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Welcome to the West Coast - #4
Orka recoiled as Victoria dabbed his facial wounds with a swab dabbed in Iodine. Pouting her lips Victoria reached up to try again only for the Atlantean to hiss in pain and back off. ''There are little girls who complain less then you.'' She chided before putting the bottle on the computer desk, the machine whirring and groaning as it and the four other desktops worked overtime to decrypt the data crystal retrieved from the battle with the Power Tools. Despite the Thunderbolts best efforts Buzzsaw, minus his hand had escaped, and the other members were saying nothing except that they wanted their usual mob lawyers. Even though they had taken three super criminals off the street they were no closer to figuring out what was going on.
''Damm it.'' Abe cursed as he swung round on the computer chair, a massive pair of spectacles, the glasses giving him massive bug eyes. ''We don't have enough processing power to decrypt the data stored, if there was any on it to start with. Regardless even if I connected the central processor in my armour I wouldn't have enough. Anything short of hooking this thing up to the SHIELD mainframe won't be enough to crack this open.''
''Unfortunately SHIELD won't let you do that.'' Victoria stated as Orka rubbed his cheek. ''Not until they know that it's not carrying a virus.''
''Which we can't do without more processing power.'' Abe sighed. Spinning back round to his workstation Abe slammed his fingers down on the keyboard, seconds later the power went off plunging the room into darkness. ''Oh great and now the powers off.'' He moaned, ''Orka what did you touch?"
''Nothing.'' Orka answered, ''Maybe you did this with you're key tapping.''
''Hardly.'' Abe answered as Victoria held out her mobile phone, the screen failing to illuminate, or do anything at all. Reaching out she walked over to the secondary workstation and fumbled around for a torch before locating the light and turning it on only for the bulb to emit a dim flash before dying. ''Feels like an EMP.'' Abe mused. All of a sudden their was a deep spluttering and the warehouse's generator kicked in, the buildings power at least momentarily restored. ''Could also be a blown transformer.'' He added.
''Everyone get in here now.'' Melissa screamed from the makeshift lounge. With a single look of horror Abe and Victoria started running towards the sound of Songbirds' voice, Orka lumbering in their wake. Reaching the lounge the source of the commotion was evident in all its gruesome glory. Sprawled across the floor was the corpse of a man wearing a Seattle Seahawks uniform, his body ripped apart, a sign hung round his neck. Gingerly Abe checked for a pulse before reading the note. ''Have you checked the score?" Looking over to the others he watched as Donnie turned the TV on and flicked over to CNN, his blood running cold as the headline, 'Masters of Evil hold Fans and Players at Century-Link Field hostage'. As the shaky footage ran Abe gritted his teeth, his team had been warned not to interfere with the Masters of Evils future schemes but now it was almost like they were trying to draw his team out.
''Can we take them?" Donnie asked, ''The only reason we lost last time was because the Cobalt Man stuck his nose in.''
''I see Zaran out front, he seems to be the field commander of this operation. And Whiplash and Firebrand are with him but we've seen what Gilbert and Foreman can bring to the fight. As for their backup, it appears that they have the original Unicorn for long range assaults and Litterbug for close range combat.'' Victoria accessed.
''And Buzzsaw is with them, I guess we know that the Power Tools and the Masters of Evil are in bed with each other.'' Melissa finished, ''But no Cobalt Man at all unless he's hiding off camera.''
''What I don't understand is why there are people just sitting in the stands watching as this goes on.'' Orka stated. ''At the museum there was panicked crowds.''
''I think maybe the Masters wired the seats or doors.'' Victoria told them. ''This has all the hallmarks of the bombings a few weeks ago in St Petersburg, Sao Paulo and Nairobi where local super criminals crashed a major venue wired the place and lured the local security or law enforcement in and then blew the place. We have credible Intel that the Unicorn was at the St Petersburg bombing alongside the Iron Maiden, Snow Leopards and one of the Crimson Dynamos.''
''How did it end?" Abe asked.
''Over a five hundred dead with all super criminals making a clean exit.'' Victoria answered, ''We have to be careful when taking action or this will blow up in our faces.''
''It will blow up in our faces.'' Abe answered, ''All we can do is limit how much damage is done.''
