Protectors of the Universe: Defenders #6

Written by WarlorTVor, Edited & Co-plotted by Morfex
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

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Protectors of the Universe: Defenders
"Future Crimes: Part Six - Tides of Battle"

This story takes place after Defenders #1, Defenders #2, Defenders #3, Defenders #4, and Defenders #5
Note: The Defenders is an alternate future to the current POTU titles

Eternal darkness threatened to overwhelm the sliver of Myth-Breaker’s psyche that was still Thor Odinson. But the heroic figment was unaware of being less than a memory. From its perspective, it traveled the mental landscape within the Myth-Breaker as if it were a physical Universe unto itself, not some dream world or imaginary existence.

The darkness’ cold fringes were manifesting themselves at the edges of his vision, and had slowly begun to move in ever closer, where they would join in the middle.

It was at that time that he knew - all to well, he was afraid - that Mistress Death would claim his mortal soul for her realm.

He could feel every muscle in his massive form giving way. Where once a few moments ago, every muscle was taut with pain and anguish, now they were loosening, growing limp. The warrior-born could feel his soul beginning to grow cold with her embrace.

So he did the only thing he could do...

He fought her!

With all his will, with all his might, with all his soul, he fought her for possession of his soul.

For he would never yield to any force as long as his combatant remained to reign over the physical world and his physical body.

Slowly, and not without massive amounts of throbbing pain that pulsated throughout the entirety of his form, the Watcher of the Eternal Night made his way through the corridors of what appeared to be a Kree warship.

Its emerald green deck plating rang out with the roar of many voices, screaming out for blood.

His blood.

He continued onward, in a hurried pace, favoring his right leg a little more than his left. He had found that he had broken his left during the last clash that he had had with his eternal enemy upon the main bridge only moments prior. His right-hand was pressed firmly against his left ribs, where he had been delivered a seriously fatal blow, torn flesh and the warm ichor of his own blood washed over his massive hand and that side of his armor. With his left he was feeling the deck plates before him, searching through the darkness that was only filled with a few crimson red lights that singled that their was an intruder board ship.

Finally, his fingers came upon what he had been in search of, the small crease where two metallic doors met. He had obviously found a compartment.

He pressed his body against the coldness of the metal doors, his entire left hand running the length of the door as if confirming that his sense of touch was not deceiving him. When he was satisfied that it was not, he removed his hand from the sword wound and, along with his left, pressed it in the small space where the doors had met.

The Noble One set his legs a good distance apart from one another, and he braced himself once more for the pain. He could feel his innards threatening to tear away from him and splash against the deck plates around him. He could feel the blood rushing out, much like a fountain.

Yet, through all the pain and suffering that he endured, while at the same time forever fighting Mistress Death’s cold hand, he paid them both no heed at the moment. For if what he set out to do was successful, and he had no doubt that it would be, then neither would matter in a few moments.

He started to pull his arms apart, causing the rift between the doors to widened ever so slightly. With the small opening allowing only a brief vantage point within, the Noble One stared inward.

The small compartment was utterly devoid of all things, there was not a soul in there. Nor were there any furnishings. Which was all he needed, empty space, in order to clear his mind for the task at hand, for if this was to be successful, he could have no distractions around him.

He braced himself for even more amounts of pain as he slowly started the process of tearing at the rift to the point to allow him admittance. His arms started to shift apart, and he could feel, as well as witness, the muscles within his forearms starting to ripple back and forth.

The pain was growing unbearable.

And that was the time she had waited in order to strike!

Darkness started once again, as it had in moments past, to engulf him. His soul within his bosom shuttered at the cold of her embrace, but nonetheless he was not taken aback, for he would not be strayed from his goal.

A roar of defiance tore away at the momentary silence that had befallen this portion of the vessel.

From time to time, he could feel his grasp upon the metal doors give way, and the doors threatened to cave in on themselves as if mocking the warrior-born. Yet he continued onward, more determined than before. He had finally opened it sufficiently so that if he were to turn on his side, he could thrust his body inward, and so he did.

His back braced against the door and in a jerk of animalistic rage and determination he thrust the door apart.

It opened, allowing him admittance.

His body went limp for a moment and cried out to him to give way right then and there, the pain was so great!

However he would not be stopped there, he had suffered enough merely to open the doors, he would not simply give in now.

The Noble One took a step into the darkness, then another, then his entire body merely hit the floor. The doors, with nothing holding them open, obediently sealed themselves in a faint hush of air that was much like a thunderclap to his ears.

Darkness and Mistress Death - ever the opportunist in such matters - decided to make her presence known once more.

And all he did was laugh slightly, even though this action was not without its consequences, for the pain at his side was only increased ten fold once more.

