All Characters are Owned by Marvel Comics
The events occurring in the background of this Issue can be read about in Astonishing X-Men Part 3 - forums/fan-fic-8/marvel-mayhem-astonishing-x-men-3 -1467387/#8
And for more Marvel Mayhem follow this link to the library - forums/fan-fic-8/marvel-mayhem-library-1459473/#22
Jesters' 11 #7 - Rivalries
Staring Jesters' Loyal Crew…
Jester - I'm back baby!
Vapour - Toxic Trouble
Speed Demon - Running down the Line
Diamondback - Alive or Dead?
Volcana - Hotly Debated
Snake Maston - Slithering
X-Ray - The Bare Bones
Overrider - Techno Terror
8-Ball - Ahead of the Cue (sic)
And Klaw's Goons…
Klaw - In BIG trouble
Oriole - Bird of Prey
Drill - Possibly Deceased
Man Ape - The Once and Future King?
Voortrekker - Hunting for Answers
Tuatara - Mammal or Reptyl?
Hooded Haunt - Freaking Me Out
Lodestone - Heavy Metal Babe
As well as a special guest appearance by…
Black Panther - Hates House Crashers
A stream of golden particles swirled around the roof top in New York City before forming into the body of a women seven foot above the ground, the light fusing into a purple clad figure who his the concrete with a thud. Straining to get up as blood trickled down her face Diamondback watched as more golden particles arrived, formed into bodies and slammed down next to her. With a groan she saw the Jester form last and float gently down before landing in a gymnastic pose as if to hammer home the shame of the others less then graceful landings. His superiority was short lived however, as 8-Ball used his cue to get to his feet and swung it wildly into the clown's face the force knocking him to the floor as the others attempted to stand either to aid him, or restrain him from caving the Jester's head in.
"Your welcome." The Jester said as Snake reached out and attempted to hold 8-Ball as Overrider crawled in to help bind the enraged villain. "If I hadn't acted your girlfriend would be paste on the Seattle Sidewalk."
"Yes but you also told me she had died." 8-Ball snarled as he shoulder barged Overrider away. "And that was a dick move because it's going to get you killed."
"Jeff I'm okay." Diamondback cried causing 8-Ball to relax in Snake's arms as she staggered over, "Please just leave him, he's not worth throwing away what we have."
"Deb I was just so worried when he shot you." 8-Ball replied as he Snake released him into Diamondback's arms, "And when he told me you were dead I just lost it."
"It was just a cruel joke." The Jester stated, "Besides you were idiotic enough to fall for it." he added, a wicked smile stretched across his face, "You all…urgh." Staggering he looked up at Overrider as the pudgy mutant clicked his knuckles as the others looked on in surprise at their teammates out of character action. "Well look who just grew a backbone."
"Leave them alone." Overrider snarled, "Leave all of us alone, we're going to finish the mission and then I'm walking. And if the others have sense they will too, we gave our service and we have been treated like crap by you; either through jokes, bullying or simply not caring that we are people. As such you will pay us half of what you were and we will hopefully never see each other again."
"Now that's the best deal I've heard all day." Snake hissed, "I want the same package plus the return of all the things you thieved from my room."
"That was you." Diamondback snarled, "I thought that was Oriole, Jeff I think we should follow Marston and Overrider's example and walk." she added as she clung to 8-Ball.
"As soon as he returns your engagement ring, I thought that rock on Vapour's finger last night looked familiar." 8-Ball added, "No offence to you Vaps but I brought that on the legitimate market and would like it back."
"You can have it." Vapour snapped, "I don't want anything that belongs to a traitor. Just be careful when you leave, you might regret assaulting the boss later." she added, the same cruel smile on her face as on the Jesters features.
"Well to work then." The Jester said with a lazy wave, his smirk morphing into a manic grin. "Time to set off the fireworks."
"Klaw this is Trekker." The man clad in combats announced down the radio, "We found Drill and it ain't pretty."
"What do you mean?" Klaw asked as he supervised Oriole loading Vibranium crystals into a velvet lined attaché case.
"He's dead and he didn't just keel over from a heart attack. Looks almost like that film Alien except what ever busted out came out the back and took his spine with him." Voortrekker told him, "And whatever it was it cut open his skull and took his brain and eyes with him as well as the liver and heart too."
"Common ingredients in some of the more darker summoning spells." The Hooded Haunt added, "There is a smell of dark magic around his corpse, something demonic rather then the petty spells bent to perform in human hands."
