Fictive Avengers

Black Mesa
Mission 1

The First Mission!
The Roster

SHIELD’s new “Avengers Initiative” has found meta humans or humans with access to specialized gear, training, and courage. Their purpose is to apply a maximum of force with a minimum of numbers for the sake of the greater good.

Goldfist

Their nominal leader is Miles Ivanovich, code name “Goldfist.” He pilots cutting-edge power armor, all gold. His people skills are not so good, and his arrogance has earned him countless enemies. (You should see the various clever things they call him in the internet.) Still, the power of his armor is undeniable, and he’s willing to serve—for the honor and glory. He carries a monomolecular bladed sickle, and speaks fluent Russian and Spanish (from his time visiting Cuba—that does not make him popular with the US State Department, but he’s not particularly popular with anyone…)

Green Lotus

SHIELD is perhaps best represented by Lulu Santiago, code name “Green Lotus.” She was created as a gamma radiation experiment by Hydra scientist Dr. Feducci, and when she tore free and escaped, she sort of wrecked some body parts he was still using. Now an implacable cyborg scientist terrorist, he has sworn to get his revenge on her. Meanwhile, she joined up with SHIELD as a full agent, with access to their intelligence network to keep tabs on her nemesis. In her free time, she has a friendly rivalry with one of the X-Men, Colossus, who made the mistake of being condescending to her about her strength. Give it time, comrade, give it time… When she is not in a SHIELD jumpsuit, she sports a torso-baring knotted shirt, Daisy Duke cutoffs, and bright red shoes.

Tien Mu

The third member of the team is known as Tien Mu, a Chinese American immigrant granted citizenship as a teenager. Her name means “Mother Lightning” and that has caused some friction with SHIELD as the international organization has sometimes translated her name to English, and she prefers the Chinese title. Her powers as a lightning goddess are not well understood, and when pressed on the subject she tends to teleport off and relax on a cloud. She wears a conical hat and a white tabard, wielding a staff that is actually a splinter of another dimension. She is guarded about her past, but it is an open secret with her handlers at SHIELD that she was involved in something in Mongolia a few years back where the Dragon King was released, a monster with cosmic powers named Onaga. Before she agreed to work with the Avengers Initiative she was a vigilante on the eastern seaboard, using her abilities to suppress imported Asian crime syndicates preying on Asian populations. Her commitment to chivalry and doing things right has caused friction with some people due to the more pragmatic strategies suggested to her by SHIELD personnel.

THE FIRST MISSION: BLOODY DAY AT BLACK MESA

Briefing and Insertion

Goldfist and Green Lotus were briefed while supersonic in a quinjet on the way to New Mexico. Captain Everett Black was briefing them, but cavalier disrespect from Goldfist was persistent and ongoing, so he gave up and left them the briefing on their PDAs to work out on their own. Tien Mu was to join them, when she got around to it.

They were dropped off far from the Black Mesa Research Facility in Arizona, and they broke into the abandoned tunnels connected to the complex to slip in unnoticed. A team of marines had inserted and lost contact, and a team of SHIELD personnel entered another way and also lost contact. The Avengers were up. When an interdimensional research facility registers a seismic event hundreds of kilometers away then loses contact, you don’t sit back and hope for the best.

Goldfist navigated the tunnels, his suit artificial intelligence Boris rendering the blueprints provided by SHIELD as a 3-D HUD wireframe.

First Contact

Tien Mu joined them before they encountered something trotting around in a trainyard underground, mashing everything flat. This critter was twice the size of a subway car, a massive grumpy monster. Another one like it was chilling out in the background. These things were so big that they could lean back into a train car and use it like a beanbag chair.

Green Lotus snuck into the room and sought cover, watching the two aliens. Goldfist chucked a melted length of train track at it (seems these things had heat rays and had used them on the tunnel.) That got its attention, and it flared its massive heat ray (from its Volvo-sized fist projector) that burned Tien Mu and Goldfist badly. Goldfist was dying in his armor, Tien Mu shrugged the damage off with her divine power and pulled the armor jockey to safety around the corner. She gave him medical attention so he would survive, but the suit took some damage, frying non-vital systems.

Green Lotus snuck back to join them, and the woozy and pained Goldfist used her PDA to find an alternate route through crawling in access tunnels. They bypassed the huge monsters after sending a fuzzy message to SHIELD that there were monsters underground.

To the Warpcore Energy Center

Goldfist easily found the access hatch and disabled the explosives around it, opening it so they could enter the Warpcore Energy Center. They found it abandoned, and Goldfist’s fingers flew over the computers to find out more about their situation.

A pair of desperate scientists contacted them from the Sector C Motor Pool; they were unable to escape due to dimensional instability and teleporting portals. They explained for the initial experiment, the Anti-Mass Spectrometer was the focus, and the Lambda Core Reactor served as a stabilizer. However, it would not shut down, and as it gathered more and more energy it destabilized; whatever is going on with it can’t be good, it is at the heart of the problem here.

Meltdown in Sector D

Goldfist told them to sit tight, he discovered the warpcore lab in Sector D was melting through its containment and would dump dangerous dimensional waste in the groundwater of the American Southwest. Warpcore works by existing in multiple dimensions, and the science team used it for energy by siphoning off the potential energy between its dimensional realities. When it was stable, energy production was good. Now it was wildly throbbing and pulsing, and the dimensional instability of the area supercharged the warpcore in the lab in Sector D.

The Avengers made their way to the Rail Differential. On the way, Goldfist was caught by a fishing barnacle, but he cut free and they were then more careful to look up a lot. At the Rail Differential, Goldfist used the executive system access protocols issued by SHIELD and programmed the grinding lift to open blast doors in a staggered way, to let them out on the surface without allowing anything else to escape. From the surface, Goldfist carried his teammates to the dam, they saw and felt the mounting dimensional instability. Goldfist and Green Lotus infiltrated to the computers still active near the overflowing energy of the Warpcore Lab, and Tien Mu flew overhead.

In a desperate gambit, Goldfist shifted the energy dampers to create a gust of energy straight up, and Tien Mu focused all that energy harmlessly up towards space. She used all her weather control skills, and Goldfist used all his digital expertise, but discharging the energy still almost killed her. They succeeded in disarming the bomb the warpcore lab had become, and the warpcore material was rendered inert on a scale never before seen.

