...The More They Stay The SameWritten by Adam Funk
Somewhere in the outskirts of Oklahoma a young woman was putting her laundry out to dry. It was summertime, and while the dryer could dry the clothes in a few minutes, she liked the smell of the laundry after it was hang dried. She had just finished and lay back on a lawn chair to read a book when the sky suddenly went haywire. Waves of silvery light and lightning were being thrown around high up in the stratosphere.
When the display finished the sky was a much deeper blue. Air raid sirens and her neighbors shouting were the only sounds. She ran inside to turn on the Holovision. She didnít know exactly what had happened, but she knew it was big. While watching she started getting dressed in her work uniform. Her vacation at an abrupt halt, Natasha knew the others would need her.
. . . . .
In the deserts of Egypt three archeologists stopped work on rebuilding the Great Pyramid as the sky went crazy. Cleo, Omar, and Firas watched the sky until it was clear the disruption was gone. Cleo stared off into nothing for a long time, oblivious to everything going on around her. Finally she returned to Earth and looked at her two friends.
"Itís coming, I can feel, itís really coming!" she said excitedly.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Omar asked.
"Are you going to start with that crap again?" Firas asked, annoyed it had been brought up yet again. "For as long as anyone remembers your family has worked here, on the pyramids, this is your destiny."
"O ye of little faith, since I was born Iíve known I am destined for greatness, this is the first sign."
"Yeah, the first sign that the sun has baked your brain!" Omar teased.
"Mock me while you can." Cleo said. "Soon you will be worshipping me like the goddess I am!"
"Yeah yeah, can we just get back to work goddess, us mortals have things to do." Firas stated, heavy with sarcasm.
. . . . .
Alicia Radd was awoken from a good sleep by a billion voices in her head. She covered her ears in a desperate attempt to stop the voices, but it was no use. She sat up suddenly and started her exercises to control her telepathy and eventually gained control. The most astounding thing was where the thoughts were coming from. Earth!
"Alicia! Alicia are you decent?" Frankie swooped into her house. "Alicia something has happened with Earth. Itís all over the news net and I got this funny feeling a few minutes ago. I think the barrier is gone."
"I know Frankie, I was just hit with a telepathic wave from there." Alicia answered rubbing her eyes. "Iím going to send out a call to Norrin and Pyreus then weíre going to take a look ourselves!" Just as Alicia sent the message a man ran into her house.
"You will not believe what has just happened!!" He shouted.
"We know Jaratan." Alicia answered. "Now come here and give me a kiss. You never come around anymore and Iím starting toÖ"
"Oh mother!" Jaratan interrupted. He walked over with a smile on his face and gave Alicia a kiss on the cheek. "I thought I told you when I hit three hundred years old to stop babying me!"
"Donít give me that crap!! Iím still your mother and even when you turn three thousand years old I will still be your mother. And I am real tired of that "we donít need to eat" hooey when I tell you to come over for dinner. When I tell youÖ"
"Yes mother!!" He said with all the subtlety of a brick wall while rolling his eyes. Frankie could only giggle at the exchange.
Alicia got out of bed, stretched, and changed over to her spacefaring form. Nova and Jaratan did the same and they were off. On their way out of the atmosphere Alicia got a call from President Roma-Kim. She wanted to make sure they remembered to warn the Earthlings of the Kree presence in the system. Alicia assured her that she would not forget as they headed for Earth.
As the three rounded the Sun the Surfer, Firelord and Jacob Radd, Norrin and Aliciaís first-born son, joined them on their way. They were coming back from Terraxís planet, Tyros, after a week long bachelor party for him. The three of them wore silly smiles and werenít able to fly exactly straight. Pyreus was in the middle of a joke, and at the punch line all three erupted into laughter. This was the fourth time Alicia saw Norrin drunk. While it was still kinda cute, now was not the time, and he knew it. As their laughter died down Jacob noticed the stern looks from Alicia, Frankie, and Jaratan. He muttered an "uh oh" which threw them back into a fit. Almost all at once they got somber and purged the alcohol from their systems.
Firelord looked at Nova with a smirk and shrugged. She tackled him and began grilling him on the weeks events. The Surfer grabbed Alicia and gave her a deep kiss. Jaratan began giving a speech about drinking with the low life of the galaxy, but was left behind by the five as they wandered off to Earth.
As they neared Venusís orbit, the Surfer told the others to stay behind. He felt it would be better to have a familiar person do the "first contact" with the Earthlings. The others agreed. As the Surfer flew off to Earth, Alicia began interrogating Jacob about their week of debauchery.
The first thing the Surfer noticed was the lack of the barrier. The second was Babel. Around the equator there was a structure in geosynchronous orbit. There were six towers that anchored the ring to the planet. It started when the original tower was built to be an elevator to the stars. With the "space race" over, the different agencies of the world collaborated to be one step ahead of the game once the barrier was gone. No longer would rockets burn inside the atmosphere, instead there was a safe and clean way to the top.
The Surfer was staggered by the accomplishment. He was giving it a good look when a being came flying up at him from the surface. The Surfer recognized him immediately. He was about to say hello when he was tackled by an over enthusiastic thunder god.
"Greetings friend Surfer!!" Thor shouted. "It is indeed good to see you again!"
"It is good to see you again as well my friend." The Surfer answered. "I see the years have changed you not at all. Although I see your dialect has become much more American."
"Aye! A thousand years in that country will do that to you. Come. The others are waiting anxiously to greet you!!"
The Surfer followed Thor around the planet to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There one of the six towers went down into the ocean. This was the Avengers new home base. Half of the tower belonged to the Avengers while the rest, the top part, belonged to S.H.I.E.L.D. The Surfer was amazed that these organizations survived the years; truly they were very important to the planet.
Just under a mile over the waves there was a very large balcony on the tower. The Surfer could see there were a few people standing there awaiting them. As Thor made his way there the Surfer instantly recognized two of them.
"Greetings Avengers, I am the Silver Surfer. I assume you know of my time on this world in itís past. It is good to see the mantle of Captain America and Iron Man have remained."
"Um Surfer" Cap replied as he and Iron Man looked at each other. "Itís us." Cap and Iron Man removed their masks to reveal Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. "Come on inside, we have a lot to discuss."
. . . . .
Ronan was in the middle of a deep sleep when his radio started buzzing. Furious he sat up, turned on his light and answered itís call.
"Whoever is waking me up right now had better have a damn good reason. I want to hear that the galaxy just blew up, otherwise prepare for my fury!!"
"My lord, a thousand apologies. If it were not important you would not have been disturbed. Long-range reports just came in. The Earthen barrier is gone." Two minuets later Ronan wearing only his robe burst into the Operations Center.
"I want a full report Commander Jas-Ner."
"Sir. Our long-range scout ship in the Terra sector just reported that the barrier surrounding Earth has disappeared. They are sending a full download now of the events. It should be ready within five minutes."
"Excellent. See to it that the full information is sent to my preparation chamber. You were right in waking me Commander, I do not forget those who act with the best interest of the Kree in mind."
"Thank you sir. I live only to serve you and the empire."
Ronan walked up the stairs to his chamber. The words that Jas-Ner had said ringing in his mind. The empire. The empire consisted of very little these days. Hala was finally made habitable about two hundred years ago. There is a mock government set up there, under Ronanís secret rule of course. There is no military to speak of. All of that is hidden throughout the galaxy. We donít want to prematurely show our hand before we are ready. The Kree on Hala are concerned with bringing it back to the glory it was, back to the center of the universe.
Ronan disrobed and put on his green armor. He sat in front of the screen and called up the information downloaded from Earth. He was studying the images when he saw Thor, a wide smile crossed his face. This was the information he needed. Ronan quickly stood up and went to the pentagram on the floor, with fevered enthusiasm he muttered the incantation again.
. . . . .
The Surfer followed Cap and the others through the tower to the meeting room. As they passed through the halls the Surfer couldnít help but admire all the paintings and pictures on the walls. The Avengers had been going for a thousand years straight, and there have been thousands of members. The sense of history and tradition that flowed from the halls was amazing. Inside there were a few of the Avengers of this time, and two more familiar faces, Simon Williams, Wonder Man, and Hercules, the son of Zeus. Cap introduced the others as Barracuda, a beautiful young woman descended from Namor, Tarantula, a woman covered in a black costume similar to Spider-Manís, Jolly Roger, a swashbuckling pirate throwback to the 1800ís, and Jack Hammer, an extremely large man that controls shock waves. Herc told Cap that Vision and Lioness were on their way.
The Surfer sent for Alicia and the others as they made themselves comfortable. Thor went out to the balcony to greet and show them the way to the meeting room. The Surfer explained the presence of the Kree on Hala-Tor and throughout the system. As the Surfer was explaining Thor and the others came in, but Alicia wasnít with them.
"Hey dad" Jacob said, "as we crossed over America mom suddenly freaked out about someone being alive and flew off to New York. Any idea what she meant?"
"I think I do." Iron Man answered. "The reason Iím still alive and kicking after all these years is Reed and I were working on a way to travel back in time. We were trying to stop Doom from forming the barrier before he finished it. Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben and I were going to try the platform when the systems shut down. The barrier wouldnít allow time travel. As it collapsed we were bombarded in chronal energy. Somehow the explosion froze our bodies in time. We can still move and breathe, but do not age."
