12. Jormungandr


The Menace of the Milky Way

Jormungandr belonged to an offshoot of the race of Colossi. Like the Colossi, these Giants were born alongside the universe. And like the Colossi the Giants play an important role in the expansion of the universe. But where the Colossi fed upon stars, the Giants fed upon planets and any life upon them. While the Colossi were careful to preserve life where they could, the Giants were often ravenous and careless. 

As the Giants fed upon the planets, they would convert their mass into energy within their bowels. Their release of energy would act like a miniature big bang, spewing out energy and matter in a massive nova. To prevent these explosions from destroying their food supply, the Giants always sought to release their energy along the edge of the universe, a universe that subsequently grew each time they released. Among these Giants, Jormungandr was by far the largest. 

Ever since poisoning the planet Potiguld, Jormungandr waited. Like a water serpent, Jormungandr submerged themself beneath space. Through distorting space and time around them, Jormungandr resided in this subspace which allowed them to bide their time and rest in peace. When the time is right they can resurface to unleash their might upon the Milky Way. 

The stature of Jormungandr was beyond comparison. They maintained a form that wrapped around and through the entire Milky Way galaxy. Such a large body required that Jormungandr kept themself almost entirely submerged in subspace. Otherwise the slightest motion could cause mass destruction upon planetary bodies. Whenever they surfaced, Jormungandr would only ever show relatively small extensions of themself. 

Records across the galaxy that had some vague knowledge of Jormungandr often depicted them as a serpent. In actuality, they could manipulate whatever portion they surfaced into just about any desired form. Jormungandr did not mind being depicted as a serpent. Just as serpents wrap around their prey and swallow it whole, this Giant wrapped the galaxy and had it trapped within their maw. 

The true nature of Jormungandr was far more terrifying and equally as incomprehensible. As a being in subspace that wrapped around the and through the galaxy, Jormungandr is omnipresent in their occupied space. During times of minor feeding such as their current state, they would surface small parts of themself to take on the appearance of menacing creatures. These manifestations enslave other races and treat them as livestock to feed upon. Such was the fate of the Potiguldins. Soon Jormungandr intends to surface to once again show their true form, one not seen in eons. 

Fully submerged in subspace, Jormungandr plans the next five planets they intend to consume, the last five before they fully resurface to feast upon the Milky Way. Then suddenly, they felt a disturbance in subspace. The sensation was altogether foreign and unpleasant to the Giant. Deep in the recesses of their mind, they recalled this sensation as pain. A piercing pain stabbed into Jormungandr as some alien presence broke into their home in subspace. 

They fly into a fit of rage. The stabbing wound was small. No Giant or Colossus could likely produce such a small and precise point of pain. The only explanation is that one of the terrestrial races found a way to distort space and time in the same way that Jormungandr could do naturally. Such a transgression could not go unpunished. 

Losing any semblance of their plan, Jormungandr knew they had to move now. They also knew they still needed to gather some strength. Great visages of the Giant suddenly surfaced throughout the galaxy, consuming all in their path. In an instant Aorta, all the Cornucopia trade planets, and Potiguld were all swallowed by the Giant. 

Surfacing as they did, instantly consuming entire bodies came with risks. Causing mass destruction could easily catch the attention of other Giants or Colossi. The former typically consisted of vulture-like Giants that sought to feed upon the leftovers from the destruction. More Giants meant less food for Jormungandr, and an even greater risk of catching the attention of Colossi. The former, the Colossi, were the mortal enemies of the Giants. If one or more found them then they would be forced to fight, or to flee. In either case, a Colossus posed the greatest risk of jeopardizing their planned feast. 

But this destruction was needed. In order to expedite their plans, Jormungandr needed the strength, and needed it fast. They could not allow the advancements of terrestrial life to detect the presence of Giants. The Colossi are bad enough. If terrestrials banded together with their already dangerously advanced technologies they could pose a serious threat. However, more important than the existential crisis of terrestrial advancements, Jormungandr could not allow even a small wound to go unpunished by such a puny being. They were happy this being was not a victim of the planets they consumed. 

With their strength gathered, Jormungandr completely surfaced, showing their true form for the entire galaxy to see. 

