Chapter 116: I’m Back.
2.3k 78 53
X
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Width
Reset
X
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

============================================================

***HR. Earth, Asia***

A valley in the middle of the mountains contained a hidden beauty of a lost spiritual temple. Contained with in a group of martial artist that follow the path of, 'The Way' practice there arts for the day that may not come. Hopefully will not come for many years. The valley is nestled in the Himalayas, between two tall mountains. A magical shield keeps it off the visual spectrum from the outside.

The spiritual temple has stood for thousands of years and has been responsible for the creation, and training of the some of the most elite fighters in the world. The entire valley is committed to the idea of martial perfection. Every farmer, every craftsman, every elder, and child practices day, and day in The way. Despite their ancient traditions they have kept up to day with the world around them. Things like medicine, science, engineering. More specifically something like WiFi!

“Still not working?” A boy asked his elder as he was trying to log onto viewtube.

“Nope... World news works. But looks like you won't be able to watch your cat videos for a while.” The elder said to the boy. The boy, or young man rolled his eyes and flopped across the floor in annoyance.

“We should have helped...We should have done more.” The young man said to the elder. The elder rolled his eyes at the boy and went back to checking the world wide news.

“We only let a few of the warriors out each year. You know this. This is not the first war to come to Earth, and it wont be the last.” The elder replied and watched a broadcast about a 'Egg Break' in China. Watching thousands of creatures troll through the peoples armies.

The young man sat up and crossed his legs. He took a moment to close his eyes, slow his breathing, and centered himself. The young man had short black hair, amber eyes, a yellow skin tone, with an athletic body type. He was approximately 5'8” but still growing. He was 17 years old. Nearly 18, the age where he would take the trials to become a traveling warrior and see the world outside of the valley. His elder sister, and brother had gone out before him and sent messages back. He was looking forward to seeing the world. But also to help it! To help others find, The Way.

“I'm going to go on a patrol.” The young man said and jumped to his feet.

“Yes, yes...” The elder said and watched the young man put on his gear. Then when the young man left the elder waited a few more minutes. Then clicked on a hidden tab on the computer and started to watch a cat video.

“Eheheh! if I fit, I sit. To true!” The elder laughed as a cat jumped into a empty box.

__________________________

The young man walked the outside perimeter of the valley. This was done often by any of the training warriors with in the valley. A variety of trails from easy, to hard had been made. Some of them even had traps that were made by the elders to test the new warriors. Today...Today the young man simply wanted a walk so he took an easy trail. He saw a few of his peers fighting against a trainer and he stopped to watch for a bit. But eventually he moved on.

It was past midday when he decided to stop for something to eat. Something was pretty vague it was a high nutrition meal bar that the outside world had recently started to produce. A meal in a single bar. Everything the body needed, and oddly still tasted pretty good. Today was lasagna. The young man sat down and was eating through the bar only to pause mid chew as he heard absolutely nothing in the area. True they lived up in the mountains but the valley had a collection of wild life. You never heard just nothing.

“Teacher always said that the wild only grew quiet around an predator.” The young man said as he slowly continued to eat his meal and gradually look around. Before the young man even got halfway he jumped to his feet and took a fighting stance.

“Who are you!?” The young man shouted.

There standing about fifty or so feet away was an abnormally tall man. He wore a ruined black suit with flex plates...? No, that wasn't armor. That was chitin. The young man said the man was breathing and his armor would pushed out, and in like a living thing. On the mans left arm was a ruined arm band of some kind of computer. It had strange writings, and a red jewel in the center.

“Where is this?” The man said, his voice was like several knives scraping against each other. That was also when the young man saw that the strange man was bleeding. Dozens of bullets holes were on its body.

“This is the valley of, The Way. How did you find it?” The young man said, as he slipped his hand to his back pocket and pressed an SOS button they gave to everyone on patrol.

“Now, who are you?” The young man said.

“Max Teus Ferru... Are we still in space sector 2814?” Max asked, the insect-man looked around confused.

“I don't know what that means. I am Jiru warrior of The Way. How did you find our valley?” Jiru asked, as he started to carefully step around Max.

“My...Father Box brought me here... It's...He's ruined.” Max said in a disconnected manner. Looking down at his arm. The box? The arm band looked destroyed, the jewel cracked.

“Your injured, what happened?” Jiru asked, Max stumbled on his feet.

“I thought all of Earth was a chemical wasteland. I did not think such a place existed.” Max said as he fell to his knees. Jiru was shocked by Max's words as more of his black blood poured from his wounds.

“Earth has many hidden wonders like our valley. Yes, there are cities full of waste, but not all of our great mother is like it.” Jiru replied, as he saw from the corner of his eye as several warriors, and masters showed up.

“I've made a horrible mistake... He's coming.... I...We don't have much time.” Max said, and face planted into the ground.

“Jiru, who is this?” A master ran up and started to check on the insect-man.

“He said his name is Max Teus Ferru. He said he made a mistake. That someone was coming.” Jiru said in confusion, he didn't know why but he felt a shiver roll down his spine. Who was coming?

===============================================================

***Rift Story/Cross Over. ***

(Lash Jormungandson of Asgard)

The data they were able to obtain told of the Black Widow/Red Room program that went across the globe. Yes, this was the main facility, but auxiliary facilities existed. Sterns teleported to one of them. There were long days ahead. Lash and his tech-spirits came across thirteen separate viruses and kill commands in the data they found in the main facility left by Sterns. The fourteenth one left a simple note saying he was happy to meet Lash.

The biggest issue they were currently facing was the Russian government being incredibly angry with SHIELD having a hellicarrier floating above Moscow's financial district. Ground troops being deployed into their metro stations. While the public, and journalist took apart SHIELD and the local governments with conspiracy theories, and false statements. Especially when several dozen green soldiers broke free of containment and started to escape.

Then for a brief shinning moment the Russian people forgot their problems and focused on a single individual wearing red armor, and a shinning star on his chest. Red Guardian working with The Hulk chased down, and caught the green soldiers. When they saw Red Guardian catch a car and throw it back at a green soldier everyone cheered! Alexei for his credit walked right up to a camera and declared that SHIELD, and its Russian counterparts where fighting a hidden Hydra terrorist cell. Hydra was named and suddenly SHIELD was granted emergency power. The public was ecstatic that their very own super-soldier was here to help them.

-----

Lash could almost feel the irritation rolling through the holographic feed from Director Hill, and Vice-Director Hand as they stood on the other side and glared at Lash and Natasha as they gave their debrief. They were still on site but Hill wanted something, anything to work with. Lash gave them all the data they had pulled from the servers. Along with a simple treatment plan for the Widows to have the neural links removed. The Stark Industries soft light medical beds could be programmed to remove it with out harming them. The green soldiers were a different story.

“They were not brainwashed?” Director Hill asked on the video call.

“No, they volunteered. Hydra's top kill squads. The temptation of power is...intoxicating to many.” Lash replied as he sent several videos, and pages of information across the link.

“The Widows are innocent. The neural link washed out their personalities and made them puppets. But the procedure will help cure them. I hope.” Natasha replied as she looked at Lash who nodded in agreement.

“It will help, but they have a long road ahead of them. As for the green soldiers we can remove their cybernetic implants. But as for the gamma mutation. I'm afraid Sterns made in permanent. It's possible I could remove it. But their bodies have grown so use to the gamma that it would kill them in the end. The only thing I can think of would be the white wash program. But...” Lash suggested something that hadn't been cleared. Natasha clenched her teeth. This had been one of the many things they had argued about over their time together.

“They may not be our problem for long. The security council want's to know who they belong to. Then they want them shipped back to their native countries for punishment.” Director Hill said as she massaged the bridge of her nose.

“That is foolish, more than likely the green soldiers will either be dissected or put into military service.” Lash replied in annoyance.

“We know that, Lash. But we are on thin ice right now. We broke international borders to attack a Hydra base with out authorization. Yes, the public likes us. But the Russian government is still breathing down our necks for operating on their soil.” Vice-Director Hand replied, her red stripped black hair was pulled back into a pony tail.

“If we did the white wash program how long would you need?” Director Hill asked.

“You can't be serious!” Natasha yelled at her.

What was the white wash program? Imagine a convict who was responsible for killing a dozen or so people was sentenced to death. However, this convict had a specific set of skills that made them highly favorable in certain areas of life. So, instead of killing them. You wash out their personality. Keep all the skills, abilities, etc. But you pull out everything that made them, them! They go through reconstructive surgery. Different face, sometimes even a different gender! Then they are given a new history, a new background.

Lash had seen this program on dozens of different worlds through out this realities galaxies. Prison systems didn't work for the large part on these worlds. So people sentenced for two or more consecutive life sentences, far past their natural life span. Or if they were to be executed. They would go through a white wash program. Or something similar. Lash had brought it up once over a year ago when he looked into the prison system on Midgard. Natasha had not been happy that he suggested brain washing people.

“Natasha what would you suggest we do? If they are sent back to their own governments the very thing Lash just said will happen. If we use this program they could do some good.” Director Hill told Natasha. But it looked like it physically hurt Hill to say the words.

Natasha pressed her lips together in a thin line. She looked like she had bit into something sour and she threw her hands up in the air and screamed in fury. She didn't have a better plan. She started to chew on her lip and turned to glare at Lash. He looked back at her with a frown. The white wash program had worked on other planets. It was far more ethical than just simply killing them. Or forcing them into a prison for the rest of their lives while the world help pay for their lives.

“Actual lives! You can't just treat them like disposable tools to be used and thrown away!” Natasha said with a snarl looking at Lash, then at Hill.

“Agreed, they get a whole new lease on life. We'll prep the medical facilities on the hellicarrier come up when your ready.” Director Hill said, and closed the holographic video.

Natasha had stalked off down the hallway away from Lash. She wanted to be anywhere but next to him at that point. Unfortunately that wouldn't do. Lash followed after her and came to a hallway to find the SHIELD technicians escorting a group of Black Widows who moved like puppets towards the carrier. More than a few looked at Natasha, and Lash as they walked past. Natasha's eyes were glistening as she watched her fellow sisters walk by.

“It's really hard to be mad at you, you know that? But I'm really trying to be right now.” Natasha said as she cleaned her eyes, refusing to look at Lash. Lash came to stand by her side. Close enough to touch one another but just far enough away.

“I've been told I'm rather endearing. Or a pain in the ass, depends on the day.” Lash replied, and Natasha barked out a laugh. The line of Widows ended and Natasha trailed after them through the Red Room facility. Lash following behind her.

They walked in silence for a while until the reached the surface of Moscow's financial district. Towering skyscrapers, clean beautiful streets, and a giant floating fortress just above it all. Dozens of quin-jets, and transport ships flying in and out like a bee hive. Red Guardian was off to the side with a SHIELD spoke person, and a news crew friendly to SHIELD. Yelena saw the two of them and walked over. Natash, and Yelena hugged one another but Yelena looked at Natasha in confusion.

“What is going on?” Yelena asked, this was suppose to be a happy day.

“I've been asked to brain wash the green soldiers. If the soldiers don't remember who they are then they can't ask to be sent to their specific prison system. Of course the countries wont send them to prison they'll either dissect them or turn them into soldiers anyways.” Lash replied, and Natasha glared at him so fiercely that Lash expected to burst into flames.

“Baszó Anya! After all this!” Yelena yelled at Lash, pointing at the Widows being packed up. “You want to erase more people!?”

“So you would rather they be killed? Or used in another war?” Lash asked in response.

“Yes because SHIELD will be using them to teach school children how to read!” Yelena screamed at him. Lash stopped short at that. Crap, he was being a hypocrite.

“You didn't even think about that did you? Did you!?” Yelena yelled at him, and Natasha glanced back at him.

“No, I didn't. I simply assumed SHIELD would be the better choice.” Lash replied with a contrite expression.

“But its a choice you are making for them...” Melina said as she came over. Having heard the discussion. Thankfully they were to far away, and behind a SHIELD perimeter line for the news crews to hear them. Honestly speaking Lash was getting sloppy.

“What do you want me to do?” Lash said, and looked to Natasha. “There is no good or bad way out of this situation. There is just bad, and bad. So what choice should I make?”

“I think we need to stop seeing each other...” Natasha said out of no where, and Lash felt like a knife had been stabbed into his heart.

Lash dropped to his knees in shock, tears rolling down his cheeks. Yelena covered her mouth with her hands and looked back and forth between them. Melina kept a look of indifference but was wringing her hands out. Natasha looked like she was about to break down then and there watching Lash's whole world break. Lash reached into his utility belt and took out a small black box. Natasha burst into tears then. Lash slowly put the box down on the ground. Then he stood up and took off into the air with his Telekinesis sub-ability. Flying towards the hellicarrier. He didn't stop to talk, or ask why. He just fled. Fled like a coward.

-----

Lash ended up white washing the green soldiers. He then spent a considerable amount of time building new personalities, memories, and background. He also worked on the Black Widows collected from across the world. The Widows had to relearn how to think again. They needed a structured life style until they could think for themselves. Weeks went by and Lash was a zombie for most of it. No one said anything. Lash was sure Director Hill knew what happened between him and Natasha.

SHIELD interpersonal relationships were complicated. But they had experience with it. Anyone who worked with Lash was ordered by Hill, and Hand not to approach the subject unless Lash said something first. Aside from that, just keep working. Normally in SHIELD you would be required to attend a psychological evaluation. But how do you standardized an alien god from space?

It didn't take long for Lash to figure out why it had happened. Thanks to Parallel Minds he had one of his minds work the problem. Natasha had seen the problem for what it was. If Lash and Natasha were not emotionally involved. The entire white wash argument would not have happened. Lash was considering going against SHIELD orders for her. If Natasha had asked Lash to take the green soldiers away to another galaxy he would have.

But, if they were friends or simply co-workers. Lash wouldn't have blinked at it. Yes, he would have said he was sorry that he had upset her. But in the end the white wash program was successful. The green soldiers had their implants removed and had gone through surgery. New faces, new memories, and a new life. Many of them had a plethora of psychological problems, including but not limited to depression, schizophrenia, sociopathic tendencies. Those were all fixed. Natasha hated the white wash program. But objectively speaking it was a good idea. But she couldn't be with someone who could so easily erase a persons mind and claim it was for the best.

That wasn't to say they didn't have problems of their own before. They were from two different worlds. Different cultures, ideals, ways of life. Not only as an Asgardian, but in a way the facts were simple. Lash wasn't from here. He looked back at their relationship and there had been many times that Lash had avoided speaking about certain subjects. Natasha didn't press because there was a lot about her own life she didn't want to talk about. But the void between them continued to grow. In the end they were doomed to fail. Simply for the reason that...Lash was going to leave. He wasn't sure how many more events he had left. But in the end this was a Rift. This was not his home.

“Lash?” A young woman called to him, he turned to see one of the reformed Widows poking her head into his lab.

“Melia, hello. How are you feeling?” Lash asked, the young woman.

Melia Thompson was approximately 5'9” with short curly black hair, chocolate black skin, and a bright smile that lit up the room. Only her golden eyes told a different story. Always moving, always watching. Each time she walked into a room she would count windows, doors, and how many people were in the room. Then she would count objects that could be used for cover, and items that could be used in a fight.

“Its field trip day... We were wondering if you would come with us?” Melia asked, Lash leaned back in his chair lost in thought.

They were currently in the Triskelion R&D section and Lash wore a tailored made gray suit with a blue buttoned up shirt. He was in his default Asgardian form with his tribal tattoos out. Field trip day was when the Widows in the facility were let out for a few hours in a controlled environment. Like a park. Plenty of space, lots of people. But just enough room for everyone to relax for the most part.

“Sure, I could use some fresh air.” Lash said, and grabbed his jacket. Melia's eyes grew bright. “Maybe we'll get some ice cream.” Lash continued and went to the door offering his arm to Melia who took his arm in her own, a grin growing across her face.

A field trip may have been the wrong phrase to use. A swarm? An army of incredibly attractive, and incredibly deadly young women took the park by storm. The park had a little theme park attached to it with basic rides. A large pond where one could rent a foot paddle boat. Along with a mild forest trail for hikers. SHIELD had rented the whole park out. Yes, one would still find people inside the park. But a majority of it had been reserved for a SHIELD relief day.

Once again Lash was caught refereeing for a volley ball game. Lash had in a way been adopted by the Widows. They looked at him like the older big brother they never had. Most of them only had fragments of their lives before. Lash played into the role well enough. He knew them all. He knew every name, and had given them all a new life. Along with the super green team! Yes, they were at the park as well. A unit of about a hundred or so men who were training together with the reformed Widows.

