Thor finally awoke from his long sleep more thoroughly refreshed than he had ever felt in his life. The Odinpower and the Rune magics were still his to utilize and he rejoiced in this.
His physical body had either drifted or been purposefully removed to a quite remote extra-dimensional location though he was unharmed. On coming to full awareness he teleported to the Earth. Perhaps he was still a little drowsy because it took him a few moments to come to a disturbing conclusion. There were no living persons present anywhere on Earth.
Thor could not immediately divine the reason for this. As his mind reached out – he almost unconsciously levitated his physical form to a considerable height above the Earth. As if this would somehow assist his understanding of events. He was at low orbital height and could see clearly the continents and the curvature of the Earth.
At that moment Rune Thor sensed an incoming entity approaching at vast speed. Moments thereafter the sleek form of the Silver Surfer joined him.
Thor was greatly heartened to see the Surfer, although he sensed something different about his visitor. "He is more powerful than I remember him" thought Thor – then perceived at least part of the reason for this. The Surfer simply smiled but as if he had telepathically divined Thor's musings. Even before Rune Thor could communicate his findings Norrin had taken in the sheer magnitude of the situation. "I have come from the Skrull Empire" said the Surfer 'this malady, whatever it's cause also afflicts them there.
Thor suspected the disappearances were very wide spread indeed. Even as he communicated with the Surfer, Thor's astral form visited several highly populated planetary systems and saw they too contained no living beings. Thor and the Surfer then reached out with the enhanced cosmic awareness that both now enjoyed. "Apart from a very very few corporeal entities of great power" said the Surfer "there is no evidence of any living corporeal beings in our Universe" "Yes" said Thor "perhaps these were the few with the power to resist what happened here."
As intertemporal travel was an elementary matter for both Thor and the Surfer in their present forms the duo decided to investigate the recent past. The disappearances took place instantaneously approximately 3 weeks ago but there was no evidence as to where humanity had been taken. Only a barely perceptible impure thread in the fabric of reality – something that should not have been there. Thor and the Surfer visited other dimensions and soon realised that only our own Universe had been affected in this way.
Elsewhere and Elsewhen
Slowly the drifting entity came to consciousness. It saw that it was not of corporeal form but rather consisted of pure energy. It sensed in itself a feeling of vast power. Initially though, it could not remember anything of it's past, who or what it had been, before it's current awakening. This did not alarm the entity which chose for a time, simply to drift among the stars basking in the abundant energies near a dense Galactic core. Elements of memory returned and the entity sensed that in it's former corporeal form it had been one of the great powers of the Multiverse.
Finally a name came to the entity – ODIN – it had once been known as Odin the AllMighty – a god no less - and a name both spoken in whispers and with reverence throughout the Multiverse. It had been the Allfather to an entire race of gods – the gods of fabled Asgard. What did this mean to it now ? In fact, not a great deal at all. That which was once Odin found itself dangerously indifferent to the affairs of all things corporeal. Indeed to the affairs of all things other than itself.
The entity sensed within itself a small vestigial element of a force known to all men who dare to hold hope in their hearts - the OdinPower. Almost reluctantly that which was once Odin let the vestigial element go. "It is no longer mine to hold" thought the entity "and I have no need of it." "Let it be with he who is truly worthy, he whom I once called son." Can a pure energy being shed a tear ? can a non corporeal form cry ? For a moment and only a moment – that which was once Odin knew sadness.
Preparing to leave our plane of existence, never to return, the entity became aware of a Universe level threat - a danger to all things corporeal. "What of that ?" it thought but then somewhere deep within the recesses of its awesome mind the ever more tenous link with it's corporeal past began to resonate. Before it left us, never to return, that which was once Odin – made one last final act on behalf of mankind and ultimately all the living beings of our Universe.
Back in the now moment Thor and the Surfer still sensed an inconsistency in the very fabric of reality. They probed at it with their most considerable combined power. Momentarily the inconsistency resisted their probes then faded from existence.
