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Welcome to the West Coast #2
The glum collection of Thunderbolts sat round the coffee table each one lamenting on what had gone wrong in their battle with the Power Tools while their new SHIELD liaison Victoria Hand perched on the Diner style stool glaring at them with her hawk like eyes. The Thunderbolts had only stayed long enough for SHIELD to bail them out and pick up Donnie's equipment from his car before heading home. Save for directions nobody had said anything and the uncomfortable silence seemed to have a strong foothold in the Thunderbolt's warehouse.
''Well I don't know if SHIELD need's agents who screw up constantly.'' Victoria announced sharply, ''Then again you all would be dead in a few hours if we did, what with the Cape Killer on the loose.''
''We wouldn't be dead.'' Melissa whispered, ''We would have beaten them if...''
''If what?" Victoria coughed, ''If they hadn't ran away? You and Mr. Gill barley had the situation under control.''
''Okay lay off them.'' Abe ordered, ''Considering what happened they did the best job they could with what they had.''
''And where were you Mr. Jenkins?" Victoria snapped. ''You should have been with them and then maybe the Power Tools wouldn't have escaped.''
''Or maybe they still would have teleported away.'' Abe argued back. ''If you want to know the tech that allowed them to escape was Kree in origin. My armour was able to run a full spectral analysis on the energy and is currently working on a frequency blocker so the same thing doesn't happen again.''
''That assumes that you can find and contain them in the first place.'' Victoria stated, ''From what I saw earlier this morning you and you're people were less then able to do the later. From what records show the trucks were carrying more valuables then most bank vaults yet Jackhammer and his cronies didn't touch any of them.''
''Then it wasn't just a smash and grab then.'' Donnie guessed, ''They were actually looking for something which suggests that they are working for someone else.'' As he finished the sound of sarcastic clapping filled the warehouse space as Victoria smirked at him. ''Well done Mr Gill you just worked out a problem that most 7th Graders could figure out. The thugs work for the bad guy who in turn work for the big bad guy. Seriously Mr. Jenkins where do you find these idiots?"
Suddenly Abe got to his feet and strode over to where Victoria sat before looking her in the eye. ''Never talk to my people like that again,'' he snarled, ''I don't care if they just let Doctor Doom go you don't speak to people like that. Now don't you have a report to write or something.''
''I do.'' Victoria replied pushing Abe backwards, ''on how you have shown incompetence, stupidity and insubordination. If however, you find the Power Tools by the time I finish the report I may reconsider.'' She added as she slinked into the kitchen.
''Well she seems nice.'' Donnie said sarcastically, ''Abe can you get me a map of the city?"
''What are you thinking Don?" Melissa asked as Abe fired up a laptop and brought a map of Seattle.
''When you are on the bottom of the pile you look for easy targets.'' Donnie told them, ''You hit someone after they have been weakened. So as a habit I noted the name of the Security Firm. It appears Arnan Koral security and logistics have a regional base on the waterfront in Seattle, if we could get an inventory of their recent transports then maybe we could find out what is worth stealing.''
''Buzzsaw mentioned a statue, if we find out where that is then maybe we can get the advantage.'' Melissa added, ''We can get there in only a few minutes once we get costumed up.''
''Okay let's show little Miss SHIELD Accountant what we really do.'' Abe told the others.
Fifteen minutes later MACH IV touched down in the compound of Arnan Koral Security with Songbird dropping down a few seconds later towing a sonic platform with Blizzard standing on top. Everything was quiet, the security vans intact, the only thing that seemed off was that there were no people.
''Well this is ominous.'' Melissa stated taking to the air and flying over the main building. ''Wait somebody is crying for help inside, looks like the Power Tools got here first.''
''Well let's get them out of there.'' Abe announced. ''Songbird locate them and attack from the air while Blizzard and I come through the walls and the building.'' Melissa nodded before diving towards the roof, a sonic shield surrounding her just as the building exploded knocking her from the sky. Acting quickly Blizzard created a chute of ice that slipped her down so she could land on her feet. ''Mel you okay?" Abe asked rushing over to where Songbird was standing.
''Fine but that explosion it came out of nowhere.'' Melissa stammered.
''And it was radioactive.'' Abe added. ''The Geiger counter is going off the chart.
''Guys we have a problem.'' Donnie yammered pointing to the flaming building. Looking at where he was gesturing to Abe and Melissa saw four figures emerge from the security office's gutted corpse. From the dark shapes it was clear that they weren't the Power Tools and as they emerged Abe's heart sunk he recognised them all; from the scantily clad lithe form of Whiplash to the smoking body of Firebrand. Behind them the Zaran unsheathed an antique broadsword, the tip gleaming in the firelight whilst the armour of the Cobalt Man glowed blue as it pumped out radiation.
''Well this is different.'' Donnie stammered, ''Do we have any backup.''
''Only the super accountant.'' Abe answered as the villains charged towards them. ''Victoria come in, we have a problem we followed a lead to a security firm but got ambushed.''
