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Old 04-25-2012, 03:39 AM   #501
bkhedr
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Default Re: One Earth: The Marvel/DC RPG

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Thor and Loki turned to Zeus as the two mortals left.

"Zeus," Loki said, bowing. "A thousand apologies, Sky Father. Your brother's death was brought upon by himself."

"Of course the god of lies and tricks would say this," Zeus grunted. "But what does the Son of Odin have to say?"

"Loki speaks truth," Thor said, looking up at Zeus. "Your brother took Loki as a hostage and then created an opening to the Underworld. Monsters were running rampant across this kingdom. Loki intervened when Hades was preparing to administer a killing blow to me. Had Loki not stopped him, Hades would have killed me and been allowed to march across this land without resistance."

"No," Zeus stated. "Not my brother."

"Open your eyes! Hades was a bitter old fool, driven to madness by his exile from the Underworld!"

Zeus fixed the two Norsemen with a steely glance before he snarled, lightning surging from his hands. Zeus lunged towards them and Thor held Mjolnir up, ready to block Zeus' strike.

"No," a voice echoed around them. Zeus was suddenly suspended in mid-air. In a flash of light, Odin appeared between him and the two Norse gods. "This foolishness ends now."

"Unhand me," Zeus said, his eyes crackling with lightning. "You were behind this farce, you one-eyed bastard!"

"Watch your tongue, Zeus," Odin said coldly. "If you persist in your blasphemy, you will certainly watch it as I cut it from your mouth."

"You would not dare!"

"And why not? Your rash words would require rash action. Heed my words, Zeus, Midgard is not the place to settle this quarrel. I have heard the words of Thor Odinson and Loki Laufeyson. I urge you to take your grievance up with the Quintessence. If my ward is in the wrong for killing your brother, he will pay. The Inhumans and Apokoliptians ready for war. Another war across the cosmos, a war between Olympus and Asgard, is not called for. But know this: if it is war you seek, I will be glad to give it to you."

Odin glared at Zeus as he held the god suspended in the air. There was a tense silence in the field before Zeus finally nodded.

"Very well. I will take this to the Quintessence. But if Loki is found in the wrong, he will be punished by my hand..."

"That will be a decision for them to make," Odin said, releasing Zeus "Loki and I will be there shortly."

In a thunderclap and bolt of lightning, Zeus disappeared. Odin turned to Thor and Loki, surveying the two gods with his one eye.

"Heimdall bore witness to the events here today. He can testify that Loki's actions were justified, albeit a bit extreme. We will have words about this once we are home."

"Yes, Father," Loki said with a bowed head.

Odin shifted his sight to Thor, a slight smile came across his face.

"My son. It's been awhile."

"Thirty Midgardian years."

"It is good to see you here in the flesh, having reclaimed Mjolnir. Your time in this realm has seemed to have taught you humility, kindness, and compassion. I have heard of your deeds here since reclaiming your power."

"I help where I can," Thor said with a shrug. "With the dangers of this world, there is always more I can do."

"Well, you may need to stay here a bit longer. I will discuss your exile with the Quintessence. Hopefully, they will see the light."

"Not that my stay here would be bad. As I said, there is always more to do."

"But your place is in Asgard, my son," Odin said, placing a hand on Thor's shoulder. "It has always has been that way."

"As you wish, All-Father. We will discuss this later at another date."

"Very well. Come, Loki. Away with us."

Loki smirked and winked at Thor as he and Odin disappeared in a flash of light. Thor reached down and picked up Mjolnir, cracking his neck and taking to the skies to search for his lost helmet.


The Horn of Africa, 6500 feet above sea level.

The air is cold here, and heavy with moisture. On most days this bounty would simply drift away on the air currents, depriving the parched lands below of desperately needed rain. But this is not most days.

For hidden from the eyes of those below, amidst the thick cloud cover, is Thor, God of Thunder. The Thunderer raises his mystic mallet over head and sets to spinning it in long, purposeful motions that start slowly, but quickly begin to increase in both speed and intensity. Mjolnir begins to glow with energy. The glow is mirrored in Thor's eyes as the Thunderer focuses his godly will through his weapon, which amplifies that will and makes it manifest around him in the form of thunder, lightning and finally, heavy, life giving rain. This is only the beginning of a massive rainfall which quickly spreads across eastern Africa to cover parts of five countries.

Satisfied with his work, Thor relaxes and allows an easy smile to form on his face. The millions below did not pray to him for salvation, but that had never been a prerequisite for helping someone as far as he was concerned.

He lingers for a moment, relishing the feeling of the wind whipping around him and the rain washing over him, then wills himself upwards, above the clouds, and higher still until he is at the very edge of Earth's atmosphere. From here he intends to hurl his mallet in the direction of North America and return to his duties as Doctor Donald Blake in short order by taking advantage of the Earth's rotation to shorten his journey.

Thor raises Mjolnir behind his ear and prepares to launch the hammer when he spots something out of the corner of his eye. Curious, he lowers the mallet and focuses on the distant object, flashing conspicuously in the darkness of the void.

The object grows larger, closer and it is quickly clear that it is heading towards Earth at incredible speed. Another flash, then another and suddenly the object is close enough that Thor can see it in detail.

A ship of some kind.

In an instant the ship has passed Thor and is penetrating the Earth's atmosphere heading in the direction of the American east coast. The ship's descent slows as it does so. Preventing it from burning up on entry and showing Thor that it is being driven by some kind of intelligence and is not simply out of control.

The ship passes the cloud cover with Thor in hot pursuit when two US fighter jets appear on the horizon, moving to intercept the unknown craft.

Thor and the ship race past the jets who then bank sharply to pursue. The jets' sudden arrival causes Thor to intensify his pursuit. He does not know what protocols the pilots will be following and he can't risk putting them in harm's way. That means he needs to reach the ship now and discover its intent.

Surging forward, Thor reaches the ship and grabs hold of its rear in a vice grip. Thor tugs against the ship, testing its strength, and its frame groans loudly, making him ease off slightly. He does not want to destroy it. At least not until it has given him a good reason to.

With the alien ship is still descending, Thor now hurls Mjolnir on an opposite trajectory, out to sea and away from the US mainland. The two fighters stay close and are streaking by overhead when the alien ship crashes into the Atlantic. The collision sends plumes of water and steam into the air as both Thor and the ship disappear under the surface, before reappearing again with Thor hoisting the alien ship out of the water. Thor is surprised to find that the ship floats and he releases it, allowing it to settle on the rapidly calming water. He allows himself to descend and lands first with one foot, then the other, testing to make sure that his weight will not send the ship sinking.

Thor scans the visible surface of the alien vessel, looking for anything that might indicate hostility. Finding nothing, he waves to the fighter pilots reassuringly. He then lowers himself on to one knee and raps on the surface of the ship with his knuckles.

"Ho in there!" He calls "Do you need assistance?"

There is a moment of silence before the surface of the ship warps and opens before him. The alien metal making way like some kind of living thing to reveal what appears to be so kind of extraterrestrial female.




"Please..." She says timidly, her hands raised in surrender "I come in peace."

"Then peace is what you shall recieve in return." Thor says with a warm smile before offering her his hand "Come into the light"

The female shakes her head frantically.

"There is no time. He is coming and there is no time!"

"Calm yourself girl." Thor says "I'll let no harm come to you."

As he speaks he notices for the first time the strange male humanoid standing behind her, his face expressionless, his body unmoving as a statue.

"You don't understand!" The girl complains frantically, drawing his attention back to her "I need to find the Green Lantern!"

Thor raises an eye brow.

"Green Lantern?"

"Yes!" She confirms "Before my ship's instruments failed they confirmed the presence of a Lantern on this planet. Please take me to him. The Corps may be our only chance."

Thor frowned "I'm sorry girl but I do not know of any Green Lantern."

"Then all is lost." The female says, her shoulders slumping in defeat.

"I think not." Thor replies with reassuring confidence "Tell me what you flee from girl. You will find Thor, God of Thunder, more than able to meet the threat"

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:42 AM   #502
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"Oooo-kay" Tony begins slowly, carefully choosing his words "I can't say I've ever heard of you but if you want the armor you're going to have let everyone go firs-ungh"

A smack to the back of the head from bee keeper's rifle cuts Tony off and prompts a short flurry of screams from those in the immediate area.

"This is not a negotiation Stark. You will give us the armor or all of these people will die."

"Alright, alright, ok." Tony raises his hands "Whatever you want."

In response two of the terrorists grab Tony by his jacket and haul him to his feet.

"Move." One of them says and the small party of Stark and three terrorists makes its way across the casino floor to the elevators.

As they lead him Tony subtely scans the floor. He is surprised by how at ease the attackers are, as if they know they will not be interrupted.

The elevator pings and the door opens. A jab in the back prompts Tony to cross the threshold into the elevator accompanied by his three armed escorts.

Once inside one of the three presses the elevator for the executive penthouse level. The one that Tony has bought out as his own private floor. Tony is surprised once again to find that the elevator responds and the doors slide shut.

One of his captors catches the look on his face and makes a self satisfied snort

"Don't be so shocked Stark. A.I.M. possesses the greatest scientific minds on the planet. Overriding the security protocols to get to your penthouse is mere child's play for us."

Sure thing buddy. That's why you need me to get you through the vault to the armor. Heck if you're so smart why can't you just build your own armor Tony thinks to himself

Whoever these guys are they obviously know what they're doing and have access to some pretty high tech.

Another ping lets them know that they have reached their penthouse destination and yet another jab in the back encourages Tony to step off the elevator with hands still raised.

Tony cocks his head slightly when Jarvis' synthesized voice does not greet him as expected and a quick glance in front of him reveals why.

"Great" Tony mutters

Before him stand five more A.I.M. scientists, tinkering with his electronics and stomping all over his expensive imported rugs. These guys look like they've been at it for awhile and that is both bad and good news. The bad news, obviously, is that his perimeter security is pretty poor and they've ruined his penthouse. The good news is that they couldn't get through the vault and had to change plans, grabbing him and forcing him to get them access to the armor when they couldn't get it themselves. These guys were smart, but they weren't that smart.

The realization sends Tony's brain into overdrive. If these guys haven't figured out the vault, it stands to reason they haven't figured out its fail safe mechanism either. And if that's the case then Tony already has theupper hand and might just be able to get out of this mess without endagering all the innocents in the casino.

All Tony can do is hope that the case when the would be thieves give him exactly the opening he's looking for.

"Open the vault" One of them says, gesturing towards the touch screen interface

"Ok." Tony says "Just take it easy."


Tony activates the screen and calls up a a combination lock display. His hands work slowly, methodically. He does not want to alarm the terrorists and end up knocked out, or worse, shot in the head, but as he works he's practically holding his breath. He only allows himself to breathe when, to his relief, his suspicions are confirmed.

The AIM terrorists, for all their tech and whatever they have going on under those god awful helmets, can't see what he sees, namely the line of code on the screen that only Tony can see due to the nanites coursing through his bloodstream. Its a cheap trick, nothing too impressive, but its about to pay off.

"What's taking so long?" One of the beekeepers asks impatiently and Tony has to stifle a grin before he replies

"Just one more second aaaaand-"

A series of loud booms fill the room and the AIM terrorists collapse, felled by hidden repulsors built into the ceiling and designed to incapacitate everyone not named Tony Stark when activated.

"-we're done." Tony concludes with a self satisfied smirk.

He then palms the touch screen which causes the sealed vault before him to open with a hiss of smoke revealing the armoring platform beyond.

"You guys didn't think it would be that easy did you?" Tony asks the unconscious bee keepers "I'm Tony Stark you morons. That means I'm smarter than you."

He steps onto the platform and holds his arms out at his side before giving the mental command for the armoring process to begin. In a split second Tony Stark is encased in his gold and crimson armor which looks spectacular despite the still visible scrapes and scratches from the recent battle over Washington


"Now if you'll excuse me. I've got a reeeaally pathetic excuse for a robbery slash hostage taking to foil."




"Repeat. Come in unit 2" One of the AIM terrorists on the casino floor says into a hand held communicator.

He receives no answer and frowns behind his mask before hurriedly crossing the casino floor towards his superior.

"Sir." He says, careful to stay quiet so that the hostages do not hear "We may have a problem."

"That's an understatement if I ever heard one." Iron Man declares as he bursts through the high ceiling

The terrorists are caught off guard and by the time they begin to react all of them, save the leader, have fallen unconscious, felled by short kinetic energy bursts precisely aimed by Stark's onboard targeting system.

The leader stands momentarily stunned then moves to lift his weapon only for Iron Man to grab him by the fabric on the front of his costume and hoist him roughly off the ground.

"If you're wondering why you're still conscious, its because you've got the most impressive suit of all your colleagues, which I'm guessing makes you in charge of this little heist." Iron Man explains "That means you and I are due for a little conversation."

"I think not Stark." The bee keeper growls as proximity alarms suddenly begin to blare within Stark's helmet.

"Awww nu-ghnn" Tony's expression of disappointment is replaced midsentence by a grunt of pain as two metallic arms reach out from the ground beneath him and pull him through the casino floor.

