Thanos: Dead Men Tell No Tales #18
"DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES"
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Interlude - Strange Daze
"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours."
- Richard Bach
The last time I had been summoned before the dread
tri-judge, it had been during the sundering and the quest to find the mystery.
The Living Tribunal’s power revealed itself to me as a
great whirl wind pulling me into its irresistible clutches and dropping me into
a meta-realm called the Dimensions of Manifestations. When I arrived, the
witnesses were already present: Mighty Galactus, Epoch, the Celestials and
Death; at her side was the cosmic representation of evil himself, Mephisto. All
the forces of Death were assembled on the left side, except for Epoch who had
always been a self-proclaimed champion of life.
Galactus manifested as large as the Celestials, but this
was no so much as power or stature but was more about caprice.
The great judge was terribly aloof as he gazed at the
gathering through the equity aspect of his being. On the right side of his
three-headed visage, was the completely hooded face witch represented necessity.
Words paled to describe the most terrifying and respected
being in the multiverse whose half hooded face of revenge was feared even by
“STRANGER, HE WHOSE PAST IS LOST IN ANTIQUITY, YOU HAD
BEEN GIVEN A SET AMOUNT OF TIME INTO HE WHO IS FOREVER TO PRODUCE THE
His glory forced me to fall prostrate and my tears boiled
before they could even fall.
The witnesses at the gathering were not experiencing what I
did, because the first phase of the sundering had left me in a weakened
“STRANGER, HAVE YOU FOUND THE GREAT MYSTERY?”
“My memory is faint mighty and just judge, I require more
time.” I uttered the words “have mercy” before I stood and readied my self
for his verdict.
“I AM NEITHER MERCIFUL NOR WRATHFUL. MY JUDGMENTS ARE
FAIR AND FOLLOW COSMIC LAW. I AM JUSTICE PLAIN AND SIMPLE.
“YOU ARE THE WEAKEST OF THE MIGHTY, AND YET YOUR GLORY
EXCEEDS THEM ALL. THOUGH I BEAR YOU NO MALICE, I CANNOT RESTORE YOU TO YOUR
PREVIOUS STATE UNTIL YOU FIND THE MYSTERY. UNTIL THAT TIME YOU WILL EVER REMAIN
I nod in ascent as the cosmic entities were dispersed, and
the dimension of manifestations dissolves into its myriad components.
THE CYCLE OF THE SUNDERING
He stood before me a being that was nearly an exact
doppelganger of the entity know as the Stranger. He was quite powerful judging by the power of his energy
lance, but unlikely anywhere near the Stranger’s level. I had no reservations.
Still I could not risk entering into combat, when a careful
constructed plan could accomplish so much more.
“Aid me,” I said, “and I will free you when I leave
the Stranger’s world.” He gazed at me with eyes of azure, and his thoughts
seemed far; as he looked into the reaches of infinity. However, when his gaze
scanned his large humanoid form and saw all the scars from the Stranger’s many
experiments he looked at me and spoke.
The shade of the Stranger laughed.
“WHY SHOULD I AID YOU WHEN ALL I HAVE TO DO IS KILL YOU AND TAKE THE KEY FOR MYSELF?”
“Do you truly believe the Stranger would allow you to run
unchecked? Only my cloaking device
keeps the Stranger’s gaze from discovering you”
“Precisely, but you have us much to lose as myself if he
returns. I have come here to find an artifact, if you aid me in my scheme I will
My bluff worked. I counted on Jakarr’s fear of the Stranger’s obvious experimentations in reinforcing my point. In Truth, however, I was doubtful whether my cloaking device could actual protect even me from the Stranger’s powerful gaze much less Jakkar’s.
“Jakarr, you referred to yourself as the Anti-Stranger.
Perhaps insight into this matter will aid us.”
“IT WAS NOT I WHO CALLED ME THE ANTI-STRANGER, BUT THE
ONE WHO TOOK THIS VERY FORTRESS FROM ME MANY AEONS PAST. I AM THE LAST LIVING
SURVIVOR OF AN ADVANCED RACE CALLED GIGANTIS, A PLANET OF SUCH SIZE THAT THE
SURROUNDING PLANETS ORBITED IT AS IF A SUN. MY GOAL BEFORE THE STRANGER
IMPRISONED ME WAS TO FIND THE MYSTERY.”
“It would appear you are experiencing post-traumatic dementia from the Stranger’s experimentations. You see in all my travels and star charts I have never seen nor heard of any place called Gigantis. Unless your race is older even then the Eternals.”
