The return home.
Union, Aegis, the Spectre, Captain America, Delta V, Emerald, and Dark Angel appear in Stark Labs, standing in the same clean room from which they departed for Asgard. Tony Stark, sitting in a chair, starts at the sudden arrival, leaping to his feet.
"Thank God you're all okay!" he exclaims. "You've been gone for nearly seventy-two hours."
Dumas looks around the room seeing they are back and then over to Tony. "Tony did you receive the women I brought back?"
Totally unprepared for the sudden shift, Union's body jerks spasmodically, nearly collapsing at the moment of reentry before one leg lashed out to catch him before he hit the ground. The armored man jerked upright like a marionette whose strings had been yanked upward. *Don't Vomit. Don't Vomit. You're inside a helmet...Don't vomit. And don't move.* The suit flickers as he shuts off the em field systems, and he sags into the chair that Tony Stark had abandoned a moment before.
*Oh, I hate that sensation. I HAD planned to shut the suit down before we went through the barrier again, but no such luck. I never want to go dimension-hopping again...*
Before anyone can respond, the lights flicker and sparks begin to fly from the dimension travel equipment. There are several pops! hisses! and crackles! Stark's jaw drops as he helplessly watches millions of dollars of scientific hardware self-destruct.
*Oops. Light's Out.* Adrian grimaced under the helmet at the look on Stark's face, remember his own experiences with self-destructing equipmentthough none of his recent work ever cost anywhere near as much as this. *It wasn't my fault, anyway. I couldn't have been...*
Dumas breathes a sigh of expectation. "Hurumph!"
*So much for getting a chance to do some sight-seeing,* Aegis thinks. *Or for saying 'thanks' to our native guide... !@$% it. Guess we'd better just *hope* none of them decide to come back to bother us, since it looks like we won't be visiting Asgard again anytime soon.*
Emerald looks around at the lab, still impressive in spite of the massive destruction wrought by Odin. "Mr. Stark," he greeted the older man. "Are the women okay?" he doesn't wait for an answer. "Is there someplace around here I can crash?" Slowly, as the young man realizes he was going to live, his usual cheerful nature returns.
"Three days?" Aegis thinks "Certainly didn't feel that long. Anything interesting happen while we were gone?" She's feeling downright cheerful now that they're back: mission accomplished, no one hurt. And the memory of that sky to carry for the rest of her life, proof that the world is far stranger than most would assume.
All the same, it will be nice to have things back to normal again.
Union started his systems, standing as he realigned himself with the Earth's magnetic fields, but something was nagging at the back of his mind. Something someone said. It was...what was it...
*Well, comin' back to the corral isn't so bad. At least I'm no sheep in the cow pen now* thinks Dark Angel. Relishing his relief to be back on familiar turf, he lets Mr. Stark's words sink slowly into his addled brain.
"THREE DAYS!" Union spun on Stark, his modulated voice still full of shock and disbelief,
Darkangel's head snaps up and he echoes "THREE DAYS!?!"
"Three Days!?" Cap cries.
Union continued, "Did you say it's been Seventy-two Hours? Oh, Blast it all! Aegis, everyone, sorry, but I have things that need attending to immediately. Stark, thanks for the hospitality and your assistance."
"I'll meet everyone, say, tomorrow nightthat should be Fridayten o'clock on top of the empire state building, same as last time. The observation floor will be open for another hour, but it should still serve as a meeting place." The sliver clad hero's gliding stride quickly carried him to the clean rooms doors, which cycled under his electromagnetic command.
What about his new job? What about all of his plans to get his life moving again? His new life in the big city with a new job. And a raise. "My raise. Oh, God." Dark Angel sits on the floor with a hefty *thump* and hangs his head in despair, barely noticing Union's exit as he files the request for a meeting somewhere in the back of his mind.
"Aw man, Doc's probably worried sick! Listen, Mr. Stark , everybody, I'll meet you at the Empire State, but I gotta go!" The young hero quickly makes his exit, and takes to the sky, heading for the upper west side....
Dumas also looks disturbed, both at the sight of his work being destroyed, but also, unknown to the others in the room, by the growing realization that he has returned to Earth different from when he left. Somehow, someway, Dumas has been stripped of his ability to dimension travel!
He puts his hands to his chest as if he were looking for something in pockets that were not there. Victor pats down his chest.
"Odin has robbed me of my powers!"
Still on Asgard, Ravdna and Loki stand before Odin.
"Escort Loki to his chambers anon," Odin tells Ravnda. "He shall be confined therein 'til we decide his fate."
End of Part One.
| Top |
© 1999 Mark L. Chance et al