As he disappears into the lower levels the bee keeper dusts himself

"AIM plans for every contingency"

***

The casino's underground parking lot has been turned into a veritable war zone as a ten foot robot swings Iron Man by one leg, smashing him through concrete pillars and cars, before lifting him up like a doll and bringing him slamming down onto the concrete which cracks and crumbles beneath him.

"Ok." Tony says while shaking his head and attempting to sit up "You want a fight?"

The robot lifts a massive foot and moves to bring it down on Iron Man's chest plate.

"Then let's fight!" Tony roars as he lets loose with sustained repulsor blasts from both hands.

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Old 04-25-2012, 06:31 AM   #503
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7000 BC

The night sky is suddenly illuminated by a bright ball of fire free falling through Earth's atmosphere.

Across the globe primitive man and animal alike turn their gaze skyward, following the fire ball. A smaller object breaks off from the ball and descends along its own arc until both finally makes contact with the Earth a significant distance apart. For most creature the two fire balls are nothing more than a curiousity. One that is almost imediately forgotten about.

But in one place, near the Western shore of ancient Japan, the falling objects' arrival is not so quickly dismissed. Standing by the water are three young men in simple black cloaks. The men are brothers and they are all strikingly handsome and powerfully built.

The youngest of them shivers with anticipation, unable to mask his excitement at the display they have just witnessed.

The brothers have been waiting for the brilliant arrival for longer than they would care to admit but none of that matters now. It has arrived, as promised, and once they claim it power and immortality will be theres.

The oldest brother says something to the others in a language long dead and ancient even in this bygone era, the language of their terrible demonic master, and the three set out across the water, wading to a small boat waiting from them off the shore.

6980 BC

The barren wastes of what will one day be known as the Gobi desert. After twenty years of searching, twenty years of fighting their way across unknown lands with sword, spear and dark sorcery; the brothers have finally found their prize.

They're still handsome features have been weathered and worn by time and the ravages of their quest, but not so much as one would expect.

Before them stands the final obstacle in their quest. An earthen wall protecting a hastily erected temple occupied by monks of the light. Monks who sense the indisputably evil nature of the object that fell from the sky twenty years ago and are determined to lay down their lives to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

The monks urge the three brothers to turn back and abandon their quest and the brothers charge without hesitation. The brothers will not be stopped and many of the monks will die this day. Their descendants will one day become known as the chaste.

6552 BC

A hidden city resides in an ancient valley that can not be found unless one knows how to look. It is yet another gift from he who empowered the brothers and sent them on their quest.

Once this valley was silent save for the sounds of the flora and fauna, now it buzzes with activity as men and beasts toil tirelessly in the service of their ancient undying masters.

The three elders who were once men watch their minions build their fortress and are content. On a raised pedestal between them is an alien orb of pure evil. The Heart of Darkness which fell from the sky and was taken from the Monks in the desert so long ago. It has made the brothers immortal, but they are not ageless. Their bodies have changed over the centuries, corrupted by the dark power then now control, and the once handsome men are now alien monstrosities who hide their visages under long cloaks and hoods.

One of the Elders places a crooked, reptilian claw on the heart and feels its power flow through him. Power enough to make the world quake with terror. The three brothers are no more, in their place are the Elders, the Hand of the Beast; and one day they will use the Heart to raise the ancient weapon that fell from the sky. One day they will burn the world for their unholy master.

Now

The once powerful Elder shakes with fear as he unlocks a hidden doorway revealing an otherworldy luminesce on the other side.

"There!" The last of the Elders says "Take it!"

The Gorgon shoulders past him, walking willfully towards the light. He only has to take a few steps before he reaches the source. A glowing orb built into a golden base of snakes.



"The Heart of Darkness" The Gorgon intones with satisfaction as he lifts the orb from its pedestal "At last"

"It will do you no good traitor." The Elder hisses "For all its power, for all the might it bestows, its ultimate promise remains unfullfilled."

"Hnh" The Gorgon made a sound not unlike a grunt "A pity that you will not live to see how wrong you are."

With that the Gorgon removeshis mask, revealing the ghostly green glow of his eyes, and takes one look at the Elder, staring directly into his slitted inhuman eyes. The Elder does not have time to scream.



The Pacific Ocean, 300 Kilometers off the Eastern Coast of Japan

The JDS Akizuke is the pride of the Japanese Maritime Defence Force. The first of four planned to be built, it is an ultra modern destroyer boasting the most advanced weapons and equipment.

The Akuzuke left its home port at Yokosuka this morning with a full crew complement as well as a full payload of armaments. Standard procedure for what was meant to be a routine patrol that would have been its final shakedown before officially going into service.

Now many of the crew are dead. Those that remain either attempt to hide or continue to fight their attackers. In both cases they only delay the inevitable.

On the bridge of the mighty ship, seemingly oblivious to the screams, and occasional bursts of gunfire, echoing around him, is the Gorgon. There are dead men at the menacing Lord of the Hand's feet and he is flanked by several ninja, some of whom are already at work on the various stations scattered throughout the bridge.

Behind him a radio repeats a request from Yokosuka demanding updates. One ninja moves to silence it but the Gorgon stops him with a wave of his hand.

"Let them keep the channel open. The longer they go without hearing a response; the more their fears will grow."

"Hai" The ninja replies with a short bow before turning to attend to other matters.

With the nervous communication attempt continuing the Gorgon reaches under his cloak and retrieves the Heart of Darkness. The brilliant orb illuminates the bridge and the Gorgon places it at rest on one of the instrument panels before him.

The Gorgon places the palm of his hand on top of the orb, causing shadows to dance across its surface, then turns to one of minions.

"Due East." He commands "Then stay your course until I say otherwise."

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Old 04-25-2012, 07:09 PM   #504
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"The Professor would say the same. We have a duty to help every mutant, and that includes The Brotherhood."

Logan could hardly believe his ears. But when challenged to speak any further, he simply crossed his arms and murmured to himself.

This was a gigantic mistake. No good would come of it.

But what other choice did they have?
I smile to myself as Jean realizes what I'm here for. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't eager to spend more time with the woman. If what Charles says is correct, and her stronger powers are manifesting, then she's about to touch a plane we've never seen before. She'll be the most powerful of us all.

"Jean, I'm glad you see reason," I say in my best fatherly voice. I know it grates her, but I figure I can push her into her potential. "I hope your friend will be able to do the same."

Anger boils up in the Wolverine again, but that's not a surprise. I see Arthur tense behind him, "I'll be watching you, Logan. One wrong move and I blast you to kingdom come."

"There will be no need for that, Arthur," I wave at my friend. "Now, where are the students hiding? I know there are still some here, and while they may be children, we're going to need all the help we can get."

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Old 04-25-2012, 09:59 PM   #505
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"Jean, I'm glad you see reason," I say in my best fatherly voice. I know it grates her, but I figure I can push her into her potential. "I hope your friend will be able to do the same."

Anger boils up in the Wolverine again, but that's not a surprise. I see Arthur tense behind him, "I'll be watching you, Logan. One wrong move and I blast you to kingdom come."

"There will be no need for that, Arthur," I wave at my friend. "Now, where are the students hiding? I know there are still some here, and while they may be children, we're going to need all the help we can get."
Ain't that typical. First thing he asks to see are the runts.

Next, he'll want the grand tour.


Logan grunted, but otherwise said nothing in response to Magneto's disparaging remarks - or his goofy-looking friend's, for that matter. He had already said his peace and had made sure that the line in the sand was drawn. They'd work together, but he still didn't trust anyone in this room except for Jean. And given her readiness to accept the madman's offer, even that was being called into question. Nevertheless, he didn't see the point in debating it any further, and simply folded his arms across his chest as Jean did most of the talking, never once taking his eyes off of any one member of the group.

"They're underneath the mansion. Charles prepared an emergency bunker in the event that the school would ever be subjected to a full-scale attack. And I believe that your team and mine witnessed something that qualifies,"

The lights in the room dim, submit to Jean's telepathic commands. Even Logan is taken by surprise as the table in the middle of the room activates, bringing forth a holographic image of what had attacked the school the day before.



"The security cameras caught this just before they were destroyed. Look familiar?"

The one called Mystique sneered at the screen. "That's them. I'd recognize the work of the homosapiens anywhere,"

Jean narrowed her eyes at the Brotherhood's mercenary.

"We don't know that any humans were involved, so let's leave any assumptions at the door, shall we?"

Mystique simply shot her a glance, obviously in stark disagreement with any sentiment towards humans. Logan had to remind himself not to say anything.

"As far as utilizing the students in whatever it is you have planned, Erik, I'll trust you to leave the choice of who helps us to me. I promised Charles that nothing would happen to them, so to endanger their lives would be placing them directly into my hands."

Logan smirked to himself, listening to that. Maybe Jean hadn't completely lost her mind after all. Just a portion of it.

"That's my only term. If we're to do this, we're to do it with only the best that the school has to offer."

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Old 04-26-2012, 03:38 AM   #506
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"Repeat. Come in unit 2" One of the AIM terrorists on the casino floor says into a hand held communicator.

He receives no answer and frowns behind his mask before hurriedly crossing the casino floor towards his superior.

"Sir." He says, careful to stay quiet so that the hostages do not hear "We may have a problem."

"That's an understatement if I ever heard one." Iron Man declares as he bursts through the high ceiling

The terrorists are caught off guard and by the time they begin to react all of them, save the leader, have fallen unconscious, felled by short kinetic energy bursts precisely aimed by Stark's onboard targeting system.

The leader stands momentarily stunned then moves to lift his weapon only for Iron Man to grab him by the fabric on the front of his costume and hoist him roughly off the ground.

"If you're wondering why you're still conscious, its because you've got the most impressive suit of all your colleagues, which I'm guessing makes you in charge of this little heist." Iron Man explains "That means you and I are due for a little conversation."

"I think not Stark." The bee keeper growls as proximity alarms suddenly begin to blare within Stark's helmet.

"Awww nu-ghnn" Tony's expression of disappointment is replaced midsentence by a grunt of pain as two metallic arms reach out from the ground beneath him and pull him through the casino floor.

As he disappears into the lower levels the bee keeper dusts himself

"AIM plans for every contingency"

***

The casino's underground parking lot has been turned into a veritable war zone as a ten foot robot swings Iron Man by one leg, smashing him through concrete pillars and cars, before lifting him up like a doll and bringing him slamming down onto the concrete which cracks and crumbles beneath him.

"Ok." Tony says while shaking his head and attempting to sit up "You want a fight?"

The robot lifts a massive foot and moves to bring it down on Iron Man's chest plate.


"Then let's fight!" Tony roars as he lets loose with sustained repulsor blasts from both hands.


The AIM robot squawks in protest as Iron Man tightens his grip on top of its head and pulls.

The head comes off in a burst of electrical sparks, trailing severed wires behind it and the rest of the robot, already badly damaged, collapses in a heap.

"Less than 3 minutes" Tony intones "Not impressive."

He turns the head over in his armored hand, scanning it.

"Not impressive at all."

Iron Man tosses the ruined head over his shoulder and is just about to rocket upwards and back to the casino floor when the underground garage doors slide open revealing two rows of heavily armored police officers, including several SWAT team members.

"FREEZE!!" One of the SWAT team members barks and Tony casually raises his arms.

"Relax guys" Tony says easily before his face plate snaps open

"Appearances to the contrary aside, I'm the victim here."

Two hours later

Tony is still garbed in his armor, though his helmet sits on an ornate wooden coffee table to his right. He's back in his private penthouse on the Casino's highest floor poring over the data from the attack.

Displayed in front of him is a three dimensional image of the casino. The various entry points used by the AIM terrorists are highlighted on the display. As is the route they took to the roof, where they made their escape via what appears to be a helicopter boasting the same cloaking technology built into their suits. All informative, all useful, but not nearly as intersting to Tony as how they managed to insure that they would not be disturbed while they worked, or how they planned to get past Tony's security.

It seems that the first thing the AIM terrorists did once they got inside the casino was activate some kind of inhibitor web. This was shown on the 3-D display as a dark shadow which covered the entire casino in a shroud that, while almost invisible to the naked eye, served the purpose of creating a physical and electronic barrier around the building. As long as it was up, no one could get in or out and communications were totally blacked out. That was why the police hadn't been able to respond when the attack happened.

AIM had deactivated the web in order to make their escape, taking the generator with them. The robot they sicced on Tony wasn't meant to beat him, just keep busy long enough for them to make a clean get away.

Tony straightens, and works his stiff neck muscles with an armored guantlet. He then reaches for his drink with his free hand and finds the glass empty.

"Hmph. Must have evaporated." He says, letting out a short humorlous chuckle.

"Got anything for me on that hostile virus they used to take you offline Jarvis?" Tony asks the back online AI before reaching past the empty glass to the bottle of whiskey behind it.

"Still working sir." The AI responds "The virus was extremely advanced and I am still trying to replicate its code for study. Unfortunately the damage to my memory core was extensive so the process will take several more hours."

"Great." Tony replies. He still has a hand on the bottle, like he's considering whether or not he should pour another drink. "Aww the heck with it"

Tony brings the bottle to his lips, bypassing the glass and takes a long satisfying swig, relishing the warm feeling of the expensive alcohol going down.

