The Silver Surfer - Gift of the Brell
The Silver Surfer started to slow down although he was still very far beyond light speed, as something drove him towards a remote area in the Andromeda galaxy. Eventually slowing almost to a halt the Surfer used his remarkable cosmic power enhanced vision and looked out more than a light year ahead.
There almost at the edge of his vision was what had drawn him to this part of the Andromeda galaxy. Debris spread over vast tracts of interstellar space, the remains of a great battle fought long ago between two highly advanced technological civilizations. Approaching the ancient battlefield the Surfer discerned that two types of starships had participated in the battle. Very large obsidian, elongated ovoid vessels and smaller but much larger numbers of silver cigar shaped craft.
One of the larger vessels, seemingly relatively intact, attracted the Surfers attention. The Surfer directed exploratory almost gentle cosmic energies at the ship only for them to rebuffed as an automatic force field came into existence around the ship. However the force field died moments after it came into existence. As if it had been some final autonomic reaction.
Again the Surfer directed even gentler energies over the vast hull. This time no force field came into existence and he was able to roughly estimate the age of hull – over a million years old ! The surfer then noticed an unusual response of the hull – some of the energies directed at a particular spot were reflected away (despite the obsidian colouring) but the other energies were spread in a highly efficient manner across the entire hull. Pursuing this further the Surfer lanced greater energies at the hull and the effect became more noticeable. Even without force shield protection it would have taken considerable power to destroy a starship of this type.
The Surfer started to "orbit" the 10 kilometre length semi-ovoid starship and saw that there were no obvious breaches of that great hull. On his third such orbit he detected an opening in the hull that had definitely not been there on the previous two orbits. Moving in very slowly the Surfer approached the opening. Even with his enhanced vision he could not see inside.
The Surfer stopped at the edge of the opening noting the great thickness of the hull. He then created a force field funnel designed to prevent the break in the hull closing on him. The funnel extended a little into the ship and a little outside of it. That done he entered the enigmatic starship though still remaining on his board. At first he could see or sense nothing and given his vast cosmically enhanced sight and other sensory perception this had to be some residual aspect of the ships defence system. Then kilometers within the ships interior he perceived a very faint source of light spreading and growing brighter.
As he moved to investigate this source he was confronted by a tall humanoid entity. At first sight the Surfer thought this was an actual physical living person but he soon realized that it was a holograph projection. However it was a holograph at a level of sophistication he had never witnessed. As the holograph addressed him the Surfer noted that the ship appeared to be coming to life as all about him lights came on activity commencing distant voices . Convincing though this was the Surfer realized that it was merely a large scale holograph of the entire inside of the ship as it must have been a million years ago. Again using his power cosmic enhanced senses he began to see the inside of the ship as it now was. And there was damage on a vast scale.
"Welcome noble one to this starship of they who were once known as the Brell" greeted the holograph. "I represent the artificial intelligence that assumed control of this vessel after the last one of it's humanoid Brell crew died." "Long has the intelligence waited for one such as you." "You would be surprised" continued the holograph "how many others the intelligence has influenced to come this way, only to for it to find them unworthy."
"You are the first alien entity to enter this starship since it was disabled and largely internally destroyed." added the holograph.
" I have heard of the Brell" replied the Surfer "from my former master the great Galactus - even he spoke of them in quiet tones and with respect." " Know now mighty one that you are all that had been hoped for, honourable, noble, and worthy as the Brell themselves as these concepts were intrinsically measured by the Brell themselves."
"I am asked to pass to you now, if you will accept it, an artefact containing in concentrated form all of the residual power of the Brell." "It is yours for you to do, as you choose, in your wisdom." "If you do nothing with it then this will be your choice, suffice to say that while ever you carry the artefact, it will always protect you." "Listen to me now Surfer when I say that there is almost no power, I repeat almost no power that can harm you while you carry this artifact."
Deeply humbled by the moment the Surfer responded that he would accept the gift.