Brother Lash...We have a problem. Odin calls you back to Asgard. -Heimdall called out to him across his powers of ever sight. Lash jumped to his feet and looked around expectation an attack. His body language made every Widow, and Super Green freeze in place as they looked around as well.

“Stand down, this isn't for you.” Lash said to them and ran to an open clearing. He made several quick messages via Connectivity. “I'll be back! Please enjoy your day!” Lash called to them, then the brilliant light of the Bifrost slammed into the ground where he stood but moments ago.

Lash was pulled from Midgard, from his 'exile' back to the realm eternal. When the light ended he was in the chamber of Heimdall his old friend. Heimdall hadn't changed. Still the silent sentinel of the realm eternal with his chocolate skin, brilliant golden eyes, and warrior physique. He pulled Hofund the sword key from the Bifrost engine. Then walked down the steps of his dais and clasped Lash's arm like a warrior and pulled him into a hug.

“Welcome back, brother Lash. Asgard as missed you.” Heimdall said to him.

“I'm sure Asgard as gotten along with out me. Though I have missed you my friend.” Lash replied and Heimdall shrugged at him with an easy smile on his face.

“What calls me home?” Lash asked, looking around the room. But not seeing it, but looking further. Something was wrong.

Nidavellir was attacked.” Heimdall replied and Lash's smile melted from his face.

“Was? Or is?” Lash asked, all but ready to jump into battle. Though he still wore Midgardian garb he could easily replace it.

“Was, many dwarves lost their lives. King Eitri still lives. They were attacked by a man named Thanos.” Heimdall said with a grimace.

Oh crap... -Erik the gamer said across their link. Lash felt himself grow pale.

“What did they take?” Lash asked.

“That's just it...We don't know. Odin want's you to head to Nidavellir as soon as you are able.” Heimdall replied, and walked back to the Bifrost Engine.

Lash reached up to his chest and used the spell Calling and conjured up his armor. He tossed aside the Einherjar armor. He went with something sleek, compact, and magitech. Dark green vibranium polymer under armor suit. With Nth, and Uru metal vantablack for the armor plates. Absorbing light instead of reflecting it. Along the edges of his armor were tiny Asgardian spell inscriptions. He looked like an knight born of the void. He remained in his default form for now. But the armor would change to accommodate his Transformation if he so chose. Lash turned back to the Bifrost and Heimdall adjusted the bridge's destination.

The Bifrost swallowed Lash and he was flung across the galaxy towards another. The point, to point travel was nearly instantaneous, yet he could still feel the passage of time. He knew it was because of the Space, and Time Domain he possessed. Even with his Science, and Magic Intuition Lash was still struggling with the design of the Bifrost. If he could get it to work in his home reality it would revolutionize their travel capabilities. With a resounding boom! Lash had arrived on Nidavellir, as dozens of automated turrets swiveled to towards him preparing to fire.

“I am Lash Jormungandson of Asgard here at the request of King Odin, All Father!” Lash announced himself and pulled his mask off. The turrets powered down as a dwarf clad in armor came rushing out.

Dwarfs in the fantasy genre are always small. Small, but stout. The myth behind them is that they were decedents of giants. How could a small creature be the decedents of giants? Thankfully such things did not happen in the Marvel Universe. The Dwarfs in Nidavellir were easily ten or fifteen feet tall. Big people! Given that the giants were forty to sixty feet tall. Seeing them, it made sense that they claimed to be decedents of the giants.

“Lash, welcome back!” The dwarf known has Rarbir said to him. He was approximately 14'5” tall with a robust build fitting of both a warrior, and a smith. He wore golden armor that was covered in purple blood. He looked exhausted, but alive.

“Have the injured been tended to brother Rarbir?” Lash asked up at the dwarf who had his helmet off. His long red beard was braided, and his head was shaved. (Baldies unite) He grimaced, and shook his head.

“We lost thirty five of own. But the rest are alive and well. Thanks to you.” Rarbir replied and gestured him to follow.

“To me? I just got here!” Lash said as he jogged along side the dwarf in an effort to keep up.

“The attackers did something to not only cut off our communications with Asgard, but they also prevented the Bifrost. King Eitri used your void space beacon to send a message. Asgard sent its naval fleet to rescue us. Both things that we never would have had if not for your insistence on fixing the security of our people.” Rarbir replied, a grin on his face as he smiled down at him. Lash stuck his chest out, and stood a little straighter.

“I was just doing my job.” Lash replied.

“Humility is the mark of a great warrior, brother Lash. But also how much ale he can consume.” Rarbir said in response and patted Lash on the shoulder which nearly sent him into the floor.

They walked through the metal rings that made up Nidavellir. Lash saw signs of combat all over. He saw the energy burns of a Chitauri weapons. He also saw the energy marks of his own weapons as well. One of the defensive platforms he had designed for the defense of the rings was actually a droid services module he had paid for. It would link up with the rings and produce an army of robotic soldiers with basic VI programming. Lash saw hundreds of robotic husks that had fought valiantly to defend this place. Rarbir noticed his gaze and nodded.

“At first King Eitri was upset that you placed such a weapon on our home. But he soon saw the wisdom as to why. We would have never held the rings with out them. Unfortunately the invaders agreed and destroyed the platform before they left. Only a few of them remain.” Rarbir said, and Lash winced. He tried to keep his bearing but he still had sent hundreds of Virtual Intelligent beings to their death. No, they didn't have a life spark. But still.

They went to the central forge ring where they made all of their creations to find King Eitri, and Prince Thor having a very animated conversation. Lady Sif stood off to the side watching intently. With a few dozen Einherjar soldiers stood around. It almost looked like they were going to come to blows. But the aggression wasn't towards any of them. It was towards who attacked them.

“My King... I present to you brother Lash.” Rarbir said and everyone turned towards them.

King Eitri was nearly twenty feet tall. He had a long but groomed beard. With long shaggy brown hair that was pulled back into a half tail. He wore a set of golden plate mail armor, and a giant war hammer was set off to the side. He was covered in blue, and red blood. He looked exhausted, but a smile grew across his face when he saw Lash.

Thor, looked haggard. He was feeling the effects of a lost love as well. Lady Foster had broken off their engagement. Thor was a bachelor again, much to his own confusion. Thor had cut his long blond hair, he had also shaved his head, and his beard off. Why did he do this, he said it was to mourn the past, and celebrate the new. (Baldies unite?) Lash winced at the depressed Thor as he looked at Lash and a smile tugged on his lips.

Lady Sif looked amazing! There was a warm glow about her that welcomed Lash into the room. She smiled brilliantly at him and saluted towards him with a head bow. Lash smiled at her in return and caught just a bit of a blush crawling up her cheeks at his attention. That was odd? Several of the Einherjar saluted Lash as well. While several others didn't, cant win them all!

“Sorry I'm late.” Lash said as he bowed deeply to them all.

“Not at all, brother Lash. If not for your insistence on your defenses and communication we would not be here to argue about what to do next.” King Eitri replied with a grimace.

“He speaks the truth my friend. But with you here perhaps we can get to the bottom of the situation.” Thor said as he walked over and clapped Lash on the back. “I heard about Natasha, I am sorry.” Thor said to Lash in a whisper and Lash stiffened.

“What is there to discuss? You were attacked, lets track them down and end them.” Lash replied, and King Eitri, along with the a few dwarves in the forge grinned.

“We don't know where they are.” Lady Sif said next as she walked over to give a warrior's hand shake to Lash.

“Nor do we know why they came here.” Thor said next.

“Nothing was taken?” Lash asked.

“That's just it. They used the forge. Several of our best smiths were...killed. But we believe Thanos forced them to make something before he left.” King Eitri said, and pointed over at the forge.

“Ah, this I can fix. How long ago was the attack?” Lash asked, and was given the date. He walked to the center of the room and used Retrocognition (Chapter 61).

A field swallowed the whole room and every one felt the energy race up and down their skin. Lash pressed rewind and ghostly images of the past few minutes sped by, then a few hours, then a few days. The attack had happened weeks ago, but the whole attack had taken days. Thanks to the war droids practically throwing themselves at Thanos's people. It dramatically slowed them down. But Sanctuary two was practically a mobile space fortress with thousands of genetic cloning facilities aboard. They could literally create an army with in a few weeks.

“Stop!” Eitri said and Lash slowed the visual aspect down. It was the day of the invasion, or one of them at least.

A ghostly image of Thanos walked into the room. An eight foot tall purple skinned man. Titan was not to say he was a monster of a man. But Titan was a species from the planet Titan. However, from what Erik told Lash, Thanos was a little more complicated than that. The Titan wore gold, and silver armor and had a presence that nearly swallowed the room. All that from a ghostly image.

“Why is there no sound?” Thor asked, watching the Titan move through the room.

“I'm sorry Thor, I don't have that ability.” Lash replied, his voice straining. His energy reserves were draining fast. While his Healing Aura was pulsing every ten seconds. Hopefully he could get an evolution as he kept getting experience for the ability.

“The idea that you can do this at all is amazing!” Sif said next as she walked around the room to look at some of the Chitauri while Eirti looked at his former dwarfs.

  • Congratulations User! Retrocognition has evolved into Minor Retrocognition.

    • Effect: Slight increase to abilities power.

    • Effect: Slight decrease to abilities energy consumption.

    • Effect: Slight increase to detail, and what can be used.

With the next evolution the ghostly images grew a bit sharper, and with a bit of color. More details could be seen. Several dwarf craftsmen, and craftswomen were held at gun point. Thanos pointed at the star forge, then at the Uru metals. They were in a discussion. Then Thanos pointed at one of the dwarfs, and a lanky looking alien waved his hand and the dwarf was separated in half like a blade went through them.

However before the dwarfs got to work a raid of war droids climbed into the ring from the outside and attacked the group. The battle was short, and sweet. Several of the dwarfs fled the forge room. But a few had been recaptured. More Chitauri were stationed in the forge room. Lash fast forward the scene as the dwarfs were making something.

“Wait? Why is it going faster now?” Eitri asked as he looked from the image to Lash and found Lash was nearly collapsed on the ground. Sweat pouring off his face, he was breathing rapidly. This was like a marathon run for him.

“Lash, can you hold out?” Thor asked as he came to him.

“I...I should be fine.” Lash replied, he was at 35% of his ability energy and dropping.

The dwarfs made something from the Uru metal, along with several other alloys that Thanos brought. Eventually a golden glove was made, with sockets for jewels of some kind along the knuckles, thumb, and the back of the hand. Then Thanos tried it on with a smile, and waved his hand. The Chitauri in the room gun down the remaining dwarfs and it was over in an instant. Eitri punched a wall in rage as he watched his kin died like animals sent to the butcher. The vision snapped close just as Lash reached 4% energy.

“Eitri what is that?” Thor asked, though the image was gone no one needed Thor to explain what he meant.

“I don't know, I don't recognize the design. Some of the materials he brought in were familiar to me. They are used to focus, and guard against energies of large magnitudes.” Eitri said, he was taking slow deep breaths as he tried to pull in his rage.

“Heimdall, are you there.” Lash called out.

I am here. -Heimdall replied, his voice was heard by everyone in the room.

“Can you check on a place called, 'Knowhere'? The place we kept the Aether.” Lash asked, and Sif's eyes went wide.

“Oh no...” Sif said, her face went pale as she waited.

Knowhere burns, the collector's home is ruins. -Heimdall replied. Lash punched the floor and dented the metal.

“Can you please check Xandar Prime, where we kept the power stone.” Lash asked next, fearing the answer.

Xandar is under attack! The ship described by King Eitri is there! -Heimdall said quickly.

“We have our target.” Lash said to the room.

“Sound the horn! We are going to war!” Thor called out, and everyone jumped to action.

_____________________________________________________

Xandar, the capital of the Xandarian Empite was on fire! Most never truly understand what it means to see an entire planet on fire. But it is horrifying, and beautiful all at the same time. Xandar was an oceanic planet. Far more water than land. Archipelagos stretched across the vast ocean. Then artificially created land masses were designed specifically for city planning, and creation. Then a very recent addition. Several new islands had been made around every major city on the planet. Each island housed a defensive cannon use to fire at orbital threats. They were getting a lot of use right now.

The battle for New York on Midgard had been a drop in the ocean compared to the attack force that Thanos was sending to Xandar right now. Thousands of leviathans transported troops to the surface. While hundreds of thousands of Chitauri, Sakaarans, and Outriders swarmed across the cities of the planet. Just like on Nidavellir, Sanctuary two had blocked all forms of communication to the planet. They had swept through the system with ease despite the new defensive platforms placed in space.

But despite their best efforts several Nova Corps ships were able to make it out of the system to call for help. Of course by the time any fleets would arrive they would be gone. The Black Order, the children of Thanos and his most viscous generals had lots, and lots of practice decimating planets. They almost wished for more of a challenge. Then almost as if the universe was granting their wish. A rainbow bridge crashed into the streets of Xandar.

Thousands of Einherjar soldiers poured out with hundreds of star fighters flying through the Bifrost. Asgard had shown up! Followed by the God of Thunder, the Goddess of War, and the God of Monsters. The Bifrost cut its connection as armies of Asgard prepared the next group to be sent through to assist another city. While this force concentrated on the capital, where the power stone was kept. Nova Corp soldiers cheered, and shouted with joy as the Asgardians raced through their city streets and attacked The Black Order's soldiers. Reinforcements had arrived!

_________________________________________________________

Lash had broke off from the main group and sprinted down the street on all fours. Despite his Telekinesis he could still move faster on foot until he got the ability evolved. Riding on his back like some kind of steed was Lady Sif in full armor with an Asgardian bow in hand. Firing magical arrows in quick succession at any enemy she saw. With every passing second Saurus Warriors, Veterans, and Elites were called through Manifestation.

Lash was always reminded of a velociraptor from that one movie when he saw his Saurus Warriors pounce on something. Hands, and feet forward, claws extended. They would pounce, rip, and tear through flesh, and armor alike! Then dive behind cover and take out their rifles to fire back. They linked up with the Nova Corp in the streets, and the security guards stationed.

“I will not deny that I've had dreams of taking you for a ride. But this is not what I imagined!” Sif shouted to Lash as she pressed her legs together like he was a horse to maintain her balance. Lash barked out a laugh as he sprinted around a corner.

“I will not deny that I have also had such dreams.” Lash shouted back, and despite the battle Sif had a bit of a shy smile on her face. Then shot another arrow into a waiting Chitauri.

The tendrils down Lash's back wrapped around Sif's legs, and waist to help her keep balance. While his tentacles shot Eldritch Blasts from their ends. Lash had cast Acceleration, and Cat's Grace to sprint through the city streets. He jumped over crashed transports while tossing out healing spells towards the injured. He raced towards the military compound housing the power stone only to see it was on fire and soldiers were fighting against the outriders.

  • Congratulations User! Intimidating Shout has evolved into Minor Intimidating Shout.

    • Effect: Slight increase to abilities power.

    • Effect: Slight decrease to abilities energy consumption.

    • Effect: Slight increase to duration of stun effect.

  • Congratulations User! Rallying Call has evolved into Minor Rallying Call.

    • Effect: Slight increase to abilities power.

    • Effect: Slight decrease to abilities energy consumption.

    • Effect: Slight increase to duration of effect.

Lash roared and used Intimidating Shout, and Rallying Call together! The sound caused the Chitauri, and the outriders to freeze for a few seconds. While the soldiers had their moral, and energy reserves refilled. They fought with renewed vigor. Sif arrow after arrow at the enemy, also under the effects of Acceleration. Lash jumped over the security gate and zipped past the guards. The blast doors had been blasted open, pun intended! He used Gravity Stride and hit the walls and ran like they were the floor. Sif wrapped her legs around Lash and continued to shoot as they moved.

They jumped, sprinted, and mowed over The Black Guard soldiers. Then Lash jumped into an elevator shaft and sprinted down the walls. His tentacles shot out Eldritch Blasts in the shape of lasers and cut through dozens of outriders in the elevator shaft. They fell to pieces. Then reached the bottom and tore his way through the door. The dead remains of Nova Corp soldiers were scattered across the floor. Blood, bone, and viscera were everywhere. Several outriders were chewing on the remains. Lash roared in fury, then the dead soldiers eyes flipped open and started fighting again.

  • Congratulations User! The Grave/Necromancy Domain Spell, Animancy has evolved into Minor Animancy.

    • Effect: Slight increase to spell power.

    • Effect: Slight decrease to spell energy consumption.

    • Effect: Slight increase to spell range.

    • Effect: Slight increase to spell manipulation.

For a brief moment the spirits of the dead retook their bodies. Fighting through Necromancy they fought to seek their revenge then join their brothers, and sisters in death. The outriders were a little freaked out for a moment. When you are chewing on the entrails of a man that's been dead for a while. You don't expect them to get back up and start shooting at you again. But the moment passed the outriders were back to fighting. But their food didn't want to stay dead!