"Sir?"

"Nothing Jarvis." Tony says before wiping his mouth with the back of his armored hand "Just keep at it."

Tony doesn't want to admit it but AIM, despite its failure today, is clearly a bigger threat than he initially thought.


Elsewhere

The hidden underground complex is a veritable beehive of activity. Appropriate since so many of those inside wear the bee keeper like armor of AIM. On level after underground level, AIM scientists develop and test advanced weapons and technology for sale on the international black market and in the deepest level, in a chamber guarded by a dozen battlebots like the one that battled Iron Man earlier in Las Vegas, is the private sanctum of AIM's Scientist Supreme.

The Supreme stands in a wide stance with his hands clasped firmly behind his back, his attention squarly focused on the large vid screen in front of him which displays vidoe and information from the failed attempt to steal Iron Man's armor.

His frustration grows with every passing moment and it is not long before he presses a button on the large panel before him, discontinuing the video and activating a communication system which pings momentarily before a new image, one of a disorganized chaotic looking lab, appears before him.

In the center of the screen is a work bench and at the bench sits a smallish, painfully thin man. He has his back to the camera and his hands are busy working on something hidden from the screen by his torso.

"I take it things didn't go according to plan." The man on the screen says without turning or stopping his work.

"No." The Scientist Supreme says, swallowing hard.

"I warned you." The man says without a hint of scorn as he turns in his chair so as to face the screen "And since you're contacting me am I to assume that you are ready to execute my plan?"

The Scientist Supreme nods "Yes Professor Ivo"

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Old 04-26-2012, 07:47 AM   #507
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The Horn of Africa, 6500 feet above sea level.

The air is cold here, and heavy with moisture. On most days this bounty would simply drift away on the air currents, depriving the parched lands below of desperately needed rain. But this is not most days.

For hidden from the eyes of those below, amidst the thick cloud cover, is Thor, God of Thunder. The Thunderer raises his mystic mallet over head and sets to spinning it in long, purposeful motions that start slowly, but quickly begin to increase in both speed and intensity. Mjolnir begins to glow with energy. The glow is mirrored in Thor's eyes as the Thunderer focuses his godly will through his weapon, which amplifies that will and makes it manifest around him in the form of thunder, lightning and finally, heavy, life giving rain. This is only the beginning of a massive rainfall which quickly spreads across eastern Africa to cover parts of five countries.

Satisfied with his work, Thor relaxes and allows an easy smile to form on his face. The millions below did not pray to him for salvation, but that had never been a prerequisite for helping someone as far as he was concerned.

He lingers for a moment, relishing the feeling of the wind whipping around him and the rain washing over him, then wills himself upwards, above the clouds, and higher still until he is at the very edge of Earth's atmosphere. From here he intends to hurl his mallet in the direction of North America and return to his duties as Doctor Donald Blake in short order by taking advantage of the Earth's rotation to shorten his journey.

Thor raises Mjolnir behind his ear and prepares to launch the hammer when he spots something out of the corner of his eye. Curious, he lowers the mallet and focuses on the distant object, flashing conspicuously in the darkness of the void.

The object grows larger, closer and it is quickly clear that it is heading towards Earth at incredible speed. Another flash, then another and suddenly the object is close enough that Thor can see it in detail.

A ship of some kind.

In an instant the ship has passed Thor and is penetrating the Earth's atmosphere heading in the direction of the American east coast. The ship's descent slows as it does so. Preventing it from burning up on entry and showing Thor that it is being driven by some kind of intelligence and is not simply out of control.

The ship passes the cloud cover with Thor in hot pursuit when two US fighter jets appear on the horizon, moving to intercept the unknown craft.

Thor and the ship race past the jets who then bank sharply to pursue. The jets' sudden arrival causes Thor to intensify his pursuit. He does not know what protocols the pilots will be following and he can't risk putting them in harm's way. That means he needs to reach the ship now and discover its intent.

Surging forward, Thor reaches the ship and grabs hold of its rear in a vice grip. Thor tugs against the ship, testing its strength, and its frame groans loudly, making him ease off slightly. He does not want to destroy it. At least not until it has given him a good reason to.

With the alien ship is still descending, Thor now hurls Mjolnir on an opposite trajectory, out to sea and away from the US mainland. The two fighters stay close and are streaking by overhead when the alien ship crashes into the Atlantic. The collision sends plumes of water and steam into the air as both Thor and the ship disappear under the surface, before reappearing again with Thor hoisting the alien ship out of the water. Thor is surprised to find that the ship floats and he releases it, allowing it to settle on the rapidly calming water. He allows himself to descend and lands first with one foot, then the other, testing to make sure that his weight will not send the ship sinking.

Thor scans the visible surface of the alien vessel, looking for anything that might indicate hostility. Finding nothing, he waves to the fighter pilots reassuringly. He then lowers himself on to one knee and raps on the surface of the ship with his knuckles.

"Ho in there!" He calls "Do you need assistance?"

There is a moment of silence before the surface of the ship warps and opens before him. The alien metal making way like some kind of living thing to reveal what appears to be so kind of extraterrestrial female.



"Please..." She says timidly, her hands raised in surrender "I come in peace."

"Then peace is what you shall recieve in return." Thor says with a warm smile before offering her his hand "Come into the light"

The female shakes her head frantically.

"There is no time. He is coming and there is no time!"

"Calm yourself girl." Thor says "I'll let no harm come to you."

As he speaks he notices for the first time the strange male humanoid standing behind her, his face expressionless, his body unmoving as a statue.

"You don't understand!" The girl complains frantically, drawing his attention back to her "I need to find the Green Lantern!"

Thor raises an eye brow.

"Green Lantern?"

"Yes!" She confirms "Before my ship's instruments failed they confirmed the presence of a Lantern on this planet. Please take me to him. The Corps may be our only chance."

Thor frowned "I'm sorry girl but I do not know of any Green Lantern."

"Then all is lost." The female says, her shoulders slumping in defeat.

"I think not." Thor replies with reassuring confidence "Tell me what you flee from girl. You will find Thor, God of Thunder, more than able to meet the threat"


The alien girl is clearly terrified of something but Thor's obvious strength and confidence serve to calm her and she visibly relaxes, if only slightly.

Gathering that asking her to leave her wounded vessel might be too much at this time, Thor easily lowers himself into the ship to join her and puts a powerful hand on her shoulder.

"I have told you my name girl." He says in a friendly tone "Now tell me who you are."

"My-my name-" She begins after a moment's hesitation "-is Tana Nile. I am a colonizer from the planet Rigel-3"

"I see." Thor says, chiming in to encourage her to keep talking. He had never heard of such a race or of a planet called Rigel-3

"My crew and I-" The girl visibly shudders and goes weak at the knees "By the Celestials, my crew-"

"Easy girl." Thor says as he helps her ease her way into a chair.

"Thank you." She says as she buries her head in her hands. "Its just that my ship and my crew are all gone. Snuffed out like they weren't even worthy of existance."

Thor's expression is sympathetic "Why?"

She shakes her head then looks up to meet his gaze "We were on a routine colonizing run, had just crossed into the planet's atmosphere, when we were attacked from all sides. We tried to communicate but our hails were ignored. We then tried to defend ourselves, fight back, but our weapons proved useless. Whatever the attacker was it was incredibely powerful."

She pauses. Her eyes are glassy, distant. As if she is reliving the events again in her mind rather than just recounting them.

"I realized I had no choice and gave the order to abandon ship. Those of us who survived to reach our escape pods tried desperately to get away but the assault continued until all of the pods had been destroyed save mine. With my communications out and fuel running low I did the only thing I could and programmed my onboard computer to locate and track the nearest Green Lantern. Instead I found you."

Thor is about to say something when the being in the corner, whom Thor had all but forgotten about, suddenly springs to life.

"ALERT!!! Scans show pursuing hostile entity is now passing this planet's natural satellite. Entity's velocity indicates it will reach these coordinates in 3.4 mini-cycles." The being warns in an obviously electronic voice that clashes with its decidedly organic facial features.

This sends the girl into a panic once again and Thor has to take a hold of her shoulders to calm her.

"No! No! No!" Tana Nile says shaking "Its too soon! We have to flee!"

"Thor does not flee." The Thunderer says forcefully, cutting through her panic, before he gently but firmly lowers her back into the chair.

"Now describe this threat to me so that I might face it head on." Thor instucts but Tana Nile simply shakes her head.

"I can't - didn't get a good look but -" Her eyes light up "-but the Recorder did."

She jumps up and rushes towards the machine man in the rear of the vessel.

"Recorder. What is your level of functionality?"

"This Unit is functioning at 98.7 percent efficiency." The Recorder responds

"Good" Tana Nile says with a nod while Thor watches on "Are you able to lead Thor to the pursuing entity?"

"Yes." The Recorder says flatly

"Then lead on machine for whatever this thing is I would see it stopped before it reaches Midgard." Thor says.

The Recorder looks to Tana Nile who nods "Do it."

The Recorder walks past the pair, to the opening in the ship's hull and takes off, heading for the stratosphere.

"Seal the hull behind me and remain here." Thor says as he unfastens Mjolnir from his belt "I will return once the threat is no more."

With that Thor takes to the air, trailing the Recorder. Once he is gone Tana Nile presses a button, sealing the ship's hull once more and quickly sets to work trying to repair her communications array. Thor, whoever he is, may be powerful and brave, but she can't be sure that he will succeed and the sooner she gets the comms up the sooner she can contact the Green Lantern Corps for some real help.

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Old 04-26-2012, 07:59 AM   #508
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Previously


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The Baxter Building
Manhattan


Namor, the self-proclaimed king of the ruins of Atlantis, was inside a water tank inside Sue Storm-Richards' lab. At a nearby console, Sue and Reed were running tests on the Atlantean.

"This is amazing," Sue said as she and Reed looked at the results on the screen.

"Incredible strength and durability, hydrokinesis, and from what we've seen, the wings on his feet give him the ability of flight."

Reed stretched his neck across the room and looked at Namor inside the tank. "Tell me, were all the Atlanteans like this?"

"No," Namor said through the speaker. "The fact that I was so powerful was the divine god's will that I serve as king."

"Right...," Reed said skeptically. He snapped his head back into place and looked over the results of a blood test they had given Namor earlier. "Susan, look at this...," he said, tapping on the notepad in his hands and highlighting a section of Namor's DNA.

"That genome sequence. It looks like... no, it can't be... a mutant?"

"Or something close to it. I think that our king may be one of the first recorded mutants in history, provided the carbon dating on the ruins of Atlantis comes through."

Later, Namor was out the tank and drying while Reed and Sue talked to him.

"So, you're not sure what destroyed Atlantis?"
"No, my dear," he said with a smile towards Sue. "If it was anything, it would have been the kingdom of Lemuria. They were at constant war with Atlantis. In my absence, they must have destroyed my people."

"You mention your absence. Where exactly were you? Why were you imprisoned in a tomb that marked you as a traitor?"

"Darius," Namor said with a scowl. "Darius was my top military general and he eyes for the throne. He convinced the royal council that I was plotting with Lemuria to give them ruling power over Atlantis for gold. Why I would make a foolish deal like that didn't matter, so Darius and his military were able to imprison me inside a stasis tomb and I've slept there for thousands of years since..."

The two scientist watched Namor as he walked to a window and stared out at the city. "So much time has passed since... and I am the last of my kind."

"Stretcho," Ben's voice came in through the commbadge on Reed's chest."General Lumpkin wants to speak to ya. Meet him in the conference room."

"Excuse me," Reed said as he left the room.

Once he was gone, Namor turned and smiled at Sue. "Finally," he said as he began to walk towards her. "I thought he would never leave."

"Pardon me?"

"Do not try and play shy. I've noticed how you've smiled at looked at me. I may be ancient, but I'm not blind."

"Look," Sue said, throwing up her hands and backing away "I don't know what you think I was doing, but I'm married... Reed's my husband."

"And? He does not treat you well, I can see that. He focuses on calculations and mathematics, but not the divine wonder he has in front of him. You are a princess, and by my side you can be my queen."

Namor reached out and touched Sue's chin, tilting her head back and attempting to kiss her.

"No!" She yelled, creating a forcefield between them. The field knocked Namor back.

Stumbling backwards, he scowled at her. "You would have him over me?! HIM?! Very well. I will prove my worth!"

The door leading into the lab opened up at Reed burst through. "What's going--" He was cut off by Namor, who shot through the air and tore through the side of the Baxter Building, busting out the sides and flying above the city with his hands around Reed's neck.

"Prepare to die!


Namor weaved through the skyscrapers of Manhattan, struggling to pull Reed's elongated limbs off his body. With his legs wrapped tightly around Namor's waist, Reed stretched his arms and began to constrict them around Namor's throat. The Atlantean clawed at Reed's arms in an effort to pry them off his neck.

"Why did you attack me?" Reed shouted as they whizzed past the Empire State Building.

Namor struck out blindly at Reed, punching him in the face. The force of the blow caused Reed to relent on his grip for just a moment, providing Namor the window he needed. Namor ripped Reed's hands from his throat and savagely tossed him towards the ground.

