All Characters are owned by Marvel Comics
Thunderbolts #10 - The Cost of Innocence
For more Marvel Mayhem visit the library on this link - Marvel Mayhem Library
This Issue follows on from batkevin 74s - Scourge #7
The heavily armoured Zeus shuttle thundered south from Seattle to San Diego, armed guards clad in power armour kept their weapons trained on the five prisoners locked down in energy cuffs wrapped around their arms and legs. With a cough one of the them walked up to his superiors and whispered in his ear before being shot a dirty look by Victoria, the orange jumpsuit clashing with her dark hair.
"If you have something to say then say it agent." She snapped.
"I just can't figure why we're bringing you in when Jenkins did the world a favour." The agent stuttered.
"Because giving shelter to a murderer is a federal case." The Captain announced, "These five are just as guilty for any crime that MACH IV commits if they give him shelter."
"So we have to pay for his crimes!" Meteorite spluttered, "Well that sucks."
"Oh shut up." Melissa spat, "Abe was with us in Lake Washington at the time Firebrand was murdered."
"Well how come plant freak wasn't arrested." Meteorite moaned.
"Because he was unaffiliated with the suspect at the time of arrest." Victoria told her."Oh god I just called Abe the suspect, I didn't mean it Melissa."
"It's okay, just a slip of the tongue." Melissa answered. "I hope that the armour cameras, our testimonies and the evidence will acquit him and by extension us. I still can't believe they think that Abe murdered Firebrand."
"Because we have evidence that places Jenkins at the scene, that after the Mariners Siege he had motive and because I seriously hope that he is guilty because there already talking about the death penalty." The SHIELD Captain announced.
"Victoria is this true?" Donnie asked.
"Yes but I really hoped it wasn't." Victoria answered.
"All rise." Judge Collins bellowed as the manacled Thunderbolts joined the crowd, jury and notable others stood. "Today we are reviewing the case of Abner Roland Jenkins vs. The State of California. You may be seated. Prosecution you're brief."
"As you wish you're honour." A smarmy looking lawyer in a fancy suit sneered, "I plan to prove that Mr. Jenkins not only murdered Gary Gilbert but did it with deliberate intent. We have experts in ballistics, behaviour studies and super villain case files at our disposal to capitalise on the evidence."
"And you're case defence." Collins asked the shabbily state employed attorney as one of the appointed police officers brushed past him.
"I...I... I want to withdraw our argument." The defendant stammered before dashing out of the Courtroom. Stepping forward Victoria clearing her throat and smiling at Collins. "You're honour I would like to act as an Arbiter for the accused until we can get new legal council here."
"Allowed Ms. Hand, but rest assured that when Jenkins is found guilty you will still be going to jail with the rest of your friends." Collins growled.
"So much for innocent before being proven guilty." Donnie whispered, " Is it me or does the whole court room seem jumping."
"Yeah." Melissa answered, "And our council turning chicken seems too strange to be coincidence."
"We will adjourn for a brief recess while we brief Ms. Hand on the proceedings and allow her access to the defences statements and evidence." Collins ordered.
"I object you're honour." The prosecutor snarled, "The defence is one of the accused."
"Overruled." Collins barked banging his gabble on the bench. "We resume in fifteen minutes."
Blackheath meditated outside the Thunderbolts warehouse as the grass waved and swirled around him, the wind whispering to him as the radio blared in the background, the transcript of the very public trial occupying the main headline. With a sigh he ran his hands through the grass and got to his feet, "I here it to, the city is under the power of fear." Looking towards the concrete and glass heart of Seattle he noticed lightning striking the city centre as a pair of silver helicopters thundered overhead, their stubby wings bristling with rocket pods and canons. Reaching out with a vine Blackheath caught hold of the Chopper and pulled himself up, silently hitching a ride to the source of the panic.
After a quick ride Blackheath could literally smell the fear mixed in with the ash and gunpowder. Coming to a stop the choppers unloaded a whole unit of troops clad in white shirts, ballistic masks and sunglasses, the only spot of colour on them was the black berets and MP5s they carried. Following them out a blonde woman clad in pink leotard dropped down to the floor and motioned for the choppers to leave.
"This is Bombshell." The woman said as she fitted a radio headset over her hair. "Lambada Team is within striking range of the Space Needle, estimated time until detonation is five minutes," She continued silently ordering the chopper to spin around before tapping one of the white armoured soldiers. "But first we need to whack some weeds." She added as the soldiers opened fire on the chopper, bullets ripping through Blackheath and the stockpiled rockets, the later detonating and swallowing the helicopter and it's stowaway in a fireball. As the wreckage fell Bombshell motioned for her troops to follow. "Problem solved." She purred striding towards the Space Needle.
"Gary Gilbert was slain in San Diego at his mother's property. While we are unsure what kind of firearm was used we do know that the weapon used a .50 calibre round from shell casings located at the scene. Tests revealed that the suspect's fingerprints on each cartridge." Detective Nelson explained at the witness stand.
"But couldn't the casings have been planted." Victoria asked, "In you're report you mentioned an officer acting strangely."
"Officer Jackson Day, he's a rook on his first day with homicide." Nelson explained, "But I can't' imagine him doing this, he has no prior links with Firebrand or the accused."
"And there was a note with the body that accredited the kill to the Scourge of the Underworld." Victoria announced. "Records that SHIELD has access to confirm the NYPD believed as much. Unfortunately an asteroid laid waste to the cities communications so very little radio traffic is coming in and out."
"Ms. Hand." One of the legal secretaries squeaked, "There is a video message for you."
"Good that should be my contact in New York." Victoria announced. "Oh by the way I think that you may have overestimated the impact of this asteroid. Your honour may I have a few minutes to talk to our new legal council."
