Silver Surfer Volume 1 #28-29
At the end of Silver Surfer Vol. 1 Issue #18 (published in 1970 and written by Stan Lee), the Silver Surfer, still trapped on earth for betraying Galactus and still feared and hated by all of society, declared revenge on the human race. This is a continuation of that series.
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Issue #28 - "Terminal Ferocity" Part 10
Outside the sanctuary of Galactus' huge spherical Worldship stood the Devourer of Worlds. Surging with power after consuming the energy of an entire world, he stood almost a thousand feet tall.
Opposite him stood Terminus: A collection of several thousand giant aliens, each a descendent of an alien who stole a fraction of Galactus' power centuries ago. Since then, years of inbreeding and genetic engineering had created a race of vastly powerful aliens. As one composite being, they possessed almost as much power as the Great Devourer himself did. And now, they had returned to claim what was left.
"I'M WAITING, DEVOURER!" spoke the Terminus collective. "BESTOW UNTO ME THE REMAINS OF YOUR POWER, OR I SHALL TAKE IT FORCIBLY, AND KILL YOU IN THE PROCESS!"
Galactus, looked over the alien, then suddenly his face lost all expression. His muscles relaxed, and his body seemed to go limp. Terminus, taking this as an affront to his threat, took the offensive.
A pair of beams of energy, perhaps a hundred feet wide, spewed forth from Terminus' eyes and struck Galactus. The Devourer hardly flinched from the onslaught. On the contrary: Galactus seemed to be completely ignoring his attacker. He hovered, motionless, in space; arms spread wide and head back.
Suddenly, Terminus screamed in pain, and a huge crunch of organic material exploded from his left flank! Neither Axiom nor the Surfer had seen an attack from Galactus - he was obviously working in dimensions higher than either of them could perceive! Although perturbed, Terminus continued his onslaught, gripping his wounded ribcage with one hand, and raising the other to add to the barrage of energy beams.
With the addition of a third beam, Galactus flinched slightly. One hand quivered and slowly clenched into a fist. Without any further movement, another extra-dimensional blast suddenly caught Terminus on his outstretched arm and several tonnes of armour and body-mass exploded into space!
Now angered to the point where he could not feel the pain, Terminus raised his other arm and let loose another blast!
Galactus reacted this time. His head rose forward and his eyes narrowed. The Surfer could see the muscles beneath his former master's armour ripple in pain. At length, two pinpoint beams of power cosmic erupted from the Devourer's eyes and converged on the armored chest of his assailant! Terminus stopped his attack momentarily, knocked back from the impact and obviously in immense pain!
"THIS DRAGS ON TOO LONG, GALACTUS! YOU SHALL DIE NOW!" he roared, and once again raised both arms.
This time, however, the beams did not appear to emanate from the hands of Terminus. Instead, they seemed to come from Galactus and pump backward into the alien's grip!
Galactus suddenly roared in pain! The Surfer quickly realized what was happening: Terminus was somehow draining Galactus of energy, and killing him in the process!
Norrin Radd stepped onto his board, and willed it forward. Galactus had taken far too long to defeat the alien collective, and the Skyrider now feared for his former master's life. It was time to tip the scales. The board began its flight, but before his body followed the Surfer felt Axioms grip on his arm! Were it not for the molecular bonding between his feet and the board's silver surface, he might have toppled!
"Why do you stop me, Axiom?" cried the Surfer! "Can't you see that your master is threatened with defeat?"
"If that is the case," replied the faceless herald, "then I will bow to fate." He bowed his head, and his white hair fell forward. His voice lowered. "This is my master's fight, not mine. The balance must be served."
"Balance?" the Surfer almost screamed. "Galactus is the balance! Without Galactus, the universe would never again know any form of harmony! It would all descend into chaos! I served your master for over a thousand years: Don't you think I know about balance? Help me stop this accursed battle before Terminus brings all of reality into jeopardy!" Norrin spun so quickly that Axiom was forced to release his grip then grabbed the lawmaker on the shoulders. "Axiom! Listen to me! Serve the balance! Serve Galactus! Help me save his life, or all is lost!"
Axiom looked past the Silver Surfer and out to the battle. Galactus was writhing in pain as the Terminus collective siphoned the energy from him. It had seemed that the Devourer had given up the battle.
