Infinity Conquest #8
Written by Josh
Edited by Marvelite
Continued from issue #1, issue #2, issue #3, issue #4, issue #5, issue #6, and issue #7.
Maelstrom formed a
telekinetic shield about his floating figure as a bellowing form barreled
towards him through the odd landscape of the micro-verse.
He arched an eyebrow as his shield seemed to vibrate under the impact of
the mighty fists of an enraged Drax the Destroyer.
“Perfect.” He smiled and
the gem upon his forehead shimmered once, briefly.
Drax staggered as his limited thought processes were suddenly shut down
all at once, like a light being cut off. The
emerald fleshed warrior fell to his knees and toppled to the ground.
The third, and final, champion had been chosen.
Now the game could begin.
Doom smiled slightly behind his sinister mask as he surveyed the forces arrayed against him while snapping his cloak back in place. Behind him, Annihilus struggled weakly at the bent girders that formed his improvised prison, and Kristoff sat wearily, holding his battered mask in trembling hands. Below him, SHIELD vehicles of all types circled the Baxter Building. He laughed. “They think to overwhelm me with pure force…laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic.”
“Oh we don’t think so…” A feminine voice said quietly. Doom whirled, just in time to get a black-gloved fist in his face. Barely flinching, Doom unleashed a salvo of power blasts at the form before him. Warbird flew backwards, before skidding to a halt at the feet of Captain America.
“Carol, when I say wait for the rest of us, do it please…” Captain America sighed as he helped Warbird to her feet. The other Avengers appeared out of the shadows around the two-Iron Man, Wonderman, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision, Triathlon, Giant-man, the Wasp, and Thor. Off to the side, the Thing held a struggling Kristoff in his stony grip, and Spider-Man placed a layer of webbing over Annihilus. “Last dance, Doom. Hand over the gem, and you’re free to leave.”
Doom began to laugh as he slowly rose over his foes heads, floating like some iron angel, his cloak billowing around his form like emerald wings. Energy bled in waves off the tyrant. “I’ll take that as a no.” Captain America grimaced. “All right, if that’s the way you want to play it…AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” He roared, throwing his shield forward in a blazing arc. The other heroes followed suit-Thor threw his hammer, Iron-Man unleashed his repulsor rays. The rest charged forward.
Suddenly, three hurtling ethereal shapes sped forward and encircled Doom, whose form wavered and vanished in flash of mystical light. The charging heroes staggered to a halt, stunned…
Kang staggered to a halt as the very bedrock of the mountain began to tremble under his feet. “What in blazes?” he snarled, dodging a small avalanche. His eyes widened as a wave of energy engulfed several of his troops nearby and incinerated them instantly, their very atomic structure unraveling. A tall figure clothed in crimson and silver armor slowly floated down towards the battle, his fingers trailing smoke. “Wyhndam.” Kang snarled. The High Evolutionary gestured as he landed softly upon the snow covered rock face, and amidst the great melee before him, the lines of his knights and the chronal invaders suddenly split apart as if brushed back by a giant hand. The Evolutionary strode out between the lines and turned to face Kang’s bewildered troops.
“Leave. Now. You’re disturbing my research.”
“I think not.” Kang called from the ridge above. As Wyhndam turned, Kang summoned a large glittering laser cannon from his dimensional armory into his hands, which tightened reflexively around the trigger as soon as it came into being. The recoil of the weapon knocked him backwards several feet into a snowdrift, but its blast had an even greater effect upon his foe. The High Evolutionary was brutally slammed through the very bedrock of the mountain, deep into the futuristic tunnels that honeycombed Wundagore. Kang warped reality around himself, tearing a rent from his position to the side of his stunned foeman. The time lord leveled the cannon once more at the Evolutionary’s head, carefully rolling his inert form over with a foot. As he began to pull back on the trigger, his finely honed chronal senses suddenly screamed a warning. Around him, time slowed to a crawl. He could barely move. The Time Gem!
The High Evolutionary easily got to his feet, brushing dust and ash from his armor. Bands of psychokinetic force suddenly constricted Kang’s armor around him, slowly crushing it. Telepathic daggers hacked through his thoughts. Unable to even bring forth a moments concentration, he could only dangle helplessly as the High Evolutionary studied him. “I guess I should be grateful that you don’t have the experience to use that thing properly. Now why are you here, hmmm?” Wyndham chuckled as he tapped the Reality Gem where it lay imbedded in Kang’s cuirass.
Deep inside Kang’s writhing thoughts, the voice of Dormammu howled suddenly. “Use the gem fool! Open a pathway to the Dark Dimension immediately or else all is lost! Lost!”
Kang grunted low under his breath, fighting against the mental and physical agony that was being inflicted upon him. He refused to surrender to unconsciousness, strove against the mental barrier between himself and the gem. Wyndham eyed his renewed struggles with contempt. “Give it up. You’re beaten.”