“Rise up fallen warriors! For you will dine with us all in Valhalla!” Sif shouted in joy as they raced passed the rising soldiers.

Lash energy reserves took a huge spike from temporarily granting them life again. But it was worth it! He rushed down the hallways, past the fighting soldiers and outriders. Towards a set of blast doors now retaken by the dead Nova Corp were now running down the hallway shooting a group of Chitauri. Lash rushed pas the soldiers and used Deflection to push the purple shots into the floor, walls, and ceiling. Anywhere but at them.

Lash and Sif burst past the door guard into a large storage room full of lock boxes, and large shipping containers. A place to keep items of power. Hundreds of the lock boxes, and containers had been pried open but they hadn't found their query yet. Lash knew where it was, he could smell it! He raced through the room and slid across the floor digging his claws into the ground. Then came up short as a giant metal shield slammed into his face and sent him, and Sif catapulting backwards.

Sif jumped from Lash's back and did a back flip shooting arrow after arrow at their attacker. While Lash jumped to his feet and sprinted towards them. Only to find Cull Obsidian, a member of The Black Order. One of the more savage, and brutal members. Cull was an eight foot tall man with human reptile features. Imagine a man with scales. Yellow eyes, fangs, elongated mouth, with leather scales across his whole body. He was also covered in tech armor that would respond to his cybernetic implant in his spine. So his armor covered him from head to toe and he brought out a metal spear.

Lash brought down his red Psionic Blades and was brought up short. Cull's shield, and spear blocked the blades. Then Cull head butted Lash sending him back a bit. Then Sif collapsed her bow pulled out her sword, and shield and raced towards Cull. He swung his shield wide and Sif slid under and sliced his legs to little to no effect. Lash cast Personal Time only for an alarm to sound off on Cull's armor and a pulse of energy to explode out canceling the time manipulation. Fuck! Then Danger Sense, and Foresight activated and Lash jumped to the side as a Telekinetic Cut! Sliced through the floor, ceiling, container, and wall next to that container.

Lash's six reptilian eyes took in another target. Ebony Maw, a lanky, wiry gray skinned humanoid with a pronounced forehead, long arms, and longer fingers. He was dressed in a black garb with a few adornments of armor mostly for show. He had a malevolent smile on his face, and glimmer to his eye that said he knew more about the world than anyone else. He also floated a few feet off the ground and was sending another Telekinetic Cut towards Lash.

“Rejoice! For you about to die at the hands of the chi-”Maw began to say but coughed up blood and looked down at his chest. A red energy blade was sticking out of it. Lash had Blinked behind Maw and stabbed him.

However, before Lash could bisect Maw. The man backhanded Lash with his Telekinesis and ripped the lock box container that had the power stone in it out of the ground and flung it towards Cull who caught it and barreled past Sif. Lash was sent through a steel alloy reinforced wall and made an impact crater in another one before he stopped.

Before Maw could speak another word Sif decapitated him. Then jumped through the hole to find Lash gradually pulling himself out of the wall. Cull was sprinting through the underground complex and was discovering waves of zombies throwing themselves at him. But they could do little to slow him down. Fortunately Cull didn't know which lock box contained the stone so he was carrying a stack of them about ten feet high, and five feet wide. So it was a bit unwieldy.

“You hurt?” Sif asked as she started to help Lash out of the wall.

“Just my pride...” Lash said with a grimace, then flopped out of the impact crater. “Jump on, we are not finished yet.” Lash said, and once more dropped to all fours. Sif grinned, and climbed on top of him once again.

============================================================

***Rift Story/Cross Over. Sanctuary two***

Sanctuary two was a large warship, nearly three miles long from wing tip to wing tip. It could house hundreds of thousands of soldiers at any one time. The entire ship had star cannons across its wing decks, and could also house several Q ships in its wings. (Transport ships in the shape of an Q). The whole ship was the home away from home for the Mad Titan Thanos. Who was currently watching a detailed holographic video of the invasion of Xandar.

Thanos relaxed, and clenched his left hand every few seconds. The reality stone placed in the golden gauntlet he wore on his hand glowed briefly each time. He knew it was a possibility that the Asgardians would figure out his next move. He should have destroyed the whole station. But he had granted the dwarves mercy. A lesson he had learned many times. Mercy was something one earned, it was not given.

“Exalted one.” A Chitauri emissary said as he came to Thanos side.

“Speak.” Thanos said, with out looking at him.

“Cull Obsidian has returned with the power stone. However, Ebony Maw was killed in battle against the Asgardians.” The emissary replied, Thanos narrowed his eyes in thought. That was unexpected.

“Who killed him?” Thanos asked, and the emissary showed a video recording from Cull's armor. Loyal to the end Maw tossed the container towards Cull even to his dying breath, Maw saw and believed in the vision that Thanos made.

“Magnify.” Thanos commanded as he pointed at a specific person in the recording. “Lash...”

When Ronan had attacked Xandar with the power stone Thanos had been impressed when an Asgardian had crafted a cannon capable of mass destruction in a few minutes that sent the Dark Aster out of orbit, and nearly out of the solar system. He used his information network to look into the Asgardian in particular. Lash Jormungandson was dangerous. It had been his machines that had defended Nidavellir, which had costed them time.

“Protocol 5-0-4. Take us home.” Thanos said to the operations deck.

Across of all of Xandar the Chitauri, Sakaarians, and Outriders began to do suicide tactics! They broke cover and swarmed towards the defenders of Xandar. Many Chitauri, and Sakaarians pulled the pins on grenades and raced towards soldiers, and civilians alike. While individuals of power, and influence were quickly recalled back to Sanctuary two. Quickly enough the ship broke its high orbit around Xandar and made its way towards the jump point out of the system.

===========================================================

***Rift Story/Cross Over. Xandar***

(Lash Jormungandson of Asgard)

“Fuck...” Lash said in a bitter tone as he watched giant war ship faded from view. They had not caught Cull in time. The moment he stepped into the open air a Q ship snatched up in a blue beam of light and it flew off towards Sanctuary two.

“The Tesseract is on Asgard. He would be a fool to attack us!” Sif said as she climbed down from Lash's back and put her sword away, and pulled out her bow.

“There are two stones on Midgard. Mind, and Time.” Lash replied to her.

“Then we should move to secure the stones. Midgard is not prepared for someone like Thanos.” Sif said to him, then shot an arrow at a suicidal Chitauri.

Lash took out an amulet he had obtained from the Sorcerer Supreme then whispered a message into the amulet. It glowed a brilliant golden color and burst into particles and faded from sight. The universe is a big place. A lot of places to hide. Especially when you can jump into different dimensions. The issue now was the mind stone. Which was currently embedded into Visions forehead. Despite Sif's belief that he would be insane to try. Thanos would have to come for the Tesseract. He would either bring his armies, or try to steal it in secret. Then there was the soul stone.

Lash hated this! He had tried using Cosmic Awareness dozens of times to speak about Vormir and the terrible price that the soul stone needed. But the 4th wall engine prevented his involvement. He was determined to prevent Thanos from getting the stones. From letting Natasha sacrifice herself. But time and time again the 4th wall engine was steering the world towards a direction he didn't want. It was frustrating to no end!

He tried again, and Cosmic Awareness fizzled out again. At least it didn't take his energy. Lash spent the next few hours helping the Xandarians fight off the suicidal forces of Thanos. Then when fleets of Nova Corp star ships jumped into the system and came rushing towards the planet they new it was time to go. Xandar had been crippled, but Thanos did not destroy half of all life on the planet like he had planned.

Such an idiotic mindset! Lash hated it! Why use the stones to destroy? Why not use the stones to create more resources. Even if half of all life was destroyed after a few thousand years everything is right back where it was! But if he used the stones to make planets than it would only help in the long run. But nooo! Lash shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. There is no point in trying convince someone who was crazy.

“Lash!” A man called out to him. He turned and saw a familiar sight.

“Rhomann Dey, hello!” Lash called back and walked across the ruined street towards the Xandarian that had showed him around the first day he had shown up.

“Nova Prime wants to speak to you. Thor is already waiting for you.” Rhomann said to him. Rhomann looked like he had been through a war! But he had a smile on his face.

“Did your family make it through?” Lash asked as they started to move towards a transport.

“They did! They took shelter in one of the bunkers placed around the city. My daughter wanted to thank you especially. She is one of the few talented in UE. She's been studying at the academy.” Rhomann said and Lash smiled at him.

“Good! The universe needs more spell casters. Especially those that fight on the side of honor, and justice.” Lash replied to him.

They continued to speak for a few minutes while in transit to a now ruined Nova Corp military compound. Across the whole city Einherjar, and Saurus soldiers were seen in rebuilding the city piece by piece. The transport landed just outside the gates and Rhomann day excused himself. Though he was holding a small leather bound book that was designed for his child spell caster. Rhomann tucked the book away. His daughter was going to be so happy to see this.

Lash was escorted through the halls towards the upper levels. He was shown into the previous room he had seen before. However this time the entire east wall was missing! Lash kinda liked it, really brightened up the room. Standing around a holographic projector was Thor, Sif, Einherjar officers, Nova Corp officers, and Irani Rael Nova Prime. Her blue dress uniform was ruined. She had several blue, and purple blood stains on the suit. She wore a combat vest, and had her silver white hair pulled back. A grim expression on her face. One that brightened just a bit when Lash walked in.

“Seems I should had taken your advice and studied the power stone. It would helped us in this battle.” Rael said to Lash.

“Maybe, maybe you were just being careful and avoided a cataclysmic event. The benefit of hindsight is a cruel master, and helpful teacher.” Lash said, and bowed from his waist towards her. He was currently in his default form so he didn't look to menacing.

“Thor tells me it was your quick thinking that brought Asgard to our aid?” Rael asked, as Lash looked to Thor.

“Tis true my friend. With out your ability, and quick thinking we would be searching in vain for Thanos next target.” Thor replied with a grin.

“Do we know where Thanos is going next?” Rael asked, expanding the holographic map to include the entire Nova Empire star ways.

“C-53 aka Midgard. There are two stones there. While Asgard has the space stone. While no one knows where the soul stone is.” Lash said in a bitter tone as he tried to scream the word Vormir but nothing came out.

“Is C-53 capable of repelling his assault?” Rael asked, and Thor punched the table softly. He could have crushed it but he was simply making a point.

“No... Even with Lash's orbital defenses in place all they will be is annoying insects at the might of Thanos's armies.” Sif replied to the question.

“Can we destroy the stones?” Rael asked, they had been terrified to even try it with the power stone. But the other stones were different.

“Only the stones, or abilities similar to the stones can destroy them.” Lash said next. Thor took on a look of concentration.

“What about Wanda and The Vision? Her abilities came from the mind stone. Could she destroy it?” Thor asked, and Lash leaned back in thought. That was another thing Lash had been trying to do for the past few years but the 4th wall had prevented him from saying anything. Now?

“It's possible, but we would need to remove the stone from Vision. As terrible as the choice is I will not sacrifice my friend for it.” Lash replied, and Thor smiled at him.

“Why does Thanos want the stones?” Sif asked, and Lash answered, which surprised him.

“With all six stones Thanos could snap his fingers and erase half of all life across the universe in an instant. In his mind its a mercy.” Lash replied and the pin drop silence in the room was deafening.

“HOW IS THAT A MERCY!?” Rael screamed at the top of her lungs.

“How do you explain the mind of the insane? Thanos believes the resources of the universe are limited. If he destroys half of all life. Then that leaves more for the other half. The snap would be random. Rich, poor, good, evil. It won't matter. It all comes to an end.” Lash said, as he cast Calm Emotions on Rael who took a slow deep breath in response.

Return to Asgard immediately! Loki has escaped and the Tesseract is missing! -Heimdal shouted at them across his ever sight.

“FUCK!” Lash shouted sprinted out of the room.

-----

A short Bifrost trip later, and a thrilling ride through Asgard by holding onto Thor as he flew through the air towards the dungeons. Lash and Thor found themselves at prison cell with a laughing Loki, or more specifically an illusion of Loki. It was on repeat and had a message for them.

“Hello brother, and I'll assume Lash is next to you.” Loki's illusion said.

“Here I have stayed for days on end with nothing to do but read, and practice my magic. It was a very poor choice of Odin to allow me that pleasure.” Loki said with a sneer. As he paced in his cell, in the middle of the room was a ritual circle.

“But I figured it out! I didn't need to leave the cell to escape. All I needed was to call a friend. They always said that the infinity stones had a will of their own. So, all I did was call out for an old acquaintance and...” Loki's illusion said and held his palm out and space distorted. There in his hand was the Tesseract.

“It's almost as if the universe is begging to set me free. Goodbye brother, goodbye Lash. I hope we never see each other again.” Loki's illusion said, and started to laugh. Then it went into repeat.

“Noooooo!” Thor shouted and smashed his hammer into the ground cracking the reinforced cell.

“Thor...THOR!” Lash shouted at him and Thor stood up in fury when he looked Lash. He wanted to destroy something, anything!

“You need to go to Nidavellir.” Lash said to him, and Thor stopped as his mind slowly cleared thanks to Calm Emotions. “Ask King Eitri for the weapon called, 'Storm Breaker.”

“What will you do?” Thor asked.

“Prepare Midgard for a war that they can't hope to win.” Lash replied and raced out of the dungeons.

===========================================================

***Rift Story/Cross Over. Location: Space***

The Milano a ship belonging to the ones known as, 'The Guardians of the Galaxy' sailed through the ocean of stars. Responding to a distress call from Xandar Prime. It was sent out across the stars for any and all aid, for they had been attacked by Thanos. Anything involving the mad titan was quickly looked into by the crew. Many of them having had personal relationship with Thanos.

On board was Peter Quill aka Star Lord. A terran and half celestial on his fathers side. (But they never met Ego) Raised as a ravager he had turned his life around during the attack of the Dark Aster and started to use his time for a bit of good, a bit of bad, and a bit of both. Oddly enough he was good at it, most of the time. Next to him was Gamora a green skinned female that had extensive bio-mechanical implants surgically implanted in her body by her adopted father, Thanos. Gamora had spent most of her young life as a trained assassin, spy, and soldier in The Black Order but had recently freed herself with the help of Peter, among others.

Drax the destroyer sat in one of the seats aboard the Milano sharpening a blade. He was a Kylosian with murky green skin tones, stretched across an impressive physique. Along his body are intricate red markings in variety of detail that they are born with. Like a human fingerprint no two Kylosian markings are the same. Drax had lost his wife, and daughter to Ronan the Accuser who had been a puppet of Thanos. He was looking forward to plunging his daggers into Thanos's throat.

By his side was Rocket Raccoon aka 89P13 who...Well looked like a raccoon, a genetically enchanted raccoon with cybernetic enhancements riddled through his body that allowed him to do many things that most sapient species could do. Be a complete asshole to everyone around them. Though his story was far more complicated than that. He was tech-genius capable of making nearly anything as long as he had the parts for it. He had a witty, abrasive personality. Next to him, was his best friend and house plant, Groot!

Groot is a Flora Colossus, commonly referred as Groot, are a species of plant-like organisms native to the planet X. Groot possesses a human level of intelligence but only speaks three words. 'I am Groot.' However, despite his colorful language, those three words carry an entire language hidden away in a esoteric vocabulary where a word can have several meanings. Excessive time around a Flora Colossus allows one to eventually learn the language. Though it takes time, and a great deal of patience.

Sitting behind them all was another member of the Guardians though that could be debated. There sat Nebula a former Luphomoid assassin, and adoptive daughter of Thanos, and sister to Gamora. Luphomoids are blue skinned humanoids with black sclera in the eyes, and a hairless body. Nebula had extensive cybernetic implants to the point she is more machine than organic at this point in her life. She was made this way by her 'father' who was trying to make her just as good as Gamora. Out of all his children Gamora had always been his favorite. Something that had bothered Nebula for most of her life until recently.

(They never met Mantis.)

“Alright Guardians here we go! Remember Xandar has been through a lot so keep your snark, and rude comments to a minimum. Try not to steal anything, looking at you Rocket.” Peter said as he glanced at Rocket who was flipping him off.

“Do you think the power stone is safe?” Nebula asked softly from the back. Silence was her only answer, but it was enough of an answer for her.

The Milano stopped moving through sub-space and arrived in the Xandar system. They were not the only ones. Dozens of Nova Corps ships were popping in. While hundreds were sitting along the systems outer edge on the off chance Thanos would return. They were quickly scanned and ordered to report immediately to Nova Prime on Xandar. That wasn't a good sign.