Reed tumbled end over end towards the street before he contorted his body into a shape of a ball. He struck the street and bounced back up, like a cannonball aimed at Namor. Flying fast to meet him, Namor struck Reed with his fist and knocked him up into the sky, hurtling farther away.

Namor began to give chase after Reed, but stopped short when wave of fire consumed his body.

"Round two, jerkwad!" Johnny shouted as he blasted the Atlantean with his fire.

Namor, blinded by the fire, lashed out in Johnny's general direction. He charged towards the Human Torch, tackling him in mid-air. Ignoring the heat coming off of Johnny, Namor kept driving and crashed the two of them through the 22nd floor of an office building. They tore through the building and crashed out through the other side. Namor delivered a powerful punch to Johnny's sternum and separated himself from the Torch. Flying away from him, Namor was panting.

"Water," he croaked. "Need... water."

He flew towards the Hudson River, lowering his elevation as he got closer to the water. He was flying above the waterfront when he smacked headfirst into an invisible barrier. Namor collapsed on the wooden pier, dazed from the blow.

"Stay down," Sue said, floating on an invisible platform above him. At her side was Ben.

"You would break my heart like this?"
Namor said as he stood.

"Break your heart? I've known you for all of two hours..."

"Sounds like ya got a stalker, Susie. Lemme take care of him."

Ben jumped from Sue's construct and landed on the pier. The pier groaned and shook from Ben's landing. "Everyone's a critic," he mumbled under his breath before turning to Namor.

"Alright, fella, ya heard the lady. She ain't interested, and I don't think I like some guy sniffin' around a married woman like that."

"Oh, is the deformed monster going to teach me about valor and honor?"

"That's it," Ben said, cracking his knuckles. "It's clobberin' time!"

Ben charged towards Namor, the pier shaking with each footstep. Namor charged as well, both had their fist raised and ready to strike. Ben connected with Namor's jaw just as the Atlantean struck Ben in the forehead.

WHAM!!!

The force knocked both back. Ben went tumbling backwards, falling on the pier and cracking the wooden planks beneath his body. Namor flipped back into the water, splashing into the river.

"What's going on?" Reed said from above. Ben and Sue looked up to see Johnny carrying Reed by the arms, Johnny's hands and arms not ablaze with flame. Ben picked himself up and pointed towards the river.

"I just knocked Wingfoot there into the river. He ain't come up yet."

"That's not good," Reed said as he and Johnny landed beside Ben.

"Why? The three of you can't swim?"

"Based on what we know on Namor's biology, his body is dependent on a certain amount of salt and ions. Without them, his cells are severely weakened and damage overtime. In short: Without water, he gets weaker, he has been weakened."

"So... he's pretty much been fighting us with one hand tied behind his back?"

"Correct."

On cue, the water of the river began to churn and froth. Water began to rise from the river, taking on a shape of a giant octopus. Hovering above the octopus was Namor.

"And the water is also an excellent place for his hydrokinetic abilities..."

"Nobody spurns King Namor, and now you will see why!"

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Old 04-26-2012, 10:29 AM   #509
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Industrial Park
12:50 AM


I ran barefoot across the factory rooftop, gravel biting into the soles of my feet. With my running start, I hurled myself into the air over a gap between buildings. I hit the roof of the adjacent building hard, landing with a hard thump. Recovering from my fall, I stayed low to the ground and hugged the shadows. Even in the dark, I could feel his eyes upon me. It had been years since he had taught me the hunt. I had had other masters and teachers since, and I considered myself skilled. But, laying in the dark, the sense of foreboding creeping in, I knew who the real master was.

I took a deep breath in an attempt to clear my mind. Kraven was the better hunter. On that fact, there was never any doubt. But he doesn't know the city like I do. He's the master of the jungle, but the urban jungle is a different story.

Gathering myself, I began to creep across the rooftop. I prepared for an ambush after the crunch of gravel that accompanied each footfall. I made my way to the fire escape and climbed down towards the street. As I climbed down, I heard a sound. A new sound amidst all the sirens, hoking horns, and sounds of industry. A gentle sound. Like rope, tearing through the air.

Letting go of the fire escape, I fell back towards the ground as a bola struck the ladder and wrapped around the rungs. Falling towards the ground, I straightened my body and dove from two stories up into a trash dumpster. I may have hit trash, but it was all glass bottles, and plastic trays. Cut, bleeding, and in pain, I climbed out the trash and hurried into the shadows.

"That was my warm-up," Kraven's voice echoed through the alley I was seeking refuge in. Although his voice was close, there was no sign of the man. "So far, so easy. You are predictable, richboy. What will you do, now?"

Somewhere, a clock chimed one in the morning. That's when inspiration hit me like a bolt of lighting. Standing, I darted from the shadows and ran down the alley. Kraven chuckled and the sounds of his laughter followed me out the alley. Leaving the alley, I ran across the street to another building's side. Once there, I jumped on the building's fire escape and climbed up to the rooftop. A moment later, I was running as fast as I could and leaping across the gaps between buildings.

Footsteps crunched behind me, distant at first they were rapidly approaching.

"I have tracked down cheetahs, gazelles," Kraven yelled. "Do you think you can outrun me?!"

"No," I hollered back. I could feel the gentle vibrations getting stronger as I approached the edge of the rooftop. "But I know the 1:05 can outrun you!"

Jumping from the roof, I landed on the last car of a passing subway train as it tore past the building. Struggling to find a foothold, I managed to stand up and look back at Kraven as the train carried me off into the distance.



The Bowery
1:35 AM


I jumped off the subway while it was stopped at the station and melted into the shadows. The stunt with the train having bought me some time, I needed to go on the offensive. A few blocks away, I came across a closed hardware store. The doors and windows were barred, fitting considering the neighborhood. But it wasn't entirely impregnable. I kept a running total and I went in and took the items I needed. I made a note to send the money to the store the next morning.

If I lived to see the morning.


****


2:45 AM


Kraven could tell Wayne was nearby. He could smell him. Even through the repugnant stenches of this city, Bruce Wayne had a unique scent. He smelled like silk suits and money, like all people of wealth. Despite the year he spent at Kraven's side, Wayne had showed his true colors at the end. He was not a hunter, just a rich boy playing hunter.

Kraven jumped from a rooftop and landed in an alleyway. Bruce's scent was close now. Creeping, Kraven approached a trashcan. The smell was coming from the trashcan. Looking inside, Kraven saw a pile of dark clothing and mask. On the shirt was the symbol of the Batman.

"Ha!" He scoffed aloud. "This is how richboy beats me? He gets naked, tries to hide his scent? It is a valiant effort, but it will fail!"

To show his rage, Kraven kicked over the trashcan. A wire attached to the can's underside snapped. The spring loaded trap underneath the trashcan sprung, shooting a half dozen nails out at Kraven. While most of the nails missed, one lodged into his left shoulder, another nail struck his right forearm with a glancing blow.

"Ah," he grunted, holding his shoulder. "Clever, richboy... very clever. You fooled me. You will not do it again!"

Kraven yanked the nail from his shoulder. Holding it up, he noticed there was a balm slathered on the tip, mingling with his blood. "What..." His knees buckled as an intense burning sensation hit him. His shoulder irradiated in white hot pain. Kraven ground his teeth in pain and roared out into the night.

"DEAD! YOU ARE DEAD!"

Fighting his pain, Kraven saw a fire escape and jumped at the ladder. He grabbed a rung and fell back to the ground. Holding his hands up, he saw the grease covering his palms. The hunter yelled out in frustration again.

From a distance, a figure in work boots, jeans, and a hooded poncho watched Kraven from the shadows. The shoe was now on the other foot. For all his skill and ability in the jungle. Kraven was out of his element. In this concrete jungle, in his domain, Bruce Wayne was the hunter. And now Kraven had become the hunted

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Old 04-26-2012, 08:34 PM   #510
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I meditate peacefully as I float above Earth. Usually this isn't my style, but so much has happened in the past few months. From becoming the first human Green Lantern to the most recent expedition to the Temple of Light. That was a strange one. Abducted by a strange being, being told something about the War of Light, and then waking up in the middle of space. I told the Guardians about it, but they were their normal evasive selves about it.

Sinestro wasn't much more helpful. He went off to ponder what I had said after telling me to return to my sector to patrol it. And again, that's not surprising at all. He may be one of the best Lanterns the Corps has, but he's not a very sociable creature.

The Earth gleams below me, and to be honest, I do need to be here more. After seeing the destruction Maxwell Lord and his cronies did in Washington...well, let's just say it was good these so called Ultimates were around to stop him. I've known there's super powered individuals on the planet...but things have begun to get out of hand in recent months.

But I do have more planets to defend other than Earth.

Lantern of Sector 2814, my ring's voice echoes in my head, a threat approaches as well as another projectile inbound from Earth.

"Well, let's see what's going on."

I rocket off towards Earth, following my ring's guidance system in search of the projectile that's left Earth.

Quickly, I find it. Or should I say him. The projectile is a man, possibly the biggest I've ever seen, rocketing through space holding onto some sort of hammer. He blows by me without even stopping. I shake my head and speed off towards him, attempting to get his attention.

"Hey!" I yell, attempting to get his attention, which doesn't work at all. I fire a green flare his way, hoping he'll stop and I can figure out what the hell is going on.

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Old 04-26-2012, 09:55 PM   #511
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Juarez, Mexico

In the city's industrial section, there was an abandoned fertilizer processing plant. In the basement of the plant, locked behind a double dead bolted door, Frank Castle sat on a cot and cleaned a .45 caliber pistol. Three of the basement walls were covered in weapons. Pistols, knives, grenades, assault rifles, shotguns, a sniper rifle, a rocket launcher, and even a flame thrower.

The remaining wall was covered in intel. An organization tree of the Juarez Cartel with mugshots of the surveillance photos of the members in action, their schedules and job inside the organization. Frank reassembled the pistol, leaving the clip out. He aimed at two low level rungs on the organizational chart, his index finger inside the trigger guard.

"Felipe Sanchez, Roberto Martinez..."

CLICK! CLICK!

He aimed at a higher rung.

"Manuel Ortega..."

CLICK!

Then the whole second highest row

"Ramon Vasquez, Martin Cabrerra, Carlos Fring..."

CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!

Standing, Frank walked to the picture at the top and placed the barrel of his gun on the picture's face.

"Don Diego Eladio..."

CLICK!

His gesture done, Frank slid the full loaded clip into his pistol before putting it in his hip holster. He slid on his skull-painted body armor, slung an M4 on his shoulder, clipped grenades to his belt, and headed out. There was work to be done.


*****


Drug Enforcement Administration
El Paso Field Office

King Faraday looked over the gruesome photos on the table in front of him. They were pictures of dead bodies laying in the Mexican desert. Most of the bodies were burnt and charred. Those that weren't were covered in blood and bullet holes.

Faraday looked up from the pictures and at the man with the coffee cup standing across the table from him. The two men were inside a conference room. Files and pictures were pinned on the walls and dry erase boards across the room.

"This looks like Castle's handiwork. No survivors, right?"

"Not a one," the man said with a shake of his head. "From what the lab said about the truck wreckage, there was some serious weight in dope being hauled up here from central Mexico. We believe it was their bi-monthly shipment of weed and coke to run across the border. This Castle guy set fire to about two hundred million dollars worth of product."

"He's getting their attention," Faraday said, looking towards the organizational chart on the wall. The chart was filled with mugshots of the surveillance photos of the members in action, their schedules and job inside the organization. "He's trying to piss Eladio off. Force him to make a mistake. It's a smart play. What can you tell me about Eladio, Agent Perkins?"

"I assumed you were briefed on that, Agent Faraday," Perkins said with an arched eyebrow.

"Reading a file in DC is one thing, getting the impressions of a field agent is another. So, humor me."

"Well, in case you didn't know, Eladio was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Mexican Army. He commanded a special unit, Los Lobos Blancos. The White Wolves. About ten years ago, Eladio retired and used his military and government contacts to get into the drug game. When he took over the Juarez Cartel, he installed a lot of his former special forces soldiers in key positions. Most of them are dead are in jail now, save for his closest advisers, Ramon Vasquez and Carlos Fring."

While Perkins talked, Faraday looked back at the photos of the attack from yesterday. Castle was outnumbered, heavily. Castle beating the odds was something that Faraday was used to seeing, but this seemed different. These people were ready for a straight on raid, but he got the jump on them... how?

"How did Castle ambush them?"

"Come again?"

"There's no way Castle didn't fight these guys head on. He's good, but not that good. He ambushed them... how did he know when and where to strike?"

"He's killed nearly a dozen of the cartel's men in a week and a half. Maybe he interrogated one first?"

"Maybe...," Faraday said. His eyes glanced down at the coffee cup in Perkins' hand. It had the Marine Corps logo stamped on it. "Perkins, let's take a drive."


*****


Eladio Compound

Don Eladio was in front of his pool with the half dozen men who acted as his most important lieutenants. Their mood was somber as they watched their boss pace in front of him.

