[Actual Play, NSFData] Marvel's Agents of STRIKE - S4 FINALE: "Secret Invasion, Part 2"

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    King S'Yen is in his Black Spider armor.

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    Elise drops to one knee and inclines her head. Miles bows and inclines his head.

    The King gestures to those who bow, "Rise. I appreciate your courtesy. I have been informed of your plan."

    Elise feels an intense disdain and anger bubble up in her that she fights to push down. Rebel filth.

    Julian can feel the waves coming off Elise. You okay?

    Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine.

    Okay.
    He refocuses his attention on King S'Yen.

    "There are some points to consider," the king continues. "I am apprehensive of the idea of a frontal assault on the Terror-Carrier.

    "I have been told that you are formidable, but I am somewhat unconvinced that you are prepared to take on the full might of HYDRA's forces alone. I am potentially willing to commit some degree of forces to assist, but only if I can be assured that it will be successful. You are from another universe, yes? Who are you, of this universe, that such a bold move would should be gambled on?"

    Elise steps forward. "In another world, Your Majesty, I am the Princess of Attilan. We met a Skrull infiltration force, including War Skrulls, and didn't just go toe to toe with them. We wiped them out."

    Julian looks at the rest of the group and has a nervous laugh. "Man, guys. Our CV is nuts."

    S’Yen is nonplussed. "I do not know what a Skrull is."

    Elise’s shoulders slump. "Well, shit."

    "Is that some manner of alien?"

    "Uh,” she tries again, “your Avengers stormed our Earth, and one of our number ended their entire incursion?"

    The King is silent for a moment. "Are you saying the Avengers are defeated?"

    "Yes," she says.

    "I mean, basically," Julian adds. "I think one of them is a brain in a jar somewhere now."

    King S'Yen is taken aback. "Wait, are you saying they are dead?"

    "Yes," Miles speaks up. "They trespassed on the territory of our world's Doomlord. Who's...not a nice guy."

    "I knew Victor Von Doom,” the king says thoughtfully. “He was a man of honor."

    "Right, but it was Vlad who took care of them,” Elise says. “He counts! He's STRIKE!"

    "Elise, I'm trying to give them the TL;DR here,” Miles says. “We don't need to catch them up on our whole expanded STRIKE universe."

    "I'm barely caught up," Ryann notes.

    Miles turns to the King. "The point is, your Majesty, the Avengers are dead, as is Hank Pym."

    The King cradles his chin in his hand.

    Prowler speaks up. "Not all of them are dead, your majesty." Elise swivels her head to glare at Prowler.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited September 2019
    Prowler looks at Longbow. "Lying to the King would be a bad choice."

    "Uh..." Longbow flinches.

    Black Spider leans forward in his throne.

    Longbow begins, "Uh, yeah, so... uh...." He's extremely nervous. He's terrified.

    "He's reformed,” Elise says. "I mean, he's marrying my sister, who's a Muslim! He's cool with me being gay! Or a gender traitor or whatever."

    The King leans back and steeples his fingers. "How? If he is one of them, then he has been subjected to their...Reforging."

    "Doomlord put a bomb in his head," Miles says. "And then he discovered our world is way cooler and got engaged to my boss's daughter."

    A troubled look crosses Elise's face. "Wait, so Sin and me and Faiza... Huh."

    Bob nods enthusiastically.

    Elise squints. "Huh."

    "Huh," Ryann smirks.

    "Ohhhh!" Julian finally gets it.

    Black Spider taps his index fingertips, "So, your world was so…compelling to this HYDRA agent that he turned. Your Earth must be a paradise."

    Elise makes a waffle motion with her hand. "We almost got chomped by a monster God, so."

    Bob nods at Elise. "Also like, they keep getting invaded by aliens. They had this whole satellite-network to protect them but they recently got it destroyed so now their ass is hanging in the solar wind."

    Black Spider tilts his head, "Satellite network?"

    "Put in orbit by the Kree, the alien species who built Attilan," Miles says. "Ugh...which means...HYDRA might control it here."

    Bob snaps his finger, "We...they...they totally don't."

    Miles grins.

    Bob continues. "If they did, they'd do damage with it. I've seen that thing fire off on your Earth, trust me, if HYDRA had those things here, I'd see them."

    Elise grins and nods. "Advantage, us. I know where it is. Crys has shown it to me. I'm familiar with the network."

    "X-51 can take control of it." Miles turns excitedly to S'Yen. "Orbital particle cannons that can target any spot on Earth. And apparently your HYDRA never knew it was there."

    "I know where to find it,” Elise says, “and X-51 can hack it!"

    Black Spider is quiet for a moment, "Where is this place? Where would you control it from?"

    "it's controlled from Attilan, a city on the Moon,” Miles says. “The place where HYDRA performs Terrigenesis."

    "It's a city on our Earth. They keep it as a lab here." Elise's lip curls up in contempt. "I'm looking forward to reclaiming my kingdom on this Earth." Miles furrows his brow at this but opts to say nothing.

    Black Spider nods, "Very well. We will need to besiege the HYDRA fortress that protects the portal to Attilan. One does not simply fly to the Moon base.

    "This will be the plan…

    "First, we will take the Terror-Carrier. I will devote forces to this end. I will lead the invasion force myself. Prowler, Kraven, Doctor Octopus, and Mysterio will come with us."

    A man next to Black Spider speaks up. "Your majesty, I insist I come with you."

    S’Yen nods to him. "Very well, W'Kabi. Don your White Rhino armor, and you will come with us." He turns to the team. "There are two possibilities; one is that the Red Skull flees our attack like the coward he is.

    "The other is he stands and fights. And we will defeat him."

    Elise knows Red Skull is not a coward. He will stand and fight. "He's not going to flee."

    Bob nods at Elise.

    "Then we'll burn him again," Julian says.

    Black Spider continues. "Red Skull has the Eye of the Hydra amulet. This is the source of his power. It must be taken from him. If we can get that away from him, he is just a man. With it, he is a potent sorcerer."

    This Red Skull has become complacent. Lazy. Even with the world in his grasp, he can't put down a smattering of insurgents and degenerates. I will show him how to truly wield power. Elise shakes her head. "Hey, maybe I can pickpocket him," she says aloud.

    "I will ready my troops immediately,” the king says. “Steel yourselves for the battle to come. Once we take the Terror-Carrier, there will be no time to waste in our siege on Attilan's gateway."

    Miles clears his throat. "No, Elise. You're not touching that thing. Ryann, when we encounter him, try to accelerate and snag it before he even knows you're there."

    Ryann nods at Miles. "Shouldn't be a problem."

    "I'm not touching that thing?"

    Julian sucks his teeth. "I really don't think it'd be a good idea, Elise."

    "No, Elise,” Miles says. “That's an order. Not with your whole situation." Elise's eyes widen, and she visibly seethes.

    Miles has X-51 send a message to Michael's phone. Julian discovered some Red Skull leftovers in Elise. Please keep an eye on her. If she tries anything, you can just...grab her.

    No worries, Michael replies.

    Black Spider stands. "Go. Prepare yourselves and meet on the landing pad. You will be assigned to aircraft."

    Miles nods. "Thank you for all your help, your majesty. We will redeem your faith in us."

    Elise gives a short bow and then turns on her heel and storms out. Julian and the others watch her go worriedly, then bow and leave.

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    I’m not sure whether the GM or Elise’s player came up with the subplot about the Red Skull’s lingering influence, but some of these intrusive thoughts she’s having were put there gby him and others by her player, rolling with it.

    Jacobkosh on
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Outside, Prowler speaks sub-vocally to Elise, "I want your help."

    Elise's eyebrows rise and she smiles despite herself. This is it. She's going to want to come with us. Hell yeah. "Yeah?"

    "The Terrigen in Attilan. It needs to be destroyed. No more Inhumans. No one suffers like this again. No more Master Race. Once there's no more Terrigen, it stops."

    "...What?"

    "HYDRA has a finite supply of Terrigen. They overmined the crystals years ago, and Zola had to start synthesizing it into this stuff he calls 'Isotope-8'. I was one of the first people he tested it on. I think it's why I'm so fucked up.

    "It needs to be destroyed. If we destroy all the Iso-8, no more."

    "I mean, obviously HYDRA are shit. Obviously! But if they're gone, and all the Terrigen is gone, you're...there'd be no more Inhumans. Ever. No more reason to go to Attilan. It'd be...just...all of it. Gone."

    "Yes," Prowler agrees. "Inhumans are a blight on this world. An elite that brutally oppress the masses. They hunt down mutants. That's what they wanted me and Ana to do. Did you know that if Ana eats Inhumans, she gets their powers? HYDRA wanted to feed her."

    "On this world, yeah!" Elise's voice is a little louder now, still quiet but heated. "Yeah, on this world! But on other worlds -- Elise, you're trying to end any possibility of ever finding your people -"

    "Inhumans aren't my people! These are my people! Ana, Otto, my friends. You're asking me to care about some culture I've never heard of or met. I don't care about any of that shit!"

    Elise has heard this before. From herself. Talking to Phil Lawson. Her eyes widen and she steps back, staring at the other Elise. There's a long moment of silence. "...Yeah. Yeah, I'll help."

    "Thank you."

    "...I'm sorry."

    "It's okay," Prowler says. "You're royalty, you don't understand. It's like talking to W'Kabi."

    "I used to be cool! I was a trashpunk! With a filthy van!” Elise protests. “And I did drugs! And smoked! And got in trouble with the law!"

    Prowler pokes her with a retracted claw. "Yeah, and then you changed and turned into The Man." She laughs, her laugh echoed through her mask.

    Elise is getting dunked on. By herself.

    "I am not The Man! I have tattoos!"

    "Yeah, okay, Princess." Prowler walks away, laughing.

    "Never mind,” Elise grumbles. “This is fucking worse than space jail."

    The team gets ready to move out. They meet up with the all-new, all-different Superior Six on the landing pad, who are now accompanied by White Rhino.

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    And a more heavily armored Mysterio.

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    As the jets are prepped, Wakandan troops file into the hangar and begin boarding.

    Elise scowls at STRIKE-1. "Guys. I'm cool, right?"

    Bob nods. "Totally."

    Miles guffaws. Ryann just smiles.

