Avengers #12

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Avengers #12

Post  Paul Effin' Schultz on Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:03 pm

Avengers #12
"Everybody Comes to Charlie's"
By Paul E. Schultz

"Is this seat taken?"

Eliot Franklin turned his attention from his half-drained mug of beer, to the stunning black woman at his shoulder. Behind her, Charlie's Place was a haze of cigarette smoke, loud voices and a thundering jukebox.

"It is now," said Eliot, pulling the bar stool out for her with his size 14 engineer's boot.

As the woman sat, Eliot motioned for the bartender. "Another for me and whatever the lady would like."

"Uh, just a beer please," she said.

The bar tender nodded and in short order, set the beers before them.

"Put it on my tab," said Eliot.

"Sure thing, Doc."

Once they were alone again, the woman asked, "Are you a doctor?"

"I was," said Eliot, then: "Look, lady, I'm not sure why you're here, but I'm just tryin' to have a few beers. You're too pretty to be a cop and too classy to be a hooker, especially around here, so--"

"Gee, thanks." She smiled. "I think. Truth is, I came in looking for you."

"Do tell?." Eliot finished his half-empty mug and moved onto his fresh one. "Did Calusky put you up to this? I swear if this is another one of that hillbilly's jokes, I'll--"

"No joke," she said. "Who's Calusky? He a friend of yours?"

Eliot chuckled. "Not hardly. He's...He's just a guy I work with. So, now that you found me, what do you want with me, Miss...Miss?"

"Marvel," she replied. Upon seeing the muscle-bound man's expression, she laughed uneasily and said, "No, no, no. Not her. Actually my name's Monica."

"Monica Marvel? Cute. Your folks must've had a sense of humor, but they certainly knew how to cook. You want to go somewhere else and talk? I only come here to unwind and something tells me I'm about to get wound up."

"I'd love to," she said, blushing slightly. "I have a car outside. We--"

"So do I. We'll take mine, hope you understand."

She paused a moment, then: "Absolutely."

***

"I still don't understand why you didn't send me in. I'm easily this team's heaviest hitter."

"Sometimes, Ultra, finesse beats brute force."

"And let's face it, the lady's got it in spades."

"Watch your mouth, boy."

"Oh, sorry, Lemar. I certainly didn't mean to--"

"Heads up, team, here they come," announced Captain America, bringing the others to attention.

From the shadows of the rooftop across the street from Charlie's Place, Captain America, Captain Ultra, Frog-Man and Battlestar watched as Monica Rambeau stepped outside. At her side, dwarfing her five-ten frame, was a giant man in an ill-fitting t-shirt that looked ready to explode with the slightest of sneezes.

"Eliot Franklin" said Captain America. "Better known as--"

"Thunderball," muttered Battlestar. "He don't look so big from up here."

"Says you," replied Frog-Man. "Guy looks like he could bench press an armored car."

"Quiet," snapped Captain America. This team still had a lot to learn about stakeouts.

***

"Eliot Franklin?"

"Who wants to know?"

With disbelieving eyes, Eliot watched as a figure in a trench coat and fedora stepped from the shadows of the parking lot. The faint gleam of a metallic mask shimmered under the broad brim of his hat.

Eliot turned to Monica, gripping her elbow, snarling, "Man, I knew this was a trap! Who are you?"

"I swear I don't know this guy!" she gasped. "You're hurting me!"

Turning his attention back to the newcomer, Eliot growled, "What do you want?"

"Jussstice," hissed the shadowy figure. "Jussstice sssstrikesss like a copperhead."

Suddenly, Eliot felt his grip on the girl's arm loosen. With a blast of light, she seemed to vaporize, transforming into a figure of pure radiance. The darkened parking lot became as bright as day. The figure in the fedora hissed in discontent and, throwing an arm up to cover his eyes, seemed to vanish into what little shadows were left. Through squinted eyes, Eliot watched as Monica took to the air, leaving her clothing behind.

"What the hell's going on?!" he barked.

His question was met with a blow from Captain America's shield. The impact to the side of his head caused Thunderball to stagger sideways, gripping his ear, disoriented.

"Now, Ultra!" came a commanding voice from beyond the range of the lightshow bathing the parking lot.

Still blinded and off balance, Thunderball felt a pair of steel-like arms slinking around him, gripping him.

"What the hell?!" he gasped as his feet suddenly felt the gravel lot under them fade away. He was vaguely aware of the feeling of air rushing past his ears, but his blindness and partial deafness left him too disoriented to respond.

Through the wind and his deafened ear, he heard a man's voice ask, "Let's see how long you can hold your breath as we take a cruise through the stratosphere, okay, Eliot?"

The front door of the tavern burst open and out poured a small army of irate patrons wielding pool cues and bar stool, but their attention was quickly drawn to the three costumed figures standing in the middle of the lot.

"Go back inside," shouted Captain America.

Battlestar merely cracked his knuckles and grinned hideously.

"Yeah, you don't want none of this," warned Frog-Man, hoping his voice wasn't trembling too much.

By this time, Monica Rambeau landed alongside her companions. Although she had ceased radiating her entire body, she kept one hand held high, illuminating the parking lot.

