Marvel Iron Age: Ares, Dogs of War part 5

Continued from here part 4

As Ares stood waiting for Khalaf's forces to make a move a message came over the comm in his ear, "We're ready to move, sir."

Ares nodded as he responded, "Do your best to keep it quiet, don't want to show our hand too early. Hopefully I'll survive long enough to see the look on Kurske's face."

Khalaf looked on uncertain what would happen next when finally after looking over his men and seeing the frayed tempers ordered a charge.

Ares' men wasted no time charging toward the Iron soldiers. The Busters dog piled on Vadim to attempt to take him out of the fight. King Adder dived into the rush of soldiers ripping several apart as soon as he connected.

Ares and Khalaf once more clashed in the field. As they stood with their weapons locked together Khalaf looked into Ares eyes, "What do you hope to accomplish here?"

The war god smiled, "I already accomplished my real goal, Now I just want to beat you."

Khalaf fell back a step and pulled his sword free before slashing Ares across the shoulder and trying for his neck. Ares blocked him again as Khalaf grunted, "What goal?"

Ares pushed him to the ground and lifted his ax to strike as he replied," When your Supreme Commander ordered all these soldiers and transports, he depleted the defenses for most of the Middle East and the patch of Eastern Europe he controls."

Khalaf blocked the ax as he realized this whole battle had been a distraction. Ares didn't want to win this battle to further his goal, he wanted to defeat Khalaf as a show of defiance to the Iron Army. Anger flared in the General as he thought on his men being sacrificed as a distraction while at the same time being confused as to why Ares was willing to sacrifice himself as well.

He rose to his feet and punched Ares in the face sending him down as he tried to stab him. Ares caught the sword by the blade as it hung over his neck and forced his enemy back.

***

Throughout the Middle East and Eastern Europe the mutants of the DMZ that could pass for human set up silent take overs of Iron Halls. They had insured the Iron Army would know nothing of it until the next day and by then it would be far too late to stop any of it and the DMZ borders would be expanded by thousands of miles.

***

Back on the field the fighting kept moving back and forth. When ever one side gained an advantage the other would counter. Khalaf began to worry for his men when he noticed his armor losing power, his cybernetics would keep him in the fight but most of his men weren't so lucky.

***

Cairo Iron Hall

General Hassan began making preparations for the Omega 3 protocol as a Lieutenant walked up, "Sir, General Khalaf still has twelve hours."

Hassan chuckled, " Trust me, The Supreme Commander will be pleased."

"But Sir, He specifically..."

Hassan glared, "You have your orders. Finish the preparations."

"Y..Yes sir."

***

Doomstadt, New Latveria

Queen Carol watched a screen showing soldiers from the DMZ crossing borders, "What, is Ares up to?"

Kurske shrugged, "Your War God tells me nothing."

" If he survives Turkey I want a meeting asap."

"It will be so, your highness."

(To be continued)

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Marvel Iron Age: Ares, Dogs of War part 4

Continued from here part 3

As the battle of Yozgat entered its forth day soldiers on both sides were frustrated and tiring from combat. Casualties were piling up. Khalaf was messaging Cairo for medical aid, "We need some field doctors, I don't have time to argue the point."

The General of the Iron Hall rolled his eyes, "If you can't finish the fight on your own then maybe you shouldn't have volunteered."

Khalaf glared at the weasel of a man sneering behind his desk, "When this battle is over you and I are going to have words."

Lieutenant Abad stepped up and looked on the angry General, "I take it Cairo was about as helpful as usual."

"That man is a waste of DNA. How he made General is the greatest mystery on Earth."

Abad gave a shrug, "I don't disagree sir, though I wouldn't go so far as to insult a superior."

"He isn't superior to a house fly. So what's the situation?"

Abad looked out, "Its quiet so far, The enemy camp is still there but the lion's share of their forces are out of sight."

Khalaf sighed, "How many snipers are left?"

"Five, but Abdul lost an eye so we only have four that are helpful."

***

Ares men sat in hiding waiting for orders to move. Ares crouched down next to his scout, "Have they lined up their snipers yet?"

"They're running low, on the plus side their air support is crippled. Then again so is ours, they're down to five sentinels and about eight Busters."

Ares hit his comm, "Vadim, are your men ready to go?"

About 3 miles south Vadim sat with many men as they planned to attack the camp from both sides, "We're ready to end this."

***

Khalaf stood in the camp. He looked around, "They're going to try to lay a siege on the camp."

Abad's eyes got a bit wide, "I'll get the men ready."

Khalaf kept his cybernetic eye locked on the scout he'd noticed, "This ends today."

***

As the Iron soldiers prepared for a fight a few sniper shots rang out and dropped several soldiers. Several more shots were followed by the rush of Vadim's men as Ares came up on the other side.Ares and his men headed straight for the sentinels as Vadim's went at the Busters. They intended to take out the biggest weapons on the field before the enemy had a chance to use them.

Khalaf had assumed as much and prepared for it. Ares men laid down heavy cover fire as the more powerful mutants plowed into the camp. The Iron soldiers retaliated. At this point the soldiers were angry, neither side seemed as sure of victory as it appeared at first. Both sides had lost men in the hundreds and just wanted the battle to end.

The fighting quickly turned vicious. The Iron soldiers quickly devolved into fighting hand to hand since most of their armor was too damaged to fire a repulser and both sides were running low on weapons and ammo.

Khalaf walked through the field hacking down any enemy that came within reach of his blade. He was taking out frustration over being denied the help he was promised by petty, power hungry generals on any enemy in sight. Ares on the other hand was more frustrated with his own inability to defeat Khalaf. Since the battle began the two forces had been on even ground with neither side giving an inch.

The rest of the world had taken notice of the battle and many were beginning to worry it would lead to full scale war. The Iron Army along with various governments under their rule tried to assure people that it was a minor skirmish but the fear was still hanging over like a black cloud.

The Supreme Commander himself had been forced to make a statement on it, he had assured people that the situation was under control but was furious that the battle was being used as yet another piece of evidence against his rule.

As he sat in his office and called up the General of the Cairo Iron Hall. He didn't even wait for a greeting, "Khalaf has twenty four hours to end this, a minute longer and you are to issue an Omega 3 protocol."

