Infinity Assault #3
Continued from Infinity Conquest
And Infinity Assault #1 and Infinity Assault #2
Annihilus screeched in fury as he battered at the walls of the ten by ten cell. Alien energies hammered futilely against the force barrier preventing him from leaving.
“Geez, he’s pissed. How long are we gonna hold him here, cause he’s starting to freak me out just a bit.” The armored Guardian said, leaning stiffly against the far wall of the New York Metahuman Detention Center. The NYMDC had been built atop the remains of the old Ravencroft Asylum, after the asylum had lost all funding. Something to do with the repeated escapes of the inmates.
Annihilus had been placed in NYMDC custody after his capture by the Avengers and members of the Fantastic Four. He had only regained consciousness an hour ago, and already his jailers were tired of him.
“We hold him til the big wigs figure out whether he’s a perp or a foreign dignitary. Either way, we’ll probably ship his E.T. butt back to the ‘Zone. Personally, I say we should just roll a bug-bomb in there with him and RAID his Roachiness upside his ugly green head.” USAgent grunted from where he leaned beside the Guardians. “Either way, he ain’t gonna be happy.”
“Well we can’t have that, now can we?” A heavy voice grated suddenly. As the Guardians and Agent turned in surprise, a burst of crimson energies engulfed them, flinging them about like leaves in a bonfire. As the intruder stepped over their unconscious forms and approached the cell, Annihilus quieted, and cocked his head in confusion.
“Yes. Me. Now, Annihilus, how would you feel if I offered you your freedom and a chance at some payback at those who got you into this mess in the first place?” The intruder said. Annihilus pressed himself close against the force barrier.
“Who must I kill?”
“I thought you might say that. Welcome to the team.” The intruder chuckled.
“We’re gonna die.” Spider-Man muttered to Warlock. Warlock didn’t spare him a glance.
Beside the two, the High Evolutionary and Nobilus, last of the Godpack, stood silently. All four took in the three massive forms that stood before them. The Destroyer, Soul-Gem glittering evilly on it’s brow stood rock still between the hulking frames of Drax and Mangog. Then, as if at the behest of some silent signal, the Destroyer sprang forward towards the High Evolutionary, uru digits spread wide, a metallic growl echoing from somewhere within. Wyhndam raised a palm and halted the Destroyer’s lunge in mid-air, telekinetic force tightening around the metal beast, imprisoning it.
Drax bellowed and charged forward. Warlock leapt forward to meet his old ally. Spider-Man groaned and tapped Nobilus on one broad shoulder. “I guess that leaves Godzilla over there for us…” He said, pointing to the unmoving form of Mangog.
“Fine by me.” Nobilus smirked, cracking his knuckles in anticipation. “I like it when I don’t have to hold back.”
Warlock lunged under Drax’s punch, his own fists connecting with the green man’s jaw, one after the other. Drax seemed to barely feel the blows and head butted his one time ally, sending him sprawling. “Drax! This is madness! Surely you recognize me? Your mind cannot be that far gone!” Warlock said as he staggered to his feet. Drax’s only reply was a bestial growl as he dove onto Warlock, knocking him back to the ground, his fingers scrabbling, talon like, at the golden man’s throat.
Sparks flew as cosmic axe met cosmic axe beneath the shadow of the Worldship. Terrax and Morg strained against one another as only those with mutual loathing can. A spinning slash, blocked by a last minute parry. The counter swing deflected by the flat of the other blade. Words were not exchanged. Action was all. The melee swirling about them was blocked out by a red fog. Nothing else mattered but this battle. Only this battle.
Beneath his mask, Wyndham arched an eyebrow as the construct struggled in its invisible bonds, against his evolved will. The emerald gem upon its brow shimmered and flashed, a beam of energy darted towards him. The High Evolutionary moved his head a micro-inch to the side, avoiding the greedy grasp of the Soul Gem. Then he flung the golem from him, attempting to batter its uru hide to pieces against the rubble all around.
Nobilus uttered a berserk howl and launched himself at the titanic form of Mangog before Spider-Man could warn against it. Too swift for the eye to follow, red talons slammed together around the hurtling warrior, halting him in mid-air. “You smell of Asgard whelp, yet you lack the skill. An annoyance, nothing more.” Mangog grunted as he hefted the struggling godling and slammed him to the ground with a thunderous blow. As Nobilus slid from his grasp, a thick tail snapped around, slapping him away. Spider-Man leapt over the battered godling and triggered his web shooters full into the face of the creature before him. Mangog roared and yanked at the stuff in his face, ignoring the red-gloved fists punching vainly at his form, trying to find a weak spot.