    "If you have to ask..." Julian grins and puts his hands up to catch any incoming blows.

    Elise hears Ana whisper to Prowler, "Did you give your alternate self a complex?" and she hears Prowler snicker.

    "I. Am going to sit. And wait. On the aircraft."

    "Okay then, Jeremiah." Michael smiles. As she boards, Elise flips him off with both hands.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    The aircraft take off, and shift into cloak. All of STRIKE-1, plus Longbow, are aboard one ship. The Six are aboard another. There's also a wing of accompanying Wakandan aircraft.

    "Did anyone pack an ICER?" Elise asks the cabin.

    Longbow shakes his head. "Hun, you're gonna have to roll hard on this. They're not going to be tickle-fighting."

    "Elise, I think you need to remember that if ICERing anyone we come across is important to you, you're gonna have to get at all of those guys before we do," Julian says. “These hands don’t just throw sparks.” He points at Michael. “Are you going soft on these guys, dude?”

    Michael shakes his head. “Not in the slightest.”

    Julian nods. "How about you, Ryann? Chief? Bob?" He looks at everyone in turn.

    Longbow holds up his hand.

    Miles turns to the group. "We need to make a quick game plan. Our objectives here are 1) Get the artifact off the Red Skull, 2) Seize the Carrier, 3) deal with Virtue, who almost certainly will be showing up very quickly. I'm going to have X-51 go full cyber-warfare on everything he can get his hot little hands on, so that might be 2) taken care of. Ryann's got 1) covered. That leaves Virtue. My vague idea right now is Michael and Julian will need to keep him occupied for however long it takes for X-51 to aim the main gun."

    Julian looks towards Miles. "Gotcha, Chief."

    Longbow holds up his hand.

    "Do you have any more orders for me, Chief?" Elise sneers.

    Miles holds a hand at Bob like "one moment,” then turns to face Sensate. "Elise, I know you've got a lot going on. But you're on a team and this is our job. If you've got a problem with following orders, you owe it to this group to tell us right now so we can know not to count on you. Because I am not putting my life in the hands of someone I can't rely on."

    Elise grits her teeth. "I have never let the team down. I'm not going to start now."

    "Hey Chief? Maybe ease up a bit there," Michael says to Miles.

    "This is me easing up. The fate of this world, and maybe ours, is hanging on what happens here. We need to be on the same page, Michael. No griping. No sniping. I need this team at 100%."

    Michael just stares at Miles for a moment but thinks better of getting into an argument in this moment and stays silent.

    Miles turns to Bob. "Go."

    "So, I think I can split the baby here."

    "What." Elise says at this choice of words.

    Bob reaches into his quiver, and pulls out a handful of arrowheads and hands them to Elise. "These are taser arrowheads. I don't figure you know how to shoot a bow but I know you know how to throw stuff. There's a guy, Matt Murdock, Bullseye. You met him. I'd rather we not kill him. If we can take him alive, that'd be cool. What if uh, we just...made that Elise's optional objective? Like, more than likely, we're going to run into them, and Matt's whole thing is he throws stuff good. Elise can dodge that shit. She dodges bullets."

    Elise perks up. "Yeah! I can help."

    Miles nods at Bob. "Good call."

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited September 2019
    The Wakandan pilot calls back to the team, "We're coming up on the Terror-Carrier now."

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    "As soon as we get in weapons range, our cloak will be discovered. Be ready to jump."

    "Uh, guys..." Bob suddenly has a moment of realization. "I can't fly. Who gets to carry me?"

    "I've gotcha," Miles says.

    "Cool."

    "Thank God because I could not do that," Elise says.


    A red light comes on, and the back hatch of the Wakandan craft opens. "Go!" the pilot shouts.

    Ryann dives. Miles wraps Bob in an arm and jumps. Julian dives out the back, summoning his motorcycle as he falls. Elise's harness lights up and she shifts into stealth. Michael armors up and flips out the hatch.

    Freedom Force airdrops onto the Terror-Carrier as the Wakandan ships open up the engagement. They see the Superior Six drop down on to the deck alongside them, and begin engaging HYDRA troops.

    HYDRA’s soldiers rush the invaders en masse.

    Elise suddenly appears behind a HYDRA guard, her hand slamming into his neck. She spins through the HYDRA forces, dealing out quick non-lethal shots.

    Ryann charges into melee range at supersonic speeds, sending men flying. Michael opens up his faceplates and sweeps as much of the deck as he can. Julian charges across the Terror-Carrier on his motorcycle, flinging fire across the deck at any random HYDRA troopers he can see.

    Men dive off the carrier's deck to avoid Behemoth's blast. Some of them have jetpacks or parachutes. Some.

    Soaring over the Terror-Carrier, Miles lowers Bob to the landing pad with one arm and shoots the other out, whipping a swath of HYDRA minions off the deck. Screaming curses, they tumble into the waiting sky.

    STRIKE-1 and the Superior Six absolutely sweep the deck of minions.

    X-51 comes over the comms. "Miles, I am attempting to hack the Carrier's systems but...I am encountering...resistance...something is…Miles I need your help."

    Miles helps X-51. He projects his will outward, trying to bullrush the opposition with sheer force. He smashes into a firewall that isn't just made of data. It's made out of mystic force. The Terror-Carrier is reinforced with sorcery.

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    Miles slams through the barrier, and hears X-51 over the Terror-Carrier's PA. "Assuming direct control."

    I have control, Miles, and have located Red Skull. I can open the emergency doors to the bridge, and de-pressurize it, which will eject him from the carrier, but he may be able to fly away and escape. I can also clear the path of personnel which will allow you to confront him directly. The Six are engaged in combat with the rest of the HYDRA forces. It appears that Sin, Viper, Bullseye, and Scarlet Witch are falling back to the bridge to protect Red Skull, along with his honor guard.

    Clear the decks of opposition, Miles decides. We're going to confront him directly. And while you're at it…push what I say next, voice and video, to every receiver you can. Everything the Carrier's connected to. Everywhere.

    Acknowledged. The Carrier is connected to the entire planet, so Red Skull can do planetary broadcasts.


    Miles smiles. Perfect.

    "Attention, people of Earth." Using software from SWORD's Autolangs, X-51 auto-translates Miles' worde into English, German, and Japanese as his face fills every wired screen on the planet.

    "I bring you the most important message of your lives. You all know, somewhere deep inside, that something went wrong seventy years ago. Your world lost its way. Your nations were conquered. Your languages and cultures were erased. Your people were enslaved, corrupted, and disappeared.

    "Today is the day that changes. The Avengers are dead. Militant is dead. HYDRA's most powerful fortress is under siege.

    "For years you've been told that they're invincible. For years you've been told that no one person has the power to change the world. For years, you've been lied to.

    "Each of you, right now, has a choice. Today, right now, you can take control of your lives again. You can stand up. You can say 'enough.' A great man once said that one person can make a difference when they realize they're part of something greater. And today, you can make that choice. No matter who you are, no matter what you've done or what they've made you do, today you can leave it behind.

    "Redemption is real. I know this is true, because I've lived it. My name is Miles Mason." A holographic SHIELD logo appears behind him. "And I'm an Agent of SHIELD."

    "Fucking nice."

    Elise’s comment is the last audible thing that comes over the end of the transmission.

    Longbow snickers. "Rick Jones is gonna shit an actual brick."

    Elise nods. Despite her grin, she's still fighting down a cocktail of volatile emotion. Part of her very badly wants to meet this Red Skull-108, look him in the eye, and prove her superiority over him as the true - No, that's stupid, she's Elise Arnell.

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    I’d been wanting to have that moment ever since I found out what this story was going to be about, long before we’d even played it. I asked Matt about it and he was down, so I had the whole thing sitting in a little Notepad file, ready to go for when the opportunity presented itself.

    Part ot the speech is borrowed from a similar moment that Phil Coulson gets in season 4 of Agents of SHIELD while addressing an alternate America recently taken over by HYDRA. That speech was composed in a very two-months-after-November-2016 frame of mind and is probably one of the more nakedly subversive things that Marvel Studios has done and I appreciated it for that.

    However, Miles isn’t addressing a newly-traumatized Trump America, he’s talking to people who’ve lived under, and probably been complicit in, a hellish system their whole lives, so where Coulson’s speech is more defiant, Miles’ is about redemption and turning away from the darkness in your past. A subject he has strong feelings about.

    Jacobkosh on
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    The team moves towards the bridge of the Terror-Carrier. X-51 makes sure their path is clear.

    They arrive at the bridge as Red Skull is barking orders and his subordinates are desperately trying to assert control of the Carrier. They are failing.

    "Hey, Red Skull!" Elise cries. "I hope you're ready to eat some major shit!"

    Red Skull whirls and looks at them. "You." Something glints on his chest.

    "Us, motherfucker!"

    Miles points at the Skull’s chest. "Ryann! Now!"

    “Hey! Think fast!” Ryann blinks forward and rushes the Red Skull, tearing off the amulet easily, before Red Skull has a chance to even react. Time is nearly slowed to a halt relative to Ryann.

    He looks at the amulet, hanging in his hand.

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    The amulet looks at him.

    He has a choice.

    He can feel Shuma-Gorath's gaze, boring into his mind. He can cast the amulet away, which means someone else can potentially grab it. One of his teammates, or possibly one of Red Skull's allies before he can react.

    Or...he can put it on. And keep it safe. From everyone. Maybe that's what he should do. He'd control the power if he did that. Ryann gazes into the eye of the amulet. His eyes widen…

    “Uhh, nope.” He turns and whips the amulet out of the Terror-Carrier with the power of the Nova Force. He throws it as fast as he can. Unfortunately, the mystical power of the amulet won't allow itself to be hurled by the Nova Force, and it bounces off the wall and onto the floor.

    "Fuck!" Elise dives for the amulet!

    "Michael! Grab it!" Miles cries.

    Michael dives for the Eye of the Hydra and grabs it first, snatching it away from Elise. He grabs it by the chain, and it has no effect on him.

    Red Skull hisses "Kill them!"

    “Careful with that thing!” Ryann says. He turns back to Red Skull. He smiles.

    The Skull quails. "Signal Virtue, we need him here now!"

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    As anyone who watches Youtube knows, Nazis are obsessed with Virtue signalling.

