Powers Cosmic #9

Written and Edited by Morfex
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Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

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Powers Cosmic #9
"Posterity" - Part Three: Incarnations

(Note: This story continues takes place after Galactus: The Devourer!)

The Powers Cosmic are:

The Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd of Zenn La

Starglow, Shalla Bal of Zenn La

Firelord, Pyreus Kril of Xandar

Air-Walker, Gabriel Lan of Xandar

Nova, Frankie Raye of Earth

Continued from Powers Cosmic #8

Also see Powers Cosmic issue #6 and issue #7

Order is Heav’n’s first law; and, this confest,
Some are and must be greater than the rest.
                                         -Pope, Essay on Man, IV 

Eternity and Death hovered in their physical manifestations before the former Heralds and Tyrant. All time had seemingly ceased in the Universe beyond this group of entities. Propriety required hostilities between Tyrant and the Heralds cease until the premier Abstract Concepts in the Cosmos had had their say. Such beings did not make appearances like this often, and when they did, it was for reasons of cosmic significance.

Various Heralds had had the rare and ominous privilege of encountering these entities on several occasions. It was an experience to which one could never become accustomed. Awe and dread were the most accurate descriptions of the emotions coursing through the gathered entities. Mere mortals would likely be unable to process the utter majesty and terrible dignity of the Cosmic Beings’ auras.

Eternity’s presence was sheer totality, the embodiment of everything in the Universe. “He” encompassed everything that was native to this reality. He was the sentient essence of all. That an abstract concept could possess self-awareness was incredible enough, but that it could have an agenda of its own was staggering in its implications.

Eternity’s motivations certainly involved survival and progress on a cosmic scale. Beyond that, they were likely to be unfathomable to lesser beings. At times, Eternity was seemingly petty and power-hungry, while at other times aloof or generous. He was the ultimate embodiment of the “will of the people” throughout all existence. Anthropomorphism was all too easy a shortcut in attempting to comprehend the incomprehensible.

The paradox of Eternity both being the Universe and visiting a place within the Universe was beyond all logic. 

The representation of the Cosmos Entire reflected not only stellar bodies and phenomena, it emanated raw intellect as the culmination of every sentient imagination combined.

Mistress Death’s presence was equally momentous. Terror was too pale a term to describe the growing emotion within the hearts and minds of those in attendance. It was said in some cultures across the expanse of the Known Galaxies that Death did not frighten those who were ready to embrace her. In that case, the Heralds clearly had a tremendous will to live.

The Silver Surfer, like the other Heralds, did not know where to begin sorting out his myriad thoughts and emotions. Attempting to offset the vertigo in the pit of his stomach at the appearance of Death, the Surfer forcibly replayed recent events in his mind.

The post-Cosmic Union Tyrant was in fact Morg, who now possessed the orb containing the survivors of Zenn La and Xandar. Shalla Bal had undergone yet another startling transformation that somehow seemed vaguely familiar. Galactus’ Cosmic “siblings” stood before the Devourer’s remains. Prioritizing the latter out of necessity, Norrin Radd considered the implications of Eternity and Mistress Death in attendance.

Whenever the Surfer interacted with the Universal conscience that was Eternity, it never escaped him that every living being he had ever known from this reality, including himself, was a part of that conscience, however infinitesimally.

Mistress Death embodied everything that had once been alive, but was no longer. In the Surfer’s mind, all the deities, all the mythologies of the countless worlds he had encountered on his many travels, acknowledged “her” role as the inevitable cessation of a life force, however invulnerable or seemingly immortal. The Elders of the Universe, Thanos, even Galactus, had had cause to ponder their fate upon reaching the end of life. Some had averted her icy grasp, others had bargained or gambled for another chance. Still others had been punished by being denied their rightful end. The Surfer suspected that ultimately, Mistress Death touched everything. Was Death here to claim Galactus to her realm? Was that even possible?

The Surfer recalled Death’s seeking him out as the perfect consort.* He had escaped that fate with the aid of Thanos of Titan, but the memory of her rationale still haunted him. Who better to serve as her mate than the Herald of Galactus who had served the longest tenure? During that service, more billions of sentients died than with all other Heralds combined. With shame, Norrin Radd thought of the sentient plant entities of the planet Verdant, recently annihilated by Galactus.** Their “blood” was no less on his hands than the blood of those whom Galactus had devoured during the Surfer’s soul-tampered original servitude. With nauseating disgust, the Surfer averted his eyes from Death’s fixed, skeletal grin. He could not blame her for playing her role in the Cosmos. He could blame himself, however, for the conscious choices he had made in recent weeks.

