The More Things Change...Written by Adam Funk
Primordial Earth, a time of great change and importance. Small species of dinosaurs had yet to die out, the land was just breaking out from Pangea, the single land mass, and ape-men future generations would call the missing link ran about the Earth.
The storm season is coming, five future humans can instinctively feel the hurricane blowing off the coast. The four males and a female quickly move deeper into the cave they call home. They have enough food and water stored a few hundred feet inside to wait out the storm. Huddled against the near complete darkness and explosive winds, hail and rain they grunt and howl from fear and anger. They remember storms from seasons past, but they have never been this bad before.
Deep within their cave a bright light suddenly ignites, startling the primitives. Full of curiosity and fear they slowly make their way deeper into the cave, deeper than they have never been before, looking for the source of the light. In the center of a large cavern five geysers in the shape of a pentagram erupt pure energy. Slowly, one by one, each of the primitives touches a pillar of pure hyperspacial power. Instantly each begins to transform, millions of years of evolution pass in seconds. Power and knowledge beyond anything most races will ever achieve floods into them, nearly to overload.
Finally the transformation is complete. The five begin to plan and scheme for the future of Earth. After decades of debate and preparing the five move on, about their chosen roles in the grand plan. One heads north, towards where Norway will be one day. Another moves west, here the fertile plains of North America will one day thrive. The third goes south east, on the shores of the great sea, modern civilization will be born in Greece. The fourth moves south, here the river Nile is a oasis in the savage desert, and the beginning of Egypt. Finally the female retreats deep into the Earth, from here she will guide the planet as though it were her own son.
Slowly the primitives spread across the land are taught the way to the future. Tools, writing, speech, and fire are introduced and are taken in by the populace. Humanity has taken its first step.
And the Dreamer Awoke
In space, no one can hear you scream. That was the last thought of the captain of the Open Arms as his ship exploded. For over fifty years this race of fugitives has been on the run from the Pandonians, a brutal race seeking only destruction. In these years the fugitives have retraced the steps of their ancestors back to the galaxy of their origin.
Five thousand years ago the fugitives left the world of their birth to start anew. They wanted to branch out from their cousins so that more of the universe could benefit from their knowledge. After hundreds of years they found their new home. A small system the middle of a new galaxy; what a perfect place to begin. They found three planets capable of supporting life yet bare of intelligence. They named the planets Fronfer, Lakends, and Grewsda. Translated into English they were Peace, Love, and Understanding.
They lived in harmony with the races that populated this galaxy for five thousand years, until a race of wandering predators entered their sphere of influence. The boarder races fell almost instantly under the Pandonians savage might. They shamelessly executed the populations and ravaged their worlds for the supplies they needed.
Lan-Har, the military leader of the fugitives, gathered a armada of all the surrounding races to go and confront the Pandonians while still weeks away from the galaxys core. They had heard that the fleet the Pandonians had was immense, but had no idea of its true scale. Lan-Har and the Righteousness led the armada of five hundred ships to where the Pandonians had set up camp for the time being. The world they had just conquered was huge, and would take some time to completely drain.
Once they were within range they sent out a standard welcoming and "we come in peace" signal. From six hundred light years away Pandonian ships lay in wait, but let the armada pass. All attempts to hail the ships were ignored by them. The ships were slightly smaller than the armadas, but were much different in design. The armada had white ships with flowing lines and graceful curves. Standard running lights and the name of the vessel were boldly on display. The Pandonian ships were black, triangular, and savage looking. They had large weapons on the end of each of the three forward swept wings and resembled shrapnel.
The fear was tangible in the bridge of the Righteousness as they passed through the defenses of the Pandonians. Lan-Har could only watch the ships close in behind them as they got closer to the center of the fleet. In orbit around the planet was the command ship, there could be no mistaking it. It was about seven miles across and in a saucer shape. All around the equator of the ship were spikes that resembled the guns on the wings of the regular ships.
Finally a hail was let out from the command ship. Lan-Har was almost reluctant to answer the signal. He was unsure what to expect, but was confident this was his last day among the living. The computer estimates came back, it appeared that the ships numbered in the millions.
"Greetings, my name is Lan-Har. I represent the beings living in this galaxy and have come to ask of your purposes here. Is there anything we can do for you?" When the picture came back Lan-Har nearly gasped in fear. These Pandonians were animalistic in nature. They appeared to be a cross between a panther and a wolf. They had black and gray fur, small triangular ears on top of their heads, and long jaws filled with razor sharp teeth. They wore armor from the neck down covered with robes and each of them had side arms on them.
"I am Huntrrro, firrrst of this prrride. Why do you botherrr us?"
"I apologize if we are a bother, that is not out intention. We always welcome a new race to our galaxy and you are no different." Huntro seemed to laugh at that.
"Welcome orrr not, we take what we want. You arrre a fool to have come herrre. Make peace with yourrr gods furrrless one, you die today." With that Huntro shut down the signal.
"All ships, prepare for combat!!" Lan-Har called out. "Ignore the smaller ships and concentrate all fire on the command ship." All hell proceeded to break loose. The armada as one went full bore towards the command ship, all fire directed at it. One by one the Pandonian ships cut them down like they were nothing. Of the five hundred only the Righteousness and two others made it to the command ship. One was gunned down by the lasers on the side of the command ship, and the other made it to the underbelly of it. It tried a kamikaze run at the center of the ship, but missed by half a mile. The damage was too great to properly maneuver it, although it did do considerate damage to the command ship. The Righteousness was able to make it into a hanger and breach its engine core. Roughly ten percent of the command ship was damaged from the attack.
During the battle the Righteousness recorded the goings on and sent them to the homeworlds. The council watched in horror as their fleet was gunned down so easily. There was no other choice, they had to leave this galaxy. To stay would be certain death. They sent word to the other races, who were already beginning to formulate evacuation plans.
They had maybe two weeks before death showed up at their door step. This home was lost, it was time to leave. Luckily, the colonization ships were still in working order. They were kept more for floating museums than anything. Within a week all ships were space worthy and ready to move out. They had about one million ships ready for deep space transport. Eighty percent of the population was able to squeeze themselves aboard one of the ships. About four million people were going to be left behind.
There was enough short range and half built or half destroyed ships left that some of them would be able to at least make a dent in the advancing armada. The remainder of the population would go into hiding, hoping to escape the Pandonians notice. The fugitives left orbit ten days after the incident with the Pandonians, they arrived three days after that.
