By Wim_Garnet 6 Comments
All main characters are copyrighted by Marvel Comics. This is a story of the Bronze Age Eternals.
At the appointed time, the full body of Earth’s remaining Eternals gathered on the marble tiles of the courtyard in the center of Olympia. Karkas, their loyal Deviant friend, stood with them. The pure cerulean sky overhead, the sunlight glinting off the polished white of the columns and temples suggested they gathered for a festival or a day of sport.
Little could be further from the truth. Ikaris walked to the center of the group and climbed on the riser of a statue honoring his father, Zuras. He raised his hands for silence.
“My brother and sister Eternals, Polar and Olympian though we may be, we form one family. But faced by the possible threat of the approaching Celestial, we have not been of one purpose. If we do not come together and stand before the space god united, we may come to serious harm.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us join our souls and minds into the pure rapport that we have sought so rarely in our centuries on Earth. Let us rise, open to each other and meld. Let us form now the Uni-Mind!”
Ikaris levitated into the air and held his arms out wide, palms open. He began to rise in a slow spiral. A moment later, Thena followed, then Sersi, Khoryphos, Makarri. Soon all the Eternals were spiraling higher and higher over the courtyard like a cyclone of brightly colored bodies. Their faces, lately masks of anxiety, relaxed into broad smiles, radiant expressions. The call of each other’s spirits to merge filled them with pure joy.
Faster and faster they turned, until their forms became hard to distinguish. They became a solid swirl of color, first blue, then red, finally brightening toward gold. As the gold spread, the swirling figure appeared to solidify, to make a form. First it took the shape of an egg. Then the egg split like a single cell down the center to form two ovoid shapes pressed together. As it formed, the spin of the shape slowed, the figure became more stable.
The gold began to glow as the first folds began to appear on the surface. It was becoming a brilliant golden brain.
A sound like the horns of an army of angels shook the ground and pulsed the air of Olympia. The golden brain flexed and quivered in the air.
The second blast was louder than the first. Columns toppled in the courtyard. The mountains surrounding Olympia shook. Karkas, left on the ground below, fell to the ground clutching his head in agony.
Slowly at first, the shallow folds forming in the golden brain began to separate. Folds of each hemisphere fell away from each other. The Uni-Mind was collapsing before it could be fully formed. As they separated one from the other, the folds split in turn, revealing the individual Eternals.
In a moment, a shower of bodies fell from two thousand feet in the air, accelerating toward the hard marble courtyard. Then, as the first Eternals neared impact, the horn blasted a third time. All the falling figures vanished.
The feet of the amethyst Celestial stood silently on Titan for enough days that Mentor no longer monitored it on a surface viewer. It had landed on the moon, raising a cloud of dust and shaking the halls and chambers underground. It had not moved since. For the first two days, the moon’s computer mind ISAAC, the Integral Synaptic Anti-Anionic Computer, had scanned and measured it, developing possible defense scenarios for Mentor to review. He had paid them no mind, knowing that if a Celestial wished to disturb the perfect order of Titan’s buried civilization, the disturbance would happen regardless of his own reaction.
It did not disturb them. It just stood motionless as if transfixed by the beauty of the view of Saturn and the other moons which dominated the sky above it. As if it mediated on some perfect truth, which even the achievement of Titan was not fit to receive. Mentor glanced at its dark, glinting form perhaps once a day and waited.
Mentor had still been called A’Lars when he last saw a Celestial come to his world. He lived on Earth then, among the Olympian Eternals with his brother Zuras. He had seen the Celestials of the Second Host reject the Deviant race and observed as they destroyed Lemuria.
Before the Fourth Host came to judge the human race, A’Lars had left the Earth. It was better he come here, to serene Titan, to mentor the surviving followers of his uncle, the defeated Titan Uranos. Since that time, he had showed the Titanian Eternals the more peaceable way of his father Kronos. The wisdom of Mentor, implemented by the perfect efficiency of ISAAC, had turned Titan into a hidden paradise of calm and order.
That calm had reasserted itself under the silent feet of the Celestial. So it came as a shock one morning when a wave of sound like a fleet of foghorns mixed with the drone of a thousand factories pulsed once through the halls. Like all the other Eternals of Titan, Mentor immediate looked to the nearest holographic display of the face of ISAAC. In its place glowed the unreadable purple face of the Celestial.
“What would you have of us, great visitor?” Mentor asked. “All the resources of Titan stand ready to make you welcome.”
Diplomacy had little effect on the Celestial. It made no further sound but created before Mentor a black space in the air, roughly oval and slightly taller than he was. Mentor stood before it like a child before a blackboard. The next moment, a three-dimensional image appeared in the blackness. An ancient two-pan weighing scale. Mentor recognized the symbolism. If the Celestial wished to speak in images, he would accept that and make the best of it.
“You wish to judge us, great visitor. Some might find this presumption, but I can understand it from your viewpoint. Your actions created Eternals, humans and Deviants in this solar system. You wish to know if these experiments are worthy to continue.”
In the blackness, the scale glowed brightly then dissolved into shadow. Mentor took this to acknowledge the accuracy of his guess. He smiled and continued.
“Please, great visitor, observe our world here beneath the surface of Titan. Access the database of our servant ISAAC and learn all there is to know of us. We are proud of the tranquility, knowledge and advancement we have brought about here.”
The Celestial remained silent as ever. For several minutes the black holoscreen was vacant. Then slowly a figure formed from blue and yellow mists.
Mentor bowed his head and thought for a moment. Brushing back a tear, he raised his head and nodded.
“Yes, visitor, this is the place that gave birth to Thanos. But he resides here no longer.”
The Thanos image raised its right arm. The Infinity Gauntlet appeared. Mentor watched his wayward son wish instant death upon half the lives in the universe.
“Great visitor, my son Thanos was not properly the product of Titan. He was the product of the Deviant gene that led to his mutation. He left us because he was ultimately not one of us, no matter how much we tried to help him. An earlier Celestial Host judged the Deviants and destroyed their home in Lemuria. This judgment is for Thanos as well. You need not judge the Titanian Eternals in his name
Though he is not of us, we have already paid for his actions. Thanos killed the light of Titan, Sui-San. His mother. My wife. The co-creator of all the good you see here. No day passes that we do not mourn and regret our failure with him, and what it has cost. Let this penance be enough for us.”
The black screen faded to emptiness and for a long time the Celestial made no sound or image. Mentor stood still before it, his hands turned out to beg the space god for mercy. Eventually, the Celestial’s face faded and ISAAC’s face returned to the display. The surface of Titan shook and Mentor knew the amethyst giant had left them in peace.
Mentor would contact Ikaris and tell Earth’s Eternals the Celestial was coming. He did not owe them this much, but they were family after all.