Marvel Mayhem - Thunderbolts #17 - Shadows of the Past
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Last Issue the Thunderbolts split up to tackle numerous threats to the city. Abe, Songbird, Blizzard and Radioactive Man went to keep the peace after a meteorite hit the city only to be pursued by a mysterious figure. Meanwhile Orka and Meteorite were on the hunt for mass murderer Piranha which meant descending into the sewers while Victoria and Blackheath followed a lead on a smuggler using a newly established Green to transport them to Tehran on the hunt for answers
Mount Olympus, 770BC
The grey skinned woman slipped away from the writing orgy of her drunken comrades, silently pursuing the mortal in the red chiffon dress who had also left in disgust. As she continued her silent pursuit a deep hunger rose in her, one that caused her skin to tingle and buzz as she got closer to the woman's chambers. Slipping inside she saw her prey sitting on the massive bed forged from the roots of an ancient oak which had been on the mountain top since before the Olympians had claimed it.
"Deianira is there a problem?" the grey skinned goddess asked with a fake smile.
"Arke." Deianira gasped in surprised, "No I'm just shaken and tired and it has been a long day. I just have grown tired due to my abduction, my husband may celebrate the slaying of Nesus for five nights but I prefer to sleep after three."
"Their cheer is misplaced, Nesus serves Kronos and his blood washing down the sides of Olympus will bring much wrath from his Titanomachy." Arke explained, "Hercules may have reignited the cold war between Olympus and Acheron with his heavy handed methods."
"My husband means well." Deianira replied, "I only wish he thought of the consequences his actions bring as I do. My nightmares are haunted by conflict and pain, one that will be the scourge of Olympus and her people until the end of time. If only there was something that could be done to pacify Kronos."
"There is." Arke whispered as she slinked seductively onto the bed of Hercules and Deianira before shucking the leather armour she wore to reveal skin like quicksilver underneath. "We could save Olympus and Acheron." she hissed in Deianira's ear before kissing her on the neck and then moving down to her breasts, the mortal groaning with ecstasy with each kiss as tendrils of silver cut the straps of her chiffon and causing it to collapse onto the marble floor. "All we need to do is sacrifice something to please Lord Kronos."
"We…is there someone else here?" Deianira whimpered as she gently pushed Arke back only to see her seducer was now covered with liquid silver and had glowing red slits for eyes that illuminated the maw of fangs in her mouth.
"We hunger Deianira." Arke hissed as she ripped out the woman's breasts with her teeth, blood running down her skin like venom dripping from a serpents fang, the sheer joy causing Arke to purr in pleasure unaware of the two figures watching as she fed both her body and libido. The first a man dressed in a black hooded robe and clutching a sickle whose silver point matched his wings stalked impatiently whilst silently begging that Deianira would die for her own sake so he could spirit her away to the afterlife. Occasionally he stalked past the second figure clad in a toga, his tall but bulky body and bald head observed only by the hooded reaper as he stalked past, neither interfered, Thanatos wished he could but was bound by Hades laws, Uatu the Watcher wouldn't and knew he shouldn't or risk the end of all things.
As Arke finished the sound of a crowd could be heard and the goddess jerked her head up to see Hercules enter the room followed by Demeter, Ares and her own twin sister Iris, the four deities looking for a night of drunken pleasure. It was only when they saw Arke that they jubilant mood became one of horror as the blood stained Olympian stared back at them, her eyes burning with lust, hunger and rage. With a roar Hercules and Ares surged forward but they were too late as Arke streaked away a faint rainbow contrail left behind her. His anger magnified Hercules caressed Deianira's dead body while her sobbing soul was escorted away by Thanatos to the Underworld. With a howl of rage Hercules cursed Arke before sobbing deeply over his slain wife, her blood slithering across the floor before forming the words, 'Acheron' on the floor. Picking up his mace Hercules saw Ares shudder with joy even before his nephew had said his words of anger.
"Mount Acheron will burn at the hands of the Lion of Olympus." Hercules growled, "Every Titan who shelters Arke will be a corpse at my feet."