The reports from the one hundred and fifty or so ships left behind were horrendous. The fight, if you could call it that, lasted twenty three minutes. They were able to take out about ten percent of their ships, not a bad showing from near derelicts, small fighters, and shuttles. If any of the population survived is unknown, there were enough shelters and bunkers for them spread out among the planets, so hopefully some did. If the fleet tried to contact the colony it would compromise their locations. After the last of the fugitive ships were destroyed, a message came through. It was only two words "No escape".
For the last fifty years the fugitives have been fighting off the cat and mouse style attacks from the Pandonians. They would launch an offensive, destroy some of the fugitives ships, then retreat back to the command ship. The fugitives have lost over half their ships and with them, half the population. Their ships are tired and mostly held together with tape and glue. It is lucky they are nearing the galaxy of their birth. Once they can get hold of their long lost cousins they will have a chance of survival.
Put Up Your Dukes
My name is Wendell Vaughn, though the galaxy knows me better as Quasar, Guardian of the Universe. Its been slow lately, myself and my friend Beta Ray Bill, have had little to do. Save a cargo ship from pirates here, stop a hull leak in a transport ship there, same old same old. We were ready to call it a day when I got a call from one of my "Ears", the dishes I have spread out through the galaxy. Its a distress call from a unknown source, somewhere near the edge of the galaxy, coming in fast and hot. I tell Bill I can take care of it, he can go on his way. He says he has nothing else to do, and I may just need a hand. He draws close to me and I quantum jump us near the source of the call.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. There must have been millions of ships engaged in battle. There is two different types, neither of which I have ever seen before. Larger white roundish ships against smaller black jagged ships. The black ones outnumbered the white ones two to one. I get a call on my bands, its from the leader of the white ships, for the second time in as many minutes, I am shocked.
"Greetings. I am Captain Kar-Lor of the ship Deliverance. We are under attack and require assistance." Stunned, I think for a minute before I can stammer out a reply.
"I was under the impression the Kree never asked for anything."
"Please sir, we left this galaxy over five thousand years ago and have recently been chased back. We desperately need your help." As Kar-Lor says this Bill tapped Quasar on the shoulder and points. Thirty Pandonian ships were headed their way.
"Were going to need some help here Bill."
"I was thinking the same thing" he says.
"You start fighting off these black ships, Im going to send out a call to the Surfer."
"Agreed" Its still amazing to watch Bill go all out, he takes out five of the ships almost immediately. I send out the signal to the Surfer, I know hes on Earth so its easy to find him. With the call made I join Bill, he has already taken out ten more ships.
As Quasar joined Bill fifteen ships surrounded him and all fired at once. Quasar was able to throw up a hasty shield, but it was not enough. The overwhelming force of the attack was too much. Slowly Quasar began to loose consciousness. Looking over and seeing what has happened to his friend, Bill races over, grabs him and teleports.
The look on the Kree Captains face was one of horror. Kar-Lor could do nothing but slump down into his command chair. His face was drained, all hope and energy was gone. There was nothing left to do but die.
"Captain Lor" came a call from the officer on monitor duty.
"What is it Lana-Bren?"
"You have to see this, Im putting it on the main screen." A being made of fire, at least thats what he looked like, was heading our way, faster than anything Ive ever seen. I jumped out of my chair, almost smiling. How many super beings does this galaxy posses?
"Communications!! Hail that being!!!"
"I am Firelord, former herald of Galactus. What seems to be the problem? You know, besides being in the middle of a war." Firelord said with a small smile.
"Sir Firelord, we are under attack by a savage race known as the Pandonians, they have already destroyed over half our ships and killed half of our people. We are in desperate need of your assistance. Please, we beg of you, help us."
"Kree needing help, quite a novelty. Dont worry, I know you guys have come across hard times. Besides, these new guys dont look too friendly to me."
Firelord entered into the fray when fifteen Pandonian ships attacked him. I find my self wondering what exactly has happened in the last five thousand years. Two super powered beings have made comments on the Kree being seemingly above the others in this galaxy, have we become that arrogant and foolish? Yet this Firelord also said he knew what happened to us, what could that mean? Have we died out, been destroyed? A chill comes over me, are we the last of the Kree??
He is making short work of the Pandonians, though he is not destroying the ships, merely disabling them. Why is he showing mercy? I then see the creature known as "Bill" teleport back, and join Firelord. Together they are a fearsome force, but hopelessly out numbered. Can even these two hope to turn the tide of this fight? I pray so.
"Captain" calls Lana-Bren, "do you believe in miracles? Im putting it on the main screen." Tears of joy start to fill my eyes. A being made of silver, riding what appears to be a surf board is coming in just as fast as Firelord.
"Already hailing the silver being" says the communications officer. The silver being stops in his tracks, and flies directly towards our ship. He doesnt even slow down when he reached our hull, but there was no breech. He appears on the bridge, coming right through the wall.
"You" as he points at me, "You appear to be the captain of this vessel, explain yourself."
"I am Captain Kar-Lor of the ship Deliverance, our ancestors left this galaxy over five thousand years ago seeking peace. Recently the savages known as the Pandonians have plundered the galaxy we called home, slaughtered our people and drove us from our home worlds. We came here for the help of our long lost cousins in a desperate hope to stay alive. Please sir, I know not what has happened here in the time since we left, but we are desperate. Could you help us, we have nowhere else to turn?"
"I will return when this threat is over. Hope that you are not deceiving me, I do not take kindly to deceit." With that he was gone. What has our people done to produce that kind of attitude? Surely they could not have been that bad, could they? He flies directly into the middle of the conflict, and stops. Firelord and Bill join him where he stands, they say a few things to each other before the silver being speaks.
"Hear me Pandonians, I am the Silver Surfer, with my comrades this fleet is under our protection. You will hereby disengage this conflict and retreat back at least five light years. There is no other option."
About thirty ships turn and close in on the three super beings. The Silver Surfer looked at them for a second, then waves his hand. All power on the ships went out as he did that. Using our sensors we could tell that life support was the only systems running. All of our mouths were wide open on the bridge, what kind of being was this Silver Surfer??
The Pandonians continued this tactic until about fifteen thousand of their ships were floating dead in space. After that their ships disengaged all battles with our ships. There seemed to be a conversation with the Silver Surfer and the lead Pandonian ship, then they towed their dead ships away, exactly four and a half light years.
The three super beings were talking for a while, until a bright light shone next to them. The fourth being, the one named Quasar, appeared next to them. They spoke for a while, then the Silver Surfer headed our way. With the same ease as before, he appeared on the bridge.
