Infinity Conquest #1
Written by Josh Reynolds,
Edited by Marvelite
On the most isolated planet of the most backwater of galaxies, three figures clothed in garish armor and bearing weapons of esoteric manufacture appeared suddenly in a blast of emerald light upon a small hillock overlooking a single circular house surrounded on three sides by large corn fields. As the last flickering vestiges of the time-anomaly faded, Kang the Conqueror turned to face Rama-Tut and the Scarlet Centurion with a snort of contempt. "This? This is where you expect to find one of the most powerful items in the all of known time? Here?"
Rama-Tut scowled in annoyance, his thin face drawn tight over his skull. "If you lack faith in my scans, you may by all means attempt your own!" The Living Pharaoh snapped as he began to enter coordinates into the console located on his wristband. Kang growled and lifted the laser rifle he was carrying in the general direction of his past incarnation. Swiftly the Centurion interposed his crimson armored form between them, pushing the muzzle of Kang's rifle down with one gauntleted hand.
"Gentlemen, please. Squabbling does us no good. We have only a limited window of opportunity before our quarry senses us and we can ill afford to waste it in such a manner!" He hissed, fixing his glare upon each of his brother time lords in turn. Kang spun away and walked a little way down the slope from the other two.
"You are correct, Centurion. We have no time for such childishness. Let us summon our forces and get the assault underway," the Conqueror stated, "Tut bring them forth!" Rama-Tut swiftly spun a dial on his wristband. Below the hillock a flash of intense light much like that which had heralded the arrival of the three monarchs erupted with a ringing sub sonic clap. From out of the light, several hundred of the time lords' finest troops poured forth, bristling with weapons and armor from every imaginable era. The warriors formed up in ranks and rows, taking up positions, encircling the small domicile, weapons at the ready.
Thanos of Titan whirled from the studies he had been engaged in as alarm claxons blared throughout his modest home. Swiftly he punched up the images being relayed by the security cameras outside. He grimaced as the view screen filled with the images of a substantial force of at least three hundred intruders, all armed to the teeth and firing upon the walls of the house. As if on cue, everything began to shake and judder as the sounds of high intensity laser fire resounded faintly through the armored walls. The Mad Titan growled in annoyance and headed for the elevator to ascend to the area of trouble after pausing to bring his defenses online.
Rama-Tut shouted to his brother monarchs over the din of the weapons fire, "My scanners have picked up four large energy signatures coming from different points on this mud ball-all are progressing rapidly towards our vicinity!"
"Our prey must be readying his defenses!" The Scarlet Centurion roared from overhead as he swooped by on a grav-sled. "We must prepare ourselves for it!"
"Too late! It's already here! Look!" Kang howled, pointing upwards.
Overhead, four Kree Sentry-class androids appeared in the sky, energy blasts arcing from their gauntlets. The giant war machines landed among the scrambling troops of the three tyrants of time, scattering dozens, incinerating several. Rama-Tut dived between the legs of one Sentry and unsheathed the ornate, archaic scimitar at his hip. As he drew it, it's blade crackled to life with an azure flame; Tut slammed it into the android's leg to the hilt and wrenched downwards, slicing through the complicated balance servos in its ankle. The massive machine fell to one knee with a groan and then toppled as several plasma missiles impacted upon it's torso, ripping it apart in a welter of bio-technical innards and blue armor. Kang dodged under a stray blast and hammered off a shot from his rifle at the nearest of the metallic monstrosities, shearing off it's right arm at the shoulder. The Centurion dove his grav-sled down into one behemoth's f ace, firing bolts of energy from his gloves as he went, shattering it's optics. Suddenly, as he swooped beneath its flailing arms, a force blast knocked him to the earth, splintering his sled into smoking fragments. As the Centurion slammed into the hard packed earth, Kang looked towards the source of the blast and grimaced.
Thanos smiled as he watched the errant time-lord plunge to the earth, stunned. Still smiling he hurled himself into the fray, crimson energy roiling over his fists as he plowed through the enemies before him. It had been awhile since he had faced these kinds of odds. He had no doubts as to his ability to prevail and at the very least this little skirmish would prove an interesting diversion from his recent studies. He would figure out the whys and wherefores of this incident after he had had his fun. Slamming into the packed mass of troops that swirled around him, he swung energy-encased fists with lethal precision. Bones cracked and snapped, organs ruptured and flesh tore with every strike as he waded forward. His laughter pealed forth over the battlefield.
The Centurion heaved his armored form up out of the churned dirt and allowed Kang to aid him to his feet. "I believe you owe Rama-Tut an apology, brother. Thanos of Titan is indeed here, and where e'er he prowls, can the Reality Gem be far?"
Kang scowled, "I will apologize when that gem is in my grasp. Not before!"
"Don't you mean our grasp?" Rama-Tut snarled.
