the arrow symbol to honor Oliver Queen.

"I never met Oliver, but he must have been a good dude." Black Lightning said with emotion.

"I haven't never met him either," Wolverine said sadly. "He sacrificed himself for us. For this new world. A world where mutants live in harmony with everyone. I speak on behalf of the X-Men and all the mutants on Earth. We are very grateful to Green Arrow. Without him, this world without intolerance and discrimination would never have seen the light of day. So… even though I've never met him, I would like to say… thank you Oliver Queen… for a better world for my fellow mutants. And I regret that he is no longer with us to discover this new universe. For the X-Men, he'll always be a hero."

Barry gave Jefferson Pierce and Logan a friendly smile.

After a silence, the heroes turned and looked around. Jefferson glanced curiously before asking:

"But why'd you choose a condemned building?"

"I wanted to ask that too." T'Challa said, looking around.

"What?" Barry exclaimed, confused. "No, this is not a condemned building. No, listen, this is an old Star Labs Research Facility that nobody uses, and what's even better, no one knows it exists."

"Good for you!" Kate said, raising her fist towards him.

"No, good for us," retorted the speedster.

"For us?" Thor asked, frowning.

Barry continued enthusiastically:

"I figure we could all use this to gather if anything ever happens again."

"It's a great idea, Barry," Superman agreed.

"Yes, that's a wonderful idea," T'Challa nodded enthusiastically. "We don't yet know everything about this new world, nor even the future dangers that await us. We need to prepare for that."

"Thanks Superman, thanks Black Panther," replied Barry, smiling.

"It's a better option than you all dropping by the DEO." J'onn added.

"Why do we even need it?" asked Jefferson. "I mean, how often does the world almost come to an end?"

All the heroes around him looked at each other awkwardly. Then Thor gave him a sympathetic look.

"Unfortunately, that might be every time," he told him. "As Black Panther said, we need to prepare for everything."

"Oh, it's like that?" Jefferson exclaimed in amazement.

"Don't worry, I was the new kid last year." Kate said smiling at Black Lightning.

"In my old version of Midgard, we faced my brother and an army of Chitauris," Thor explained with a smile. "Then there was Ultron… And Thanos with the Infinity Stones… And recently, this Crisis. We have created a new universe. But as in all worlds, there are dangers. Dangers that can destroy us. And since Stark, Cap, Maximoff and Vision… The Avengers aren't like before. We need a new alliance of heroes. And now, that we are gathered on the same Midgard, we should unite together against potential future dangers."

"A League of Heroes," said a cheerful Peter. "This is gonna be awesome! But it would just be us?"

"No, we can recruit more than us," Barry replied, still smiling. "But, hey, listen, I haven't even shown you guys the best part yet. You ready?"

Supergirl gave him a smile of encouragement and excitement, while the other heroes were confused.

Barry then removed the cover revealing a large round table with the symbol of a star in the center.

Everyone was ecstatic at the sight of the round table of new heroes.

"Oh, nice!" Jefferson exclaimed.

"I like it!" Logan nodded with an encouraging smile.

"Me too," Thor agreed cheerfully.

"Me too. Well done, Barry," T'Challa agreed, nodding enthusiastically.

"I know… It has nothing to do with the Avengers." Barry stammered.

"It's okay, Barry, it's okay. Not the Avengers." Thor assured him. "New Earth. New heroes."

Around the table, the chairs featured symbols belonging to the heroes. The S symbols of Supergirl and Superman. The red bat symbol for Batwoman. Lightning for Flash. The bird for White Canary. The Martian symbol for J'onn. The symbol of Black Ligthning. The Panther symbol for Black Panther. The X symbol for Wolverine, as the first X-Man in the new League of Heroes. The Hammer symbol for Thor. The spider symbol for Spider-Man.

"You should have led with that, bro." exclaimed a dumbfounded Jefferson.

"Yeah. Not bad." approved Superman.

"Thanks Flash," T'Challa nodded cheerfully.

"I love it," Supergirl replied, going over to her chair which represented her.

Then Barry even showed a chair with the green arrow symbol for Oliver. A chair that will remain empty forever.

"It's perfect." Sara replied, smiling.

Then all the heroes gathered around the table, each in their respective chairs. They didn't all say a word and looked at each other with a smile. Even Peter was happy. For the first time in a long time, he was having a good time and getting along well with his new heroes. And he was proud to be among them.

Then a noise brought them out of their ecstasy. The sound of broken glass. And cries of monkeys.