"Is this 'demon' in the area." Klaw scoffed, "Are there any traces other then the cretin's dead body?"
"We've got a trail." Voortrekker replied, "Our killer has blood on its feet, female I would guess judging from the size of the prints and the hormonal smell."
"You have fifteen minutes." Klaw ordered as Oriole placed the last crystal in the case, "After that we are leaving, if you are not back at the rendezvous point then you will be left to fend for yourself."
"Roger that." Voortrekker announced before turning to his back up, "Okay Hooded Haunt help me pick up the trail, we are going on a witch hunt."
The Man Ape smashed through the window, glass showering the Spartan accommodation with projectiles almost as lethal as those arranged on the wall. Sitting square in the middle of the room was his nemesis King T'Challa already dressed in his Black Panther uniform, seemingly meditating and totally unaware of the intruder in his room. Removing a scalloped axe from the wall Man Ape crept closer and swung his weapon directly at the Black Panther's neck only to see his adversary open his eyes. grab hold of the weapon and flip the wielder over his shoulder, he villain hitting the floor face first as T'Challa threw the axe away.
"M'Baku did you really believe that I wouldn't hear you coming." the Black Panther asked, "Even without the sirens I was prepared for such an occasion, I only hope that your friends working down in the vault decide to leave empty handed. To touch Wakandan Vibranium is to stir the wrath of the Black Panther."
"The Black Panther will be extinct in a few minutes." Man Ape snorted as he flipped to his feet and threw a punch at T'Challa only to see his opponent duck under the blow and slam his elbow into the villain's chest before raising the blow into M'Baku's chin causing him to recoil snarling. "For that I will make sure every Panther effigy is reduced to dust." He snarled before leaping towards the Black Panther, this time slamming his fists into the ground so hard the floor cracked causing his target to stagger backwards a few paces, unable to block or dodge the follow up blow that the Man Ape threw. In seconds the villain was pressing home the advantage, raining blow upon blow into the Panther's chest unaware of his opponent slashing back with his feet and fists, massive cuts appearing on his body, the blood dripping to the floor. "I am the strongest there is." Man Ape howled as he picked up the Black Panther ready to snap T'Challa's neck.
"Many would disagree." The trapped king answered, "And you have gravely misjudged my strategy." he added as he thrusted a Vibranium tipped dagger into M'Baku's wound, the blade activating the inert crystal shards that had detached from the Panther's claws every time he counterattacked. In a howl of pain the Man Ape threw the Black Panther, the later hitting the wall and springing off to land a massive punch into the villain's face, the blow flooring him and the pain keeping him from getting back up again. "You were a fool to come here M'Baku, Wakanda will forever belong to the Black Panther." T'Challa lectured before swinging round to see the double doors fly off their hinges as a woman clutching a machine gun entered and opened fire. Almost before the bullets started flying T'Challa was on the move, weaving and dodging through the enemy fire until the FN MAG his enemy carried ran out of ammo just as slammed his fist into the weapon, knocking it from its wielders hands. "This is not the way to kill a Wakandan King." he told the tattooed assassin.
"How about his? Tuatara suggested as she slammed both her open hands into the Black Panther's chest sending him flying across the room. Groaning as he got up and pulled a Vibranium broad sword off the wall he saw his assailant swell and transform into a massive reptilian creature covered in thick almost stone like armour.
"Scary." Tuatara hissed as she saw the Panther's blade before reaching down and picking up the dropped FN MAG and un-holstering the weapon on her back as she held one machine gun in each hand, the weapons looking miniscule compared to her new bulk. "Scarier." she added as she opened fire once again.
"You're late." Klaw stated lazily as Speed Demon skidded into the Vault and did a double take at the amount of Vibranium stored inside, the amount was staggering and made the plan he was about to carry out even more unstable.
"So sue me." Speed Demon replied as Lodestone floated a pair of attaché cases to him, "There was a potential problem down in the lobby but we handled it."
"What problem?" Klaw asked.
"This one." A voice echoed from the hall as the Jester stepped forward flanked by X-Ray and Volcana. "Admit it you missed us?" he added as Speed Demon stepped back out of the Vault. "Are what's the matter Klaw afraid that you have just lost."
"Sanders works for me." Klaw snarled, "Oriole, Lodestone kill these traitors."
"Or get out of here if you want to live." The Jester added as he joined Speed Demon outside of the Vault. "Going Once, Twice, Thrice, Thrice and a half, Five well you had your chance." he added as he started running.
