Chapter 26: The Battle for Primus

He-Man –or King Adam, as he was now known– lived happily alongside Queen Teela within Grayskull, and she bore him a son, whom they named Dare. But despite their peaceful lifestyle, He-Man was often troubled by bad dreams –dreams of Skeletor returning, and himself becoming absorbed again in a life of permanent battle. Although Teela assured him that these kinds of dreams would come naturally to someone such as himself, given his years of war, He-Man was severely troubled by an ancient prophecy he had found in the Grayskull Library, which stated that “The final battle between the ultimate warriors of good and evil shall take place far into the future, when all material development has reached its utmost peak, thus leading to the penultimate clash between the two forces”. This prophecy did not seem to fully match his final battle with Skeletor. It carried the implication that their final battle would take place in a future world dominated by technology. Teela reminded him that his final battle with Skeletor had taken place in a realm at the center of all dimensions, past and future, so it therefore matched the description in the prophecy. But He-Man remained unsure, for he felt it certainly made sense that good and evil could be pushed into a great showdown within a technologized society overrun by material value. And now that he was repeatedly haunted by dreams of battling Skeletor amidst a cityscape of machinic hell, he became increasingly concerned and kept on his guard.

He was right to do so. For although Eternia now lived in peace, the entity that was Skeletor was not dead. Since he had become a God, there was no way that he could be properly killed. He still existed, but no longer in physical form- rather as a swirling beam of dark, metaphysical energy, only barely conscious after his defeat. As he diffused past Infinita, aside Horde World, the evil energy around that sector of the universe began to reawaken his consciousness. Memories of who he was, and his final battle, seeped into his mind. And as the pieces fell together… so did the plan for his comeback, and his second conquest of the universe.

It had seemed apparent from his final defeat at the hands of He-Man that his hold over the universe had been severed due to the force of light being in some way inherent to the essence of matter, thus making universal harmony the natural way of life. He had lost the war, it seemed, by tampering too heavily with nature. Yet he could not accept these ridiculous notions, however true they might be. Throughout his life, aside him he had seen nothing but feeble-mindedness and cowardice in all those around him. He was truly superior to them, and it was his duty to achieve dominance over all and put the universe right. He concluded that there was some flaw in the universe’s construction that led people into blind illusions of peace and equality. It was his task to alter the essential chemistry of the cosmos, so that natural selection and survival of the fittest would prevail over all. His best way of reaching this target, he decided, was through the means of technology. He required a weak, technology-driven world on which to excise his power, so that he could use advanced materialism to block out the force of the light, and enforce natural hierarchy. In such a society, he could easily win the favor of the fearful denizens, and once he had as much technological power as he had magical power, he could subtly seize the power of the universe and remould its very essence to his own desires.

He decided that the perfect world for him to inhabit would be the planet of Denebria. This war-ravaged, insecure planet was the ideal environment for him, in which he could easily win the favor of the planet’s Mutant inhabitants. He observed the world carefully from the stars, studying closely the Mutants’ war with their sister world, Primus. The Primands were weak and were fighting a losing battle, so with Skeletor’s power on the Mutants’ side, the Primands would be defeated in no time. And if, as legend claimed, Primus was home to the great Trithuseum Crystals, and the ultimate power generator, once Skeletor had this resource it would make his conquest a lot easier. The essence of the universe would be his in no time.

To Skeletor’s pleasure, it emerged that there existed a cult on Denebria called the Destructons, who worshipped none other than Skeletor himself. Skeletor was impressed that there were cults throughout the universe which had adopted him as their God. The leader of the Destructons was a woman who, despite herself being a mutant, had developed astounding beauty given the deformities of her race. Her name was Krytta.

Skeletor knew that the Destructons would be his key to re-manifestation in physical form. His defeat at the hands of He-Man had prevented him from doing so with his own powers, but this cult could surely enable his return to the physical realms. So Skeletor made contact with Krytta, while she was deep in meditation over the thought of her God. Ecstatic at having made direct contact with her Lord, she instantly agreed to help him return to the physical world. She called a meeting of the Destructons, all of whom grew immediately excited at the thought of resurrecting their almighty deity.

