“You think my actions against Thanos were idiotic, suicidal? Then you don’t understand basic maths. Allow me to explain for those of you having difficulty keeping up.” Loki sighed, taking a seat and crossing his long, leather-clad legs. His fingers trailed lazily over the arm of the chair, a modest replacement for a throne, though he owned the seat as if it might have been one.
“The Statesman was going to be destroyed. That was a fact. Thanos had already killed most of those aboard. A few, including the Valkyrie and Korg, had escaped when we first encountered Thanos’ ship, but those who remained behind did not live long to regret it. Shields were failing, life support was failing, the ship was torn into pieces already, fires burning everywhere. The floor was littered with the bodies of our people. Only two of us still stood: me and Banner, whom we’d kept hidden and safe from the first part of the attack. He was our fail-safe, you see. If Thanos managed to board the ship, which he honestly had no difficulty doing since we had no weapons and were not a war craft, then it would be the green beast who would go toe to toe with Thanos if Thor and I failed.”
He shifted uncomfortably, eyes distant as they peered into his keen memory of the events. The fingers stopped, gripped the chair arm. “We failed. Thor was down. I wasn’t even sure if he still lived until Thanos dragged him over to dangle before me. His Black Order had me surrounded. There was no escaping or overpowering them. Thanos didn’t kill me though. I still had what he wanted. He’d come for the Tesseract and it wasn’t going to be summoned on its own. For betraying him previously, I had no doubt Thanos was going to kill me as soon as he had his hands on it. Sure, he’d promised worse than death, but I know a maniac in a hurry when I see one. He was on a mission. He didn’t have time to drag me along just for the pleasure of torturing me for my transgressions against him. No, he was going to kill me.”
Loki swallowed hard then let out a sigh. “And so we used the Tesseract as a diversion. He was so focused on it, he didn’t realize the Hulk was waiting. On my cue, the beast attacked.” Pinching the bridge of his nose for a moment, Loki didn’t look up as he continued. “None of us expected that Thanos would best him so easily. The plan had been to use that distraction to free Thor, to slaughter the Black Order, then to help Hulk with Thanos if necessary. It all happened so fast. Too fast.”
The hand came down, but Loki’s eyes remained closed as he tilted his head back against the high back of the chair to rest there with dark curls cascading to his shoulders. “Hulk was defeated. Heimdall, with the last of his strength, summoned the Bifrost and sent him to warn Earth. I have issues with his choice of messengers, but it is too late now to take it up with him. We may have had our differences, but I do hope that Asgard’s Gatekeeper is enjoying his time in Valhalla right now. It gives me hope that I might do the same someday when I am ready to permanently take leave of the living. That day, however, I was not ready to do so. Not permanently. See, I’d known Thanos was coming. Of course he was coming. I’d stolen his Space Gem. We knew where quite a few of the other Infinity Stones were located. Everything was converging. Didn’t take an oracle to predict that.” He gave a short laugh, eyes opening again finally as his head came upright, gaze intent.
“I made some plans for my continued survival. I am a mage, after all, and a trickster. And there is nothing I like more than cheating death itself. And so-” He held up a finger. “We get back to the math. With the assumption that there was a 100% probability of the Statesman being destroyed now that our ploy had failed, I had to make a few quick extrapolations from that. One: neither of us were likely to survive that destruction. It is hard to kill a god, yes, but a huge explosion and then floating in the icy vacuum of space is a pretty fair attempt. So, certain death for us unless Thanos was stopped from destroying the ship somehow. Thor was gravely wounded, bound, and only I was left free to implement anything to save us. Which brings me to my second conclusion: Any non-zero probability is better than zero.”
His fingers tapped against the chair arm, drumming there in a slow beat. “What does that mean? It means that any plan I concocted that might work was better than doing nothing. I had very little left at my disposal except my wits, but at least those were quick and did not fail me. I came up with a plan. It wasn’t a great plan, but it was better than no plan. It was better than getting incinerated and then frozen into a chunk of the charred carcass formerly known as Loki.” His voice faltered a bit. “It was better than that happening to Thor.”
“As I said, I had a plan. Another diversion. I never could just be forthright about things and now really wasn’t the time to start.” Loki gave a little shrug, a wry smile playing over his lips for a moment. “And so I did what I usually do: I lied. I told Thanos he had my oath of loyalty. All those false words, just so I could get within striking distance. Even if the Black Order killed me for it, if I was able to kill or seriously harm Thanos, then we stood at least a chance of him retreating immediately instead of destroying the ship. That would leave Thor alive.” Loki took a deep breath, let it out slowly. “It was a long shot, as you mortals call it. But it wasn’t rash, it wasn’t foolish. It was carefully calculated. And the math really is very simple: any chance is better than no chance.”