Marvel/DC: Shards of Destiny #5
Written by Jim "WarlorTVor"
Seals and Jeff "Anomaly" Olson, Edited by Jim Seals
Shards of Destiny
Gambit Part Three: Final Judgment
***For previous chapters, go to the Marvel/DC Cosmic Crossovers Archive***
"Eureka!" Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic, declared with a snap of his fingers, in sheer victor, a smile appearing on his face. He could hear the desperation in the Silver Surfers voice as he shouted something or another to Ben and Johnny, the battle with the rouge Celestial, God-Stalker, was not going well. In fact the best thing that they could do was beat him to a stand still. A stand still that didnt last longer than a few moments at best, an artificial, manufactured victory at worse.
But this should insure victory for them. He accessed the files and found the exact frequency that would bring them here! After finding it, he activated the main satellite dish that still had power to it, and was not harmed from their barrage a few moments earlier. Downloading the frequency into the main power conduits, he quickly made a short task of the work that would bring victory to them all.
On the screen it read, READY. All he had to do know was push a simple button. His finger waved over the crimson red touch button it started to lower, then the command centers floor started to violently shake back and forth, lunging under is feet. Reed Richards took a few steps away from the computer screen, Susan Richards was beside him, backing away from the temporary startled God-Stalker.
"Whats going on, Reed?" Susan asked, trying her best to mange to stay on her feet.
"I wish I knew, Darling," Mr. Fantastic answered.
Then suddenly the ground under them started to split in half and give way to a massive Goliath, named Galactus.
But then the Surfer noticed the deck plates under them were tearing asunder and shouted out, "Reed! Move!"
"Run! Susan!" Reed urged onward, they ran toward the far side of the command center, the chasm increasing in size behind them. "Move!"
Reed looked over back to the computer and swore under his breath staring at the screen that read READY, still running toward safe land that as just ahead. And the simplest of actions seemed to be the hardest at the moment and a universe away.
"Holy Aunt Petunia!" The Thing roared as he and Johnny Storm quickly fell back avoiding the great chasm that was being created in the center of the command room of the Watchers former base of operations. The Silver Surfer lowered himself beside the Thing and the Human Torch, on the other side of the chasm they cold see Reed and Sue, standing side-by-side.
The chasm stopped, and Galactus stood there towering over the unmoving Celestial. It was clear that within he was seething with hatred and fury directed toward the small being before him.
God-Stalker stood his ground.
"Time to die!" The green eyed devourer of worlds rumbled, his gaze rested unmoving upon the Celestial before him. "You will pay with your dearest blood for your transgression in arrogance."
God-Stalker laughed, releasing beams of energy outward slamming into the devourers chest. Galactus was not even taken aback from the sudden jolt of energy. He anticipated it. And without a moments hesitation the devourer of worlds released his own folly of energy, the green gold color beams a combination of the power cosmic and the alien energy within the power ring wielded by Green Lantern slammed right into the rouge Celestial, engulfing him in its unbridle fury.
Once the beams died down and the dust settled, God-Stalker stood there, laughing. "You can feel the power draining from within, cant you? The hunger is overwhelming you with each blast. Isnt it? How long do you truly believe that this futile battle will continue? A day? An hour? How about a minute? Youre dying. And with your death I shall defeat the Celestials, and put the universe back on its normal track of evolution! Order will be restored!"
"At the hands of a madman!" The Green Lantern roared soaring downward, along side the Silver Surfer. "I think not." Energy lunged forth harmlessly colliding with the force shield that he had just rectified over himself. God-Stalker laughed.
"I grow wearisome of this futile battle," he said. "Now my toying with you ends now!"
And as one, the God-Stalker opened fired, as did the Silver Surfer, Green Lantern and Galactus the beams met halfway and erupted upon the collision. A blinding white light resulted from the blast, all turned away shielding their eyes.