"Allowed court will resume in five minutes." Judge Collins stated as a guard accompanied Victoria out, his hand tapping his thigh nervously.
Vines spiralled around the base of the Space Needle, pushing their way up through the concrete and climbing up the patrolling white suited guard before slamming him into the floor as the elfin form of Blackheath climbed up out of the ground. Silently he and his vines retreated back into the earth before moving towards the needle and wrapping tendrils around another guards legs as he placed an explosive vest onto a tourist handcuffed to the railings. Putting a knarled finger to his lips Sam retreated back into the ground before silently travelling to where Bombshell and several goons stood preparing incendiary discs loaded with thermite.
"Ma'am we have lost contact with several perimeter units." One of the Goons announced as Bombshell threw the first Thermite charge onto the Space Needle.
"Take a team and investigate." Bombshell ordered. "Our Intel suggests that all the Thunderbolts are in court so only the mercenaries hired by ULTIMATUM should be within the city limits."
"You two stay here," the head goon ordered, "the rest of you come with me." He added as his troops put down ignition strips and detonators and picked up their MP5s and AKs before thundering down the steps towards the perimeter. As the sound of feet died down Blackheath sprouted from the paving just as the too guards turned round and opened fire, bullets embedding in Sam's bark like skin, the impact throwing up clouds of spores that clouded the area. Grabbing a gas mask Bombshell pitched a thermite charge into the acrid mist, the flames from the explosion lighting up the area and revealing the silhouette of her gunmen being restrained by vines, a goblin like figure watching before turning to face her.
"Okay freak, you want to play." Bombshell screeched, "Take some of these." She added throwing a hail of bayonet mines into the mist with two of the projectiles embedding in Blackheath's bark, the explosions shattering him into sawdust and splinters. "Game Over."
"As long as the Green survives then so do I." Sam's voice echoed around the plaza, "You are not welcome here so leave." Bombshell spun around trying to pinpoint the speaker only to see the bodies of the two fallen ULTIMATUM soldiers get to their feet and jerkily walk towards her as if they were clumsy marionettes under the power of a cruel puppet master. Backing up she hit something wooden before turning round slowly to see Blackheath towering over her. With a yell of fury she slammed her fist into his chest and released the grenade hidden in her fist before springing off him moments before he exploded. As he shattered wooden hands reached up and grabbed at her causing Bombshell to give the Space Needle a glance before activating the detonator and sprinting away, wild pistol shots shattering some of the hands.
Re-sprouting Sam smiled before hearing a creak behind him accompanied by the screams of the hostages. Refocusing his powers this time on the dormant plant life trapped under he concrete Blackheath watched as creepers scaled the sides stabilising the tower before he walked over to the hostages, leaf like blades sprouting from his arms. With a single swipe he cut through the end of the railing allowing the hostages to slip free.
"Thank you." One of the hostages gasped before eying the red lightning bolt that snaked across his chest. "Are the rest of the Thunderbolts coming to screw this up, I mean those thugs wouldn't be here if they had turned in that murderer MACH IV." Sam glowered at him but resisted the urge to turn the braggart into a trembling aspen by looking across the stormy cityscape, scores of ULTIMATUM helicopters hovering like flies over the urbanised heart of Seattle.
"If they can." Blackheath told him before stroking the vine crawling next to him.
"So Mr. Jenkins you had fought with the deceased twice before you murdered him." The lawyer for the prosecution asked Abe.
"That is common fact." Abe answered, "The world saw our battle with the Masters of Evil. In addition Songbird, Blizzard, Agent Hand and myself fought Firebrand, Zaran, Whiplash and the Cobalt Man at an armoured car depot the day before."
"I see and did you have any feelings for Mr. Gilbert or indeed any of his colleagues in the Masters of Evil."
"I felt sad for them." Abe announced, "With all their powers and technology they could have been an asset to our world rather then criminals looking to make a quick buck from the misery of others."
"The thought of that must have made you angry." The lawyer announced, "That such potential was being..." he stopped as a legal secretary dragged in a ficus from the corridor. "Your honour what does this have to do with the case."
"Somebody wanted to speak to the Thunderbolts." The secretary wheezed as she left the ficus in front of the witness box. Slowly the ficus unfurled a new leaf and a tiny winged Simuloid flew on leaf like wings to stand in front of Victoria.
"Thunderbolts." The tiny Simuloid squeaked, "Seattle is under attack by the terrorist group ULTIMATUM."
"You're honour I believe it would be prudent for me to be cleared of all charges so I can lead my team against the terrorists." Abe stated.
"Overruled." Collins roared banging his gable on the desk as one of the guards walked behind him brushing him on the shoulder. "However I would be heartless to let the city burn. As such you're teammates are free to leave but you and you're arbiter have to stay until you are cleared or more likely found guilty of the crimes you have committed."
"Thank you your honour." Victoria sighed as the other Thunderbolts were unshackled. SHIELD has a shuttle on standby in Los Angeles that can get you back to Seattle quickly."
"But Abe..." Melissa stated.
"Don't fear pretty bird I'll be out before the fight is over I promise." Ave reassured her. "Now get going the city needs you ASAP." Melissa nodded as she led the others out of the court room, one of the guards locking the doors behind them.
"Now if there are no further interruptions can the trial continue." Collins snorted as the guard who locked the doors stood to the left of the exit. Victoria shot him a glance and gasped, while all the other bailiffs and guards were carrying batons and tasers, he had a pistol holstered at his hip. "Ms. Hand what is it?" Collins asked.
"Gun everybody get down." Victoria yelled as the guard pulled out his gun and ripped his latex mask off revealing a cross shaped sensor over his eye. Hitting the deck Victoria barley heard the gunman's words over the panicked screams of the courtroom.
"I sentence you to death."