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Chapter Two: Black as Night
The arm around her shoulder didn’t go unnoticed by Paige; she wasn’t apposed to Vance’s arm being draped around her shoulder. That along almost made the young mutant want to scream at herself, she was married…not just married but happily married to lovely man who was probably not entertaining any kind of feelings for anyone of the opposite sex and her she was thinking the man next to her was not half bad looking and made for good company. “If we weren’t on a mission right now ah’d make a well placed kick t’ yuh’re ass.” Paige informed Vance, though the treat was empty and her tone was playful. At times it was nice to do a bit of flirting, especially since she hadn’t gotten any kind of romantic attention from anyone since being ripped from her reality, I mean even Tessa had gotten a few ‘looks’ from Sam.

“Claws? Do ah even want t’ know?” Paige’s voice trembled just a bit as she took in all of what Vance had said, this Logan sounded dangerous which was a very unsettling thing for the blond mutant to think about. “This might be a silly question t’ y’all, but ah’m wondering do any of yuh know the identities of other vampires in the city?” Her question hung in the silence that had engulfed their group, all lost in their own thoughts most likely it wasn’t uncommon for each of them to fall into thinking about other thing when they were given the opportunity and Paige almost wondered what it might be that Hank and ‘Toria were both thinking of as they walked, but that question would most likely go unanswered forever.
At Sage’s request, Wong carefully turned the pages of the Darkhold, all the way to the end of the book, where upon he pulled a piece of parchment. He returned the ancient book to the Atlantean spell and sat the newly produced piece of parchment along side it. Looking down at Tessa who was seated beside him, Wong’s eyes were filled with hope. In a whisper of a voice, the Asian man reiterated the spell he had invoked earlier, bringing the nearby candle light back up to full strength. The mystically powered tapers burned brightly now, bathing Tessa’s work area in an arcane yellow light. Reassuringly, Wong placed his hand upon the woman’s shoulder, “This is as much of the translation as we have. It is exactly as I have been using it for months now. The Montesi Formula has proven devastating to any vampiric being that hears it. If you can help to translate the spell fully, it is my hope that it will be far more destructive.” Thinking for a moment upon the woman’s second request, Wong looked about at the devastated ruin that was once Dr. Strange’s library. “I’m afraid that the vile beasts left little of Master Strange’s library intact, although there are a few tomes secreted away in a little pocket dimension upstairs. I am not sure how much help they would be to you, as they are not linguistic books per se, but I could try to retrieve them if you would like.”

From across the room, Dan looked up at Spidey, who clung to the ceiling deep within the shadows that Wong’s magical candle light could not quite reach. In answer to the Spider’s question, Dan smiled, “He was just the most loved friendly neighborhood super hero New York could have ever hoped for. The man was a legend actually. He had been doing the web slinging hero thing longer than most of us. He had become a legend actually: a real symbol for New York. And that was why Logan made a point to kill him. The easiest way to crush a people is to crush their hopes. With the cities greatest champion dead, the people are more frightened than ever. Somehow they find little solace in us, a group of night stalkers that are almost as scarey as the vampires themselves, not that that matters much to us. As long as we do our job, the people stay safe, and we sleep better come dawn.”

As Norrin and Barry sped along atop the Surfer’s chrome-covered board, they casually discussed the amazing speed at which they were traveling, and the nature of Norrin’s amnesia. As they zoomed north, the Surfer looked back over his shoulder to make sure Rogue and Blade were not lagging too far behind. He became a little worried when he looked back to find that they were no where in sight. He didn’t think he had been going that fast, but with the power of his board beneath his feet, he couldn’t be sure. His head spun all around as he looked for his lost teammate and her intimidating companion. Just when he thought he would have to turn back to find them, they appeared from nowhere right beside the speeding alien. With a glint in her eye Rogue laughed, “Don’t worry, I was just testing the limits of these powers.” On an adjoining invisible disc of his own, looking slightly less perturbed than he had previously, Blade nodded his head north. “Keep on this heading. We’ll be there in no time at this pace.”

