FIC: Darker Reign (19/?)
“Where the hell are we?” Faith whispered as she looked around the bleak tunnel, noting the yellowed light bulbs swaying from the ceiling, the stone walls, and wooden supports. “I mean when you said the White House, I figured that maybe we’d end up in the Oval Office or the West Wing?”
“There’s two sets of tunnels beneath the White House. One, the more commonly known set that leads to the nuclear bunker, and these, an earlier, lesser known set built in 1812 in case the President was in office and the British attempted to take the building,” Fury replied before looking towards Eden. “We’ll be leaving you now.”
“Wait, what now?” Xander interrupted. “We might, and you have no idea how much I stress the might, be able to use these tunnels to get access to the Oval Office, but there’s no way I mean we can’t use these tunnels to escape! Not with the Avengers and HAMMER crawling all over the place!”
“Don’t panic,” Fury drawled. “I’ve got some errands to run with Eden, but the moment you get the President, use your comm-link to message him and I’ll send him right back.”
Xander shook his head. “You suck.”
“Come on, kid,” growled American Eagle, “time to kick ass.”
“Time to kick ass?” Xander shook his head. “And I thought only Slayers were dropped on the head at birth.” Xander glanced at and took comfort from the relative powers of American Eagle, She-Hulk, Noh-Varr, and Moon Knight accompanying them before shooting a glower at Faith. “Did I mention how much more fun my life has gotten since we met?”
“A visitor has teleported in to Heimdall’s station requesting to see you, a human.”
“Aye?” Thor raised an eyebrow at Sif’s message. Thanks to their proximity to Braxton, humans were more common than they had been but they were still a rarity and one teleporting in was even more unusual. “And did this human per chance give him name?”
“He said he was Nick Fury.”
“Aye?” Thor’s interest increased. “Have him brought to me.”
“As you wish, my liege.” Sif bowed at the waist and left.
Thor shook his head and sighed. Doubtless if his father was here, he would disapprove of him immersing himself so heavily in human affairs. Unfortunately his father wasn’t here, and so it fell to him to deal with the world as it was.
He leaned back on his throne and waited, fingers drumming impatiently on the great chair’s arms. After a number of minutes, Fury entered his throne room flanked by a pair of hulking, halberd-wielding Asgardians. “Greetings, Nicholas. What brings you to fair Asgard?”
“Thor,” the one-eyed human bowed before glancing warily at his escort and then back at him. “I come requesting your aid. As you know, Osborn has managed to usurp the president.”
Thor nodded. “I was aware.”
“I’m organising a resistance, however as you are also aware, Osborn’s allies are powerful, widespread, and many, and if we attempt multiple strikes against them, we risk some of them escaping, but if we draw them into a battle and a field of our choosing, and surprise them with our numbers, we could manage a clean and total victory.”
Thor tilted his head to one side and stared consideringly at the human. Osborn was an arrogant madman and Thor had little doubt that the man eventually attempt an attack on them once all of Osborn’s lesser-powered enemies were dealt with. And could Asgard stand alone against the combined forces of all of earth’s meta-criminals and scoundrels? Finally he nodded. “Better to deal with an enemy at a place and time of our choosing than to let Osborn become too firmly entrenched and then make those choices for us. What would you have me do?”
Fury smiled. “Oh I think you’ll enjoy this.”
Xander’s skin crawled as he crept through the White House’s unusually empty corridors. He figured the people who usually crowded these halls had been scared off by their new, despotic boss.
Which showed the average White House staffer had more sense than him and his companions. Hardly uplifting information.
“This way,” Moon Knight growled from deep within his cowl, leading them down a corridor with walls covered with paintings of past presidents, a passageway that couldn’t help but fill anyone passing through it with awe.
Moon Knight stopped by a door and held up a sensor for a second before shaking his head. “Doesn’t make sense.”
“What doesn’t?” demanded She-Hulk, the green-skinned giant’s voice hoarse with tension.
“According to the life sign sensor there’s only one person in there,” Moon Knight shook his head. “Where are the guards?”
“I don’t need my cute lil button nose to know this stinks like a trap,” Faith commented.
“Nevertheless,” American Eagle strode towards the door and kicked it open, “we have a mission.”
“Oh brother,” Faith groaned, “dude’s got a billion dollar body but a ten cent brain.”
Xander looked at his girl-friend as he hurried through the doorway. “You like his body.”
Faith slapped her forehead and groaned. “Not my point -, whoa.” Faith halted, her mouth dropping open as she looked around. “We’re in the Oval Office, dude.”
“I know,” Xander nodded, his head swimming as he looked around the room he’d seen in so many films and tv shows.
“We’ve got a problem,” American Eagle strode towards the man, holy moley the President, sat behind the room’s desk. “He’s rigged up to a ton of explosives.”
“If only that was your only problem.” Xander’s heart dropped as he spun around to find a smirking Rulk stood in the doorway they’d just sneaked through. “When it looks like a trap, it’s probably a trap.”
