Avengers #10

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Avengers #10

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:23 pm

Avengers #10
"When Worlds Collide!"
By Paul E. Schultz

Eugene Patilio had always heard that the male honey bee's life usually ended at the short end of the stick. Literally. Assuming the poor devil survived pesticides, fly swatters, rolled-up newspapers, boot heels and all sorts of other life threatening situations befalling a bee's short, day to day life. He could simply be buzzing along, minding his own business, when his queen might come rocketing up behind him and make off with the business end of the poor little guy's endophallus, leaving him to die without a second thought. As Eugene lay upside down against the brick chimney of the four-story brownstone, his head spinning, he could suddenly relate to the plight of the poor male honey bee.

With a groan, he rolled over, staggering to his feet. Had his suit not been padded to protect him from just such an unexpected landing, he might've suffered more than just a bruised ego and a sudden loss of dignity. He glanced around hurriedly, searching for...what, or who exactly had sucker-punched him in mid-leap.

He saw the blue and gold figure shimmering in the waning light of the setting sun, a tail of distorted light trailing behind as he made a wide arch, circling back towards him.

"All right," pal," Eugene muttered, trying to sound sure of himself, "let's try this again, shall we?"

As the glistening figure bore down upon him, fists outstretched, Eugene held his breath a heartbeat longer. Steady! he told himself, trying not to jump the gun. Steady! As the crimson, star-like crest upon his attacker's helmet became clearly visible, Eugene pressed his thumbs down upon the sides of the index fingers of his gauntlets. The buttons nestled there triggered the powerful electrical coils in the soles of his flipper-like boots, sending him skyward a full six stories.

His attacker crashed headlong into the chimney in a hail of broken brick, a cloud of thick, ashy dust and a flurry of obscenities.

Much to Eugene's regret, Newton's law of gravity took over, but this time he managed to land on both feet, facing his attacker clambering to his feet.

"Okay, buddy!" called Eugene, hands outstretched in what he hoped was a calming motion. "Hold on just a minute! I think there's been a misunderstanding."

"I'll say," said the woman emerging from the cloud of ash, whipping herself down. Eugene could not help but notice the wisps of long red hair that protruded from the back of her golden helmet as she moved. She said, "In case you missed it, I'm not a man!"

"Wait a second!" he gasped. "I recognize that get-up! Spiderman's mentioned you before! You're Nova! But, Spidey said you was a 'he!' Not a 'she!'"

"Spiderman?" retorted the woman angrily. "I don't know who this...Spiderman is, but I sure as hell know who you are! You're Leap-Frog! Also known as Vincent Patilio How Daredevil or Iron Man couldn't manage to put you down, I'll never know!"

"Wait!" gasped Eugene. "Lady, you got the wrong frog! You--"

In a blur of charging motion, she was upon him once more, the padding of his bodysuit protecting him from the bullet-like impact as they both sailed upward. Eugene struggled to break free of her vice-like grip. "What are you doing?!" he gasped, struggling.

"A science experiment!" she snarled. "We're gonna see how far you can fall and still land on your feet! I'll bet a few thousand feet and you'll be street pizza, Patilio!"

"You're crazy, lady! You got me mixed up with my old man! He--"

Eugene's words were cut short at the sight of the red, white and blue blur streaking through the air. A heartbeat later, two-and-a-half feet and twelve pounds of concave Adamantium and Vibranium collided with his captor's back. The impact seemed to knock the wind out of the insane woman and her grip loosened on Eugene just enough for him to slip through. "Look out below!" he called out, shifting his sizable weight and kicking off the side of a nearby building, flipper coils doing their best to put as much distance between Eugene and his attacker.

As Captain America's shield arched downward from its target, the Super Soldier leaped across the chasm of an alleyway, catching it with a practiced ease brought on by decades of trial by fire. He rolled across the rooftop, springing to his feet.

"Photon!" he called out. "Take her down!"

"On it, Cap!" called out the streak of brilliant white light lasering past the First Avenger from behind, heating the evening air around it as it beamed skyward, towards the stunned blue and gold attacker. Thanks to a bombardment of extra-dimensional energies a few years earlier, Monica Rambeau had not only learned how to transform her body into virtually any form of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum, but also divert small amounts of such energies from her hands in the form of "force beams." Now within point-blank range, she released a heavy dose of the "solid light," the twin blasts impacting with the other woman, knocking her backwards, forcing the air from her lungs.