Genis swallowed as he took in the looming shape of Fortress, growing ever larger as the tiny Skrull stealth-ship approached under the cover of the fleet’s assault. “I hoped I’d never see this place again.” Around him, the other members of the insertion team thought their own thoughts and prepared themselves. The Super-Skrull watched the comm.-monitor and waited for the signal from the Imperial Guard. Firelord and Beta-Ray Bill quietly conversed. Starfox flirted with a female Skrull, one of the ship’s crew. Jack of Hearts wandered over.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this. I’ve been in there twice. Both times I’ve almost died.”
Genis nodded grimly, then looked up curiously. “Hey, where’s Ganymede? I figured she’d be up for this. Tyrant is her pet obsession after all.” Jack looked pained for a moment.
“She’s with the Imperial Guard. She thinks Tyrant won’t be able to resist leading a counter-attack when they begin their attack.” He sighed and turned to the screen. “This is gonna be bad. I’ve got a feeling we won’t all make it back.” Genis grunted uncomfortably.
“Hey, we’re the good guys Heart-man! We always win!” He chirped mock cheerfully.
“We are here. Prepare to move out.” The Super Skrull suddenly grated. The other five fell silent and followed the super soldier towards the airlock.
Warlock forced Drax’s fingers from his throat and stabbed a stiff hand into the brute’s neck under the jaw, stunning the warrior. As Drax rolled off of him, gagging, Warlock got to his feet and backed away from him. The giant staggered upwards and came for his friend turned foe once more. “Drax.” Warlock hissed warningly. The giant did not respond and continued to gain momentum as he barreled forward. Warlock gritted his teeth a focused a karmic blast of such strength that it sent him to his knees. The energy lanced out and struck Drax square in the forehead, rocking him backwards and sending him to the ground, dazed.
They fell to the ground, axes flying aside, blades locked together. Terrax grasped the pale hair of his foe and pulled his head back, wrapping his other arm around Morg’s bull neck. Morg struggled loose and gut punched the other ex-herald, sending him sliding back. With an animal growl he leapt on him, fingers spread wide.
The Destroyer hammered metallic fists into the crimson armored sides of its opponent, sending Wyndham to his knees. The geneticist gripped the automaton’s featureless head in a psychokinetic grip and twisted, wrenching the mystic metal around and flinging it away once more. Almost as soon as it landed, it was up again and coming for his throat, gem glittering on its brow dementedly. Wyndham leapt desperately away as elemental blasts seared the ground around him.
Spider-Man grunted in pain as he landed hard a few meters away, swatted like his namesake by the massive digits of his foe. Nobilus landed punch after punch in the stomach of the titan, doing little. He too was sent flying moments later by an almost playful slap. Mangog loped forward and brought one scaly foot down upon the stunned godling, driving him into the bedrock. Spider-Man dodged the serpentine tail and landed upon Mangog’s back, wrapping his hands around the tiny horns on the creature’s head, and flipped over its head, attempting to drag the beast with him.
The six floated like tiny mites on the hide of an elephant, suspended in the shadow of Fortress. Seconds after they exited the vessel, the tiny skrull stealth ship had blasted away to join the fleet assault. The Super-Skrull extended his arms several meters to the rocky surface of the Fortress, and attached a plasma detonator. The explosion was silent, as was their entrance. No communication was necessary as swarms of mindless drones hurtled towards the intruders. Six seasoned warriors went into battle grim and prepared. The Super Skrull burst into cosmic flames and melted a path through the drones with ease. Beta-Ray Bill hurtled Stormbreaker, flattening several more. Captain Marvel and Starfox punched and brawled their way through covered by the fiery blasts from Firelord’s staff. Jack of Hearts unleashed a small portion of the alien energies held in his form, scrapping the last dozen of the mindless droids. Grinning through the flames that wreathed his form, the Super Skrull activated the tiny com-link that all six infiltrators had been given. “Well done my friends. However, with the preliminaries over, we need to be heading for Tyrant’s control center.”
A sudden explosion rocked the floor they stood upon. “Super Skrull is right. We’ve only got a limited amount of time before the Imperial Guard must retreat and allow the fleet to use some heavier artillery.” Firelord growled. The others nodded in assent and began to move in a tight formation towards the control room of the immense vessel.