"Enough! Our forces will only distract Thanos for a short while before he and the remaining Sentries either rout them or annihilate them completely. We must enter his sanctum and find the data we need!" The Centurion tersely gestured towards the small dwelling Thanos had just exited. Kang and Tut both nodded and all three disappeared in brilliant flash of light.
A huge, chain mail wearing warrior bearing a brutal looking axe, leapt screaming off of one of the fallen Sentries towards Thanos's broad back. His war cry was cut short as the Eternal swiftly turned and rammed one orange-gloved fist through the man's sternum with a hideous crackling sound.
The warrior gurgled
briefly, eyes wide with shock and pain as he went limp. As he dropped the
jerking corpse, Thanos grunted in annoyance as a long, monofilament blade was
rammed into his back. Whirling, he snapped a fist into his attackers face,
splintering the man's skull and warping his features into mashed paste.
The Titan withdrew the blade and broke it between his thumb and forefinger.
Grinning like a shark, he tossed the pieces away and surveyed the plain of
battle. Mounds of corpses surrounded him, some small, others large.
Two of the four Sentry androids he had scavenged from the ruins of Hala and
repaired, were down and now so much smoking scrap. The third was reeling,
immense holes gaping in it's torso, yet still firing its force rays into the
milling mass of intruders at its feet. The fourth was relatively undamaged
and concentrating it's fire upon several ragged groups of the intruders.
Thanos himself was bleeding lightly from several small burns and scratches, due
more to the sheer number of the foes recently pressing him than any lack of
skill on his part. All in all he was pleased. The Sentries had
preformed well, and could be repaired once more if he felt the need. The
damage to his dwelling was superficial at best, though his corn crop was
thoroughly ruined. It had been a stirring little exercise, all things
considered. However, he still had no idea as to the cause for this
Perhaps he should have left one of the soldiers alive for questioning. He mentally shrugged and turned his attentions back towards the battle between his guards and the remaining intruders. His eyes widened as he watched the intact Sentry suddenly turn on its injured compatriot and annihilate it with a ragged burst of golden energy. Then the massive Kree war machine turned and began stalking towards him, energy still boiling forth from between its clenched fingers. The Titan snarled in fury as his own defensive system attacked him with all of the power at its disposal.
"There. It's done. We'll see how well the Mad Titan enjoys dealing with his own weaponry for a change." Kang smiled in satisfaction as he leaned back from the console. The Scarlet Centurion snorted as he turned from leaning over Kang and faced the Living Pharaoh.
"Tut, have you isolated the Reality Gem's location yet? Regardless of Kang's childish faith in his own cleverness, Thanos will soon dispense with that oversize toy out there and realize our whereabouts, and I for one do not relish facing him without the Reality Gem at our command." He said. Tut looked up from the three dimensional map of the planets surface he had been studying with a smirk on his bony face.
"Aye. I have the location of our prize. 'Tis but a mile distant, within a cavern to the west of here. It's strongly shielded, but I believe I can remodulate our personal teleportation devices to break through, into the cavern."
Kang and the Scarlet
Centurion looked at each other, grins of triumph stamped on their features.
"Do it," they said in unison.
The twin force beams drove Thanos six feet down through the hard packed earth, hammering the air from his lungs. The Titan rolled into a crouch at the bottom of the steaming crater, eyes burning with the Power Cosmic. Coiling his thick leg muscles, he launched himself from the pit like a striking viper. Thick fingers dug into Kree fashioned battle armor, as he slammed into the Sentry's chest plate. The war machine reeled as Thanos gouged his digits into it's torso, ripping metal and wiring loose. The Sentry, overbalanced, fell backwards, slamming into the crippled frame of one of its brethren. As the dust cleared, Thanos slammed fists crackling with power through the robot's optics before it could recover, burning twin tunnels to it's CPU and blowing out the back of it's head in a shriek of tearing steel and exploding transistors. The Sentry sagged inert to the charred ground, black, greasy smoke billowing from its head. Thanos leapt lightly from its twisted form, a snarl of rage on his stony features. Someone had assaulted him and tampered with his defensive systems, all without any specific provocation he could recall. This little diversion had suddenly become a lot less enjoyable. The fun was over; it was time to get to the bottom of this little mystery.
Suddenly, he whirled as an alarm blared from within his home. A very specific alarm. The Mad Titan cursed himself for a fool as he suddenly realized the reason behind this little conflict. Swiftly, he pressed fingers to his belt buckle, activating his personal teleporter. He had to get to the cavern before his mystery attackers!
Burning defense lasers and crushed combat drones littered the trio of time lords' path through the cavern. At last they stood in a semi circle around a stone pedestal above, which a golden gem floated, suspended in an energy field. "The Reality Gem. Mine at last," Kang whispered, awe and hunger suffusing his voice. One purple gauntlet reached out towards the field, but was halted by a crimson one.
