Silver Surfer Volume 1, Issue #0

"Strange Encounters"

Written by Matt Hamilton,  Edited by E. A. Morrissey
Published by the Cosmic Power Fan Fiction Group

and Heroes, the Fan Fiction Group Fan Magazine
Silver Surfer created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Silver Surfer is a trademark of Marvel Comics

In the infinity of space there are, at any given time, numerous places which play host to an event of cosmic proportions. The birth of a new star...the death of an old one! Even, every once in a while, the creation of a being whose place in the grand scale of the universe is notable.

The region from which the Silver Surfer had recently departed was of particular interest: For it had been witness to not one, but two such events. Firstly, the world-devourer Galactus had proclaimed his newest herald, and consumed another world. Secondly, a battle had taken place of such magnitude that the Ravager of Worlds had almost perished.

Free of his prison on Earth, Norrin Radd had been able to warn Galactus of the impending attack from the alien collective known as Terminus. In fact, he and the new herald Axiom had been instrumental in Terminus' defeat. In the entire universe there were few whom the Silver Surfer could imagine would pose a threat to his former master. Now one more had been added to the list.

Galactus had no doubt been disappointed at the Surfer's escape from Earth. Norrin Radd had been imprisoned for a reason, and it was not in one's best interest to test the word of Galactus. But the sky-rider's involvement in the battle against Terminus had allayed the Devourer's anger somewhat, and so the Silver Surfer was free once again to roam the space-ways - for a time. When next Galactus fed on the life-energies of a world, Norrin Radd had pledged to return to Earth, and serve out his sentence*.

(* All of the above happened in issue #19-29 of Silver Surfer Volume 1)

For now, however, he was "on parole", and intended to savor every moment.

Few mortal beings could even comprehend the distance between that select region of space and the Deneb system. Yet the Silver Surfer would travel such a distance without a thought, and did so now. Orbiting Deneb at a life-sustaining radius was his homeworld of Zenn-La, and living on Zenn-La was his one true love: Shalla Bal. Norrin Radd was more than willing to forego the pleasures of surfing the cosmic swells... if only to be with her again.

Although the Silver Surfer traversed the threads of Hyperspace as he made his way to Zenn-La, he was well aware of the happenings in "normal space" beneath him. He felt the stars pass by, and felt the life-energies of the worlds which encircled them. Such it is for a herald of Galactus - he knows of the presence of life.

But as one such world sped by, an entirely different feeling washed over the Surfer. Life, yes. But also loss of life. Many thousands, perhaps millions of beings were dying on that world, or had died recently. But there was another feeling, one which the Surfer could not quite place. A sense of power which he recognized.

Unlike his Zenn-Lavian contemporaries, Norrin Radd was an inquisitive being. Curiosity forced him to stop and discover the root of this world's calamities.

The planet's surface was primordial, covered mainly in swamp and ground-hugging undergrowth. Rainforest-like jungles grew in the more temperate areas of the world, and it was on the outskirts of one that the Surfer landed. The white streak of superheated air slowly dissipated behind him as he stepped off his board.

As primitive as the planet seemed, the Surfer recognized the sensation of intelligent life. There was a developing culture living on this world, but one whose progress had been suddenly stifled by some unknown force. The warm feeling which Norrin Radd associated with a newborn planet such as this was balanced by the chilling impulse of death.

After surveying the surface nearby, the Surfer scanned the horizons for signs of the culture he knew existed here. At length he detected a small village, far beyond the visible range of normal human sight. Once more he mounted his board, and took off for the small town.

Tharreus Garr knelt in the center of his small hut. On the ground before him was his long-sword, forged from the impossibly strong steel which the gods had sent to defeat the demon. The same demon which had, in the last seven days, laid waste to his village and murdered most of its inhabitants. His friends and family were dead by its hands, and he had escaped along with a handful of others because he had been on an expedition to find the creature. The irony was insufferable.

Soon, the suffering would end. Soon after the monster had begun its rout of Garr's people, the gods had sent help. A huge rock had fallen from the sky, made of a metal stronger than any his people had seen before? As it had struck in it's superheated state it had splintered. And one of these splinters had formed the blade of the sword which lay before him. The monster was indeed powerful, but it could not hope to stand up to a warrior of his prowess armed with such a weapon.

A few of the villagers yet survived, and were huddled together in the town hall. The demon would return for them, and would meet its fate.