Motor Pool Rescue

Relieved at their success, they focused on the next problem. They flew back to the Rail Differential. While Tien Mu rested for about an hour, Goldfist rescued the last surviving scientist from the motor pool and flew him off the mesa to where a SHIELD high tech tent city was set up to monitor their progress.

There was no time to repair his armor, but he did pick up lunch for himself and the team, as well as additional PDAs. When he returned, Tien Mu was ready to get back at it, and they navigated the light rail system, delving towards the deep Sector B Lambda Reactor. On the way, they ran into some meat-faced three-legged dogs that they dispatched with ease, continuing on their way and refusing to investigate strange noises and the movement of alien things in the dark.

Facing the Alien Mind

The closer they got, the weirder the dimensional hijinks got. Goldfist logged on to a computer that connected wirelessly with one that was half in this dimension, the closest one to the Lambda Reactor Core. Knowing all they could, they closed in.

By now they could feel the numbing whisper of a completely alien psyche, breathing onto their brains. Tien Mu was accustomed to cosmic rhythms, and managed it; Green Lotus didn’t feel it so strongly over the swarm of her own energetic thoughts. Goldfist found it difficult to concentrate as the overbearing and careless chant of alien thought unnerved him.

Finally a metaphysical decision point was the access to the weird dimension that housed the alien intellect that had merged with the reactor to keep the dimensions connected. As it released floating bubble-headed energy shooters at them, they fought back.

Green Lotus flung boulders and pancaked the flying aliens as Tien Mu cast her staff and called it back to her hand over and over. Goldfist zoomed around the room blasting aliens with his repulsors and slicing them in half with his sickle. Hovering over the unfolding head of the creature, he realized that they had to break its concentration to compel it to release the reactor core so the dimensions would separate.

They attacked with gusto, and at last Goldfist got the last cut down into its incomprehensible mind, tearing the dimensions apart.

Battered but jubilant, the team contacted SHIELD to start on the mop-up. They saved the world. All in a day’s work.

At the end of the adventure, Goldfist was 4th level, Green Lotus was 3rd, and Tien Mu was 2nd.

Many thanks to the Half Life video game, that provided this awesome setting and bestiary and so forth! I enjoyed working from the basic premises of the game, adapted heavily to my own inimitable style.

Thanks to the Avengers, too!

And special thanks to the Half Life Wikia, they gave me lots of great background. I haven’t played this game in years (though I was really into it for a long time.) The refresher was very helpful. I also found this great map there, which I adapted for my own nefarious purposes. Behold, Black Mesa Research Facility adapted for Fictive Avengers!

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THACO
Mission 2

Adventure Two: One for Each Of You

Training

They started out with Jade Lotus (gamma monster) and Goldfist (armor expert) meeting Folkvar (super soldier). Captain Evans was briefing them on the training mission, but Goldfist predictably interrupted him, and he headed into the mobile headquarters. Folkvar and Jade Lotus followed him and got the briefing while Goldfist enjoyed having his two extra suits of armor slave linked to him so he could have backups on site if he needed them.

Goldfist chose the stealth suit to go on the mission, which was infiltrating a 4 story building and rescuing 4 hostages from 10 thugs. They approached, and Goldfist used xray vision to see the 10 thugs, the security cameras, and the skylights on the top floor. He infiltrated with his suit, and found the hostages, then called in the others on the com. Jade Lotus leaped the 4 story building, with Folkvar as a passenger. He kicked off her, and each of them pounded down through a skylight. They snapped into action.

Folkvar punished a number of the “terrorists” (soldiers for the exercise) with his vibranium shield as Jade Lotus stomped the rest. Goldfist snatched the hostages and managed to juggle them all out the hole in the roof left by Jade Lotus. They successfully rescued the hostages.

Captain Black told them they’d have a demonstration to attend when they were cleaned up. They got ready and headed out in the quinjet.

Ambush!

En route to the demonstration, they were attacked by an enemy aircraft that shot the quinjet down. The pilot ejected to safety, but they faced a strange plane with energy fans. It split into the big plane and two smaller planes that detached from the wings. Also, meter-wingspan scout craft buzzed around them too.

Goldfist jetted out of the disintegrating plane, and Folkvar put on a flight harness. Angered by the attack, Jade Lotus climbed out on the plane and leaped at the attacking aircraft. Energy bolts hammered her, knocking her down to the forest below. Folkvar talked to her on the comm and got her out of her blind rage before she hit the forest below, and he followed her down.

Goldfist engaged the aircraft; one of the smaller planes let him get too close, and he sheared a wing off. He fired off precise shots, disabling the flight capacity of the other, and managed to down it. He turned his attention to the big plane.

Meanwhile it had dropped off two strange automated tanks, that each disgorged a number of metal-armored figures with big guns. Scout drones swarmed around everyone, keeping an eye on them and only shooting at them when they held still.

Meanwhile, Tien Mu sensed the destruction of her summoning device, and arrived to investigate. She took in the scene in time to see Jade Lotus leap at a tank and get hammered back through the trees by a massive anti-tank gun. Stung and furious, Jade Lotus tore a rock out of the earth and hurled it at the tank, badly injuring it. Tien Mu zapped a few of the hovering scouts, then flung her staff like a javelin, damaging a tank further. Jade Lotus finished it with another hurled boulder.

Folkvar took out a couple scouts with his shield, then ran to evade them. He managed to slip down under a fallen tree, and crawl to a stream, and emerge without being detected. He worked his way back to where the silver soldiers tramped through the woods, and he clanged his shield off one of them, ducking behind the hill as energy fire raked his position.

Goldfist darted around the big plane, trading fire; he saw four sockets in a vulnerable point that were guarded by the silver soldiers, and he realized they were robots. He managed to fire on some critical engineering sections to the fuel cell, and the plane detonated in a gratifying explosion.

All remaining units converged on the tank that remained, but the Avengers were not through with them yet. Jade Lotus continued her vicious campaign of boulder-hucking as Tien Mu gathered a storm and sent lightning sizzling across the humming scout drones. The last tank detonated with an earth-shattering boom that sprayed debris far and wide. Surviving infantry and scouts hesitated a moment, then retreated. They would not escape so easily.

Folkvar noticed the infantry had scouts on their backs, like backpacks, and he banked his shield off a tree branch to shear one off for examination. Meanwhile, Goldfist cleanly decapitated one of the infantry so as not to damage it as he studied the remains.