"Wh - - What happened?" Mr. Fantastic asked, picking himself off the ground, helping Susan Storm. "Susan are you alight?"
"Im fine," she murmured, rubbing her temples greatly, feeling a wave of dizziness wash over him. "Thank you."
Reed turned toward the battle in the center of the room only to see the impossible. God-Stalker stood there, unharmed, at his feet, the Surfer and Green Lantern. Galactus was using his massive gauntleted hand upon the remains of the ruined floor in order to hold himself up, the other one was placed upon his chest. He screamed allowed. The hunger was overcoming him once again, and this time with a vengeance.
"I must feed," Galactus declared.
"No . . ." he hushed, under his breath. "Not now! How can this be!"
"Your rivals have ended, Galactus. This ends now!"
They opened fire once again. And Richards knew that he had to get to that computer terminal. At all coast.
Green Lantern rolled over with a moan. He could feel the pounding in his head roaring in his eardrums. His vision was all a blur at first. What happened? He pondered, rolling over to see the Silver Surfer at his side. The Silver Surfer was lying face down on one of the pillars of earth that did not fall into the chasm when Galactus arose. Green Lantern rolled on his back and saw Galactus; his green eyes were fading and turning to its normal white. He was clutching his chest, as if experiencing a heart attack or something. He was moaning.
Green Lantern propped himself up on the palms of his hands, staring up onto the battle that was being waged between the Human Torch and the Thing. He looked around in the hopes to find Mr. Fantastic or the Invisible Woman, but the dust was to thick he could hardly make anything out. He arose to a slumped position trying to regain his hold on things.
"This is it!" Benjamin J. Grim roared taking point, and slamming his clenched rocky fist onto the protective shield around the Celestial. He was hammering away with all his might and strength and still he wasnt evening making a dent in the damn thing. He seriously doubted that even the rampaging Hulk could even take this shield down. He watched as even the Human Torchs nova blast werent making a dent in the thing, nor was Susan Richards barrage of her invisible force field that she manipulated and turned into a weapon.
"Yes . . . it is . . ." And with a wave of God-Stalkers hand he sent the massive rock beast soaring backward colliding with an ancient rock millstone that chronicled the events before time, it gave way to mere chunks of rock debris, cascading upon him. "Now its your turn!" He turned his attention toward the Human Torch who was still airborne and lancing several flaming affronts upon the rouge Celestial. God-Stalker slowly approached the youngest member of the Fantastic Four; a hellish glint shinned beneath his thick black visor.
"Johnny, look out!" Susan called forth, watching the blast of energy lance out from the Celestials chest even before her brother did. And when he did there was no time to try to evade it. It slammed into him, knocking the wind out of him, and sending him on the verge of blacking out and loosing consciousness. "No!" Sue called out, with a wave of her hand she erected a force field around the Celestials armored form. Slowly it started to constrict upon itself, she had hoped that by doing this, over time the protective shielding around God-Stalker would be so taxed that it would cave in on itself leaving him open for attack.
But it didnt.
God-Stalker crouched himself into the fetal position, conserving his energies into a massive blue ball of flaming energy that started to engulf him. Susan Richards watched intensifying the invisible force field. Green Lantern watched, dazed, all around the protective shield in shimmered in crimson red sparks, the invisible field closing its grasp around the mad God-Stalker. Then with a massive roar, the seven-foot Celestial arose abruptly releasing the flame energy in every which direction, shattering both his protective shield and the force field holding him prisoner. The abrupt force of brute energy slammed into the Invisible Woman send her staggering back, clutching her temple, moans of pain escaped her lush red lips.
"Susan!" Reed called stretching his arm forth reaching toward his dazed wife.
"No!" Green Lantern called out; unexpectedly he was on his feet, the green power ring on his hand gleaming a dark shade of green energy, a hellish and demented smirk danced across his triangular face. Judging from his stance the Green Lantern was just itching for another bout or two with the Celestial. "Return to your work on the terminal! Ill handle God-Stalker."
