The Legend of the Tesseract: Causality
I am of the firm belief that the cinematic universe is a singular entity inside which many realities reside. Though largely independent and unaware of each other, there are times when these realities collide, intertwining the threads of dimensionality, space, and time. Some refer to these phenomenon as a “crossover.” This is inaccurate, however, as crossovers are intentional and fabricated by the minds of mere men.
No, these collisions produce something infinitely more powerful, infinitely more amazing and awe-inspiring. They give birth to moments of glory, forge eternal friendships, and preserve the cosmos as a whole.
There is a far more fitting name for such a tremendous event, one that commands the attention of every living soul.
That name is legend.
The Cosmic Cube and The War for Power
Obergruppenführer Johann Schmidt, a close associate of Adolf Hitler and commander of the Nazi Research Division HYDRA, shared with his führer a dangerous obsession with power. This obsession fueled an interest in Norse mythology. While Hitler dismissed the mythology as just that, Schmidt saw it as a reality, driving his search for a mystical and ancient power source known as the Tesseract.
This obsession with power puts Dr. Abraham Erskine on Schmidt’s radar. Erskine was developing a super soldier serum, the prototype of which Schmidt was all too eager to try on himself. The serum granted Schmidt superhuman strength, but left his face horribly disfigured, driving him further into insanity. His appearance, and his fearsome stature, earned him the moniker Red Skull.
After years of searching, Schmidt narrows the Tesseract’s location down to a monastery in Tønsberg, Norway. Now armed with a source of unlimited and untold power, Schmidt uses the Tesseract to power his infernal weapons, turning HYDRA into a fearsome and unstoppable army.
Meanwhile, Dr. Erskine decides to contribute his finished formula to the United States Armed Forces to help them combat the Nazis in World War II. Among the carefully selected candidates is Brooklyn native Steve Rogers, an unassuming and selfless young man who desires nothing but to fight for and defend the weak. These characteristics, among many others, endears Rogers to Erskine, making him the first and best choice as the serum’s first recipient.
The formula transforms Rogers’ frail, weak frame into that of an olympian athlete. Not long after the procedure, however, a Hydra spy kills Dr. Erskine and destroys what was left of the serum. Rogers is the first, and last, super soldier. His impressive capabilities, however, help him lead the US Armed Forces on a successful tour against HYDRA, leading him to a final conflict against Schmidt aboard his aerial fortress. While Rogers defeats Schmidt, he is forced to make a crash landing in the Arctic with the Tesseract aboard the aircraft. While the cube is eventually found by SSR scientist Howard Stark, Rogers was nowhere to be found.
An Energy Race to Dwarf the Arms Race
After discovering the Tesseract, Stark devoted his life to reverse engineering the cube. His research leads him to develop the arc reactor, a powerful energy source based on the Tesseract’s energy. Limited by the technology of his time, however, he was unable to perfect the arc reactor, choosing instead to pass the knowledge and research on to his son, Anthony Edward Stark.
Tony would eventually grow up to be the primary weapons contractor for the United States military in the present day, inheriting Stark Industries from his late father. A run-in with a terrorist militia leaves Tony fatally injured with shrapnel entering his bloodstream and threatening to penetrate his heart. Held in captivity, Tony develops a miniaturized arc reactor based on his father’s design, powering an electromagnet embedded in his chest to keep the shrapnel from entering his heart. It also powered his means of escape–a crude suit of armor which he would later refine and upgrade into a weaponized flight suit. Witnessing his very publicised heroics, he is given the nickname Iron Man. Outing his identity caught the attention of many an interested party, including a mysterious organization known as the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division–S.H.I.E.L.D., a secret global law-enforcement agency tasked with handling extranational threats to global security.
Tony would later find, however, that arc reactor’s palladium core was infecting his system, causing severe and accelerated blood poisoning. The arc reactor was simultaneously keeping him alive and slowly killing him. With help from S.H.I.E.L.D. director Colonel Nick Fury, Stark discovers and deciphers his father’s research on the Tesseract. This newfound knowledge helps him synthesize a new element directly based on the Tesseract’s energy–a clean, self-sustaining energy source that would counteract the palladium poisoning in his blood and provide the arc reactor with unlimited power. This inspires Stark to build Stark Tower, which would be powered entirely by the perfected arc reactor and serve as a beacon of clean, self-sustaining energy.
How I Met S.H.I.E.L.D.
Seeing it fit to take a more personal approach in keeping tabs on the populace, S.H.I.E.L.D. elects to send undercover agents to infiltrate civilian environments. One such agent is Nick Fury’s number two, Lieutenant Maria Hill, under the guise of news reporter Robin Scherbatsky. Stationed in Manhattan, NY, Hill meets a man named Ted Mosby, with whom she enters a relationship in the interest of maintaining her cover. Much like a genuine relationship, Hill and Mosby would encounter many obstacles that normal couples face. Mosby cites Scherbatsky’s devotion to her work and its tendency to interfere with her love life–a statement that is all too accurate given the true nature of her work.