"Understood sir."

***

One the battle field the Iron soldiers were a little disheartened as the last of the sentinels fell but the last of the Buster units proved to be a bit more stubborn. This wasn't so much warfare now as a brawl. Only a few dozen soldiers remained on either side. Khalaf's reign of slaughter been curbed a bit when he met Vadim on the field. He'd been forced to fall back due to his inability to harm the stone skinned man.

Both sides pulled back to regroup but Ares and Khalaf glared at each other across the field. The two had proven to be equals in combat, they had decimated each other's forces but Khalaf knew when his weapons were gone Ares' mutants would wipe his men out. He was conflicted, he knew a retreat was his best option but that would cost him dearly.

Ares considered calling in the rest of his army from the DMZ but knew Kurske was waiting for an excuse to turn the place into a police state. Retreat wasn't an option, his men wouldn't have it. Ares turned to his men, "It is more than likely we'll die here."

King Adder stepped up, blood poring from a shoulder wound, "As long as they die with us, we are glad to."

Khalaf looked to Abad, "The last charge will start soon."

Abad nodded, "We aren't making it off this field are we?"

"I will do my best to get some of you home."

Khalaf looked down as he activated a holo-pad. He pressed send on the message he keeps ready for his wife any time he's unsure if he'll make it back, he considering giving a prayer but he doubted his god would listen to him. He gave Abad a pat on the back, "As I said, this ends today."

(To be continued)

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Marvel Iron Age: Ares, Dogs of War part 3

Continued from here part 2

Luxor, Egypt 2187

The last of the Gods of Heliopolis, Horus stood before the last surviving Iron soldier after what at the time was the most vicious battle in the history of the Iron Army. The soldier was Colonel Alhassan Khalaf. Khalaf looked at the god through his one good eye as he wiped blood seeping from the empty socket of the other, "They will hunt you, the only path to salvation would be to bend a knee to the Supreme Commander. I assume that is no option for you."

Horus stepped to the soldier, "Then I suppose I should finish you before reinforcements arrive."

The god swung an adamantine scimitar at the soldier who dropped to the ground and rolled away as he grabbed a spear from one of the fallen gods. He jammed it into Horus' back and then drove his shoulder into his knee. Horus fell to his knees and dropped his sword. Khalaf lifted it and rested the blade on his shoulder. The god attempted to rise but his injuries from the long battle that day stopped him. He gritted his teeth as he spoke, "Are you proud of yourself soldier?"

Khalaf sighed, "There is no pride to be had on this field today, I did my duty but I will not revel in this."

Horus grabbed the blade and for a second considered yanking it away and killing the man but he looked on his dead mother not ten feet away and dropped his hand, "Do it now, I will not give the mad man the satisfaction of executing me."

Khalaf nodded and raised the blade, "For what its worth, I'm sorry."

He then swung the blade.

***

Yozgat, Turkey 2200

Khalaf rested a hand on the hilt of his adamantine scimitar at his side while he awaited the rush of Ares' men. The soldier beside him chuckled a bit, "What's the sword for?"

Khalaf gave the man a glare that sent a chill down his spine before putting on his helmet. The mutants of the DMZ crashed through the front line like a tsunami tearing into the ranks with bullets, blades and in some cases claws and teeth.

Achos shot through the ranks and grabbed the soldier who had just mocked Khalaf by the throat with his teeth. Khalaf heard the crunch of the man's spine as he turned to strike the animal. Before he could punch him Metus slammed into him. He punched the beast in the jaw and hurled him off. Soldiers rushed in to aid him but the dogs had turned and attacked them as the battle raged on.

Khalaf wasted no time yelling to his men, "Hold the line, if they gain so much as a yard I'll kill you myself."

He then slammed a fist into his nearest enemy and fired a repulser blast into his gut. He used his cybernetic eye to scan the field and saw Ares fighting along side his men and grinned a bit as he ordered several of his soldiers, "Clear a path for me."

His best men formed up on either side of him as they rushed into the enemy. Ares noted to himself that while the rest of the soldiers flailed about like angry children in his eyes, the men of the Istanbul Iron Hall fought as warriors. He saw Khalaf coming for him and decided to meet him half way.

The War god charged ahead of his men slashing down Iron soldiers three at a time with his ax.

Across the field Vadim led a group of the strongest mutants and took the attack to the Buster unit, most were shocked that not one of them had any fear or hesitation attacking the walking weapons of mass destruction they wore.

Vadim brought down one before their commander yelled, "Get your heads out of your asses and fight."

They opened fire taking down several of them but many laughed off the repulser fire. It was quickly reduced to a chaotic fist fight.

Sandman continued to attack through out the ranks before Lieutenant Aatif Abad got an idea. He ordered a few dozen soldiers into a tight crowd and waited for a moment for Sandman to attack. When he did the soldier took a belt full of high heat fire bombs into the mass of sand, as they exploded he was turned to glass.

This allowed the Iron soldiers a moment to regroup and they surged forward.

Ares and Khalaf stood amid the chaos of the battle looking each other over. Khalaf fired first but the repulser blast was deflected by Ares' ax. Ares then swung at him but he quickly raised his sword to block.

As Ares stood over the general he glanced at the blade, "So you're the Iron Bull, the mortal who killed Horus?"

Khalaf nodded as he held back the ax. Ares grinned, "I half expected you to have horns."

Khalaf pushed the ax back, "Sorry to disappoint."

Ares was impressed by his strength. He stepped back and readied his ax for another strike as Khalaf went to strike him. Ares caught his sword hand and punched him in the face hard enough to shatter the face plate on his helmet. Khalaf fell back a step and yanked off his helmet. As Ares moved forward Khalaf slammed his helmet into the war gods face and kicked him hard in the gut. He then moved to slice off Ares head but he rammed a shoulder into his gut before slamming him to the ground.

Khalaf looked to his men before he stood. Ares noted this and gave a look to his own. Both sides were worn out and casualties were mounting. Khalaf roared through his comm, "Fall back."

Ares did the same.

***

As night set in the two armies had set up camps. King Adder sat watch as one of the soldiers of Istanbul approached bearing a white flag, "You surrendering?"