“K…Kang is…never conquered! Kang conquers!” He screamed, throwing all of his indomitable will against the barrier around the Reality Gem. The High Evolutionary whirled as a glowing rift formed behind him. The featureless, stony forms of the Mindless Ones filled the rent in the fabric of reality, and behind them, the flame headed lord of the Dark Dimension came.
Dormammu stepped out onto the ground and flung his purple clad arms wide. “Free! At long last, freedom!” The Mindless Ones poured out through the rift in a seemingly limitless wave, paying little heed to any of the trio before them.
“Now my fine mortal…hand over that gem you so greedily hold in your unworthy possession!” Dormammu hissed, pointing at the High Evolutionary. “Or face the wrath of the Lord of the Dark Dimension!”
Wyndham let Kang fall limply to the metal floor and crossed his arms over his chest. “Come and get it you genetic impossibility!”
Above, on the
bloody slopes of Wundagore, the war continued; however, a new element had been
added. The Mindless Ones poured out
of the crater created by Kang and Wyndham, an unstoppable granite hued tide.
The other dimensional brutes assaulted both sides impartially.
Burning crimson beams streaked across the snow, incinerating body parts,
melting armor to flesh, and causing havoc.
By unspoken agreement, a truce of necessity was formed between embattled
survivors from both the soldiery of Chronopolis and Wundagore against the
rampaging monsters within their midst.
Amidst the carnage upon a relatively quiet corner of the battlefield, a mystic light shimmered brightly and briefly, then faded to reveal four forms. Doctor Stephen Strange floated a few feet above the blood spattered snow and cast his gaze upon his comrades. Namor, Prince of Atlantis cursed vilely and crossed muscled arms over his bare torso, ignoring the biting cold and leveled a baleful glare upon Strange. Close beside him, the comparatively frail form of Doctor Bruce Banner shivered in his light street clothing hugging thin arms across an equally thin chest. And across from him, the sinister armored form of Doctor Doom crouched, energy crackling around tight fists.
Strange started as he noticed Doom. “This is unexpected…” he began.
“Prepare for it to be fatal as well sorcerer!” The tyrant rasped, preparing to unleash a lethal blast at the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. Namor quickly interposed himself wrapping iron fingers around Doom’s wrists.
“I like Strange’s manipulations e’en less than you, Doom. However I cannot let you murder him.”
Doom’s eyes narrowed slightly and the gem set into the forehead of his mask pulsed slightly. Swiftly he wrenched free of Namor’s grasp, and slapped the astonished Atlantean away into a snowbank several yards away.
“How…?” Namor groaned as he staggered to his feet.
“Be glad I do not kill you for daring to touch my person…consider it a favor, one monarch to another.”
“Quiet Doom!” Strange snapped, gesturing quickly. Glowing crimson bands formed around Doom, encasing him tightly. “I cast a spell of seeking to gather allies for the task ahead. I was hoping for the Silver Surfer, but the spell seems to have confused one cosmic power source for another. I won’t even ask how you got that gem…I don’t think I want to know. Now settle down, for I have need of you…all of you!” Doom shrugged cloaked shoulders and snapped the mystic bands with ease, but did not initiate any further confrontations.
“ I will hear you out Strange…it is rare that a threat causes we two to ally.” Strange nodded, cautious but satisfied. Then he turned to the other two.
The Sub-Mariner brushed snow from his shoulders and nodded curtly. “Though I am loathe to admit it, you usually have a good reason for abducting me in such a fashion.”
Banner shook his head dejectedly. “It’s not me you want is it?”
“No Doctor, I’m sorry.”
“Very well…” Banner suddenly clutched his chest as if in great pain, and fell to his knees. His clothing ripped apart at the seams as his body expanded into that of the Hulk. The jade skinned brute stood warily, shaking his great head confusedly. “Why Hulk here? How Hulk here? Someone better answer Hulk before Hulk get mad…”
“Of course…we get the idiotic one. It never fails.” Namor groused.
“Fish man here too? And cape man? And other cape man?” Hulk grunted. Strange sighed wearily and clapped his hands together. A Defenders reunion was always such a pleasure to behold.
“Quiet! All of you. My mystic senses warned me of a breaching of the barrier between worlds taking place here upon this cursed mountain. My old foe, Dormammu, Lord of the Dark Dimension is attempting to invade once more, though where he thinks to get the strength to do so is beyond me…”
Doom laughed metallically. “I have the answer to that. As soon as we arrived, my new acquisition alerted me to the presence of two of its brethren here in this vicinity”
“Nevertheless, we must stop his invasion.” Strange said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
“And we do this how?” Namor snarled.