All the heroes were amazed. None spoke. Until Sara spoke:

"Sounds like we need to call pest control."

"What was that?" Barry exclaimed, taken aback.

"Do you have monkeys here?" Thor wondered, stunned.


Not long after, Supergirl had taken Peter to National City. More exactly on the outskirts of the city, in an abandoned building.

"Why are we here?" asked the confused young man.

"It's okay," Supergirl said mischievously. "It's a surprise. For you."

She took him inside the building where they saw Alex Danvers who came to greet the two newcomers.

"Hey Peter!"

"Alex? What's happening? What's this place?" stammered Peter puzzled.

"Once a former DEO secret base," Alex explained, looking at the place. "It's been abandoned for years. And here is the place where you can go unnoticed. No one can know that Spider-Man or Peter Parker is there. That's why we chose it for you."

"For me?"

Supergirl answered him kindly.

"Peter, I know about your complicated situation. We know you're wrongly accused of murder. And because of that, you can't be with your loved ones. Recently, we suffered a crisis that disturbed us all, to put it mildly. And we said to each other with Alex and J'onn, after what just happened, that you would need to take some time to rest, to relax. We all need it. Including you. So we brought in people with whom you would like to spend time."

"Who?" Peter asked puzzled.

Supergirl motioned to Alex. The latter invited the young man to follow her. She led him down a long hallway. Then they came to a door where a couple were standing. Two people. A man and a woman. And who were no strangers to Peter. It was his aunt May Parker and Happy Hogan.

Dumbfounded, Peter saw the two adults in shock. Since his secret identity had been revealed, he hadn't had much contact with his family. And since the creation of the new Earth, he hadn't seen anyone around him yet, unwilling to risk their lives.

At the sight of the young man, May burst into tears and went to hug her nephew.

"Aunt May?" stammered the young man, moved. "Happy?"

The head of security of Stark Indutries joined the young man and gave him a benevolent smile.

"Hey kid! It's good to see you again!"

Then Peter came to take Happy in his arms, joyful to find him. And he looked at his aunt, shocked and moved.

"I missed you both!"

"We missed you too!" May told him through her sobs. "We're glad you're okay. We saw what happened in Star City."

"I'm so sorry," Peter told him with tears in his eyes. "For London. For Mysterio."

"It's not your fault, Peter," his aunt reassured him, smiling. "I know you are a good hero. Supergirl and Alex told me about what you did during this Crisis. I am so proud of you."

"I'm proud of you too," Happy replied softly, patting him on the shoulder. "And Tony would have been, too. "

After a glance at the two adults, Peter turned to see Supergirl and Alex who had stepped back to give them privacy.

"Thank you both of you," he said to the two women.

"Don't thank us yet, Spidey," Supergirl told him, still beaming.

"Yeah," Alex agreed. "Because there is another surprise for you waiting for you. People who can't wait to see you."

Peter was excited.

"Who?"

"Happy, please?"

The security chief nodded with a smile, then motioned for Peter to follow him. He opened the door in front of him… And Peter's eyes widened in surprise when he saw Ned Leeds and Michelle Jones aka MJ. His two friends he hadn't seen in ages. He felt like he hadn't seen them for a very long time.

Ned and MJ were both speechless at the sight of Peter. The latter smiles when he sees his friends.

"Ned! MJ! Hey… uh… I'm so glad to see you, guys! You've no idea how much I missed you both!"

Moved, without saying a word, Ned went to take his friend in his arms. Then it was MJ who came to give him a warm hug.

Peter was excited to have his family and friends with him. It was the first time he had seen them since the end of the Crisis. He turned to Supergirl and Alex who smiled back at him.

"We brought them both here," Alex explained. "And no one knows they're there. After what happened to you, you need to be with them, Peter."

"It took us the help of J'onn to get them here discreetly," Supergirl added. "But here you can all rest easy. No one's going to come and cause you problems. I know it's not very legal, but Spidey is our friend, and also a superhero who doesn't deserve to be a fugitive."

Ned and MJ walked over to the two women from National City.

"Thank you Supergirl for allowing us to come here," Ned told her gratefully.

"Yeah, thank you," added MJ moved.

"It's been a while since I've seen you guys," Peter said excitedly. "If you know everything that has happened to me since the beginning of this Crisis."

"And you'll have plenty of time to tell it to us," Happy assured him.

"There's everything you need here," Alex replied. "Food. Even a TV."

"But I'm not going to spend my whole life here?" Peter asked, puzzled.

