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Welcome to the West Coast - Part 3
Abe staggered along the waterfront, his left leg stalled by the off lined MACH IV armour thanks to the Cobalt Man's last blast. And while the villains had fled he knew that it was only going to get worse if the nuclear powered felon's words were anything to go buy. He still didn't know what was going on, how this latest incarnation of the Masters of Evil fit in with mooks like the Power Tools. At the moment that didn't matter, hid team the Thunderbolts were scattered across the radiation blasted dockside and he had to find them. Checking his suits fuel levels and tank integrity he diverted power from the weapons to the armours servos and high powered search beams, the large photonic panels ripping through the smog and radioactive mist around him.
''Mel, Donnie can you hear me?" He yelled, ''Victoria is anybody there?"
''Abe over here.'' A horse sounding voice called. Abe scanned left to right before catching sight of a thick pink arrow on the floor. Following the trail he caught sight of Songbird sprawled under the blown off back of an armoured security car, the scorched slab of metal held up by sonic supports.
''Mel are you okay?" Abe asked crouching down next to his pinned comrade.
''Okay as long as this wreckage doesn't crush me, ''She replied her voice croaking. ''I located Donnie with a sonic pulse and sent him a trail to reach us.''
''Okay.'' Abe said eyeing up the section of van lying on top of her, ''That can't weigh more then half a ton I'll see if I can budge it.'' Bending down he grabbed the edge of the van and lifted, his servos straining before his left leg stalled causing him to topple backwards. ''I can't,'' he panted, ''my suit is compromised and the servos keep stalling.''
''Abe, Mel.'' A voice called from the fog. Abe looked up to see Donnie emerge his hand clamped over his mouth coming towards him.
''Don thank god, Mel is trapped I need some help lifting, a few ice pillars should do the job.'' Abe ordered.
''It won't work.'' Donnie moaned. ''Any Freon blasts will vaporise on contact with the metal, add in that the gas is flammable and we have another problem on our hands.''
''If we're voting.'' Melissa coughed, ''I am really against that.''
''Well what if we lift together?" Abe suggested as he bent down in another attempt to move the wreckage. ''Hey Donnie at least try.'' He yelled as Donnie stared out into the fog. Following his gaze Abe saw a massive figure wreathed in smoke striding towards them. Gently putting down the slab of metal he turned and shined a light on the figure to reveal the mystery creeps features. At eleven foot tall to say the figure was ripped was in an understatement, and while that stood out his blue skin screamed Atlantean to Abe. As if to finish up the 'look at me' vibe, the figure wore a white breastplate and bronze helmet ringed with shark teeth, an intimidating look on anyone regardless of their size.
''Move out the way shrimp.'' The giant ordered in a firm voice. ''I got this.'' Backing off Abe watched as the giant lifted the van with one hand and pulled Melissa out with the other. ''You'll be fine miss.'' The giant rumbled. ''By the way I also found you're other woman, literally pulled her out of the jaws of death. She's the one you should thank, if it were up to me I would have left you here.''
''Well thanks anyway.'' Abe replied stiffly, ''Let's regroup and get a handle on things.'' He added, ''Next time we might even catch somebody rather then watch them teleport away.''
Decontamination took a while and after an extensive medical exam the Thunderbolts and their saviour were termed fit to leave and were shepherded away from the waterfront just as the first of SHIELDs HERD* units showed up to tackle the excess radiation. Back at base Abe crawled out of his armour and slumped down in an armchair as Donnie and Melissa took stools and Orka, their timely rescuer took a whole sofa to himself. After a quick cup of coffee Victoria had left to make some calls, Abe just hoped that they didn't concern the cutting of funding or even disbandment of his team.
* Hazardous Environments Recon and Disposal
''So Orka how come, and don't take this the wrong way, you just happened to be off the coast of Seattle just as the Masters of Evil attacked?" Melissa asked as she took a sip from her mug.
''Fulfilling the arrangements of my parole.'' Orka grunted. ''I had to release my pod somewhere away from Atlantis so I swan them up to Vancouver. As I came back I saw one of my old muckers Piranha trying to take the snerk's leg off.''
''Snerk?" Donnie asked as he stirred his iced team absent mindedly.
''It's Atlantean slang for Damsel.'' Orka explained, ''Anyway I was on my way to a job interview when I saw them and decided to lend a hand. Missed my interview mind you but I'm sure the position of bag-boy will come up at Walmart again.''
''Trust me man.'' Donnie spluttered, ''That job is lame.''
''Well I need a job as per my parole agreement.'' Orka lamented.
''Then work for us.'' Victoria announced as she walked through the door. ''I talked to you're parole officer and he agreed that it was a good idea and a legitimate chance to better yourself.''
''Hmm,'' Orka growled, ''sounds good. I have one condition, I want to be able to visit my pod when I get the chance, just to make sure that there fine.''
Agreed.'' Abe murmured, ''I can understand your concern, the world has become darker almost overnight. I mean the mutant question keeps coming up, there's this Cape Killer running about and only yesterday Thor was arrested for 1st degree murder.''
''And that's what I told Mr. Korral over the phone.'' Victoria told them, ''With much probing I was able to get some details on our mystery artifact. Apparently it's a statue of Nahutal the Aztec god of war and was fished up from a Ming Dynasty Treasure Ship sunk off the Washington coastline. All the treasures are being displayed in the Seattle Museum of Asian Art before being shipped down to San Fransisco.''
