Thanos: Dead Men Tell No Tales #2
Written by Anomaly, Edited
"DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES"
INTERLUDE- THE MYTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE
"He who fears he will suffer already suffers from his fear." Michael D Montaigne
His name meant foreseeing but he could not foresee the power hungry actions of Zeus against Kronus or foresee that a rumor of a dubious nature would be one of the factors that would put him in a position most dire. He was seized by Kratos (strength) and Bia (force) and carried off to the mountain of the Caucasus. Their Hephaestus chained him to the high rock by the orders of Zeus himself.
The new king of the gods would break the will of the one who opposed him. This one was called Prometheus. He stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. For his crime, he was to be chained to the great rock with shackles of unbreakable adamantium. Bitter cold would torture him at night, and in the morn, the great vulture would come to eat out his liver. However, his healing ability always compensated and it always grew back. He was for all practical purposes immortal, and though he could not die by conventional means, he had often wished he could.
This cycle was to continue for eternity or longer, so was the decree of Zeus himself. But never would Prometheus yield to the tortures of Zeus, though the chains of adamantium did bind, always was his mind free: Free to roam, to dream, to escape the torture put upon him. But perhaps he had done it to himself, for he had always been able to see through to men's hearts and even the gods themselves. He could have easily outwitted them. During his trial, he came to know the forces of Thanatos and Eros on a daily basis. That both concepts were neither good nor evil but merely pieces in the grand mosaic. During the greatest moments of pain, such as when his liver were being devoured, he contemplated whether the secret was true? What did Zeus fear? Knowledge? What was it that drove the king of the gods to chain Prometheus to the rock and dethrone kronus? Prometheus was different then most of their ilk. He did not transform into beasts and have lusty escapes with unwary maidens. Nor did he practice their licentious behavior. In many ways, the gods were worst than men.
Then one morn, as the vulture was tearing at his liver, he had a vision . A vision of a New World, a world free of strife and decadence and this gave him hope in the midst of his own darkness. At the very moment of his epiphany, a great hand crushed the larynx of the vulture in one hand. Only one had such power and that was Hercules, who was dressed in similar raiment and wielded like power. He went by the name of the Forgotten One. He used his vast strength to pull the shackles from the rock and to bring Prometheus from the mountain. He was brought to another place, a place of majesty that rivaled Olympus itself. The denizens were remarkably similar to the Olympians and then he concluded the secret was true, he was indeed a member of another race of god-like beings they called him by his new name. His true name "Mentor."
THE TREE OF GOOD AND EVIL
"One has not watched life very observantly if one has never seen the hand that kills
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Titan was a world that pursued knowledge in all its various forms: art, science, philosophy and religion. It sought what the earth philosopher Plato would call the Republic. A society that lived not by consuming products and losing one's self in material idolatry, as many of earth's populace had done. Instead, it sought spiritual and intellectual development. Even though, it was an admirable goal Mentor knew it had been tried before. In the 1980s, the earth nation Russia had used the philosophy of communism to enslave its populace. To facilitate the integration but not have a true authority.
Titan would require an ingredient that other civilizations did not have, an intercessor of sorts, this ingredient was the autonomous AI enigma I.S.SA.C and with it was Mentor's brainchild: the intergalactic web.
It allowed communication through a series of independent AI units sent out through the galaxy. Since much of their thought was independent and unknowable even to Mentor, it was not exactly sure how they accomplished their goal, for all things that lived evolved, and the AI programs did this with remarkable results. The web had established contact with virtually every sentient race in the galaxy and beyond by using FTL transmissions. (Faster then light) These particles were Tachyons theoretical particles that moved backward through time.
Through the web, Mentor began to populate the world of Titan. He did this by creating a plaza where an intricate series of wormholes, were connected like tunnels to different worlds and their populace. Those who wished to come were given membership to Titan. Those who sought knowledge were encouraged. Theologists, scientists, philosophers, cybertravelers, historians, mathematicians - no one was denied as long as they were willing to eschew violence.