"No, of course not, Peter," Supergirl replied. "We setted all this up so you could enjoy a long moment of peace and tranquility with your family and loved ones. Right now you need to spend time with them."

"Thank you," Peter repeated, moved. "Very much."

"And I have another surprise for you, Peter," Alex said, taking a piece of paper out of her pocket. "As for your current situation, Nia did some research on Quentin Beck's accomplices. We think they're behind the Beck's video that was sent to the media for you be exposed to the world. Right now, We're working on locating them and getting you cleared of Mysterio's death. And also… Nia did some research in New York, and she found someone who could help you. (She handed him the piece of paper.) These are the contact details of a lawyer who lives in your city. A neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City – Hell's Kitchen. This lawyer is called Matt Murdock. And according to Nia, he's a very well-known and respected lawyer. He knows about your current situation and he'd be happy to help you clear your name. I think he is reliable."

"Anyway," Supergirl told him. "You can count on us to clear you. You are Spider-Man. And a superhero. Oliver believed in you. Then we'll do whatever it takes to get you out of this mess. Between superheroes, we help each other."

"Thank you very much," agreed Peter in ecstasy. "Supergirl! Alex! I… I'm so grateful to both of you…"

"You are our friend, Peter," Alex assured him. "We won't let you down. Today, you can enjoy of your loved ones to have fun and relax. Your problem can wait a little longer."

"Don't worry, it'll be all right," the Girl of Steel assured him, smiling.

Peter greeted the two sisters, then turned to his family and friends. For months he had been Spider-Man the wanted fugitive for murder, then Paragon and savior of the universe. Today, he was finally going to be able to be just Peter Parker and enjoy a long time of relaxation in the company of his aunt, Happy, Ned and MJ.

Ecstatic, he joined Ned and began to tell him what he had experienced in the Crisis. May and Happy, joyful to see Peter again, came to join them with emotion. With MJ, he could finally laugh and have fun.


A few days later came Oliver Queen's funeral in Star City.

Earlier, as Team Arrow prepared for a new start, William Clayton, Oliver's son was kidnapped by John Byrne, a former criminal whom Green Arrow had led to prison. Upon hearing the news, Clint Barton immediately went to Star City, wanting to participate in the search and help Oliver's Team find William. He had been surprised and moved to see the future arrival Mia Smoak again through Sara for her father's funeral. As he roamed the city, Clint had been impressed by Mia who had found her kidnapped brother and delivered Byrne to justice. The former Avengers archer congratulated her and told her that her father would have been proud of her.

Finally, on the day of the funeral, there was a large crowd that had come to pay homage to Oliver. Sara and her father Quentin Lance. Laurel Lance of Earth – 2. Nyssa and Talia Al Ghûl, the two daughters of Ra's Al Ghûl. Tommy Merlyn. Thea Queen (Oliver's sister) with her mother Moira and Roy Harper. The whole Team Arrow. Anatoly Knyazev. Lyla Michaels. Even Felicity Smoak had come.

Finally, Barry, Kara, Thor and Peter Parker, all four dressed in black. T'Challa and his sister Shuri. Scott Lang. Happy Hogan. Including all of the Guardians of the Galaxy – Peter Quill, Drax, Nebula, Rocket, Groot and Mantis – wanting to pay homage to the hero who saved the universe. Then it was Professor Banner, Rhodey, Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff.

All were gathered around the coffin.

Kara came to take Felicity in her arms. Then Thor gave her a sad look.

"I'm so sorry, I wish I could do more," he said to the young woman.

"You all did what you could," Felicity replied through her sobs.

"There is no body down there, no?" Anatoly pointed out, pointing to the coffin.

"No. We buried a casket full of mementos." Tommy Merlyn explained.

"Does anybody want to say a few words?" Sara suggested.

"I'm barely keeping it together as it is." replied Felicity.

"I think that Oliver would have been worried that I'd say something tactless anyway, so…" Tommy said.

"Not me," Barry retorted. "I don't know what to say."

"Yeah. Words seem meaningless." Kara added not knowing what to say either.

Thor shook his head sadly.

"I didn't know him as well as you did. I don't know what to say about him. ISomeone closer should do it."

"I don't know what to say, either," Clint replied sadly. "The only times we had crossed paths was to save the world. Other than that, I didn't know anything about his life. It can't be me."

"Neither do I," Peter Parker objected with grief.

Emotionally, Felicity turned to Diggle.

"Hey. Should be you."

"Okay," agreed John Diggle.

