Elders Quest Chapter 4
Written by Mystic, Edited
by E.A. Morfex
If you have not yet read the the Prologue or first three chapters yet, click here now!
Chapter 4: Chosen Pieces
Warlock walked with Gamora alone, as she often liked to do. Quietly, they strode along a private man made beach close to Avengers Headquarters. He had wondered how he should handle her affection for him, but now was not the time. Serious consideration was being given to consulting with the Avengers regarding the Monster Isle theft. They possessed access to technology that could be useful. Perhaps their instruments might register something he missed. On Moondragon's recommendation, he had requested to speak with Captain America, but had been told to wait while they conducted a meeting involving their reserve members. The regular Avenger members were meeting with some of the reserves to decide their future status. He would have to wait until their meeting was over. It did not matter. This would give him time to think about how to approach and convince them of the importance.
His thoughts and privacy were interrupted as Moondragon projected a somewhat erratic mental image of herself.
"Adam! Gamora! We are under attack! Thanos has breached Avengers headquarters defenses. Need help! Please come quickly!"
The image quickly disappeared as she apparently joined the fight. Adam grabbed Gamora, a little annoyed that he did not have time to contemplate his thoughts. Taking to the air, he quickly arrived and blasted a hole through the roof with his scepter. The security had been disabled and Warlock was able to enter with ease. He placed Gamora down and watched as the Avengers and several Avengers reserves executed strategic attacks and withdrawals from the Titan in the center of the main hall. Being led by Captain America, they had divided up into teams, each attacking from different sides. Moondragon attempted a flying kick, while Thor shot his hammer from the opposite side. Thanos side-stepped Moondragon's attack, also allowing Mjolnir to pass through and narrowly miss her, avoiding what almost certainly would have been a broken leg. Warbird took to the air and blasted Thanos as she flew by, while Captain America threw his shield toward his feet attempting to undercut him. The shield bounced off his legs, ricocheting off the floor and back to the Captain's hands, as Thanos fired eyebeams to meet Warbirds' blast. Still looking up at Warbird, Thanos' hands blasted the ground Thor was on, causing the resultant explosion to knock him back several feet. Next, Quasar flew over Thanos preparing to form a construct. Thanos fired a plasma bolt at him. Quasar narrowly avoided the blast by turning his shoulder quickly. He was actually surprised he was able to avoid it.
"You had your chance, Tha-" Quasar was interrupted as part of the roof caved in on top of him, the result of Thanos blast. He fell to the ground hard and a bit shaken. Wonderman immediately joined the fight as he attempted to change the conflict into a more physical brawl. Before he could throw his first punch, Thanos backslapped him into a wall by his side, sending him through it into another room.
"Simon?" Wanda yelled. She ran into the next room worried about his condition.
"Are you two going to watch or join in?" Moondragon quickly turned to Warlock and Gamora, as the armor shell of Iron Man was sent flying through another wall. To her surprise, Gamora had a smile on her face. Irked, Moondragon yelled, "What is so funny?"
Gamora turned to Warlock as he observed the Titan with no facial expression change. He turned to look at Moondragon. "He is only playing with you."
"What?" Moondragon cried.
Hearing what Warlock said, Captain America turned around looking at him incredulously. After a moment's hesitation, he called off the fighting.
"Avengers! Stop!" he said raising his hand. "I think Warlock is right. Thanos is only playing with us, or we'd have a lot more damage and injuries." He favored his shoulder slightly as he helped Quasar get up with visible black and blue marks permeating his face and arms. The rest of the Avengers groaned a bit as they broke off their attack and joined Captain America at his side.
"Why are you testing them?" Warlock asked as he took several steps closer to the Titan.
"Your skills are severely lacking!" Thanos responded looking at them disgusted.
Some of the Avengers, including Vance and Firestar looked at each other, not believing he was scolding them all as children.
After a pause he turned his attention to Captain America. "I am in need of your group, and yours as well," he said turning to Warlock.
"For what purpose?" Warlock said as though he expected to hear what he heard.
A pause occurred as Thanos walked over to the main console. He punched a couple of buttons as though the new hi-tech computerized system Tony Stark had just installed was a mere toy. He quickly conjured up images in the Avengers' villain database somehow bypassing the security password lockouts. "Recognize any of these?" he said to no one in particular.
