Thor flies over head,
mountains tall receding until he find the one wherein he anticipates an attempt to find the Destroyer,
Asgard's hidden deadliest weapon on Earth,
a defense mechanism meant to stand against judges from the stars.
Thor’s arc takes him in convergence with Captain America in the middle of Joshua Tree; grey clouds roil in reflection of the wary god’s wake, for he is, of course, Thor, God of Thunder. In those same skies, a co-pilot discusses the warning message to evade the general area cautiously and safely on the continued flight to Charles Lindbergh Field in San Diego.
Inside, a stewardess begins offering beverages in coach class; when she notices, out of the corner of her eye, the little black elderly man has a stump right arm amputated below the elbow. “She’ll get you, okay?” she tells him, nodding to the back, presumably referring to the other stewardess. She tries not to think of how she simply wanted to avoid dealing with the man. At any rate, he smiles and looks out from across his aisle seat on the two-thirds full flight to stare out the window, where the mountains loom beneath the hurtling vessel.
Below, Thor stands amidst recently rising storms, when he decides to calm them. “I must not bring my power over the storm to bear,” he says to himself, “I have created turbulence for an aircraft I sense being touched by their fury. Indeed, a gift of rain ‘twould be a blessing ‘ere this threat has passed. I must prepare myself to enter this stronghold, with the strength of my arm as my sole ally. Perhaps by cunning I may fall upon my foes before they reach the chamber.”
Within, already, the battle is joined!
Iron Man, visible once more, is checking his computers, onboard. “I detected three other life forms in this area for a moment! But whatever technology they’re using is giving off energy configurations like nothing I’ve seen on Earth! Are they a part of this strange chamber? It seems filled with markings and ...wall art?---from some fantastic hidden race...
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. 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 used to cancel (and dissipate) the Absorbing Man's stolen techno-form. He lurches to his feet.
“They call me Nido,” he replies, without glancing backwards. “Just one thing I need to take care of here!”
“What are you doing?” growls Sabretooth to the quite normal seeming older gentleman with one hand, strolling up to the Destroyer. He disregards the mutant. With the arm that now no longer seems to have a hand attached does he reach to the cosmic goliath, and without touching, the air seems to part like a liquid before the construct, which in fewer blinks of the eye than it took to read this, the Destroyer is now a formless pool lying at his feet: a pond of indescribable substance, and indestructible matter.
Captain America stands before this enormously powerful, yet subtly contained, personage, his face filled with wonder. His heart sets aside fear...but no question comes to mind.
“Nido,” says the man. “That’s me.”
“Ah, with my old stump, without the hand I lost in a tow truck winch, at the end of my younger days. I was free to be a hoodlum all I could, since there was not much else waiting in life those times.
But I these days, I give people fresh sausage from my farm, and work on people's cars who don't have much money.
Right now, all I really want’s to catch up with my plane to San Diego! Nice this time of year...”
“Sense Stones,” thinks Iron Man.
"Read outs consistent; quantum parameters heuristically recorded; pattern unknown."
Triplets, in a phased, almost insubstantial energetic state, sense Iron Man. But he tries, in addition to his many computations, to find some kind of non-algorithmic, original thought...seeking in sensation he knows as an arbitrary induction, to unite with the unknown, some other way...and so stands in the presence of enigmas, aware simply they yet remain beyond his rationales.
"So long as you don’t loot or disturb the Deviant tech...IF you’re not just some side-effect of one of those hidden machines...I just want to remain here a minute longer....even if I can’t understand, I’m just...so curious."
“Nido!” they exclaim, when the humble dark skinned man’s twinkling eye belies instant knowledge of themselves profoundly beneath their own understandings.
“Dangard stands witness,” he says warmly. Then he turns to Steve Holt.
“A moment, my friend.”
Triplets, given energy by Sun Strike, realize this version of the father of the twins is not the one native to the reality where they forged their bond with differently named twin sons. However, their pathway back in time towards their parents, thanks to the spell attempting to bind Valkyrie, glows brightly, twinkling in a type of void beyond hyperspace, connecting subtly with their one connection to the mysterious time travelers who, with their mother, gave them birth.
“We’ve been trying to regroup with Mom and Dad,” explains Nick; “Dave and I got separated, too, but we found our way to this reality inside some transport device in this mountain!”
Valkyrie holds the Norn Stones forth to them... a legacy from her capitivity, the jewels won by the bravery of their father-in-this-reality. Nido then gazes into their eyes impassively, before saying:
“Twins: a knowing is mine, I must share. Take these stones; they are from another reality stolen. Take them with you, and when the feeling directs, when the knowledge comes, you will return them to the Norn Queen. From Karnilla’s magical presence, you will find yourself thereafter back in the world upon which your parents are incarnated three hundred years away..."
Valkyrie continues his prophetic decree: "and from there lies the path to the children that began this journey, from a different turn in Mysti Hazel’s Garden...perhaps a ride on an Iwangosowhers, asking directions from I Don’t Know...”
“No, but we are of the same spirit, born of the continuing spell that make us each to ride the skies of Asgard, the same purpose that made us to gather fallen heroes. Perhaps now may we stand by their side, and poise our strength against sadness and helplessness, to prolong the lives of heroes.”
“Follow your own journeys into mystery. Return to your childhood. Connect with your Source. You will find the means of contacting her again. Return, Nick and David, to where she sent you to play.”
They pass down a hallway in gratitude...and then does their adventure graduate some new level as yet known in the clues yet shared widely...
The Triplets, too continue on into the past...for the parents they have never seen. "How many stories did Dangard tell," says one, Elda, "of his travels with Nido?" The remaining heroes do not detect their passing...
...among them Steve Holt, who has traveled far, risked all...
...and if this fair face from his dreams found has left him anything but a sense of hope...he will wonder about those things the rest of his life.
And Nido? His work is done. The stewardess really doesn't recall seeing the one-handed man enter the washroom, and as there is something about him that ensnares her curiosity and chills her at the same time, she watches him settle into his seat. She walks over and offers to buckle him in.
"Sure appreciate it."