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CHAPTER 4: UHURU SASA I

LOCATION: LIBYA'S LARGEST DETENTION CENTER AND SLAVE MARKET

 

 

 

 

D'CIGGS, LEADER OF THE KMH

 

 

 

 

"This one is a good digger! Will dig up all of your diamonds and gold in your mines for you! Bidding starts at $10 USD..."

"...she is young and healthy! She will have all of your children, and take care of all of your needs! Who will give me $13 USD for her..?"

"...these West African niggers came here looking for work! A large group of them...30 right here, right now! You can give them work and they will work all night, all day, every night and day, all of their whole lives for you! Bidding starts at $320 USD for all of them!..."

100 meters behind the slave auction block, approximately 360 absolutely miserable West Africans were cast in The Slave Pit...a square like hole steeped in horrible,filthy, squalid conditions.

 

So terribly and incessantly mistreated were they that not a single one stirred as half a dozen Arab men raped a boy and girl barely in their teens...and the boy and girl had been raped so many times within the 2 days they had been captured? They didn't stir as they were being violated again by yet another group of total strangers. Even had they resisted, they would have been mowed down by the evil milita men who provided the mercenary firepower for these slavers, for they watched every move of The West Afrikans while perched behind low walls and fully automatic high caliber weapons.

 

It is written that there has never been so much horrid misery in the world shoveled into one place as there had been packed into the holds of the European slave ships some 400 years ago. This most terrible of statements remains true. However, the revolting brutality and death dealing despair in the slave markets of Libya ranked a clear, repugnant third...far and away more gruesome and horrific than most anything that most mortals anywhere can fathom or imagine, should they be unfortunate enough to be forced into conjuring such repulsive cruelty and endless misery. Depthless despair.

With a terrible heartless relish, he strode amongst these Afrikans. His fully automatic Uzi cocked, locked and loaded with extended clip full of the most deadly hollow points, a MP-10 strapped across the front of his chest, a KA-BAR knife strapped to his right thigh, a shotgun slung across his back along with the empty sheath of his club because his right fist held his heavy iron club...still stained with the brains of the man he just killed not 2 hours ago... resting lightly on his right shoulder. Like its owner, this heavy, cruel bludgeoning weapon of death was ever ready to swing for absolutely no other reason than his sociopathic, psychotic, endlessly unsatiated, unbridled cruelty. Continuing striding among them and kicking out of his path any of them unlucky enough to not be swift enough to dodge his teeth shattering, bone breaking boots, his cruel eyes sweeping the amassed West African flesh and not missing a single tiny detail of anything, was the particularly vile "Recruiter" known as Farouk al-Jazir. He it was that led the rape of both the boy and the girl, brutally slaking his lust upon their young bodies again and again and again, until their previously blazing spirit of resistance was lobotomized by repeated rape and torture which he both initiated and specialized in. Before the very faces of this West African nigger meat rabble in these last 48 hours, he repeatedly raped and whipped to death four of their number...the 4 most resistant, rebellious, most problematic of the bunch. 2 women and 2 men. The raping and whipping to death of the last man...the most resistant man... seemed to break the spirit of the whole lot of them, exactly as he planned it to be.

But not fifteen minutes ago, his patrols snared the most delectable morsel...no, sumptuous feast!... of his entire career. 

This newest nigger meat was nearly 7 feet tall, and all muscle. If ever there was a half giant nigger warrior? This was it. More powerful than the Nubian eunuchs his racist Arab Sultan forbearers employed some thousand years ago, this nigger meat took a full 40 men to capture and bludgeon into submission. Nearly naked, still bleeding, carrying 4 bullets in him without a hint of pain, it was a wonder he was still breathing, much less standing and walking...however hobbled he was by some 10 massive chains snaking like metal crocodiles all across his body, pinioning his hands and limbs so tightly that not even his inhuman strength could hope to move them. Farouk was told that it took another 20 men...even while he was thus chained...to batter this nigger til he lay prostrate on his side, bleeding but even then he was both defiant and unbroken.

His eyes were more than alive. They were full of the undimmed fury that sent half of the 40 men he employed to capture him to their deaths. But now, the unruly nigger meat was here, and this nigger meat was HIS. Farouk felt the hatred and lust boil in his body, his crotch filled with blood and throbbed angrily erect as he stared with raw evil at the striated, muscular, powerful, virginal buttocks of this nigger meat. He wanted to castrate this nigger meat in front of the amassed West African niggers, then spend all day raping this nigger meat. But his lust for African flesh was surpassed only by his lust for piles of coin and power. He knew without a doubt that he could get at least 10 thousand USD for this one nigger alone, if this nigger was clearly undamaged. 10 thousand USD in Libya right now would be more than the equivalent 10 million USD in the USA.

The raping would wait until AFTER he sold the nigger, Farouk promised himself while still staring hatefully at this nigger giant's powerful, rippling, incredibly taut, perfect glutes. His breathing accelerated as he stared and stared at this nigger meat's hindquarters. A small bead of sweat. Joined by another. Then another. Then another. Soon, a whole river of sweat. Began to pour down his scarred, ugly face. The lust and bloodlust was getting the best of him. He loved this feeling, for he knew what came next. 

Suddenly he wheeled upon the prostrate form of the girl child he was raping just before this new nigger meat was captured. His heavy iron club leaped like from his shoulder as if Shaitan Himself...the creature that infidels called Satan...animated his iron club. Wielding it like iron hellfire, he hammered and bludgeoned the prone and prostrate girl child into bloody ribbons...

..except. He didn't. 

Somehow. Despite the enormity of size and numbers of chains preventing his tiniest movement. This giant nigger meat...perfect taught buttocks and all...crossed the distance separating them and used his own massively muscled body to shield the girl child from his devilish iron club, Each heavy blow was swung with far more than enough wrath to dash the very brains from the skull of most men, but this nigger took each blow...one, three, five, fourteen, thirty blows...without a single sound of pain.

And without blinking as he locked eyes with Farouk and stared a stare that promised the most horrific and unimaginable vengeance upon Farouk.

Farouk put his boot to the chin of this arrogant, insouciant nigger. That knocked the glare right out of him, as the nigger was momentarily stretched along the blood, vomit, sweat, snot and excrement smeared dirt that these West African niggers were forced to lounge in. Farouk pounced upon the downed nigger like the conquering lion he was, wrapping his massive iron club across the larynx of the massive nigger and choking with everything he had in him. Simultaneously Farouk literally chomped down on the flesh of this nigger's cheek and face like a hungry gator, repeatedly chewing on him, seeking to rip his flesh into bloody ribbons. The nigger resisted the choke for impossibly long minutes before slowly and finally starting to gurgle for air.  This nigger's flesh stubbornly refused to yield to Farouk's teeth, however much Farouk tore and bit at him. This infuriated Farouk all the more, making him crank with the rage of Hell itself upon his club, grinding ever more into the nigger's larynx. He felt the larynx starting to bend...finally, after an effort which he knew would have killed Farouk himself and every other nigger whom Farouk tortured...and he knew it was a matter of a mere minute or so before the layrnx of this nigger was crushed and Farouk would then ruthlessly savagely joyfully rape this nigger's corpse and...:

"Master Farouk! We need more pieces on the block!" That was his auctioneer Adil Ajmal. "Master Farouk!" Recognizing the murderous transport of death that Farouk was in the grip of, Adil Ajmal said the only thing that was known to have a hope of breaking through to Farouk when possessed by such a fit. "Master Farouk, don't murder this piece! THIS PIECE WILL MAKE YOU RICH AND POWERFUL!!"

Just as Adil Ajmal hoped it would, the phrase about "rich and powerful" broke through Farouk's ecstasy of rage. Farouk relented on the choke, and the hulking nigger flopped to the disgusting earth, gasping and heaving for breath and air. 

As Farouk came back down from his transport, he found himself greeted by the still unbowed, still unbroken nigger meat's glare promising the most horrific and unimaginable vengeance upon Farouk. For a long minute, they measured each other in a clash of wills that neither yielded an atom to the other in. 

"Git this nigger meat on the block!" Farouk ordered Adil. Then, as 20 more of Farouk's men descended upon this nigger meat and clubbed him for several minutes to ensure his docility prior to his being forced to shamble to the auction block: "I will personally shepherd this nigger to the block."

Immediately Adil was worried, but knew better than to speak up...but in this case, he would if he had to. This nigger meat was CLEARLY their ticket out of the slavery business. Well, ADIL'S ticket. Adil never wanted to join this horrid racket, but instead aspired to be a doctor. Yes, as ridiculous as it seems. He wanted to be a medical doctor healing the sick and caring for the poor. Instead? He was an auctioneer on the slave block.  Farouk? Was an entirely different matter, woven from entirely corrupt cloth. Farouk would never give it up. Monsters like Farouk need this kind of horror the way that plants need sunlight.