As Goldfist examined the circuitry, he was impressed at the innovative and isolated communication matrices. Connecting the system to his suit’s power, he sent a pulse through it to knock out the remaining troops. It did not work, but he discovered they were connected to dedicated satellites.

The Avengers followed the infantry and scouts to see where they went, who they answered to. But the robots knelt, and Goldfist hurled his away and fled advising the other Avengers to do the same. Not a moment too soon, as they all detonated, leaving only slag behind.

Goldfist used his satellite connection to link Folkvar back to base, and as they called in Captain Black told them they did a good job and their ride was on the way. A quinjet picked them up and returned them to base.

Dinner

Obviously, the demonstration had been sprung on them a bit earlier than they expected. They attended a formal banquet that night, for the funding committee of SHIELD and select representatives of geopolitical militaries and military contractors.

SHIELD Director Nick Fury introduced R. Carlos Venaka of Wayland Industries. Vanaka introduced the Tactical Holistic Armored Construct Operation system, or THACO. Holographic images from the battle between the THACO system and the Avengers played on the sides as he explained the capacities of his engineering feat.

Linked robotics multiply the force of a few in a highly dangerous environment. Redundancies and flexible tactical options built in for when we must not fail assure survival. Reliable, modular, always on-deck forces are a safe emergency rapid response team option. To conclude, if chosen over the Avengers Initiative, THACO offered seven airframe response teams (like the one they tangled with.)

Captain Black was up next to present for the Avengers Initiative. His presentation was much shorter. He noted the initiative proved successful in warding off dimensional integrity failure. He noted that the unexpected requires more flexibility and command decisions on the spot than modular robotics systems can afford.

After the presentations, the mingling. Folkvar was a forbidding presence. Jade Lotus flirted and made the rounds. Tien Mu charmed the guests with her exotic grace and magnetic personality.

Goldfist chatted up a bunch of contractors and purchasers, socializing by picking on Dr. Wayne Jacobson of Wyngard Defense Systems. Goldfist casually talked about their secret projects and mocked their efforts, with such wit and skill that everyone was laughing as Dr. Jacobson was humiliated for his aquatic defense systems. A great evening was had by all.

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Spring Break
Mission 3

Goldfist was re-creating the snips of THACO coding and comm system encryption that he had glimpsed during the technical presentation. As he was crunching algorithms and working through how it might be bypassed (just for fun) he ran the partial coding through his threat assessment matrix that filtered data from all over the world and identified potential threats.

Much to his surprise, the coding patterns of the THACO snippets were a filter that allowed him to bypass cloaking technology and detect a strange energy signature on an uninhabited island off the coast of Brazil. He maneuvered his satellite network to get a picture of the island, only to find out that the image he got was not real-time, but looped; only a handful of geo-political organizations had the “juice” to manage that.

Then he got a call from Cpt. Williams of SHIELD, who said he needed to drop it immediately and discontinue looking into the site. That whetted his interest as nothing else could, but it seemed risky to continue the investigation alone.

Party at the X-Mansion

Fortunately Jade Lotus was visiting his facility in upstate New York (outside Buffalo) as she considered whether or not to take up Colossus on his invitation to visit Xavier’s School for Gifted Youth to see him receive an art award. Goldfist agreed to go with her.

There were numerous X-Men being recognized for various achievements, in a pleasant outdoor celebration. Tien Mu was present, as the X-Men were courting her to replace their incapacitated weather manipulator, Storm.

Zepher was also present, as a good friend of Moira McTaggart. He was networking with the X-Men, furthering his interests in meta studies. As Goldfist asked Tien Mu to return to his place and further investigate the THACO anomaly, Zepher overheard and expressed interest, noting he was a good infiltrator. Goldfist merely gave him his address, and a smile.

There were several highlights from the party hijinks.

  • At one point Xavier wheeled out on stage, said “Good news, everyone!” and named off 7 X-Men for a mission. Shortly afterwards a jet took off from under the basketball court.
  • Gambit was impressing some freshmen girls with his suavitude, and Goldfist out-suaved him by landing a jet behind himself by remote and inviting the girls to go on a ride.
  • Colossus wanted to show off his pinball scores and tussel in the Danger Room with Jade Lotus. Once in the Danger Room, she surprised him with her advanced strength and pounded him through the ceiling, the earth, and up onto the lawn. As far as we know, she is the first to break the Danger Room in just that way. Beast was delighted that he could make further modifications and repairs, but Cyclops discouraged him from inviting Jade Lotus over every 6 months or so to break it again.

Eventually, the party wound down and they took the quin-jet back to Goldfist’s base.

Briefing

Once they had a chance to clean up and relax, Goldfist briefed them on his findings so far. Zepher slipped in through the defenses, down to the basement, and unobtrusively joined them sitting in a chair without anyone noticing; they were suitably impressed.

Goldfist told them about the coding, and the happy accident of finding it as a way to bypass the cloak of an event off the Brazilian coast, and the discouraging reprimand from SHIELD. Of course, they decided to take one of Goldfist’s jets and check it out.

Spring Break

In the wee hours of the morning, they landed in Rio. They partied here and there, trying to make it look like a vacation, then rested before a night of investigation.

Goldfist bought a fishing boat with cash, and Tien Mu increased the evening’s light rain to a tropical storm to cover their movements. Goldfist was eager to try out his new stealth suit. As they headed out to the island, one of the patrolling helicopters spotted the boat, but as it accosted them it was mysteriously hit by lightning.

The Island

Jade Lotus, Tien Mu, Goldfist, and Zepher left their anchored boat and invaded the island with SCUBA gear. While the ladies hung back over the ridge, the men investigated past the SHIELD perimeter. They found a crashed space ship; of course they had to investigate.

SHIELD presence was towards the center of the craft, and there was extensive work to uncover and remove the ship. Goldfist and Zephyr were surprised that they could go to the “bridge” easily enough. There, in the half-crushed cockpit, they saw big suits of armor. Goldfist investigated, and was shocked to find that they were more robotic, with organic steel elements, and signs that there was scarring and healing.

Even more disturbing was evidence that the energy system of the robot was a mix of circulatory and nervous systems powered by a rare energy source—the same proprietary designs that fueled the Goldfist armor, but much more integrated and advanced, and older.

They continued to the prefabricated base that had been dropped here to oversee the operation. Working together, they stole a soldier’s keycard, and Zephyr cloned the base commander’s code onto it. (They discovered Captain Black had been reassigned here, and was in charge.)