Redwood Point, Seattle - Present Day
Melissa touched the sonic platform down just outside the hastily erected crime scene tape and ad-hoc barricade of Mattock APCs, the mercenary force standing grimly around a medium sized impact crater as further troops fanned out followed by armoured fire engine into the settlement camp of Redwood Point, the lick of the flames already retreating as they tackled the numerous burning tents and shelters spread around the camp. Without even saying a word Abe ducked under the tape into the crash site only to receive the butt of an assault rifle in his face, the blow breaking his nose and sending him sprawling backwards onto the floor.
"You are not aloud in there." De Vaal snarled as he trod on Abe's knuckles and pointed the G36 he carried in the Thunderbolt's head. "Give me a reason not to put a round through your skull Jenkins." he stated as he removed the safety of his gun.
"Them." Abe replied before pointing at Melissa, Donnie and Chen, all of whom had various energy forming around their fists. With a snort De Vaal stepped off Abe and walked out of the taped area before stalking off after the armoured fire control team. With a groan Abe got to his feet and limped over to the crash site, the others following him in with Melissa placing a wall of solid sound around the area. "Well he's getting friendlier each time we meet." Abe coughed.
"He does not like you." Melissa stated, "I've only seen one person with an attitude that back and she works in law enforcement back in New York."
"I'll take your word for it." Abe groaned as he pulled a scanner from his belt, "Okay this spectral analyser should give me a reading on our mystery meteor's contents." Walking over to the hole bored into the concrete he waved the scanner over the crater before tapping the screen, a frown quickly forming as he read the results. "Chen you know chemicals better then me, what would you expect to find at a meteor crash site."
"Iron, Nickel, Sodium and Silicates." Chen answered as he passed his hand over the crater, "But I am picking up only one atomic signal and it is that of Iridium, a rare metal even in cosmic bodies and defiantly not the main element in meteors."
"This spectrometer is coming to the same conclusion." Abe confirmed, "And there is the added concern of where the actual meteor has gone. There is almost no particular material left inside the crash zone and Mattock only got here a few minutes before us. The actual body of the meteor would still be too hot and radioactive for a normal person to move."
"Maybe it got up and walked away." Donnie suggested only to be met with disproving glares by the others. "Oh like it's such a ridiculous idea with all these big ashy footprints leading away from the crash site." Taking to the air Melissa climbed to thirty foot off the ground before swooping down next to Abe. "He's right there are tracks from something leading away to the North West."
"Mattock must have stepped in the ash, it's the only explanation." Abe replied as he knocked on one of the solid sound barriers, the wall dissipating before him as he headed to the nearest Mattock Jeep. "Excuse me who is the commanding officer at this site."
"I am." A strong woman's voice announced as a fully armoured woman in red and black armour landed next to the jeep. "Warrant Officer Keira Castle but the boots on the ground call me Hard Shell."
"Hard Shell? That armour looks awfully familiar." Abe stated, "But that's not the point, the scene is compromised, somebody walked through the crash site and trailed iridium saturated footprints away from the scene."
"There is no breach Mr Jenkins." Castle replied, "We saw them when we secured the area even asked the first responders the same questions you are asking me. Nobody walked through the area but something walked out. We sent Azure Team to trail and detain but so far we have heard nothing."
"You're telling me something walked away from a high impact atmospheric entry and the speed to outrun a trained paramilitary strike force." Abe snorted, "There are only a few things that I know of which can do that and they always leave a trail of destruction behind them."
"Say what you want." Castle answered as she removed a SPAS-15 from the jeep and handed it to Abe, "There is always something new to be found. When you find Azure Team give me a call, my extension back at Camp Falx is on the side of the shotgun. And sorry for well that." She added gesturing to Abe's nose.
"Yeah well sorry for yelling at you." Abe mumbled before turning back to the others. "Come on people let's move out, we have a living meteor to catch, usual crap we have to deal with."
"Somebody has a crush on you." Donnie snickered as Abe walked past, "What's her name MACH?"
"None of your business." Abe snapped, "And Mel don't give me that look." he added not turning to face Melissa as she scowled behind him.
"What look?" She asked innocently, "We have been broken up for over a year."