" We pass the artifact to you as an accountriment to be worn about your waist, a belt if you will" said the holograph "but it can take any form you choose Surfer." "If you retain the artifact the manner in which it's great power can be employed will become obvious to you." "If not we trust you to find a suitable safe place or other custodian – the artifact is its own protector, no progenitor of evil may ever acquire its power."
With that the Surfer took his leave of the once great starship pondering deeply on just how, if at all, he might choose to use such new found power. Stopping for an instant perhaps a light year away the Surfer looked back and saw that the great Brell starship was no more.
The Surfer then left the Andromeda Galaxy for Earth. He altered the form of the Brell artifact from the belt provided him to two separate tight fitting silver bracelets – this being more to his liking. Aware that he could teleport himself (or pretty much anything else as well) instantly anywhere or anywhen in the Multiverse the Surfer chose not to immediately invoke this aspect of his power.
Instead he chose a slower path to Earth albeit still traveling at a speed of an entirely different order of magnitude to the very humble speed of light. To soar among the stars was the way of the Surfer – nothing could or would take this away from him. In any event he had much to think on and with a more leisurely trip to Earth he could do just that.
As he sped onward at many multiples of light speed the Surfer thoughts turned to a time before he ever became the most powerful herald of Galactus. His thoughts turned to a time when he was Norrin Radd – they turned to Zenn La and his beloved Shalla Ball. The Surfer indulged himself and traveled back to this most happy time. And for a while he lingered there in the past and once again knew a happiness that had so long eluded him. However the Surfer knew not to bask too long in this environment, nor to try to change the history of his home world.
Renewing his journey to Earth at the exact same moment in space and time that he had temporarily ceased it the Surfer sped on – uplifted, renewed and invigorated in a way that perhaps he had never known. As yet the Surfer had not chosen to utilize his newfound near omniscience to look about the Multiverse and so when he suddenly sensed across the void the death cries of one hundred billion living beings he was momentarily surprised.
The Surfer instantly perceived the cause – the huge and advanced technology world of Brantor had just been destroyed by Galactus accompanied by his then herald Stardust. Traveling hundreds of light years instantly the Surfer immediately reversed the effect of that destruction. The huge exploding world (many times larger than Jupiter) was brought back to gather as were the component atoms of its momentarily dead one hundred billion inhabitants.
The restoration was in all truth an extraordinary act by any standards – an incomparably greater act than Galactus act of destruction. Seeing that Galactus act reflected the desperation of intense hunger, still the Surfer pondered on why stardust should lead Galactus to such a world as Brantor.
Pouring out less than the merest fraction of the energies that he now controlled the Surfer called out to Galactus. "You will find these energies will be sufficient that you will not need to feed for quite some time." "Hundreds of worlds will be spared or at least delayed your depredations." The Surfer continued "you will not need the assistance of this one" and with not even a flick of the Surfers finger stardust was gone beyond even Galactus detection.
Leaving Galactus behind the Surfer proceeded on to Earth but could not avoid thinking of his days as the herald of Galactus and the many worlds he had located for his former master. Perhaps his most recent action would in some way atone for past actions.
Speeding onwards again the Surfer used his omniscience to look about the Multiverse to see if in fact there were any immediate or near immediate threats of a magnitude to concern him. He did not seek to look too far into the future as he knew that ultimately the Multiverse abounded with major threats – as one fell away or was defeated so it was replaced with another. In a sense not unlike the Earth's interminable wars and conflicts.
It took no time at all for the Surfer to sense the mad Titan Thanos who schemed again to threaten all of existence. This time seeking to cause the entire space time continuum to implode in on itself. The very past and the alternate futures to converge on the now moment. The Surfer saw that given the Titans present course of action and assuming no outside intervention, there existed a high probability of his being successful. Almost immeasurably tired of Thanos constant machinations the Surfer raised his hand and without even slowing his speed caused Thanos to cease to exist. This is not to say that he killed him – for even in death there is often some evidence of past life". Rather from that point that the Surfer raised his hand – and Thanos simply ceased to exist.
