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Chapter Two: Black as Night
Tessa gave Castle a proud look though she was facing his back, “I think I have a decent chance at translating it,” She informed Wong, “I’m familiar with Ancient Atlantean, I haven’t read it in quite awhile but that is of no consequence, I haven’t read Croatian in a number of months, perhaps even a year but I can still read and write it as if I never stopped.” She had a self-satisfied smile on her face, the most you would get out of her at the information that she could have a chance at translating the Montesi Formula in it’s entirety.
“The wonderful advantage of being a living computer, so to speak.” Tessa paused, that was the most she would say about herself at this point in time, “I’m sure if I was given the book relatively quickly I could have an analysis and translation completed in a timely manner, say within an hour of receiving the book, most probably sooner.” She told Wong, the smile fading from her lips as it was replaced with a much more serious expression.

Tessa moved briskly to catch up with Frank Castle, walking abreast with him, “I realize you have a natural aversion for me, given my need for information and your obvious annoyance at such trivial matters. But, you really must learn not to under-estimate those around you, most especially if you have not understanding of what they are capable of.” She paused her voice was curt as she spoke to the Punishers leader, “As I’m certain you have not yet pin-pointed what I am, I’ll explain it to you Mr. Castle, I am a mutant. My mind works better than the world’s best computer, I recall things quicker than any other human being, I remember everything, including the exact shape your fist created in the wall; I am also classified as a genius, with low-level telepathy.” Tessa gave him a sidelong look, “if you question my validity and capability in the matter of translating the text, I assure you my teammates can validate everything I have just informed you of, and I can provide proof of my powers if needed.” She folded her arms, “But such things would stray from your agenda, which I do not wish to encroach upon. So, I suggest you let me look over this book.” Tessa finished, dropping into silence and stealing herself mentally for the response she would receive, she had not been the most diplomatic in her words but she was frustrated with Castle’s behavior, and her frustration was only evidence in the curt manner she spoke with him.
“’Toria, if he attempts to throw me against a wall and I am not quick enough to gauge his actions before he does so, can you telekinetically move me away from him?” Tessa asked mentally.
Victoria stood silent at the idea of traipsing around in a vampire's head. That was until Castle spoke and she only smiled.
"Actually, it's usually from the nose, not from the eyes, but I'll keep that in mind. And as far as tinkering around with their heads. No. Sorry. But I'm not doing anything remotely close to that. I can't believe you of all people, Norrin, would suggest that?" Looking at the silver plated man for a moment, she continued. "You have no memory whatsoever, would you wish that off on anyone else, even an enemy?"
As Tessa began to speak to Castle, Victoria looked around at Hank for a moment, wondering silently to herself about things that neither of them had spoken of, or thought about in a long time. Tessa's thought broke her concentration and she smiled at her.
"Move you? Wow, you are putting faith in me aren't you? Cause I can almost bet Paige never asks me to do that...ever." there was a slight bit of a wicked grin on her face that was quickly replaced by a non challant gaze.
Paige hadn’t done must of anything while they killed off the Red Death for good, having stood just outside the room and watched the whole thing with Vance and Norrin at her side. Her mind still was not in the mission, though she tried to force herself as best she could to focus on the task at hand and leave the worrying and pain behind. Shifting her weight from foot to foot, her silver skin glinting in the moonlight that streamed in through a window across from her. She had a look of vacancy on her face as she stood watching the exchange between her teammates and the Punishers, not yet ready to speak up about mission plans.

“Vance, where are we headed?” Paige asked the Punisher in a stage whispered, following behind the young man as they followed his leader out of the building. The young girl slide her wedding ring on and off her ring finger, the gold of the band and tiny diamond being the only contrast to her otherwise silver appearance.
Waiting around the run down confines of Dr. Strange’s condemned brownstone was not going to get this mismatched group of heroes anywhere, and Frank Castle knew it. With a few exceptions, Castle was coming to think of the Watch as a group of children that had to be led by the hand if they were to get anything accomplished. So, if that was how it had to be, then that is what he would do. Giving Tessa a sidelong glance as she walked with him toward the door, he found himself taken aback by her incredibly self assured attitude. So far he and his team had not found anyone that could help translate the book of the Darkhold. The majority of its texts were easy enough to decipher, for Latin was not all that difficult for a trained scholar. But the incantation they needed most was not written in Latin. It was, for some unfathomable reason, written in an archaic form of Atlantean that had thus far baffled the most brilliant of minds. But if this woman, by some grace of fluke luck could translate it, their war could be drawing to a victorious end faster than he would have thought possible. Backing down on his bravado, Castle replied, “If you think you can pull it off, then be my guest. I would hate to stand in the way of salvation. Wong, help her in any way you can. Dan, stay behind and provide cover, just in case things get ugly. Why don’t you hang back too, Spidey? Because unless I am mistaken, I saw you clinging pretty tightly to your rosary back there, and the bookworms could use a man of faith to watch their backs. But as fun as it would be to stand around and watch you read, I think the rest of us would be more productive elsewhere.”

