The More Things Change...
Ronan would sit in his preparation chamber and watch the updates sent by Ter-Fes and his two lackeys. He was unsure about Az-Mod and Eam-Mor, they were loyal to Ter-Fes and him, but not too bright. Ter-Fes swore that they were good men and would not let them down. That was good enough for Ronan, for now.
The most important information sent was that Earth was now surrounded by the silver sphere. The humans had somehow cut themselves off from the rest of the universe. This could severely hamper the plans Diykrakus had formulated, depending on the exact nature and completeness of the barrier. Ronan would have need of his father soon, but not yet. To call him so soon after the last time would not put him in his good graces. Diykrakus loathed being summoned, Ronan made sure he did it only when necessary.
By this time Ronan had three different groups stationed on Hala-Tor. Of course none knew of the others. Although all three had small, subtle changes in the way they reported every week. Somehow with each report each of the three seemed a little more content to wait and see what was going to happen. Were his men actually beginning to enjoy the peaceful ways and slower pace of these upstarts?? Unthinkable!! His men were better than that, they were purebred Kree, the Lions of the universe. Such sways and temptations would be totally ineffective against them. Yet still
Bah!! Ronan pushed these thoughts from his mind. His men knew their place, they would not disappoint. Ronan stood up from his couch and kicked through the doors into the Operations Center of his Valtorian base. Standing atop the stairs he looked around at the men working and was pleased. Here, under his thumb, their loyalties were without question.
"Commander Bay-Krel." Ronan said to the man in charge. "What is the status of the Silent Eyes?"
"MLord." He began. "We have run it through a battery of twelve different tests so far. She has passed each one with even more success than we dared hope. To infuse a cloaking device on a Piranha Class ship was no easy task. The question of gaining the necessary power alone tasked the engineers to their fullest. But I believe that she will be ready within two weeks for full operation."
"You have three days Commander."
"B but sir" he started.
"I will not tolerate lateness Commander. I am tired of hearing of events second hand from a group who may become sympathizers. I must also know the composition of that barrier as soon as possible. Either you will make sure that she is fully operational or I will find someone who can do the job."
"Of course it will be done. Not one man will get a moments rest until she is fully tested and equipped."
"That is what I like to hear Commander. You will now go down and oversee the operation personally. Do not disappoint me." With that Ronan turned around and returned to his private chamber.
Ronan knew that Bay-Krel would have the ship up and running in three days. He was a good man and could be counted on to do his job very well. You dont become the second in command under Ronan without being the best of the best.
Ronan rarely left his preparation chamber for the next three days. He was busy studying the layout of Hala-Tor and the specifics of the population and where they were. He knew the exact house the Kree President (just the thought of that word to describe a Kree boiled his blood) lived in, the islands the Surfer and his crew had settled on, and every settlement on the planet and moons. His spies could not get close to Earth to study the field around it, so that would be the priority of the Silent Eyes.
Finally on the third day Ronan went to the docking bay to see the ship himself. The Piranha class ships are usually small with only a five or ten man crew. The rear of this ship was lengthened by about ten feet to be able to fit the larger power supply for the cloaking device. Most of the outer weapons had been removed and replaced with scanning equipment. The interior of the ship was much smaller as well. Five men could work within it, but never ten now. Ronan found Bay-Krel on the bridge making last minute adjustments. He looked ragged and was obviously without sleep for days. His uniform was dirty and had tears and burn marks on it. There were bags under his eyes and the start of a beard on his face.
"You have done well Commander, I expected no less of you. What is her status?"
"Thank you Mlord. All the main tests have been completed and she has passed. I would still like to do some secondary tests, but it can wait."
"Good good. Complement your men. The Kree have never been adept at using the more stealthy ways of war. They have ever used a sledgehammer where a thumb tack would work. It is good to see they can adapt to other ways to win the war."
"Of course Lord. Now if you will excuse me, there are still some adjustments that need to be done. She will be ready in twelve hours."
Bay-Krel resumed his work and Ronan smiled. His commander was very loyal to him, but never afraid to speak his mind. That was one of the reasons Ronan knew he was a good officer. Any man can blindly follow orders. A man that can listen to them and then have suggestions or concerns shows that he is ready for command. Of course the Kree military wouldnt agree with that assessment, but Ronan and the military rarely agreed on such matters. Ronan exited the ship and returned to his preparation chamber. Some rest and "relaxation" with his maidens was needed before he went out with the ship in twelve hours.
Alicia and Norrin were outside in the garden picking some weeds. Alicia loved it when he would help her in the garden. It was these little inconsequential things they did together that made her believe they really were soul mates. Any couple could have a great time in the sac and just merely get along the rest of the time. They really loved to be near each other, in bed or not. Alicia always giggled to herself when she thought of such things. Norrin would look at her and instantly know what was on her mind and smile which would always made her blush. He knew her so well.
"Surfer!" Firelord and Nova were coming in from their island. He was shouting at the Surfer about something obviously important. "Surfer, word just came in that a Kree fleet has engaged a caravan carrying supplies to the Tumbefrin. You know, the race that just had a massive earthquake on their planet."
"I know who you are talking about Pyreus. Half the population was killed and the rest are fighting for their lives. Arent Quasar and Beta Ray Bill near there? They could surely help."
"They are already indisposed." Firelord said. "It seems the Badoon have attacked a planet of savages rich in gold."
"It seems that when it rains it pours. I will be back soon Alicia. But after we deal with those Kree there was a cosmic disruption near there I wanted to check out. It might have something to do the earthquake on Tumbefrin."