''By the Power Tools.'' Victoria deadpanned over the teams radio link.
''By Zaran the Weapons Masterr and some random supers.'' Abe replied as he dodged backwards as Zaran slashed towards him. ''Any help you can send would be appreciated.'' He added as Blizzard created a shield of ice to block a blast from Firebrand, his frozen construct melting fast.
'I'm seconds away when I saw you leave I followed to see where you were going.'' Victoria told him as the Cobalt Man fired a pulse of radiation across the floor causing Abe's armour to momentarily stall. Seconds later the Zaran leapt at him his hands round a double ended batte axe held at neck level ready to cut through his neck. Horn blaring a BMW came barrelling through the reinforced gates and into Zaran sending him sprawling across the bonnet. Eyes wide Victoria stepped from the car and unholstered her pistol as the villain slipped off the BMWs bonnet.
''One Million Dollars to the man who brings me her head.'' Zaran grumbled as Songbird flew overhead firing down sonic daggers at the Cobalt Man's armoured form.
''Or woman.'' Whiplash hissed as she snaked out with her whip, the leather cord slapping Victoria's handgun away before recoiling it and lashing out again, the barbed tip biting into her arm, blood oozing from the multiple cuts. With a grunt she pulled her arm back, causing Whiplash to fall off balance before pulling out a second pistol and shooting her adversary in the head, the blast causing the villainess to fall.
''Concussion tips.'' Victoria announced as Abe blasted Zaran with a shower of mercy rounds causing the felon to shelter under an arm mounted buckler. ''Non lethal. As for the Power Tools well I'll accept these guys as a legitimate substitute.'' She added as Blizzard skidded past pouring a shower of ice onto the Cobalt Man's steaming armour. ''Now let's take them down.'' She bellowed turning to fire at Firebrand nailing the villain in the arm as he attempted to incinerate Songbird with a wave of flaming projectiles.
''And you're fighting in heels.'' Melissa added traping the thrown fireballs Firebrand sent her way in sonic bubbles. ''That is unenviable really.'' She added as she dived towards the wave of fire that was heading towards her. Streaking through the embers Melissa slammed Firebrand round the face with a sonic hammer before morphing the weapon into a sword and swiftly turning to meet Zaran blade to blade as he leapt at her.
''Man this guy doesn't quit.'' Donnie gasped as Abe came and helped him spray radiation suppressant foam onto the Cobalt Man, the armoured figure retaliating with a pair of frequency blasts knocking the pair of them away before glowing blue and advancing towards Victoria Hand as she opened fire on the recently released Firebrand, the bullets melting off the burning corona of energy that had formed around him.
''Enough woman.'' Firebrand hissed, ''Zaran wants you're head but he forgets why we are here.''
''Interesting I would have thought that he would be in charge of this operation.'' Victoria mused as she slid over the bonnet of a scorched security van.
''He wishes.'' Whiplash purred as she lashed out at Blizzard with her whip, the tip sparking with electricity that arched up the ice chute he was surfing on and electrocuting Gill causing him to crash into the wall and land head first onto the roof of another security van. Abe flew past and saw Donnie pick himself up before he opened fire on the Cobalt Man, his MACH IV suit launching a full contingent of anti radiation rockets that detonated on the armoured shell of his opponent.
''Come on Cobalt we both know you don't want to turn Seattle into the next Chernobyl.'' Abe called down as Melissa flung Zaran backwards to land in the foamy mass gathered around the Cobalt Man.
''Look to you're own people.'' The Cobalt Man answered, ''Fuel tanks and radiation make for ready made dirty bombs.'' He sneered as the security vans all glowed blue before exploding in a blue mushroom cloud, the blast propelling all the combatants through the electrified chain link fence and onto the Waterfront. Groaning Abe saw the Cobalt Man stride forward through the radioactive flames before bending over him.
''Welcome to the West Coast Hero.'' The Cobalt Man sneered, ''Cross us again and you'll have worse to deal with then this. Next time you try and stop us I will flatten the city in the name of the Masters of Evil.'' He added radioactive sparks flying as he talked, the cinders burning holes through the concrete and Abe's armour. ''Now remember that.'' The villain hissed as he and the rest of his team vanished in a haze of fog as they teleported away. Staggering to his feet Abe looked at the burning compound before taking a halting stride forward and collapsing as the flames grew higher and the radioactive mist bit at his face through his armour. It was clear what had happened,clear that the Thunderbolts had failed.
Victoria floated on the burnout electric fence, the shore backlit by the burning radioactive waterfront. Coughing and spluttering she climbed further up the floating platform as the piece of fencing began to sink into the bay. ''Jenkins anyone come in I need a pickup from the bay. Jenkins come in. Hello, hello.'' Victoria yammerd as a shadow passed under her, the bow wave causing the fence to sink. Looking around Victoria felt the fence be yanked away from her grasp, the displacement sucking her down into the dark icy depths.