"I have returned Captain Kar-Lor, as I said I would. I would know if what you told me was indeed true."
"I welcome you once again aboard the Deliverance Silver Surfer, and bestow my most sincere gratefulness. I really must know, how did you do that to their ships?"
"It was simple, I merely scanned their ships and fused all connections except for their life support. Now, my question?"
"Yes, everything I told you was indeed true. I dont know what has happened to the Kree we left here when we went on our way. I am anxious to learn their fate, are they completely gone? Were they as despised as I have been led to believe by the attitudes I have been getting? I must know!!"
The Surfer looked away for a time, thinking about his response.
"The Kree of this time have been fanatical power hungry warlords. Almost every civilized species considers them villains. They seek to annex every planet they can, by military force. They did have the most powerful fleet here, until a run in with the Shiar destroyed most of their fleet and made Hala all but habitable. There are some wanderers here and there, but most of the empire has been reduced to ashes. The population is about 1/10,000th of what it was. They are no longer a threat to the populated planets of this galaxy."
The look of shock on the faces of the bridge crew was answer enough. They had no idea of the crimes their cousins committed.
"I I have no response to that." Kar-Lor stammered out. "Our race was always ambitious, but never that militaristic. We were a peaceful race, but also knew the ways of war. There were many threats in the galaxy that would overrun us if we did not protect ourselves. The Council would never have let this happen."
"In recent memory there was never a council governing the Kree." The Surfer stated. "They were ruled by the Supreme Intelligence, a being with all the memory and skills of every great military mind throughout time. A heartless, soulless creature whose only ambition was a Kree ruled universe."
"Impossible the Cotati "
"Are all but extinct. Destroyed by the Kree." Kar-Lor was visibly very upset.
"Such atrocities. What could have sent them over the edge into madness? What possible explanation could there be?"
"Captain, Surfer." Lana-Bren started. "The Pandonians are on the move again. Switching on the main screen." The Pandonians had formed a wall and were coming straight at the Kree fleet, and their protectors.
"This has gone on long enough." The Surfer said, he then spoke to seemingly thin air, "Firelord, prepare, I have had enough of this nonsense. Make sure your ships are ready Kar-Lor, this is not a fight we will win without your help." With that he was gone again.
"All ships, battle stations!!" Kar-Lor called out. "We are outnumbered, but we have valor and righteousness as our ally, we will not fall!! This is our final stand, may the gods favor the bold!!!"
The battle that followed was beyond mere words to describe. Near the edge of the conflict there were two Watchers recording the events as they unfolded. Millions of explosions occurred every second. From a distance the glow from the battle was constant, not the lightning like flashes of a normal space fight. Whole planets were consumed in the destruction. Millions died, only the Surfer could claim that he did not kill during the battle. In the end, every Pandonian ship was either destroyed or taken out of commission. Fires and explosions covered the Pandonian command ship, it would survive this conflict, but not without scars. The Kree lost over three hundred thousand ships, and about a million citizens. The wreckage and carnage spanned light years. Quasar was badly beaten, bruises and burns lined his whole body. Beta Ray Bill also looked ragged and worn, his clothes were torn and covered with burns. Surfer and Firelord didnt look any worse for the wear, but it was clear they were exhausted.
The four heroes gathered up the disabled Pandonian ships, about one hundred and fifty thousand of them, and Quasar placed them in a gigantic yellow sphere. The four then surrounded the sphere, concentrated and the ships disappeared. There was no trace of them to be found.
The Silver Surfer wandered off for a moment and came back with a woman on his board. Apparently his mate. The four talked for a long while, until Quasar headed towards the Deliverance.
"Hear me Kar-Lor, we want to know what your plans are now."
"Return signal Lana-Bren. Quasar, this is Kar-Lor. The council will of course have to vote, but I am planning to put my weight behind us staying here and undoing the travesty that the Kree here has done."
"A wise choice." He said. "How can we help you in this manner?"
"Well first, we will need a place to call home. We have been stuck in these ships for far too long. Before we can think about others we need to get ourselves and our affairs in order. Someplace a little out of the way so that any races who bear all Kree ill will can be avoided."
A New Beginning
With that a huge, ghost like head appeared in front of the four assembled heroes.
"Surfer, it is good that I have found you."
"Greetings Stephen" the Surfer says. "What can I do for you?"
"There is a situation most dire on Earth." Dr. Strange starts. "It seems Victor Von Doom was tired of the off-world rivals in his quest for world domination. Apparently he waited until you left Earth to put his plan into motion. He found and supercharged the barrier that used to keep you prisoner on Earth. Nothing, not even my mystic powers have any effect on it. I already called Thor and he is working on it, but so far to no avail. We could really use your expertise on these matters, knowing what you do about Galactus and his technology."
"Say no more Stephen, we are on our way!!"
Alicia stood up and grabbed the Surfer and held him close, tears falling from her eyes. Her home and everyone on it, especially Ben, could be out of reach forever!! The Surfer tried to comfort her the best he could, assuring her things would be fine. Unfortunately he could not hide the feeling of doom rising within him. If Doom could do that to something made by Galactus, precious hope is the only thing he had to go on.
"How did I get involved in this little endeavor?" Firelord asked. "That place has brought me nothing but a headache and a thorn in my side. After we save it that little Spidertwerp would try to come after me again, and this time I wont be taking any fall. That little red and blue flea comes after me and " His voice trailing off. I dont think anyone has ever seen the Surfer look at someone like that before. Firelord felt like an ant trying to look at Galactus.
"You will do so because it is the right thing to do!! You will do so to help ease the breaking heart of this fragile flower weeping before you!! And most of all, you will do so because I am telling you to!!!" The intensity in the Surfers voice was enough to make Quasars and Bills mouths drop open. Strange even looked uncomfortable.
"Im .Im sorry Alicia, I wasnt thinking, which is pretty par for the course when it comes to me. Of course I will help you. Please forgive my outburst."
"Its all right Pyreus, I know the problems you have had on my world. I thank you for your offer."
"We are on our way Stephen, you can fill us in on the way." The Surfer stated. Strange proceeded to tell them that Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and Dr. Banner were gathered at Avengers Mansion trying to figure out a solution. The Vision was able to help some, even though his synthetic body was still healing from the battle with Morgan LeFay. Banner was more than happy to help. Keeping his mind off the recent death of his wife was good for him. Though Dr. Samson was near Bruce nearly every waking moment. Strange broke contact so he could devote his mind to the task at hand.
