DC2 PRESENTS... TEN YEARS LATER PRELUDE #2 Feb 1, 2019 14:02:00 GMT -5
Post by Charlie on Feb 1, 2019 14:02:00 GMT -5
Written by Charlie Wilkins
In The Beginning…
There are moments in time that are immutable. To change them would mean fracturing the fabric of reality, causing shards to break off and collide with themselves, destroying everything that came after. The act would send ripples back that would pollute the past and mean that whatever was meant to come to pass didn’t, and the future would become a maelstrom of mutation and horror…
…A toxic universe, unable to sustain life as we know it…
There is a balance. There is order and there is chaos, in equal measure. At times, the scales can shift in favour of one over the others, but the very nature of the universe means that it will return to equilibrium after a time. For every great darkness, there is universal utopia, and then there is normality, for however long that lasts…
But in the ancient past, long before the golden age of heroes was born, or time was even measured, and definitely long before the Omega Crisis manifested, a race of super-intelligent beings experienced their most catastrophic schism.
From the ashes of the most catastrophic destruction, the singular reality that had existed up until that point had ever experienced, would eventually come the greatest peacekeeping force the galaxies would ever know, but back then, at the beginning? All they knew was the fear that came with learning that history wasn’t what they thought it was.
For all the good it would do, the door to the laboratory on Maltus was sealed shut from the inside. The lead scientist of their race felt safe in there, but when the robotic sentinels of justice created by his people smashed through it and flooded inside, he knew that it was nearly over-- but did he have enough time to bring his experiment to an end?
The Infinitors stood at nine-feet tall, their sleek silver-chasses housing arcane technology developed by the Maltusians, their bodies long and thin but with thick gauntlets from just below their elbows all the way down to their finger joints that crackled with catastrophic emerald power.
“You would send the Infinitors against me? Our peacekeeping force, designed to protect the universe, and you would use them against me-- Krona!-- the scientist supreme of Maltus?”
Krona stood before an immense screen, raging at the audacity of his brother-and-sister scientists. Maltus was a place of logic and exploration, and now the people he led were rebelling against him? His anger was indescribable. Namely, because such emotions were slowly being weened out of his people’s vernacular…
“The Infinitors are designed to keep all living beings safe,” said Ganthet, as he joined the robotic forces along with the rest of the Maltusian scientists. “You have betrayed your sacred oath to the universe, Krona. You no longer lead the science-legions of Maltus.”
“And now you do? You would lead our people into the next era of scientific exploration? You are an intellectual coward, Ganthet! You don’t have what it takes to lead us into our next phase of existence!”
Sayd, a female Maltusian, shook her head. “We do not require a leader, Krona. We will hold our own council, and that council will decide the course our species will take from this point forward.”
Krona felt something bubble up in his stomach, but it was more than that. Something went off in his head, at that moment. He felt betrayed. After all these tens of thousands of years, all these centuries of work, and they didn’t care. They didn’t want to be involved with the greatest single moment in any Maltusian’s life.
He grinned, a mad, wicked grin, and said, “Then let this be your first decision. Watch or run.”
Krona slammed his hand down on the activation switch next to him, and the immense reality-piercing viewer before them began to start up.
Immediately, purple and black swirls of entropic energy swam together around a vortex of white and blue light that began to coalesce before their very eyes.
The Infinitors raised their gauntlets but Ganthet threw his hand up to stop them. “No! The energies involved are catastrophic! It cannot be destroyed! Krona-- deactivate it! Deactivate the viewer immediately! Krona, you know the legends…”
Krona shook his head, clenching his fist and pointing at the viewer as the images progressed. “Bah! Such stories are tales only fools would fear. I seek to learn the origin of the universe! And you talk of the legends of destruction should I learn the truth! You are a dolt!”
In the centre of the spiral at the beginning of time, a shape began to become clear, and it drew the wide, curious eyes of Krona. He was enraptured by the ultimate secret, and it was his acute mind that led him here, without the help of his brothers and sisters.
“And image forming? A shadow… like a giant hand… with something… a cluster of stars inside.”
Ganthet was horrified. “Krona! The hand… what is it doing?!”
The cosmic hand reached out. The cosmic hand closed into a fist. Energies lashed out, and history came to pass. What was once a singular reality fractured into infinite variations, a veritable multiverse, all due to the meddling of one man-- Krona. His emotional state reverberated out across the cosmos, causing the inversion of their home universe that spawned the anti-matter realm.
The Infinitors took him into custody. He couldn’t be allowed to roam free, so the Maltusians, in their last act as a race under that name, reduced Krona’s form into disembodied energy, doomed to travel the universe harmlessly forever, watching all, interacting with none.
Hoping to atone for the multiversal crime one of their own had committed, the Maltusians became the Guardians of the Universe, and created the Green Lantern Corps… but that’s a story… for another time…
In The Past…
The first law of thermodynamics-- also known as the Law of Conservation of Energy-- states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.
With that in mind, a raging, spiteful and insane creature transformed into energy—such as Krona-- would still a raging, spiteful and insane. Being transformed into energy wouldn’t change one iota of that fact. But instead of a beating heart in his chest and all that entailed, the new version of Krona was eternal and everywhere, and that made his madness magnitudes worse.
After his forced metamorphosis, Krona had been stretched so thin in his infinite form, that he had become a second skin across the face universe.
Suffocating. Strangling. Restricting.