Having left the quartet of investigators behind, Castle led the rest of the heroes down the vacant moonlit streets of New York, in search of a more obvious target. In a hushed tone, Vance relayed the situation as Castle and Blade walked a few paces ahead, “Before we ran into you guys, we were doing our best to make it north to Westchester. As best as we can tell that is the epicenter of this whole mess, and most likely will be where we find the Master holed up. Frank wants us to split up. Blade is going to make use of your abilities and have Rogue and Norrin fly he and Barry up ahead and scout for trouble from above. If they spot anything, Barry can beat feet back here to warn us. Meanwhile, Paige, McCoy, Victoria and I are going to stick with the big man down here in the trenches and cover that fifteen mile trek to Westchester as quick as we can. So either Tessa weaves us up one whopper of a spell or we take the fight to the Master’s front door, one way or another, Logan and his legion of the damned are going down tonight!”
Rogue almost smiled at the idea of being included for once, even if it was only a means of transportation. Maybe after they saw what she could do, they might let her fight.
"Heh, don't mention it." he replied to Victoria's apology before he took to zoning out again. All this babble about book translations were boring him.

"Master? Do I get stake?" he exclaimed later as they walked the street "I got better idea. I have superspeed, I read at superspeed, can't the goth chick download the language in my brain or something and let me translate the text at... superspeed?" He said with a satisfied grin.
Tessa watched the rest of the group leave then turned to Wong, “I think that was our cue to get started.” She was appreciative that Castle seemed to have a shred of intelligence and capacity to overcome his borderline rage to recognize help when it was standing right beside him, “I’ll need to compare the text to the Atlantean language I’m familiar with, since I’m positive it is much older than the books I have read, the process will take longer than for example translating a French dinner menu into English.” Her tone was completely professional but her last words had a subtle tone of amusement.
“But, before any of you start doubting my abilities I am fully capable of doing such a task given the proper window of opportunity and time.” Tessa assured them, letting a smile grace her otherwise indifferent face.

Turning on the spectacles she was wearing she brought up a holographic image of what she had compiled of the Atlantean alphabet and text she had read while in Atlantis for reference purposes once she began her endeavor. Tessa also pondered the thought of getting an internet connection to aid her as well, but doubted if that would be at all possible in this building. As she sorted through files she also sorted through any memory she had that might be useful to the translation, remembering briefly the scrolls that were on the walls in Atlantis, the ones both she and Hank had been curious about. Forming a coherent file for those scrolls in particular she brought them up in hologram form as well, giving the area around her an eerie green glow from her display.
“I hope none of you mind the glow, it’s unfortunately inescapable at this point.” Tessa joked, making herself comfortable and eyeing Spiderman in particular. Out of the team, newcomers excluded she knew the least amount of information about their resident webslinger, sure they had spoken but most often it was discussions on their difference of opinion.
“You are Catholic, correct?” She asked him in an inquiring tone, “I realize we’ve haven’t really spoken, but I just had to ask you if you felt as if Castle was correct in his assumption that we would need a man of faith on our side?” Tessa paused in her speech as she scrolled down one of the holograms, “Now, if I were more inclined to take things personally I would have assumed he meant that we could not rely on my skills alone, that some form of prayer would be needed and I’m just curious as to whether that is your thought as well.” The young cyberpath was multi-tasking as usual; it came naturally, and she figured if she didn’t speak than her three companions would let a harsh silence fall over the room. Not that she was opposed to silence, she liked it most days, but she felt this might actually be a chance to get some useful data on one of her less talkative teammates.
From Sinister's Diary:
"It's been many moons since I've last put pen to paper to document the events that have happened surrounding my failed experiment. Madelyne was a complete failure and now I must start from square one. It is unnerving the things I have gone through for perfection only to be waylaid by those who see me as a monster.
But I have moved away from failure and have started on, what I do hope will be my greatest experiment ever. Through my many years walking this earth, I have been fortunate enough to gather bits and pieces of DNA from various sources. Powerful mutants, intelligent and cunning peoples of which the world has yet to see. Compiling them into what shall be my greatest hour...and in honor of one I loved long ago...her name shall be Victoria."


