Cosmic Union (The Directors' Cut) Issue #0
Written and edited by the Silver Surfer
Editors' Note: This story precedes the
events in Cosmic Union #1
Visit the Cosmic Unionverse Reference Page to go to any issue of this series!
ISSUE #0: "BY INVITATION ONLY"
Cosmic Union Writers from the Silver Surfer
Message Board: Asterisk, Anomaly,
Azmodi, Brother Voodoo, Grim, Marvelite, Morfex, Mystic, and Number 6.
Part One - Forgotten Oath (by Anomaly)
Its architecture was magnificent, it was like something I would
have created for myself when I wore the gauntlet: the long spires, the sheer size, truly
it was a home fit for a god.
There was a great chasm that separated the castle from the rest of the land, only a thin stony bridge separated me from my prey. It was roughly ten meters in length. As I walked across it, there was a great door, and guarding that door was a large orange creature about two meters tall, its hide coarse and leathery. Its face was truly fearsome to behold as I saw large yellow teeth protruding from its simian-like face. In its hand, which was of such size that it could hold a human head in its grasp, was a spear forged of some unfamiliar metal.
The creature, called a rock troll by locals, ran in fear of its life. I had seen such fear often enough before, but it still amused me. I could only laugh as it howled like some wounded dog, attempting to warn its master of my coming.
As I walked down the corridor that my sensors said led to his throne room, I calculated what I would say, what I would do if he did not see the truth of my revelation. The great doors that barred me from his presence were shattered with but a tap from my armored hand, leaving debris scattered everywhere.
Loki sat with a great host of rock trolls; he also shared the company of one who was quite beautiful. Her attractive features were neatly framed by her long blond locks and fiery green eyes. The host before me was formidable; there were easily five hundred in number, but I could see the terror growing within them.
"Hail, Loki Wolf Father. I have come not for war but for aid in plundering a universe."
"We cannot defeat thee, for thou art created to slay gods. But Loki is not so easily defeated either. I shall scheme, I shall plot and then even thou shalt fall before me."
"I am afraid you do not understand, godling. This is but a shell you see before you. In truth it is Thanos of Titan who wears the guise of the Destroyer."
"Such will! Only Thor and Odin have ever worn the Destroyer's armor without being consumed by the blood lust the armor brings. I am impressed. It appears the reputation of Thanos is not exaggerated." Loki smiled mischievously.
I laughed aloud. "Hahahahahahaha, you are indeed a wily one, Loki Sky Walker. I have a proposition for you. I have gathered others and will need your aid also. In return I can give you Odin's throne." Loki seemed to consider, but did not commit. I decided to push the envelope. "Centuries ago, your father swore on Ymir's bones as your blood mingled with his, that you would be one forever. What happened to this oath? Odin has caused you to conveniently forget it. Does my little reminder jog your memory?"
Loki's face changed as realization dawned on him. Angry with his father and how unfairly he had been treated he jumped at the opportunity, but in truth he knew that he had no choice. Not while I wore the armor of the Destroyer. Truly it is better to be feared than loved or respected.
Part Two - I Left My Heart (by Morfex)
Thanos traveled to San Francisco, a city on the planet Earth. It was night there, a chill winter eve with fog encompassing the entire bay.
Thanos appeared in the back yard of a modest home near the Golden Gate Park, then looked through the sliding door into the simple setting within. A handsome blond man sat, watching television with his wife and daughter. The man tensed suddenly, looking around him as if aware of a foreign presence. Thanos could hear his muted words even from outside. "Honey, I'm going to check on something in the back. I think I forgot to put some tools in the shed. Will you watch Kari for me a minute?"
"Of course, Michael," said the strawberry blond woman at his side. Giving his wife and daughter each a kiss, he went to grab a jacket and exited the family room toward the garage. Thanos waited.
"Thanos of Titan. Why do you disturb my retirement?"
"Michael Korvac. Last I had heard, you were soundly defeated by Captain America. How did you escape your fate yet again?"
"Anything is possible for one with my abilities. But like you, I have come to desire only to be left alone. You are not welcome here."
"Korvac, I come heralding an event with which you are familiar from the future. The Cosmic Union fast approaches."
"But that's impossible! That is not supposed to occur for another hundred years."
"Perhaps your presence in this timeline has precipitated the event. Whatever the reason, the Union waves approach. They are certain to affect you and your idyllic lifestyle adversely."
"My family "
" Is but a manifestation of your power, no doubt. I cannot guarantee their survival. I can, however, ensure your continued existence."
"If what you say is true, then how can I escape the Union? Time-travelers are banned from the event. I will cease to exist corporeally, and there is no guarantee that I will return thereafter."
"Which brings me to the reason for my visit. I have developed a means of saving you, but you must give up this fašade and come with me. In return for your life, I request your assistance. You have my word, I will not harm you if you comply."
"I understand, and I sense the truth in your words. I will go with you, but at least let me say goodbye "
"There is no time, Korvac. We leave now."
Carina Korvac watched through the kitchen window as her husband and the dark beast beside him shimmered, then disappeared. Her eyes welled with tears, for she had known this day would come.
The young girl who sat by the television turned to her. "Mommy, when is daddy coming back in?"
Part Three - Blood and Iron (by Azmodi)
Words droned through the darkness, words without meaning to the English ear, words without meaning to any ear, save for the most practiced of sorcerers.
Victor Von Doom did not feel the heat of the circle of blazing candles he sat within, nor the trickle of blood slowly seeping down his forehead, over his eyelids. He chanted without thought of time or reason, only seeking answers.
