Chaos engulfs the throne room.
Darkangel attempts to lick his lips, but a memory of his mother soaping his mouth prevents the addition of this finishing touch. Instead, he waits, frankly, to be slapped, but hopes that Amora will take the bait. After all, he muses, what woman can resist the desire to get three handsome rascals in fist cuffs over her at once?
Union grimaces within his helmet, his shocked look combining with a big grin despite the tension of the situation. *Well, that MAY work. Lets see.* he projects to the telepathic link, while to himself he thinks "and if that's what things are like in the dating world right now, It's just as well that I'm well out of it..."
Amora recoils at the same time Skurge whips his attention towards Dark Angel before the albinoid hero is more than a half dozen words into his taunt. Perhaps a third of the crowd chants the Executioner's name. Thor holds up an imperious hand to Cap, signalling him to pause, the Thunderer's sharp blue eyes looking around in disbelief. Loki's concentration is broken, as if he was suddenly slapped, and he too looks about, quickly focusing on Dark Angel, who begins to feel rather exposed.
And then the chaos!
Skurge's mouth opens and his throat expels an incoherent, animal growl as he charges, axe in hand at Dark Angel. Amora steps back, sheltering herself behind Loki.
Naturally, he can't help understand Skurge's reaction. Had anyone so insulted his woman and his manhood he wouldn't have hesitated to send them to their maker. *Lord, please don't let me go there now,* he amends, and focuses on the battle below.
Accustomed to the mayhem of bar-room brawls, Dark Angel needs only a split second to adjust himself to the situation at hand. Swinging into action, he gives himself a swift air-lift, hoping to dodge Skurge's swinging axe, while simultaneously wrapping a softening darkness-field around said weapon.
All of what follows happens in a split second, but for Dark Angel the action seems unnaturally clear, his mind focusing on the unexpectedness of Skurge's attack. Dark Angel, powerful wings lifting him into the air, gestures at the Executioner, sending thick coils of darkforce spiraling towards the Skurge's axe, which slashes downward during its wielder's charge. Along the arc of the axe's descent, a blinding sliver of light appears and vanishes, and from out of this sliver bursts a gout of flame so fiercely hot that it burns away Dark Angel's inky projections. Skurge slides to a sudden halt, glaring up at the flying Dark Angel, that deadly double-bladed axe gripped tightly in both hands.
As Skurge starts his charge Victor squats near the women prisoners and speaks to them in a calm soothing voice. "Those of you who want to go back home to New York City, please grab a hold of each other's hands and I will take you there immediately."
He grasps the hands of two of the women and waits for the all of them to be touching each other. Once that has occurred Victor uses his power to phase the women's molecules out of sync with this dimension and in tune with their shared home dimension of Earth.
Victor wanted to quickly return to Asgard to aid his new teammates in the battle.
Slowly, too slowly Victor fears, understanding of his words seeps into the women's minds. One in particular, a striking redhead, takes a hold of the two women nearest her, a sense of silent authority giving weight to her action. Then, in a blink, Victor and the women, chain and all, vanish...
...and reappear in the empty parking lot west of the Stark Industries main complex. It is near dawn, the sky just turning dull orange. The women shriek and Victor himself starts a bit when the shrill cry of the facility's klaxon pierces the silence. Victor knows his sudden arrival has been detected by Stark's crack security cadre and that shortly he will be surrounded by armed guards.
"Treachery!" Loki cries. "The mortals seek to trick us! Behold!"
Loki's hateful visage turns on Emerald and the Trickster waves his hand. In a flash, Emerald's, Union's, and Delta V's costumes all vanish! A nearby Asgardian grabs Emerald's upper arm. "What have we here?" the warrior asks rhetorically.
"Unhand him!" another warrior orders, grabbing Emerald's other arm.
Emerald lashes out with his power, trying to throw off the two men holding him down.
But before Emerald can focus his will, the second Asgardian roundhouses the first, breaking his grip on Emerald's arm and sending the Viking staggering several yards backwards, careening into another knot of brawlers that quickly include him their activity. The second Asgardian slides his strong grip down to Emerald's hand and pumps it vigorously.
"Well met, mortal!" he says with a toothy grin. "Come! Let us show Loki's lapdogs what for!"
And with that he wades, knuckles flying, into the fray, leaving Emerald and Delta V standing somewhat stupefied in a sea of violence that threatens to submerge them at any moment.
Thor stands, stunned, as the brawl begins, Asgardian against Asgardian, the violence spreading like ripples in a pond.
As Thor turns to eye the growing chaos, Cap thinks to himself *Shoot! This is bad! If he breaks off fighting me, he'll grab his hammer, and then we're in for some serious trouble! Can't let that happen!* His mind races, at a loss for outdoing this legendary warrior. Then he has it! His time spent on the his adopted home-world has taught him of only one being able to master this type of situation in a suitably obnoxious and foolhardy fashion: a certain black waterfowl.
"Naw, shaggy, I thinkest I can defeatest your puffed up immortal rear end with my fists! Hey! Eyes over here, wiseguy! What are you, a lawn jockey? Put your hand down and come take your beatin'! Are you gonna try and weasel out of our duel just because of a little sideline action? Huh? Afraid to go punch for punch? C'mon, I'll even give you first the shot." Cap plants his feet, holds both arms out to the sides, and grins, tauntingly. "Give me your best shot, rabbit!"
Somewhere in the back of the young Captain's mind, a voice says that his sort of thing doesn't usually turn out so well for the duck. The voice is tackled, beaten, and gagged by every other voice in his head before reality gets any bright ideas.
Thor turns, almost casually, a perplexed look distressing his noble features. "Rabbit?" he says. "Hath thou taken leave of thy senses?" A brawler grappling with another jostles Thor from behind. The Thunderer turns, hefts them both off the floor, one with each hand, and hurls them screaming almost all the way to spacious hall's main entrance. "This offends against honor," Thor explains to Cap. "My contest with thee was properly joined." Thor casually clothes-lines another Asgardian charging by on his way to another part of the brawl, sending the stunned warrior spinning head over heels through the air.
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© 1999 Mark L. Chance et al