"So Alicia sensed Ben." The Surfer said. As the Surfer spoke an incoming call started ringing. Susan Richards was on the line and said Alicia was there and they were coming up to the tower. Surfer could hear Alicia in the background, laughing and crying at the same time. She had truly missed Ben.
Cap and Simon were talking while the call went through. They appeared to be upset.
"Surfer" Cap started "I understand you are speaking for these Kree, but you have to understand our position. For the Avengers, the Kree have been nothing but trouble. Iím sure you can appreciate what we are saying. I know youíve had as many problems as we have, if not more."
"Of course I know your position Captain, and completely understand. But if I, a sworn enemy of the Kree Empire can side with these renegades of the Empire, surely you can see that they are exactly what I say they are. In no way connected to the Kree you know and loathe."
"And that, Surfer, is why we are giving you the benefit of the doubt." Cap answered. "Just understand if we keep an eye on them."
The Surfer nodded and walked towards the balcony, waiting to greet his oldest friends. He knew the humans would be slow to accept the Kree in the same solar system as them. Somehow though, he didnít think it would be this bad. Perhaps their time under the barrier caused even more harm than he originally thought. The humans before were xenophobic, now they could be a thousand times worse. Every year, every generation, becoming more and more comfortable in their shell. Like prisoners incarcerated for many years, they came to depend on their walls, not hate them. Nearly forty generations had been born and died since the barrier was erected. Now their security blanket has been abruptly yanked away. This did not bode well in the Surferís mind.
The First Step of a Thousand Miles
Ronan barely waited for Diykrakus to fully appear before he burst into his explanation.
"Great One, the Earthen barrier has been destroyed, we are free to continue on the plans you have started!!"
"Excellent my proudest creation." Diykrakus stated, a half smile forming on his stone features. "Blood and death running through all creation will this day see. The twilight of the gods, arrived it has. One Supreme Being will cast shadow over all Eternity. You, son of mine, earned your place in temple most holy you have."
"You grace me with honor and privileges I am not worthy of father." Ronan said, rising his fist into the air. "My armies are primed and ready for the fight to come. When do we depart to seek vengeance over all?"
"Your time, come not it has. Myself the only war bringer in these early campaigns will be. Fear not, engine of destruction, come will your time."
"By you plan father." Ronan said with a hint of disappointment. "Till the universe runs with our enemies blood."
Diykrakus disappeared and Ronan screamed in anger and despair. He did not like waiting in the wings. Unfortunately he knew his father had a plan, and he had to stick to it. A few hours training might help relieve some tension and anger. Maybe.
Diykrakus appeared inside a castle larger than most cities. He walked over and sat on his throne, thinking about the best way to go about his plan. He smiled as he thought back to the previous owner of this throne. Perhaps he should pay Pamakretus a visit before he leaves on his campaign? Bah! Why bother the old fool, he is content enough to rest in his cell. The time has come for holy war.
He called to a servant to bring him the Thunder Eye. The servant brought in a large box, shaped like a pyramid with ancient writing on all sides. He quickly placed the object on a table in front of the throne and disappeared. Diykrakus stepped down and stood in front of the object. He muttered an incantation ancient a billion years ago. As he chanted the three sides folded down to reveal an orb, roughly the size of a softball, floating in the center. For fifty thousand years Diykrakus had possessed the Thunder Eye. It was only the last thousand years or so that he knew itís power and used it.
Diykrakus reached down and took the orb. He could feel the raw power flowing through it. Diykrakus threw his head back and laughed like never before. It was time to show those Earth "gods" what real power was!! A considerate amount of power was being used to assure him that they would not see what was coming for them. Earth and itís magicís were about to fall to him.
. . . . .
On a lonely planet, deserted and in the middle of nowhere the Kree Supreme Intelligence sat in his chamber and contemplated the recent goings on in the galaxy. Deep under the uninhabitable surface no one would be able to find him or the ten garrisons of Kree troops and weapons he had stored. He saw the peaceful Kree living in the Terra system. He knew Ronan had been building an army for some unknown goal, and that he had the government of Hala in his pocket. And he was aware that Earth was no longer confined under its barrier. So many things to take into consideration before he started with his own plans.
The Supreme Intelligence had plans for the Kree of Sol. He was almost certain Ronan did as well. The question was whose plan was greater and closer to being completed. For the last thousand years Ronan had been constantly moving and shaking. It seemed almost everyday he would receive a report of something Ronan was up to. But for the last few weeks Ronan had been curiously quiet. Had he finished his work and was about to strike? That would not do. To prove himself the rightful leader of all Kree it was time to show his cards. The leader of the greatest empire of all time does not sit back and watch, he acts!
The Supreme Intelligence called for his aids and generals. Once gathered he explained to them what exactly was about to happen. The Supreme Intelligence had taken every possibility into consideration, there was no way Ronan could win. As the generals and aids left they were startled by a sound they had never heard before. Supremor was laughing.
. . . . .
The winds were picking up out on the balcony of Avengers Tower. Of course the Surfer wasnít affected by them, actually he thought it was a nice change from the stillness of before. In the distance he saw someone flying towards the tower. He wasnít sure who it was or if they were a friend or enemy, but she was coming in awfully fast. The Surfer stepped on his board and rose to greet the incoming person.
"Greetings, I am the Silver Surfer. I trust you are friend to the Avengers?"
"I am Lioness, and more than a friend, I am currently in charge of the Avengers. You will excuse me of course, I have business to attend to."
With that Lioness flew right past the Surfer and into the tower. The Surfer floated back towards the balcony to wait for the Fantastic Four. Lioness seemed to be all business and no chatter. He was insulted, of a sort. He expected a friendlier greeting from the Avengers Chairman. Finally the Fantasticar came into view. Norrin could see the excitement that Alicia and his return produced on the FFís faces.
Alicia was flying next to them along with Johnny Storm. The Surfer could see as well as feel the joy in her heart, she was home now. Hala-Tor was her home with him, but she truly belonged here, on the world of her birth. Alicia swooped up towards Norrin while the FF docked down in one of the hanger bays. Alicia flew into the Surferís arms and gave him a huge hug. She was so happy to see friends she thought were long dead. The two walked into the building to meet the FF in the conference room.
When Norrin and Alicia made it to the room the FF were already there. Susan gave Norrin a hug while Reed and Johnny nearly stumbled over each other to shake his hand and tell him how great it was to see him again. Ben just sat in the corner, puffing on a cigar, griping about making a fuss over the boogie boarder and the cosmic fruit of his loins.
"Greetings assembled heroes." As they were getting aquatinted Dr. Strangeís form appeared over the center table.
"Stephen! It is so good to see you again!" The Surfer stated.
"And you as well Norrin Radd. It has been far too long since I lost contact with the universe outside the barrier. Alas Stephen Strange is no more, I am now only the Ancient One. I wish this visit was purely a welcome, unfortunately it is not. I have sensed a growing evil gathering his forces to invade Earth and her mystical planes. Although I cannot get an accurate grasp of this being. There is powerful magic and science hiding his presence."
"Ancient One" Reed began, "Have you been able to get any details at all? Anything that might help us pin down who is behind this?"
"Nay Reed Richards. All I have been able to gather is that he is from a pantheon of gods from outside Earth and her own deities."
"What say you?!" Thor shouted as he jumped out of his seat, at the same time Hercules spit out the mouthful of ale he was about to swallow and shouted "What?"
"Thor, Hercules did you truly believe Earth was the only planet that produced gods?" The Ancient One said.
"Well Iíve never met anyÖ" Hercules said.
"And neither hath I Ancient One. From which planet doth these pretenders come from?"
"I know not Thor, but I do know pretender he is not."
"Thank you Ancient One" Cap interrupted. "Can you possibly come to the tower so maybe we can make some kind of battle plan?"
"I am afraid my days of fighting and adventure are over Captain. However I am sending my pupil Shadow Hunter to you. He can help you with the mystical aspects of the intruder."
"That will be fine. Thank you again. I trust you will keep us informed if you learn anything else?"
"Of course Captain. Farewell all. It was especially good to see you again Surfer. You must come down to the house for tea."
"As soon as possible my friend. Farewell Ancient One"
As the Ancient One disappeared, everyone in the room started talking at once.
"Excuse me!!" Lioness shouted as she banged her fist on the table. Everyone stopped and looked at her. "As far as I remember this is still Avengers Tower and I am still the Chairman. Now can we please get something constructive going on here?" The tone and authority in her voice could not be denied.
"All right everyone, listen up." Cap commanded.
"FATHER!!" Lioness shouted. "Would you please also shut the hell up!"
"Sorry Natasha, you know me." Cap said with a half smile and a shrug.
"Unfortunately. Now, what are going to do about this god?"
The Winds of Holy War
Odin sat upon his throne in Asgard. For the last few minutes there has been a bitter taste on the wind. What exactly was going on he could not explain, but he knew it was not good. He was about to summon Thor back to Asgard when a tall, blue being appeared in his throne room.
"Who dares?!" Odin shouted as he stood preparing for battle.
"Silence man of many years. Honor untold brought have I."
"Honor? I see naught save vile and villainy in your shadow. What say you of honor? Tis plain thou knows not what be honor."