The Destructons held a sacred ritual upon the Desert of Drail, chanting ancient incantations as they raised their arms up towards Denebria’s moon, Nordor. As they chanted and danced for the presence of their Lord, the appearance of the moon itself began to change. Two of the craters deepened, becoming larger and blacker upon the moon’s surface, resembling a pair of hollow eyes. Two other craters distorted in shape, together forming the appearance of a fleshless nose. And the rocky surface beneath them seemed to erode itself, until it resembled a row of skeletal teeth in a hideous evil grimace. Moon Nordor had taken upon the appearance of Skeletor.

And within the interior of the moon, which was used as a battle base, the computers began to crackle and fizzle with evil energy. Skeletor’s consciousness was itself being concentrated into the machinery. A large console was infiltrated by a huge explosion, and out of it stepped the new Skeletor –part organic, part machine– his blue torso covered in robotic armor and wires, his skull encased in a tight metal helmet, a long, purple cape flowing from his back.

Skeletor beamed himself down to Denebria, where he was presented with the new Havoc Staff, constructed by the members of the Destructons using minerals and magic absorbed from the world of Infinita. He stood before his disciples, all of whom bowed to him in honor. The Overlord of Evil had truly returned- and he was now ready to start afresh in a new conquest of the universe.

Denebria was still under the rule of Commander Brakk, who mastered most of the Mutant Army’s invasions of Primus. Taken aback at the sudden and unexpected presence of Skeletor on his planet, Brakk was quick to accept Skeletor’s offer of assistance in his war against Primus. Skeletor promised to use his infinite knowledge, and the lessons he had learned from his previous mistakes in battle, to aid the Mutants in overcoming Primus. He knew it was a better move at this moment to ally with Brakk and assist him, rather than destroy him. His presence in this war must be kept subtle, in order for his threat to go unchallenged by any strong force of good. And besides, he needed as much alliance as he could obtain to boost his force. Brakk granted Skeletor the position of Advisor and Second Commander, but knew that as much as he would value Skeletor’s assistance, he would have to keep a careful eye on him and discourage his forces from trusting Skeletor too closely. After all, it was unlikely that the notorious Lord of Destruction would have given up his desires to rule the universe, especially after having achieved that aim once before, and he was more than likely to turn against Brakk once he had the power.

The force of the Mutants’ attacks against Primus increased enormously following the emergence of Skeletor. Many great cities were being destroyed by the Mutant forces, humans taken hostage, and power sources absorbed. While Primus remained beautiful and fertile as a whole, it was at risk of collapsing under Mutant force any day. The Galactic Guardians, the leading defenders of the planet, were a team of very strong fighters with great abilities and courage- but as powerful as they were, they could not resist the Mutant attacks for much longer, especially now that their attacks had become so much more fierce and violent.

The Galactic Guardians became curious as to why the Mutants’ attacks seemed to have suddenly become so much more cunning and extreme, and they suspected some great evil genius may have joined them in the planning of their assaults. Their master spy, Vizar, undertook a private exploration spying on Denebria, and he discovered that the legendary Skeletor was working with the Mutants. This news greatly shocked the Guardians. All of them knew of the power of Skeletor, for he was known throughout the universe, and none of them could forget the chaos that had ensued that time he had actually conquered the universe for all of a few days. It really did seem as though Primus was in more serious danger than ever.