Surprisingly feeling some slight pangs of regret the Surfer momentarily toyed with the idea of bringing Thanos back into existence, although in a less dangerous form. A just partially lobotomized Thanos – if you will. The Surfer decided against it. Somehow without Thanos the Multiverse seemed to have a calmer aspect to it. The Surfer was now quite close to Earth – only two hundred light years and he stopped again for a moment of further reflection. He had sensed something tugging at him during part of his journey as if a very great power had sought to summon him or teleport him against his will.
The source of the quandary was revealed as the near omnipotent Living Tribunal appeared before the Surfer. "The great powers of the Universe all know of your present circumstances Surfer" came the Tribunal's telepathic communication. "If you decide to retain your legacy, then we ask to join us in any future meeting that we might hold."
"Also Surfer, if you wish it, you may commune with me at any time." "In your present state, you will always know how to communicate with me."
With that one near omnipotent being took his leave of another and the Surfer teleported instantly to the edge of the Earths atmosphere.
Looking down upon the Earth the Surfer saw that there was much he could do to help humanity. In the history of mankind others had experienced similar thoughts. Though most had not acted upon these. With that the Silver Surfer sped downward to the Earth and to his destination the sanctum sanctorum of Earths sorcerer supreme Doctor Stephen Strange. While he had the option of communing with the Living Tribunal himself, or presumably other great powers of the Universe, the Surfers desire was to discuss his new found circumstances with his old friend and former Defender.
The Surfer conventionally knocked at the front door to the mage's Greenwich Village mansion and was welcomed by Strange himself who had mystically sensed the Surfers approach. The old friends talked at length and the Surfer derived great satisfaction from this. "I sense your power Surfer" said Dr Strange "even though you are partially damping it." "it is truly beyond anything I have experienced."
"Even though I have only just acquired it, I have decided to temporarily leave the Brell artifact with you Stephen" said the Surfer "I am not quite sure if I am ready for such power and I need time away from it and its possible influence to ponder my situation."
"I was informed and I now know, that the artifact is its own protector" continued the Surfer "that no representative of evil, may ever acquire it." "Still if you wish to place it in a secure place and under your mystical spells of protection I would be grateful."
"I will gladly do this Surfer" said the mage "but I know that you will be back for the artifact.' "I sense a bond between you and it." "And, Surfer" continued the sorcerer "we need you." With that the Surfer took his leave of Stephen Strange and of the Earth, looking back only once, before soaring again among the stars.
The Surfer decided to continue about his business as if the Brell artifact had never been bequeathed to him. For a time at least, he was able to do so. The Surfers "business as usual" took him in time to a distress call from the vicinity of the Aldaran planetary system. The call proved to be an almost clumsy subterfuge.
On arrival in the system and without any formalities the Surfer felt energies gather about him that threatened to rip his silver skin coating away. While the energies continued to flow about him and even gather in strength, their initial effect rapidly diminished to the point of a minor irritation and less. His attackers the most formidable, if unlikely, combination of Tyrant, Morg, and Terrax then made their presence known. Tyrant had supplied the energy intended to remove the Surfers silver coating. Morg and Terrax through a cloaking provided by Tyrant had moved close to the Surfer intent on decapitating him and worse.
The Surfer realized immediately that his link with the Brell artifact had not been broken. As he had been attacked so it had come to his aid supplying sufficient power for his defence.
Holding his three assailants, even Tyrant, immobile the Surfer reflected on how to deal with them. It occurred to him that these three creations of Galactus had contributed very little to the well being of the Multiverse. In all truth they would not be greatly missed.
"How is it that you could choose divest yourself of the Brell power ?" exclaimed Tyrant telepathically " We had no option other than to seek your destruction now, lest you sought to re-acquire the Brell artifact."