Even worse? Farouk was 50/50 when shepherding pieces to the auction block...having literally raped and murdered half of his charges as he shepherded them to being sold off. This is what seriously worried Adil the instant that Farouk assigned to himself the task of walking this million dollar prize piece to the auction block. But despite some savage jostling, two or three more clubbing attacks, and four more bites...the most promising nigger meat they all had ever seen made it to the block.

As this nigger meat mounted the slave auctioneer's block...chains jingling and jangling like the manacles of an agitated ghost, sending discordant chime like notes over the crowd... the entire crowd at first was stunned into appreciative silence, which they broke a full minute later with a cascading chorus of deeply admiring ooooh's and aaaahh's. This reaction both threatened Adil's and Farouk's manhood and thrilled every greedy bone in their bodies. Timing it exactly right with the mood of the now amped crowd, Adil began his most expansive, most charismatic introduction ever.

" Most esteemed and honored, most discerning and astute patrons! I have the pleasure of presenting to you the most incredible, the most superior piece that exists in all the lands of this Earth! Look at his utterly flawless body! There is no work that can break him, no labor that he cannot perform in a manner befitting even Harqal [ the Arabic word for "Hercules" ] himself! Look into his eyes! See the blazing intelligence there! See the will to overcome every obstacle of labor you present him with! Look at the indefatigable sinew, the gorilla like power, the bear like height and size! One of him is worth 100 lesser Western Africans!"

The entire crowd was enraptured and swooning with greed and admiration over and for this piece. Adil had them now. Even before he'd finished his expansive introduction, preemptive bids were being shouted: "100 US dollars!" "500 US dollars!" "2,000 US dollars!"

This nigger was going to make him so rich, he could finally leave Farouk and this cursed job. Forever. And become the doctor he so yearned to be.

"Let's begin the bid for this nigger Harqal at $2,200 USD!"

 The crowd erupted with delight and over-eager bids. "Two thousand three hund--" "THREE thous--" "FIVE thousand!" Dozens of bids flurried in within seconds. The bids soared passed 10 thousand US Dollars within one minute. He'd done it! Adil exulted. He was finally FREE of this vile business!!!

A huge smile spread across his face. His eyes lit up with so much passion, they welled up with tears. His heart jack-hammered in his chest, so excited was he. He was almost hyperventilating. Sweat begin to pour down his face, stinging his eyes. Dampening the hair of his head and bushy brown beard. Praise be to Allah! thought Adil, completely ignoring for the moment that he wasn't Muslim and never returned to Islam after he was drummed out of a mosque of the great religion for his utterly disgraceful acts as a child. His heart jackhammered so hard, his skin began to tingle, the pouring sweat began to really come down, and he started getting slightly light headed. He wiped at the sweat pouring from his hairline...

...and his fingers came back red with blood. From the bullet hole that D'Ciggs made appear almost like magic in the center of his forehead.

D'Ciggs was missing his dearest friend and cousin Khanata, but at his signal the deadly Zari daughter of Zuni sprinted to free several hundred captive Western Africans. Sending one of her against 100 slave enforcers between her and the enslaved Africans was most unfair...to the slave enforcers. None would survive her wrath.

 

As Zari daughter of Zuni raced off, Adil pitched forward dead, still exulting in the thought that he was finally rich and going to be a doctor...where he could molest all the children he wanted.

And suddenly, Harqal the piece stood up. With a minimal flex of his incredible muscles, the chains about him shattered and fell to the ground like they were nothing but lies. 

In a voice as deep and powerful as the bowels of the Earth, this Harqal shouts in the language of the black skinned original inhabitants of this land...the so-called Berbers... and in a thoroughly Afrikanized Swahili; deliberately defiantly renouncing the Arabic which is the official language of Libya and the language of the slavers: "Zabuni imekwisha!" [ "The bidding is over!" ]

And a burst of light flashes from his massive, muscular form. No longer is he nearly stark naked like the savage they wrongly took him to be. He's now wearing a garish costume, red white and blue with a star on his chest. Large, dazzling, spiraling bursts of energy springs up on his forearms and coalesced into glittering opaque circular,  erg energy African body shields.

"Mimi sio Harqal! Mimi ni ... BATTLE STAR !!" [ I'm not Harqal. I am...BATTLE STAR!! ]

BATTLE STAR

 

The twenty heavily armed soldiers who aided Farouk in walking this...Battle Star...to the auction block all seemed to fall at once. Dead in their tracks. They had no chance of even forming a single thought of retaliation against this Battle Star. 

Farouk would die horribly long before he had any chance to learn that D'Ciggs and his Force Rifle took his men down. D'Ciggs was not only far and away the best non-Heart Shaped Herb enhanced shot in Africa, he is far and away one of the best weapons masters in the history of the world. He was the first and only person to outscore both Hawkeyes in a archery contest...

...despite the fact that Shuri would relentlessly tease him that the reason he beat Kate Bishop...the female Hawkeye...is because she was young and too distracted by his hot bod to actually put her all into beating him in the archery contest. When he protested, Shuri dared D'Ciggs to tell her that Kate didn't bed him with her first shot at him...and D'Ciggs changed the topic. To the howling laughter of Shuri and all the rest of the KMH. 

 

KATE BISHOP, HAWKEYE

 

 

In a heartbeat, Battle Star seized Farouk by his throat, lifted him off his feet, pulled Farouk close to his face...the two exchanged hateful glares as Farouk gagged and spit and rasped uselessly for air. Battle Star quickly and offhandedly stripped Farouk of all his weapons, then hurled Farouk bodily a full forty meters. Forty. Meters. Through the air back toward the Slave Pit. Farouk tumbled and rolled and skittered on the ground, flesh rent, clouds of dirt billowing up like cumulus clouds of sand all about him. 

Moments after he came to rest, he opened his eyes...and discovered that he lay amongst the beheaded corpses of his mercenary soldiers. He started in disdainful anger at their failure to stay alive...and sheet lightnings of agony from the bumps lumps bruises broken bones and rent flesh he received from this Battle Star's throw wracked his entire body.

But his murderous. Sociopathic. Psychopathic rage sent hate storms of adrenaline through his entire form, filling him with hellfire, pushing him to his feet. He locked eyes on this Battle Star as Battle Star approached. 

"When I first glared at you, I promised you...purely by the force of my gaze...that the most horrific and unimaginable vengeance upon you. I keep my promises; verbal and non-verbal."

Shadows suddenly swarmed about Farouk. The West Afrikans from the Slave Pit had been freed by this amazingly beautiful, vastly deadly woman warrior who he clearly saw...even during the brief glimpse he spared for her...slice and dice her way through two dozen of his best soldiers.

Foremost and in the very front of the newly freed West Africans confronting him with unmitigated murder in their eyes? Were the boy and girl he repeatedly raped. The entire group had been freed by D'Ciggs and the rest of the KMH...and were now armed with Wakandan weapons and sheathed in Wakandan armor. 

Farouk snapped a look back at Battle Star. He was starting to understand.

And then his glance fell upon a man who suddenly appeared next to Battle Star. This man was garbed in ultratech armor, carrying a Vibranium edged, photon energy sheathed blade and various guns adorned with glittering multicolored points of light. Farouk immediately realized that this Vibranium edged, photon energy sheathed blade was responsible for the instantly cauterized beheadings of his mercenary force. This new man was a solid sixty or seventy pounds of muscle smaller than the massively thewed Battle Star, but wreathed with potent sinew and such dominating, powerful presence that it was clear that this other man was the commanding officer. 

"You have been judged, Farouk, by our people. The verdict is torture and death most unmerciful." D'Ciggs intoned.

The West Africans...rejuvenated. simmering with long delayed, richly deserved rage, resentment, retaliation and gitback...surrounded him.

"PHAMBILI!!" with this roar from D'Ciggs, the West Africans fell on Farouk. They were utterly fierce and ruthless as they took their time avenging themselves upon him. The girl...using Farouk's own club...sodomized him repeatedly as he screamed and screamed and screamed. The boy kept stomping Farouk's testicles until they...amid a spattering of gore...separated from his body. The West Africans were relentless, hammering Farouk with every ounce of righteous wrath they possessed until Farouk was no longer recognizable as a piece of meat, much less a human being. 

When the deed was done, the girl embraced Battle Star, and the West African boy asked of D'Ciggs: "What now?"