Then he took his wife's hand and that of Oliver's widow, then spoke with emotion:

"The Oliver that I met years ago is not the one that we say good-bye to today. Oliver always told me that in order to save his city, he had to become someone else, he had to become something else. I always thought that meant becoming the Green Arrow, but today, I realized that meant becoming a better man, the best man he knew how to be, and he took all of us with him on that journey. He changed everything. Oliver brought heroes into the world, he inspired heroes, he inspired all of us here. I was his brother, and Oliver Queen was mine. Of course, life will go on. It always does, but how, what twists and turns it will take, I can't say. I don't know what the future holds Except to say to expect the unexpected. Oliver may be gone, but his mission endures. That mission lives on, Oliver lives on in the people he inspired. Some will take that mission to the rest of the world. Maybe even beyond that. Because if the past years has shown us anything It's that this universe is far bigger than any of us could have dared imagine. Even if it is a little less bright without him in it."


A few days later, on the docks of National City, Maria Hill came to find Nick Fury who was who inside his car.

"Have you heard from the Martian?" Fury asked in a neutral tone.

"He confirmed that Barry Allen has assembled a new team of heroes who can protect the world," announced the young woman.

She took out of her briefcase a photograph revealing the eleven heroes in the condemned building of Star Labs around the large round table. It showed it to Nick Fury, who nodded in agreement.

"This is good news," he said after reflection. "New world. New heroes. We can thank Barton that J'onzz gave us back our memories. Bloody hell! I still can't believe our world has changed! Nothing is like before! Do we know if the Anti-Monitor is gone for good?"

"Since Star City, there has been no trace of anti-matter on Earth," Hill assured him.

"What about the Avengers?"

"Romanoff sits with Wilson and Barnes. Barton retired. Wanda Maximoff is still nowhere to be found. She must surely be dead like Oliver Queen. J'onn J'onzz offered to work together. He could be the intermediary link between us and the Paragons."

Fury nodded in agreement.

"The Martian is cooperative, that's good news. Flash and Supergirl don't know us yet. And it has to stay that way at least for a while. Where's the Batwoman?"

"She went back to Gotham City," Maria Hill replied.

"And that electric guy… Jefferson Pierce?"

"He's go back to Freeland."

"Good. What about the vigilantes of Star City?"

"They dispersed. Diggle and his wife moved to Metropolis. Dinah Drake left Star City, but she vanished."

"What about Lex Luthor?" Fury asked with a serious look. "Where is he now?"

"Still in National City, running this agency the DEO," Hill replied. "The Martian said that this man hates the Supers. He had a history with Superman, and last year, before the Crisis wiped it all out, He tried to kill Supergirl. Before all this mess, he was a dangerous psychopath killed by his sister. But the Crisis brought him back to life, and everyone likes him. According to the new records, he would have helped the Avengers in their battles."

"It was the Lex Luthor of this world," Fury pointed out. "Now this is a psychopath who took the place of someone else. If this man hates Kryptonians, we've got a big problem that we'll have to deal with. Otherworldly threats are one thing, but this guy… this Luthor is a big different thing. If we want our heroes to defend this new world for us, this Lex Luthor shouldn't be putting a damper on them. We need to keep an eye on him. Especially since he knows the Supergirl's identity. He could use that to his advantage. If he's a threat to our heroes, he's a threat to this new world."

"That's why you decided to go underground?" Maria Hill asked, puzzled.

"Indeed, our current status will be our coverage. With the means at this Luthor's disposal, I don't want to take the risk of him discovering us and trying to make us disappear. Far we will stay off him, the better."

"You know Nick, it's so weird to think that now I'm an agent again," Hill replied. "I'm now working at the DEO and I have to answer to Supergirl's sister and Luthor."

"Do you have a problem with that?"

"Absolutely not," Hill retorted. "With that, I could be close to Luthor and find out about his schemes. Anyway, you know very well that I'm working to you and just you."

"Alex Danvers must know nothing about you," Fury said. "Not even Supergirl. If we want to protect them from Luthor, going underground is our asset. Now, our world isn't the one we knew anymore, but it has new dangers that we must face. And this Lex Luthor is one of them. A psychopath at the head of an agency that protects the world is a problem."

"Are you really going to disappear? As after the Sokovia Accords?"

"I won't be totally off the grid," Fury assured her. "I'll keep listening in case anything urgent comes up. And the Martian can call me whenever he wants."

He started his car, leaving Maria Hill alone on her new mission.


