A fateful decision?
Delegates begin to panic and run for the exits. DePalo grabs Justin Hammer and pulls him to the floor, yelling for the others to get down.
Delta V, realizing that his teammates on the ground floor have Captain America well in hand, scans the room from his vantage point. He looks for anyone out of the ordinary. Anyone remaining uncharacteristically calm in this chaos. And most importantly, he looks for anyone who has their attention intently focused on Captain America.
Delta V's senses, used to operating high speed, quickly survey the chaos, coming to focus on the press box. Full of huddling, ducking reporters, most talking frantically into microphones or recorders or flashing their cameras at the action, there is one who seems out of place. A woman, with dark red hair, wearing a trenchcoat, standing in the rear of the box. It takes Delta V a moment to put his finger on the incongruity, but then notices that she is mumbling, but not into any sort of recording device.
Emerald struggles to escape the haze and blurred vision that's enveloped him suddenly. He tries to focus on his shields. Even though the room is spinning and Emerald feels like vomiting, he manages to envelope himself a glowing green force field. Slowly, it seems, the ringing in his head dwindles and stops, and he is again able to regain his footing.
Nearby, the Valkyrie, closest to the treacherous attack on Sallis... Ravdna's eyes burn with righteous fury. She bellows at volumes that echo across the great chamber. "Mortal, thine actions prior branded thou as a coward but this..."
Ravdna is fast, but so are the bullets from the Wiesel's security team. As she almost casually disarms Mulhare, there is a staccato TATTATTAT! as an advancing guard opens fire with his submachine gun. Mulhare jerks and screams, pinwheeling to the floor, blood pooling under him.
At the sound of the gunshots Aegis glances to see where they are coming from. Registers Sallis falling, Emerald down, Spectre nowhere in sight. _Damn._ She keeps Captain America covered, not sure how long the stun will affect him, knowing that at the speed he moves she dare not take her eyes off him. *_Find her_* she nearly snarls over Ravdna's mindlink. Knowing she'd guessed right about the Voice's powers was no consolation; as long as that woman is running around free everyone in the building is in deadly danger.
Aegis watches as Mulhare is cut down, takes in the severity of the injuries to Sallis, and then her attention is pulled back to Captain America. Three more of Wiesel's men are advancing quickly, bullying their way through the panicked diplomats, SMGs at the ready, heading towards the stunned Captain. Meanwhile, both Ravdna and Aegis notice DePalo pushing Justin Hammer forward, heading to an exit near the podium. DePalo has a Colt in one hand; the other hand is on Hammer's back, guiding the industrialist from behind.
While Kragoff spoke Victor thought hard to everyone through the mind link as if he were yelling. *Delta help me please! I'm behind the UN building, I'm surrounded by the Cosmonaut and the KGB Beast and I've lost my powers!* Dumas thinks through the mind link again. *He just turned into a tiger. I think I'm about to die...* Victor clenches the grass under his hands and a guttural growl from deep inside erupts from his throat as he charges full force and shoulder down into the great cat before him while throwing the grass and dirt into the animal's face. The battle is joined!
Delta V springs into action, accelerating to full speed in the blink of an eye. Delta V zigs and zags through the crowd at close to sixty miles per hour, leaping over the low wall separating the press box from the main room. The woman, a stunningly attractive lady with dark red hair, notices him just a moment too late. The speedster lands a jab along her temple She drops like a rock in the corner of the press box as Delta V bursts through the door, down the hall, and then outside, accelerating to close to one hundred miles per hour in the process.
As the red-haired woman is hitting the floor, the KGBeast, now in the savage form of a Bengal tiger, leaps at the crippled Specter, claws outstretched, fanged maw gaping for the kill. To the amazement of the KGBeast, however, the Specter proves far from defenseless. Although shaking and weak from the Cosmonaut's atomic chicanery, the Specter leaps forward, and rams a handful of sod into the KGBeast's face.
The tiger flips over Specter, who in turn rolls underneath the animal, and lands awkwardly on neck and shoulder, eyes and nose full of dirt. The KGBeast staggers several steps as he tries to rise, and then slips, falling sideways with a WHOOF!