Now that the easy step - opening the doors and entering a space where he could concentrate - was over and done with,  the difficult portion started to dawn on him. He propped his form against a nearby wall, which obviously was covering a power conduit, for warmth pulsated through it, and he started to concentrate on his wounds.

His breathing slowed, along with his pulse and his heart rate, as if in perfect unison and harmony with the power that surged behind the deck plate he had placed his body against. It was as if the two had merged in a lover’s warm, and welcoming embrace and had become one.

He had never tried something so risky to his own person in his entire existence, even though his father had taught him the art of molecular regeneration when done on a small scale when he was still but a babe. Yet those were minor injuries, nothing compared to the massive tear of flesh that he now sported on his side.

He closed his eyes and turned all the Asgardian Magics which were his birthright inward, in utter control.

In his mind’s eye he reached inward, and he could feel the rushing ripe tides of the atoms and molecules that comprised his very being, run through his fingertips. It felt as one would feel between one’s very fingers when they placed one’s hand within a raging river. For a moment or two, he was caught up in the sheer ecstasy and wonder of the act, the very feeling that surged within his form, as if cast under a spell of powerful magic.

It was as if life anew was being restored to his very chest.

In the physical realm, his wounds started to mend themselves. Molecular bonds that had been torn asunder started to reach out toward one another, resealing the wound. Fibers of tissue started to mend themselves. He could feel his broken leg coming together once more.

And in no time at all the process was over. His wounds forever sealed and closed.

However the pain was ever constant.

And Mistress Death still beckoned him from beyond.

Even before he lost consciousness, he could feel his head lull to one side, his entire body growing numb once more, and with a faint sigh of relief, darkness engulfed him from all sides.

Scion of Mentor. Brother of Thanos, the Mad Titan. Former Avenger. Womanizer. Hedonist. And self-absorbed narcissist. All these terms were more than fitting and well earned by the one who was known throughout the universe as Starfox.

However, even in light of all his accomplishments, in all his flights of fancy the one term that best fit the Titanian Eternal at this current intersection taking place within the crossroads of time was simply, dead.

The upper section of his torso was reposed on an outcropping of rock that jutted forth, serving as his final resting-place. A thick layer of steam started to rise forth from his chest, where the blast of the Power Cosmic had torn away at his life and burned his very soul. His murderer stood no more than a few feet away, a hellish, nonchalant smile spread upon his silver visage.

“Oh... mighty Eternal... how you have fallen...” the Silver Surfer uttered, slowly lowering his right hand that had delivered the death blow, only moments before, a stream of golden energy still trailing off into oblivion.

“How foolish you were...”

At this, laughter filled the silence that had befallen the small asteroid that lifelessly drifted through the void that was the cosmos. It was not a pleasing sound to hear, it was cold, malicious in nature, a sound that festered and thrived upon the suffering and death of others. Moments of laughter finally subsided, and the one known as Norrin Radd continued with his monologue to the lifeless husk of an Eternal before him. “Thinking that you could lead your... pathetic, fellow country men in a resistance movement against the Defenders and I!”

A gruff sound of disdain tore away from his lips, his pupil-less eyes slowly took in the view all around him, satisfied that his task here was done.

He nodded, raising his right hand once more, summoning his board toward him. “To me, my board,” he ordered, for he had been separated from his cosmic surf board during the minor skirmish that resulted in the needless deaths of the last of the Eternals.

It was of no matter to him, he could care less whether these beings, so far beneath him in the order of things within the cosmic mosaic, continued their worthless existence or not.

Life... death… how trivial these concepts seemed to him now, so, unimportant...

They seemed almost alien to him now...

Everything seemed unimportant to him now. Nothing truly mattered. Only power... yes, power mattered to him now...

Nothing else did...

Nothing else would...

It was his all-consuming obsession...

An obsession... the only one he cared for... For not even the stars mattered to him, now...

It was simple... nothing mattered...

Not the Protectors of the Universe...

Not even the Defenders...

Of course he killed in their name, however that was merely a means to an end...

If Starfox had managed to escape the utter destruction of Io when the rest of those “cosmic” beings were slaughtered then he would no doubt challenge even the Surfer himself, in the name of retribution.

And deep down inside, if the Surfer was honest with himself, he truly enjoyed killing that... that creature.

However the small enjoyment he partook of in the death of Eros was of no import to him, for even now he could feel the effects wearing thin. After all, nothing mattered to him.

Not even past specters of love...

He had not even a second thought when he had destroyed the one called Alicia Masters, with but a wave of his hand. He could still picture the look on her face, the look of betrayal, of utter disbelieve when the Power Cosmic was unleashed upon her form, destroying it.

Her scream was like a symphony to his ears, giving him pleasure.