The Kree decided to go with them, maybe they could help. They did have thousands of scientists with them. It would take considerably longer for them to arrive, so Quasar kept a ear on them with his bands. In this galaxy you never know what is going to happen, especially with a Kree fleet moving through it.
The five of them made it to earth in no time, at least they thought it was earth. A silver sphere encompassed the whole planet. Apparently light was able to get through, the color of the sky was changed to a lighter blue, with a shiny effect. After analyzing the energy of the sphere the Surfer could find no weakness in it. Four of the most powerful beings in all of space stood outside the silver ball feeling helpless.
Dr. Stranges face appeared in front of them again. "Greetings. It seems that the only way to contact outside the field is by spiritual means. Thor tried to teleport to you, but was unable. What have you discovered Norrin Radd?"
"Nothing of any help Stephen. I have analyzed the field and could find no weakness. It seems that it only allows certain light and cosmic waves in, there should be no danger to earth or the life on it. Although I can find no way through."
"So nothing can get out?" Strange asked.
"No. I have checked throughout the sphere, not one iota of light can even get out." Surfer answered.
"This is most distressing. Tell me Surfer, can you think of anyway that the barrier could possibly be destroyed?"
"Not without destroying the earth as well. Galactus could be of help, but we all know how he feels about Earth. I cant even find him since he returned from that other dimension we saved him from. Its almost like he disappeared again. Truthfully Stephen, I dont know what to do."
Alicia had seemed to calm down along the journey to earth and while in orbit, but now just broke down. Surfer held her close and tried to comfort her, but to no avail. She just cried and cried, mourning all her losses. All her friends, her step father Philip Masters, but most especially Ben, sweet sweet Ben. "That stupid self centered fool!!" She cried out.
"Dont give up hope yet." The Surfer stated. "There is one more thing I must try. Pyreus, keep her safe and relaxed. I am off to collect the debt owed us from Eternity."
"Ah, when Eternity said he would help us out when we needed it." Firelord said. "A good idea. Maybe I should come along. With two of us there it might be more convincing."
"Yes, you are right. Alicia you will be safe here with Quasar and Bill. I would trust them with my life under any circumstance."
"Norrin please dont leave me!" Alicia cried. "I cant stand to be away from you now, in my time of greatest need!"
"Im sorry Alicia, of course you can come. Though it is just a heart beat away, it is another universe. Stand on my board Pyreus, we are going now."
"Were going to stay and wait for the Kree ships to arrive Surfer." Beta Ray Bill said. "They should be here by time you get back."
"Very well. Keep trying to find a weakness, the two of your powers are much different than mine. Together we may find a way." With that the Surfer closed his eyes, concentrated, and then disappeared.
The Valley of the Kings
As the three of them stood on the Surfers board, space swirled and distorted around them. Within mere moments all space around them was pure white. They were in the Realm of the Cosmic Beings.
"Oh my god!!" Alicia gasped. "I can see!! Im not blind here!!"
"Of course not mortal." Came a voice from behind them. "In this realm you see not with primitive eyes, but with your soul, heart and mind. All of which you have in great abundance." The three turned to see who was speaking.
"Who is that Surfer?"
"The Stranger Alicia. Greetings Stranger, I trust you are well. We are here seeking Eternity. Is he not here?"
"Eternity has more important matters he is attending to. He cannot spare any of his consciousness for what you are asking for. He knows why you are here and what has transpired on Earth. He asked me to tell you that he cannot intervene."
"Cannot or will not?" Firelord asked hastily.
"Cannot Pyreus Kril. He has studied the situation and decided it would be improper to step in and meddle in the affairs of Earth."
"I cannot accept that answer Stranger!!" The Surfer stated with eyes blazing. "There must be something that can be done. Surely another of you gods can be of help to these oppressed people!!"
"Do not take that tone with me Norrin Radd. Eternity has declared Earth to be off limits, none of us shall go against his will. Suffice it to say that he knows more on the subject than you could ever fathom. Leave well enough alone."
"I wont accept that from any save Eternity himself." The Surfer stated. "Eternity!!" He screamed out. "I will not leave this realm until I have heard your reasons!!"
In front of the three heroes some of the white space began to phase into a being, a tremendous being. Firelord started to look uncomfortable. Alicia could only gape in awe, seemingly unable to even blink, much less turn away. But the Surfer stood his ground, as determined as ever.
"Surfer, your conviction is admirable, but to disturb me with these affairs grates my patience. The Stranger told you his words were mine. Why was that not good enough for you?"
"Mighty Eternity, I mean no disrespect. Earth is now my adoptive home. You promised help when needed, now refuse. We deserve the reasons from you personally."
"Your arrogance is above one of your station in this universe. Nevertheless, you will receive your answers. I am privy to many things you do not know. I see all realities, all futures. I know things about even yourself you couldnt possibly imagine. And I know about Earth, and the myriad of possible futures for it. Earth, if allowed to continue the way it was, would be conquered or would destroy itself within twenty-five years in ninety-eight percent of all realities. With the shield up they will survive in ninety-three percent of the realties. As you can plainly see, it is in their best interest to remain under their little barrier for the time being."
Alicia weeped softly. The Surfer seemed to ponder the things Eternity had said. Firelord could not keep his surprise hidden. None of the three were prepared for this revelation.
"If I may be so bold, what is to become of the conquered realties?" The Surfer asked.
"They account for seventy-two percent of the ninety-eight. Of them sixty-four percent will free themselves and go about their lives. Although most will never reach the station in the universe they would have if they had been allowed to evolve freely."
"I understand mighty one." Surfer stated. "I also thank you for your candid response. We will now leave you in peace to go about your work."
"Fare thee well Norrin Radd. And you as well Pyreus Kril and Alicia Masters. Though you do not know this yet, the three of you will be a great asset for this universe and myself. Yes, even you Alicia. The wonders and grandeur you will achieve you cannot possibly imagine now." With that the three were transported back to the real universe, exactly where they started from.
Will Work for Shelter
Beta Ray Bill and Quasar were awaiting their arrival when they got back.
"Bad news Surfer." Quasar stated. "Weve been all over this shield, nothing has changed."
"Unless you count those." Bill said. All around the shield were satellites, each sending out the same signal on all wave-lengths. The signal said the same thing over and over in Dooms voice, visitors were not welcome, stay away.