A couple of miles behind the speeding alien and his three counterparts, Vance looked at Paige and grinned. Playfully he responded, “And if we weren’t on a mission right now, I just might let you kick my ass. Thank god for the mission, eh?” They walked along in silence for a few minutes: each of them lost to their thoughts and inner turmoil. At the lead Frank whispered, “Keep your eyes open. The shadows have eyes. But worse than that, they have fangs, so no daydreaming. And dammit Vance, stop your insufferable flirting! This is serious.” Removing his arm from Husk’s shoulder, he grinned sheepishly at her. Under his breath so only Paige could hear, he replied in a decidedly sarcastic tone, “Yes, dad.” They walked in silence after that, up until Paige inquired about the specific identities of New York’s vampire population. Knowing that Frank wouldn’t waste time answering such questions, Vance knew that it would be up to him to sate the girl’s curiosities. “As long as we have been doing this, I’m sure we haven’t met all of them, but I have had the unfortunate opportunity to run across quite a few of this city’s bloodthirsty brood. Logan took out most of the X-Men first. He picked and chose amongst them, outright killing some, and turning the rest to his demonic side. McCoy, Storm and Archangel are some of the nastier of the bunch. After taking care of business at home, he sent his legions out into the city to wreak havoc on a larger scale. Most of the city’s heros have either died or been turned, but it is so hard to keep track of who is who these days. Besides, it would take me all night to list them all.” Vance looked away, hoping to avoid the question any further. He didn’t want the others to see the emotions that were playing across his face. The young warrior had lost many a good friend to the demons of the city, and it was hard for him to talk about. The night his teammates, the New Warriors, had been attacked was the worst day of his life, and the thought of them being turned into vampires still haunted him. But it did more than haunt him. It drove him to succeed in spite of everything. It drove him to finish the mission he and the rest of the Punishers had made their own.
From Sinister's Diary

"What I find incredible is that throughout all these years, no one has questioned the good Dr. Essex and his lovely daughter's presence in their lives. If Piotr knew the truth behind Illyana's death he would most likely become unhinged. Perish the thought...although, Illyana did come to me willingly and most beguilingly as well.
However, since that little liasion I have taken steps to ensure that my darling Victoria shall never know the womanly pains that burden the fairer sex. Should she ever stray from my side, I am safe in knowing that she will never create a child of her own. However, should she want one I would be willing to help her in this process. A child of two such powerful mutants would be unstoppable. How could I refuse those soul searching brown eyes? I am anxiously awaiting the day she fully matures into the woman I see behind the teenager she looks to be."


"I can't be pregnant. I mean, this just is not the right time!" Victoria rationalized to herself, deep within her mind. She had to seek out a place where Hank wouldn't hear her thoughts, and blessedly enough, the Phoenix was stoic and said nothing.
"Is there ever a good time? Seriously Victoria! You know it could happen. After Atlantis, after all Scott did for you, it changed things within you. Hank showed you the test results. How can you even question it? You've done the math, you're trying to put your finger on the mood swings?'s the obvious answer."
But was it an answer she was ready for? Victoria wasn't sure. Looking over at Hank, she smiled softly and continued to listen as Vance talked. Not saying anything. Her mind was more on what was going on with her.
"But you should tell him. I mean, if there's a remote chance you are, he should know."
"But not in the middle of this! I mean, remember how everyone coddled Marie. Could you imagine that? I'd pull my hair out. Besides, it's only a "Chance" doesn't mean I am."
"A chance is still a chance..."
Victoria bit down on her bottom lip as the inner battle raged within her. As distant as Hank had been lately, if she told him this, what would it do? Would he move further away? And if she found out she wasn't...would he think it was only a ploy for his attentions again? She was entirely too confused right now for her own good. And with everything else going on, it wasn't like this was a good time for her to have a heart to heart with Hank, or even a girl talk with Tessa.
Victoria felt very much like she was standing at a crossroads in her life. Either way she turned, she wasn't sure she was going to like the consequences. Trying to get her mind off of it, she looked over at Hank again.
"What's on your mind Green? You've been uncharacteristically silent."
Tessa glanced sidelong at Wong, “If it is too much of a chore to find the books that are still in safekeeping you don’t have to worry about retrieving them, I have enough information with the translated portions and my own data to begin attempting a translation.” She read through the translated part of the Montesi formula a few times, committing it to memory and study the syntax of it, “If I can take the information from this portion and utilize it for my own translation it should make the project a shade simpler.” She compared the new information to the text in front of her, picking out what had been translated very quickly and beginning to compare sentence structure and words to other portions of the text.