From his vantage point several buildings away, Eugene watched the woman in Nova's uniform as she tumbled like a rag doll to the street below. Eugene was certain that even someone as strong and durable as she was could not survive a fall from what was every inch of one hundred yards straight down. For a moment, he almost felt sorry for her. Almost.

"I got her!" Lemar Hoskins sprung forward from the ledge of the rooftop, propelled by the powerful muscles of his tree trunk-like legs At six and a half feet tall and nearly three hundred pounds of solid, chemically-altered muscle, he was a red, white and blue cannonball fired across the expansive void between the two rooftops. His massive, white-gloved left hand caught the stunned woman's arm as he cleared the gap between both buildings.

Eugene let out a whistle of disbelief, watching his attacker and Battlestar tumble across the rooftop, coming to a stop in a tangle of clothesline. Shifting his stance, his thumbs found their marks once more and he was off, flipper coils doing their job in perfect unison with the self-correcting computer guidance system housed in the thin backpack hidden just under his padded suit. He landed near the big, black man Captain America had called Battlestar shortly before the woman knocked Eugene out of the sky.

"Is she...?" Eugene asked.

"Nope," said Battlestar, placing the superhuman she-devil in a sleeper hold as she suddenly regained her senses. His own shield, similar to Captain America's original, dangled loosely against his back from a strap about his beefy shoulder. "Jesus, she's strong! Hold still, will ya?"

Eugene took a step back. At that moment, Captain America and Photon joined the three of them. Eugene's focus was briefly taken from the mad-woman as the shimmering figure of soft, white light shifted into the shapely woman in the silver and black uniform. Her glistening mask may have hidden her identity, but it could not disguise the black woman's striking beauty.

"I don't believe it!" declared Hoskins. "She's...growling."

"All right!" commanded Captain America. "Enough, lady!"

A chill ran up Eugene's spine. The guy just commanded that much authority when he spoke. The woman seemed to calm down a bit at the words. Eugene wondered if maybe Battlestar's hold had anything to do with it too.

"Who are you?" asked the star-spangled Avenger.

For a moment, she stood still, silently taking in the figures around her. "Helen," she said at length. "Helen Taylor. I'm the woman called Nova!"


"Uh, Cap," said Hoskins, taking in the sight of the man-sized frog that the living legend was helping up. The guy looked like he was better suited to work at Disneyland than much of anything else. "The guy's a giant...frog."

"Well, duh," replied Eugene Patilio just moments before receiving a flying atomic wedgie from the woman calling herself Nova. "That's kinda why I call myself Frog-Man."

"At ease, Eugene," advised Captain America, patting Frog-Man on the shoulder. "We're all friends, here."

"So, Cap," began Photon cautiously, "how exactly is this guy supposed to help us? He can barely land without breaking his neck?"

"Hurtful," muttered Eugene.



"Frog-Man," Captain America began again, "is an employee at Stark's Flushing plant."

"Was," said Eugene. "It's kinda not there anymore."

"Are you a scientist?" asked Photon, her tone skeptical. "An engineer?"


"Janitor?" laughed Battlestar.

"Don't laugh, son," said Captain America. "In this economy, a job is a job and right now his job title isn't as important as what he knows."

"And what...exactly does he know?" asked Photon.

"We need to get off this rooftop," said Captain America. "We've been up here too long. We need to go before we're spotted. I don't want anyone to know we're onto them. I have a place in Brooklyn Heights we can use. It's not exactly Stark Tower or Avengers Mansion, but it'll do for what we need."

"Great!" cheered Eugene, crouching. "Let's get hoppin'!" The coils in his flippers propelled him straight into the air, straight into the speeding path of Helen Taylor.


"Let go of me!"

"Not till you simmer down, lady," retorted Hoskins, struggling to hold her still.

"Your name doesn't ring a bell," said Captain America. "But your uniform does. Are you from Nova Corp?"

"Your guess is as good as mine, Avenger," said Helen. "All I know is I got these powers like the answer to a prayer when my husband was killed by a mugger in central park about a year ago. Since then, I don't care if you're wearing a costume or just carrying a gun, you're all scum. Just ask Fisk!"

"Wilson Fisk?" asked Eugene. "Kingpin?"

"The same," said Helen. I tossed his big butt out of his penthouse window about six months ago. He made a pretty good impression on the sidewalk. I was doing the jobs you so-called superheroes wouldn't! That is until Richards and the Fantastic Four caught me off guard. Next thing i know, I'm waking up in a hospital bed about ten minutes ago."

"That's impossible," informed Captain America. "Fisk was killed by the Punisher."