"Yello? Can youse hear me? Strange your friggin Voo-Doo aint workin! Alicia? Can you hear me? My freakin head is probably in a toilet somewhere on ShiAr or somethin. Why I let that blasted witch doctor in my head "
"Ben!! Ben I hear you!!" Alicia said starting to smile. Bens head appeared in front of them, upside down. That big lug could always make her smile no matter what was going on around them.
"Oh. There yall are. We got us a regular tough guy convention goin on out here. Howdy boys, hows tricks? Alicia, I know how excited you get when you dont get your bashful Benji fix, so I wanted to make sure you were ok and tell ya the whole gang here was fine."
"Oh Ben, I was so afraid I would never hear your voice again. I just dont think " Alicia trailed off, sadness creeping into her voice.
"Dont ya even start thinkin that way!! Theres so many big brains stuffed in this place theres hardly room for a sap like me to read my comics. Theyll figure out a way to remove that big marble. Dont ya sweat none."
"Im just glad youre ok Ben. You take care of yourself now. Dont eat too many snack cakes just because Im not watching you. You know how those keep you up all night and give you nightmares."
"Aww dont worry. I promise not to touch one til ya get back. Take care Alicia. And you Surfer. Im holdin you responsible for her."
"Fear not Benjamin. Alicia could be in no better hands save perhaps your own."
"Im countin on that boogie boarder. The rest o youse have fun. Keep the joint safe til we get out to save the galaxy again."
With that Ben disappeared and Strange took his place. His demeanor was nowhere near as lighthearted as Bens was.
"Well Norrin, any change?"
"I am sorry Stephen. I spoke with Eternity himself. Trust me when I say this may very well be the key to Earths salvation." The Surfer proceeded to tell Strange everything Eternity had told them. Strange was silent until the Surfer had finished. He appeared deep in thought for quite a few minutes.
"I will relay what you have said to the others. If I may burden you with a favor Surfer. Would it be possible for you to set up shop close by? I am sure we would all feel a little better knowing there was someone close by on the outside keeping watch."
"I had already considered that Stephen. I do have plans to have a constant sentry in the system. Although it may seem unconventional without knowing the whole story. I will explain it all in due time. Fare well my friend. We will speak soon."
"God speed Surfer. I trust your judgment on any matter, do what you must. Take care all."
Strange disappeared leaving the five gathered around Earth feeling lonely and helpless. Surfer and Alicia embraced for some time, trying in vain to comfort each other. The mood and silence was broken by Quasar.
"The Kree are getting near Surfer. I assume your plan included them. Perhaps we should get started on what you had in mind?"
"Agreed Quasar. I need you to go to the Asteroid belt past Mars and bring back about two-hundred billion tons of rock. Bill you could probably assist him. Meet us on the opposite side of the Sun."
Quasar and Beta Ray Bill nodded and were off. Surfer, Alicia, and Firelord proceeded to the far side of the Sun. There was still quite a bit of debris left over from Paradise, the planet the Goddess created during the Infinity Crusade. They gathered the remains into a roughly spherical shape, awaiting the others. Quasar and Bill finally Quantum Jumped back to where the Surfer was waiting.
Quasar formed a huge bubble, roughly the size of Earth, and held the rock and such together. Firelord concentrated on the center of the material and was able to bring a tremendous fire to bear. Quasar started squeezing the sphere while Firelord fanned the flames within the core. Finally Quasar released his bubble from around the sphere. What was left was a planetoid about two-thirds the size of Earth. The Surfer started it upon a revolution so that it would have about one-point-three Earth Gs. That was normal gravity on Hala. Bill flew down close to the planet and created a storm unrivaled in the known universe. Within five hours half the planet was covered by water. The entire time Bill was controlling and encouraging the storm. Once done he collapsed in exhaustion and passed out.
The whole time Bill was doing his thing, the Surfer and Alicia were meditating on his board. It was as if they were two bodies of one mind. What the Surfer was about to do was no small feat. He had tried it once before, with disastrous results. This time however there were no living things on the planet to worry about. He also had much more time to prepare and was in a much sounder state of mind. He also had Alicia with him to help him control the unimaginable energies he was about to unleash.
Quasar and Firelord took Bill and retreated back a few million miles. With what the Surfer was about to try it would not be safe for even these powerful beings to be too close. The Surfer and Alicia concentrated and a glow appeared around the planet. Within seconds single cell organisms became fish. The fish grew legs and feet and wandered onto land. A myriad of different land animals evolved from them. Grass turned to bushes and then to trees. Whole ecosystems grew within minutes. Four and a half minutes after the Surfer and Alicia started the planet evolved eight billion years. What was once debris and rock became a living, thriving planet.
On board the Deliverance Kar-Lor and his crew were flabbergasted! Such feats were unheard of save for gods. They were indeed lucky to have found these five super beings. Every future generation of Kree owed their thanks to the Silver Surfer and his comrades. Truly these beings were more gods than men!!
The Surfer and Alicia collapsed on his board and fell into a deep sleep. A thin smile on each of their faces showed their satisfaction in how this endeavor turned out. Firelord and Quasar, still holding a unconscious Beta Ray Bill, flew back to pick up the Surfer and Alicia. Quasar placed the three unconscious heroes in a bubble and descended upon the new planet.
The planet had three main land masses. There were also small groups of islands dotting the water here and there. The oceans were fresh water, not salt, but still held a plethora of distinct species of fish and waterborne mammals. The continent the Kree named Haven was mostly jungles and mountains on the southern half and plains and large lakes on the northern. It was mostly centered between the two hemispheres, with equal lengths above and below the equator. The second, Heaven, was mostly in the northern hemisphere. It went from the pole to just below the equator. The north was mostly frozen tundra while the southern region was desert with long, wide rivers winding through it. Forests and grassy plains lined each river and the coastline. Haven and Heaven were on different sides of the planet, almost perfectly centered on each side. The third continent, Hearten, was much closer to Heaven, but fell mostly below the equator. There was a small, circular mountain range in the very center. It had a desert to the east, a tropical rain forest to the north, long, flat plains to the west, and a frozen wasteland to the south. Rivers and lakes dotted the entire island. The Kree named the planet Hala-Tor, after their mythological "Garden of Eden".
The Surfer woke on the western beach of Hearten. Alicia was still sleeping next to him but the others were nowhere to be seen. He stood up and brushed the sand off his body. Out to sea, about twenty miles off the coast there was a hurricane in full force moving northward. Miles and miles of white sandy beaches spread out along the coast in either direction. He looked to the east and gasped at the many miles of flat lands meeting the mountains. It was all so beautiful and pristine it brought a tear to his eye.