“Moon Knight,” Noh-Varr let out a growl, the Kree glared at the massive, red-skinned monster, “get the others out of here. Leave the President in case taking him triggers the explosives.”
“I’ll help you,” She-Hulk declared before leaping into the battle.
“Okay Moonie,” Faith looked towards Moon Knight. “Let’s get us outta here!”
She-Hulk snarled as she leapt at the massively-muscled Rulk. Rulk laughed as he caught her with a casual back-hand that knocked her straight through the bullet-proofed window and onto the White House lawn. Shaking her ringing head clear, She-Hulk leapt up and lunged through the crack in time to see Rulk fling off Noh-Varr and Eden arrive to teleport their companions away.
A bitter smile on her face, Jennifer took solace in the fact at least some of them would escape before leaping back into the attack. Her punches were a blur, each one of them powerful enough punch through steel, but each seemed to be barely noticed by her adversary.
And then he caught her again, smashing an uppercut into her jaw with enough force to fling her through the ceiling. She-Hulk plummeted to the floor, hitting it a half-second before the Oval Office’s chandelier, the glass exploding through the room. She-Hulk landed on her feet, in time to see her Kree ally slump to the ground, his battered body unmoving.
Her heart pounding with excitement, she leapt forward, pulled her head back and then powered it forward, her forehead crunching into the bridge of Rulk’s nose. Rulk grunted and stumbled backwards.
She-Hulk felt a hopeful surge that died as soon as she felt it. Rulk charged forward, flinging a swinging right that she managed to duck under. Her foot swung up and connected with her rival’s inner knee, knocking him back a step.
She-Hulk lunged in, then slid right, just outside an uppercut while crashing a knee into her fellow gamma-radiated meta-human. Lights exploded before her eyes when Rulk caught her with an elbow to the side of her head, knocking her into and through the wall, across the corridor, and into the far wall.
Despair filled her as she dragged herself out of the wall. Her rival barely noticed if she landed half a dozen blows or kicks, while Rulk need only catch her with a tap to almost bring her to her knees.
Despair faded to molten-rage as she charged back into the attack, leaping into the air to catch her rival with a double-footed drop-kick to the chest. Rulk grunted, stumbled back a step and then brought his fist down hard on the top of her head as she landed.
Pain exploded in her head and neck, legs buckling under her as she fell to the ground. The Rulk let out a building-shaking rumble that she dazedly guessed was a laugh then began stamping on her before she could move.
“If that don’t beat all.” Fury’s breath gusted from him as he entered the building. He thought he’d seen everything in his long lifetime – war, the birth of the superhero, amazing aliens, but this…
The corridor’s white washed walls seemed to go on forever, pairs of pillars flanking the long corridor and between each pair of pillars there stood lushly-coloured paintings of Avengers either in battle or portrait. “How big is this place?”
Pym seemed to swell up at his query. “I call it the Infinite Mansion, but that’s hype, well slightly. Each floor goes on for miles and there are millions of floors, which worried Jarvis until he found it was self-cleaning. In addition I’ve installed an infinite number of doors that lead anywhere on earth or otherwise. If a door doesn’t exist, I can always create more. If anyone gets lost, there a replica of Jocasta every mile to help with directions. And once outside the mansion, the only way to get back in is with someone with a subatomic key implanted into the palm of anyone I invite.”
“And these doorways?” Fury pressed.
“Where do you need ones to?”
“Well for starters, Wakanda, Olympia, the Baxter Building, and the Initiative Rebels.”
“I can do that,” Pym nodded then turned to him. “Which one do you need first?”
“An invention of Richards, Stark, or Pym?”
“The latter,” Fury blinked as he stepped out of the mansion and into the beautiful throne room of Wakanda, its unmasked monarch merely raising an eyebrow as he knelt before the three-stepped pedestal. “As you know things have escalated in the U.S.. I’m also aware of your growing cadre of American defectors, and I’m here to request your and their help with fighting Osborn.”
T’Challa shook his head. “I as a foreign monarch cannot in all good conscience involve myself in the internal machinations of a foreign nation, however much I might despair at some of its leaders’ behaviour. “ The African smiled suddenly. “However, I am not a dictator, and would not stop any of my guests from returning to their homeland should they wish.”
Fury nodded. He well and truly got the message. “I’ll return when I have instructions.”
“Felicitations and most effusive greetings, my old comrade, who might you be waiting for?”
Cyclops looked up from finishing his report to glance towards a friend dating back to the X-Men’s earliest days. “Hi Hank,” he greeted the blue-furred mutant, “Blink has a group coming in to join us. As leader, I’m the welcoming committee, tell them our rules, that sort of thing.”
“And how many mutants are in this group?”
“Just one, an electrical manipulator, but she’s accompanied by two souled vampires, the human son of two vampires, a human possessed by an Old One, and an inter-dimensional traveller.”
“Huh.” Interest twinkled in the genius biochemist’s eyes. “An unusual grouping even for our intrepid gathering of freaks and miscreants.”
Cyclops smiled wryly. “You’re telling me.”