"What is he talking about boss?" Lodestone asked as Volcana shifted to her plasma form while excess radiation sparked around X-Ray's hands.
"You fools, the Vibranium is volatile if exposed to radiat…" Klaw's words were lost as twin blasts of energy sparked out and struck the mound of crystals causing them to glow a vivid purple before exploding, the blast engulfing the entire section of the building with purple lightning and wave after wave of sonic energy as individual crystals fused and detonated, the shockwaves causing the entire building to shake as the foundations began to shatter due to the sheer force of the explosion.
T'Challa dodged the pair of Machine Guns thrown at him as Tuatara snarled in frustration, her ammunition finally spent. Moving in the Black Panther leapt at the reptilian monstrosity and stabbed his sword into the creature's arm before being shaken off, the blade snapping due to the thick hide of his opponent. With a sigh he removed a set of Vibranium daggers from his belt before being grabbed from behind as the Man Ape, finally recovered took the chance to gain the advantage. With a grunt T'Challa elbowed the man in the chest only to find his captors grip tightening with each blow. "You haven't got much longer King T'Challa." M'Baku whispered as the Black Panther saw Tuatara pull a rebar out of the floor, a massive piece of masonry attached. Struggling even harder the Black Panther added the points of his claws into the assault, the surprise and bad experience causing the Man Ape to release him just in time for him to dodge the makeshift hammer that was swung at him. Whilst he had survived the assault unharmed the Man Ape had been less lucky and was now stuck like a hood ornament on the massive weapon.
"That's one less loose end to deal with." Tuatara hissed, "Now to do what you couldn't and kill the Panther." she added before coming in for another swing with her weapon. Taking the advantage T'Challa climbed on and ran up the weapon and onto the creatures hand before seeing a massive forked tongue snake out of Tuatara's mouth and slap him off. Landing on all fours he had only seconds to dodge the incoming hammer strike, the blow causing the floor to shatter, before jumping on again and attempting to climb up to the creature's head. Passing where Man Ape was impaled he felt the Wakandan grab him by the foot and pull him back.
"Let it be known that I am a faithful son of Wakanda and would rather see her in your hands then those of an outsider." M'Baku informed him before flinging T'Challa up towards Tuatara's face. Claws out and daggers ready the Black Panther slammed into the monster's right eye, the various blades digging into the target causing Tuatara to scream in equal parts anger and pain before she started shaking her head, the sheer speed and G-Force causing the Black Panther and part of her eye to fly away and slam into the wall so hard that it begun to crack, masonry raining down as a fine dust from the roof.
"You think that gave you the advantage." Tuatara boomed as she thrusted the hammer forward as the Panther dodged left slipping past the weapon, the resulting blow causing the weakened wall to collapse. "I can smell you, hear you and taste you. I threw down with Iron Man and even he couldn't stop me."
"Then why is he still alive?" The Black Panther asked as he threw a Vibranium dagger at the hammer, the resulting sonic pulse causing the weapon to shatter, releasing Man Ape onto the floor, his body impaled on the end of the re-bar. "I know that a sonic pulse causes you to lose contact with your human mind and cause basic survival instincts to kick in."
"Unfortunately for you I'm more focused these days." Tuatara hissed, "It would take a massive amount of sound to overwhelm me…argh." she said moments before the building shook and a wave of purple energy washed over her body. "What…is…this…biting…clawing…must escape." She snarled before surging forward through the wall and off the side of the building, falling as she fell towards the pavement, her weight causing the road to collapse and propel her down into the sewers below.
"Klaw." Man Ape groaned, "Klaw is behind all this. You must…" he coughed, "you must stop him. He must not take Wakanda." he added closing his eyes.
"I will do my duty M'Baku." T'Challa replied as he propped his enemy against the one surviving wall. "I will protect my people." he added.
Voortrekker felt the building tremble as he followed the Hooded Haunt down the corridor to the central elevator. The blood was getting harder to read and judging from the now obvious acrid smell whatever there quarry was, they were gaining ground. Reaching the 22nd floor lobby he finally saw his prey and stopped, standing before him was a naked red headed woman, her body flawless just standing next to the elevator seemingly oblivious to what was going on.
"Wow she's stunning." Trekker told the Haunt as he put down his Striker shotgun before walking over. Turning the woman smiled and beckoned for him to come forward, the enthralled villain more then compliant. Before they could touch the Hooded Haunt swung his scythe, a crescent of crimson energy striking the woman and knocking her into the elevator shaft. With a snarl of rage Voortrekker turned to his companion, his hands clenched in fists of rage. "Why did you do that, I order you to answer."