The brief contact afforded with the inconsistency was sufficient for Thor.
"It is a threat I thought never to see in my lifetime" said Thor "given that we of Asgard are not truly immortal". "Have you heard of "the coming" Surfer ?" enquired Thor. "In my present form I am aware of it's existence" replied the Surfer "like you I thought not to see it, that the event was billions of years hence."
"Odin told me of it long ago' continued Thor "then I never heard it spoken of again". "An entity, if such it can be called, or a presence, if you prefer that description, that feeds off the life forces of all corporeal beings in an entire Universe." "Once satiated it remains dormant for billions of years before the hunger comes upon it again and it moves to another dimension to repeat the exercise." "The time intervals between feeding are billions of years."
"Someone or something has acted in our defence" remarked the Surfer "interdimensionally teleporting almost all living corporeal beings of our Universe."
"A staggering feat almost beyond belief" continued the Surfer "I cannot immediately determine where they have been transported to." "I sense, but just barely, my own fathers hand in this" said Thor.
At that moment the great Galactus accompanied by the Stranger appeared before Rune Thor and the Surfer. They were brief. "The coming has began said Galactus – all remaining corporeal beings and many non corporeals are about to engage it." "We will hold it as long as we can." "Who among the non-corporeals will not aid us ?" enquired the Surfer. "You already know replied Galactus, and I am strangely ashamed to say." "Some abstracts do not see the fight as theirs." The two great powers then left.
"They will buy us some time" said Thor.
"I have not spoken of this Surfer but I see that you now wield all the residual power of the Brell" said Thor "I can think of no custodian more worthy than yourself." "It has been known among the great powers for some time" said the Surfer "I did not speak of it, but you have been gone for quite some time." "However I saw in your mind that you understood."
"The coming' was on a very broad front indeed, though there seemed to be a band of higher "presence" – a core front if you will. Whether it was surprised or displeased at the relative lack of corporeal life force nourishment in our Universe was unclear since neither emotion probably had any significance for it. Those that first engaged it saw quickly that it could not be overwhelmed by energy assaults which it simply absorbed as easily as it absorbed life force. Nor could any attempt at reality manipulation bemuse it. Rather it required suppressive power on a vast scale even just to slightly impede it's progress. Somewhat as a fireman might need to suppress a fire rather than feed it. Though the analogy is all together too simple.
Rune Thor and the Silver Surfer quickly joined the fray and the progress of the coming continued though at a slower rate. The casualties were many as the life forces of various powerful corporeal beings was absorbed. Nor was the entity selective in this matter as the essential energies of any non-corporeals also engaged were similarly absorbed.
For reasons it could not fathom the energy being that was once Odin lingered on our plane of existence. It watched with only mild interest as Rune Thor (he which it once called son), the Silver Surfer and other entities of great power sought to suppress the actions of "The Coming". It saw also that the eventual outcome of the conflict was in some doubt. This even though the Silver Surfer was able to draw on all the residual power of the Brell .
That which was once Odin then prepared to move on to a higher plane. Moments before it's ascension the entire life of Odin passed through the entities mind. The early childhood, parents, siblings, wife and offspring, the grandeur of Asgard, it's many friends and even more numerous enemies and ultimately Odin's apparent death. At the very moment that the entity moved between one plane and another it made it's last gesture on behalf of all who live in our Universe. A vast wave of pure suppressive power was launched directly at "the coming". A contestation that seemed to be in the balance ended immediately and decidedly in favour of our Universe.
Whether those who inhabit the entities destination took exception to this unprecedented power surge between planes of existence cannot be known. Just possibly they saw it as an act taken not from their plane but immediately before entry into it.
Acting in unison RuneThor and the Silver Surfer completed one last action as they returned all the teleported corporeal beings to their rightful place in our Universe.
Rune Thor then telepathically cried out a final farewell to the last location of that which was once Odin.
The farewell cry was too late.