    Carefully avoiding touching the Eye, Michael opens his face plates wide and unleashes a blast. at the assembled villains. Elise produces a taser arrowhead and spins on her heel, hurling it at Bullseye.

    Elise tases Bullseye, who drops writhing to the floor, and safety, before a massive blast of Odinforce obliterates everyone else. And also punches a hole in the Carrier's bridge

    Red Skull, Viper, Sin, and Scarlet Witch are gone. Rendered into nothingness.

    Longbow gasps.

    Elise stares at the smoking place where the opposition was and waits to see how the...imprint on her brain reacts. Shefeels a kind of...satisfaction.

    She won. She's better. He was a fool and a coward. Elise gives a long, satisfied laugh.

    His hands alight, Julian looks agape at the bridge. "...Wow."

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    Michael’s player rolled almost the best possible result and got multiple degrees of success above what he needed to make his attack; a super-critical, basically.

    While the others survey the ruin of the bridge with mixed reactions, Behemoth is still in tactical mode. Something catches his eye and he peers out the hole he’s created.

    Through the hole in the bridge, he can see Virtue approaching at supersonic speed. Michael has a choice: he can try to blast Virtue before he gets here, or he can dive out of the hole after him, fighting him solo.

    Unleashing the Odinforce once again, he blasts Virtue, which doesn't damage the superman per se but does knock him back and away from the Carrier, stunning him briefly.

    "Virtue is disoriented," X-51 comes over the comms, "I can attempt to fire the Terror-Carrier's linear cannon at him, but he is extremely fast and I will need assistance with a firing solution. Agent Arnell, if you could take command of the targeting system immediately."

    Elise sprints to the targeting system. She hastily assumes control of the main gun and fires at Virtue. An electric roar fills the Terror-Carrier as a dense metal slug is launched at unimaginable speeds toward the onrushing superman.

    And misses.

    "Fuck!"

    Virtue flies through the Terror-Carrier, lancing it in half.

    "Holy hell!" Julian cries.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited September 2019
    The Terror-Carrier is going down.

    “I guess I’m up!” Ryann shouts over the destruction.

    Miles points at him. "Ryann! Do what you can to keep this thing up long enough for everyone to evac! Michael, Julian, hold Virtue!"

    Centurion nods, his body glowing as energy begins to flow over him. He grabs both halves of the Terror-Carrier with mass fields and, arms wide, holds them together as the Terror-Carrier slowly descends towards the ocean.

    Phoenix and Behemoth blast out of the bridge to confront Virtue. Longbow grabs Bullseye, throws him over his shoulder, and grabs Miles. Miles blasts off, dangling his arms beneath him to let people grab on like a fire pole.

    "Someone grab Prowler!" Elise cries, looking for Ana and Elise in the chaos.

    Virtue turns back around, and goes after Behemoth and Phoenix. Julian peppers him with fire, ineffectually, and darts out of the way when Virtue’s eyes begin to glow.

    “I’ve bought you some time!” Ryann cries, straining.

    Elise sees the Six loading onto a Wakandan ship, and preparing to evac. "The Six are safe!" she says to STRIKE-1.

    Miles turns to Elise. "Do you think you can spot a weakness in Virtue?"

    "I can fuckin' try!" Elise moves to the hole in the Terror-Carrier, and lets her harness lift her close enough to look...

    She stares at Virtue and...well, he doesn't have any specific weaknesses. But she remembers Hyperion's favorite tactic. Throwing things into the sun. Behemoth and Ryan, working together, could probably do it. They'd have to stun him first so he doesn't just fly back.

    Elise presses her fingers against her comm. "Ryann! Michael! I...he doesn't have any weaknesses, but sunning works, right? Sun him!"

    Behemoth opens up his faceplate for a blast; Virtue palms Michael's face and throws him into the ocean. Michael doesn't take any damage, but is out of the fight for a moment as the waves swallow him.

    Meanwhile, on the stricken Terror-Carrier, MIles loads Bob and the unconscious Bullseye into a Wakandan ship, then takes off, firing his repulsors at Virtue.

    As the last Wakandan ships take off from its deck, a nearly-spent Ryann lets the Terror-Carrier’s halves drop into the ocean. He flies off to engage Virtue.

    Elise digs the rest of her taser arrowheads out of her pocket and lines up a series of shots, timed at the same time as Miles’ blasts. Maybe it'll help, or at least serve as a distraction...

    With the crackle of electricity and a roar of energy, their volleys strike true. The assault, while doing absolutely no damage whatsoever, does get Virtue's attention. And he's distracted from what Michael and Ryann are doing.

    "Yeah, that's right, over here, shithead!" Elise cries.

    The ocean parts as Michael flies up from under Virtue as Centurion flies at him head-on.

    "You're getting your weak ass sniped by a hundred-pound gender traitor!" Elise taunts as she bobs around in the sky.

    “Behemoth! At the same time!” Ryann calls. Michael charges full force at Virtue, fist upraised, striking as Centurion blasts Virtue with a mass field. The two punch Virtue into the sky, and he vanishes into the stratosphere, disappearing into a glimmer of light.

    "Haha, holy shit!” Elise crows. “You Team Rocketed him!"

    Julian pumps his fists in the air. "Yeah!!"

    "That's right,” she continues, “I just overthrew a fascist regime. Would THE MAN do that?!"

    Michael holds out his metal fist and Ryann nods and bumps it.

    X-51 comes over the comm, "I've signaled the Wakandans. They're sending a craft to pick us up. HYDRA is in disarray. King S'Yen is confident that even without the Terror-Carrier, we can proceed to strike the Azores base now and press the advantage." A Wakandan ship stops in midair, and the team piles into its docking bay.

    "Excellent," Miles says. "Let's press the advantage. Next stop: Nazis on the Moon."

    "Going to reclaim my Kingdom." Elise grins. "Save the world, save an alternate me, solve a Nazi problem… Good day."

    Miles nods slowly. "Good day," he says.

    Julian carries himself head held high into the ship. "Fuck yes!"

    As the Wakandan craft takes off for the Azores, Longbow secures Bullseye. "You're going to love your new home, Matt. I promise," he whispers.

    Elise pats Longbow on the arm. "You okay?"

    "Yeah. I'm good."

    "...Do you want a hug?"

    "Yes."

    Elise gives Bob a long hug, and then whispers: "I need a favor."

    Bob looks at her, taps his nose, and nods.

    Elise drops her voice low and glances at Miles and Ryann to make sure they're occupied. "I want to take Prowler and Ana back with us."

    Bob nods and speaks softly. "Did you...uh...ask them?"

    "I mean, I kind of gave her the sales pitch?"

    "And?"

    "She didn't really..." Elise pauses. "She didn't say no."

    Bob grimaces. "Maybe get a firm yes from ‘em first."

    "Yeah, okay,” she says. "Fine."

    Across the cabin, Miles turns to Ryann and Michael. "You guys saved our bacon back there. We owe you...well, a lot more than one."

    “I’m sure it will come back around,” Ryann smirks.

    "You're buying, Chief?" Michael grins.

    Miles grins and nods. "Keep bringing home the W like this and I'll install a home bar if you want." His glance falls to the amulet. "Uh, hey," he says in a low voice. "We probably need to ditch that somewhere it won't be found."

    "Yeah,” Michael says, “was thinking of just hucking it onto the moon."

    Miles nods. "Sounds good to me."

    Elise turns to the rest of the group and looks at the amulet. Reflexively, she reaches for the impressions in her brain. They've been useful so far… What would Red Skull think of this amulet being in enemy hands?

    Elise thinks she should have the amulet.

    Why shouldn't she? She's the least powerful member of the team. She doesn't have cosmic powers, or invulnerability. She can't come back from the dead.

    Why shouldn't she? She's nearly died, repeatedly.

    She bites her lower lip. That's wrong. Obviously, that's wrong. It's wrong because...because...Miles...would be mad?

    He wouldn't be mad if he didn't know.

    Elise feels a prick of sweat near her brow. That's true. And Red Skull isn't in her brain any more. It's not like this is some evil force compelling her to do it.

    The Wakandan pilot calls back to the team. "Coming up on the Azores now."

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    Halfway between Venus and Mercury, Virtue's eyes snap open as he wakes up.

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    Jacobkosh on
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    NytewarriorFencingsaxMatevjurnerRear Admiral Choco
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    Oh, Elise

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    JacobkoshMatev
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    It's Fine™

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    Fencingsax
  • MatevMatev Cero Miedo Registered User regular
    Oh dear, that end song.

    But still *takes Contempt for 'Virtue Signalling'*

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Hail Hydra
  • NytewarriorNytewarrior Registered User regular
    A bit late, but...


    WE'RE BACK BAY-BAY!

    Though, I will admit that I kind forgot about this, lol.

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    3DSFC: 4828-7889-8155
    Jacobkosh
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    Oh man, I have come up with so many characters I would want to play in this setting.

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    MsAnthropyJacobkoshMatev
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Oh man, I have come up with so many characters I would want to play in this setting.

    Oh yeah? What would you do?

    MsAnthropy suggested an Agent Venom a while back. I always thought that would be cool.

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  • MsAnthropyMsAnthropy Our Lady of Perpetual Mazes The CageRegistered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Oh man, I have come up with so many characters I would want to play in this setting.

    Oh yeah? What would you do?

    MsAnthropy suggested an Agent Venom a while back. I always thought that would be cool.

    My other idea was The Superior Spider-Woman. Basically a take off of the Superior Spider-Man, but instead of a Peter Parker / Otto Octavius mashup it would have been Gwen Stacy / Olivia Octavius (from Into the Spider-Verse).

    "The only real politics I knew was that if a guy liked Hitler, I’d beat the stuffing out of him and that would be it." -- Jack Kirby
    JacobkoshFencingsaxNytewarriorjurnerMatev
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited September 2019
    One idea was an agent of Kun L'un, the Infinite City, who somehow had a dragon egg. They would have discovered a transport mechanism similar to IIF, and assumed that everyone in Kun L'un had been corrupted by the Hand, and ran with the precious artifact. Unfortunately, the egg is about to hatch...

    Another would be a former AIM employee, who would have been infected with a Venom on purpose. In hindsight, it would have been named Project Legacy (to have a weapon against the Inhumans/mutants). Eventually, it would be discovered that the AIM employee died in the escape.