First they downloaded the encoded communication logs, then they skulked to the command center. It was guarded by mandroids and tough SHIELD agents. To cause a distraction, Tien Mu hit the spaceship with lightning a few times; that got their attention, and the infiltrators made it into the command center.

Working together, they broke into the sealed records. The orders referred to a body of previous knowledge, and were baffling to the spies. Apparently the “visitors” crashed, the “sweepers” arrived first, and were chased off by the “responders” who turned the site over to SHIELD, who was to “sanitize” the site.

More disturbing, there was no research going on. No attempt to understand or categorize the alien technology, or record it, or work with it. SHIELD seemed to be trying to remove the evidence of the crash altogether.

Baffled, the infiltrators retreated to their ship, striking another helicopter with lightning. They made it back to Rio, to their jet, and returned to New York. They went their separate ways; Tien Mu to her clouds, Jade Lotus to her cabin, and the men to Goldfist’s compound.

Attack

As Goldfist reviewed the de-encrypted communication logs, he found it disturbing that there was no big fuss over this, and it became clear SHIELD was involved in a cover up. As he researched, a dimensional portal opened in his lab, and two big robots came through. They attacked, and as Zepher was blasted down Goldfist climbed into his armor, sending out a distress call.

Tien Mu teleported to pick up Jade Lotus, and they arrived as the battle commenced. A big robot attacked with a chain weapon, the other one unarmed, but both had built-in blasters.

Tien Mu saved Zephyr’s fading life force with the life-giving power of lightning. Jade Lotus helped wreck the lab as she battled the feminine agile robot, who managed to escape back through the dimensional gate. Meanwhile Goldfist battled the big bruiser, and relied on his knowledge of technology to disable the big guy with choice shots.

The Prisoner

Goldfist removed the prisoner to another lab, surrounded by force screens. He used his science to disable the prisoner’s ability to move. Then he set up all his instruments to record as much as possible about the technology of his attacker.

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Intrusion
Mission 4

A Visit to Goldfist’s Place

Captain Williams, the good ole boy commanding officer of SHIELD’s Avengers Initiative, planned a visit to Goldfist’s compound in upstate New York. He sent Folkvar ahead to let Goldfist know he was coming. He took two new recruits to the Avengers Initiative with him.

One was Templar, an angel-winged warrior for God. The other was Apis, a sizemorphing beekeeper who was twitchy and trying to escape allegations that he was a super-villain (after all, the court cleared him.) Templar brought a huge golden sword, and Apis brought a case with dimensional folding inside, and lots of bees.

Folkvar drove, and was greeted by Boris (Goldfist’s AI servant). He also met Jade Lotus, who was lounging on the couch watching an enormous television.

Goldfist, meanwhile, studied the strange living robot that was captured in the previous adventure about a day and a half ago. His findings continued to excite and disturb him; there was more space inside the robot than the exterior case allowed! Still, he managed to tear himself away to see what Folkvar wanted.

Meanwhile the helicopter approached, with the Templar and Apis aboard. They were met by Jim, one of Goldfist’s servants, and escorted in. Captain Williams asked what Goldfist had been up to, and Goldfist suggested nothing was out of the ordinary. Captain Williams seemed… skeptical.

Attack!

Then Boris confidentially informed Goldfist that another gate opened down in the trashed lab, and seven intruders entered. Goldfist made his excuses, and everyone but Captain Williams headed downstairs—Goldfist paused long enough to suit up.

They reached the fourth sub-basement in time to meet the living robots pushing their way into the elevator shaft. A massive battle erupted, as one of the sleek and agile robots cut Templar down before being hammered down by Jade Lotus wielding a mass of concrete. Goldfist surgically cut at the enormous robot’s chest cannon after it crushed Jade Lotus into the wall a couple times. As he knocked out its optics, the distress call to Tien Mu went through and she teleported in to join them.

Apis swarmed one of the robots with bees, and flew another one into the neck of the big robot to see what made him tick. He quickly evacuated when the big robot came under serious percussive assault.

Tien Mu and Jade Lotus used some wrecked robots as clubs to subdue others, then in a grand finale they tore massive multi-ton chunks of wall out and flung them down the hallway to smash the big robot. Jade Lotus, enraptured with rage, pursued the three surviving robots that fled. Tien Mu flew, and got there first; she tore a shattered bulkhead from the wall and flung it, smashing two of the robots as the third leaped through the glowing portal as it closed.

It was a near thing, and there was some more random property damage to Goldfist’s facility, but Jade Lotus calmed down. Folkvar got the Templar patched up. Folkvar and Apis took the stairs up towards the surface as the Templar flew up the elevator shaft. Meanwhile, the other three checked on the prisoner robot, who was still restrained.

The robots had communicated with a sort of muted clicking tone, and Goldfist played it back for the prisoner—who smiled faintly and promised to kill him.

They headed back upstairs.

Debriefings All Around

They told Captain Williams about the giant robots, and the battle, and the wall of light that was a gate. He seemed pretty unruffled by the strange news. After they got cleaned up, they packed into the helicopter and quin-jet and flew to the Helicarrier.

They passed through the heart of the massive flying airship, to a large chamber with a big ring on the wall. On the Captain’s orders, it activated, and they stepped through to what looked like a dusty old military base.

Captain Williams explained they were in a base on the moon. He introduced the giant robot Interceptor, and gave them the run-down of one of SHIELD’s darkest secrets.

The Mechnar

About 20,000 years ago there was a war in space between factions of a race of living robots, the Mechnar. They hid weapons and energy caches on Earth. In the 1980s, a scouting group came to the planet to harvest some of these resources. They suffered a philosophical split.

Some became the Clean Sweepers, determined to end life on the planet so they could rapidly harvest their resources and be gone. The other faction was the First Responders, who wanted to harvest the materials more carefully and leave life on Earth intact. The Responders allied with SHIELD, and served as a deterrent to make the Sweepers back down.

Instrumental to the project was Dr. Ivanovitch, Goldfist’s father. He worked with the alien biotechnology, with the understanding that he would never implement it. However, he died in a plane crash—but it was actually a Sweeper attack, and the Responders could not save him.

