Written by Warren
Entros, edited by James Pedrick
Above logo and below image created
At last something glowed on his arm console. The computer's voice announced, "Energy source located. Beginning siphon process."
The small vessel shuddered as it began to sift space through two small openings in the back of the craft. Had the chair not been in space, the slight shudder would have been accompanied by a muffled roar.
Fingers steepled, Thanos waited for several minutes until the shudder stopped, signalling that all availible energy had been taken. Another moment passed, and then a small grey cube popped up out of the armrest.
Grasping it gently, Thanos surveyed his handiwork. He burned away the outer coating, revealing the true Cube glowing dimly. A weak construct, barely half as potent as it had originally been before Thanos himself had ordered its discorporation. There was not time enough to bring it back to full strength.
Touching a circular handpad, he teleported, first to the Demeter's docking bay, and then standing, to the bridge. His greeting was not a kind one. The Collector, face dominating the bridge's viewscreen, said to the Titan in a loud voice, "I have little time for meetings, Thanos. My collection must grow."
Hands behind his back, obscuring the Cube, he replied, "I wish to barter with you, Taneleer, for one of the objects I know you possess. We will meet tomorrow, in orbit around Dallux Four."
"What will you be trading, Titan?"
"I will tell you then, and not before. You know I will not waste your time, Collector."
Tivan considered this, and finally nodded, but his voice was iron, "You give me no time to prepare, Titan." The Collector leaned forward grimly, his face filling the entire forward viewscreen. He'd chosen to wear his true guise for this confrontation.
Fingers steepled, Thanos calmly sat in his command chair, now, "Yes, I know. It was a...last minute decison."
The Collector sighed irritably, but finally said, "As you wish, Thanos. We will meet at Dallux Four tomorrow. Be prompt. I do not enjoy my time being wasted."
Thanos' eyes lit, "Nor do I, Tivan. Thanos out." The Collector's image winked out on the main viewer, his face taken a bit aback by Thanos' ominous visage. So easily put off-balance.
"Master, Mordrin has returned with Susan Richards." one of the droids announced.
The Eternal swiveled in his command chair, "Mordrin?"
"That is the name I have taken for myself." th Shadow said absently, striding onto the bridge, mechanical doubledoors hissing closed behind him. He continued as he stalked up the stairs, "She has been placed in a stasis pod as you ordered, and is ready for launch." He stood before the Titan, fists on his hips, awaiting new orders.
Thanos' nodded then turned to a droid, ignoring his minion, "Open a channel to the Hades, encrypting every two seconds with Beta-Gamma code Zero-One-Three-Three."
"Yes, master." the construct paused, "Contact established."
The gruesome visage of one of Tyrant's former drones filled the screen, artificial muscous dripping from its sharp teeth, "Hades here, Master Thanos. I am Prime-Designate Alpha. I live to serve."
Thanos rolled his eyes in annoyance, but said nothing to voice it. Instead he commanded, "Soon a stasis tube will be en route to your location. Its signature has been transmitted to you, enabling you to detect it despite the tube's cloaked status."
The drone paused, "Recieved, my lord. We await its arrival. Further orders?"
The Titan continued, "When the tube arrives you will take its occupant and place her into the energy matrix, which in turn will be hooked into the Hades' weapon systems. Further instructions have been transmitted as well."
"Also recieved, Master Thanos."
"See that your tasks are accomplished by the time I set foot on your vessel again. Or the consequences will be-" his eyes flared, "-quite harsh."
The drone inclined its head, and had its deadened voice been capable of expressing fear, it would have. It merely said, "Yes, Lord Thanos. As you command."
The Titan touched a control panel on his chair, and the screen went blank once again. Turning to Mordrid he said, "See that the tube is launched in do haste, and the cloak engaged."
"At maximum speed?"
"As you wish, Thanos." He turned with a flourish, and was gone from the bridge within moments. Thanos' eyes narrowed, but he said nothing. He would definately have to be given a short leash.
"Set course for Dallux Four. Maximum speed."
Things were coming together much more easily than he had planned...
Mordrin entered the docking bay and strode to the small tube positioned near the middle of the chamber. He spared Thanos' space-faring chair a glance, but his attention was solely on that tube.
Though he could not see its captive, he looked down at its black surface as though he could, his face hard as steel. But for a moment, just for a moment, something flickered across his grim features. Concern, perhaps, or sorrow. Whatever it was, it vanished as quickly as it came.
He groped for a small panel on the tube's side, found it and pushed. Orange lights flickered on, ringing the capsule. Pushing another button, the tube shimmered, and disappeared. Mordrid rested his hand on air.
Nodding to himself he fired a pencil thin beam across the darkened room, striking a distant control panel. It glowed green, and sirens and warnings suddenly came alive. The large doors on one side of the room slowly opened, cold space coming in.
Standing fast against the vacuum, Mordrin waited, and then touched a final panel on Susan Richard's now invisible prison. He felt the thrust of unseen engines coming online, of its invisible form rising and slowly floating into space. And then it was gone, heading toward the Hades at light speeds.
Mordrin nodded, and for the first time really looked down at himself. He frowned as he realized that he was naked. Something would have to be done to remedy that.
Continue to Chapter 5
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