"Impressive, Doctor," comments the Cosmonaut, now hovering a few feet above the ground. "Ah, and here comes the cavalry. How John Wayne."
Sparing a glance away from the large, space-suited Kragoff, Specter sees a familiar blur roaring towards him. Delta V, in turn, sees the sprawled tiger, the floating Cosmonaut, the Specter in an unsteady three-point stance. Then, Delta V sees the wall of earth rise up in front of him, feels his body slam into the barrier, which then caves in, half-burying the speedster in the process.
"I'm afraid you will have to fight this battle alone, Doctor," the Cosmonaut says as he rises skyward, coming to a hover about sixty feet above the ground.
Doctor Dumas spins towards the prone KGBeast and comes to stand over his lying body. With a swift and harsh strike, Specter brings his booted heel down sharply on the stunned man-animal's rear leg in order to break the bone and to immobilize him. Not very heroic, but then again their were civilians in the nearby and Delta V might be out of it also. Not to mention the all-powerful Cosmonaut was hovering above them both and could easily kill either of them with but a thought.
The first stomp hits, but not quite that well, sliding off the thick muscle, tearing flesh and fur, but not breaking bone. The KGBeast hisses and spits, scrambling to his paws, a whirling about madly, claws flailing. The Specter, still unsteady from the effects of Cosmonaut's atomic manipulation, recoils from the deadly talons, stumbling a bit. The KGBeast lunges forward, pressing the attack, and transforming into a polar bear all at the same time.
*Delta V, sweet work on the Voice; we have two men with multiple gunshot wounds in here,* Aegis broadcasts. She's never felt so under-prepared for a situation, but it's important to stay calm. *I don't know if there's anything you can do, but I do know there's nothing the _rest_ of us can do.* _Sallis, Mulhare... where's Tony?_ a small voice in the back of her mind wants to know. *Emerald, would you make sure that lady in the press box doesn't start talking any time soon? And if you can do anything empathically to calm the crowd down, that would be a help. Rav, can you find out what that bastard DePaulo's up to, then give Spectre a hand.* Glancing at Gugnir, *Low-tech might be our best bet against Cosmonaut.*
The other Avengers respond to Aegis's lead:
Fearing for Dumas and Stark's safety it's a hard pill for the proud Asgardian to swallow but she has come to respect Bethany immensely even in this short span of time. "Aye, Aegis" The Valkyrie communicates silently to the Armored Avenger. Gazing at Wiesel's' men with a divine glare that shivers them to the marrow, Ravdna turns away from the now deceased rogue agent and barrels full tilt down the aisle. As she nears the stage she thrusts Gugnir at an angle into the floor vaulting near the exit taken by DePalo. Landing deftly she hits the ground running. Was Mulhare acting against orders? Or is Depalo involved in this treachery? Ravdna has long had her fill of duplicitous men whether they be mortal or a God. Burning with questions she telepathically tries to locate the "good" colonel. "WHERE ARE YOU MORTAL?"
Ravdna bursts into the hallway just in time to see DePalo get cut across the back of the legs by a barrage of bullets fired from the SMG gripped by one of Wiesel's guards. DePalo goes down with a grunt, landing on his side, and fires back, but the pistol shot hits high in the wall behind the guard, not too far from Ravdna.
With his wits about him once more the young Avenger takes a quick glance around the chaotic hall as he starts to rise off the floor. Whether he is feeling himself or not Captain America still seems the larger of the two threats. Green tendrils of energy spring up, curling around the shield on the Captain's arm, and sliding it free.
And, as easy as that, Emerald has Captain America's shield in "hand". Looking towards the press box, he sees the red-haired woman, presumably the Voice, being helped to her feet by two reporters. She is holding one hand to the side of her head, and doesn't look too steady on her feet.
Delta V, half buried outside the UN, spins himself around like a top, throwing dirt off of him in every direction. He then speeds back into the assembly hall to help the injured men, trusting in Dumas' resourcefulness to keep him alive until other help arrives.
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© 2000 Mark L. Chance et al