Green Lantern noticed that the energy use had taxed the Celestial greatly, he staggered back, trying to regain his bearings. And thats when the Green Lantern stroked out, giving it all he got. The green beams slammed into his armored form with a vengeance, sending the God-Stalker backing up, he world around him spinning.
"Green Lantern!" Reed Richards called out, stretching his body to the maximum reaching toward the computer that continued to flash that same message; ACCESS GRANTED it flashed on the screen over and over again. "Keep him at bay as long as you can," after scanning the terminal once again he said, "it should only take a matter of a few moments."
"Then you shall have those moments, Mr. Fantastic!" Green Lantern said, sending God-Stalker colliding onto the floor.
"Call me Reed," Mr. Fantastic corrected, his hands flying across the screen.
Green Lantern gave of a brisk nod in the mans direction and smiled briefly.
He nodded once again, his attention temporally turned from the battle, and when it returned the last thing he saw was the armor clad fist of the Celestial right before it slammed against his jaw, almost shattering it.
Reed quickly made short work of the task at hand, having to realign the satellite, and since the batteries had had more than ample time to charge fully it was merely a matter of opening up the magnetic constrictors and allowing the rare plasma energy to be sent through the machinery into the main communication array. The task was completed in a matter of a few moments.
Mr. Fantastic swirled his head around a hundred eighty degrees, an advantage of his elastic skin, and saw that the God-Stalker was plummeting the Green Lantern with his iron fist. He also noticed that the Surfer arose once again. He leaped onto his board and soared upward, coming down at a steep down earthward angle, blast of the power cosmic lancing forth, slamming the Celestial unexpectedly, giving time for the Green Lantern to launch his own barrage of energy upon the unshielded God-Stalker. And it was then for that briefest of moments that God-Stalker felt the dreaded sense of defeat upon him.
Richards turned back to his work. His hands racing against the controls in a blur of white light.
"Meddlesome locus!" God-Stalker bellowed, back handing Green Lantern to the floor and releasing beams of pure fire upon the flying Surfer, missing him by sheer inches. The Surfer in one swift stroke swung his hand around and unleashed another barrage of power cosmic onto the Celestial.
"Reed! he called forth, quickly turning about nearly avoiding another blast. "Whatever youre doing you had better make it quick. I cannot avoid God-Stalkers attack forever, and from the looks of it, our friend Kyle Rayner will not last another round as Ben would put it with the mad one, either." The Silver Surfer soared downward and heading straight to the aid of Green Lantern. Without taking into count the risk to his person he rammed his surfboard straight into the mid-section of God-Stalker, sending him flying backward a few yards before stopping himself, the rims of the board in his iron grasp.
"You have committed a grave mistake, Death-Bringer," God-Stalker said, then with a quick show of brute strength sent the Surfer flying across the command center, and with unimaginable energy, God-Stalker shattered the ex-heralds board, into a thousand separate pieces. "I will not be denied!"
With a signal motion Reed Richards slammed the back of his hand upon the "enter" button, and the God-Stalker was deprived of both his holy plans and his vary existence.
"Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!" God-Stalker screamed aloud, realizing what was happening. The frequency was intoned with that of the other Celestials, they would soon come. "Damn you, Richards!" he bellowed turning his attention to the man at the counsel. "It is to early! My plans have not yet harvested! This cannot end this way!"
Soon the heavens around the base crackled with energy. The normal running lights were activated and the image of one red armored Celestial appeared, and God-Stalker could feel something that he had never experienced in all his millions of centuries existence: Terror.
"Arishem the Judge!" Galactus hushed, his vision was blurring and he could feel life slipping from his grasp, as the hunger overcame him.
