The first section was written by Marcus, and he deserves full credit for this first it.
There were dozens of them, thirty-three in all. All confused and coming to from consciousness. At least one of the monsters there was suspended in a zero gravity orb of some kind. Villains, heroes, antiheroes, from several different universes. Some recognized each other. Others looked on strangely at the company. The smartest ones instantly realized nobody was here willfully, at least so it appeared.
“Welcome friends,” echoed a cheerily powerful voice, “to the Tournament of Mortals!”
Standing nearly seven feet high upon a two-storied Aztec temple structure was a man with bright, noble white eyes and a red-tanned body. Humanoid in form, he was clearly not normal. Mutant or alien was anybody’s guess, but at his feet was a snow white wolf with deep blue eyes. Though looking around the stadium it wasn’t hard to tell that red and white were his favorite colors.
“I brought you all here to my pocket dimensional home to a challenge you cannot refuse. A fight for the best of the dimensions, and all of you has a single important weakness: you are all mortals.”
Darkseid glanced about for a moment, noticing the figures Doomsday (currently unconscious and suspended in the floating orb), Superman, and Batman. With his bulky arms behind his back he spoke up. “Them why am I here? For I—am a god.”
Despite his confidence, the others in the room did not appear to believe him.
The Portal Master lowered his arms and smiled all the more. “I am quite positive you are not a god and able to be destroyed. It is recorded in the Library of Babel.”
Some in the room were surprised that such a thing actually existed, including Batman. There were some who didn’t even know what that was, and a certain Eldrad Ulthran defensively grabbed his staff in both hands.
“Whatever your record keepers may have,” Darkseid continued as his eyes began to burn with fire, “I am the most powerful being here,” and a pair of zigzagging red laser beams burst out, avoiding those in his path and heading straight for the figure on his temple.
A rounded portal shone brightly, bright enough to paralyze, taking the beams with it. Darkseid raised his eyes in surprise and dropped open his mouth just slightly, bending the lasers to and fro to try and find an exit or direction to the target. Another, smaller portal opened from behind him and released his own lasers so that Darkseid struck his own back.
The beams, designed to destroy anything he looked at, burned him badly (not on complete full power), but the Portal Master nodded, and a series of varying portals opened upon Darkseid, and finally caused an implosion, then explosion, of his body parts and insides.
The Portal Master then weaved his left fingers together. A portal opened up from above and sucked the portions of Darkseid’s body through and then spit them back out as Darkseid—whole again and alive.
“Since you clearly do not want to be here, I will send you on your way back home as if you were never here.” Even as he spoke, Darkseid vanished in a stream of static energy, his presence and fate unable to be determined by even the most powerful psychics once in his midst.
“Fear not,” he said smiling once again to the crowd, “I am only tired and bored in the state I exist, and so decided to create this tournament. The winner shall receive anything he so desires.” Miniature portals, faint and weak but clear in the vision of those present appeared before them according to what he knew of them.
“Riches, fame, power beyond your imagination if you want. Or loved ones you wish to take back, perhaps a past life…”
Krypton appeared to Superman before it was destroyed, real for sure. He knew it wasn’t an illusion; the portal was opening to a place backward in time. Bruce Wayne saw his parents walking out of the theatre happy and being brought out of the afterlife. Spawn saw his wife and him together with her in an alternate reality. Even Shadow saw the girl Maria, healthy and alive.
“I can make you into the ultimate creation, you shall be known as the greatest mortal to exist!”
Goku was given a vision of himself so powerful as being capable of stopping the galaxy from being destroyed, Azula saw herself greater than the Avatar, Alex Mercer was shown the possibility of him consuming the likes of many in the room. Emperor Palpatine saw himself destroying entire warships using the Force with a clamp of his fist, Jackie Estacardo foresaw him becoming immune to the harmful effects of light, and being able to keep his powers after the birth of his son. Kratos saw himself become a true immortal, and the willpower to span the universes in alternate dimensions. Magneto saw his entire life restarted, with all the knowledge he knew, wife and children together.
“And some of you, well, may need other sets of persuasion.”