Victoria had been listening silently to everyone when something Vance said struck her.
"Logan?...Did you just say Logan?" She eyed Vance carefully shooking a sidelong glance at Hank.
"You thinking what I'm thinking here, Green?" she paused in the thought and addressed the young man again.
"Not that Logan isn't a popular name...but we knew a guy named Logan at one time...Not that I was fond of him by any means... But this guy wouldn't happen to have a serious set of fingernails would he?"
She didn't like this, she didn't like this at all and everyone could tell she had suddenly become very anxious.
"I think we're going to need a bigger boat..." she muttered softly to herself as she began to walk away from the group.
"Come on, let's get this over with...I've got a sudden urge to stare death in the face again."
Peter watched the lead Punisher as he delivered orders to members of both teams. Peter expected that he would go with the others towards Westchester after the monsters' ring leader, but Castle seemed to think otherwise. The arachnid was to stay with Tessa as she tried to unravel the ancient Atlantean text of the spell. He did little to hide his dislike for the task he had been appointed. He hated the thought of being stuck here doing nothing while the others fought for their lives and those of the city. But he knew that Frank would not be swayed from his decision, and the spider reluctantly rejoined Tessa and the two Punishers.
Peter watched the rest of the team disappear from sight before bringing his gaze to the few that remained in the room. He made his way to the ceiling above the others and watched Tessa as she went to work. He would be lying if he said he wasn't impressed with her skills. She certainly was an intelligent woman, always having her priorities straight and making sure that the team remained focused on the current goal, and even though the only words that seemed to be spoken between the two were arguements or disagreements, she had earned his respect.
He turned his mind away from his thoughts, bringing his attention once again to the living computer who had asked the spider a series of questions. Finding himself doing nothing of importance and realizing that now was as good as time as any to get to know the female member of the Watch, he went ahead and answered her questions.
"Yeah, I'm a Catholic."
It was a religion that he had inherited from his parents but one he had come to cherish dearly throughout his life. It provided reassurance, guidance, and strength for the masked arachnid not to mention that it was one of the few things that kept him going during that decade of hell.
"And no, I don't think you need 'a man of faith' with you. Faith isn't a weapon, it's a belief. All the vampires fear is the little metal crucifix on my father's rosary. You could have Barry holding the thing infront of them and it'd probably have the same effect. Personally, I think you guys can handle yourselves. If push came to shove you could just recite what parts of the spell you have and fry any vampires that came your way, not to mention all the gizmos and gadgets you two have."
Peter nodded towards the two members of the Punishers.
"I guess I'm just here so you three don't have to deal with such annoyances and can concentrate on your work without distraction."
Paige walked along silently with the group, her combat boots making soft ‘thudding’ noises on the pavement as they began their trek to Westchester, her mind drifting to thoughts she hadn’t known she’d even had. It was strange how silence could make a person think of things out of the ordinary. At the moment Paige was thinking about her teammates and the structure of the team, without each other they wouldn’t last half as long as any of them had. Maybe it had been her earlier thoughts of Pete that had brought these thoughts about, or many the young girl was just searching for something to keep her mind occupied so that she didn’t dwell on the fact that her family and friends back home were going out life as normal while her life was constantly in danger.

Yuh know it’s funny, nobody ever acknowledges how important the rest of their teammates are to them until the bitter end, well ah ain’t goin’ t’ let my end be the only time ah let these people know how much they mean to me. Teams are like family, we’ve got Hank and ‘Toria the major veterans of the team who aren’t unlike parents to the rest of us. Making sure we knew the lay of the land and didn’t go getting ourselves killed during our first mission. Then yuh’ve got Tessa the brainy and level headed older sister hard skinned and almost harsh on the service but ah know she’d take a bullet for any of us. Spiderman’s a little harder to place, he watches the rest of us closely not speaking but always around like the over protective brother. It’s harder for me to place Rogue and Norrin because they’re new, but still very much like family. Almost like the cousins whom come and spend a summer with yuh on the farm whom y’all come to love like siblings because their around a bunch, but yuh ain’t gotten to know them as well as yuh’re siblings. Barry and ah are the kid brother and sister, a little moody and little arrogant and not real willing to listen to the wise advice of those older then us. Both to headstrong to admit we ain’t always right, but deep down we’d be lost without our teammates. Yeah, we’re a family through thick and thin.