Ted Mosby is a fledgling architect who dreams of designing and building his own skyscraper. On his journey to this dream, he meets Zoey Pierson, an activist who opposes Ted’s dream project which involves the demolition of the Arcadian Hotel in order to make way for the Goliath National Bank headquarters. Despite the conflict of interest, Ted and Zoey fall in love and enter a rocky, short-lived relationship. Meanwhile, Hill remained undercover and continued to observe in the company of civilians while routinely checking in with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Space–The Final Frontier
In the year 2387, the planet Romulus is in danger of being destroyed by a nearby supernova. A Vulcan Federation Ambassador, Spock, volunteers his assistance (for the purposes of this theory, the Spock of the original timeline will be heretofore referred to as Spock Prime). He intends to use “red matter” to create an artificial black hole to counter the supernova. He fails, however, and Romulus is destroyed. Ŏ’ŗên (Nero), one of the few surviving Romulans, vengefully attacks Spock in the mining vessel, Narada. Both parties are caught in the black hole, sending them back in time.
The Narada, with Nero aboard, emerges in 2233 where he encounters the USS Kelvin. Nero discovers that he has traveled to the past, and Spock Prime is nowhere to be found. In his rage, he attacks the USS Kelvin.
With its captain dead, Commander George Samuel Kirk is promoted to acting Captain and orders the crew, along with his pregnant wife Winona Kirk (who is moments from labor), to abandon ship, knowing that they are hopelessly outmatched.
Kirk orders his wife aboard an evacuation shuttle as he prepares to send the Kelvin on a collision course with the Narada. He finds, however, that the attack has damaged and disabled the autopilot. He is left only with the option of manually piloting the Kelvin into the Narada and going down with the ship in order to buy the shuttles time to escape.
Winona is forced to leave George behind as her shuttle departs. The Kelvin collides with the Narada, with George Kirk ruled KIA. His sacrifice, however, would not be in vain. Aboard the shuttle, Winona gives birth to James Tiberius Kirk.
In 2255, James T. Kirk is recruited into Starfleet. In 2258, Starfleet responds to a Vulcan distress signal, sending a fleet of ships to investigate. Among these ships is the USS Enterprise, onto which James Kirk has stolen aboard despite disciplinary suspension.
Upon arriving at Vulcan, the USS Enterprise is ambushed by none other than the Narada, captained by Nero who had been waiting and searching for Spock Prime for the past thirty years. Christopher Pike is captured, thus promoting James to 1st Lieutenant with a younger Spock as the acting Captain (the Spock of the alternate continuity will be heretofore referred to as Spock Beta).
Using the same “red matter” that destroyed his planet, Nero creates a black hole inside Vulcan’s core, destroying Vulcan from the inside out. After a disagreement, Spock Beta maroons Kirk on a remote ice planet, Delta Vega, where he encounters Spock Prime. Spock Prime informs Kirk of the true gravity of the present circumstances–that Nero’s actions have caused a divergence in the timeline, creating an alternate reality from the one in which Spock Prime exists. To return things to the way they should be, Spock Prime urges Kirk to regain his true role as Captain of the USS Enterprise. He suggests that Kirk use the destruction of Vulcan to reveal that Spock Beta has been emotionally compromised, which would render him unable to perform his duties. This would promote the First Lieutenant, Kirk, to acting Captain.
In order to set this plan in motion, Spock Prime and Kirk head towards the nearest Starfleet outpost, where they meet Starfleet Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott. Spock Prime informs Scott of a formula that he will discover in the future–a formula that will allow him to beam a lifeform onto a vessel travelling at warpspeed. It is with this formula that Kirk and Scott return to the USS Enterprise. After being captured and treated as intruders, Kirk confronts Spock Beta, who lets his emotions get the best of him and is forced to relinquish his rank to James, promoting him to acting Captain. Under Kirk’s leadership, the Enterprise destroys the Narada by detonating the “red matter” from within the ship.
The Hawk and the Spider
Montgomery Scott is involved in an accident while experimenting with transwarp beaming and red matter, sending the engineer back to the year 2006. Already armed with an impressive skillset, he adapts rather quickly and is recruited into the Impossible Missions Force as a technician, assuming the identity of Benji Dunn. The IMF is an espionage agency under the employ of the United States government. After being promoted to a field agent, Dunn accepts a mission to free fellow agent Ethan Hunt and intercept the transfer of active nuclear launch codes. It is on this mission that Dunn is introduced to IMF Analyst William Brandt, who after a harrowing series of circumstances becomes deeply involved in the mission. Brandt displays a remarkable skill set, after which he reveals that he once served as an agent. He left the position after an apparent mission failure to protect Ethan Hunt and his wife, Julia Hunt. With the present mission completed, Hunt reveals to Brandt that the mission was not a failure, but a ploy to keep his wife safe.
