Thanos: Dead Men Tell No Tales #7
Written by Anomaly, Edited
by WarlorTVor and Marvelite
"DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES"
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Thanos by Ron Lim
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Interlude: World Devourer
If one were made of an indestructible substance, could he
feel the solar winds across his face? If
space were curved like Einstein theorized, could one surf it like a wave? If one
could ride the crest of a galaxy and soar through the heart of a sun, could one
believe himself an Angel? These
were not questions to the Surfer, they were facts. And when his master hungered
nothing could bar his way.
The great metallic sphere of the World Devourer actually
bent space and time around itself because of the incredible density of the
Galactian metal, which rotated in a counter clockwise position.
The Surfer came through several light years from his former position to
get to his master position (total elapsed time three seconds) and then from that
point soared through another fifty miles of the great sphere he encountered just
coming out of hypertime to appear before his ominous master, like Moses before
his God. He bowed and prepared to receive the dread Ten
Commandments of the force of nature that was known only as Galactus (total
elapsed time five seconds).
When the Surfer looked at Galactus, he did not see a man or
even a member of his own race as most sentients did. Instead, he saw an outline
containing indescribable energies that cried for escape. Yet deep within the
raging energy field was the schematic for a mortal man: A man who went by the
name of Galan, at least that would be the closest translation since he came from
another universe with a physics and linguistics that was unknowable to any save
Galactus himself. Lore had treated Galactus with many names and many titles: the
Harvester, Tester, the Great Destroyer. Even his name, Galactus, was but a
shortened form of a word used by the very first planet he encountered which
meant the end of all things.
When Galactus spoke to the Surfer, it was not words; the
thoughts simply appeared in the Surfer’s head. When Galactus chose a world,
nothing could stay his mighty hand and the world he had chosen was the one the
Surfer had just left. It was the
one where he encountered the powerful being locked in a stasis tube. The Surfer
did not question his master’s command, he knew that he had by his own choice
given himself over to Galactus and was duty bound to perform as instructed or
else risk the very safety of his own world
Five seconds elapsed and the Surfer was once again hovering
over the planet he had just came from, his cosmic senses magnifying the jungle
planet and just watching. After a few minutes, a cosmic flare erupts from his
silvery form and then he just waited for the inevitable - for Galactus to come
and another world to fall.
Chapter Seven: LOVE
He was called Dagon by many and was nearly immortal. He had
garnered vast mystical might and knowledge. He conditioned his mind until it was
like a Razor. So sharp was it that he could kill by thought alone. He cloaked
himself in a raiment of darkness and ice and was nearly completely given over to
being a shadow. Mistress Death had
allowed him to interact with her realm as she did to all those who were loyal
and worshipped her ways.
Dagon was terrible to behold and when he spoke, it was like
a whisper riding the lightning and its timbre. Resounded in the firmament.
"TELL ME IS IT TRUE! DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER PARAMOUR?!”
The Realm of Death was more silent then usual as Dagon spewed his threat in her
Mistress Death was not unlike most lovers who had grown
weary of the same old thing. Though Death did not speak, it was clear that she
had found a replacement. Her socketless gaze devouring the distance between her
and her former paramour. Dagon’s eyes burned crimson with indignity heaping
upon him by his former lover. Mistress Death's mouthpiece was a rat like
creature with terrible teeth that would grow forever unless it had something to
gnaw on. And when it spoke, it was as if it refused to chew on the words he was
currently using any longer
"Restrain yourself, surely you know who's presence you
are in, and how lucky you are to still be able to leave. But if you continue
your present course, the invitation may be rescinded."
The terrible rat like creature paused and even Dagon, who
had put fear in many, whose very name had literally been used to cast certain
spells by sorcerers, knew that if he wished to leave, silence must reign.
His tone was more reserved, his demeanor was humble.
"Is there something I can do to win your favor I have
worshipped and served you for centuries."