Paige sighed and took a sidelong glance at Hank and ‘Toria, a small smile spreading across her lips as her previous thoughts came back to her. Yes, ah would be lost without these people The petite blond shrugged her shoulders as if she were shrugging off her worries, after doing so she bounded up next to Vance and flashed the young Punisher a bit of a smile. “Who’s Logan?” Paige’s blue eyes glanced around to the rest of the group, a mixture of confusion and worry playing on her child like features.
Following the successful 'death' (again) of their vampire adversary, Hank had stayed at the edge of the group, thinking, happy to let the others carry on any conversation and pick up what information he needed without actively seeking it. He was familiar with unexpected resurrections, however the manner of this creature was rather disturbing. He hoped the incantation proved as permanent as the Punishers seemed to believe otherwise they were really going to struggle with the vampires. Shaking his head a little, he chided himself for being defeatist and followed the others out into the unnaturally but thankfully quiet New York streets. He was sure the appearance of their motley crew was enough to scare the pants of the city folk.

As they walked along Hank had to restrain himself from leaping skywards. They were going home. Well to his home. Westchester. Hank wondered silently wether the Institute would still be there in this reality or if it would be different in some way. At the sound of Logan's name he looked up and over at 'Toria, catching her thought almost as he thought the same thing himself. "If this Logan is laced with adamantium I think we can safely say that you should avoid throwing Paige at him." he thought, glancing over at Paige. "How's everyone bearing up?" he asked softly.
Tessa halted her scrolling, “You sound passionate about your beliefs, and I respect that.” She told him beginning her scrolling once again, “It’s one of the few pieces of information you’ve freely given, everything else is kept close to the vest.” She took a glance at Spidey as she finished her sentence, typing in a few commands and watching as her tech went about collating two of the Atlantean files together.
“I would rather have you clutching that rosary than Barry, I feel comfortable with you no matter how much animosity is between the two of us, I’ve studied your movements and methods and know that you make a fine lookout. The teen on the other hand is impulsive, not an ideal personality trait for somebody set in your current position.” She let the room fall into silence, as she looked over the newly merged data file, careful to inspect it for any errors.

“Your methods indicate years of training, which leads me to wonder your age,” Tessa commented to the masked man, “It may seem intrusive to you but it’s useful information in case of medical issues, strategic planning, and general decision making. Usually if an individual has not had training I can be very accurate in creating a timeline for their age, but for an individual such as yourself it becomes difficult; you move and fight as if your upwards of thirty, yet most of your physical health argues that decision in age, your physical stature itself indicates you are somewhere between 16 and 25 roughly.” Tessa had been curious about Spiderman, of the entire group save Norrin he was the least likely to open up to the rest of his teammates, Tessa knew next to nothing about him except that he was a good fighter and a strong Catholic believer.
“Normally I wouldn’t intrude, but it’s a puzzle I’ve been meaning to get answered and I’m just forward enough to ask you outright.” Tessa had a look on her face that was a cross between inquisitive and savvy, she knew that there was a fifty/fifty chance Spiderman would actually give her an answer, but she had to try. It wasn’t like she was requesting his name afterall, she wasn’t that intrusive, if he wanted his space she would give it to him, but an age would be a helpful thing to know for future intents and purposes.
Norrin offered to aid Barry up onto his board which was hovering about a foot off of the ground. "Make sure to hold on to something. I'm still new at this, and I don't want you getting hurt. The best thing for you to do might be to sit down and hold onto my legs. I don't seem to have a problem staying on. It seems like the board and I are inseperable as long as I'm standing on it, but I don't know what it will do for passengers. You'll have to let me know how the ride is." Norrin gave a smile to Barry as he reached out his hand to the youth.


"Now, Norrin, hang on son. We wouldn't want you falling off the land speeder, now would we? Besides, you're mother would kill me if anything happened to her little boy."

"Can we go to the Zoo, Dad? I want to see the Ixions!"

"We can go there after I run a few errands for your mother. I also have to stop by the lab so I can check on some results that were supposed to come back today."

"AWWWWW, how long is THAT gonna take?!"

"Be patient, son. By land speeder it only takes about 10 microns to get to the Zenn-La capital. We'll run those errands real quick, and then we'll be on our way."