His death motivated SHIELD to consider developing a resource to resist the Sweeper agenda besides relying on the Responders. That was the secret heart of the Avengers Initiative. When SHIELD intelligence uncovered the technological roots of the THACO project, they realized it was a derivation of Mechnar technology, and that freed them to escalate their side of the equation.

Goldfist took his father’s theoretical work and made it real with his armor technology. SHIELD brought him onboard as an answer to THACO. They also contacted Apis, whose sizemorphing technology was rooted in the dimensional shifting of the Mechnar.

The ship that crashed carried War Crime, a tough Sweeper with a small army. She talked to Slayer, the Sweeper leader; Dr. Ivanovitch convinced the Sweepers that humanity could be roused to a lethal force that the Sweepers could not resist. War Crime convinced Slayer that humanity was weak, and so the Sweepers traced a signal to Solaricite, the energy form that fueled their bodies and their technology. It was Goldfist’s power array.

The Sweepers sent two of their number, who were handily defeated by the Avengers. A larger party came to follow up, and they too were smashed. The Avengers Initiative formed just in time to reinforce the idea that humanity is dangerous to the Sweepers.

The Avengers met Overwatch and Triage, a scout police helicopter and a warrior ambulance. Then they headed back to the Helicarrier via the d-gate, or dimensional gate. (It can open near beacons located all around Earth.)

Fantastic Endnote

Since SHIELD was “sanitizing” Goldfist’s Buffalo complex, they headed to New York and his tower in the city. After a quick tour, Goldfist decided he needed to work on technology for a dimensional sealant to prevent the d-gate from opening nearby. But he wanted Tien Mu to be able to teleport through it. So, he headed to the Baxter Building to consult Reed Richards on how to accomplish this. The gang went along.

Mr. Fantastic took readings of Tien Mu, and was intrigued by the trace signatures of Solaricite on the Avengers. They met the Human Torch, and the Invisible Woman. There was much science and banter, and Apis was intrigued by the dimensional shielding around the gateway to the Negative Zone.

They sensed that while Reed was happy to have them around, Sue had some sort of schedule or something, so they finished their first round of research and readings, then returned to Goldfist’s building.

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Threat Suppression
Haters gotta hate.

Sapphire Fortune, the director of security for the Detroit factory that manufactures Origamitech fighters and a member of the Avengers initiative, is read into the Mechnar file.

Fortune saved the world from another mercenary captain, the Mandarin, who had ten rings that gave him meta powers. SHIELD has the rings in custody, and they considered that effort to be Fortune’s audition. Fortune saved 2/3 of Shanghai and prevented global domination. Fortune sold the rights, there is a licensed biography and a movie and a biopic, “Peeling the Mandarin.” Proceeds go to help rebuild Shanghai.

The Detroit Base

The top-secret base is 3 miles square in Detroit, heavily secured and armored and surrounded by a radio controlled mine field. Tanks and big guns and a small army provide security. The security is a multi-billion dollar infrastructure, the factory a multi-trillion dollar factory producing prototypes. Detroit is producing the “Crane” squad (3 so far) and a secret factory somewhere in Asia is working on the “Dragon” squad. (Each Origamitech fighter takes about 2 months to build.)

The pilots are Folkvar. Captain Black, and Captain Banks. (The best pilot is Captain Black.) Fortune got a mech that did not require a cyber jack and does not transform (he named it the “Tooth Fairy”).

Fortune has a sphere on a tower called “The Roost” with monitors and sensors connected to everywhere in the complex, he can coordinate defense from that location.

Goldfist is managing the technology of the neural interface. SHIELD assigns him brilliant and promising scientists as assistants, and he crushes them with unnerving frequency. Aspis also works on the project with dimensional folding elements. After the first month, Aspis and Goldfist were given separate laboratories and they communicate through intermediaries. They are trying to figure out how Tien Mu manages to generate and focus an energy that is almost identical to Solericite, biologically.

Goldfist was in the Swiss Alps with three women; they have to keep him relaxed.

(A bit of history: Solericite that infected space metal in a mountain in Wakanda created vibranium. Neat, right?! But can’t figure out how to make more…)

Incoming!

It may be a flock of birds, or a cluster of missiles with stealth shielding. What to do? Fortune instructed an Origamitech to scramble and check it out, Folkvar went to take a look, hovering in the path projected by the inconsistent blips.

The sensor shield covers incoming missiles in a sensor cloak; there are 30 seconds until they hit the factory. Folkvar squeezed off a volley of missiles and took them out, and they released an electromagnetic pulse! Folkvar countered by whipping around and firing a Solaricite burn towards the burst; it only gave him a headache instead of shutting him down. The burst would have made a mess of the Detroit factory defenses.

Fortune read multiple incoming hostiles, and paged Tien Mu and the other Origamitech pilots to back Folkvar up. Scrambled energy signatures incoming along the missile flight path.

Three THACO airframes! They release aircraft from their wings, two hold back and drop tanks in the streets, and deploy metallic troops and swarms of aerial scouts.

Fortune releases missiles from bunkers, calling for battle stations, powering up anti-aircraft weapons and so on. The Origamitech and Tien Mu move to defend the base.

Captain Banks was chased off in a dogfight with a couple Hunter Killer aircraft, Tien Mu tookon the airframe, and the other two Origamitech wipe out their two opponents after some fierce sparring with energy weapons, cannons, and missiles. From the Roost, Fortune advised Tien Mu on where to hit the airframe, and the others on how to target better and avoid incoming flak. The airframes downed, the tanks crushed, and the troops scattered. SHIELD defenses moved out to handle mop-up.

They return to the base and Captain Black buys drinks for everyone! Then Fortune logs a report with Commander Fury.

Why would THACO attack? The company that created them could not survive this, win or lose; IF the company is in command of its own products! SHIELD will definitely analyze the wreckage to see what can be learned…

Colorado Invasion

Fury calls Fortune at 2 a.m. The U.S. government just shared information with SHIELD; everybody likes their secrets. They tried to check it out on their own, feeling SHIELD has not always reported everything in the past. When the U.S. lost contact with their team, they summoned SHIELD. The location is in Colorado in a national park, near a NORAD bunker that is secret. As far as they can tell, it is not connected to the bunker.

A UFO landed in the mountains. Fury sends Fortune and the Avengers on site to check it out. Initial reports indicate this was kept under wraps because it orbited more than once, and scanned, and chose a location to land. Fury urges them to get information out, not to engage and lose and preserve the mystery. Tech has been malfunctioning near the site.