It was taxing even for her own genius brain, but she felt useful and she appreciated the chance to prove herself to this group of individuals, she also could not overlook the light of hope that she saw in the Asian mans expression and eyes, the Punishers could use this information if the Watch wasn’t fully successful in their eradication of these creatures.

Repeating the translated passage in both her native tongue and English she imitated the intonation of Wong almost perfectly, continuing to work on the ancient spell, typing out sentence, realizing she had gotten some part of it incorrect and then erasing it once again and starting from scratch. At point she felt like she had gotten in over her head, but Tessa knew that if she persisted in the end she would be successful, she’d only ever had a handful of failures and she wasn’t allowing this to be one of them, even if it did drain her both mentally and physically to piece the translated text together and finish the rest of the translation.
“It’s a shame that the library was destroyed, I’m sure there were many inventive and exciting volumes upon these shelves, things I would have loved to look through if they were still intact.” She commented, and then looked up at Dan.
“At least you’ve realized that it’s no use to search for the prestige and welcoming awe of the masses, I respect that in this group. In many ways it makes you more focused, more efficient.” Her gaze drifted back to her work as she continued to speak, “I had a powerful standing in society once, I’m not entirely certain I would welcome that situation again, it comes with the added knowledge that there will be pressure for you to perform as others expect you to.”
Feeling free for the first time since gaining her powers, Rogue let loose, hoping that her traveling partner wasn't getting nervous. It also dawned on her that she was doing this without using 100% of her concentration. After ending up side by side with the silver one, she started to think about the Master. IF this was anyhting like the Wolverine that she knew, he would be hard to beat. She started to get nervous about the battle that would soon ensue. Trying to beat the black cloud that began to hover in her brain, she hung back for just a minute and gathered her thoughts. "Hang on tight buddy", she said to Blade. "We're going for a ride." With that thought, she attempted to match Norrin's speed.
"Easy there, girl. Don't kill yourself or your passenger trying to keep up. If you need me to slow down, I will." Norrin shouted to the young woman whom had become one of his traveling partners. He hoped she could hear him, because he didn't want them to become injured right as they were going into the belly of the beast. If we are to be sucessful, we are going to need someone of her power. We can't afford to lose her and the knowledge of her companion due to a race of sorts. Something tells me we're going to need every bit of manpower that we have. Everyone, including Victoria, seemed to cringe at the mention of the name of the Vampire lord, and SHE doesn't cringe at ANYTHING!
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
Paige let out an honest to goodness giggle, “Oh yeah, thank god for the mission…ah’m pretty sure this little southern girl could beat yuh up.” She replied her tone playful and for the first time she wasn’t feeling extremely down or morose on this mission. As Frank scolded Vance like a small child Paige had to cover her mouth and smother the fit of laughter that threatened to surface as Vance just had to make his sarcastic commented, “Yeah yuh flirt, pay attention to the mission.” She mock-scolded her hands placed on her hips as she tried to do her best impression of her mother when she used to scold Josh and her used to get into all sorts of trouble. As Vance went into explaining some of the known superheroes that know had a set of fangs Paige almost wondered if she’d run into anyone she knew, had any of Gen-X been turned? Did Gen-X even exist and had she been apart of it? Paige let those thoughts circle through her mind, trying to fight off the nagging urge to ask if she was in this reality and what had happened to this reality’s version of her. Finding it to be a morbid question that didn’t need to be asked, after all nobody wants to know they’ve died…and she didn’t know if she could handle being told that this reality had a vampire Paige. So for the young blond she felt she was better off not knowing, after all she’d just gotten her moods up she didn’t need something morbid to worry her a bring her back into her morose mood.

Paige noticed a change in Vance as she walked along side him, and somehow she felt as if she was responsible for his sudden silence. “Vance ah’m sorry for askin’ about that…mah stupid curiosity gets the better of me.” Paige apologized, running a hand through her blond hair as she now walked along scuffing her boots on the ground like a two year old.
Hank looked over at 'Toria. "Hmm? Sorry just thinking. I didn't think I would be heading 'home' so soon." he said softly, moving closer so his arm brushed against her's as they walked side by side. "I suppose that and Vance's short roundup of what's what here has stirred up some old memories." he continued in the same hushed tone. "I was worried before that we might lose more people on this trip. Now i'm equally concerned I am going to have to kill people I knew.. know as friends."

