FIC: Godwars (2/?)
The Richards Building
“That’s worrying,” Richards muttered as he peered through his lens magnifier and watched as a very new and unknown energy wave pulsed its unerring way from the Negative Zone and to Earth. Richards stepped back from the lens, his lips pursed and brow furrowed in thought. According to the energy readings from his computer the wave was unidentifiable but if experience had taught him anything it was nothing good or benign came from the Negative Zone. “This bears further investigation.”
And besides, he smiled ruefully, to the world he might be the swash-buckling explorer Mr. Fantastic but the scientist within him loved a good mystery.
* * *
“Hey Stark, we need to talk.”
Stark bit down a surge of irritation when Fury strutted into his office like he owned it. “You can put the stogie out General,” he grunted. “Remember I’m a man with a heart condition.”
“Sure,” Fury smirked insolently as he dropped into a chair, stubbed the cigar out on Stark’s several thousand dollar desk then threw the still-smouldering stump in the trash can.
Stark bit his lip at Fury’s typically abrasive behaviour. “What do you want, General?”
“Yeah,” Fury’s expression grew sombre. “I trust you gotta the report of Harris and Lehane’s initial operation?”
“Read it,” Stark nodded. “Everything seems to be going smoothly.”
“It’s been a steep incline for the pair of them, Lehane is a natural at the physical stuff, but Harris is a lot better at teamwork and administration,” Fury grunted.
Stark nodded. This was very much a pet project of his. He’d long thought that there was a substantial gap between the Defenders who took on very much planetary or even cosmic supernatural threats and the not quite everyday threat of demons, vampires, and werewolves that were still more than enough to slaughter a family. With luck and Faith and Xander’s expertise in matters supernatural, their unit could in time bridge at least some of the gap. “Where have they set up their teams?”
“We’re starting them off with six offices in our six largest cities - New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, and Philadelphia.” Fury replied. “It also spaces them throughout the country. If these offices are successful, we’re looking to expand in New Orleans and Miami.”
“And where are they recruiting their team members from?” queried Stark.
“SHIELD volunteers, army and law enforcement volunteers, even a few independent demon hunters,” Fury replied. “Each office has four teams of ten operatives. They don’t patrol as such, rather they gather intel on a target, and then proactively eliminate it.”
“Any interest from any other nations into expanding this operation internationally?” Stark asked.
“The Canadian, German, French, and Japanese SHIELD offices have all asked to be kept informed of the pilot scheme’s progress,” Fury replied.
Stark nodded. “And you’ve settled on their objectives?”
“They’ve settled on them themselves, Harris has boiled it down to one,” Fury replied. “’The protection of innocent life from supernatural threats via the hunting down of said threats’.”
“Little vague but sounds good,” Stark commented. “But they’re settling in well?”
Fury smirked. “The Slayer bitches about office work, but yeah they’re doin’ okay.”
Stark nodded. “Then we’ll have to hope they get more time to acclimatise to running things before we get our next big crisis.”
“Yeah,” Fury’s smirk widened, “’cause this world is always so peaceable.”
* * *
Stars gleamed in the night sky, the various figures dressed in various types of ethnic garb all stood on white clouds as they huddled in groups and discussed strategy. All gazes turned to face the group’s late-comer, a towering figure with a golden beard and wearing a Roman toga. “Zeus!” Odin growled, his solitary eye gleaming aggressively. “You’re late!”
“Are we not immortal?” Zeus’ chuckle rumbled around the Council of Sky-Fathers. “What does time truly mean to those such as I?”
“And time we waste is time these impudent mortals have free,” Osiris rasped. “An impudence we should not stand any longer than we have to.”
“Yes,” Odin agreed in a growl. “It is time to remind the mortals just who their masters are.”
“Fine words and goals,” Gitche Manitou commented. “But has anyone considered just how we will achieve these objectives?” The Native American god smirked. “It has been centuries since many of these mortals have bowed their knee to us, many will be reluctant to do it without being forced.”
“Yes,” Svarog nodded, “We have followers amongst the world’s population and those who derive certain abilities from us will be compelled to follow our lead, but some of the world’s other meta-humans will offer formidable resistance – not the least the likes of the Sorcerer Supreme or indeed the Hulk, they will be difficult to bend to our will.”
“Aye,” Zeus nodded. “Our first task will be to gather those metas who are loyal to us, to us. Forcing the others to obey us will be complex, but once they’re defeated, it would be a shame to have to kill them when they are such an useful resource.”
“What do you suggest?” Manitou demanded.
Zeus smirked. “A while ago the Hulk was marooned on a planet called Sakaar. Its ruler managed to create an obedience disc that not only managed to control the Hulk for a while, but also the Silver Surfer and a number of mid-range metas. My fellow Olympian, Hephaestus has modified and strengthened the design into a ‘Will-Collar’ that he has begun mass-producing. The most powerful of metas will be unable to resist.”
Odin nodded. “Then first this world and then the universe.”
* * *
“Where should we patrol tonight?” Skyhawk queried.
“Perhaps the Bronx?” suggested Earth Lord as he completed changing into his outfit.