Norrin seemed to space out for a few minutes after offering Barry his hand, and then he snapped back into reality looking completely dazed. "What's a Zenn-La?"
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
Rogue looked at the man called Blade.

"I've never really done this before with anyone else, but if you're game, so am I."

She had never tried to fly in any fom other than invisible or fire. She tried to see if she could in her natural form. She concentrated her thoughts and tried to access the mind of Sue Storm. If she could just go there without disturbing the memories. Concentrating as hard as she could Rogue began to rise slowly off the ground on an invisible disc.

"All right!" Rogue exclaimed. Looking at Blade she crooked her finger at him. "C'mere. Let me try it on you."
From Sinister's Diary

"It was almost too easy to incorporate the things into Victoria that I had been wanting to. Her progress has been extraordinary, as to be expected with something of my designs. However, I never expected her to be as breathtaking as she is. True, I had hoped she would be pleasant to look at, as Madelyne was, but I did not expect this level of beauty. Down to the tiny red diamond on her forehead I am pleased beyond my expectations.
She has much to learn and many years to progress. Her body is still a child, but she has shown great mental capacity. Yet I sense something within her that I must admit, frightens even myself. I have only witnessed the power known as the Phoenix on a few occasions, yet it seems my prodigy is to be the new host for that cosmic power. Not that I mind this unexpected turn of events, quite the contrary. I can see my Victoria becoming not only the perfect mate, but the perfect weapon."


Victoria glanced as Hank as she continued to walk, his thoughts not too far from her own.
"How about I throw you instead?" She smirked at him momentarily as she looked around at the buildings they passed and the places that had in her reality, been new and shiny.
Something was still nagging at her and she couldn't put her finger on it. The sudden bursts of anger, the mood swings... Victoria pondered it all silently as she walked when something caused her to stop right in her tracks.
"No...I couldn't be...."...she whispered and began counting on her fingers for a moment, her brown eyes transfixed on them as she did mental calculations and came up with an answer she wasn't sure she really wanted.
"No, can't be...just...I've just been tired...and alot going on...I'm sure...yeah, that's all it is..." she said it more to herself than anything as she started walking with the group again, a little bit of doubt still niggling at the back of her brain.
Peter looked at Tessa for a long moment, soaking in what she had just said. It wasn't something he had expected and he was taken back by such a response. His once slouched and laid back stance on the ceiling straightened as he became more alert of the conversation at hand.
His hesitant reply didn't hold much volume, but he knew it was enough to be heard. He had answered the questions in somewhat bored state of mind, doing so merely to pass time. He had thought that she was doing the same. But now, for what he believed to be the first time since they had met, they were actually getting along. They were having a normal conversation. In that moment, all the things that had been said between them and all the guilt he had felt from such squabbles rushed to meet him and he suddenly felt the need to apologize for such actions.
"Hey, Ms. Tessa...sorry about...earlier. It wasn't anything personal. Sometimes, I just let my anger and frustration get the better of me and...I'm sorry."
The spider was feeling increasingly awkward. He had lost his composure, let his shields and walls drop, even if it was for a moment. He needed to regain control, steady himself. And he would use her own question to do so.
"I'm 24 right now, but depending on how much time has passed on my world, I may be 25."
There was a slight pause after his response. His mood grew darker, a stern and lifeless expression replaced the causal one that had only moments ago claimed his face.
"Yeah, I've had training. Ten years of training."
Every word that he spoke was saturated in a pool of emotions, dripping with the pain and hatred the was now boiling inside him. His eyes were locked on Tessa, but he did not see her. He saw their faces, whether they be women, children, or men. Images of such anguish in their eyes, such hopelessness, such indescribable pain, as if their very soul had been stripped from them piece by agonizing piece. His ears were listening to Tessa, but he did not hear her. Instead, he heard their screams and his screams alike, pleaing desperately for mercy, for relief from their pain, but in the end, pleaing futilely to people who showed no mercy, who gave no relief, who looked like they were possessed by Satan himself. Such vivid pictures, such gut wrenching sounds flooded his thoughts, just as they had every night, condemning him to go without sleep, without peace. Condemning him to relive every excruciating detail, for the rest of his life.
For several moments he was lost in such thoughts, but finally managed to pull himself away, bringing his attention once agian to the pale skinned telepath.
"How's that coming by the way?"
Making his way to the front window, Dan listened as Spider-man and Tessa discussed faith. Keeping one eye on the window, he allowed his attention to drift over to the two heroes and their differing opinions. Interjecting his own thoughts he said, “Faith is much more than just what you believe in, my friend. These days, faith is the best weapon you have against what stalks the night. That tiny cross doesn’t mean squat if you don’t have the faith to back it up. I’ve seen vampires rip crucifixes right out of peoples hands before simply because they thought they could hide behind an empty symbol. Keep your faith close to you. You’ll need it.” Letting his friend finish his important bit of advice, Wong produced what they hoped would be their city’s salvation. From the pouch on his back he pulled the Book of the Darkhold. It was an ancient book of spells that only the most powerful of sorcerers had ever laid eyes on. But these were difficult times that called for unconventional solutions. With much trepidation, Wong laid the book in front of Sage and opened it carefully, revealing the Latin text within. Although he only teased her with the preceding pages, wasting little time as he flipped deeper into the tome, quickly finding the oldest of the books pages and the Ancient Atlantean text that was written there. Tessa looked excited and amazed all at the same time. She had indeed come across written Atlantean in her previous travels, but had never seen anything this old. Recognizing the look on her face, Dan said from across the room, “I’ve seen that look before. You better find a comfortable perch Spider-man. We may be here a while.”