The Milano flew over the ruined city of the capital and the entire crew winced. This was not the first time any of them had seen a destroyed city. No, Gamora and Nebula had even conquer several of them. But it didn't look as bad as they both had thought. When they saw reptilian soldiers walking around with the Nova Corp Peter started to swear up a storm.

“Oh look that! I wonder if their boss is on planet. I really want to talk to them about the gun they made.” Rocket said as he looked through the window of the ship.

“The gun that nearly got everyone killed?” Peter said with a snarl.

“Ya, the gun that completely destroyed Ronan, and saved a million lives. Ya, that gun, Quill.” Rocket replied.

“I am Groot.” Groot said, and Drax nodded in agreement.

“He'll be an excellent ally in the fight against Thanos.” Drax replied to Groot.

“What's happening to them?” Gamora asked as their ship landed. Several Saurus soldiers turned into energy particles and faded into the air.

“Who can tell with Asgardians. Maybe they are using their space magic to go home.” Peter replied and began to shut down the Milano.

The Guardians of the Galaxy came out of the Milano to meet with one of the Nova Corps soldiers. They were escorted across the city towards the military structure containing Nova Prime. However something unexpected happened half way there. Dozens of Outriders appeared from no where and attacked the group. One specific Outrider lunged for Gamora and placed a device on her. Before anyone could even call her name there was a burst of spacial energy and she was gone!

“Gamora!” Peter shouted and shot the Outrider full of holes. “Nebula! What happened to her!?” Nebula looked shocked, she didn't know what had just happened.

“She's alive! I've seen that work before.” Rocket said and pulled out scanner from his backpack.

“But where is she!?” Peter asked again.

“Thanos.... She'll be with, Thanos.” A Saurus Soldier said to them from behind but before they could ask any more questions the soldier turned into energy particles and faded from sight.

============================================================

***Rift Story/Cross Over. Location: Earth, Kamar-Taj***

The Ancient One sat in a lotus position in her own private study. She was currently focusing on the eye of Agamotto, the time stone. It sat in a golden necklace piece around her neck. Things had...Grown out of hand for the Ancient One. Dr Stephen Strange did not have a car accident, and was not currently studying in Kamar-Taj. Kaecilius never betrayed her and never sought out the Dark Dimension. Lash Jormungandson had optimized, and altered her very genetic code to give her Age Reduction. So now she aged just as slow as if she was channeling the Dark Dimension.

So now the great battle of the age fell to her. This had not been the plan. She had many amazing apprentices. Ava Starr who could naturally channel the Quantum Realm. Princess Shuri of Wakanda who could literally hack the very fabric of reality. Then there was master Kaecilius himself. Ever since his day with Lash and the process of letting go of his family at last he had been a different person. Still strong, disciplined, and brilliant. But he allowed himself to smile now.

She couldn't see the end. It was clouded, she had never been able to see past her own death. Now, her death never happened. Yet she still can't see past it. She was afraid it was time to pass on the torch of Sorcerer Supreme. Maybe retire in a little cottage and enjoy the rest of her days in peace? The Ancient One let her self smile a bit at that. Yes, like the universe would ever let her rest. Case and point as she opened her eyes to see a pair intruders in her private study.

Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive were both children of Thanos but also a bonded pair. Proxima stood at approximately 6'6” with light blue skin, blue hair, and goat like horns that grew from the crown of her head to behind. Her body was inhumanly long, and capable of greats feats of acrobatics. She held a tech spear in her hand, a three pronged point capable of shooting concentrated energy. Her power armor was a bio-mechanical suit that was covered in gray, and blacks.

Corvus Glaive was a lanky, equally inhumanly long individual with gray skin, elongated face with razor sharp teeth. His hands, and feet ended in claws, and he moved with a superhuman speed, and agility. An obsidian cloak was wrapped around him, and a hood half covered his face. His suit was form fitting and had very little armor. However this allowed him complete mobility, or so he claimed. He wielded a golden spear, with sharp point on the bottom, and a wicked curved edge on the primary point.

Both of them had slipped through the guards, and the spell wards in Kamar-Taj. But stood in preparation to attack the Ancient One. They both looked at her with trepidation. They had read the information on the Ancient One and knew how dangerous she could be. They slowly started to circle her, each one taking a different direction. The Ancient One folded out her wooden fan and started flip it back and forth as she stood up in one fluid motion.

“I do hope you cleaned your feet before you came in.” The Ancient One said with a small smile.

“Give up the stone, and your students will live.” Corvus said to her, raising his spear.

“Obviously you don't know my students very well. I don't need to protect them.” The Ancient One said in all confidence.

“Thanos will have that stone even if he has to burn this whole world to a cinder to get it.” Proxima said next. At this point they were on either side of the Ancient One.

“Thanos plans to destroy half of the universe if he obtains the stones. What incentive is that for me to give it up. No, no! I think you two both have been very naughty and need to spend sometime alone to think. Goodbye!” The Ancient One snapped her fan closed and two sling ring portals opened up and swallowed them both.

“Where did you send them?” Mordo said as he came in, sheathing his weapon on his back.

“The dimensional plane of dreams and nightmares.” The Ancient One replied with a smile and Mordo shivered.

“That place is a reflection of themselves. They will face only pain and torment there.” Mordo replied.

“It is what they deserve.” The Ancient One replied and opened her wooden fan. “Come! We need to prepare the others. An army is coming to our home, we must prepare.”

================================================================

***Rift Story/Cross Over. Location: Earth, Avengers Compound***

A Q ship floated above the Avengers Compound and Cull Obsidian had led an attack force to take the mind stone from, The Vision. Thousands of Outriders poured from their drop ships and raced after Cull as he attacked the compound. They were met with the Avengers, and two SHIELD hellicarriers that were now firing on the Q ship.

Now one had ever said that Cull had an abundance of strategy. He was mostly a blunt force object that needed to be directed. Unfortunately all of his other siblings were either on assignment, dead, or had betrayed Thanos. So he was alone, and bull rushed straight to his death. War Machine, and Iron Man were shooting at him from the air. While the compounds automated defenses created a bullet storm. Ripping the Outriders apart like children with bubble wrap.

Spider-Man aka Peter Parker was on the ground in his new Iron Spider uniform and activated instant kill. Four mechanical legs came out of his back and he was stabbing the Outriders, and caving in skulls with his own fist. Captain America rushed in and threw his shield into the mix while Nomad (Bucky) did quick and precise shots with his rifle. Then Luke Cage landed from a Quin-jet in the air and a bouncing silver ooze named Omni wrapped around Luke and created a symbiotic suit. Luke Cage barreled through the Outriders like a kid in a toy store.

“We are, Optimus Prime!” Omni shouted as he rode Luke into battle.

“No Omni, just no!” Luke said.

“Spoil sport!” Omni replied to Luke.

Cull Obsidian was wrapped up in a corrosive red energy and had his arms, and legs snapped, twisted, and pulled apart by Wanda. She was floating in the air with Vision by her side shooting any Outrider who got to close. While Pietro zipped around on the ground slicing, dicing, and making fries out of them. With one final snap! Cull was turned into a trash compactor cube. The Q ship in the air took heavy damage and fell from the skies. The Outrider drop ships were turned into scrap metal and the last of the Outriders were hunted down. Then in anticlimactic event the Bifrost activated and spat out Lash who looked around with a smile.

_________________________________________________

(Lash Jormungandson)

“So there is more coming?” Tony asked from his spot in the conference room. They had moved their meeting to a more formal setting. While the compound was cleaned up.

“Yes, Thanos will bring his ship here. With in it contains hundreds of thousands of Chitauri, Sakaarans, and Outriders. Thousands of Leviathans, and support craft. The Sanctuary two is a world destroyer. Thanos has decimated world after world in his quest of cosmic balance. With the stones he could do it all with the snap of his fingers.” Lash replied, and looked over at Vision.

“We have to destroy the stone.” Vision said, and Wanda his beloved fiancee stared at him in horror.

“No, hold on! We can remove it with out killing him.” Lash said quickly before Wanda set the whole place on fire.

“How?” Banner asked, joining the conversation across a holographic video call.

“When we first made Vision I made some...Adjustments in case we ever needed to remove the stone. Its incredibly complex but we can remove the neural links connected to the stone. Like brain surgery. Vision would fundamentally be the same. He would lose a few of his abilities. Like Telepathy, with out the stone. But he, himself would remain.” Lash continued with a smile towards Wanda, and Vision who smiled back at him.

“Great! So, do we do this here or?” Pietro asked, ready to move at a moments notice.

“We have to go to Wakanda.” Lash said, and all but screamed in fury! No, he wanted to say Asgard! They had the facilities to remove the stone. He could feel the 4th wall engine directing the conversation.

“Right that makes sense. I mean they are only like a few weeks ahead of me. But I guess they are better when it comes to that kind of stuff.” Tony said with a bit of a smirk.

“What about the rest of us?” Nomad aka Buck Barnes asked.

“The surgery will take time. Time we don't have. Thanos is on his way as we speak. He'll bring his whole army here. If he gets the stones it is over on a universal scale.” Lash said.

“Bring Vision here. We will see it done!” King T'Chaka said from the holographic video call.

“Alright people you heard the man! Let's get this done!” Captain Rogers said and the room jumped into motion.

Lash watched in agony as every one moved as if they were following a script, he included. They moved quickly, and efficiently. He glanced at Natasha across the room and she didn't even spare him a glance. Whether that be from the 4th wall, or if she was trying to focus on the current universe ending situation, who knew. The senior members of the Avengers were placed on an experimental Stark quin-jet and shot towards Wakanda at best possible speed.

Lash activated his holographic interface and had all of the remaining defensive platforms in the solar system move to surround earth. Many of them had been destroyed when The Black Order originally showed up. Lash was stuck in his work when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He looked up to see Wanda smiling at him. He closed his program to give her his attention.

“Thank you. I know the universe is at stake but coming to Vision's rescue means a lot.” Wanda said as she took a seat next to him in the quin-jet.

“Of course! We'll get past this. After all it's just another Tuesday for the Avengers.” Lash said with a smile, and Wanda's smile grew wider.

“Actually its Thursday!” Tony said from the front.

“Next up I'll have to sit down with you and Vision and see if we can figure out how an android can have children with an organic.” Lash said, and Wanda turned bright red, while Tony busted up laughing. Vision of course being Vision was actually interested if that could happen and came to talk to him about it. The whole flight took on a whole new atmosphere.

-------

Wakanda! Aside from the city of Inhumans, Attilan. Wakanda was one of the most technological, and spiritually advanced societies on the planet Earth. They were located in a relatively small country just from the heart of Africa on the south west side of Ethiopia. They are surrounded by mountains on all sides except for a great lake, and a few small passages through the mountains. Making it naturally difficult to enter in the area.

Wakanda to the general public believes that they are a third world country. Textiles, cattle farming, and a few mineral mines. However, a few governments, and people know the truth about Wakanda. SHIELD is aware of them. Though they do not know the true depth of the Wakandan technological advantage. Over the last few years Director Hill has been brought complete and utter shock by what the Wakandans have done so far.

Wakanda has used their technology to their advantage by, 'hiding in plane sight!' As it were. They have a complicated holographic, and energy shield that covers a majority of their country, and its cities. So when the world looks into the country, and from orbit all they see is vast jungle. Not understanding that a giant energy field protects them. This point was emphasized as Lash took the controls of the Avengers Quin-Jet and flew them straight into the jungle much to everyone's surprise.

They flew through a specific set of coordinates and passed through several security shields to pop out into a city next to a triple river bend. The Wakandan cities were a beautiful design that herald to their original African heritage, and shamanistic beliefs. Lash could see thousands of spirit wards in place all over the city as they flew towards the main transport hub next to the palace. The capital city of Wakanda known as Birnin Zana aka the Golden City. Had a true connection to the Ancestral Planes.

“Who hasn't been here before?” Lash asked as he turned around to look at everyone inside the quin-jet and everyone raised a hand. That surprised Lash, he at least figured Stark would have come out.

“Not everyone got an invite to the lost city of gold, Lash.” Stark said with a bit of snark.

“Captain run everyone through simple customs and courtesies as a military officer and you'll be fine. You don't need to bow, or kneel. Be polite, don't use crude language. Well you can, but they'll think less of you.” Lash said simply and stood up to move to the rear hatch.

“Sir's, Ma'am. Stand at attention when speaking to anyone. Clear, and concise.” Steve went through a few simple courtesies that any one who served in the military would know.

The rear hatch opened up and Lash was the first one to step out into the open sun of the city. The Dora Milajae crossed their arms over their chest, then broke the symbol by slamming their spears ends into the ground in a resounding, SLAM! Lash returned the gesture and made his way towards King T'Chaka, Prince T'Challa, with the queen mother Ramonda. Though Lash said not to bow, he did just that. A pleasant smile was all he received in return.

“Avengers, and protectors of the world. Welcome to Wakanda. I only wish it was under better circumstances. Come, we'll save the pleasantries till after the crisis has been averted.” King T'Chaka said to them all and turned on his heel to lead them into the palace.

“I thought you said not to bow?” Natasha said to Lash softly as she slipped by his side.

“Common courtesies, for an Asgardian that is common.” Lash replied in a casual tone. Lash glanced at Natasha and noticed she had cut her hair into a bob cut. The short red hair suited her.

“How is the family?” Lash asked, as they turned down a hallway. He noticed everyone else seem to leave them alone.

“Their good. Melina's pregnant.” Natasha said, her adoptive mother had been ecstatic when she learned she could have children of her own and practically pounced on Alexei.

“Wonderful, I'll have to send her a gift.” Lash replied, this discussion was torture. Normally they would joke, and enjoy playful banter. Now it felt like he was pulling his teeth out. Eventually they moved into a lab with Shuri waiting for them.

“The structure of the gem is polymorphic?” Shuri asked, she looked towards Lash for explanation but Tony jumped in to explain.

“We had to attach each neuron none-sequentially.” Tony replied with a smirk that slowly left his face when Shuri replied with.

“Why didn't you just reprogram the synapses to work collectively?” Shuri said in response, then after that it was all down hill.

Tony, and Shuri started to shoot ideas off of one another. Comparing notes, with the occasional jump in from Vision. While Lash moved to the end of the room to look out the windows. He was carefully watching the skies above. His defensive satellites hadn't reported anything but that didn't mean a thing. Especially if Thanos some how got the space stone some how. He couldn't imagine Loki being that stupid. But he could imagine the space stone just going to Thanos. Ding...Ding....Ding! An alarm went off on his holographic.

“It's starting...” Lash said and the whole room went quiet.

___________________________________________________

On the outer edge of the Sol System a ship jumped from the FTL point of entry. Sanctuary two had arrived. The ship moved through the system with great speed and ease. Only to slowly come to a stop just outside the orbital edge of Earth's moon. There in a defensive net was hundreds of orbital platforms built by Lash.

The platforms before had been scattered through out the whole system. Now, they surrounded the Earth in a protective net. But with the ship in sight they all propelled themselves through space. Each platform was in a pyramid in shape, nearly a half a mile wide, and Compression Transformation pulled the central point open, and a plethora of missiles, energy cannons, and automated drones swarmed out of them. Millions of kinetic, and energy born weapons fired in the vacuum of space.

The Sanctuary two repaid in kind as thousands of attack craft came flying out, and the point defense cannons along the wing tips fired in quick succession. The drones swarmed the ship like a killer bees attacking a grizzly bear. Annoying but ultimately with out any real effect. While the Earth itself was attacked by another means. Hundreds of portals so similar to the portals that appeared in New York now appeared over the surface of the planet. Thanos had the space stone.

From the portals came the Outriders drop ships. Rectangular objects with gradual points at the top. The poured from the portals and quickly crashed through the atmosphere and into the surface. No, they didn't just land near Wakanda. They landed everywhere! Even if they destroyed the stones, Thanos may just destroy the Earth out of spite.

____________________________________________________________

Six different Outrider drop ships came from the portals above Wakanda. The drop ships were massive structures. At least a hundred feet high, and fifty feet around. With giant engine's under its hull to slow its decent, and help it take off if it ever needed to in the future. The drop ships had several doors across its hull that poured out thousands of Outriders.

Outriders were genetically engineered cannon fodder of Thanos. They approximately 6'6” tall depending on their age. They have four arms, and two legs. Each hand has four claws. They have leathery black skin with yellow stripes. They have no discernible eyes, but can see through another sensory organ. As they grow older several pointed protrusions that grow from the back of their head, and neck. Their mouths have two sets of razor sharp fangs. They have a singular focus to obey any command given and will die to achieve their masters orders.