<Two hundred million,> he said in Spanish. <Not pesos, but dollars. Two hundred million dollars gone up in ****ing smoke!>

Eladio growled and kicked a lounge chair. The chair flipped and splashed into the pool. <This son of a ***** can kill as many men as he wants, I can always get more men. But money, product? He burns those, he burns my reputation! The rest of the cartels think I am some fool who cannot control his own territory! It makes me look weak!>

Breathing heavily and panting, Eladio started to compose himself. He looked at the men in front of him with a neutral face, all hints of rage and anger were gone. <Ramon?>

<Yes,> the oldest of the lieutenants asked.

<Go inside. Get me my pistol and treat my whip.>

Ramon nodded and hurried inside. The rest of the lieutenants watched their boss with slightly nervous looks.

<Story time,> Eladio said. <When I was little, my favorite show was a western called Rawhide. I loved that show, the theme song as well. Everyone knows the theme song. I loved the show so much, when I got wealthy I bought the same whip they used in the song.>

Ramon came out the house with a tray. On the tray was a coiled up leather whip, a bowl of salt, and a pistol. Eladio nodded at Ramon and looked at the rest of his men.

<Oscar, Jorge...,> Eladio said, pointing at the two men. They looked at each other and then slowly nodded. <Bring Angel up here.>

The two men grabbed their fellow lieutenant and escorted him up to Eladio. Eladio nodded and the two men stripped Angel's shirt off. While they stripped Angel, Ramon brought the tray Eladio. Eladio picked up the whip and smiled as he looked it over.

<I practiced with this whip morning, noon, and night. I haven't practiced as much as I should, but I figured I can get some work in. Oscar, Jorge?>

The two men drug Angel away, about ten feet away from Eladio. They held on to his shoulders and turned Angel around so his back was to Eladio.

<First,> Eladio said with a smile. <Some music. Let's sing the theme to Rawhide.>

Ramon began to whistle the music of the Rawhide them as Eladio sung in English.

"Rolling, rolling, rolling, through the streams are swollen, keep them doggies rolling, Rawhide!!!"

Eladio twirled the whip over his head. The whip whistled as it cut through the air. "Move em' on, head 'em up, head 'em up move 'em out, Rawhide! YA!!!"

The whip cracked through the air, the leather missed Oscar and Jorge but it cut into Angel's back. The man cried out in pain, his knees buckled, but he stayed on his feet courtesy of Jorge and Oscar.

"RAWHIDE!!!"

Eladio cracked the whip again, slicing through the meat on Angel's back with the whip. "YA!" He screamed, cutting another chunk of Angel's flesh from his back.

"Cut 'em out, ride 'em in, ride 'em in, cut 'em out! RAWHIDE!"

Another crack of the whip, and a loud scream from Angel. His back was covered in blood and bruises. "RAWHIDE!" Eladio screamed again, taking another crack with the whip.

Ten minutes later, Angel was sobbing on his knees, his back a bloody and swollen mess. Eladio put the whip back on the tray and grabbed the bowl of salt and gun. He clamly walked over to Angel and proceeded to dump the salt all over his back. Angel cried out, screaming and bucking against Oscar and Jorge's grips. He begged for mercy in Spanish, but was cut short as Eladio shot him in the head with the pistol. Angel's dead body fell to the ground, his body spasming from the last motor impulses his brain gave off as it died.

<That was a lesson,> he said to the group. <You are all replaceable, but the product is not. Find this ***hole, Castle, and bring him to me. Either he dies the way Angel did, or you all do. Understood?>

Everyone nodded slowly, too scared to speak. Eladio looked around and smiled.

<Move 'em out, little doggies! Rawhide!>

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Old 04-27-2012, 01:39 AM   #512
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Thor easily out paces the Recorder, which flies with its arms tucked close to its body, catching up with it just as it passes the first low altitude clouds.

"Tana Nile called you Recorder" Thor observes, eager to learn more about the aliens he now aids.

"That is correct." The Recorder states "This Unit is one of 15,000 identical units build by the Colonizers to record their history as it unfolds."

"And these Colonizers of Rigel-3; what is their history? What drives them?"

"The Colonizers are considered an old race by intergalactic standards." The Recorder begins without hesitation "They have earned their title by actively colonizing worlds as a means of expanding their territory by aggresive colonization."

Thor cocks an eye brow "Aggressive?"

"Correct. Colonizers target suitable words regardless of whether they are inhabited or not. Colonization ships possess enough destructive force to oblige native civilizations on targeted worlds to submit to colonization or be eliminated. Hence the significance of a threat so easily destroying a Colonization ship."

Thor makes a sour face. He did not like what he was hearing at all. For all he knew the threat he was now flying to face was nothing more than a victim of the colonizers' aggression. He would have to give the so called attacker a chance to explain itself before he engaged it.

"Query" The Recorder says "How is designate Thor, God of Thunder, able to converse in the vacuum of space?"

Now Thor lets out a low chuckle. He was so focused on his questions that he had not even noticed when the pair left Earth's atmospere and entered the blackness of space.

"Asgardians are not bound by the sciences of mortals." He says.

"Why?" The Recorder asks flatly. Clearly not satisfied with the response.

"Because All Father Odin wishes it to be so." Thor replies with a hint of pride.

Quote:
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"Hey!" I yell, attempting to get his attention, which doesn't work at all. I fire a green flare his way, hoping he'll stop and I can figure out what the hell is going on.

"What manner of light?" Thor says as he tugs on Mjolnir and brings himself to a halt.

He didn't really mean it as a question to be answered but The Recorder is quick to reply nonetheless.

"UPDATE: Green Lantern signature located" It points a finger at the approaching man"

"Green Lantern" Thor repeats the name. "So that's the one you seek."

He turns to face the oncoming man "Green Lantern. The machine I travel with has been searching for-"

"ALERT!" The Recorder suddenly warns "HOSTILE ENTITY NOW ENTERING OUR DIRECT VICINITY!"

Thor turns once again, back towards the blackness of space, and feels a crushing force slam hard into his chest and send him tumbling backwards.

"ALERT!" He hears the Recorder shout "THIS UNIT IS IN IMMINENT DANGER!"

Still struggling to right himself after so brutal and sudden a blow, Thor can only watch as a strange being riding a moving chunk of rock closes on the Recorder brandishing a massive axe.


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Old 04-27-2012, 05:20 AM   #513
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The AIM robot squawks in protest as Iron Man tightens his grip on top of its head and pulls.

The head comes off in a burst of electrical sparks, trailing severed wires behind it and the rest of the robot, already badly damaged, collapses in a heap.

"Less than 3 minutes" Tony intones "Not impressive."

He turns the head over in his armored hand, scanning it.

"Not impressive at all."

Iron Man tosses the ruined head over his shoulder and is just about to rocket upwards and back to the casino floor when the underground garage doors slide open revealing two rows of heavily armored police officers, including several SWAT team members.

"FREEZE!!" One of the SWAT team members barks and Tony casually raises his arms.

"Relax guys" Tony says easily before his face plate snaps open

"Appearances to the contrary aside, I'm the victim here."

Two hours later

Tony is still garbed in his armor, though his helmet sits on an ornate wooden coffee table to his right. He's back in his private penthouse on the Casino's highest floor poring over the data from the attack.

Displayed in front of him is a three dimensional image of the casino. The various entry points used by the AIM terrorists are highlighted on the display. As is the route they took to the roof, where they made their escape via what appears to be a helicopter boasting the same cloaking technology built into their suits. All informative, all useful, but not nearly as intersting to Tony as how they managed to insure that they would not be disturbed while they worked, or how they planned to get past Tony's security.

It seems that the first thing the AIM terrorists did once they got inside the casino was activate some kind of inhibitor web. This was shown on the 3-D display as a dark shadow which covered the entire casino in a shroud that, while almost invisible to the naked eye, served the purpose of creating a physical and electronic barrier around the building. As long as it was up, no one could get in or out and communications were totally blacked out. That was why the police hadn't been able to respond when the attack happened.

AIM had deactivated the web in order to make their escape, taking the generator with them. The robot they sicced on Tony wasn't meant to beat him, just keep busy long enough for them to make a clean get away.

Tony straightens, and works his stiff neck muscles with an armored guantlet. He then reaches for his drink with his free hand and finds the glass empty.

"Hmph. Must have evaporated." He says, letting out a short humorlous chuckle.

"Got anything for me on that hostile virus they used to take you offline Jarvis?" Tony asks the back online AI before reaching past the empty glass to the bottle of whiskey behind it.

"Still working sir." The AI responds "The virus was extremely advanced and I am still trying to replicate its code for study. Unfortunately the damage to my memory core was extensive so the process will take several more hours."

"Great." Tony replies. He still has a hand on the bottle, like he's considering whether or not he should pour another drink. "Aww the heck with it"

Tony brings the bottle to his lips, bypassing the glass and takes a long satisfying swig, relishing the warm feeling of the expensive alcohol going down.

"Sir?"

"Nothing Jarvis." Tony says before wiping his mouth with the back of his armored hand "Just keep at it."

Tony doesn't want to admit it but AIM, despite its failure today, is clearly a bigger threat than he initially thought.


Elsewhere

The hidden underground complex is a veritable beehive of activity. Appropriate since so many of those inside wear the bee keeper like armor of AIM. On level after underground level, AIM scientists develop and test advanced weapons and technology for sale on the international black market and in the deepest level, in a chamber guarded by a dozen battlebots like the one that battled Iron Man earlier in Las Vegas, is the private sanctum of AIM's Scientist Supreme.

The Supreme stands in a wide stance with his hands clasped firmly behind his back, his attention squarly focused on the large vid screen in front of him which displays vidoe and information from the failed attempt to steal Iron Man's armor.

His frustration grows with every passing moment and it is not long before he presses a button on the large panel before him, discontinuing the video and activating a communication system which pings momentarily before a new image, one of a disorganized chaotic looking lab, appears before him.

In the center of the screen is a work bench and at the bench sits a smallish, painfully thin man. He has his back to the camera and his hands are busy working on something hidden from the screen by his torso.

"I take it things didn't go according to plan." The man on the screen says without turning or stopping his work.

"No." The Scientist Supreme says, swallowing hard.

"I warned you." The man says without a hint of scorn as he turns in his chair so as to face the screen "And since you're contacting me am I to assume that you are ready to execute my plan?"


The Scientist Supreme nods "Yes Professor Ivo"



Tires screech as the Porsche makes a turn so sharp that its tail end skids off of the paved road and kicks up a small shower of gravel in its wake.

Inside the car, 15 year old Tony Stark lets out a whoop of excitement, works the gear shift and slams his foot on the gas, while the exceptionally beautiful teenage brunette sitting in the passenger seat alternates between excited screams and delighted giggling.

Tony makes a right turn, taking them on to the freeway and what should be a wide open ride straight to Florida. Tony and his companion may technically be too young, but they've decided that they are going to Spring break.

With the open road strectching out before them the girl relaxes, leans over towards Tony and plants a kiss on his cheek while planting a hand on his thigh. The young Stark grins widely and is about to say something when something dark appears on the horizon, blocking the road.

The young couple's hearts sink as the obstruction grows larger and they are able to identify it as a police road block. Its not the police presence that so abruptly kills their fun as the two stretch limosines they see parked beyond them.

A Highway patrolman on a bull horn orders them to stop and Tony, seeing no real alternative, dutifully obliges.

The Porsche comes to a halt a few feet from the barricade and two burly men in suits advance on it, heading for the driver and passenger doors.

Tony and his companion frown at each other before the doors are opened and they are yanked out of the car and away from each other.

"Your father the Count is not happy Mistress." Tony hears the man scold his companion and he turns his head to look in her direction only to feel a sudden flash of pain as a hand slaps him across the face, on the street, for all to see.

Pain is already turning to shame when a second slap connects and he looks up, tiring welling up in his eyes, to meet his father's angry gaze.

"Dammit Tony!" Howard Stark growls "When the hell are you going to grow up?"

Tony doesn't answer, he and his father have danced this dance many times and it has grown old. He looks past his father, to the gorgeous brunette he almost ran away with, to Whitney, and the pair manage the most fleeting of eye contact before she is shoved into the waiting limo by her father. He sees Count Nefaria steal a glance out of the window towards him before the limo drives away.

Just like that Whitney is gone and excitement, adventure and optimism have been replaced with anger and depression. Tony looks at his father with contempt. Bad enough the old man never had time for him, bad enough he never let him have any fun....

.....and now that damn bell won't stop ringing!!!


Tony is suddenly awake. He sits up in his chair, still wearing his armor and tastes bile in his throat. His head is foggy and he can feel the beginnings of a head ache coming on.

The ringing bell that woke him up is actually the ringer of the vid phone on his desk. He tries to stand but his sense of balance is nowhere to be found and he tumbles onto the floor.

Tony breathes deep and shakes his head, then wills himself to his feet. Moving slowly, leaning on anything he can find for balance, Tony makes his way to the vid phone and answers the call.

The video display comes to life and Tony squints and turns his head as the brightness of the screen assaults his pupils.

"Tony?" Pepper's familair face appears on the screen "Tony my God are you ok? I've been trying to get you online for the last 10 minutes."

"I-" the words catch in his dry throat and he has to swallow to try to lubricate his mouth before he continues.

