Marvel/DC: Shards of Destiny #1
Written by Jim Seals and Jeff Olson,
Edited by Jim Seals
Shards of Destiny
It was an era before all came to pass.
Before the sexless entities, the "Brothers," waged a war against their fellow brother, a war that unleashed forces that ended and, in the end, began all creation all over again. Before they were torn asunder in the aftermath of the Rebirth, before the multi-verse was created instead of just one universe.
And the Father knew it would all come to pass as it was written in the sacred text that only he can behold.
But first the seeds must be sown to ensure the survival of one universe. But the question remained which one.
The Reflections of Destiny loomed over the Fathers white green gauntlet hand.
The Father stood in a starless void, outside of the normal realm reality. A limbo-state of existence that not even the Brothers knew existed. It was the Fathers private sanctum. Where the salvation of things to come would start and later end as the text demands.
He knew the time would come after the Great War of the Multi-verses had come to a conclusion, once a solution had been made in order to save not one but both of the two great "twin" universes, and both universes coexisted in their own respective realms, then they, the Brothers, will start to die and upon that all life and even existence itself will merely cease to exist. And the Father could not allow that to happen. Not at all.
And this small glass sphere would be the catalyst to save at least one of the ill-fated universes.
He, the Father, closed his eyes, conversing his massive cosmic powers. They snapped open and started to unleash a bright golden yellow blaze. His fist wrapped, in a blur, around the sphere that contained the essences of both Brothers, and within a single soundless course of unimaginable energy, energy that has never ever been released in all known recorded and unrecorded time, the sphere gave way and was shattered, into eight even pieces.
His fist unwrapped and he stared down into the remains of the sphere.
And with a single thought four of the eight pieces were being transported throughout the cosmos. One Shard of Destiny would later turn itself into the greatest force of nature ever seen: Galactus, Devourer of Worlds. Another shard will soon manifest itself into a turbulent world of war and life, and later, as the text dictate, would tear itself asunder into two drastically different worlds, New Genesis and Apokolips. Another shard manifested itself into six different gems, gems that contained more power than ever imaginable: The Infinity Gems. The last one gave life to a dark a sinister scientist that was stopped only by the greatest patriot of all time, in all universes. Each shard manifested itself differently be they people or celestial objects to grave the heavens with their beauty.
Four Shards of Destiny remained.
He closed his eyes yet again. And this time the two shards containing the most life essence of the two Brothers than all the others vanished, into nothingness. The one shard containing the most life essence of the other merged with its counter-part brother. For this was nessacary for what was to come. Leaving the Father to cast his gaze upon the two remaining shards.
The Father stared at one, the biggest one of the two and he took it into his other hand and the Father raised it high, to his eye level. And with little thought about the ramifications of this one, he created a man. A man like none other. A man made from two great entities. A man that the Father cryptically named . . . Access.
Access started upward into the Fathers massive white eyes, and upon casting his gaze upon his reflection he stared downward onto himself for the first time. He was wearing a blue and red uniform, matching the color of the two Brothers: The majestic tranquillity of the blue and the dark rage of crimson red. He turned upon the Father with new understanding and said, "I know what I must do."
The Father nodded his acknowledgment. In a rectangular portal of pure golden light and energy, Access stood there for a moment. Then slowly entered the portal. Upon his entering it promptly closed, leaving the Father alone once more.
The Father held onto the smallest piece of the shards and with both his hands clenched around it, he pressed it against his white green stripped chest. His eyes closed yet again. And with a flash of blinding white energy the shard merged with him. After a moment of complexion, his hands reveal to reveal that all the shards were no more.
And for the first time the Father spoke:
It is done."
And then he merely stood there and watch the winds of destiny unfold as they were meant to according to the texts.
Shards of Destiny
Chapter 1: Pawns
Spectre stood there, his golden yellow eyes closed, and he could feel the cosmic scale tilt out of control. For the Brothers were dying, and with there death itll mean the destruction of all things, from both of the twin universes. "I was wondering when youd come, Tribunal," Spectre mused, not bothering to turn to face the new arrival, nor open his eyes.
"Then you are aware of the dilemma which now faces us?" the Living Tribunal question cryptically, standing beside Spectre and casting his stern gaze outward toward the massive red giant that they stood before, the lights dark glow shimmered off the Tribunals golden in cased body.