And D'Ciggs said: "Thanks to the intrepid undercover work of Battle Star for uncovering and mapping the whole of the enslavers' network in this region, Join the Resistance in the Eastern portion of this city. Show them this emblem. We are financing them. You will be welcomed, trained, and unleashed upon these monsters. You will be victorious. What happens now, you ask young warrior? AMANDLA! UHURU SASA! "FREEDOM NOW". "

The West Africans gave a full throated roar of approval...and then fell upon all the arrogant, self aggrandizing, ultra privileged members seeking to purchase their fellow Africans at the auction block, slaying them all and raiding them of every ill gotten good they possessed. Like a Black tidal wave, they fell upon this slave market and slew every auctioneer. Every buyer. Every enforcer. Every mercenary. In the half a mile wide square. 

When the slaveholding armies finally and belatedly arrived? They found the heads of the most egregious and horrible slave dealers arrayed on the ground in letters that spelled a phrase:

UHURU SASA. "FREEDOM NOW".

 

 

Once aboard their deadly powerful, unbelievably swift and agile hypertech battle cruiser KWA HESHIMA [ FOR HONOR ], Zari walked right up to D'Cigss as he lounged in his Captain's chair sitting at the highest and most advantageous central point on the mindblowingly hypertech Main Bridge of the KWA HESHIMA  and bluntly announced: "D'Ciggs, T'Challa may not be overjoyed that we just trounced a collection of Outworlder governments' investments in Libya, and the other works we have done this day."

D'Ciggs gave a trademark D'Ciggs reply: "Then he'll REALLY be PISSED after he sees the decimation we're about to gift the Sudanese slavers with, followed by the food, drink and healing we're about to give to all of our ailing West African brethren on this tour...which we'll repeat all over continental Africa thereafter. He'll probably bust unfettered T'Challa-gasms after we stabilize the government of far too long overlooked and left to die little Burundi, and empower our Burundi brethren to bring peace and prosperity to their country. By the time we're finished? He'll probably react like he saw Bast featured as the starring cat on one of the Outworlder's Purina Cat Chow commercials...he simply won't believe his eyes."

Zari fumed at D'Ciggs. " Don't make jokes about BAST!" She swatted at D'Ciggs head, which he laughingly ducked. "You never quit, do you?"

D'Ciggs gazed quizzically at her. "'Quit'? What's that? Never heard of it..."

Zari pivoted on her foot and walked to her Weapons Console, muttering: " I can't STAND yo ass sometimes, cousin D'Ciggs..."

D'Ciggs teasingly called after her: "You KNOW you LOOOVE you some cousin D'Ciggs!"

Battle Star...smiling at yet another exchange building the constant bantering chatter between Zari and D'Ciggs that started literally the first time they met each other as children...called from his secondary Navigation Console: "We're here." Battle Star was usually at The Science Station..a guy named "Battle Star" is at The SCIENCE Station not the WEAPONS or BATTLE Station, go figure...but this time he was pulling double duty. The Helmsman seat...Khanata's seat...remained empty, until he returned to fill it. Khanata would be missed.

"Orbit. Elevate cloaking to Level Ausette," D'Ciggs ordered. 

"Orbit. Cloaking Level Ausette, ndio bwana [ "Yes, Sir/Yes, Lord" ]. Battle Star echoed.

"Orbit. Cloaking Level Ausette confirmed, bwana." Zari echoed. "Virus targets and Outworlder camps located and verified."

"Vaporize them all at will. Queen Mother's orders," D'Ciggs commanded.

"Vaporizing imethibitishwa, bwana [ "Vaporizing confirmed, Sir/Lord" ]," Zari's strong voice carried complete agreement with the punishment being meted out.

"There's some decent tech detected in the immediate environs, bwana." Battle Star's bass voice. "Latverian in origin. Carries the unmistakable thumbprint of Doom's designs. Not entirely useless. Could be a decent high school tech project..."

"Vaporize it all," D'Ciggs commanded. 

"Vaporizing imethibitishwa, bwana." Battle Star's deep tones echoed. 

D'Ciggs glanced at Zari for confirmation. Zari nodded. They'd completely annihilated some of Doom's best tech designs with what amounted to an afterthought from one of the thousands of weapons aboard The Kwa Heshima.

KWA HESHIMA..."FOR HONOR"

 

"This sliwa batch you cooked up for us?" Battle Star said from around a mouthful of sliwa delights, a special Wakandan dish that D'Ciggs made very well. "Madd tasty, man!"

Zari looked at her own portion of sliwa, which was almost gone. Then she hungrily eyed Battle Star's remaining heaping piles of sliwa, and Battle Star...seeing her...growled: "I will HIT ME a FEMALE who's trying to jack me for my sliwa!"

"You will GET DECKED by a FEMALE if you don't share some sliwa!" Zari instantly retorted.

Battle Star thought it over. Shared the sliwa. 

"You know that Battle Star, Khanata, and everyone in the KMH are with you in this, but when...not if, but WHEN...The Esteemed Panther finds out that you carried out yet another off the books mission...for not the first time, but for the FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW...well, The Esteemed Panther may not be enthused with you, cousin." Zari warned.

"Oh, he won't find out yet." D'Ciggs airily responded. 

For the first time all day, D'Ciggs was wrong.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 5: THE MOTLEY 

LOCATION: VARIOUS POINTS AROUND THE WORLD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 6: TRIBULATIONS FROM TRIALS

LOCATION: WAKANDA

       

MUCH OF THE WORLD IS RIVETED AS ZEMO AND MADELYNE PRYOR ARE TRIED IN WAKANDAN COURTS...

      

 

 

CHAPTER 7: SOME SECRETS REVEALED

LOCATION: WAKANDA, IKULU YA KIFALME [ "THE ROYAL PALACE" ]

 

 

 

His boots made no sound as he moved with smooth, royal alacrity throughout the beautiful halls he knew so well. Gorgeous African arabesques, magnificent works of sculpted glistening wood, and gleaming marble panthers and figurines from the dreams of Gods competed for the attention of the eye. Nature in Her unbridled, perfectly organic beauty flowed into the palace from without; a seamless, wondrous union of the human and the natural. The unanswerable beauty of sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonfall...the purity of rain pouring from the heavens to the myriad hues of the surface to the vibrant mysterious colors of the deepest darkest earth. Wrought stone, crafted iron, glittering water, fabulously beautiful pillars obelisks and natural springs crafted with an unequaled gorgeousness thought to be lost during Egyptian and pre-Egyptian dynasties many millenia agone enchanted visitor and Wakandan alike. Wondrous semi precious stones and precious metals sat cheek by jowl with the soul nourishing, spiritually uplifting beauty and wonders of Nature. Songs of the spirit, fugues for the flesh, meditations for the mind, and the marvels of magic synergistically and holistically embraced intellect shattering supertechnology. As the blended music of voice and instrument soaked through your ear, stirred your emotion and soothed your soul...you could meditate while immersed in the deeply restorative, varied colored mud baths crafted from Egytpian ruby [ thought long lost by most on Earth ]. The air is redolent with the scent and soul of nature...while fist sized butterflies of the most jaw droppingly lovely hues flitted to and fro like living flakes of prismatic color...and invisible pulses of coded energy latched onto you and removed any imperfections on a microcellular level by correcting any flaws in your mitochondria and DNA. This was only a part of the unending wonders that is Wakanda.

Supertech warriors--armored and unarmored, holy sigils to The Panther God adorning their military armor and gear--walked, floated, flew, phased through walls and ceilings, or teleported to and fro...oftentimes in the company of sandal wearing palace functionaries wearing lovely, richly detailed traditional Wakandan garb. The off duty warriors would oftentimes take the time to kneel and pray to The Panther God in one of the several temples on the grounds provided for the purpose, their closed eyes and devout faces lit by the gleam of theoretical quantum tech. And the palace functionaries--dressed in there traditional African Wakandan garb, carrying implements reflective of the elements of Nature--could peer into your very soul, while storing gigabytes of data with their writing stylus.

He walked passed them all, returning greetings and salutations, his purposeful stride never once losing its swiftness. Presently, he reached his goal.

Beyond a formidable detachment of Wakanda's most elite warriors and Dora Milaje lay TChalla's quarters.

He strode beyond each and every checkpoint. He was scanned down to his most minute atomic particle, and even down to his very soul. Literally. His identity, purpose, and armaments were rigorously checked and rechecked by the most unforgiving standards. He was relieved of his weapons long before he was within a stone's throw of his objective. That is how he came within 5 meters of TChalla's personal royal quarters.

