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The Dark Crystal: "Age of Resistance"
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Sorry for the long wait. I've mapped out how the rest of the story will play out, and I can guarantee it's going to be fun to read. In the meantime, here's the next chapter!
“You wanna run that plan by us one more time, Doc?” Crichton made this request with a heavily skeptical tone. The Doctor could see it in all of their faces – the Moya crew, the Muppets, and her own fam. Her plan had to be the riskiest one she had ever thought up, but it was the only one they had.
“Alright, one more time,” she huffed in frustration. “We take one of the Infinity Stones from the present with us to the past: the Time Stone.”
“Right, we get that,” Graham interrupted. “But what I don’t get is why we need the one stone that lets you travel through time, when we already have the TARDIS?”
“Because, Graham,” the Doctor emphasized his name in a condescending voice, “my TARDIS isn’t of this dimension. I can’t willy-nilly jump about through time here without exhausting the TARDIS’s reserved energy. So I’m gonna need the Time Stone to give it the boost it needs.” She then paused, reflecting on one phrase she uttered in her clarification. “Willy-nilly. Ugh, don’t like that. I’m never saying it again.”
Despite her clarification, the group still had their concerns.
“It’s a solid plan, Doc,” Crichton said, “but there’s one major flaw: Thanos already has the Time Stone.”
And there was the part where she fretted to tell them, “Yeah…fully aware of that…it’s the one thing I didn’t wanna tell you.”
“Tell us what?” Yaz asked.
Scooter had already figured it out. “She, uh…wants us to take the stone from Thanos himself.” He gulped at the prospect, loud enough for those around him to hear.
“Aaaand I’m out,” Crichton was the first to resign. “It’s a suicide mission, Doc.”
“You’re right, it is,” the Doctor confessed, “which is why I’m doing it myself.”
The group was quick to object to this, but it was the tiny Robin whose little voice carried the loudest. “No! We’re not letting you! I don’t care what everyone else does, but I’m not gonna let you face that monster all by yourself!” He walked right up and stood by her, his diminutive size more apparent beside her taller frame. “The Doctor is our friend, and friends are stronger together.”
“Not strong enough against Thanos,” Crichton muttered under his breath, only to receive an elbow to his side by Aeryn. “Ow! What the…?!”
“Quiet, the littler Kermit makes a good point,” Aeryn told him.
The Doctor was touched by Robin’s encouraging words and support. Impulsively, she knelt to envelop the small frog in literally the biggest hug he had ever received. “Thank you for that, Robin.”
“The kid’s right, Doc,” Graham spoke up. “We are stronger together.”
“And we won’t let you deal with Thanos alone,” Kermit boldly proclaimed before turning to Scooter, Fozzie, and Gonzo. “Right, guys?”
Scooter gathered his courage and stood with Kermit. “Right, boss.”
Fozzie and Gonzo, on the other hand, stood with Crichton on the matter. “Sorry, Kermit,” Fozzie said on their behalf, removing his hat and nervously fiddling with it in his furry grips. “You’ve seen what this Thanos guy’s capable of.” And then, unexpectedly, he changed his mind, in spite of his fears. “B-But Robin’s right, fellas,” he told Gonzo and Crichton. “The Doctor’s been there for us many times. We can’t abandon her now.”
Crichton couldn’t believe it took a bear in a pork pie hat to talk some sense into him. “The bear makes a reasonable point,” he admitted. “God, I must be outta my mind.”
The Doctor wiped away a tear that managed to leak out from the corner of her left eye. Don’t let ‘em see ya get all misty-eyed, Doctor…that’s what hugs are for…and you can’t hug everyone in this room, she mentally instructed herself. Once she was able to compose herself, she proceeded to use the TARDIS to locate Thanos and the Time Stone, pinpointing the location to Thanos’ homeworld of Titan.
Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, Bruce Banner, and James Rhodes arrived in style to the witness of Miss Piggy and the Doctor. The team landed in a Quinjet, the signature aircraft for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers (although neither faction was in service any longer). Miss Piggy and the Doctor got to see each of the passengers as they disembarked on the helipad.
“Is that scruffy bloke Captain America?” the Doctor observed of the former Avengers spearhead. “Blimey! I don’t know about that beard.”
“Oh, give him a break,” Piggy told him. “He’s been through a lot since becoming a fugitive from the government. Besides, he could look like Willie Nelson for all I care, as long as I get the first scoop on the meeting between King T’Challa and the Avengers.”
“Dey’re not Avengers anymore, h’okay,” said Pepe, who appeared out of nowhere with Beauregard. “Dey broke up like the Beatles…except the government was like Yoko Ono and Iron Man was John Lennon.”