"Know enough do I to know you worthy are not. Prepare white hair, time of you and yours ended it has. Diykrakus comes, falls Odin and Asgard."
"Think me old base braggart, but my power is without limit."
"So you believe." Diykrakus held out the Thunder Eye and it began to glow brighter and brighter until it was impossible to look at directly. Odin was reaching for his staff when he suddenly felt paralyzed. He dropped to his knees and began to scream uncontrollably. The Thunder Eye was literally tearing the Odinpower out of him. Asgard began to shake and tremble, a blizzard was bearing down covering it, and buildings were crumbling. All citizens of Asgard fell as the Odinpower was finally and completely torn from the golden realm.
Odin lay on the floor of his throne room, gasping for breath. Unable to move, barely able to speak he tried to stand to fight Diykrakus.
"See you do now white hair." Diykrakus said as the Thunder Eye disappeared in his hand. "Power most true escapes your understanding. Foolish you be to stand now. Your realm as yourself dying you are. Would strike your heart with sword of mine, though worthy you are not. Die well man of many years, for god no longer you are."
. . . . .
As the heroes gathered around the Avengerís table discussing what should be done about this new menace from beyond, Thor suddenly stood and began to convulse and fell to the floor. Hercules and the Surfer jumped on top of him to try to stop his shaking, but they were thrown clear. Thor was shaking so violently the floor actually shook with him. Mjolnir suddenly jumped up over the thunder god and hovered there, shaking. As Thor began to calm his mighty hammer exploded. There was nothing left but dust. Finally, after a few moments Thor woke, in obvious pain.
"By Odinís beard, what hath befallen me? I feel so weak and powerless."
"Fear not thunderer, what has transpired was mystical in nature. I will learn what has happened to you." Shadow Hunter, the pupil of the Ancient One said as he walked into the room. He placed his hand on Thorís head and scanned him for what could have happened to him. After a few minutes Shadow Hunter stood and looked like he just saw a ghost.
"There is no Asgardian magic within him at all. Itís as if the Odinpower itself has been ripped from him and the whole universe. I can sense none whatsoever!"
"What?" Hercules bellowed. "How is that possible magician? Surely you must be mistaken."
"Iím afraid I am not Olympian. You should contact Zeus immediately and warn him of Odinís fate."
"Olympus could never fall! But I will do as you ask, itís the smartest thing to do."
"Surfer," Shadow Hunter started "I want you to go to Asgard and see if you can find out what happened there. As I understand you are the most experienced with Odin and dimensional travel."
"Of course. Pyreus you come with me. If there is a being who can do this to Odin and Thor, I may need your assistance."
"Donít worry Surf, I got your back. Lets move."
"Now wait a minute!" Alicia stated as she stood from the table. "I am real tired of this macho, leave the damsels in distress behind, as you and your buddy go off to face the danger alone crap. When are you going to learn Norrin, that Frankie and I are just as powerful and donít need to be coddled like children?"
"Alicia, now is not the timeÖ"
"Listen! If you and Pyreus are going, so are Frankie and I. There is no other option."
"Surf" Firelord started as he placed his hand on Norrinís shoulder "I think we are out gunned here. We better do what they say or weíre gonna get killed."
"Unfortunately you are right. Fine Alicia, you and Frankie may come, but do not leave my side."
"Now hold on a minute!" Jacob said as he stood.
"Do not even think about it." The Surfer said sternly, narrowing his eyes and pointing at his son. "This is not some field trip that the whole Radd clan is going on. You and Jaratan will stay with the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. They will need your knowledge of cosmic matters of late."
"Fine." Jacob knew when his father had made up his mind, and now was one of those times.
The Surfer turned and stormed out of the room, Alicia hot on his trail. Frankie left right behind her, the same determined look on her face. Firelord just looked at the heroes, smiled and shrugged.
"Women, eh? Youíd think after all this time weíd have them more properly trained."
"What did you say?!?!" Lioness looked like she was about to pounce on Firelord, but he ran from the room before he could mutter a word. Simon, Tony Stark and Jolly Roger were having a good laugh, until Natasha, Tarantula and Barracuda gave them the look of death. Itís funny how fast a man can shut up when he needs to.
. . . . .
Zeus was speaking with Hercules through a mystic window. As he learned of Asgards fate he became worried. Someone who could do that to his sky brother Odin was a threat more dire. Hercules said he was on his way to Olympus, it was in more danger than Earth it seemed. Zeus said he would be waiting for him when he arrived.
As Zeus closed the window to Hercules swirling mists began to form in front of him. There stood Diykrakus. Zeus wasted no time in idle chatter, he lunged directly at the invader. A quick move to the left and an elbow brought down upon Zeusís head and Diykrakus was standing over the lord of Olympus.
"More sport than white hair would you seem to be."
"Speak not of my brother sky-father vile one! You are not fit to lick his boots!"
"Perhaps red beard, honor enough to leave him wilted and dead I have though."
"Liar!!" Zeus screamed. One back hand to Diykrakusís face and a jab to his gut and he fell back a step, smiling all the time.
"Disappoint me not red beard, sport good enough a time for we see."
"Sport you say, we shall see when your severed head hangs from my wall."
"Pathetic brother you are like, talk enough ten men for. Fight wounded woman child like do you."
"Diiiieeeee!" Zeus threw himself at Diykrakusís neck, ready to snap it in two. From within his robe Diykrakus pulled a sword and swiftly stuck it into Zeusís stomach as he moved to the side. Zeus fell to the floor, the sword protruding from his front and back. Standing, he pulled it from his body and held it high.
"Of this enough red beard. godlings approaching I sense, end now this does." Diykrakus held out his hand and the Thunder Eye appeared within it. Zeus, holding his stomach and the sword high was about to charge, when the Thunder Eye began to glow. Zeus stared for a moment, then, like Odin, began to scream like never before. Olympus began to crumble all around them, all the gods falling in pain or under the buildings. In the end Zeus lay on the floor, barely conscious and blood leaking from his wound.
"So pathetic, gods of Earth are. Greatest of the great think they, lower than slime are they. Where boasts are now red shirt? Through blood in throat unable to speak? Die well, like brother hope I, for laughs good were you." And with the swirling of mists, Diykrakus was gone.
. . . . .
Thor was sitting at the conference table muttering near nonsense. The other heroes around him couldnít find any words to say to him to make things better. How do you cheer up a god whose godhood is now gone? Suddenly Thor stood and started getting sick. He began to look around as if he did not recognize where he was. In Thorís mind he saw forests and fields on fire. He felt the pollution that had been dumped into the sea centuries before. He heard ice crashing into the Arctic seas, still melting from the greenhouse effect. He instinctively knew Gaea was near.
"Mother? Mother is that you" Thor said, over and over. Inside Thorís mind the answer came back.
"Yes Thor, it is your mother. By the Great Lakes youíve grown. It has been many hundreds of years since I last laid eyes upon you."
"Mother what is happening to me? I feel so strange. I can tell my strength is returning, but I can also sense many things around the world."
"Relax my child." Gaea said, in the most soothing voice Thor ever heard. "What is happening to you should be clear. With your fathers power gone from the land his corruption of your mind has ended. The Odinpower has left you, so now the Earthpower has room to grow and nurture within your great heart."
"So you say that the Odinpower kept your traits in me under check?"
"Yes my son. Your father knew that if the Earthpower were allowed to grow within you, you would never claim the throne in Asgard. Now you can follow your true destiny."
The Avengers around Thor could only hear one side of the conversation. All they could tell was he was talking to Gaea and he seemed to be getting stronger, both physically and in spirit more and more. Suddenly a scream came from just outside the room. Just as cold and as wretched as Thorís a while back.
"Olympus falls, the Lion has become mortal once more." Thor said with no emotion in his voice.
The Avengers raced outside the room and saw Hercules laying on the floor, convulsing just as Thor had done.
"This is getting worse and worse." Cap said. "I only hope the Surfer gets back soon. Hopefully he can clue us in on what is going on."
Even Gold can Turn to Dust
The four cosmic heroes appeared on the Rainbow Bridge, at least where it used to be. The carnage and destruction that lay all around them was beyond description. Frankie gasped and covered her eyes, unable to look upon the death fields. Alicia strained and strained, until finally she was able to sense someone alive. It was Odin, and he wasnít going to last long. The four raced to where the palace used to stand and found him under the rubble.
"Odin, can you hear me?"
"Aye noble Surfer." Odin was barely able to speak, blood coming with every word.
"What happened here? Who did this to you? What can I do to help you?"
"Surfer, Ragnarok has come, the twilight of the gods has arrived. I am the only one who remembers the real meaning of the word. Ragnarok literally means Thunder Eye in a tongue ancient when I was a child. The legends that have been passed down have been started by me, to throw off the children."
"Odin, what is the Thunder Eye?"
"Listen Surfer, my time is short. Tell Thor everything I did was for him. All I have ever done was to assure he would become the man he is. I knew he would be the only one among us to survive, my union with Gaea made that reality."
"Odin, surely there is something I can do for you. Let me try to find ouÖ"
"Nay Surfer. Destiny cannot be denied. I go to Valhalla willingly and without remorse. Watch after my boy, you could teach him many things. Live well, die with honor."