“ETERNELS? ARE YOU A MEMBER OF THE WAR LIKE RACE THAT
DESTROYED OUR CIVILIZATION ALL THOSE YEARS AGO?”
“Unlikely or I would have dispatched all of its members
and we would not be having this conversation.”
Suddenly a transmission signal interrupted our
conversation. It was a newly constructed planet cracker that I called D-666.
“Master, an energy signature whose readings are off the
chart has appeared within the solar system,” it had to be the Stranger.
“Commence rendezvous with the objective in question
Interlude - PARADISE
The barren moon would suffice for me to recover my
strength, until I could return to my homeworld.
“DO YOU STILL REMEMBER ME, STRANGER, FROM DAYS OF OLD OR
HAS THAT MEMORY ALSO BEEN ERASED? HA HA HA
“I STILL RECALL YOUR SIN OF DISOBEDIANCE.”
I turned to see the mouthpiece of Death standing with his
ebon mistress and the representative of ultimate evil itself.
“Mephisto, why have you wondered so far from your realm
your enemies are many and friends few?”
Mephisto grinned a wide toothy smile and held in his hands
a small universe in a glass container with the world Gigantis still running
oblivious to any thing we were doing.
“From where did you retrieve that I had thought it erased
from existence during my time with him.”
“Erased? No only barred to you and severed from
I tried to retaliate, but I could feel a heavy shadow
restraining my psionic might and knew that mistress Death would not allow
disrespect in her presence.
“State your proposition, Mephisto.” Mephisto and I had
a history but it had been in a timeline that had been erased by the Living
Tribunal and I left with but a partial memory.
“I would have the spark that still burns with the supreme
one’s luminescence, and in return you could return to Gigantis. And all could
be as it once was.”
Suddenly overhead was a great starship the size of a small
planet and I could sense with my psionic abilities that its gun torrents were
being pointed directly at me.
I did not know what was worse that a battery of weapons
capable of laying waste to world pointed directly or Mephisto’s infuriating
END OF INTERLUDE
“HE IS THE STRANGER HIS WAYS ARE NOT DISCERNABLE, EVEN
NOW HE LIKELY KNOWS OUR EVERY MOVE AND MERELY TOYS WITH US.”
“Perhaps, Jakkar, but Thanos is in possession of vast resources all his own, I must find the Soul gem before his return.”
“THE SOUL GEM IS TO BE FEARED EVEN FROM SOMEONE OF THE
STRANGER’S POWER. IT IS SAID TO RESIDES IN ONE OF THE GREAT PYRAMIDS ON THE
FAR SIDE OF THIS WORLD. IT IS QUITE SOME DISTANCE FROM HERE, BUT I CAN TAKE
I felt a strange sensation of being moved in space-time,
and moments later I was standing in front of the great pyramid he spoke of. The
large construct was literally miles into the atmosphere.
“Impressive, I assume that you transported us to this
point.” The readings I was getting from Jakkar seemed to be growing in power.
“WE MUST BE EXPEDIENT, I CAN FEEL HIS IMMENINET
A large door that was wide enough to fit a small army
through its arch, barred our way. The
doorway was forged from a strange obsidian metal that gave no reflections. I
raised a gauntleted hand and summoned my cosmic might to disperse of the
For several minutes I continued to press my full might
against the entrance way but when the smoke cleared… Nothing and it was even
cool to the touch.
“Jakkar, add your own might to my own.”
His power combined with my own illumed the surrounding area
in an eerie jade glow. But for all that, it seemed to stand in spite of our best
efforts. But something curious began to transpire as the reading from Jakkar
once again began to go off scale.
The door was no more.
Laser fire from an unknown source immediately began to
pummel my force shields but it held fast. I did a quick scan to purloin the Soul
The laser fire began once again. Somehow, it altered its
frequency and passed through my shielding unopposed. However, it was a simple
matter to reset the shielding to the current frequency.
My form began to take on a ghost like state and I knew that
the beam had done more then I first believed. It was a disintegrator of sorts
but it could not know of my Eternal heritage or that such an attack was nearly
useless. I reasserted control of my form once more.
Jakkar’s eyes which were usually a deep azure turned
crimson and the weapons exploded of there own accord.
Soon the pyramid’s self-defense switched to a form of
ultrasonic, but my shielding had some absorption properties so it would hold
long enough for to strike.
I sent out a signal that completely shut down all
machinery, creating a distraction that would allow me to escape before the
Stranger had discovered my raid. I quickly located the Soul Gem with my
instrumentation and put it in safekeeping.