Now hundreds of thousands of these creatures were swarming across the whole of the Earth. SHIELD sent an all points alert to any and all agents in the field. The SWORD hellicarrier was currently fighting off Sanctuary two star fighters and losing badly. Governments across the world were calling for help. One of the drop ships aimed directly for the golden city only to explode when they hit the energy shield surrounding the city. So the other five landed just outside the dome.

“It's to late... We have to end this now.” Vision said as he stood up and looked at the incoming army.

“Vision get your vibranium ass back on the table. We'll handle this!” Tony said and sprinted out of the room to get his armor from the quin-jet.

“Wanda, as soon as that stone is out of his head. Blow it to hell!” Steve said and followed Tony of the room.

“Engage all defenses, get everyone not capable fighting to the bunkers. Deploy every warrior we have in Wakanda. The world is at war, and we are the forward bulwark!” King T'Chaka said and the Dora Milaje sprinted from the room to obey.

“Your highness if you will allow me to have brief access to your main computer. I'll down load everything I have on Thanos's forces into your data base. You can send it out across the globe to help win the fight. The more they know, the better.” Lash asked, and T'Chaka agreed.

Lash activated Connectivity as he raced out of the R&D lab towards the outer perimeter like everyone else. Every time Lash had visited Wakanda in the past he was never able to link up to their data base. Holy crap it was extensive, unfortunately he had no time to play around. He poured all his knowledge about them into the defensive grid, and sent as much as he could to SHIELD. But the King was right, this wasn't like New York. The world, no the Universe itself was at war with Thanos.

“Lash!” Natasha called to him, and pulled him to a stop. He looked at her in confusion. Then she jumped up and kissed him. Lash was clearly surprised because his eyes were open wide.

“I'm sorry, we had a fight! I was angry! I miss you!” Natasha said, and then sprinted from the hallway.

“Fair enough.” Lash said and ran off.

The entire city was in motion. Metal shutters were pulling over every available window in the city as automated turrets were coming out of the tops of buildings, and out of the very ground. Lash saw a tree be pushed aside as their was a turret popping up out of the ground. Dozens of dragon fliers took off from ports across the city. The dragon fliers looked like mechanical dragon flies with four mechanic wings on the back, and the back half could maneuver around like a dragon flies tail.

As soon as any of the ships, or turrets had a clear line of sight they started to fire at the incoming wave of Outriders. Their range was impressive! Lash reached the landing bay of the golden palace and reached his arms up towards the sky and used Manifestation and he called his 1110 Saurian soldiers. Portals of darkness, and starlight grew behind him and the Saurus Warriors, Veterans, and Elites poured out and sprinted towards the coming army on all fours.

“Saurian, feel like a festival of blood?” Lash asked his partner and Saurian growled in confirmation.

  • Congratulations User! Minor Shape Shift (Saurian) has evolved into Basic Shape Shift (Saurian).

    • Comment: With each evolution of the Users first supernatural power. They step closer, and closer to the edge of nightmares, and into reality itself. But when a nightmare is given shape what does it look like? It is in the eyes of the beholder do they see the void staring back at them.

    • Effect: A variety of skills, abilities, powers, spells, and traits have been changed due to this evolution. (See Tool Tip)

Darkness, and starlight swallowed Lash. While living smoke, and shadow exploded across the entire landing area. Hundreds of people stopped and tried to shield their eyes from the smoke. But the very world seem to dim for a brief moment. Then a resounding boom! Shook the loading area as a clawed foot came from the smoke, then another. The darkness receded to reveal Saurian in his evolved form.

Standing on his legs like a biped Saurian was approximately 80 feet tall, and 180 feet long from snout to tail. Four tentacles rose from his back now instead of two. Each one with four clawed pincers on each one. His tail once more took on a bladed point, the blades edge covered in spell script. Saurian now had four arms. His first set, then one directly underneath those. Each hand, had for claws. Just like his feet. His skull crest had grown serrated edges, and spikes. The diamond side points curved down, and forward like a helmet would to protect its wielders face. While the main point rose to prominence towards the sky. Several horns had grown from his snout along the center of the skull crest, to the top.

His six reptilian eyes glowed with magical energy as they moved to take in the scene around them. With a word his entire lower half of his face was covered in magitech armor. That's right, he had an entire set of armor to cover his body. Sleek, compact, and streamlined just like they always like it. Then Saurian growled in delight as he used Size Alteration and grew to the 100 feet tall, and 200 feet long! Not as tall as godzilla surely! But he was getting there. Saurian roared and used Rallying Call across the whole city. He gradually pushed off the ground with Telekinesis sub-flight ability. Flowing through the air like a Chitauri leviathan only a lot bigger! He reached out with Temporary Pack Bond and linked with anyone who considered him friendly. Which turned out to be most of the city.

“A festival of blood begins!” Saurian called out across the city and began to attack.

============================================================

(Prince T'Challa aka Black Panther)

“Great Goddess Bast.” T'Challa said in amazement as he watched the giant reptile land on the outside edge of the city and begin to rip through the invading forces like those old kaiju movies he watched as a child.

“Focus my prince.” Okoye said to T'Challa.

“Right, has the information Lash given been given out to our troops?” T'Challa asked, and Okoye brought up the designs of the Outriders and their known weaknesses.

“Vibration weakness, sound generated a specific pitch brings them great pain. Aside from that, they are essentially killing machines with no free will of their own.” Okoye replied and pulled her spear out and flip a switch. The spear became a sonic cannon in itself.

“Good, let us not keep our new guests waiting.” T'Challa said as he activated the panther fangs on his neck and the nanite vibranium weave created the Panther suit.

Then T'Challa felt something wash over him. He could...Feel Okoye next to him. He could see behind him as if he had eyes in in the back of his head. A cacophony of voices filled his mind and for a brief moment he feared he would go deaf. Then the voices grew quiet, but T'Challa knew if he needed to he could reach out and speak to any of them.

Yibambe! People of Wakanda. I'll fight to my last breath, I hope you will join me in glorious battle! -Saurian said across the link and the entire city felt empowered by Asgardian magic.

“Great God of Monsters!” Okoye called out and an almost predatory gleam ignited in her eyes.

==========================================================

(Tony Stark aka Iron Man)

“And the great god of hentai and tentacle porn can fly now! That is just what we need!” Tony said as he jumped into his suit and took off after the giant reptile.

“Jesus! I really miss the days when the weirdest thing was you flying around in an iron suit.” Rhodey said, as he flew next to him in his War Machine suit.

“Friday you up?” Tony asked his virtual niece.

“I've been up and about for a while now, boss! The skies above are real interesting!” Friday said in her typical irish accent. She produced a holographic overlay for him.

More than half of the defensive platforms had been destroyed by the Sanctuary two. While the rest were shooting straight towards the ship in and attempt to ram themselves into it. Thanos's ship had sustained only a little damage. While at the edge of the solar system dozens of new ships were showing up. They bore the mark of the Nova Corp. Along with a few Asgardian ships. Reinforcements had arrived but the Sanctuary two seemed more than up for the challenge.

“Alright keep me posted, me and Rhodes have to go deal with the fan club!” Tony said and smart rockers popped from his shoulders.

War Machine took a aerial position above the field and started to fire all of his rockets, and use his chain gun. Thousands of rounds were being shot through the use of a smart targeting system. Iron Man came to his back side and shot his smart missiles and used his repulsion beams to melt through Outrider skin. Falcon flew past them on his hard light energy wings and poured what he could on top of the invading army.

“How are these things even getting past the shield?” Rhodey yelled over the gun fire.

“They are overloading the barrier. One of out fifty get through, while the rest die trying. While the others are rushing around.” Tony replied and watched as a swarm of the Outriders were swarming around the shield and surrounding the city on all sides.

Then like a prayer being answered from on high a rainbow bridge crashed into the jungle outside the shield. The Bifrost spit out thousands of Asgardian soldiers including a really pissed of God of Thunder. Sporting a brand new weapon. Storm clouds magically appeared and Thor brought his weapon to smash against the Outrider drop ships. Just in time! Because a dozen more broke through the atmosphere and crashed into the jungle.

“We got more incoming! Let's give them something to chew on!” Tony called, and activated the iron legion satellites above earth. Each one contained hundreds of automated VI soldiers.

===========================================================

(Lady Sif, Goddess of War)

Sif raced out of the Bifrost sword and shield in hand leading the Einherjar, and the Warriors Three into battle against the vile forces of Thanos. Sif wore her full armor, covered from head to toe in Asgardian leather, and plate male. Her duel edged sword danced in her arms like a living thing as she cleaved through the four armed creatures across the jungles. Then a sight before was both breath taking, and horrifying!

A giant monstrosity the likes she had only ever seen once and it always brought a smile to her face. Yes, Thor was majestic, truly a warrior born, and gloriously handsome. But this, this was the sight of a true predator in their element. She watcher her friend Lash the God of Monsters appear outside the energy shield protecting the city in a flash of light he had once told her was a spell called, Blink. Then as the giant monster he rose he pounced onto a drop ship and ripped it.

The enemies that died in that one attack were with out number! A Einherjar soldier cheered at the sight and hundreds more cheered as well. Thor roared above them and raced to destroy another drop ship knowing him he would make a game out of it! Then Sif felt a wash of power roll over her body, mind, and soul. Voices, so many voices in her head that soon grew quiet.

Come my brothers and sisters! Today we fight for the glory of all people! -Lash/Saurian called across the link they established.

“Do you think Lash will give me enough ale to knock me out again!” Volstagg said, as he came around a tree and slammed his battle axe into an enemy.

“Last time all it took was a few glasses. I am sure he has only gotten better at it!” Sif replied with a grin.

“Let us finish this battle quickly! For we have drinking after!” Volstagg roared, and the soldiers around him cheered.

“Yes, lets!” Sif grinned and jumped into battle once more.

===============================================================

(Saurian, God of Monsters)

As glorious as the battle was, they were losing! Saurian roared in frustration as he ripped a drop ship in half, and one of his tentacles shot a Eldritch Blast and cut another one in half before it even landed. Asgard had shown up, Nova Corp had shown up. But the entire world was at war and thousands died every minute the battle continued. No one had any eyes on Thanos. Saurian didn't like it. Something was missing!

Golden fiery portals opened up inside the Wakandan energy shield and hundreds of Kamar-Taj students fled into the city. Oh no! As they ran out of the portals dozens of Outriders poured out from the portals before the masters could close them in time. The Ancient One was under attack! Saurian roared in fury and sprinted back towards the energy shield and used Blink to pass through the shield. He had been surprised it had worked before. But he wouldn't question his good luck. Then his good luck faded as the energy shield suddenly shut down!

Explosions rocked the entire city, specifically around the energy generators for the shield. Only the palace, and the bunkers kept their only minor shields in place to protect the royal family, and the civilians. But Outriders were pouring into the city with no shield to hold them out. Then dozens of space stone portals opened up around the city, and above it as Chitauri ships, and Sakaaran soldiers came flooding through.

We need help! Their in the R&D lab we don't know how! -Wanda screamed over the link, Thor yelled in anger and swung his new weapon storm breaker towards the lab. Thanks to the Temporary Pack Bond he knew which direction it was in.

“Saurian! The Ancient One needs help!” Mordo called from across the jungle, and grassy hills through a spell. He had not yet linked with him.

Saurian pushed from the ground and flew over across the grass. He didn't want to squish any of his people. He dismissed Size Alteration as it was a useless drain on his energy at this time and he shrunk to his dismal 80' tall, and 160' long form. They would have to purchase the master rank of that ability. Saurian wanted to be as large as possible for the future battles of the home reality.

Saurian landed near Mordo and looked down to see the Ancient One with a gaping hole in her midsection. He could sense trace amounts of the power stone flowing through her body like a poison. The eye...The time stone was missing. No! No! Saurian poured Sooth, Nature's Supplement, and Nature's Kiss into her. The Ancient One gasped for air, but would live.

“I'm sorry! He was to powerful. Something was wrong with my magic. I couldn't run, nor could I keep him at bay! He has them all! All but mind!” The Ancient One said.

Thanos has all of the stones but the mind stone. Move to reinforce the R&D lab! -Saurian called across the link and like a tide their forces turned around and raced back towards the city.

==========================================================

(The Vision)

The pain was excruciating! He felt like his very soul was being slowly nicked, and picked apart. He felt so helpless! But he didn't want to die, even if it meant saving the universe. No, Vision wanted to spend his life with Wanda. Lash assured him it was possible for him, and Wanda to have children in the future. He wanted that. He wanted that so badly. So he endured as Princess Shuri cut his nerve connections to the mind stone.

The stone continued to flare with warning. It knew Thanos was coming and was warning Vision of his presence. The mind stone didn't want to be used in Thanos's plans. It was a do or die moment. But an explosion shook the whole R&D lab and the mind stone sent another intensive pain through his body. But the lab continued to operate and Shuri moved with great haste. She had been studying in the mystical academy of Kamar-Taj and had created duplicates of herself to make the process that much faster. Soon now...Just a little more.

“Done! Take it out!” Shuri shouted and Vision reached up and pulled the stone from his head. He felt....He felt hollow. He held it in his hand. But...But he was still himself.

“Vision?” Wanda asked coming to his side, cradling his face in her hands.

“I'm alright...”Vision said with a sad smile. The mind stone flared with energy again and an explosion shook the lab. Outriders poured into the room.

We need help! Their in the R&D lab we don't know how! -Wanda shouted through the link they shared with Lash/Saurian.

“Wanda it's time! Destroy it now!” Vision said as he stood up to protect the woman he loved as the Outriders rushed towards them.

“Do it! Do it now!” Shuri shouted as she armed her self with sonic cannons, and her duplicates created magical weaponry buying as much time as possible.

Vision focused his energy into his mind.....No, the stone is gone. He no longer had an energy beam. So his fist would have to do. He adjusted his density thankfully that had stayed and he beat each Outrider down with enough force to shatter bone, and scatter brain matter across the walls. He made a knife edge with his hands, and forearms and cut through them like butter.

Wanda stood as far away as possible as she began to pour the red corrosive energy onto the stone. There was no need to be gentle about it and did her best to end it quickly. Then the windows to the lab shattered and Chitauri rushed into the room. Vision jumped in front to shield Wanda and took repeated energy shots to his back. Then pure electrical energy in the form of lightning crackled into the room.

“Finish it now! For I will be your shield, and your axe!” Thor shouted triumphantly! Then he was shot out of the room with a pure beam of purple energy.

“Yes...Let's finish it now.” A terrifying voice called out. Vision, and Wanda both looked up in horror as the mad titan Thanos walked into the room. His infinity glove missing but one stone.

“No!” Wanda shouted and froze in place. She, and Vision both were stuck, stuck in time!

“I know what it is like to lose.” Thanos said as he walked towards them. Taking each step with careful precision and thought.

“To feel so desperately that you're right... Yet to fail, nonetheless.” He continued and picked up the mind stone from Wanda's hands.

“It's frightening. Turns the legs to jelly. But I ask you, to what end? Dread it, run from it... Destiny arrives all the same. And now it's here.” Thanos said as he marveled at the last stone. Then he carefully placed it in the last position of the glove.

Cosmic energy of epic proportions burned through Thanos's body. He could barely contain all that raw, natural power coursing through his veins. He turned to look at the approaching army of would be defenders and glared at one specific one. But a smile grew across his face. He looked back at Wanda, and Vision and ran his hands over their heads like a father would a child.

“I am inevitable.” Thanos said, and raised his left hand up and snapped his finger.

==============================================================

The Snap! A cascading energy wave crashed through out the entire universe originating on Earth. The energy wave passed from one galaxy to another. But not only through the galaxies but through dimensions as well. They had failed, and it infuriated Saurian to no one! He looked around the city and waited for it to happen. But at least they wouldn't have to wait long. Saurian and Lash will fix it. They'll track Thanos to his garden and take back the stones! They'll....Uh oh...

The people in the city looked up in horror as Saurian started to turn to ash before their eyes. Then before they knew it. He was gone! One by one to rich and poor alike across the entire universe people, animals, and even plant life turned to ruin. While the mad Titan retreated to his garden and watched with a smile as the sun rose over a grateful universe.

Lash awoke in the black room on his back with a concerned looking Dawn standing over him with a grimace. He looked around the room and found it the same as he left it before. A vast ocean of stars, planets, and a sun above the room. Two beach lounge chairs side by side. While Dawn wore black yoga pants, and a black sports bra. Her hair was brown, and tied back into a pony tail. Her eyes were crystal blue, and she had caramel colored skin.

“I know I'm not dead...So what is it?” Lash asked, as he slowly got to his feet. Dawn offered him a hand up and he took it.

