The Twilight War


Twilight War -
Chapter 5

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!"You must have taken leave of your senses, Titan." Taneleer Tivan said disgustedly, stalking along the deck of his starship, an old man once again, "You expect to part with a member of my wonderful collection becase of a promise from you? You are wasting my time."

Thanos turned, and smiled, "Yes, to your first statement, that is."

The Collector sneered, "And why should I do that, Titan? The Runner nearly killed me thanks to our last transaction."

"Oh really? And where is he now?"

Tivan looked at his boots and mumbled, "On level Three C, in a speed-inhibitor chamber."

"Well, then what are you worried about? You still came out the winner. You have an Elder, I have nothing, no Gems." If only he knew.

Tivan considered this for a moment, stroking his chin. Finally he said, "How did you put it, power beyond my wildest imaginings in return for that odd little symbol I found drifting in space?"

Thanos nodded, arms folded.

"But, surely you need this 'symbol' for whatever you are planning, which I take to be some grand scheme. Why should I give it to you?"

Thanos walked to a cage, tapping on the glass. The beast inside howled in terror, backing into a corner. Finally the Titan said, "Do you really think you can discern the intricacies of my 'grand scheme,' Collector?"

Tivan narrowed his eyes and said nothing.

Taking the silence as an answer, he continued, "I thought not. Better to take my word and have something, rather than not and have nothing."

"You're still assuming I believe you, Thanos."

Thanos rounded on him, eyes flashing silver, "When Thanos of Titan gives his word, he keeps it."

Reluctantly Tivan nodded, "Yes, you have always been a creature of honor."

Silence reigned, the two beings merely stood there, the tension palpable. Finally the Collector conceded, "Take it, Thanos."

"You have always been a wise man, Tivan." Thanos replied as he crossed to a glass tube. In it floated a platinum symbol, a crescent moon with a single pike sticking through it and a starburst surrounding it. The Titan opened the glass casing and took it. Oddly textured, it felt hard as metal and smooth as silk at the same time. He glanced at the Collector, nodded once, and was gone.

The Collector stood and looked at the place Thanos had once occupied, trying to decide if he had made the correct decison or not.

 

Thanos reappeared on the surface of a barren planet, Dollux Three. Time was short, and he had requested the Collector meet him nearby this world to save just that; time. Slipping the strange symbol inside his glove, he made his way into a nearby cavern.

After several steps, creatures seemed to "melt" out of the very walls. Bodies like men and faces like lions, they carried large rifles, glowing with power ready for discharge. Another stepped in front of him, black hair unkempt, and also carrying a large rifle-like weapon. Emerald armor and large shoulderpads made him far more imposing than he truly was.

"Thanos of Titan." he sneered, raising the gun, "Your reputation preceeds you." Suddenly he roared like some type of insane beast, "Begone, foul demon! Leave us in peace!" He fired, venting his anger with every push of the trigger.

Thanos raised his brows at this, the bolts of force striking him relentlessly, but with no obvious effect. Seeing this, the other beasts shrieked, and fired, bathing the darkened passage in near continous bursts of artificial light. The Titan nearly looked amused. Nearly.

The game ended when Thanos' face slid from bemusement to grim purpose. His eyes sparked, and all his foes were blasted away from him in a tremendous outburst of cosmic force. Stalking forward, he spared their steaming forms not a single sideways glance.

Slowly the rocky tunnel gave way to a wide-open chamber, attired in gleaming silver metal. Machines hummed all around, the noise a constant buzz. In the middle of the chamber, with his back turned, stood Thanos' query. He appeared to be working diligently at some great project, bent over a monitor. The Titan knew how decieving this outward appearance was.

Striding to the man's side, he said, "High Evolutionary, can you hear me?"

Nothing, just a blank look at the screen below, gloved hands absently brushing over buttons and panels.

Thanos nodded, "As Warlock said, the mind of a child." He reached toward the formerly brilliant genetecist's helmeted skull, "But you possess information that may prove quite useful to me. I will have it." Thick fingers enclosing the entire back of the High Evolutionary's head, Thanos entered his mind.

For several moments the two figures merely stood, comatose, machines clicking away in the background as ferverently as ever. Suddenly, Thanos' eyes widened, and he withdrew his hand, taking a few steps back, "Yes, that will be quite useful. Now I can truly go forward without hesitation."

He turned, and began to make his way out, but stopped after several strides and turned back, inclining his head, "Talent such as yours should not be wasted. You will be restored, in due time. So says Thanos of Titan." With those rather cryptic words he continued on, out of the cavern and back onto the bridge of the Demeter in a flash of brilliant light.

 

Mordrin stalked down the Demeter's corridor, face contorted in annoyance. The Titan was a brutal taskmaster. Endless chores and almost no time to rest. But, when it was over, he would be quite powerful, or at least that was what the Titan had said. And he remembered, or Norrin remembered, that the Titan always kept his word.

His long white cape was nearly caught in the door as it slid closed behind him. He stopped, and looked himself over, adjusting minor details. After noticing his nakedness, Mordrin had quickly scanned the Titan's databanks and picked out an outfit that he thought fit him. Now he was attired in a long white coat, which flared out at the waist and finally end just at his ankles. He wore a vest underneath, with a bit of white lace at his neck, and more at the cuffs of his coat, along with elaborate goldwork. Somewhat loose-fitting white pants flared out over boot-tops which came to his knees. Mordrin nodded. Quite fitting; elaborate as opposed to Norrin's simplicity.

He shuddered at the thought of his former self. Mordrin could feel the Surfer at the back of his mind, shouting at him, trying to escape from his prison. Despite Thanos' handiwork in his mind, Mordrin knew that Norrin's imprisonment would not be permanent. Another solution would have to be found, more bulwarks placed. He would find away. He would not allow everything he had to slip away.

Starting his walk again, Mordrin was soon on the bridge, awaiting Thanos' orders.

The Titan said nothing, took no notice of Mordrin's new attire. He simply handed him a small microprocesser, with miniature clasps on the back of it. Then, he spoke, "You travels will take you to the Asgardian realm of Helheim. There you will find the Destroyer. Excise the spirit that inhabits its armored form, attach the device I have given you. It will take the Destroyer to designated coordinates, and you will go to Jupiter, where my fleet is gathering inside its gaeseous atmosphere. Do as I told you. When the Celestials attack, you will come out of hiding and assault their backsides."

"As you command, Lord Thanos." He bowed.

Thanos nodded, "Then go. I have much work to do."

Mordrin said nothing, drawing a line down open space with a finger. The line glowed wide, and opened into a large rectangle. He gave the Titan a final look, but he had already gone back to his own tasks.

Eyes narrowed in irritation, he stepped through.

 

Thanos turned as soon as Mordrin left. Arrogant. Quite a disappointment. He would be dealt with before long. But he still had purposes to fulfill, and then he would be disposed of. There were far too many things to do for him by himself. Mordrin would have to be tolerated, for now.

Looking up at the ceiling, Thanos told the computer, "Set course for coordinates 2347.05. Engage at maximum speed. When you have reached these coordinates, assume an orbit several thousand kilometers away from the object. Do nothing further until I have returned."

"Acknowledged, Lord Thanos." the ship replied in a flat voice.

He felt the deck plates vibrate slightly as the engines ignited, heard the telltale hum. He teleported to the docking bay, taking to his chair immediately.

Opening a hole in reality, he entered, and began his journey.

 


Continue to Chapter 6

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