As the other two Avengers crashed through the roof and the wall respectively, Janet tore through the floor and erupted in a shower of dirt, once again encased in her golem shell of reinforced concrete from the floor.
As she gained her footing on the erupting dirt, Janet tried to use her ability to sense where people were in her vicinity using her ability to read the air and the telltale traces that people left as they moved and breathed. She didn't want anyone ambushing her from behind.
Unfortunately, Victor's jury-rigging, however brilliant, cannot copper wire, circuits, and sensitive filaments bear more stress than they can bear. With a brief sputter and a cough, the scanner/psionic shield shorts out.
Aegis drops Ravdna off and accelerates into a sharp arc, bringing her over the building and then down through the roof like a missile. Victor follows Ravdna in towards the broadside of the building holding his rifle as if he was going to shoot from the hip.
Janet sank into the ground. She travelled as fast as she was able to until she was under the center of the warehouse. She listened with a mental ear to try and coordinate her attack with Aegis and Ravdna.
The concrete and steel roof crumbles under Aegis's might, raining dust and debris onto the floor below. Gugnir makes equally short work of the wall through which the awesome Valkyrie smashes as she and Victor enter the warehouse. Duststorm, underground until now, erupts through the floor.
Outside, Union finishes his transmission to the Avengers still on long island, giving them the location of the warehouse and telling them to make best time. With luck, their surprise entry in a few minutes should give the Avengers an opening if they need one.
Dark Angel can be seen against the far wall, bound in strange bands of crimson, apparently unable to move. Two other people, one of them Sue Storm, the other the actor Robert Preston leap out from within holographic projections of thick-trunked trees. Mystical energy crackles at their fingertips. Through the window of the control booth to Dark Angel's left, another man, probably Quentin Beck, can be seen, intently watching the scene below him.
"Now you've had it!" Emerald yells at the dark-haired, middle aged man hovering just above floor level.
Karl Mordo laughs. "You fools! Doctor Strange was a mere lackey! Now you face a true Sorcerer Supreme!"
Union walks casually through the hole left by Ravdna's attack, the dust still floating in the air, the metallic debris falling into strange orbits around his glowing armor. Adrian was too tired and too angry to be afraid of this man - espcially since the last 'Sorcerer Supreme' turned out to be a paper tiger.
"You still don't get this, do you Mordo? If it's come so far that all of the Avengers are here, then it's over. You can strut and rave and froth at the mouth about your power: when you're done it won't change the fact that it's over, and all your plans..." He lays his hand on the shattered wall's electrical circuitry before continuing, "Have turned out to be just smoke and mirrors."
"Three hundred and fourteen people died in Albany, Mordo. Avengers, Take him down."
"You are right about one thing only, hero!" Mordo cackles. "It is indeed over!"
As Union focuses his attention on Beck in the control booth, the movie director flips the switch on which his hand had been resting. The scene flickers and changes in the blink of an eye. The warehouse now appears to be a cave complete with dripping rock formations. Rising up in the center of the cavern, nearest to Duststorm, is a great monster composed of slime, pulsing flesh, writhing tentacles, and baleful eyes.
"Come, Chthon!" Mordo cries out to the monstrous hologram. "I give you souls on which to feed!"
Union fires a burst of electricity into the exposed circuitry of the wall. The control panel before Beck spits and smokes, causing the director to recoil in surprise and fear. The cave scene vanishes as abruptly as it arrived, but not the monster. If anything, it seems even more solid, more realistic than before.
_This is the point where the hologram is supposed to disappear. I hate magic. I really do._ Union thinks as he desperately looks for a way to control the situation. "Dark Angel! Confine that thing for a.... Urk!"
*On three?* Aegis queries Ravdna, making her way toward Mordo never mind Storm for the moment. Ace this freak and his puppets should be no trouble.
"Aye, Friend Aegis. I shall smite him low. Thou takest high."
Aegis, Ravdna, and Emerald leap into action, all three aiming for Mordo, but the sorcerer seems unconcerned. With a gesture, the crimson bands around Dark Angel flash through the air to form a glowing, blood red sphere around Mordo. Aegis rebounds from the globe, the impact knocking the wind from her for a moment. Ravdna is chagrined to see that once again a magical field proves more than a match for Gugnir. The giant green fist projected by Emerald hammers mightily on Mordo's force field, but also without effect.
_You son of a...._ Aegis regains her balance, furious.
Across the warehouse, Union suddenly goes rigid. A feeling like a scratching underneath his scalp manifests, and whispers, both seductive and obscene, echo in his inner ear. The Avenger's leader senses his will slipping under another's control....
"Why are you fighting this, mortal--you whom death stalks like a hungry wolf? We could give you all you wish if you just submit...." The whispers slide scalpel-like through his mind, dredging up every foul abscess. In his mind's eye an ageless Adrian Toomes stands triumphant, smiling mirthfully at the endless electrical torment of Gregory Bestman. Janet Van Dyne with lustful eyes and diaphanous robes clings to his powerful armored body, desperately seeking approval. A chained and enslaved Victor Von Doom serving him wine his stance and every motion conveying his inferiority to the power of Union. Guarded by the agents of his will, Aegis and Ravda, who hold the cheering crowds at bay with fire and steel. "They already follow you and wait for you to truly lead them. Think of the power at your command, mortal. We can show you how to direct it, control it, make all your darkest dreams come trueŠ"
Victor aims the rifle towards the ground in front of Preston and lays down a wall of flame to distract the dominated actor. He looks over towards Emerald, "Emerald, if you could possible subdue the good Miss Storm....gently, I would greatly appreciate it." He thinks back towards his brief relationship with the actress just a short while ago and how they went their separate ways in order to pursue their own careers. On the other hand he wished he had his powers back. He was able to make the difference when they fought the mystical Loki and perhaps he could help with Mordo as well.
Preston is indeed distracted by the fire. He staggers back from the heat, hissing like an animal. Storm, on the other hand, is nonplussed and walks boldly and unharmed through the fire.
"This is going to hurt like hell!" Storm warns, her voice a horrifying chorus of buzzes and screams.
Victor leaps backward just in time, avoiding Storm's out of phase, outstretched hand. The possessed actress giggles and makes ready for another attack.
Janet listened to Union's impassioned speech and was heartened by his referral to the people who had paid with the ultimate price for this madman's dreams. "Let's see how well you talk without any air, Mordo." Janet hissed, heedless of the fact that he probably couldn't hear her words anyway. Since it had worked so well with Strange, she decided to go with what worked against the magic wielding enemy.
She created a bubble of vacuum around the megalomaniac sorcerer and exerted the extra effort to keep the bubble centered on him no matter where he went within her sight. Through the link she informed everyone of the vacuum around the sorcerer and for them to take care not to get caught within in the bubble.
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© 2001 Mark L. Chance et al