To his surprise, TChalla's doors opened as he neared them...and instead of seeing TChalla, he saw Uncle Syan--Esteemed Panther, former Ruling Panther, High Prince of Wakanda, Mlinzi Wa Ardhi Kusini [ "Protector Of The Southern Lands" ], stride authoritatively toward him.

"I would have words with him too, but he's not here D'Ciggs." Uncle Syan the Swift--garbed in his Royal Esteemed Panther war attire, as opposed to his matte black Esteemed Panther religious habit, which is the outfit that most of the outer world recognized as the Panther uniform--told him without preamble.

D'Ciggs wasn't buying any of it. "How long have you known the truth about my father, Uncle Syan?"

"Let us adjourn to my quarters for this conversation, my nephew," Uncle Syan replied. It was not a suggestion.

The two made a formidable sight as they passed through the awe inspiring visual vistas of the Royal Palace; Syan in his Royal Esteemed Panther war attire, D'Ciggs in his Captain of the KMH battle gear. Many a person turned their head at their approach and passing, and everyone scurried out of their path. Presently they found themselves in Syan's sumptuous suites, beyond a triple row of armored and heavily armed guards.

D'Ciggs wasted no time. "My father, Uncle Syan. My brother said that Klaw did not murder our father."

"It is true. Tell me that you didn't suspect as much. Tell me that you haven't been leading the KMH in unauthorized sweeps and missions round the globe for this last year and a half following leads precisely along these lines."

D'Ciggs looked at Uncle Syan. He knew sooner or later that T'Challa and his Uncle would find out.

"What did your search unearth?"

"Not much," D'Ciggs admitted." The group initially sent Klaw to Wakanda via Niganda to acquire Vibranium. He was speedily intercepted rebuffed and expelled from Wakanda along with a mere handful of his surviving men, and some of our Wakandan brethren who'd betrayed our Great King T'Chaka. Our Great King sent you, Uncle T'Syan, to quell unrest stirred up by the elder Somber in the East of Wakanda and Queen Mother Ramonda to halt the swift unrest by the fierce Jaga of the south, which were merely attempts to distract my father and aid in Klaw's escape. My father was not deceived. He slew 3/4ths of the corrupt warlords in Niganda and destroyed what laughing facsimile of a government that they had. Then he absorbed many Nigandans who voluntarily became Wakandans, as well as provided safe transport and passage for those that sought their fortunes elsewhere. When Klaw--wounded by my brother shooting his arm off--returned to The Group, they had him undergo extensive enhancement surgeries and procedures. Unleashed him again upon us, ambushing my father at an economic conference. Here it is alleged that Klaw slew my father. Our response was fierce and swift, but they somehow managed to hide Klaw and his hit team from us for a decade while they gave Klaw rigorous superhuman level training, vastly enhanced ability and a supergroup of mercenaries to invade Wakanda. This group's ability to hide from us their identity and whereabouts, Klaw's whereabouts, their resources, etc. was extremely off-putting. There was no force on Earth that could do such a thing. We could even find Reed Richards and Doctor Doom at times when neither wished to be found. This group's ability to hide from us bespoke of something of surpassingly sinister puissance to me, and greatly troubled my heart.

When The Group unleashed Klaw and his super mercenaries upon us? TChalla easily killed him and neutered the supergroup, as well as turned aside the invasion under cover of assistance that the U.S. offered via mech-zombie soldiers.

I returned to Wakanda after TChalla slew Klaw...but that never sat right with me. If TChalla...barely more than a teen...easily killed Klaw, then why couldn't my supremely trained, extremely experienced, supremely capable father even more easily dispatch him?"

"Precisely." Uncle Syan confirmed. " Neither I nor TChalla ever believed that Klaw could or did kill my brother...but we believed that he was a complicit and active tool that lead to TChaka's death. Frankly? Klaw couldn't kill any of us. He was a pathetic willing tool in the hands of our true greatest threat. The issue was...how could we find any leads that took us back to the group behind the group that hired Klaw.

But now, TChalla has the memories of TChaka. He knows exactly who killed our Great King and how."

"Then why haven't I been taken into his confidence?"

Syan looked D'Ciggs in the eye and indelicately stated: "Your past hasn't been as sterling and as worthy of trust as your recent history has been, my nephew. And you know that your brother is unblinkingly suspicious even in the best of times." Syan paused to make sure that his next point carried. "In case you missed it? We're not living in the best of times."

D'Ciggs knew that his Uncle spoke truth. And then he offered another observation which had been troubling him:

"This isn't the first time I've noted that TChalla has been out of sorts...even for him," he ventured." For instance, his decision to leave Wakanda and traipse around New York without any connection to Wakanda. And it's unlike him to keep the truth of our Queen Mother's tenure in Pretoria from us for so long; at least not without reason."

Uncle Syan was closely watching his nephew, and as D'Ciggs made these observations, Uncle Syan merely nodded.

And then D'Ciggs came out and forthrightly asked the question that even the KMH bandied about amongst them, when they were relatively certain that they weren't being overheard. Relatively certain.

"What is the REAL reason that T'Challa and Shuri didn't kill Doom? Not that claptrap that they spoon fed the Outworlders."

"Hahaha!! My nephew," Uncle Syan said with real pride and real gusto in his voice, "I knew you wouldn't be fooled by that! Hahaha! I am very proud of you." And then he fixed D'Ciggs with a shrewd stare." What know you of The Council of Reeds?"

"The Council of Reeds? The mystical-spiritual gungfu practitioners or...do you mean Reed Richards?"

Uncle Syan merely nodded his head. "I am so impressed with you, that I won't even be displeased that you know of the gungfu mystics of the same name, which is above your security clearance."

"Which you already knew I knew about, Uncle, as you are aware that they are one of the groups that I investigated over the last year and a half while pursuing clues to uncover the identity of Father's true killers."

"And you are correct again, my nephew. However, the Council of Reeds explanation shall be for another time. We have more immediate matters to resolve first.

I will answer the other questions you asked, as all of these seemingly disparate happenings are truthfully tightly bound one to the other.

Regarding the Queen Mother: you already knew that Wakanda would go to war with any country that held Wakandan Royalty under any pretext. You also know that even now, the Queen Mother can fight or sneak her way into or out of Pretoria without any assistance from us of any kind. She has slain men many times more dangerous than Anton Pretorious was when she was a teen. As a full fledged Wakandan warrior equal or superior to any Dora Milaje, she was never under his thrall or at his beck and call. Ramonda could have slain Klaw with her bare hands and would have had it not been in the plans to ensure his demise via other means. Anton Pretorious was nothing to her or to us...save an excellent cover and excuse.

While within the lands of South Africa? Ramonda slew an entire coven of raiding pirates, sparing only those who were pressed into service. But most importantly, she fulfilled her true mission--with crucial logistical support from Hunter. And that was this."

Syan raised his open left palm to sternum level and held it palm up in the space between the 2 men. Pulsing lasers the color of sunfire flashed in his palm and coalesced into a glimmering golden 3D hologram of the lands of Pretoria and South Africa.

"This is the land as it was decades ago," as Syan spoke, the sphere of light in his hand zeroed in on the actual streets, people, cars, animals, sound, and smell of South Africa 40 years and more ago, giving each the most exacting detail complete with accurately reflecting the taste, sound, texture, color, etc. of each thing pictured, however minute. Even the weather was exactingly reproduced in the tiniest detail. "This is the pirate cove that Ramonda came upon." The golden lights flashed into vibrant life like colors, faithfully showing a younger Ramonda--fierce, compellingly beautiful, quick, lithe, lethal--dispensing fatal justice to a score and more of armed African pirates. "Ramonda was to carefully, thoroughly, completely catalogue a very specific subgroup of people that had long caught the attention of my brother, myself, and our father. These people lived in, near, and around both Pretoria and the pirate's cove. And most importantly? THIS is the land that she was assigned to carefully analyze every inch of, and to assess for a full combat profile."

"Why would she be assigned to do that? Why specifically our Queen? That piece of land...that island...is completely unremarkable. I mean...it's beautiful but there is nothing..." D'Ciggs began.

"Look more closely my nephew," Syan encouraged.

And then it hit D'Ciggs like a ton of bricks.

"GENOSHA!! This is Genosha before it was occupied! Ramonda was sent to catalogue African mutants in that whole region, ere the rest of the world became remotely aware of the existence of mutants in Africa! She was tasked with this because Ramonda is one of the leading geneticists and epigeneticists in Wakanda!! By The Panther God, my father, you and my brother foresaw the events that would set Genosha into being!" D'Ciggs' mind was calculating furiously. "My father foresaw Genosha's significance...TChalla foresaw The Phoenix's return..." D'Ciggs mind was alight with possibilities." He foresaw The Scarlet Witch's and The Phoenix's ties to Genosha!! It explains a great many things!"

