Shang-Chi #3: Seeking the Target pt. 3

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Shang-Chi #3: Seeking the Target pt. 3

Post  Nik Havert on Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:56 am

Shang-Chi imagined Natasha "the Black Widow" Romanoff was a good chess player.

She had come into his luxurious room at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong the morning after she, he, and Tony "Iron Man" Stark had to leave the Peninsula Hotel across Victoria Harbor. The attack by the members of the Hand, a band of ninja occultists, had left their former room a shattered mess. Shang-Chi had accompanied Tony Stark when the armored Avenger told him that members of the Hai-Dai, a cult who worshipped Shang Chi's dead sorcerer father, had stolen the DNA of a killer known as Bullseye. They had learned that the Hand had stolen the vial of Bullseye's blood, but still did not know why.

He did, however, figure that when Natasha walked into his room, took off her robe to reveal only her thong and sports bra underneath, and said, "I was hoping you'd like to try me," her mind was not on the pursuit of the Hand. He also figured she played a lot of chess in the former Soviet Union.

Shang-Chi, still wearing the silk pajama pants Tony had bought for him from the hotel gift shop (and which cost as much as one night in the room), stood from his T'ai Chi pose. "It will be my pleasure."

Natsha smiled. Shang-Chi had always found her beauty alluring and deadly, like many beautiful spirits from Chinese ghost stories.

"Mine too," Natasha said, and then charged him.

She jumped at him with a front snap kick. Shang-Chi weaved to his left just before she got into range. Natasha landed as precise as a Bolshoi dancer and threw a backfist. Shang-Chi blocked it with the back of his lead hand, and Natasha spun with a backward elbow from the other side. Shang-Chi blocked the blow with the back of one hand and the palm of the other before it connected with his jaw. Natasha dropped, spun the opposite direction, and kicked out her leg. She caught the kung fu master across the front of his shins and sent him falling forward. Shang-Chi rolled over his shoulder and up to a standing position. He turned and smiled at Natasha, who slowly rose to her feet.

"Good," Shang-Chi said.

She charged him again, faking a high finger thrust at his eyes before bringing up her lead leg in a vicious heel kick at the side of his face. Shang-Chi ducked it as casually as he would've ducked under a clothesline in a Hong Kong alley. Natasha planted her kicking foot and spun to snap out a round kick with her other leg. Shang-Chi stepped to his left and caught the kick under his arm. Natasha didn't miss a beat. She jumped forward, letting him keep her leg so she could bring her other knee to his head. Shang-Chi had to drop her captured leg so he could block the knee strike with both hands. He moved forward enough so her thigh struck most of the blow. It staggered him a half-step. Natasha landed, scored an uppercut to his floating ribs, and then knocked him back two steps with a palm to his solar plexus.

She smiled between breaths. "Better?" She asked.

Shang-Chi smiled. "Yes. You are a good chess player."

Natasha relaxed her fighting stance. "What makes you say that?"

"You think ahead, and plan for the attack that will score. The first time you attacked me was all a ruse to knock me off my feet. The second time, you sacrificed your leg to get close enough for the body blows."

He watched her expression turn from surprise to curiosity. "Then why did you catch my leg if you suspected that?"

"Because in chess, sometimes you must sacrifice to learn your opponent's weakness."

The curiosity drained from her face. He had seen the expression many times in combat when an opponent realized he had figured out their fighting style. She reacted the way they all did. First came a bit of shock and then...

Natasha's jaw clenched and she charged him a third time.

Shang-Chi kicked her shin as it came around for a low snap kick. The sudden force-on-force blow to her leg knocked her forward and off balance, but she kept enough cool to throw an overhand right from western boxing. Shang-Chi blocked her fist with one hand and backhanded her in the bicep with the other, sending a shockwave down her arm and turning her fist into a twitching, useless open hand. He slapped her on the right ear, just enough to topple her sideways. He caught her by the head in his right hand and leaned her back to the point where they looked like two ballroom dancers.

She looked up at him with wide-eyed surprise. He smiled. She growled.

She came up with another overhand right. Shang-Chi stepped back and let the punch pass him. She spun with another backwards elbow strike. Shang-Chi stepped into the blow, blocking it with his forearm before the strike reached the deadliest point of its arc. He struck her in the side with a monkey fist with his other hand, reached up with the same hand to put her in a half-nelson, and then turned and spun her by the head.

The Black Widow flipped head over heels in a sharp circle and landed with a squeak onto Shang-Chi's bed. She came up to her hands and knees, her hair half out of its ponytail and her thong slipped off her left hip.

Tony Stark walked into the room. "Hey, gang, look what I found." He saw Shang-Chi in his pajama pants and Natasha sweaty, nearly undressed, hair mussed, and on Shang-Chi's bed.

