The Last Herald of Galactus #1

Written by Dannell Lites, Edited by Marvelite
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

Characters are the properties of Marvel Comics and DC Comics
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The Last Herald of Galactus

He stood cradled in the great hand, staring up into the strange square pupils of the World Devourer's eyes. Beneath him, through the soles of his boots, he could feel the waning energy, the fading life of the great being he served so loyally and he was afraid. Afraid of being alone again. Of being the last ... If the World Devourer did not feed soon then he would die.

He could not allow that.

And yet .. the price ... the price ...

"What troubles you, Herald?" demanded Galactus*. Swiftly, the other looked away.  

"Nothing, Master," he said and felt the scarlet cloth of his cape flutter in the breeze of Galactus' breathy, answering reply. "Nothing troubles me." For a moment, the huge eyes clouded with the advent of unimaginable power and strong emotion.

Could it be grief he spied there on those stern, gigantic features?


But perhaps *not*.

He was prone, he suspected, to projecting emotions upon his Master that, perhaps, might not be there. Because he wished it so.

"Not so, Loyal One," returned Galactus, "but we shall speak of this later. Now you have a task to perform, do you not?" The other felt his heart sink as Galactus raised him level with his own huge countenance, staring at him; depending upon him for his life. "I hunger Herald, I hunger!" he cried. The pain in that thunderous voice tore at his Herald's heart. Slowly, Galactus closed his hand and then opened it once more in a great flash of energy.

"Fly, Kal-E* of Krypton, fly!" ordered the Devourer of Worlds. "Find me a planet, my loyal Herald! Find sustenance for Galactus!"  

Endowed once more with the Power Cosmic, Kal-El, the Last Son of Krypton, blazed away, setting the heaven's alight in the wake of his search for a planet with energy to sustain his Master.

And he found one.

The planet spinning majestically below was beautiful; a vibrant blue-green jewel teeming with life. Laughing, he plunged down through the oxygen rich atmosphere. The pale pastel colors shone against the starkness of space, catching the eye. The warm green bespoke of life and growing things. The cool blue of it's watery womb promised peace and tranquility. He'd almost reached the surface before he realized that the energy bursts and EM spectrum disturbances all around him were the planet's inhabitants, trying to drive him off with primitive weapons.

How *dare* they? He was Kal-El, the Herald of Galactus who went when and where he pleased. Apish fools!

Angry now, he lashed out with his heat vision, destroying many of their toys, easily avoiding the rest with agile grace. In the beginning, he meant to leave these beings in peace. It was his custom to find uninhabited worlds for his Master to consume. If this obvious ploy displeased the World Devourer, Galactus said nothing. The two, Master and servant, never spoke of it. But he was caught by the splendid beauty of this world and so paused in his quest long enough to admire it.

His mistake.

An orbiting laser defense satellite sprang to life, stinging him, insect-like, with tens of thousands of joules of coursing energy. Rather distracted, he could not evade and was ill prepared for the missile that exploded against his chest.

Down, down, he fell, burning like a meteor, through the planetary atmosphere until he struck the ground below with a blow that shook it, making it tremble and writhe in protest.

Martha Clark Fordham Kent glanced up into the bright, blanketing sky above Smallville, Kansas and clapped her hands in delight.

"Jonathan, look!" she cried to her husband of many years, pointing into the firmament. "A falling star!"

"I see it, Martha, I see it!" exclaimed the Kansas farmer with a smile.

The white haired man pulled his new Ford pickup off to the side of the road and, hand in hand, together, he and his wife watched as a miracle unfolded.

"Make a wish, Martha! Make a wish!" Jonathan chuckled.

With a sigh, she did.

No one, however, could have been more amazed than she when it came true.

He woke screaming in a tongue that only two living beings in all the Universe understood, now.