"Yes, my nephew, it does."

"But Uncle, how could he have hoped to stop The Phoenix? None of the beings that we know of who can match overmatch or turn aside The Phoenix are our allies."

Syan prods:" Who are the beings that we know of which can, have, or will have the power to turn aside The Phoenix?"

D'Ciggs promptly responds: "The Celestials, The Beyonder, Galactus, Shao Lao the Undying of Kun Lun, The Panther God...has TChalla entered a pact with The Panther God to defeat Phoenix?"

"No," Syan avers." As you know, The Panther God is exceedingly mysterious, and will only fight a battle when where and how it determines. TChalla would have to prove his worth by defeating The Phoenix by some other means."

"There IS no other means! Not even Franklin Richards is of use to us in this extreme."

"No Franklin is not; but there IS another option."

"Who? What?" D'Ciggs laughed with harsh humor. " Does TChalla have some Phoenix Killer Armor hanging about here?"

"Yes, he does..." Uncle Syan began.

D'Ciggs explodes: "He DOES? I was just being sarcastic, Uncle!! What ELSE does he--?"

Syan firmly interrupts: "...but the armor is not for him. The armor is for Shuri. And the armor is not our first line of defense."

That halted D'Ciggs in his tracks.

"Who, my nephew, would TChalla ask to help him in these extremes...whom he trusts."

"Uncle, we covered everyone alrea--no. No we haven't. Storm. He'd ask Storm to help. But she CAN'T help, even if we were to forgive her gallivanting about with other men, and especially now that damn hairy troll..."

"D'Ciggs."

Pause. A brief, significant beat of silence, while D'Ciggs realized that he'd violated royal decorum.

D'Ciggs offers a royal bow.

" I apologize for my unseemly outburst, my Uncle."

"Apology accepted...as this outburst shall never happen again."

"Never again, Uncle."

"Now, D'Ciggs. We were talking about--?"

"Storm. Ororo. My brother is deeply in love with her, but he has never let love dictate to him before. He knows that Storm is of no use to us."

"Yes he does," Syan confirms.

"So if he does, then why..."

"Because Ororo is much more than just a 'Storm'. Ororo at one time had been offered the ultimate power of her ultimate potential manifested...and she displayed the ultimate character when she turned it down and walked away. She didn't fall into the lure of power that corrupted Jean Grey, and drives The Phoenix."

"What are you talking about, Uncle?"

" I am talking about the gargantuan power of magic and cosmic might which is the birthright of the women in Ororo's lineage. I am talking about the depth that the Panther God saw in Ororo, the regal magnificence of her Self that puts her beyond any and every X-Man, regardless of whatever dalliances she may have with them. The very thing that will compel her ever to be in TChalla's orbit. I am speaking of...Roguestorm."

"ROGUESTORM!!"

"Yes, D'Ciggs. TChalla used Dark Physics to enter The Nowhere Room to defeat Doom, but what Reed didn't know [ but I'm certain suspected immediately and shortly after confirmed beyond question ] is that TChalla had used The Nowhere Room previously. He foresaw the coming of The Phoenix.He knew that Storm loved him literally beyond Death itself and he reciprocated that love. He knew that should he share this knowledge with her? She would find some way around it--just as he would--and she would stay with him. As he would stay with her. However, he knew that if Ororo stayed here with him in Wakanda, she would not be with the X-Men PRIOR TO the arrival of The Phoenix...and the Earth would be doomed as a result."

"Why didn't he just tell her, bring her in on the plan? This is Ororo we're talking about here. A warrior on a literally intergalactic scale. She could stay here, be Queen of Wakanda, then embark to the X-Men..."

"..and the Phoenix would read her thoughts from outer space and destroy Earth."

" The Phoenix could read most anyone's thoughts."

"The Phoenix was only interested in select X-Men, and specifically initially only Hope."

"So if The Phoenix wasn't reading anyone else's mind..?"

"If Storm got anywhere near Hope..."

"I see now! The Phoenix would scan her mind to see if Storm had a plan which could threaten its plans."

"Exactly."

"But Roguestorm would DEFINITELY threaten The Phoenix's plans. Roguestorm equals and may even surpass The Phoenix in power. Why not erase Ororo anyway?"

"Two reasons: if Hope somehow proved to be an improper host? By far, Ororo was the next best bet. Can't go around destroying the person you have selected as your backup avatar. Reason Two: Because Ororo didn't come to the X-Men with the plan to use Roguestorm. She was still in too great of an emotional upheaval dealing with the aftereffects of her breakup with TChalla. She would be in serious jeopardy of losing control of Roguestorm should she access that power under any circumstances. Which TChalla knew. He hoped to use the emotional upheaval their breakup would cause Ororo as the perfect genuine smoke screen to throw The Phoenix off of Ororo's mental trail."

"Then what's the big deal? Storm STILL couldn't threaten Phoenix so..."

" Remember the nanobots that Doom used?"

"Yes."

"TChalla repurposed a few of them."

"She STILL HAS nanobots in her?"

"Yes. TChalla repurposed them so that..."

"BY THE PANTHER GOD!!"

"Yes."

"TChalla repurposed the nanobots so that he could activate Roguestorm within her via remote?" D'Ciggs was aghast.

"Nobody could fully actualize Roguestorm but Ororo; however the beginning stages could be initialized to some degree by remote," Uncle Syan informed him. " At which point in time TChalla would be in direct soul to soul contact with her and explain to her what he knew. Without The Phoenix eavesdropping on them, as it were."

"Ororo would NEVER forgive TChalla for such an intrusion." D'Ciggs asserted with complete conviction.

"Yes." Syan concurred.

"She would leave him forever."

"Yes." Uncle Syan confirmed.

"It would kill TChalla if she left him...like it's killing him now." D'Ciggs continued.

"Yes."

"It would kill the BOTH of them." D'Ciggs amended.

"Yes." Syan's voice held layers of some unnamed emotion.

"Then why--?"

"TChalla would rather have her hate him and rather suffer the eternal denial of the love of his life, rather than have her hate herself for the deaths that Phoenix would cause because she hesitated to go fully Roguestorm." Syan spoke with slow, sage, sincerity.A sincerity borne of a knowledge intimately heartfelt; a knowledge of pain so personal and poignant that it tore at the hearts of both men. An agony the likes of which D'Ciggs could see that Syan was trying to protect his nephew from.

" TChalla's tech," Syan continued in that soft, vibrant voice. His eyes holding an elsewhere cast as he peered into a past and memories deeply private, scars too severe to wish upon even his most hated enemies, a torment that will not mend."Combined with her power, their will, their love...only together would they manifest a force heretofore unknown. Mightier than Phoenix. A Roguestorm Panther God..."

"...and she'd leave him forever afterward." D'Ciggs' voice dipped to a near whisper, as Syan's had.

"And Wakanda and the Earth and the woman he loves would still be alive." Syan replied.

"And he'd mourn her loss for the rest of his life." D'Ciggs stated.

"Yes." Uncle Syan confirmed.

A heavy, silent, pregnant pause.

"I am glad that I am not my brother, Uncle Syan."

"Heavy is the head that wears the crown, my nephew."

Another pause, as each man looked into things in their own souls that are too deep and too private to share; even with family.

And then D'Ciggs broke the silence.

"Storm does not know of the Protocols activated by Doom's attack and The Phoenix's approach, does she?"

"No, nephew, she doesn't."

"So she doesn't know that you were never killed, because flesh transmuted highly enhanced Life Decoy Models replaced you and Mother long before Doom had even the most remote chance of endangering you, me or any of The Royal Family and our key functionaries at every level of government."

"She has no idea, nephew."

"She doesn't know, then, that as part of these protocols--and due to the timely vision supplied by both our great Panther God and the vast preparations done by all previous Panthers, including yourself, my father and my brother--Wakanda's civilization and all of her people would wink into our special Interdimensional Pocket, proof against detection by any means, proof against the passage of Time, the entry of any being, etc. due to our nationwide Quantum Substratum ChronoSpatial Psi Mystic Ka Manipulators? Does she at least know of the Mobility Units and Nationwide Defense Shields...

...no, she doesn't, does she, Uncle? T'Challa didn't inform her because he knew that such knowledge would impact her decision-making once The Phoenix began to make its ineluctable return. And that would remove her from being placed where TChalla wanted her to be placed, should he ever need to invoke The Roguestorm Option."