Annoyed at her seeming flippant attitude concerning the use of her powers, Blade hesitated before he dared to reach out for Rogue’s hand. He couldn’t help but wonder if he had made the right choice in picking his scout party. But, as he had told Frank, he wanted to keep the invisible girl close by, and this was apparently the price he would pay. Reluctantly, Blade reached out and took the girl’s hand, soon finding himself floating on an invisible disc of pure energy ten feet above the other’s heads. Feeling fairly secure in his mode of transportation, and taking note that Barry had successfully climbed aboard Norrin’s board, Blade delivered his instructions. In no time the quartet of scouts were out of sight, headed North toward Westchester.

Following the same path on foot was the rest of the Watch, accompanied by Vance and Castle. Frank led the group of newly appointed vampire hunters in silence, allowing his young teammate to field questions from the others. “I don’t know if that would work or not Barry. Atlantean is a very difficult and complex language, and the text that the Darkhold contains is older than anything in recorded history. I doubt Tessa will be able to translate it, let alone you trying to do it via psychic speed reading.” As Paige slid up next to Vance, now back in her non-husked form, he casually draped his arm around her shoulder. It was unusual to be keeping such attractive company, and he planned to take full advantage of it, assuming the young mutant didn’t smack the taste out of his mouth for being so bold. “Logan is the key to this whole mess. Or at least that is what we have been led to believe. Our sources told us that after a trip oversees, he came back far more dangerous than ever before, which is saying something if you know Logan. No one has seen him since his return, but we have a pretty strong feeling that the sudden rise in New York’s vampire population is radiating out of Westchester, home of Logan’s buddies the X-Men. To put it bluntly, Logan is one bad ass mutant-vampire. He has an almost insurmountable healing factor, bones that are stronger than steel, and a killer instinct to rival that of Ghengis Khan. He has become Lord of the Vampires, and yes, he has one helluva set of claws.”
"You ok hon?" Hank asked, watching 'Toria from the corner of his eye as he walked alongside her. "You seem distracted." He knew her well enough to know something was on her mind, even without their mental link, he was still a study of human nature. As he watched her, he half listened to what was being said around them, as he knew it may come in handy later.
“Apology accepted, though in future it will not be needed.” Tessa told Spiderman with a smile, “I’ve grown a thick skin to arguments and quarrels and I don’t expect everybody to see it my way, I can be initially offended and wounded, but I don’t carry grudges…unless your name is Warren Worthington, in that case their may be bad blood between us.” She was teasing, she was certain that the masked arachnid was not the billionaire playboy who broke her heart.
“I apologize for my behavior as well, occasionally I can get zealous. Thank you for the information on your age, I appreciate that you felt you could give me that tidbit of data.”

Her attention was then drawn away from the conversation as Wong set the Book of the Darkhold in front of her, as he let the book rest open on the passage of ancient Atlantean text she fought to keep the look of awe off of her face, but Dan had obviously caught that and her look of apprehension.
“I’ll admit, this is not nearly similar enough to the Atlantean I know for it to be a quick translation, but it does not look impossible, I will merely have to search other avenues to get a proper translation started.” Tessa informed them, “You obviously have parts translated, and if I could hear or read those it would be helpful.” She let her finger trace the first few words on the paper, her mind was attempting to place the conjuncture of words as well as trying to find words and patterns that were similar to the more recent texts she had read in Atlantis.