Lieutenant Abad chuckled, "General Khalaf requests an audience with Ares, though if you'd like to surrender I'd be glad to deliver the message."

***

Ares stepped forward, he had snipers at the ready in case this was a trap. Khalaf sat patiently as Ares approached, "Lovely night."

Ares took a seat next to him on a fallen log, "A night's reprieve isn't the style of the Iron Army."

Khalaf nodded, "True, but I'm here to kill your men, not mine."

Ares chuckled at that, "You are strange for one of the Supreme Commander's men."

Khalaf nodded, "You understand we have you out numbered and out gunned."

Ares nodded, "I also understand that most of your soldiers would accidentally kill themselves if someone hadn't told them which direction to aim their weapons. Though it is nice to see a general who isn't afraid to fight with his men."

Khalaf sighed, "I could offer you the chance to surrender but we both know even if you took it we're under orders to make sure none of your men come out alive."

Ares nodded again, "So what was the point of this meeting?"

"Just wanted a chance to see my enemy outside of battle before one of us dies."

Ares grinned, "So, to the death then?"

Khalaf stood and gave a polite nod, "To the death, and make sure those snipers get fed, I'd hate to have my victory tarnished by hungry soldiers."

Ares laughed as Khalaf left, "See you in the morning."

***

The Supreme Commander looked into a monitor as an annoyed general from the Cairo Iron Hall called in, "He's ordered the men to stand down for the night, I'm told Ares has done the same. Sir, I believe he should push on."

The Supreme Commander glared, "Then perhaps you should have volunteered to lead in the field."

"If it were any of the rest of you I'd be concerned, but unlike the rest of you he's never failed me."

***

Pug was taking his shift on watch as Ares walked back. He looked to the small dog faced mutant that held a rifle more than half his size, "They intend to kill every last one of us."

Pug nodded, "Wouldn't have it any other way sir."

Ares chuckled as he walked on.

(To be continued)

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Marvel Iron Age: Fantastic 4 part 6

Continued from here part 5

Magra A small moon orbiting a dead world on the edge of the Kree Empire.

The group appeared in the middle of an open air Bazaar. There were many people from many different races. The Traveler waved toward the crowd, "Welcome to Magra, where you can buy anything from this quadrant of the Universe, legal or otherwise."

He then put his hand on his forehead and closed his eyes, "I think what we're looking for is that way."

Casey started to step forward, "I think a smaller group would work better. Less likely to draw attention that way."

He then reached into his pocket and pulled out three octagonal cards with a blue metallic strip at the bottom, "How about you three have yourselves a shopping spree." He then looked to Barry, "You're coming with me Smokey."

He then handed them the cards but Casey gave it a wary look, "Don't you think this is a bad time to go shopping."

He sighed, "A seventeen year old girl holding a credit card with no limit doesn't want to go shopping? If you can't trust 1980s movie stereotypes what can you trust?"

Suddenly Barry and the Traveler were gone leaving the rest in the crowd. Casey rolled her eyes, "Couldn't we have got roped into this with a rational cosmic entity?"

Mary shrugged, "They may all be like that."

"What a terrifying thought."

***

Barry found himself alone on the other side of the moon outside a village. He looked around for the Traveler then sighed, "I'm really starting to hate that guy."

He walked into the village and noticed people running into their houses and locking down. He stopped one of the panicked villagers, "What's going on?"

The humanoid man looked at him on the verge of tears, "The Brood are coming."

***

Back at the Bazaar the rest of the group wandered by the shops looking things over when Mary spoke up, "Is this starting to seem like a pattern to anyone else? We go to the Aerie, Casey ends up teleported into a prison riot, we go to Raad-La and Steve gets zapped to the space Dali llama."

Steve cut her off, "Hey, that guy was cool."

She rolled her eyes as she continued, "And now we're in the middle of a weird alien shopping mall while one of us is separated from the group."

Casey nodded, "Okay, its weird but who says its on purpose? I doubt some space god would scoop us up just to screw with us."

Steve interrupted, "The Surfer said he always takes you where you need to be. Maybe we just needed to be where we went. Not sure about Casey but I was about to lose my mind freaking out about everything, now I feel alright."

Casey shrugged, "I kicked the crap out of some rock monsters and some super alien guy but I feel about the same."

***

Barry was confused but nervous as the streets cleared. Suddenly creatures that appeared to be giant insects began dropping down on the village. It wasn't long before they noticed him, he started to run but was surrounded. A spiked tail suddenly shot through him and stabbed one in front of him in the face. He looked down on it and noticed his torso had become smoke and he grinned, "Awesome, didn't even think about it."

He then turned the rest of his body into a smoke cloud and surrounded the Brood around him, he then felt strange as his smoke began to change color as the Brood began struggling to breathe. As they dropped he pulled away and solidified. He then noticed he was a few feet taller in solid form.

The other Brood came rushing at him when an idea occurred to him. He turned back to smoke and spread out as much as he could before solidifying as a gigantic human form, he then stomped on the Brood like they were ants and plucked a few off houses and squished them between his finger.

He shrunk back to his regular form with a smile, "Sweet."

The surviving Brood looked at him and began to gather together intending to take him down as one. He crouched down and became a tiny wisp of smoke as the ran over the area. They seemed confused as he wandered out from under them in a much smaller form.

The were surprised when the silvery smoke returned and caused them all to choke. He then returned to normal as people began to come out of their houses. He then looked to his feet and found what he'd come here looking for, "That seems a bit coincidental."

A hand then snatched the device, "Thank you."

He turned to see the Traveler, "Where the stark have you been?"

"I'm a busy guy."

He started to say something but suddenly found himself in front of the rest of the group trying on some alien clothing. He stopped at Mary wearing a strange hat, "What the hell is on your head?"

(To be continued)

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Marvel Iron Age: Ares, Dogs of War part 2

Continued from here part 1

Istanbul Iron Hall

General Alhassan Khalaf stood awaiting orders from the Supreme Commander. He was a mountain of a man at seven and a half feet tall. He was known as the Iron Bull to his men, he'd seen more combat than any soldier in this part of the world and his face was a road map of scars.

