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    Thought rapidly becomes deed, as Union matches his inhuman coordination and peerless knowledge of electronics against the damaged power grid.
    With a pop! flash! of sparks, the city's night lighting kicks in, adding to and muting the color of Emerald's lantern.
    Dark Angel, watching all of this action from near the river's edge, is the first to notice that the incessant beating on the night-black dome has stopped.
    "They...no...can't..." Captain America is pale and shivering, obviously in shock. As Delta V works, he looks down to see that Cap's feet both dangle limply against the dock. The young man is literally held up by his will alone.
    Delta V's speed and skill combine with the Captain's phenomenal endurance to close the awful wound and stabilize heart function.
    "Not... supposed to be... like this..." An ember of his earlier intensity still shines in the young man's eyes, but it is obvious that he can barely keep his head up. He looks into Connors' eyes(as best as he can, I don't know what sort of mask DV wears).
    "Thank you" is all he can manage before slumping to a limp, cross-legged sit against a pylon. His gaze drifts across the nearby boats, coming to rest on an American flag at the stern of a commercial ferry.
    "Great first showing..."Captain"..." he says with a bitter chuckle.
    Emerald floats over to where Delta V is applying first aid to Captain America. "Is there anything I can do?" he asks quickly. "Looks like the professionals have things under control."

    "All right," Aegis tells the two women, "this isn't going to be fun for any of us. I'll take it as easy as I can but if they spot us things are going to get exciting. Hold on tight, close your eyes if you don't like heights, and don't move."
    Aegis, with the women in her grasp, leaps from the dragonship and begins a rapid descent. Both of the women scream and clutch Aegis, as if a tighter grip would somehow slow their fall. Looking over her shoulder, Aegis sees the dragonship pass through the tear in the sky. Then, from top to bottom, the tear seals itself, leaving nothing but the skyline as before. The raging tempest vanishes as quickly as it came.
    As suddenly as it appeared, the storm is gonečand so are their enemies, much to her frustration. As the adrenaline slowly drains out of her Bethany is aware that despite the suit's protection she's taken quite a pounding, that this has been a far more thorough test than Tony had planned for the afternoon. Have to run some diagnostics when I get back. I'm lucky everything worked as advertised.
    Oblivious to the actions of the past few minutes, the sun beams innocently down upon the scene.
    "It's such a beautiful day," she murmurs to herself with slightly bitter irony, lays a gloved hand against the dome of night and wonders how to communicate with those on the other side, only to jerk back in surprise when it disappears, revealing the wreckage of the waterfront... and a man standing directly in front of her.

    *Lights on.* Adrian thought *This should help, and keep the grid from accidentally electrocuting anyone* Union's fast hands finished flashing across the exposed junction, rerouting things to prevent any accidents.
    He looks up to see Captain America collapsed, and some guy in a lab coat taking care of him—from the distance it looks almost like the guys hands were a blur of motion, but... chalk it up to the light. Except the guy was drenched head to toe, like he'd been in the river. *More strange occurrences, chalk it up to the day.* The winged guy was still concentrating with an odd smile on his face, presumably making the done that was holding out the tempest.
    *How had that hyper-thyroid blond done that? Strength flight, fine, I can accept that. But creating a hurricane in seconds? How powerful were these people? And how can we expect to stop them if they return—assuming they aren't still out there.* Adrian's inherent rational nature struggled with the problem as he earth electromagnetic field bore him up to the dome, where he laid his hand on it, wondering how the avian albino was maintaining it.
    *I should be close enough to get a reading on the storm, even through this thing, whatever it is.* Union shifted his electromagnetic scanners to a broader band with single cybernetic command, feeling for the electrical flows characteristic of a thunderstorm. To his surprise, the conditions outside ran the same as they had during his flight here. Doing his best to project his voice—*Amplification system. Need to add a voice amplification system*—he shouted down to the others on shore "Hey! I think the storm..."
    At that point the hemisphere of darkness vanishes like a soap bubble, leaving Union face to face with the armor-wearing woman he had seen by the empire state building—the one who had directly attacked the ship. She was effortlessly carrying two young women with one arm, and laying her hand on the air where the dome existed seconds ago—its thickness was barely measurable, and the two armored hands nearly touched
    If Adrian would have been startled by this sudden meeting, Union's armor hid it, blocking any unnecessary movement in its artificial fluidity. His modulated voice respond to her murmured comment. "It was. I don't know if we can salvage it. How are you Miss? Do you need any assistance?"
    Adrian regrets the worlds as soon as they're out of his mouth: *She's an armored warrior who just battled supernatural Vikings and rescued prisoners from their ship—a damn sight more than YOU accomplished against them—and you think she needs HELP? Good start, old man. Good start.* Union tries to recover by gesturing an offer to take one of the women, reducing the awkwardness of the flying girl's load.

    Standing alone on the beach now, the Enigmatic Albino senses the storm begin to slow outside the huge ebony dome which he had created to protect the already ravaged city block from any further damage. Slowly he drops his hands and draws the darkness back into himself, causing the immense dome to dissipate, allowing the soft fall sunlight to filter in and illuminate the carnage around him.
    He swivels his pale head, casting his galaxy reflecting eyes in the last direction he had seen the departing dragonship, revealing nothing. A soft sigh escapes the lips of the strange figure as the large black wings on his back unfurl and he soars skyward to examine the last position of the ship and the strange portal, his mind already telling him what he would find.
    *Nothing,* he thinks to himself. *They're just gone Sam, face it. You screwed it up. You let thunder boy get the drop on yah and they got away.* The strange Albino shrugs as he crisscrosses the area looking for any signs of the Viking warriors who had so recently caused such damage. *Too bad...*, he continued, *The blonde chick had a nice rack. I sure hope one of the other guys can come up with an idea, cause I'm sure fresh out.* Turning slowly, Darkangel wings his way back towards the ravaged city his eyes playing over the blasted landscape, looking for some way to be of assistance.

    "What? Oh," Aegis responds, shaking off her startlement and suddenly aware of the rapid, terrified breathing of the two she rescued. "No, I can handle 'em all right. Hang on just a moment," she tells them. "I'll set you right down. It's over, you're OK." She descends to the ground, more slowly now, and hands them over to the nearest EMS folks. "I think they're OK, just kind of in shock," she tells him, her voice flattened by her helmet. *Better communications gear should go on the list,* she unknowingly echoes Union's thought, and turns to get a better look at the stranger.

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© 1999 Mark L. Chance et al