Mentor and Sui-san had another son, they called him Eros. His nature was different then his older brother, Thanos, who seemed more brooding and quiet. Where Thanos was stoic, Eros was social. Where Thanos was dark, Eros was light and found pleasure in all things. His nature was something that helped provide Sui-san company to forget the rebellion and death that seemed to cling to her memories like a leech. Eros' power to make his mother feel good often seemed unnatural and Thanos thought it manipulation most foul. Sui-san had many daughters, before both Thanos and Eros. Mentor also used bioengineering to mass-produce other Eternals with the eggs of Sui-san.
Mentor, who had took an avid interest in young Thanos since his birth, continued teaching him and introducing him to higher mathematics and intricate thought. Thanos' mind was something to behold. It seemed to seek a pattern in whatever problem it was dealing with and then through some process, which seemed more magic than thought, it would solve the problem. It was more like art. That was the only way Mentor could understand Thanos' mind, for nothing else was like it. At this stage, Thanos realized that his imagination was his most powerful weapon and Mentor encouraged Thanos to use it. He enhanced this by introducing his son to a new mode of Knowledge: cyber-links. This allowed Thanos to travel the intergalctic web as a cybernaut given form through interaction with the sentient program I.S.S.A.C., who help him travel the intergalactic web. Thanos was able to stay in the web longer than any other citizen of Titan, due to his mutated mind. It seemed, for most minds, there was a limited time in which one could spend on the web without side effects. These side effects included bodily detachment, disassociation, and coma.
It seemed that the only thing which interested Thanos at all, besides his relentless pursuit of knowledge, was Eros and his relationship with Sui-san. He thought it was of a dubious nature and resented the younger sibling. When Eros was born, it seemed that no longer could she think of anything else, except Eros who sought nothing but pleasure and play. Thanos knew her trials and knew he could help her, but she turned instead to Eros
Often times young Thanos would come to the Garden of Eternity which was operated by the priests of Pama which had a sect on Titan and brought with them their greatest achievement: The Eternity Ash, a great tree said to be the seedling of Yggdrasill itself, the great mythological tree which was a symbol of universal life from the legend of Odin who hung on the world tree to the modern myth of Christ who also had hung on a tree to save men's souls. It was an awe-inspiring site, with its mighty branches, which seemed to extend beyond even space itself. Its wood seemed to palpitate and move up and down as if it were breathing. The leaves each a different color, each a different shape with intricate designs that were said to be able to foresee the future.
Thanos sat as he meditated on the day before him. All he could think of was Eros and his mother, Sui-san. Eros was unworthy if anything, thought the young Thanos. He should be disciplined for his manipulation. When in Eros' presence, Thanos often felt something alien reach out and touch his mind, his pleasure centers. But if he had pleasure centers, they were somehow immune to Eros' touch, perhaps it was because he was the polar opposite of his brother. Thanos' attention was drawn to a great spider web which, from young Thanos' vantage, was nearly three meters a cross in length. In the center was a great arachnid with eight hairy legs and a great mouth meant to devour.
It seemed a bird had been caught and was attempting to escape. But the webbing held fast and the bird struggled flapping its wings in murderous frenzy. But this only succeeded in trapping the foul further. Thanos watched as the spider grew ever closer and appeared to grow larger and more like a force of nature than an instrument of death. The avian made a terrible squall as the spider wrapped it in a web coffin and began to drink its life force. For some reason, this act piqued the young Titan's curiosity.
It seemed to make him think deeper than even the most difficult math equation he had come across to this point. Then something stirred in him. Something dark.
After Thanos left the garden that day, he continued his search for knowledge and went to the galactic web. Thanos engaged in cybertravel using a porthole to hook his mind directly into the system itself. It was extreme and only those hooked into cyberverse could stay online as long as Thanos could. But the difference is that most of them had been hooked in since birth, and yet his ability was already rivaling the most competent cybernauts.