He paused to consider his words and looked away along the road ahead into the darkness beyond. Even while engaged in a conversation, his senses were working almost autonomously and he overheard Vance's caustic remark, unintended eavesdropping being one of the unfortunate side effects of his extended mutation. "We have been relatively fortunate to date that we haven't faced this situation more often. I know things might have gone badly with Wade, but I trusted your instincts there and was proved correct. But here..." he paused again. "I just have a bad feeling that if we do succeed here, we are going to come out of this one with more than a scratch or two to show for it."

He watched 'Toria closely as she mulled over what he had said, then raising his voice enough so that the others might hear he asked. "What about the institute? Xavier's? What should we expect defence wise?"
Catching the tail end of Norrin's advice, Rogue decided that she had better slow down. Getting there faster meant being there without a team of support behind you. Slowing back down to an even pace, she steadily took control over both her and her flying companions' discs. She looked at Blade and smiled while biting her lip. "Hope I didn't scare ya too much. Ya doin ok over there?" To show her sincerity she created a handle on his disc that resembled the handle bars on a scooter. "just hold on, we'll be there soon."
From Sinister's Diary...
"So it has come down to this, has it? They will not give her up now. They know too much. Piotr has found out about my own hand in his beloved sister's death. It seems while I was away for so long doing my dubious work for Master Nur, the Rasputin's took it upon themselves to adopt my Victoria. How precious.
However, she's still mine and will always be. Just seeing her again after so many long years makes me proud. She'll following in my carefully laid footsteps. She's attending University and studying genetics. I am impressed by the people she surrounds herself with. Franklin Richards, who is the most powerful mutant on the planet, Peter Parker...interesting fellow. He moons after Victoria yet I can tell he harbors some deep secret within him that will someday be the cataclysm of his love for her.
Franklin interests me. It's clear to me that Victoria has some affections for him. And that girl...what was her name....oh yes, Belle. From my watching, it seems Franklin is more interested in her than Victoria. How sad for my girl.
Ah, and how could I ever forget the elusive thief? Gambit haunts my every step now. And now, since he has seen Victoria...hers as well. I shall have to take every measure to safeguard my unknowing "daughter" from his madness."


"Hank..." Victoria started until he spoke up about the institute. She had personally never been there. Xavier had a school in her reality as well, along with an orphanage and it wasn't a nice place.
She paused for a moment then looked ahead at everyone as they walked along.
"I have something I need to tell you....but...nows not a good time. You've got alot on your mind, and I do too. Just matter what happens, I love you."
Pushing a windswept strand of white hair out of her eyes, she looked at him and smiled softly.
Hank paused and looked at her, silent for a few moments. "I know." he said simply, smiling easily, more easily it seemed to himself than he had for many weeks. "I do to." He said with a low chuckle then continued knowing he should clarify. "Love you I mean." He wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "As soon as we get through this mission we will take time out for us. ok?" he thought towards her.
Rogue enjoyed the feel of the wind on her face and the freedom at her fingertips. It was hard to remember a time when she felt this free. She actually smiled, and laughed out loud. It might have been a bit inappropriate in the given situation, but she didn’t care. She felt amazing. It was kind of like her first session with Professor Xavier.


“The voices in my head are so loud, I can’t hardly hear myself think.,” she admitted to the kind bald man. “They don’t stop, they just keep haunting me.” Pulling her knees into her chest and wrapping her arms around her legs, she just sobbed. “I can feel their pain. I can hear their screaming. I can feel them die.”

“I can help you, if you’ll let me,” his strong voice replied. “I trust you, can you trust me?” Reaching a hand out, he laid it on the top of her head. In that simple connection he entered her mind. The voices were overwhelming, it was a wonder this poor girl could think. Within seconds Professor Xavier built a brick wall in her mind to silence the screaming.

“How’d you do that?”, she lifted her head up.

“It’s a trick that telepaths use to block out interference. You have to start of slow, one brick at a time. All you have to do is concentrate. Imagine the brick, and imagine placing it. If you practice and focus, and concentrate, soon you will have a whole wall. Can you do that?”

Looking at the man and seeing the kindness in his eyes, she paused. Choking tears back she slowly nodded and whispered, “I’ll try.”