"Die well Odin. Your stories and songs will last twice as long as you have lived."
As Odin slowly succumbed to death, Frankie and Alicia wept quietly. If they cried out loud Odin would surely have chastised them. Firelord held Odin in his arms as he passed on to Valhalla. With Odinís last breath Alicia and Frankie were able to let out their sorrow. Firelord screamed out and the Surfer let out a single tear. One tear showed the proper respect and was not too much.
The four were going to start burying the Asgardians when Ulik of the Trolls found them.
"I see the All-Father has fallen. A shame he did not die by my hand."
"Listen troll, I will tolerate no interference with you this day." Surfer answered. "Leave this place now and there will be no trouble."
"I believe you misunderstand our intentions noble Surfer. I have been in touch with the Frost Giants, and we are in agreement. They are on their way here now."
"Then we will stop you!" Firelord shouted."
"You donít get it, we come to honor the Asgardians. They have been our enemies since time began, we know them better than any mortal. We are going to bury the dead and keep Asgard safe from intruders. Perhaps one day you will be worthy to dwell here Surfer, but not today. You will leave now."
"I apologize Ulik." The Surfer stated. "Obviously I have misunderstood your presence here. I wish you well, my companions and I are leaving."
"Pyreus, this is the way it must be."
"Itís OK Pyreus." Alicia interrupted. "I can sense only sorrow and regret in the Trolls and Frost Giants. They mourn for the Asgardians, their bitterest enemies and closest friends. Ulik, we wish you the best in the time to come. You and your brother Giants are guardians of the Golden Realm now, live up to that title.
"You have a wise mate Surfer, you should listen to her more often. Fare thee well outlanders, donít hesitate to stop by anytime."
"Thank you Ulik. If ever you have need of us, just call. Farewell."
With that, the four gathered on the Surferís board, and they were gone.
. . . . .
"So tell me Captain, "Jacob Radd asked, "dad has told me many times about the mutant population of Earth, yet I can detect none, where are they all?"
Suddenly everyone turned to Simon, who in turn looked at Jacob. A deep sadness came over Wonderman as he turned and walked out of the room, Jolly Roger and Barracuda following to try to help. The Vision turned from the monitor he was studying to look at Jacob, the same look of sadness in his eyes.
"Did I say something wrong?"
"Donít worry son." Cap answered. "The mutant situation still hits some of us hard. Let me start at the beginning. We know Victor Von Doom is the one who placed the barrier around Earth. What we donít know for certain is why. Reed Richards and Iron Man, the two who know Doom the best thought it was to stop outside forces from getting in. If Doom had no rivals from off world he could first take over Earth, then concentrate outward. Of course he made sure the Surfer and all cosmic heroes were off planet when he struck. The FF, with the aid of the Avengers were able to stop him, but the barrier didnít come down. We think even Doom didnít know what he was doing when he erected it. Doom probably thought he could dissipate the field when he was finished, he couldnít. Doom is still monarch of Latveria, how he has survived is also unknown to us. Perhaps it is a Doombot or he has transferred his mind into other, younger bodies. What we do know is that he has been pretty quiet for a while, kind of like a calm before a storm.
Then, on midnight, January 1st, 2000, came the first day of the Great Chaos. Apocalypse went to Australia and placed a force field around it, so no one could get in. Suddenly all across the world mutants just disappeared, every mutant, X-Men, Avengers, children, there were even reports of pregnant mothers whose unborn children just disappeared. All of them were transported to Australia, Apocalypse wanted to start the age where he was king. What he didnít know is that Cable was ready for him, he had gathered and trained the Twelve, the ones destined to stop Apocalypse.
For three days the Avengers, FF, and many other heroes tried to penetrate the shield around Australia, it was no use. On the third day a mental wave washed over the entire population. Apparently in Charles Xavierís death he flooded the mental plane. I have never seen a more gruesome or horrifying sight. Bodies, whole and in pieces lay all around, most unidentifiable. The desert was red with blood. There were still signs of fighting, but not much. In the end it came down to Apocalypse and Magneto. Apparently they fought for six more days, until they eventually killed each other, ending all mutant life on Earth. The field came down over Australia, but to this day it is still uninhabitable.
The picture only lasted a second, but it, with the presence of the barrier, was enough to drive the population to a panic. For two-hundred years the Great Chaos ruled Earth. New York, Chicago, Los Angles, London, Hong Kong, all the major cities all over the world were destroyed in the looting and fighting. Anarchy ruled the world. It was during this time that I was killed again, but like when I was frozen in the North Atlantic it was merely a cocoon like state. It seems when I was given the Super-Soldier serum, the "Vita-Rays" I was bombarded with were Eternal DNA. When I awoke one-hundred years after my death I was changed to nearly a full Eternal, with all their powers and, obviously, life span.
Since that time humanity has come together, nearly all the hatred and violence has been eradicated. With the absence of money there isnít anyone trying to get rich, and without that there is very little one can do to gain power over another. Greed was a driving force for humanity, take that away, and there are very few reasons to follow a madman or become indebted to one. There are still forces of evil and megalomaniacs trying to take over the world, but mostly we Avengers are engaged in saving the world from natural disasters and accidents. Though with the Earth now open once again, I wonder how long the peace will last."
"And Simonís reaction?"
"He was deeply in love with a mutant Wanda, the Scarlet Witch."
"Captain." The Vision interrupted, troubled by what Cap had said but not exposing his emotions.
"Yes Vision, what is it?"
"I have a incoming call via Quasarís Quantum Bands."
"On screen." Jacob tried to say something before the screen lit up, but he wasnít able to stop the reaction of surprise. On the monitor was a blue woman, obviously Kree, wearing the Quantum Bands.
"Greetings human, I am Pulsar, with who am I speaking?"
"I am Captain America, please forgive our reaction, last we knew Quasar possessed the Quantum Bands."
"Understandable, Wendell was a great man, and my husband. With his death Epoch gave the bands to me, to continue his work. At any rate, I was out here on the outer rim with Beta Ray Bill when he started to convulse. I have him in a protective bubble but cannot reach the Surfer or Firelord for assistance."
"They are in Asgard after a similar thing happened to Thor. Can you get him to Earth?"
"Of course, I will be there momentarily. Jacob, please try to reach your father."
"Will do Kay-Vaughn." The screen went black and Cap and Vision turned to Jacob.
"I take it the explanations of what has happened in the galaxy since we were cut off will be slightly more expansive than mine was."
"Captain, you donít know the half of it." Jacob answered.
The Prerequisites of a God
The Surfer, Alicia, Frankie and Firelord appeared in orbit over Earth. Firelord and Nova flew off into space as the Surfer and Alicia headed towards Avengers Tower. Tarantula was waiting for them as they landed on the balcony. She quickly told the Surfer and Alicia about Herc, that Beta Ray Bill and that Pulsar had gone to Olympus with Reed Richards, Vision, Shadow Hunter and Wonderman. As the three entered the conference room the three remaining FF, Cap, Iron Man, Jolly Roger, Jack Hammer and Lioness were seated around the table, discussing their options. When the three sat the Surfer told them of Asgard and that Firelord and Nova had gone to get some more reinforcements. Thor finally came into the room, he had been with Hercules until he fell asleep. Most of Thorís strength had returned, but he was still off balance from the newness of the Earthpower. After a while, Thor suddenly stood up, something had caught his attention.
"What villainy?!" He shouted as he stormed out of the room. The others followed him out to the balcony to see Firelord, Nova and eight other beings come down towards the tower. The eight others with them all looked very similar. All of them had gray skin, red blue and gold garments, and, except for their bald apparent leader, long black hair.
"Hello Avengers." Firelord said. "May I present, the Royal Court of Tyros. In order of birth and rank: Grantite, Krystalia, Jadzerik, Emralian, Sulforus, Uraniphate, Opalifus, and Quartaliz."
"Children of Terrax!" Thor shouted. "I shall not allow these offspring of evil to infect Earth!"
"ThorÖ" The Surfer started, but was cut off.
"Listen godling." Grantite stated. "Do not think that we will sit idly by and let you bad mouth our father. The All-Father of Tyros will not be treated with disrespect."
"All-Father?? You heathens claim godhood? Prepare vile ones, the God of Thunder will teach you what a true god is!"
"Will you thunderer? I would have thought that omnipotent Odin would have taught his children manners. Perhaps you are merely impotent."
"Have at thee base one!!" With the battle cry a war hammer exactly like Mjolnir appeared in Thorís hand. In one swift motion Thor was airborne and the hammer was thrown at Grantite, colliding with his head. Krystalia throws her hands up and two cosmic bolts resembling throwing knives appear just long enough for her to throw them at Thor, pushing him back. Jadzerik unsheathed his long sword and Emralian grabbed her battle staff and pointed them at Thor, each firing waves of cosmic energy. Sulforus pulled his war hammer, Opalifus his spear, and Quartaliz his mace, all pointing them at Thor and firing more cosmic force. Uraniphate held out her hands and rings of cosmic energy appeared that she then threw at Thor. Grantite righted himself and pulled his battle-ax, washing Thor in even more destructive force. The time between Thorís throw and his being surrounded and assaulted on all sides, four seconds.
