The Super Wizard From Space #55

"Kilo Yuga, part 1" by

The Super Wizard From Space bursts out of sub-space, immediately disoriented.

A thin atmosphere, a planetary gravity… where was he? He could just make out the constellations through the blinding sunlight, could see this was the correct star system. So why was he so far in it? He aimed for the outer heliosphere but… an anomaly must have pulled him off course and directed him at the inner most orbiting planet. Here, where the sun's so garish and blazing that even he needs to shield his eyes. Here, where the ground is composed of hard, cooked rock… with what looks like thin sculpted lines carved upon it. Long patterns of flowing parallels.

With a grimace, he follows the artificial contours to their source.

At the equator, he finds a tall lizard wearing burlap robes and wooden sandals. It chips away at the stone with the sharpened end of a long iron pole. The lizard smiles with relief as he touches down. "Ah! Wonderful! At last." It says, using a loose sleeve to wipe its brow. "I wondered if you'd ever get here."

"We've met you before, haven't we?"

The exhausted lizard leans on his pole. "Yes, indeed. It was back on… back when… oh! Dear! Has it been so long since our encounter on planet Amity? Time can be such a precarious breeze, passing with a light touch… 'My life - How much more of it remains? The night is brief.' Let me re-introduce myself: I am Andy Dharma, master villain of the Invisible Monks."

"I remember you. You're Brody's duplicate. You tried to kill me." White-hot power swells from the Super Wizard's skin. The air crackles around him and the ground warps and melts under his boots.

Andy waves his hands in alarm, "No! No no no! Your feet! Your feet! You're ruining the garden!"

Taken aback, the wizard douses his power and steps back. Andy goes back to work on the melted rock. "Just like you. All heat and anger, with no thought as to where you stand," he admonishes as he chips at the ground, repairing the pattern.

"You did… all this?" the Super Wizard asks, watching the slow chiseling match up with all the smooth lines flowing off over every horizon.

"I began at the north axis, just to pass the time until you arrived. I didn't expect you to take quite so long, but I knew you'd come eventually. Your cosmic tournament. You've already gone to such lengths. Just the one opponent left, yes?"

"Ah. You're responsible for my sub-space tunnel being diverted here."

"With help, yes. I wanted to talk with you. I'd hope to convince you to spare Genovefa Buzz."

The Super Wizard crosses his arms.

"She's out there right now," Andy says, "orbiting this very star. She's the farthest planet in this very system… a sentient world, brought to life by the transformative toxin of her swarm. She's their ruler and their home, both, and as such, she lives with a clarity of purpose most of us will never experience. She lives at a scale we cannot possibly understand; her universe is vast and cold and sparse. Without kin. Without contemporaries. She's unique. And she's extraordinary." Andy finishes his work, the pattern repaired. The divot of melted rock remains, but the lines roll into it, incorporating the wound into its long design. "This tournament the two of you are caught in… it doesn't have to be your ends. Neither of you have to die. If you yield your crown, she'll be the victor and you'll both be free of this coercion."

The wizard scowls. "I don't entirely believe this is just about leniency. Especially coming from you."

"You're correct that there are ulterior motives," Andy says. "The situation has become more… complicated since this tournament began. People making desperate decisions, trouble brewing, super-space-war on the horizon. Buzz's presence acts as a windbreak on a prairie dustbowl, providing some desperately needed stability. To cut her down now invites unprecedented disaster."

"Buzz has struck at me three times since this tournament started. She's used her influence at every turn to try to have me killed. You yourself were party to that." { Super Wizard From Space #21 }

"And you survived. Each time, you survived. You frighten her. This tournament frightens her. She was created perfect. Immortal and indestructible. When she realized death was a possibility, or worse, an inevitability, she panicked. She lashed out. Are you so surprised at what someone will do when left with no choice?"

"Animals lash out; people don't let their fear dictate their actions." The wizard points up at the sky, toward the far circling worlds. "What do you see? An answer? An ally? All I see is entitlement and abuse. I see haughty expectations slapped down by stark reality. And instead of confronting her situation with some amount of dignity, she's trying to put it back the way she wants it. Well, too bad. The universe doesn't work that way.

