Cosmic Treasure Hunt: The Director's Cut #4

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)

Conflicts and Resolutions

<Part XIV>

Batman stood within the shadow casted by two trees on each of his sides.  Remaining alert and aware, he began spending a moment enjoying the darkness the shadow presented around him. The thought of being forced into a situation he did not want to be a part of annoyed him.  He realized, however, the importance of such a powerful prize and concluded it had to be won by Nightwing and himself.  His thoughts were not that of greed, but of paranoia. "I don't think even Superman would try to destroy it. He'd probably find some way for it to be put to good use. The only problem is that so long as it exists, it can still be taken and used by the wrong people."

Before the Batman could finish his discourse, Nightwing jumped in front of him from a nearby tree.  "I saw the Joker and Lex Luthor about a mile down. The Joker's not even attempting to stay hidden which made him relatively easy to spot.  I'd bet we can probably ambush them and take them out of this thing in no time."

"If it came down to it, I'm sure we could take both Joker and Luthor," the Batman explained.  "Besides, they're too sloppy to get very far in this contest. I'm more concerned about some of the larger more powerful..."

Suddenly, Batman was interrupted as both men noticed a rustle of the leaves behind him. They both turned around to find Conan running toward them full speed with his battle axe ready. Conan swung in their direction. Nightwing leapt toward the left over the swinging axe, somersaulting out of the way. Batman simply grabbed his cape and sidestepped the attack. The axe sliced through the tree behind Batman causing it to fall.  This bothered the Batman as he realized that the noise would certainly attract others.

As Nightwing kept his distance, the Batman faced off against Conan.  Batman took a step back and threw his batarang toward the axe trying to force it out of the Barbarian's hand.  The attempt was unsuccessful as the batarang was instinctively batted away by Conan.  Meanwhile, Nightwing stood readily with a tranquilizer gun waiting for an opening.

Batman realized he wouldn't be able to match strength or agility with the giant before him.  Quickly, he signaled Nightwing to stand back as he reached into his utility belt with both hands.  With his left hand, Batman threw a handful of small round packets on the ground.  As he placed a filter on his mouth with his right hand, the packets opened up and released a knockout gas that surrounded and covered them both.

"By Crom!" Conan shouted in his own tongue as he attempted to hold his breath.  A punch to the gut by the Batman forced him to breathe in the gas knocking him out senseless almost immediately.

A sudden thought crossed Nightwing’s mind.  "If he's a contestant, where's his partner?"  From behind, Nightwing was suddenly grabbed and lifted off the ground by two hands surrounding his throat. Nightwing tried to struggle free but the fangs of Rune suddenly dug into the neck of the former Boy Wonder and began absorbing his life energy.

"Dick, No!" Batman screamed as he saw Rune drop the lifeless body of Nightwing.

"Oh YEEESSSSSS!" Rune said with a smile on his face as he licked his lips.  I knew sending that big brute in as a diversion would leave me an opening to defeat you humans."

Batman and the body of Nightwing suddenly de-materialized from the battlefield.

"Yes, the first of many have been defeated," Rune said out loud as he stood over the unconscious body of Conan.  "Soon, the inevitable will happen. The star gem of power will go to the only one who deserves it.  And that is RUNE!"

Suddenly, a pair of Omega beams hit Rune from behind, penetrating through his body and shooting out through the other side. The scream of Death was heard silenced only by a booming voice.  "I think not, you vain-glorious dolt," Darkseid said as he walked toward the scarred, torn apart body of Rune which, along with Conan's, began to disappear.  "You were correct in one aspect, savage.  The gem WILL go to the only one who deserves it.  But that description fits the Lord of Apokolips, DARKSEID!  The gem will be mine."

"You mean ours, correct, father?" Orion announced in a sarcastic tone as he followed Darkseid from behind on his unit rider.  "Keep in mind, Father...forced as it may be, we are still a team and must work together if we are to capture this prize.  Even the mighty Darkseid can not succeed on this journey alone."

Darkseid turned around to face Orion, clearly annoyed at the comment.  Suddenly his facial expression changed to that of a smile.  "Of course, you are correct.  Come, Orion, let us continue a team."

<Part XV>

A blue light streaked across the sky.  Before he knew it, the man of steel was hit with a kryptonite ray weakening him and sending him hurling to the ground.  Captain America, realizing what had happened, quickly rushed to save his partner.  They both fell to the ground as Captain America was unable to hold the sheer weight and velocity of Superman's body.  The impact knocked the air out of the Captain as he attempted to roll over to the side and lessen the force of the impact on his body.  Two villains approached.

"Ha!  Ha!  Ha!  Hoo!  Ha!  I haven't had this much fun since...well, um, since 5 minutes ago.  Hoo!  Hoo!  Hoo!"

"Much as I hate your unanticipated buffoon antics, kindly move out of the way so I can finish my sworn enemy," Lex Luthor commanded to the Joker pointing the end of a modified scanner in Superman's direction.