The Iron Bull was as much machine as man at this point due to his multiple battlefield injuries. As he sat cleaning his pulse rifle at his desk the monitor activated. The Supreme Commander glared on the screen, "Your borders have been crossed, in the last three days we've lost five out posts."

"I am aware, which is why I asked for this meeting."

The Supreme Commander gritted his teeth a bit, "My orders are simple, I want the invaders dead to the last man. I want them crushed and I want you to put the head of Ares on a pole in the center of Istanbul for all to see as an example. You have clearance to take as many men as you need, I have ordered support from all the Iron Halls in your area. They have been instructed to follow your orders."

Khalaf gave a nod,"It will be settled within the week."

The monitor went off as the General rose. He hit his comm, "Have my armor ready."

***

Sivas, Turkey

A pair of Iron Army scouts sat undercover as they watched Ares' army prepare for the next battle. Suddenly one was dragged out screaming. His partner turned in time to see Metus ripping the man apart, he turned back and found himself looking into Achos' eyes. The horned dog like creature clamped his jaws on his helmet and crushed his skull as he yanked him free of their small trench.

Agony and Adder watched the animals work. Adder turned, "Still not entirely sure what those are but they are excellent guards."

Agony nodded, "Horrible creatures, they fit right in."

***

Ares stood in a tent looking over a map as his comm went off. He sighed as he answered, "Kurske, I will say this for the last time. You will not give me orders, I will take my army where ever I damned well please and unless the Queen herself asks me to leave I will keep moving."

He then flipped off the comm as Kurske began to speak. Vadim stepped in, "Were ready to move on your command."

Ares gave a nod, "I want to be in Ankara by dinner tomorrow."

Vadim saluted, "Then it will be so, Sir."

***

Yozgat, Turkey six hours later.

A scout reported back to Vadim. He then went to Ares, "I fear we will be having a late dinner."

Ares stepped over a hill and looked on hundreds, possibly thousands of Iron soldiers along with many combat transports and sentinels. He then pulled his ax and tightened his grip on it as he shouted, "Men, we're about to march into hell."

King Adder shouted back, "If the Iron demons are smart they'll clear a path."

He chuckled a bit and ordered a formation.

As the Iron soldiers waited General Khalaf looked them over before speaking through the comms, "Any man who allows one of them through the line better be dead, or I'll make you wish you were."

"Yes, Sir." Was the only reply.

Suddenly one of them noticed a man standing in the field. Khalaf looked to see Ares standing alone with his ax. He ordered the men to fire but Ares shouted, "Marko, move."

A mass of sand erupted from the ground with enough force to shatter the armor of a few dozen soldiers and sending nearly a hundred into the air. They crashed down hard as the sand condensed into the form of a giant man who swatted away a few dozen more soldiers. Ares hit his comm, "Forward."

Khalaf chuckled a bit as Ares army rushed down on the now disorganized and confused Iron soldiers. Khalaf fell back a bit, "Sentinels to the front. Put the busters behind and give me some air support."

As the gun ships moved forward Ares waved up. Several flying mutants appeared. One who looked like a winged demon waved his hand in a slashing motion making the air come down like blades on two of the airships as they began firing on Ares' men. Ares then called in some combat transports of his own, most were stolen from the Iron army and turned into his own personal air force.

Khalaf gritted his teeth as the unexpected air battle erupted over head, "Front line, move."

The sentinels marched forward blasting into Ares' forces as the split into smaller attack patterns. Vadim leaped up from the ranks into the air delivering a hard punch sending a sentinel's head flying into the mass of Iron soldiers. As he landed he yanked the arm off the fallen machine and hurled it like a spear destroying several other sentinels allowing Ares forces to break through the line.

Khalaf then waved the Buster units forward as he stepped among his men, he then spoke through their comms, "Now the real fight begins."

(To be continued)

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Marvel Iron Age: Ares, Dogs of War part 1

Chechyen DMZ

Vadim walked into the city of New Olympus. It was currently under construction and had been dubbed the unofficial capital of the DMZ. He walked into a newly constructed bar called the Orpheus. He sat down at a table where King Adder sat along with Agony and dwarfish mutant called Pug due to his face resembling the breed of dog.

Pug dealt Vadim into their poker game. Adder raised two fingers and the bartender brought two pints over. Agony then spoke, "Rumor has it, we're about to be mobilized. Any truth to that?"

"Ares is trying to convince New Latveria of the need, they are being resistant."

Pug chuckled, "New Latverians, just as bad as the Iron side if you ask me. They'll use us for a strategic location but I can promise they won't do squat to defend us if it comes down to it."

Adder glared over, "Lord Ares will protect us, whether their precious Queen agrees or not."

Vadim raised a glass, "Aye."

A man with a Latverian accent spoke up from behind, "You monsters should remember, your god is no more than my Queen's dog."

The men with him laughed as the rest of the bar went silent. The Latverian soldiers began to feel incredibly uncomfortable as the eyes of the people of the DMZ locked on them. The waitress, an abnormally tall woman with coal grey skin glared down on them, "You will not disparage my lord in this establishment."

The man looked up, "I'll say whatever I want, men like me are the only reason you freaks have an establishment."

Suddenly a shadow crept over the table as Vadim stepped up behind, "Watch your tongue, or I will remove it."

The drunken soldier was bolstered by liquid courage as he stood up and poked Vadim in the chest. His comrades were dead silent as one spoke, "Ivan, its time to leave."

Ivan rolled his eyes, "These animals just need to be reminded of their place."

Vadim balled up a fist as a hand laid on his shoulders, "They were just leaving, my friend. Have a seat and a drink on me."

Vadim grinned a bit at the voice of Ares. He sat back down as the soldiers looked on nervous. Ares then gave a grin, "You men have until he finishes that beer to be gone, after that and even I may not be able to hold him off."

Ivan chuckled again but Ares grabbed hand and twisted bringing the soldier to his knees, "Remember, dogs do bite."

The other soldiers rushed out as Ares continued, "If I ever hear of you disparaging the people of the DMZ again, you'll be digging latrines in Siberia. Is that clear?"

Ivan nodded and grunted out in pain, "Yes, sir."

***

Ares stood outside the bar as Vadim walked out, "I'm considering having the New Latverian soldiers pull out. They seem to be causing as many problems as they solve."

