Thanos: Dead Men Tell No Tales #4
Written by Anomaly, Edited
"DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES"
Continues from issue #1, issue #2 ,and issue #3 of Thanos: Dead Men Tell No Tales
INTERLUDE- THANOS CUBED
“When stepping into the stream of consciousness, don't slip on the rocks.” --BUDDHA
The circle was nearly complete and soon he would come. Soon he would take everything of any value from her. It happened in a moment of weakness. A time when she was alone. Tears began to swell in her eyes as she tried to remember the exact circumstances of what had happened all those years ago, but the memory was reluctant.
It happened before she was rescued from the barren world when all the other inhabitants had killed themselves in a civil war. It was in that time of loneliness, between hopelessness and desperation, that her mind reached out and did the unthinkable. She knew of the legends of how all she had to do was call his name in a last desperate attempt, as she tried to hold off madness.
The great dragon of the moon was summoned and offered her a Faustian bargain. It claimed a mighty being from a powerful race would rescue her. But in exchange she had to give vow that she would give her first-born child. Such bargains were not uncommon, one just had to be willing to pay the price. But now she was no longer a prisoner on that barren and war torn world. Her temporary insanity had abated, and although she was grateful to the Dragon, there was no way she would ever give her first born son, at least not as long as breath remained.
To prepare herself for the dread day of his return, she studied volumes of mystical tomes and forged her spirit in magic most foul. She was nearly ready for the great worm, the mystic circle was drawn and she now stood in its center. According to all the ancient tomes, this would protect her and give her time to pull her ace from her sleeve. In her delicate hands was a puzzle box, her ace as it were. She had purloined the cube from the race called the Skrulls when they had once visited her world. While the artifact itself was from the Skrull Empire, it was said that the architects of the puzzle box dwelt in another universe all together - a universe where the laws were said to be contrary.
Her hands were very adept as they found every crevice. Her skilled fingers went over all the intricate patterns, causing the puzzle box to rearrange its formations. A schism opened in reality and twisted things began to swim forth, their bodies turning inside out. But it was not the strange beasts she was waiting for, they were merely the by product of the summoning. A voice called out "Have you summoned me to complete the bargain?"
She was silent as she continued to nervously run her hands across the puzzlebox. "You will not have my son, no matter what," her tone was angry and full of regret.
"There is no choice in this matter,” declared the dragon as she was ripped from the center of the circle, and its great icy claws clutched at her garment pulling her closer until its great head was nearly on top of her. She tried to turn away as she saw a hideous maw filled with a thousand deadly needle like teeth.
"There is always the matter of faith, Sui-San, if you have none your mystic circle will have no strength.” The dragon changed the subject, "Did you feed the child the herbs which will make its mind a product of both universes?"
Sui-San turned away, she had to play her hand perfectly or else all would be lost. And looking into his face would break her of this she was certain.
Body heat began to flow from the women and into the dragon in great torrents. She grew colder and colder, and her body took on the deathly pallor of a corpse.
"Answer me, woman,” it raged, while its ebon breath caused a frost to form over her nearly inert body. “Don't you realize,” it continued, “That I shall take your child anyway. My masters have need of him, he is to be their protege, their champion."
Her teeth chattered with such force that she feared she would sheer of her very tongue but she stammered as she put forth a mighty effort with the great dragon of the moon about to devour her, "I I I Knnnooowww yyyoourr ttrrruuue naamme."
“True name?” replied the dragon, “None know my true name."
“Iiiiiinnnn bbbbeettwwwenneerrr,” she said, the effort stealing the last of her strength.
The great dragon howled, its voice like a mighty blizzard as it was thrust in the puzzle box, and her fingers, which were still moving feverishly, closed it up locking the creature away. The puzzle box was then thrust to the ground with such force that it was imbedded with only the top showing.
Her mind was filled with terrible visions and two great eyes were peering down upon her from one side and a head with a baldpate on the flank. Their eldritch gazes bit into her skull, gnawing with teeth of dementia, tearing into her cortex where all her memories were contained. Try as she might, she was unable to resist as they raped her mind repeatedly with the esoteric visions of nightmares which would never pass. The one trapped in the puzzle box was freed and then hovered above the woman who was now sobbing and sitting in a puddle of her own bodily fluids.
The creature was now in its true shape, with one part madness and one part sanity, half of every concept that man had ever imagined was its essence. It took her child and she reached out in final desperation as the In-Betweener along with Chaos and Order took the young child and were gone along with her son.
But as the darkness fled, a voice came from behind her, “Shaper of Worlds, I thank you for your boon,” her face taking on a different continence entirely, “I could never have done it without you." The Shaper was impressive as volatile energies encircled his nosfertu like visage. Its unearthly glory nearly sent her prostate but her studies had brought her in contact with many demons and her mind was unafraid.