"The 'He's mine so back off b!+(h look." Abe answered as Chen passed him in an attempt to outrun the coming conflict.
"I just think you could do better." Melissa snorted, "Plus she's a little young for you."
"Really when we started dating you were seventeen and I was twenty nine." Abe stated, "Age isn't the problem here."
"Hey Chen." Donnie yelled over the screaming match behind him. "Megladon or Titanoboa. Tell me who wins that fight?"
"Neither." Chen answered, "The giant squid eats them both before they even meet each other."
"Level with me here, bone crunching jaws could bite a Titanoboa in two." Meteorite told Orka as they turned the corner of the sewer pipe, the former hovering over the water to avoid standing in the stream of filth that sloshed around the base of the pipe.
"I told you I can't settle your idiotic argument with Donnie." Orka growled, "I don't give a rat's ass about who wins between two giant atomic sea monsters."
"This is about Victoria isn't it?" Sara suggested.
"What? No." Orka mumbled, "Damm it Piranha where the hell are you?"
"Do you love her?" Sara asked.
"Huh maybe." Orka sighed, "Not that she would love somebody like me, I mean I look like a monster."
"True but so does everyone if you look hard enough." Sara answered, "Everyone has a bit of monster in them, you're lucky, the monster is outside and the sweet guy is inside unlike some jerks I could name. And don't try and deny it, yesterday you spent three hours telling kids in the camps stories about Atlantis. You personally carried a man injured in a construction accident four miles to the medical Centre because the earth was too rough for an ambulance. You are not just a sweet guy, you have a genuine good heart Orka don't let anyone tell you different."
"But sweet guys don't last long where I come from." Orka lamented, "My father is an outcast, a soldier and a hater of the surface world. Growing up under his thumb was enough to make sure I didn't above these emotions but ever since I came to this world I have found myself becoming more and more concerned that I was a bad guy that it was I who was in the wrong."
"Dorcas laced your DNA with Killer Whale genes right?" Sara asked, "I guess if you give it enough time some emotions that Atlantean's don't really have would have been replaced with whale emotions, but that isn't a bad thing. I think if you told Victoria what you feel for her she wouldn't be able to say no. Think of it as your final test to joining the human race."
"But what if I fail?" Orka asked, "I'm not smart, at least not in human culture."
"Then I will…" Sara stopped as Orka put up a hand and pointed to the two tunnels that forked off the main shaft. "Which one is our Catch of the Day hiding in?" she asked as Orka looked from one to the other.
"Neither." he replied, "But he has been down both recently. My natural sonar says that both are not very deep, we split up and investigate, if one of us finds something yell and the other will come running you got it."
"Got it." Meteorite answered as she hovered into the left tunnel the light emitting from her hands lighting up the dark tunnel. Heading to the end she suddenly saw movement and shot off a salvo of photonic flares to see three figures dragging a Mattock soldier down the tunnel. Two of them wore dark armour that eerily mimicked Abe's destroyed MACH IV suit, the other was a lumpy almost rock like figure, his own fists burning with a rainbow coloured light and all of them looked ready to lynch her as the bullets started firing followed by orbs of gleaming rainbow fireballs. With a scream worthy of Xena, Sara jumped in and ripped the kinetic energy from the rounds of the agent's guns before transferring it to her own body and slamming one of them into the stony monster. Turning she slammed a photon enhanced fist into the third figure's face, the helmet shattering to reveal a woman's face framed with platinum blonde hair with pink streaks.
"Melissa are you okay?" The armoured figure asked as the rocky figure punched Sara in the face as she stood amazed and repulsed at what she was seeing.
"I'm fine brother." Melissa answered as the sound of Orka smashing through the walls of the tunnel echoed around them. "We must leave before the others arrive and we lose everything"
"Yes sister." the second armoured figure answered. "Iridium collapse the shaft that should deter the Thunderbolts from following." he ordered the rocky creature as he and Melissa dragged the Mattock soldier to the end of the tunnel and disappeared into the secret chamber hidden in the floor. Iridium snarled at Meteorite as she recovered before ripping a section of tunnel roof out and following his masters just as Orka arrived and pulled Sara away from the collapsing ceiling.