"Nice work, Photon," said Captain America.

Muttering impotent threats under their collective breath, the crowd returned inside the bar.

"What the hell happened?" asked Photon. "Who was that guy? He almost ruined everything."

"I don't know," admitted Captain America. "But, there's no time to look into that now. The mission's been compromised. We'd better hit the second rendezvous spot."

***

The haze of unconsciousness parted for Thunderball and he struggled to recall the events of the past few minutes, having better luck doing so than struggling physically against the drainpipe-like arms that bound him. His feet couldn't find the ground and a glance over his shoulder was met by the crimson stare of two mechanical eyes. Although it was dark, the windows overhead told him he was in some sort of warehouse. He could see shadows moving around before him.

Suddenly a cluster of overhead lights bathed the interior of the warehouse in harsh pillars of brilliance. Thunderball squinted as his eyes adjusted. He took in the sight of the wooden crates around him. Captain America, Frog-Man and the woman called Nova stood before him. The drainpipe arms belonged to a massive blue and silver robot that held him aloft and helpless.

"Uh, Cap, where are the others?"

"They're about, Eugene, just like we planned, keeping a look out for this guy's buddies, should they be fools enough to come after him."

Thunderball laughed harshly, saying, "Who are you supposed to be? The Great Lakes Avengers? The Wrecking Crew and I could handle you guys on your best day, but since the Masters of Evil took out both your headquarters, I doubt you've had very many 'best' days."

Ignoring this, Captain America asked, "Where's Beere's body, Thunderball?"

The big man laughed, saying, "I know my rights, blue boy. I don't have to tell you nothing. In fact, this is kidnapping, so why don't you just let me go and I'll be willing to forget the whole thing."

"Technically, he's right, Cap. We--"

"Shut up, Eugene!" snarled Battlestar.

"You can do what you want," warned Thunderball, "but you won't get anything out of me. You might as well turn me over to the cops. I ain't no squealer."

"Excussse me, gentlemen," said a sibilant voice from behind, "and lady."

"Who?" uttered Frog-Man.

"Again?" said Battlestar.

The figure in the fedora stepped into the beam of light.

"Who the heck is that?" asked Box.

"I'll be hanged!" declared Captain America. "Copperhead!"

"You know this guy, Cap?" asked Battlestar.

"I know of him. Or rather I've read of him. The Copperhead was a pulp hero I used to read as a kid."

"I thought Copperhead was a member of the Serpent Society, Cap."

"Not this one, Bochs. There were even a few others calling themselves Copperhead, but they're all dead."

"You are correct, Captain," hissed the figure as he stepped closer. "It ssseemsss we had our eyesss on the sssame prize tonight."

"Mind telling me just who you really are, mister?"

"In due time, Captain. Right now, it ssseemsss quessstioning Thunderball would be a better ussse of all of our timesss."

"Is he gonna talk like that all damn night?" snapped Nova, looking to Captain America. "It's getting on my nervesss."

"At ease...Nova," replied Captain America. "Let's here what he has to say."

"I believe I can help you quessstion Missster Franklin."

Thunderball laughed loudly, shouting, "This is the sorriest bunch of sad excuses for super heroes I've ever seen! Why, you--"

A puff of steam chugged from the wrist of the figure calling himself Copperhead and Thunderball began to choke, coughing out a tiny dart that clattered upon the concrete floor.

Captain America picked it up, sniffing it. "Sodium pentothal."

"Oh, great," coughed Thunderball. "Are you kiddin' me?!"

"Thunderballsss's hide may be highly impervious to harm, but I doubt the tender insssidesss of hisss mouth isss ssso protected."

"I changed my mind," declared Nova. "I like this guy."

"The effectsss of the drug should take effect any moment."

Thunderball continued to cough, spitting a wad of saliva at Captain America, who deflected it with hardly a thought with his shield.

After a moment, Captain America asked, "Now, Eliot, I'll ask you again. Where's Beere's Body and who do you work for?"

"Some fool calls himself Doctor Demonicus," replied Thunderball sleepily. "He plans to use the bomb buried in Beere's chest by harnesing the radiation to create giant monsters."

"That's ridiculous," declared Nova.

"It's what he does. The guy's a genius. He has delusions of grandeur, but he paid me and the rest of the Crew pretty good to steal Beere's body. The whole attack by the Masters of Evil just made it easier."

"Where's Demonicus?" asked Captain America.

"Where else?" Thunderball laughed drowsily. "Monster Isle."

Paul Effin' Schultz

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Re: Avengers #12

Post  Mechajared on Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:09 am

I'm really starting to like this team. I was a little skeptical seeing the lineup you'd assembled however so far this has been a great read. Keep going man, keep going.

Mechajared

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Re: Avengers #12

Post  Paul Effin' Schultz on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:07 am

That was sorta my plan all along, to throw together a bunch of odd-ball characters and see how they evolve as a team. So many times in Avengers history, with the exception of when they first formed, it's been: "We need new members, let's pick some." I thought why not throw them together and turn them into a team?

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Re: Avengers #12

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