"I'm fine Pepper." He finally croaks, turning to face the screen.

Pepper's eyes widen "The hell you are."

"Oh don't give me that." Tony says dismissively. Pepper has never been one to sugar coat things for Tony's benefit and her accusing tone helps jolt him into a state of defensive alertness "I was fighting terrorists."

He turns away from the screen, opens a small fridge to his right and pulls out a carrafe full of relatively fresh orange juice. Under normal circumstances the juice would be consumed with copious amounts of vodka. Right now Tony is content to take several long gulps of pure juice while Pepper continues.

"Well you look like crap and I don't even want to imagine how you feel, but I'm afraid there's no rest for the wicked."

Tony puts the caraffe down and meets her gaze.

"What's on the program?"

"Happy is already waiting for you downstairs and the jet is fueled and ready to go. Get yourself cleaned up first though, you know what a stickler for appearances Luchio Nefaria can be."

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Old 04-27-2012, 09:52 PM   #514
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I follow Fury with Ted and Dinah close behind me towards the Checkmate, or should I say former Checkmate, situation room. Whatever's going on, Fury hasn't given me a clue. He's as stoic as ever, even though I have no idea how he handles the pressure. Sure I have to lead a group of demigods, ego maniacs, and super powered humans, but he's got to put a government spy agency that deals with all of us together.

We pass through the door to the war room, and I find Rick Flag, Black Widow, and Hawkeye already waiting for us there. All three received a full pardon from Fury in return for continued service. None of them wanted to go anywhere else, and they happily accepted.

"Cap," Flag nods as I enter the room.

"Flag, Barton, Romanoff," I respond, taking a seat at the round table. "What are we dealing with, Fury?"

"To be honest we're really not sure. I lost contact with a team I had in deep black ops for over a decade," Fury says as he begins to fiddle with the computer connected to the table. "I had them set up at one of HYDRA's old weapon's bases in case the bastards decided to come back for anything they left behind."

"So you knew they were still active?" My question is laced with uneasiness. Fury should have told me of their movements.

"Never for sure," he shakes his head. "I had my suspicions. Whispers here and there. But nothing concrete until your run in with Kobra."

"So what? We send a team to check out what's happened and that's that, right?" Hawkeye questions.

"It's not that simple."

"Why not?" Black Widow gives Fury a confused look.

"Because the base is on the border of Latveria and Symkaria."

"Aw crap."

Everyone notices my relative lack of understanding on the subject, so Fury explains, "The countries don't like each other. At all. Symkaria is a US ally. Ruled by a friendly royal family. Latveria on the other hand is a powderkeg ruled by Victor Von Doom. Doom's a maniac, even if he does treat his people pretty well. He's got one of the most powerful armies on the planet even though Latveria isn't heavily populated. He's a genius, and he's always looking to expand."

"And I take it he's tried to head into Symkaria before?"

"You bet. The area we're headed to is a demilitarized zone. Highly fragile. We make one wrong move and we could start an international conflict."

"Well...I guess we'll have to be careful then," I smile at the agents around me.

"We better. You go in, find out what happened, and get out. Now move, I don't want any time wasted."

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Old 04-27-2012, 10:48 PM   #515
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Almost got it...

Today has not been my day.

Hopefully it'll improve by the end of this shift, but I'm still trying to remain confident. Orientation at Shuster's Market should feel like the culimination of everything I've been working towards since I came to the city. Finally, I have a place to be during the day that doesn't require the use of my powers. It's what I have to keep reminding myself as the day's troubles only continue to build. But I push myself ahead, stepping onto the ladder infront of me and retrieving the final item in the cardboard box slung under my arm. The tip of the stack of canned fruit wobbles for a moment as I approach, but otherwise remains in place. Gently, I begin to lower the final can.

I don't understand what's gotten into me. I've been having these nervous fits all day, bumping into things and nearly tripping over myself with every menial task that's given to me. You'd think after trading blows with The Hulk, something as simple as a produce display would come far easier than this. I don't know whether it's genuinely just the nerves or the fact that I've got so much on my mind lately, but this is hardly the time to be stressing over it. After all, minimum wage is minimum wage. I should just consider myself lucky that nobody's gotten a good look at my face.

Finally, the can rests, and I look down at the stack. A wave of relief washes over me as nothing falls within the next few seconds. Who knows? Maybe I'm starting to get good at this.

"Jonathan! You finished yet?!"

With widened eyes, I turn back around to greet my new employer, who comes storming down the aisle. But just as I fully turn myself to face him, my elbow grazes the side of the display, slapping into the first few cans. A rush of panic overwhelms me as I try to save the entire thing from collapsing, but that only makes it worse, and in a matter of seconds my hard work is rendered entirely irrelevant. A pile at my feet greets me, and I slump my shoulders, letting out a quiet sigh.

Like I said. It's just not my day.

"Aww, c'mon! Don't tell me it happened again!"

Giving him an amused shrug, I kneel down to pick up the cans.

"I-I'm sorry, Mr. Siegel. Really. Ah, I don't know what's come over me, whether it's... whether it's the weather or the job or it's just..."

I stop myself, realizing that I'm rambling. That's strange. I've never rambled before.

Then again, I'm also getting used to being called 'Jonathan'. I hated to lie about my name, and it felt strange to use Pa's ontop of it, but after the leak of that photograph in The Daily Planet revealed a clear shot of my facial features, I can't afford to use my real name in public anymore. If someone happens to walk in, recognize me, and exclaim that Superman's working for the local grocery, all I have to do is leave and apply elsewhere without it every being traced back to Clark Kent. Though, that'll certainly do little to fix the awkwardness of such a situation.

Trying to hide the curses muttered under his breath, Mr. Siegel grabs the next can that I go for and takes over what was supposed to be my task. He's an elderly man with poor sight, which is alot of the reason that I applied for this, so my first instinct is to try and help him with the load. But before I can move to do that, he points me in the direction of the freezer in the back.

"Look, it's alright, son. It happens to the rest of us. Just go clean out the inventory, will ya? Cripes alive..."

Given that it's my first day, I can't really press the issue any further. So grabbing my broom, aswell as the box that was destroyed in the collapse, I take it all to the back room and place everything where it needs to be. Then frown, catching a glimpse of the inventory that I'm supposed to haul out to the garbage from behind the wall with my x-ray vision. Even with my speed, which I've sworn myself not to use to get myself ahead, it's going to take me a few hours to get rid of all of that.

Maybe I should've been glad to fight The Hulk.


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Old 04-28-2012, 05:00 AM   #516
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The Pacific Ocean, 300 Kilometers off the Eastern Coast of Japan

The JDS Akizuke is the pride of the Japanese Maritime Defence Force. The first of four planned to be built, it is an ultra modern destroyer boasting the most advanced weapons and equipment.

The Akuzuke left its home port at Yokosuka this morning with a full crew complement as well as a full payload of armaments. Standard procedure for what was meant to be a routine patrol that would have been its final shakedown before officially going into service.

Now many of the crew are dead. Those that remain either attempt to hide or continue to fight their attackers. In both cases they only delay the inevitable.

On the bridge of the mighty ship, seemingly oblivious to the screams, and occasional bursts of gunfire, echoing around him, is the Gorgon. There are dead men at the menacing Lord of the Hand's feet and he is flanked by several ninja, some of whom are already at work on the various stations scattered throughout the bridge.

Behind him a radio repeats a request from Yokosuka demanding updates. One ninja moves to silence it but the Gorgon stops him with a wave of his hand.

"Let them keep the channel open. The longer they go without hearing a response; the more their fears will grow."

"Hai" The ninja replies with a short bow before turning to attend to other matters.

With the nervous communication attempt continuing the Gorgon reaches under his cloak and retrieves the Heart of Darkness. The brilliant orb illuminates the bridge and the Gorgon places it at rest on one of the instrument panels before him.

The Gorgon places the palm of his hand on top of the orb, causing shadows to dance across its surface, then turns to one of minions.


"Due East." He commands "Then stay your course until I say otherwise."



After several hours sailing, the Akizuke comes to a stop at an unremarkable spot in the middle of the Pacific, closer to the US West Coast than the Japanese East Coast.

The Japanese millitary has been trying in vain to locate its lost super destroyer, even sending out sorties of fighters and spy planes to find the vessel. One such sortie is closing on the Akizuke's position now and one of the Gorgon's liuetenants approaches the Hand master and whispers in his ear, informing him of the threat.

The Gorgon grunts dismissively at the news. "Let them come. They could fly directly overhead and they would not find us."

He raises the Heart of Darkness, now fixed to his belt by a short chain and holds it in front of his "The Heart's power will insure that."

He walks to the prow of the mighty vessel speaking aloud for all to hear "And now that we have reached the site where the ancient weapon fell; the Heart will do so much more."

Reaching the edge of the ship's prow, The Gorgon puts two hands on the glowing heart and raises it over his head.

The Heart's glow intesifies into a blinding white light and the ocean waters around the Akizuke begin to churn violently, causing the massive vessel to rock back and forth.

"Now begins the end of man." The Gorgon declares as a dark figures begings to come into view under the waves. "Now rises the Doomsday machine."

A massive gray head penetrates the water's surface as the massive object continues to rise.

"Behold the Living Holocaust!" The Gorgon roars in triumph "BEHOLD ULTIMO!!"


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Old 04-28-2012, 11:09 AM   #517
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Previously

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Namor weaved through the skyscrapers of Manhattan, struggling to pull Reed's elongated limbs off his body. With his legs wrapped tightly around Namor's waist, Reed stretched his arms and began to constrict them around Namor's throat. The Atlantean clawed at Reed's arms in an effort to pry them off his neck.

"Why did you attack me?" Reed shouted as they whizzed past the Empire State Building.

Namor struck out blindly at Reed, punching him in the face. The force of the blow caused Reed to relent on his grip for just a moment, providing Namor the window he needed. Namor ripped Reed's hands from his throat and savagely tossed him towards the ground.

Reed tumbled end over end towards the street before he contorted his body into a shape of a ball. He struck the street and bounced back up, like a cannonball aimed at Namor. Flying fast to meet him, Namor struck Reed with his fist and knocked him up into the sky, hurtling farther away.

Namor began to give chase after Reed, but stopped short when wave of fire consumed his body.

"Round two, jerkwad!" Johnny shouted as he blasted the Atlantean with his fire.

Namor, blinded by the fire, lashed out in Johnny's general direction. He charged towards the Human Torch, tackling him in mid-air. Ignoring the heat coming off of Johnny, Namor kept driving and crashed the two of them through the 22nd floor of an office building. They tore through the building and crashed out through the other side. Namor delivered a powerful punch to Johnny's sternum and separated himself from the Torch. Flying away from him, Namor was panting.

"Water," he croaked. "Need... water."

He flew towards the Hudson River, lowering his elevation as he got closer to the water. He was flying above the waterfront when he smacked headfirst into an invisible barrier. Namor collapsed on the wooden pier, dazed from the blow.

"Stay down," Sue said, floating on an invisible platform above him. At her side was Ben.

"You would break my heart like this?"
Namor said as he stood.

"Break your heart? I've known you for all of two hours..."

"Sounds like ya got a stalker, Susie. Lemme take care of him."

Ben jumped from Sue's construct and landed on the pier. The pier groaned and shook from Ben's landing. "Everyone's a critic," he mumbled under his breath before turning to Namor.

"Alright, fella, ya heard the lady. She ain't interested, and I don't think I like some guy sniffin' around a married woman like that."

"Oh, is the deformed monster going to teach me about valor and honor?"

"That's it," Ben said, cracking his knuckles. "It's clobberin' time!"

Ben charged towards Namor, the pier shaking with each footstep. Namor charged as well, both had their fist raised and ready to strike. Ben connected with Namor's jaw just as the Atlantean struck Ben in the forehead.

WHAM!!!

The force knocked both back. Ben went tumbling backwards, falling on the pier and cracking the wooden planks beneath his body. Namor flipped back into the water, splashing into the river.

"What's going on?" Reed said from above. Ben and Sue looked up to see Johnny carrying Reed by the arms, Johnny's hands and arms not ablaze with flame. Ben picked himself up and pointed towards the river.

"I just knocked Wingfoot there into the river. He ain't come up yet."

"That's not good," Reed said as he and Johnny landed beside Ben.

"Why? The three of you can't swim?"

"Based on what we know on Namor's biology, his body is dependent on a certain amount of salt and ions. Without them, his cells are severely weakened and damage overtime. In short: Without water, he gets weaker, he has been weakened."

"So... he's pretty much been fighting us with one hand tied behind his back?"

"Correct."

On cue, the water of the river began to churn and froth. Water began to rise from the river, taking on a shape of a giant octopus. Hovering above the octopus was Namor.

"And the water is also an excellent place for his hydrokinetic abilities..."

"Nobody spurns King Namor, and now you will see why!"


Manhattan

Namor's giant water octopus ripped through the Battery Park section of Lower Manhattan. The monster's water tentacles slammed into the side of a high-rise, knocking the building's windows in with a force like a brick wall. Above the octopus, Johnny flew around its head in an attempt to distract it. Ben was on the street, punching at the monster. His rocky fist were stumped by the octopus' fluid state.