And soon he would hear those screams and see that expression on Myth-Breaker himself, when the time came. And the hour was nearing. First he had allowed the Myth-Breaker to be weakened by his own internal war, then...

Then... he’d come in to play...

And in force...

At this, his smile finally did touch his blank, soulless eyes... 

Within a span of a moment that existed between the moments, space started to bend, and wrap around a small section of the black backdrop. And yet the Surfer paid no heed toward the very tearing in the space/time continuum. Soon a small explosion of brilliant cobalt blue light was forthcoming and his board obediently soared outward, toward him.

Without so much as a second glance toward his kills, the Silver Surfer stepped upon his board, and soared heavenward, breaking free of the small asteroid’s limited gravitational pull. He swirled around the mass of floating rock and debris, and with a wave of his hand, almost as an afterthought for the ex-Herald of the might World Devourer, he destroyed it, in an outcropping of cosmic fire that engulfed the entire complex in the short time span of only a few seconds, if that.

This “new” star, which burned in the heavens, was only a minor testament of the destruction that this sole cosmic entity could wreak upon the universe...

A prelude of things to come...

He smiled, cruelly, though the expression never dared touch his lifeless eyes, taking pleasure in the spectacle before him.

The Silver Surfer turned and was gone from the scene, heading toward the blue sphere of earth that shimmered under the light of the Sol system’s only sun, the pleasure he felt quickly fading as he went forth through the eternal sea of stars.

A faint mumble of laughter... his sole companion...

Slowly, ever so slowly, the divine white light that had blanketed the Avenger’s Mansion only moments prior, started to subside and fade out of existence. At first only the faintest of faint outlines could have been made out through the thick haze, however not for long. Not long after, more and more detail could be seen upon all within the confines of the Avengers Conference Room.  

Thor turned his head sideways, and with squinted eyes he could make out the faint outlines of both Rick Jones, who remained stoic within the shadows, and Genis-Vell, who had crumpled upon his knees, helpless to aid his comrade and friend Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer.

“Norrin!” Thor muttered, finding his voice harsh and gruff, he had to make an effort to speak, that is when he had found out that he had to make a straining effort even to move, even the must minute of actions. His face contorted with pain and effort as he took a step forward. A faint grunt escaped his lips, as he felt as if he were attempting to move through water.

He took another step, and another and another, and found that with each passing effort, and as the light diminished into oblivion, the effort that he needed to exert was increasing.

What was going on? he wondered to himself.

His mind reeled in an attempt to fathom what had happened.

The events of the last few moments played out in the back of his mind’s eye.

The screams of Norrin Radd’s death throws and the shouts of victory on Doctor Strange’s part returned to him, striking him in their unholy wraith.

He could remember the look of horror that contorted over Norrin Radd’s visage and the expression of pure ecstasy on Strange’s in those last moments.

And he could experience the pain and anger that he had felt watching such a noble soul, crying out in such pain, with crystal clarity.

And then the anger gave way to the numbing sensation of utter helplessness.

Suddenly there was a cry of victory and white light of a mystical nature had washed over them all!

Without warning of any kind, a strange, almost twisted sensation crossed over Thor’s chest as he continued onward. The world started to swim around him. The ground felt as if it were being rocked from side to side as if he were on a ship traveling an unruly ocean.

His eyes widened with horror.

He could not breath!

It was as if a great force were being pressed against his chest. He struggled for air itself as he moved closer and closer to the epicenter of where the arsenal of mystical energies had been released. His chest thrashed upward and he forced air into his lungs the best he could, air that would not come.

He toppled to his knees gasping.

Yet, he would not be stopped by this, on his hands and knees he continued onward, and arm reaching outward, shifting over the glass and debris covered ground in an attempt to find the fallen Defender.

“Norrin!” he gasped once more with great effort, his breath coming to him in great spasms of pain now.

Finally he felt something!

His hand had accidentally hit across an odd surface. It was neither the scorched carpet nor the shards of glass that had threatened to imbed themselves deep into his skin when he came across them. At first he thought as if it were merely a piece of burnt wood, for he could most definitely feel heat rising from it... no, not wood, the surface texture was all-wrong.

It felt almost brittle to the touch. His fingers ran the outlines of whatever it was that he had stumbled onto, and a puzzled look took possession over his face. It was most definitely brittle; he mused to himself, his hands continuing to run up along its scolding hot surface.

Then the answer came to him.

“No...” he rasped with massive effort.

Something... seemed off... 

Not right... even...

He felt as if something were missing, something important.

Doctor Stephen Strange staggered a few steps, his gloved hand clutching his forehead in pain. He tried to stifle a faint moan, however he was only partly successful in this. His body cried out for rest, cried out to him merely to give in to the slumber that it so desperately required.

