Written by Warren
Entros, edited by James Pedrick
Above logo and below image created
But all would be for naught if he couldn't force Norrin down once and for all. Mordrin could feel the anguished and frenzied blows of the Silver Surfer against his imprisonment deep in Mordrin's mind. Occaisonally, now, he could even hear Norrin shouting, a desperate voice, but one that was growing steadily stronger with each strained outburst. Yes, once his role in Thanos' plans was finished, Mordrin vowed to cement himself as main inhabitant of Norrin's body once and for all. It would be done.
Refocusing on reality again, Mordrin was startled as he noticed the great gas giant Jupiter looming before him. How long had he been daydreaming?
Pushing inward thoughts away, he slowed the chair as it entered the gaseous atmosphere. A moment of disorientation, gazing into thick roiling clouds before he adjusted his vision, ripping away all distractions. Before him lay Thanos' fleet.
Mordrin couldn't help but smile. The Titan worked alone, that was true, but when he wished it, he could gather quite a force. Mordrin estimated at least 50,000 ships, and that was on the low side. Large and small, they all bristled with weaponry, slowly sweeping through the air as if showing off, sizing one another up.
At the center of the massive was what Mordrin took to be his commandship. Sleek, blacker than night and at least twenty miles from bow to stern, it dwarfed all the other ships assembled around it. Slightly more toward its back end than front, two great "wings" swept down and forward, ending in huge particle beam weapons, which extended back far beyond the width of the structures that attached them to the vessel's body. They glistened ominously in the planet's light. Hundreds of other turrets, gun placements, and torpedo launchers were also evident, but nothing could stand against those two massive weapons. If Mordrin had ever been impressed in his short life, he was now.
Taking his chair in closer, Mordrin docked, and quickly was guided to the bridge by a sleek ebon droid who mirrored the ship he served on. Once again, the Shadow was impressed.
The command center was a huge sweeping arc which apexed in a massive curving viewscreen dominating the entire area. The floor he stood on arced downward as well, creating two levels. In the middle sat a huge chair, position at the wall separating the bridge's upper and lower sections. Droids worked at humming stations lining the entire back of the place.
Smiling, Mordrin quickly made his way to the command chair and sat. Hard, yet regal, it kept whoever sat in it alert and ready for whatever was coming, but also reminded him of the station he possessed. He liked it.
But he frowned as he looked down at his attire. It did not fit his role as commander of a great battle fleet. It would have to be altered drastically. He motioned a droid down, standing as it came. He ordered, "Take me to my quarters, the grandest on this ship."
The droid's eyes glowed crimson ominously and it replied in a smooth voice, "I will take you to your quarters, Lord Mordrin, but they are not the grandest on-board. Those chambers are reserved for Lord Thanos."
Mordrin nodded as the droid turned and led the way. He ground his teeth in irritation. This was his ship now. A frown plastered on his dark countenance, he followed the droid up, and out. Walking down the halls, Mordrin asked his impromptu guide, "What is the name of this vessel?"
The droid turned, "This vessel is called the Shrike, for the earth bird that impales its prey before devouring it."
Mordrin nodded slowly, a cruel smile edging onto his dark face.
Thanos shot through space in his chair-vessel, stars nothing but bright white lines streaking by at incomprehensible speeds. Several days of neverending lightspeed travel were grating on even the Titan's nerves. He would glad when it was finally done with. And that would be soon.
The speed had been a necessity, however. The Living Tribunal had been destroyed, that was true. But that manifestation had been akin to a mere cell in the form of the "true" Tribunal, who existed far beyond the boundaries of reality. And like a cell, soon it would be replaced, re-manifested.
But, thankfully, the "metabolic processes" of the second mightiest entity in Creation were significantly slower than those in humans. Thanos had calculated that after the destrucion of the Tribunal's manifestation body, he had perhaps a week, maybe two, until the Living Tribunal manifested himself again. Many things had to be accomplished before that occured.
The end was in sight, the Demeter approaching at great speed. Or rather, he was approaching it at great speed. Touching a control panel, the starlines became stars again within an instant, and he was slowly drifting toward his vessel.
Alongside the Demeter floated the listless form of the Asgardian Destroyer. Thanos sidled up alongside its lifeless body and sneered at the gaping hole in its mid-section. That fool Mordrin had done too much damage. It would have to be repaired before the Titan's plans could continue.
First teleporting the Destroyer to the Demeter's science section then bringing his chair to the docking bay before bringing himself to stand alongside the Asgardian suit of armor once again. He set to work.
Heaving the Destroyer's body onto an examination table, Thanos placed his hands on the jagged tear in what would be its stomach, had it truly been a man. Channeling, he concentrated. He could see the molecules underneath his fingertips restructure and regenerate, nuclei burning bright once again. Mystic metal was proving far easier to manipulate than the Titan had suspected.
After several minutes his task was done. Taking his massive metal-clad hands away, he folded his arms and waited. Almost immediately, the Destroyer stirred from its forced slumber. Raising two thick arms in the air before forcing its torso up, the Destroyer turned its huge head toward the Titan, its master.
"Has my purpose changed, Lord Thanos, due to the damage I recieved?" the Destroyer apparently said. In reality it was merely the small device burrowed into the Destroyer's "skull," utilizing the construct's capacity for speach for its own purposes. Slowly it pushed itself from the table, landing on the deck with a clang of metal against metal.
"No, your purpose remains the same. It is nearly time to fulfill it, as well." Thanos responded before snapping his fingers, transporting them both to the Demeter's bridge. Striding to a nearby control panel, he took the dim Cosmic Cube. He narrowed his eyes. It had lost even more power during his absence. But, it would suffice.
"Status of the anomaly?" he asked.
A droid responded, "It has increased in size by .08%. Estimate it to be approximately the same size as a human fingertip. Sensor readings can now confirm that it is a Black Galaxy in early stages of formation."
"A fledgling Celestial. This one must have millions of more years left until it fully develops..." Thanos said to himself, absently. Shaking off his momentary fascination, he turned to the Destroyer, "Your purpose is clear?"
"Yes, master. Once the target is acquired I will be transported to earth and cause as much chaos and confusion as possible."
Thanos nodded, but said nothing to further confirm the Asgardian machine's statement. Tightening his grip on the waning Cosmic Cube held in his fist. He grimly hoped that its power held out long enough for him to set the final pieces in his "cosmic chess game."
Holding it at chest level, it suddenly flashed bright red, indicating its once vast powers were in use. Outside the Demeter, the infant Black Galaxy disappeared in a spark of white light, and the Destroyer shuddered, even staggering back a moment. But quickly the Asgardian construct righted itself.
"It has been successfully transferred, Lord Thanos. The Black Galaxy now resides within me."
"Good. I will now transport you to earth. Carry out your orders to their fullest extent." Thanos ordered. Before the Destroyer could respond, the Cube flashed again and the Norse weapon was gone, leaving behind only small motes of light that quickly vanished as well.
The Titan held the Cube up to eye-level. It flickered ominously. Soon it would be totally useless, no better than what he'd tricked Mephisto with after the Goddess' plans collapsed.
It mattered little. The dying celestial object had only one more task to perform. It flashed for a final time. The Titan, and his vessel, disappeared in a momentous outburst of cosmic power.
Continue to Chapter 8
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