Cosmic Treasure Hunt: The Director's Cut #2

Written by Mark Rosendorf and Alex Soto, Edited by Alex Soto
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

Characters are the properties of Marvel Comics and DC Comics
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Cosmic Treasure Hunt
The Director's Cut

Disclaimer: The following characters belong to Marvel Comics and DC comics. No profit is being solicited for this story.

Author’s comments: The following story is what the authors sort of expected from the Marvel vs DC crossover that took place a couple of years ago. A lot of characters have changed since then. This story is intended as entertainment reading of some of our favorite characters. Please enjoy.

Though I am no longer in contact with the original co-author of this piece, I humbly hope that were he to read my Director’s Cut changes and additions, that he might be proud at the improvement over a piece that we both agreed to and loved creating.

--Alex Soto (Mystic)

Maverick’s Game

<Part VI>

Thunderous sounds exploded followed by flashes of light, simultaneously flickering within the energy spheres that surrounded the area.

After a few seconds, quietness encompassed the area as the abducted beings recovered from their momentary surprise.

Thanos began analyzing the sphere in which he and Warlock were trapped. His instrumentation showed it to be a transparent, near-impenetrable force field of living energy. Warlock was the first to notice that they were not the only two here. There were six spheres on each side of the one that they were trapped in. Each sphere contained two beings, some of which he recognized and some he didn’t.

From the left, they were in what would be the seventh of the thirteen spheres. All were hovering in the air around a large cliff that overlooked a large jungle-like area. The spheres’ positions formed a perfect geometric semi-circle facing the cliff, as though they were meant to face forward.

Having just arrived as well, the others began getting their bearings.

"Nebula unfolding!" exclaimed the Silver Surfer from the eighth sphere as the teleportation took him by surprise.

"Help me up Surf!"

Extending his hand, the Silver Surfer helped the dazed Captain Marvel, son of the original Capt. Marvel, lying on the bottom of his sphere to his feet.

As he staggered slightly, Genis noticed a power buildup within the Surfer's right hand.  "Hold on there, buddy. Let's find out what this is about."

Reluctantly, the Surfer powered down.

Next to them in the ninth sphere stood Batman and Nightwing, too flabbergasted to say anything.

Dr. Doom and Kang, both trapped in the sixth sphere had no problems venting their angers on the sphere surrounding them. "What is the meaning of this? Who would dare?" Dr. Doom snarled, enraged.

"T'would seem that we have been abducted," answered Loki from the second sphere who was trapped with the stunning Enchantress.

"Good Lord!" stated Captain America from the fifth sphere as he reached back for his shield.

"My thoughts exactly!" muttered Superman from the same sphere as he looked over toward the thirteenth sphere to see Darkseid and Orion trapped together. Superman and Darkseid both exchanged a glance of animosity before examining the rest of the members of the gathering.

Glancing to the left of Darkseid and Orion towards the twelfth sphere, Superman recognized Lex Luthor. He was on one knee, and like the others, trying to put together how they got here and why.

Behind him stood the Joker, seemingly enjoying the entire situation despite the predicament of being trapped.

Inside the fourth sphere, Vril Dox and Braniac-5 attempted to analyze the situation. Vril was the first of these two to speak. "Amazing! It seems like..." he began but was quickly interrupted.

"Silence!"  The command echoed from the cliff as Judus Traveler strolled toward the top within the semi-circle formed by the spheres.  "My name is Judus Traveler. Listen well to everything I tell you because it is very crucial. I have brought you all here so that you may partake in a scavenger hunt."

All eyes focused on the being known as Traveler. There was silence amongst the audience until Rune from the second sphere finally broke it. "A scavenger hunt for what?"

"For this..." Traveler said, and with his right hand held up an Infinity gem.

"It's..." Vril Dox began to say in amazement.

"It appears to be an Infinity gem," Thanos finished with a look of curiosity on his face.

"No, it can't be!" Warlock said genuinely surprised.

"It is and it is more," Traveler answered. "What I hold in my hand is the 7th infinity gem. At one time it had a conscience identity. It called itself 'Nemesis'. Recently, it lost its ability toward independent thought.  Yet it still retains its ability to siphon off a power of the other six infinity gems, wherever they may be. A higher court has ruled that the gems cannot be used in unison, but they could be used individually."

"Siphon off powers of the other gems..." Warlock mumbled to himself.

Traveler continued, "With this at your disposal, any of you would have the power to re-make the universe or destroy it as you see fit."

"Re-make the universe?"  A smile came across the Joker's face.  Next to him, the unmistakable contortions of greed crossed the face of Lex Luthor.

In the first sphere, Darklore and Meer’lyn began whispering to each other about possible uses against a particular omnipotent enemy in a far away dimension...

"Some of you know who you are standing next to within your spheres," Traveler continued his sermon. "If you do not, get to know this person. He is your partner in this contest. You must rely on one another if you are to succeed."

"And if we choose not to partake in this contest?" Superman interrupted standing firm, his arms folded seemingly indicating non-acceptance. Captain America stood behind him with the same determination on his brow.

"My thoughts exactly!" Kang remarked smugly.

