Elders Quest Chapter 7
Written by Mystic, Edited by Morfex
If you have not yet read the the Prologue or first six chapters yet, click here now!
Chapter 7: Philidor's Defense*
"Im not sure why Im here," Iron Man spoke to the Silver Surfer as they flew over the southern hemisphere of the planet. "I mean its not like I have anywhere close to the speed needed to defeat this guy."
"Im afraid we will need more than speed to defeat him," the Silver Surfer responded as he soared alongside the Avenger. "As it is, I was beaten last time this Elder and I faced each other."
"You were beaten?" Iron Man asked. "Then what chance do we have?"
"I believe, you are here in hopes that your creativity may win us the battle."
Iron Man did not answer. They were out powered easily by virtually any Elder. It did not help that this Elder gave you no time to
A thousand, a million, a billion punches were registered on Iron Mans external sensors within less than a second time frame. The rockets abruptly cut off in mid air as his armor suffered a delayed reaction from the Elders assault.
The Silver Surfer turned around in time to see Iron Man beginning to fall. He rushed over to catch him but a blur immediately appeared obstructing his path.
The blur stopped.
The Elder known as the Runner focused into view. He smiled at the Surfer.
"Move out of my way," Norrin said beginning to power his hands. He would have to hurry if he were going to save his partner from a hard fall.
"Ill tell you what," the Runner said. "Im a sportsman. If you agree to race me for the winner of our match-up, there will be no need for bloodshed or any violence. Agreed?"
Watching Iron Man fall made the Surfer react quickly. "Agreed," the Surfer responded quickly.
The Runner shot up into the sky.
The Surfer rushed down at incredible speeds. At about two feet of the ground, his board slid under Iron Mans limp armor mere moments from the grounds crashing embrace. The Surfer arched his path toward a nearby clearing where he set the Avenger down.
"Systems rebooting," Tony said shakily. He had regained some movement of his arms as the backup systems engaged. He shook his head left to right. "That guy is unbelievable!"
Backup systems engaged. Tony stood up and looked around. His armors telemetry futile tried scanning for any trace of the Elder. "Where did he go?"
"He has challenged me to a race. I have accepted his challenge."
"Are you sure you can beat him?" Iron Man asked worried.
"No. But I have given my word," the Surfer said. With nothing left to say, he cleared into the sky heading into space.
A few seconds passed and a silvery figure approached a still golden one.
"I am ready, Runner."
"Great!" he said with his usual smile.
The Silver Surfer observed him. There was something so reminiscent in his smile. Eros and he would surely get along quite well. As it stood, the Runner was almost the anti-thesis of himself, if that were possible. Care free, with seemingly no worries. How unlike the guilt he rode with on a daily basis. His condemning of countless billions would never leave him, no matter how long he lived. But he had made himself a promise to never follow that path again. He would fight on the side of good and help others save others. He would make up for what he had done in ignorance.
"I am ready," the Silver Surfer said poised, frowning, determined. His eyes closed slightly as he leaned forward, alert. His slender body was frozen with his knees bent forward.
"We follow the spiral edge of each arm of the Andromeda Galaxy until we come back to this point Go!" he abruptly said and took off.
The Silver Surfer was not caught unawares as he himself took off. The Elders were all deceitful. Competitive and deceitful. They would do anything to get an edge.
Stars soared by quickly at velocities too incredible to imagine. Neck and neck, the cosmic duo, currently a silver and golden comet, hurdled through space tracing the paths of the very edges of the Andromeda Galaxy. Already they had traversed over a quarter of the entire path.
Now passing halfway toward their goal, the Runner slowly began edging forward. He turned to look at Norrin and laughed never breaking his running rhythm.
"No," the Surfer thought. "The Power Cosmic is mine to command. Galactus has infused me with the ability to channel a limitless power. I will do it!" he said to himself struggling. "I can do it!" Slowly, he began absorbing cosmic power from his ambience. His eyes began to crackle as he filled himself with untold amounts of the Power Cosmic.
The lead began diminishing as they both approached three quarters of the way toward their finish line. The Surfer tried harder, clenching his teeth. The lead diminished more.
The Runner looked at him, now almost neck and neck again. He had stopped smiling. A serious determination showed now on his face. They both hurled toward the finish line, both pulling from within, giving everything they had and more.
Space suddenly ruptured, creating a line directly in front of them. A hole in space opened thousands of light years in front of them extremely close to and slightly past the finish line. Glowing with energy, it seemed to pulse rhythmically.
The Runner and the Surfer were heading straight toward it. The Runner realized he would not enter quickly enough to close it and prevent the Surfer from entering. He looked over toward the planet they had been on, which having come full circle, was already in view. Iron Man had decided to come into space to watch the ending. He carried an oddly shaped gun, apparently made from parts of his own armor. It was clear he was struggling, as his suit was not one built for space. He had apparently modified some functions, and rerouted power to enable his other circuits to function temporarily.
The Runner looked at the Surfer and smiled. He lifted his hand and fired at Iron Man.
Iron Man did the same firing his gun light years in front of the Runner.
"No!" Surfer yelled as he broke off his flight path and intercepted the energy blast with his body before it could hit Iron Man. The blast knocked him off the board, but he was all right. It was clear the Runner had not intended for it to be a powerful blast. In fact, it was more likely that he knew the Surfer would take the hit and he wanted the Surfer to survive.
Iron Mans blast exploded sending, in effect, a tachyon pulse disruptor shock-wave. The wave hit the Runner like a brick wall causing him to hurl back several hundred light years. He had underestimated the armored human, but a quick recovery enabled him to get back on his path and enter the rupture in space. It was lucky he had diverted the Silver Surfer from the path or the Surfer would have won.
Confused, the Surfer turned around to see the Runner enter the rupture. A blinding flash of light followed as though a supernova had occurred. When the Surfer looked again, the Runner was standing in front of him glowing.
"I suppose youre confused," he said laughing. "The Grandmaster theorized of a new power source that existed in another universe. He then formulated that if myself and another could put enough pressure on one plane of space, we could possibly rupture it and gain access to this new source."
"So you manipulated me to get access to this source?" the Surfer said feeling used. Immediately he realized he should have expected some ulterior motives. He was dealing with people like Warlock and Thanos. Clearly they were all in the same class when it came to the game of deceit.
"The source is known in its native universe as the Speed Force," the Runner continued. "And my friend, I now have access to this power source added to the Power Primordial."
"And for what purpose do you want this?" the Silver Surfer frowned.
"Ah-ah," the Runner nodded smiling happily. "Thats enough answers." Abruptly, he took off toward a corner of the planet.
The Silver Surfer looked around. Disappointed, he picked up Iron Man on his board and headed back to the planet to the temporary headquarters they had created.
He would report his failure.
Continued in Elders Quest Chapter 8: King's Gambit. And be sure to visit the Elders Quest Archive Page if you have not yet read the Prologue or first five 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.