It would be a challenge even for the genius, but she was feeling less apprehensive by the moment. All the translating would take was patience and a thorough analysis of the text itself, or at least that is what she was hoping for. Tessa was not allowing herself to think that this project was beyond her capabilities, because if it was she would have to explain the failure to her team and to the Punishers, something she was not willing to do at this point in time.
“Are than any other salvageable books within this building, perhaps something used by linguist’s, I have passages from a linguistic book stored but it is a study of modern languages, something that studies ancient languages would be useful as a cross reference.” Tessa said, closing one of the holograms down to allow more room for the modern linguistic passages.
Peter let his eyes wander over to Dan as he interjected his thought on the topic Tessa and the arachnid had been discussing. He resented such views of his faith being used as a weapon. A defense against evil and sin and a guide to live one's life yes, but not a weapon. If it had been meant to have such a purpose, Jesus would have conquered the world, not died to save it. He got the urge to voice his disagreements but he managed to hold his tongue. He had just apologized for such an action and the last thing he needed was to have someone else be ticked off at him as well, especially when that someone was supposed to be helping him save the city.
Peter looked over at Wong as he gave Spidey his little bit of advice.
"That's alright. I've gotten pretty good at remaining still for long periods of time."
A paused followed the spider's comment before he spoke again.
"Not to sway your attention from the task at hand, but I've been wanting to ask you guys something for awhile. What happened to your guys' Spidey? Castle mentioned something of him dying a few weeks back or something along those lines, but just, who was he? What happened to him?"
Hopefully one of the two would answer his question, helping the time pass by and itching a scratch that had been in the back of his mind.
"So, Barry, do you come here often?" Norrin made a quip to ease the tension between himself and his younger teammate. They hadn't really spoken to each other since they were all thrown into this crazy mix of people. "Are you having any trouble holding on at all, or do you need me to slow down?" Surfer was still new at this and hoped that the board wasn't wobbling too much and his traveling partner was having a safe and enjoyable ride. I know Barry has a penchant for speed, so I hope I'm not boring him. I just don't want to lose Rogue and Blade. I could never forgive myself if I allowed something to happen to either of them.
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
"It's very cool Norrin." Barry said as he looked around him, a bit astounded, which is hard to do when you grow up amonst superheroes "So, Norrin, you have no idea who you are... at all?" He said as he held on. "I mean, you've got to no something right? Are you from outer space, or are you from earth? Well, I guess you at least remembered your name, so that's a big plus. I mean, when you watch television, nothing starts coming back to you? Are you human, alien or demon or something entirely else?"
From Sinister's Diary

"Victoria has yet to see me in my true form. For all this time, she has seen me as I once the rest of the world that I mingle with sees me as. Dr. Nathaniel Essex. That name seems foreign to me now. I am only Sinister. It is unforunate that I have had to leave Victoria in the care of Piotr and Katherine Rasputin. They see "Nate" as their friend. They've never known my ulterior motives nor suspected them.
But my Victoria is growing, and I've noticed that she is aging slower than normal. I had suspected this might happen by mixing some of my own DNA into her creation. This is not unpleasant. It only means she will be as long lived as I. Something I look forward to eagerly."