Space

The Benatar had left Earth and was traveling through space. Thor had returned with them, having a way to communicate with his friends on Earth in case a new threat arose in their new world.

The Guardians of the Galaxy had new planets to explore, following the aftermath of the Crisis. And Quill hoped to find Gamorra. With all these changes of realities or merged worlds, he remained hopeful that he would find a Gamorra who loved him.

As the ship moved through space, Rocket insisted on new worlds to explore, which annoyed Quill.

"Rocket, just because we almost got killed twice doesn't mean you are the captain of this ship. I remind you that am in control."

"Quill, are you using a big voice on purpose to impress Thor?" Rocket asked smirk.

"You still don't agree between you?" Drax pointed out. "Are you finally going to fight each other?"

"No, guys, no!" Thor intervened gently. "Quinn and I have no reason to fight. We are friends now! And besides… it's good to see you alive again, Asgardians of the Galaxy!"

"We're Guardians of the Galaxy," Quill corrected. "And for the last time, my name is QUILL!"

"That's what I said," answered the asgardian, smiling naturally.

"Why didn't you stay on Earth? Aren't you a celebrity there?"

"It is not me. I am Thor who travels through space with you to explore new planets and see what differences the Crisis has brought to our Galaxy."

"I agree," agreed Rocket.

"By the way, why is Groot silent?" Mantis remarked in a small voice." Since we left Earth, he hasn't said a single word and we can't hear his video game!"

Upon reflection, the Guardians noticed that she was telling the truth. During the entire space travel, neither of them had heard the sound of a video game coming from Groot.

They turned to the sapling which was comfortably settled in its cockpit seat and was reading a book.

"Looks like the tree learned to read." Nebula commented.

"Groot can read now?" Thor wondered, frowning.

"At least it'll change us from his silly game," Quill said cheerfully.

But Rocket frowned. During the Crisis, he remembered Groot's strange passion for the erotic books of a silly novelist. A Mick Rory's doppelganger. He has a bad feeling.

"Groot, what book do you read?" asked the suspicious raccoon.

But the tree remained silent, immersed in its reading. In the face of the silence, Rocket retorted:

"Groot, did you hear what I asked you? I asked you a question. What are you reading?"

"It's okay, Rocket, let go of him," Quill said calmly. "If Groot prefers reading to his silly game, that's good news."

But Rocket was not reassured. He got up from his seat and went to see Groot, who continued to read quietly, ignoring the raccoon's inquiring gaze.

Groot finally looked up.

"I am Groot."

"What are you reading?" Rocket exclaimed stunned. "« An Erotic Space Odyssey » written by Heatwave?"

"Erotic?" Quill exclaimed in surprise, wondering if he had heard correctly.

"What does it say?" Drax exclaimed interested.

"Heatwave?" Rocket wondered with fury and disbelief. "Heatwave as the stupid nickname of that moron… that jerk Mick Rory?! Did he give you one of his books before we left?"

"I am Groot!" Groot replied firmly.

"Did he give you a dirty book?!" Rocket exclaimed in rage. "No, no, no, no! Give me this book right now, Groot! This is not reading for you!"

For once, Quill agreed with Rocket. He joined Groot with a stern tone.

"I don't want erotic books in my ship! Groot, give me this book right now! It'll be confiscated!"

But Groot didn't give in and kept the book against him.

"I am Groot!"

"Groot! Give me this book now!" Rocket said, trying to snatch the book from the young tree's hand.

"Groot, give him your book!" Star-Lord replied severely. "Just do it!"

"I am Groot!" resumed the sapling with a smirk.

"Hey, this is my ship! Remember? And I'm in charge! I don't want erotic books in my ship! Either give this thing to Rocket, or I'll take it from you! You better obey, Groot!"

"Can I have this book?" Drax asked still interested. "I'd really like to read it."

"Shut up, Drax! It's between Groot and me!" roared the furious raccoon. "Don't get involved!"

Quill grabbed Groot's book and could read a sentence from the top of the cover.

" « In space, nobody can hear you moan? » What the hell's that?"

Nebula rolled her eyes in annoyance.

"Why did I have to end up with the biggest idiots in the Galaxy?"

Thor gave her a sympathetic smile. He settled into his seat ignoring the conflict between Quill, Rocket and Groot.

The sapling was struggling with Quill to get his book. But he had a firm hand on the book.

Rocket was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He screamed in rage throughout the cockpit:

" I HATE MICK RORY! Next time we get back to Terra, I'll tear off his flaming gun and I'll be happy to set him on fire! "

END