''Cool I'll get a fresh suit of armour.'' Abe replied happily.
As Abe and Melissa touched down, the later dragging the other Thunderbolts down to the plaza outside the art museum. As they landed the doors flew open and a swarm of art lovers streamed out screaming the sound of panic drowned out by the whine of a power drill. Seconds after the last civilian had escaped four figures sauntered out laughing and joking. Abe smiled as Jackhammer clutching the statue spotted them, his grin turning to a worried frown. ''Well if it isn't the Blunderbolts.'' He snorted, ''Too bad you just missed a great exhibit.'' He added fishing out the teleportation trigger and activating it before watching it smoke and hiss uselessly in his hand.
''You want to leave?" Abe mocked, ''You either do it in an ambulance or a prison van.'' With a horse bellow Jackhammer stashed the statue in his bag before running at Abe. Sidestepping out the way Abe let Jackhammer slam into Orka, the mans fist impacting with the Atlantean's chest. With a snort of rage Orka head-butted Hammer stunning him before throwing him backwards as Buzzsaw fired a wave of saw blades at his comrades attacker. With a single thought a wave of sound rolled forward knocking the projectiles out of the air. Taking to the air Songbird flew over Buzzsaw dropping wave after wave of sonic orbs at the villain, the majority blocked by his spinning saws.
''Catch Scumbird.'' Vice snarled as he ripped a granite pole off a piece of modern art and throwing it at her. Summoning up a pair of sonic blades Melissa sliced through the pole before dive-bombing Vice, the sonic blast causing him to scream and his ears began to bleed. As he screamed Blizzard struck freezing the villain's cybernetic hand before shoulder slamming him to the floor. Overhead Abe blasted past firing mercy rounds down at Drill as he advanced on Victoria, his eyes watering as she fired another tear gas grenade at the villain. With a grunt of agony drill opened fire, three mini harpoons slashing towards her, the drill buts scratching across the deep purple armour she was wearing. With a sly grin Victoria knelt down and took aim, as Drill got within range she fired a fresh volley of concussion rounds, the projectiles leaving welts across his body before he collapsed.
''That should help.'' Jackhammer grunted as he smashed the ice around Vice's cybernetic hand. ''We should leave before this gets uglier.'' He added as Orka rammed a statue into Buzzsaw's blades, the saws cutting through the stone.
''You're right boss.'' Vice agreed, ''I'll cover you while you go for the bag.'' Jackhammer nodded before running for the bag as Blizzard froze the concrete causing him to skid past the bag and towards Songbird, her hands clutching a hard sound baseball bat before she slugged him round the face, the blow sending him flying.
''And he's out of here.'' Melissa chirped dissipating the bat as Vice made a foolish swing at MACH IV only to be pulled forward and slugged round the face, the blow causing him to black out and fall to the floor. Walking over Victoria reached for the bag only to be intercepted by Buzzsaw, his wrist mounted blades slicing towards her. At the last moment Orka sprung forward jamming his arm in the right blade, the saw digging in before jamming in the blubbery fat. Snarling Buzzsaw fired a projectile cutting through the strap and biting into Orka's cheek, his hand outstretched ready to catch the prize before falling back.
''Until next time Thunderbolts.'' Buzzsaw snarled reaching for his own teleporter trigger. Squeezing the trigger he grained as he begun to fade away. With a grunt Orka removed the saw blade from his cheek and threw it, the snaggle toothed disc slashing through the bag and Buzzsaw's hand, the amputated limb and bag falling away as the rest of the villain vanished.
''Well we only watched one get away so we must be getting better right?" Donnie asked as Songbird dragged Jackhammer out, his hands bound with sonic handcuffs. Throwing him down next to Vice and Drill Melissa picked up the bag and emptied out the contents, the statue falling out and smashing on the floor into ceramic pieces.
''Well it's no use now.'' Melissa deadpanned.
''Wait what's that?" Abe asked as Orka lumbered over holding his arm. ''It's some kind of concealed crystal, it almost looks like a microchip.''
''Well let's get it somewhere safe as soon as the police arrive for these three.'' Victoria stated, ''I think we now know what the Masters of Evil were really after.''
Buzzsaw materialised in the foyer of the mansion he had been using as a base, his stump bleeding as he screamed in agony. Rushing down the stairs Zaran the Weapon's Master headed towards him, a halberd held out ready to gut him.
''You failed, the master will be displeased with you're performance.'' Zaran announced dryly. ''And because of that you are no use to us.''
''Stop.'' A female voice commanded. Zaran turned and saw a blonde woman hover down the steps clad in a silver unitard decorated with a gold starburst. ''Buzzsaw may still be of use to us.''
''How the Thunderbolts have the statue and the data crystal inside. What possible use can we have for a failure Moonstone?" Zaran asked.
''As a distraction, take him and the others save the Cobalt Man and burn a memory of terror into this city.'' Moonstone ordered, ''And while the Thunderbolts burn as the city falls I will swoop in and save them. And once I'm through their defences I will take what we've been searching for right under their noses.''
''You got any ideas on viable targets?" Zaran asked.
''It's football season.'' Moonstone purred, ''And the crowd just loves their blood sports.''