    I would also have had a mutant/Inhuman that could essentially manipulate their own gravity, but haven't come up with a unique character hook yet.

    Fencingsax on
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    MsAnthropyJacobkosh
  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    MsAnthropy wrote: »
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Oh man, I have come up with so many characters I would want to play in this setting.

    Oh yeah? What would you do?

    MsAnthropy suggested an Agent Venom a while back. I always thought that would be cool.

    My other idea was The Superior Spider-Woman. Basically a take off of the Superior Spider-Man, but instead of a Peter Parker / Otto Octavius mashup it would have been Gwen Stacy / Olivia Octavius (from Into the Spider-Verse).

    Literally watching that film rn

    With 2 people who have never seen it

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    FencingsaxJacobkoshMsAnthropyMatev
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Matt wants me to tell you guys that these ideas are 100% in keeping with the AoS vibe and he loves them all

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    MsAnthropyFencingsaxMatev
  • jurnerjurner Registered User regular
    Welcome back! I think you've handled Nazi earth really well. Particularly the part where you vaporized the fuck out of them.

    I feel that there hasn't been enough magical bullshit in your game, so I'd probably make a character from that section of the Marvel-verse. A Bloodstone maybe?

    Oh, and I'd been itching to see how other mythologies could be integrated into the world you've made, so maybe one of the Furies or something similar from Greek myth.

    JacobkoshFencingsaxMsAnthropyMatev
  • MatevMatev Cero Miedo Registered User regular
    Given that Symbiotes are already well-repped by the rest of the fanbase (Though that would be my 1st choice as well. Some escapee from the Life Foundation would be fun) I could see doing someone who swiped a batch of Roderick Kingsley's Goblin Formula or some Goblin tech and uses it to right wrongs, maybe take corporate jerks down a peg or two. Or could always be another universe's Spider-Person who really doesn't want to go home cause it's absolutely the absolute worst. (Like Double Nazi Hell or something)

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Hail Hydra
    Jacobkosh
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited September 2019
    Fresh from their victory over HYDRA's forces aboard the Terror-Carrier, Freedom Force and their allies are on the move to their next target: HYDRA base in the Azores, where the fold-gate to Attilan lies in wait.

    X-51 broadcasts to all allied vessels, "I am detecting an increased HYDRA presence. It appears that high-ranking HYDRA personnel are evacuating to this location, fleeing to the safety of Attilan. Agent Mason's global broadcast has created instability around the world, setting off a delicate powder keg of resentment and rebellion.

    "I am hacking their communications, and it seems that Emperor Keniuchio and his honor guard are already here. They have not yet transported to Attilan. They are likely the most dangerous present threat. I recommend neutralizing them."

    Miles sucks his teeth. "X-51, bring our allies up to speed on the situation. It sounds like we're going to have to coordinate with them to get through that portal."

    "Acknowledged." There is a brief pause. "Within visual range of the HYDRA base now."

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    Jacobkosh on
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited September 2019
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    Elise, who has been pacing back and forth in the Wakandan jet’s cabin, lost in thought, turns and frowns. "I still don't really know how I feel about, y'know, destroying the entire alt-version of the kingdom my daughter's an heir of?"

    "What is there to destroy?" Julian asks quizzically.

    "I...promised Prowler a solid," she says.

    "It's a Hydra moon base, Elise,” Michael says gently. “It's not our Attilan."

    "It's an Attilan,” she protests. “Just like Prowler is an Elise."

    Omega Point's air defenses come online, flak turrets lighting up the sky. The rest of the Wakandan air cavalry engage.

    The Wakandan pilot shouts back, "Now would be a good time to attack!" He pulls a lever and the back hatch of the plane opens.

    "We're on it!” Miles shouts. “Bob, hop on!" Beside him, Julian launches himself out the back, summoning his motorcycle as he goes. Michael dives out the hatch and armors up as he falls.

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    Elise leans out the hatch skeptically. "You...don't expect me to jump out the back into anti-air defenses, do you?" Bob looks at Elise, shrugs, and hops on Miles' back.

    "I have the power of gun!" she continues.

    "I got the power of bow, I feel you."

    With Bob on him, Miles checks to make sure the Eye of HYDRA is stowed somewhere secure and hops out.

    "Let's go!" Ryann shouts, and he, Miles and Bob dive out the back, Ryann doing a corkscrew as he blasts downward through the withering anti-air fire. Elise looks left, looks right, throws her hands in the air in resignation and vanishes before throwing her stealthed self out the back of the plane.

    Behemoth and the White Rhino crash through a wall of shore defenses, with Michael unleashing the Odinforce on the heaviest defenses. Centurion and Doctor Octopus tear turrets off their mountings as the Phoenix Rider and Machine Man blast the base’s armored defenders with repulsors and unearthly flame. Sensate, Prowler and Longbow drop key personnel with arrows—taser and otherwise—while Mysterio, Prowler, and Kraven sow havoc in the rear.

    The team makes quick work of the air defenses. They're not prepared for the likes of Freedom Force.

    Jacobkosh on
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Freedom Force and what remains of the Superior Six land and regroup after taking down the air defenses, and the Wakandans engage the HYDRA troops in close range combat. The battle is pitched, but the insurgents gradually push HYDRA back towards the central bunker.

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    This all happened in a few quick lines. This story had been intended to run one or perhaps two episodes, but my idea to detour to the Terror-Carrier (which I’m still very happy about and glad we did) added some bulk to the mix, and I think Matt didn’t want to get bogged down in too much combat before we got to the major remaining encounters.

    As they move into position for Behemoth to breach the doors, Prowler leans over to Elise.

    "What are you using for weapons?"

    Elise shrugs and gestures at the HYDRA weapons in her holster. She still doesn't love that Prowler can see her in stealth.

    Prowler taps Kraven on the shoulder. "Hey, Ana, give Other Elise some of your gear."

    Kraven squints, "Where...where is she?"

    Elise sighs and unstealths. "I was doing this whole thing, like, I was gonna appear behind someone, and..."

    Kraven nods and unbuckles a bandolier and hands it to Elise. "There's a bunch of Vibranium throwing knives in there. You can use them in close combat if you like. Also..."

    She draws out a hi-tech pistol and hands it to Elise. "This is a sonic blaster. Doctor Klaue designed it based on Wakandan mining tech. This is stun, this is kill..." Kraven explains as she points out buttons. "This is overcharge, you do that you'll shred a HYDRA tank, not to mention the people inside. It'll also blow out the heat sinks and you won't be able to use it for a while."

    "Stun! Yes. Yes, okay. Thank you. God, I was not looking forward to seeing, like, bits of skull and -"

    "Kill is based on humans. It'll probably stun on something bigger." Ana gently runs her thumb along Elise's cheek. "God, you're so innocent."

    "I... I'm not -" Elise vapor-locks. "What."

    Prowler folds her arms. "Ana she's basically like my twin sister."

    Ana's eyebrows raise, "Yes. That's...yes, that's very awkward and...yes. Sorry. Let's go."

    Guys. I think Kraven the Hunter in this dimension wants to bang me.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    With a thunderous crash, Michael breaches the huge reinforced door, and the teams move inside. They work their way through the facility, fighting in the hallways through HYDRA minions, who pose little challenge to a dozen superheroes.

    In general, Black Spider's freedom fighters are shockingly brutal and fast with lethal force. They do not take prisoners, and if any HYDRA troops do try to drop their guns and ask for mercy, it doesn't work.

    After the minions are down, Elise lifts her head and takes a few deep breaths.

    Elise sees Prowler rip apart HYDRA minions with her Vibranium claws. She doesn't even care.

    Elise covers her mouth, horrified. They're Nazis, sure, but…heroes don't kill people. Heroes don't kill people!

    But these people aren't superheroes. They're resistance fighters.

    Have you seen what happens when I throw fire at a dude? Julian thinks. Snap out of it!

    Yeah, when YOU do it. Everyone knows you're a shit. That's ME I'm looking at. This world fuckin' sucks!

    Julian is casually throwing lances of fire through HYDRA minions. Yeah, it does. But we're helping burn the rot out.

    Nearby, Centurion blasts a group of soldiers with the Nova Force, flinging them off in several directions

    X-51 obtains directions to the portal room and guides the teams that direction. Miles’ mind races. X-51, foldgates only work one way at a time. When we're through to the other side, can you reverse and lock the controls so nobody can follow us in?

    I would have to make the command on a timer, since I will not be able to transmit data backwards, but it should be possible provided nobody interferes with the controls immediately afterwards.


    Miles nods. Copy that. Let's do it.

    Suddenly X-51 switches to a general broadcast over both teams’ channels. "Warning, it appears the Silver Samurai and his honor guard have fallen back to protect the portal. They will be formidable foes."

    The teams burst in through the door to the portal room.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    Guarding the room, they see the Silver Samurai and a dozen of his honor guard

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    Elise narrows her eyes at the Silver Samurai's armor, looking for cracks or weaknesses. Beside her, Miles does something similar, projecting his will outward into the digital plane, carefully looking for electronic exploits to shut down the Samurai and his bodyguards' armor.

    He discovers that the Samurai's honor guard are robotic, and they have code that is exploitable. He turns them off, and they slump over unceremoniously, to the visible shock of the Samurai, who recovers himself and raises his glowing katana.

    But he's a guy in power armor, not a robot or a cyborg. Elise has fought more than a few of those, and she sees his weak points.

    She grins, switches the pistol Ana gave her to Stun, and fires—but it’s not effective. The armor is proof against the weak blast. Elise has a choice: she can switch the sonic blaster to Kill to take the armor down, but it also has the risk of...killing the man inside.

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    I liked this choice of forfeit, given the conversation we’d just had a moment earlier.

    Her hands shake for just a moment as she hits the toggle down to Kill. Burn away the rot. She fires and fires again, causing the armor to seize up. The Emperor of Japan falls over, dropping his katana.

    Elise freezes.

    Ryann lands beside Miles. "Well, I expected a bit more, but we need the break."

    "I expect the real test is in Attilan," Miles says quietly.

    Behemoth looms over the incapacitated robots. "Want me to scrap them, Chief?"

    Miles nods and points at the Samurai. "Rip that armor off him. The Resistance can decide if they need him or not."