Not waiting for a response or reaction, Luthor fired. The Joker's quick reactions bailed him out as he barely sidestepped the shot intended for Superman.

“Sheesh,” the Joker turned to his partner.  “Talk about obsessive-compulsive disorder!”  The Joker smiled as Luthor chose to ignore him.

The shot was deflected as Captain America threw his shield to Superman at an extremely high velocity. Superman was barely able to catch it, not completely recovered from the first aerial blast, and did not move choosing instead to block each newly fired shot with the shield.

"My simple radiation to light converter here will finish you off!" Luthor yelled grabbing more kryptonite from a hidden pocket on his belt and attaching his scanner jacks to it.  "I will not be denied!"

"Well, well, flag man. Heh! Heh!" the Joker replied approaching the Captain.  "Get a load of this!  Ha! Ha!" he said hysterically as he squirted gas from the flower on his lapel.  The Captain realized and reacted quickly, holding his breath and somersaulting backward out of the way attempting to get some distance from his adversary.  "You remind me of a particular DARK adversary of mine," Joker said as he threw a bola with bat shaped ends entangling the Captain's legs. "This was to be meant for him. Alas..." he said placing his left hand on his heart.  A moment of silence was followed by a sigh.  "Now then," he giggled seemingly forgetting his previous thoughts, "I believe the old man said something about eliminating a team through...death?"  He pulled his belt off.  The green leather sheath pretending to be his belt fell off displaying a double-edged wavy sword.  He walked toward the Captain slicing the air in front of him. "Time to make the donuts..."

No more words were heard.  Instead, a loud thunk resounded and a shield ricocheted off the back of Joker's head and implanted itself within a tree.  The Joker fell flat on his face as the Captain looked over and saw Lex Luthor tied up against a tree with vines all across his body.

"Guess I owe you there, son," the Captain said untangling his feet.

"I believe we are even," Superman replied.  "Why don't we tie him up also so he doesn't give us more trouble?"

"Sounds good to me.  No life is worth taking for granted - no matter what the stakes!" Captain America adamantly replied.

"I agree!" Superman quickly answered.

Together they placed the Joker against a tree and bound him with local vines many times over.  Captain America then reached over and pulled his shield from the tree and placed it around his back.

"There's just one thing that's bothering me," Superman told his partner as they began walking eastward.

"What's that?" Cap replied looking back.

"How do you make that shield return to you?" Superman astonished questioned.

"It's all in your wrist, son," the Captain answered with a smile as he placed his hand around Superman's shoulder. "You have to quickly determine the angle your target is located.  Then..." Cap continued to explain as they passed a beautiful mile long flower garden.  Both paused momentarily before continuing. Though they were more light-hearted now, they both realized they still had a mission to accomplish.

<Part XVI>

The air became a bit foggy as the area opened up to a more mountainous region.  Approaching this change of scenery were two individuals who had not stopped arguing since they first encountered each other in this quest.

"Blundering brute!  Are you sure this is the correct path?" Doom asked his already angered partner.

"Fool!  My instruments are far beyond your mere analog compasses," Kang responded in defiance.  "If your feet moved as quickly as your mouth we would already be there."

"If we hadn't stopped for you to calibrate your instruments we would be there, time droll!" Doom responded.  "This scanner is just an old prototype of mine.  If I had my regular scanner...I didn't exactly have time to..." Doom was interrupted by an unexpected sight.

Both villains began entering a new more cliff-like region from where the gem could be seen at the entrance of a cave about a half a mile in front of them.

Kang was the first to speak.  "My instruments show that this is the real thing!" he said in an excited tone. He turned around and only to be struck by an energy sapping beam disabling his personal shield.

"Give me your scanner," Doom said pointing his scanner at Kang.

"For what purpose?" Kang said folding his hands.

"Because Traveler did not give me time to bring a weapon. Naturally I had to modify my scanner and it could no longer be used as such, for which you foolishly mistook as primitiveness.  The rest of the way might be filled with traps and it would take too long to re-modify my scanner!  Now, since time is of the essence..."

He did not finish his sentence as he fired his modified scanner at Kang.  Kang fell to the ground and Doom stepped in and picked up his scanner as he quickly headed toward the gem.  He turned but did not stop as Kang mumbled words of being the last.

"Be lucky I needed you alive to avoid leaving this hunt ground, or your heart would not have the energy to beat!" Doom said.  He quickly turned around and hastened his pace toward the gem looking down to the scanner the whole time.  "Curious. There's another energy pattern here masked by its proximity to the gem.  I wonder what it...a-a-argh!" he yelled as the scanner exploded and sent him flying back several feet.  He quickly recognized what Kang was mumbling - "He who laughs last laughs best".  He began realizing that Kang must have booby-trapped his scanner to key on certain preordained sequences.  Before Doom was able to recover, a creature emerged from the cave attracted by the current explosion.  The creature quickly saw and attacked Dr. Doom unable to react due to the initial damage by the proximity of the first explosion.  The creature disintegrated the armor and Doom himself.  With its job complete, it headed back to the cave.  Kang disappeared along with the remnants of anyone having been there.

