A threat awaits at Castle Doom.
Gyrich listens thoughtfully as Union updates him on the situation. "We can take my car," he says. "It'll seat two in the front and three in the back." He grins at Union. "Oh yeah. And it flies."
Union is ready to dismiss the agents offer (Picturing trying to fit Ravdna's spear, never mind Ravdna herself, with four other people in a sedan) when he does a sudden double take "What?!?"
Janet took the time to fashion the iron and silver into reasonable clubs that could be used by any of the other Avengers. She hoped that they wouldn't be required to use any piercing weapons on their foes. 'We're Avengers' she thought. We don't kill our opponents.'
When no word came back after ten minutes, Janet started to get worried. She idly formed and demolished small golems to vent her frustration but as the time crept past 15 minutes to 20 minutes she started worrying in earnest. The golems began pacing agitatedly as their master fretted over their teammates. Finally she could take it no more. The golems disintegrated in a blast of rock and earth that was thankfully contained within the pit that she had dug. That was when Union came to the fore and made the decision to take Gyrich's 'flying' car back to New York.
With a sigh of relief that something was finally being done, Duststorm climbed into the car, making sure to keep all of the iron and silver weapons on hand in case these aliens decided to come into NYC proper.
Victor walked over and got into the car as well and wondered why Duststorm, who could fly, was riding in there as well. He chalked it up to her exhaustion and let it go while he both worked on a device that could detect disabled SHIELD communicators and studied the design of the car thinking that more of a plane or helicopter type vessel would be better for the Avengers. Maybe something based off of his anti-gravity technology he was working on. Though he'd have to make it space worthy as well. Who knew if they would need to go up there for something.
Victor used an extra SHIELD communicator and his previous device to create something that could triangulate the location of the base components of Emerald's communications device based off of the way it's internal homing beacon would have affected the molecular structures around it as it's radio waves passed through or bounced off of them before it was broken or turned off. It was a simple concept really based partly on his area of expertise of vibrational attunement.
Location: Beck's Studio
There is a jerking sensation akin to Vertigo, and then Emerald is once again in control of his faculties. Dark Angel, struggling in vain, is wrapped in thick crimson bands and suspended in midair against the wall near the stairs leading up to the control booth. Mordo, dressed in an expensive black suit and tie, stands near the center of the warehouse, arms folded across his chest. He is smiling.
"Welcome back, Rick," he says coldly. "The time is drawing nigh. I, for one, can hardly wait. For years I have plotted the return of Chthon and the Elder Gods, but until I learned of Beck's marvelous technology and your remarkable gifts, I was at loss about how exactly to free my Dark Lord from imprisonment beneath Wundagore Mountain." He chuckles. "Just think. Soon you will have the honor of unleashing hell on earth, and I will finally reap the rewards promised me."
Day/Time: Late Friday afternoon
Location: Nearing Castle Doom
Iron and silver implements of destruction in hand, the Avengers and Gyrich follow the signal to the location determined by Victor. There is still no word from Emerald or Dark Angel. Delta V rushes along on the ground, easily keeping pace with Gyrich's remarkable flying car, a seemingly normal mid-size sedan whose wheels fold down and double as lift jets. Victor, Duststorm, Ravdna, and Malachi ride along with Gyrich.
There's only so much room in the aircar, so Aegis and Union cruise along beside it. Beth begins to appreciate the resources at SHIELD's command. She also realizes that she's lost track of what day it is, with all the recent emergencies. _You deserve a nice night out, girl, as soon as we're done with whatever this turns out to be. Assuming it doesn't get done with us instead...._
Janet had plenty of time to think, and worry, as they flew to New York. She was worried about Emerald who had so recently been controlled by the alien being. She worried too about Dark Angel who was one of the strongest heroes she had ever met, yet he had seemingly been incapacitated as evidenced by his no show back in Albany. She worried about the rest of the team and what they were about to face, currently a large unknown. And she was most worried for the inhabitants of New York where they were headed. They had no way to protect themselves from what was occurring and had to rely on the Avengers to protect them. She only hoped that they were up to the task. She was confident that they would prevail, but at what cost. They had already lost Victor once, there own mortality was quite evident despite the attitude that heroes never die.
En route, it becomes apparent that the signal is mobile. Victor mentally readjusts his initial calculations. "The signal is moving," he informs everyone via communicator. "At current trajectories and speeds, we'll rendezvous at Avengers Castle."
And, sure enough, inside a half hour, there is Castle Doom on the horizon. A single figure, too distant to make out with certainty, stands motionless atop one of the towers on the cemetery-side of the estate.
As they neared Victor's castle, Duststorm noticed a lone form waiting atop one of the towers. 'It might be Emerald,' she thought as they approached, 'but where's Dark Angel?'
Aegis radios the car. "That jalopy have any weapons on board, Agent Gyrich?"
"Roger that," Gyrich responds, pressing a button on the steering wheel with his thumb. The trunk splits in half and pivots up, and then what appears to a Gatling gun pops out.
Victor had a bad feeling about this, but he kept it to himself. He wondered who this would be. Dread filled his heart as he started contemplating whether it was the Cosmonaut coming back to finish the job, or perhaps it was the other-dimensional Kang. Perhaps even the KGBeast or one of his older enemies. Maybe Loki? He chucked at that thought and his own paranoia.
Victor configured his scanner and started to determine who or what that person was ahead of them. Unfortunately, there is little information that the scanner can give. The figure is apparently neither Emerald nor Dark Angel, but is human, but, at the same time, there are some unusual alpha wave spikes registering.
"I'd like to suggest that we land a fair distance away from the castle. I don't think it'd be as fun having an auto accident at this altitude if this person has some sort of distance weapon," Victor asked. Meanwhile he started to look around for an ejection switch in case they were shot down.
Adrian tried to bite down his growing disquieta feeling that seemed to be infecting the rest of the team as wellin their approach to the castle. _There's no reason for us to think that this isn't Emerald or Dark Angel, and yet... and yet...._
Union uncoupled his armor's magnetic fields from the SHIELD aircar, shifting back to flying entirely under his own power. "Gyrich, slow down and bring the car over the castle from the other directionAvengers, deploy on the roof as soon as Gyrich gets you close enough. Duststorm, see if you can't put some sort of air shield between the car and the figure in case Victor's right about an attack. Ravdna, tell Delta V to come in from the ground floor and let us know if there's anyone besides Alfred inside. Aegis and I will take first crack at talking to our guest.
Ravdna relays the telepathic request to Delta V, who raises a thumb on high in response. Gyrich pulls left on the steering wheel, and the flying car swoops and arcs, soaring around toward the rear of the castle.
Duststorm sticks nearby to the car, concentrating on forming a bubble of "hard air" to deflect any possible incoming attacks. She hoped that it wouldn't become necessary but she didn't want the car exploding in a fireball either. She strained her eyes trying to determine who the figure was and what they might want. If it was one of her friends, she hoped that they weren't carrying bad news about the other teammate.
"I can't hover," he tells his passengers. "But I'll drop to close to stall speed when I pass over the castle. Get ready to jump!"
"Aegisladies first. I'll try and keep up." Union boosted his speed off of Long Island's power grids, knowing that he'd have to push the armor fairly hard match Aegis's graphitic flight, and that their approach should be fast enough to give Gyrich some distance from the mysterious figure walking the parapets.
"Whatever happened to 'age before beauty?'" Aegis cracks, adrenaline tingling through her tired limbs. "I'll break left."
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© 2001 Mark L. Chance et al