RISE: The Eternals
Location: Olympia, Antarctica
They waited. They prepared. They armed themselves for the war to defend the world they call home. But, something changed. An inconsequential change to those who are unaware. But for Ikaris, leader of the Eternals, this meant everything.
"I'm telling you the same thing I told you before," Phastos said with a groan. "There is no signal response in any direction. That means that, somehow, there are no Celestials."
"So... what does that mean?" said Sersi. "Can we, I don't know, call someone about this?"
"Who do we call for this, Sersi? Who would even want to look into this? Most of the universe would celebrate the Celestials being gone. WE would celebrate this!" said Ikaris.
Nodding in agreement, Sersi closed her eyes and reached out to the whole city to find him. A split second later, they were intertwined.
"Miss me, beautiful?" he said with a grin.
"Save it, handsome. We have work to do." Sersi replied as she motioned to Ikaris.
"Makkari, we need you to run anywhere. Everywhere. You need to find any sign of the Celestials. You're their Speaker, so you're the only choice," said Ikaris.
Makkari could feel the tension in the room. "You got it, Ikaris." Hugging Sersi once more, he raced into the sky faster than any eye could follow.
"So, I guess we just wait," Phastos moaned as he slumped in his seat.
"I still think we should call someone about this," Sersi huffed.
Zuras scoffed at the notion. "Please. Tell me you aren't thinking of calling those Avengers of yours. You haven't been in contact with them in years. And you've seen what they've become!"
Sersi had nothing to say. There wasn't a single Eternal who didn't know about the second Civil War or the war between the inhumans and the mutants. The infighting among the heroes of the world was something the Ikarus actively chose to avoid ever since Cyclops, his comrade, declared war on the inhumans. But, with Captain Marvel build a planetary shield, there were too many variables to consider on their own.
"We need to rebuild our numbers," Zuras said. "Phastos rebuilt the resurrection pods. We can bring back all of our brothers and sisters. Ajak committed terrible crimes on Makkari and Druig is... well, he's Druig... but they would both help us when it comes to the Celestials."
"Not Sprite," said Phastos.
"Well, obviously not Sprite," Zuras confirmed.
As they all nodded in agreement, Makkari came racing back into the room in a panicked frenzy. "They're gone! The Celestials! There's no sign of them anywhere! The whole galaxy's gone mad!"
Makkari looked as if he ran the whole of the cosmos as he wheezed and gasped for air. While this happened, the room was utterly silent. There was a single question hanging on Zuras's mind. "Was there even a sign of a new Celestial being born? Even a whisper?"
Makkari shook his head. "But, it's worse than that! Something saw and tried to follow me here! I did what I could and shook it off, but it was damn near as fast as me!"
"I don't think you shook it off..." Phastos looked to the sky as something rocketed towards them. Zuras alerted the Eternals to prepare for impact, but the object made a sharp turn towards them. It stopped in midair in front of Ikaris with such force that it might as well have been an explosion. As the smoke cleared, they were shock to see what it was.
"By the heavens... Robert???" Sersi stammered.
"My friends, destiny smiles upon you," Sentry said as he smiled with an unnerving grin. "The waking world is grave peril as the stars have been ripped from the sky."
Those present had no idea what to make of this. They knew the Sentry for years, but his current behavior worried them. After a moment, Zuras said, "Robert, what happened to you? It's been years since we last saw you..."
Before anyone could react, Sentry had his hand on Zuras's shoulder. "The name Robert Reynolds no longer applies to me, Zuras. I am the Sentry of mankind and I have come to inform you that your masters, the Celestials, have been killed. I have abandoned my task as herald of Apocalypse in order to help you take your rightful place!"
"Wait, WHAT???" Ikaris was more than shocked. "What killed the Celestials?!"
"I watched as they came from beyond..." Sentry said. "The true creators of existence descended upon them and drove them to extinction along with all others. Everything died and our salvation was found with Doom. In his world, life was reborn and a single light unlike any other was created to by the power of infinity. That light found its way here when all things returned. But, fear not. The power and the souls of your masters still exists."
With that Zuras stood up and said, "The White Hot Room. The power of the Celestials is there."
Ikaris stepped forward, knowing what that meant. "If we figured this out, others will as well. If anyone touched that kind of power, the universe won't survive."
"What are you saying?" said Sersi.
"We need to get to that power and seal it away. We bring it here and protect it. We were the Celestials' chosen, so we're the one's best suited to guard it," Ikaris continued.
"But, what about Captain Marvel and her planetary shield? If that thing is up before we get back, we're screwed," said Phastos.
"Believe in the light, my friend," Sentry said. "No defense can stand against it as it exists to prevent the unworthy from achieving too much power. It is as far above science as the Celestials were above the Earth."
The Sentry's startling transformation confused everyone else in the room, but they finally noticed that a strange stone was imbedded in his forehead.
Sersi stepped up and asked, "Robert... I mean Sentry... What exactly is this light you keep talking about?"
"The Infinity Gem that was never meant to be... The Death Stone. It has chosen you to shepherd the new existence and task me to remove all that stands in your way. Are you ready?"