"Enough!!" The Surfer shouted as he flew to Thorís side and put a shield around him. As the children of Terrax stopped their attack Thor righted himself from the defensive position he was in and the Surfer dissipated the shield.
"Evil most foul, thou shall not surprise me so again!" As the hammer returned to Thor the Surfer grabbed it out of midair.
"I said enough Thor." The sternest in the Surfers voice almost tangible. "You started this fight without provocation, and you will be the first to apologize."
"Hasít thou gone mad! These vileÖ"
"These are friends and allies Thor. I would place my life in the hands of any present here without pause. I know what you think of Terrax, but he is a much different creature today than when you knew him."
"You ask much Surfer, for theseÖbeings to claim godhood is a direct insult to myself and all righteous gods."
"What makes you righteous and not us?" Krystalia asked. "We are worshipped on dozens of worlds, you barely are on one."
"By birth doppelganger!"
"As are we Asgardian." Emralian answered. "Almighty Terrax saved Tyros and the Tyrosians from certain extinction. He set them on the path of honor and vigilance, taught them the ways of peace and the joys of battle. He, along with us, his Royal Court, protect the innocent and maintain peace amongst the worlds of the Tyrosian Federation. We are at least as divine as you thunderer, if not more so."
"Insolent cur, I shallÖ"
"Enough Thor." Answered the Surfer. "The simple answer is you cannot pick and choose who is worthy of godhood and who is not. What is a god? Really. A privilege? A right of birth? A definition of power? Is there really a simple answer?"
"Friend Surfer, your word is good enough for me, mostly. Do you expect me to recognize these villains as fellow gods? Am I to treat these offspring of evil as brothers as I do Hercules?"
"Thor," Uraniphate started. "Terrax has spoken nothing but respect of you. Though our ideologies differ, he has the utmost respect and admiration for you. As a fellow warrior, it grieves me, and all of us, to hear you spit on our name. Have you no honor, no respect for those who would fight side by side with you? If not, you truly do not deserve to be a god, at least not a god of our caliber."
"Again you insult the son of Odin!"
"No Asgardian, I speak to you warrior goddess to warrior god, equals in every sense."
"Look Surfer." Cap started. "Perhaps this is not such a good idea."
"You too Captain?!" The Surfer looked at Captain America, eyes burning with cosmic energy. "After all this time, a thousand years, humanity is still so closed minded?"
"Look Surfer, Terrax ruling as a king, as a god, it sounds quite similar to Doom. You have to understand our position."
"I understand you Captain are still unable to grasp Terrax has changed."
"Look Surfer, I am as open minded as they get. On more than one occasion we have let former villains into the Avengers."
"Are you?" Jolly Roger asked. "How long did it take you to accept Hawkeyeís word that his Thunderbolts were on the up and up? How many years was it again?"
"Listen RogerÖ" Lioness began.
"No Natasha, heís right." Cap started looking at the ground as he spoke. "Hawkeye started out fighting Iron man, when he left the Avengers, after years of fighting side by side with him, I justÖI just couldnít shake the feeling he had gone bad from the back of my mind. I never believed it, but it was there, and wouldnít go away. It took Joltís death before I came around. If I had listened to Clint, if I had allowed the Avengers to help, Jolt wouldnít have died." Cap looked at Roger, a tear falling from his eye. "Itís my fault she died, I was responsible. I accepted them after that, but the damage was done. Clint was one of my best friends, but after the argument we had when Jolt died we didnít speak to each other again. Thor, you and Tony have told me what he said when I died, but that doesnít matter. He was long dead when I revived, I swore I would never let something like that stop me from acting again. I swore another would not lose their life because of my inability to see things the way they really are and not the way I think they are." He looked first at the Surfer, then Grantite. "Children of Terrax, Royal Court of Tyros, we welcome you to Earth."
. . . . .
Ronan was seated in his private chamber, his maidens had just brought him his lunch and he was eating. On the screen before him were plans for the upcoming attack on Earth. He studied and mused over every tiny detail, to fail in his part of the plan would certainly mean death from Diykrakus. His screen suddenly beeped from an incoming call. Annoyed he threw his plate on the floor to his side. As the maidens scrambled to clean the mess he answered the ring.
"Mílord, I pray I havenít disturbed you."
"Of course you have commander!" Ronan shouted. "What could be so important as to disturb my meal?"
"I swear I did not know you were eating sire. Itís the Supreme Intelligence, he is on the move."
"Details Jas-Ner!" Ronan shouted as he jumped from his couch.
"A fleet of his ships is heading for Earth, a fairly large one at that. We estimate that they have about one third of our total fleet moving towards Earth."
"According to the last report I was given thatís every last ship he has. Has he left his base undefended or does he have more ships than we know about?" Ronan asked himself as much as anyone. "Send two thousand ships to his system and five thousand ships on a intercept course. Keep one thousand here and another two thousand at Hala."
"Sire, do you truly believe it is prudent to spread our fleet out so thinly?"
"This is how wars are won commander. Supremor knows the bold move wins the day as well as I. He is throwing everything he has at Earth, itís the only way he will win it. I am sending enough ships to stop him, invade his base and protect ours. He will truly be sorry for crossing me!"
Shadow Hunter walked out onto the balcony where the rest of the heroes were still standing. He walked past everyone until he came to the Surfer.
"Surfer, the Great Spirit has fallen as well. Odin, Zeus, and now the Great Spirit have been trampled by this mysterious other worldly god. All seem to have had their power ripped right out of them. I have been in contact with Amen of the Netjer, the Egyptian gods, he says theyíre ready, but should we send some reinforcements?"
"Undoubtedly! Avengers, Fantastic Four, Tyrosians, prepare. We go to fight with the Netjer!"
. . . . .
The River Nile. A great waterway that flows through Egypt, and so much more. This same oasis in the deserts is also a doorway to another plane of reality. In this place the pyramids stand tall and the Sphinx shines like gold, as if it were built yesterday. In the center of this land is a great pyramid that dwarfs any man made object on Earth. Its adornments, the gardens, the fountains, the pools, are so beautiful, so spectacular, that paradise pales as a description. This is the royal palace, the throne of gods.
Upon the throne sits King Amen, he is troubled by recent events to his brother gods. He could feel them as they were attacked, just as the mortal sorcerer Shadow Hunter had told him what had happened. His wife and Queen, Mut sits silently at his side, she cannot hope to ease his troubled mind. Imhotep, the Grand Vizier waits patiently for his kingís command. He has just informed Amen of the severity this situation brings, and that he must trouble his king causes Imhotep distress. Finally Sai and Shai, beautiful sirens that represent destiny and fate, stand on the opposite side of the throne as Imhotep. They have informed Amen of what will come to pass, and his part in it. Slowly Amen stands and takes his Was Scepter, his decision made.
"I thank you all for your council at this time. Please leave me alone now, your task here is completed."
"Silence woman! You heard what was to happen as well as I. Are you to suggest that we can change destiny?"
"Never my king. But I shall stand at your side as events transpire."
"As you wish my queen. But you will not interfere."
"No choice she will have godling!" Diykrakus spoke as he appeared in the throne room. "Sense I time short is here. Excuse you will kill quick must I."
"You are welcome to try evil one!" Amen spoke as he pointed his scepter towards Diykrakus, a flash of energy fired from it at Diykrakus, knocking him back. He quickly ducked under the blast and threw a dagger at Amen, hitting him in the torso. As Amen doubled over the beam from the scepter stopped. Mut leaped at Diykrakus, a dagger in her hand, cutting his arm as he tried to dodge her. Diykrakus held his arm as he rolled over into a standing position.
"From the woman sport comes. Intrigued am I. As formidable as you all women here are?"
"No one, man nor woman, may stand against a mother guarding her family!" Mut shouted. Amen stood as his queen spoke, pulling the dagger from his stomach.
"See we shall woman." Diykrakus held out the Thunder Eye, ready to drain Amen of his life energy, but then paused. "Not in you power lies, pretender be you. All Father, where he be?"
Amen stood holding his stomach. "I am the king of the Netjer, any business you have with us goes through me!"
"Nay lackey! All Father found have I, begone flea like one." As Diykrakus disappeared Amen threw the dagger back at him, wounding his shoulder. Diykrakus appeared high above the temple, here he could feel Ra the fullest. "Your children to in your name fight allow you? Cowardice of all your people is a trait?"
As Diykrakus spoke the sun twisted and morphed, becoming an outline of a human, before finally changing fully into Raís true form.
"Threaten my realm at your own peril evil one. None stands before the almighty Ra!!" As he spoke Raís eyes began to glow, finally discharging in a force of sun power capable of leveling a mountain range into Diykrakusís midsection, plunging him into the earth. Diykrakus lay, stunned in the dirt, blood leaking from his shoulder wound. Ra followed, a spear suddenly appearing in his hand just long enough to be hurled at his enemy. Diykrakus shook off the fog in his vision just in time to avoid the spear. With a quick flick of his wrist, the dagger that was in Diykrakusís shoulder dug itself into Raís thigh. As Ra reached for his leg two more solar beams shot from his eyes, barely missing Diykrakus as he rolled away. As he shot to his feet Diykrakus held out the Thunder Eye, and began to smile wider than he ever had.
"Such sport! To me tell sun god, live you for battle as well?"