“And I you,” said the Shaper where his cosmic herald Glorien was not far behind. His form but a streak of light that danced around the shapers crowns like a willow the wisp. "Your vision of a utopia,” continued the Shaper, “Is something I wish to see fulfilled. Even if I must confront the forces of Chaos and Order itself.”
“We have been beneficial to eachother,” she said somberly, “Truly there will be no world like Titan, it shall be a gem amongst the stars," said Sui-san.
The Shaper was silent as his mighty gaze was drawn to the young child he had just saved by placing a simulacrum in its place. "The child's dreams are grandiose like nothing I have ever seen,” said the Shaper, his great Skrullian face was staring squarely upon the visage of the small child. "Rarely have I looked upon one so young with such vision," The young child seemed to stare at the Shaper and something formed in his mind, and young Thanos smiled at the evolved cosmic cube, reaching out with his little paw, reaching for his dreams.
A Matter of Life and Death - Chapter 4
"MEN TALK OF KILLING TIME, WHILE TIME QUIETLY KILLS THEM." --Bouckault
“War is death’s feast!” said the Young Titan enthusiastically. He looked at the Tachyon Projector, a machine that utilized FTL (faster then light particles) to peer into visions of the future. The visions were used as a teaching tool, but its applications were limited by the filter, which was sometimes unable to decipher the images on the holo-screen before them.
The Holo-projector revealed two great star cruisers hovering over a smaller one. The star cruisers that were projected on the screen were using gamma incendiary projectiles to break down the smaller opponent's hyperdrive. Five more star cruisers came out of a gravity gate and surrounded the lone starship, which was now dead in space.
I.S.S.A.C., the sentient computer created by Mentor, had
anthropomorphized itself in a holo-image and was currently addressing a
classroom, which consisted only of Eros and Thanos. However, other than the holo-image
of I.S.S.A.C and the Tachyon Projector, the room was comfortable looking.
There were two chairs that had cushions and seated the two students.
There were some Holos of Mentor and Sui-san hanging on the wall and some other
sentimentality as well.
"I do not see how death will profit either way, Thanos, a war between equals can only end in genocide," said Eros.
"I had no idea you could be such a visionary,” gibed
Thanos, his voice dripping with black bile.
“It is the older man that declares war, but it is the
youth that that must fight and die. I believe that is a quotation from one of
the priests that first came to this world when the stargates were opened and the
first ecclesiastical stepped forward, but I believe it is appropriate."
“How intriguing,” said Thanos, "a sensualist quoting the priesthood." Thanos had a glare in his eye as his commentary dripped of venom, "I must confess, brother, I don't always understand how that mind of yours work….” Thanos interjected
"Which clearly illustrates the limits of your own intellectual capacity, brother."
Thanos was also cut off by the holo of I.S.S.A.C., "Let us hold a discussion in peaceful manner, learning is best carried out in an environment that is devoid of stress and emotional tumult."
"I capitulate, teacher, I was merely prodding my brother’s lazy intellect. Continue,” said I.S.S.A.C., “but try to stay on topic. The next question: what use is war? And what, if any, are the benefits of such a disclosure?"
"What good is killing one’s fellow sentient? Titan has existed since its beginning and there has ever been peace, will you Thanos deny the evidence of your own senses?” Eros moved his arms in animated fashion, as he found his blood beginning to boil. “I believe a culture can exist without the threat of war and I fail to see why murder should ever be glorified!”
"In the long run, dear brother, are we not all dead?” asked Thanos. “Death is as psychologically important as birth, shrinking away from it is unhealthy and abnormal which robs, the second half of life of its purpose. Death borders upon our grave and our crib stands in its shadow."
"You are mad, Thanos, there is no longer any doubt in my mind."
"Let us carry out a discussion in an environment,” said Thanos as he repeated the words of the teacher, “devoid of stress and tumult, let us stay on topic sibling." For a moment Eros and Thanos were facing each other as they were now standing and confronting one another. I.S.S.A.C was trying to break it up, Mentor quickly came into the learning facility and held Eros back who was in a frenzy trying to get at his brother. Thanos merely stood his ground and grinned. Sen-Sui was not far behind her mate as she chided both her sons for their violent behavior.
Nevertheless, Thanos was oblivious as an image upon the Tachyon Projector caught his attention. The Tachyon machine was on auto mode and so it constantly switched positions. The projector was observing piles of bodies as a laser field took out an infantry unit, their bodies sliced and burned beyond recognition. However, as the landscapes changed, the Tachyon Converter jumped to various points in the future. But no matter how often the machine changed positions, the image would always be there. Thanos left without saying a word, ignoring both the protests of his mother and his brother.
"Father,” said Eros, his tone nearly indignant, “Why do you cater to him? Thanos is mad!"
Mentor did not speak right away, as he seemed to be collecting his thoughts for a proper response, "And are you a sensualist, Eros?"
"You have always been partial to him, haven't you father? It is like he is your pet project or something!"