The ratlike mouthpiece spoke and Dagon began to wonder if
his mistress had a voice at all. He wondered if perhaps she needed a conscious
servant to work through. Perhaps her terrible language of unconsciousness could
not be discerned by a conscious mind. He wondered if only a living soul could
understand her morbid thoughts, the necrosyntactical structures that made up her
alien thoughts. Thanos alone was
not the sole being considered, there was another. The rat like creature gestured
and an aperture was opened in Death’s realm to reveal a planet and a being
made of liquid metal hovering above its horizon. The rat like creature smiled to
reveal crooked and yellowed teeth.
"The Surfer has also been considered. If you wish to prove yourself over the others, perhaps a courtship ritual could be arranged."
"What do you speak of?” said Dagon evenly.
At the end of one rotation of the sphere, Mistress Death
will have only one paramour. The only question will be who will bring her the
Ultimate Nullifier. The scene shifted and Mistress Death dismissed the paramour
and looked planet ward to her newest chosen - the Mad Titan.
Dagon used his mystic might to open a gate into Galactus’
mighty ship. Clearly, Mistress Death had aided him or even he would have been
unable to unlock such a vessel without being summarily removed by the cosmic
sage who called himself Galactus. Even he was in awe as he looked at his
surroundings, even one who had seen Death’s realm could not help but be
overwhelmed by technologies that bordered on mysticism itself. However, Dagon
knew that he must rid himself of his awe if he and he alone were to be Mistress
Death’s paramour there was much work to be done. Love was a strange thing he
thought and he now risked it all, even oblivion.
He had traversed a sphere called earth, a world that seemed
to have a special place even for cosmic beings and he remembered the mortal
beings whom he looked down on so much, because of their emotional weakness.
Nevertheless, he now saw himself doing the very same things. Was the nullifier
not a gift to soothe over his lover's anger? At first, he sought only power
would appease, now he was powerless as he sought the affection of Death itself.
Truly he thought the universe was a conundrum. To be held in her embrace was now
all he desired - How far the mighty have fallen. He looked about for something
he might use against his rival but the ship was vast and even his mystic senses
seemed confounded. Then he spotted it - a sample kept in a cylinder. A creature
he knew well for it was quite dangerous and capable of causing great damage. In
fact there was an entire zoo. Yes, he thought to himself, this would be the
weapon to use against his rival - the Brood would be perfect.
Thanos stood like one who had just seen freedom for the
first time, but this was not strange considering it was the first time he had
ever left the home world of Titan. He had been banished and was now a stranger
in an even stranger land. The sun beat senselessly on Thanos’ mighty brow as
his eyes looked heavenward and saw a flash in the sky. But there was something
unusual within this flash, the outline of a man and he seemed to be hovering in
space. Thanos rigged his vessel of banishment into a makeshift computer system,
for Mentor had seen fit to remove Thanos of all things to show that he was ever
a citizen. Even the machinery that would enable him to farcast (a gate developed
by Titan to trade with other systems). His makeshift computer he had developed
with the machinery also showed a great starship of immense proportions. His mind
began the work of deciphering how to get from this world and back to Titan where
he would make Mentor pay. Even though it was Mephisto, thought Thanos to
himself, (see last issue for details). Thanos
had now been acknowledged by Death herself and it was only proper for him to
introduce himself to the rest of his people. After all, if Thanos was nothing,
he was a gentleman. Thanos worked feverishly but kept looking over his shoulder,
as something appeared to be watching him. No doubt, he thought, it was some form
of wild life of which a being of his stature could simply dismiss.
He noticed it again but kept working. Soon he was
surrounded on all sides by a group of strange creatures that were a combination
of insect and reptile.
"You will be taken as a host to our Queen,” they
stated as their insect like bodies cut off all avenues of escape from the Titan.
Thanos’ optics narrowed and his eyes glared malevolently.
