Malachi and Dark Angel hand over their captives.
After not too long, Janet comes out of the examining room. There is a bandage on high on her forehead, and she seems a little stiff in the back due to the wrap to keep her ribs still. All in all, though, things could be worse. Janet pays for the services, and she and Adrian leave.
The agent manning the desk snaps his mouth shut, suddenly aware he's been gaping. He nods slowly, distractedly. "Yeah. You can have a seat," he answers Malachi, but his eyes never leave Dark Angel, so it seems likely he's unaware Malachi is already sitting.
The elevator doors nearby open. Five federal agents rush out. All five wear protective vests. Four of the five have their hands on the butts of the pistols, their holsters unsnapped, ready for the quick draw. The fifth mana thin but athletic-looking man with crew cut red hairholds up a hand.
"Relax, men," he says. "Unless I miss guess, these are the good guys." Hands move away from pistols. The red-head leans over to look at Dark Angel's bundle of villains. "Damn. That's Arnim Zola. The Israelis have been looking for him for years. And Henry Pym. We've been looking for him for weeks." He looks from Dark Angel to Malachi and back. "You were involved in that Viking mess up in Manhattan. And you. You've got to be Malachi. Long way from Harlem. Damn. Well, if you'd like to come this way." He gestures to the elevators. "We can strip them and put them in holding cells. Though I don't know if that'll do much good with the big one. Warmonger, right? Ah hell. We'll cross that bridge in a bit. Jacobs, get on the horn and call SHIELD. Request metahuman containment team. Well, gentlemen, shall we?"
As Malachi and Dark Angel consider the request, the agent behind the desk picks up the phone and begins to dial.
"I agree, let's get these men locked up as soon as possible."
Agent Gyrich escorts Malachi and Dark Angel to the basement. There, under Dark Angel's careful supervision, the Fasces and the Wasp are stripped, searched, and put into orange jump suits. Warmonger begins to stir about this time, but a sharp right cross from Dark Angel puts the brute back under. Gyrich shakes his head and laughs.
Dark Angel shows no signs of releasing the villains. As he glides forward several inches from the floor, an arm trails lazily behind him towing the villains with rigid lines of Darkforce.
It seems as if Dark Angel might be half-asleep, drunk or otherwise sluggish. And he's taking no chances. Any sudden movement toward him or the villains and he instantly comes fully around to glare menacingly at the potential threat. It might be clear to someone accustomed to observation he's over-compensating. And perhaps that they should leave him be.
The only thing Dark Angel's interested in doing is depositing the villains behind bars. He will not release them until he's allowed to do so. Once free of the villains and watching the bars close and lock himself, he'll attempt to answer any questions put to him with short clear answers.
By the time Fasces and Wasp are secured in separate cells, four men in dark suits and white shirts arrive. The flash badges and identify themselves as SHIELD agents. Two of them carry a silver metal footlocker between them.
"You guys watch this," Gyrich says to Malachi and Dark Angel. "I love this part."
The SHIELD agents put down the footlocker. The other pair produce identical keys, insert them into separate locks on the top of the box.
"Three, two, one."
They turn the keys together. With a click and hiss, the footlocker's top lifts up and slides back and down. There is a whirring as the interior bottom rises, lifting a pair of heavy rubber gloves and heavy rubber boots, all connected by thick metal cords.
"Sensors in the gloves and boots measure electrical impulses in the prisoner's muscles," one SHIELD agent explains. "Any reading above a certain level produces neural feedback, causing paralysis. This particular unit is set to react to minimal activity. Prisoner breathes too fast, this baby will kick in."
A few minutes later, the gloves and boots are fitted to Warmonger. The heavy rubber stretches easily to fit his massive hands and feet. The SHIELD agents inform Gyrich they'll remain on site until the prisoner transport arrives.
"Sounds good. Thanks," Gyrich says amiably. "So, Malachi, Dark Angel. You got a few minutes to talk? We can use the interrogation room down here. Not that this is an interrogation." He looks at Dark Angel. "But it'll give us some privacy and keep you near the prisoners. Just in case."
"Do not presume to underestimate the depths they can stoop to in order to bring about their goals," Dark Angel warned. "We have witnessed first hand the abhorrence they were about to unleash upon the world."
Dark Angel continues to float above the floor, but it's mere inches now. As he glides down the hall way following Gyrich, he bobs along as if in water and he were being carried along on some invisible current.
Gyrich nods as he opens the door to the room. "Don't worry, Dark Angel. I want underestimate them. Hey, Dukes. Go get some doughnuts and some coffee."
Dukes, the agent on duty in the cell block, frowns. "It's midnight. Where I am gonna get doughnuts?"
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© 2000 Mark L. Chance et al