Marvel/DC: Shards of Destiny #6
Written by Jim "WarlorTVor"
Seals and Jeff "Anomaly" Olson, Edited by Jim Seals
Shards of Destiny
Lessons Part One: Stranger Bedfellows
***For previous chapters, go to the Marvel/DC Cosmic Crossovers Archive***
His body was heavily muscled and his costume seemed indistinguishable from his flesh and bone. A esoteric icon adorned his chest shaped in the Terrain letter "S." But it seemed much more than a mere embalm it is a symbol of power, perhaps royalty. These thought filled Thanos of Titan's mind as an unbreakable fist bludgeoned the Titan across his ship, slamming him into a wall of immovable admantium, a metal bonded with an unknown element, which makes it capable of surviving a nuclear explosion at ground zero.
Thanos smiled as he spit out one of his teeth, rivulets of blood appeared around the corners of his mouth. "Your kind always believes that brute force can always win the day, that power alone makes one invincible."
"We shall see," said Superman, as he moved at incredible speeds. So fast, in fact, that he nearly became invisible, moving like a whirlwind, he pummeled the Mad Titan relentlessly, with no end in sight. Thanos teleported out of existence, in his hand a small circular device was present, a hellish glint painted his eyes.
Wonder Women called out, "Superman!" But he was already in convulsions as his body was wrapped in wave after wave of seizures.
"Lessons learned the true prize. Speed alone is not the only way to move swiftly. There is at least one benefit to the nero-disrupter you will at least not remember the pain you are presently experiencing, but perhaps you will prove me wrong," Thanos smiled demonically.
Thanos teleported again just in time to evade Thor's hammer, Mjolnir's, holy wrath that was leashed upon the already helpless Superman. This time the Titan teleported behind Wonder Women quickly taking her out with a blow that paralyzed certain bundles of nerve clusters just under her throat.
"You must do better then this!" boomed Thanos. "I have already used the same tactic twice! Once against the muscled miscreant, and have removed two from the field of battle, with the utmost of ease." Thanos dropped his nero-disrupter as the god of thunder began to generate a windstorm. Mjolnir lanced forward and struck Thanos on the cheek, literally deforming it before the force of the supernatural hammer's might.
Thanos then reformed and grinned sardonically. "Thanos always stays true to himself little god-ling!"
While Thanos engaged Thor, the Hulk, who had the merged intelligence of Doctor Robert "Bruce" Banner, the greatest gamma nuclear scientist on his earth, picked up the discarded weapon and prepared for a different approach.
The Hulk laughed to himself, "We shall see how you like having the same tactic used twice on you, Thanos of Titan. Depressing the only button, he prepared to undo Thanos with his own technology. As Thor and Thanos clashed and mystical might filled the ship, the merged Hulk prepared for the cout de tout. Hulk laughed again as he depressed the switch.
Then a great roar filled the ship as the Hulk fell to the ground in convulsions. "Let this session be over," said Thanos. And with that Thor stopped his attack
"Didst thou have to use such force, Titian. We are allies."
"Our mission could mean the end for two universes. One which I am apart of. To answer your question thunderer - No I don't think I was too hard. If anything they have proved to be weak mindless simpletons, and sadly lacking in combat tactics. It is quite obvious to me that they are used to having their foes fall down and tremble at their name, I am not such a foe, nor is the one we shall purloin the shard from."
Thanos looked at his instrumentation, and put a gauntleted hand on his purple chin. The main frames binomial sequencer was off; it was shown as something that could be just a variant, and was quit normal for his binomial sequencer. But something seemed to reek of subterfuge. This ship was built for speed and recognizance, so it was limited by what it carried, and didn't have mage particle matrix.
Thanos took some readings off his belt, which was connected to the larger computer. He relayed the readings to a computer that he kept on his farm planet, and then he waited.
"Is something wrong Titan, I have detected something strange. But cannot pinpoint its location but one thing I'm sure of, and that's who has the capabilities for this level of technology Darkseid!" Superman declared.
"Leave me," Thanos waved him away. "I must consider our next course of action." The Mad Titan turned as the being called Superman joined his comrades, and waited for his nano-computer which was largely powered by mage particles, mystical symbols that made up the computers matrix, as opposed to numbers, or quantum science.
"The trace is complete," said Thanos. And with that Thanos vanished. A black speckled residue flashed in the air for a few moments after his physical form had departed. Then was gone as well.
Interlude To Find a God
When the one who was called was summoned to his realm - which was not a realm at all - his eyes bore witness to the unimaginable. It was a realm no being had ever seen. His eyes first saw a great whirlwind, and a black cloud engulfing the one called the Living Tribunal. Lightning spider-webbed in all directions and a great rainbow was seen overhead with four living creatures circling him. Each creature having four faces, and four pairs of wings, and four legs, their legs were like men but their feet were like those of calves.
The four living creatures danced in the whirlwind, and a great cloud covered the Tribunal's true countenance.
"You who are called have been summoned to find the ones who lie in the void. Go mighty heralds seek ye the Brothers." When the Tribunal spoke lightning crashed and the four living creatures began to dance in the whirlwind, and then the one who was called was gone.
