Death of an Avenger.
"I think he's all right now," Aegis says aloud to the approaching security men, moving to block their line of fire in case anyone gets too jumpy.
"Out of the way!" Wiesel bellows, charging towards Aegis and his security guards, a pair of handcuffs glinting in his hand. "You and you! Check that hall!" He points towards the exit through which Ravdna raced, and from where gun shots have been heard.
Aegis, a bit wary, turns back to see Stark laying underneath a table. He looks pale, waxen, sweat beading on his face. His left arm is rigid. He looks up at Aegis and tries to speak, but his jaw just saws up and down. Nearby, Wiesel is manhandling Captain America, rolling him onto his chest, jerking his hands behind his back, snapping the cuffs into place.
Then, trailing litter, leaves, and dirt, Delta V rushes back into the chamber and into a crouch next to Mulhare. A quick check reveals he is quite dead. A moment later, Delta V discovers Sallis is still alive, but bleeding profusely and in shock. Looking over at Aegis, he also sees Stark and immediately realizes that the industrialist is having a heart attack.
Her first thought is that he'd been shot, but there doesn't seem to be any blood. "Stay down," Aegis orders Stark, easing him onto his back. "Don't try to talk."
Victor thinks over the mindlink, "Nyilvánvalóan Deltatorkolat-Sebesség elege ráhagy égbol ütközet kifejlesztett ide. Csukott ennél talán várhatsz vagy második segédlet?"
The Specter dives away from the lumbering polar bear and tries to roll over towards the trash can. With a quick snatch he grabs both the lid and the can hoping to keep something inbetween he and the giant white bear until his powers return. Dumas promises himself one thing. If he lives through this, he will be designing a device that protects him from the likes of the Cosmonaut. If his powers do not return, then certainly he will have to dust off those plans for that suit of armor that he was designing.
Realizing his thoughts had slipped back to his native Latverian in the heat of the battle, he re-states the request to the mind link, "Apparently Delta-V has left the battle. Could I perhaps receive some other assistance?"
Then he adds, "I'm facing off against the Cosmonaut who is a very powerful magnetic manipulator and the KGBeast who is a shapechanger, which he has utilized to now change into a giant polar bear. Again, my powers have been stripped away from me by the Cosmonaut and their are civilians out here. I don't know how much longer I can hold out for."
Overhead, Ivan Kragoff, the Cosmonaut, watches, his face hidden behind the reflective plate of his helmet.
The Specter and the savage KGBeast square off, the former desperately trying to defend while the latter makes several feints, growling menacingly in a deep-voiced rumble that at times almost sounds like a cruel laugh.
Unaware of exactly what's going on with the others, Emerald reaches out with his powers once more, throwing the shield like a battering ram. If he's wrong about this he'll apologize later.
The shield whizzes through the air towards the red-haired woman who is presumably the Voice, who leans heavily on the arm of the male journalist that helped her to her feet after Delta V's rapid attack. It looks as if the red, white, and blue shield will strike home, but at the last possible instant, the Voice twists the man around in front of her. The shield smashes into his back, high between the shoulder blades. As he pitches forward, the woman rolls backwards, tumbling through the door and into the hallway beyond, vanishing from sight.
_Any minute now, I'm going to wake up from this nightmare. Right?_ All her training is no use in this, and she looks helplessly at Delta V. "Is there anything I can do?"
Seeing that both men are in need of medical aid, Delta V attempts to stabilize Sallis' condition. "Aegis, get Stark some aspirin. It may stop the heart attack he's having." Delta V glances about the room, looking for anyone who is in a relative state of calm. "Call an ambulance. Hurry!"
One of the security guards rushes to aid Delta V. He has a medical kit with him. "Ambulances are en route. Ee tee ay is two minutes," he says. "What do you need me to do, sir?"
Aegis conducts a *very* rapid search of everything Tony had brought with him, looking for anything resembling medication. *Keep them busy for just a couple more seconds,* she suggests to Specter over the link. *We've got our hands full in here...*
Aegis fishes a plastic bottle from the vest pocket of Stark's suit. A quick holler to Delta V confirms that the pills within are heart medication, which comes as a surprise to Aegis, who had never been told of any heart condition. She quickly opens the bottle and forces two pills down Stark's throat.
*I fear a few seconds is all I may have Aegis,* Dumas replied through the mindlink.
Specter's premonition proves uncannily accurate. The trash can lid proves a poor defense against the crushing might of the polar bear. It crumples and is torn from Specter's grasp as a massive paw swings and heavy black claws tear into muscle. A second swipe, with the other paw, crashes broad-side into Specter's head. The Specter crashes to the ground, blood pouring from the gashes across his abdomen and chest. The KGBeast lurches up on to his hind legs and howls angrily, preparing to land the killing blow!
"Stop him!" DePalo yells. "He's after Hammer!"
The guard starts to turn, having heard Ravdna come through the door.
The Asgardian Avenger interposes herself between the soldier and his targets. Standing with a divine defiance she speaks, the sound of her voice alone almost enough to chill all of the men nearby to the bone: "Mortal, I am The Valkyrie, chooser of the slain. I have ushered a countless lot of your Midgard brethren through the Valley of Death. I have bore witness to as many painful forms of demise as your small race can fathom to commit upon itself...and I would gladly introduce you them all if you take up arms against these men under mine protection."
The guard staggers backwards, his foot slips on the floor, and he falls, turns into a crawl, and begins to flee on all fours from Ravdna's fearsome presence, leaving his firearm behind in the process.
"Damn fine job, Ravdna," DePalo says, coming up behind her and holstering his pistol.
Ravdna screams Dumas' name aloud breaking her thoughts away from responding to Depalo's compliment. She runs full bore to the scene of her comrade, sensing what is to come.
Freed from one of her warring obligations, Aegis leaves Tony to others care, switches into high gear and heads for Specter's presumed location via the shortest possible route. Once outside, she doesn't hesitate, hoping that surprise will give her a small advantage....
The concrete and steel between Aegis and outside proves only a small obstacle. Rocketing at top speed, the Armored Angel smashes her way out of the UN and into the park, wear she sees the helpless Specter, the polar bear looming over him, and, peripherally, the space-suited Cosmonaut hovering about one hundred feet in the air.
"More cavalry?" the Cosmonaut says to himself. "So disorganized."
Aegis jerks in mid-air as her armor's systems seize up just for an instant. Even still, that instant is long enough for her to deflect off course by several degrees, flying off towards the river.
Victor looks up at the KGBeast through blood filled eyes. "Strike me down now villain and you will come to know the true power of DOOM!"
In the Arctic, polar bears often hunt seals by pounding on thick sea ice with their forepaws, slamming down 1,500 pounds of fur, muscle, and bone in order to get to their prey. Quite often, the rock-hard ice loses the contest.
How much more so for a human rib cage.
The KGBeast shifts back to human form, crouched over the dead body of Victor Dumas, his heads thick with blood from the damage inflicted on his victim. He looks towards Aegis, now several hundred yards away, who is just now recovering control of her armor from Cosmonaut's magnetic manipulations. He then looks back to Dumas, at the blood dribbling from the open mouth, the bulging eyes, the crushed chest, and the KGBeast frowns.
"Somehow I thought I would enjoy this more!" he shouts up to Cosmonaut.
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© 2000 Mark L. Chance et al