"Let's hope Piranha wasn't down that one." He grunted as her reached the fork, "I heard gunfire and I saw that creature whatever it was." he told Sara as he sat her down and checked the back of her head for bruises. "But I didn't get a good enough look did you?"
"No?" Sara answered knowing that her answer was a lie, "No I didn't."
Tambushi's Shop, Tehran, Iran
Tambushi's shop was a place full of curiosity; the artefacts in the window alone would have entranced Victoria for hours if she hadn't been on a mission. After a quick phone call to announce their arrival the two Thunderbolts had been welcomed by the wizened old shop keeper and had been treated to a mix of Persian and British hospitality as Tambushi shuffled around hunched over bringing the pair yet another cup of tea. Despite the fact he lived in Iran, Tambushi had been born in Kenya, and his extreme height even when hunched over suggested that somewhere in his history there had been one of the local Massai people. Unlike his father Tambushi had been fascinated with the treasures of the earth rather then crops and had worked hard eventually earning a place at Durham University and much later setting up shop in Tehran.
"Are you both comfortable?" Tambushi asked as he lowered himself into a padded chair, his joint groaning as he sat.
"Yes thank you." Victoria answered, "Your hospitality is most welcome."
"It is not often I have guests." Tambushi announced sadly, "Not anymore, now about this statue you wanted." he coughed, "I was able to acquire it and SHIELD paid for the transportation here but I was unable to post it due to the trouble from the other interested party."
"Oh this can't be good." Sam groaned.
"We already met him." Victoria answered, "I'm guessing you were contacted by a Mr. Zaran."
"No a Mr. Korral but I refused his generous offer because I had already made a deal with you. And something about his voice made me feel like he was up to no good and I have endeavoured to keep my business reputable. But enough about that, I know why you want the statue, there was a secret compartment with this inside." Tambushi wheezed before removing a glowing blue crystal from his shirt pocket. "I have never seen anything like it."
"We have." Victoria answered as Tambushi passed her the crystal. "The Masters of Evil ransacked our base and stole it from us."
"Then I fear that you may be targeted again." Tambushi stammered, "But come what was this other matter you wished to discuss with me."
"This." Victoria announced as she handed Sam the Kree Crystal. "A man known as the Sea Urchin tried to steal this Canopic Jar claiming he was working for you."
"I have heard of him and would certainly not hire him to acquire anything." Tambushi said gravely, "Especially not a cursed vessel like this. There is a warning in Coptic Egyptian about a curse. One time I did not believe in such things but my studies into the occult with my friend Stephan convinced me other wise."
"Our friend who reads Minoan said the very same thing." Victoria sighed, "Well looks like it's going to the vault at MACE."
"Victoria move." Sam yelled as he got up from his seat and pushed Tambushi and Victoria to the floor as the window shattered and a bullet ripped through Sam and into the jar on the table smashing it open as a woman dressed in green combats and a matching hunting jacket leapt into the room followed by a man clad in an orange suit decorated with a meteor and wearing a space helmet illuminated by a yellow glow.
"Whiplash!" Victoria snarled.
"You know that woman?" Tambushi asked. "Who are they?"
"We are the people who will be taking that crystal." Whiplash hissed, "And everything else worth taking."
"So that's my dream." Donnie told Chen, "That and something about a frog and some cigars."
"My analysis." Chen sighed, "Switch to Decaf."
"He you might be right there." Donnie snickered before stopping and pointing to one of the buildings. "Did you see that?"
"I did." Chen answered as the door slammed behind a man shaped blot of darkness that had streaked across the path. "Go get the bickering couple to stop fighting I think we found our ET."
"ET?" Donnie spluttered, "If were lucky it will be ET, more likely it will be something out of Geiger's nightmare landscape." he added as he threw at rock at Melissa, the stone bouncing off her head and causing her to give a stare that was filled with hostile intent. "Alien, Meatpacking Warehouse, First Contact ect."
"You will pay for that Donnie." Melissa snarled as she took to the air and soared over to where Chen was melting the lock off of the door.
