Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #4 - Seeking the Target pt. 4

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Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #4 - Seeking the Target pt. 4

Post  Nik Havert on Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:01 pm

Shang-Chi dodged a blast of electrical energy from the Beetle's gauntlet as Natasha "the Black Widow" Romanoff tackled Tony "Iron Man" Stark the opposite direction. The energy blast struck a parking valet between the shoulder blades. His body went rigid and he fell face-first into a potted plant.

The Beetle stepped down from the hood of Tony's hot tub limousine. Her strange insect wings folded into a metal compartment on her back. She marched straight for Shang-Chi, who stood his ground while hotel guests and employees fled in all directions. Shang-Chi knew that retreating into the Hong Kong Grand Hyatt lobby would hamper the Beetle's ability to fly, but it would also endanger everyone in the hotel. He shifted into a crane style stance, knowing the extended arm strikes would be best for keeping her at distance.

"Give me a break," the Beetle said in her weird buzzing voice. She reached for Shang-Chi, who bobbed and weaved under her glistening green and blue arm. The Beetle spun around, and Shang-Chi knew then that she was not well-trained in combat. He saw she had not adjusted her feet as she has spun to reach for him with her other arm. Her hips and legs were twisted and her balance compromised. Shang-Chi did not need the strength of the Hulk, or even a sumo wrestler, to knock the Beetle off her feet. All he needed was to step across her far leg, put his shoulder into his armpit, and snap his weight forward as he stood to redirect her energy. Leverage and the Beetle's weak stance did the rest.

The Beetle, much to her surprise, launched five feet through the air and head-first through the back driver's side window of Tony's limousine. The Beetle pulled herself from the car, tore the door from its hinges, and turned to glare at Shang-Chi.

"I don't need you in one piece," she said.

Shang-Chi nodded. "Why not make your intentions known from the beginning? It would have made thing easier." He relaxed his fighting stance and stepped forward.

A gunshot rang out and the Beetle's head cocked to the right. She and Shang-Chi looked over to see Natasha holding a smoking semi-automatic pistol. Tony was scrambling to his feet behind her.

"A gun?" The Beetle asked in her weird buzzing voice. Her insectoid helmet hadn't been dented by the shot. "Really?"

"Get your armor," Natasha told Tony.

"It's in my suitcase in the car," Tony said as he ran for the far side of the wrecked limousine. "By me some time!"

The Beetle threw the car door at Natasha like a Frisbee. Natasha bent backward to place her hands on the ground as the door flew over her body and smashed into a parked Corvette. Tony ran around the back of his limousine and yanked on one of the doors.

The Beetle grabbed a metal disc from her hip. Three blades popped out of it and she wound up to throw it at Tony Stark.

"No!" Shang-Chi said as he grabbed her bicep, but her armor-enhanced strength was greater than his. She whipped the throwing star at Tony. He had just begun to duck when Natasha shot the flying weapon off target. The Beetle touched Shang-Chi's chest. An electrical surge ripped through his body and he went stiff as his muscles contracted in pain. He fell to the ground.

Natasha unloaded the magazine of her Beretta at the Beetle, who stood her ground and laughed.

Tony yanked the suitcase holding his Iron Man armor from the back of the limousine. "Got it!" He yelled as he ran for cover.

"You got sick is what you got," the Beetle said as two small flaps popped open on top of her shoulders. Natasha thought that it looked like she had produced small stereo speakers from her armor. Natasha, Tony, and anyone conscious and within twenty feet were then hammered by a blaring buzzing sound that shook their stomachs and punished their inner ears. Natasha dropped the magazine she was about to reload into the Beretta and fell to her knees. Tony dropped his suitcase and clamped his hands over his ears. He vomited up his breakfast after that. Natasha, who had some experience with sonic torture resistance training, was dry heaving and crawling toward the lobby doors.

