Return, but to what?
Nothing at all results from this venture.
Victor's attention is pulled away from his attempt to manipulate his environment when the walls again begin to melt, flow, and resolidify as the various entrances reappear. Kang strides into the chamber, looking rather pleased about something.
"Come, Victor," he says. "Let's get you home."
Victor stood and walked with Kang. "Tell me again Kang, why do you choose to aid me with this?"
Kang shrugs. "Nothing so noble as altruism, Doom. Both of my brothersImmortus and Rama Tutcollect lost souls such as yourself. Or, to be precise, they collect those lost souls that I do not get to first. My brothers, who I have imprisoned in this dimension, seek to free themselves. To this end, they harvest lost souls to use as sources of energy for their attempts to escape Limbo. By temporal reckoning, they have both been here several decades, and their ability to manipulate aether grows stronger every year. Ah, but I digress. The more exceptional the lost soul, the more energy my brothers can siphon. Individuals such as yourself are too dangerous to be left wandering free. Since I refuse to resort to my brothers' tactics, the best I can do is show you the way to another place."
Kang places a hand on Victor's shoulder and gestures for his to turn around.
"For example," Kang says, gesturing towards the stone archway that has appeared in the middle of the room.
Within the archway, Victor cannot see the room beyond, as would be expected. Instead, he sees his study in his castle, dimly lit by sunlight creeping around the drawn curtains.
Victor reaches out with his mind to examine the arch as to whether it is some trick of the aether.
Trick or not, Victor cannot tell. Having little choice, but to trust this noble soul Kang, Victor extended his hand and bid his benefactor farewell, "Thank you Kang. If you are ever on Earth, stop by my castle and I will entertain you as a ally."
Kang smiles. "We may indeed meet again, Victor. Until then, fare thee well."
The man formerly known as Victor Dumas peered momentarily at Kang trying to read the man's mind even though he knew that it was not within his capabilities to do so. But to know what this man of Limbo was planning, would surely be a boon to him. Victor turned and walked through the portal and found himself in his study, facing the window and a rather noticeable scene outside in the graveyard. Victor turned and walked through the portal.
And finds himself in his study, facing the window and a rather noticeable scene outside in the graveyard.
Victor felt the passage of time suddenly hit him like a fall into a cold pond. He was once again a part of the reality of his origin. Looking out the window of his high study, he saw what appeared to be mourners.
Police, the press, and a legion of guests seemed to have gathered near the mausoleum adjacent to his castle. Scores of chairs on either side of a red carpet lead to a closed casket. A podium was set up nearby with speakers waiting to say their peace.
Victor scanned the guests in attendance. Exiled Latverian Bishop Vincentas Sladkevicius, the Vice President of the United States, the Assistant Secretary of State, Susan Storm, his ex-lover and fellow accident...victim, the Deputy Mayor, various dignitaries, including his new friends. Tony Stark, in a wheel chair, obviously survived the UN attack. That was a relief to Victor. Colonel DePalo and Wiesel of the UN.
A feeling of rage washed over Victor as he spied the Soviet Ambassador in attendance. The gall of the Soviets to send this animal to gloat over his dead body. Victor could just imagine what he was thinking. How he must be laughing inside at the fact that Victor Von Doom was finally out of his hair. Victor laughed to himself at the thought that would run though the man's mind if he could see Victor standing there in the window looking at him like some....specter.
Victor turned away from the window. If he was to figure out some way to return to some sort of physical form, then he would have to begin the investigation immediately. The first thing Victor tried was to simply will himself to be solid as he did before he was separated from his Earthly shell.
Finding that that did not work, Victor decided that it would behoove him to learn the physics of this new, temporary form he was in. Victor first attempted to pass his hand through his study desk. From what he knew of folk tales of ghosts, they could pass through solid objects and while doing so had not been much trouble for him in the last few years, he needed to know if this new ghost like form had the same attributes.
Victor discovers that he is indeed ethereal, able to pass through solid objects with the greatest of ease. Oddly, however, he finds he is unable to float. Neither can he descend through the floor.
As an afterthought, Victor approached the mirror above the fireplace mantle to see if he could view his own image. That of course did not guarantee that others would, but it would be beneficial knowledge none-the-less. He cast neither reflection nor shadow
Finally Victor made his way down to the funeral. He was a man on a desperate mission and paid little heed to the actual proceedings. He approached the closed casket that would surely contain his body. His next idea was to attempt to lie down within the casket and will himself to reunite with his broken and rotting corpse. Victor sunk within the confines of the coffin and thanked the fact that he could not see his own body in the darkness within. After a moment, he imagined himself rejoining with his own body and becoming one again and thought hard about becoming solid. All in all, the attempt is more disturbing than fruitful. Victor can feel the cold flesh around him, but cannot animate it.
Having failed at that idea, he moved over towards the crowd and searched out the faces of the supposed mystics amongst the Avengers. He looked about, but could not find Dark Angel, so his next option was Patsy Walker who of late had merged to some degree with the Asgardian extra dimensional being known as Ravdna. Victor stood in from of the woman and crouched down to her eye level in an attempt to get her to realize he was there. Hopefully somewhere deep down, she shared the same mystical senses that her counterpart had. Victor next moved to Emerald. He knew the young man had extra sensory perception and again Victor stood eye to eye with him in an attempt to will his presence to be noticed by his fellow Avenger. Neither Patsy nor Emerald show any sign of noticing Victor's presence.
Having proven those theories incorrect, Victor moved down into the basement of his castle where he attempted to locate his extra dimensional traveling prototypes that they had used at Stark. Perhaps they would function.
Again, more strange physics. Victor can pass easily through the door to the stairs leading down to the basement. He then finds himself having to walk down the stairs as if flesh and blood, still unable to levitate. His lab equipment is indeed still there and looks intact, but, of course, Victor cannot operate any of it. His ghostly hands pass through the various pieces of technology without pause.
And so, Victor climbs the stairs and exits the castle as Union takes the podium. He walks over and stands next to the podium to listen to Union. Perhaps later, when Patsy is the Valkyre again, he will have a chance to be noticed. But until then, he might as well enjoy his funeral. Victor certainly would not get a chance like this....for as long as he lived.
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© 2000 Mark L. Chance et al