What mystery do they confront?
"Thanks for the information. It might not be a threatthey only possessed Ravdna and Emerald after some sort of contact was made. If they were capable of more direct mind control, why would they wait for that? On the other hand, if they get out from *whatever* is holding them, they might be a lot more powerful. If the thing you're building there is some sort of protection against mind control, by all means keep working.
"We just don't have enough data." Union shakes his head, frustrated by the situation and angry with his past mistakes. "One thing I think we can rule out is that these attacks are connected with Duststorm's aliens. They can't have been magically imprisoned for 'eons' and have sent a message saying they were coming."
Union looks around to his teammates, trying to sound like he knew what he was doing, "Unfortunately, I can't think of any way of getting more without engaging these thingswhatever they are. That being the case, I canšt see any course other than the one we started: judging from their reaction to communication, I think we can assume negotiation is out. I know that they're bound wherever they are now, but the tidal wave and this earthquake are certainly proof that they're capable of interacting with our environment in a very dangerous fashion, so just hoping they stay locked up isn't an option."
"We have to look at this from an entirely different perspective. What if these entities were somehow awakened by humanity and now they are just attempting to defend themselves with the only methods that they are familiar with. Geological movements and mental domination may be just two tools at their disposal. And perhaps by Duststorm digging down further, it would appear to them that we are capable of utilizing the same method of offense that they employed earlier. This might look as if it were an attack directly against them. Maybe we should focus on communication from where we are instead of approaching them in what might be considered a hostile maneuver? I do feel that your approach may be the best however, but I wanted to play devil's advocate, no pun intended regarding our current situation." Victor commented to the Sliver Avenger.
Duststorm turned her head at the mention of her name and realized that it may indeed have seemed to be an offensive maneuver to tunnel down to them. Then again, these alien beings may just be pure evil and would have tried to control Ravdna and Emerald anyway. They had seemed quite pleased to be free again if only in the bodies of others. They had made no mention of seeming to be under attack. It seemed to Duststorm that the beings had just seized an opportunity that presented itself, not retaliated against a perceived attack. But she knew better than to say anything about it now. Bickering between themselves would only make matters worse. She looked to Union for guidance.
"As for what I am building, that is quite astute of you to realize what it's intention is," Victor replies impressed that Union figured it out since it was still early in its construction.
"But perhaps, instead of that, I should be working on a mechanical means of communication that won't endanger one of us from being mind controlled again? Its your decision Chairman," Victor ended with a slight friendly smile.
Union looks across at the seated scientist, "We tried communication once, and it didn't get us very far. Their response to the attempt was definitely that of a hostile inmate, not a frightened homeowner. Stick with the defenses, since I'm pretty sure this will eventually devolve into a fight." And I still don't know how to decipher your technology, Victor, but I am starting to figure out how you think, and I made a good guess.
The silver avenger then addresses the rest of the team, "Unless someone has some other idea, I can't think of anything to do other can continuing the tunnel and making some very physical contact with these things. "Ravdna, you're the closest we have to an expert on magic: please tell me you have a better solution."
"Aye Union, I wouldst if 'twere possible. Many beings of magic are vulnerable to silver. Mayhaps it would be possible to arm ourselves with such a metal?"
"I'm certainly no expert on magic, but from legends I know, certain mystical beings are susceptible to iron, wood and garlic supposedly as well," Victor added not feeling very useful.
"If its metals you need, I might be able to get some from the surrounding rock and debris. I don't know about the silver, but I might be able to get some iron. Its pretty well everywhere in small amounts." Janet piped up. She wasn't exactly sure that she could do this with her abilities but it was along the same lines as how the worked. Maybe with some practice she could refine it so that she could manipulate certain minerals only rather than the sum total of dirt and rock.
"Ravdna, I don't want to dispute what happened but I wanted to be sure it was magic that took over rather than a very powerful evil mind. The distinction could mean all the difference. You speak in words and phrases that are not necessarily understood by the rest of us. You said 'sinister mystic energies'. You're sure it was magic and not the beings force of will." Janet hated to second guess her friend but Ravdna did have a way of speaking that confused Janet at times. It may have been just Ravdna's impression of the force that took over as being magic. To us, the concept of faster than light travel would seem like magic, she thought. but we have proof that this is possible through technology as that message we received indicates. "I mean no disrespect, Ravdna. I just want us all to be sure of what we face."
"The bolt the monster was prepared to smite thee with was most assuredly that of magic origin, mortal. Mine eyes hath seen this sort of display for millennia. The strike would hath done the evil Loki himself proud."
"I appreciate that Ravdna. I need no further convincing that it was magic." She said, grateful that Ravdna had not decided to prove her point with Gugnir instead. "You said that it was going to attack me? Why, because I was tunneling towards it?" Janet asked, unaware of her potential danger. If it could send a bolt through the ground, why hadn't it done so. Maybe it needed to see its target through mortal eyes before it could attack and without Ravdna or Emerald under its control then it couldn't complete the attack. Still it was worth retaining that information for later use. She looked to Union for confirmation of orders. She was leery of continuing the tunneling but would do so if asked.
"It was channeling it's abilities through your body as if it were a conduit? Intriguing," Victor ended while rubbing his chin and thinking while working on his device.
"Maybe we should try to revive Emerald before we further with the exploration," Aegis suggests. "It could be that it simply uses the native abilities of its vessel, rather than it being magic in itself. He might be able to tell us more about the thing's nature."
"Ok, we've got him pretty well bound up if he tries anything. Delta V, do you want to see if you can't wake him up while Victor finishes his device? Once we have both, we may as well try to burrow lower and unearth somethingwhether it be one of these things or a entry to where they're caged or what have you." Union metallic voice has an edge of frustration in itnot has his teammates, but at the situation. The old engineer can get cranky when he has no data to work with.
Delta V nods. Dark Angel, standing nearby, releases the Darkforce from around Emerald, and Delta V fishes through a quickly-retrieved first aid kit for some smelling salts. Once cracked under Emerald's nose, noxious chemicals do their work quite effectively. Coughing and gasping, Emerald awakes.
"Man," he mumbles. "That sucked."
No longer possessed by the entity, Delta V and Dark Angel bring Rick up to speed on what has transpired since the brief fight. While they do so, Union addresses Janet:
"Duststorm, while they're doing that, you might as well pull us together some iron and silver. I don't know that it will help, but it can't hurt."
Janet listened to Union and concentrated on the task at hand. Her mind kept drifting to his voice though. He was sounding tired, almost old sounding. But he can't be that old, can he? She asked. She shook her head and began concentrating on the rock and dirt under her, trying to isolate the specific minerals requested. She only hoped that it worked. Duststorm tried to gather the minerals one at a time and make a neat pile out of each one.
Duststorm nods and goes to work, using her ability to control metals and minerals to strip iron and small quantities of silver from the bits and pieces of the city around. Before too long, she has a sizable quantity of iron and about a pound or two of silver.
Shortly after she is done, Victor smiles in a self-satisfied way. He's finished his work, converting his ground-scanning equipment to a projection device with the potential to block psychic attacks. Swelling with a touch of pride at the thought that he now could be useful to the team again, Victor stood and approached the other Avengers with the device in his hand and waited for an opportunity to break in and speak.
| Top |
© 2001 Mark L. Chance et al