    Elise stares at the Samurai, listening for a heartbeat or a breath. There's nothing.

    "I killed him."

    Prowler nods at her. "Good. The man was a butcher."

    Ryann walks over to the Silver Samurai and scans it with his gauntlet, which confirms what Elise sensed: the sonic shockwaves killed Keniuchiro Harada. "Yeah, I wouldn't open that." Michael doesn’t need to be told twice, and backs away.

    Julian walks up to Elise and places a hand on her shoulder. "How do you feel?"

    She keeps staring at the suit, while trying not to think about what’s inside. "Not great. Only did that to Kraven before, and he came back, so that...didn't count."

    Julian squeezes her shoulder a little. "Hey. You know what this world is like."

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    "I'm scanning the base,” X-51 says over comms. “It appears there are several prisoners, including Felicia Hardy, Herman Schultz, and Adrian Toombs, the individuals Virtue apprehended earlier. They are severely injured and appear to have endured brutal interrogation, but they are alive."

    Julian turns to Bob. "My god. They're alive." Bob breathes a deep sigh of relief.

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    Bob’s choice to abandon three of the Six was made tactically and almost instinctively, but, as we see here, not callously. He’s a fucked-up dude, but he’s still capable of remorse.

    Black Spider nods at X-51's message. "Good, I will have my people evacuate the prisoners to safety." He turns to Miles. "This base is secure. HYDRA is trapped on Attilan now. I have a plan for the way forward."

    "I'm listening."

    "We have two objectives. Your objective is to obtain their portal technology, and Arnim Zola along with it. My objective is to take command of this satellite network you have spoken of. I suggest we split our forces, make composite teams of the best mix of abilities. I will take Kraven, Prowler, and Mysterio, among our people they are the best suited for stealth. Sensate has her own stealth abilities and knows where the satellite system is; she can lead us there. We will take Centurion as back-up in case we run into adversaries that require brute force.

    "The remaining team, of Behemoth, Phoenix, Doctor Octopus, White Rhino, and Longbow will be led by you, and will go after Zola and his portal technology."

    Miles nods. "That works, Your Majesty. Be ready for anything on the other side. I can only imagine what Zola could cook up with Kree technology."

    "Yes, he is possibly more dangerous than the other leaders, if only for his genius and madness."

    Miles sends a message to Ryann's gauntlet. Be ready to take charge if things go sideways. Keep an eye on Elise.

    "Your team will enter the portal first, as a vanguard, and move to your objective. My team will follow afterwards, covertly."

    X-51 chimes. I have set up the command, whenever you are ready, Miles.

    Miles nods. "X-51 is going to lock the portal controls on a timer once we're through. That way no HYDRA reinforcements can follow us in."

    "Very good," the King nods.

    Miles turns to Julian, Michael, White Rhino, Doctor Octopus, and Longbow. "Are we ready?"

    "We're ready."

    Miles' team jumps through the portal.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited September 2019
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    The team emerges in the portal room on the other side.

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    There to greet them are a legion of HYDRA troopers with unorthodox energy weapons…

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    Being led by a cyborg who seems...somewhat familiar.

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    "Open fire!" Crossbones shouts, and a line of crack HYDRA troops fires a volley of powerful energy blasts.

    Julian nimbly dives into cover, while Doctor Octopus shields himself with his arms. Michael tanks the blast, and is largely unaffected, but...it feels weird. It's like it’s pulling energy from him, not just blasting him. He doesn't want to keep doing this.

    X-51 comes through over comms. "Those weapons are Parliament technology. Use caution."

    Cranking up his repulsors to full output, Miles tries to forcefully counter-blast. He punches through the volley of fire, and sweeps away a whole row of HYDRA troopers.

    Leaping out from cover, Julian tries to spear Crossbones with a lance of fire, but the cyborg is surprisingly nimble, and rolls out of the way, snapping off a trio of well-aimed pistol shots.

    With a cry, Julian crashes to the ground. The rounds don't kill him outright, and his regeneration seals the holes, but it does hurt a fair bit. With a roar, Behemoth sweeps away another platoon of soldiers with a blast from his face-plates.

    "Hey, Crossbones! Think fast!" Miles blasts his fist forward like a rocket to sock Crossbones in the face from ten meters away.

    But Crossbones does, in fact, think fast. He dodges, grabs Machine Man's wrist and swings Miles around his head a few times and whips him into the stone wall with a crash. “Oww!" Miles slides down the wall like a Looney Tunes character, slumping to the ground. "...guess I asked for that,” he murmurs dazedly.

    However, Crossbones didn't see Longbow hitting him with an electric arrow, stunning him. White Rhino charges him into a wall, impaling Crossbones on a vibranium horn.

    He then gores him apart.

    Crossbones' red eyes start rapidly blinking as the cyborg is rent asunder, and he lets out a robotic howl. He's self-destructing.

    "X-51! Shut him down!" Miles tries to hack Crossbones' detonator.

    But he’s not fast enough. X-51 fails to hack Crossbones' detonator in time, and he explodes. The explosion engulfs White Rhino, who smothers Crossbones' body in an attempt to protect everyone else from the blast.

    When the dust settles, both are gone. The HYDRA troopers are dead.

    The explosion from Crossbones wasn't chemical in nature. It was some kind of exotic energy source none present has seen before. Rhino's Vibranium armor should have protected him. It didn't.

    The remaining HYDRA troopers are gone.

    Julian surveys the scene. "Fuuuck." Clambering unsteadily to his feet, Miles nods at him.

    "We need to take this tech from Zola,” Behemoth rumbles. “This shit's no joke."

    Black Spider's team charges through the portal, then stops short.

    King S'Yan looks around. "You've defeated the guards...where is W'Kabi?"

    Miles sighs. "He didn't make it. Crossbones had a bomb...they're both gone."

    Black Spider stares, disbelieving. "How? He had Vibranium armor. A simple explosive should not have..." He sighs. "I suppose it does not matter. We need to move on."

    "Be careful," Miles says. "Zola's troops are equipped with Parliament technology. We can't operate on cruise control anymore."

    Black Spider nods, and motions for his team to follow him.

    Watching them go, Miles turns to Michael. "Can you grab some samples of the Parliament tech? You're the one person here I think would be safe handling it."

    "Sure." Michael quickly rifles through the HYDRA troopers’ kit for the best bits he can carry, and is able to retrieve a few of the rifles intact.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    Black Spider's team ventures deep into the catacombs of Attilan.

    Elise is finding it hard to navigate. This Attilan is...extremely different from hers. Thousands of years of Inhuman architecture have shaped the Attilan she knows. This has none of that. It's stone and Kree architecture that has been left to ruin, with a bare minimum of HYDRA installation.

    She still looks pale and nauseous, but she keeps her head up and takes slow, controlled breaths. The Kree satellite controls will still be in the same place. It's just a matter of finding it.

    She focuses, and sees the path.

    She knows where to find the controls, easily. But more than that...she knows where the Iso-8 is. She can smell it in the air, faint traces. The paths diverge, but she knows which objective is in which direction.

    Elise pauses and holds up a hand. "The Kree satellite is that way, but...Prowler wants..." she looks uneasily at alt-Elise. "There's Iso-8 that way. The stockpile you want to destroy."

    Black Spider nods. "Very well. Kraven, Prowler, go with her. Centurion, Mysterio, with me. Mysterio, conceal Centurion with your technology."

    Ryann nods. The team splits up, and Prowler and Kraven follow Elise.

    Elise sighs heavily. "You can't smell it?" she asks Prowler. The idea of travelling through the tunnels and up through the ruins of Attilan with Prowler and Kraven is...awkward. Socially awkward.

    Prowler nods. "I can. I just wanted it to be your call. I need you on board with this. I can tell you're shaken up.

    “I need you to understand this. It's important. Inhumans aren't...they aren't good. Like some Inhumans, individually, are good. I like to think Ana and I are good. But Inhumans are bad for the world. Nobody needs to be made Inhuman anymore. Some Inhumans, they end up fucked-up monsters and stuff. Nobody needs to go through Terrigenesis, ever again. Nobody should. It's cruel. They either come out a god or a monster. The monsters want to kill themselves, the gods want to rule.

    "On your world, it sounds like Inhumans have...a culture? A kingdom? Here, they don't have any of that. Here, their culture is HYDRA. It's putting a boot on the face of every normal human and holding it there, forever."

    "Yeah, we have a kingdom. It's different there." Elise moves carefully, stepping over rubble and keeping her nose in the air, running one hand along the wall as she walks. "My daughter is set to be the next Queen, which is...fuckin' crazy. But we protect people, y'know? Our own. You and Ana could...join us? It'd be better for you both there. Like I said, I'm royalty so I think you'd basically be royalty too."

    Ana shakes her head. "Why would we want that? To be royalty? To rule over people? Don't get me wrong, I like S'Yan, I do. I respect him, and if it weren't for Wakanda...well...but I have no interest in that. And they will need us here, in the days to come. You have broken HYDRA's spine, there will be chaos afterwards."

    Prowler puts her hand on Elise's shoulder. "I don't know your world. I don't know what you think is better about it than my world. At least, it sounds like Ana and I could be in love without being targeted for execution. Stuff like that sounds nice. But I care about the people here. Otto is my best friend. Would you just leave your best friend behind because someone offered you another life, even if they told you it would be better?"

    "...No. My best friend is...gone now, but I would have stayed with him. Until the end." Elise sighs heavily. "...And yes, I get to be gay as shit all the time, and it is excellent."

    Ana sighs. "That would be nice."

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited September 2019
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    Miles' team moves across the surface of Attilan, guided by X-51's hacked map of the facility that he obtained from Omega Point, to Zola's research facility.

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    "What the -" Miles stares, awestruck.

    "Kree architecture, relatively unaltered by HYDRA" X-51 answers. "Inside that facility, I believe we will find Arnim Zola and their portal technology."

    They approach the fortress.

    Miles turns to Dr. Octavius. "The technology in there is going to be beyond anything we've seen before. If you see a way to subvert or sabotage it, take it. It might mean the difference between life and death."

    Otto nods in response. "I've been waiting a very long time to gain access to this. It will change everything for our world."

    Miles nods slowly at Otto. "Be careful with it. With great power comes...a lot of headaches."

    Michael hands one of the rifles to Longbow. "Here, might pack more of a kick."

