Defenders #7

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Defenders #7 Empty Defenders #7

Post  Paul Effin' Schultz on Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:02 am

Defenders #7
"Terror at Ten Inches!"
By Paul E. Schultz

The six colorfully clad figures stood upon the roof of the castle, the lights of Chicago surrounding them like a sea of fallen stars. The moon shone brightly high overhead amidst a starless, obsidian canopy. A hot summer night breeze carried with it the sounds of the great city around them, along with aromas both fair and foul.

"Arrested," said Nighthawk, shaking his head slightly. "Do you people know how much it cost me to bail you all out?"

"Technically," said X-51, "as a non-living organism, I could not legally be arrested. The authorities could only hold me"

"Ouch," muttered Demolition Man. "That had to hurt."

"Indeed," said X-51.

"So much for secret identities," said Temple, pursing her lips thoughtfully.

Spitfire raised her hand slightly and said, "Diplomatic immunity."

"Likewise," said Defensor. "Although I am not a diplomat, my work with Argentinian authorities has granted me a certain amount of...immunity."

"At this point," said Red Guardian, "I suppose it is getting redundant, but--"

"Okay!" snapped Nighthawk, "I get it. Part of the reason I assembled an international team was for reasons such as this. I just never expected it to happen so soon."

"Speaking of which," said Spitfire. "When I agreed to join your little group, you said we would be defending humanity. Thus far we've managed to round up a giant pregnant android dragon and a block-headed android rampaging through an International House of Pancakes. Hardly a spectacular first few weeks. In my day, during the War, we would hop from one perilous adventure to the next."

Nighthawk opened his mouth to retort, but a few blocks away, as if on cue, a huge explosion rocked the night. Horns blared, people screamed, tires skidded and metal met metal in a shrill clangor.

The six of them rushed to the edge of the roof as smoke could be seen billowing towards the sky.

"What the hell?" uttered Demolition Man.

Nighthawk suddenly found all eyes were upon him.

"Well?" he asked, taking to the air, "what are you waiting for?"


"You gotta be kiddin' me!" gasped Demolition Man. "The Hulk?!"

Down below, Samuel Sterns stood amidst the chaos of burning, upturned vehicles and screaming pedestrians.

He looked back at the unconscious form of the Mad Thinker hanging upside down in the overturned van.

"You think you're so smart, don't you?" Sterns growled. "I could crush your head like a grape and you wouldn't even know it!"

"Not the Hulk," said Red Guardian, holding Demotion Man aloft by his hands. "The last reports I've heard concerning Dr. Banner, he was green and somewhere in China."

The unusual pair caught Sterns's attention and he effortlessly sent a nearby sedan sailing their way. The attack was easily avoidable, but Demolition Man released his grip from Red Guardian.

"Dennis, you idiot!" called Red Guardian. "He'll kill you! The others aren't here yet!"

Demolition Man rolled with his landing, getting to his feet. "Then I'll just have to buy them some time!"

Sterns charged Demolition Man, massive arms outstretched. With a crouch and a heave, Demolition Man sent the suddenly confused Sterns sailing through the air behind him. Sterns collided with an already totaled car.

"You might be stronger than me, pal," said Demoliton Man, "But we don't call pro wrestling 'ballet with violence' for nothing! Show me what you got!"

Regaining his wits, Sterns grabbed the ruined vehicle and sent it sailing towards Demolition Man. The sedan impacted with Demolition Man, taking him for a sudden ride, before coming to an abrupt stop against the side of another parked car.

"Dennis!" called Red Guardian, diving towards Sterns, unleashing a volley of hard radiation that crackled in the night and sent Sterns staggering backwards with each blast.

From out of nowhere, Temple seemed to spring up near the dazed Sterns, who was too disoriented from Red Guardian's attack to notice her. Quickly removing her glove, Temple laid a hand upon Sterns's massive shoulder. The touch sent a shiver through his body, catching his attention. With the back of his hand, he sent the woman sailing across the street.

Sterns shook off the effects of the tingling, but suddenly found the world around him increasing to nearly giant size. A few heartbeats later, he realized the opposite was true. He had become a victim of Pym Particles.

"What the?!" he growled. The ten inch monster leaped into the air, heading for Temple, who was barely recovered from his blow.

Demolition Man, his uniform smoking, leaped in the way, grappling the unsuspecting Sterns.

"I got 'im!" called Demolition Man, holding Sterns's writhing, kicking form by his arms. With a snarl, Sterns swung a foot upwards, making contact with his captor's jaw. The blow sent Demolition Man staggering backwards, colliding heavily with a parked sedan. Glass shattered with the impact. Demolition Man, surprised and in pain, let Sterns slip from his grip.