"Then you our aware of the task that faces us, Spectre?"
"Unfortunately, I do. We must not!"
"It cannot be helped!" The Living Tribunal said harshly.
"I am aware of that, Tribunal," Spectre said curtly, opening his eyes, but not turning to face his counterpart from the other universe, he stared at the red giant, the muscles in his jaw rippling back and forth, uncontrollably. "But I wish there was another way, for what if, by doing what the ancient text dictate us to do, we bring upon the Amalgam once again?"
"The universes will not merge and become one, merely overlap and coexists, Spectre."
"How can you be so sure? You are as aware as I that the ancient text are extremely cryptic on this matter."
He said nothing at first. Then he said, "They must be one in order for them to survive. And if they are to die, then Oblivion will greet us all. There is no . . . third option. It is what the Father wanted, to ensure our survival they must put away their differences.
"There is no other way. And we dont have time to debate it, old friend."
They stood there, staring at each other for the first time staring upon one another. Spectres fist mindlessly clenched, and then with a forced effort they loosened and relaxed.
He nodded. "Then let the Gathering begin."
"It had been too long."
Axel Asher muttered the words faintly, stepping through the "looking glass" into the universe of his birth. But this is not his universe, nor is the other one. No, for he is not apart of any of the two twin universes in which he roams. He is the Access! The one whose responsibility it is to ensure that the two universes be forever separated, forever apart, in order to maintain the delicate cosmic balance.
But not today. For today he is merely Axel Asher and he is going home to the woman he loves, for the first time in several months. The Access slightly glanced over his shoulder to see the golden portal that he just stepped through promptly close before him.
The Access looked around the alleyway to find himself ankle-deep in white snow, he looked down at his gloved hands to see white flakes of snow descending from the heavens. He turned his eyes skyward to see the snow falling down upon him and he allowed a faint chuckle to escape his lips.
Axel made his way forth through the snow and casted his gaze upon a massive digital cloak, it read 5:29, an hour and a half before he left the other universe. Ah, he mused, time-travel? What can you do? He shrugged not caring, dashing through the hustle-and-bustle of the Christmas spirit. In no time he arrived at his destination: A small commonly over looked, but well respected, Chinese restaurant, on Bleecker Street, New York.
Axel Asher, still in his Access attire, stopped dead in his tracks, the luscious smells common to the small restaurant, where he had spent many a day studying the fair flower, that is Ming, with glazed over eyes. Even across the street he could depict the grand smell of Mings mother starting preparations for another patch of orange chicken: Hes favorite dish. He could feel his mouth watering, but his hunger soon died and his mouth went dry as he watched from afar the lovely Ming Kuo-Fan through the glass windows.
She had just taken residence in a small booth near the windows far side, away from the door. Her graceful back slightly hunched over, a golden yellow pencil with a warn down erase in between her right ear and her long shoulder length dark black hair, a clear indication that she was taking notes concerning one of her many classes that she was taking at Empire State University. He smiled, and sprinted the rest of the way through the traffic plagued streets, lucky for him that it was all deadlocked.
Access entered the restaurant glass panel doors in a blur, drawing a few gasps of astonishment and a few stray glances and then he realized that he was still in his Access-uniform, and didnt care. For all he cared about now was seeing Ming, everything else was nothing more than trivial compared to that.
"Ming!" he cried out, making his way through the swarm of people that had gathered in the restaurant.
Ming looked up and her face just beamed a smile. "Axel!" she said in that luscious voice that seemed to sing to him, and only him.
They met half way and embraced. Losing themselves in the moments their lips locked and they were united once more.
A moment passed. Then another. And by the time that they did separated the entire assemblage of customers were staring at the two star-crossed lovers with bemusment. But to Axel it didnt matter, nothing did, only Ming mattered to him.
But soon the moment would be shattered.
They stared deeply into each other eyes, no words being said, then from out of no where a massive explosion of sound roared in their ears, soon followed by an all out explosion of brilliant, blinding white light.
"What! No! This cant be . . . "
"Axel!" Ming cried, her long fingernails crawling deep into Access her head turning away, eyes closed tightly shut. Out of an uncontrollable protective urge to make sure Ming was safe, Axel wrapped his arms sternly around her elegant figure. His gaze turned to the origin of the sudden and blinding flash of light toward the windows.