The Surfer did not respond at least not in words. Rather he completely divested his adversaries of every erg of the power cosmic they so fondly possessed and left them to manage as best they could. Again the distant Brell artifact supplied him with sufficient power to complete his task.
Leaving the Alderan system the Surfer mused "this is how it will be then, if I am under overwhelming attack or wish to complete a task normally beyond me, the artifact will simply supply me with however much power I need." "No matter how great that power requirement is, the Brell artifact will just keep on supplying the power"
And so it was as the Surfer continued about his business. For a time he thought perhaps this would be a reasonable way to conduct himself – just drawing on the artifact only when needed. But the seeds of doubt were already sown in his mind. These doubts came to a head in the spiral arm of a Galaxy so distant as to be yet undiscovered by man.
Here in this inconceivably distant place the Surfer came seemingly by chance upon a world under Celestial judgement. From thousands of miles above the planetary surface the Surfer saw mighty Arishhem standing like a colossus on the verge of judgement.
The Surfer was not omniscient without the Brell artifact in his possession. However interaction with it had substantially expanded his already formidable sensory perception and cosmic consciousness. Thus he quickly discerned the nature of this world under judgement. As he looked on great Arishem's thumb turned downward in an almost universally recognizable gesture.
Now historically the Surfer has not had cause to challenge the Celestials, but he felt at odds with their judgement now. True the world about to receive their adverse judgement was controlled by an evil evolved from earlier Celestial experimentation. Genetic manipulation that went horribly wrong. Still that evil had teleported in from nearby planets vast numbers of innocents and forced them to remain against their will. It had subjected them to every indignity conceivable.
As the Surfer moved down a little closer to the planetary surface an Exitar class Celestial teleported in, all 10,000 feet of it. With that the Surfer telepathically communicated with Arishem. At first his attempts at communication were ignored. But he persisted increasing the level of the telepathic communication from a whisper to a shout.
Still the Celestials paid him no heed. The Surfer had no desire to engage in battle with them though doubtless the Brell artifact would provide him with whatever it took to defeat them.
Instead the Surfers much enhanced consciousness entered the mind of Arishem the Celestial. He encountered some kind of group mind in a constant state of flux with other Celestial consciousness entering and leaving all the time. The Celestial "group mind" seemed to exist on a higher plane. Even in this place however the Surfer felt the now ever present support of the Brell artifact.
Eventually as he persisted and as the distant artifact provided him with ever more power he forced communication upon the Celestials. Forced them to listen to his point of view, to what he considered a higher moral argument. In time the Celestials withdrew without carrying out their judgement. Whether this reflected an acceptance of the Surfers forcefully conveyed point of view or simply a desire to be free from the grip of his now awesome consciousness was unclear
After this encountered the Surfer decided to return to Earth and re-acquire the legacy of the Brell. It seemed the only possible course of action. Instantaneously he traveled the many thousands of light years to Dr Strange's mansion.
" Surfer, in your absence, I invited a few trusted sorcerers supreme of other dimensions to view the Brell artifact." said Dr Strange "All were vastly impressed by it." "When the artifact supplied me with power across vast distance, did you notice any change in it ?" enquired the Surfer. "We knew what was happening" replied Strange "the great power transfer was unmistakable, but the artifact just seemed to go a little brighter." "We all had the sense that you were only drawing on a miniscule amount of its true power."
"Your decision then Surfer ?" asked the mage. "To keep the Brell artifact in the wrist bracelets form on my person at all times" replied the Surfer "and to assume my place among the great powers."
"I will accept invitations to meetings of the great powers of the Multiverse." continued the Surfer "Also I will communicate soon with the Living Tribunal." "Through my present level of consciousness I see that there is much to be done."
"But Stephen" added the Surfer "I will not forgo my friends on Earth and elsewhere nor will I fully forgo my sometime wonderings among the stars." "Were I in fact to do this, then I would no longer be the Silver Surfer and I shall always be that !"