One brick at a time, she thought. One brick at a time
Watching over the dark-haired woman’s shoulder, Wong looked on as the mutant with the computer mind began to work in earnest upon the translation. The bald man answered, “I am sure that given enough time, I could locate some of the books I spoke of. But if you think that you can work without them, I would feel more comfortable down here with the rest of you.” Just then, as if to justify the hesitation in the Asian man’s voice, a scream called out from the stygian night, and was quickly silenced. Clinging to the ceiling above, Spider-man’s head jerked toward the female voice, and his spider sense began to tingle in response. Below him, standing at the window, Dan pulled the heavy black curtains aside to see what the moonlight outside might reveal. A heavy amount of perspiration began to form upon his brow as he turned back to warn the others, “I don’t think you’ll have time to go hunting for lost books my friend. It’s time to get our game faces on, for innocent blood has been spilled.” As his companions looked on, they could see the effect those words had upon Dan. The sweat that clung to his face soon gave way to blistering flesh. It looked as though the man was trying to spontaneously combust before their very eyes. But Wong did not make a move, which in turn gave Sage and Spider-man pause. They did not know what to think as they watched the leather clad Punisher’s skin and muscle melt away leaving nothing but raw bone. And then, as a finishing touch, the young man’s head combusted indeed, leaving a flaming skull sitting atop his shoulders. Dan Ketch was gone for now. In his place stood the Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider.

Unfazed by the spectacle, Wong gave his orders, “Sage, keep working. If things get nasty, I will be here.” Looking at the other two, he said, “You two get outside and buy the pretty lady the time she needs. And send whatever is out there back to hell while you are at it.” Not needing to be told twice, Ghost Rider busted out onto the street while Spider-man took the high road and exited from the second story window. As soon as he was out into the moonlight, Spider-man could see the source of the screams. A block away, looking very much like a pack of wandering hoodlums, a trio of vampires were making their way closer, leaving death and destruction in their wake. Spider-man watched as Ghost Rider pulled his flaming chain from around himself, and began to swing the links high above his head as he walked into the middle of the street, obviously intent on blocking the path of the advancing fiends.

Shaking the bad memories from his mind, Vance looked back at Hank as he asked about the mansion’s defenses. “Actually, if what we’ve heard is accurate, that’s where we might get lucky. We think that Xavier was able to destroy all of the Institute’s technological defenses before Logan killed him. So all we’ll be left with are the vampires. Lucky us, huh?” But any further flippant remarks from Vance were quickly stopped as he watched as his leader, the Punisher known as Castle, halt his progress. The hot-tempered man held his hand in the air signaling for the group to stop. Frank couldn’t know for sure how many of them were out there, but he was certain they were being tailed. And although the exact identity of their pursuers was a mystery, their intentions were not. Recognizing the look, Vance spoke up quickly, “We’ve got company. Be on your guard.” With the warning given, Vance and Frank unsheathed their weapons and began walking once more, not intending to give their followers an easy target. Not daring to keep his eyes in one place, Vance looked around as he quipped in Paige’s direction, “Not bad for a first date, eh?”