There, directly in front of the slightly tinted windows, the outlining form of a man started to emerge. Suddenly, as the bright pure white light gave way, the figure became more discerned, the figure was towering and was levitating slightly, about six inches off the ground. The forms thick green cloak cascading around his muscular white form, even when the light was no more his face was indiscernible, for the cloaks hood obscured his upper part of his face. And Access knew who it was immediately, and wished that he didnt.
"Spectre!" Access called out.
"You know him, Axel?" Ming asked, turning to face the being who had manifested before them.
He nodded solemnly. "I do."
The beings green gloved hand out-stretched, toward Access. "You are needed once again, Axel Asher. The price . . . nothing more than the vary existence of two universes!" he declared, his dark green cloak bellowing about him. So, Access mused, in a sarcastic grim expression dancing across his face, what else is new? "Come, Access," the being that Axel named Spectre rumbled, his hand still extended.
Axel turned to Mings wide dark eyes. An expression of "Im sorry" danced across his face.
She shifted her eyes back and forth unsure, then tried to muster up a grim smile. "I know," she hushed, breathlessly.
"Ill be back," Access reassured her, and with a slight kiss to Mings cheek. "Im sorry."
Ming nodded, wordlessly.
Access escaped Mings embrace and approached Spectre. His shoulders squared off, the muscles in his jaw rippling back and forth. He stood side by side with the protector of another universe, and in a flash of golden light, not as intense as before, they were gone. Leaving a stunned band of customers, who were exchanging confused glances, and a cold and lonely Ming, fighting off tears of loneliness.
It was supposed to be an easy job. But that was until that thing . . . that demon jumped in and out of the shadows, taking out one of his boys, and then melting into the shadows again like some kind of wraith. He ran. He ran for his life. True he needed the money to supply his habit, but that didnt mean he wanted to die for it. And if it . . . or whatever the hell it was . . . caught him then hed utterly be at its unholy mercy, and he doubted if there was any mercy in its horrific face, for it was inhuman.
He ran so hard it felt that his lungs would simply burst, and his heart would break. But he had to keep moving. Searching for something to defend himself with, a small bag with some narcotic crystals feel out of his pocket. The man stopped, turned around and dashed toward the bag to pick it up, and then as he reached forward for it a sudden rush of wind told him that he had made a fatal miscalculation indeed. Under his breath he uttered a curse gazing up in sheer horror at the inhuman before him. The demon wore the form of a man, but his presence was truly horrific as the great cape swirled about, like leaves upon an ephemeral sea, which was only barely visible in the darkness of the abandon warehouse. The thing looked like the devil himself, with long horns just peaking over his cape that covered what the shadows did not.
"Who are you?!"
"Im Batman," the demon said, its dark gloved hands reaching toward him. "And youre mine!" Swift blows pummeled the thug in the mid-section and chest. The thug, under the unholy barrage of brute force was instantly rendered unconscious. Batman searched through the thugs torn pockets. Then noticed that his face appeared to be changing. Great majestic golden light shot from the thugs drunken face, burning Batman with light as pre as creation, itself. He covered his eyes, swiftly, but found that even with his eyes closed, his presence could not be denied.
"What in the world?" Batman uttered, through clenched teeth.
"I am the Spectre, Dark Knight. And you are mine."
And then Batman was gone.
"Hulk you must calm down! In your current state you could cause untold damage."
Captain America, the living legend of World War II moved swiftly, gracefully, effortlessly, evading the emerald giants fist as if the Hulk was merely standing still. It was a good thing, pondered Captain America leaping off the ground, just as Hulks massive fist slammed into the dusty brown surface, sending shards of rock and debris up into the blue sky, that this fight be taken place in a desert and not in the city. Where untold innocents might be injured or worse.
"Quite running!" Hulk roared in utter defiance, unable to land a blow onto the star-spangled avenger. "Face me!"
Captain America leaped and bounded effortlessly away, moving with such skill that it would put even the most complex plyometric drill to shame. Facing the superhuman might of the Hulk was merely not an option, his only option was to stall and wait until Thor or Iron Man could arrive and aid him.