Thundering down into the City-Link arena Abe landed on the opposite end of the field to the Masters of Evil. Walking to the half way line Abe heard Melissa land behind him, the others disembarking off the town sonic platform, as Zaran walked to meet him, a football sized canister in his hands and a sinister smile on his face. Placing the device on the floor Zaran removed a microphone from his belt. ''And as I predicted the Thunderbolts showed up. Now to tell our 'heroes' the rules.'' Zaran said gesturing to the Thunderbolts, ''You defeat us and the bomb will be disarmed but if you fail to do that and everyone dies. We have told our audience that the doors are armed as are all the chairs. You try and evacuate them and they all go up like torches.''
''And that thing?" Abe asked.
''A tactical nuclear bomb courtesy of the Cobalt Man.'' Zaran explained, ''Just to make things more interesting. Brake the rules and this thing detonates as do the seven others that are hidden in the city. I believe that one was placed in you're building.'' He added with a wry smile. ''Now shall we kick off?" Abe turned to walk away, his arms tensing up, before swinging round to slug Zaran in the face. As his fist was about to make contract the mercenary teleported away to the other end of the field as Litterbug thundered towards him. Activating his thrusters Abe took off as the mutated insect like villain leapt at him, his clawed fingers ripping the armour plating off his right leg.
With a soundless command the other Masters and Thunderbolts charged each other and in a few seconds the combatants were fighting in close combat with flashes of energy and the clatter of projectiles echoing around the whole stadium. Sat right in the middle of the frey was Victoria as she blasted Whiplash with a concussion round in a desperate scramble for the main bomb. With an evil smirk Whiplash cracked her whip and slashed open Victoria's cheek before wrapping the cord around the SHIELD agent's wrist and sending an electrical pulse along it's length and into her captive. Her armour smoking Victoria stumbled back as Blizzard shot overhead trading blasts of ice with thrown fireballs and energy blasts as Firebrand and Unicorn chased him around the stadium.
''You can't outrun the flames of revolution.'' Firebrand yelled as he set the ice path Donnie was using alight. Half leaping, half falling off Donnie saw and felt a blast of energy strike him as the Unicorn charged up another shot not content that the later had fully immobilised his target. Aggressively Blizzard changed tactics firing a wave of hailstones and icicles at the pair of villains. Grunting the Unicorn backed off but Firebrand just laughed as the ice melted around him, his flames blazing in the late afternoon sun. It was only as the surge of water from the melting ice enveloped him that he begun to scream, his flames extinguished by jis failure to recognise the impending danger, Pouring on even more ice Donnie watched as Firebrand froze to the spot save his neck and head which peeked out of his icy restraints.
''Cool down man.'' Donnie deadpanned as Victoria pulled Whiplash forward and rifle butted the villainess in the face. Looking around she saw Orka engaged with Litterbug in some primal monstrous sumo competition. While Orka was stronger he hadn't resorted to biting his opponent, Litterbug had no such constraint as he chewed on the Atlantean's muscular arm, blood splashed across his face as he bit down harder his teeth grinding against the bone. Levelling her weapon at the insect like mutant, Victoria noticed that she wasn't the only one to notice the clash of the titans. Buzzsaw who until moments ago had been deflecting the Mercy Rounds fired at him by MACH IV was aiming from the other end of the field. Swiftly readjusting Victoria hammered the trigger as Buzzsaw released a shower of saw edged discs at Orka, the majority colliding with the bullets, the remainder sailing towards the occupied Thunderbolt.
''Now that the whale is sushi you're an easy target.'' Buzzsaw sneered as he turned to face Victoria. ''Now to finish what I started two hours ago and cut you down to size SHIELD brat.'' He added charging up his saw blades to their maximum RPM. ''Now let's see who can save you now.''
''Maybe but as part of a team there will always be somebody watching you're back.'' Songbird screeched as she wrapped a sonic orb around Buzzsaw and tossed him down the range to where Zaran was standing.
''Songbird behind you.'' Abe yelled as Unicorn charged up a beam of energy and fired it up at Melissa. With a grunt Orka threw Litterbug into the beam's path, sheltering Songbird from the blast. Below her Blizzard arched round and fired a wall of ice at Zaran and Buzzsaw, only for the later to slice through the block, his blades spinning so fast that the air rippled around him.