"No!" he shouted in the liquid accents of a planet he knew only in dreams, "No! Don't leave me! Please don't leave me ... " But the shade of his father Jor-El faded into misty oblivion, calling his name. His heart racing, he reached for the comfort of his fathers hand, in vain. Jor-El of Krypton, like his world, was gone. Leaving behind only a single survivor to mourn.

"Jonathan!" Martha Kent called. "Come quick! He's awake!" When the stranger tried to rise from his bed she held out a hand to his broad chest. "Easy there child, easy," she soothed him. The sound of her soft voice seemed to comfort him and he lay back down with a small grimace of pain.

"Well, now," opined Jonathan Kent from the open doorway, "you're looking a mite better, son." To Martha's dismay, those dark brows knitted themselves together in a frown.

"Jonathan, I don't think he speaks English. He doesn't understand you."

Martha stroked the night dark hair and smiled to reassure him as the bright blue eyes closed, peacefully, and the harsh sound of his breathing slowed to a steady rhythm. Within moments the young stranger was sleeping once more.

Such a handsome boy! Martha thought. But who was he? When she and her husband followed the path of that blazing falling star to the cornfield on the south forty of their small farm the last thing they expected to find was a young man, unconscious and still glowing with heat like a coal, or a wood ember.

"Land sakes, Martha!" she could still hear Jonathan exclaim. "That thing looks like it's coming down right on our place!"

His face alight with delight and wonder, Jonathan Kent quickly started the Ford S-10's engine once more and sped off into the deepening twilight. With a shake of her head, Martha gusted a sigh of exasperated amusement. Truth be told, even after all these years she still couldn't cotten to Jonathan's fondness for the strange things he found in those science fiction stories of his. "Look, Martha!" he would often exalt, waving a brightly colored magazine under her nose in Fordham's Drug, "a new story by Asimov!"

"Yes dear," was her frequent response, "Robots ... or is it another 'Foundation' story this time?"

The prospect of actually seeing or perhaps touching a piece of something that fell from the sky, that came from beyond the Earths domain was clearly exciting for her husband. Martha smiled indulgently. She had to admit she was a bit curious herself. But as she understood these things it was most likely just a piece of nickel-iron rock, however exotic it's previous locale. Still, it was nice to see Jonathan so happy and excited. Although not too exciting she hoped. Jonathan's last medical exam was quite encouraging, Doc Whitney assured her, but her husband had still to fully recover from his heart attack of the previous winter and Martha found herself worrying about him more than she liked.

They were less than half way to the remote farm they owned when the earth tremor hit, almost driving them off the road. Stubbornly, Jonathan fought the swerving pick up and kept them from the yawning ditch and the specter of an accident on such a lonely stretch of road as this. Gasping in fear, Martha held on in wide eyed dismay as Jonathan once more set their truck racing in the direction of the falling fragment of heaven.

"Our place all right," declared Jonathan. "Over on the edge of the woods in the south pasture, I'll warrant!"

When they first approached the thing from the sky, the heat was so intense that even Jonathan, determined as he was, found himself driven back by the blast.

"Careful, Jonathan!" Martha admonished, afraid he might be burned. Oh that man and his passion for unearthly things was a caution! Undaunted, Jonathan retreated reluctantly to the safety of his Ford pick up, wiping his brow with a large red checkered handkerchief.

"We'd best wait for it to cool, I reckon," Jonathan smiled.

"I reckon *so*," returned Martha tartly, adjusting Jonathan's rounded spectacles on his nose and checking him closely for injuries. He patted her hand.

"I'm fine, honey," he assured her and was rewarded with a smile. Even after nearly thirty years of marriage, Jonathan Kent still saw his wife as the prettiest girl in Smallville County. Lord willing that was never going to change.

"Jonathan, look!" Martha cried suddenly, pointing at the fallen star.  

"Lord have mercy!" her husband gasped, gazing at the rapidly cooling object lying in his cornfield. "Why, it looks like a *man*!"

Continued in The Last Herald of Galactus #2

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