“Quite the metaphor there,” the Doctor remarked.
“Uh, Miss Piggy?” Beauregard said whilst filming. “Should we even be recording the Not-Avengers, if they’re fugitives?”
“We’ll blur their faces in post!” Piggy griped. “Just keep rollin’!”
Beauregard did as he was told while the Doctor approached Rogers and his entourage. “Captain…may I still call you ‘Captain’? I feel like ‘Steve’ is a little too personal.”
Rogers questionably glanced up and down at the tall, thin man in the suit and tie. “I’m sorry. You are…?”
The Doctor completely forgot that he and the famed American hero had never properly met before. “Right, sorry.” He took Cap’s hand into his own for a handshake. “Name’s the Doctor.”
At this introduction, Romanoff recognized the individual in front of them. “You’re the one who rescued Wanda and Vision in Scotland.”
“We were briefed on you by Ciciley Livingston and Agent X,” Rogers said. “They mentioned something about a ‘dusty old British police box’ that’s actually a spaceship bigger on the inside?”
“Yeeeeah, that’d be my TARDIS,” the Doctor confirmed, trying not to be offended by the agents’ description of his ship.
Banner approached the Time Lord, standing close enough to examine his face. “Wait a sec. You’re the Doctor? Back in Manhattan, there was a blond woman in a blue-grey overcoat with Kermit the Frog, and she claimed to be ‘The Doctor’.”
The Doctor was slightly perturbed at this. “Dr. Banner, I assure you, whoever that woman is, she may be a doctor but she’s not the Doctor. I’m the definite article, you might say.” He was quick to return to business thereafter. “I’m also the man who plans on taking Vision and the Mind Stone off-world and out of your dimension.”
“Out of our dimension?” he heard Ciciley Livingston objectively say, manifesting on the helipad with Agent X and T’Challa. “Don’t be absurd.”
“You’ve seen my ship – the one you seem adamant in calling ‘dusty’,” the Doctor disputed. “You know that Vision and the stone are much safer with me than they are here where Thanos and his invasion force can easily reach them.”
“We’re more than capable of protecting Vision and keeping that stone from Thanos,” Ciciley firmly stated. “Why’re we even listening to you? As far as I’m concerned, you are a civilian here. So why don’t you just—” Her command was cut off just as a loud explosion erupted overhead.
Something tried to breach the energy dome that protected Wakanda’s Golden City. They soon discovered it to have been one of many alien dropships that made its rapid descent from space, landing in the forests outside the dome.
“The invasion has started,” the disconcerted Doctor said through gritted teeth.
Materializing on the desolated world of Titan in her TARDIS, the Doctor and her large group of friends exited from the ship and surveyed the ruined landscape. “If I came from a world like this, I’d turn into an evil megalomaniac myself,” Ryan reflected.
“Never judge a book by its cover, Ryan,” the Doctor passed on her wisdom. “Titan was once a beautiful planet, rich with people and resources that eventually ran out, due to overpopulation.” While considering this history, she surmised, “That’s what Thanos intends to do with the Stones: preventing other worlds from falling under the same ruin as Titan.”
“You say that like he’s the hero in all this,” Kermit hinted.
“No hero would do what Thanos did to Knowhere,” Robin contradicted. “That was horrible!”
“I wholeheartedly agree with ya, Robin,” the Doctor said. “Every megalomaniac – as Ryan cleverly described them – has their reason for doing the evil that they do. But, from their perspective, no matter what, they’ll always see their intentions as good.”
In the middle of the group’s excursion, they were stopped by a triangular metallic object that randomly landed in front of them. “What is that?” Graham inquired of it.
The device automatically opened like a blossomed flower, emitting a bluish light.
Right away, Crichton recognized what it was. “It’s a gravity mine! Take cover!” His warning came all too late, as the mine was triggered and pulled all of them towards it, bunching them all together.
“Wow! What a rush!” Gonzo exclaimed, smushed between D’Argo and Graham.
Using her sonic screwdriver, the Doctor shut off the gravity mine and gave everyone (herself included) their mobility back. It happened just as another group of individuals hostilely surrounded them. The Doctor was relieved to have seen them to be Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and a few members of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
“Oh,” the Doctor gasped. “You lot got your own team-up goin’?”
“Silence, woman!” Drax the Destroyer demanded. “We know Thanos sent you to kill us!”
“You are imbecilic as usual, Drax,” D’Argo insulted. “You and your so-called ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.”
“Wait a sec,” uttered Peter Quill (a.k.a. “Star-Lord”), who deactivated his helmet to expose his dumbfounded (or just plain dumb) face. “What’re you guys doing here?”