"I can't get a lick in, Reed!" He yelled to Reed and Sue. They were halfway down the street, helping get people to safety. While the Four tried their best to take on the monster, Namor watched from the top of a nearby building. His arms were crossed and his attention was focused on the monster and keeping it together.

Reed helped a few bystanders back when he turned to Sue. "We need to break Namor's concentration. The water construct is dependent on his thoughts."

"... I think I may have an idea. A way to break his concentration and stop him. Namor's body is in need of regular ingestion of saltwater, yes? Well, we remove the minerals from his body and weaken him severely."

"How do you suggest we do that?"

"Forceful dehydration," Sue said with a slight twinkle in her eye. "We burn them out."

"Susan... have I told you lately how much I love you?"

"Never hurts to remind a girl."

Sue turned back to the fight. Johnny was taking fireball potshots at the octopus while Ben swung a torn down lightpole like a baseball bat. The pole passed through the monster without harm.

"Johnny!" Sue yelled. "New plan! Go after Namor! Get in close!"

Johnny flew down and hovered beside them, a look of skepticism on his flame-coated face. "Why? So I can get my butt kicked?"

"Get in close and I'll create a bubble around the two of you."

"Okay, and then?"

"Get hot. Get as hot as you can without doing damage to yourself."

"Alright," he said with a smirk. "One fish fry coming up!"

Johnny blasted off towards Namor. The Atlantean saw it coming and flew up to dodge him. "You again, boy? Come for another taste of the king's power?"

Johnny stopped short, hovering a few feet in front of Namor. On the street below, Sue held her hand out and crafted a forcefield around the two. Johnny saw the slight shimmering of the air all around them and smiled. "I'm here to give you a taste. FLAME ON!"




The white-hot flash of heat temporarily blinded everyone in the area. With a splash, Namor's octopus collapsed. The water flowed through the street ankle-deep. Adjusting her eyes, Sue saw both Johnny and Namor down inside her forcefield.

"Turn it off," Reed said, stretching his upper body up towards the field. "Johnny burnt out all the oxygen in the bubble."

Sue disabled the forcefield and both men began to fall towards the ground. Reed stretched his arms out into a giant blanket and caught Johnny in it. Ben got under Namor and caught the falling Atlantean just a few feet from the pavement.

"How is he?" Sue asked once Reed set Johnny down on the ground. Johnny's face was covered in soot, his hair singed by the fire.

"Unconscious and probably exhausted, but he'll live."

"Wish I could say the same about this mook," Ben said, Namor struggling in his arms. The Atlantean pulled away from Ben and stood up on shaky legs.

"Richards," Namor mumbled. "You are delusional if you think you can beat me, I will have Susan as my queen. You cannot defeat me for I am--"

Reed elongated his arm out and reared back before swinging it forward, striking Namor with a powerful punch.

WHAM!

The force of the punch knocked Namor down flat on his back. Reed walked over and loomed over him. "Do you yield?" Reed asked, contorting his right fist into the shape of a sledgehammer.

"I... I yield," Namor said weakly. "You have... beaten me."




12 Hours Later


The Four stood in the pier at Battery Park. Namor was in front of him, documents in his hands. The sun was glowing orange and preparing to go over the horizon in the west.

"And you say that these charts, these scans, they are accurate?"

"The best we can tell, they are. You'll notice the unusual grouping on the mid-atlantic's ocean floor. If Atlantis still exists, that's probably where it will be."

"If this is Atlantis, then I will indeed abide by our truce. It would be... inappropriate for a king to make war with subjects of another land. Especially inferior warriors such are yourself."

"Keep talking, Spock,"Ben growled, cracking his knuckles. "We'll see what's what..."

"I would love to, monster, but you will consider yourself lucky that my lady does not approve of violent behavior."

"So, yeah... you were leaving?"

"Yes, my dear," Namor said with a bow. "I will make my glorious return to my kingdom, a place where you could rule beside me as my queen."

"Not. Interested."

"Very well. I pray that one day, you will see the light. Fantastic Four, I bid you farewell for now."

Namor turned to leave. He made a few steps before Reed spoke up.

"One more thing, Your Highness?"

Namor turned back. Reed had a device in his hand about the size of an iPod. "I just finished this up an hour ago. It's a special microwave emitter. Set it on a certain frequency, point it at something and it will super heat your particles. In about a minute, it will drain all moisture from your body. Look at my wife the wrong way again, make a pass at her, or try to do something that she doesn't like, and I will use it on you. I will turn you into a dried out husk and watch as the wind blows you away. Understood?"

Namor sneered and turned. He leaped off the pier and disappeared into the water with a splash. Ben laughed and Johnny patted Reed on the back.

"Reed...," Sue said, grabbing Reed's free hand. "Have I told you lately how much I love you?"

"Never hurts to remind a girl," he said with a smile.

Ben and Johnny headed back to the Baxter Building while Sue and Reed brought up the rear, holding hands and strolling slowly down the boardwalk.


*****


Two Days Later
The Baxter Building


The skylight on the roof of the Baxter Building slid open with a mechanical groan. Reed's flying car slowly lifted up through the open hole and hovered above the building.

Inside the car, Reed was in the driver's seat, setting a course while Sue rode shotgun with Ben and Johnny in the back.

"Have you installed the voice activation commands yet?"

"Yep. Go ahead."

"Computer, activate video link with General Lumpkin."

The LED monitor on the dashboard flickered to life, showing General Lumpkin's face.

"We're getting reports from the Japanese Navy, there's a hijacked destroyer roaming in the Pacific. They're asking for help, so we're dispatching the Third Fleet now."

"But that's military stuff, sir," Ben said from the back, his head poking around the seat. "What's our involvement?"

"In addition to the hijacked ship, there are -- and I can't believe I'm saying this-- reports of a giant monster in the waters about three hundred miles east of Guam."

"YES!" Johnny yelled with a fistpump.

"Is it Namor again, General?"

"I'm not sure."

"Does it have a giant 'I Heart Sue Storm' thing on its chest? If it does, that may be him."

"Just get to the Pacific now. Let me know what you find, and try not to step on any toes. I have a feeling you won't be the only people to the party. Lumpkin out."

Lumpkin disappeared from the screen. Sue turned to Reed and smiled. "I've always wanted to say this... Reed, punch it."

Reed hit the car's thrusters. The flying car tore through the New York skyline at top speed, hitting Mach 7 as it headed west.

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Old 04-29-2012, 07:15 AM   #518
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After several hours sailing, the Akizuke comes to a stop at an unremarkable spot in the middle of the Pacific, closer to the US West Coast than the Japanese East Coast.

The Japanese millitary has been trying in vain to locate its lost super destroyer, even sending out sorties of fighters and spy planes to find the vessel. One such sortie is closing on the Akizuke's position now and one of the Gorgon's liuetenants approaches the Hand master and whispers in his ear, informing him of the threat.

The Gorgon grunts dismissively at the news. "Let them come. They could fly directly overhead and they would not find us."

He raises the Heart of Darkness, now fixed to his belt by a short chain and holds it in front of his "The Heart's power will insure that."

He walks to the prow of the mighty vessel speaking aloud for all to hear "And now that we have reached the site where the ancient weapon fell; the Heart will do so much more."

Reaching the edge of the ship's prow, The Gorgon puts two hands on the glowing heart and raises it over his head.

The Heart's glow intesifies into a blinding white light and the ocean waters around the Akizuke begin to churn violently, causing the massive vessel to rock back and forth.

"Now begins the end of man." The Gorgon declares as a dark figures begings to come into view under the waves. "Now rises the Doomsday machine."

A massive gray head penetrates the water's surface as the massive object continues to rise.

"Behold the Living Holocaust!" The Gorgon roars in triumph "BEHOLD ULTIMO!!"





The Pacific Ocean
The bridge of the USS John C. Stennis
Flagship of Carrier Strike Group Three


"Sir?" The Sonar chief says tentatively, as if unsure if she should be reporting what she sees to her superiors or not.

"What is it Lieutenant?" The Carrier's Executive Officer says as he comes up behind her right shoulder.

"I've got - something on sonar, heading towards us. Its profile doesn't match any known naval vessel in the database and the computer can't identify it."

"Hmm. A malfunction maybe? Or a whale?" The XO wonders aloud as he leans over her shoulder to look at her display.

The Sonar chief shakes her head "The other ships in the squadron are tracking it too. If its a malfunction then its fleet wide and the density is too high for a whale. Its also headed right for us and picking up speed."

She eyes a series of numbers displayed at the bottom of her screen then adds "Now moving at 89 knots per hour and still accelerating."

The XO gives her a suspicious look. 89 knots per hour was remarkably fast for an object of that size. The John Stennis had two nuclear reactors powering it and it could only manage 30 knots, and only under ideal circumstances. He checks her display to confirm what he's hearing then frowns before straightening up and crossing the bridge towards the Rear Admiral who commands the vessel.

The XO whispers something to the Admiral who gives him a look not unlike the one he had just given the Sonar Chief.

The XO gives his superior a serious nod and the Rear Admiral sighs then starts barking orders. Within moments the entire Carrier Strike Group is on high alert and interceptors are being scrambled on the Stennis' deck.

Out to sea, one of the Carrier's escort ships, the Missile Cruiser USS Mobile Bay, breaks formation with the rest of the battle group and moves to intercept the strange object at high speed with jets already screaming over head.



The bridge of the JDS Akizuke


The Gorgon watches the radar and sonar displays in front of him with grim satisfaction. Everything is proceeding according to plan. The Japanese requested aid from their American allies as expected and they responded predictably, by mobilizing their Pacific fleet.

They think they are out here hunting for the Akizuke. The fools do not realize that Ultimo is now hunting them.



The waters around Carrier Strike Group Three

The USS Mobile Bay is suddenly and violently ripped in half, sending a ball of fire roaring into the sky as fuel and munitions explode.

The interceptors flying overhead veer sharply to avoid being caught in the up rush of acrid smoke and super heated flames while frantic reports make their away around the remaining vessels in the carrier group.

Then the waves part around the doomed vessel and Ultimo emerges, standing tall above the sinking cruiser and making a beeline for the carrier group while the shocked pilots of the already airborne interceptors move to engage.

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Old 04-29-2012, 01:55 PM   #519
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He turns to face the oncoming man "Green Lantern. The machine I travel with has been searching for-"

"ALERT!" The Recorder suddenly warns "HOSTILE ENTITY NOW ENTERING OUR DIRECT VICINITY!"

Thor turns once again, back towards the blackness of space, and feels a crushing force slam hard into his chest and send him tumbling backwards.

"ALERT!" He hears the Recorder shout "THIS UNIT IS IN IMMINENT DANGER!"

Still struggling to right himself after so brutal and sudden a blow, Thor can only watch as a strange being riding a moving chunk of rock closes on the Recorder brandishing a massive axe.

Before I can even respond to the Renaissance Fair reject floating in front of me, we're attacked by some weirdo carrying an axe. I almost sigh to myself. What a wonderfully exciting life I live, huh?

The newcomer slams into Fabio and then heads for the robot that was accompanying him. Before he can decapitate the automaton, I sling a lasso around his boulder with my ring and yank it backwards, sending him careening off course, "Whoa there little doggie!"

That doesn't leave him very happy. He charges at me, and I create a green blanket and as I move out of the way, yell, "Oley!"

Doesn't help his demeanor one bit, "Oh come on that was funny...if you're from Earth. I guess."

The floating rock man comes at me again, and closes the distance before I can get out of the way. His axe barely misses my head, and I'm forced into close combat with him. The next time he swings his axe, it meets a steel wall that materializes instantly in front of him. He's able to bust through it, but as he does, he's met with a swift strike from a giant, green fist.

It doesn't slow him down though. He merely roars and comes back at me.

"Dang! Who is this guy!?"

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Old 04-29-2012, 03:09 PM   #520
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The Pacific Ocean





The car carrying the Fantastic Four flew just feet from the ocean waters.

"We're coming up on the spot, Reed," Ben said from the backseat. "Just a few miles away."

Over the horizon, naval vessels began to come into view. Jets flew overhead, buzzing around a massive figure that was in the water.

"What in the hell?"

The large, robotic monster flailed out at the jets, striking two of the planes and sending them up into fiery wrecks.

"That... would be our monster."

"My husband, folks. Smartest man on the planet."

Reed sent the car up into the air, flying over the battleships and cruisers, and into the chaos with the jets.

"Come in, unidentified bogie," a voice said through the car's radio. "This Whiskey Zulu Leader. Identify yourself."

"Voice activation, activate microphone," Reed said as he headed towards the monster. "Whiskey Zulu Leader, this is... uhh... Guys, what's a good call sign?"

"The Frakin' Toaster."


"Grimm Reaper."

"Flying Car Awesome!"

"This is the... uhh the Fantasti... car. The Fantasticar."

"God," Ben said, putting his head in his hands.

"We are here under special authority from USAF Major General William Lumpkin. Our job is to observe and assist the situation as needed."

"Roger that... Fantasticar. Proceed with your mission. Whiskey Zulu Leader out."