The one who was called had blond hair, and a chin that was like that of the race known as Skrulls, his body was thick and heavily muscled, and his skin was golden like bronze. On his face was a thick mustache that was as white as wool, and a great tunic that was red and green. It was the one who called who performed the duties of the Living Tribunal, but this was only the second time he had been summoned since the creation of all things.
Upon entering the void the one who was called was surrounded by a starless void. And a construction of unimaginable proportions stood before him. The sheer size of the constriction was enormous to take in as it seemed to go on and on, the more one tried to it all in the more one realized there was more to be taken in. It seemed to go on to the far stretches of infinity and then some.
"What do you think we will find here," said the one who was called as if he were having a conversation with itself.
"It is quite apparent, that the brothers are being held within the construct," said the being to itself in response.
"There is something most dire here, and even our joining will not be able to prevent its coming."
"I find it most distasteful to share my consciousness with three lesser beings," said one of the voices to itself, its tone condescending and quite distinct from the other two. One of the voices was like the grave, the other was deep, but its tone was even, and the third was detached almost cauterized.
"We must move forward I sense the Brothers within," said the detached voice to the others.
The herald of the Tribunal walked forward toward the strange architecture, not like anything that he had seen before, nor anything else for that matter. Myriad shapes were bound in manners that defied physics, and magics alike. The substance was like stone in constancy, shared the reflective quality of glass, and seemed breathe as if alive.
"What do you think we will find," said the voice that was like the grave. "It is like nothing I have seen even in the midst of Lord Chaos and Master Orders realm."
"I have collected all the races that are strange and unusual, and even I must confess of the alien nature," said the one who's tone was deep, and seemed to think himself above the other consciousness that he had been merged with.
The detached voice spoke, "I believe the reason we are still separate is because we have not come across our goal as of yet."
The herald was suddenly drowned in a sea of insects, he tried to fight, but they seemed capable of evading him by becoming intangible.
"You cannot hurt we," the insects roared as one. "We exist in all realms at all times"
"It is true," said the arrogant voice. "It is peeling away even our flesh, our power even combined is not enough."
Bolts of energy could not touch it anymore then trying to grasp at them, and soon even the herald of the Living Tribunal would be consumed. A golden hand reached inside a hidden cache and pulled forth an emerald gem, its intensity growing ever brighter, as the three consciences were suddenly melded into a miniature form of the Tribunal itself. The emerald gem exploded forth its energy tendrils like a nuclear explosion, and not even their power to exist in all realms was insignificant. There was a great cry, and the swarm was gone.
The Living Tribunal construct then separated into its components of Adam Warlock, Thanos of Titan, and the enigmatic being called the Stranger. The three of them were whisked before the Spectre and the Living Tribunal.
"You have done well. The Brother is found. The Spectre has located the other."
"I do not recall finding the Brother," queried the Stranger.
"Of course," said Thanos. "It was all a manner of perspective, Stranger, we were inside the Brother all along, what we had first mistaken as a construct was the Brother himself." A gleam of satisfaction could be seen in his deadly gaze. "But now that my task here is now complete Tribunal!" He turned toward the gold form before him and the others. "I must take my leave of this odd coupling for my task at Apokolips has not yet been completed."
The Living Tribunal nodded (or at least thats how Thanos perceived it as, taking into consideration that the Living Tribunal had no neck to speak of it was somewhat hard to tell). "You may."
And then he initiated a teleportation device that he pulled from under his gold belt and was gone.
"The memories already begin to fade," said Adam Warlock. "I doubt a mortal mind could long contain such visions."
"What visions?" said the Stranger in a haughty manner. "I am part of the cosmic gathering?"
"Then you must have been aware that the three of us were the fourth head of the tribunal, the head that exists between god and man. I for one do not take pleasure in all these ascensions and decisions." Warlock added with a sly grin, "But I would rather be a man, God-hood is to fickle for my taste."
Stranger departed, as did the Living Tribunal leaving Adam Warlock standing in the vast sea of stars alone.
Before him events unfold that threatened to destroy the universe. Both universes, in fact, and he watched and waited for his cue.
Superman sat with his other comrades. Wonder Women, Hulk, and the Asgardian thunder god Thor.
"Thy countenance doth look dire, capped one," brooded Thor, as he held the majority of his weight upon his enchanted hammer Mjolnir, which sat upon a simple metal table.
"I am sorry," said Kal El. "But I don't trust this Thanos anymore then I do Darkseid. From what I understand he has threatened your universe at least as many times as Darkseid has mine. If not more."
Hulk sat in an Indian stance, with a large green hand on his chin, which seemed to mimic Rhodans the Thinker, but the hulk was no statue, the events of the day made him fidgety and anxious.
"I agree, but if our universe stands a chance this guy can pull it off," said the Hulk who talked more like Banner, his alter ego, then the incredible Hulk, a monster that often terrorized the army, at least as much as any Japanese monster ever did. "
Wonder Women second the Hulk's position. "If the twin gods of the Living Tribunal, and the Spectre have chosen, then perhaps there is no reason to worry. Besides worrying will not get us the shards."
"Thou speaketh wise, whose visage doth be the spitting image of Lady Sif herself," Thor declared.
"I wouldn't be to confident," Superman added two more of his cents into the conversation. "Darkseid is as deadly as they comes. His Omega beams can erase anything retroactively as if it didn't even exist. And even more deadly then his Omega beams is his mind."
To Be Continued . . .
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