Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5: Seeking the Target pt. 5

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Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5: Seeking the Target pt. 5

Post  Nik Havert on Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:18 pm

Shang-Chi had left the peaceful fishing village of Yang Tin to track down a vial of blood that had belonged to the deceased assassin known as Bullseye. The vial, he was told, had been stolen by the Hai Dai - a cult that worshipped his late sorcerer father. He'd since learned that the thieves were not Hai Dai, but the Hand - a clan of ninjas deeply involved with black magic.

They were also involved with Sunset Bain, CEO of Bain Electronics and former girlfriend of Tony "Iron Man" Stark. She had hired the Beetle, an American woman in a suit of insect-like armor, to kidnap him from outside the hotel in Hong Kong where he'd been meeting with Tony and Natasha "the Black Widow" Romanoff.

He'd been brought to an unknown building with a luxurious Zen garden in it. His blood had been drawn and was now in a vial around Sunset Bain's neck. The whole thing had been a ruse to get his blood, not Bullseye's. Sunset Bain wanted the life-extending elixir vitae that ran through his veins. It was a creation of his father, and Shang-Chi often wondered if it was a gift or curse.

Yet, the question of Bullseye's blood remained, and had grown stranger since the bald warrior seated to Shang-Chi's left at Sunset's dining table now claimed to be him.

"So you have been reborn," Shang-Chi said.

"A combination of science and magic, I'm told," Bullseye said as he twirled a chopstick in his fingers.

Shang-Chi pulled the other chopstick Bullseye had just thrown through the collar of his shirt free and set it on the table. Sunset smiled across from him as she tucked the vial of his blood back between her large breasts.

"Why not just ask me for it?" Shang-Chi asked.

"You're hard to track down, and I doubt you would've said yes," Sunset said.

Shang-Chi smiled. "True. So, why have you not killed me?"

Sunset sat back and gave him a flirtatious grin. "Because if I keep you happy and healthy, I can have an infinite supply. If you're dead, we only get a finite amount. I wanted to offer you a partnership. We could be rich beyond measure, Shang-Chi."

Shang-Chi looked around the garden. "I think you already are." He looked back to Bullseye. "And you? Why are you here?"

Bullseye sipped some of his green tea. "Ms. Bain helped the Hand set up the theft of my blood. She provided the technology for the Hand to get past all the alarms. She also donated a few safehouses around the world in exchange for the Hand's protection and my bodyguard services for one year. The Hand have given me a new outlook."

Shang-Chi's eyebrows rose. "Which is?"

Bulleye smiled. "A Zen archer was meditating on a seaside cliff. Two warriors approached and challenged him to a contest. The first warrior shot a leaf from a tree. The second warrior shot a bird in mid-flight. The Zen archer shot his arrow over the edge of the cliff and into the sea and said, 'Bullseye!'."

"Things will go where they are supposed to go," Shang-Chi said.

Bullseye nodded. "Exactly."

"You gonna join us or not?" The Beetle asked after she sipped from a bottle of beer.

Shang-Chi ignored her and focused on Sunset. "You are getting protection from the Hand, but protection from whom?"

"None of your business," the Beetle said from her chair as she snarled in an attempt to look tough.

Sunset smiled. "It's okay, Beetle. I've had some...bad business dealings with certain yakuza families, Shang-Chi. Now, what do you say?" She bit her bottom lip and smiled at him. "What can I offer you to say yes?"

Shang-Chi sensed the Hand ninjas in the Zen garden behind him. He figured the one on the second story garden balcony still had an arrow aimed at him. The two with spears forty-five degrees back to each side hadn't moved since he'd sat at Sunset's table. There was a hall behind Sunset that ended in a T-intersection.

The Beetle drummed her fingers on the table. Bullseye sipped his tea. Sunset kept her seductive eyes on Shang-Chi.

"A dead cat's head," Shang-Chi said.

Bullseye laughed and then threw his tea cup at Shang-Chi. Shang-Chi was already tipping back in his chair, so the cup flew over him and landed in the Zen garden. The chair landed on its back and Shang-Chi somersaulted backwards out of it as Bullseye's second chopstick pierced the bottom of the seat and the arrow from the Hand ninja on the second floor balcony pierced the top.

Shang-Chi rolled backwards one more time and under the dropping spear blades of the ninjas behind him. He stood up behind them and punched the first ninja in the kidney. He hooked the man's far arm and spun him around so he was now behind Shang-Chi and in the path of the second arrow shot by the balcony ninja. The arrow broke through the man's sternum and he dissolved into black ashes.

The second ninja brought up his spear in a backward slice. Shang-Chi blocked the spear's shaft with his forearm, chopped down on the man's hands to disarm him, cracked him in the jaw with the butt end of the spear, and then sliced his throat open with the blade. The ninja dissolved as Shang-Chi continued the arc of his deathstroke and knocked the third arrow out of the air.

He spun and threw the spear at Sunset Bain, who was rigid with surprise in her chair. The Beetle had fled. Bullseye leaped from his chair and caught the spear in mid-air before it reached Sunset. He rolled across the table and came up to one knee with it held at the ready, but Shang-Chi had already vaulted the table and was running down the hall behind Sunset.

"Why did you attack him?" Sunset asked Bullseye after she took a deep breath.

"A Zen master was asked what was the most fabulous treasure in the world. The master said, 'A dead cat's head.' When asked why, the master said, 'Because no one can name its value.' Shang-Chi had no intention of joining us."

