Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from Planetary, they all belong to Warren Ellis and Wilstorm Comics.
Monitor’s Lie: A Planetary Adventure
Elijah Snow knew he wasn’t supposed to be there, but in his eighty odd years of life he had learned that the best way to learn things was to be somewhere other people didn’t want you to be. The white haired man pressed himself as deep into the shadows as he could, silently wishing he wasn’t wearing all white.
The satellite was filled with a number of brightly dressed individuals, looking a little like the superhuman types Elijah was familiar with. Something about getting powers seemed to compel the most normal person to dawn funny colored spandex and call themselves some rediculous sounding name.
‘Maybe all the blows to the head effect the brain,’ Elijah thought as he saw a tall, imposing figure address the group.
Calling himself the Monitor the blue, white and gold armored humanoid gravely explained that the multiverse was in peril, that antimatter was being unleashed to destroy them one by one. He explained that he was fighting to save reality, then in a gesture sent them across the worlds.
Elijah blinked as he watched the being tiredly make his way to a command center, slumping down in a chair in front of a large screen. ‘That doesn’t make sense,’ he thought, shaking his head, ‘the universes are arranged in a fractal snowflake, how could one antimatter universe do so much damage?’
“You can come out, now,” the Monitor said quietly, turning to look where Elijah had hidden himself.
Elijah stiffened them calmly stepped from the shadows, adjusting his white suit automatically. Walking towards the Monitor he lit a cigarette as he asked, “How long did you know I was there?”
“All along,” the Monitor answered calmly. He gave Elijah a frown, “Where is my associate, Harbinger?”
Elijah took a drag, “I was right, you did send her to our Earth to recruit someone.”
The Monitor looked impatient, “Where is she?”
“She’s fine,” Elijah reassured him, “two of my associates are keeping her busy after I borrowed her gem.” Elijah took the red gem out of his pocket, the same gem that Harbinger wore as part of her headdress.
“How did you get it away from her?” the Monitor looked curious.
Elijah chuckled softly, “It turns out she can’t hold her liquor.”
In another universe, in a bar called the Last Shot three figures sat around the table as Jakita Wagner poured them all a drink. The black haired woman gave the blonde beside her a sympathetic look, “Tell me more.”
Lyla, the human form of Harbinger, hiccuped softly then she downed her drink. ‘An’ I’ve worked for the Monitor for years, but he never notices me!” she sighed, pouting cutely as she peered into her glass.
“Uh huh,” the Drummer sipped his own drink warily, his shaggy brown hair falling around his face. He didn’t know what Jakita had ordered, but the fumes alone could probably peel paint. ‘I guess she inherited a invulnerable liver, too,’ he mused of his longtime friend.
“I have needs, damn it!” Lyla yelped, thumping the table with one hand, sending several empty glasses rolling to the floor .
“I’m right there with you,” Jakita agreed with a sigh. “Why is it the good guys are all too noble to sleep with you?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Lyla sighed. She looked around blearily, “Where did your cute friend Elijah go? I had to take him somewhere.....”
“He’ll be back soon enough,” the Drummer said wryly, carefully drinking a bit more. ‘I think it gets better as your tongue goes numb,’ he thought.
“Enough about him,” Jakita jumped in as she waved around the bottle, “how about we have another drink?”
“Please,” Lyla held out her glass blearily.
The Monitor sighed softly as he shut down the screen. “She’s going to regret that in the morning,” he noted mildly.
“Probably,” Elijah agreed, his cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, “but we all have regrets sometimes.” He looked at the Monitor thoughtfully as he seriously asked, “You lied to them, didn’t you?”
“To the heroes?” the Monitor asked and as Elijah nodded he said firmly, “I did not lie.”
“You didn’t tell them the full truth,” he challenged, Elijah meeting his eyes confidently
“No, I didn’t,” the Monitor conceded as he turned to study Elijah thoughtfully. “How did you know?” he asked.
“According to your story there’s a infinite or near infinite number of alternate worlds,” Elijah shrugged slightly, “even if your adversary is consuming worlds at a near instantaneous rate, he couldn’t make a dent in a infinite number.”
“I see,” the Monitor smiled slightly.
“And while I’m no expert,” Elijah added, “aren’t there quantum effects to consider? New universes diverging off the existing ones....”
The Monitor shook his head slightly as he studied Elijah. “I’m glad you weren’t with the heroes I recruited,” he noted, “I’d be facing some difficult questions.”
“So why lie?” Elijah asked, his gaze piercing.
“I have a enemy that can see much,” the Monitor sighed, “and I fear there is a traitor in my ranks.” He leaned forward, “Do you know why I brought you here, Mr Snow?”
“Not my fine taste in clothes, I assume,” Elijah answered with a shrug.
The Monitor sighed, “You are a historian, Mr. Snow, and I have need of a historian.”
Elijah couldn’t help his sudden interest as he asked, “Oh?”
His expression grim the Monitor said, “I don’t expect to survive what’s coming, Mr. Snow. There are several probable outcomes to the coming conflict, and all the favorable ones include my death.”
“And you want someone to know what happened,” Elijah guessed.
“The whole story,” Monitor agreed, “not just the bits and pieces that I’ll be able to tell the others.” He smiled slightly, “I regret you won’t be able to include it in your Planetary Guides, but I’d like to have someone know the whole truth.”
Elijah nodded slightly as he warned, “I’m as much a detective as a historian, Monitor. I’ll be sticking my nose into a lot of things and asking hard questions.”
“Just what I hoped for,” the Monitor said, offering his hand.
“Then you’ve got yourself a historian,” Elijah shook it firmly.
Of course, Elijah couldn’t have expected all the things he saw and experienced over the next few weeks. He saw the shadow demon war, the Earths that died in antimatter fury and the sacrifices that were made. He witnessed multiple worlds fused together, the success that saved some Earths and a failure that killed a third of another group of worlds. He watched, recorded and observed as the war raged, all the while staying out of Harbinger’s way.
“So what will happen to my Earth?” Elijah quietly wondered as they watched a battle on the view screen.
“I’ve convinced the heroes and the Anti-Monitor that these are the last surviving Earths,” the Monitor answered tiredly, “and concealed the rest of the multiverse from him. They will fight here and win or lose the other Earths should be safe.”
“And you kept this from your assistant Harbinger too?” Elijah asked.
“She has to play her role convincingly,” Monitor said with some regret, “she must not know the whole truth.” He rose with a sigh, “Now I must face my end, and you should go.”
“I want to see how it ends,” Elijah protested.
“If your world survives you’ll know I succeeded,” the Monitor pointed out reasonably, “and if it doesn’t I failed.”
“That’s not a comforting thought,” Elijah sighed. “There’s no way I can stay to see how it all plays out?”
“Only I can send you home,” the Monitor said, “you can’t use Harbinger’s gem again without her noticing. More importantly I must die for my endgame to succeed, and stranding you here would make your recording my history pointless.”
“All right,” Elijah conceded. He put his hands in his pants pockets as he said, “I can’t say it’s been fun, but it’s certainly been interesting.” He met the Monitor’s eyes, “Good luck.”
“And to you, too,” the Monitor nodded gravely as he sent Elijah home.
Notes: In Planetary/Batman Elijah Snow stares that he saw the effects of a partial multiversal collapse in 1985, the year Crisis on Infinite Earths was being published. He also mentioned he saw it someplace he shouldn’t have been. It occurred to me that he might have been a observer or possibly a participant in Crisis....