Chapter 7: Death vs. Life
Written by Alex Soto

"I sense something is about to happen," Warlock said as he stopped talking to the stranger. He looked through the thin atmosphere as he saw a bright light explosion, a dimensional hole close and a silvery comet in a span of a few seconds. Soon after, several of Earth heroes approached the area. A incomprehensibly large ship also approached hovering several light years away. A small part of the mid section of the ship covered the entire sky glowing a light blue color. "No doubt some type of anti gravity effect," thought Warlock. The entire population stood in awe at the sight.

The Silver Surfer, Thor and Quasar all saw each other as they approached the planet and entered the atmosphere. Each motioning to the other, they landed together close to where Warlock's position was. Warlock had felt the cry, as well as the stranger. It confirmed to Warlock that this stranger was some type of cosmic being with cosmic senses.

"Have you all come to investigate the strange SOS too?" Quasar asked the other heroes.

"'Tis no anomaly," Thor said placing his hammer on his belt. "'Tis Amora, and she be in great danger!"

A teleportation sequence took place as Captain Mirabella, Ranadar, Elita and the two twins teleported to the scene.

The Silver Surfer took several steps towards the Esmeralda group, "Forgive me if I express my opinion, but this is not a place for kids," Norrin adamantly stated to the Captain.

"Would that I could leave them. In my race, our offspring are psionically tethered to their mother until they can fend for themselves."

Abruptly, Thor took the center stage. "This fight be mine. 'Tis Amora that doth be in peril. Honor will have an Asgardian born warrior to rescue her," he finished folding his arms around his chest.

"Seems to me you're saying you're not a team player," Quasar translated.

Ranadar approached the Thunder god, "We are not leaving to satisfy an alien's ego!" she said with sarcasm in her voice.

"Perhaps he is right," the Silver Surfer questioned. "The Asgardians are a special lot. Thor may not need our help," he concluded logically.

Bickering began as the four quarreled over whether all should be involved. Warlock shook his head as he observed from a distance. Everyone was trying to be the leader and decide what to do.

The bickering halted as Mirabella shouted, "Enough! The ancient call for help has been given. Honor demands we answer. There is no dishonor in all answering!"

The heroes stared at her and then at themselves. Thor smiled almost immediately. "Forgive me friends. I have been so concerned about the Enchantress, I failed to see your hands extended. I welcome all help you can give."

"Great! Now that that's settled, all we have to do is find the Enchantress," Quasar smiled.

"No need to look any further Quantum yielder, "a deep voice boomed behind them as a teleportation sequence took place and Thanos appeared on a very familiar looking mystical chair with the Enchantress tied up in chains next to him.

"Amora?!" yelled Thor in disbelief. Instinctively, he grabbed his hammer and prepared for battle as he spun Mjolnir about him. "Spawn of evil! Thou shall learn the true power of Thor today!"

As if he were ignoring him completely, Thanos took Amora off the chair and laid her down close by. He then walked over to the Esmeralda crew. "That's a magnificent ship. Yours, I presume?" he said directing his question at Mirabella.

"Face me, villain!" Thor shouted angrily.

Thanos turned around and Mjolnir flew from Thor's hands. Thanos' eyes quickly lit up and blasted the hammer deflecting it's trajectory away and eventually arcing back to its master. The Silver Surfer and Quasar both took to the air immediately as though they were choreographed to do so. The Silver Surfer quickly blasted Thanos as he passed by him at lightning speeds. Thanos remained unharmed as the armor smoked from the intense blast just received. Before Thor could do anything else, Thanos blasted the ground before him with a plasma blast that shook the thunder god enough to lose his balance and fall.

Quasar immediately tried to restrain Thanos by creating a Quantum energy prison. Thanos quickly used physical force to break it and send fragments of the pieces about disrupting the Silver Surfer's plans for another assault. Quickly, the Silver Surfer moved upward on a higher elevation to avoid the sharp fragments and rounded about.

Warlock walked up, making his way through the crowd that had formed. He was astonished that despite the danger, people remained in the open wishing to see the new occurrences. It was obvious to him that in the history of this isolated planet, nothing even remotely close had ever happened and that the inhabitants were naive as to what the possible consequences could be. He mused that this was probably like watching a movie to them - that it was not really happening. Finally, he made his way through. "Thanos!" he thought to himself. "I should have known trouble could not be far away from him." His thoughts quickly left as he stared at Mirabella. The beautiful woman had an aura around her matching the one he saw around the planet. Somehow, he knew she was involved. Something across her neck seem to shine with the same aura though distinguishable from her as though a separate entity yet with the same characteristics. It did not make much sense, but despite the dangers, Warlock felt he must now get involved and only one person would have answers out of the group in front of him.