“Same reason you a-holes are here – Thanos,” Crichton retorted.
“You all know each other?” Yaz discerned of the exchange between teams.
“Unfortunately,” Aeryn told her. “We’ve crossed paths once or twice with the Guardians. Not surprised they’re here, considering they’re the ones responsible for Thanos obtaining the frellin’ Reality Stone.”
“That’s bullcrap!” Quill barked. “He wouldn’t have gotten it if we’d been to Knowhere before him!”
“Really?” Crichton challenged. “Just the three of you? Thought there were more Guardians than what I’m seeing right now. No wonder you got your butts handed to y—” His insulting remarks earned him a swift punch to the face, delivered by Quill, inciting a brawl that their teammates had to break up.
Through the entire altercation, Fozzie and Graham detected noticeable similarities between the Guardians and the Moya crew. “They’re practically identical to each other,” Graham noted. “Both got human nits leading the squad.”
“Yeah, and both have aggressive stereotypes,” Fozzie added.
“Which one’s the aggressive stereotype?” Graham quizzed the bear.
Separated from Crichton, Quill screamed to his equal, “It wasn’t just the Reality Stone Thanos took! He took Gamora, too!”
“We will get her back, Mr. Star-Lord,” the Doctor reassured.
“It’s just ‘Star-Lord’,” Quill told her. “And how am I supposed to take your word for it, lady? I’m just supposed to accept it at face value, when I’ve never even seen your face before.”
“She’s the Doctor,” Robin vouched. “You can trust her.”
The Doctor graciously glanced at the little frog. Such a wonderfully supportive lad, that one.
“This feeble woman cannot possibly be the Doctor,” Drax negated. “The Doctor was an old white-haired man with external genitalia.” His description was a bit too literal for everyone, all of them issuing complaints at once.
“We talked about this, man,” Quill told the Destroyer. “Six words or less.”
“Drax the Destroyer, the walking thesaurus,” the Doctor identified of the Guardian member. “You have more than enough reason to destroy Thanos, after what he had done to Ovette and Kamaria.”
Drax stiffened at her knowledge of his personal history. “How do you know the names of my wife and daughter?”
“Told ya – I’m the Doctor.”
While the Guardians were overwhelmed with several questions as to how the young blonde was once the old Scotsman they knew, Crichton suddenly took notice in the fact that the wizard he saw abducted by the Black Order on Earth was now with the Guardians. “Hey,” he addressed him, “I would’ve figured Thanos had you and the Time Stone by now.”
“I was rescued – to put the term loosely – by these two,” Strange rigidly gestured to Iron Man and Spider-Man. “Though it was Stark’s grand scheme to take the fight to Thanos here on his turf.”
“What?!” the Doctor heard this. “That’s insane! There’s no surviving any fight with Thanos. It’s a no-win scenario.”
“Isn’t that what we’re here to do?” Gonzo indicated.
“Thankfully not,” the Doctor happily told the weirdo, “now that the Time Stone is still with Doctor Strange. He’ll give it to us. Right, Doctor?” She beamed at the irony of calling someone other than herself “Doctor” for a change.
“Wrong,” Strange answered.
The Doctor’s face fell on his refusal. “O.K. Wasn’t expectin’ that.”
“Grateful as I am with all you’ve helped me with in the past, Doctor, I cannot willingly give up the Time Stone, even to you,” Strange explained.
The Doctor maintained her courteousness as she counseled with the sorcerer. “I know you’ve recently used that stone to look into several possibilities of winning the fight with Thanos – fourteen million six hundred and five outcomes, correct?”
Stark was amazed at her accuracy. “That is astonishingly on the nose.”
“Thanks,” the Doctor fleetingly acknowledged before returning on Strange. “How many of those outcomes did we win?”
Strange paused for a long moment until he finally replied, “Two.”
“You told us you saw only one,” a baffled Tony Stark reiterated to the sorcerer.
“I did,” Strange admitted, “but the other outcome is too much of a risk to the multiverse.”
“It’s the Doctor, isn’t it?” Kermit construed. “Her presence here and now has changed everything.”
Strange confirmed the frog’s analysis with a firm nod.
“Trust me when I say that I know the risk,” the Doctor assured, “and I will do whatever’s necessary in preserving the multiverse when I’m finished.”
Despite this assurance, Strange remained very hesitant.
In that moment of hesitation, he and his fellow heroes heard the crackling of energy nearby and sensed a gust of wind blow past them. They all turned their attention to one area of the wasteland where a dark cloudy portal opened out of the thin air. From it emerged the Mad Titan himself, Thanos.