Traveler levitated himself so that he was at eye level with Superman. He then answered the question for all while looking directly into the eyes of the Man of Steel, "Partake for the sake of the power, or partake for the sake of keeping the power out of the hands of your opponents. If neither reason is enough, then partake or I will destroy all of your respective planets."  Traveler's pupils faded into a crimson color and Superman doubled over in enormous pain as he, and all the other participants quickly realized that this stranger in front of him had the power to do what he said.

"Wait a minute!" Braniac screamed from the fourth sphere.  "You offer us a prize this big yet you pair me up with a baby?!" Braniac pointed over his shoulder towards Lyrl Dox who was hovering within the same sphere in his laser-powered hover-chair.

"Hey, watch it baldy!" Lyrl protested. "There's more to me than you think!"

"Silence!" Traveler commanded again. "I have paired you up with who I felt would be your most compatible ally. Now listen closely. The contest will take place on the jungle planet you see below you. Somewhere within, the Infinity Gem will be hidden. The contest will last until the gem is located. However, if one of your team were to be killed in combat, both members of the team will disappear from the battlefield."

"So we are to kill one another for your amusement?" the Silver Surfer disgustingly asked.

"Of course, death or disablement are is decided by the individual.  There are no requirements if that person chooses to do or not do so, as the case may be. However, it will not be easy.  Besides competing with your opponents, there will be a final challenge to overcome upon finding the gem. The infinity gem will also be on a timed teleportation sequence so it will never stay in one spot and will never be in the same place twice."

After watching silently, analyzing his entire predicament, the Vision finally decided to speak. "A question if I may..." he began but was immediately interrupted by his partner.

"If we must go through with this, let us get under way!" Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg yelled as he pushed Vision to the side.

"I have heard enough!!!" Darkseid yelled from his sphere as his eyes began to power up and glow. "The prize you offer is great, Traveler, but Darkseid is nobody's pawn."

"Darkseid, don't!" Orion yelled but to no avail. As Traveler brought himself back onto the cliff, Darkseid fired his omega beams and destroyed the sphere. Both he, Orion and Orion's unit rider lost control as gravity prepared them to embrace the planet below. Better prepared than Orion, Darkseid landed on his feet and lunged at Traveler.  Orion fell on his back, and visibly in slight pain.

"Now, Judus Traveler prepare to learn what true power is from the Lord of Apokolips," Darkseid yelled as his eyes began to light up again.  His fists clenched as raw power coursed through them, making them glow with the overflow of energy.

"Paralyzed!" Traveler said as he raised his left hand.  Darkseid froze in mid-air. "You are powerful indeed, Darkseid. Your potential for greatness is immense but you suffer one major weakness. You believe that no one is more powerful than you. That is never the case with any.  Fall." Darkseid flew backwards with force, crashing into the sphere of Warlock and Thanos, bouncing off and falling again onto the cliff in front of Orion. Warlock and Thanos both looked down towards Darkseid as a new sphere formed around him and Orion with another outer sphere forming around the first reinforcing its strength.  Clearly, this incident would not be repeated.

"The Thanos of old might have tried that very same technique," Warlock whispered to his ally. The Titan glanced back seemingly implying he agreed as he turned to see Darkseid begin to rise to his feet. A feeling of kinship entered his soul as he realized that this could end up being his fiercest competition throughout the battle.

Judus Traveler held up his right fist. It glowed purple for a less than a second. He then opened a now empty fist and explained, "The gem has been transported to the surface of the planet. Soon, all of you will be too. The contest shall last until it is found and in the possession of one member of a team. Good luck to all. You will all need your unique personalities and abilities. Whether those abilities are manipulative in nature..." Traveler glanced at Darkseid and Orion as well as Thanos and Warlock. "Whether they involve pure genius tempered with unique planning…" Traveler looked toward the spheres of Kang and Doom, Braniac-5 and Vril Dox as well as Lyrl Dox and Braniac. "Perhaps only a detective's mind could win out this day..." A glance went toward Batman and Nightwing. "Maybe only a deceiver could locate the prize." Traveler looked toward Loki and the Enchantress and at Darklore and Meer’lyn. "Could a touch of insanity along with brilliance make the difference, today?"  Traveler turned his head to look at the Joker and Lex Luthor. "Or perhaps a team of programmed machines would succeed where humans fail." Traveler looked toward Vision and Cyborg. "Or is it a noble heart that makes the difference proving that good wins out over evil?" A look toward Superman and Captain America preceded another of Legacy and the Silver Surfer. "On the other hand, maybe brains are not necessary, just pure force." A final look was made at Rune and Conan. "Once again, good luck to all."

Each sphere then glided to a different area of the planet.

Traveler, now alone on the cliff, stared down toward the planet. With his head perfectly still, his eyes turned left to look behind him. "You can come out now, I know you are here," he said.

Metron hovered forward from behind an area of trees on his Mobius chair. Traveler turned his head to him. "I take it you have been chosen by Chaos & Order to be their representative."

"You are correct, Traveler," Metron answered. "But by the source, I cannot see why they are allowing you to go through with this?"

"My life has been based on studying human nature, Metron," Traveler answered. "Part of what I study has an effect on the natures of Chaos & Order amongst individuals as well as universal. Perhaps they realized that there is something for them to learn here as well and even they are capable of learning something about human nature. Come, let us walk down for a closer look."

Traveler began to walk down the cliff as Metron, in his Mobius chair, followed.

Continued in Cosmic Treasure Hunt #3

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