So action was immediately taken, and Darius, leader of the Galactic Council and master of weaponry on Primus, called an urgent meeting of the Galactic Council. He explained that with Skeletor as a prime opponent, Primus was in severe danger of succumbing to the same kind of apocalypse as had befallen Denebria centuries ago; the result of technology divorced from soul. The scientists of Primus were doing all they could to advance their machinery and weapons to strike back at the Mutants, but Darius explained that he had given the matter careful thought, and suspected that the Primands were trying too hard and pursuing the wrong methods. They were becoming far too heavily reliant on technology, to the point that many of their fighters had almost become robots, blindly fighting back at the Mutants by the day, distanced from their own souls. Darius recalled the ancient legends of the days in which Primus was ruled by the Horde, and a great savior from a primitive land had come to defend the Primands in their hour of need, bringing with him the power of the good and the way of the magic, banishing the Horde from their world and restoring peace. As the legend had it, he had pledged an eternal alliance to the Galactic Council, provided them with a share of his own power, and spoken a prophecy that if Primus were ever again to find itself the victim of technological chaos, the Primands would need look no further than the past, from which they could bring the power of the good and the way of the magic to the present to defend them. This was the move that Darius felt the Galactic Council should take.

His proposal was met with skepticism by many of the council members. Many felt that he was wallowing in idyllic fantasies, seeking sanctuary in old wives’ tales. The legend of the great savior was so ancient that it was generally believed to be nothing more than a pure legend. But Darius stuck rigidly by his word, reminding them all that it was magic upon which civilization had been built in the first place, and it was magic that fuelled their machinery through the Trithuseum Crystals. And as an ancient Elder of Primus had famously spoken, “For those of open minds and open hearts, the impossible shall emerge to save them at the moment of their deepest crises”.

Darius went on to explain that he had conducted extensive research into the details behind the ancient legend, and from what he had gathered, it appeared that the great defender of the past was from the planet Eternia, reknowned throughout the universe for its incredible power. Skeletor himself had previously warred upon Eternia, and the stories told throughout the cosmos of the great Eternian battles claimed that Skeletor was defeated by a hero named He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe. If Darius’ theory was correct, then the Primands already possessed a portion of the greatest power in the universe- and this great magic was on their side, ready to help them when they needed it most. Darius announced that the Primands’ next move should be to travel to Eternia, and bring He-Man himself to their world, to face off against his polar enemy and bring about an end to the great war between the two worlds.

This very mission was deemed impossible by most of the council, their minds brazenly affined to skepticism and pessimism after their years of continuous loss and degradation. Eternia was millions of light years away from Primus, in another dimension of time, how could even the Primands’ technology be adequate enough to breach the boundaries? But Darius refused to abandon his confidence, declaring that if Skeletor could transcend the levels, so could they. For some time, his greatest scientists had been working on a starship which, if completed according to plan, would be the ultimate spacecraft, the most powerful creation ever on Primus. This ship was a scientific marvel, of enormous size yet capable of traveling at incredible speed. Fuelled by Trithuseum Crystals, it would have many powers of magical and scientific natures, capable of breaching the barriers of space and time. The starship was close to completion, and Darius knew that the perfect choice for the ship’s maiden voyage should be the voyage to Eternia, the greatest mission the Primands would ever undertake.

On the day that was planned for the great voyage to Eternia, the starship was unveiled to the whole of the Galactic Council. All were struck dumbfounded by its enormous size and beauty. Darius stepped forth, and named the ship Starship Eternia, in honor of both its maiden voyage and its incredible power. To steer the ship on its maiden voyage, Darius selected two of his finest space pilots, both great warriors and members of the Galactic Guardians. The first was Hydron, the former ruler of a once-great sea kingdom, destroyed in the Zone Wars by a great villain named the Red Sun, who killed his whole family. Kept alive only by artificial respirators and a seething determination to find the Red Sun himself, Hydron had since proved a great warrior and space pilot, a valuable aid to the Galactic Council. The second chosen pilot was Flipshot- real name Icarius, he was the last surviving member of a race of warriors from the cloud city of Cerus, skilled in aerial acrobatics. Flipshot was one of the most daring and adventurous space pilots that Primus had ever seen.

Together, Captains Hydron and Flipshot stepped into the cockpit of the Starship Eternia. All the members of the Galactic Council- and the entire population of Galactic City- wished them luck, as they blasted off into the skies, setting off on the imperative mission on which the entire future of Primus- and possibly the universe- would depend.

COMING NEXT:
THE NEW ADVENTURE BEGINS.