The Surfer heard Alicia start to awaken and went over picked her up and gave her a hug and a kiss.
"Good morning beautiful. I trust you had a good nap." The Surfer said with a smile.
"Oh Norrin" Alicia said as she touched his face. "I can feel the purity of this place. The sounds of the waves and sea gulls. The smell and taste of the air. Everything tells me what a wonder this place is. Most especially the tone in your voice."
"Its true my love. In all my time I have never seen such a place."
The Surfer felt the energies at work before he looked up. To the east at about three-o-clock he could make out three distinctive signatures. Quasars Quantum Power, Beta Ray Bills Odinpower, and Firelords Power Cosmic. He could make out the task they set before them and smiled. What a wonderful idea. He called his board, told Alicia to hold on, and went to see how they were faring.
Alicia laughed out loud when they were close enough to hear the three talking. The way they were bickering it reminded her of those old Three Stooges shows she watched as a child. "Larry, Curly, and Moe" frowned when they saw the Surfer and Alicia pull up next to them. Alicia, sitting on the front of the board with legs dangling and laughing hysterically and the Surfer standing behind her with a huge grin seemed to really tick them off.
"What the hells so funny?" Firelord asked, anger searing his words.
"I do not see any humor in this " Bill started but was cut off.
"Hey Moe!!" Alicia said in trademark fashion right before she fell over in laughter. This brought a thin smile from Quasar but only puzzled looks from Firelord and Bill.
"Its from an old Earth TV show." Quasar explained. "Three grown men would bicker and slap each other and just act like total buffoons. It was actually quite humorous. I believe she is referring to us as the Three Stooges. Really Alicia, I thought better of you." He said in mock disgust. But she could not answer.
"I see you are attempting to create two moons." Surfer said to change the subject. "That is a wonderful idea."
"Well it was night when we landed and Quasar and I felt something was missing." Firelord said.
"Exactly". Said Quasar. "When we looked out at the stars it just didnt feel right. And the Kree feel the same way. They love the idea."
"Where are they?" Surfer asked.
"On the other side of the planet. They are setting up camp on Haven for now and will spread out soon." Bill stated.
The Surfer then organized the three others and they were able to make short work of the moons. Each one was about half the size of Earths, though the second one was slightly larger than the first. They were placed at twelve-o-clock and three-o-clock on the horizon. This way there would still be nights when there would be no moons in the sky.
Resting in Peace
Six months passed since the Kree first settled Hala-Tor. Their Capitol, Corlero, was named
after their ancient art of surfing. It was located on Haven on the west coast in the northern hemisphere. They have settled most everywhere on the planet and had outposts on their moons, Karaha and Wandra, named after their mythological gods of fire and weather respectively. And even a small one on Earths moon as well.
The Surfer and Alicia settled on one of the small islands in the Kregora ocean. Named for the Kree god of the seas it is between the west coast of Haven and the east coast of Heaven. Firelord set up on a nearby island, one still volcanically active naturally. And Quasar and Bill settled on a third in the string of fifteen islands. Though the Surfer and Alicia were the only ones who spent any real time on the planet. Firelord was rarely there and Quasar and Bill came back every couple days.
Once word got out that a Kree faction was stationed in the Terra system, quite a few races in the galaxy got very upset. The Skrull and ShiAr fleets almost engaged each other right outside the system until the Surfer set them straight. It seems most races lose their aggressiveness once they find out the Kree are protected by the Surfer. Given the Surfers reputation, most will not challenge his word that these Kree are no threat to them. Most of these races are leery to go against the Surfer alone, with Firelord, Quasar, and Beta Ray Bill behind him they are downright scared. None would seek conflict with these four.
Lately it has been quiet on Hala-Tor. The Kree were too busy getting on their feet to be much help to the Surfer. He could feel the walls of the house he shared with Alicia closing in more and more. He would roam the skies and wander by Earth, but to little good. He spoke of these feelings with Alicia and she agreed with him. He needed to fly free in space. She could always contact him, her thoughts could find him anywhere in space, he would always be looking for them. A couple Kree families moved close to Alicias home, just for company. And so the Surfer was off, but was never gone for more than two weeks at a time.
. . . . .
Ronan the Accuser strode through the halls of his fortress with deliberate speed. He must know if the reports he heard were true. He had an entire battalion of the elite Kree Scimitar Forces on this world with him, their intelligence reports were rarely wrong. There were very few Kree left in this galaxy, but the best of them were here, on Valtora. He kicked the doors open of the operations center without slowing down.
"Commander. I want a full report on the status of the Kree colony in the Terra system!"
"MLord, intelligence shows that once again a new planet has sprung forth on the same orbit has Earth on the opposite side of Sol. A estimated four and a half million Kree have settled there. The planet seems to be under the protection of the Silver Surfer, Firelord, Quasar, and Beta Ray Bill. We have full profiles on each brought up on the computer for your viewing needs."
"Excellent. See to it that all files are downloaded to my Preparation Chamber."
Ronan walked up the stairs to his private chamber and through the opening doors. The chamber is nearly as large as the Operations Center itself, and much more luxurious. To the left is a large couch about twenty feet from a huge screen. There was a small desk with the controls for the screen at one end of the ten foot long couch. Towards the rear of the room was a large training center with the latest practice equipment. And to the right, a large Jacuzzi and pool. Once the doors closed behind him six maidens wearing only flowing, nearly sheer, white robes came into the room through a back door. The beauty of these six was rivaled only by the six who served him in his private quarters. Ronan smiled, gave each a kiss on the cheek, and sent them to get him some food. He sat on the couch and began to call up the information on the computer.
Apparently, the Kree in the Terra system came from outside the galaxy. He remembered stories from his grandfather about the Great Exile. Millennia ago many Kree citizens were sent away from Hala because they were weak, worthless. They could contribute nothing to the empire so they were exiled. The emperor was too merciful to put them to death.
And now the rejects have returned, and are under the Surfers, and his comrades protection. In fact they built a whole planet for the outcasts in Earths orbit. Why? Do the Earthlings know they have uninvited guests in their system? Why that system and not another, uninhabited one? These were things that Ronan had to discover!
The maidens returned and he ate his hardy meal. After a quick training session he relaxed in the Jacuzzi while his maidens bathed him. Once finished he sent the maidens away and walked to the center of the room. It was empty save for a decorative pentagram on the floor. Ronan stood in the middle of the pentagram and began to chant in an ancient tongue. After a few minutes mists began to swirl about the room and take shape. In front of Ronan a massive being appeared, a full eight feet high and a body chiseled from stone. He wore a black and red robe over full plate mail armor, and had many ancient weapons about him. His long flowing black hair went to the middle of his back but did not obscure his face. Ronan smiled deeply at his arrival.
