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In the Hands of Six 2.4

by Omnom

Wong passed by so many contraptions and machinations that violated so many ways of thinking and sciences he fundamentally held as truths that he only numbly followed Doctor Strange as the man briskly led him through the marvels of the upper echelons to some place. Wong remembered that they had talked about it, but, for the life of him, he couldn't remember their destination.


Wong's eyes darted up. "Hmm?"

"Are you all right?" Strange slowed his pace to match Wong's meandering trot. His eyes veered to Wong's magic-encased arm, which Wong was absentmindedly adding more magic casing to his chest.

Wong nodded. "I'm sorry, Strange. This place is.. over-whelming."

"Understandable." He breathed out a sigh. "Don't worry, Wong. We are almost there." He focused his vision ahead again, his voice becoming more distant. "The Ancient One left already, that's for sure. But, with the help of the Oracle Engine, we can find where exactly she ended up. We'll make sure your final moments are worthwhile." Strange glanced back at Wong with that last line, only to find him gazing away distantly. He looked ahead and marched on.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Ancient One flipped a fan in her hands, as they were crossed behind her back. There sorcerers were camped around a small fire that burned green against the distinct atmosphere. Several of her officers were huddled together, whispering about something regarding the battle ahead. She couldn't be bothered to join them. She was past pacing at this point, and had climbed to severe indecision as she hesitantly played the waiting game.

All of her instincts insisted that Thanos would undoubtedly be alerted of The Ancient One's presence and magnitude almost immediately. Anytime she jumped dimensions, she had to be careful where in her universe she came back to, as Thanos had repeatedly tried to ambush her. Anything else in her mind reassured her that the sheer power of the object strapped to her neck would shift the balance in anyone's mind with even an ounce of mystic ability in their head.

Even with all of that, however, she was still waiting. So, indecision and doubting thoughts intruded her mind. She was at an impasse.

On one hand, The Ancient One had managed to carefully craft a sprawling network of informants and spies across a web of systems vital to her and her allies. If she could just access one of her keeps, she would be able to know, within mere moments, where Thanos is heading and any other vital informations he would need.

However, on the other hand, every single one of her keeps were so heavily guarded by Mystics and defended by spells, some older than she was, and some more complex than interstellar, state-of-the-art defenses matrices, that she would have to teleport at least ten miles away just to avoid being ripped to shreds or trapped in another dimension. If she took too long, she would leave these to her scholars vulnerable when they were risking their lives for her plan.

The Ancient One was at an impasse. And so she waited.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Wong felt distant. It took all the concentration he could muster to keep his safeguards in place. The magic infection had consumed his entire right arm and was now intruding into the more vital areas of his body.

Doctor Strange settled him into a plush armchair and he sunk in, careful not to exert himself too much. He had to concentrate, otherwise his mind wandered. He focused is attention on the Oracle Engine.

Strange moved to the center of the ova room. A large, rotating contraption rested on a dais. Pulsating blue light flooded the room and washed out Strange's features. He held out a hand and the Engine halted to a resting position and jutted out a console that seemed to be constantly shifting. He positioned his hand on the console and whispered, "The Ancient One-2."

Wong gasped out as the machine whirred around. He knew his lungs were being devoured. How long until it reached his heart, his brain?

Strange opened a dimensional rift. "Wong, there's not much time." He held out a hand and Wong wearily accepted it.

"You're right," Wong breathed out. "Strange. I hope that this will help you. I had... spent much of my time as a sorcerer attempting to understand the Infinity Stones and preparing for Thanos. I hope you can do more with this information than I did." He held out his well-worn book. Strange glanced at it. He then nodded twice.

"Of course, old friend." He took the book and stuffed it into the folds of his robe.

Wong nodded wearily and stepped up to the port. He turned to Doctor Strange. "Am I dead in your universe?"

Strange chuckled at the question. "Give Thanos hell."

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Ancient One stepped out of a makeshift tent, looking up at the thick light gray clouds that covered the insufferable night sky and made it near impossible to see Dark Aster II's approach. No change.

She retreated back into her tent, where two Sorcerer Supremes poured over a map. The map itself constantly shifted. To the untrained eye, it would look like complete nonsense, but to someone trained diligently in the Mystic Arts, it showed a Mystic Map of the system they were in. Thanos' mothership was nowhere to be found, but The Ancient One wasn't surprised at this. The Dark Aster II had long ago managed to shelter itself from eye of the Mystic Arts. She had long suspected there might have been a mole within her ranks, but he had never been able to find anything that affirmed her suspicions.

She laid a hand on one of the sorcerer's shoulders. "Any change?" They both shook their heads. She nodded in affirmation. She had never suspected a different answer, but, well, they were desperate. "Keep me posted," she said, and left the tent.

Hovering lights were scattered throughout their makeshift encampment, giving small solace to the desolate piece of rock The Ancient One had chosen for her battlefield. She ghosted through the camp, observing the other sorcerers as they busied themselves with creating small traps or spells.

The familiar rippling sound of a dimensional rift opening behind her caused her to turn around. She noticed the room of the Oracle Engine behind Doctor Strange and Wong.