"You are starting to see the complexities now, my nephew.

However, I believe that one should not underestimate the intelligence and/or intuition of women. Especially a woman like Ororo. She is probably uncovering or has already uncovered many of these various complexities as we speak. There are many forms of "intelligence", my nephew, as you know. Far more than the Western and Outworlder mind have learned of. The Westerners and many Outworlders in general prize primarily one form of intelligence: Logical/Mathematical Intelligence. Ororo is gifted there as well, but she is particularly capable in other areas.

Many people forget that she is one of the foremost lockpicks this world has ever known. Such skill is a function of a genius level of Intelligence vastly overlooked by Outworlders; but we Wakandans accept and embrace all forms of Intelligences. This particular genius level Intelligence of Ororo's gives her a unique insight into the Logical/Mathematical and Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence areas that few can ever hope to glimpse, much less equal or surpass.

Despite your incorrigible behavior, you, D'Ciggs, are a multitiered genius. So is Ororo.

She is in fact possessed of Naturalist, Intrapersonal and Existential Megagenius that is rivaled or surpassed by very few in all of Creation. Doctor Strange. Zeus. Odin. The Contemplator. That is how she is both able to manifest and control Roguestorm. That is how she is able to house the Essence of Eternity. That is why she can never be fully mentally dominated by entities short of cosmic entities.

Doom, for instance, thought he had her trussed and bound with his advanced tech manacles. He didn't know and couldn't know that prior to his infecting Ororo with the nanobots, Ororo...in front of the Dora Milaje, during one of their combat training scenarios... already showed herself able enough to pick Wakandan locks and manacles that were twice as difficult to escape as the mere pittances that Doom tossed her way."

"Then why didn't she escape then, Uncle..? Ohhh. I see."

"Yes, nephew."

"Had she escaped then...at that point...she would have alerted Doom of his miscalculations..." D'Ciggs began.

"... and thereby destroyed whatever plan TChalla was unspooling to ensnare Doom," Uncle Syan finished the thought for D'Ciggs. "Very good, my nephew. Continue."

"Does she know that absolutely nobody has ever stolen Vibranium from Wakanda? Every single particle of Vibranium that has ever left Wakanda has done so by our leave, and was used to manipulate various foes and allies for our purposes. Every fractional quark of Vibranium that we allowed to leave Wakanda was saturated with our advanced surveillance tech, and various other highly advanced tech Ka magicks etc that serves our purposes quite well. That includes the Vibranium that TChaka offered to Captain America. As a result, we have long peered into the few secrets that Outworlders were able to momentarily...not quite hide but prevent immediate full disclosure upon creation by our usual means of espionage... from us".

"If this was done, my nephew, why would we go to such extremes to peer into Outworlder civilizations which haven't a hope of keeping their secrets guarded from us? Why would we risk a resource as rare and potentially devastating even to us as Vibranium is to ever leave our borders?"

"You ask me this, Uncle, because you know that my not exactly authorized worldwide investigations have long apprised me of the answer. Which is: We were not concerned about the Outworlders on Earth as a possible threat that we needed to recon; we were observing less obvious consistent and potential threats.

We allowed heavily doctored Vibranium to leave our immediate vicinity...if not our immediate control...because we were monitoring these cosmic and less obvious but remarkably consistent actual and potential threats. Threats like Thanos. Threats like various members of alien races possessed of highly advanced tech, and trans-temporal threats like Kang, Inter and Intra-Universal Threats like the Agents of Lord Chaos, various Eternals, various rogue Celestials, etc. all of whom are themselves interested in our Vibranium. Therefore we keep a constant eye upon them, and similar beings of interest. This includes keeping tabs on Deviant Lemuria, the much underrated Psycho Man and his minions, and the other underrated threats like Mole Man, and Maximus of The Inhumans. We are regularly warily observing beings like The High Evolutionary and The High Technician, as well as the many other "aliens" who form the relatively heavy extraterrestrial and extrahuman population on Earth. It is they whom we wished to obliquely observe by the strategic placement of Vibranium in specific locales and secreting Vibranium in specific storied items. In fact, part of T'Challa's mission profile when he was a Prince and entertaining the Western European Powers with the farcical notion that they had any hope of providing T'Challa with an education that would not have been derided and vastly outperformed in every way humanly possible by our 6 year olds...from a hundred years ago...was to track and observe the particulars of strategically stashed Vibranium caches to ensure that they had piqued the interest of and/or ensnared their intended prey.

For instance, Steve Rogers has outstripped all others in providing information to us, via his heroic adventuring. Wherever he took his Vibranium enhanced shield, he ALSO took Wakandan surveillance tech and all of our various and assorted goodies..."

" ...'Goodies', nephew? Outworlder slang, nephew?" Syan the Swift partially arched his left eyebrow. Syan saw that infamous rogue sparkle in D'Ciggs eyes the instant it sprang to life, and knew his nephew was going to say something and do something that nobody else would say or d in these Royal confines.

" Goodies. You know. Like CIARA's song? 'My goodies, my goodies...' she was dancing like this..." whereupon D'Ciggs did an outstanding impression of Ciara dancing. In fact, he outperformed her. He kept at it with genuine unfeigned gusto, and right as he was really getting into his dancing, he saw the expression stamping itself upon Syan's handsome face.

"Uncle. I really like that song. Was listening to it when we were coming back to Wakanda and...

....Ohhh don't get upset with me Uncle. I know, I know, Uncle. But work with me here. The Savage Lands, right? Okay.

The Savage Land is another place that we secretly seeded with Vibranium. Why? Because The Savage Land is a singularly attractive locale to all who would seek to acquire Vibranium unobserved, and comparatively unhindered.

It's also the perfect place for young Daniel Rand to endure the various trials he will have to endure as he inexorably closes upon the realization that Ka-Zar..the first Ka-Zar aka David Rand. He of British descent and South African birth, prior to the modern Kevin Plunder Ka-Zar of The Savage Land... is his great uncle's cousin, and played an important role in the lives of both Orson Randall and the 20th Century Iron Fist lineage. But that is a story for the currently "Elder" Iron Fist. Not Wakanda. Not yet. Not until he uncovers the role of Wakanda in teaching David Rand much of what he knows...

The Savage Lands are wild, far from any major civilization, and one can have the unique Vibranium we stored there without having to deal with the formidable, invincible forces of Wakanda or dealing with a bevy of like minded Vibranium plunderers. The Savage Land is a place so remote that it drastically reduces the chances of drawing the attention of some nosy cape or supervillain or reporter.

Of course, Ka-Zar and Janna and now Matthew their son are swiftly informed of encroachers by their own network and by ours...when we deem it necessary.

Furthermore, The Savage Land is a place we can relatively heavily infest with Wakandan Tech and lure potential Earth and offworld alleged friends and foes there without genuine concern for discovery.

As for Doom? Haha. Doom never threatened the actual supply of actual Wakandan Vibranium, he merely took a heavily doctored cache of Vibranium snared from some strange Earth dimension wherein Earth was overrun by super zombies.

That Earth's Wakanda had to get rid of its entire Vibranium cache in order to not draw the super zombies to them like a moth is drawn to flame, and thus escape detection and eventually reverse the zombie tide in their favor. This would be the reality that saw two T'Challas work together to successfully come up with the Super Zombie Cure. Neither Ororo nor Doom knew that this authentic other dimensional Vibranium had been treated specifically to lure Doom from hiding, dosed with Wakandan and Doctor Strange [ of the other Super Zombie dimension ] magicks. Zombie Universe Super Zombie Doctor Strange still wields magicks far more potent than Doom's, so Doom would not know that he'd been tricked and trapped by TChalla until it's far too late. Doom's every use of the Vibranium allowed TChalla to see into Doom and peer into Doom's most secret of machinations and technology and magicks in a far more thoroughgoing fashion than his nanobytes allowed him to peer into faux Wakanda. "

"Correct my nephew. However, I believe that Ororo is working these complexities out, on her own. She is remarkably intelligent, incredibly intuitive, and is directly connected to the Ka--Life Force--of not just this planet but some speculate that she is connected to Ka anywhere and everywhere. This unique spiritual depth of hers is what makes her a special target of great desire for creatures like Dracula, Hela, and yes; even Loki. If this is the case? Then she immediately noted that Doom slaughtered only LMD's of myself and other high ranking and Royal functionaries; and all of her subsequent actions are proof of her unwavering desire to protect Wakanda and her people. She is deliberately selling the cover story that we created; even to her X-Men. This same intimate connection with Ka would reveal to her the spiritual differences between the heavily doctored Vibranium of the super zombie reality an the undoctored Vibranium of our Wakanda.