"We shall see!" Ra said as a mystic bow appeared in his hands, constantly firing solar arrows towards Diykrakus. As Diykrakus dodged he pulled his sword and in one quick motion it was stuck into Raís midsection. When Diykrakus stopped to throw the sword, he was hit with four arrows, throwing him to the ground and leaving large burn marks and charred clothing. As Ra was pulling the sword from his stomach, Diykrakus held out the Thunder Eye again. Not wasting time with chatter he immediately began draining Ra of his power. Ra still holding the sword in his body, began to scream like never before.
"So warrior, an ending to things all." Diykrakus spoke as he drained Ra. "Honored am I one such as you to beaten have. Thanks mine workout fine was it."
"IÖIíll see yoÖyour head onÖmy wallÖvillain." Ra spoke, hardly able to stand the pain.
"Today you shall not, never shall I say. Die well god sun."
As Ra and his realm collapsed towards the desert sand, the Surfer and the assembled heroes appeared through the Nile. At once Shadow Hunter raced to Raís side, placing him in a sphere of protection. The rest of the heroes descended upon Diykrakus, ready to begin the battle. As the Tyrosians, the Surfer and the others fired on Diykrakus, he began to fade out, all shots hitting only mist.
"Damn!" Grantite cried out. "The coward has escaped us. Can you track him Surfer?"
"No. Somehow he has mystically erased his trail. Shadow Hunter?"
"Iím afraid not Surfer, but I have saved Ra."
"So Odin and the Asgardians have been the only casualties?" Firelord asked.
"I wouldnít say only." Cap answered. "One life lost is tragic, an entire race is horrendous."
"Thatís true." Shadow Hunter replied. "But better one than four."
"Enough." Stated the Surfer. "Let us begone from this place. What we do know for sure is the evil one is not here. We must prepare."
"Yes." Shadow Hunter replied. "I have a feeling we had better get back to Earthís primary dimension. Something big is about to happen."
. . . . .
About three light years away from Earthís solar system Ronanís fleet engaged the Supreme Intelligenceís in a hope to stop his acquisition of the Kree in this system. As Ronan watched, something about the other fleet bothered him. They werenít putting up as much of a fight as he thought they would. Could the Supreme Intelligence be that weak? Suddenly a look of cold horror crossed Ronanís face, he had been tricked!
"Jas-Ner! Recall the fleet, it is a trap!" Ronan shouted as he exited his preparation chamber.
"Commander." The Kree officer watching the radar called out. "Six thousand ships just decloaked four million miles from Valtora."
"Commander." The communications officer called out. "Reports coming in from Hala. Four thousand ships have decloaked just outside Hala orbit."
"Communications, recall all ships headed for Earth and the Supremorís home world!" Jas-Ner shouted.
"Impossible Commander. Four thousand more ships decloaked attacking the Earth bound ships and three thousand have attacked the fleet headed for Supremorís world."
All eyes turned to Ronan. He seemed lost in thought for a time until a steady stream of cosmic energy slowly began to crackle around his eyes. With a cry that sounded more like an animal than a man, Ronan was gone, headed outside to defend his world.
The End is Nigh
Diykrakus appeared on Earthís moon inside Uatuís observation station. A look of shock flashed on the Watcherís face for a moment before be regained his composure and was able to question this demigod who stood before him.
"How dare you invade my sanctuary Kree? This place is not for the likes of you."
"Silent shall be you. Business mine is alone mine." Diykrakus began to wander through the station, studying the screens focused on Earth. With a thought Uatu shut them down and confronted Diykrakus again.
"You will leave now. Knowledge such as this is not meant for your kind."
"SILENCE!" Diykrakus shouted as he reached for and flung a dagger towards Uatu. In mid air, an inch from the space between the Watcherís eyes, the dagger stopped and disappeared.
"You will find I am not defenseless warrior. I have power a mere demigod could not possibly understand. Now begone before you test my patience."
"Say you coward gutless. Know fear you shall."
"Begone." With the muttering of the word Diykrakus vanished, appearing on the opposite side of the galaxy. Angered he called forth the orb, and was again standing in front of the Watcher in moments.
"Understand now hairless!" Diykrakus held the orb high, taunting Uatu with it. This time the Watcher could not hide the surprise and fear on his face and in his voice.
"The Thunder Eye?! By the One Above All, how did you obtain the relic?" Diykrakus only smiled at Uatuís question.
"Begone." Before he could blink Uatu found himself on the Watcherís world. For the first time since Thanos acquired the Infinity Gauntlet, the Watcher knew fear.
As Diykrakus began to roam through the station once more all the screens came back to life. He smirked lightly to himself until he came upon a screen showing Avengers Tower. His eyes narrowed as he saw the Surfer and his small army returning from Egypt. A hate began to fill him, a hate so pure and all consuming it radiated all the way back to Earth.
Alicia Masters suddenly stopped talking to Susan Richards and looked towards the sky. Chills raced down her spine as she was nearly consumed in hate coming from the moon. She was able to telepathically speak with the Surfer and all the combined heroes, letting them know she had found the renegade god.
"Great Alicia. Thor, I need you Jacob, Jaratan, Barracuda, Tarantula and Jack Hammer to stay here to guard Earth and watch over Beta Ray and Hercules."
"Nay Surfer. The son of Odin shall not be left behind whilst his teammates face peril!"
"Thor, you cannot survive in space with the Earthpower. Besides, if the evil oneís true target is Earth we need someone powerful to stand guard."
"I shall stay, begrudgingly Surfer. But know we shall have words when this is finished."
"Now is not the time Jacob, my answer is final. And believe me, we will speak as well when this is over."
Slowly the heroes leaving made their way to the balcony. As they stood together Shadow Hunter quickly waved his hands and they were gone, appearing inside the Watchers complex.
. . . . .
Ronan paused as the last of the Supreme Intelligenceís ships were destroyed. He looked around at the handful of ships left to guard Valtora. Some of his anger subsided in the fight, but looking upon the carnage of his own ships brought him back to a full boil.
"Jas-Ner, how is the fight going elsewhere?"
"Not good Mílord. One hundred and forty-two ships escaped the Terra ambush. None escaped the attack on Supremor nor the defense of Hala."
"We have lost Hala?!?! That bloated sac of debris will learn the true meaning of pain! I am offÖ"
"Ronan" Diykrakus spoke telepathically. "Ships all bringing to Earth shall you. Upon us, the moment!"
"Father IÖIÖ" Ronan could only stammer as his face turned white.
"The fleet isÖisÖ" Suddenly Ronan was no longer over Valtora, but in the Watchers chambers. Diykrakus grabbed Ronan by the neck and held him high.
"FLEET IS WHERE?" Diykrakus shouted.
"Gone. Destroyed." Ronan looked down as he spoke. Diykrakus stood still for a moment before he threw Ronan across the room.
"DESTROYED!" Diykrakus shouted over and over as he stormed after his son. Ronan tried to turn and flee but found a dagger in his back as he turned. As he hit the floor and tried to reach the knife Ronan found his fathers boot on his head. "Now imbecile, fate same awaits you done to me have you!" Diykrakus moved his boot from Ronanís head to his left shoulder blade. "From this shall you learn." In one swift move Diykrakus reached down and tore Ronanís left arm from his body.
The Deaf Cries of Battle
The Surfer and his small army appeared in the Watchers home to find Diykrakus standing on Ronan. Ronan was screaming and his arm was in Diykrakusís hand.
"Oh my god." Nova gasped looking upon what had transpired. Diykrakus suddenly turned, surprised by the heroes being there. He fired a force bolt from his left hand, striking Nova in the chest and driving her through the wall behind them. Throwing down Ronanís arm he fired a bolt from his right hitting Firelord, knocking him down and back against the wall. Diykrakus then took flight and broke through the ceiling, heading out into space.
"Reed," Shadow Hunter stated. "You and the rest of the FF stay with me to help Ronan, Iíll need your help."
"Agreed." Answered the Surfer. "Make haste and rejoin us when you can. The rest of you, take flight!"
As the heroes began the chase they flew past Hala-Tor. Pulsar suddenly turned, something catching her eye.
"Surfer, look there." Approaching Hala-Tor was Supremorís fleet. They had already begun their attack pattern, ready to take the planet.
"Pulsar take Emralian, Sulforus, Captain America, Lioness, Wonderman and Vision to defend the planet. And Captain, make sure you look into the eyes of these Kree, and relay to me the evil you seek to find in them." Captain America gave the Surfer a scowl as he gathered his small group for the attack.
As the team split again Firelord came up next to the Surfer, making sure they were out of ear shot from the rest.
"I donít like this Norrin, we are being split too thin. Are we still going to able to stop this insane god?"
"Have no fear my friend, we shall still win the day. But there is something I will need of you once the battle is started." The Surfer and Firelord spoke of the upcoming fight as they eventually caught up with Diykrakus.
. . . . .
The man formally known as Stephen Strange was sitting legs crossed floating about four feet in the air reading. The picture in the book levitating in front of him showed Diykrakus. As the Ancient One read about the strengths and weaknesses of the Kree gods he gazed up to his orb showing the Surfer and the others beginning to engage Diykrakus.
