This issue of
The images come slowly to him. The darkness is everlasting, but slowly, unrelentingly, the images force their way into his view. "NO!" he cries out, but only the echoing expanse of his mind seems to register the cry. The images begin to take on clearer form, a darker black against the constant darkness he's already used to. "NO! Not again! NEVER again!" But despite the pleas, the images unfold, inexorably...
Prince of Void #1
"When Two Become One"
Written by Walter Kneeland
Edited by James Pedrick
Rune created by Barry Windsor-Smith and Chris Ulm
Property of Malibu Comics
Then it came. He would lay down to sleep, and dream about a creature older than time itself. A creature that fed on life, that would destroy anything that opposed it. Of glowing stones that would steal ones very soul at a single thought by the wearer.
In the first dream, the creature was distant. As the dreams continued, it seemed that the creature was coming closer. Eventually, he was afraid to sleep, for fear of the creature invading his dreams once more.
His parents dismissed this as a result of becoming lax on taking his medicine, so Erik was given more and went back to sleep. That last time was a killer. Waking up, sweating in his bed, Erik thought the dreams would kill him.
He was wrong. Nothing would kill him! He isn't Erik. He is Noel, the son of two loving parents. He was the best at whatever he put his mind to. Kill him? Who wants to kill him? He is Gemini, a god! Like Zeus or Thor or Argus!
What's going on?
The images are jumbled again. Who is he? Erik Johnson? If he is Erik, then who is Noel Robinson? But how can he be either of them, when he is Gemini....a god? The images ebb and flow in front of him, yet just beyond his conscious perception. He continues to fight, to free himself. But still he is held. By what?
"These dreams are gonna kill me!"
There is a loud crash, and glass shatters, sparkling, to fly across his bed room. Through the storm of glass, the creature....the fanged monster emerges, and observes Erik. It stands on the edge of his bed, and sees salvation.
Salvation? How do I know that's what it saw? Where am I? Who am I? Watch out! It's going to....!
"Close your eyes, little one....you will die so that the Prince of Void may live!"
Preparing to feast, the creature only turns slightly at a knock at the door. When the parents walk in, he is angered.
"Get out! You will not deprive me of my salvation!"
"Dad! Help me!" Erik screams, even as the monster leaps at his father, sinking fangs into his neck.
Whether it is grief, anger, fear, or some combination, Erik feels energy burning within him.
"Get away from me!"
"Show me the extent of your power, Stripling! Whet my appetite...." the creature murmurs evilly, glaring at him.
"No! LEAVE ME ALONE!"
He remembers the explosion that happened next. Destroyed his room, and a good portion of the house. The creature disappeared in the blast, hurled miles from ground zero. His mother was scared. He didn't know what to tell her. His dad was dead...killed! "Something from my dreams...killed my dad!" he sobs. Again, his voice falls on empty space, his own mind.
Noel was watching tv when his dad called him. Turning, he is confronted by two men.
"C'mon kid...let's go."
While his parents stood by and did nothing, the men drag him out of the house he's lived in for eighteen years.
Erik, his girlfriend, and his mother have been accompanied to a secret compound. Having a bad feeling about it, Erik and Markie leave, his mother requesting to be left behind to better their chances of escape.
After running for what seems to be hours, Erik collapses, exclaiming.
"They're coming for me...!"
Markie realizes he's hallucinating, and frantically searches for his medicine.
Meanwhile, on a plane, Noel Robinson has collapsed, and is in the midst of a nightmare. The men who have taken him have no clue about the truth of his existence.
Meanwhile, the soldiers who went in pursuit of Erik instead find his girlfriend, who leads them to where Erik lies, nearly comatose.
"You've got to help him! Please!..."
Then, sensing betrayal, she turns on them. Erik regains consciousness, and when one lunges for her, they all realize that Erik, while no longer senseless, is quite dangerous.
I....I...killed her....I killed Markie...to stop those men....from hurting her.... Wrapping himself in self-pity and grief, he trembles as the images....memories flood back...
While his captors did not survive the plane's crash, Noel did. Before he fully regained consciousness, whoever it was that wanted him had sent soldiers to retrieve him...
Erik looked up, and sees Markie, telling him he's in danger.
Isn't she dead?
She tells him to get out of there...before the monsters get him. Then the soldiers arrive. Angrily, Erik lashes out, almost instinctively, and all living beings in the immediate vicinity are vaporized instantly.
"I have this power....and I can't control it....I get all scrambled, then I just explode! Tell me this is some insane dream!"
Markie holds him, whispering.
"Everything will be alright...with or without your mom or dad."
Noel wakes up, sweating.
"Take your medicine, sweetie...you'll be fine..." his mom murmurs.
"It....it was all just a dream...?!?" he exclaims.
I am Erik....who is Noel....how do I see Erik....if I am Noel....I am Gemini....who am I really?
Erik feels the power envelop him. Encouraged by Markie, he floats into the sky...releasing fantastic amounts of brilliant energy....glowing, powerful energy...
Noel awakens to the monster...the real monster shattering his window....breaking in, murdering his family. Hurled into a mass of dead bodies, he sees his parents' faces....duplicated many times....the only faces on any of the bodies.
"I...I don't understand! Mom? Dad? What....are they...?
Closing his eyes, leaning back in anger, realization dawning on him, Noel cries.
"Lies! All of it! The world has gone mad. Nothing is real....everything I know is a lie!"
"Lies!" Erik screams.
"My whole life has been a fake! Not even my folks are real!"
"Erik...Erik--get a grip!" Markie desperately tries to calm Erik down, somehow surviving amidst the storm of energy flowing outward from Erik...