“Well we ran into a problem.” Dawn said, and pulled him over to the other side of the black room. She waved her hand and a cherry wood desk materialized and she produced two comfy leather chairs for them to sit on. She took the chair behind the desk, while Lash took the guest chair.

“Technically, you don't have any events left.” Dawn said next and this made Lash confused.

“Yes I do. In the MCU they pull the time heist and get the stones back.” Lash said next.

“Right, and how do they start up the time heist?” Dawn asked, as she began type away at the computer that materialized on the desk, along with the keyboard.

“Well in the movies a rat accidentally activates the quantum tunnel device in Scott's van...Holy crap!” Lash said as he realized the problem.

“Yep, you got it! You helped find and rescue Janet before the events of Ant-man and the wasp original time line. Ava Starr was cured, and is technically a training sorcerer. So that means that Scott had no reason to enter the quantum realm to harvest particles.” Dawn continued and pushed the monitor for Lash to look over.

“In your story/cross over event chain. Scott was never stuck in the quantum realm. So he never got to experience the time difference to suggest time travel. You got dusted. Which is not the same as being dead. So technically you don't have any events left and could leave now.” Dawn said, a frown was growing across her face.

“So I shot myself in the foot by interfering? I mean... I know I'm on Nightmare mode but some of those situations were ridiculous, Dawn! It's almost like the Universe wanted the snap to happen?” Lash asked, and Dawn kinda gave him a shrug.

“Its the 4th wall engine. Now, I don't want you to think it's impossible. Plenty of other Users have killed Thanos and the snap never happens.” Dawn replied, and pulled up a few examples. A lot of the information was missing like the Users ID code, and their overall abilities.

“An omega level mutant? A pure Kryptonian? Well of course they could win! I don't get it! I tried dozens of times over the course of the event chain to make changes. I wanted to hunt Thanos down ahead of time but the 4th wall engine kept preventing me from doing it!” Lash shouted at Dawn. She looked at him in annoyance and he shrunk back and mumbled an apology.

“I know your upset, Lash. But with you being on Nightmare mode the system tends to....” Dawn didn't continue but Lash understood.

“Cheat? Ya, the system cheats.” Lash replied back. That was pretty normal in games Erik had played in the past.

Play an RTS game on hard and the computer gets a resource multiplier. Play a 4x strategy and the computer gets tech bonuses, etc, etc. It was incredibly frustrating. It was one of the reasons Erik never played it on anything higher than normal in most cases. In truth Erik didn't want to play the Dream Engine on Nightmare Mode. But he would have to completely reset his Dream to change the settings. If he did that he would lose his bonus pay, and who knows what else.

“So why cant I cheat the system instead?” Lash asked, and Dawn perked up ready to listen.

“I took Superman's parents out of the time fragment right. For a Dream Point purchase? Can I spend Dream Points and go back down and do the time heist with everyone like it was suppose to happen?” Lash asked, and Dawn pulled the computer monitor back around to type out a few commands.

Erik, and Lash always liked it when Dawn wouldn't give him an automatic reply when they asked questions like this. Because that meant two things. Either no one had done it yet, or no one had made a rule against it yet. If the system could cheat why cant he? He can Warp Reality in his dream! Some small part of him told him to stop. Claim his rewards and go back to his home reality and finish up. Erik/Lash was even considering turning off the Rift system so he wouldn't have to deal with it anymore. It was seriously distracting. He wasn't sure if the rewards were even worth it anymore.

“Dawn, out of curiosity. Can I turn the Rifts off?” Lash asked, and Dawn shook her head.

“Normally you would be able to. But since you are on...” Dawn didn't finish the sentence because Lash understood. Nightmare mode, bleh! Maybe he'd tell the JLI not to send him anymore unless they really needed to close a specific Rift. Dawn flipped the monitor back over.

“In short, yes you can slip back in for the price of Dream Points. However it's expensive depending on when you want to slip back in.” Dawn said, and pointed at the options.

“So, if I want to return when the snap had only happened after a few weeks it will cost me 2,000 Dream Points!?” Lash said in agony! That was a lot of points to use. So he read the next option, thankfully the most time that past the less amount of points.

“1,750 DP after two years. 1,500 DP after three. 1,250 DP after four. 1,000 DP at the five year mark when it's suppose to happen. Dawn how much DP do I even have?” Lash asked, and tried to bring up his Dream Point total but no menu popped up.

“You can't tell me can you?” Lash asked, and Dawn shook her head.

“Its the reward system at the end isn't it?” He asked, and she nodded.

“Can I even afford the 1,000 DP amount?” Lash asked, and Dawn nodded with a happy smile. That was encouraging.

“OK, its not like I haven't spent DP on a Rift before.” Lash said as he pressed the confirmation button for five years later. 1,000 DP was subtracted from his account. His current total was of course blocked out.

“Do I get a timeline app? Or do I just get tossed down?” Lash asked, and felt the floor give out from beneath him. “Great, I'll just be sent down I guess! See you when I get back!” Lash called out, and Dawn waved at him enthusiastically.

========================================================

FIVE YEARS LATER

When Thanos snapped the universe in half he recalled his troops back to Sanctuary two and they left the Sol System in peace. The battle had only been a few short hours, but the whole world had been involved. Then a consensus was taken as the few governments still standing tried to understand what had happened and why. SHIELD was barely functioning. Director Hill was one of the many snapped out of existence. Thankfully Vice-Director Hand was still around and she stepped into the role as best as she could.

The InHumans of Attilan stepped up in a big way. They suffered just like everyone else. But they spread their people across the globe to help rebuild, and provide some sense of security by aiding SHIELD. An enemy turned ally, Samuel Sterns aka The Leader put away his plans for world conquest and just...Helped. As brutal as the means were, Thanos had succeeded in a way on Earth. The world was at peace. No one made war. Everyone was just trying to return to some resemblance of normal.

____________________________________________________________

Asgard had not been spared and the resulting snap dusted King Odin, All Father. Frigga had worried about Hela escaping her prison only to discover her first born daughter had also been reduced to ashes. Thor return to Asgard and took up the mantle of King. Though he was in part broken. He had failed to protect his people, his lands, and his friends. The Warriors three had been turned to ruin but Lady Sif was by his side.

Heimdall the great watcher remained and did his best to help support the people of the Universe. The Kree, and Xandar empires put aside their petty conflict and attempted to help one another. For the first time in centuries Kree, and Xandar were at peace. But despite their bleeding empires. Crimes was rampant across the Universe. With so few governments in place, and the ones that remained were barely holding together pirates were around in mass.

___________________________________________________________________

Back on Earth in the country of Wakanda the weather was acting strangely. Dark clouds formed for no reason and the smell of ozone poured from the skies. King T'Challa came out to look at the skies. T'Challa had been spared the snap, while his father, mother, and sister had been brought to ruin. The experience had marred him. But he guided his people, and helped the world through this troubling time.

“Husband?” Nakia called from behind him. T'Challa looked towards her and a smile grew across his face. Some piece of happiness had grown from these troubled times. He had at last married his child hood friend Nakia.

Nakia was a beautiful woman with chocolate skin, beautiful brown eyes, short curly kinky brown hair, and a athletic figure that was to fight for. Something T'Challa did often. They would often spar together, and spar at night in their royal chambers. Nakia wore a ceremonial garb fitting of the queen of Wakanda. Rich hues of purple, gold, and green. Though the green came from her river tribe heritage.

“The storm is acting strange. Do we know of any InHumans in the area capable of manipulating the weather?” T'Challa asked, and Nakia activated her kimoyo beads.

“We do have an InHuman capable of manipulating water. He is here for the festival. But he is incapable of anything like this.” Nakia replied, watching as the storm clouds swirled together and were spinning into what could only be a tornado?

“That is not normal! It's passing through the shield!” T'Challa said and pulled his own kimoyo beads out and accessed the shield format.

A tornado of pure storm clouds poured through the energy shield of the golden city like it wasn't even there. The storm crashed into the ground and ripped it apart. Grass, bush, tree, and dirt went flying in all directions. But the storm was focused on a specific place and did not move from it. Several dragon flier craft came from the city carrying InHumans capable of manipulating the environment. Along with the a royal razor wing jet. King T'Challa came out wearing his golden nanite vibranium weave suit.

Then something that none of them had heard in over five years came from the storm. A roar! A roar all to familiar to any that had fought in the battle for the stones. T'Challa's mask pulled back and shock was clear on his face. The storm clouds pulled back. On their knees was the god of monsters himself Lash Jormungandson. He was naked, and looked around in a confused manner. Then fell face first into the ground.

“Call for medical attention immediately!” T'Challa shouted at the soldiers, hearing their kings voice they moved to follow his orders. Nakia raced to T'Challa's side and looked Lash over.

“I thought he was dusted like the rest?” Nakia asked.

“He was, we all saw it!” T'Challa said, but a smile grew across his face.

“Maybe he brings news from the other side.” T'Challa continued his thought and smiled at Nakia who smiled back.

========================================================

***Location: Avengers Compound, upstate New York***

(Natasha aka Black Widow)

Natasha stood in front of the holographic projector trying to steer the conference towards a progressive position. They had been arguing for nearly an hour about proper positions of deployment. Standing by her side was Agent Peggy Carter as she continued to act as liaison between SHIELD and the Avengers. Director Hand was waiting her turn, as Medusa Queen of the Inhumans was translating for King Black Bolt.

“We were only trying to help. We will of course send supplies to the ruined town and help them rebuild if they will allow it.” Medusa said, repeating Black Bolts words.

“I understand, and thank you. Its appreciated. But next time you may want to ask if its OK to create a water flow damn with a terrakinetic next time.” Carter replied with a forced smile.

“Hay I understand beach front property is pretty pricey, I think they did them a favor.” Rocket said from his holographic projector and Medusa grinned at him.

“We'll keep that in mind.” Medusa said.

“Carol are we seeing you here next month?” Natasha asked the holographic projection of Carol Danvers aka Captain Mar-Vell or just Captain Marvel.

“Not likely.” Carol replied with a frown.

“What, you going to get another haircut?” Rocket asked, remarking on how Carol went from long blond hair to short.

“Listen fur face! The issues that are happening on Earth are happening on thousands of worlds. So you may not see me for a long time.” Carol continued, and everyone grew quiet. Then the Wakandan holographic image appeared and showed T'Challa in it.

“T'Challa? What is it?” Natasha began to say.

“He's back!” T'Challa said, and everyone in the room be it through the holographic or physically in the room.

“Who's back?” Natasha asked.

“Lash! Lash Jormungandson!” T'Challa said, and Natasha froze in place. “A storm appeared just outside the golden city and a tornado bypassed the shield. When it hit ground it revealed Lash! He's alive, but unconscious he's in Wakanda now!” T'Challa finished.

Everyone in the room looked back at Natasha, and a few people glanced at a very nice golden ring intricately decorated on Natasha's left ring finger. It was Lash's engagement ring he had crafted for her. Natasha had put it on the day he turned to ash. It only took Natasha a brief moment to realize what she wanted to do, and what she needed to do. Then she decided on what she wanted to do and sprinted out of the room.

“I guess we'll be seeing you in a little while, Carol?” Carter asked.

“I guess you will.” Carol replied and ended the call.

========================================================

***Location: Wakanda, royal family medical wing***

(Lash Jormungandson)

Lash slowly opened his eyes and looked around the puzzling room. The rooms lighting was a soft mellow light that was easy on his eyes. A long bay window was set for one wall with artificial shading. The wall next to it was a mosaic of art depicting the history of Wakanda. In front of him was a giant glass door that let him see several guards, and several familiar faces talking to T'Challa. Lash looked around gradually to discover he was wearing a hospital gown. Deep red tones, it felt amazing.

In Lash's right hand was another hand. Lash looked over and found a familiar sight. Natasha was leaned up against his hospital bed half asleep her hand in his. He gradually ran his thumb up and down her skin and she jumped a little rubbing her eyes and looked around. The sight of Natasha half awake was always one of Lash's favorite moments. Then he noticed the ring he meant to give her on her hand. A smile grew on his face as he reached over to caress her face with his free hand. She leaned into it.

“Is that a yes then?” Lash asked, and Natasha blinked at him then looked down at the ring. Tears fell from her eyes as she climbed into the bed with him.

“It's a yes... Please don't leave again.” Natasha said softly as she wrapped her body around him afraid he would fade away.

“I didn't mean to leave before. Sorry it took me so long to get back.” Lash replied softly, running his hand up and down her back.

“Better late than never.” She replied.

They stayed that way for several minutes. One of the doctors glanced through the glass door and Lash waved at him. The doctors eyes went bug eyed and he turned to inform T'Challa who whipped around like a cat who had its tail stepped on. He slowly opened the glass door and tip toed in. Natasha refused to move and Lash wasn't going to force her.

“Thanks for the quick rescue, T'Challa. How long have I been gone?” Lash asked him.

“Five years... Are they alive? Everyone else?” He asked, and Lash nodded gently an invisible weight that must have been tremendous on T'Challa's shoulders faded away. He breathed a sigh of relief and a smile grew across his face.

“Do you have a plan?” Rogers walked in with a look of determination.

“I do, but we'll need Tony's help. Where is he?” Lash asked.

“Raising a little girl with Miss Potts. He about flew over here himself when he heard you were back. He'll be happy to see you.” Rogers said back.

“Heimdall?” Lash said, looking up at the ceiling, it took all of five seconds before.

Brother Lash! You have returned!? -Heimdall called back.

“Alright lets get a holographic feed in here. We have work to do.” Lash said, and gently squeezed Natasha who hugged him back.

------

  • Congratulations User! Reality Warping has evolved into Minor Reality Warping.

    • Effect: Slight increase to spell power.

    • Effect: Slight decrease to spell energy consumption.

    • Effect: Slight increase to spell manipulation control.

    • Effect: Slight increase to spell range.

  • Congratulations User! Basic Cosmic Awareness has evolved into Intermediate Cosmic Awareness.

    • Effect: Total energy required to use ability 70%.

    • Effect: Cool down reduced.

    • Effect: Things the User and/or VI Avatar shouldn't know will be known.

“Everyone who got snapped out of reality is still technically alive. We were contained within a separate dimensional pocket space in a form of suspended animation. No one there was awake. But I believe I know a way to get everyone back but it requires us to break one of the fundamental rules of the universe.” Lash said to everyone in the room with him.

He was sitting in a room with dozens of holographic videos around him, along with dozens more in the room with him. Natasha was on his left and refused to let go of his hand, afraid he would turn to dust again. Clockwise around the room was King T'Challa, Queen Nakia, General Dora Milaje Okoye, Captain Rogers, Peggy Carter, The Vision, then a few people Lash didn't recognize. Then on holographic video call there was King of the InHumans Black Bolt, Queen Medusa, Director Victoria Hand, Vice-Director Phil Son of Cole, Rocket Raccoon, Nebula, Rhodey, Carol Danvers, Tony Stark, Dr Banner, Ava Starr (Acting Sorcerer Supreme), and Scott Lang acting CEO of Pym Technologies. While Heimdall was watching, and relaying information to Asgard.

“Well don't let us in suspense.” Tony said.

“We are going to use time travel.” Lash replied, and a majority of the room leaned back into their seats. Black Bolt did a serious of signs and Medusa translated.

“Time travel is incredibly dangerous, and potentially could make the situation worse.” Medusa translated for Black Bolt. That made several people look at them. Lash nodded in agreement and turned to look at Scott Lang who to be honest didn't know why he was even in the video call.

“Scott, have you done any experimentation into the Quantum Realm recently?” Lash asked, and Ava Starr replied before Scott could.

“Lash that is not a good idea, with out the Time Stone to help us navigate the complex passages of the quantum realm we could be loss to the passage of time forever.” Ava replied, and Lash agreed with her.

“But if it was possible to navigate the pathways of time. Could we travel back in time to retrieve the stones?” Queen Nakia asked.

“Why don't we just go back to when Thanos is a kid and you know...” Rhodey said, as he made a hand gesture to garrote baby Thanos. Most of the room looked OK with the idea.

“That's not how time travel works.” Banner, Tony, Nebula, and Lash all said at the same time.

“I am aware that Midgard cinema has played the role of time travel for many years. But I'll correct that little idea now. What hollywood has done was meant to be used as a expansive plot device to create an interesting story. That is not how real time travel would work.” Lash told the rest of the room and gestured towards Banner who illustrated his point.

“If you jump from your current time to the past. Then this new jump point is your current present. While your old time line is your past. So what ever changes you make to the new time line will only effect that branch reality. But will not effect your original time line.” Banner said, and drew a simple line on the holographic video, then drew a branch.

“So we'd be making a new alternate reality? Is that bad?” Scott asked.