Victoria looked at Hank for a moment before what Vance said sank in.
"Oh is him. Great..." So it was the Logan they had known, which meant his healing factor rivaled hers and Hanks. Along with being undead.
But she was too distracted to keep her mind there for long. Walking along with everyone else, she kept playing over things in her mind. Mentally counting out days, Atlantis....Hank...
"Hmm? No...I'm ok...I...nevermind." she replied to Hank as she continued to walk. Lately, he had been fairly distant with her and she wasn't sure what he was feeling, because her own thoughts and emotions had been in such turmoil.
"To tell you the truth, Barry, until Dr. Strange plucked me from my reality, I didn't KNOW my name. It wasn't until he placed me with the rest of the Watch that he identified my name as Norrin. It might not even be my real name, but for now it's all I have to go on. As far as the point of my origins? Your guess is as good as mine. The first thing that I can remember is waking up next to a large crater in the ground. There were burn marks on the ground encircling it. It looked as if something big had discharged an enormous amount of energy. There were dozens of other smaller craters near the place where I awoke. Upon my regaining consciousness, I felt a splitting pain in my head as I tried to recall anything about what brought me to this place. It was just a big void. It was like opening your eyes in the dark. There really is no point to it, because the view is the same. I couldn't remember no matter what I did. There was nothing besides fields for as far as I could see. Just fields, the craters, and my shining Silver board. I quickly became aware that there were no others that had my same appearance. I wandered into a sparsely populated area, and immediately people started to run from me. Those that didn't run started to throw things at me and threaten me. They called me a mutie and a freak. They told me to go back to the rock that I crawled out from underneath, and I became discouraged. I continued to walk past that small town and eventually ended up in New York. I started sleeping in the streets with the rest of the destitute and downtrodden. I befriended some people who had also been cast out by society. They called themselves the Morlocks and they took up residence beneath the streets. We all took care of each other, but still no one had any clues as to who I was. I had all but given up hope when I was appoached by Dr. Strange. Now I begin my search anew. With any luck, someone in one of these realities can shed some light as to who I am, and if not, then perhaps I might talk to Dr. Strange again. He seems to know more than he was letting on."
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
Hank continued to watch 'Toria from the corner of his eye as they walked. Despite what she said, there was definitely something troubling her but he was in two minds as to wether now was the right time to press the point however? Since he had recieved the Tallus from the Timebroker they hadn't had much of a chance to be alone, their few quiet hours at that run down hotel cut short by over zealous bounty hunters. Even when they had got back to the 'Office' things had taken a decidedly odd twist and they had ended up with Dr Strange and Uatu on the moon, learning everything they had been told the past few months was untrue - that they did have a reality to go back to. Deep within himself Hank wondered if that was the reason there still seemed to be a distance between them. 'Toria had taken the chance to revisit her home and reacquaint herself with her life there. Was she now questioning her relationship with him? Was there a place for him in her life on that world? Although his outward demeanour remained unchanged, Hank felt his stomach turn over and he tried to bury the thought that he might be losing her and grasp on any thought that might keep his attention from venturing down that train of thought once more.


As he burst through the stand of trees into the clearing beyond Hank skidded to a halt sending up a cloud of dust, twigs and fallen leaves, barely avoiding a large mass of webs which stretched between the trees on either side of his position. Moving carefully he skirted the edge of the sticky mass, ducking low to avoid being caught in the snare. The scene beyond was almost enough to cause him further pause. The entire clearing was a network of crisscrossed silke stretching in every direction into the near darkness, but this was not the cause of Hank's surprise. Amidst the tangled lines two figures darted to and fro across the clearing, the movement of each so fluid and intuitive that neither seemed able to gain an advantage. Hank recognised the blue and red blur that was Spider Man immediately, but the other combatant seemed indistinct, as though they possessed a natural camouflage in the dim moonlight filtering through the canopy above.

Never one to stand on the sidelines for long Hank threw himself headlong into the fray, flipping and twisting through weblines with a grace and precision surpassing that of an olympic gymnast. He headed not for where the battle was but for where it was headed. So engrossed in his contest with Spider Man was the creature that it did not see Hank barrelling towards it until it was too late. Three hundred plus pounds of muscle and bone moving at close to fourty miles per hour ploughed into the startled creature driving it headlong into the ground. Hank snarled as he struggled to pin the stunned but still writhing creature down. Even close up it was hard to make out any details in the dim light, the creatures erratic movements preventing anything but the most cursory inspection. One thing of which Hank was certain were the powerful clawed fingers which raked his shoulders and upper arms as they searched for a hold on his throat. "A little help here.." he called into the darkness.

Hank's request was answered almost immediately, as several strands of webbing shot out from above him, pinning the struggling creature's arms to his sides and clamping his legs together. Hank loosened his grip and stepped back tenderly rubbing his torn shoulders, and allowing Spider Man to complete his task. "Now, let's see what we can see." said Spiderman as he dropped to the ground, in the process dragging the creature upright by means of another webline. As it twisted in the air, the pair approached it carefully unsure of what other abilities it may have.

The creature seemed to have resigned itself to capture, it's struggling having subsided now that it realised it could not break the webbing which encased it. It looked at them with the haunted eyes of a hunter trapped, unused to being the prey and helpless. It was definitely humanoid, although certain features seemed charactures of the human norm. The creature's deep sunken eyes watched Hank and Spider Man closely as the pair approached. "Plssss.. Pleassse. Releassse Me. Or I ssshall die...." The words seemed unnatural to the creature, as if it was using them for the first time. It looked up at them pleadingly "Pleassse!"


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