Monday, May 31, 2010

Avengers: Ghosts of the Deviant Stronghold!: the Power of the Destroyer


When the Enchantress returns to the chamber, she levitates the body of the Absorbing Man close beside the Destroyer. As soon as they are at arms’ length, the mind becomes active again in the criminal, leaving the brutal destruction engine standing, inert.

“My intentions were to use the captured Valkyrie as the means of bringing Destroyer to life! Though I am loathe to leave my nigh-immortal, graceful frame...”
Suddenly, she merges her mind with the Destroyer, who raises its fists in defiance of all life present!

“Beware, Avengers!” shouts Thor. “Yon construct was created by Odin himself to stand as defense against the Celestials! Brute force will not be enough to stop it!”
“I have a plan!” shouts Cap. “But we have to get Gargoyle and the Destroyer lined up in position.”
With a concussive blast from its fingers the Destroyer crushes Thor into the wall; with its lowered visor, it opens fire on Iron Man. But which of the five is the real one? The walls behind the phantom images pulverize, even as the unharmed Avenger blasts the Destroyer with his chest-mounted unibeam. With a wave of its hand, the Destroyer begins to use magnetism to begin spinning the actual Iron Man beyond his own control.

(Prototype action cartoon)
Captain America leaps to Iron Man’s aid, to steady him, his shield now strapped to his back to free his hands. Just as Iron Man’s gyros begin to orient him, he begins firing his boot jets, the thrust directing him into an awkward headstand, crunching his fingers down into the ground. The Grey Gargoyle grabs the stone form of Hawkeye and hurls it at the star-spangled Avenger, who rolls forward tucked in a tight ball, springing out at full length to perform a hand stand and kick Sabretooth’s jaw.

Iron Man’s pulse bolts increase with kinetic force as they rush towards the Destroyer; still, the robot advances, haltingly. “Thor? Can you engage the Destroyer for a few seconds? I’m going to try generating an electromagnetic impulse...”

Grimly, Thor takes a blast from the Destroyer, then raises Mjolnir to batter the impossible foe. Captain America asks: “isn’t this creature powerless without the spirit of another within it? If we find the person’s body...”
“It’s the Enchantress, here,” says She Hulk, “but I can’t reach her body! There’s some sort of ward set over it.”

“Then let’s deal with this in a more nuts-and-bolts approach!” declares Iron Man. “EMP active in three...two...” A strange sound emits from his armor, which then collapses. However, the Destroyer continues to advance, unaffected. “That...that should’ve shut down its circuits!” says a frustrated Iron Man.

“Reminds me...I really HATE magic! It's not so much I wouldn't love to know it in a strictly mathematical way...but it's so unpredictable when you're fighting it for your life!"
Cap evades the Absorbing Man’s ball and chain, thrown like a hammer. His own throw connects with Creel, but unfortunately gives him the properties of Cap’s indestructible shield! This provides him protection when the Destroyer’s pulsing bolts blast away a huge chunk of the cavern. She-Hulk hammers away at him, but he remains unharmed. He then decides to try absorbing some of She-Hulk’s strength, as Titania rises again and crushes a boulder into the back of She-Hulk’s head.

Treacherously, the Grey Gargoyle speedily touches the shield while Cap’s back remains turned. The stone-heavy shield throws off his balance, but Cap delivers a round house kick to Gargoyle’s bread basket.

Thor notices the Destroyer again lowering its visor: "The disintegration beam! Nay, Destroyer!" With his magic mallet bearing the malevolent might of its attack, Thor leaps between the beam and his fellow Avengers, enduring its devastation! For what is immortal life, if not a gift freely offered for one's friends? The Destroyer directs the binding universal force of gravity, to nail Thor, arms to the sides, down on his knees to the spot. She Hulk, however, quickly bears the wounded Thunder God out of the way of the beam's smoldering passage.

Rushing to protect Captain America's flank, She Hulk runs up behind Grey Gargoyle, subduing both his arms with a full nelson hold, as a shieldless Captain America narrowly evades more crumbling stone. Thor collides with the Destroyer, battering it with his hammer. At that moment, the small black man with one hand, from the airplane earlier, strides into the chamber, smiling with determination in his eyes.

“Too bad I couldn’t get my hands back on the shield!“ says Absorbing Man, “The energies from that blasted robot are getting to me!” He advances on Iron Man, as eldritch energies crackling from the Destroyer run riot throughout the chamber. Iron Man, still rebooting his online systems after the EMP, uses his back-up power to his exo-skeleton to throw his refractory-coated armor in the way of the deadly beams from its head. The Destroyer trains its power upon Thor, then turns to bat Iron Man. Absorbing Man closes the gap now. “Guess I’ll have to settle for the armored Avenger!”

Absorbing Man touches Iron Man’s armor, and begins to take on its appearance. “Be a pleasure, clobbering ya with your own armor’s power!” His face becomes metallic, with circuitry appearing all over his skin.
Cap assesses the positions of the villains and shouts:

“She Hulk! Throw Grey Gargoyle at Sabretooth, NOW!”

“Have a nice trip, you bad-tempered garden gnome!” she says, as she launches him like an inhuman missile towards Sabretooth. The feral villain snarls and drops on his belly, out of the way. However, to his dismay, the Gargoyle’s touch freezes the Destroyer, stone cold, in its tracks!

“Take care, my friends,” says Thor, “I know not how long this ploy will keep the Destroyer at bay!”

“Who are you?” Iron Man asks the small black man. “In this melee, you could be totaled!” His armor has begun working again after the electromagnetic impulse; he lurches to his feet.

“They call me Nido,” he replies, without glancing backwards. “Just one thing I need to take care of here!”

Punches through his powerful exo-skeleton fail to free Iron Man. Then he stops to think. He gives a cybernetic command as he gestures with open hand over his head and begins to emit sound waves. When Absorbing Man takes on their properties, he begins to vanish, transmuted into pure sound!

“Noo!” cries out Titania. “What have you done with Crusher?”
His angry scream is the last sign of his presence.

Iron Man takes out a strange-looking device from his chest-plate and aims it at the statue-like Hawkeye. "Perhaps this will help loosen you up a bit---a cobalt ray based on a device the Gargoyle once attempted to steal! It made him human; let's hope it'll do the same for you, Archer!"

"If a lil' ole ray beam can make Mr. Disposition here human, you might have to put it on the market!" snarks She Hulk.

Next: The Enchantress' final stand! Her Destroyer plan fully revealed! WHO are the Celestials? And WHAT is the connection between the Celestials and gods that led to the Destroyer's creation in the first place?

The mystery of the twins, the phantoms of the lost Deviant catacombs, and the enigma of the one called Nido! Prepare for the smash conclusion: "Heart of the Mountain!"

Continues on

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