With that, Eldrad Ulthran saw the future in which a victor entered his realm and destroyed the Eldar race, ending the galaxy where he lived. Captain Marvel saw Shazam becoming a tormented slave to evil. The Doctor saw the Tardis reverse engineered and sold into the wrong hands, as he could do nothing, trapped in a pocket dimension of pure nothing. Raven saw her home destroyed and the Teen Titans tormented as slaves to some dark entity.
Whoever they were, whatever their story, each of them had a reason to be victorious and put in their best efforts to complete victory.
“As you can now all see, I am quite bored in my existence, and thoroughly enjoy researching the likes of you in the Library of Babel, but I am very curious to see who would win in an all-encompassing tournament.
“For purposes of victory simple, sound defeat by knock out is preferred, killing is not encouraged but there will be penalties if there is death; though as you can see by example of Darkseid’s demise, I can bring back any who fall fatal so worry not. My powers still have their limitations however.
“Consumption on the other hand is by all means encouraged. Take the equipment of your foes and use them in the next round. As a final note, you will be given two days of preparation for the fight. Use this time to create or modify your available weapons, and to study all you want about your opponent from the massive index of the Library. You will be at your physical peak by my hand when you fight to give each party the best possible chance, so train as hard as you like.”
Suddenly 31 huts materialized on the grounds, causing a few among the crowd unfamiliar with such displays of magic to gasp. Plain and simple, with one exception of a giant cave ( a few cast a glance at the menacing dragon that stood out in their midst) they were all remarkably uniform. Some scoffed or turned up their noses, guessing immediately what function the huts were supposed to serve, not liking them one bit.
Seeing this the Portal Master's face once again lit up in a smile
"Fear not, for the inside of the huts is much more spacious then its outside appearance presents, and has been custom modified to fit individual tastes. Each of you will find a access point to the Library of Babel inside, as well as any personal equipment or significant people that would be of assistance in preparation."
One of them, a bald twelve year old whose forehead was covered in tattoos, looked up inquisitively at the creature in the cage. Seeing this the Portal Master continued
"That creature will remain caged until battle, for its blood-lust and rage are such that were I to release it now pre-mature carnage would result. "
A couple among the crowd, most notable being the Superman, nodded approvingly. He had enough experience with that creature to last a lifetime....
The Portal Master clapped his hands.
"I shall return shortly with the announcement for our first match. Mingle, get to know your fellow contestants, some of whom you may face in the arena. Do not fear; though some of you speak different languages, all shall speak in the same tongue in my domain. "
With that the Portal Master vanished from the spot, leaving thirty-one contestants, most of whom were still in shock and disoriented from the random teleporation, quiet and contemplative.
The peace wouldn't last.
A hulking brute, a being every bit as muscular as the beast in the cage, roared and hurled himself towards a man with a thin mustache and goatee, who seemed to have been warily expecting such a move.
The man, dressed in a colorful assortment of blue, red and black, muttered an incarnation and teleported several meters back to separate himself from the group. He knew he had a fight on his hands, and didn't want anyone else, regardless of their alignment, caught in the crossfire. The sorcerer yelled a warning
"Get Back! In this state Bruce doesn't care who he hurts!"
"The only one I am going to hurt is you, Strange!"
The giant green figure let out a roar and charged the sorcerer, quaking the very foundations of the complex through the sheer power of his steps. Strange gestured and a beam of energy shot out of his hands, hitting the green figure and stopping him in his tracks.
He roared, digging its feet into the ground . The continuous beam pushed him back only two feet more, until the creature forced it to a halt. With another roar he clapped his hands together thunderously, dispelling the magical bolt and causing Strange to stagger.
The monster charged, only to stop suddenly at the sight of a visibly enraged Strange, who now glowed blue from pure energy.
The Hulk emerged from the dust and debries, clearly struggling in the act of restraining rage even as the wall behind him magically repaired itself, unnoticed by all but the most keen eyes watching. He growled
" You shouldn't have done that, this wasn't your fight."
Superman, trying to restore the peace, opted for a calming approach
"Whatever that man did to you, there will be another time and place. We need to figure out where we are and how to-"
A big green fist hurled at his person forced him on the defensive, his light speed reflexes enabling him to dodge the blow. He countered, a punch to the green giant's gut-resulting in only a small grunt. Hulk's return punch burst open his lip, sending him reeling backwards.