The Beetle's wings popped out of the back of her armor. She picked up Shang-Chi like he weighed no more than a loaf of bread. She draped him over one shoulder and zipped away, but not before snagging Tony Stark's suitcase. Natasha rolled over and saw the Beetle fly southeast and out of sight.

*****

Shang-Chi sat up on a simple mat in a small room that smelled of nang champa incense. The room was a monk's chamber with no windows, but there was a sliding rice paper door. He had been dressed in different clothes - simple wide-leg pants that stopped at his calves, a saffron monk robe shirt, and black kung fu shoes. There was a wash bin with lukewarm water and an orange near the mat. He could hear running water and singing birds outside the room. He stood up and noticed a slight ache in his left arm. He rolled up his sleeve and found a small bandage on the fold of his elbow. He slid the rice paper door open.

He faced a large Japanese Zen garden. He was in a temple four floors high with a roof open to the sun. The garden was surrounded by rooms for monks. A stream ran through the garden, into a koi pool, and back out to somewhere under the foundation of the temple. The singing birds rested in cherry blossom trees. Across from him was a large room with a hall beyond it. A table was center in the room. A beautiful American woman with long black hair and a tight yellow dress sat at the head of it. She was eating sushi with elegant chopsticks. Another American woman, this one with short brown hair and eating something with a fork, was seated to her left. She wore a Bikini Kill shirt and blue jeans. A strong, bald man with the bearing of a warrior sat to the first woman's right. He sipped tea. He wore monk's robes.

Two members of the Hand ninja cult stood guard on either end of the table. Both held spears.

The dark-haired woman saw him. "Oh, you're awake. Please, come join us."

Shang-Chi walked across the garden. The ninja he'd heard on the floor above him drew an arrow in his bowstring and kept it aimed at the back of his neck. The two ninjas in the cherry blossom trees dropped down as he passed by. Shang-Chi walked up the four steps to the large room.

The dark-haired woman pushed a bamboo tray of sashimi toward him. "Please. Eat."

Shang-Chi remained standing. The bald warrior grinned and then took a piece of tuna from the tray. He dipped it in soy sauce and ate it. Shang-Chi sat. The warrior slid him some chopsticks. Shang-Chi slid them back. The warrior smiled and gave Shang-Chi his pair.

Shang-Chi picked up a piece of octopus and looked at the dark-haired woman. "You must be Sunset Bain."

She smiled as she toasted him with a cup of sake. "I am." She gestured toward the other woman. "I believe you met my friend here earlier."

"Enjoy the shock?" The Beetle asked him as she twirled her fork in some rice noodles.

"Where is the vial?" Shang-Chi asked Sunset.

Sunset reached into her ample clevage and pulled out a glass vial of blood on a silver chain. "Do you mean this?"

"I have been asked to return it to its owner," Shang-Chi said.

"Why?" Sunset asked. "You have plenty to spare."

Shang-Chi stopped with a piece of sea eel halfway to his mouth. "So this was all a ruse to get my blood. For the Elixir Vitae?"

Sunset took another sip of sake. "Your father's youth formula flows through your veins, Shang-Chi. You are a very valuable commodity."

"Where is the vial of Bullseye's blood?" Shang-Chi asked.

Shang-Chi heard something zip through the air and then tug at his collar. He looked down to see a chopstick had pierced his collar just behind his left ear.

The bald warrior held up another chopstick. "It's sitting right here," Bullseye said.

TO BE CONTINUED!

Nik Havert

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Re: Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #4 - Seeking the Target pt. 4

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:20 pm

Nice work. I love your descriptions. You keep everything tight and to the point and yet you convey character perfectly. You're like the Shang Chi of writing.
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Paul E. Schultz

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Love it

Post  Mechajared on Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:31 am

You really know how to set a scene and give us a surprise at the very end, well done.

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Re: Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #4 - Seeking the Target pt. 4

Post  AndyWright on Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:32 pm

Great stuff. Your command of atmosphere is awesome.
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Re: Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #4 - Seeking the Target pt. 4

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