“THE STRANGER NEARS WE MUST BE SWIFT I CAN FEEL HIS
Once again, Jakkar’s energy emissions were increasing in
conjunction with the Stranger’s approach. Incredible as it seemed Jakkar was
somehow linked to the Stranger perhaps even…
Things had just gone from bad to worse, the ship I had come
here with was now gone.
And the Strangers test subjects were innumerable and
scattered abroad as far as the eye could see.
There were races that I believed had been extinct like the Archeopens.
This supposedly the first race to be exterminated by the world devourer
I observed from afar as one of the reptilian Badoon, was
quickly pounced on by a creature with a long tail and razor sharp teeth. It
appeared to be one of the parasitic brood, a race I had encountered when I was
freed from my imprisonment from Titan. I was exiled into space and stranded on
the broods planet (see dead men tale no tales archives) it was most unfortunate
“THE STRANGER IS GETTING CLOSER WE MUST BE… ARRRGGG”
He was experiencing what I believed was the first stage of
a bizarre transformation It was now perfectly clear what was transpiring. I used
the key to summon the Ovoid ship, but instead I was attacked and I felt as if I
was thrust from my body. I managed to reassert control which was a testament to
my ever growing mental abilities my foe was a representative of the mysterious
Ovoids themselves. However, what I was uncertain of was whether it had been a
prisoner here and sought to escape like myself or it had come to reclaim its
I fought back with my newly born mental abilities, but his
strength was considerable and he had far more experience. I steeled myself and
dug deep, Thanos of Titan would not go easy.
My fists were empowered as I attempted to get the position
to retaliate, but instead the Ovoid did something unexpected.
The alien’s mind which was housed in some form of artificial
exoskeleton, attempted to end the conflict in a physical manner.
While the Ovoid clearly had an advantage in the Psychic
plane, it erred grievously by attempting to attack me on a physical level.
I answered with my quasi/mystical disruptor beams and scattered its
artificial body into a trickle of shimmering atoms.
To my surprise, his sentient mind left the artificial shell
before its destruction. It then entered the ship itself, which was a clever
gambit on its part for in order to destroy it this time I would have to
annihilate my only means of escape.
Jakkar was transforming and had been doing so for the
entirety of my time here. Jakkar was indeed the Anti-Stranger and more. He was
an unbridled facet of the Stranger himself.
The transformation had left him in a transient state, where
he was neither Jakkar nor the Stranger.
The ship was now destroyed and I had to come up with
alternative mode of escape. I saw my opportunity as one of the great
interplanetary bio-ships called the acanti appeared from seemingly nowhere.
A small clan of the brood, who had also taken a member of
the Skrull race to implant with its vile seed, was ravaging the Acanti.
My fists began to glow and I began to tear their entrails
from their insect like body and then turned even that into ash.
The skrull looked at me in fear, for he knew it would only
be a matter of time before his body would burst and a nest of brood would feed
on his remains.
If you kill me I will do, any thing said the Skrull warrior
who loathed such an unclean way to die.
I smiled, “There is one thing and I promise a swift and
The sundering had run its course for the time and Jakkar
and I were once again one.
I felt my full strength return only to see my world in
turmoil. I quickly used my power to purloin the perpetrator to the crime.
“Thanos, today you will leave this plane of reality,”
he leapt at me with his fists glowing, but before he even have time react I
quickly reduced him to ash.
It would be some work but eventually all my subjects would
be gathered once more and my quest for the mystery once again resumed.
I smelt a terrible stench of brimstone.
“Mephisto, I will not do as you request. The soul of
jakkar is my lot and I will not turn it over to one such as you. You are guile
and deceit and I am the Stranger.”
Mephisto was silent at first, but his fickle emotions
“Stranger, there is much you do not know of me. I am
incredibly old perhaps even older then you.”
His words caused me to grow silent.
“Gigantis was a paradise, and like a certain story,
temptation came to that world.
“To carry this out all the devil in the story had to do
was plant a subtle verbal suggestion telling the man he could not! This simple
suggestion caused him to fall into disobedience and lose paradise forever and
all that came with it.
“Isn’t that right Adam?”
I wondered if he spoke true. Then I left the thought alone
after all he is the Lord of Lies, and I would not give him the satisfaction of
leaving his thought to trouble me.
The skrull indeed served his purpose, I got what I came for
only five more to gather, and the Magus would be mine.
But one thing I pondered what was this mystery Jakkar spoke
Perhaps it was something cosmic in scope, but likely, it
was something under his very nose. Something to give him a drive perhaps the
mystery that seemed so puzzling and ineffable was something as simple as pride.
Hmmm… indeed something to be considered.
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