Watching the fight begin he saw Diykrakus conjure a spherical object. Upon studying the object the book in front of him suddenly dropped to the floor. "By the Dark OneÖ" he muttered as another book, one older than most of the universe, arose from his shelf and made itís way to him. As he read his normally pale complexion became whiter and whiter, his jaw dropping wider and wider.
"Norrin Radd, we must speak at once."
"Stephen now is not the time. PerhapsÖ"
"ÖPyreus, take control. Iím coming Stephen." A few seconds later the Surfer appeared in the study of the Ancient One. "All right Stephen, I hope you wonít take offense if I ask you to be brief."
"Of course not Surfer, but the information I have will greatly help you out."
"I know better than to think you would pull me away for any other reason. So tell me, what have you found?"
"First, the god you are involved with is a member of the Kree pantheon named Diykrakus."
"Kree!? I did not know there were Kree gods."
"Not many do. Apparently they have not shown themselves for millennia. Also, the orb he carries is known as the Thunder Eye."
"Yes, as Odin succumbed to death he mentioned it. What exactly is it?"
"The Thunder Eye is a relic made billions of years ago. One of the first civilizations in this universe was a race of magicians. As a cataclysm engulfed their planet they all came together and became the Thunder Eye. Surfer, we are lucky Diykrakus is so near sighted, he cannot fully comprehend what he has. In the wrong hands, the Thunder Eye can destroy whole realities!"
"I understand Stephen. Thank you for the information, but if the threat is as dire as you say, I must return to stop this madman."
"Go my friend. I will try to help all I can from here as I read more on it."
With a nod the Surfer was off, back into the thick of battle in seconds. Not much had changed since he left. Diykrakus was actually smiling as he fended off his attackers. Iron Manís armor had already been breached, but Nova was able to get him to the Moonís blue area before his body decompressed. He looked towards Jolly Roger, there was something familiar about the powers he was showing, but the Surfer couldnít concentrate on what it was just yet.
With a blast he saw Diykrakus had a force shield around him. Diykrakus was firing randomly all around him, apparently trying to swat the vermin that plagued him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Opalifus and Quartaliz flying straight towards him in an attempt to confront him directly. With a sneer he put his hands together and fired a massive bolt, instantly disintegrating his attackers.
"NO!!" Grantite shouted as he blindly raced towards Diykrakus ax high in the air. Grinning Diykrakus produced his own battle ax and prepared himself. With a clang that echoed for light years the fight was on. The proficiency and mastery each combatant showed with these cumbersome weapons was amazing, more like watching two ninjaís with light swords than two bulky warriors with large axes. For nearly five full minutes all that was seen was a blur of arms and silver, until they locked their weapons together, sizing each other up.
"Warrior true stone man is, invigorating the challenge!"
"Prepare vile one, your death is near."
"Say you do!" With a smile a small blade appeared at the end of Diykrakusís ax. Grantite looked down just in time to see it stick into his torso. As they unlocked Diykrakus swung at Grantite, grazing his cheek on one pass and cutting wide his chest on the next. Grantite was barely able to block the next swing that wouldíve sliced his head in two as he tried to regain his defensive position.
Diykrakus laughed as he prepared to take Grantiteís head, but was suddenly assaulted on all sides by the others. Jadzerik raced in and grabbed Grantite as Diykrakus repelled the assault.
"Cowards! Creature every coward is before Diykrakus!"
"Not cowards." Answered Krystalia from right behind him, blades forming in her hands and impaling Diykrakus in the back. "Smart!" Diykrakus backhanded her and sent her flying as he grabbed the daggers only to watch them disappear in his hands. He kept firing after her as she was dodging and throwing her own force knives at him. Firelord and Nova surrounded him in a ball of cosmic fire as Alicia tried to envelop him with fear. But as Diykrakus exited the ball of fire he was also able to send a psychic backlash at Alicia, knocking her out cold. Nova raced in and rescued Alicia right before a disintegration bolt finished her off, the women heading for the Moon, where Alicia would be safe.
The Surfer stood his ground, cosmic energy bleeding from his eyes and crackling and popping all around him. His anger had completely overwhelmed him. He watched as the others all buzzed around Diykrakus like flies, trying to catch him off guard. He could feel that Alicia was fine; once she caught her breath she would return. He could taste the anger and sadness in the faces of the Tyrosians. He could see the battle raging over Earth between Supremor and the others. He could hear Ronanís groans of pain and the efforts of the FF and Shadow Hunter to help him. He could smell the stench of death from where Opalifus and Quartaliz fell in battle. All around him, from every direction and with every sense he could see the darkness Diykrakus had brought to this place.
Finally something inside the Surfer snapped. Telepathically he spoke with the others fighting Diykrakus, coordinating the attacks. All at once everyone fired at Diykrakus, causing him to take pause. As he opened his eyes he could only see a glimmer of silver as the Surfer landed a tremendous blow between his eyes. More like a wild animal than the rational man he is, the Surfer went after the Kree in a seemingly unthinking array of punches and kicks. For every blow the Surfer landed Diykrakus was struck by three different shots from the others. Diykrakus tried to shift the tide of the battle but was unable to move from the defensive position.
"ENUOGH!" Diykrakus lashed out with a ball of force striking all around him, finally giving him the chance to catch his breath.
"Now Pyreus!" the Surfer cried.
"All right everyone, move out! Come on, this place is about to get real unsafe, for any of us!"
Diykrakus smiled as he wiped a trail of blood flowing from his lip.
"Face me alone silvery one? Not stupid as that are you?"
"What have I to fear from you Kree? I have already bruised and beaten you. I have drawn your blood from your veins. You cannot touch me unless I will it. You are hardly worth my time to finish you."
You could see the anger and hatred building in Diykrakus as the Surfer spoke.
"Taunt me you should not seek man little! My rage the full fury you shall feel!"
Diykrakus held the orb high and screamed as he let lose the full might of the Thunder Eye. Skillfully the Surfer dodged the blast and raised his hand, beginning to absorb the energy pouring out of the Thunder Eye. Slowly Diykrakus realized he had erred. He had fully opened the floodgates of the orb, and now that the Surfer was connected to it he could not close them. Diykrakus tried and tried to regain control of the Thunder Eye, but the Surfer would not relinquish control.
Finally the Surfer screamed as a backlash of energy from the orb struck him sending him flailing back. As the Surfer rolled into an unmoving ball, shaken and sweating, Diykrakus smiled as he found victory close.
"Shiny control he could not the might of my weapon. Feel now the might of Diykrakus, all the universeís master!"
Diykrakus pointed the orb at the helpless Surfer, waiting for a time, playing with his hunt. Suddenly he looked worried, gazing at the orb in disbelief. He shook the orb and resumed his aim at the Surfer. Still nothing.
"What done you have?" Over and over Diykrakus asked, each time his voice becoming more shrill and paranoid.
"Enough Kree." The Surfer looked up at Diykrakus and stood tall. "Your terror has come to an end. It is time you learned the true nature of your "weapon". Prepare vile one, the fate you shall receive is fitting for one as evil as you." The Surfer smiled as he spoke. A grin that would chill the soul of any man or god. A grin beaming of near evil. The Surfer then smiled wide as he raised his hand to dish out his divine punishment.
Diykrakus screamed as he turned away, begging for mercy. After a time he looked up, the Surfer was nowhere to be foundÖ
Diykrakus looked around in disbelief. He was to die at the hands of the Surfer, now he seemingly is gone. What has transpired? He looked to see the band of heroes that had confronted him before returning. The woman, apparently the silver ones mate, was leading the charge with the fiery one close behind.
"What have you done with Norrin?" Alicia asked, anger seething in every word.
"Know not I fate of one silver."
"Liar!" Came Firelordís heated reply.
"Know not do I." Diykrakus repeated, but he could tell they did not believe him. In seconds he was surrounded, all of them looking for blood. Diykrakus began to worry, even without the orb he was a match for a few of these beings, but with the dozen or so surrounding him he had little chance. As they began to close in upon him, Diykrakus disappeared.
"Get back here coward!" Firelord screamed.
"Pyreus, he isnít important right now. We need to find out where Norrin is."
. . . . .
The Surfer, arm still outstretched, found himself in the Realm of Cosmic Beings. Standing in front of him was Eternity, Galactus and the Living Tribunal. They seemed to be in the middle of a debate when he appeared.
"What is the meaning of this?" The Surfer asked.
"Norrin Radd." Galactus began.
"Do not speak to the accused." Eternity spoke. "He will have his time to defend himself."
"Brother Eternity, the accused has the right to know the implication of his transgression."
"The accused as no rights as of yet brother. The Tribunal has yet to seek the defense of the accused."
"Nevertheless, this is a court of justice, not some mockery where the accused is guilty before judgment. That is the reason for my presence, to speak on his behalf."
"What is going on?" The Surfer was becoming irate with being ignored.
"Then speak on his behalf and not to the accused. You know him better than any in this universe; you need not converse with him. This is a court as you stated, remain focused on the task at hand."
"I know my task Eternity. I sought to expedite these matters by allowing the accused to tell his tale in his own words."
"Stop ignoring me!"
"Be silent Norrin Radd." Eternity spoke. "Try to maintain a trace of tact in this place. Now be silent and contemplate on your transgression to this universe."