The Surfer let his board hover a few feet above the ground and straddled it while he surveyed the town. It appeared to be deserted, but appearances are deceiving, and Norrin Radd could sense the small population of humanoids gathered in a large building at one end. He stood, and was about to fly towards it, when he became aware of another villager, alone in a hut at the other end of the town.

Curious despite his Zenn-Lavian genes, the Surfer turned around and headed for the loner.

After saying one final prayer to his gods, Tharreus grabbed his sword and rose. He lifted the blade and studied his reflection in its silvery sheen. He looked tired. Tired, but determined. All the pain would end today.

He walked over to the door, and reached out for the handle. Before he took hold of it, however, the door opened from the outside! Garr leaped back and lifted his sword in a defensive posture. Could the demon have already killed the others, and be coming after him? He did not expect it to find him here!

Tharreus was only slightly relieved when the figure on the other side of the door turned out to be human. Or humanoid, at least. Instead of the normal grayish-brown skin-tone, it was the colour of his sword's blade. And instead of walking, it stood on a flying board. Had the gods forsaken him? Was this some new threat come to join the demon in its slaughter?

His unspoken questions were answered when the figure raised its hand and said, "I mean you no harm. I have come to help."

"It came about five moons ago," explained Garr to the newcomer, "to a village called Callop; several day's ride from here. We received warning of it just days ago. Since then it has taken a dozen of our townspeople."

"Do you know where the creature came from?" asked the Surfer. "Is it native to your world? Have you ever seen others like it?"

Tharreus shook his head. "The messengers from Callop said that it fell from the sky - but this is no gift from the gods. It must be some kind of demon! That is why the gods have sent us this weapon: To kill it! Surely it is a test of our strength as a people!"

As Garr brandished the blade before the Surfer, Norrin Radd narrowed his eyes and looked more closely at the weapon. Perhaps these people were closer to the truth than they realized - there were many species in the universe who trifled in the affairs of undeveloped races simply for amusement. Even on earth the Silver Surfer had seen the practice - the humans had fought cocks or dogs against each other for sport. The very same might be happening here, on a much larger scale.

"May I take a closer look at your sword?" the sky-rider asked, and outstretched his hand. Garr instinctively pulled back then offered the blade to the Surfer, saying "I doubt I could keep it from you, silver man."

After a nod of thanks, Norrin Radd ran his hand up the jagged blade. Using his cosmic senses, he determined the molecular structure of the material.

"Nebulae unfolding!" he said aloud. "This blade is comprised of almost pure adamantium! You say it 'splintered' from a fallen piece of rock?"

Garr nodded, "the rock was not made of the same steel. This piece lay nearby."

The Surfer was even surer now that these simple people were being toyed with. Perhaps this "demon" itself had supplied them with this weapon, in an attempt to even the odds. Well, whoever the culprit was, they had not expected the Silver Surfer! He handed the sword back to his companion.

"Keep your weapon, Tharreus Garr. I will find this demon and rid your people of its slaughter. Protect your village, but make no attempt to hunt the monster down, lest it reach you before I find it. Here," the Surfer raised his hand, and Garr's blade began to glow with an eerie pink light. "This will sharpen your blade. If anything, it will make a valuable trophy to your people when my work here is done." The glow faded, and the sword which before had been a jagged edge, was now finely tempered!

Garr's eyes widened, but before he could offer thanks, the visitor had sped away on his silver board!

Darkness had enveloped the countryside by the time Norrin Radd reached the marshlands outside the town. The Surfer had deliberately curbed his speed in a bid to attract attention. He had slowly meandered outwards from Garr's village, searching for any trace of the monster which threatened the local populace.

The bubbling ground would surely have swallowed the Surfer's legs up to the knee were he simply walking. Instead, it gurgled a foot below his shining board as he made his way through the thick trees and vines. The sounds of the swamp were manifold, but none sounded to Norrin's ears as those a threatening demon might make.

Growing frustrated with the fruitlessness of his search, the Silver Surfer narrowed his eyes and extended his visual range beyond simple infrared. Slowly he swept the horizon, scanning for suspect life signs. It was only when he had turned and was looking at the town he had left behind that he saw the creature.

It had reached Garr's city, and was beginning the slaughter.

It walked upon four spidery legs, and had a humanoid torso. Its skin was leathery, almost reptilian, and it varied from deep green to murky brown. Sprouting from the creature's back were four long, squid-like tendrils, which writhed like the tail of a predatory cat. Its misshapen arms were impossibly long, and would probably drag on the ground as it walked. At the end of each was an evilly clawed hand, which even now were outstretched towards the horrified natives.