Wind Warrior opened her mouth to comment then stopped, her mouth drying in awe as she joined her fellow Earth Force members in dropping to their knees and bowing their heads. “Long have you served me,” Osiris strode into the room like he owned it, his gaze all-knowing and confident. “And done me honour with your service. But now, a far greater service beckons.”
“Yes,” Earth Lord was the first to manage overcome their wonder for long enough to speak. “How might we serve?”
Osiris’ smile gleamed brighter than the stars. “You are to be lauded for your eagerness, this is what I need you to do…”
* * *
“Three Sevens.” Puma shook his head.
“Two Queens.” Red Wolf scowled as he dropped the cards onto the table.
American Eagle allowed himself the luxury of a smirk as he prolonged his friends’ agony by taking a swig of his Budweiser before answering. “Three fives and two Jacks.” American Eagle reached across the table and pulled the pile of crumpled notes across the table and towards him.
“The time for fun and games is over, a most glorious and trying time awaits the worshippers of the true gods!”
The table tipped over, money, cards, and drinks spilling to the ground as all three Native-American super-heroes spun to face a towering, tanned figure with a face like creased leather clad in calfskin trousers and full ceremonial head-dress. Awe replaced wariness, the three heroes hitting their knees before Manitou.
American Eagle looked up at the Native American Skyfather. “We listen, we obey.”
* * *
Venus beamed as she stood naked before her quarters’ full-length gold-framed mirror, silken mane resting on her bare shoulders. The years passed, but her beauty remained undiminished.
“Still playing at being the goddess of love are you?”
Venus spun around, curved lips dropping open as she crossed her arms over her bare chest, heart thumping at the sight of the one woman in the entire world who could make her feel dowdy. “A…Aphrodite.”
The Greek Goddess of Love smirked evilly. “I trust you’re ready to start showing your goddess their proper respect?”
* * *
Marc stiffened as he awoke, his supernaturally enhanced senses warning him to some as yet unidentified danger. His hand reached out to tousle the hair of the woman laid alongside him. “Everything will be fine, Marlene,” he soothed as he eased the sheets aside and rose, stalking out of his darkened room and into his mansion’s outer corridor.
Marc strode through the darkness, wondering what had woken him. A grin tugged at his lips as he considered the possibility of a burglar unfortunate enough to break into his house. His smile withered as a more worrying possibility occurred to him. If it was one of his enemies he’d better get his costume on and properly prepared.
“You have no need of weapons, Moon Knight.”
Marc gasped, his legs buckling with his patron appeared in front of him, not in a vision but in actual live and living colour. “Khonshu!” he managed a croak.
The god peered down at him. “Get up Moon Knight, I have use for you.”
* * *
Perun’s tree-trunk like arms writhed mightily as he ripped stones weighing several tons out of the ground and laid them in a dam protecting several small towns and villages that laid in a river’s raging path.
“It is not fitting for my son to use his powers in the service of mortals,” a mighty voice thundered.
Perun spun to face a towering man with a snowy white handlebar moustache. “Svarog!”
The Dievas Sky-Father nodded brusquely. “Ready yourself son, we go to war soon.”
* * *
Light danced on the end of every candle positioned on the seven points of the pentagram painstakingly etched on the carpet. Strange sat cross-legged in the middle of the pentagram, eyes closed as his mind searched through the universe for the source of the disturbing energy he’d sensed over the last couple of days. First he tried those on earth who might be behind some new energy, perhaps to fuel some scheme or other, perhaps to use as a weapon, but none of the prime suspects - Doom, the High Evolutionary, Loki, or Ultron appeared to be planning anything. Next he moved on to inspect the major space-faring empires – the Kree, Skrull, and Shi’ar, but while predictably all three vast civilisations were jockeying furiously for supremacy, he could find no trace of the energy.
Strange let out a ragged sigh, sweat pouring off his shaking, aching body. He briefly considered checking up on Thanos, but if the mad Titan wasn’t actually planning anything, risking angering him was unnecessary, like a bee stinging a lion’s ear. Worse, if he tried to spy on the Watchers or Celestials he could end up utterly lost, driven insane by the vastness of their consciousness. Instead he moved his attention to the minor empires – the crafty, calculating Dire Wraiths, the militaristic Spartoi, the reptilian Badoon, the predatory parasitic Brood, and the technocratic colonisers of Rigel. All had their nasty little schemes intended to expand their empires or one-up their civilisation, but none of them involved the sensed energy.
And yet, there was something coming, he was sure of it.
* * *
Lightning flashed through the sky, ripping through a tank, Thor landing on the charred remains and staring imperiously down at the surviving crew.
Black Panther drop-kicked Storm through a window, glass exploding.
Doom blasted Hercules in his v-shaped back, knocking the Greek demi-god onto his knees, several recognisable super-heroes cheering the despot’s sneak attack as smoke whafted off the heroic muscle-man’s lats.
“What the!” Faith sat bolt upright, sweat pouring down her, chest heaving up and down as she gulped in air. Faith looked down at the man slumbering beside her then shook her head, an uneasy laugh escaping her. “Weird dream.”
No way Thor was gonna go around destroying tanks and no way members of the Fantastic Four were gonna cheer Doom over Herc. Yeah, no way.