''Free Firebrand and deal with the Blizzard.'' Zaran ordered, ''I will take care of Songbird.'' He added as he strung an arrow in the antique bow he carried before releasing the bolt, the tip thudding into Melissa's shoulder.
''Is that it?" Melissa laughed pulling the bolt out before firing off a hard sound arrow of her own that sliced through Zaran's bow string, the string slicing through his cheek.
''Hardly.'' Zaran stated, ''My arrows were laced with the enhanced toxin of the Dumb Cane. You should be feeling the effects soon.''
''What effects...are...you...?" Melissa wheezed as her throat swelled up sending her tumbling to the field below. As she struggled to breathe Zaran walked over clutching a war-hammer, the head decorated with mystic symbols that shifted and swirled. ''The toxin is easily treated with medicated charcoal but alas it won't cure a crushed skull.''
''Melissa.'' Abe yelled as he blasted Whiplash away from Orka. ''Stay away from her.'' He snarled as he ran towards Zaran unaware of Unicorn running parallel with him before charging in and attempting to tackle him, his body sparking with scarlet energy. Deftly Abe dodged only to decoy towards Litterbug, the mutant acting swiftly and leaping onto the Thunderbolt's chest pining him to the floor as the other Masters of Evil ganged up on the remaining Thunderbolts.
''And so Seattle you're heroes have failed.'' Zaran snorted into the microphone. ''And now you all will pay the price.'' As he raised the hammer above his head a streak of orange light powered down into the stadium, the impact kicking up waves of dust as it bored into the field like a small meteor. Squinting through the haze Abe saw a woman pick herself up and walk out of the crater. Clad in bronze armour stylised like a Valkyrie, her hair blowing in the wind, Abe recognised the costume as that of Meteorite an alias used by Moonstone during the Thunderbolts deception. If Karla was here then things were about to get interesting, while she was powerful Moonstone was also untrustworthy and would likely betray them the first chance she got.
''Get her.'' Zaran ordered, obviously he was feeling threatened by this new arrival. With a burning sneer etched across his face Firebrand strode towards the new arrival, his body burning the grass with every step. Smiling back at him the woman held her hand out and siphoned the heat and flame away from Firebrand's body and around her own hands leaving the villains armour coal black and rapidly cooling in the afternoon sun. With a coy smile the woman threw the flame at Litterbug, the heat from the blast sending the mutant cowering. ''What?" Zaran yelled before Songbird swung her legs out on either side of his head and flipped him onto his back, the hammer clattering to the floor. In those few seconds the Thunderbolts had regained the initiative and gave the Masters of Evil no quarter.
As Victoria looked around at the carnage she caught side of the bomb once again and headed for the middle of the field. As she reached for the bomb Orka pummeled Whiplash in the face as she lashed out, her whip leaving painful track marks over his body. With a roar of fury he threw Whiplash across the field, the lithe villainess flying over the goal line before landing face first in the field. Delicately Victoria opened the bomb up and swore loudly before pulling out the energy core from the socket and reaching in and chucking a computerised relay away.
''Abe.'' She yelled as MACH IV fired a Taser into Unicorn's battle ram, electricity running down his body before releasing a final beam of energy into Buzzsaw's back. ''The main bomb was just a transmitter, it's been disabled so now the other explosives can't detonate.''
''You may have the advantage going into half time.'' Zaran stated as the Masters of Evil regrouped. ''But in two hours we will strike another civilian target and this time we won't wait for you.'' He added before activating his teleporter at the same time Abe hit the jammer only to see the Master's vanish. As they vanished the arena was filled with clapping and applause, the hostages cheering at the Thunderbolts victory.
''Wow that was cool.'' Meteorite chirped as she spun round to take in the atmosphere.
''Enough Karla.'' Abe snapped, ''Putting you're best clothes on doesn't change the person underneath.'' Meteorite cocked her head before pulling her helm off to reveal a tanned face with shoulder length black hair framing her face, excited brown eyes looking at the Thunderbolts with confusion and admiration.
''I don't know who you're talking about.'' She announced, ''But that's not me.''