As it took another step, however, it found its path blocked by the gleaming form of the Silver Surfer. The sky-rider had spared no time speeding from the marshland back to the town, and the villagers felt a strong wind as he seemingly materialized before them.

"Step back, alien!" he cried. "There will be no killing today! So declares the Silver Surfer!"

The creature however, paid no mind to the Surfer's decree. Its eyes, mounted below its gaping, tooth-filled maw, belied no sign of recognition. Perhaps, thought the Surfer, it is non-sentient, simply a vicious predator.

Suddenly, the creature leapt! Before Norrin Radd knew what was happening, the monster was upon him. Its two huge hands were wrapped around his neck, and its mouth, wide open, threatened to envelop his entire head. Instinctively the Surfer called upon the power cosmic, and with an enormous flash of light blasted the creature off him.

As the monster landed heavily several dozen meters away, the Surfer turned to the villagers. "Run, now! I'll hold off the alien, while you find sanctity!"

The villagers turned tail, and ran as a single organism towards the edge of the town. They headed for a nearby forest, where it would be easy to take cover. The Surfer turned back to his fallen antagonist, and moved closer to inspect the damage.

Again, without warning, the creature pounced. This time, however, it did not rely simply on its hands and mouth. The tendrils on its back snapped around and seemed to fasten themselves to the Surfer's torso. It burned! Norrin Radd could not recall when last he had felt such pain! The creature was exuding some sort of acidic residue, powerful enough to raise steam from the Surfer's silvery skin!

This time it was not instinct that caused the Silver Surfer to lash out with the power cosmic. This time it was pain. Once more the creature was propelled into the air, landing heavily some distance away. Amazingly it still remained virtually unharmed, despite the intensity of the Surfer's blasts.

Norrin Radd inspected his ribs. The galactic glaze which covered his body appeared scorched, and even seemed to have bubbled in one spot. Whatever the substance was that the monster released, it was incredibly powerful. The Surfer's skin could resist the heat of a sun, yet this residue had almost penetrated it!

Determined not to be taken by surprise again, the Surfer remounted his board and watched for the creature to recover. When it seemed that it was not going to get up, he floated closer. The creature was inert, obviously unconscious from either the blast or the resulting fall. Whatever the case, this would be Norrin Radd's chance to take it off-planet where it could no longer harm the inhabitants of this world.

The Surfer raised his hands and began to form an energy sphere with which he would contain the creature for the journey ahead. However, while he was preoccupied he heard the battle cry of Tharreus Garr behind him! Before the Surfer even had time to react, Garr was upon the creature, and had his sword raised above his head, ready to strike! The Surfer moved to stop the kill, when suddenly both Garr and the alien disappeared in a flash of energy!

For a herald of Galactus it was no trouble to track the energy patterns of the two, as they were teleported away. Within a second the Surfer had sped off into space after the twin beams. When they stopped, he was there. And so was their kidnapper.

It dawned on the Silver Surfer now why he had recognized the feeling of power emanating from this planet. The slaughter of its inhabitants had indeed been engineered by a malevolent third party, and it was a being whom the Surfer had encountered before.

"Once more you seek to interlope in the affairs of innocents, Stranger!" cried the Surfer to the giant hovering before him. "Return the alien to wherever it spawned, and Tharreus Garr to his homeworld!"

The Stranger smiled enigmatically. "Did you like my pet, Surfer? I admit that the feeble folk of this world would have had little chance against it. But you must crawl before you walk, eh? Besides, who would have thought that the herald of Galactus would happen by!"

"You know full well that I choose my own destiny now, Stranger-" began the Surfer.

"And choose the destinies of others, it would seem," the Stranger interrupted. "Be on your way, little Zenn-Lavian. You know me well enough to realize that the inhabitants of this world are safe from my creation now."

"You seek to shrug me off like some insect?" replied the Surfer, growing angrier. "How many have you slaughtered on the planet below? You will be held accountable! I will-"

Once more the Stranger cut short Norrin Radd's sentence. "You will leave." he said, and raised a hand.

The Surfer raised both arms and fired bolts of cosmic energy at the Stranger, but they struck nothing. It took the sky-rider several seconds to realize that his enemy had not teleported away - he had teleported the Surfer instead! He looked around, and realized that he was roughly between the planet he had just left and his homeworld of Zenn-La.

This is not over the Silver Surfer mused. But for now, it is time to go home.