For he knew his powers had been drained, the destruction of Norrin Radd and all the mystical enchantments that he had used of late in this confrontation of wills. He’d grown weak and tired and he so desperately needed time to conserve his strength...

And he knew what he had to do!

He had to escape! He had to leave this wretched wasteland of shattered hopes and broken dreams, and quickly! For he knew once the pain and sorrow that now clutched onto Thor, digging its talons deep, tearing through his very soul, was finally released that nothing, not even the gods themselves, could stop him from tearing Strange limb from limb.

So he set out to do just that: To escape!  Yes, escape, so that he may challenge them another day, on his terms.

He raised his arms and summoned a vortex to appear within the very fabric of space-time.

His response... nothing...

There was simply nothing there!

“What the blazes...” Strange declared weakly, his body wishing to give way.

It was a simple task, really. And required no thought or determination at all. So why did it not occur?

He was the Sorcerer Supreme! All things were within his might and will! So why did it not...

Of course!

“The rift,” he mused to himself aloud, giving voice to his inner ponders. “Something is wrong with the rift! I no longer draw from its power!”

His mind raced to try and understand what he was saying to no one in particular.  If he had been severed from the rift... as he feared... then that means... 

No! It could not be! Such a thing was not possible...

Even for one as powerful as Myth-Breaker!

“It simply cannot be...” he professed aloud, as he continued to stagger in place.

Thor raised his head and thrust himself forward on one knee, closer toward the object in question, as if the force pressed down upon him mattered not.

By this time the light had subsided to the point where the outlines were most definitely there in force and detail, finite detail could be made out in all things within the mansion. Thor raised his head, suddenly feeling the force that had been pressed against his entire form give way, it seemed that the more the light diminished, so too did the pressure.

Breathing came to him much faster than before, almost normally.

His gaze was cast upon one of the most - if not the most - horrific site that he had ever beheld in his relatively long lifetime.

And it was at that moment that he wished with all his heart that the light had remained for all eternity and in force, for no one deserved to see a fellow comrade... a friend... a brother... the way Thor saw the once noble spirit of the Silver Surfer.

For all that remained in the area where Norrin Radd had laid there, mystical energy burning away at him, as he pleaded for Thor to act, to do something, anything to save him, yet he could not, was a smoldering skeleton of Thor’s beloved friend.

“By Hala...” Genis-Vell hushed behind Thor, rising from the ground slowly, his eyes never moving from the ashen remains of Galactus’ first Herald of the spaceways.

Rick Jones remained speechless in the shadows.

Thor lowered his head, thick locks of blond hair cascading earthward, obscuring his visage that was now contorted in pain, agony, and most of all sorrow.

And he wept.

With the back of his hand, Thor cleared away the tears that had welled up within his eyes, for he had shed all his tears for his friend, the noble Norrin Radd. T he time of mourning had ended. Now there was a debt... a debt that could only be repaid in the scarlet of blood.

Thor could hear faint footfalls behind him, as someone attempted to stagger toward freedom, away from the graveyard that would forever be Norrin Radd’s final resting-place.

And he knew exactly who that cur was!

He slowly turned his head toward where the sound was coming from. His hair slowly moved, allowing him to see his target, clear as day. His quarry stumbled backward and looked disoriented, his head jerking from one side to another as if he had awakened in a place still unfamiliar to him. He was mumbling incoherent sentences to himself, concerning something called a rift.

However, none of this matter to the Norse God of Thunder.

A scream started to form within the pit that was his stomach. He could feel his face flare a deathly shade of crimson red, and his fist clenched and released rhythmically. He could feel his entire body shuddering with pure, uncontrollable, animalistic rage.

For a bloodlust burned in the orbs that were his eyes.

A lust that must be slaked!

He could feel his entire body being thrust forward, toward the one who had caused this death. A scream of damnation tore away form his lips, he could feel the adrenaline rushing through him, and he could hear the drumming in his temples as blood pulsated within them.

And it felt as if he were not even experiencing this at all.

The hate, the pain, the agony... none of it seemed real to him. It was as if Thor were watching it happening to someone else... as if he were standing on a ledge somewhere off in the distance watching it all occur with a dispassionate glare in his eyes.

Is this... he mused to himself... Is this how Adam Warlock views all of civilization? Through a haze of dispassion and detachment?

His somewhat out of place reprieve was utterly shattered when his body crashed, violently, upon that of his prey headlong.

“Today...” he started, his fist slamming into the cur’s midsection, doubling him over.

That hellish glint within his eyes took hold in the form of a dark and sinister smile.

“Today is the day you inhaled your last breath,” Thor decreed, five minutes before he killed Doctor Stephen Strange with his bare hands...

Continued in Defenders #7

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