TChalla told me without an ounce of doubt that he believes that Ororo worked out the particulars of his scheme and all of he other particulars which you and I discussed thus far, nephew, before he and Shuri neutered Doom as the entire world watched.

I am certain that Doom has become aware of aspects of our deception, but too late to compromise the information that we acquired. We have had a good look at 75% of his most closely held secrets. That's why, for instance, T'Challa was able to state with such confidence to Njadaka that Doom has only showed his actual authentic self 4 times. Doom himself provided the proof. And even though we are not stupid enough to trust any of Doom's documentation on face value, we have excellent and truly compelling reason to know he spoke truly at that time."

"How do we know this for certain, Uncle?"

"Our beloved Panther God peered into von Doom's soul, remember? That information--and more, much more--was confirmed by Bast."

For a moment, D'Ciggs just stood in complete surprise.

"All this was part of TChalla's plan?" D'Ciggs was beyond amazed.

"Yes. For years now."

"I don't even have the energy to be shocked anymore, " D'Ciggs stated. Then he smiled that eternal roguish D'Ciggs smile. He was beyond proud of his brother, TChalla.

"Stay focused, nephew. We are speaking of Ororo. What else does she not know?"

"She doesn't know that Namor simply flooded a Quantum Illusion of Wakanda...the same Quantum Illusion that TChalla has taken all Outworlders to visit, when he spoke of taking them to "Wakanda". And he never lied, for he neve specified WHICH "Wakanda" he was taking them to visit. For no Outworlders save Ororo, Hunter, Monica Lynn, and Captain America have ever set foot in Wakanda proper. As The Panther God has commanded. And TChalla works feverishly at keeping that illusion alive, complete with a mixture of actual Wakandans, Life Model Decoy Units, and an entire fully functional hyperadvanced faux Wakandan civilization located at a place far from where our actual Wakanda is. How could he fool Ororo? Probably with the same KaTech that would be utilized should the Zombies ever menace us; by generating a genuine biofield over synthetic nonliving LMDs and quasi-real energy and carbon based simulacrums."

"Correct again, my nephew. Or at least...correct at some point in time in the past. Once again, Ororo's incredible connection to Ka is well documented, and her connection is even more potent here in her homeland of Africa. Here, in Africa, she is at her spiritually most potent. Her spirit acquires and maintains its greatest level of equilibrium at this point in her personal evolution. As Shuri made clear some time ago, Ororo may literally be our Queen In Exile; protecting Wakanda from all Outsiders. Even her fellow X-Men. With her silence, and her subsequent heroic actions.

The Outworlders in general, however, are a completely different matter. The Outworlders en masse have been completely hoodwinked for more than ten millenia now...although Reed Richards is hot on our trail, and Tony Starks isn't far behind him."

"But I fail to see how this is entwined with the coming of The Shadow King, with Doom, with TChalla's bizarre decision to slum with the denizens of Hell's Kitchen..."

"TChalla used Dark Physics to access The Nowhere Room prior to Doom's arrival. He foresaw the coming of Doom, he foresaw a great many things. But the first and primary reason he accessed Dark Physics is because...several years ago...he was severely injured while subduing the mystic kungfu master, Iron Fist. He'd been afflicted with a brain anuerysm...an inoperable brain anuerysm. Here, I hypothesize but...I think that he would have elected to live the rest of his life with the brain anuerysm whether or not he had seen the shades of his own madness when he battled the Jabari, nearly slew Queen Divine Justice, and later sought out Kasper Cole. I think that the future perils that he foresaw for Wakanda drove him to Dark Physics in the first place...which he used to cure his cerebral anuerysm when no other method...not even Wakandan and Reed's technology together...could be of help. And then he became adept enough at Dark Physics to access The Nowhere Room, which provided him with enough information on future events that--coupled with his great intellect, already extremely formidable foresight, his immeasurable shrewdness, cunning, and masterful misdirection--allowed him to remain more than 3 steps ahead of us all.

"Uncle Syan, please forgive me but...you said "DARK Physics". Do you not mean "SHADOW Physics?"

"No, my nephew, I did not mean Shadow Physics. I did not misspeak."

"But what is Dark--?"

"I am speaking, nephew. It is unkind an unbecoming of Royalty to forget their manners."

"I apologize yet again, my Uncle."

"Good. Your apology...the last apology and the last breach of protocol...is accepted. Now, where was I...

Yes. The Shadow King? He was nothing more than a beta test. If that. A beta test would probably be overstating matters to a significant degree. TChalla and all of us Royals enjoy exceedingly potent protection psionic spiritual mystical and technological versus all forms of mind reading, compulsion, possession, etc. If not, Bwana Makari, Kiongoni Wa Vivuli...Lord Makari, Master of Shadows he that is miscalled by Outworlders "Baron Macabre"...and the many fell sorcerers of Wakanda would have long made us their puppets with their formidable magicks. T'Challa used the flesh transmuters to transform his friend Josiah X of the KIKOSI CHA NGUVU --Literally "The Squad of Power", or "The Power Squad" in English, who as Americans called themselves THE CREW--into his likeness...then equipped Josiah with the psi and technomagic shields that would thoroughly analyze The Shadow King's alien energies while beguiling that malevolent creature into thinking that it had TChalla in its clutches.

What was the charlie test before the beta test of The Shadow King, D'Ciggs? You do know. You investigated this very possibility with your KIKOSI CHA NGUVU. "

"All evidence that I uncovered leads to the ironclad conclusion that the charlie test was the poo."

"The...what, nephew? Poo? That's excrement..."

"No, Uncle. Not "poo". I mean...The P.O.O. The Prince Of Orphans. The split second that I heard that farcical story of The Prince Of Orphans allegedly killing TChalla, I laughed. Iron Fist himself directly told me that The P.O.O. killed TChalla. I laughed and laughed. He didn't crack a smile, and he got that...you know that funny 'Danny Rand' face he gets when he's confused and shocked all at once? Yeah, he did that. I said:" You fought TChalla personally. Yourself. And you think that The Prince Of Orphans would beat TChalla in any kind of conflict? You truly think that he would win? He? The P.O.O.? Hahahaha." D'Ciggs waited for Uncle Syan to respond. "Wait. I know you got that. See. You truly think he would win? He? The P.O.O.? See...win. He? The P.O.O.? That's a funny. Sounds like Winnie The Pooh. Get it? "

Uncle Syan stared at D'Ciggs for about ten seconds of pure silence. Then he said: "Nephew. Stop spending so much time with the Americans."

D'Ciggs...irrepressible, incorrigible D'Ciggs...burst out laughing. When he recovered, he continued his narrative.

"Anywho Uncle Syan...you know you wanna laugh, Winnie the Pooh was funny...anywho. Back to the narrative. I knew such a thing as TChalla losing to The P.O.O. butt...see, poo-butt?-- was entirely impossible. Having learned from his encounter with Iron Fist, T'Challa simply upgraded his habit to be able to utilize Vibranium and our leading edge hypertech to efficiently absorb energies and percussive blows up to and even surpassing Hulk level blows for a significant period of time. These energies...whether cosmic, light based, kinetic, blunt trauma, or whatever...would be absorbed and utilized in a variety of clever ways by T'Challa, via probably some arcane combination of extraordinary personal discipline, Ka attunement, tech, and maybe psitech or something. One of the immediately recognizable results of this new application of tech is that T'Challa presents his opponents with the daunting specter of T'Challa becoming stronger and more powerful for an extended period of time, as his battle with whomever or whatever continues. That's got to be more than a little discouraging, intimidating, and unfair. Hahaha. Whenever the habit reaches its limit...if it has a limit. Does the habit have a limit, Uncle? Uncle?... Stoic silence? No response? Not surprised...anyway, once/if the habit reaches its limit, I hypothesize that it would simply expel the excess energies in a wide variety of ways. I have no idea what those ways are, but the kinds of things that a mind like T'Challa's could do with that energy is...thrilling, for us. Unthinkably appalling for whosoever has the misfortune of challenging him. In addition to all the foregoing...and whatever other secrets T'Challa keeps up his sleeve that he's staying silent about...TChalla's habit is already proofed against the kinds of energies that most creatures like and greater than The P.O.O. wields. So. T'Challa was testing the efficacy of his defenses and analyzing the specific uniqueness of The P.O.O.'s energy signatures and matrix, in order to extrapolate from these matrixes to deal with other threats. Like Mystic Zombies who might try to eat Doctor Strange or The Dragon Shou Lou the Undying, for instance. Or multiplanar psionic beings like the Shadow King."