"I already have a queen and she is jealous but if you
wish I can introduce you." Thanos’ fists began to glow as the Brood
launched their first assault against Thanos, striking him with their stingers
repeatedly. Thanos was lost under a barrage of Brood bodies, their vast number
quickly pouring over the Mad Titan with his smile as the only thing left
The Surfer watched as his master began to leave his
starship and descend planetward. It would not be long, thought the Surfer, and
another world would be extinct so that Galactus may go on. But his gaze turned
toward the planet where he saw the one he had freed and he was in a struggle. At
first the Surfer thought to turn a blind eye, after all were they not all going
to fall before his master? The Surfer buried the sight deep into his conscious.
Galactus was an amoral being if such a thing existed and if he were to be his
herald he too must turn off his conscious, otherwise he would go mad. But his
attention was drawn toward his mastership, where his cosmic senses detected an
intruder. The Surfer moved swiftly, his senses focusing on the strange
creature's energy signature until he came upon the shadowy being called Dagon.
"I cloaked myself with an intricate spell, how could
you have sensed me?"
“Even the energies you used to cloak yourself can be
detected if one has the appropriate senses. If you are to cloak yourself truly,
you must cloak yourself against all senses not just the ones like your
"I begin to see why my Mistress was so enthralled by
you. Your point of view is unique and when someone like my Mistress seeks a
paramour it is not merely for power, she is more then capable of imbuing her
paramour with what ever he needs. Yes I begin to see it all now, my Mistress is
for all practical purposes unconscious, who better to choose than one whose
phenomenology transcends all others - you are the ultimate in consciousness,
your experience of the universe would allow her to truly savor what she had
killed through her, she could be both life and Death.”
Dagon did not have a physical body in the strictest sense,
as his raiment seemed to hang on the air with only two crimson orbs to give it
“I could never compete against one such as you, I envy
you but I won’t allow you to continue - no matter what the cost.” In his
hand was the weapon of legend, the weapon called the Ultimate Nullifier.
"You do not know what you do, the origin of that
weapon is lost in obscurity and only its guardian, Galactus, may wield it
without hope of sending himself to oblivion along with everyone else." The
Surfer’s very presence infuriated Dagon, he was rather plain compared to the
complex creature before him. Dagon knew in his blackheart that he was doomed the
moment he let warmth back into his being. But
he would have Death or no one would and the very universe would follow him to
oblivion if necessary.
Their bodies were strewn everywhere the eye could see,
their death cries filled the landscape. Thanos surveyed his handiwork while his
massive bulk crushed the head of his enemies.
One of his hands reached into an abdomen of one of the creatures and
pulled out its entrails and scattered it to the wind. Thanos’ laugh filled the
air and he now realized being labeled monster was a relative thing like
everything else in existence. A monster was merely defined by the strength of
the fear it produced in another. To most, the Broods were killing machines, but
to Thanos they were not but birds trapped in a web, on the tree of eternity.
Thanos seemed to be able to pull back and observe from a distance and yet he was
still there while he ripped apart the bodies of two attacking Brood who did not
know that this conflict was long ago decided. A putrid brown substance covered
Thanos’ body. In truth he realized that unless you wore your victim’s flesh
and adorned yourself with your enemy's blood, unless you were clothed in its
innards you were not truly experiencing your victim's Death. Too many so-called
killers detached themselves so that there were without any conscious. But for
Thanos this was not the case, he wanted to kill yet still have a conscious. He
wanted to experience every moment, hear every scream, feel every struggle and
smell the gathering corpses. In that moment, Thanos experienced a first person
account of another's Death.
However, the Broods were not yet through with their
would-be destroyer despite the great pile of bodies that had gathered during the
conflict. For some had assimilated
very powerful mutants. Some of those with great power. In addition, some of
those with powerful connections and a vested interest in Thanos’ destruction.
"So you are the newly chosen, are you? We shall see
how you handle this, Titan, as I extend my consciousness through the Brood's
body, becoming an embodiment of pestilence itself."