The herald chewed over Norrin Radd's words. He knew no loyalty now except to Galactus, yet his profound sense of honor and justice prevented him from stepping in to someone else's fight. However, this was no bickering amongst the denizens of his former homeworlds! This was Galactus! According to the Surfer, his master's death could have grave implications!
"Tell me what I have to do, Surfer," he said, and drew his lash.
Within seconds the two were outside the ship, and hovering above the warring behemoths. Terminus was lost in the rapture of the siphoning process, and had not noticed them.
The Silver Surfer explained his plan to Axiom. "There is only one way I know for us to stop this. It is something I learned in my first encounter with this alien on Earth. You'll need to use your lash, in a way you've never used it before."
As the battle raged below, Norrin Radd made sweeping gestures with his hands and related his plan to the herald. Axiom, understanding, nodded solemnly. He then sped off suddenly toward one side of the two giant beings, and pulled back his quantum lash.
As if spurred by some signal, the Surfer focused a tight beam of Power Cosmic at the lash, feeding it with almost limitless energy. It's eerie pink glow increased until it was almost blinding. Axiom suddenly struck, cracking the lash in the empty space before him.
All four of the beings present felt the shock wave as the weapon rendered the space-time continuum.
"That's it!" cried the Surfer. "Now, the other side! Quickly!"
Axiom shot at almost the speed of light to a similar position on the other side of his master, and began the process once more. Again, he pulled back his lash and let the Surfer boost it with Power Cosmic. Then all at once he released it into the space before him, tearing another great slice into reality itself!
"It is thy turn, now, Silver one!" cried Axiom, and pulled back a safe distance. The Surfer seemed to meditate for a brief second, no doubt gathering his remaining energies, then focused a pair of beams at the two tears, which Axiom had made.
Slowly he brought his hands together, widening each tear and bringing them towards each other. Towards the combatants below! When they met, it was precisely in the path of the umbilical beam between Galactus and Terminus, and formed a kind of lens, which dissipated the power flow!
"I watched a mutant perform this sorcery on Earth," proclaimed the Surfer, "and I had little doubt that it would fail on this grand scale!"
Galactus seemed to recover all at once, whereas Terminus was almost drunk from the influx of power, and was in no state to fight.
"NOW, PRETENDER," boomed the voice of the Devourer, "YOU SHALL DISCOVER THE POWER OF GALACTUS!"
Issue #29 - "Terminal Ferocity" Part 11
The battle was all but over. Terminus, pretender to the throne of Galactus, hovered in space before the Devourer of Worlds. His bid to absorb Galactus' power had been foiled by the Silver Surfer, who had enlisted the aid of Axiom, Galactus' newest herald. Now, Galactus was almost completely drained of energy, but Terminus would still feel his wrath.
Disorientated by the immense influx of power cosmic and the sudden break in the energy flow, the giant amalgam of aliens was in no condition to fight on. Galactus, however, had recovered quickly from Terminus' assault, and was ready to dispense his revenge.
"TERMINUS!" he boomed, in a voice, which belied his, weakened state. "YOUR BLASPHEMY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED! IT IS TIME YOU KNEW THE POWER OF GALACTUS!"
The great armored hand of Galactus reached out, and opened before his adversary. Without touching Terminus, the hand suddenly clenched, and drew back in a tearing motion. The inebriated Terminus screamed, and without warning there was a massive explosion from his chest!
When their eyes adjusted from the sudden flash of light, the Surfer and his newfound ally Axiom was witness to Galactus' retaliation. Terminus' upper torso and head remained intact, but below his chest the individual aliens were breaking off and floating into space. All the while, a monstrous beam of energy flowed from his body into Galactus. The Devourer of Worlds was taking back his stolen power. Not just the energy stolen from him in this battle, but also the power taken all those centuries ago by the original Terminus!
Unable to withstand the rigors of space, the individual aliens quickly asphyxiated and died as they broke off from the amalgam. Horrified by the lack of life, but loathe interfering in the business of his former master, the Silver Surfer could do little but watch.
After some time, only the disembodied head of the Terminus Collective remained, floating in space. Galactus stopped the energy flow, and spoke to his defeated foe.
"A millenium ago you were granted some of my power, Terminus. Not even my herald knew of my dealings with you, since I spoke to you through an M-Body, rather than in person. You have angered me with you actions. I trust that your work was complete before you set off on this fool's errand?"