Superman rubbed his lip and stiffled his emerging headache; it had been a while since he fought someone who was physically strong enough to hurt him. Earth's mightiest hero wasn't going to let a bloody lip slow him down, and all this "Hulk" had convinced him was that perhaps more force then usual was needed.
His eyes glowed bright red, something that should have warned the fast approaching Hulk, but the brute was too pissed off to pay attention to or be deterred by the obvious warning scene. So without much reluctance Superman let loose.
Hulk was blasted back, though not far. Slowly, despite the immense pressure kept on his chest he managed to advance, his face straining from anger and effort. Strange looked on, hands still in position to cast an incarnation, however he was torn between who to help; the man who was attempting to help him, or his former friend and fellow defender member.
Meanwhile in the crowd, a rather twisted old man whose face bore wrinkles from a different source then aging smiled cruelly as he looked on. This man enjoyed the very sight of pain, no matter who it was inflicted on or for what reason. However his sadism did not render him blind to happenings around him, and his glowing sword instinctively lit up to block a blow from another such weapon.
He promptly force pushed the assailant back, not surprised to find out who he was.
" You will pay for what you have done to my life Palpatine!"
Palpatine just laughed, his shrill voice raising hairs among some of those in the crowd! He started clapping as he spoke
"Good, good! You have gone far down the path of the Dark Side! Just as I had planned from the beginning when I let that fool Vader train you. Now bow before your true master!"
Galen Marek screamed in rage, his lightsaber infused saber rushing forward to clash with Palpatine's. Palpatine's blade blocked Marek's decapitating strike, before pressing the offensive with Pushing slash. Marek had been training with his farsight, and preemptively force pushed the Emperor, which though blocked ended the attack. However Marek's assured strike was anything but, and they soon found themselves once again in a stalemate, blades locked.
Palpatine once again taunted his foe
"Give up boy, you are nothing compared to me! I am the true master of the dark side!"
"Wanna bet on that?"
Both men turned their heads briefly, surprised that a third voice had interrupted them. This man, with wiry black hair and whose form seemed to be literally obscured in darkness, charged straight for the feuding duo.
Meanwhile, with the Hulk and Superman pounding away at each other as Strange tried to forcibly separate both, Aang was about to initiate the Avatar State. It was his duty to enforce the peace, and peace was needed now more then ever. However just as his tattoos were about to grow blue, a finger tapped his shoulder.
He turned, and naturally recoiled . Before him was the slightly amused face of the woman who nearly killed him several months back, Azula.
"What would be the point of showing off your "mighty" Avatar State Dum-Dum? You'd just be swatted down like an irritant fly while the big boys continued their show."
Aang, annoyed at being compared to a fly, retorted
"I am not going to let innocent people get hurt in the crossfire Azula! What are you doing here, shouldn't you be in the loony asylum?"
Azula, under the impression that he was just trying to insult her and not speaking literally, replied
"Oh please, at least I actually belong here in a tournament as I am, you know, a fighter, unlike the boy who bravely fled as his people burned."
That comment nearly triggered the Avatar State by itself, and seeing this Azula opted for a more mellow approach, as she really did not want a fight right now.
"Aang" The Avatar was momentary surprised that she bothered to find out his real name rather then his title "think about it. Wouldn't it be better to observe the others now and find out their capabilities, rather then running around blind when you eventually have to face them in battle?"
Seeing as Aang was contemplative at this point, and that she needn't study him in action since she already knew him well enough, Azula decided to share *some*, but far from all, of her observations.
"See that green giant over there? If you look closely enough you can see his muscles grow the angrier he gets, while the red-caped man who he is fighting is clearly holding back, you can see it written in the shadow of his face. "
Next she pointed to the three-way battle, where the man shrouded in darkness was spawning all sorts of weird tentacles from his body, while the two lightsaber wielding foes were put on the defensive by all the minions he had brought with him . They still took a couple shots at each other even as they attempted to fend off their new opponent.