Suddenly an explosion ripped apart the night sky. Tons of earth and rock flew everywhere as two immense figures rose from the depths of the mountain, locked in titanic combat. The giant forms of Dormammu and the High Evolutionary grasped each other tightly, their grunts of effort buffeting those below with hurricane force.
“ Uh…we go over there?” Hulk stated, pointing one green finger at the great titans.
“And you said he was an idiot.” Doom sneered at Namor, who haughtily ignored him.
Kang cowered as debris rained down upon his battered form. Dormammu’s thoughts hammered through his weary mind…”Kang…I need that gem now! I can’t hold him…he’s stronger than I thought…give me the Reality Gem…or all is lost…” Kang staggered upright and muttered “This man fought Galactus to a standstill and created his own world from nothing…before he got that blasted gem! And you thought to defeat him easily as this? No, I’ll not give a fool like you this power ‘til Wyndham lies broken at my feet. But I will use it to aid you…” Ripping the gem from his battered cuirass, the time lord clambered up towards the lip of the crater he was in, a plan forming in his brain.
“The Mindless Ones…they block our path!” Strange screamed as he desperately erected numerous shields, which were just as swiftly hammered apart by the berserk humanoids. “We must get through them!” Nearby the Hulk bellowed as he slammed chest to chest with one of the creatures and brought his fist down upon its glowing eye. It fell, only to be replaced by another. Namor swooped low, a great hunk of rock clutched tightly in his hands. He used it to batter several of the creatures from their feet. Doom stood alone, apart from the group. His gem pulsed as bright as a star as he plumbed the depths of its abilities, massive waves of coruscating energy flying from his gauntlets, incinerating numberless foes. Yet still more came.
Strange teleported to Doom’s side. “Doom, we must get to Dormammu…I’m sensing a buildup of cosmic energies around the area of this battle…energies Dormammu shouldn’t have access to.”
“It must be.” Strange nodded. With a brief incantation he sent his thoughts into the minds of Namor and the Hulk. Doom and I will take the fight to Dormammu…you two watch our backs.
Kang dove aside as the titanic legs of the struggling giants slammed onto the rock just where he had been standing. The battle was a stalemate. Anything Dormammu tried, Wyndham could counter with the power of the gem, often before Dormammu even thought of it. Rolling to his feet, he held the Reality Gem up to his face and focused.
The High Evolutionary suddenly staggered as the air around his huge form turned solid and unyielding. Dormammu laughed and fired a barrage of mystic bolts, which tossed his opponent to the ground with a great crash. Kang focused again, severing the Time Gem’s connection to Wyndham while he was thus distracted. Though the gems could not be used against each other to any great effect, they could be used in just such a roundabout method of attack. Wyndham’s form began to shrink to its more normal proportions, as did Dormammu’s.
Kang limped towards the slumped form of the High Evolutionary, his hands itching to touch the radiance of the Time Gem. Suddenly Dormammu stood before him, blocking his path. “Hold, ally. First, we will conclude our business…” he growled. Kang sneered and tossed the Reality Gem to his partner.
“Suspicious bugger, aren’t we? Don’t worry Dormammu, I have no aspirations to godhood. Have your gem. And I will take mine…”
“Of course Kang…the confusing intricacies of the time stream interest me little. To you your realm, and to me mine.” Both warlords smiled as they clutched their respective prizes and turned to the battered High Evolutionary who crawled to his knees.
“Time to die Wyndham…” Kang smirked, drawing a pistol from his belt and placing it to Wyndham’s battered helmet. Before he could pull the trigger a blast of raw energy smashed him to the ground, stunning him. A metal boot slammed into his chest, pinning him.
“It is you who will die, my future incarnation.” Doom grated “…unless of course, you hand over that gem.” Strange rose from behind Dormammu, gesturing quickly, and chanting harsh incantations, his cloak flapping. Dormammu whirled, the Reality Gem clutched in one crimson fist, and grinned humorlessly, as he blocked his old foe’s mystic bolts with ease.
“I’ve been waiting for this…” he snarled, and wove a complex gesture. His powers, already great, were bolstered by the gem’s influence and Strange was helpless as his mystic cloak suddenly turned on him, it’s red folds ripping at the seams to reveal a cosmic vortex that enfolded his struggling form in seconds. With a rush of sterile air, the sorcerer disappeared with not even a scream to mark his passing. The rent cloak fluttered to the snow limply. Doom spared his comrade’s fate not a glance as he reached for Kang’s gem. Kang roared incoherently and writhed out from under Doom’s boot, calling upon the Time Gem to open a portal into the distant reaches of Time. Howling winds tore at Doom, seeking to drag his armored form through the portal and into oblivion. However, with the Power Gem at his command, the Latverian despot held fast to his proper place in time.
“You will give me that gem…” he rasped as he strode unyielding towards Kang. Dormammu chuckled and opened a gateway back to the Dark Dimension. He was sure his partner could handle this. Besides, he already had what he wanted.