"Ours at last, you mean. Calm yourself brother. It will be ours as soon as I finish analyzing the field that suspends it." The Scarlet Centurion grated as he none too gently pushed the Conqueror away from the pedestal. Kang stumbled a bit before regaining his balance. His eyes blazed, but his mouth stayed shut as he bit back a retort. "There. I have done it. We must all fire at once on the pedestal, but with varying frequencies in order to shatter the field." The other two tyrants nodded tersely and readied their weapons-Kang, his rifle, and Rama-Tut, his scepter shaped blaster.
The Centurion charged the energy contained in his gauntlets and pointed his glowing fists at the pedestal. With a scream of burning air, the trio poured their power into their target. After a few moments, the pedestal shattered into smoking fragments and the Reality Gem fell lightly into the Scarlet Centurion's outstretched fingers.
The other two eyed their future incarnation with caution as he fingered the gem and looked at them with speculative eyes. At last he closed armored fingers over it's radiance and said, "Lets go. We have what we came for."
"I don't think so," a heavy voice growled from the mouth of the cavern.
The time lords spun around as Thanos of Titan stepped from the shadows to face them, a tigers grin upon his face.
"Let us pass Eternal, lest we destroy you with the power we now command." The Scarlet Centurion smirked, holding the gem forth.
"I think not," the
Titan sneered back. Then, with no warning he hurtled forward, slamming
into the Centurion like a train. As the Centurion flew through the smoky
air to smash against the back wall of the cavern, Thanos turned on the balls of
his feet and blasted Rama-Tut off his feet, the coiling energy hurling the
Living Pharaoh into unconsciousness. Kang fired his rifle into the
Eternals back, stitching a line of shots up to the back of his head.
Thanos staggered, throwing a grasping hand out to snatch the weapon from the
Conqueror's clutch. Kang threw himself to the side, avoiding another
cosmic blast and rolled to his feet a little distance away.
As Thanos regained his
balance, the Scarlet Centurion crashed two glowing fists into his purple
features, rocking him. Thanos smiled through the light drizzle of blood
from his nose and wrapped his heavy hands around the Centurion's armored head
and squeezed. The Centurion writhed as his faceplate fractured under the
pressure and the steel of his helm ripped like tissue paper. Screaming in
pain and desperation he brought the Reality Gem up and attempted to use it.
His eyes widened behind shattered lenses as nothing happened. Thanos
uttered a short bark of laughter and tossed the Centurion into the dust with a
negligent gesture. "Fool. Do you really think I wouldn't make
provisions for that sort of thing? When Warlock entrusted the Gem to me,
the very first thing I did was to use it's power to ensure that neither it nor
any of the other Infinity Gems could be used to harm me, should any of my
enemies attempt what you just did. Now give it back before you hurt
Thanos reached for the gem
lying loosely in the dazed time lord's hand, but before he could reach it, a
blue scimitar smashed down upon his left shoulder, destroying the armor there
and ripping into the flesh beneath. Falling to his knees, he thrust a fist
back blindly and was rewarded with a grunt of pain. As Rama-Tut stumbled
back, Kang fired an energy blast into the kneeling Titan's face, blinding him.
Thanos roared and lunged forward, pounding Kang to the floor. The
Conqueror went down beneath a flurry of bone jarring blows, his battle suit
crumpling like foil.
Thanos roared as space warped around him and spat him out onto a hard surface. Shaking his head he looked through dazed eyes at the multicolored road that stretched out before him towards the immense spires of a golden city which looked familiar. As he got to his feet he spied a lone figure racing towards him, naked blade in hand.
Heimdall, watchman of the Rainbow Bridge, charged towards the intruder, sword in hand. As the hulking form of the interloper turned to face him, he realized with a shock the identity of the foe before him. Halting his charge, he unslung the huge horn from his back and brought it to his lips.
Odin jerked upright upon his golden throne as the howl of Heimdall's horn echoed throughout Asgard. Swiftly he waved a thick hand over the scrying pool at his side, viewing what was occurring upon Bifrost.
Thanos smashed the horn from Heimdall's grasp before he could blow a second time, and wrapped his fingers around the watchman's throat. As the Asgardian struggled in the Titan's grasp, Thanos smashed his captive down, headfirst, into the cosmic bridge repeatedly. After the guardian had ceased his struggles, Thanos dropped his unconscious form, his bloody head lying in the small crater it had made.
Odin howled as Heimdall fell to Thanos, "This shall not be!" His roar reached throughout Asgard, into every alley and ale hall. "Arm yourselves people of the Golden Realm! Prepare to drive this base invader from our homeland!" And all over Asgard, the warriors of Valhalla readied themselves for war.
Upon Bifrost, Thanos of Titan watched coolly as armored warriors hurtled through the gates of Asgard in the distance and charged towards his position, and smirked.
Some light years away, the Sphinx ship of Rama-Tut broke orbit and launched itself back into the flow of time, carrying aboard it one of the single most powerful artifacts in this reality. Within the main deck, three battered figures laughed together in celebration, and plotted against each other within their own hearts.
To Be Continued.
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