Time didn't exist in places like this- that was the first thing Norman Osborn had learned in SHIELD's rehabilitation facility. Without clocks or a window to watch the sun cross the sky, it became increasingly difficult to track the days. Counting out the hours as he sat in his cell had worked, for a time, but after about the sixteenth day it all started to blend together. After that it was all a guessing game, really. By his estimation it'd been anywhere from a month to three, though for all he knew things like space and time operated differently here.
Wherever the hell here actually was, Osborn assumed he'd never know.
Somewhere in deep space was his first guess. The aliens in the crowd and the presence of impossibly advanced technology pointed to that fact. Yet, for some reason, nearly all of his captors appeared to be human. The Skrulls were more than capable of stealing a man's face, but this...this wasn't them. He couldn't be sure why, but he knew in his gut that this was different. This was something worse.
Thoughts of escape came and went on occasion. Those moments after a particularly successful day in the arena offered him hope enough to try and formulate some sort of plan. He'd spend days on each one, crafting them with the meticulous eye for detail he'd developed over the decades. Trying to track guards. Looking for even the smallest imperfections in his cell, or that damned, chaffing collar. He never found one. This place was flawless, designed with the utmost care by someone who very clearly knew what they were doing.
There was some tiny, twisted part of him that could appreciate the death games for what they were- enjoy them, even. It was that shard of violent delights that Norman could never seem to truly shake. It visited him, sometimes, when the despair set in. Did it know when Norman was most vulnerable? Or was it always there, and he only ever noticed it when he was at his lowest? It didn't matter. Even if he was damned to spend eternity in these halls, Osborn wouldn't indulge it. He couldn't, not so long as there remained even the tiniest sliver of a chance that he'd be free one day.
And there was always going to be that chance: because he was Norman Osborn. And Norman Osborn doesn't lose. He'd find his way out of here, eventually. Somehow. He was the greatest mind mankind had to offer, and he'd be damned if some alien freak was the one that conquered him. He had too much to accomplish to fail here. Failure was simply not an option.
The guard finally came for him, as it always did. Sometimes he wondered if it was always the same guard that came for him, or if they all shared that same, expressionless face. He'd tried asking it, once, but it hadn't much appreciated the question, so he hadn't bothered asking it anything else. He went through the painstaking process of dragging himself from his cot for the...sixth time, if he's been counting correctly, and allowed himself to be led down the twisting, dark halls of this strange prison.
Something changed along the way. They went down a new path, one Osborn didn't recognize. He became far more alert as they went, taking in all of the new information as he tried to understand why they'd taken a new direction. Part of him was curious, another part glad to have the monotony broken up, and still yet another that was afraid of what might await him.
It never showed. Norman always walked in long, confident strides, his head held high and his eyes as sharp as iron. Even without his armor to protect his aging body, the man had an aura of confidence about him so powerful and intoxicating that made him look nearly invincible. He couldn't rightly remember a time in his life when he didn't walk like this, only that he'd learned to perfect it when he rose to become one of America's premier arms dealers and businessmen.
A light appeared at the end of another hallway, temporarily blinding him as he was led straight into it. It took several moments for his eyes to adjust to it before he was able to see this new room he'd been brought to. It was far larger than anything he'd seen outside of the arena thus far, and filled with something else he hadn't expected to ever see again.
Other prisoners, like him, if the collars were anything to go by- the first real proof he wasn't alone here. There were two of them, each led by a guard much like the one beside him and each utterly silent. The first was...a boy. A young one, perhaps twelve or thirteen, if he had to guess. He looked rather frightened to be there, and quite out of place. Osborn had only survived through the games by the skin of his teeth, burning through ammo and power far faster than he would like. For a child to make it through all that...?
Norman wasn't oft a man of sympathy, and his respect was hard-earned, but something told him an exception could be made for this odd little thing.
The other didn't get much more than a disdainful glare from him, however. An alien of unknown origin, towering above him and the guards. With skin like alabaster, eyes of pupil-less crimson, and a monstrously shaped skull, its appearance was bizarre and off-putting. Norman had stood against many of their kind before, but this one in particular felt wrong. He couldn't place it, but there was something about the way it looked at him that made his stomach churn in nervous discomfort.
He turned away from it and allowed himself to be escorted toward one of the chairs scattered about the room, remaining silent, as he knew well what the consequences for speaking up would be. Still, even as he fell into the seat, his mind raced to find potential answers to the countless questions all of this had raised. This was something new, unprecedented. A change in routine that could mean salvation; or, perhaps, a permanent sealing of his fate.
Osborn looked a madman as he leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees as he stared at the boy and the alien. Absorbing information through calculating yet none-too-stable eyes. Unkempt and grease-slicked auburn hair touched the bottoms of his ears, a sharp widow's peak and a few flecks of grey defining his age. Patches of hair had been stuck to his face, loosely connected by far thinner bits- it was rather obvious it didn't belong on his face. He'd be rid of it, sooner or later. Once he found his way out of here.
'...And perhaps these two will play some part in that.'