In a sort of back and forth race towards Westchester, Rogue and Norrin flew at an ever increasing pace. It was no surprise that Barry was enjoying the speed in its fullest. If he knew what kind of speed Norrin was truly capable of, it would probably blow the young speedsters mind. At first Blade did not mind the quick pace either. His enhanced senses worked just as well on the fly as they would have if he had been standing still. But as the quartet got closer to Westchester, his keen eyesight noticed more and more of the hell spawn lurking in the streets and shadows below. Realizing that the Xavier Institute was now, without a doubt, the source of the vampire explosion, Blade asked for Rogue and the Surfer to slow their pace, hoping to get a better look at their foe’s activities. As they slowed down for a better look, Blade asked Rogue, “Hey kid, do you think you could turn on the invisibility for all of us? It won’t keep us completely hidden from the vamps, but it couldn’t hurt.”
"I'd be more than happy to slow down, friend. I'm getting an overwhelming feeling of pure unadulterated evil from up ahead, and I don't like it." Norrin grew more and more apprehensive the closer they got to Westchester. There seems to be more to this than just a WEIRD feeling. It's as if something in my mind is alerting me to the kind of power that lies at the end of our path. Unbeknownst to Norrin, his normally white vacant eyes filled with a black swirling pool of stars. He went into a near trance state as he informed his other three companions of the danger that he sensed ahead. "I can feel multiple beings up ahead who have power that rival that of the vampire that we encountered back at Dr. Strange's house. Hold on, folks. I have a feeling that this is going to get mighty ugly."
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
Tessa drug her gaze away from Dan Ketch/Ghost Rider and Spider-Man as they exited the building, wondering what bedlam had called their guards away but turning her mind back to her task quickly.
“I have portions of it roughly translated. None of it seems perfectly translated though, and I would appreciate a second opinion.” She remarked to Wong, repositioning one of the many holograms to show the Asian man what she had been able to type out, “That third paragraph in particular, the conjugation of the tense doesn’t seem to fit properly with the already translated portions of the spell. I need your expert eye though since I am not familiar with spells and incantations.” Tessa highlighted the paragraph and enlarged the text size for easier viewing, “It could be I’ve used too much of the modern Atlantean text that I know and have not properly used the portion of translated text to create the words of the more archaic form of Atlantean.” Tessa pondered, and then concentrated on the first sentence, “This one here is merely disjointed in its prose, I think I concentrated on the wrong tense when I translated it.” She then highlighted the first paragraph for Wong’s viewing, inwardly the young twenty-three year old was irritated with her less than stellar performance in translating the text, though she also felt like she was gaining headway, if only a little bit.

“The second portion between paragraph one and paragraph three is the last sentence of the text, but I doesn’t seem to mesh with the rest of the translation.” Tessa said as she turned her attention back to the book and began to work on other areas, waiting for Wong’s opinion of her attempt thus far. To keep her mood of irritation from overwhelming her work she was slowing constructing a block in her brain, where she could quell those feelings for the time being. She didn’t enjoy having to do it, but she’d become accustomed to the routine, making herself less human and more like a computer, past experiences had taught her that emotions cloud the working process of her mind and were better locked away and blocked off when she needed to complete a task. Tessa would deconstruct the locks and blocks when she felt it was safe, but until that point she preferred to remain aloof to such rudimentary things.
From Sinister's Diary
"There are times I often wonder what she thinks. When she's alone at night with nothing but the voice of the Phoenix in her mind. Does that comfort her? I would find it unnerving. But then again, I do find that she has access to that sort of power unnerving as well. Victoria has yet to fully understand her potential, but soon, time is slowly reaching the point where I will reveal all to my lovely girl."

"Oh, you better plan on it McCoy" Victoria shot back mentally before her thoughts were interrupted by being brought back to reality. Everything that was weighing on her mind would have to wait until this was all over. Until she could get Hank alone and tell him what she was so worried about...
But now...her eyes began to carefully chronical the situation around them.
Without really thinking about it, Victoria began to reach out and try to read the minds of what or whom was lurking in the shadows. Nothing deep, just picking at the thoughts that played at the forefronts of their minds. Hopefully enough to find out what they were and what they wanted. Although she had a pretty good idea already.
“Ah’ve had better.” Paige replied with a devilish smirk gracing her features, the young woman still wasn’t sure how she felt about Vance’s flirting. A small part of her was attracted to him, and she couldn’t understand what it was about him but he brought out a lighthearted side to her that she hadn’t felt since leaving her reality. But another part of her was disgusted with the fact that she could so easily flirt with another man when she knew Jono was alive and well back in her reality. Balling her fist in frustration the blond swore to focus on the task, vowing to deal with these emotions later.

