Union turned his head, hearing Specter's voice coming from the SHIELD communicator Malachi was carrying out from the ruins. Union waved for the radio and the marvel of Harlem casually tossed it the remaining fifty feet between the two men, his athletic skill making any use of Union's enhanced reflexes unnecessary. Union barley has to move his had for the radio to fall right in it.
"Thank, Malachi. Duststormhold up a minute." He then sets the radio to transmit. "Specter this is Unionlet's hear what you've got..."
Janet promptly stopped digging and listened as Victor related the information that he had found. She waited in the golem shell she had created, prepared for the dirt underneath her to disappear, but hoping it wouldn't. This was eerie, an unholy and alien intelligence under the ground at her feet, something similar over at the island in the Atlantic. Could it be more than one entity? Or one intelligence that circumnavigated the globe?
"I've determined that the time displacement effect of the earthquake in Albany started at the prehistoric equivalent of the state to which the island had progressed since its formation. In other words they are running on the same clock. I would hypothesize that should there be a third event, it's geological clock will be in sync with the previous two locations."
"As for how time is progressing in these locations, I've found out that it is not progressing in any sort of uniform fashion. Though they are in sync, the over all clock is slowing and speeding up for both sites at the same time. I've seen sudden jumps of millions of years in very short time periods, while other times it seems to be moving at a slow and steady pace, yet still quite faster than our own timeline has moved."
"Our studies of the flora and fauna have indicated that though the various species are appearing as would be expected in connection with their associated time periods, their doesn't seem to be any connecting or linked species. Ones that would indicate an evolutionary growth. With no such transitional species, I would have to believe that this is not a natural occurrence."
"Therefore I would have to suggest that since the overall genetic mutations are not natural, I would have to reiterate my earlier guess that some sort of intelligence is at work here and to back that idea up, Emerald says that he senses some sort of presence or intelligence below the island. He described it as feeling rage, hatred, but something else also that he can't figure out. Whether that is some sort of unknown emotion or just something else entirely is up for speculation at this point."
"Currently, I have Emerald assisting me at the volcanic site, while Delta V is looking over the flora and fauna for me and I have Dark Angel rounding up the dangerous animal life that is being produced because of this."
"What is your status up there in Albany and what would you like us to do here?" Victor inquired.
As Victor waited for the reply from the Avengers or SHIELD, he watched the different emotions run across Emerald's masked face.
"Tell me what else your sensing Emerald. If anything. It might aid us in determining what to do. Is this entity that you detect, some sort of mystical or perhaps alien intelligence? Does it seem familiar at all?" Victor asked his teammate hoping to delve some information from him.
Union starts flicking one of the Avengers signal devices through his fingers as he listens to Victor's report, the small silver rod becoming a blur of motion. There are several moments of silence as he looks at the faces of his team, trying to digest the information. "OK. We have Ravdna here sensing a similar intelligence. She's describing it as Unholy and Alien. I had hoped there was only one of these things, but if Emerald's sensing one there..." The idea that there was just one of them, but that it was REALLY BIG floated through his mind, which was not a comforting thought.
"I hadn't thought that their might be two of them. I was imagining that this was one presence. But if you are right, perhaps its some sort of invasion force whether it be from another dimension, outer space or beneath our own crust is unknown. I said another dimension because the energy that earthquakes and volcanoes give off when they occur are thought to be enough to cause a dimensional rift. That is all speculation by some of my peers of course. I've yet to spend the time to duplicate and test the idea however. We might want to have S.H.I.E.L.D. continue to quarantine the island here and keep rounding up the dangerous fauna."
"Emerald, Ravdna, do you think that there's any way we could converse this these entities? It doesn't sound promising, but I'd rather not get into a fight we can avoid by talking first."
Emerald responds, "I can give it a try, though, to be honest, I've never really tried using my empathy for communication. I might botch it up."