"Perhaps we should regroup," Quasar turned and flew to the others.

"Ne'er shall Thor give up!" Thor prepared to release a blast from Mjolnir but was barely in time to contain the release..."My path is blocked," he angrily stated as Warlock crossed his path and in front of Thanos.

"Why are you here?" Thanos turned to Adam slightly surprised.

"I might ask you the same," Adam responded casually.

Thanos looked at Warlock and then at Mirabella, instantly he knew there was something more involved than he previously thought with the Captain. "Chair, distract them while I resolve this," was Thanos' command. Immediately, the mystical chair came to life and as though it knew what to do, began its attack on the trio. Each, caught by surprise fell as the chair blasted the ground before them.

Meanwhile, Mirabella spoke. "Are you the one that called for help," she said approaching the Enchantress.

A bit groggy, Amora mustered all the energy she could to answer. "I will not betray my promise. I will not betray my promise...," she continually repeated.

"She's been tortured!" Ranadar angrily exclaimed, pulling out a short spear from her military outfit. "You are responsible!"

"I've deciphered part of the scroll," Thanos began ignoring Ranadar. "You must know of the incredible powers that it mentions," Thanos said looking at Mirabella, waiting for an answer. A blank stare met his question. Receiving none, he prepared to continue.

Before he could say a word, Ranadar attacked him. Without interrupting his dialogue, Thanos lifted his arm swatting Ranadar 20 feet away while discoursing. A trained warrior, she fell on her feet, though visibly hurt on her arm where he swatted her. She threw her spear as she landed. The spear struck the armor of Thanos, piercing it but shortly after fell to the ground unable to penetrate the Titan's skin.

"There was a pact made relating to the Asgardian woman," Thanos continued looking in Amora's direction. The mentioning of the pact stirred her as she regained full consciousness. "I would like to try my theory," he said.

DeAnchent now inside the audience that had formed walked closer. Memories previously hidden seem just beyond his grasp. But they were there and he knew these people were the key to his connecting with them. He stared at Mirabella's amulet as it began to glow brighter and brighter.

Realizing the chair was going to be a lot more difficult than he thought, Quasar willed his quantum armor. Before he could fully enclose himself within it, the mystical chair teleported behind him and shot him from behind. Quasar fell to the ground groggy, but thankful that he had only been 10 feet up in the air.

The Silver Surfer continued blasting at the chair, but as of yet, he could not come close to hitting it. The chair seemed to be using a strategic teleportation sequence, and as of yet, he had not been able to decipher it.

Thor was not having much luck either as the chair kept teleporting and blasting them both. He seemed to spend more time on defense than on offense blocking each blast the mystical chair sent his way with Mjolnir.

Warlock looked at Thanos not liking that he would 'test his theory' nor what he thought it meant. Somehow, he seemed to think Mirabella now was playing a part in all and he would turn his destructive attention to her. Hoping Thanos would listen, he appealed to him. "Thanos, your theory may be wrong," he began.

"Then so be it." He looked at her and fired blasts from his eyes.

Instinctively, Mirabella took to the air. Surprised at her ability to fly, Thanos hesitated, giving Mirabella the chance to attack, she fired a strange glowing particle stream to his left hand, which he tried to use to block. Slowly, the left hand froze in mid air as though the molecules surrounding his hand had been locked in place.

"What?" he exclaimed as his hand stood frozen in mid air.

Quickly he fired his eye beams at her. She dodged carefully and accurately. She was no novice, and it showed.

In a vulnerable position, Thanos sought to change the situation. He quickly eyed the two twins who stood in the exact same place as when they had arrived.

Mirabella instantly saw the Titan's thought. "No!" she screamed as she dived to protect them. The amulet fell from her neck into the crowd as Thanos fired his eye beams at the twins. The blast hit her dead on, as she rolled over knocking the twins down. Blood gushed from her mouth as she sought to stay in between the Titan and her children. The twins behind her were crying as Elita walked over with tears in her eyes and placed herself in between Mirabella and the kids as a secondary shield. Ranadar also walked over and placed herself in between Mirabella and Elita as she dug her second spear into the ground next to her.

Warlock picked his staff up. He had not wanted to get involved, but the scene disgusted him to no end. Despite having rid himself of emotions, even such an act stirred something up within him. He doubted he could take the Titan on power alone, but twice before he had rid the universe of this menace and he would find a way to do so again.

Thanos noticed Warlock's stance and prepared to fight him. He concentrated on his arm, taking control of the molecular structure of it, as all Eternals, Titans and their descendents could do. Slowly, his arm returned to normal and he moved it down.

The two began circling each other, as the stranger in the audience stepped forward. His eyes gleamed, and his anger showed as he walked forward towards the group.

Continued in Chapter 8: The Ancient

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