“Good question, and technically yes we would if we keep the stones. But we wont. We'll collect the stones from the past, return to our original time. Snap everyone back into existence. Then send the stones back to their original place in time. Closing the loop, and preventing any nasty alternate realities.” Lash informed the room.

“So, how do we navigate the quantum realm? As the Sorcerer Supreme stated we do not have the time stone.” Vision asked.

“Looking at you, Tony.” Lash said to the man of the hour.

“Not that I am not happy with you recognizing my genius. But what makes you think I can do this?” Tony asked.

“Because you already have.” Lash replied, and it took most of the room a moment to realize the implications of what he just said.

“That's how you got out.” Rogers said to him and Lash nodded.

“I made a deal. I know how to make Pym Particles. But I don't know how to travel through the quantum realm with out the time stone. I was told to ask Tony Stark.” Lash said, as he leaned back into his chair.

“Who the fuck told you to come to me!?” Tony said, as he looked like he was on the edge of panic.

“Your daughter.” Lash said next, and Tony froze in place.

“....Shit.” Tony said, but a grin slowly spread across his face. “So my little girl saves the universe? I'm OK with that.”

From that point on they started to discuss the logistics of performing the impossible task of obtaining the stones. Lash was of course lying through his teeth for most of what he just said. He had never met Tony's future daughter. But he didn't have enough information to figure out quantum time travel physics. But thankfully since they were working with time travel they had plenty of time to figure out how it works. Lash did have the formula for Pym Particles he had take the data from Pym Technologies ages ago when he did that event line.

Next came the horrible issue of when, and where did they retrieve the stones? This wasn't the movies. Lash had completely brutalized the entire MCU time line with his own efforts. The power stone would be simple. Go to Morag before Quill takes the stone. Then put it back before Quill finds it. Easy. Also because Lash knew the formula to Pym Particles they didn't have to stress about only getting one shot at it. So they could plan, and pick their targets. If they failed to retrieve it they could just pick another time. Of course with Lash's luck they would screw something up and the TVA would show up to wreck them.

Despite the large number of people that were informed that they intended to travel through time to retrieve the stones. The public at large had no idea, in fact they had no idea Lash was back. He was politely informed by Director Hand that it would be a bad idea for Lash to publicly show his face since they had a memorial with his name on it. If he showed up again it would cause public outrage. Lash wasn't sure why it mattered but he agreed to it.

They decided to build the quantum tunnel in Wakanda. It was the most stable country in the world at the current moment and any material they would need would be at their finger tips. Lash got a lot of experience in Science Intuition as he help build the device. They also tested his own version of Pym Particles which worked perfectly. Sure enough a few days after they asked Tony to figure it out. He did, he was working on the design at home and Morgan his daughter asked him to twist the picture because it would look funny. Oddly enough it was a stable method. Ah!

------

One night in the R&D lab in Wakanda Lash was working on a portion of the machine as he crafted complex parts for the machine that would take careful position from a 3D printer. Thankfully Lash was a walking, talking, 3D printer. He was sitting down in his default form and pulling energy from the air then he smelled a delightful scent and looked up to see Natasha walking over to see him. She had a pair of sandals on, with a wrap around multi colored skirt, and a cotton T. Mix of Wakanda, and western fashion.

“Hey.” Natasha said, she came to sit down on a tool box next to him. They hadn't spent much time together since they started working on the device.

“Hello beloved, how are you feeling?” Lash asked, as he finished the part and moved to craft the next one.

“We found Barton, I'm leaving in a few minutes I just wanted to say goodbye.” Natasha said to him as she smoothed her hands over her skirt. Then she started to play with her wedding ring a nervous tick that Lash enjoyed to watch.

“Good, I think he could use some good news in his life.” Lash replied, Barton had not taken the ruin of his family well. Traveling around the globe as a vigilante known as Ronan. Killing was his main method of operation.

“Lash are you mad at me?” Natasha asked suddenly looking at him. Lash stared at her in confusion.

“Is this because I'm working so much?” Lash asked, he hadn't even gone back to Asgard to visit. Thor informed him there would be plenty of time for that once everyone had come back.

“No, I...I get that. Everyone is working around the clock to get this done. But.... I don't know, I feel like you are keeping something from me.” Natasha said, as she went back to playing with the ring he had made for her.

How was Lash supposed to respond to that? Yes, he was keeping things from her. The truth of his return. The fact that this was the last event in the story chain. After this he was going back home, and if he had anything to say about it would never go through another dungeon/Rift again! This Story Rift had taken so much out of him. This wasn't a vacation anymore, this was torture.

“There are many things I want to tell you. But physically cant. I do mean that. Do you remember our discussions about a geas spell. Several years ago now. A magical contract that literally prevents a person from talking, writing, or doing anything against the binding contract.” Lash said, and got several experience points in Acting for lying. When was that going to evolve? Lash used Acting a lot!

A look of realization seem to glow from her eyes. Natasha stood up and walked the short distance between them and pulled herself into his lap. He wrapped his arms around her and looked her directly in the face. She ran her fingers along his skin, and over his bald head. Then leaned in and kissed him gently. He returned the embrace and wanted nothing more in this moment than to just hold her.

“I want to have a family with you.” Natasha whispered into his ear.

“When do you leave to find, Barton?” Lash asked as he reached up under her cotton t. Natasha laughed and pushed his hands down.

“I'll be back. When this is all over...You, and me. Agreed?” Natasha said with a suggestive eyebrow wiggle.

“I'll try my best to do so.” Lash replied, and felt like his heart cracked. Natasha smoothed her hands over his face and tried to read him.

“Work hard.” She said, and kissed him one more time before she left.

Torture was the word to describe this issue. It was not physical pain but emotional. Lash could feel the comforting embrace of Saurian wrap around him like an old friend and it almost made the pain worse. Lash started to cry as he went back to work. He could do what he did with Clark's parents. He could use Dream Points to pull Natasha out of the MCU and into his world. But Lash was a different person outside the Rift.

Warden Lash, and Hunter Saurian were different from Lash Jormungandson. Thanks to the Dream Engine World Point back ground system. The two personalities were separate, and merged at the same time. The longer Lash stayed here the less, and less he remembered his home reality. But he knew the moment he stepped back through to his home reality. This place, this story/Rift would seem like a dream.

He already cheated the system once with Dream Points. Maybe he could do it again. They had been trying to figure out who would go where during mission day. Once again Lash couldn't say a damn thing about Vormir. Even with his new evolution in Cosmic Awareness. All they knew about Vormir was that Thanos, and Gamora had gone there. Then Thanos had left with out Gamora. Nebula had grilled Thanos when they found him on the garden retirement planet.

It was believed Thanos killed Gamora to get to the soul stone. More than likely Gamora tried to stop Thanos from taking the stone and that was why she died. They didn't know the truth and Lash could say anything. Someone was going to die. He was horrified that Natasha, and Barton would go. But if they didn't? Who would replace them? Thor, and Sif? T'Challa and Nakia?

Mission day eventually arrived and Lash was the only one on the quantum tunnel. He was covered in a tech suit a co creation of Stark nanotech, and Pym technologies. A nice suit with white armor, red highlights, and a housing unit in the shape of a quantum GPS. He looked back at everyone standing off to the side filled with nervous tension.

“It's going to work.” Lash said to them.

“Alright, 1945. Just after the Tesseract left Shmidt's hand and splashed into the waters along the arctic edge. Five seconds for us, long as you need for you.” Dr Hulk said from the control terminal. The giant green machine was wearing a lab coat, and a pair of glasses. It looked a little funny on him.

“In five...four...three...two....one!” Dr Hulk said and Lash helmet covered his face. The machine powered on and he was sucked through the quantum realm.

_____________________________________________________________

**1945, The Red Skull was just vaporized/Teleported to Vormir**

With a burst of blue, and white light Lash appeared above the water surface by about thirty or so feet. Then he fell into the freezing arctic waters and activated Transformation as the tech-suit flowed into his time GPS device. Adaptation quickly changed Lash's body to suit the waters temperatures and he swam into the depths looking for a needle in a haystack. But Lash was essentially a blood hound when it came to cosmic energy and he quickly found an energy trail in the water below.

Why was Lash here instead of another time. In Lash's battle for New York as soon as they obtained the Tesseract Lash built a housing unit for Thor, and Loki. They went back to Asgard with in the hour of finishing the fight. Unlike the original MCU. In the original SSR files they had tracked the flight path of the Red Skulls flight in order to retrieve the Tesseract, and in hopes of finding Steve. So, Lash would retrieve stone here. Then when they were done they would simply put the stone back for Howard Stark to find. Simple.

But of course as soon as Lash thought the word, 'simple' it of course didn't become simple. He saw the blue glow of the Tesseract in the deep water. Thanks to his many natural low light, and dark vision the under water life was very colorful! So he was more than capable of seeing a giant Kraken! A kraken had wrapped its tentacles around the stone and was attempting to swim away. Krakens didn't even swim around the arctic circle it was to cold!

A cloud of darkness and starlight swallowed Lash and out came Saurian in the mood for some sushi! Saurian roared and water rippled with the cascading energy. The kraken turned around and swam directly towards Saurian in a desperate plea to fight him. Saurian and the kraken were almost the same size. Adaptation and thinned Saurian out, and granted him fins to allow him to move better under water.

The kraken reached out and whipped its primary tentacles to slash across his scaled hide, and armor. However Saurian had four tentacles now and they all reached out and blasted the squid into oblivion thanks to Eldritch Blast. The kraken screamed in pain and opened its beak to bite down. Saurian reached out with his four hands and grabbed it before it could get close. Then he reared his head back, and bit down on the face of the creature. The kraken shot a massive ink splotch into the water attempting to blind Saurian. But neither of them let go of each other.

“Let go!” The kraken called.

“You let go!” Saurian growled back. Then they both froze in mild confusion.

“Why are you attacking me?” The kraken asked.

“You stole the stone I need.” Saurian replied.

“If I give it back will you let go?” The kraken asked next.

“Yes, I'll even heal you.” Saurian continued. There was this brief moment where neither of them moved, waiting for the other to yield.

“Why haven't you let go!?” The kraken asked.

“Why haven't you!?” Saurian replied. Eventually the kraken let go of the Tesseract and Saurian released the kraken. True to his word Saurian cast his nature spells on the beast and helped it recover.

“Why are you event up in these waters? Isn't it freezing?” Saurian asked as he pulled the Tesseract towards him.

“I'm not sure, I felt compelled to come out here.” The kraken said back to him.

“Well go in peace, and stick to warmer waters!” Saurian said, and started to swim back to the surface.

Saurian soon left the ocean depths with his treasure in hand. He swam to the surface and pulled himself out onto one of the ice bergs floating around the ocean. He also did it in front of a iron clad ship that look familiar. Crap it was the SSR ship. An alarm went off, and the crew started to jump into motion. Saurian grumbled and swapped out with Lash. Before the cloud of darkness, and starlight dissipated Lash activated his time GPS and went back to present day. From that day on the SSR and the future SHIELD would remember a giant kaiju creature swimming in the arctic circle.

Passing through the quantum realm was a harrowing experience to say the least. Covered in a thin piece of armor, and technology as he raced through pocket universes, galaxies contained with in motes of dust. Passing through tunnels, and passages. Seeing reflections of his passage ripple through time until with a burst of light! Lash was on the quantum tunnel platform with Tesseract in hand. His face shield came off as everyone raced up the platform.

“See, I told you it would work.” Lash said, holding the Tesseract in hand.

“Woooo!” Barton shouted in triumphant glee!

----

Lash was sitting in a very comfortable, very large body hugging couch in a briefing room with Natasha nestled right up on top of him. He was combing his hand through her red hair that had grown out a bit since he had been gone. While everyone else in the room was talking about the spots they needed to visit, how to retrieve the stones, and they were eating ice cream.

“So you fought a kraken?” Thor asked, looking at him with a smile. Lash had worried that being King would be torture for him. But he seem to do well with it. His hair had grown out, and his beard was trimmed, and well groomed.

“I did, though we came to a peaceful solution in the end. It was still an odd fight to have in the depths of the arctic. Though unfortunately I've already changed aspects of the time line. I believe the SSR in that time line has records of a giant reptile swimming through the polar ice.” Lash replied, and several people in the room laughed.

“We don't have to steal the scepter just after the battle of New York. We have Hydra's files on where the scepter was taken. We could slip in through the Hydra base. Get the scepter and return it with out issue.” Peggy Carter said from her spot in the room.

“Why don't we just take the scepter back and give it to Asgard when we return it?” Rogers asked.

“No, Rogers it would create a separate time line. As horrible as it sounds it has to be returned to Hydra. With out it, Wanda, and Pietro never get their powers. Vision is never made.” Lash replied to him.

“But Ultron is never made either!” Rogers said with a frown. “And like you said, it wont change our time line.”

“Let's focus on getting all the stones. Getting everyone back, then we can discuss the idea of rearranging another reality.” Vision said, bring the discussion to a close for now.

“So, we'll retrieve the Scepter and the Mind Stone from a Hydra safe house. We'll collect the Power Stone from Morag. We still need the Reality Stone, the Soul Stone, and the Time Stone.” Carter continued trying to get the conversation on track as she smacked Rogers in the ass. The soldier jumped a little and grinned at his wife, yes wife. They got married during the five year transition.

“I'll go and retrieve the Time Stone.” Ava Starr said. “One Sorcerer Supreme to another. Should make it easy.” She continued, and Lash had to agree.

“So that leaves the Reality Stone, and the Soul Stone. Do we have a way of pulling it out of Jane, or Lash for that matter?” Tony asked next, looking at the both of them.

“I can make a device to pull it out. But I think we may need to pull it out of Jane. I believe I would put up a fight.” Lash replied and Thor agreed with a sage nod. Though he kinda looked like he wanted to try and fight Lash.

“Well me and Lash can go and get the Soul Stone?” Natasha said softly from her spot on Lash's chest and his whole body went perfectly still.

“Power house, and a spy? A good combination. Lash any objections?” Carter asked, and Lash tried to scream but the 4th wall engine wouldn't let him. “Alright that's settled.”

Once everyone had their assignments they stood up, and suited up. No time like the present. A few people made some video calls. But nothing extravagant. Tony, Rogers, and Barton were heading to get the Mind Stone. Rhodey, Vision, and Nebula were getting the Power Stone. Ava Starr would be heading to get the Time Stone. Thor, and Rocket were getting the Reality Stone. While Lash and Natasha were getting the Soul Stone. They walked into the quantum tunnel under the watchful eyes of the friends, and family.

“Inspirational speech, cap?” Tony asked, and Rogers smiled at him.

“Five years ago we lost. All of us, some more than others. We lost friends, we lost family. We lost a part of ourselves. Today, we have a chance to take it all back. You know your teams, you know your missions. Get the stones, get them back. Most of us are going somewhere we know. That doesn't mean we should know what to expect. Be careful, look out for each other. This is the fight of our lives, and we are going to win. What ever it takes, together. Good luck.” Rogers said to everyone standing in a circle around the platform.

“He's pretty good at that.” Rocket said, and everyone laughed.

“See you in a minute!” Natasha said with a smile as she bounced from foot to foot.

“Initiating in five....four....three....two....one!” Dr Hulk said and in a burst of light they were all traveling through the quantum realm.

Rhodey, Vision, Nebula, Lash, and Natasha all appeared on Morag just outside the city that contained the power stone. They looked at each other as they nanotech suit pulled away. Vision walked over and placed a micro miniaturized ship of the Milano. Then they tossed a de-shrink token at it and it burst to its normal size.

“Find the stone. We'll see you in a bit.” Lash said. He hugged Vision who returned the embrace. Natasha hugged Rhodey, and for good measure Lash hugged Nebula who went stiff as a board. But Lash could tell she was thankful for the attention. She was not the easiest person to get close to.

Lash and Natasha climbed into the Milano and Lash set the coordinates for Vormir, at the center of Celestial space. The Milano sealed its rear hatch and took off into the upper atmosphere. Lash grinned at Natasha who looked back at him. When the ship engaged for the jump point it pushed them back into their chairs. In the movie it had seemed like the travel time was over and done with in a single jump. But actually it had taken them several days to get from Morag to Vormir.

“Dinner is served.” Lash said to Natasha as he took a seat on the other side of the holographic table in the lower decks of the ship.

“What is for dinner?” Natasha asked as she pulled the lid back and saw an array of wiggling grubs, and blood pudding with something swimming around inside of it. She paled and looked up at Lash only to discover he was trying to not laugh.

“What the hell is this!?” Natasha asked, as a smile spread across her face. Lash waved his hand over the plate and it turned into steak with rosemary potatoes. Natasha gave him a mock glare, and picked up her now restored glass of red wine. “Jerk.”