The Celestial stood there and assessed the situation. God-Stalker stood in the midst of the war torn Watcher retreat. Off in one corner the Fantastic Four had gathered, the Invisible Woman was adding the Silver Surfer to his feet. Galactus stood in the mist of a massive chasm and an unknown man slowly started to rise to his feet, battered and bruised, blood running down from the corner of his mouth. The stranger stood, and slowly started to back away from the God-Stalker; as to not to attract any unneeded attention to himself.
Arishem the Judge made his judgment. He raised his hand up, his thumb standing straight upward, then ever so slowly it started to tip earthward. The signal was clear: Guilty. And the God-Stalker knew how it felt to be condemned; he had participated in the act for generations passed to know the look on others faces and know it was surging through him at that vary moment in time.
"No! This cannot be! I cannot be denied! I will not fail!" God-Stalker roared. And slowly he started to fade away into the nothingness in which he came. And with that Arishem vanished, with a mere nod of his head in the direction of the Fantastic Four, in general, and Mr. Fantastic in specific.
They stared at each other for a moment or two. No one spoke. They stared at each other. The Silver Surfer stood over the shattered remains of his board; Green Lantern stood at his side. With a simple wave of his hands the pieces reassembled themselves and once again the board was whole, enclosed in a blue hue that dissipated into nothingness upon his stepping upon it. The Four had slowly made the approach toward the two men responsible for their being there. Richards looked around the remains and stared the shattered remains and said, "I believe an explanation is in order, gentlemen."
Once the explanation was completed and Mr. Fantastic was satisfied with the answer they turned toward the breathing hard Galactus. "I . . . hunger . . ." he hushed, breathlessly. "I . . . must feed . . . or death . . . will dawn upon . . . us all . . . And I am afraid earth is the only suitable world for my hunger . . . There is no other way . . . to save two universes . . . your world must be sacrificed . . . I am truly sorry . . ."
"No you will not, Devourer of Worlds," a haunting voice rang out, all turned to see a dark creature descend upon the floor, he hovered there, his body was the revealed the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos which he inhabited and controlled to some degree. Spatial bodies graced his elegant form: such as novas, and star clusters and black wholes, all things seen in the heavens above can be seen upon casting ones gaze upon this one being. He stared into the devourers weak eyes. And he felt compassion for his brother, the force of nature.
"Eternity!" the Silver Surfer bellowed.
"I have been sent by the Living Tribunal and Access here to assist in your retrieval, Brother. For you are a shard of what was once a glass sphere known as the Reflections of Destiny, containing the life energies of the two Brothers the creators of both our universe and our twin universe. It is now my task as it is the Living Tribunals and Access and a being known as the Spectres to gather all of these shards for The Gathering a cosmic event of such vastness that not even you nor I can truly even begin comprehend its magnitude. From this point on by order of the Living Tribunal himself until The Gathering is completed, your hunger will be suspended. When The Gathering is completed and all is set into motion as the ancient text dictate your hunger will cease to bother you for three earth cycles known as months, allowing you time to find a world for your feeding outside of earth."
"I do not . . . understand . . . Brother Eternity . . ."
"I do not expect you to, mighty world devourer. But your understanding is not needed, nor wanted." With a wave from Eternitys hand, Galactus could feel the hunger beating within him silence. He could feel the power cosmic returning to him. Could feel new life breathing anew within his mighty bosom. He arose to his feet, rising from the chasm. His eyes crackled with the power cosmic. "As I said, your hunger will not disturb you. Come," Eternity beckoned for the Green Lantern and the Surfer to accompany him and without uttering so much as a word in protest they complied with Eternitys commands. "Our time for departure is long last past. I bid you farewell Fantastic Four . . . and my eternal thanks for your assistance, in the defeat of the God-Stalker." In a wake of mere swirling winds that encompassed the all four cosmic beings assembled in the center of the command arena and once the dust settled and the whirlwind was no more they vanished, into nothingness.
They were gone leaving the Fantastic Four starring up into the stars above wondering what was going to happen next.
To Be Continued . . .
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