A mysterious new threat.
And, sure enough, Delta V arrives before of the other heroes, but not too much before. He has ample time, however, to determine that his wife and son, Martha and William, are unhurt, but both are frightened. Martha is sitting in the living room with William cradled in her lap. Both have been crying.
Of the four agents on duty in the house, only one is conscious. Agent Mulhare sits in the living room also, holding an ice pack to a nasty cut on his forehead. The other three agents are all out cold. Only one has his gun drawn; it lays uselessly in his hand. A quick check reveals two broken arms, a broken leg, and about a half dozen ugly bruises about the head and shoulders.
Aegis, Emerald, Ravdna, and Specter arrive shortly hereafter.
Once Victor is down and inside he moves to the injured. "Doctor Dumas, at your service." He says as he tries to help his fellow doctor, Delta V. Victor tries to help the injured as best he can until an ambulance arrives.
Ravdna utters a silent prayer to Odin that, thankfully her death sense has not been activated. She begins to address the agents while Dumas and Connors attend to the family.
"Explain." she says simply.
Rick takes a moment to look around, then settles at the valkerie's side. As he listens to the agents tell their tale he looks carefully at the surroundings, trying to see if anything is out of place.
While the others head inside to see what lies there, Aegis performs a brief aerial sweep of the neighborhood, searching for anyone fleeing the area or a disturbance that might indicate the presence of the mysterious enemy.
Delta V stands near his wife and child, comforting them. His mind still races at the breakneck speed his body was just moments ago. "Wait a minute. I know these agents are highly trained, but only four of them against a spy with super powers? What if this was a diversion to get us away from the U.N.? Maybe some of you should get back there as quickly as possible!?"
Dumas looks up at Delta V. "That is certainly a possibility, but I don't think the delegates are due to arrive for another hour or so. I'm sure the Pole will have adequate security until we get back."
While Delta V and the Specter tend to the wounded, Emerald searches the interior and Aegis flies the circuit outside.
Neither Emerald nor Aegis notice anything unusual, aside from the obvious signs of violence within the house. At the same time, Ravdna wander the front room, seemingly distracted, touching first a broken coffee table, then a shattered lamp, then an overturned chair.
In the process, using her post-cognitive powers, she pieces together some of what happened. About the time she comes out of her trance-like state, DePalo enters the house.
"Mulhare!" he barks. "What the hell happened here!?"
While Ravdna watches Agent Mulhare squirm in place under De Palo's barking inquiry she telepathically communicates the vision she received from her contact with the room's memory:
The Connors woman and child were sitting at the coffee table, playing a game on a multi-squared board similar to chess, but not chess. Two agents were on the sofa. One was in the kitchen. The one called Mulhare was in the dining room, eating a sandwich. The door was kicked in by a tall, athletic man, dressed entirely in black, his mask covering the top half of his face. On his chest and forehead were skull designs. He bore a circular, black shield, also with a skull motif. This intruder, using a combination of the shield to parry attacks and a truly amazing degree of skill in hand-to-hand combat, made short work of all four agents. Martha and William fled to a corner, the mother appearing ready to protect her son. Then, the violence stopped. The skull-motifed man addressed Martha: "Relax, ma'am. I'm not going to hurt you. I need your husband's research. The situation grows desperate. Have him meet me. Tomorrow, midnight, with his research notes. The abandoned Roxxon warehouses on the New Jersey side of the river." And with that, the skull-motifed man left.
Ravdna's on thoughts come to the fore once more guiding the link as she "says": "Yon Martha is verily a woman of great bravery, Connors"
Mulhare looks a bit peeved at being barked at, but the look fades quickly, replaced by a well-practiced demeanor of respectful attention.
"I'm not sure, sir," he begins. "We're all just...here. Connors and her son were playing a game. I was having a snack. Then, the guy who burglarized the Connors residence came through the front door. We tried to apprehend him, but.... He's too fast, too well-trained. That damned shield. He took us apart like we're amateurs, sir. I doubt he even broke a sweat. It all happened so quickly."
Martha nods, looking at Delta V. She says, "He told me he wants your research. Tomorrow. He said he didn't want to hurt me or William, and I believe him, but...I don't know. There was something desperate in his voice. Like, he didn't want to hurt us, but he would if he had to." She sobs, her jaw quivering. "How did he find us, Curt? How?"
Thinking that someone that desperate would feel deep emotion Rick's going to try to get a sense of what happened here, emotionally. As he wanders around the house he happens on a piece of William's paper, and several crayons. Without really realizing what he's doing he starts to sketch.
The result is somewhat baffling. The crude picture that forms unconsciously as Emerald suddenly taps into a latent "patch" of raw emotion is all a-jumble. There is a red cross, surrounded by orange. A stick figure, drawn in olive green, lies down. Sleeping? Injured? Dead? Emerald is struck by a strong sense of conflicting loyalties.
Taking the picture to the others Emerald shows them what he's got, and tells them what he was trying to do. With a telepath like Radvna around maybe they can make something of it.
Victor raised an eyebrow under his sometimes worn mask. "A picture? With all due respect,...Emerald. What does a picture you drew have to do with this?" He asked totally baffled as to why the young man would present them with a picture. Dumas did not know of Emerald's empathic abilities.
"It's a pictorial representation of what happened," Emerald explains. "I drew it from the residual emotion," he looks over at the valkerie to see what she has to say.
"Oh...I wasn't aware that you possessed psychic abilities as well." Dumas commented. "Intriguing."
Aegis simply shrugs, baffled as to what it might mean.
Dumas stands up. "Well it looks as though everyone here is patched up. We need to move them to a more secure facility. Perhaps Stark Industries with it's veritable army of security forces or even my own very secure castle on Long Island? Either one will suffice."
"They may still be in danger, might be seized as hostages -- should we plan on being there to meet with this man, find out what his interest is? -- given that SI is already a target of sorts, it might be better for them to stay with you," Aegis suggests, looking at Delta V to see what he thinks of the idea. "Although it begins to look as if this is unconnected to the other problem after all, if they are the same it will force them to split their resources to some extent."
"You have no idea who this person could be representing?" she asks Delta V. "Or what desperate situation he was referring to?"
Delta V shrugs, trying to take in everything that has happened in the past several minutes. He looks from person to person, his gaze finally settling on the colonel.
"We'll do it your way, Connors," DePalo says. "As long as I'm kept in the loop."
The speedster nods before speaking, "I guess your place will have to do, Specter." He looks at Aegis. "And, no, I have no idea who he is or why he'd be after my research. I mean, damn it, the formula doesn't work. At least, not anymore. I was a fluke, I think, that caused it to regenerate my arm. I haven't been able to reproduce the results."
"Very well then. My home will be your home for as long as you need." Dumas replied. Victor turned towards the colonel. "Have one of your men bring an unmarked vehicle from your base. I don't want to use one that is a part of your current convoy. One that is probably already being watched. You will have this car parked five blocks to the west of this house. At the time that we know this car is there, I will take the family to the car via the use of my powers underground. That way no one will know they have left the house unless you have an internal leak. Also you should keep your men here at this house to further the perception that the family is still maintaining residents here. Once we are in the car I will ride with them to my castle and see to their safety....personally if necessary. Your men are invited to stay there as well." Dumas said.
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