"Shang-Chi, if this is another body language trick, you have to teach it to me," Tony said.

Natasha huffed, got up from the bed, and snatched up her bathrobe. Shang-Chi took her by the arm as she walked by. She glared at him.

"Natasha, a spider does not let emotion affect how it captures a fly," he said.

The edge in her eyes softened. She nodded.

"And not many play chess as well as you," Shang-Chi said.

She smiled. "Thanks, Shang-Chi." She kissed him. He, unlike what many people thought, was not a monk and he could not resist tickling a nerve behind her ear that enhanced physical pleasure.

Tony Stark stood dumbfounded as one of the world's deadliest assassins giggled, just for a split second, like a bookworm girl who'd been noticed by the star quarterback.

"Seriously," Tony said. "You need to teach me that."

"You said you found something," Natasha said, back to business.

Tony opened his left hand. He held a dragonfly.

"A dragonfly?" Shang-Chi asked, failing to see the importance.

"A cybernetic dragonfly," Tony said, now excited to be in his realm. He paced the room as he spoke. "Natasha and I wondered how the Hand knew we were at the Peninsula. After you two left the room, I did a sensor sweep and found this little spy. He was on the balcony. I scrambled its sensors with a mini-EMP."

Shang-Chi didn't know what to make of this either.

"He shut it off," Natasha said. Shang-Chi nodded.

"It's built to broadcast audio, video, and even infrared," Tony said.

"To whom?" Natasha asked.

Tony sighed. "Sunset Bain."

"Who is Sunset Bain?" Shang-Chi asked.

"CEO of Bain Electronics," Tony said. "Genious inventor, arms dealer."

"One of his ex-girlfriends," Natasha said.

"No need to air the dirty laundry," Tony said as he walked away with his fingers in his ears. "I know she has an office and development center here in Hong Kong, but I don't know how she knew to send this dragonfly to our room. How did she know we were here?"

"Your limousine," Shang-Chi said.

Tony seemed surprised. "Really?"

"We came from the airport in a limousine as long as three cars with a..." Shang-Chi looked to Natasha. "Hot tub?"

"Yes," Natasha said, now glaring at Tony. "A hot tub. With you and four Chinese bikini models in it. Reporters were waiting for us at the Peninsula."

"Okay, that may have been a bit over the top," Tony said. "But I'd like to know why Sunset is working with the Hand."

"Because she wants me," Shang-Chi said. "Why else disguise them as Hai-Dai except to draw me here?"

"Breakfast first," Tony said. "Then I'll suit up and we'll go knock on her door."

"I will go alone," Shang-Chi said. "It will be quieter."

"Don't underestimate her Shang-Chi," Tony said. "She's been shot by the Punisher and is still walking around." He put his hand on Shang-Chi's shoulder. "And at least let me give you a ride over there."

The hot tub limo pulled up to the front of the Grand Hyatt. Natasha sighed.

"I still have it for a few days," Tony said. He looked at Shang-Chi. "I'll drop you off a few blocks from Bain Electronics."

The three of them, along with the valet parking staff, all tumbled back as something hard and heavy landed on the hood of the limousine. The car folded like a cheap tent and the engine block cracked the street under the car. Shang-Chi looked up to see a woman, clad in glittering blue and green armor, standing on what was left of the limousine. Strange shimmering silver insect wings projected from the back of her armor and an insectoid helmet covered her head and face.

"Who is that?" Shang-Chi asked.

The woman pointed one of her gauntlets at him. Two pincher-like prods popped out from the wrist and a spark of energy hummed between them. "Isn't it obvious?" The woman asked, her voice buzzing through the helmet. "I'm the Beetle!"

TO BE CONTINUED!

Nik Havert

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Re: Shang-Chi #3: Seeking the Target pt. 3

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:46 pm

A beautiful woman once told me wrestling was foreplay. She was right. Nik, you managed to create sexual tension between Shang-Chi & Black Widow all the while leaving ladies man Tony Stark as the fifth wheel. Excellent job. You know how to move a story along seemingly without even trying. And a female Beetle?! Awesome!
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Paul E. Schultz

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Fighting as foreplay

Post  Nik Havert on Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:21 pm

Was it April Hunter? That sounds like something she'd say. Have you two even met yet?

The female Beetle isn't my creation. I was researching the character and discovered the last known version was a woman defeated by Captain America and sent to some super prison.

Nik Havert

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Re: Shang-Chi #3: Seeking the Target pt. 3

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:42 pm

No, but she was a red head. Sadly, Miss Hunter and I have yet to meet. She sounds like a riot. I'm out of the loop with most Marvel stories and characters. I usually spend hours googling and wiki-ing them before just sayin' screw it, I'll do it my way. Love your stuff, brother. always have.
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