"Prithee, listen comrades. Yea, the entity was a master of our own abilities but it is able to bring it's own mystic force to bear through us. Our powers were not mutually exclusive while in it's command. I warn you...Be prepar'd for such an onslaught." Privately Ravdna condemns the gap between herself and her teammates brought about by her vocal mannerisms. She would have to work on this if she were to serve the team in a full capacity.
"Oh." Aegis readjusts her mental picture. "In _that_ case, perhaps we should do some research before we go digging around. Legends that might give us a hint to what we're dealing with, or something like that? Unless you got the sense that these things are so old maybe humans have never even encountered them before...."
Ravdna nods, and nearby, Emerald looks thoughtful.
"I have heard tales," Ravdna says. "Of bygone ages when mighty demons didst rule Midgard, enslaving primitive mortals to do their unholy bidding. The gods of yorethe Asgardians, Olympians, and Heliopolitansmet these demons in righteous battle, aided by mortal sorcerers, and didst slay or imprison them, thus freeing Midgard from their hellish grasp. Mayhaps, in this new age, a time in which the gods concern themselves not with Midgard, ancient demons durst to return?"
Dark Angel's deep voice echoes for the first time since the abrupt fight. "You have some thoughts on this matter, Emerald?"
Rick starts a bit and looks around. "Yeah. What Aegis said about research made me think. This movie I'm working on. The writers, one of them at least, Karl Mordo. He's supposed to be some sort of expert on the occult. Maybe he could help?"
"Really? Well perhaps you and Dark Angel could go retrieve him for a consultation? I'm sure he'd be willing to help save the world," Victor says seriously.
"On a side note, I've completed my modifications of the Ground Penetrating Density Spectrum Analyzer (TM) that I used on the island in the Atlantic Ocean and have converted it to a Brain Wave Pattern Stability Amplifier(TM). This should be just what we need to enhance our natural mental defenses and shield us from psionic intrusion and domination in the event that we engage these entities further. Its currently running and set to our brain waves only," Victor says as he holds it up and then brings it down and attaches the device to his belt.
"Now as long as it doesn't get damaged, we should be alright," he smiled.
Adrian rolled his eyes under his helmet _'Willing to help save the world?' Does Victor always have to talk like the hero of a Republic serial?_
"Helioptians, huh? And here I thought I'd heard everything." Union quipped, trying to make light of a situation that was growing more serious by the minute. "OK, I should have thought of this soonerwhen you don't have any information, call on an outside expert. Here, Emerald, take the SHIELD communicator and get in touch with this Mordo back in New York. If he isn't willing to come here, and I wouldn't blame him, at least you'll be able to question him and get back in touch with us. A little empathic contact to make sure he's not just lying about things probably wouldn't hurt: I don't want any of us getting killed because some movie writer wants to puff up his ego.
Emerald takes the communicator and puts the call through. "Yeah, hi. This is, uh, Emerald, one of the Avengers. Yeah. No, really. Yeah. Listen, I'm trying to get in touch with, uh, a Mister Karl Mordo. Yeah. I heard he's some sort of occult expert and --. Never mind where I heard; I just did. Yeah, sorry. Anyway, the Avengers have bumped into some sort of occult situation here in Albany and --. When do you expect him back?"
Union continues while Emerald tries to defeat the receptionist:
"DA, do you think you could teleport the two of you back to New York? I know we probably have some time before this thing strikes again, but I want this dealt with as soon as possible, or it's next target could be an earthquake in midtown Manhattan that would sink the whole island, and I don't think we can stop that one."
Dark Angel nods solemnly. "Of course."
Union nods and addresses the rest of the Avengers:
"For the rest of us, we have some possible offenses and defenses, no information to move forward on and what looks like some free time. Take 10 until Emerald gets back to us, so we're all rested when and if something does come up."
"Okay," Emerald says, growing impatient. "He's out to an early dinner with Beck? Ricci's? Yeah, I know where that's at." He looks at Dark Angel and shrugs. The Ebon Avenger nods as if to say he knows where the restaurant can be found. "Thank you, ma'am."
Emerald starts to hand the communicator back to Union, but then changes his minds. "Probably need this to stay in touch. We're gonna have to go find him. I'll radio in as soon as I've got any news."
"Then we depart," Dark Angel states, and in a flash of blackness he and Emerald are gone.
Per Union's instructions, the remaining Avengers "take 10," waiting for Emerald to make contact, but fifteen minutes later, contact has yet to be made....
Day/Time: Late Friday afternoon
Location: Somewhere in Manhattan
Dark Angel and Emerald arrived via teleportation not too far from Ricci's, an upscale eatery near Central Park. A quick talk with the maitre d' revealed that Beck, Mordo, and Strange left only a few minutes ago.
"I think I know where they're at," Emerald says.
A moment later, the two Avengers walked into the large, warehouse-like building. Dark Angel immediately noted its complete lack of furnishings and the lime green paint covering walls, floor, and ceiling alike. To their left, stairs led up to the control room. A single light shined through the windows above.
"Why do you just stand there, Emerald," Dark Angel says, annoyed. "We are on a mission."
The Ebon Avenger brushes past his stationary comrade, heading for the stairs, but takes no more than four or five steps before searing pain staggers him to one knee.
"Your mission and mine are not the same," growls the inhuman voice emanating from Rick's throat.
Dark Angel turns, mighty limbs moving to action, ready to bring the Darkforce to bear against Emerald once again.
"Not this time."
Two more bolts of mystic energy burn into Dark Angel's body, sprawling him to the ground.
"The Crimson Bands of Cyttorak will keep him in check," Mordo says as thick, bright red straps form from the very air, wrapping tightly around Dark Angel from chin to ankle.
"What do we do know?" asks Stephen Strange, somewhat nervous.
Mordo laughs. "We wait."
Union checks the time again, watching it slowly drag from fifteen minutes towards twenty, with still no word from Emerald or Dark Angel. Finally, he turns his internal radio gear to the SHIELD communicator's frequency and sends out a call.
"Emerald, this is Union. Anything to report? Emerald, come in please."
There is no reply, not even static. Union contacts SHIELD techs anyway, but they confirm what he had already guessed. Emerald's communicator must not even be turned on.
"OK, we still haven't heard from Emerald and Dark Angel, and they aren't answering the communicator. I have a bad feeling that something happened. Victor, I'm going to need you to make some sort of triangulation device to locate that communicator if we can't get in touch with them. Let's get moving."
While the team is pulling together, Union flies over to Gyrich, "We're pulling out for now. We have a possible lead in New York that requires looking into, and we've lost contact with DA and Emerald. Whatever's causing this is both magical and malevolent. Your people should be safe as long as they don't try to make psychic contact with it, which was what got us in trouble. Don't do any digging at the epicenter, and keep us informed if there's another disaster somewhere else. Thanks for all your help on this Gyrich. I hope I can give you good news when we call back in."
One last thought occurs to him just as he's about to leave, "Without Dark Angel here to teleport us, we're a little slowed down. Do you have a jet or anything we can use to get back to the city?"
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© 2001 Mark L. Chance et al