Kang faced Doom. “Why can’t you just die?” He said slowly. “Twice now in my lifetime you’ve interfered in my designs and killed me. There won’t be a third.” He raised the Time Gem and it began to glimmer.
“Don’t bother Kang…you know I can counter anything you throw at me. I am invincible after all.” Doom sneered, his own gem glittering.
“True. However you are not unstoppable. Goodbye Ancestor.” Kang faded from view as Doom was suddenly knocked to his knees by a rumbling thunder. Slowly, imperceptibly the very foundation of Mount Wundagore began to collapse. “Clever…even the immortal bones of a mountain such as this will crumble over time…” Doom said to himself as the rumbling avalanche swept over he and the recumbent High Evolutionary in a great tsunami of snow and rock.
Down below, Namor and the Hulk looked at the wall of ice and snow hurtling towards them and realized that even the combined power of beings like themselves could fail on occasion, especially when confronted by the very forces of Nature herself.
Below them, the tiny village that lay at the foot of Wundagore was the scene of a mass evacuation and much terror. The cursed mountain was at long last crumbling under the weight of its sins, and any in its path would surely be crushed by its death throes.
And in space, a few miles from Earth, the immense Worldship of Galactus sped towards the blue orb…
the three cryogenic chambers within the depths of his sanctum and smiled.
His army was almost ready for war. Or
rather his pawns were almost ready for the game.
At a whoosh of displaced air he turned as the alien figure of the last of
Galactus’ heralds appeared, orange flesh glistening in the dim light.
anyone stay dead any more?” Maelstrom
sneered. Red Shift ignored the jibe
and peered at the cryo-chambers closely. Then
he straightened and faced Maelstrom.
acceptable. My master will be
pleasant…you know, I would trust your opinion more if you told me who this
mysterious master of yours is, and how he returned you to life just in time to
contact me about a silent partnership in my endeavor.”
Maelstrom hissed. Red Shift merely shook his head and said
“The time is not
yet right…too many variables still exist for my lord to safely reveal
himself…as for myself I was merely trapped, not dead.
He freed me, for my skills are still needed for the coming task.
As are yours. The gems are
coming together hybrid. Soon it will be time.”
So saying, he disappeared once more, in a flash of crimson light.
cretin. Your master had best not
overstep his bounds and my plans, or he will find that the friendship of
Maelstrom is a double edged blade indeed…”
upon his throne of bones and twirled the goblet in his hand idly, his red eyes
glinting with spiteful cunning. The
two figures before him knelt upon the burning floor with out discomfort.
One was an immensely muscular demon of purple hue, a small black vest
hanging loosely over its shoulders and barrel chest.
The other, a man dressed in crimson robes covered by an orange cloak.
Long black hair hung lankly around a golden horned mask that covered the
top half of his features.
“Ah my boys…it
is good to see you both again.” Mephisto
chuckled. “Sy’m, Master
Pandemonium.” He extended the
goblet towards them. “Care for a
What do you want you red skinned clown?”
Sy’m growled. Master
Pandemonium nodded in agreement. Mephisto
question my dear lord of Limbo is what do you want?”
The orbiting defensive satellites SHIELD had placed in orbit around Earth were brushed aside like gnats before an elephant as the Worldship moved into a low trajectory over the planet. Its advance was slowed only once as it halted for the barest fraction of a microsecond to analyze and retrieve a human form floating in the upper atmosphere, limp and cold.
“What do you
mean Galactus’ ship has been sighted over the Atlantic?!?” Iron-Man
howled at Nick Fury’s image upon the quin-jet view screen.
“Just what I
said rust bucket! That big ass ship
o’ his has been seen headin’ for Eastern Europe, rather’n New York like
usual. Personally I say let the
Russkies deal with it-” Fury
replied before Iron-Man abruptly cut off the screen.
The armored Avenger looked around at the other Avengers on the quin-jet.
“Great…just what we need…”
Within it’s cell
the Destroyer crouched against a corner, silent and deadly.
Occasionally it flexed its great fists.
The Soul Gem pulsed softly…
Soon it would
head, the Mind Gem pulsed softly…
Soon it would
As Kang surveyed
the Time stream from his balcony in Chronopolis, the Time Gem, placed upon his
cuirass, pulsed softly…
Soon it would
Where Dormammu sat
upon his iron throne and plotted our world’s destruction and subjugation, the
Reality Gem, lying tightly clenched between his fingers, pulsed softly…
Soon it would
In the clutches of
Thanos of Titan, the Space Gem pulsed softly…
it would begin…
Buried beneath the
crumbled remains of Mount Wundagore, the Power Gem pulsed softly…
Soon it would
To Be Continued in: Infinity Assault, Part One
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