"I will answer but only because the creature you were about to embrace is a succubus, a particularly dangerous one called Satana." The Haunt told him, "You were about to seal your own death warrant."
"You." A voice boomed up the shaft as Satana flew up on burning wings before landing in the lobby, a wave of flame arching out from her landing point towards the haunt, the fire engulfing the Haunt's cape to reveal a gaunt woman covered in skeletal armour. "Ruining my fun, shame on you." she snarled before firing a bolt of lightning at the Haunt, the skeletal creature absorbing the blast with her scythe before slamming the weapon into the floor, lines of electricity spreading out and creating walls of ionic energy around the lobby.
"And you." The Haunt stated as she summoned a cage of bone around Satana, "We meet again Daughter of Satan, I thought that Strange had banished you but it seems he failed."
"As will you." Satana replied as she ripped the cage apart with her bare hands before summoning up Drill's heart, the organ aflame, the sparks spreading out and changing the floor into blood that swarmed up the Haunt's body, staining her armour red. "Your magic is of poor quality necromancer but it is dangerous. As such I have bound it in memory of what you were once capable of."
"And still am, the spells I cast were simply misdirection, I have bound you to the body you incubated in." The Hooded Haunt told her as she caused the blood on her armour to thicken and form a new cape. "Now return back to the prison of blood and bone." she commanded as Satana's body collapsed into a swarm of black flies and flew out of the room back to Drill's body, the Haunt's magic enforcing their flight pattern lest she try and disobey the spell cast upon her. Collapsing the Haunt took a deep breath as Voortrekker picked up his Striker and held it against the necromancer's head.
"You're not the only one using misdirection." Voorstrekker stated in a female voice, "You bound me but I had a choice, a corpse or a warm chrysalis to mould as I please." he added as his body became more feminine until he resembled a tanned woman with long brown hair clad in a form fitting military fatigues. "Unfortunately I'm bound by this body's genetics but I'll soon get round that. You on the other hand have used your last spell and it was flaw…" She gasped as the Haunt swung her scythe and decapitated Satana, her new body flopping to the floor.
"You are too cocky Daughter of Satan." The Haunt hissed as she descended down the shaft. "You taught me that the first time we met, that is why with time that body will heal, consider it a gift for the wisdom you bestowed on me that fateful day you cursed me to be trapped between life and death." she added as the body of Satana twitched and tendrils begun to snake out looking for her decapitated head.
With a scream Klaw erupted from the remains of the Vibranium, his body glowing with pure sound that amplified his voice, the sheer power causing the remains of the Wakandan Consulate to shake. Looking around he saw Lodestone rip her way free of the a titanium cocoon, her body mostly intact despite her sparking armour, on the other side of the room Oriole emerged, his body healing from the cuts and burns back to it's healed state. "Well that failed to do any of us in." he mumbled as Volcana and X-Ray stood ready for a second blast seemingly unaware of the damage the exploding Vibranium had done to them. For Volcana it was her powers that had taken the brunt of the force, her plasma form gone replaced by a body made of pure Vibranium crystal. X-Ray was far worse, his skin burnt off replaced by a living skeleton that glowed with an unearthly purple light.
"You pair of traitors will pay." Klaw yelled as he fired a blast of energy at Volcana, the colliding sound and Vibranium causing purple energy to engulf the entire building, purple cracks appearing in the walls and floor as the structure begun to disintegrate.
Out in the lobby the Jester looked at Diamondback and 8-Ball as a pure wall of energy enclosed them in. While Speed Demon had escaped he was the only one, now they were all trapped in the rapidly crumbling structure, the unusual energy even causing the plants to disintegrate into piles of energy. "Time to leave I think." he told them as he un-holstered his photonic particle transporter pistol and twisted the barrel to a wide bore setting. "The good news is this should lock onto any living creatures in the building."
"And the bad news?" Overrider asked as he threw a lamp at the hole in the floor only to see it disintegrate as it hit the sides of the escape tunnel Volcana had bored.
"It only has energy to diffuse and reform eleven individuals; it may be hit and miss if we get out of here." The Jester told them, "Even I may not escape."
"Is there any way to get priority treatment?" Snake Marston asked.
"Well if the readers leave a comment on whom they want to survive then maybe we will get through this." The Jester answered as he squeezed the trigger, a rapidly forming golden dome of energy filling the crumbling consulate.