"I will not be spoken to in such a matter Eternity."
"No Galactus, I will speak for myself. Can you not contemplate what I am right now Eternity? I have power enough to tear you asunder."
"As you would have done with the Kree demigod Norrin Radd? The justice you were to serve was befitting to one in the station you have achieved?"
"Cruel punishment for a being of cruel and evil intentions."
"Enough of this." The Living Tribunal finally spoke. "Eternity, it is not your place to humiliate the accused. He has the right to a fair trial, Part of that is the ability to speak for himself."
"Do not seek to thank me yet Norrin Radd. It is my ruling that you have taken means upon yourself to usurp the proper order of the universe. You have taken power not belonging to you and used it to raise your station in the universe. You have even had the audacity to threaten Eternity. You, Norrin Radd, are your own worst enemy."
"I realize this mighty one, and will make amends to those who have suffered by my actions."
"This power I have has been stolen from beings that rightfully own it. Without the return of their energies they and their peoples will surely perish. It is my intention to return these energies to their rightful owners."
"A noble course of action Norrin Radd. One surely Eternity has no qualms with?"
"Of course not mighty one. My reasons for calling this trial were only to do such."
"Then so it shall be."
The Surfer found himself over Earth. He went at once to the different realms returning the power stole from the gods that dwelled there.
The Surfer hovered over Asgard, tears falling down to the wasteland. The frost giants and trolls had fulfilled their promise; they were going about the business of burying the Asgardians, erecting a huge tomb for Odin. Norrin had already been to the other realms and had returned the power to Ra, Zeus, and The Great Spirit. They were lucky, if Diykrakus had gotten to Gaea the Earth itself would have been destroyed. Although it was hard to feel lucky looking down on the carcasses of so many noble beings. Before he departed Norrin muttered a prayer to Odin in the ancient ways, a prayer sure to make Odin proud.
Norrin flew off past the ruins of the rainbow bridge, though no longer here, he could still use this path to return to Earth. He knew exactly where he had to go to return the Odinpower.
. . . . .
Diykrakus appeared in the throne room of his castle, bruised and beaten he was in a foul mood. Sitting on the throne he called for his servants, but none appeared. Angered he began to scream and swear, demanding the servants cater to him. Finally the door opened, but it was not who Diykrakus was expecting.
"Silver Surfer, to me my power he returned. Now, upstart, the Krono-Pamotha awaits you!" Diykrakus eyes widened as Pamakretus spoke. The Krono-Pamotha was a punishment so severe and ferocious it had never been performed before.
"No one mighty, please to me mercy!"
"Mercy? Surely know not you do the word, same as I you for."
Diykrakus screamed as the royal guards took him away. He never really stopped until many years later.
. . . . .
Everyone had gathered in Avengers Tower aside from Shadow Hunter, he was waiting in the Watchers home for his return. They had successfully driven off Diykrakus and the Supreme Intelligenceís fleets. You would think the atmosphere would be lighter than the gloom inside the conference room, but there was still no word from the Surfer, and they were worried. Captain America was making plans for a search party, dividing up all those assembled for the greatest efficiency when Alicia suddenly stood.
"Heís back!" she shouted with glee.
"Where is he?" Firelord asked, but Alicia couldnít answer. She was already gone.
"Should we follow?" Cap asked.
"Nah." Firelord answered. "Weíd better leave those two alone for right now. I donít think they want us around for their reunion." He said with a wink.
"Thatís so grossÖ" Came Jaratanís reply.
Alicia found Norrin in a cave in the middle of Spain, deep within the ground where human feet have never tread. She was going to tackle him in joy, but saw the seriousness in his face and remained tactful. Norrin looked up at Alicia and gave her a smile, acknowledging her presence but remaining focused on the task at hand. He stood in the center of a pentagram, speaking words in ancient Norse. As Norrin muttered the incantation vast energies began to flow around him. Soon, as he finished the rite, the energies became a flowing pillar on one of the points of the pentagram. Confident he had finished his deed the Surfer finally turned to Alicia and embraced her.
"What just happened?" She asked.
"The Odinpower has finally been returned at long last. Where he was born, Odinís last essence has been lain to rest."
"Iím not sure I understand."
"I shall explain it another time, now is not the proper moment. Let us return to Avengers Tower, I have much to explain to Thor."
Norrin and Alicia flew off, through thousands of tons of solid rock like it was a fine mist. At the tower Norrin explained to Thor what was happening in Asgard and what had become of the Odinpower. Thor was obviously not happy with the results, but understood.
The Surfer found Beta Ray Bill was still comatose. Hercules had recovered fully, thanks to Zeus being given his power back, but Beta Ray had no reprieve coming. In fact he was only still alive due to his alien nature. The Surfer stood over Beta Ray, as he had in other realities millennia before, and scanned his disease. He replicated the minute amounts of Odinpower left in Beta Ray and supercharged it with the Power Cosmic. The Surfer smiled, his friend would be fine, but he would be completely different from his past self.
Norrin returned to the conference room to find Thor and Hercules arm in arm with a tankard of mead in hand singing. The first song, which was nearly completed when Norrin entered the room, was a sorrowful and respectful song. Recounting the days when Odin the almighty oversaw the land and brought righteous justice to the universe. They sang of his past trials and the bleak future without him. The next song was more uplifting, singing praises of the victory against overwhelming odds against a nigh unbeatable foe. Norrin grasped another tankard and slowly walked up and slipped his arm around Alicia. He gave Alicia a small squeeze, took a large gulp of mead, and began to sing along with the gods. Soon everyone was singing and waving their tankards and mugs. The sounds of the songs rang through the night, across the ocean nearly from coast to coast.
. . . . .
Cleo stood in the Valley of the Kings, wiping the sweat from her brow. Archeology is ever a hard task. As she finished a long drink of water from her canteen the world around her began to blur. Soon she was standing in the middle of a great hall, in front of beings that could only be gods.
"Holy crap in a canÖ" she muttered under her breath.
"Listen mortal, I am Amen, king of the Netjer."
"Of course you are." Cleo was still in shock, the words sounding sarcastic.
"You will be silent! I have no inclination to hear the prattlings of a foolish mortal. Ra himself has bestowed upon you a boon. You, daughter of Caesar and Cleopatra shall become the Pharaoh."
"Whoa, wait a sec. What the hell are you talking about?"
"In times long ago Caesar and Cleopatra had a son, Caesarian. We gods knew the traitorous Octavian and his murderous ways. Bes, the protector of children, removed the child before Octavianís heinous act and replaced him with a doppelganger. Caesarian was given to the sacrificed childís parents to raise as a peasant. Horus then kept watch over your ancestors to keep your linage pure until the time when a new Pharaoh was needed.
"So I am to be a queen?"
"Not in the way that you imagine. In the times long ago the Pharaohís were protectors of the world. Given godly might to battle the evil of the world and from the stars. You are to be protector, not ruler."
"So I will be a soldier of the Netjer?"
"Yes. With the Odinson now rendered immobile, the Earth has a need for her divine might to travel the roads of the stars. You will receive many mystical powers for your plight."
"So Iím going to be a superhero, a goddess."
"So shall it be." When Amen spoke the Benu, a firebird representing a new time of wealth and prosperity, rose from the Earth. Amen stood from his throne and walked down to Cleo. He placed in her hand the Was scepter. As she grasped it uncountable energies flowed through her, transforming her into the Pharaoh. The Netjer cheered as she raised her staff into the air and let loose a barrage of lightning.
. . . . .
Ra, Zeus, the Great Spirit and Gaea gathered in the cave of light. It had been one year since their brotherís death. They sat and told tales of their fallen around the pillar of pure hyperspacial power. For one full year they stayed in the cave, telling tales, singing songs and dancing. They frolicked like the children they never were. In the end they embraced and went their separate ways. They knew the pillar of power was safe, the chosen one would find his destiny soon enough and join them.
A silver and gold man and woman appeared over Earth, the same as they had for a billion years. They came here every year on the anniversary of their meeting. They held each other close as they looked down upon the wasteland that was once teeming with life. It has been many many millennia since life walked upon this world though.
They looked towards the sun; it has shrunken to nearly two-thirds its size a billion years ago. The planet Venus has lost its cloud covering and become habitable. An avian race of humanoids has begun building large mud buildings. The architecture of a race that can fly is truly remarkable!
They then turned away from the sun; there they saw Jupiter, once a gas giant now a small sun itself. On Europa, a moon once covered in ice, the heat has made shores to the vast ocean. On these shores a race of amphibians has begun walking the long road to civilization.
They looked at each other, smiling a knowing smile. It is apparent; Galactus has passed this way. In these times Galactus is no longer the devourer of worlds. The pendulum has swung; the galaxy is no longer teeming with life. The thousnads of races that once dotted the stars are no more. Life now is scarce, and Galactus is needed to plant the seed of life, not sow the crop. His herald Vita seeking new worlds for the master to release some of his life force before he bloats and explodes. There is no gnawing hunger, only an overwhelming sense of over capacity.
The two beings smile and embrace, ever are the personifications of truth and justice tangled together. The man softly cradles the woman and kisses her.
"Plus a change, plus se la mem chose."
"Oh my! French Norrin, after all these years?"
"Aye dearest. Is French not the language of love?"