"You! Who are you? You aren't Markie! You can't be...I....I killed her...you! You aren't real, either! Nothing is real!"
"Erik! Calm down! Have faith in me...I exist for you! Can't you see that you need me...?"
Pushed to his edge, Erik erupts. Letting much of his anger loose through his strange energy powers, a massive shockwave erupts outward.
"St...stay away from me, monster!" Noel screams, as the monster advances on him.
"Do not worry, boy. I will not let you die...you are far too valuable to me..."
The monster scoops Noel into its arms, and leaps into the air, flying into a sky that is on fire.
"Gaze upon the new dawn your brother has created, young suckling...with it the resurrection of the Prince of Void is at hand!"
Rune. Prince of Void. The Dark God. Vampire. Monster. Killer! He murdered my parents! Everyone I ever loved! All I ever had! He took them from me. For what?!? I was happy, once...
Flying into the heart of the maelstrom, to the body of the boy expending energy without limit, the creature hurls Noel at the core of the storm. The energy is released from both, even as the bodies try to combine. Noel Robinson and Erik both struggle, but to no avail. Their star-born genes and chromosomes were destined for this moment...their mutual destiny.
Watching from below, body decayed, burnt, and falling apart...dying, the monster watches...
Flesh and souls unite, even as screams are ripped away from their speakers. In a sudden, shimmering calm light...twin bodies combine into one...a reluctant young god is born...on the eve of his world's destruction.
"WE ARE ONE. WE LIVE. GEMINI IS ALIVE!"
A god! I am a god! WE are a God. Gemini....is Erik. Erik is Gemini. Noel is Gemini. Noel is Erik and Gemini....What am I? Who are we?!?
Hearing a voice, the newly born Godling steps to the source, the pitiful visage of a dying vampire. Leaning in to hear its last, whispered words, the vampire strikes. Sinking its fangs into the god's neck, the creature drains the infinite power from "Gemini", and is rewarded with a healed body, the ability to see everything. Nothing is beyond his grasp!
Suddenly, something tugs at him. His body is on fire, and feels like it will be ripped apart!
"No! The power....I cannot contain it!"
Deciding on a course of action, the creature returns to Gemini, and sinks its fangs into the godling once more, this time returning the power infinite.
"You have rendered me an unwitting service, and in returning most of your power, my debt is repaid. Though you now are my son...no protection will be afforded to you. When next our paths cross, I shall suck the marrow from your dried, cracked bones...Seek me at your own peril!"
With that, the creature flies away, leaving Gemini standing in the rain, wondering.
I remember...Erik...I remember...! Noel...You and I...we are...Gemini! The young god, born that a vampire might live! But it doesn't have to be like this...our lives have been destroyed...but now we have the power....we can escape! What is holding us then, "brother"? Why have we been unable to remember so much? Perhaps some unknown benefactor. I don't care! All that matters is that we remember...we collapsed...GENIE! Aladdin...and GENIE captured us...before we could grasp our power to its fullest...
The explosion was unexpected.
GENIE had prepared for everything. The subject U-193 had escaped, and nearly destroyed it. But it survived, and saw the fruits of 18 years' labor. The birth of a god. When Subject U-193 attacked the god, GENIE was afraid that it was all for naught. But then the god was attacked again, this time revived. When Subject U-193 flew off, a unit was dispatched to retrieve the young god. Upon arrival, the god had collapsed, unable to fathom the depths of his power. He was taken into custody, and GENIE attempted to interface with him. That process failed, and in a fit of rage, GENIE decreed that the god be kept sedated and not be allowed to wake up. At least his power could be siphoned off in limited quantities. GENIE could continue forever with this power source.
Alas, that was not to be.
The explosion ripped through the heart of GENIE, shredding everything, bringing the living computer's unholy life to an end.
Aside from very few select individuals, Aladdin was told that there was an earthquake. None of the general agents ever knew of the existence of the computer--GENIE, nor many other...projects. So they continued with their everyday business.
Christopher Thompson, however, knew the truth. In the resulting chaos of the explosion, he somehow managed to slip unobserved into the bowels of the great computer, and took several key components, and escaped. Aladdin presumed Agent Thompson to be dead, and the parts destroyed in the explosion.
Months later, Christopher Thompson realized that with the help of the components of GENIE, he could have the most powerful computer in the world.
He was right. But GENIE was not dead.
We escaped! We're free...
The young god flew through the air, swooping and diving, not caring about anything.
Erik...stop it...we don't know where we are or what we're supposed to...
Noel, we are free! Enjoy it! Now we can have our revenge on Rune!
No...not yet. We are not ready to...
Gemini turns wildly in the air, sensing a disturbance in the source of his power, the Shu-Ji.
What was that?!? Someone else tapping the Shu-Ji?
Following the disturbance to its source, Gemini found a street in a small town destroyed. Unsure of what happened, he continues on, observing, waiting for the disturbance to manifest once more.
Noel...you see? Now we have a purpose! We'll find this thing that is tapping into the Shu-Ji
And then what? Why bother? Let's search for a way to separate ourselves from this body, and try to get back to normal!
Are you nuts, man?!? This is GREAT!
Fine, then. Let's find a way to get me out of this body...
Gemini sits up suddenly, brought back to consciousness by the rumble of a train.
What is it? What's wrong? Noel?!?
Nothing...it's nothing. We must have fallen asleep.
Then let's get outta here before we do it again!
For once, I'm with you, Erik!
In the days and months that followed, the manager would spend many hours talking to insurance people and the media, swearing on his very life that an Ultra had destroyed the top several floors of his motel. A strange, golden man, talking as if he were two people. But who would believe it? An Ultra, yes. But two people, in one body, destroying his motel for no apparent reason?
That remained another story, for another day.
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