"Even you can see those two hate each other, what you wouldn't be able to see is the sadistic amusement in the old man's eyes, or the way the young man grows sloppy with rage-something the old man is deliberately trying to make him give into. The third, the one covered in darkness, was just spoiling for a fight, and only entered the fray at the slightest provocation. "
She turned to regard her familiar enemy, her pride satisfied at the sight of his impressed look. In fact, he was hoping to get her observations on a few more
"When it comes to observations, your good Azula. What about-"
Suddenly a harsh voice came from behind both of them-
"Arrogant Mortals! I am a the GOD Alduin, and I do not fight alongside children!"
Before either could turn to regard the being who uttered those words, Alduin spoke a devastating three word insult
"FUS RO DAH !!"
A powerful burst of energy threw both of them forwards, causing them to collide into two figures in front of them; a humanoid figure with a long tail and three fingers that was purple and grey, and a sleek, black and red ....hedgehog? The quad of them landed in a heap
The mass of bodies quickly untangled themselves, with the hedgehog immediately assuming an aggressive stance against the two benders.
All three of them looked at the purple figure, who had spoken with such authority that his voice seemed to have reverberated in the back of their minds. The figure pointed at the dragon, charging a ball of psionic energy as he spoke
" They are not responsible for the attack; the dragon is!"
Without any prompting, he fired his energy at the dragon, with the two benders immediately following suit. The hedgehog, after a moments hesitation, joined them as the dragon sneered.
Elsewhere Chaos reigned. A man with a most peculiar helmet was dueling a another being whose suit seemed almost alive, chains spontaneously coming out of it. Unfortunately the first man seemed to have metal manipulation powers, and the chains were being made to attack its owner. A man in a deathly knight style armor dueled with a hooded feminine figure who utilized dark telekinesis, while another hooded warrior with a blade for a arm had tried to assassinate a man with a powerful hammer, only to fail when said man noticed him. Someone, somewhere yelled "SHAZAM!".
Elsewhere a man dressed entirely in black warily observed the cage of Doomsday, whose cage had been loosened by the aftershocks caused by the Hulk-Superman fight- which had grown as Captain Marvel and a man in a orange jumpsuit had joined in.
The cage was shaking dangerously, which worried him immensely.
" You shouldn't worry about things you cannot help Batman,there's nothing that can be done here."
A voice with a British accent cased him to turn, and he instantly regarded the most out of place man he had ever seen; even the dragon fit in better. It wasn't that this man came in a spectacular shape or size; no it was the fact that this man oozed of normality . Everyone else here possessed an odd costume or had out of place powers or was, you know, a dragon. This man, to Batman's keen eyes, seemed rather normal based on outward appearances other then the weird screwdriver he was holding, that and his ridiculous bowtie.
Batman's eyes narrowed in suspicion as the man began using the screwdriver to ..."scan" Doomsday?
"What do you -?"
"Simple my sunlight hating friend. You wear a Bat Symbol on your chest and are clearly a man, thus Batman! I am quite good aren't I?"
He continued to scan the creature, as Batman stared a bit annoyed at him. He wasn't going to ask "How do you know my name?", that much was obvious.
" No, what do you mean by "there is nothing that can be done here"?
The man did not immediately answer, instead continuing to read his scanner. When he did he seemed to mumble fast in what sounded like gibberish, but Batman knew he was reading the results of the scan.
"Kryptonian, the strangest DNA sequence I have ever seen. It seems to radically redefine itself on contact with a substance its unfamiliar with; my scanner won't be able to work again. Hmm adaptive resistance, super strength, unshakable desire to kill everything in its path. Eureka! Err that is what you Americans like to say right? Anyway I now have correctly concluded why you and your friends were looking at it with emotions ranging from weariness to fear! It would try to kill us all if let out!"
Though Batman was impressed by his reasoning and observation skills, he still hadn't answered his original question. Before he could repeat himself however, the doctor continued
"Oh how rude of me, I didn't introduce myself. I go by the name of the Doctor! Though as you can tell that not my real name- just as Batman isn't yours! Oh and what I meant by "what couldn't be helped" is the fact that in precisely 6.17 seconds, that Hulk creature is going to crash into the cage, knocking it down."