Reed pulled in close and fast. The Fantasticar made fast circles around the giant robot while the rest of the Four held on.

"I'm gonna hurl," Johnny said, his face taking on a greenish hue as the car kept going in circles. "I need to get out."

"Good idea. Jump out, flame on, and try distracting it."

"Using my fire powers to fight a giant robot with the Navy? God, I love my life..."

Johnny opened up the passenger side door and jumped out. A second later, he streaked past the flying car, his entire body ablaze. Ben shifted his weight and moved towards the open door.

"I can do more good out there than in here. Geronimo!"

Ben jumped from the door and fell through the air. He crashed on to the robot's shoulder and dug in with his rocky hands.

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Old 04-29-2012, 03:47 PM   #521
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Quinjet
En route to Latveria/Symkaria border


"So nice to have a mission that could start an international conflict rather than just one on our home soil huh?" Hawkeye jokes as he fiddles with his bow. "Really takes the pressure off."

"I know what you mean," Flag responds in a much more serious tone. I know Barton is just coping with his jokes. Being controlled by Maxwell Lord took its toll on all my former teammates. They felt like traitors, even though we all knew they weren't.

Lord was powerful. Or could still be powerful. We never found any trace of his body after the attack on Washington DC, no matter how much we looked. The thought of that man hiding in one of the dark corners of the world waiting for his next opportunity sends a shiver up my spine. But that shiver is a good thing. It keeps me on edge. It keeps me vigilant. And it keeps me hungry to stop him should he return.

But my teammates have my complete trust. I saw the level of psychic power Lord possessed. I know it wasn't their fault. And this mission is the first of many for them to gain their confidence back.

Unfortunately, the mood in the Quinjet is still somber now. I can tell it's weighing on their minds, and I need to do something about that.

I stand and look at Flag, Barton, and Black Widow, "Listen. I know what happened a few weeks ago is weighing on all of us. Maxwell Lord used us. That never feels good. But we all make mistakes. You're all good agents. And there's no one I'd rather be going into this mission with. We're a team. No matter what happens, we all have each other's backs."

They all nod, but I don't know how much they've taken in, or how much they really believe it.

Ted speaks up, "One thing I wanna know is why we're not calling, you know, the demigod, the warrior princess, and the guy with the iron suit."

Shaking my head, "Because we're trying to avoid an international incident, Wildcat. Thor and Tony Stark may be a lot of things, but subtle isn't one of them. And that's the reason why Black Canary is in support this mission."

"What!? No! I'm ready for this!"

"I know you are, and in any other situation I'd bring you with. But we need a low profile. And you screaming doesn't fit the bill. Sorry Dinah. Next time."

"We're getting close," Coulson calls from the cockpit of the jet.

"Okay, get ready everyone."

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Old 04-30-2012, 03:54 AM   #522
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Before I can even respond to the Renaissance Fair reject floating in front of me, we're attacked by some weirdo carrying an axe. I almost sigh to myself. What a wonderfully exciting life I live, huh?

The newcomer slams into Fabio and then heads for the robot that was accompanying him. Before he can decapitate the automaton, I sling a lasso around his boulder with my ring and yank it backwards, sending him careening off course, "Whoa there little doggie!"

That doesn't leave him very happy. He charges at me, and I create a green blanket and as I move out of the way, yell, "Oley!"

Doesn't help his demeanor one bit, "Oh come on that was funny...if you're from Earth. I guess."

The floating rock man comes at me again, and closes the distance before I can get out of the way. His axe barely misses my head, and I'm forced into close combat with him. The next time he swings his axe, it meets a steel wall that materializes instantly in front of him. He's able to bust through it, but as he does, he's met with a swift strike from a giant, green fist.

It doesn't slow him down though. He merely roars and comes back at me.

"Dang! Who is this guy!?"



"My name is Terrax the Tamer Lantern." The Axe Wielder growls as his axe begins to glow with alien energy.

The glowing axe carves through the Green Lantern's defensive constructs until Terrax is close enough to wrap a meaty fist around the Lantern's throat.

"My master ordered me here to finish the Rigelian and her robot..." He grins widely, revealing sharp, yellowing teeth before continuing "...but I've always wanted to kill a Green Lantern!"

The Aforementioned Recorder watches the scene play out with cold impartiality as Terrax raises his axe. He is about to bring it down and cleave through the Green Lantern's skull in the process when Mjolnir strikes him hard in the face, forcing him to break his grip on Green Lantern and giving the emerald hero some breathing room.

Terrax recovers quickly and snarls menacingly before a bolt of concentrated anti-force strikes him hard, sending him hurtling off of his rock platform.

"You will kill no one Terrax!" Thor declares as he charges the alien "The Son of Odin will not allow it!"

Thor locks arms with Terrax and is shocked to find that the axe wielder's strength rivals his own. The two continue to grabble with neither able to get the upper hand until Terrax looses a beam of destructive force from his eyes which hits Thor in the eyes, causing him to recoil in pain and cover his face with one hand. This gives Terrax the opening to strike Thor in the jaw with a closed fist.

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Old 04-30-2012, 04:32 AM   #523
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Johnny opened up the passenger side door and jumped out. A second later, he streaked past the flying car, his entire body ablaze. Ben shifted his weight and moved towards the open door.

"I can do more good out there than in here. Geronimo!"

Ben jumped from the door and fell through the air. He crashed on to the robot's shoulder and dug in with his rocky hands.



The Gorgon continues to watch from the bridge of the Akizuke as the so called Fantastic Four arrive on the scene and begin engaging Ultimo.

Their arrival is unplanned for, but ultimately irrelevant, as evidenced by Ultimo grabbing hold of the one called the Thing and hurling him towards one the Destroyers now firing at him.

The Navy's ordanance has no visible effect on the giant android but there was no sense in wasting time dealing with fighter jets or the human torch who now worked to draw Ultimo's attention from the Carrier Strike Group, particularly when there was a chance, however small, that the alledgedly brilliant Reed Richards might find a way to counter Ultimo.

The android would have to be fully charged and quickly, once that was done, he would be truly unstoppable.

Putting a hand on the Heart of Darkness, the Gorgon silently commands the great machine forward, towards the USS John Stennis. Willing it to ignore all distractions and focus exclusively on its target.

The death dealing android roars a bellowing, mechanical roar and turns its attention away from the Human Torch and towards the John Stennis.

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Old 04-30-2012, 08:47 AM   #524
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Previously


Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

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The Bowery
1:35 AM


I jumped off the subway while it was stopped at the station and melted into the shadows. The stunt with the train having bought me some time, I needed to go on the offensive. A few blocks away, I came across a closed hardware store. The doors and windows were barred, fitting considering the neighborhood. But it wasn't entirely impregnable. I kept a running total and I went in and took the items I needed. I made a note to send the money to the store the next morning.

If I lived to see the morning.


****


2:45 AM


Kraven could tell Wayne was nearby. He could smell him. Even through the repugnant stenches of this city, Bruce Wayne had a unique scent. He smelled like silk suits and money, like all people of wealth. Despite the year he spent at Kraven's side, Wayne had showed his true colors at the end. He was not a hunter, just a rich boy playing hunter.

Kraven jumped from a rooftop and landed in an alleyway. Bruce's scent was close now. Creeping, Kraven approached a trashcan. The smell was coming from the trashcan. Looking inside, Kraven saw a pile of dark clothing and mask. On the shirt was the symbol of the Batman.

"Ha!" He scoffed aloud. "This is how richboy beats me? He gets naked, tries to hide his scent? It is a valiant effort, but it will fail!"

To show his rage, Kraven kicked over the trashcan. A wire attached to the can's underside snapped. The spring loaded trap underneath the trashcan sprung, shooting a half dozen nails out at Kraven. While most of the nails missed, one lodged into his left shoulder, another nail struck his right forearm with a glancing blow.

"Ah," he grunted, holding his shoulder. "Clever, richboy... very clever. You fooled me. You will not do it again!"

Kraven yanked the nail from his shoulder. Holding it up, he noticed there was a balm slathered on the tip, mingling with his blood. "What..." His knees buckled as an intense burning sensation hit him. His shoulder irradiated in white hot pain. Kraven ground his teeth in pain and roared out into the night.

"DEAD! YOU ARE DEAD!"

Fighting his pain, Kraven saw a fire escape and jumped at the ladder. He grabbed a rung and fell back to the ground. Holding his hands up, he saw the grease covering his palms. The hunter yelled out in frustration again.

From a distance, a figure in work boots, jeans, and a hooded poncho watched Kraven from the shadows. The shoe was now on the other foot. For all his skill and ability in the jungle. Kraven was out of his element. In this concrete jungle, in his domain, Bruce Wayne was the hunter. And now Kraven had become the hunted



Then
Kenya


Bruce Wayne stood over the frightened man, a large knife in his hands. The man was lying in the grasslands, crying and begging for mercy in Swahili. Kraven stood behind them, watching his protegee with his arms crossed.

"Do it," Kraven said. "This is the last lesson, Richboy. You have successfully captured your quarry. Now, finish your kill."

"No," Bruce said, looking at his master. "He's a poacher, he needs to be brought to justice."

"You have hunted down this cheater, made him feel like the beasts he hunts, and now, like those animals, he will have his throat slit.You want justice? This is justice, Richboy. This is not man's law, but the law of the wild. Fair and cruel, this is justice."

"No," Bruce said again, dropping his knife to the grown. "Not like this. We may hunt animals, but we are not animals. I'm sorry, Sergi. I made a mistake."

Bruce turned around and walked through the grasslands while Kraven watched. "YOU THINK YOU ARE BETTER THAN ME?!" He yelled as Bruce walked away. "YOU ARE NOT! NOBODY IS BETTER THAN ME! I AM KRAVEN THE HUNTER! RUN AWAY, RICHBOY! RUN AWAY!"




Now
The Bowery
3:00 AM

Kraven the Hunter carefully crept down the alley. Each step was careful and precise. His shoulder was bloody and burning from the trap Wayne had sprung on him earlier. Since then, Kraven had made sure not to make on move without carefully weighing the consequences of it. Wayne was trying to make him his prey, but Kraven knew better. He could not be snared, he could not be defeated. He was the best, and no one would ever come close him.

"Run away, Richboy," Kraven muttered under his breath as he spotted an object on the ground. "Run away."

Kraven approached the object and squatted down beside it. A metal cable was laying on the ground, knotted together like a noose. It was a hastily made snare trap, Kraven observed, but it had been made rather well considering the circumstances. Kraven eyed the trap and found the trigger in the middle of the noose. He stood and walked a safe distance away from the trap. Taking a dart from his belt, Kraven tossed it at the snare and hit the trigger. The noose closed and zipped upwards towards a fire escape ladder.

"You see?" He shouted in joy. "Nobody is better than me! I am Kraven the Hunter Who are you, compared to me?!"

Kraven watched the cable go up and smiled at his cleverness... but then stopped when he noticed the trap's counterweight, a large tool chest, was falling down to the ground towards him. He rolled to his right just as the heavy box crashed into the ground, tools and scraps of metal exploding out of it as it crashed.

Kraven rolled to his right and looked up just as a large, steel toed work boot crashed into his face and knocked him back onto his back. Kraven felt blood in his mouth and at least two teeth rattling around free from the gum.

"Who am I?" Bruce Wayne asked as he stood over Kraven. He was dressed in the clothes he had found at the hardware store. "I'm Batman."

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:45 AM   #525
Byrd Man
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Default Re: One Earth: The Marvel/DC RPG

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkhedr View Post

Putting a hand on the Heart of Darkness, the Gorgon silently commands the great machine forward, towards the USS John Stennis. Willing it to ignore all distractions and focus exclusively on its target.

The death dealing android roars a bellowing, mechanical roar and turns its attention away from the Human Torch and towards the John Stennis.
"Ahhh!" Ben yelled as he hurled through the air like a rocky cannonball. He hit on the destroyer's deck and punched through the ships' first three layers before coming to a stop in the galley.

"It's headed towards the aircraft carrier," Reed said from inside the Fantasticar. He maneuvered the flying car through the chaotic traffic air. He had one eye on the windshield, while another looked at the monitor to his right. A full area scan was underway and it was yielding interesting results.

"It's nuclear powered. That thing gets a hold of the ship, It can do major damage."

"I've got an idea. Ben, Johnny, are you on the line?"

"A bit busy trying to not get swatted like a bug..."

"Smellin' like a sack of potatoes, but otherwise I'm fine."

"If you can, Ben, jump from that destroyer to the deck of the Stennis. You and Sue need to defend the ship against that robot. Johnny and I are heading to the Japanese ship."

"Why?"

"Because the scans show that whatever that robot it, it's tied to some kind of energy signature coming from that ship."

Reed slowed down and brought the Fantasticar on the deck of the Stannis. Johnny broke off from the monster and flew to the deck just as Ben landed on the deck.

"Good luck," Sue said, pecking Reed on the lips before she jumped out the car. Reed put the car back into the air and he and Johnny flew towards the Japanese naval vessel.

"Any plans, Ben?"
She asked him as she looked at the encroaching robot.

"Hit it hard until it stops. Only way I know how to do things."

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"These are the times that try men's souls... Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
-- Thomas Paine


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