The Hulks jaw dropped, and he was frozen unable to move to think. Before him looking very much like God ripped through the airways. The captain and the rampaging beast turned away as they could not gaze upon this gold encased God. And just like that in a flash of golden light, they were gone. The desert winds swirling as if nothing had transpired in the first place.
He soared through space, oblivious to the vacuum, and the freezing temperatures, which approached absolute zero theoretical point where molecules come to a sudden rest. But he was the Silver Surfer a creature of Galactus himself, a being that devoured whole worlds for mere sustenance and nothing was as inconsequential as the rigors of the cosmos. Just then he paused.
He sensed the presence of a being whom he had met once before, but the circumstances of those meetings were unique, to say the least, and not even senses made by the mighty world devourer should he able to detect him now. The Surfer continued to use his senses to track the massive energy signature and then larger then an entire galaxy. The great entity stood there, the Silver Surfer was like nothing but an insect to him. But one as small as the Surfer could not slip past his perusal.
"Norrin Radd, you are needed. The Cosmic Balance is shifting, and this universe and its brother will be destroyed unless the shards are found."
The being was known as the Living Tribunal and he was more God then God-like, as far above Galactus as the Surfer was above the cell. If he had come then it was very possible indeed that his cosmic senses had detected it.
The Green Lantern and Superman were flying toward the dark world of Apokolips, as Darkseid had summoned them for some unknown reason. Why had they been summoned, Superman mused, it was obviously a trap . . . but Darkseid had talked of another universe, and about a dark threat from that universe. It was not normal for Darkseid to act in such a manner. And both had heard of the other universe and had even met some of the inhabitants? But why was it that he had no clear recollection of those events?
Superman and Green Lantern were flying toward Apokolips, with an unbridle haste, and suddenly they were frozen, much like a fly locked in amber. The sound of wings could be heard even in the deep reaches of space. This caused a reaction in there physiognomy, both, psychical and preternaturally. Superman started to sweat profusely even unnaturally so, he turned to see that Kyle Rayner was having the same difficulties. Then Seven creatures appeared unexpectedly. There was no transition for beings such as these. They were either present or not. These creatures seemed to be the combination of many other fairly different creatures; some had six pairs of wings, while others had three heads and some even appeared to be made of metals, such as bronze and amethyst. Their forms were diverse, and their vary presence emitted a cosmic holiness that not even Superman had ever sensed. And the two defenders of earth found themselves immobilized.
Superman and Green Lantern were gone and space was empty once more.
Adam Warlock stood in the center of a gathering of a magnitude that could not be grasped. It was a gathering of conceptual beings among the gathering was he who was like a force of nature. His great helmet and armored form different to all whom observed him; to a human he was human, to a Skrull he was Skrull. To Adam Warlock he was an energy signature, of immense power, that sent wave after wave of sensory altering information, from the center of its being, where there resided an organic brain of an age before the universe was born: It was the mind of Galen. This force of nature was Galactus, devourer of worlds. There were the twin constricts of love and hate that embodied the extremes of the great emotions. They were much like Galactus the images generated by the observers perception. To the man without destiny they were Thanos, who embodied love, given the absolute extreme who he perceived as his old foe the Man Beast. There were forces of change, known as Chaos and Order, great heads that changed constantly, and was never the same twice. Among the others was a Watcher, and elder, known to Warlock as the Grandmaster, and the living embodiment of the universe itself: Eternity.
"Why have you summoned this gathering, Adam Warlock?" said the embodiment of all life who appeared as, a man type figure bound in garments of time and space.
"It is not I who summoned this gathering it was he, who is the cosmic judge."
The three headed figure of unimaginable cosmic might and supreme judge of the multi-verse stepped forth, a great aperture rent in time and that which was beyond time, as easily as a child might make rippled in a wading pool. Hewn of a great rock, if carved by some unimaginable hand that was beyond even this gatherings understanding. His faces hid behind veils, of judgment and necessity.
"Hail gathering the two universes are in dire straights. Champions must be chosen, lest the end comes as the prophecies have foretold."
Thank you for reading the first chapter of Marvel/DC: Shards of Destiny! The story continues in Chapter 2: The Explanation! Now, be sure to send us feedback below or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org