Vadim shrugged, "They are human, nothing new about how they treat mutants."

" Tell Agony I'd like to see him at the camp. A small demonstration is in order."

***

The next morning only the mutants of the DMZ responded to roll call. Lieutenant Arkady Burak came forward in pain, "We need a medic."

Ares looked down on him, "Soldiers must work through pain, they can report or be counted as AWOL."

***

Many of the soldiers hobbled out with scratches all over their faces. Ares grabbed a soldier named Ivan and looked on his face, "This is a common problem around here, it generally affects those who leave their mouths open too often."

He then ordered the soldiers into formation for drills. He suddenly looked distracted as he ordered Vadim to oversee the drills. As he walked he heard an almost gleeful yelp. He turned a corner to see Achos and Metus, his pets that had been missing for nearly a year. He leaned down to give them a pat, "It took you longer than expected my friends. Where did that vampire drag you?"

A hooded man approached, "I felt a gift would as they say, break the ice."

Ares looked up, "Most thought you dead."

The hooded man nodded, "I take it you weren't among them?"

"One such as you wouldn't have a quiet death. Though I'm sure your presence in the land of the living is being hidden."

The hooded man sighed, "We had no choice."

"Who am I to question the motives of the Fathers of the Sky?"

He gave a bit of a laugh, "We need you to bring an area just beneath the south eastern border under your command. It is of the utmost importance."

"The New Latverians won't approve."

"Gods do not ask permission."

Ares stood and gave a polite bow, "I suppose telling them it was ordered by the All Father of Asgard is out of the Question?"

Odin dropped his hood, "Very astute."

***

The New Latverian soldiers awoke the next day to find themselves abandoned by the army of Ares. Lieutenant Burak instantly sent a message to Doomstadt, "Ares moved his troops."

***

A mountain over looking Artvin, Turkey

Vadim looked to Ares, "We are ready for your orders."

"At dawn we cross the border and grab a foothold. The Iron dogs will waste little time arranging a reprisal so we must leave very little support when they arrive. Try to minimize civilian casualties, we want the people to see us as liberators, not an invasion."

(To be continued)

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Marvel Iron Age: Hardy and Creed Vol.2 part 6

Continued from here Nemesis part 8 and here part 5

7 and David were becoming annoyed at being repeatedly snubbed by Shield agents and New Latverian military officers at their request for a ride home. 7 was ready to strangle someone when Fry came up behind him, "Heard you were down here frightening the rank and file."

7 nodded, "Apparently your Queen isn't fond of me."

Fry shrugged, "Your last meeting didn't go the way she'd have liked."

7 nodded, "Emil is gone, so it worked in her favor any way."

"I was sorry to hear about that. He deserved better."

7 was about to reply but he noticed a bird squeal in pain before looking to the sky to see blood and feathers blow out of an unseen engine, "Why would a transport be cloaked over your armory?"

Fry hit a comm, "Hey, has anyone noticed a cloaked ship hanging over our weapon storage?"

An alert siren rang out.

Aboard the Hydra transport

Claudia Von Strucker cursed in German as she shouted to her men, "We've been sighted."

Arson stepped up, "Time to play."

She nodded to him, "Keep them distracted, we need at least ten minutes."

As the ship uncloaked Arson jumped out the hatch followed by several Hydra agents with jet packs. He blasted a massive flame to block incoming Shield agents as his comrades landed and took defensive positions.

Claudia and her men landed on the roof of the armory. She planted a small rod like device created by the Tinkerer that sent out a wave of energy that deactivated the security measures. An Agent then cut a large hole in the roof. As they dropped down Claudia described the weapon built by Killswitch, "If you find anything else of interest grab it but keep your eyes on the prize."

Arson was getting cocky, "We should have brought some barbecue sauce."

A blast of energy then knocked him into the air as Agent Fry dropped out of the air drilling him back to the ground with a fist. Walker stepped over the dwindling flame as Fry shouted, "Haul ass boys we're infested."

7 and David made their way to the roof and dropped in after the Hydra agents. David glared, "Why are we helping again? These guys won't even give us the time of day."

7 shrugged, "Do you know what Hydra is?"

David nodded, "Some terrorist group from a couple centuries back."

7 then pointed up to the logo on the bottom of the transport, "They seem to be making a come back."

They caught up to their targets as Claudia placed a small bomb on the crate containing the Killswitch armor. 7 blasted down the nearest agent. Claudia looked back, "You know what to do."

The Agents opened fire without hesitation. 7 dragged David behind a large crate as he synced a disc up with his hard light projector. He then slid it across the room as he activated it giving the impression that they leaped across the room. Most of the Agents gave chase as 7 and David came out and shot down those who remained.

Claudia chuckled as she turned, "The old cliche' is true enough, if you want something done right."

She pulled her sword with her left hand and revealed the mechanical claw she wore over her right, "Come along boys, I have appointments to keep."

David fired two shots that she deflected with her sword. 7 fired a repulser blast but it was stopped by an energy field surrounding her, "The Tinkerer was kind enough to give me that, blocks any kind of energy attack. The bullets I can handle on my own."

David shrugged as his suit formed around him, "Looks like its the old fashioned way."

He charged at her but she tossed out a sonic grenade that crippled the suit as 7 held his ears tight."

She then tossed a teleport device on the machine and went for her comm but 7 caught her arm. She wrapped her clawed fingers around his wrist and activated it. 7 felt weakened and dropped to the ground. Just before she ordered the teleport he shot something that just missed her, "You should work on that aim."

She then teleported back to her ship.

Outside a hydra agent picked up Arson's unconscious body and flew back to the ship.

Claudia chuckled as he began to wake, "You're lucky Zemo finds you useful."

***

Hydra Base, Tinkerer's lab

The Tinkerer smiled brightly as the armor appeared. As he went to inspect it he heard a strange beeping, "Clever."

He then ran for the door as the armor exploded. He barely escaped and Zemo looked down on him as he rolled under the blast door patting a flame off his pant leg, "Seems, someone was smarter than your team."

Zemo sighed, "It's always something."

***

The Shield agents were grumbling among themselves as 7 and David stepped out. Fry looked over, "Did they get what the came for?"