A figure appeared in the center. A tall blue skinned man with white hair and a white long robe. The words "En Dwi Gast" appeared under him. Surrounding him, more figures began to appear
Quasar was the first to answer. "Those are the Elders with their leader, the Grandmaster, in the middle. They are wanted intergalactic criminals. When Captain -- err, Photon was the leader, she assigned me an extracurricular activity of tracking and bringing them in for trial..."
"Clearly you were not up to the task," Thanos interrupted looking directly at him. Despite the putdown, the Protector of the Universe said nothing. The Titan continued, "They are up to something big and I find that it might be in our best interest to work together."
The Avengers seemed stunned. No one spoke, as though they were contemplating what the Titan had just told them. Virtually all members found it hard to believe that Thanos would help them capture some wanted criminals out of the goodness of his heart. Captain America was the first to speak, doing so as he walked to confront Thanos face to face.
"And what is in it for you?"
"Relief that these annoying creatures are not around to pester me anymore. I believe this is mutually beneficial to both of us," Thanos smiled his eerie smile. It was enough to give anyone the shudders.
"I will need to talk to the team first," the Captain said.
Thanos opened his palm as he pointed toward their conference room. "By all means," he said.
The Captain turned around and signaled all to enter the room. All the Avengers walked over to the Avengers meeting room, thinking about what they would say.
Meanwhile, Thanos approached Warlock. "I will need you too," he said in a low voice. "The Avengers are too soft hearted. There may be times when...a sacrifice is needed to gain an advantage. I need someone capable of committing such sacrifices."
"I am not interested in playing your game," Warlock responded.
"No? And why are you here, pray tell? It would seem to me that you've been trying to gain the Avengers' trust lately. For whatever reason, what better way than to aid them in capturing some criminals?" Thanos smiled his eerie grin again.
"I hate when you spy on me," Warlock said annoyed. Realizing that there was truth to his statement, Warlock recanted. "Very well, if I must," he said.
"Good. I will need you to reform your Watch and include the Silver Surfer in your team for Maxam. If he can bring any friends, that would also be acceptable."
"They no longer possess their Infinity gems, but I suppose you know that already," Warlock stared at Thanos.
Thanos stared back.
Warlock sighed and looked away. The Silver Surfer did owe him a favor for his help in bringing back Shalla Bal from the dead, but Warlock had wished to save it for a day when he really needed his help. It appeared he would not have that luxury.
Meanwhile, the Avengers conversed.
"He just can't be trusted!" Moondragon shouted, annoyed that some were considering going through with this.
"Quite frankly, milady," Thor began, "The Elders do pose a threat that thine cannot ignore. Though the Titan be a most vile creature, he doth possess the word of a nobleman."
"If the Elders are up to something big, we may not be able to stop them if we wait too long," Quasar shared his opinion.
"Yes, but can we even stop them now?" Iron Man voiced pessimism.
Captain America stood up after having heard several people speak both for and against the possible new assignment. "Though this in no way demeans our friend Quasar here, it would appear that it is beyond us to be able to take out the Elders as a group alone. If you have studied the Avengers files, you will know that the Elders present a faction that have plagued us for a long time." He paused looking around to each member sitting around the table, "Though I am leery to pair up with a villain such as Thanos, past events have shown us that he does possess a sort of honor and that he keeps his word."
Everyone stood silent as usual when Captain America spoke. His beliefs were well respected by all and everyone would hear him out without interruptions.
"Anyone who does not wish to go may step down now," he said finally. The room's dead silence filled the air as each one looked around to see who would be the one not to perform what they and Captain America felt was their duty. "Excellent," the Captain smiled. He had hoped that the somewhat new team, with the reserves, would unite as one. He was proud that they had. Deep inside he hoped this would not be the last time.
Continued in Chapter 5: Double King Pawn Opening. Be sure to also visit the Elders Quest Archive Page if you have not yet read the Prologue or first two chapters of Elders Quest. If you aren't sure exactly why the elders would want to punish Thanos, then be sure to read our review of Marvel's Thanos Quest mini-series at the Silver Surfer Website... Now leave us your comments and suggestions below.