A threat looms over the city.
Day/Time: Thursday, about lunch time
Locations: Here and there
While Rick Jones is at Beck's amazing holographic studio, the rest of the Avengers are going about their business. Bethany Cabe is getting dressed, having overslept. Sam Stern, following the angel's advice, tells his employer that he is ill. Not surprisingly, Stern's boss is very understanding and encourages him to take the rest of the day off. Curtis Connors has just entered his Empire State University labs and stares at the disarray caused by several days of inattention.
Closer to downtown, Adrian Toomes opens up his shop for the first time in several days. The books aren't going to balance this month, that's for sure. Janet Van Dyne, fresh from a light lunch with her father, is in her auto, driving back to town to work on the Avengers' real estate situation some more. Sam Wilson lays on a bench in the gym, his arms pistoning up and down, heavy weights gripped in each fist. The center isn't open yet, which is just as well, since it would be hard to explain how Sam can butterfly with 200 pounds in each hand. Patsy Walker is still at the hospital with Hank. The doctor has given him the go ahead to be released in the early evening, after dinner. And, lastly but not leastly, the ghost of Victor Von Doom stalks the castle's halls.
Victor has been restlessly thinking most of the night. He is a ghost, and apparently not the only one on the grounds, although he hasn't seen the spectral lady since their brief encounter last night. Ghosts can see ghosts, and they can supposedly hear each other as well. Robots, closed circuit cameras, and mirrors do not register a ghost's presence, and neither does Alfred, who is dutifully going about estate business. Gary in Limbo said that animals can detect ghosts, and sometimes some people can as well. Connors is apparently such a person, at least when racing at superspeed.
Which makes sense. Victor is currently existing on a different level from the physical world. Though he cannot test his hypothesis, he is certain his new form vibrates at a specific, different frequency than does a terrestrial body. Connors's superspeed probably works by tapping into the atomic motion of his body, channeling said kinetic energy unidirectionally. As such, when racing, he probably slightly and unconsciously alters his own specific atomic frequency, thus enabling him, temporarily, to see disembodied spirits that would otherwise be undetectable.
Of course getting Connors to return to the estate and duplicate his accidental feat is, to say the least, problematic.
Several hours before all of this goes on, before each Avenger is doing what he or she is doing, about thirty miles out to sea in the Atlantic, due west of Manhattan, the ocean bottom begins to churn. Deep water life scatters in a panic. Tons of silt churn into roiling clouds. Then, the earth cracks and bleeds. Magma meets salt water in a violent eruption, and the expanding and cooling molten rock builds, layer upon layer, quickly rising towards the surface. The ocean bucks as hundreds of thousands of gallons of water are forcefully displaced. Two waves form, one larger, the other smaller; one heading towards the coast, one heading further out to sea.
End flashback and again the time is now, and each Avenger is currently occupied as mentioned. Each Avenger's activities are interrupted by the crescendo and harsh, persistent yell of disaster sirens. The TV and radio channels all carry the same alarming report:
"A volcanic eruption in the Atlantic has caused a sizable earth tremor. A twenty foot wave is heading directly towards Manhattan. Flee to higher ground. Flee to higher ground."
Stern sits in his tiny one room apartment huddled over a steaming cup of coffee. He watches as the wisps of steam rise and dissipate. What am I waiting for? he wonders. Do I go out and look for it, whatever "it" is? Or do I wait, and if I wait, where? For what? The frustration building to a peak, he shoved the coffee cup away from him, spilling the hot liquid onto the table. He watchedunseeingas it formed rivulets and poured onto the floor.
A cry from outside brought him round. The sound of panic was clear. He yanked down on the cord sending the blinds crashing together at the top of the window. He jerked the cord to the right securing it in place. Cool afternoon breeze greeted him as he stuck his head out the window. Stern watched crazed people scurry about as if Nazi tanks were driving down the street. What was that they were yelling?
"Tidal wave!" his super yelled. He'd opened the door and poked his head in. Stern looked at him curiously. "Tidal wave you fool. There was some kind of earthquake...under the sea! It's coming this way! It's on the news!"
Clearly the man had gone insane. The screaming people outside seemed to think Doom itself was fast approaching. Yes, the Day of Reckoning. A great flood. But certainly not all the people of New York were to be.... No, this couldn't be His work. Why now? Stern stared dumbly at the super who with a dismissive wave of his hand and a "Suit yourself!" disappeared down the hallway.
For some reason he looked out the window in the direction of the sea. He couldn't see it, of course, but felt the need to see...what?
So many questions, a voice said. Trust. You know what it is to have faith. Trust in Him and He will show you the way.
| Top |
© 2000 Mark L. Chance et al