"Absolutely correct, my nephew." Uncle Syan confirmed.

"But...still. Why not bring Ororo in on this plan?" D'Ciggs asked.

"Because this plan was one of the tests that The Panther God had for Ororo, to reconcile the division she felt in her heart and mind...to determine if she would choose Wakanda over the X-Men, the X-Men over Wakanda...or would she realize that she need not choose either. She is a whole being. And TChalla put his soul on the line when he stated to our Panther God that he had full faith in Ororo and he would risk Wakanda's future to prove that she was the Queen that Wakanda and the world needs." answered Uncle Syan

"So TChalla was never menaced by The P.O.O. or The Shadow King, and already had that Shadow King creature undone and outwitted before it even set its malicious sights on Wakanda. I'm not even surprised anymore by how insanely well prepared TChalla always is. But that doesn't explain his ridiculous choice to traipse about Hell's Kitchen sans the majesty of his station, the support of his family and his country...BY THE PANTHER GOD!!"

"Do you see it now, my nephew?"

"YES!! During the battle against Doom, my brother evinced advanced abilities. The mystic runes on his flesh are an enhancement of the invisible runes that adorn the flesh of all Royals, as proof and protection against the nefarious technology, psionic and magic powers of our enemies. Yet when he was in New York, he had none of the exceptional enhancements that he evinced in Doomwar. But such a thing could not happen without the leave of The Panther God.."

"Go on nephew, you're on the right track."

"...so The Panther God approved of supported and in fact initiated this change. And the only time The Panther God strips us of station, of belongings, of country, and casts us far from what is known to us and is of comfort to us so that we are forced to travel unprotected amongst the strangers and the dangerous world outside of Wakanda is when...BY THE PANTHER GOD...we are on our Walkabouts and during the Rites of the Panther. That's what T'Challa was doing in Hell's Kitchen. T'Challa was proving his worth to be a Panther again, to once and for all be welcomed back into the rank and wear the mantle that he'd spent his entire life proving he was worthy to don. But WHY in the world would The Panther God send TChalla to deal with such bottom feeders? Such lowly creatures? All of us could dispatch of the Kingpin and his ilk, even without the support of Wakanda or The Panther God. Most especially T'Challa."

"Ergo?" prodded Uncle Syan, smiling with pride at his nephew.

"Ergo, my dear Uncle, TChalla wasn't dealing with the likes of Vlad and The Hatemonger and The Kingpin. He was in The United States for another reason, and he was using his time in Hell's Kitchen as a cover. That's why he insisted that we stay away. We'd violate the requirements of The Rites and The Walkabout AND we'd blow his cover."

"Yes!!"

"So then Uncle...what WAS TChalla looking for in New York?"

"The Hammer of Corruption and The Heart of Entropy.

These weapons are of such dreadful might that they could lay low the likes of Thor and excite dread in the breast of beings like Odin. They are the mightiest possessions of Odin's long lost and forgotten brother Cul, The Serpent, the ancient Norse God of Fear, which he and a host of Elder Gods and Elder Titans even beyond his power forged together...so as to give him might and magicks that at last far outstripped those of his father and his brother and every other Norse God put together. He was to rule them all, and slay all those who yielded not to his power. But Odin and Bor outwitted him, and wrest his great prize and treasure from him. They slew some of the Elder Gods and Elder Titans that helped Cul forge his weapons, and the others they inveighed to turn and fall on each other through guileful trickery. Then did they seek to destroy this Hammer of Corruption and Heart of Entropy, but such was its lure that Bor--Odin's father--tricked his son. He deceived Odin into thinking that they'd destroyed the weapons as they rightfully should have, but Bor had hidden these things...as protection against the treachery that his heart foreshadowed that Odin would one day enact upon him. And which Odin DID one day enact upon Bor, allowing Bor to succumb to the powers of a horribly powerful sorcerer. so that Odin could ascend to the Throne of Asgard.

It is said that these weapons--this Hammer of Corruption, this Heart of Entropy-- is far beyond the might and spirit of any mortal that is, has, or shall ever be.

And that was what TChalla was doing in New York. For Cul had returned, and seeded the earth with accursed hammers of great power. TChalla was to find and return to Wakanda The Hammer of Corruption and Heart of Entropy. When he had to leave the confines of Hell's Kitchen? He had his trusty stand-bys ready, already frocked with the flesh transmuting tech we first revealed to the world during our battle against the Skrulls. He even had a stand in for Ororo, knowing that they were being watched by enemies. Do you know who those stand-ins were?"

"No," D'Ciggs said. But shrewd old Uncle Syan was too experienced and too quick to fall for it.

"You already know the one person best suited to mirror T'Challa for this matter, and with that knowledge, you perforce know who his partner for this mission must be. YOU tell ME who they are."Uncle T'Syan stated.

"The American Kasper Cole and...Okoye. The Dora Milaje." D'Ciggs says without a moment's hesitation.

And Syan nods: "Yes. Okoye. She physically is quite close to Ororo in appearance. She would need very minimal adjustments. And the American Kasper Cole as the adept Chui Nyekundu...whose correct title translates in Outworlder languages to 'The Red Leopard'...is perfect for the role. His power set is similar to T'Challa's, and his comprehensive knowledge of New York would be most useful." Uncle Syan shook his handsome head, with a half smile tugging at his lips." The American Chui Nyekundu tells me that Westerners and Outworlders insist on mistranslating his title into The White Tiger. Their ignorance is at times unbearable. Africa has no tigers."

D'Ciggs says: "They might be forgiven for their mistakes. After all, the American Chui Nyekundu has TWO tigers in constant near proximity; his mother and his Korean girlfriend." Both men laugh.

"The American Chui Nyekundu abilities mimic TChalla's own,but at a sharply lower wavelength." D'Ciggs noted." So he would quite convincingly emulate TChalla to those who don't know him very well. And TChalla makes sure that most people outside of his own Family have no hope of knowing anything solid about him at all, forever--and more and more it appears as if people WITHIN his Family don't know anything solid about him, either."

"What was that, nephew?"

"Nothing at all, Uncle, I was just talking to myself about TChalla.What was I was saying.?...Yes! The American Chui Nyekundu must have been instructed to extend his battles against the likes of Vlad, Typhoid Mary, and their ilk...in order to give TChalla time to return from the mission that The Panther God sent him on."

"Very good, nephew. Continue."

"So then...I take it that TChalla succeeded and located these items."

"He did."

"And then he transported this Hammer of Corruption and Heart of Entropy back here?"

"TChalla is the first and only being to touch such artifacts of transcendent might and not be corrupted, not be enslaved to their will...for these items live. They are possessed of great guile, great malice, great will and intellect. All of which means what in the aggregate, nephew?"

"We've got major problems heading our way yet again...and TChalla has a plan for that, too."

"Correct on all counts. And as you know by now, you, the entire Royal Family, the KMH, and the KIKOSI CHA NGUVU --The Power Squad comprised of those Americans who are known as THE CREW to the Outworlders--play a crucial role in TChalla's plan. A plan that went into high gear before he let the being that he knew was snooping upon us--Loki--know that TChalla knew that Klaw didn't kill TChaka. "

"Uncle, LOKI, the Asgardian God of Mischief and Evil, was here--?"

" Here is your part in that plan, nephew..."

And D'Ciggs listened. And D'Ciggs marveled. He was beginning to really believe that life with TChalla was essentially a guarantee of perpetual shocks in unending procession, brought on by TChalla's unmatched scheming and brilliance.

"I will immediately embark upon the plan," and D'Ciggs bowed in royal deference to his Uncle, then smartly turned on his heel to exit.

But right at the door, he paused. He was about 60 meters from where his uncle sat in a meditative cross-legged lotus position on a large, luxurious beige pillow embroidered with the likeness of The Panther God...the same spot and position T'Syan had taken shortly after they entered his massive suites, and prior to their conversation beginning. From that distance, no regular man had a hope of hearing D'Ciggs, especially because D'Ciggs was speaking in a lowered tone in order to ensure the privacy of their conversation. But Uncle Syan was an Esteemed Panther. He was far beyond regular men...although he was inarguably human. No mutant or superhuman of any kind.

"I know that TChalla sent you to his quarters in order to derail me from locating something that he didn't want me to find AND in order to ensure that you set me upon the path of his plan."

D'Ciggs didn't see the shadow of a satisfied smile play about Syan's lips, as his back was to his Uncle...but he felt it all the same

"But please answer me this: Where is my brother now?"

Syan made sure that his reply carried across the distance separating the two men. "He is avenging your father; he is honoring my brother."