All in the Milky Way could immediately see the gargantuan form in the sky and through their lands. At first it felt like a collective glitch of vision, as if there was an intangible ripple running through the universe. The air around them, and the ground beneath their feet (or equivalent locomotive appendages) was no exception to this effect. Mass nausea overwhelmed the galaxy. At the same time there was an innate sense of dread building in all beings. 

Seconds past that felt like minutes. The ripple began to form into a distinct form. Slowly, to the minds of the observers, a distinctive form began to emerge. They could now see the faint outlines of scales. These scales were as if made of perfect mirrors, reflecting the stars of the galaxy. But to those well learned in astral bodies, they knew these were not just reflections. It was as if there were entire star systems trapped within those scales. 

Likewise, when looking down upon the ground they could see the forms of scales distorting the ground. The scales did not show the actual current lands of the planet. In every scale the lands shifted slightly, as if portraying the state of the planet during different times of the planet’s life. 

More time passed. The continuing seconds felt like hours. The distortion through the galaxy began to shift further. No matter where observers were in the galaxy, they could all make out what appeared to be a head. This head took on the appearance of a massive serpent. Its body wrapped seemingly endlessly, winding through the galaxy with no apparent ending. The eyes of this serpent’s head were like endless voids that hypnotized countless beings. By simply staring into its eyes they became paralyzed by its gaze. If not for the gravity of their planet, many believed they would fall into its gaze. 

Even more time passed. The seconds now felt like days. Tendrils extended out from the winding body. How these tendril expanded out from the body without also intersecting some other part of the body perplexed all observers. It was as if the form shifted as gazes shifted too. The tendrils formed veins through the land. The more daring observers even noticed that the roping tendrils passed through their own bodies, invariably sending them into an overwhelming panic. The painfully slow passage of time made sure their bodily functions could not prompt an early demise. Yet still, they knew this entity was somehow allowing their minds to process the raw emotions and visions at the pace that they desired. 

Yet more time passed. The seconds now felt like months. A quake shook across the galaxy, tearing it asunder. Distorted time made sure that observers could witness and feel every moment. They watched as cracks formed throughout the galaxy, as if splitting through space, time, and matter. Rifts formed through the sky. Countless stars exploded, going supernova. Some planets imploded. Some exploded into stars, only to then go supernova. Others simply split apart like an exploding bag of sand. And then the quakes shifter through their bodies. At this point it was as if the observers could feel their individual cells tearing apart. The surreal sensation sent shockwaves of pain through their bodies. 

Then the serpent’s mouth opened wide, like a snake unhinging its jaws. Time began to accelerate again. The disruptive quake then felt as sudden as it actually was. Planet, stars, and bodies exploded into fine particles. Just before their bodies died, time slowed once again. Jormungandr wanted to ensure their final memories would be of them being dragged into their maw. 

With Jormungandr’s mouth wide open, observers saw nothing but a massive void, like that of the eyes. But this time it was not just a feeling that they were being dragged. As their bodies were being torn apart by tendrils of the Giant’s body, they were also being dragged into the massive void created from the serpent’s mouth agape. 

The entire galaxy was now destroyed, all but a single isolated moon and a single Bunny upon that moon. 

It was at this time that Beatrix Easter awoke in an incomprehensible panic. Awake but now paralyzed, Beatrix could still see the terrible visage of the astral serpent, with its tendrils jutting from its scaly body, occupying her vision along the ceiling in her bed. Despite all her efforts she could not rouse herself to move. Fear and panic overwhelmed her. Only once Loki Sherman VIII entered her room did that serpent fade and her full faculties return. 

She could not explain it, but Beatrix knew that this was no mere night terror. She felt as if she peered into an alternate time, or into a potential future, or both. After all, the dream came so soon after completing the Shamrock Drill, a device intended to drill through space and time in order to allow for instantaneous travel through the universe. She never once questioned her work. On top of that, the nightmare was bizarre and seemingly beyond her own imagination. She could not shake the feeling that she peered into something that she was not intended to know. Either that, or she just received a threat from some powerful omnipresent power residing beneath space around and through the galaxy. 

Beatrix could not explain it, but she knew she had to tell Loki about her dream.