Fortune calls out “Avengers, scramble!” They use a laser mike to ping Tien Mu. He leaves Banks and Black to guard the base, and the rest of them load Fortune’s mech in a cargo bay of a bomber, with Tien Mu and Fortune in the jet escorted by Folkvar in his (mostly) refurbished Origamitech.

They arrived around dawn. They did not find a crash site, but they found a Solericite related energy signature. A 30′ × 20′ hole was smashed in the mountain, and there was a weird greyish-pink putty like residue on the rocks and carpeting the hole. More Solericite energy readings come from inside the mountain, some faint reading from the mat.

Fortune radioed in that they found material with traces of Solericite. Then buried creatures dug up from the ground to attack them, and they flew up and picked off the creatures while flying. Tien Mu scouted into the mountain, and some monster inside fired spines at her and punctured her body as they traded shots. She retreated.

Fortune walked his mech in, trading fire with the defending creature. He saw its snake-like lower half curled in under the gray stuff. Fortune withdrew, and Fury contacted them and told them that satellite feed showed that four creatures were moving into ambush positions. Fortune reported that somehow the creatures were powered by Solericite, as organic creatures!

The communications glitch. A voice told them not to go into the cave, it was not safe; the cave should be sealed, and withdraw, do not let them injure you and do not leave blood at the scene! They identified themselves as the First Responders. The voice insisted they not engage; there was not time for a lengthier briefing on this relatively unprotected line.

Tien Mu flew up and saw the squirming defenders positioning themselves to attack. After a sharp battle, the Avengers destroyed their attackers—but their communications went down. They used missiles and lasers to burn the ground and remove blood traces. Folkvar fired missiles into the cave mouth and burned Tien Mu’s blood and collapsed the cave.

Debating whether to follow First Responder advice or Fury’s advice, they flew out to where they could call back to Fury. Fury sent out a team to secure the site, and the Avengers provided them with cover. SHIELD sets up and delivers their cover story to the press as other agents set up sentry guns. Folkvar turns over footage to the team and describes the foe as best they can.

The Avengers returned to base.

So… What Was That?!?

The balance has been shifted, because the Clean Sweepers violated ancient laws of the Mechnar people. The Avengers stumbled across biological weapons created by exposure to Solericite, accidentally, as part of the Sweeper forbidden experiments. When the experiments went wrong, the result could template off other forms like the Mechnar. Instead of being dimensionally flexible, they became genetically flexible. They can adapt, copy, remix, and otherwise repurpose the genetics of their victims in future generations from complex genetic matrices. They can create new weaponry based on what they fight.

They are so dangerous, they have been restricted to certain areas. They would only be here if they were following something, something led them here. The Clean Sweeper ship may have been trying to brush off pursuit, willing to destroy Earth to do it…

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To the Moon

Goldfist got back from his vacation, once again followed around by mandroid armor he forced to respond to his greetings by saying “Would you like to play a game.” Jade Lotus got back from her cabin in Colorado where she did gardening, art, and enjoyed medicinal marijuana to keep her calm. A mandroid was assigned to follow her while she was on the base too. Tien Mu returned too, joining Folkvar and Sapphire Fortune.

Aspis had a lab on the Detroit base as far as possible from Goldfist, working on dimensional physics as Goldfist worked on neural networks. Black declined an offer to join the Avengers, and remained SHIELD’s best power armor pilot. Three Origamitech suits were built, another due every two months. SHIELD continued exploring the “hack” of the THACO airframe.

Turns out SHIELD triggered a nuke to cover the infestation in Colorado. Now the Mechnar want a meeting with the Avengers, away from SHIELD.

Meeting on the Moon

They met with Overwatch and Triage, going through the d-gate to the moon base, which was built for both human and Mechnar scale. Goldfist was not allowed access to the computers, Fury’s advice; Goldfist insulted Fury to the Mechnar. The Mechnar explained that the slimosites were bio-weapons created with Solaricite. The Mechnar use Solaricite as a multi-dimensional nervous system, humans use it as a neural networking agent with machines, and the slimosites use it as an interface with a flexible genetic matrix so they can absorb genetic code and pull weapons out of it in interesting combinations.

After the folly of creating the slimosites, a hard-fought campaign was waged to confuse and isolate them in forbidden space. War Crimes must have gone into that forbidden space, after fuel and weapons, and led some slimosites out. Crashing on Earth, she could ditch her pursuit and wreck her foes in one neat stroke as she kept going.

Telepathic contact connects spore scouts and advance parties with the main fleet. The goal of the battle would be to teleport the dimensional gate into the middle of the fleet and detonate it, hopefully destroying 90% of the incoming fleet. Even 10% may be too much to handle.

A stockpile of Solaricite on the moon base, guarded by Mechnar and armor, could draw some of the survivors. The rest could be drawn to a deserted island with more Solaricite, and the Helicarrier parked above. None of the invaders must survive or humanity is doomed.

The Armory

Triage took Goldfist out of the room, for there was a secret Overwatch wanted to tell the Avengers that even SHIELD did not know, and Goldfist could not be trusted with it. The moon was a weapons installation, a vault of Solericite and weaponry from eons ago. The stabilizing presence of the moon allowed life to form on Earth, affecting wind and tides.

Only the Key could access the vault, and it was long lost. The Clean Sweepers do not know about the vault, and the First Responders cannot get into it, so for now the secret is safe. Here, at the end of all things, best if the Avengers know and can react appropriately if something about it comes up in the battle.

Meanwhile, Triage wanted help programming his smart phone. Goldfist obliged, and also put in a signature reader so he could pretend to be Triage to a computer security system, and implanted back doors and such to spy on the Mechnar.

Attack

The Mechnar had two ships that could still fly, that would be needed in the battle. During the discussion, a band of over a dozen Clean Sweepers used a d-gate to get into the hanger to cut through the hull and steal a ship. The Avengers and Mechnar responded. Folkvar and Goldfist disabled the drill, and Folkvar helped unbalance attackers so Tien Mu and Jade Lotus could use them as weapons to batter their comrades. Sapphire Fortune hung back, interfacing with the defense systems and taking over turrets for remote attacks while coordinating his teammates.

The battle was swift and brutal, with only two casualties among the defending Mechnar.

