Like the Brell before them the Tolden exercised hegemony spreading across Galaxies

Deep Space

The Present Day

Momentarily the Silver Surfer came to a halt finding himself deep in the void between two great galaxies. He had been traveling at unthinkable speed that made short work of even these unimaginable distances. Most would have found it a very lonely place, even the nearest star was a vast distance its light shining only very weakly. Far from being intimidated the Surfer seemed to enjoy the sense of extreme isolation.

Heading on his way the Surfer accelerated but before reaching light speed he found himself instantaneously transported a distance roughly corresponding to the diameter of a star system. There was no sense of teleportation but he knew this had happened to him.

Turning to investigate the Surfer sped back in the direction he had come only to undergo exactly the same experience. Curious more than anything he fired gentle bolts of the power cosmic only to see them teleported a distance of some 10,000 million kilometers. By gentle application he was quickly able to determine the overall dimensions and boundaries of the teleportation anomaly

At that moment a faint telepathic communication reached him. "Silver one will you join us?" Initially the Surfer was not absolutely certain that he had heard this.

Just outside the periphery of the teleportation anomaly/phenomenon a holographic image appeared. It was of a very beautiful golden coloured humanoid woman. "Will you join us Silver One" came the telepathic communication, now unmistakable, "may I ride with you and show you the way?"

The Surfer gestured a yes and the hologram joined him on the board. It was such a perfect hologram as to be indistinguishable from a real person – but the Surfer knew.

Suddenly where there had been nothing an entire star system came into view. The golden woman hologram gestured and through telepathic implant the Surfer knew exactly where to go.

At some stage in their short journey the hologram was replaced by the actual physical golden woman. Exactly when this happened the Surfer was not quite sure. Standing on his board with him the woman seemed very attractive.

The Surfer mused on events – suddenly where there was no evidence of a star or planetary masses (visual, gravitational or otherwise) an entire star system had come into being. He knew this was not a pocket dimension but rather a part of our Universe somehow shielded from all prying eyes. What kind of civilisation could accomplish such a thing?

"We are the Tolden" said the woman in answer to the Surfers thoughts "perhaps you have heard of us?" "The Tolden" mused the Surfer "Galactus had spoken of them – though in the past tense." Like the Brell before them the Tolden had exercised hegemony spreading across Galaxies. Also like the Brell before them the Tolden had eventually passed on into history – or so it was generally believed.

"This is our first contact with the outside Universe in 100,000 years" said the golden woman. "Unthinkably one of us, one of the Tolden, has been taken, teleported from our haven to a vastly distant dimension." "We ask your help" continued the Surfers beautiful companion "in ensuring that individuals safe return." "Please come with me now" entreated the woman "to meet with some of our elders."

With that the duo moved down to the surface of the systems most inhabited world as the Surfers senses took in the sheer magnificence of the city below.

The Surfer was swiftly brought before several of the Tolden elders. All of the Tolden that he saw were of the same golden color as T'Kae the woman who had shared his board and guided him in.

"We do not have rank here as you understand the term" said one of the elders "but the one of us that was taken is ……. of considerable importance." "Our protections here have never been breached before." It later emerged that the taken one was an elder and the father of T'Kae.

Another of the elders gestured and they were able to see through the dimensional barriers to where the single Tolden had been taken. "It is an ugly world controlled by a relatively few narcissistic entities with seemingly god like powers." "The "gods" if such they can be called" continued the elder "live on a large island in stationary orbit about the world."

"From that vantage point they randomly teleport in beings from many dimensions, lording it over them and carrying out unspeakable experimentations." "This much we have divined from our observation here, none of us have visited the dimension." finished the elder.

It emerged that the Tolden had tried to interdimensionally teleport their taken one back but this had been powerfully resisted by the narcissists. The Surfer was reminded somewhat of the Dark God entities that had once laid waste to Asgard. There were similarities, though the entities seemed even more narcissistic, more totally evil.

"Can they see us interdimensionally, as we see them" enquired the Surfer. The Tolden hesitated "We have been careful, but …… yes we believe they have some sense of our observations though not of our location." "It seems only to serve to increase the sheer delight experienced by these revolting entities – to know that others watch on while they carry out their depredations.

He did not say so and tried not even to think it but still the Surfer wondered why such a great race had not effected a rescue themselves. Something beyond the attempt at interdimensional teleportation.