. . . . .
Alicia was keeping up her sculpting, but this planet was so beautiful and pristine, she had taken up some gardening as well. Norrin has been gone for four days so far this trip, and she enjoyed spending time outdoors. She was in her garden with Zara-Pon, the wife of the botanist that lived next door, when a hot flash hit her. She had never felt anything like it before and it literally knocked her over. Doubled over in pain she cried out. A million light years away the Surfer was engaged with a dictator on a small planet, trying to free the populous. He felt her scream at the same time it was heard next to her. He instantly froze the dictator and his followers in suspended animation and was gone. He was at Hala-Tor in twelve minutes.
Zara-Pon had been able to get Alicia to bed before the Surfer arrived. She was running a very high fever and Zara had a cold wash cloth on her forehead. The Surfer came right through the ceiling and went straight to Alicias side. He ignored Zara and placed his hand on her head. He closed his eyes and concentrated. In his mind he searched Alicia, but couldnt find any virus or anything else to explain her sickness until he went to her DNA. He found a dormant gene that mustve just been brought to life. Once he scanned the gene there could be no doubt to its origin, Galactus!!
Over the course of three days she steadily got worse, at one point she had a one hundred and fifteen degree temperature. Then all at once her temperature dropped and she woke up. She opened her eyes and could feel Norrin looking down at her.
"Norrin? Norrin I feel I feel "
"Worry not my love, you are well again. Perhaps better than you ever have been. But you should rest now, save your strength."
"Actually I have never felt so strong, so full of life." She sat up in bed and stretched. Suddenly she could see something. It wasnt actually seeing with her eyes, but she could make out the Quantum energy that comprised everything. How she knew it was Quantum energy she didnt know. The colors were all wrong, everything was flowing with reds, oranges, and yellows, but she could see!! "My god Norrin!" she exclaimed. "I can see!! Its not "
"I know Alicia." Norrin answered. "What you are seeing are the Quantum fluctuations in the objects around you. What you see is their real shape "
"Yes!" she exclaimed. "But how did you know? What has happened to me?"
"From what I can tell Galactus infused one of your ancestors with a gene, destined to awaken in you. This gene is what instantly attracted me to you, and you to I. You have become infused with the Power Cosmic, the same way I was. Although your physical appearance has not changed, your body will soon adapt to the same specifications as mine. You will be able to survive in space, not need food or water, and begin to manipulate the Power Cosmic. You will begin to fully feel the effects more and more in the days to come."
"So we are destined to be together." Alicia said with a smile. "Two souls forever linked."
In the weeks to come Alicia learned how best to control her new powers. She found that her powers were mostly empathic and telepathic in nature. She knew what people were thinking and feeling all over Hala-Tor, and some of Earth as well. She instantly ignored all thoughts from those that didnt know she was concentrating on them. Such a transgression would have been too much for her conscience to bear.
One day she was focusing her thoughts towards where Firelord was in space. Suddenly she felt someone screaming out to be helped! She instantly sent soothing feelings and alerted Firelord that someone was in trouble. Once the being calmed down and Alicia was able to start a conversation with it she discovered she knew who it was!! Alicia relayed the information to Firelord who then knew exactly where to look. Alicia told them to hold on, that Pyreus was on the way. She then broke contact to find the Surfer. She found him in Earth orbit talking to Dr. Strange. He immediately came to Alicias side when he heard the news.
Firelord was doing about twice light speed when he neared the place Alicia told him to look. He didnt even slow down when he came to a large sun, he just dived right in. At the very core of the sun he found what he was looking for. He ever so gently gathered the body and slowly exited the star. Once outside he stopped and looked into the womans eyes. They had a very slight glow to them, and her hair wasnt much more than a spark.
"Pyreus " was all she could manage to get out.
"Fear not Frankie, I am here. You will not be left alone again." With that he started to give her some of his Power Cosmic to help revive her. By the time the Surfer and Alicia showed up she was fully awake and growing stronger by the second. Firelord and Nova went back to Hala-Tor so that Frankie could rest some more in a safe place. The Surfer and Alicia decided to stay behind so she could learn more about navigating in space with her flight powers.
Back on the volcanic island Pyreus called home he told her what had happened since her "death".
" and thats how Alicia found you. Now tell me, if you can, how is it that you survived the battle with Morg?"
"Its all so jumbled in my mind." She started. "I remember dying in the Surfers arms. But then Galactus came to me, like in a dream, and told me not to worry, it was not my time yet. He said a spark remained in my soul and the life giving sun would help heal me. I drifted in and out of blackness until a few months ago, as near as I can tell. I realized who and where I was, but was too weak to move. After a while I started to go crazy, just lying there with only my thoughts to keep me company was so frustrating. I didnt know what to do, so I started screaming out with my mind. I hoped Galactus or the Surfer or anybody would hear me. I had nearly given up when I felt you near me. I dont know how to thank you Pyreus!! If not for you "
"Yes Frankie, thanks are not necessary. It makes my soul soar just to see and talk to you again. Though I suppose Alicia deserves some credit. She is the one who found you after all. Im just glad youre OK." Firelord smiled, and Nova smiled right back, bigger than he had ever seen. Pyreus took her hand and they talked from when the sun set until well after noon the next day, never letting each others gaze wander from the other.
Of Gods and Men
Ronan stood in the center of his chamber wearing only a robe looking up at this creature that just appeared. The being just looked down upon Ronan seemingly irate about being brought to Valtora.
"Why have you summoned me Ronan? Know you not that which I must do?"
"My humblest apologies lord, but I require your vast knowledge for guidance in the days ahead."
"You are concerned with the Kree that have returned to this part of the cosmos." The giant said. "Let you heart and mind be at rest, they are no threat to us nor our plans. Though they do honor to the old ways, their pleas fall on ears now deaf. The king is fat, and without worth nor use. Reality as your primitive mind knows it will fall to our wrath. There will be no reprisal from our rule of the universe known."
"You honor me by my inclusion in your master plan Diykrakus, and even more so by your tutelage, and most of all by your blood in my veins, father. I am your prince, bound by your mighty words." Ronan spoke these words with his head bowed in reverence, a most uncommon sight among Kree.