No leader was clearly identified, and there was surely a leader. One was twice as big as the others, but hid in a stealth field. They caught him before he hacked through the terminal security of the Mechnar base. They confronted a massive Mechnar with armor and blades. Jade Lotus smashed one of his troops on him, Tien Mu mashed him with a huge chunk of wreckage, and Goldfist maxed out his EMP burster. They batter him down, and discover his name is Anarchist. They return to the briefing room for snacks as the Mechnar are repaired by floating medical robots.

As the Mechnar communicate with micro-bursts of information they find there were two other attacks on the base at the same time, all repelled. The Mechnar were sufficiently impressed by their help that they invited the Avengers to assist in defending the moon. Sapphire Fortune really liked the moon base, developing familiarity with Mechnar tech and staying on the moon.

They returned to Earth. Goldfist lured Triage out on a bonding outing, trying to build rapport.

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Battle the Flesh Tide

Prepare

Goldfist put some combat stims in his armor. Commander Maria Hill answers to Fury, and she controls access Goldfist has to others, and that they have to him; he can do anything he can get past her. (Like rig speakers on the Helicarrier to play “Brick House Woman” when Jade Lotus walks by. It worked twice.) BORIS was accelerating development, and needed braking soon. He was spontaneously generating playlists and mnemonic enhancers. And fashion designs for Jade Lotus and a line of clothing in 30 seconds or so.

Jade Lotus helped carry vehicles around and get the Helicarrier ready to repel the assault. (Reed Richards helped with the Helicarrier too, including mounting an anti-matter slingshot.)

Crane and Dragon squad showed up—ten origamitech fighters! Searching for the Clean Sweepers doesn’t reveal any signs. Folkvar gets a matching tattoo with the rest of the pilots, to mark the day, should they survive.

The Mechnar pulled out their actual war weapons, which Goldfist was not allowed to see. They seeded tech on asteroids that weaponized them. Tien Mu’s lightning helped recharge solericite batteries. The heart is removed from the d-gate, and the 48 hour countdown begins.

Triage left on the suicide mission, and Goldfist used his login to make a backdoor into the Mechnar system in case they survive somehow. He borrowed Sapphire Fortune’s tonal pattern adjusted, to convince the system he’s been in there for a while. Goldfist brought five suits to the moon to go head to head with the incoming horde.

After a day of prep, the public still didn’t know about the threat, but some defense plans involved setting nuclear plants to overload, and other scorched earth tactics. Jade Lotus played around on the moon surface, Tien Mu meditated, and a holographic projector allowed people to say goodbye to loved ones on the planet below. Folkvar got a full pardon from the President of the United States.

The Bomb

In the Van Allen belt, unusually small scouts detect the d-gate bomb and slow their advance. That’s two days out! The Mechnar report the shift in the tactical situation. There was no contingency for being detected this far out!

The only way they could get someone out there to activate the bomb would be to send Tien Mu, in a special tech harness Goldfist made, teleporting out from where the d-gate engine was in the gate assembly to a point she had seen previously. She teleported further than she ever had, risking the edge of the dimensional barrier, and arrived by the power source bomb, surrounded by slimocite scouts. She spoke to the engine, and it prepared to detonate.

She tried to teleport back, and the bomb detonated. A fragment of her makes it back to say goodbye, then she’s whisked apart in the energy of the universe. Goldfist tried to stabilize the signal, and got the silhouette, then Tien Mu was gone.

The surviving sensor arrays started calculating the slimocite survivors. Survivors rode the leading edge of the explosion, and would arrive in two hours.

Moon Battle

They rose to the alien menace, engaging a sky so full they could not miss their foes. Jade Lotus uses their own cutting limbs to cut them, Folkvar loses a leg but fights on using their weapons against them, Goldfist resists getting hacked by the swarm, and they fight a desperate battle against .6% of the original swarm, as .8% targets Earth.

Goldfist takes the signal used to try to hack him, and repurposes it with the communications array to Earth, broadcasting it back into the mass. He also figured out how to signal distress and lure them to himself. Jade Lotus went into a big one and tore her way out from inside.

Folkvar wanted to communicate to Jade Lotus, whose sensory organs were sort of torn and burned off. She wasn’t regenerating fast enough, so Folkvar grabbed her and threw her at foes. Goldfist set his suit to self destruct and ejected, and as BORIS sang a stoic Russian song, Folkvar picked Goldfist up and retreated to the base for more armor.

The base was under a swarm 6k across of dead invaders. They tore in, saw the Mechnar had used the lure to pull in the invaders, and they fought the surviving invaders in the base. Goldfist was tossed aside as Folkvar engaged intruders in hand to hand; Goldfist survived, repurposing life support to communications to activate another version of BORIS to bring armor. Goldfist got a scar on the side of his head.

(Jade Lotus got a talent, Space Worthy, so she can operate in space without holding her breath or worrying about vacuum.)

Backstab, a Mechnar First Responder, limped back to base. She switched to their language, and explained the little ones were eating the bigger ones’ corpses, to make sure nothing was lost.

Battle for Earth

They got patched up enough to make it back down to Earth. They arrived to help the Helicarrier, which was fighting off invaders, desperate. One creature was scrambling electronics, pushing SHIELD to the limit—but BORIS could protect against it.

SHIELD took a minute to realize Jade Lotus was not one of the incoming monsters, but when she pulled off an engine and threw it into a mass of invaders, they figured it out. They got the Helicarrier defenses back up.

They won, basically. They helped Captain Black out of his wrecked origamitech suit. Now .01% remained, of the .8% that hit the planet. They can cope with that—hopefully.

They spent the rest of the day doing mop up, overnighting on the Helicarrier. The invasion was over. The Avengers Initiative would now reposition and prepare for the next wave.

Meanwhile the X Men and Fantastic Four launched a joint mission to attack a mass on the far side of the moon. They would take their telepath, they had a plan, and felt it would go well. They were successful, so now dedicated Earth forces tracked down every trace and parasite.

Having confronted real power the likes of which he had never seen, Goldfist tried to patch things up with Captain Black, and felt released from his previous arrogance. Folkvar flexed his newfound legal freedom.

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Bioweapon

Almost a year after the Lunar Incident, SHIELD reactivated the Avengers Initiative. There were two new members.

Dailee was assigned to SHIELD on behalf of the Yutani corporation. They had a controlling interest in Wakanda’s vibranium supplies, their claim supported and defended by SHIELD in exchange for samples of vibranium and the services of their top agent, Dailee. As a monk trained in martial arts and zen mind, equipped with vibranium gear and high-tech training, he was sure to be useful.