(* In Marvel’s Cosmic Powers Unlimited #1.)

(** In Galactus the Devourer #4.)

Firelord, the Xandarian Pyreus Kril, followed a completely different train of thought. He was aware that the Cosmic Union* had caused all abstract entities to revert to their non-sentient concepts. Kril knew that a select few such entities, like Mistress Death,** had already returned to sentience following the Union’s resolution. He wondered if the Beings had suffered any adverse effects from the ordeal, and if some would simply never materialize again. If this uneasy gathering escalated into further battle, could the combined might of the former Heralds actually succeed in defeating these potentially weakened entities? The warrior in Firelord considered strategies, while his rational self knew that averting further conflict was by far the preferable option. Eternity had had enough might to bring them together, after all. Surely a confrontation would be folly.

(* See Cosmic Union for details.)

(** See Star Masters #2 for details.)

Another thought occurred to the Xandarian. For an event as critical as the Death of Galactus, would other Cosmic Beings likely present themselves as well? Would Epoch and the other self-proclaimed “Seers of the Universe” pay their final respects too? In recent days, they had commanded him to act against the Mad Titan, Thanos.* Would they seek to guide the destiny of the Powers Cosmic as well? Epoch had left the Protectors of the Universe on less than amicable terms.** She had stated that she had been contemplating leaving the vital interests of mortals to their own devices for some time now. But did the heirs to Galactus truly qualify as mortals in her mind?

(*See Marvel’s Thor #23 for details.)

(** See Protectors #13.)

The former Herald known as Air-Walker was pondering far more philosophical matters. Galactus accomplished immeasurable evil in his lifetime. His ephemeral purpose was to counterbalance that evil with immeasurable good, thereby creating a net balance in the Cosmos that delineated his vaunted neutrality. With Galactus’ death, not only did the good he was destined to achieve never occur, but his acts of predatory consumption became retroactively inexcusably wrong. His premature demise likely cursed him to be considered the ultimate genocidal killer in the annals of cosmic history. Other than the existence of the Powers Cosmic, no good came of his existence.

What did that mean for the former Heralds? Would they be required to somehow meet Galactus’ obligations in the cosmic scheme? Would they be held accountable for their master’s past in light of a bleak future that no longer held the promise of Galactus’ infinite good deed?

Air-Walker’s thoughts turned inevitably to the Surfer’s account of the attempt by the Elders of the Universe to kill Galactus and thereby end this existence. With Galactus now dead, why had Reality not ended? Or was his death merely the beginning of the end? Had Eternity and Death come to make this pronouncement?

The Earth-born Nova recalled witnessing an interaction between Eternity and Galactus once before. Galactus had worn his purest energy form, which was, not surprisingly, similar to that of the incandescent star around which they all now focused. Nova’s mortal mind had difficulty grasping the scope of such abstract entities as these. Even her impressions of Galactus were anthropomorphic to the point that she had fallen in love with him, despite his status as a Force of Nature and the Great Balance in the Cosmic Trinity.

Perhaps Frankie Raye was simply able to look past the grand purpose and the lofty titles to see the man within the Devourer, a humanoid host upon which the mantle of Galactus had been thrust. She was convinced that it was that man whom she had grown to love. Her feelings for the Human Torch, the Silver Surfer, or even Firelord paled in comparison, she was ashamed to admit. The man inside Galactus had been the one true love of her life, despite the fact that she knew he could never have reciprocated. And now he was dead.

Nova recalled that for a brief time during the Cosmic Union, Cyrus, the innocent man within the insane mantle that was Tyrant, had been freed of his cosmic shackles of servitude as a Universal Force. Why could Galactus not have been freed as well? Where was the justice in his passing? Frankie’s indignation matched the sorrow she finally let herself feel at the knowledge of Galactus’ demise.

At that thought, Nova also averted her senses from Mistress Death, whom she had nearly embraced months before thanks to Morg. Her soul had departed the dying husk that was her former solid Power Cosmic body,* only to revert to her original human form secretly in stasis aboard Taa II. But this fact did not absolve Morg of intent. Frustrated by her own insignificance in the unfolding events, she focused on her own rage.

(* See Marvel’s Silver Surfer Vol. 3, #75 for details.)

Nova’s temper flared at the knowledge that the new Tyrant was in fact Morg. Her desire for vengeance heightened her already intense battle lust. She no longer cared about Cosmic Beings or their machinations. She simply wanted to take off Tyrant’s head. She lunged toward the Tyrant, knocking the dimension-bearing orb from his grasp.