Unsure as to weather or not she should husk just yet Paige shifted her weight from foot to foot, searching the blackness in front of them for any motion that she might be able to see. Wishing very much that she had some kind of firearm on her, just to make her feel a little less empty handed. “Vance, want t’ lend a beautiful woman a firearm?” Paige questioned the young Punisher, while batting her big blue eyes at him.
Rogue looked at Blade. "In all honesty, I'm not really sure. I haven't had the most time to delve into the extent of my powers since the incident. I know the basics. I could give it a try, but I am not sure what the outcome would be. It's probably better that I don't. What do you think?"
Peter had gone back to his usual secluded self after Dan had informed him of this world's Spider-Man, and the horrible fate he had met. Their Spider-Man seemed to have everything he didn't, everything he had ever wished for. He wasn't hunted or hated or having to cling to the shadows to survive. He was loved. He was seen as a hero. It was a feeling he had longed to experience, even though he knew he never would. Their Spider-Man had the ideal life, the life he had longed for, and it was taken from him. As he lay motionless on the ceiling the anger inside him once again began to grow. And then he heard the scream.
His head bolted towards the scream's direction and his spider sense quickly followed suit. He was quick to follow the now enflamed Dan Ketch exiting the second story window of the building and taking to the skies. Such height would allow him to give the Punisher arieal support as well as allow him to rush back to Tessa should she be in any serious trouble. During the few short moments it took him to join the Punisher outside he had managed to slip his father's rosary out of his belt and around his neck. He knew it would be helpful when dealing with the trio of demons he saw up ahead. They were close. Whether they were just passing by or coming directly for them he was still unsure of, but the fact that they were as close as they were caused the spider to be on high alert. He put all lingering thoughts aside, all outside distractions were ignored, letting his spider sense guide him as he prepared do what he had been doing for the past four years, fight like hell.
While waiting for an answer from Blade, Rogue began to clear hr mind. Keeping the picture of the flying discs in her mind, she began to create a wall in her mind to block out the voices threatening to disrupt her concentration. Running through a gamut of ideas in her mind, she began to visualize a shield. In her mind she saw the sheild expand until it covered the whole group. In her mind it worked. Crossing her fingers for luck, Rogue closed her eyes as she slowed to an almost stop. Taking a deep breath, she whispered, "Here goes nothing."
Norrin and the rest of the advanced scouting group soared at a steady pace high above the ground. He looked over at the other pair of adventurers that were flying tandem with him and said, "Hey, we're almost like a little super team all of our own, aren't we?"

"We know why you have come here, herald, and we are here to stop you from bringing your master here. We don't intend to become the next course to satisfy his mighty hunger. We will ask you to please vacate Earth and seek sustenance for Galactus somewhere else. We do not wish you any harm, but if you insist on calling him, then you leave the Fantastic Four with no options"




"We should call ourselves...the Fantastic Four!" Or then again, maybe not. It seems kind of hokey, and Rogue's traveling partner doesn't seem like the type that has a sense of humor about him. So serious. Norrin looked over at his travelling companions and saw Rogue's eyes close as if in extreme concentration. "Are you allright, Rouge?" Norrin asked as he noticed the young woman straining to use more of her power than she was used to. "You look like you are struggling to stay afloat. If you are getting tired, then there is plenty of room on my board for the two of you. I'm not sure that I could support everbody's weight, but I don't seem to be having any kind of problem with supporting Barry and myself, so I assume more wouldn't hurt."
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
Already having a good idea as to what the scout team would find ahead of them, Norrin’s words of warning held little surprise for Blade. But he knew the weight of the words could not be more true, so he reiterated them for the sake of Rogue and Barry, “Ugly doesn’t even begin to explain it. I am quite sure that the horrors we will face this night will be unspeakable.” The imposing Punisher paused and watched Rogue’s eyes close in concentration as she attempted to raise an invisible barrier between her team and the monsters that lurked below. It was a more intense use of her powers than she was used to, but for a second, it looked to her teammates as if it was working. A sort of white glow began to envelop them from the feet up, but faded instantly as the young girl’s focus was broken by howls from the harsh shadows that played between the trees. Realizing they had been spotted, Blade spat, “Too late for hide and seek. They’ve seen us. Evasive action and get ready to fight!” He had no intention of waiting around in the open air to be picked off like an easy meal. Blade abandoned the invisible disc that he had been standing upon and dove into the greenery below. Rogue, Norrin and Barry watched as the intense Punisher vanished beneath the treetops, obviously taking the fight to the enemy.

Back at the brownstone of the late Dr. Strange, Sage toiled selflessly, trying her best to reverse engineer the modern Atlantean that she was familiar with into the much more ancient version that she needed to complete the Montesi Formula. By Wong’s estimation the young woman had been at it for less than fifteen minutes and had seemingly translated three or four key elements correctly. She had done in almost no time what he had been unable to do in the last year. But by Tessa’s estimation she was failing. Any other translation would have been completed within mere moments with the aid of the woman’s computer mind, but the ancient Atlantean was proving to be annoyingly slow going. With his hand on her shoulder Wong said, “You seem to be on the correct path, child. The parts that you have completed seem to fit with the tone of the existing text. Please, try to . . .” But his reassuring tone was cut short by the shattering of one of the room’s windows. The vampire gang was getting closer to the Sanctorum.