Sora was a British agent of MI6. She had been a political activist turned terrorist, protesting corporations that were outstripping nations and above the law. She used a bow, and a Robin Hood motif. She was very difficult to capture, so rather than dispose of her, they repurposed her to become 009, with a license to kill and all the gadgets she could use. MI6 wanted to know more about the Lunar Incident than anyone would share, so that was her secondary mission upon being assigned as a SHIELD asset.

The call also went out to Goldfist, Folkvar, and Jade Lotus. They met in a secret briefing room on the Helicarrier, and Captain Williams told them there was a signal, weak but intriguing, coming from the moon. They rebuilt the d-gate, and wanted the Avengers to check it out in the quarantine zone, understanding that if they got infected they could not return. They agreed.

The Moon

The d-gate dumped them in an abandoned Chinese lunar base that wasn’t supposed to exist. They cautiously checked the location out, and found that someone had been here less than a year ago, SHIELD or the US, and planted the d-gate beacon. Also, the computers had been cleaned out and put on resting mode.

However, certain functions were left minimally active, and one of those picked up a signal Goldfist traced to the dark side of the moon, “It is almost time.” He responded “Time for what?” and there was thunder—on the moon. Tien Mu teleported to the source of the signal. However, she revealed she was not Tien Mu, but the memory of her, imprinted on bioweaponry she absorbed and repurposed to serve her and not the Swarm.

She was picking up a signal from Earth, growing in power, a Swarm intellect coming around to consciousness. She did not want to risk it waking up and scouring the planet, or subsuming her will, so she suggested she could help locate and defeat it.

The Threat

They smuggled her into Folkvar’s Origamitech, and returned to the Indochina base and reported there wasn’t much to find. Then they headed to Hong Kong and the sensor array there. Tien Mu teleported ahead and accessed the system remotely, scanning for the source of the energy; she found an area, and fed the location to Folkvar and Goldfist. BORIS scanned his databanks and found a likely candidate.

Monster Island 19, one of many small lightly inhabited islands used for experimentation during the World Wars and afterwards. Its location was noted, but invisible to satellites, and SHIELD files indicated the last squatters there had been Hydra. Also Hydra had been active in trying to collect bio samples from the Lunar Incident.

They changed course, heading for the island. Tien Mu got there first and whipped the storm up into a hurricane at sea, lashing the half-visible crooked island in its dimensional shielding.

The Island

As they entered through the dimensional crease, they were separated. Folkvar found himself driven from his body into his Origamitech fighter, standing on a tower; he headed for the gamma signature of Jade Lotus he “sensed” on his sensor equipment. There was enough Solericite in the atmosphere to turn his boosters green instead of blue.

Jade Lotus took on her gamma form just to resist the pulling discomfort of the place. She was with Sora and Dailee, who stayed close to her and hoped she wouldn’t freak out.

Tien Mu broke through, and regained her staff, but the end frayed and became an energy flail. She streaked over to find Jade Lotus, just as Goldfist freed himself from a fissure in the rock and joined them. The displacement tried to drive BORIS into Goldfist’s body, and his mind into the machine, but both resisted. Everyone’s energy was tainted by the Solericite, burning green.

Hail Hydra

A big Hydra mech and a few dreadnoughts closed in, and were summarily dispatched by the Avengers, who closed in on the Blue Pyramid because its dimensions were true in a crooked place. They realized the pyramid projected the dimensional folding that hid and isolated the island. There was a massive vault door, and Tien Mu worked with Jade Lotus to drag it out of position. They went into the pyramid, and down through a central shaft, confronting the mad scientist Doctor Dagon—he was the one that created Jade Lotus, and he dreamed of this fight! In his happy dreams he won. In his nightmares, he lost.

In the center of the room was an armored transparent column that contained the painstakingly rebuilt genetic matrix Hydra was using for monster-making. Tien Mu burned through the armor, and then devoured the matrix, destroying it utterly.

As Jade Lotus romped with the massive power armor, Folkvar cut into it with streams of bullets from his gun, and Sora opened holes with shaped charge arrows. Dailee and Goldfist got on computer stations, trying to figure out what was behind the dimensional folding and thick transparent aluminum shielding. Something was in that space, a psychic source of energy that almost unseated their reason. Doctor Dagon shouted something about how there was enough power there to enslave the minds of the human race.

When they got through the defenses, they saw where the biomatter Hydra harvested had gone. Through the genetic matrix, to create a massive psychic monster. It had stubby wings, and an octopus head, resting on a basalt throne in the darkness of a dimension folded next to this one (for security purposes.) There was a killswitch, but would it work? And what if it didn’t?

Dailee and Goldfist agreed to reestablish the dimensional barriers, as strongly as possible, and leave this thing alone. They realized the dimensional folding of the island might be as much for protection as concealment.

Meanwhile Jade Lotus finished off the power armor, and Tien Mu scooped the evil scientist out of it and devoured him messily. She learned from the fleeting fragments of his mind burning in her genetic furnace that they had built one other kind of bioweapon here.

They cut the biomatter thin, only a few molecules thick, and exposed it to the dream of that thing on the throne. Then they put it on a Hydra volunteer’s face. The patterns that had been created this way had made immortal warriors, with heavy protective hide and weaponized claws and jaws, able to see in the darkness. Several shipments had gone out, creating amphibious warriors without equal. Tien Mu resolved to seek them out and bring them under her control, using her hive mind power.

Exit Strategy

With the threat basically contained, they retreated outside. The Hydra agents that gathered there had been living on combat drugs to cope with the weird environment, and they sort of worshiped the retreating Avengers, who put the plug back in the pyramid and did calculations so exiting the dimensional distortion did not scatter them.

Folkvar was grateful to push back into his body, unseating whatever alien influence had occupied it in his absence while he inhabited the robot instead of his body.

None of the reports back to various agencies revealed the presence of the psychic bioweapon, or much information about the island. It was shrugged off by the agents. SHIELD did subject them to thorough testing, noting their weird energy patterns, but what could they do? Things settled down and got back to normal, for most.

Tien Mu was dead, of course, but she had a new hobby of hunting bio weapons and re-purposing them to serve her. No one dared stand in her way.

And Folkvar, he started having the most peaceful dreams of flying, except underwater, over ancient and ruined cities…

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