Thanos visualized a great chessboard using his imagination to manipulate the cyberverse to his designs. This practice of shaping the terrain of the cyberverse made Thanos' mind even more focused. He was able use his witnessing the act of the spider and the bird to see past the veil, to see ones and zeros of the intergalactic web. Through the web, he saw the game in true manifestation and decided to use it to hone his strategy. I.S.S.A.C., the sentient program, took the other side, and they began to play as they always did. "Today, I will beat you," said the young Thanos.
For an undisclosed amount of time, they played, so long it was impossible to ascertain as time moved differently in that environment.
Thanos was able to play I.S.S.A.C. to a draw. When he came off the web and into his own body again, he removed the cable from a hole, which was in his cortex. But something strange happened as the hole had closed up. Normally once a cortical cable was inserted, the hole remained and could be covered but it was there on a permanent basis. Young Thanos seemed to have a power that his brethren did not have. He decided to study and learn all he could of his heritage. Thanos was nearly ten years old, but the years on Titan were equivalent to ten earth years and the life span of an average Eternal was longer then the average Kree or Skrull, and much longer than a human. Titan, as Thanos, already knew he was made up of an eclectic of many worlds, which were connected through the web. Many of the races that lived on Titan were not Eternals, like himself, but were from other worlds. With only the seeking of knowledge in common, Thanos unlocked his father Mentor's personal files with ease and did not even have moral compunction, for morals to Thanos were subjective and he saw it merely an obstacle that had to be removed. He learned his father was from a race of Eternals different than his mother, and that they had absolute control of the molecular structure. He learned they wielded great energies which were the stuff of the universe itself. He learned that his father had been punished for his knowledge seeking and hung from a great rock. This intrigued Thanos, as he wondered what would make his father seek knowledge out at such an extreme cost to him
But the young Thanos would not be tortured or injured for his knowledge seeking. He would develop those powers, that he seemed to have from his father's people. Thanos would never be put in positions such as his father was, he would be the one to wield power.
Again, Thanos went to the garden to reflect on his knowledge. How his father had sought knowledge at a high cost to himself. How he would develop his powers from his father's side. He also saw how his father was an outsider, growing up in Olympus instead of the Kingdom of Eternals, and like his father, he felt out of place. His goals, different than the others of Titan - though they sought knowledge, they thought to merely sit on that knowledge. Thanos was more pragmatic and looked for ways to increase his uses. He also saw how he came about his name. How him and his brother were named when his father was in the throws of Thanatos and Eros between life and death. Him and his brother were symbols of what his father had gone through, of what it meant to have a beginning and an end.
But while Eros was the life urge, he had been named after Thanatos the death urge
Thanos was distracted as he saw another bird caught in a web and wondered what lesson the Eternity Ash was trying to teach him. Then epiphany! Was he not one who traveled the web? Much like the lonely spider, Thanos too was alone and mistrusted because of his appearance. It then occurred to Thanos that he could be the bird or be the spider.
Eros broke Thanos' concentration, "Brother, why do you come to this place?"
Thanos said nothing as he watched the spider get closer.
"Brother, you seem distracted," said Eros.
A smile began to appear on his purple face as the spider was nearly upon its prey. Although he was not so much different than his father, both were seekers of knowledge, both were outcasts, and though Thanos was physical as well as mentally different, he knew he would always be apart from his mother, from his brother, even from his father. Thanos saw himself as a kind of orphan.
"Brother, what has you so intrigued?" and when the bird screamed, Eros saw what Thanos had been looking at and when he looked into his brother's eyes he saw the kill. And he saw something that terrified him.
"Tell mother I am coming, brother," said Thanos, "and that I have a gift."
Continued in Issue #3 . . .
We hope you enjoyed this chapter in a new series which will dig deep into the hidden past of Thanos the Mad Titan! Be sure to read the continuation of it in issue #3. If you enjoyed it, please let us know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out the form below.