As two figures watched the proceedings, a bright flash occurred as the region becomes jungle-like and the gem teleported itself to a new location.

"The energy creature you released on the battlefield seems immensely powerful!" Metron finally broke the silence on what they were both observing.

"More powerful than you think.  It has a fragment of my power!  It is virtually unbeatable," Judus replied with pride.

"Then how are any of the combatants supposed to defeat the creature in order to obtain the gem?" Metron asked curiously.

Judus turned his eyes on Metron.  "No one is supposed to defeat it. This is an experiment and nothing more.  What happens to the rats in my maze is of little importance.  Now let us move on, as our job here is to observe and learn - not sympathize."  With the deliverance of Judus’ cold words, both he and Metron disappeared to observe a new group.

<Part XVII>

On another area of the planet, bushes rustled as the two Colulans walked side by side more interested in their conversation than in their mission.

"To defeat him, you must know whose son he is," Braniac-5 continued with their discussion.  "Very interesting riddle."

"I must admit, I am currently at a loss to answer it," Vril Dox began to reply until the hand-com on his future partner's belt began to hum.  Braniac-5 immediately grabbed the small mini-computer, took it off his belt and began to read data on the screen attached.

"The gem has just teleported. Excellent!" he smiled to himself.

Vril Dox then looked over 5's shoulder attempting to read the screen.  His eyebrows rose in amazement. "You've programmed your system to lock onto the frequency of the gem!  Your computer is telling you exactly how far the gem is from here.  How?"

"Simple 30th century Colulan technology," Braniac-5 answered.  "I couldn't access it, though until the gem fluctuated its energy, which it did by teleporting itself to a new location.  Though some type of energy field prevents me from materializing right next to the gem, I can now teleport us close to the location.  Stand ready."

"But to teleport blind...there is the possibility that we might end up re-materializing in a tree or such, correct?" Dox questioned.

"It is a possibility, yes.  Now stand ready," Brainiac 5 dismissed his worry.

Vril Dox nodded and stood up straight as 5 pushed some buttons on his hand-com and they both teleported away.

<Part XVIII>

"You believe this entire hunt has been for studying purposes?" Warlock questioned his partner?

"Very likely. Why else would such pairings be set up in a quest for such a great prize?  The Travelers' generosity?" the Titan smiled looking at Warlock.

"I am hardly a scientist, however, I would think there are better ways using independent variables to conduct such a..."

Warlock was interrupted as Thanos clenched his fists and turned his head from looking at Warlock, forward. His hands began to glow as he fired plasma shots toward the bushes in front of them.  Darklore and Meer’lyn rolled out each in an opposite direction in time to avoid the blast.  Thanos aimed his hands at Darklore who was not so quick to recover.  Meer’lyn quickly flied over to attack Thanos and fired tiny multi-phasic electric blasts continually at his shoulder and chest area, attempting to disrupt his molecular structure.  Thanos was unable to lock onto her partner as she continued firing with all her might and flying random patterns attempting to distract the all-pervading evil one.

"Thanos! Wait. They are..." Warlock began to say as the situation becomes more hectic.

"It's us or them," the Titan yelled back as he backhanded the little wasp-like creature into unconsciousness.  The force of the impact sent her 50 feet away as she hurled out of eyesight.

Darklore enraged began reciting a chant, "Coco e ni yo nihayate!"  Suddenly a stasis field formed around Thanos and he became frozen in his tracks as he had just begun walking towards Darklore.

With his head down, a saddened Warlock replied, "I am sorry about this my friend."  He lifted his staff without looking up as a beam of green light struck Darklore and felled him to the ground.

Thanos broke his own prison as he stared at Warlock's staff.

"I didn't know your staff could do that!" he replied to Warlock unusually surprised.

"Let us proceed," Warlock replied as he turned his back to the Titan dismissing his comment.  He began walking somewhat dejected.  His cape floated in the wind as the mighty Titan caught up to him.

"You are wrong," Thanos said to Warlock continuing casually their previous conversation.

"In what way?" the golden one replied facing forward.

"There IS an independent variable in this study - the hunt for the gem.  Whether it be greed, madness, need or concern, all of us are motivated to acquire this gem.  That is his independent variable."

Thanos finished as he began adjusting his belt timing cycle.

"I see your point," Warlock replied. "Very well then, it is time we get the cheese."

"This is all so intoxicating," Judus deliriously told Metron. "They show signs of intelligence."

"They are intelligent," Metron affirmed quickly.

"Well, they’re sentient. But intelligent?" Traveler asked rhetorically shrugging his shoulders.  "Well let’s continue!" he said dismissing the notion.  A bright flash engulfed them both as they vanished.

Continued in Cosmic Treasure Hunt #5

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