7 nodded, "Yes and no."

He waved one of his explosive discs, "I sent them a bonus prize."

7 then yelled out, "I'll give you the coordinates of where it teleported to in exchange for a ride home."

Fry and Walker burst into laughter.

***

Claudia stared angrily at the mess 7's bomb had made of Tinkerer's lab, "I will make a rug of that god forsaken Creed for this."

Zemo put a hand on her shoulder, "It was a good test run for the men, they did their jobs well. I dare say if it weren't for the Creed it would have been a great success."

She put her hand on his, "So, you forgive me?"

"For you darling, I could forgive anything."

***

Juggernaut washed blood off his hands as Arson and many other Hydra agents stared on nervously at the pile of dead agents that had returned from New Latveria. Zemo had ordered half of them killed as an example to the rest. Juggernaut shouted to the crowd, "This is the price of failing Hydra. Any questions?"

They shouted in unison, "No, Sir."

He gave them a nod as he left to the shouts of, "Hail, Hydra."

(To be continued)

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Marvel Iron Age: Fantastic 4 part 5

Continued from here part 4

Shi'Ar Aerie

The Travler gave Steve a wary look as the star chart appeared. The rest weren't paying very close attention but Mary could have sworn she saw the location shift as the Traveler looked on Steve. She didn't think much about it as they vanished.

They appeared on a lush planet that the Traveler told them was called Raad-La, named for the man who turned it from a barren lifeless rock into the world they saw. It took a moment but Casey realized Steve wasn't with them. As she started to worry the Traveler put a hand on her shoulder, "There's a lot of cosmic radiation around this world, sometimes it interferes with transport. He's here just in a different spot."

***

Steve appeared among a large group of people who appeared to be on a pilgrimage. He stopped one, "I'm a little lost, can you tell me where I am."

The man had a bit of a smile, "All here are lost, that's why we came."

He then pointed back to a large temple, "You are now on the grounds of the Church of Cosmic Consciousness. Where the lost come to find their way."

***

The rest of the group walked with the Traveler. As Casey and Barry seemed to be looking for their goal, Mary was asking the Traveler questions, " So you were born on Earth?"

"No, I was conceived on Earth. I was technically born inside the temporal nexus."

"And that's your power source?"

He gave a nod as she continued, "Obviously, you're pretty powerful, why couldn't you do this on your own?"

He shrugged, "Hard to explain, but I knew you guys were up for it the second I met you."

"Do you read minds?"

"No, I can, but I don't. Even the nicest of people have a lot of thoughts that are best kept to themselves."

***

After an hour or so Steve made it inside the building, he couldn't even clearly decide why he came in. He just felt like he should. As he entered he noticed a man sitting in the center of the room, he had silver skin and at his back sat what looked like a surfboard to Steve that matched the man's skin.

The silver man once called the Silver Surfer looked straight to Steve, "There is one who has been touched directly by the power Cosmic among us today."

The room turned and suddenly all attention was on Steve as he looked on nervously. The Surfer stood and beckoned him to come forward. As Steve made it past the crowd he stepped down from his seat, "You are of Earth, correct?"

Steve nodded as the Surfer continued, "I myself frequented the world for a time, it is where I freed myself from the bondage of the Devourer of Worlds. I have not been back since the Iron curse over took the place though."

He looked to the others, "I shall return shortly."

He then directed Steve out a rear door, "I felt the arrival of the one known as the Traveler, he along with your friends are approaching now. I feel a great deal of worry in you."

Steve couldn't explain why but he instantly felt as if he could trust this man, "I'm just a bit weary from traveling."

The Surfer chuckled, "Ah, I had nearly forgotten the pride of the men of Earth. They would deny their pain while a sword still sticks in their backs."

Steve sighed and suddenly found himself pouring his heart out, "Last week I was a star quarterback, I had no worries beyond making it to the play offs, Then a god showed up and erased my whole life and left me with this."

He showed his hand engulfed in blue flame. The Surfer smiled, "Trust me, I know what that is like. And now you are uncertain, you fear your own flame and you fear what she would think if she knew how terrified you were."

Steve was stunned as the silver man spoke aloud what he'd been thinking for days, "How did you..."

"The power cosmic gives me sight well beyond what eyes can offer."

Steve suddenly had the nerve to ask, "Can we trust this Traveler guy?"

The Surfer chuckled again, "You can trust him to put you where you need to be, it may not be where you wish to be and he may not be completely honest getting you there but you can trust its where you belong."

The Surfer then walked a bit ahead of Steve who rushed a bit to catch up, "That wasn't a yes."

"Some questions are more complicated."

***

The group made it through the dense forest as they came upon the pilgrims. Casey looked around, "What's this all about?"

The Traveler looked over her shoulder, "Its a gathering of the Church of Cosmic Consciousness, the biggest religion in this particular galaxy. Five trillion members at least."

Mary chuckled, "Least we aren't the only world where people are a bit backward."

The Traveler gave her a wary look, "Bit weird coming from one of you considering absolute proof of this religion gave you super powers."

"Radiation gave us our powers."

"Yes, radiation that was a side effect of the Power Cosmic. Which is the primary driving force behind this religion, also there are about six million true believers here so I'd keep that disdain of religion to yourself."

She gave him a nervous look, "Are they violent?"

"No its just pretty damn rude to insult an entire culture while your in the center of it."

Casey turned back to her sister, "He's got a point."

They then went into the crowd and began asking around for Steve.

***

Steve sat cross legged on the ground as the Surfer gave some instruction, "You cannot control what you fear, understanding where the flame comes from will allow you to conquer that fear."

He sat across from Steve and opened a bit of his mind to him allowing Steve to see his understanding of the Power Cosmic and showing the effect it had on him. Steve felt heat building around him but the Surfer's thoughts kept him calm.

After nearly an hour in this state Steve awoke to find him self covered in flame as he calmly floated in the air. The Surfer's thoughts had left him but he felt more at peace than he had in days. The Surfer stood in front of him holding the small device they'd come here in search of. He handed it to Steve, "You must leave soon but take what you've learned here to heart and do whatever is in your power to build on it."

The Traveler came up with the rest. The Surfer gave him a polite nod as he passed. Steve placed the device in the Traveler's hand, "I assume we're moving on now?"

