A trainee stood before Fate. He quivered in his spot until she noticed him. Then he really began to quake in fear.
“What is it?” she snapped. “I put up the Do Not Disturb sign for a reason.”
“Y-you might want t-to see what’s ha-happening on Earth,” he said.
“I have no time for that,” she said. “Unbonded souls have been pinging back here and I don’t know why. Some of them aren’t even my souls.”
“I suppose it can wait until later,” she said. “But if these other souls are destined for…” She checked the readings she had taken. “Valhalla, then why did they come to me? That’s not my department.”
Reluctantly, Fate left her workshop and followed the trainee to the communications hall. She realised immediately why she’d been summoned.
It was chaos. On a scale she hadn’t seen since… since the dawn of time itself. Even then, the chaos was that of creation. Assigning tasks to people. Discovering what jobs needed to be founded and how to carry them out.
This was the chaos of destruction. And a tug on her body soon told her why.
She sank to the ground. The Soul Stone.
“What has happened?” she demanded.
“Half of Knowhere’s population has… has died!” a technician exclaimed.
Fate’s eyes flashed as she dug her nails into her palms. She and her other soul creators had all been born from the Soul Stone. It called to her, as it called to them.
“Where is the being who possesses the Soul Stone?” she said.
Frantically, people began to search screens, radars, and other machines. More soul creators gravitated out of their workshops. The Xandarian soul creator was too busy, and the Asgardian soul creator had been busy for a few days. Both of them were most likely handling the influx of returned souls, from lives which had been ended too early. Fate didn’t envy them. She’d hate to…
A shockwave shot through her. She was already on the ground, but the rest of the soul creators fell to the floor. Everyone did.
“No… one stone… could have that power,” Fate said, struggling to her feet. She returned to her room and saw her shelves filling with returned souls. Most of them had appeared as one, but more of them appeared slowly.
She ran back out of the room, grabbing her cloak on the way.
“D-do you need he-help?” the trainee asked, trailing her to the double doors.
“No,” Fate said. She pointed to one of the screens. “He used the Infinity Stones on Earth. The last planet he decimated is my planet. I’m going to stop him. Just keep my room from overflowing with souls.”
She swept out the doors, cape flowing behind her, and summoned her sleigh with a snap of her fingers. She boarded it and, with a single thought, set out.
According to the reports she was receiving from headquarters, the being controlling the Infinity Stones was a Titan named Thanos. He had now left Earth for his home planet. Technically someone else’s domain, but that particular soul creator had retired long ago, after nearly everyone died. Apparently one lonely soul remained, without its other half.
Fate landed her sleigh on the top of a desert hill. She surveyed the land, searching for the remaining Titan.
“Where are you?” she murmured.
Eventually she found him. A large being, just as his soul creator had been. This one had light purple skin and vertical markings on his chin. He looked surprised to see anyone else around.
“How did you get here?” he asked.
“You are misusing the Infinity Stones,” Fate said. “The one who created your soul would be disappointed that his remaining creation has caused so much destruction. Not to mention an inordinate amount of paperwork for us.”
“How would you know who created my soul?” Thanos said.
“I am a soul creator,” she said, crossing her arms. “The gems will not work on me.”
“All of them, or just the Soul Stone?” he asked, glancing down at the gauntlet on his hand with an evil smile.
Fate’s eyes narrowed.
Thanos’s head whipped to the right. Fate’s hand tingled from the hard slap she had delivered to him. He stared at her incredulously, rubbing the back of his neck.
“Hand me that gauntlet,” she said, holding out her hand. “Now.”
“I do not answer to humans.”
“I am no human.”
Fate summoned her sleigh. It bowled over Thanos, sending him sprawling to the ground, and returned to settle over his arm. Fate stomped on his lower arm with the sharp heel of her left shoe, and used the cover of her sleigh to bend down, grab the gauntlet, and haul it off. Thanos growled angrily, but couldn’t move his arm until Fate was back in the sleigh, the gauntlet between her feet, and rode into the sky.
“So you can reverse the damage he has done since the gauntlet came into his possession?” Knowhere’s soul creator asked.
The Grandmaster, as he now called himself, looked over the gauntlet that Fate had retrieved from Thanos. He sighed.
“Sure, it’s an easy fix,” he said. “But what are you going to do about Thanos? I can reverse the deaths he’s caused, but a lot of people will still be angry with him. People have been punished by the Infinity Stones before, and we can’t risk them hurting him until the damage has been repaired first.”
“He is still on Titan, now that he no longer has the gauntlet,” Fate said.
“A couple of people are in hiding on Titan, by the way,” En Dwi Gast said. “You might want to check on them. Oh!” He rubbed the stones. “A bunch of people died there, actually. So you’ll have seven or eight people to get off Titan, I think.” He frowned as he caressed each jewel, sensing what Thanos had done. “Yes. Mostly humans. That’s your domain, Fate.”
“Can you tell the Infinity Stones not to punish Thanos yet?” she asked.
“The whole universe will want to punish him. Their collective will could sway the gems. So we’ll have to be quick.”
“We should leave Titan until last,” Xandar’s soul creator said, pushing stray hairs out of her eyes. Her clothes were in disarray from chasing after the souls which had been returned to her. “Then the stones can punish him as they see fit.”
“We’ll tackle the Asgardian bodies floating in space first of all,” En Dwi Gast said, heading to the doors. The soul creators trailed after him, needing a break after all of the paperwork which had suddenly built up. “If only that Thunder Lord hadn’t stolen my orgy ship, we could have taken that to Titan.”
The soul creators looked at each other and collectively grimaced.
En Dwi Gast’s arm was comically dwarfed by the dwarf-forged gauntlet, but no one laughed as he curled the fingers, feeling out the strands of magic until he was able to pull everything back to the way it was.
As he’d repair each planet, its soul creator would return to their workshop and check the returned souls. Then they would travel to their planet to make sure that everyone was alright and that chaos was at a minimum.
The Asgardian soul creator was the first to venture out. His chosen mode of transport was a winged chariot. He returned after half of the other soul creators had also left, and aided in the search for Titan’s long-lost soul creator.
Fate had offered to go last. Earth was one of the most populated planets, so it would take longer than most to return the souls. But once her workshop was back in order, she jumped into her sleigh and set off for Earth. She circumnavigated the globe swiftly, double-checking the places where Infinity Stones had last been located. She kept out of sight while Wakanda and New York were set to rights.
She returned to Titan, hot on the Grandmaster’s tail, and found the humans trapped on the planet. They were all relieved to be together again.
“I didn’t foresee this particular victory,” one man said. His red cloak fluttered around his body. “It shouldn’t be possible.”
“Does it matter?” another said. “The bad guy’s powerless and you’re all alive again. Except the blue chick here. She didn’t die.”
“But Gamora did,” another man said.
“Perhaps if the Soul Stone is returned, she will come back,” the blue woman said.
“Hey, who’s that?” a boy said, pointing towards Thanos and the Grandmaster.
“I… have no idea,” the second man said. “But he brought a spacecraft. We should commandeer it to get back to Earth.”
Fate revealed herself.
“I can return you to your home,” she said. They all jumped. “You will fit in my sleigh, I promise you.”
“What about Gamora?” the third man asked.
“Leave that to En Dwi Gast,” Fate said. “If she can be saved, he will save her.”
“We’ll stay here until she’s back,” he said.
“Speak for yourself,” the second man said. “Some of us have homes to return to.”
He, the first man, and the boy climbed into Fate’s sleigh. She drew a blanket over their laps to keep them warm and secure. With one last glance to Titan’s soul creator, who was speaking softly to Thanos, she set the sleigh in motion.