Smoke billowed suddenly from each candle, and coalesced before the Latverian's coolly controlled sight. The gray cloud swiftly formed itself into the shape of a man, white of hair, with pointed features strangely ageless -- neither young nor old, but rather both. Dressed in simple robes of deep violet and brown, the man eyed Doom carefully - a man studying an insect - and even the ever-arrogant monarch was taken aback by the stranger's aura of command and mystery.
"I seek answers," said the Latverian, finally.
The stranger pursed his lips, as if preparing to speak, but then his eyes narrowed, as if looking deeper into the seated chanter, and at last he shook his head, "You shall not find them."
"I will know what roils the universe so -- you shall tell me."
"No," came the man's startling answer. Who would dare to speak to Doom so?
The Latverian was quickly on his feet, the magick building in his body now meant for far more deadly uses than mere summoning,
"None may tell Doom, 'No.'"
The stranger did not seem to here him, "The past and future are mine to gaze upon freely -- fear not any longer, Victor von Doom."
Doom's reply was to be harsh, but he got no chance to sound it; the stranger was gone from the dimly-lit chamber, disappearing without the usual adornments of light or smoke. Yet the sorcerer felt still a light residue from the stranger's presence, and reached out with his magickal senses to touch it.
"Limbo?" he said, surprised at the texture of the waning power.
He turned, shaking his head, putting the stranger's presence from his mind. Doom nearly stalked into a massive form, with gleaming silver eyes, one who had not been there only a moment before.
The Latverian's body tensed, "Thanos of Titan."
The towering figure ignored his own name, "I will have words with you, Victor Von Doom."
Part Four - Proposition in Perdition (by Anomaly)
Thanos spoke in a strange dialect that he had derived from alien sorceries, during his banishment in the dark nebula by his father, Mentor. His banishment was redundant, because it was only a matter of time before he investigated the strange goings on in that sector of space himself. It had merely expedited the process.
The word was nearly unpronounceable to the Eternal tongue. In fact, half of it had to be spoken in a telepathic jargon known as mentalese. This was the password for the computer he built during his banishment in the dark nebula. Instead of manipulating symbols, it manipulated the runes from the oldest tome in the galaxy. It was called the 'Nrlthrop'. The runes were nearly sentient, as if they had a life force. This made them far more diverse then the symbols that ran a computer, even more diverse then the quantum computers on his homeworld, Titan. At the base of the runes was a particle that he had discovered, and found that it was central in most spells that he had studied. He called it the mage particle, and utilized it in all his technologies, making them a hybrid between science and sorcery.
But he had done much since then. In a sense that had been his childhood, and now he was in all respects mature. Knowledge was power: in particular, knowledge of oneself. Any resource can be circumvented. Only if all the ramparts are fortified can victory be secured.
The mystical technology began to calculate the answers the Titan had put forth, giving him intelligence on one who was very powerful, and for all practical purposes evil incarnate.
Thanos gave another command and his essence was converted to mage particles. Then he was gone.
Thanos teleported to the demon's dimension as he would to any other place. He was not in terror like the soul sheathes that were held there in indefinite bondage. "Greetings, dark lord," said Thanos.
The ground felt spongy as the Titan's weight depressed the metaphysical landscape, and the smell of ammonia would have incapacitated him, if not for his mastery of his limbic system, which allowed him to suppress the odor to bearable levels.
"You are bold! I would not have expected you to show yourself after our last transaction." Mephisto put a bony digit against his chin as he salivated the possibilities of imprisoning the Titan's soul for eternity or longer. The fire of hell roared in anticipation of the coming conflict. Mephisto raised a pointy brow and gestured, turning the Titan to immovable stone. Mephisto laughed, rolling upon his throne like a malicious child who pulled the wings off flies.
"Do not forget, Thanos, that in my realm I am supreme! Much like the cosmic cube you cheated me out of " Mephisto paused as spider web lines began to appear all over the stony shell of the Titan. The fissures turned to cracks and Thanos was free.
"I always remain true to myself, demon. Remember, when I was turned to stone by Warlock, he used the power of the soul gem. But you hold no such artifact."
Thanos was looking upward as the cacophony of hell flooded his audio-receptors with the cry of the damned. But it was not this that held the Titan's attention, for he too had butchered nearly as many.
The great dimension of torment that seemed to be endless was held in the great palm of the true master, the creature that Thanos had been speaking with was but a mouthpiece. The leviathan which held him and all of hell could not be described by physical dimensions. Thanos of Titan along with the entire dimension of hell was being held in the hand of the true Mephisto who had been watching curiously.
"Mephisto, I presume," said Thanos who did not waver in the least as he spoke to a beast that could only be called Leviathan. "I have a proposition for you. One which could add a certain soul to your dominion."
"Go on Titan, but be wary," said the booming voice that echoed across the stygian plane.
"In exchange for services rendered, I will put into your hands that which you desire most in the universe: a truly pure soul, yet forever haunted by once-forgotten misdeeds. The being known as Norrin Radd."
"As you surrendered him to Mistress Death, only to ensure his escape? I think not, Titan. Perhaps your soul would be a fitting addition to my realm instead."
"Wouldn't you be concerned that I would eventually take over? In any case, you have my word of honor, Lord of Lies. If you succeed in assisting me, the Silver Surfer will finally and irrevocably be yours."
The leviathan smiled at the prospect and agreed. Thanos was once again transformed to mage particles and was gone.
The story continues in Cosmic Union #1. Check it out, as well as the other issues of the Cosmic Union at the Cosmic Union Archive Page, and be sure to visit back regularly for more ongoing installments... And for the identity of the mystic stranger Doom summoned, read future installments of Tales of the Timeless, available at the Protectors of the Universe Archive Page. Now... be sure to leave our authors some feedback below!