The Traveler gave a grin, "Just need to see where we're heading."

(To be continued)

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Marvel Iron Age: Fantastic 4 part 4

Continued from here part 3

The Shi'Ar Aerie

The four arrived along with the Traveler and looked out a large transparent wall on a few hundred destroyed war ships and fighters floating around the Aerie. The Traveler gave a nod, "Lass wasn't exaggerating."

He then turned, "On with the search."

The group hadn't gone five steps when Casey was hit with a beam and disappeared. All but the Traveler looked stunned when the large group of Shi'Ar guards surrounded them. They cleared a path as Emperor Kallark stepped through. He looked past the group to the Traveler, "Come with me."

As the two stepped away Kallark looked to the guards, "Take the rest to my throne room, and keep an eye on them."

***

Aerie, prison level.

Casey appeared in the beam in a large corridor, she could hear the chaos from the prison riot currently going on. She turned to see a pair of frightened guards, "Where am I?"

"The prison, the rebel forces infiltrated us and incited a prisoner revolt."

Several men ran down the corridor to them. The first didn't hesitate to swing the pipe he carried at Casey's head. It bent as it connected, she instinctively punched him in the face sending him flying through the ranks of prisoners. He crashed into a large stone skinned man and dropped. The guards shook at the site as they stammered into their comms, "The Kronans are free."

The crowd moved aside as the four Kronan warriors walked toward Casey. The largest of them stopped before her, "Today, you have the misfortune of meeting the great Braga in combat. If you surrender I will make your death quick."

Casey was nervous, not sure what to do. Without thinking she struck him hard in the gut. The prisoners were shocked as Braga bent over with a gasp. She then grabbed his arm and swung him over her shoulder to the floor. The other Kronans charged but she leaped over them. She then kicked one in the back of the knee shattering it then drove an elbow into the back of his neck.

She then grabbed him and used him as a club to swat away his two comrades. Braga came back to attack again but Casey punched him in the jaw, knocking him into the ceiling. She had a burst of confidence and took a swing at another prisoner. The confidence diminished when he caught her hand. He then changed form revealing himself to be a large skrull.

His hands turned to stone resembling the skin of the Kronans. He yanked her into the air and looked her in the eye, "I am K'lut, last son of K'lrt. I will not fall so easy."

***

Kallark walks along a hall beside the Traveler, "I must admit, I've been looking forward to meeting you. I'v heard many things. My Kree allies say you are a warrior and a hero. The Skrull call you a trickster. A liar, a cheat and a thief."

The Traveler grinned, "Which do you believe?"

"A man from Earth once told me, if you wish to know the truth of a man ask his friends and his enemies and find a place in between the opinions."

The Traveler shrugged, "All you need to know is that I'll do what ever I have to."

"For what purpose?"

He grinned again.

***

Mary, Steve and Barry sat under guard in the throne room. Steve was holding off panic, "We're all going to die, just like Casey."

Mary jammed an elbow into his side, "We don't know if she's dead. If that beam were destructive there would have been heat or ash or some kind of remnants. It was more likely a teleporter of some kind, she'll find us just keep it together."

Barry put a hand on his shoulder, "She's right, the chick is tough. I'm sure she can handle anything this place throws at her."

***

Casey crashed through a wall as K'Lut hovered above her with flames covering him, "I'm impressed, that strike would have killed an average Kree. Pink or not."

She glared up, "I'm not a Kree."

She then leaped toward him and punched him in the face. Unfortunately she was met with an invisible force field. He then moved the field and bound it around her hands and feet and held her in the air, "Don't tell me I actually get to kill a human all the way out here."

He moved to strike her but as she struggled the field broke and she belted him in the jaw. He crashed to the ground. She then grabbed him by the leg and pulled him toward her but he changed into the form of a giant serpent and wrapped around her trying to crush her but she had no give.

She glared at his face, "I'm indestructible, you ugly lizard."

She then yanked herself free and grabbed his throat. He tried changing into several different forms trying to escape. Then he tried to to force her hand off but it was useless. He then grinned for a second before seeming to disappear.

As he dropped he thought himself clever before he noticed he was trapped in a small metal container. Casey bent a metal plate over the top and squeezed it shut. She then chuckled, "You should pay better attention."

By this time Shi'Ar soldiers had brought the riot back to order and she handed the container holding K'Lut to a guard, "I need to get back to my friends."

Out of the corner of her eye she noticed a metal object, she realized it was identical to the devices the Traveler had found on Earth. She picked it up and dropped it in her pocket as the guard spoke, "There are three other Earthlings in the throne room. Emperor Kallark has ordered us to take you there."

***

The Emperor and the Traveler stood before the door to the throne room, "Before we continue, may I ask. Why them? There are more powerful people on Earth."

The Traveler shook his head, "That would be telling."

He then noticed Casey approaching. She handed him the device, "Three down, four to go."

He smiled as she walked in and gave a wave to the rest of the group. Mary looked to Steve, "Told ya so."

(To be continued)

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Marvel Iron Age: Nemesis part 8

Continued from here part 7

Walker fell back behind a fallen wall and hit her comm, "Agony, its that time."

Agony hopped up in his seat on Doom's transport, "Finally."

He then typed in a few lines of code as he snatched up a parachute and headed for the rear hatch.

Vadim stepped over a pile of soldiers as Ed Yeager stepped up in his Buster, "You people are gonna pay."

Vadim shrugged, "Come collect, little tin man."

David continued to fight on even ground with the Slayers as the suit accentuated his fighting abilities while increasing his strength and speed. The soldiers were having a hard time hitting him due to the suit's emulation of a spider sense but they had numbers and the suit has limits.

Walker was giving the most trouble, when ever the soldiers thought they'd zeroed in on her she would slide away and find a new position and take more down. She was one of Shield's finest snipers and was putting on a clinic.

King Adder fought with everything he had as 7 laid in the sand. His healing factor was stitching his spine back together but he needed some time. Adder began to tire but suddenly two of the soldiers screamed in pain and fell to the ground. Adder looked on Agony and then on the claw marks in the armor.