    Longbow lifts it up, grinning. "Fuckin' nice." He looks at Michael, "We got this movie here, Ghostbusters. I don't know if you guys have it. This feels a lot like that."

    Miles has X-51 push a selection from his playlist to comms.



    They move into the fortress, and encounter power-armored HYDRA troopers with shields and Parliament-technology weapons.

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    "These guys are jacking my shtick!" Miles cries indignantly. "Fuck 'em up!"

    "Gladly, Chief!" Julian grins, and the grin remains as the flesh burns away from his skull.

    "They'll hear from our attorneys, in hell!" Michael roars as his faceplates open. The HYDRA troopers try to block Behemoth's blasts with their shields. It's not very effective.

    Machine Man’s extending arm blasts forward and tears a trooper's shield away as he blasts them with the other hand, taking them out. Doctor Octopus wades into the fray, knocking HYDRA troopers aside with his tentacles.

    Longbow opens fire on a squad with his Parliament cannon and it eradicates them. Michael holds up the Rock horns to Longbow, who throws the horns in response. "Glad you took the hit with these things and not me, holy shit!"

    "Yeah, that thing doesn't fuckin' tickle, hoss," Michael rumbles.

    Miles, we have an emergency, X-51 chimes in Miles' head. The portal has activated. Despite my best efforts, someone has reversed the polarity and arrived in Attilan. Running a scan....

    It's Virtue.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    Black Spider, Centurion, and Mysterio travel through the tunnels of Attilan, guided by the path Elise laid out for them, heading for the satellite network.

    "I have a question for you," Black Spider says to Ryann as they travel. "Of all of your companions, you do not appear to have a doppelganger in this world. Your technology is beyond remarkable...beyond anything of this world. You are an alien, are you not?"

    Ryann nods slightly.

    "Your people, are they conquerors? Imperialists? Are they like the Kree? Are they the Kree?"

    "My people..." Ryann sighs, not sure if he should be saying any of this. "My people tend to stay out of things. We're more like peacekeepers."

    "Hm." Black Spider nods thoughtfully, "This, I can understand."

    "We're called Xandarians.”

    "At some point, this world will have to decide if venturing into the stars is something we wish to do,” Black Spider says. “Perhaps the Xandarians of our universe will be a worthy ally."

    "Maybe...hopefully," Ryann pauses, considering. "Listen. After we get through this...I'm going to tell you about something. Something that will matter orders of magnitude more greatly than even the Red Skull or HYDRA ever did. You might not ever have to deal with it, but...my universe did, and others have had to…

    "But that's later, let's focus on this for now."

    "Very well." Black Spider nods.

    They enter the chamber.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    Black Spider takes it all in. "Fascinating."

    "I guess that's a word for it," Ryann shakes his head.

    S’Yan walks over to the central console. "You know what you're doing, I take it," Ryann asks.

    "I believe so, yes. We managed to obtain some Kree technology some time ago, I studied their language and programming." He looks over the console. "It has no current primary administrator. It needs to be...imprinted on someone to command it. The previous station commander has been dead for thousands of years."

    "Let me try something." Ryann approaches the console and brings up his gauntlet, tapping at its control surface as he attempts to open interface.

    Access is granted. The console is thousands of years old and no match for current-generation Xandarian technology. It is ready to be imprinted on a new station commander.

    Black Spider takes off his glove. "It should be me," he says. "You will leave this world when your mission is accomplished. This Earth is in chaos, and will need strong leadership. The remnants of HYDRA's authority needs to be dealt with, and their atrocities must never be allowed to be committed again."

    "Yup," Ryann nods. "You should get one of the keys."

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    This was an idea Ryann’s player Jake and I had cooked up during the previous scene. We figured maybe our characters had opinions about turning an apocalyptic orbital bombardment weapon over to one guy.

    Black Spider stops short. "One?"

    There’s a flicker of movement.

    Out of the corner of his eye, Centurion can see Virtue flying directly at him at supersonic speed. Centurion has enough time to react and counter-attack before he is tackled. Black Spider and Mysterio are basically frozen in place, and the console is still ready to accept a station commander.

    Whirling, Centurion blasts at Virtue with the Nova Force.

    But Virtue is fast. Too fast.

    Ryann has a choice. He can hit him with the Nova Force, but only enough to slow Virtue down and stop the tackle, essentially bringing the combat back to normal speed.

    Or, he can dodge out of the way, and let Virtue smack in to the rock wall, which has the disadvantage of allowing Virtue to immediately counter-attack but will continue things at the accelerated speed that both he and Ryann are moving at, which ultimately puts Ryann at the overall advantage.

    Ryann dodges. He and Virtue fight in fractions of a second, beyond the perception of Mysterio and Black Spider.

    Virtue hurls thousands of punches at Ryann. Ryann dodges and parries all of the strikes, and is able to counter-attack immediately. He bludgeons Virtue in melee combat with his own super-speed strikes, taking him down to the ground.

    Realizing he's at a disadvantage, Virtue fights dirty, and takes a dive at Black Spider. Ryann has to stop him: Black Spider, even in his Vibranium armor, might be killed or, at best, captured.

    Putting himself between Virtue and S'Yan, Ryann realizes that he can either let Virtue slam into him, and stop him from hitting Black Spider, or he can instead grab Black Spider. Either choice has to slow the fight down to regular speed, either from the impact, or from having to slow his own inertia down to grab Black Spider safely without turning his insides into paste.

    He pulls Black Spider out of the way. "Get back!" he calls out as he slows back down to normal speed.

    Mysterio dives for cover and vanishes. Virtue looks at Ryann and Black Spider, and then looks at the beeping console, still waiting to accept an imprint. He smirks.

    And dives for it.

    "No!" Ryann dives as well. He seizes Virtue's wrist and throws him into the cave wall with a thunderous crash. "Not for you!"

    Virtue pulls himself up and dusts himself off.

    Ryann squares off.

    From behind him, Ryann hears S'Yan. "No, for Earth.”

    He realizes Black Spider is now diving for the console. If he turns to stop Black Spider, it means turning his back on Virtue. He has a choice.

    "Damn it, S'Yan, no!"

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited September 2019
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    Sensate, Prowler, and Kraven move along the surface of Attilan, towards where Elise knows the Isotope-8 is kept.

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    They see a massive structure. In it, Elise can see almost like the skeleton of what, on her world, is the tower of the Genetics Council of Attilan, underneath which lie the catacombs leading to the caves of the Terrigen Crystals.

    This is the Kree structure it was built around.

    Elise bitterly remembers running up from the caves, laughing at the joy of being alive and having Vlad back home. "Hate it here."

    Prowler grumbles. "Me too. This is where my ability to feel normal died."

    Elise grunts. "So, what, we're just blowing it up?"

    "The explosives I have aren't big enough to take out the whole tower, we need to find where they keep the Iso-8. It's inside. Come on." The trio move inside the structure, which seems to have been evacuated of lab personnel with the attack elsewhere in Attilan.

    Kraven puts her hand on Elise's shoulder. "I need you 100% on this. One hundred percent. Are you on board with this plan? Do not lie, my Elise will know."

    "Yeah! Fuck, I'm in! Why are you being so intense about this?"

    "Because he's probably here, and he will probably try to lie to you," Ana says. She turns to Prowler. "Is he here?"

    Prowler takes a deep breath of the air through a whirring mask. "...yes. He's here. I can smell the corroded recycled air coming out of his suit."

    "Who's he?!"

    Prowler turns and looks at Elise, "...Wyndham. The one who did this to me."

    "Oh, fuck me," Elise says. "You think I'd get on board with that fucker?"

    Ana shrugs. "I don't know. Maybe the Wyndham on your world is a kindly old man. I don't know how these things work. But here? He is a monster."

    "The Wyndham on my world is a piece of shit who..." Elise thinks back to Alchemax and shudders. "It's fine. He's locked up on my world. Maybe they'll execute him. Still don't know why you need me here for this."

    "Three person job, I needed someone I can trust, and I figure if I can't trust myself, who can I?" Prowler hands Elise a bag of explosives. "You'll know where to place them, structurally, to bring this place down. Come on."

    "I dunno. Aren't I The Man? How can you trust The Man, Elise?"

    "Here's your chance to prove you're not The Man, Elise. Fuck shit up!"

    Elise jokingly punches Prowler in the shoulder. "Yeah, alright, you got my fuckin' number. Let's go." Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Kraven bite her lower lip.

    She turns to Ana. "You know what's funny about Kraven on my world? He's a shirtless dude and a sociopath. My mortal enemy, actually!"

    Ana squints. "...that sounds like my dad. Is his name Sergei?"

    "Yeah, and he fuckin' sucks. He tried to eat me!"

    "Maybe find out if he has a daughter? Or don't, since apparently you have a girlfriend!" Ana cackles.

    "I have a wife."

    Ana sighs. "You can get married on your world. That must be so nice."

    "I got double married. I'm her, like, protector-in-arms, allied houses kinda deal, and her consort." She pauses. "Attilan on my Earth is weird. I still don't really feel at home there. You know my wife spent months trying to convince me to wear a dress?" Elise is in a much better mood now as she approaches the structure.

    They move into what is essentially a sub-basement, all the while talking and encountering no significant resistance.

    "It's funny, it is my Elise trying to get me to wear dresses," Kraven laughs, and Prowler bristles.

    "Gaaaaay," Elise declares.

    "That is such a funny word for it. To take a word that means happy and use it for such a thing. Your world seems nice."

    "Yeah, it's worked out pretty well,” Elise says. “My mom doesn't love it, but whatever."

    They open the door to the Iso-8 storage, which opens with a hermetically sealed hiss.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited September 2019
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    There are rows of hundreds, thousands of containers of Iso-8.

    Elise gives a sharp intake of breath. This is more than she's ever seen in one place. Enough for an endless Dust. Alright. Yeah, this shit's gotta go."

    Prowler nods. "Let's get to work. These bombs are something Klaue designed. Implosive vacuum generators. They'll crush this entire room and everything in it to something the size of a bowling ball in the end, and every trace of Iso-8 will be rendered inert. Start placing them."

    Elise nods. "And what's the deal with Wyndham? He's here? Is he still some fucker in a mech suit?"