The tiny Sterns dropped to the asphalt and immediately began bounding across the street.

With a crash, Temple, now her full eighteen feet in height, brought her foot down upon Sterns, smashing asphalt with the blow. Keeping her foot firmly planted, she looked to her companion. "You okay, Dennis?" she asked.

Rubbing his jaw, Demolition Man stood back up. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just a litt--"

Temple's sudden, shrill cry stopped Demolition Man's words at the tip of his tongue.

"My foot!" she cried, hopping backwards. "The little monster bit my foot!"

Sterns leaped from the crater left by Temple's impact.

From across the street, X-51's internal tracking systems zeroed in on the leaping Sterns and the machine man fired his cybersinaptic harness net from its forearm housing. Like a spider's web, it spread out as it sailed pointedly though the air. To his surprise, X-51 watched helplessly as the gold and blue figure of Defensor came into view. The armored Defender, seemingly oblivious to X-51's attack, somehow managed to cross between them. The net snared the Argentinian, dropping him the the street in a crackle of energy.

The attack drew the attention of Sterns, who pivoted and leaped towards the android. With a roundhouse swing, the miniature monster knocked X-51's head off. The android's body staggered around, arms outstretched and searching blindly as the metallic head shattered a nearby store front window.

In a blaze of golden light, Spitfire was upon Defensor, frantically pulling at the electrical webbing encasing her unconscious teammate. "I can't get them loose!" she gasped, tugging in vain.

Overhead, Red Guardian unleashed gout after gout of radiation, trailing behind the agile Sterns.

Temple limped over to where Spitfire was struggling with Defensor's bonds and shredded them with no effort. Defensor almost immediately regained consciousness and was helped to his feet by his two female companion. "Did I miss anything?" he asked, shaking his head in attempted to clear his mind from the web's after effects.

"We lost X-51," announced Temple, watching as the headless android stumbled to the street, sparks flashing from his neck.

Charging past them, Demolition Man held a Volkswagen Bug over his head, shouting, "Incoming!" He smashed the car down upon Sterns, who instantly leaped, bullet-like through it, rocketing high into the night air.

Red Guardian knocked him back down to the ground with a concussive blast of hard radiation, cracking the asphalt. "Got 'im!" she called, coming to a landing.

Appearing somewhat stunned, Sterns staggered about, trying to regain his wits.

"Hit him again!" called Demolition Man to Red Guardian. "Before he comes 'round!"

"Something tells me he could keep this up all night," muttered Spitfire. "Without X-51's neural net, we might as well--"

"Wait!" gasped Temple, pointing at the mighty gray gnome, "he's just standing there!"

Sterns was no longer glancing around, but rather standing almost stone still.

"What gives?" asked Demolition Man.

From overhead, Nighthawk drifted silently towards the street, his eye a pale, almost incandescent red.

"Of course!" gasped Spitfire. "It's Nighthawk! He--"

"Retrieve X-51's head," said Nighthawk as his feet noiselessly touched down. "I can barely hold him still! The neural net is our only hope of containing him."

Temple headed for the shattered window, shrinking as she limped. Demolition Man was close behind her.

"Uh, did I miss something?" he asked as they ran.

"Apparently we all did," retorted Temple.

As Spitfire, Red Guardian and Defensor stepped closer to Nighthawk, they watched in further amazement as Sterns melted down to his smaller form, before collapsing backwards to the street. A few heartbeats later, Sterns grew to his full five-ten, one hundred-forty pound size. He lay naked in the street, unconscious.

"Found him!" called Demolition Man, stepping from the store window. "Poor guy landed in a display of women's underwear! The padded bras probably broke his fall."

"How humiliating!" uttered the disembodied head, his eyes pulsing erratically. "Is the rest of me okay?"

Nighthawk turned to his companions as the sound of sirens off in the distance grew angrier and closer. "We should go," he said, "before the police arrive. We don't seem to be making a very good impression on them."

"What about him?" Red Guardian pointed to the unconscious Sterns.

"We take him with," said Nighthawk.

"Are you nuts?" asked Demolition Man. "What if he wakes up again?"

"Trust me," replied Nighthawk, taking flight. "That won't happen..."

Paul Effin' Schultz

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Defenders #7 Empty Re: Defenders #7

Post  Mechajared on Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:17 am

Good job Paul. You know how to keep the action going while still placing a good emphasis on plot point. I applaud you sir.


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