He then kicked another hard enough to shatter his helmet as he picked up his parachute and used it to tangle several more as he pulled them to the ground. He then ran along slicing his claws into those he'd taken down. Adder noticed he seemed to get stronger and more energetic as the soldiers writhed in pain on the ground.

In the Astral plain

Cable and Stryfe clashed swords made of pure psionic energy, they matched each other move for move before finally backing off, Cable formed a whip and slung it around Stryfe's throat and yanked him forward for a punch. His fist smashed into an energy shield.

Stryfe used the distraction to punch Cable in the gut. As he got free of the whip he caught Cable by the throat and formed a sickle blade. Cable then put a knee in Stryfe's groin and threw him off to the side. He then grew to the size of a building and attempted to crush him under foot.

A blast of pure energy then hit Cable sending him flying. He returned to normal size as he landed and Stryfe flew over with what looked to be a tidal wave of energy behind him. Cable quickly raised a shield and held firm as the wave crashed against it.

The two men stood now frustrated with each other.

Throughout the universe telepaths and beings with a connection to the Astral plain felt a pain in their minds as Cable and Stryfe attempted to use the combined power of the plain against each other. They clashed with fists as they used the power to augment themselves. Without their notice cracks began to form beneath their feet as they hurled unspeakable amounts of energy at each other.

A voice seemed to roar at them, they turned and saw the angry half cloaked face of the Living Tribunal, "Be gone!"

Suddenly Stryfe and Cable were hurled back into their bodies. They fell from the sky and crashed hard into the sand. Stryfe looked over and noticed Warforce one crashed into the ground as Vadim and the lone Hulk Buster fought by its remains. He noted Agony slashing down his soldiers like wheat and then hit his comm, "Send it."

Mephisto yawned as he sat up from a lawn chair, "About damn time."

He then took out a pair of opera glasses and watched as the Destroyer appeared on the field, "Now this is proper entertainment."

The Destroyer blasted Vadim in the back allowing the Hulk Buster to catch him and deliver several vicious strikes to his side and gut. The Destroyer then yanked Vadim away from him and hurled him into the wreckage of Warforce one before firing a powerful blast obliterating the remains of the ship.

A missile then collided with the Destroyer as Doom's transport uncloaked and launched its entire arsenal toward the field, cutting lasers, missiles, bombs and bullets flew wildly decimating the Iron army forces and nearly taking Doom's team with them. The Destroyer aimed toward the ship to take it down but a large stone crashed into it sending it to the ground. Yeager looked on from his Buster, stunned at the sight of an angry Vadim, his stone like skin glowed from the heat of the Destroyer's blast.

He ran toward the Asgardian machine. Yeager tried to stop him but Vadim smashed through him, tearing an arm off as he went. He screamed as his armor hit the ground. Mephisto dropped his opera glasses as he saw Vadim strike the Destroyer and send it back a step. He then struck again sending it off his feet. As Vadim went to stomp, it swatted him away and aimed for another blast. Vadim shot up driving a shoulder into its midsection and slamming it back down. He then roared, "I am Vadim, the strongest man in Ares' army. No machine will defeat me."

Across the field Stryfe and Cable looked on stunned as did the soldiers. Only Agony and King Adder seemed unfazed. As Cable looked on Stryfe attempted to shoot him in the back. He quickly raised a shield and returned fire.

They took to the air again firing every weapon their armors had as they threw all of their power against each other. There was a huge explosion of fire and energy as the two then hit the ground. Their armor was shredded and both were bleeding and could no longer focus well enough to use their power. They ran at each other and fought with fist.

There skills failed them as the two were worn out and running on pure hate and rage at this point. Mephisto pulled back the Destroyer actually worried it would be torn apart as the last of the soldiers were killed. Doom's group wandered out, filthy and wounded and watched as Cable and Stryfe dropped to the ground from exhaustion.

Mephisto appeared beside Stryfe, "I won't be letting her have her prize just yet."

Agony hit a button on a remote he carried that caused the transport to stop firing and land. King Adder picked up Cable and threw him over his shoulder, "You fought well today."

As Adder laid him down in the transport he slurred out, "It was too soon, wasn't ready."

He then passed out. Walker went to the front of the ship, "We're heading back to Latveria, there's probably a gun ship or five on the way as we speak."

Vadim gave a nod, "A safe harbor would be a blessing."

***

New York City, Iron Hall

The Supreme Commander sat at his desk glaring out the window, enraged with himself for not being able to kill his enemy once and for all. He rose with a grunt and walked past several frightened soldiers as he headed to the elevator.

***

Castle Doom, New Latveria

Cable sat meditating as Thrud appeared behind him, "I freed you so you could kill him."

Cable's eyes opened, "I wasn't as prepared as I thought, I was too emotional. I will prepare better for next time. Rest assured your highness, he will die by my hand, I just need to be ready."

***

Lieutenant Alexi Bagrov, an aid to General Kurske stood before Vadim in an interrogation room demanding he follow his orders and be taken in to the custody of the New Latverian Military research division. The door swung open as Ares stepped in with a hateful look. Bagrov looked on the war god, "General Kurske has ordered..."

Ares grabbed him by the throat and lifted him so they were eye to eye, Bagrov looked down nervously at his feet dangling above the floor as Ares spoke, "You do not take my soldiers without my permission. If Kurske has an issue with it, he can take it up with me personally. Am I understood?"

Bagrov stammered, "But sir..."

Ares roared, "Am I understood?!"

"Yes, Sir."

He then dropped him, "And give the Askani son a message, next time he goes after the clone my army is at his disposal."

Ares then walked out. Vadim stepped over Bagrov as he followed. As Vadim came out Ares clapped him on the shoulder, "You should be proud, you did something Thor himself had trouble with."

***

Thrud stood in a place that seemed filled with nothing but darkness as the image of Mephisto appeared, "Not bad for your first bit of mayhem. I'm truly impressed."

She glared, "The Iron beast still lives."

Mephisto grinned, "Make no mistake, I would have done far better but you show promise. You scared him, made him look weak. More people than ever will be questioning his authority and he'll continue to break at the seams. Perhaps when I retake my throne I'll allow you a place at my side."

She threw a punch but it passed through the image, "Temper, temper. Is that any way for a Queen to behave?"

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