"My work was complete more than five centuries ago, Galactus," snarled the head of Terminus. "My offspring were just as powerful as I, and in time I believed that I was owed more than the tiny fraction of power you had bestowed upon me. Your task was such a huge undertaking! You have no idea!"
"You dare insult me so?" responded Galactus. "I selected you and your race for this work above all the sentient life forms I have encountered! Do not forget your place in the cosmos, Terminus! Your work is complete, and thus you are expendable!"
"Then kill me now, Devourer! End this torment!"
"No. More work yet remains, and I will spare you such that you may carry it out. Your kin are dead or dying, but you alone shall survive. Never challenge me again, Terminus, or risk an oblivion unknown too most. Mistress Death would so love to claim you for her own!"
Terminus' eyes widened in fear momentarily then bowed in servitude. "You have my word, master. Tell me of the new task, so that I may serve you once again."
Galactus turned to look at the bemused Surfer and Axiom then spoke to Terminus once more. "Not here. Return to your homeworld, alien. I will contact you there."
With that, there was one last explosion as the head split into several dozen aliens, all of which save one perished in the vacuum of space. The last remaining Terminus made a saluting gesture to Galactus, then disappeared into Hyperspace.
Norrin Radd was speechless. Once again, his former master had surprised him. And yet, without the Surfer's help, Galactus surely would have perished! Could Galactus have foreseen such an event, and arranged for the Surfer to be present in some predetermined way? Nothing was impossible when dealing with such a creature!
And what was the "work" the two had spoken of? The Surfer had obviously not encountered the original Terminus, instead doing battle with one of his many offspring. Perhaps even they had had no idea of the true meaning behind their existence! So many questions, and yet Norrin knew that the enigmatic Galactus would provide no answers. When Galactus finally made his way over to them, the Surfer knew better than even to ask.
The re-energized Galactus dwarfed the Silver Surfer as he approached. Expecting the worst, but defiant nonetheless, Norrin Radd awaited his former master's judgement.
"You have disappointed me, Norrin Radd. I imprisoned you on Earth for a reason, a reason that you should have respected! You risk a terrible consequence returning here against my will."
"I came only to warn you of the impending attack, Galactus," responded the Surfer. "It would seem that my warning, though unheeded, was warranted."
"Impertinent as always, Silver Surfer." Galactus almost smiled. "It is true. Your presence was instrumental in the defeat of the traitor. It is for that reason that I do not simply destroy you now. Instead, I am going to grant you a period of . . . parole."
"Parole?" asked a bemused Surfer.
"Yes. After feeding on Axiom's world, and absorbing the energies of the alien collective, it will be some time before I need to sate my hunger again. You have until then to savor your freedom. You will know when I next feed. Return to earth thereafter, or risk my wrath."
Although dismayed by the threat, Norrin Radd could hardly contain his feelings. Free! Conditionally, yes, but free, nonetheless! At long last he could return to Zenn-La, and once again hold his beloved Shalla Bal in his arms!
"You have my word, Galactus."
The Surfer then turned to his newfound ally, Axiom. "Galactus has Chosen well, Axiom. I trust we will meet again, and hope that it will be in less turbulent times."
If the herald of Galactus had had a mouth, it would have smiled. "Truly you are not the heretic for which I took you, Silver Surfer. Indeed, you are a man of honor. I feel privileged to count you as one of my Allies."
"Indeed," replied Norrin Radd. "Farewell then for now!" With that, he sped off into the empty void.
In the pits of hell, upon a throne constructed from human flesh and bone, sat Mephisto, demon-lord of evil. His lithe body clad in devil-red robes. Intently he gazed at a crystal ball, which rested on a pulpit before him. His clawed hands outstretched as if warming themselves with its ghostly light.
Within the globe, Mephisto watched the image of the Silver Surfer flying through space. He had seen the skyrider's escape from earth, and had watched his battles since. Norrin Radd's joy at his newfound freedom was a torment to Mephisto's twisted soul, a torment that would not go un-avenged.
Time moves at a different pace in Mephisto's stygian domain; and so it was that for the next few years he plotted his revenge against the Surfer. By the time he had struck upon a malevolent plan, Norrin Radd would be back on his homeworld, in the arms of his true love Shalla Bal.
Unless Mephisto's grisly touch reached her first.
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