Thanos felt the Brood’s grip, which was like iron. Soon
the creature's mind locked into the Titan's mind and for the first time felt an
attack he had not encountered. The Brood was in his skull, rummaging through his
memories until he came across what he needed and Thanos was wracked with
terrible pain. It was almost more than he could bear as the image of his own
birth was used to unbalance him. While the other warriors began to attack Thanos
who was now helpless in Dagon’s psychic tendrils, Dagon was using the force of
his will to crush Thanos’ brain. But the Titan did not even wince as blood
sprayed from his nose, and crimson tears erupted from his ruptured ducts.
Dagon could get no screams from Thanos, no satisfaction from Thanos,
merely a smile - truly he was terrifying to behold.
"But you will pay for the perverse image you
implanted, but not before I transform your memory into an image of Death."
The two lovers of Death faced each other on a psychic plane
of reality, there two astral forms on a necroscape of aborted fetuses, there
umbilical cords wrapping around the leg of Thanos as if they were his father,
their lives hanging somewhere between life and Death, beginning and end.
"You have no experience in this type of combat, Titan,
and you will be lost to the powers of Chaos and Order. Observe, Thanos, as I
send your mind to a place where reality and illusion are blurred. It will be
much like viewing yourself in two mirrors where you will be lost within an
infinite set of recursions you will forever be trying to awaken only to find you
are still in a dream, and when you truly awaken, it will be with a new host as
the egg of the alien is planted within slowly you will began to feel his
thoughts invade your will until you are no more"
"I am Thanos and my name means Death, I will surrender
my individuality to no one or nothing,” Thanos’ head grew immense on the
psychic plane as he by force of will alone separated himself from the illusions.
The Surfer noticed that Dagon was distracted, his mind
clearly somewhere else. The Surfer contemplated using a cosmic blast to end the
conflict. He did not wish to remove the Nullifier for fear of activating it by
accident, but the Surfer had no choice. There
was a terrible click and Dagon soon learned that not even the paramour of Death
could use it without ramifications and was sent to oblivion and the Surfer had
to wonder if perhaps that was Death’s plan all along as the Nullifier’s
terrible energies took his body completely.
The Surfer then prepared to out race Death but found that
the Nullifier could not be out run and was sent to oblivion along with Dagon’s
Dagon’s death scream was terrible but at the last moment, he managed to transfer his consciousness completely to the Brood but not without ramifications - for without his prime body he was beginning to feel himself become another. Dagon shook as each synopsis in his brain began to be replaced one by one, it was all a matter of time before the transfer would be complete. Thanos cleared the battlefield of all remnants with a series of energy spears, for without Dagon’s mental assault the others fell easily. The cosmic energies were of such intensity during the assault that the egg which was implanted in his body by the Brood while he was in mental combat immediately perished.
“It appears that the beast could not take the heat."
Thanos’ eyes met Dagon’s eyes for the last time as the
alien life form slowly took Dagon over and a strange look crossed his face.
Then he was Dagon no more.
They met upon the plateau, Death and Galactus. "Your
herald is quite formidable. I had not expected him to create another body out of
cosmic stuff and transfer his consciousness and I do not think he could have
done it without your help, Devourer?"
“If that is a threat, it falls on deaf ears. I will
transfer your newly acquired paramour to a different world - that will make us
"You are my servant, Devourer, do not forget that,”
Death’s hollow gaze stared callously at Galactus.
“I am Galactus, the first and the last, The Alpha and the Omega, and I fear not even you." With that, Death was gone but Galactus then contemplated, was he truly beyond Death’s, touch was not Galactus once Galan.
Thanos found himself floating in the cold vacuum of space, obviously transported by the devourer Galactus. But Thanos was Death’s paramour, what need he fear from anything alive. Thanos was caught in the clutches of a powerful tractor beam from an oncoming star cruiser. And from afar, Mistress Death sat on her throne of bone and flesh and observed her newest addition. A gift from her new paramour, an alien life form known as a Brood. But as the Brood looked into her Mistress’ terrible gaze, for he now knew her thoughts and realized even an unconscious being can scream.
Continued in Thanos: Dead Men Tell No Tales #8
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