Silver Surfer: Playing God - Part One of Two
Written by Rick Lundeen, Edited by James
I'm cold as I skim the spaceways through the many star clusters and nebulea that fill this wonder of wonders, the Universe. Doubtless you've heard that no temperature can affect me. It is true that no outward phenomena could blister nor chill my silver skin. What chills me to the bone is the desperate race I undertake. The things I am considering doing. The woman I've loved more than life itself for lo these many centuries, is dying. And whatever gods there be, I pray that I'm doing the right thing. For it truly is one of the more selfish things I've ever done. As galaxies pass before me, I yearn to stop and investigate so many beautiful and awe-inspiring things that even I have never before seen but the thoughts leave my head as quickly as they come for a determination drives me past any speed I'd ever before achieved. Closer, ever closer do I come to Zenn-la, planet of my birth. My greatest pride, my greatest shame. The planet where my love.....my Shalla-bal awaits me with her dying breath.
I believe myself to be responsible for this turn of events as much as any other factor. When Galactus came to Zenn-la so many years ago, it was my choice to offer my services as herald, seeking out energy-rich planets on which the world-devourer could feed. It was then I left a heart-broken Shalla-bal to a misery that we would share for all time. When I turned against my master in a bid to protect planet Earth with the help of Alicia Masters and the Fantastic Four, so many years ago, my every thought was still consumed with my beloved. Even my subsequent enforced exile on Earth and years later, with the help of Reed Richards, my escape, always was she on my mind. I remember going back to Zenn-la then to find a destroyed world, evidence of Galactus's further punishment for my earlier betrayal. Even more ironic to learn that my Shalla-bal had been taken off planet and placed on Earth for my own unsuspecting tortue by the lord of the underworld, Mephisto. Needless to say I played the hand that fate dealt me and even though I could not go home with her, I made sure that she brought life back to Zenn-la. But she's suffered so much, for this I cannot forgive myself.
As I approached my birth-world and neared the place of my beloved's place of waiting, I could sense her....she was still alive....I was not too late!! I streaked through the capital, winding through the many streets and fairways until I reached her home. Outside were throngs of admirers, waiting. I all but ignored them as I leapt from my board and raced inside to see my beloved. The sight to which I was greeted burned itself into my memory for all time. A frail shell of a once beautiful woman lay at the brink of death itself. I approached.
Her voiced cracked.."I knew......you'd come....beloved..". Just that small utterance exhausted her.
"It's alright, my love. I'm here now. All will be well." I said as I stood, reaching above her, summoning the power cosmic. I wondered if I'd have the courage to commit such an act. Now I had my answer. Though as the power started to build around her. She spoke.
"No, Norrin Radd.." she croaked, "..you must not...cannot...do this...!" She fell silent once again. "Shalla-bal, my love you know I can make you well again, young again with my power, why do you stay my hand?!?!"
"Because," she whispered,"..you are not the All-being. This would be wrong to tamper with. You and I both know this." She reached up and kissed me. And as she lay her head back onto the pillow she whispered..."..I've always loved you Norrin..I always will...."
She was gone. I stood and summoning my power cosmic to me, I absorbed what remaining energy was still left of my love, drawing it into me. No words were spoken by any of the assembled masses. I left the city, my homeland, my planet. There truly was nothing there for me now. I wouldn't return. Some unknown time and distance later, I began to weep. I could not stop. I simply sped on and on, wanting nothing to do with anything or anyone. Years would pass, my wanderlust not being sated for some time. My love and I raced through the cosmos. Nothing would stand in our way.
And finally, one day, I came upon a system I had never before encountered. It looked to be a beautiful, serene planet. With no ryhme or reason, I traveled down to meet its inhabitants. I decided there and then, if they would have me, the Silver Surfer will have found a home.
Elysia. The name cannot do this planet justice. I sit on my porch watching the world pass by. Occasionally, an alut scampers by, chasing it's prey, knowing enough not to come too close by, fearing man. I see it stalk a small gjott, plucking it of the tree limb it had landed on. The gjott had no idea what-so-ever that it's time had come but the end was merciful. There was a time that I would've saved the gjott's life, not knowing that to do so would in actuality disrupt the natural order of things here. This particular morning happened to be what would pass as the end of my 25th year on this world. A very happy time indeed. One of the many factors that added to the seclusion ...the serenity of this world was it's distance from any other inhabited planet. There would never be a contingent of Kree, Sontaran or Breen armed forces looking to use this planet as a stepping stone in any war of theirs. In essence, there had been no extra-terrestrial visitors to this world for as long as could be remembered. That these beings knew of anyway.
I decided to keep my identity secret, lo, those many years ago. Adopting the guise of a foreigner to their land. Elysia could name only a half million inhabitants here, on this peaceful world of farming. Yes, life was simple. I mimicked their appearance, their look being somewhat similar to the standard bipedal form, found throughout a fair portion of my travels with their lanky, 7 ft frames, three fingered hands and dark, bristly hair. Never did I show them my abilities for fear of the natural reaction to one such as I....the unknown. Of course I felt the guilt of my secret but I............I was accepted here. One would think that I'd tire of such games. Not so. For a chance to live a life unencumbered by the cosmic responsibilities that had plagued me through my days? I would play the game. But on one certain day, that game came to an end.
The monthly gathering of the families had begun on a truly beautiful day. The orange Elysian sky was tinged with varied red clouds with the occasional purple hi-light. The sun wasn't as harsh as it had been recently and we all had enjoyed it immensely. As always, the children had gathered around me to hear more of my tales of high adventure. We'd assembled near one of the larger trees in the meadow and I began my stories. All true stories, but the children need not know that. Far into my third tale. I'd noticed the absence of one of my smaller charges. I looked around and finally spotted him. My heart froze. Little Dant had wandered away from the group and managed to travel to the far side of the meadow and entered the holding pen of the herd of Ralna bulls that were kept out here. He was too young to know any better and I had become so engrossed in my own ramblings, I'd lost sight of him. He was well into the pen and in the distance, the bulls were just starting to take notice of him. While not usually mean-tempered animals, the Ralna bulls are protective over their young and their territory.
The Alpha-male began to charge at Dant. No one in the congregating families had yet to even notice Dant's life-threatening situation and even if they did, there would be no time in which to cover the distance in time to save him. Because he was my responsibility, I'd made my choice. The children I'd been reading to had simply continued staring at the space I had been sitting at even though I'd already disappeared in a flash, traveling at speeds unimaginable to anyone of this world. By the time they noticed I was gone, I had already reached young Dant, who was in stunned silence, trembling in the arms of a silver skinned stranger. An alien. Hovering several meters above the ground upon a silver board. He then stopped shivering and smiled. At that moment, his mother, however, screamed.
The friends I had known for so many years were now isolating themselves from me. They were making weapons in which to defend themselves. Against me. There seems to be a universal constant in that "you shall fear and hate that which you do not understand." It's quite common that I would experience more of this than most beings, considering my previous occupation. I did not hold it against these fine people.
It did present me with a problem though. I was ready to spend the majority of my remaining days here with these friends. Perhaps someday, I would even have taken a wife. This place was very special to me and now, not only had I destroyed my reputation here, but any 'stranger' who may ever set foot on these lands will be looked upon with far more suspicion. In one small step, I'd taken away these peoples' innocence. I found myself with nowhere to go...no one I could trust. Except one.
Hope you enjoyed this special reprint of one of our first fan fictions! Now, go read the other half of this now classic fan fiction. Then, check our WarlorTVor's sequel to Playing God, titled Tainting Eden, coming in Cosmic Powers Unlimited #25!