The Kree Mar-Vell, disguised as Wendy Lawson, headed a United States Air Force, S.H.I.E.L.D. and NASA project titled Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S., powered by an extraterrestrial object known as the Tesseract. Unbeknownst to the organization, Mar-Vell was working on the project for a race known as the Skrulls.
The engine was designed by Mar-Vell for use by the Skrull refugees in order to escape the Kree and find a new home outside of their reach. The device utilizes a completely different propulsion system than the jump portal network used by many other races, including the Kree. This would let the Skrulls find a planet to live on that was inaccessible to the Kree.
Mar-Vell was considered a traitor by the Supreme Intelligence and was ordered to be killed by the Starforce. While running tests of the engine alongside pilot Carol Danvers, Mar-Vell was targeted by a Kree ship in the aims of recovering the engine. Mar-Vell's ship was shot and crashed, and as she and Danvers escaped the wreckage, she told the pilot of her true identity and goal.
Before Mar-Vell could destroy the engine with her Kree Pistol, she was shot and killed by Yon-Rogg. Danvers, in shock of the death of her mentor, grabbed the pistol from her hand and aimed it at Yon-Rogg. After a brief standoff, Danvers fired at the light-speed engine, destroying it.
The energy released from the explosion radiated into Danvers, giving her superhuman abilities. Recovering from the explosion, Yon-Rogg was informed by Minn-Erva that Danvers was still breathing and decided to bring her with them back to Hala, calling her Vers (after half of Danvers' shattered dogtag which Yon-Rogg found) and training her into becoming a Kree soldier.
In turn, the Air Force terminated the project, created a cover-up story that the aircraft was taken for an unauthorized test and exploded following a crash, killing both Lawson and Danvers in the process, and archived all its documentation in the Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility.
Later, the Skrull General Talos would search for the light-speed engine to use it as Mar-Vell has originally intended, which was to help the Skrulls escape the Kree. They staged an ambush and captured Vers. In the ensuing interrogation, they dug through her memories and figured out that Mar-Vell had been operating on Earth.
- In the comics, the exploding device Carol Danvers receives her powers from is called the Psyche-Magnitron.