At the other end of the Fortress, an all out assault was under way. The entirety of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, buoyed by both the Starjammers as well as two crack assault companies of Skrullian and Shi’ar troops, slammed full tilt into the endless waves of Tyrant’s warrior-drones and pushed forward. Ganymede, last of the order of warrior women, the Spinsters, vaulted easily from the shoulders of one drone and slammed her staff into the CPU of another. A few meters away, Gladiator bellowed and dug fingers into the bioorganic floor, ripping up a section and burying several dozen of his adversaries. Beside him, Oracle unleashed several devastating psycho-kinetic attacks, crumpling alien metals with ease. Fang shredded drone forms in a berserk fury, and Titan squashed still more. Smasher crooked a finger, a cocky grin on his face, allowing the drones to surround him. Skrull and Shi’ar soldiers battled back-to-back, war cries in their native tongues all the communication they needed. Corsair and the rest of the Starjammers formed a tight little knot holding the center of the allied battle line.
Suddenly a thunderous blast of crackling energy caught the gigantic Titan square in his massive chest, toppling him onto both friend and foe alike. The unconscious guardsman swiftly returned to his normal size amidst the destruction. For an instant, the battle halted as from behind the drones, a huge figure strode, his form composed of techno-organic materials and cable, his features a devil’s mask. Beside him, Red Shift paced warily, swords at ready. Clapping still smoking hands, the creature laughed.
“I am Tyrant. Welcome to my home. I hope you like it. You will be buried here.”
Drax groped his way to his feet, dazed. Warlock circled him warily.
Morg and Terrax, still grappling, rolled across the blood stained snow towards the other combatants.
The Destroyer knocked the High Evolutionary to his back with an elemental blast that left both beings drained.
Mangog grunted in amazement as he suddenly felt himself thrown forward. Spider-Man collapsed as the being hurtled over his head, his muscles screaming in burning pain. His vision blurred and darkened. Shaking his head, he jumped at the Destroyer.
Drax was knocked sprawling as Mangog fell into him. Warlock took the opening and leapt away towards the Destroyer.
Terrax and Morg barreled, unheeding, into the High Evolutionary as he staggered up. All three fell in a tangle. The portal control unit slipped from the High Evolutionary’s armor and skidded across the snow.
The Destroyer flipped down its visor. A wave of blinding burning force rolled over the three forms before it, catching all of them in the blast of ultimate disintegration. A blast wave designed to penetrate the godly hides of celestials. A blast that reduced two cosmic beings and one evolved human to their component molecules and scattered hunks of steaming meat in less than three seconds. No hesitation.
Spider-Man fell to the ground, unconscious, backhanded by the uru horror. Nobilus screamed and launched himself at the Destroyer.
Warlock landed upon the Destroyer’s back, golden fingers seared to the bone as he pried the visor up, halting the flow of destructive energies. Nobilus caught the stunned automaton at the back of the knees, and knocked it to the ground.
Drax picked up the control unit from the ground and punched the button, opening the portal. Mangog grinned and darting forward with a quickness that belied his size fastened one big hand around Nobilus’ head and squeezed. The false god struggled for a brief minute, then the bones of his skull parted and snapped under the pressure. Mangog tossed the corpse away. “Bah, no Asgardian you be. Merely meat.” He croaked.
The Destroyer reached up and yanked Warlock from his perch and held him up. The Soul Gem flickered briefly. Then it flared once, bright and sinister, and Warlock hung limp in the Destroyers clutches. Dropping Warlock, the Destroyer, with barely a look at its erstwhile allies, leapt through the portal. Mangog and Drax did not follow.
The two crouched beside the ashes of their third part, Morg and awaited the arrival of Maelstrom.
Spider-Man, dazed and barely conscious, played dead, silently muttering a prayer for the stolen soul of Adam Warlock.
The searing light grew and flashed, blinding them both. Wyndham and Terrax screamed as their molecules slowly unzipped. Then, almost anticlimactically, the pain stopped, the flashing of the light halted in mid burn. Both men looked around wildly. Around them the world was frozen. Warlock and Nobilus were frozen in mid leap, the Destroyer in mid destruction. “What th-?” Terrax rumbled.
“I don’t know.” Wyndham replied, silencing the other’s outburst with a gesture.
“I like to think of it as a get out of death free card.” A voice interrupted. Both men turned to the figure behind them.
“YOU!” Terrax growled as he lunged forward. The High Evolutionary grasped the other’s stony shoulder and pulled him back. From behind the figure, Annihilus hissed warningly.
“Thank you Wyndham. Settle down Terrax or I’ll have Annihilus settle you down. Now gentlemen. I have a proposal for you, if you are interested?”
To Be Continued in Infinity Assault #4
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