The latter of the two stepped through the rift with much effort. She noticed more of his chest fading into dust within his mythic guards.

"Master Wong, you shouldn't be here!" she said as he all but fell into her. She grabbed his shoulders with a stern fierceness. The sky crackled, and The Ancient One pushed him towards the rift. "You must go."

He spun our of her grasp. "I will not spend my final moments cowering in fear." Sorcerer Supremes from the entire camp left their tents and looked up at the sky.

"Spoken like a true Sorcerer Supreme." The Ancient One glared up at the sky as the Dark Aster II breached the atmosphere.

"Thanos has arrived."

End of Part One

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700 Reviews

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Reviews: 700

Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:23 pm
ShadowVyper wrote a review...

Heya Omni,

Shady back, even though she has no idea what's going on in this story? You betcha ;) Hopefully I'll find more things to comment on in this chapter than I did last chapter. Let's get started...

Wong passed by so many contraptions and machinations

I... do not think that word means what you think it means ;) Machinations means like "scheming" not machines... and from the context I don't think it was used appropriately in this sentence?

He had to concentrate, otherwise his mind wandered.

I mean... isn't that true for everyone? Like if you're not concentrating on something specific then your mind wanders? I suspect you have a stronger meaning here but it's not coming across as super clear/poignant with the way that it's currently phrased.

To the untrained eye, it would look like complete nonsense, but to someone trained diligently in the Mystic Arts, it showed a Mystic Map of the system they were in.

This seemed a bit repetitive. Untrained eye, trained diligently, Mystic Arts, Mystic Map. I mean it's not /technically/ repetition since it's different words, but it still came across as not being phrased as well as it potentially could be?

~ ~ ~

Ooh snap! I like this chapter more than I liked the last one! The bit with Strange/Wong and The Ancient One being separated was good -- it helped me stay engaged with both of the scenes simultaneously. I do think the sections could be a bit longer to help us engage fully with the setting before we get yanked to a different one, but it's also fine how it is and I liked it being short and easily digested chunks.

I also like how you merged the characters together into the same scene at the very end, right before Thanos arrived. That was a great way to bring things back together and have some union between the good guys as the epic battle with the bad guy is presumably going to start in the beginning of part two.

This was a good chapter and I think I understood more of it than I did the previous chapter (though again that's probably due to me jumping in late and also not knowing much about Marvel, so take that comment with a grain of salt lol). All in all, an excellent progression. Great job!

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)

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Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:59 pm
BlueAfrica wrote a review...

Wait, question, are there six Infinity Stones and is this what the "six" in the title refers to? I just had that thought for some reason as I looked at the title again, but I'm not familiar enough with any of the original material to know if I'm right.

Wong remembered that they had talked about it, but, for the life of him, he couldn't remember their destination.

In which I am Wong.

Wong nodded wearily and stepped up to the port. He turned to Doctor Strange. "Am I dead in your universe?"

Strange chuckled at the question. "Give Thanos hell."

I sort of assume that reaction is a yes, but I was just wondering this myself when Strange called him "old friend." I wasn't going to say anything because I couldn't remember if maybe this had already been established and I'd just forgotten (likely), but then Wong brought it up and I decided it probably hadn't been established. There must have been a Wong in this universe at some point, since Strange clearly has more or less the same relationship with Wong here as he does in this Wong's universe, so I was like "maybe Strange recognized him and was a lil sad because his Wong is dead but also a lil happy because he has a Wong back."

I don't know how useful Wong will be to the cause in this state, with this magical infection eating away at him, but then again it makes sense to me that he'd rather be here, trying to fight or whatever, than hiding out somewhere just waiting to die. What exactly is the Ancient One afraid of, anyway? That this is going to kill him? I forget who or how many people know about his condition, though.

Finally, a question: are you going for an omniscient viewpoint? It makes sense to me that you'd have the scene breaks where you've had them, because typically you're taking us from one setting to another and omniscience doesn't mean "continuous with no scene breaks no matter what." But the reason I'm wondering is because of that first scene - it starts off in Wong's perspective and then shifts into Strange's. If you are going for an omniscient viewpoint, I thought it was done very well - I didn't even realize we had shifted into Strange's perspective until the last line of that scene, but reading back I see the shift was actually earlier. But I don't remember how the perspective was previously, so I wanted to point this out in case you were going for a more one-character-per-scene type thing. If this were the only instance of omniscience in the story, it might be jarring for readers.

Although reading back I see a few other instances of shifts between Doctor Strange and Wong in the same scene, just so subtle that I didn't notice on my first read-through. I think I may only be noticing at all because I'm going for an omniscient viewpoint in draft 2 of TCG. Anyway, I also wanted to bring it up because I think readers today aren't as familiar with omniscience, and on YWS I've noticed than any instance of omniscience is greeted with "you're head-hopping!!!" rather than considering that this might've been intentional, so I figured I'd mention this so you get at least one review where a reviewer thinks it might've been on purpose.

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."
— Albus Dumbledore