The Surfer’s eyes widened at Nova’s lack of respect for the Cosmic Beings before them. Although he shared her sentiments, he knew that now was not the time to act upon Gabriel Lan’s revelation of tyrant’s true identity. Eternity did not seem surprised or angered by Nova’s affront. Not even a gesture was necessary to subdue her and cause her to freeze in place from the neck down. Infuriated, Nova struggled and began an expletive, which Firelord quickly smothered with a spontaneous kiss on her lips. His gambit worked. Momentarily surprised, Nova ceased struggling. Pyreus Kril whispered into her ear. “Our chance will come, Frankie. Bide your time for now. Morg will know our wrath, I promise you. Trust me.”

Nova nodded and swallowed her words before causing any further spectacle.

Tyrant made a motion to recover the orb, but found that he was frozen as well. Grinning, he did not struggle. Instead, he addressed the Abstract Entities. “Esteemed beings, the orb is mine by right of inheritance. I require its immediate return.”

Eternity and Death looked toward each other, then toward Tyrant. Eternity uttered one word in response. “Agreed.” Eternity's voice shook with the force of worlds being hurtled through the Cosmos.

“Wait, please!” called out the Silver Surfer. “What of the multitudes held in Epoch’s dimension within the orb?” The Abstracts seemingly ignored his plea.

The orb returned to Tyrant’s hand. With a smirk he gazed within its depths. Suddenly, his features became contorted in anger and frustration. “Empty! What of its contents?”

Eternity ignored Tyrant’s words as well. “Tyrant, Silver Surfer, Plasma, Air-Walker, Firelord, Terrax, Red Shift, Blue Shift. This gathering is incomplete.” With the merest thought, the Asgardian Destroyer armor and Galactus’ Punisher robot appeared. “All those formerly in service and imbued with the Power Cosmic by Galactus are required.” Suddenly, the subtle Power Cosmic taint of the Asgardian armor separated from the magical artifact. “Now and forevermore, the Asgardian Destroyer armor is absolved of commitment to the Devourer and his legacy.” With that, the armor disappeared, presumably returning from whence it had come. The Punisher construct began to merge with the Destroyer’s shimmering Power Cosmic energy remnants. The construct reshaped itself into a far more humanoid aspect than its prior incarnation. “The Heralds will be required elsewhere. Let this long-time defender of Galactus’ abode retaliate against any who would desecrate the sanctity of Taa II and its solemn purpose. This construct is no longer merely a Punisher. Behold, the Retaliator!”

The Retaliator’s eyes shone with deadly focus. Was this synthesis of Galactus’ inorganic creation and the Devourer-granted energies of the Destroyer armor now sentient? Shalla Bal was taken aback by the appearance of her former artificial form. Memories of her spirit being bound to the artificial body still haunted her dreams. Ardina, Punisher, Latverian scullery maid, Empress of Zenn La, Starglow, Plasma; her incarnations were plentiful. But of them all, the lifeless mechanism that was the Punisher was the most unsettling. The artificial intelligence before her observed her with penetrating recognition.

Gabriel Lan knew what Plasma must be thinking. He too had served Galactus in two different mechanical forms. He reached out his hand and held hers tightly. The action did not escape the notice of Norrin Radd. Before the Surfer could react, the Retaliator took its rightful place among the Heralds.

Eternity continued his discourse. “Now the gathering is complete. Heirs to Galactus, it is your right to bear witness to this cosmic tribute.”

Without warning, Cosmic Beings suddenly appeared around the forms of Eternity and Death, as if stepping over from beyond the space-time continuum. Soon the gathered entities included the Watchers Uatu and Oera, a shimmering astral representation of Odin, the Stranger, the In-Betweener, Infinity and Oblivion, Lord Chaos and Master Order, Mistress Love and Sire Hate, Scrier, the Beyonder,* Epoch, the Grandmaster, the Collector, the Gardener, Kronos, and Exitar of the Celestials. Finally, the Living Tribunal made his presence known.

(* See Cosmic Union #19 for the Beyonder’s return to the Marvel Universe.)

As the supreme arbiter of events of universal significance, the Living Tribunal addressed the gathered entities. "Astral Deities Of The Universe, this Supreme Cosmic Council has been convened to acknowledge the untimely passing of Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds."

Continued Posterity Part Four

Continued in Posterity Part Four, found in this issue of Cosmic Powers Unlimited!.  Be sure to also check out our Cosmic Union Continuity Reference Page and Protectors of the Universe Reference Page for other stories in this continuity.  And don't forget to send some comments below or by e-mailing cpufeedback@yahoo.com 

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