But the other thing about skin was that it tears. It breaks. Skin acts as a barrier separating one world from another, and once the damage is done… worlds lived and worlds died, and nothing would be the same again…
The first time Krona manifested back in the universe, a child, for reasons completely unknown to himself, struck their sibling. A momentary pang of anger and madness bubbled up inside the child, and with the back of their hand, they struck their sibling, sending them to the ground in tears. The child did not know why they felt such anger at their sibling, but they knew what they had done because of it, and the weight of that shame weighed down on him for the remainder of their lifespan…
And, so it was, for billions of years. Random acts of hostility that the perpetrators could not explain, across the vast cosmos of existence. Krona choked goodness by existing. The weight of his being pressed down on life as we knew it and turned it bad.
That’s not to say that every act of inarticulate malice was down to Krona’s influence, of course. He had introduced so much negative energy to the universe, to every universe across the entirety of the multiverse he had played a role in spawning, but he was not responsible for every act of wanton violence and cruelty. That would be too easy.
All Krona could do was nudge. Push. And sometimes, if the patch of universe he was spread over was thin enough at that moment in time, shove. What changed? What allowed him a physical presence in the universe once more?
It started when the Green Lantern called Hal Jordan detonated a massive explosion in the inverted Central Power Battery on Qward, within the antimatter universe created by Krona’s own experimentation at the dawn of time.
Jordan had done this to save the positive matter universe from the twisted taint of the horribly infectious Legion virus, a virulent biomechanical weapon that corrupted the power rings of Green Lanterns and made their bearers want nothing more than to assimilate or destroy whatever stood in their way.
Hal had destroyed the power source behind the Legion virus, but the membrane of reality was thinned even further because of this, and with all his might, Krona manifested in Reality-1, and-- knowing every single word exchanged by those living within it-- went about exacting his revenge on the entirety of existence.
He was the one who shared the ancient and esoteric technology that would destroy the Central Power Battery on Oa with Darkseid. That, combined with the brainwashed sleeper agent that the forces of Apokolips had managed to install in the Green Lantern Corps, meant the Guardians of the Universe and their peace-keeping force were taken out of the greatest cross-multiversal crisis before the Earth / Apokolips war could be declared.
And, instead of the Parademons of Apokolips descending on the ravaged surface of Oa, it was a disguised and armoured Krona riding lead on a legion of reprogrammed Manhunters that he’d pulled from obscurity in the Forbidden Sectors of space, ready to rout the Green Lanterns who hadn’t fallen with the destruction of the Central Power Battery and the removal of the charge from their rings!
If you asked Krona, and he was willing to give a straight answer—which he would never—the Mad Guardian would have told you that he had no real agenda at that point in time. He was simply, irrevocably, utterly insane and wanted to spite the Guardians of the Universe and the Green Lantern Corps, and for over a year, he did just that.
After a year of domination-- a year without fear that there would be any real challenge from the ranks of Green Lanterns kept under heel-- Krona sought to steal the power of the surviving Guardians of the Universe that was stored within Kyle Rayner, better known to some as the Torchbearer, and to others as Ion.
But when you’ve been one with the universe and then find yourself stuck in a physical body—even one that wields the nigh incomparable powers of a purebred Maltusian—your ability to problem solve may not be what it once was.
So, instead of Krona stealing the powers stored within the Torchbearer, Kyle poured all the energies he’d carried, along with Krona himself, into a brand-new Central Power Battery, imprisoning the former science supreme of Maltus in solitary confinement and sensory deprivation for what was supposed to be infinity.
…Infinity lasted for a few years, at least.
A former Green Lantern who had been utterly, hopelessly corrupted by the souls of a race that had died in agony and madness millennia ago, sought to duplicate Krona’s experiments, but instead of creating a brand-new multiverse, he managed to trigger a vast cosmic event that led to every single star in the universe going out at once.
Evil Star lived up to his name.
In addition to a galaxy-wide light switch being flicked, the Central Power Batteries of both the Star Sapphire and Green Lantern Corps were emptied out, giving Krona an opportunity to slip out undetected on the cosmic winds…
…Unbeknownst to anybody, Krona was free. Pure energy. Pure madness.
And now, over a decade later, with the galaxy in a state of universal calm and tranquillity, he made himself known once again. He engineered the greatest crisis the forces of good and evil had ever been subject to, all to… well. That’s a story… for another time…
…Krona is the true villain of Omega Crisis.
…And the crisis isn’t over yet.
In The Future…
Time passes and all the while there is a balance.
A perfectly level scale with Order on one side and Chaos on the other.
But what if each side was a man?
What if, on each side, those men were brothers?
And when they were boys, before all of this, before order and chaos and scales and balances, they were playing, and one struck the other?
No matter the love shared by siblings, that’s not an action easily forgotten. There’s always the fear of reprisal on one side, and the fear of repetition on the other.
Scales permanently tipped. A balance completely out of whack.
Equinox and Libra were men once, but now they were entities embodying cosmic ideals and principles.
Inherently, order and chaos were neither good nor evil, they were universal necessities, and thusly, their balance was not entirely precarious. There could be conflict, but there was also resolution in equal measure. Dualities. None better represents that than the relationship shared between siblings.
Libra was an agent of balance, representative of chaos. He had once been struck, for no reason other than a whim, by his brother, and that was enough to plant a seed of doubt. Whoever he was before the transmutational experience that landed him in his current position was long lost, but that moment, that memory, of his brother striking him…
Without warning, Libra thrust his spear through the chest of his brother.
To him, it felt like he was a child again, and the fear he had of being hurt, of being struck, was enough to make him lash out pre-emptively--
“W-why?” Equinox asked, blood dribbling from his mouth as his heart futilely tried to pump life through his body even as there was none left to give.
But instead of acknowledging his dying brother’s question, Libra looked past him. He looked past their childhood. Their relationship. Their upbringing.
Behind Equinox was Krona. The Mad Guardian smiled as Libra’s future fell into place, and then extended a hand toward his new torchbearer.
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