The Twilight War


Twilight War -
Chapter 2

Written by Warren Entros, edited by James Pedrick
Above logo and below image created
by J.S. Johnston
Click here for larger version of below image

Click here for larger version!Space in orbit of Earth warped, and vomited out a bright dagger from its heart.

"Cloak, and assume standard orbit." Thanos ordered, rising from his seat. He approached the large view screen, studying the blue globe before him for a moment, "Locate energy signature belonging to the Silver Surfer."

There was silence for a few moments as Thanos' machines worked. Finally one spoke up, "Target has been located, master. He is stationary, on the planet's southern pole."

"Take me there." Thanos commanded.

 

Norrin Radd sat on the cold ice, though the freezing temperatures did not touch him. Shining board propped behind him, he considered his life, in deep thought. He sensed the disturbance a moment before Thanos appeared several meters before him.

Standing, the Surfer's emotions surged. Private contemplation disturbed by one such as Thanos did not lighten his already dark mood. Fist glowing with cosmic power, his voice cut across the searing winds, "Thanos, what are you doing here? I will brook none of your villainy; not today."

Thanos smiled, approaching. Once he had been told that Norrin Radd was the greatest threat he faced in the universe, after his resurrection. The Titan had always wondered how that was true. A powerful and intelligent foe the Surfer was, but far from a major threat, always easily dealt with.

No point in taking chances, though. Thanos thought as he plunged his metal-clad fist into the Surfer's midsection. Doubled over, another blow sent to the interstellar hero to the frozen tundra.

Preparing for the final attack, Thanos was knocked backward by a sudden wave of cosmic power. Norrin floated above the ground, surrounding in a shimmering flame of the Power Cosmic.

"I have had enough of you, Thanos." his voice boomed, obviously enhanced by the energy roaring through him, "I have tried my best to be a decent man since I became the Silver Surfer. I have endeavored to never use my full might against any living being." His metallic lips curved up in an uncharacteristically wicked smile which never touched his eyes, "But you Thanos, you are dead. Death claimed you. And I can think of few beings who deserve to bear the full force of my power more than you."

The Titan smiled. His task here would be far easier to accomplish than he had calculated. His mere presence had nearly pushed the Surfer over the edge into darkness. He'd always thought that with a little prodding, the Surfer would be a better ally than enemy. He would soon find out.

"Hades awaits you, Titan." the Surfer sneered, unleashing his first cosmic volley. It was met with equal force by Thanos' own assault. Ice cracked beneath their feet, steam rising as it quickly melted away beneath the two combatants' feet.

Channeling more and more, Thanos pushed the Surfer's stream of energy back upon its caster, exploding when it reached his silver body. He was flung backward, far into a snowdrift. Thanos teleported. No time could be wasted.

Hauling his foe from the snow drift with a single hand, Thanos slammed him into the ground, ice creaking under the impact. The Surfer actually laughed, energy sparkling from his eyes.

"It will take more than that to finish me, Thanos."

The Titan said nothing as he smothered the Surfer's face in one gauntlet clad hand. Had the hero's head not been made of cosmically-tempered steel, it would have crumpled like a rotten fruit.

Muffled, the Surfer shouted, "You won't win this time Titan, no , no...wait, what are you doing? No. No!"

His face grim, Thanos said nothing.

 

He was standing outside a glowing silver sphere, perhaps fifteen stories tall. Perfectly round, it gleamed in some unknown warm, bright light. Aside from that great silver marble and cloyingly warm light, there was nothing, just a white void, with no end, no beginning.

Thanos slowly stalked toward the sphere, brushing his gloved fingers across it, walking around it once. Totally seamless, and like the void he was surrounded by, with no beginning and no end. Seemingly impenetrable, it appeared.

He smiled. Many had told the Titan what he had attempted in the past had been impossible. And many times it had turned out that was far from the truth. Clenching his huge fist, he struck once, twice, three times, each impact bringing a resounding gong every time he struck.

Nothing. Not a dent or a scratch. Thanos could almost hear it laughing at him, leering down at him. An odd place, it was. Obviously, brute force would not obtain his goal for him.

Gently placing his fingers on the sphere again, he thought, with as much force as he could, "Galactus."

For a moment, his fingers sunk through the sphere as if it were liquid, just for a moment before it was solid again and his hand rested on its pristine surface.

Thanos smiled, and rapidly thought of everything he knew of Norrin Radd's life. Zenn-La. Nova. Hundreds upon hundreds of dead worlds. People roiling through the streets of alien cities in panic. Images, flashing through his mind at incredible speeds.

The sphere's surface clouded and weakened with every thought, ripples from his encroaching fingers spreading over it. Finally he came to the suicide of Norrin's father.

Impossible as it may have seemed, liquid shattered like glass, revealing a gray cave, stalactites hanging low. A dim crimson light glowed in the distance, like the faint murmurs of a sleeping heart. Thanos wasted no time, striding forward.

For minutes he journeyed in, far beyond what the width of the sphere should have been. The stalactites grew thicker, and they reached lower, dripping a viscous liquid. It was almost as though he was walking through the mouth of some great beast. The walls became darker, going from gray to a deep ebon. The crimson pulsing grew faster. His goal was near.

The tunnel ended in a wide clearing several meters across, the ceiling narrowing into blackness far above. In it was a man, if he could be called that. Black skin, far blacker than the cave walls, polished to a gleam, red eyes glowing with malevolence. The exact polar opposite of Norrin Radd.

His face was confident, despite his situation. Chained with thick links at the wrists and ankles, he could not stand, his bindings so short. Sitting on his haunches was perhaps the upper limit of his mobility, as he sat now.

"Thanos of Titan." it said, eyes flashing, "What brings you here, to the darkest corners of Norrin Radd's soul?"

"You." the Titan replied.

"Oh?" he looked chagrined, "Why is that, Titan?"

"You have a role to play in the little drama that unfolds as we speak in the 'real world.'"

"And what would that be?"

Thanos told him the details of his plans, the extent of his ambitions, and the role this "Dark Surfer" would play in them.

The Shadow looked delighted, like a young child who had just discovered how to burn ants with a magnifying glass. He replied, "Of course I'll do it, Thanos. I'll do anything to be free-" he gestured around as best he could, "-of this place." His expression became serious, then, "But how exactly do you plan to free me? He keeps a tight rein on me."

Thanos strode forward, bent and snagged a binding chain, "A simple matter." A moment of effort and it broke, followed by the remaining three seconds later. The Shadow stood, stretching as if he had not done so in years.

"I thank you, Titan. Now, let us be at your scheme."

Thanos nodded with satisfaction. Yes, a far better ally.

 


Continue to Chapter 3

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