"You want me to spare her… why? Because she's unique? Because she might correct some self-inflicted crisis? Ridiculous. What of the next time she tries to kill someone…? Or the next time her monsters overrun a world? Or the next time her so-called empire wipes out entire civilizations? No. I won't allow it. No one is so significant that we have to forgive their callousness. No one is above judgement."

Andy give an exaggerated sigh. "I was warned of this. Of your reaction. That trying to change your mind would be like willing an ocean to still itself. Still… I had to try." He takes up a wide stance and twirls the iron pole around him. It spins in wide arcs in his nimble hands, up and around one shoulder, back and and forward again around his waist, finally snapping still in both hands. His right foot slides behind the left. His knees bends at the ready.

"What are you doing?" the Super Wizard asks.

"Please surrender your crown."

"You can't be serious."

Andy nods. "I'm afraid I am. I don't wish to hurt you."

"Last time we fought, you had a cosmic weapon and I was incapacitated by inter-dimensional travel. Now, I'm at my full strength, I have the power of this system's sun to draw upon… and you have a stick."

The lizard draws a deep breathe, crouches, and leaps up into the air. He brandishes the iron pole above his head like an axe ready to come down. As he reaches the height of his jump… he vanishes. Completely! One second he's there, the next, gone.

The wizard only has a moment of confusion before a painful CRACK on his shoulder!

He twists away, and there's another! A slicing TWACK to his ribs! And an rising CRACK to his skull!

He staggers back, clutching his temple. When he looks at his hand, there's bloody spatters from a forehead gash.

Andy re-appears, several feet away, twirling his iron pole. He's a transparent blur, a half-imagined mirage. "You wouldn't be the first to underestimate the martial abilities an Invisible Monk. If you attempt to leave this planet without relinquishing your crown, I'll strike you down with my space-kung-fu."

The wizard growls and reaches at the sky. He grasps at the sun, tugging at its magnetic field, destabilizing the surface. With a wide whipping motion, he drags a spitting river of fusion out from the star, snakes it along his arm, and snaps it out in front of him.

Andy flings himself to away as manhandled flare SLAMS the planet's surface.

Rock instantly liquified. The ground splits open. Mountainous pieces of the surface are tossed into the air, torn apart by heat and gravity, flying everywhere in a hurricane of magma rain. The planet's thin atmosphere screams and storms with purple lightening; the noise topples ageless ranges a continent away.

Andy tumbles widely a distance away. Battered and bruised. An arm twisted. An eye swollen shut. It takes all his will not to cry out. Instead, he draws that sharp feeling back into himself, tucking it down into the colder places of his chi, and forcing himself back onto his feet.

The Super Wizard From Space marches through the cacophony, like the storm and destruction around him didn't exist. His veins glow with fusion stolen from the nearby star. "Its only out of respect to your ancestors that I hold back. You think you're doing the right thing, but you're not. Your mercy's wasted. Buzz doesn't give a damn for you; you're dust on her back. She doesn't care for anyone but herself. Selfishness at that scale must be stopped."

Andy picks up his iron pole. The incredible heat has shortened and bent it, but he can still wield it as a club. Favouring his good arm, he again takes a fighting pose.

The wizard stares levelly at the broken lizard. "People like her don't change, no matter how hard you wish it. It has to be this way."

The lizard spits on the ground. "Now you sound like my brother."

The wizard shakes his head with incredulous frustration. Drawing more of the star's power into himself, he strides toward the lizard.

On the second step, his legs feel unsteady.

On the third step, he staggers. A tight sensation crawls up his stomach.

The sensation knots in his middle and drops him to his knees. Suddenly gnarled agony makes it hard to focus, to concentrate, to do anything but be aware of the pain.

"Oh, my goodness!" Andy croaks in relief, "Oh, thank my long line. I was afraid it wouldn't work…"

"What… what did you…?"

"What you were saying before… yes. Though it embarrasses me to admit it, yes, you were right. Even with all my lifetime of training, even through the perfection of my martial art, the glorious space-kung-fu of the Dharma family line… I am no match for your cosmic crown. With all the power you can draw upon, it would never be a fair fight. So we had to even the odds.

"We cheated. We poisoned the sun."