"I'm not willing to just sit back and let it hit somewhere else without making some sort of contact. VictorI want you and your team back here, ASAP. Tell the SHIELD personnel to evacuate the island. I keep coming back to the fear that these things are connected somehowthat if he poke it here, it will rear up there as well, and I don't want anyone near there to get hurt."
"I'd love to be able to isolate the fight on the island, but if it does rear up here when we poke it then the civilians still around Albany will be defenseless. Making contact here gives us our best concentration of forces should things get ugly, doesn't hinder our non flying members, and doesn't give the other one of these a target for us to worry aboutjust an empty island."
"We're going to stop here until your group reconnects, then continue with the tunneling. We can't go any farther until we make contact."
"That sounds like the best plan of action. We'll be there momentarily," Victor answered and then looked at Rick.
"Let's get back and meet up with Dark Angel and Delta V," Victor said.
Location: Somewhere Else
The younger of the two men rushed into the spacious main room of the suite.
"Contact has been made," he said to his older associate, his voice betraying a hint a nervousness.
The older man simply nodded, his blunt fingers stroking his oily goatee.
"This was to be expected," he reminded the younger man. "And my plans have already taken this occurence into account. It is, after all, a necessary risk if Rick Jones's mind is to be properly attuned."
Day/Time: Late Friday afternoon
Location: Epicenter in the Albany
Janet floated out of the tunnel she had created so that she could be closer to the rest of the team in case anything happened. She shed the golem shell and piled the dirt nearby so that she could use it again should the need arise. She sat down and hung her head wearily, getting as much rest as she could before the rest of the team arrived. She looked around at her teammates wondering what they were going to do while waiting for the island team to get back.
After locating both Delta V and Dark Angel, Victor quickly briefed them on what was going on and had Dark Angel teleport the four of them back to Albany.
A moment later Victor, Emerald, Delta V and Dark Angel were standing nearby the other Avengers after having stepped out of a dark globular mass of energy.
Janet stood up once the team from the island had reappeared, thanks to Dark Angel's powers. She regarded Victor again, still amazed that it was really him, come back from the dead. She wondered what it would be like to experience what he had and then to be alive and whole again. A shudder passed through her at the thought and she returned her attention to the task at hand.
She reformed the golem shell and waited for Union's orders to continue digging.
"If only I had not lost my phasing powers. I could surely scout down there without risking the inhabitants of Albany. Perhaps we should have the city or an area a few miles around here, evacuated?" he asked Union.
Janet thought that was an excellent idea, but one that would take an inordinate amount of time. This intelligence below the surface was aware of them and may not give them the time necessary to evacuate the civilians. Still it was best to let them know and prepare them to get out of the area so that they weren't caught unaware. She kept her thoughts to herself and let Union decide what was to be done.
"Mayhaps young Emerald's powers and mine own could reach out to this creature in tandem whilst the mortals are rerouted away from here? My mind has touched that of Gods perhaps it would be enought to steady our efforts to contact this intelligence supreme? I fear for the youth but my abilities are somewhat lessened here on this plane and lo, it pains mine Asgradian pride greatly to say so, they may not be enough without his aid."
"OK." Union nods at the suggestions, "That sounds like our best bet."
And so Union updates SHIELD. Evacuation efforts have been underway, and there are few civilians in the immediate area. Thus reassured, Emerald and Ravdna move closer to the pit dug by Duststorm and then reach out with their respective psychic powers.
And, again, there is the presence, pulsing, malevolent, enraged, sending out rhythmic waves of evil which suddenly double in intensity, and then double again, and again, all in the blink of an eye! Emerald and Ravdna stagger back, turn about to face the Avengers, moving as if their limbs are being jerked by unseen strings.
In unison, with inhuman voices that sound like an army of angry wasps, the two psychics howl, "For eons imprisoned we have been! Now free to feed we are!"
"Oh dear," Victor says out loud and wonders how they will all fair against this unseen entity if the two most powerful psionic minds within the Avengers are so easily usurped.
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© 2001 Mark L. Chance et al