Rick's surprise turns quickly to curiosity, and he gives chase. The emerald glow reappears, surrounding Rick as his feet leave the ground to the general shock and amazement of those around him. His eyes never leave the procession above, scanning for something that would make sense out of what he sees. Before he approaches the two other flying figures he pulls a green bandana from his pocket and covers the lower half of his face. "What in blazes is goin' on here anyway?" he wonders.
Let there be Battle!
The scene is set. Captain America has hoisted the crashed mail truck aloft and is airborne. Aegis and Dark Angel both loop around in front of the flying horses, but neither their presence nor their questions receive anything more than a cursory inspection as the strange women skillfully maneuver their winged mounts around them. Union has emerged from the subway seconds ago and is now airborne, about the same time the bandana-masked Emerald arrives on the scene, held aloft by a green glow. Curtis Connors, having just arrived at lightning speed, stands near a corner, amazed at the spectacle.
Valkyries, costumed men and women, a black winged albino...
Then, two things happen at once. Captain America flies, mail truck in hand, straight into the path of the valkyries, the winged horses whipping along on either side of him, above him, below him, as the entire formation wheels towards the East River, only a few miles away.
The East River. The direction in which the explosion just occurred, sending a gout of black smoke into the air and rattling windows for blocks around. The direction in which, racing around from the corner of Lexington and 34th, travels a half dozen of New York's finest, sirens blaring, with ambulances and fire crews close behind.
In very short order, all that is left in the area are gawking spectators and six confused, would-be heroes, all watching the tail ends of the winged horses and emergency vehicles heading due east.
Darkangel spins as the winged horses flash past, completely ignoring him. He hadn't known what to expect, but that certainly wasn't it. He wheels around, his dark eyes instinctively scanning the others for a reaction when he sees the smoke rising in the distance.
"Those women 'might' have been a bit out of place, but I 'know' this," he thinks to himself.
He turns back around to face the others, gives them a quick wave, and shoots off towards the smoke. "Looks like answers and introductions will have to wait," Darkangel calls over the beating of his wings....
Seeing the pillar of black smoke rising from the east Emerald veers suddenly that direction, uncertain of what is happening, but sure that he can help in some way. He stays low, following the streets leading to the river. Hearing the black winged man shout something as he passes Rick follows him. "In for a penny," he mutters.
"What The...!" Union's voice is distorted and oddly mechanical as the flock of winged horses canters past him towards the East River. It is only as he spins to follow their path that he sees the plumes of black smoke rising from the rivers edge...Without hesitation he flies off towards the East at his best speed, trying to puzzle out what's happening. He makes out the armored woman joining him, but she soundlessly accelerates past him towards the smoke and chaos.
Conners gazes up, his new senses compensating for his heads face-concealing vibration, "Five people flying through the air? Would-be heroes like myself? They're all heading towards the waterfront where the smoke is rising. So are the women on the winged horses. There could be people in need of help there, so I guess that's where I'm going too." With that thought, Curt Connors heads for the waterfront. He zips between cars, his body a blur of motion, trying to make his way to where people might need his help. Tp his left he makes out the mail truck, settling lightly in a hospital parking lot.
"Quite a crowd," Captain America mutters to himself looking down at the Emergency Room entrance as he cruises in over the parking lot. People gasp and point at the red, white, and blue man carrying the red, white, and blue truck as he skims in low, gently sets the van down, and rolls out to stand among them.
"...he can fly..?"
"These men need medical attention!" the Captain's voice booms. The murmuring of the crowd disappear and orderlies scramble to help the driver and the scientist from the truck. Captain America looks skyward, noticing the flying equestrians and column of smoke for the first time.
"Excuse me, folks, this looks like more work for Captain America." In the blink of an eye he is airborne, zooming to the docks, faster than a speeding bullet.
Whoah, this is heavy! Who do I think I am! And while I'm on the topic, who's that glowing green guy think he is? Or that armored woman....???
Get a grip, clear your head. Good. There's a fire down there, people need help, and you're a superhero. Your power may help save this planet from the horrors of your home. The Savior's grip must never extend to encompass this Earth's destiny. Captain America shall not die in vain a third time! The blood of every fallen hero will be avenged....Windows rattle in their frames in a 4-block wide column along his flight-path and papers swirl wildly in the streets in his wake, a dozen stories below.
As he reaches the waterfront, Captain America rockets into the thick of the fire and destruction without a moment's pause.
The scene at the waterfront is one of mass confusion. All six heroes and the Valkyries arrive before the emergency vehicles still driving in the from the west. There is so much activity on the street and the docks, that it is difficult to take it all in, especially since much of it is positively strange.
Various sights, in no particular order: A row of warehouses in flames, an eighteen-wheeler laying on its side in an intersection, dozens of Vikings looting nearby buildings and hauling off booty and women, an ahistorically large Viking dragonship moored in the East River, more Vikings manning the dragonship, a beautiful blonde woman of Amazonian proportions surveying the violence from the bow of the ship, small groups of panicked New Yorkers running away from the scene in all directions, the Valkyries circling overhead while frightened spectral images float up from numerous sprawled citizens to alight in the arms of the mounted women....
Captain America is snapped out of his grim reverie by the outlandish scene beneath him as he reaches the docks. Still, his heated intent of a moment earlier is not dimmed, merely refocused. He quickly estimates the largest cluster of Vikings without civilians in their midst, and smashes full tilt into the center of this group with the speed of a fighter jet power of a steam engine dropped from the Empire State Building.
This should shake them up. Wonder if it'll be enough to scare them off...
The group of a half dozen marauders are caught completely off guard as the red, white, and blue clad man slams into their midst, sending up a cloud of dust and debris that settles in a gray rain of grit. When the air clears, Captain America stands over the sprawled form of one of the Vikings, who lays groaning low in his throat, conscious but stunned. The other five, having been rocked by the attack, regain their footing and ready their weaponsswords and axes and macesto attack their attacker.
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© 1999 Mark L. Chance et al