"Hey Don I'll give you ten bucks to do that again." Abe offered with a mischievous smile.
"Nah but I will do it for twenty." Donnie answered, "Oh and I want American dollars not Canadian dollars like you gave me for my birthday two months ago."
"Damm it." Abe spat, "I knew I was going to get it in the neck from either you or Sanders for doing that. Joystick was much easier to buy for then you ever were. My god what's that smell."
"Meat," Melissa answered, "Although all disease risks were immolated after quarantine was setup."
"They obviously missed some." Abe wheezed as Melissa created a solid sound face mask for herself. "Or our alien needs a bath." he added as they stepped inside before a scream rung out as Songbird walked straight into the rotting corpse hung up on a meat hook behind the door.
"My god it's Bert." Melissa gasped as she backed up, knocking over a discarded rebar next to the door, the sound echoing around the room.
"Oh man that is rank." Donnie sighed as he fought the urge to throw-up. "Looks almost like somebody was taking parts out of his body."
"There is a second body." Chen added, his usually calm voice breaking to show a rare glimpse of emotion. "Looks like Cardinal."
"Harrier Chen." Melissa corrected, "Last I heard he was in Rwanda shuttling aid packages to refugees."
"Hey Mel this hook has your name on it." Abe stated glumly. "All of them have names on, and all the names are former Thunderbolts." he added as darkness begun to creep up the walls of the building. "I don't think this is the work of a new visitor to Earth." He added as he unholstered the SPAS-15. "And this creeping night effect isn't natural."
"Chen behind you." Melissa yelled as a pair of red eyes emerged from the wall behind Chen only to receive a fist to the face and fall back into where it had crawled out of. Moments later shadowy hands reached out from the floor and grabbed Melissa by the throat, attempting to drag her down. Abe fired a blast with the shotgun only to see the round go through the figure as Melissa struggled and kicked, occasional sonic blasts lighting up the room before being pulled completely under.
"Mel." Abe yelled emptying the weapons ammo into the floor, "That thing just took her."
"That thing is coming back." Donnie yelled as he opened fire with a Freon blast as the red eyed fiend emerged from the ceiling and slammed a metal meat hook into Chen's stomach, radiation pouring from the open wound like green lightning as he freed himself to land on the floor gasping.
"Chen what's wrong?" Abe yelled as he removed a set of road flares from his belt and ignited one, the tip glowing blue against a wall of almost impenetrable darkness.
"Local meltdown." Chen wheezed before passing out, his usual green glow fading into an ashen grey.
"Is he…" Donnie asked. "There, it's there." He screamed as he poured on the ice only to see the red eyed attacker fade back into the wall.
"No but he needs to consume on nuclear energy to revive himself." Abe answered as he threw another flare. The figure was nowhere to be seen and that made him even more paranoid. Turning round he saw the attacker standing behind him, the big bug eyes staring at him as the figure held its head in its hands.
"No I can't do this." He moaned, "No it's the right thing to do." he added before reaching out to grab Abe. With a grunt Abe caught his attacker's hand and flipped him over to land hard on the floor as Donnie froze a binding block of ice around the mysterious figure, the darkness beginning to lighten as the fiend writhed around trying to free himself.
"Now to see who is behind the mask." Donnie said triumphantly before removing the hood to see a familiar face. "Conrad?"
"Smuggler. Conrad is gone just like Erik." Conrad growled, "The Good Lord told me to kill you and I do the Lord's work."
"Conrad you have gone insane." Abe stated, "Now what have you done to Mel and Chen."
"Urr Abe." Donnie whimpered.
"Not now Donnie." Abe snarled, "Talk Conrad or we start breaking bones." He threatened as a gunshot rang out and Donnie stumbled backwards, ice and blood running from a bullet hole in his chest. "Donnie?" Abe yelled as he tried to stem the bleeding. "Donnie man stay with me."
"Tried to warn you." Donnie wheezed. "Freon will keep me alive for an hour but after that…"
"Man I am so sorry." Abe answered as he looked to see the shooter dressed in red and black power armour level a rifle at his forehead.
"Not as sorry as you will be." Hard Shell told him as she squeezed the trigger once more.