"What's a punisher? And who's this 'Spiderman' your fat friend referred to?"

"It's a glandular condition, thank you very much!"

"I think I'm beginning to see what's going on here."

"Glad one of us is, Cap," said Hoskins, still struggling to hold her still.

"Helen," said the Avenger calmly, "I think there's more to you than meets the eye. I think you need to see a few things. I think you're a long way from home. If we let you go, will you promise to behave?"

"What? Cap, she's nuts!"

"Not nuts, Battlestar," said Captain America. "Just lost."

Helen stopped struggling in the big man's iron grip and looked over the red, white and blue Avenger. Finally, she said, "If Captain America gives his word, I'll listen to your story. My grandad used to tell me about you, how you fought alongside his company in Europe. But, if this is some kinda trap, I swear, I'll--"

"It's no trap, Helen. I give you my word."


Electronic diodes at the tips of each of the robot's massive fingers processed and digitized the information they came in contact with, feeding it instantly to its central processing unit in the form of ones and zeroes that Roger Bochs could somehow understand. With a thought, Roger reeled his great mechanical arm back from the neck of the man lying on the floor.

Dead! he found himself thinking. "Dead," said the robot.

Okay, he thought. He definitely needed to work on the whole brain to mouth situation. "I definitely need to work on the whole brain to mouth situation," echoed the robot.

He had named it "Box" as a play on words. The robot had been his life's work. With it, he had planned on climbing the ranks of Gamma and Beta, all the way to Alpha Flight. That was, of course, until Jerome Jaxon got hold of it and, using it's cybernetic control system, killed James MacDonald Hudson, better known to the Canadian government as Guardian. Jaxon had died in the process as well, from feedback caused by Hudson's exploding battlesuit. A fitting end if you were to ask Bochs.

"So much death," Box whispered, carefully removing the tiara-like device around the dead man's head. He turned it over, examining it. "Must be some kind of control device."

Out of the corner of his photocellular eye, Box noticed the laptop upon the nearby table. It took a moment for his confused mind to make the connection, but he realized the headpiece must have had some sort on miniaturized camera built into it, because he saw himself, or rather the giant robot, handling the head piece on the screen.

"It's some sort of computer," he declared. "But it's so...small. Where the hell am I?"

He tossed the headset aside and stood to his full seven feet. "I've got to get out of here! Get to the bottom of this!"

With a thought, Roger Bochs triggered Box's built-in boot jets, sending him skyward, bringing half the room down around the already cluttered workshop.


"Look!" called Battlestar, pointing to the metallic object glistening in the waning evening sun. The figure, vaguely humanoid and massively built, was carried aloft on twin gouts of fiery tongues emanating from its feet. "What the heck is that?"

"Whatever it is," said Captain America, "it's headed this way."

They had only made it a few blocks from where they had encountered the confused Helen Taylor, keeping to the rooftops to avoid the crowds below.

"Seems to be the day for it," lamented Eugene.

"If it's a fight it wants," growled Helen, taking flight, "It won't be the first robot I've sent to the scrapyard!"

"Wait!" called Captain America too late. He turned to Photon.

"Way ahead of you, Cap!" With a white-hot flash, Monica Rambeaux transformed into a being of pure light. With a streak, she launched herself from the rooftop, easily overtaking Helen. "Slow you roll, girl! We don't know what that thing is yet!"

From down below, Eugene used the special suction cups of his gloves and flippers to scramble like a gecko up the side of the nearby, higher building. With one hand, he activated the concealed button mounted to the side of the left eye bubble of his helmet. The metal figure became instantly much clearer as the bubble's telescopic lens activated.

"He's a big one, Cap!" announced Eugene. "Looks like he's headed this way, too. What should we do?"

"Something doesn't seem right," declared Captain America.

"Leave him to me!" boomed a voice overhead. Eugene, Hoskins and Captain America glanced up as a figure in blue jeans and a red shirt sped past them, heading straight for the giant robot. "Let Captain Ultra handle this overgrown tin man!"
Paul E. Schultz

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Breakneck pace

Post  Nik Havert on Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:44 am

I like how you throw the reader into the middle of everything and let them catch up to you. It's one of my laws of writing.

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Re: Avengers #10

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:42 pm

Mine too! I was worried it would be too confusing. I drive John Hodges crazy with it.
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Post  Mechajared on Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:40 am

That's all I can say to describe my sheer joy in reading these avengers stories, keep them coming, each one is a treat to read.


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Re: Avengers #10

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