    "Speak of the Devil, and he shall appear." Wyndham walks through the doorway.

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    "Oh, for fuck's sake."

    Prowler growls like a feral animal and bares her claws, and Kraven pulls out a gun. Elise narrows her eyes and reaches for her own pistol.

    Wyndham puts up his hands. "I'm unarmed. I heard everything you planned to do. This facility has monitoring equipment all over it. HYDRA's extremely paranoid, after all.

    "I want you to consider something, before you destroy all of this.

    "Elise...Prowler, to be specific, since there are two of you, I want you to look at your correspondent from another world. She is not wearing a suit, like you. She does not have the ill-effects of your powers, correct? How is this? Have you asked her?"

    Prowler looks at Elise, and grumbles. "She...she said something about a second Terrigenesis...it doesn't matter! Fuck you, Wyndham! You're always lying! You need to die!"

    She goes to lunge at him, but Kraven grabs her shoulder, "Wait."

    "Wait for what?" Prowler snarls.

    Kraven looks at Elise. "Is that true? You went through Terrigenesis twice, and your powers stabilized as a result?"

    "Kind of! This fucker -" Elise jabs a thumb at Wyndham, "on my planet ran tests, experiments. He picked me up in his net, I took enough Iso-8 to like, kind of manifest powers, and it made my life a living hell until I underwent Terrigenesis in Attilan.

    "Does it matter?"

    Wyndham looks at the trio. "If you destroy all of the Isotope-8, here and now, I suppose it does not matter. But if you don't destroy all of it...if you take some with you, enough to run tests, perhaps for Elise...Prowler, to try, then perhaps she could live a normal life? If you destroy all of it, then you will never know."

    Prowler takes a step backwards.

    Elise's mind begins to race. "SPIN tech! Prowler, we have anti-Inhuman tech on our planet. I don't have it, but one of my squad might have grabbed some. Miles might have. That deactivates Inhuman powers. You don't need to make a bargain with this fucker. Just ask Miles!"

    Prowler nods at Elise. "....good enough for me."

    Wyndham's eyes dart between the two Elises. "But...you...listen...there's valid reasons to... but what about all the… My work..."

    "Oh, Wyndham." Elise puts on an exaggerated voice. "No one cares about your work."

    He falls to his knees. That's possibly the most crushing thing Elise could have said to him.

    "Elise high five!" Sensate crows, and Prowler high-fives her. Kraven puts a bullet in Wyndham's head, shattering the glass of his containment suit.

    "Alright, let's set these explosives up. Easy peasy lemon squeezy." Elise sets about her work, whistling.
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    I love this confrontation and how it’s purely verbal and about the characters’ ideas and personalities, and giving Elise a seemingly hard choice, which she then deftly cuts through.

    The sudden, casual violence of Wyndham’s abrupt end is pitched to the exact right level of disturbing, I think.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    The five-man team led by Miles enters the massive central chamber that houses the Parliament portal technology.

    Arnim Zola is there waiting for them.

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    When he sees the team, he screeches mechanically. "FEARSOME FOUR, EXTERMINATE THEM!"

    At his command, four newcomers step forward.

    Jim Hammond, the Human Torch.

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    Baron Helmut Zemo.

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    Cain Marko, the Juggernaut

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    ...and Sigrun of the Valkyrior.

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    Miles leaps into action. "Behemoth! On Juggernaut! Octavius, take the Valkyrie! Julian, you're on Zemo! And the Torch is mine." X-51, you know all about Synthezoid systems. Let's douse him.

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    I was sure that we were, you know, “meant” to each fight a particular opponent - fire guy versus fire guy, unpowered but very skilled dude (Bob, who I kinda forgot about in this scene) versus other unpowered skilled guy, etc.

    But any comic book reader knows you’ve gotta counterprogram that shit. Although I left big armored guy vs big armored guy because I’m not insane.

    X-51 responds, If this Jim Hammond is anything like our own, his fire ability is not something I can hack. However, he can be physically overcome.

    Copy that.
    Miles soars into the air and blasts the Torch with the Uni-Beam in his chest. The Human Torch is blasted out the air and knocked unconscious by it. Flame off.

    Sparing a second glance at Sigrun, Michael rushes the Juggernaut and blasting as he goes. Behemoth sends the Juggernaut flying through the wall and he just. Keeps. Going. While the Juggernaut is theoretically indestructible, he is being driven hundreds of feet into solid rock by Behemoth's blast.

    "I guess brain salad surgery is out here." Julian charges forward, spraying fire. Unholy flame washes over Zemo, who simply shrugs it off. As it turns out, the guy who works with Human Torch on the regular has flame-proof clothing.

    Which implies things about their partnership? Maybe they're not the best of teammates.

    Doc Ock attempts to fight Sigrun, but is losing. He tries to grab her with his tentacles, and she just pulls them off his back as he screeches. Suddenly she lets out a short shriek and then falls to the ground, two arrows sticking out of her spine.

    Longbow yells "Magic arrows, bitch."

    Michael takes a couple steps towards Sigrun but collects himself.

    Meanwhile, Julian switches tactics, turning off the Phoenix Rider’s flame and unleashing telekinetic blasts. His stricks bludgeon Zemo into paste. Julian is 2-0 for destroying Zemos.

    Zola throws up mechanical hands. "I SURRENDER!"

    Miles narrows his eyes. X-51, he has backups somewhere. Delete them.

    I cannot access any back-ups outside Attilan, but I can block his remote connections.

    Sounds good. Do it.


    The doctor staggers backward.

    Zola is aware I have blocked his connection. He is keenly aware of his mortality. I suggest using this as leverage.

    Miles stares at Zola. "You're kind of a dweeb in any universe, Arnim. But we can accept your surrender - if you turn over everything you have on the Parliament."

    "OF COURSE! THE TERMS ARE ACC-..." His screen turns into the static of an old CRT monitor.

    He falls over limply.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    Centurion has to choose.

    Stop Black Spider, or stop Virtue.

    He can't do both.

    Ryann breaks focus on Virtue to prevent Black Spider from using the console. "S'Yan! Listen to me, we-" He feels the searing, nuclear heat of Virtue's eye beams rip into his back. It will take the power of the Nova Force to protect him.

    Ryann crosses his arms and braces himself with all the power he can gather. He lets the blast wash over him until only he remains, deflecting the energy with the power of the Nova Force.

    As he stands there, smoking, he hears the first word he's heard Virtue say the entire time they've been here. "...impossible."

    Ryann uncrosses his arms and opens his eyes. "No, you're just the biggest fish in this fucked-up pond.

    "Now it's my turn."

    Focusing the Nova Force into a single infinitesimal point between his hands, Ryann hurls a micro-singularity at Virtue, but realizes that Virtue can out-pace the event horizon of it with enough speed. He can knock Virtue back into it, but only by putting himself at risk.

    As unimaginable gravitic force begins to wash over the room, Ryann charges forward to kick Virtue into the singularity, but Virtue grabs his foot, pulling him in with him.

    Virtue begins to be pulled in and starts to experience spaghettification, his lower extremities distending horrifically as space itself crushes them. Ryann sees his face distort and turn green.

    Virtue is a Skrull. A War Skrull, if his powers are any indication.

    Ryann needs to get away from him. Just then, Black Spider shoots a web into the cavern wall, and reaches over to Ryann. "Take my hand!"

    Ryann reaches out. He grabs Black Spider's hand, and the King pulls Ryann away from Virtue as Virtue is pulled into the singularity, which folds in on itself and vanishes.

    Ryann stands up, dustings his legs off.

    He then hears a chime, and a voice in Kree. "Station Commander imprinted. Satellite system ready for operation."

    He snaps his gaze to the console.

    Mysterio uncloaks, his hand on the controls.

    "Mysterio!" Ryann’s face twists in frustration.

    Mysterio looks at Ryann. "Did what needed to be done." He pulls back his fish-bowl helmet, smoke billowing out of it. "Look, I appreciate what you were trying to do. And I agree, no one person should have that power.

    "So here's how it's going to go. We're going to go meet up with the others. And we're going to get some of the people who are going to lead the way forward. Otto, S'Yan, the leader of the Mutant Underground, we're going to split it. I'll hand out the keys.

    "I always wanted to be a real hero, now I get to be one." He smiles.

    Ryann sighs with relief. "Ok."

    "Let's go find the others," Mysterio says.

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    I really loved all of this. I love Ryann’s strong moral backbone, and that he keeps putting himself in harm’s way both to save the King but also to ensure that the power of the satellites is distributed fairly. I love that he got to show off what the Nova Force is really capable of and also got some great badass lines.

    Ryann’s a less theatrical character than Vlad. He communicates with body language and action instead of speeches, but Jake really brought the thunder here, for me.

    And Mysterio’s sudden, inevitable...anti-betrayal...was so perfect. It really relieved the tension and brightened the gloom at the exact right time.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited December 2019
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    Arnim Zola is inert on the ground of the portal chamber.

    Longbow helps Otto up to his feet. The doctor is wincing with pain, his tentacles torn off his body.

    Otto looks over at Zola. "Was that...your doing?"

    Michael shakes head. "Not me."

    "It was not." Miles is leaning over Zola's body, checking it for exterior damage and scanning its ports. "Something else did this."

    I am scanning Zola's body, X-51 says. It appears he had triggered a worm of some kind inserted into his code without his knowledge, designed to go off based on circumstances I cannot determine. I can hypothesize that those circumstances were likely if he tried to double-cross the Parliament. The end result is that the worm has formatted his digital mind-core, killing him. I am attempting to perform digital forensics to gather what data I can find. Please stand by.

    Miles nods. "The Parliament did this," he says to the group. "An interdimensional council of Doomlords," he says offhandedly to Otto. "But evil." Otto grimaces.

    "Your Doomlord spurned them,” Miles continues, “so they gave HYDRA the technology to kill him. That's the kind of guys they are. That's the war we're fighting."

    "Miles!" Elise calls. She, Centurion, Mysterio, Black Spider, Kraven, and Prowler all walk into the room.

    King S’Yan surveys the scene. "It seems you were successful?" he says to Miles.

    Miles waves at Elise and nods to Black Spider. "Partially. Zola's core was wiped—apparently by the Parliament. Their eye is on this world now. I'm sorry for tha-”

    "I dealt with Virtue,” Ryann adds offhandedly. “Turns out he was a Skrull."