"Of course my sweet. Hurry back, my mind just may wander off the subject it was on." Alicia said playfully.
So off they went and left her here alone again. It didnt really bother her at first, she was just a normal mortal, she couldnt have done anything. But now, she has the power to make a difference too, yet Norrin always left her behind. She knew it was just because he worried about her and didnt want anything to happen to her. But still, it was really starting to get on her nerves. She would not be coddled forever, and Norrin would have to learn to live with that.
Just on the other side of Venus four Kree soldiers and Ronan sat in the Silent Eyes, waiting for the Surfers departure. Once they saw the three heroes leave the system they moved towards Earth. Ronan stood impatiently behind the two science officers waiting for the information to download. The preliminary data was not promising. Ronan stood there watching as more and more information was attained. He was not happy. It took all his will power to not smash through the ship and bring righteous fury to these imitation Kree!
The Silent Eyes gathered all the data it could and left the system behind. Three light-years outside the Terra system Ronan burst out of the ship and destroyed a near by asteroid field. He flew back to Valtora on his own leaving the Silent Eyes behind to fend for themselves.
Alicia was picking weeds from the roses when a wave of hatred and anger swept over her. She had never felt such strong emotions. But the thing that bothered her most of all was how close it was. These feelings were coming from right outside the system. There was an unwelcome visitor near her home, they would surely regret it.
She was going to try to call the Surfer, but decided against it. It was time she started acting like someone with the powers she has. Alicia flew up out of Hala-Tor air space and towards Earth. She could feel whoever was emitting those feelings leaving, heading out towards deep space. Alicia started to follow the spy but couldnt find exactly which way they were heading. Finally she found the ship but she could not find the one responsible for what she felt.
There was something strange about the ship, but she couldnt tell exactly what. Suddenly what appeared to be a bubble around the ship disappeared and she knew, it was cloaked. Ben had told her once about a cloaked ship they had found. The technology seemed similar to what Ben had described, but she couldnt remember what race he said it was from. The ships engines powered up and they were gone. It must have had some kind of hyper-drive. She could still follow it but decided to let it go. She turned around and headed back towards Hala-Tor. Kar-Lor needed to know there were spies near and develop the proper defenses.
Ronan had gone straight to his preparation chamber on arrival. He needed to think about what was happening. After a furious workout and some time in the Jacuzzi he had settled down enough to contact Diykrakus. He was anticipating a extremely unpleasant meeting. His father was not going to like the news of the barrier. Once again Ronan cleared the room of his maidens and stood on the pentagram and chanted in the ancient way.
"I trust you have news of the most importance for me Ronan. To waste my time otherwise would only my wrath be inviting."
"Of course Diykrakus. Though I must say first you will not be happy." Ronan looked down as he said the words. His father was not the kind of man who would take the news lightly. He would be expecting Ronan to have already come up with a solution. Diykrakus did not take disappointment well.
"If it is news most dire you bring then share it you will. Though warn you I must, do not seek to waste my time with petty foolishness."
"Never great one. There is a barrier around Earth, impenetrable by any means. This barrier covers all adjoining dimensions, including Asgard, Olympus, and all the mystical worlds of their gods."
"And there is NOTHING that can be done!!" Diykrakus was engulfed in rage. As Ronan stood with his head bowed in reverence and hands folded in front of him his father took a step forward and back-handed him. The blow sent Ronan flying back over twenty feet. Ronan was stunned, seemingly unable to move. Diykrakus stormed after Ronan screaming "NOTHING" as he went. Ronan tried to raise his hands to protect himself but it was no good. Diykrakus grabbed him and plummeted Ronan over and over. Finally the anger in the father subsided and Diykrakus calmed.
"I suppose there is no blame to heap upon you Ronan. Doing what commanded have I is a sin not. Rise and regain my acceptance. Held for accountance of this no longer shall you be." Ronan was bruised and savagely beaten but he did stand. To not do so would have been blasphemous and Ronan did not want to be beaten again.
"I thank you for your divine forgiveness mighty one." Ronan said as he wiped a stream of blood running down his cheek. "And I assure you all my men are working on the problem as we speak."
"Very well my son. See to it that every path that is will be crossed. The plan is ten thousand years in the making, a few more to wait shall not be a thorn too great."
"Of course my lord. Your spoken word is law."
"When answers you have found then you will seek me again. Til the universe runs with our enemies blood."
"Til the universe runs with our enemies blood." Ronan answered.
As before Diykrakus disappeared with the uttering of the farewell. Once gone Ronan nearly collapsed. It took all his strength to limp to the couch, fall upon it and pass out. Ronan slept for nearly twenty hours, with nightmares accompanying him through the entire journey.
Alicia had told Norrin about the spy that came a few days ago. He seemed undisturbed by the news, and that troubled Alicia. The Surfer and Quasar constructed a undetectable web around the solar system that would alert them if anything passed through it, cloaked or not. No one would catch them napping again.
As it happens, the universe found itself in one of the many grooves that plays itself off as normal. The people of Earth who were once in a state of panic over being stuck on their little rock went about their business. People went to work, children went to school, and heroes defeated mad villains schemes of conquest. The Kree of Hala-Tor made their new world into a thing of beauty and peace. The Skrulls and Shiar finally believed the Surfer about the Kree wanting peace and left them alone. Ronan continued to plot his plan of universal control under the direction of his mysterious father Diykrakus. And the six cosmic champions kept the universe safe for those who couldnt do it themselves. And on and on things went, for a thousand years
Continued in Part 2: ...The More They Stay The Same, Chapter 1: A Brave New World.
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