Before Batman could so much as blink a big green giant crashed into the cage, knocking the creature out and replacing its presence with the Hulk. Doomsday hit the ground, his feral eyes already opening.
" And now its time to RUN!"
Batman didn't need the warning; nothing he could do could so much as slow down the creature.
Without any hesitation Doomsday's eyes opened, not bothering to take in the surroundings but to focus on the souls around him! He roared and immediately headed for the closest, his mind focused on nothing but killing.
Not caring who he killed Doomsday immediately ran for the closest, who was .... laughing?
Doomsday felt his desire for a kill to increase tenfold. This creature reminded him of his creator laughing at him as he was fed to predators again and again-and Doomsday hated him most of all!
Without preamble he ripped the man in half at the waist, only to get a renewal of fury as the man KEPT laughing. Doomsday stomped down on his face, smashing it against the floor. Brain matter and blood split in all directions- but the man STILL kept laughing. Doomsday was more enraged then he ever had been before, why couldn't his enemy stay dead? Not knowing much else in the way of options, he began ripping into pieces whatever he could find of the man, not bothering to notice that the scenery around him had gotten a lot more quiet.
No longer did they fight each other; whether evil, good or neutral, regardless of alignment, all were almost mesmerized by the scene of carnage that was unfolding in front of them. Well, almost all of them were.
"Everyone get back NOW!"
Doomsday immediately looked up from the carnage; that hateful voice! He had always hated Kryptonians with a passion, not surprising given his upbringing. But that voice, that one voice belonged to a man who had killed him before- and Doomsday hated that sound more then even the high pitched squeals of laughter still coming from the various pieces of the corpse beneath him.
His red eyes narrowed onto the man in red and blue, and without even bothering to give off a roar he charged, bowling through everyone in his path who was not quick enough to get out of the way. Whether they lived or died from the impact was not his concern-only killing the man before him was.
Superman's laser beam hit Doomsday squarely in the chest but it hardly slowed him; Doomsday had evolved a resistance to it long ago. A hammer thrown from somewhere crashed into chest, knocking him off balance but only briefly. Doomsday growled, realizing that perhaps he would have to fight others before killing his hated foe- just as a man in a orange jumpsuit with spiky hair appeared out of nowhere and kicked him back.
Doomsday's reflexes were fast enough to grab his leg, pulling him back towards him. However the orange jumpsuit man broke free just as a second man, this one with a lightning bolt on his chest, joined in the fray . Doomsday punched the newcomer across the face, however that allowed that allowed Mr. Spiky hair , now having changed from black to golden, to use both hands to slam into Doomsday's cheek, even as he simultaneously dodged a blow from the enraged creature.
Meanwhile Aang was watching from sidelines, about to do something he wanted to avoid. He was about to turn into the Avatar State. Already singed a little from the battle with Alduin, Aang just wanted the battle to end. Once again however he was interrupted, this time by the being who had taken the place of Doomsday in the cage.
"Hey Kid, you need to get me out of here."
Aang jumped, surprised that the voice was addressing him . He though about it for a second hesitantly; on one hand he didn't want to make this "Hulk" angrier, on the other it had started this cycle of violence, and was partially to cause for Doomsday to get loose.
"Hurry!You don't have much time, the others are getting slaughtered out there!"
Aang nervously turned his head around and saw that the Hulk was speaking truth: the one with the lightning bolt chest had been punched 100 feet back into a wall, while the spiky haired man had only been saved by a golden ankh appearing suddenly in front of him, blocking what would have been a fatal punch. Others had joined the fray; but none of their attacks were doing much. Only those...darkness creatures were helping, and that was just because Doomsday was forced to take the time to destroy them, sparing other, worthier targets.
"But if I let you out, you'll just start hurting the others again."
"I won't hurt any that don't deserve it, and not even him as long as that creature is alive. I was once a hero, kid. Just let me out, and I can help them. "
Aang had always been accused of being too soft, and perhaps he was, however he just knew that there was sincerity in those words. A piece of Earth shot towards the Hulk, its force being sufficient enough to push him out.
For a second, the Avatar thought in horror that he might have been wrong, that this Hulk lied and was now going to go on a fighting spree-starting with him, the Avatar!