“Sorry, couldn't resist. But you should see some of the food types they have aboard this ship. I'm not sure if Rocket is an actual raccoon or if the term trash panda truly applies to him or not.” Lash said, and Natasha inhaled one of her potatoes as she was caught between laughing, and chocking.

“I'm confused about something. Why didn't we just go to Asgard and get Heimdall to send us to Vormir?” Natasha asked, and Lash froze mid bite as he looked back at her.

“Eh.” Lash stopped and thought about it. Natasha grinned at him.

“Some of the highest IQ's in the galaxy and I'm the one that figures that out!” Natasha said, and looked incredibly satisfied.

“Well... Do you want to watch, Princess Bride?” Lash asked, and Natasha's eyes lit up!

“Did you bring it!?” She squealed in delight as Lash activated a holo screen on the wall.

Lash ended up crafting a leather couch for them to sit on and they watched several different movies. Lash had to get up periodically to adjust their course, and fly past pirate patrols. But all in all it was an enjoyable time on the ship. He feared he would not get another chance with Natasha. They settled into a comfortable passage of time. Until they reached their last jump point and entered the decayed system of Vormir.

“You ready to finish this?” Natasha asked, as the rear hatch lowered for them. She reached out and took his hand in her own.

“Yes...” Said in a bitter tone. Natasha glanced up at him, then looked back at the ship.

“You know, I bet we could buy a cabin the woods when this is done. Just the two of us for a while.” Natasha offered, miss understanding the situation. Lash looked at her and a sad smile grew across his face.

“I love you...” Lash said, as a tear rolled down his cheek. Natasha reached up and kissed him softly.

“I love you too.” She said, a smile on her face.

The walk from the ship towards the mountain in the distance was one of the longest, and shortest walks of Lash's life. Each agonizing step took him towards his destination but he wished there was more time. The mountain loomed with storm clouds above it. It looked like the mountain top was in the exact eye of the storm. But the storm didn't move. From the distance the top of the mountain had a temple, or a structure placed. Looked like a tuning fork that pointed towards the sky.

“Welcome... Natasha, daughter of Ivan. Lash, son of Jormungand.” A ghostly male voice said from the shadows of the mountain. Natasha whipped around, raising her compact sub-machine gun from her exoskeleton suit but Lash reached out and pulled her arm down.

A ghostly wraith made from smoke, and shadow pulled itself from the rock face. Its ghostly apparition filled Lash with dread. As it gradually floated towards them. It landed and peered at them from under its hood. Then a trick of the light washed over the ghost and revealed its face. A red skulled face with hollow dead eyes, and a lifeless energy.

“Red Skull, Johann Schmidt.” Lash said the name like it was poison to be spit out. Natasha's eyes went wide.

“There was a time I went by that name. But that time has come and gone. Now, I am simply a guide to a treasure I can not dare to posses.” Red Skull replied to him.

“Where's the Soul Stone?” Natasha asked.

“Follow me and I will show you the way. But beware it extracts a terrible price.” Red Skull said as he gradually floated along the path up to the top of the temple.

“How did you know he was up here?” Natasha asked, Lash just shook his head and followed along.

They climbed the mountain and the temple came into being. Rough stone, and rock became carved stone with intricate designs. Mosaics covered the walls of different people arriving and failing to retrieve the stone in question. A plethora of alien writing was scattered across the walls. Lash translated some of it for Natasha but in the end they all said the same thing. Turn back, it's not worth it. Love will only shackle you with pain, and guilt. As they continued to climb Natasha's footing became confident, she squared her shoulders, and raised her chin.

“What you seek, lies in front of you. As does what you fear.” Red Skull said as the came to the top of the mountain.

The towering stone structure above pointed like a fork towards the skies. A collection of geometric shapes were carved into the stone floor beneath their feet. Circles, triangles, and deep grooves into the rock that led towards the cliff's edge. The storm raged above them, casting rain, hail, and snow onto them but it was oddly warm. Red Skull floated over to the edge and looked back at them.

“The stone is down there?” Natasha asked as she carefully walked towards the ledge. Lash stayed about fifty of so feet from it. He dared to not go any further.

“For one of you. For the other... In order to take the stone. You must lose that which you love. An everlasting exchange. A soul for a soul.” Red Skull finished speaking, Natasha turned around to look at Lash who had tears falling from his eyes.

“No!” Natasha said and marched right up to him and pegged him with a glare that made him step back.

“They need you more than me!” Natasha said to him, and Lash crashed to his knees and pulled her into his arms.

“Please don't...” Lash said to her, as he started to sob. Natasha slowly pulled off her wedding ring and forced Lash to open his hand to take it.

“I love you, thank you for coming back for me. But this time, its my turn to save the world.” Natasha said to him and leaned down to give him a kiss.

Lash tried to hold on to her but he felt something pull his arms apart and he felt Natasha walk away from him. He looked up at her as she walked towards the edge, and turned around so her back was towards the edge and she was facing towards him. She mouthed the words, 'I love you' then jumped off the ledge. Lash screamed in fury and smashed his fists into the stone floor. Cracking it from the force of impact. A brilliant light swallowed the temple and he woke up in a pond of water a few miles from the Milano. In his hand was the Soul Stone.

-----

The quantum tunnel hummed with power and with a flash of light the time travelers returned with their rewards for a job well done! The whole room cheered as they started to congratulate one another, then watched in confusion as Lash dropped to his knees and started to sob. Natasha was missing, she hadn't returned with Lash.

Stupid! Stupid! Lash beat his fists into the glass mirror of the machine with out any real energy put behind it. He knew what was going to happen! He knew when he first started this story event chain what would happen to Natasha. He wanted to change it! Why hadn't he been stronger! Why! FUCKING WHY!? Barton collapsed on his knees next to Lash and started to cry as well. He held on to him, and soon the rest of the group came to his side.

“Can't we use the stones to bring her back?” Dr Hulk asked.

“No.... She.... She traded places with the stone. There is nothing to bring from the other realm. She's.... Gone.” Lash said between his tears.

“We have to make it worth it...” Barton said next.

“We will...” Rogers replied. “We will.” Then he came to kneel next to Lash and held on to him.

“I'm sorry, I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough.” Lash said over and over again. Fuck he really wanted to go home.

After a few more minutes they eventually pulled Lash off the quantum mirror. Under heavy Wakandan guard they escorted the stones to the R&D lab and started to craft a glove to hold the power of the stone. King Eitri, still alive from the ruin. Came down to Midgard and offered to help design the glove. Lash was like a zombie as he waited for the glove to be finished. Through careful precision and technology with nanotech, and Nidavellir artisan design the glove was made. Capable of growing to adapt to any hand.

“So, who's going to snap their fingers?” Rocket asked, as he was looking over the glove.

“I'll do it.” Thor said as he stepped forward.

“No...” Lash said with a growl and Thor looked back at him. “This is on me.” Lash said as he stepped forward between everyone.

“King T'Challa, Director Hand.” Lash called out, Hand was on a video call. “King Black Bolt.” Lash looked at them. “When I bring everyone back they will appear in the exact place they faded from. This means that if they were on a ship they will end up in the water. If they were on a plane they will be in the air.” Lash finished and a look of realization came over every ones.

“Friday, work with my tech-spirits to do a quick search for all ships, and planes that were mobile during the snap. Otherwise there are going to be a lot of people stuck in the middle of the ocean, or suddenly going for a sky dive.” Lash finished his thought process.

“Heimdall, please notify the Nova Corp that we are about to bring everyone back. I shudder to think about all the people that are going to appear in space inside a vacuum. But its better than nothing.” Lash said next.

I will do so now. -Heimdall replied.

“Hopefully they will at least appear on the planet they left. Otherwise everyone be in a different orbit.” Tony said next, and that made Lash pause. Did it work like that?

“No User, you are over thinking it.” Dawn said from above. He could just imagine that would be one last fuck you from nightmare mode.

“Where's Nebula?” Lash asked, realizing she wasn't in the room with everyone. The was an thunderous crash! That shook the whole complex and from the outside window rose a mini version of Sanctuary two, it gradually grew bigger until it towered over the city.

“I knew I forgot something.” Lash said, and he pulled the glove on.

“Wait!? What the fuck happened!?” Dr Hulk screamed.

Snap! The glove slid into place and a pain that Lash could not describe coursed through his whole arm. Each stone that connected to the glove, and in turn connected to him synced up one by one. A surge of energy ripped through body, mind, and soul. Lash bit back a scream as he collapsed to one knee and tried to keep his palm open.

The power stone linked up and a rush of purple energy raced through him. His flesh started to melt. The space stone linked up, and he felt his body shift in and out of place. Like it was trying to be in more than once place at a single time. Then the reality stone linked up and it felt like an old friend had opened his arms to hold on to Lash. Good to see you too. The soul stone linked up and he felt them, he felt them all hidden away in the stones power. Each, individual person waiting to be released. He looked, but in the end he knew. Natasha wasn't there. The time stone linked up next and he felt like he was frozen in place. A paradox of time, in, and outside of time simultaneously. Then the mind stone linked up and he could reach everyone he had ever known with a thought.

C-53, Midgard we have the stones. We are about to snap everyone back into existence. Be aware an alternate time line Thanos has reached C-53 outside the capital city of Wakanda. -Lash shouted through his mind and anyone who could respond did.

“EVERYONE COMES HOME!” Lash shouted and snapped his finger! WOOSH!

Lash blinked and found himself in the middle of no where. He was walking through water that was maybe two or three inches deep. The sky was a technicolor of every shade of light Lash had ever seen it was weirdly beautiful. In the distance he saw a simple stone dais a few feet out of the ground. There on the dais was a throne with a person sitting on it. Lash gradually made his way towards the throne to see who was sitting on it.

A man, an older human man with with a groomed white mustache, black rimmed glasses, and gray to silver hair pulled back. He had a calm, warm presence to him that naturally made Lash relax in his presence. He was sitting in the throne in a relaxed position and he was reading a comic book? He wore a pair of slippers, gray dress slacks, a wool vest, and had a pipe in his mouth. He looked up at Lash and smiled at him.

“Stan Lee, I was wondering when I would see you.” Lash said.

“I have to say its been fun watching you. A 'What if...?' story for the telling. Needs some work on character growth and development. But progression was nice, and the amount of words per chapter are amazing. Keep it up, I think in a few years you'll be something amazing.” Stan said to him.

“Now, get back out there and go kick his ass!” Stan said with a grin and winked at Lash. WOOSH!

Lash found himself on his back looking up at the ceiling. The entire room shook several times as he heard distant explosions and an alarm was going off in the background. His entire right arm was killing him but he could feel his Superhuman Healing, and Regeneration rapidly fixing the problem. He saw someone come to stand over him and Lash smiled up at him.

“King T'Chaka it's good to see you again.” Lash said to the late king who had been dusted. The older black panther smiled at him.

“Welcome back, Lash. It is good to see you to. But I believe there is a battle outside that needs your attention if you are ready to fight?” T'Chaka said and offered him a hand up.

Lash's arm cracked, and peeled as new skin was replacing the old. Flakes of his old dead flesh fell off and turned into ash. He looked around the room and found that the glove with the stones had been secured behind a sealed vibranium vault. How did he know that? He could feel the energy from the snap connecting him to it. He turned around and looked towards the window to see a beautiful sight.

Sanctuary two was in ruins! One of the wings had been blown off and a huge impact crater was through the center portion. Captain Marvel was flying through the air attacking necrocraft, and leviathans. He saw lighting strikes hit the center of the battle field where he could only assume Thor was fighting against something. Lash called upon Transformation and sprinted out of the R&D lab to join the battle as quickly as possible.

Now, as Shape Shift had evolved that meant his Transformation was different as well. He had four tentacles on his back, his tail had returned to being a serrated blade edge but with new spell inscriptions along it. He had four arms. Just like his tentacles he naturally knew how to control them with out any difficulty. He used Acceleration, and Cat's Grace on himself and sprinted through the city streets racing towards the battle.

He used Temporary Pack Bond and linked up with everyone with in a 25 mile radius and felt a wash of relief and joy crash into him. They had all come back! He saw dozens of sling ring portals opened as constant stream of reinforcements poured into battle for the first time in a long while. Thanos was not in control of the battle and it was clearly a new experience for him.

Lash jumped throug the crowds and entered the battle field. His tentacles created red Psionic Blades and he tore through Outriders, and Chitauri with ease. Then he saw a familiar all be it unwanted sight. Cull Obsidian was fighting against several Wakandans, and Ravager soldiers. Lash turned towards him and raced forward. Cull turned to watch the approaching target with a grin. Lash dove straight into the ground with Earth Swim much to the surprise of Cull. Then Lash stuck his blades straight into Cull's crotch from beneath the ground and spun up into the air like a top. Cull became a scattered red mess!

“Aha!” Lash said with a grin then took off towards Thanos.

I figured it out! We look like one of the zerg hybrids! -Erik the gamer said across the link they shared. That was a question to ask at another time.

Thanos was battling against Thor as the God of Thunder swung his hammer, and axe against the mad Titan. Thanos wore a combination of gold, and silver armor that covered him nearly from head to toe. Portions of his body were exposed but only to a minimal level. He battled against Thor using a double edged sword that could spin on its primary handle like an axle. It could fly out, and come back to him like Captain's shield.

Thor swung his axe towards Thanos face and he was blocked by the blade. Thanos snarled in frustration as he kicked Thor in the chest and swung his sword only to be pushed back as two red energy blades crashed into him, and another two swung towards him. Thanos rolled back out of the way but was pursued by Lash. Mud Marsh was used and Thanos sunk into the ground by several feet. But right before Lash pounced on him. Thanos was pulled out of the mud and brought before Ebony Maw.

“Go Lord Thanos I'll hold them off!” Ebony said, and was soon decapitated Lash as he used Blink to get behind him...Again.

“Worthless!” Thanos said under his breath as Lash jumped at him and swung his tentacles around as Lash used Elemental Manipulation, and Darkness Manipulation thanks to extra limbs he do both at the same time. His claws danced in intricate patters as spikes of stone popped from the ground.

“Your the one that used the stones! You know there power!” Thanos said as he rolled to the side and threw a Sakaaran into the way of a blade of darkness.

“I know enough to know that you are not worthy of them!” Lash shouted at him and dove to the side as a leviathan raced past.

“I have spent my life trying to balance the Universe, who are you to tell me otherwise!” Thanos yelled back.

“Maybe it's because I'm not insane! Maybe it's because I know it would be better to make more resources than it would be to murder trillions! But when it was all said and done I found it interesting that you, and all your forces were spared from the snap!” Lash shouted at him.

“When the snap happened before you retreated but none of your people faded to dust! Your armies remained in power! You didn't fade! Yes, its real easy to make the sacrifice no one else can make when you don't lose anything!” Lash yelled and used Blink to appear behind him but was back handed before he could swing.

“You have no idea that I've had to give up to follow my destiny!” Thanos called back, and was struck by lightning as Thor came down and slammed his axe into Thanos's chest plate. Thanos punched Thor but only received a short break before red corrosive energy wrapped around him and started to tear his armor off.

Wanda was floating above her hands bathed in red energy as her eyes glowed. Vision floated next to her keeping her safe from any enemy fire. While Pietro zipped over and pulled Lash to his feet. Hundreds of Black Order soldiers tried to rescue him but they were stopped as a shot of cosmic energy from Captain Marvel came crashing down around them. Lash used Blink once more and appeared just above Thanos with his blades out like a scissor.

Slash! The wet sound of Thanos's head being cut off was sweet music to Lash ears! So much so that he felt he could listen to it for years to come. But before the first drops of blood even hit the ground the world around him slowed to a crawl. Though he landed on his feet, he rolled forward expecting another attack only to arrive inside the black room with Dawn waiting for him.

“Congratulations!” Dawn shouted and threw party confetti into the air! Lash looked towards her, confusion clear on his face. He was still in a mad rush that came with battle but he felt his heart slow with each passing breath.

“Am I done?” Lash asked, as he looked towards her.

“Yes, Lash you are done. Just in time as well! It's time for you to long out and move around a bit! We can settle your world point back ground, and rewards when you get back. Find out what happens to everyone. Then we'll have you back in your home reality in no time!” Dawn said and came to give him a hug.

“Thank you, Dawn. Log me out.” Lash said and felt his connection on the Dream fade away...

First Draft, Raw, Unedited. To my readers, if I am ever behind on my chapter release time. I normally put up a note on my profile page so my readers will at least have some notice. This chapter took a long time to write, not just because of the word count. But because it was...emotionally hard to write. Though I think I did better this time than I did with the Time Fragment. Still got plenty of room to improve. Anyways, thank you for reading!

53