"We have asked for your assistance noble one because we do not wish to draw any more attention to ourselves" interjected T'Kae herself "Of all we observed you seemed the one that would never divulge our great secret." "Of course" she added "your great powers were an obvious consideration"

It did not need to be spelled out – the Surfer intuitively saw it – this race had not been involved in any war or act of aggression either with the outside Universe or among themselves in a very long time. It was entirely possible that they lacked the will or perhaps even the capability to engage the narcissists on their home world. This time the Surfer placed a mind block on his thoughts. Still T'Kae seemed to lower her head.

The Surfer was offered assistance for his mission – the last starship of the Tolden. A construct powered purely by thought processes. One had only to think of a destination and be there, only to think defense and great force shields arose, only to think offense and vast energies would flow forth.

Valuable though it might perhaps be the Surfer immediately rejected this offer. Largely because he saw what a vital element the ship was in the defense of the Tolden star system. If ever the vast Tolden cloaking system were uncovered this great civilisation, long in slow decay, would rely heavily upon the ship. Of course the Silver Surfer by nature only really ever travels in one particular way.

"There is one other assistance we can offer" said one of the elders "T'Kae to accompany you." "She is one of the few among us still with the will to fight if ever the time should come" continued the elder "these few were provided with exceptional powers should the need for them ever arise."

The elder smiled "in T'Kae's case we believe the powers provided her will best complement your own great powers." With that the elder mentally implanted in the Surfers mind a broad indication of T'Kae's capabilities and the Surfer saw that this was so.

"I accept your offer of assistance" he said. With that T'Kae smiled, and although the Surfer was not certain as to what lay behind the smile (determination to save her father perhaps ?) – something inside him felt very good.

With the beautiful T'Kae sharing his board the Silver Surfer soared spaceward beyond the star system of the Tolden. More particularly beyond the teleportation anomaly that protected and cloaked that star system from all prying eyes. It was only from this point that he and T'Kae could confidently teleport interdimensionally to the world on which her father was captive.

The Surfer was in no doubt he faced a formidable task – a malevolent evil probably as truly narcissistic as anything he had heretofore encountered. Still, if it was at all within his not inconsiderable power, he would secure the safe return of the Tolden elder.

For their part the Tolden stood ready. If later it became possible, to interdimensionally teleport the Surfer, T'Kae and her father out of harms way, then they would do so. To this end the thought controlled last ship of the Tolden would be located just outside the Tolden system ready to act.

The Surfer looked around at the magnificent golden women sharing his board. Enhanced though she was T'Kae was not quite as durable as the Surfer, not quite as strong, not quite as powerful in her energy projections nor as fast in non teleportation terms. Still she complemented him – her capabilities in interdimensional travel and interdimensional communication were greater than the Surfers. Also she had considerable telepathic capabilities. Their healing and matter/energy manipulation capabilities were on a rough par. All in all they made a somewhat impressive couple. And that was how the Surfer saw it.

Then the moment came and the duo teleported to their inconceivably remote dimensional destination. The Surfer and T'Kae entered this dimension at the edge of the star system containing the world they sought.

This was far preferable to landing planetside or even worse on the floating island inhabited by the malevolent gods who ruled this star system. Taking just a moment to orient themselves to a dimension in which many of the laws of physics were inapplicable the couple moved towards their clear destination the systems only inhabited world.

As they approached the world T'Kae unbidden moved away from the Surfers board but still remained close. With his magnificent vision the Surfer scanned the world and the stationary orbit island. "There are no signs of offensive action, but we are detected" communicated the Surfer. On sensing their detection T'Kae "cloaked" herself and the Surfer and both protected themselves with energy shields as they move planetward.

However bolts of concussive force, anti-matter particle beams, and bolts of etheric plasma were fired at them "semi-randomly" from a myriad of directions. From the planetary surface, from the floating island (occupied by the narccistic alien "gods") and from locations in near space. Even with the cloaking T'Kae was hit by a "random' bolt of etheric plasma which not only disrupted the "cloaking" but also completely destroyed her protective shields and left her badly injured.

The Surfer gathered her in his arms and maneuvering at speed through the fearsome energy assault he sped to a mountainous location on the far side of the planet relative to the narcissist's floating island. Even before he had time to heal the stricken T'Kae the Surfer was confronted by several of the narcissistic gods which rule this planet with an iron fist

The largest of the several "gods" Gradstahl a huge block like enforcer, alien energies coruscating about his entire body, picked up a helpless T'Kae by the throat and began to shake the last dregs of life out of her. "What do you here alien woman?" said Gradstahl "Seek you the one of your kind that we hold at our pleasure?"