For that reason he was a bit surprised when the Hulk mumbled a reluctant "thanks", before running towards the fight, the ground shaking with repressed anger as he walked.
Doomsday sensed a giant creature running straight towards him, sensed it and immediately punched said creature in the face as soon as he was close enough, throwing him back dozens of feet. Smirking a little Doomsday turned just as Superman punched him at one of his bone obtrusion, something that always caused Doomsday a great deal of pain.However that did not stop Doomsday from grabbing hold of it as Superman pulled back. He roared, and broke the offending arm!
Before Doomsday could so monopolize his victory a great green hand pulled him away, causing Doomsday to snarl- only for a fist to land in his open mouth. The green giant was positively glowering with rage, almost as potent as the Hate Doomsday gave off. Doomsday smashed his fist into the Hulk's eye; only for the Hulk to retaliate with a blow to the chest which took off a bone protrusion. It instantly healed of course, but left Doomsday all the more pissed.
At the last instant the magic of the Portal Master activated, its effect restoring the wounds of all in its wake as well as the building itself, and putting Doomsday, unconscious, back in his cage. The Hulk felt his rage subside- forcibly, as it turned out. From out of the white light came one clapping- and amused- figure.
" A magnificent and wonderful showing to the Tournament of Mortals! Whatever doubts I had about taking in some of you, you have all disproved it in that exhibition. Well Done!"
A few in the crowd were amused; most were outraged. One of them, a bold man whose body was covered in ash, spoke up for the group
"Coward! You are nothing without your twisted portals; come face us like a true warrior, or are you too much of a coward for that?"
The Portal Master continued to smile, much to the annoyance of the man who spoke up.
"Kratos you shall be a fine addition to this tournament, for your audacity is powerful enough for you to dare take on gods!"
The Portal Master made an excited motion with his hands, something that was rather off putting for most of the group, including Kratos. He did not expect this tournament master to get that much excitement from their fights.
Now speaking directly to those who knew of Doomsday, in a attempt to assuage their fears the Portal Master said
" Fear not, for Doomsday shall not remember this fight, nor will his genes adapt to it. You all have performed admirably, and now the time has come to announce the fighters in the first round."
A stillness settled over the crowd; all were eager to hear which of them would be fighting first, especially the still manic figure of Alucard, who had reformed after being torn into by Doomsday. For him it had been most...enjoyable, he had a feeling he would LOVE this tournament!
" Some other announcements first. Starting on the second day until the end of the first round, there shall be one fight per day, with a new fight announced once a day. Only those who are currently preparing for a bout may utilize the Library of Babel, which is made easily accessible at each of your lodgings. Those not currently preparing are free to wander the facility, and those that are need not worry; mealtime and announcements shall not be detracted from your preparations. "
With that said, the Portal Master clapped his hands together and the lights dramatically dimmed
" For our first match, we will have a battle of teen prodigies, who have surpassed all odds through immense self training and determination, becoming two of the strongest in their respective realms. With that said I am very pleased to say that the first round contestants will be: Princess Azula of the Fire Nation-"
A bright golden light shown above the Fire Nation princess, illuminating her for all to see. Azula, having been to theaters and who had been expecting such a dramatic gesture, gave her most confident pose and her famous stare. Though she wouldn't admit it publicly, she was a bit excited for the upcoming battle, to prove herself against what was hopefully a worthy foe. Meanwhile the Portal Master continued.
"- whose strategic brilliance and perfectionist mindset have allowed her to win battles without fighting and master the rare blue-fire, VS the former Sith apprentice whose mastery of the force is on par with those many times his age, Galen Marek!"
The Sith apprentice stared at the tournament master before cocking his head towards Azula, who was regarding him with both a determined and inquisitive expression. Marek knew she was scanning him for outward weaknesses and he was determined not to show any; this battle would be of wills as much as a lightsaber. Azula sneered at him, as he opted for a fake sort of calm.
"Well with that said protective enhancements are now in place to make sure none are hurt before stepping in the ring. Good Luck Azula and Marek, and to the rest of you your lodging have now been unlocked. "
And before anyone could ask him a question, he disappeared in a purple mist, leaving two teenagers still staring intensely at each other, and the rest uncertain of their roles.