    “-WAIT WHAT?" Miles gapes.

    "Really?!" Michael adds.

    Ryann nods. "Yeah, I tossed a black hole at him. It's not something I like doing but..." He shrugs.

    He gets to toss around black holes, but I don't get to touch an amulet? Elise feels resentment bubble up in the back of her head and works to stomp it down.

    Elise… Julian projects the sound of a fingersnap directly into her head. Elise throws her hands up at Julian, but comes back to herself.

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    Honestly, when I found out about Elise having the impression of the Red Skull in her head, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I felt like we’d had a lot of stories already where she was kind of feral and resentful and at odds with the team for various reasons. Also it was kind of a surprise because her player had talked about wanting her to grow up a little starting this season, and begin to show how parenthood had affected her, and I thought that sounded good.

    But! On the other hand, the logic of this happening here, on HYDRA Earth, was unassailable, and it added to the sense of...of wrongness, of kind of a moral taint, hanging over this world.

    And, to be clear, my worries were unfounded; this is just a relapse, not an ongoing thing. It added a bit of friction for this one story, but when we leave HYDRA Earth, this source of trouble is left behind too.

    Bob puts his hands on his hips. "Son of a bitch. Rumor was Ethan was an alien. I just figured, y'know, when I met Hyperion...it was just like...same guy? Same powers, right?"

    "That's what we all thought," Miles says.

    Elise raises her hand. "Miles. Miles. Hey, Miles. Did you bring SPIN tech?"

    Miles nods. "Yep." He pulls out a set of SPIN rounds and hands them to Otto. "Doctor Octavius, this technology shuts down Inhuman powers temporarily. You can bring the bad ones to heel. And you can let Prowler out of that suit."

    X-51 blasts over the comms. "The portal is activating!"

    Everyone sees the portal spinning up, glowing green light pouring from it.

    "Wait, who -?" Elise narrows her eyes against the glare.



    "THE PARLIAMENT!” Miles calls. “EVERYONE ON GUARD!"

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    The portal opens, and two individuals step out. One is an individual clad in metallic armor, with a flowing purple robe.

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    The other is immediately recognizable to half the people gathered, but...is different somehow.

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    Elise's eyes widen. "Black Bolt -"

    Elise knows that's not her King Agar. He's from another dimension. And not this one, either. He doesn't even exist on this one.

    "Who are you?!" Ryann demands.

    "My name is Kristoff Vernard," the man in the purple cloak says. "My associate here is known as Black Bolt. Those of you who know who my associate is would be wise not to upset him, as doing so may cause him to raise his voice."

    Ryann and Miles trade a look.

    Elise narrows her eyes and takes a deep breath, trying to learn all she can about this Kristoff. She can tell Kristoff is from another universe too. Not this one. Not hers. Not even the same one as this Black Bolt.

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    Kristoff is a character with a complicated history in the comics (aren’t they all?). He first appears in John Byrne’s iconic early-1980s run on the Fantastic Four title as a young orphan whom Doom takes in after the boy’s mother is murdered by a royal usurper while standing near Doom, which Doom takes as a grave insult upon his honor. Doom begins grooming the boy as his heir, but also has his Doombots implant a backup of his, Doom’s, own consciousness into Kristoff’s mind as a failsafe should Doom die.

    This eventually happens, and Kristoff, with most of von Doom’s memories and personality, becomes the new Doctor Doom.

    Through a series of complications, he’s eventually cured, and in some timelines the adult Kristoff becomes a time-traveling adventurer in the company of Nathaniel Richards, Reed’s father.

    Here? He’s a dick.

    Miles' eyes narrow. "Making threats three seconds after showing up to a party you weren't invited to? Bold move, Cotton. Here's my counter-offer: tell us what you want right now or spend a subjective eternity getting sucked into a black hole."

    Kristoff smiles, "Oh, ever the showman, Miles Mason."

    Elise slowly moves her hand to rest on the pistol Ana gave her. Julian stiffens. Everything about this man feels wrong.

    Kristoff holds up a quelling hand. "I'm going to suggest strongly none of you make any sudden movements, unless you believe you can out-maneuver a whisper."

    Elise scoffs. "We get it, your collective dicks are enormous. Can you get to the point?"

    Julian, Miles thinks. Slip into Black Bolt's mind and get ready to cut his strings.

    Got it, Chief.

    Miles,
    X-51 intones, I am trying to hack his systems. Stall him.

    "I'm coming here because your Apostate World has painted too broad a target on itself," Kristoff declares. "You killed a member of the Council, and you caused a member of the Parliament—a rogue member of the Parliament that you convinced to go rogue, no less—to take his own life."

    "No. No, that is not what happened! Fuck you, that's not what happened! You don't know anything!" Elise hisses. "The Parliament stole Vladimir from us. He never would have wanted to go, they - they corrupted him, and we got him back."

    "Vladimir made his final choice willingly," Miles says. "A foreign concept to a lickspittle like you, I know. You've over-extended yourselves, Kristoff. More and more worlds know about you and the more they know, the less they like. And not even you can keep a lid on that forever."

    Kristoff sighs. "The kind of arrogance I expected when I was assigned this task."

    "Wait, who exactly are you working for?" Ryann squints at the newcomers.

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    Ryann’s heard about the Parliament, but he hasn’t actually encountered them yet, and I think he wants to be careful and hear Kristoff actually say it.

    "The Parliament. They've tasked me, the Scion of Doom, to deal with the lot of you. Your Apostate World has become too big a problem. Your Reed Richards and your Victor Von Doom spurn the Council and the Parliament, either by choice or by being unfit. So it goes to their children, as it went to me on my world when my father was found unfit.

    "You were given the chance to have your world declared one side, or the other. Kang gave you that opportunity, and you spurned it. When the Council came for Richards' son, they were denied. When the Parliament came for Victor's son, he joined willfully," Kristoff shoots Elise a glare, "Until such time as you inflicted upon him a moral corruption that led to him going rogue. Inevitably, this was to his downfall. Your world's salvation, of course, but his downfall.

    "So you come from an Apostate World, and that is entirely because of your meddling. That is a problem that can no longer be tolerated. Killing you would be easy, in the physical abstract. I could simply have my associate utter a word and shatter this place asunder. But...in practicality, that is...messy. Echoes across the cosmos could leave evidence. There's a possibility that one," he gestures at Julian, "Survives and flees back to his home dimension."

    "Yeah, you know it." Julian glares at Kristoff.

    "So...it's a conundrum. We need to be rid of you, but we can't kill you."

    Miles… X-51 intones. I've made a mistake.

    Miles puts a hand to his temple. Elise grips her gun and narrows her eyes.

    Julian tries to invade and rip Black Bolt's mind from him. Julian utterly fails, and instead, his own brain locks up, paralyzed. He cannot communicate that he has failed. He can't do anything.

    Elise looks at Julian, horrified.

    Kristoff looks at Julian and chuckles, "The hubris."

    Miles... Miles, he's deleting the key...Miles, the key to go home....

    Kristoff pulls something out from his cloak.

    K7lEouol.jpg

    Elise's eyes widen, and her harness hums for a moment. She vanishes.

    "Son of a-" Ryann starts to say.

    "Enjoy your exile."
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    The team appears in ruins of a city. Behemoth, Phoenix, Machine Man, and Centurion are the only ones there. Longbow and the rest of the allies they had in Attilan are not.

    "-Bitch," Ryann finishes.

    Elise re-appears, her hand making a frantic grabbing motion at air. " -NO!"

    "Fuck!" Michael roars.

    Julian looks wildly around him.

    "Fliers, in the air to scout around! Julian, scan for living minds! X-51, scan for wireless signals!" Miles blasts into the air himself.

    Elise spins and opens her senses, trying to take in as much intel as she possibly can.

    Michael and Ryann fly upwards. Julian takes off on his motorcycle, listening for any sign of a soul. "Where is everyo- oh, no. No!"

    The city is in ruins. It's New York. They can see the Avengers Tower burning.

    Miles does a grim headcount. "Our first objective is figuring out where we are. Then finding a way back. And then retrieving Bob. I'm hoping he was just left behind in his home dimension, but..." he trails off, staring at the burning tower. "Whatever happened here has to have been recent." He blasts towards it.

    Elise senses...Sentinels.

    Sentinels everywhere.

    "No,” she whispers. “No no no no no no."

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    Matev
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
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    Miles arrives on the Avengers Tower landing pad.

    It's...unlikely anyone is in there.

    Elise sees them flying on the horizon, before anyone else does.

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    Ryann follows after Miles, grumbling "If I don't see another Cosmic Cube in my life again, I'll die a happy man..."

    Elise hits her comm unit. "INCOMING SENTINELS!"

    "You and me both, du - FORM UP ON AVENGERS TOWER!" Miles calls over comms.

    Ryann frowns. "Oh, these guys again."

    "Fuck. Fuck!" Elise powers up her harness and takes off towards the tower, where Michael and Julian are already forming up.

    Miles gets on the comms. "If these Sentinels did this to the world, they've adapted to the Avengers' powers. Be ready for anything!"

    "Since joining STRIKE, I always am." Centurion takes a combat stance.

    "Oh, awesome! Perfect! They're engineered to be hostile to my genetic code and I have the power of smell and gun!"

    Suddenly, a portal opens.

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    It's a mystic portal, the kind Doctor Strange makes.

    Julian stares. “God. This day is getting to be a lot.”

    Elise’s shoulders slump. "Oh, what now? Is it evil Doctor Strange, and he's here to kick our asses for the Council?!"

    But who steps out of it isn't Doctor Strange.

    "Give me one break, God,” Miles prays, “just one bit of good news - "

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    It's Jeremiah.

    In power armor.

    "What." Elise can’t believe her eyes. "What."

    "YES!" Michael cries joyously.

    Julian gapes. "Jeremiah?!"

    "Come with me if you want to live."
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    FencingsaxNytewarriorPowerpuppiesMatevGrog
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    Jeremiah, Sorcerer Supreme!

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    Jacobkosh
  • NytewarriorNytewarrior Registered User regular
    I can only imagine the players' reaction when Jeremiah showed up at the end.

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    3DSFC: 4828-7889-8155
    FencingsaxMatev
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