"A worthier protégée I could not ask for." Diykrakuss stone face seemed to crack some. Something akin to pride slipped into his voice and coated his words. "Though half mortal you be, a god more true could not be found. You will send a spy to these Kree in the Terra system, learn all you can and inform me then. Fare thee well my son, til the universe runs with our enemies blood."
"Til the universe runs with our enemies blood."
With that Diykrakus disappeared, returned to wherever he came. Ronan stood on the pentagram for a few moments before he stormed off to put on his dressings. He was not yet sure how best to deal with these new upstart Kree, but he knew one thing. They will join his quest or die.
. . . . .
Quasar and Beta Ray Bill were investigating a report of some piracy near a nebula near the Alroke system. Quasar was piloting the small freighter a few parsecs from the nebula, he didnt want to raise the suspicions of the pirates by showing his involvement nor by flying too close to the danger zone.
Without warning five Kree Piranha class warships had them surrounded. The ships were old and in need of repair, but they were still more than a match for the little cargo ship. "These guys are good." Quasar said to no one in particular. A warning light flashed on the console, the Kree had five tractor beams on them and all weapons trained on the command center. The lead Kree ship sent a signal to Quasars and Bills ship.
"Freighter Long Haul, what are the contents of your cargo?"
"Only food and medical supplies." Quasar answered. He knew these two things were in short supply these days to the Kree. He only put the signal through on audio, not wanting to alert the Kree too soon with who they were dealing with.
"Excellent." Came the reply. "Prepare to be boarded. If you cooperate there will be no bloodshed."
"I am only concerned with the well being of my crew, take what you want." Quasar lied. In truth there was no crew nor cargo.
"Then dont be foolish or try to be a hero Captain. Any one of these ships could turn your ship into dust in seconds. Now drop your pathetic shields and open the cargo bay doors."
"Whatever you say." Quasar said, trying in vain to hide the fact that he was more than happy to do so.
One of the Piranhas opened its lower doors and prepared to take the cargo from the now opening doors of the Long Haul. What they saw however, was not bandages and rations, it was Bill. The three space-suited Kree all started shouting at once. Bill let loose an energy blast from his hammer right up into the Kree cargo bay. The ship rocked violently before they lost all power. Bill threw Stormbringer through the engine room of another ship as Quasar shot out of the cargo bay. Three of the Piranhas fired at the Long Haul and turned it into scrap metal. Quasar placed a force bubble around one of the ships as he shot a blast at a second. Stormbringer returned to Bills hand only long enough for him to fire a shot at the fifth ship. The ship in the bubble fired at Quasars field only finding that once shot, the bubble absorbed the blast and drained all power from the ship through the gun port. The fight was over, the Kree knew they had lost.
"Now you will listen to me Kree Captain." Quasar said. "I know where there are Kree living in paradise. No shortages of food or medical supplies, no races trying to bring you down, just peace. All Kree are welcome there, but only if they put aside the ways of war and conquest. If you are interested just let me know."
"Allow me a few moments to speak with the crew."
"Of course." Was Quasars reply.
After about ten minutes the Kree Captain, Ter-Fes, said that they were indeed tired of living on the lam. They had families to think about. There were fifty Kree within the ships and another two hundred back at their base in the Nebula. Quasar gathered them and headed towards their base as Bill finished off their ships. There was no longer a need for their war ships where they were going.
Back on Valtora Ronan smiled widely as he saw these events happen on his monitor. Once Quasar had gathered all the Kree in the nebula and led them to Hala-Tor, ten Hammer Head class ships, shiny and full of life, descended upon the base and stripped it bare. The trap was sprung, the fools had walked into his parlor.
. . . . .
A month ago if Alicia had been alone in the absolute zero of space unprotected she would have surely died. Today she is a few million miles from Saturn in complete awe of what she is seeing. Of course a month ago she would have seen nothing. She turned and headed back towards Hala-Tor. She had promised Norrin she would not wander outside the solar system until she had mastered navigation in space. As long as she stayed in the system she could not get lost.
Norrin had gone back to the planet he was in the process of saving when Frankie had returned. She and Pyreus had scarcely come out of his house since she came back from the dead. Even without her new powers it was easy to see that they were very much in love.
Firelord and Nova came at Alicia laughing and holding hands. They met up with her just outside of Mars orbit. They did a few loops around her, made some small talk, and were gone. Off to explore the universe together. Alicia was happy for them, Pyreus had been so grumpy lately. Now she had never seen him so happy.
Alicia headed back to Hala-Tor, she was tired of space and wanted to get some gardening done. On the way back she met up with Quasar and Bill and their new recruits. She could feel that the Kree were happy and excited to be here. She felt some deceit though, but only a little bit. There was something about one or two of them, they were hiding something. She couldnt tell what, she was reluctant to invade the minds of all the Kree. Norrin would be back soon, he would know what to do. Alicia wasnt used to being in these situations, she never considered herself the hero type. Shes just plain old Alicia Masters, these cosmic confrontations arent her cup of tea.
Quasar and Bill deposited the Kree on the southern part of Haven. They settled near the ocean with the mountains and jungle as a background. Ter-Fes was made the territorial Governor and was in charge of getting their village in order. Kar-Lor, the President of the Global Government, came to greet and update them on the goings on of Hala-Tor and her population. Kar-Lor was delighted that the Kree that stayed would be willing to give up the ways of war and settle in peace. He knew they couldnt have wandered that far from the ancestors he had heard stories of. Kar-Lor and Ter-Fes made small talk for a short time before Kar-Lor had to return to his duties as President.
Ter-Fes was nearly shaken to his core after the meeting with Kar-Lor. Could true Kree really embrace peace the way he did?? No wonder his ancestors were banished from Hala. These were not real Kree, only pale imitations of a once proud race. He could see why Ronan held them in such contempt. He knew once his camp had taken advantage of these impostors, they would be ready to leave. To be content on this pitiful rock the thought disgusted him!!
At night Ter-Fes and two of his command crew, Az-Mod and Eam-Mor, would gather and discuss the details of the transmission to be sent to Ronan. They were unsure how the transmitter worked exactly, but Ronan said even the Surfer would be unable to detect its signal. Somehow Ronan has access to technology that seemed almost magical it its workings.
So far the rest of the Kree had no idea that they were secretly working for Ronan, not even the ones in the village. They had always been kept in the dark that Ronan was the one really calling the shots. Some of the supplies they had received had come from the pirating, but most were from Ronan. Ter-Fes knew Ronan had plans for these impostors, he would be ready when called.
A Watched Pot Neer Boils
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