"Catch him," Sunset said. "And make sure Beetle doesn't kill him."

Shang-Chi turned left at the T-intersection and saw five armed ninjas blocking his way to a stairwell. The ninjas rushed him. He turned and ran. Emboldened, the ninjas chased him. The lead ninja yelled a battle cry and led the way with his katana. He was surprised when Shang-Chi stopped in mid-run and shifted back to fire a kick at him. The lead ninja, running at top speed and unable to stop his forward momentum, hit Shang-Chi's sidekick like a small car in a head-on collision with a bus.

The lead ninja flew back and knocked down two others. The two left standing fanned out on either side of the pile of bodies. Shang-Chi chose to attack the man on his left, since he was carrying a pair of sais and the other had a small scythe with a weighted chain attached to the handle.

The first ninja thrust one of his sais at Shang-Chi's face. Shang-Chi parried the blow and cross-stomped the man's knee at the same time. The man cried out through his mask as the joint broke. Shang-Chi ejected the sai from his hand as the second ninja charged from the other side of the hall. The sai spun through the air and went point-first through the ninja's right eye. Shang-Chi took the other sai from the first ninja as he clutched at his broken knee. Shang-Chi ran for the stairwell door, kicking one of the fallen ninjas across the face as he passed him.

Shang-Chi burst into the stairwell and discovered he was on the thirtieth floor. He started to run down the steps, but three more Hand ninjas came into the stairwell from the twenty-ninth floor. The first one through hurled two shurikens at him. Shang-Chi dodged the first, but the second sliced across his left shoulder blade. The ninjas charged up the stairs, so he jumped over the handrail and onto the head and shoulders of the second warrior. The action surprised the third ninja, who had no time to attack with his nunchaku before Shang-Chi stabbed him in the chest with the sai. The warrior burst into black ashes as the first warrior sidekicked Shang-Chi in the back.

Shang-Chi tumbled through the ash cloud and down the stairs, losing his sai in the process. He coughed and sputtered while he rubbed his eyes. He cleaned them in time to see the first ninja in mid-air above him with his katana coming down in a deadly arc...and the second ninja was getting to his feet.

Shang-Chi dodged the sword strike as the katana's blade scratched a long scar down the wall. The ninja jutted his sword in a backward thrust, but Shang-Chi slapped the backside of the blade and the sword ended up stuck in the wall two inches from Shang-Chi's face. He hammerfisted the ninja in the groin, grabbed his throat with the same hand, and then pulled him down into a knee strike to his face.

The ninja fell back unconscious as the second braced on the handrail and launched a roundkick at Shang-Chi's head. Shang-Chi blocked the kick, and the ninja began a fast assault of high and low punches as soon as he landed on his feet. Shang-Chi blocked the first two punches, grabbed the third, pulled the man into a left cross to his jaw, yanked him backward to knee him in the spine, and then slammed the back of the man's head against the handrail. His ashes were still falling to the floor as Shang-Chi ran through the twenty-ninth floor door.

He was surprised to see he was in some sort of high-tech laboratory. Electronic and computer equipment was everywhere. There was no one in the room, but he was sure more Hand ninjas, Bullseye, and the Beetle were on their way. He ran for the far door, but stopped when he saw something familiar.

Tony Stark's briefcase was on a table. It had been broken open and his Iron Man armor was spread out on the table. He guessed the Beetle must have stolen it when she had kidnapped him outside the hotel. He began stuffing the pieces back into the briefcase. His thumbs pressed on the chest plate's center as he picked it up, and the chest plate then made a strange chirping noise and lit up in his hands.

"Shang-Chi? Is that you?"

It was Tony Stark's voice. Shang-Chi looked around the room, but he was still alone.

"Yes," he said. "Where are you?"

"Right here," Tony said. Shang-Chi noticed the eyes of the Iron Man helmet glowed. "In the helmet. I'm looking at you through a cybernetic connection on my laptop."

Shang-Chi picked up the helmet and looked into its eyes. "What?"

"I programmed the armor to power up if it detected your fingerprints on any of the sensors. Are you all right?"

"Yes, but they are coming."

"Okay, listen carefully..."

The stairwell door blew off its hinges. The Beetle, her right gauntlet smoking, stepped through the doorway.

"Give it up, Shang-"

She was knocked through several workstations by a blast of heavy energy just as Bullseye and four more Hand ninjas came through the door.

Bullseye looked to his right and smiled. "Well, this is interesting," he said.

Shang-Chi looked down at his hand, clad in one of Iron Man's gauntlets. The power that had just blasted the Beetle astound him. A shuriken bounced off the armor plate on his chest like it was a rubber ball. He saw the Beetle getting to her feet.

He put the Iron Man helmet on his head. It clicked into place and the Iron Man armor hummed with power as he stepped into a Shaolin dragon form stance.

The gauntlet whirred as he beckoned the warriors to battle.

TO BE CONTINUED!

Nik Havert

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Re: Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5: Seeking the Target pt. 5

Post  Mechajared on Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:31 pm

Awesome, the action keeps coming, it feels like a Bruce Lee movie if he'd ever done a sci-fi.

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Re: Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5: Seeking the Target pt. 5

Post  AndyWright on Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:44 pm

Dang! Martial arts master in Iron Man armor...that would make for some phenomenal visuals.
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Re: Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5: Seeking the Target pt. 5

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