Mentor turned his back and clasped his hands, "You are closer than you know, Eros,” said Mentor, his intonation subdued.”All my knowledge has gone into Thanos he is an experiment if you will, an experiment to create the ultimate intelligence.”
There was a great silence and Eros was at a loss, "From the special herbs your mother gathered, to placing Thanos directly under I.S.S.A.C.’s tutelage. Everything has been done to see just how far a mind could evolve and if a pure intellect would be good or evil. His mind is like a black hole in which nothing can escape, so I often give him some room. If too much pressure is put on him or he felt threatened,” Mentor paused as if for effect, “his mind could prove to be the ultimate weapon."
Eros was dumbstruck, "Does Thanos know this?"
“Of course,” replied Mentor, “He has been aware since his birth. With a mind like his, how could it be otherwise?”
“Where is mother?” asked Eros, “she was in here just moments ago."
“I do not know,” said Mentor, “Perhaps she went to meditate, she has been much troubled as of late."
“You do not understand, father, I have tried to tell you
but you seem to turn a deaf ear. Mother is in danger."
Thanos began to concentrate and focus as he cleared his mind of all extraneous thought and then his eyes began to burn like fire. Like a miniature sun gone nova, they began to flare out and then they exploded outward, their murderous sockets blazing with hellish fury, totally destroying the alloy construct which he designed to absorb its might.
He raised a gauntleted hand and an energy bolt lanced out and destroyed another construct. It was only days ago, he recalled, when he would have struggled to unleash this much energy without tiring, now he was doing so without any strain whatsoever. His mind was already like a razor, all that was needed was to enhance the body until it matched.
The Titan then hit a button on his belt and four cyber-modules, that up to this point had been used by Mentor to serve the inhabitants of Titan - their duty was to perform menial tasks while the citizens of Titan sought more spiritual matters. Thanos had placed in the robots systems a virus that caused a loop- a loop that would cause the systems to perform a series of related steps over and over, and abort when the specific conditions were met.
The specific condition was the destruction of the young Titan himself. Thanos smiled as they surrounded him on all sides. Soon heavy-mechanized hands that had been designed to aid were now being used to kill. Blows that registered at superhuman speed hit the Titan repeatedly. They moved so fast that he did not have time to defend himself. His outer raiment was quickly tore apart under the deadly computerized assault.
The Titan’s massive forearms rose reflexively to cover himself but the mechanistic assassins were tireless. They would continue until they registered that all life signs of the Titan had ceased. Waves of pain wracked the mad Titan as his skin blistered and bruised. The Titan merely cleared his mind and then there was no more pain. To one such as Thanos, it was always a state of mind.
The automatons attack was deadly but they were also predictable. He knew that they would remain until they had performed the objective. With this in mind, the Titan's hands moved out with deadly accuracy, disabling the automatons at their joints. Thanos grinned, as he knew that the recursion program would not allow them to back down or recalibrate their strategy. He continued his assault against the joints of his attackers until they were destroyed and limbs were strewn across the floor. His eye beams fired up as he prepared to clear away the scattered parts, for he did not wish to draw undo attention to himself. Even Mentor would not tolerate the restructuring of servant droids to assassins. It was considered the ultimate crime to build a weapon. Naught but slag remained of the servants as his eye beams greedily slurped up all the evidence. His body was beaten and bruised, but he closed his eyes and focused all his energy and he was whole.
Clearly, thought Thanos, he was closer to the first
generation Eternals who could utilize their cosmic force to heal themselves, in
fact they were essentially indestructible by physical damage.
He had finished his workout and now proceeded to investigate something that was like a splinter in his mind eye, driving him mad. It had transpired while watching the Tachyon machine. An image of what appeared to be a figure that was dressed in dark robes, watching the killing even as he was watching whatever it was.
At first, the Titan thought it was just an observer but as the scenes changes, the observer did not. How could one observer be within a distance of several light years nearly simultaneously? It would have to move faster than light. He went to his own personal holo-machine and turned on the Tachyon Converter. Great battles appeared on the screen as men lived by the philosophy of “kill one and you are an assassin, kill millions and you are a conqueror, kill everyone and you are a god.”
Nevertheless, Thanos did not come to view the killing, he came to view the figure. For hours, Thanos sought whatever it was and for hours, he came up empty. His body was feeling chilly but he continued his quest for the unknown figure. He rubbed his hands together to generate warmth.
Then it hit him - Epiphany! Thanos knew at last who it was at least on an intuitive level. Eternals did not grow cold, they were immune to such effects, the cold was unnatural and when he turned he saw it was the image he was searching for. It was a beautiful woman, dressed in long flowing robes and the great cold was her breath and it chilled him to his very marrow.
"It is you,” said Thanos, but Thanos was distracted as the doors of his chamber opened and Sui-San walked in.
"Thanos we need to talk, it is of dire importance,” said his mother, her face flushed.
"At last, mother,” said Thanos, his voice like the grave, “we are alone."
Continued in Thanos: Dead Men Tell No Tales #5
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