Brandt’s successes eventually placed him on the recruitment list for S.H.I.E.L.D. Brandt, assuming the name Clint “Hawkeye” Barton, would quickly rise among the ranks as one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s top agents. It is also at S.H.I.E.L.D. where he meets his longtime partner, Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. the Black Widow.
The Incredible Romulan
After the conflict between the Enterprise and the Narada, Nero had been presumed KIA. However, Nero managed to enter an evac shuttle just as the black hole was tearing his ship apart. He was unable to escape the black hole’s gravitational pull, however, and is sent back in time to Earth in the 20th century. The traumatic experience leaves Nero with no memory of his life, but retaining his knowledge and capacity to recall it. No longer driven by revenge, Nero seeks out a sense of purpose, his aptitude for technology leading him to a career in gamma radiation research, where he makes a name for himself as Dr. Bruce Banner.
A leading authority in gamma radiation, he attracts the attention of the United States Armed Forces, approached by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Banner is recruited under the impression that he would be helping to make humans immune to gamma radiation. Little to his knowledge, he was assisting in a program to recreate the super soldier serum developed in World War II by Dr. Erskine. The experiment fails, and Banner is exposed to enormous amounts of gamma radiation. The radiation reacted violently to the super soldier serum and his Romulan physiology. This reaction, coupled with his spiking blood pressure, transformed him into a monstrous humanoid colloquially referred to as the Hulk. After an explosive conflict in Harlem, NY, a defeated and dejected General Ross is approached by Tony Stark on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D., hoping to recruit Dr. Banner in light of his explosive abilities.
Thor: The God of Thunder
George Kirk, also presumed dead, was not far behind. While his body did not survive the collision, traces of his genetic material were left on the Narada, preserved in the cold vacuum of space for nearly thirty decades. Upon the Narada’s destruction, pieces from the wreckage entered the same black hole–along with George Kirk’s residual DNA. Some of this debris would then find Yggdrasil, a network of portals connecting several planes of existence. One such plane is Asgard.
It is in Asgard that George Kirk’s essence came into contact with the cosmic cube, the Tesseract. Its mysterious properties gave Kirk new life, born to Odin Borson and his wife, Frigga. He is given the name Thor Odinson, and would grow up to be a fearsome Asgardian warrior. He is raised alongside Loki Odinson, also an adopted child of Odin Borson. Thor and Loki’s years together would spark a fierce rivalry, with Loki constantly find himself in Thor’s shadow. This rivalry, however, soon turned into malicious jealousy as Loki orchestrates a series of events that lead to Thor committing an act of war, breaking a truce between Asgard and Jotunheim. Odin is forced to banish his Thor to earth, where he lands in New Mexico and finds himself in the company of astrophysicists Jane Foster and Erik Selvig.
Loki, upon finding that he is the son of the Yotun king, falls further into madness. This, and the stress of Thor’s banishment, sends Odin into a deep sleep, giving Loki the opportunity to rule in his stead. His first act as king is to have his brother killed, which ultimately backfires and culminates in a decisive confrontation between the two brothers. Defeated, Loki falls into an abyss created by the Bifrost and is never heard from again.
After the events of New Mexico, Erik Selvig was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. to study the Tesseract at their headquarters and find a way to harness its incredible power. Seemingly on its own, the cube begins showing signs of activity. Barton suggests, due to the Tesseract’s true nature as a dimensional doorway, that something is accessing it from the other side. Sure enough, a portal opens through the Tesseract, and Loki arrives at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. After dispatching the agents within the lab, Loki uses a mysterious scepter imbued with the cube’s energy to enslave the minds of Selvig and Barton. When questioned of his intentions, Loki reveals to Fury that he intends to bring war upon humanity, leaving with the Tesseract as the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility collapses.
In response to Loki’s threat, Fury calls for all members of the Avenger initiative to assemble. It is through the Avenger initiative that George Kirk and Nero would meet again in their new forms as Thor Odinson and Bruce Banner, teaming up with Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and a rehabilitated Clint Barton. Together they defeat Loki and his army of Chitauri and divert a nuclear missile into another dimension, saving Manhattan from sure destruction and, by proxy, Ted Mosby.
Zoey Pearson was at the Metlife Building protesting the addition of Stark Tower to the Metlife building just before the Chitauri invasion. As the Tesseract was being delivered to its destination, the enslaved agents guarding the cube attacked the protestors. This incident directly exposed Zoey Pearson to the Tesseract’s energy.
Little did Zoey know that the cube had altered her physiology, due to its effects not being readily obvious. She had stopped aging completely, a fact that she would not notice for years to come. The realization would then traumatize her, leaving her in a coma for several months before coming to and finally accepting her fate. She would live on for almost three hundred years, switching identities so that no one would question why the same person could live for so long.
Around 2220 she met a young Starfleet officer named George Samuel Kirk. When he asked for her name, she simply gave him “Winona.” The two married in 2229.