Totally enraged the Surfer pried the limp T'Kae free of Gradstahl's huge grip gently laying her on the ground. As gentle as he was with T'Kae so the Surfer was violent with the alien god. Realising that he must finish things quickly the Surfer dismissed Gradstahl's two companion gods hurling them off planet with just a wave of his hand.

The Surfer then proceeded to demonstrate what has always been known that an incensed Silver Surfer possessed of the power cosmic is capable of physically holding his own against almost any adversary. That ultimately almost no entity can stay the might of a Silver Surfer duly enraged. Just possibly the Silver Surfer was never angrier at this moment never more truly deadly in a physical sense as he reduced the narcissistic alien god to a helpless pulp – even as the planet itself shook under the strain of their physical battle.

Kneeling down the Surfer then placed his hand on T'Kae's chest – almost never could he recall the need for the healing aspect of the power cosmic being so great. Residual etheric plasma eat away at T'Kae's remaining life force. From the Surfers open palms pressed downwards a gentle pink glow first appeared that darkened and spread across the length and breadth of T'Kae's beautiful body. T'Kae arose feeling the cosmic healing power of the Surfer enter every part of her body.

Witnessing events from our distant dimension the Tolden moved the last ship of the Tolden up to a closely adjacent dimension then in heavily cloaked form into the narcissistic gods dimension and to the edge of the narccisist's star system. From that vantage point they effected a two stage rescue – teleporting T'Kae's father from his imprisonment to the vicinity of Surfer and T'Kae and then teleporting the trio into the last ship of the Tolden. All then returned immediately to the seeming security of the massively cloaked Tolden star system. Unfortunately the "narcissistic gods" were able to follow the starships residual dimensional trail and succeeded in locating the Tolden system. There the miscreants started to gather seeking to overcome the Tolden teleportation anomaly.

The Tolden saw that they could not simply wait out the malevolent narcissistic gods. By mystical means the "gods" were slowly overcoming the Tolden teleportation anomaly. By a universal mental vote all the Tolden agreed that their best defence was to empower the Silver Surfer to operate their last starship. In effect the Surfer almost became one with this most magnificent vessel combining his power cosmic with the ancient Tolden mystical technologies that empowered the vessel. The ship would immediately respond to the Surfers slightest mental whim.

Thus ensconced within the last ship of the Tolden the Surfer went forth to do battle in an unusual melding of cosmic entity and Tolden starship. What followed then was perhaps one of the great battles of galactic history. The Surfer/Ship manouvered over a vast area of space moving in and out between adjacent dimensions and subjecting the assembled "gods" to a rate of fire as withering as it was powerful. No fighter/attack craft ever made was as manoeuvrable now as this great cosmic entity/ship. The Surfer had only to think it and from the Tolden ship scores of heavy duty energy beams of many different types (anti-matter particle, molecular disruption, nuclear rip saw etc) lanced out in all directions. The Surfer/Ship cut a swathe through the narcissistic gods now assembled in great numbers and they fell like flies before it.

However after attracting all manner of attack from the "gods" the mighty shields of the Tolden ship even though reinforced by the power cosmic began to fail. While diminished in numbers the "gods" pursued their elusive foe weaving in and out of adjacent dimensions in a totally unrelenting manner. Finally the great ship, the last ship of the Tolden, exploded in a total and near instantaneous release of energy. Nothing of the ship remained – while much of the explosion went to form the greatest release of light energy that will ever be seen in any heavens - a goodly amount was absorbed beneficially by the Silver Surfer himself. This made him irreversibly even more powerful than he already was.

The Surfer burst forth from the staggering light release from the end of the Tolden ship soaring amongst the remaining dark gods and slew them with great lances of cosmic/Tolden energy to which they had absolutely no answer.

In a strange way the energies he absorbed gave the Surfer an affinity and linkage with the Tolden. This is not to say that they 'toldenised" him – but in a strange way he would never again be a completely non- Tolden.

After these events the Surfer decided to remain on in the Tolden system for some considerable time and there was much to keep him there. This might have been a race in decay but they were still one of the most truly civilised and cultured races in all existence. No civilisation still in existence could match the magnificence of their great cities.

In time though the stars called him, as he always knew they would, and he left.

Still he visits, not infrequently, for in that strange way he is almost one of them now. There is an unspoken, unwritten understanding that if he is needed the Silver Surfer the ultimate guardian of the Tolden star system and the entire Tolden civilisation will come.

And if that is not reason enough there is always his son and daughter.