Outside, Spider-man and Ghost Rider were doing everything they could to keep the vampires at bay. But their unholy abilities combined with their other physical powers did not make it easy. Two of them possessed incredible strength, even for vampires, that allowed them to easily swat Spider-man away upon his first attempt to charge them. Ghost Rider wasn’t fairing much better as the third vampire attempted to separate the demon’s flaming skull from his shoulders. As the battle neared the brownstone and the window shattered, Sage allowing herself a moment’s hesitation from her work to examine the scene beyond the now broken glass. At first she could only see the back of a very large man who looked as though he was of Native America decent. The almost giant vampire had a large thunderbird tattooed onto his back, which was obscuring much of the window, due to being flung there by Spider-man. But as he moved away, closing in on the web slinger, Tessa could make out the other two vampires more clearly as they relentlessly and viciously attacked Ghost Rider in the middle of the street. It was usually not easy to surprise Sage, but when she saw a vampiric version of Paige grappling with the Spirit of Vengeance outside the window, with fresh blood running down her adamantium form, she couldn’t help but shudder. The other vampire was large and covered in grey, blood matted fur. Tessa watched as he halted his attack long enough to lick the rest of his last kill off his fingertips. There was something familiar about him that Sage wouldn’t allow herself to realize until he turned toward the window. He smiled broadly, snarling in the back of his throat loud enough for Tessa to hear from across the street. As the night wind swept his long stained fur out of his face, a familiar set of yellow eyes glowed brightly from beneath his heavy brow. But unlike the Hank McCoy she knew, this man was obviously pure evil through and through. And he was coming toward her.

At the side of the Watch’s own Hank McCoy, Victoria felt as though she was being immersed in a vat of ice water as the nearby vampire’s thoughts flowed easily into her mind. The evil things that consumed their beings were not guarded in the least. Not being a stranger to twisted thoughts, Victoria quickly raised her psychic shields, wanting no part in the plans that she found floating in the hell spawn’s minds. She could tell that there were vampires all around, just waiting for the perfect moment to strike. In a whisper, Victoria said simply, “They’re everywhere.”

Realizing the imminent danger of the situation, Vance flipped an extra bandolier to Paige, in which she found multiple wooden stakes, a pistol and quite a few extra clips of vampire-ready ammunition. He gave the cute blonde a quick glance and warned, “It’s about to get ugly; you better suit up.” And then with an awful wail from the shadows all around them, a dozen vampires leapt forward, barreling down upon the hunters as if they were late for dinner.
Tessa couldn’t contain the second shutter she felt course through her at the sight of the vampiric McCoy, quickly making sure she could reach the firearm she had been given earlier in the evening, she went back to her work. Determined to finish the translation now that she had been assured she was on the correct path, and pushing the fact that McCoy was moving in her general direction to the back of her mind she started a new part of the text, typing things in, analyzing their tone then deleting them once again.
“Wong, tell me what you know of those two vampires.” Tessa said simply, closing one of the information documents she no longer needed to open a new one, “I know what my versions and the Watch’s versions are like but I want to know what the vampire versions are like.” Tessa continued to type furiously, continuing in the same methodical way she had been using, but quickening her pace by a hair.
“Know thy enemy.” She murmured more to herself than to her present company.

Sage didn’t want to get caught by the vampires mid translation without any knowledge of them, though essentially there were three people those vampires had to get through before they reached the cyberpath; she still didn’t feel she could risk taking her time with the translation and remaining clueless to their adversaries abilities. Confident that she was on solid ground with the language she finished another sentence towards the end of the text, deleting words and working back through to replace them with different translated words.
“Niles, do not let yourself get sidetracked, you are finally gaining headway in this project.” She told herself mentally, her fingers moving over the holographic keyboard at a frightening speed, taking brief pauses so Tessa could evaluate her written words.

Glancing through the window once again she picked up the firearm and made sure it was loaded, mentally going through how to use that particular form of gun. Once she had assured herself that it was in fact load she quickly saved her work to the specs database and her own mind.
“I would assume that I am not a target in general, since I have not come in contact with any vampire save the Red Death so they would not know my exact powers and talents.” Tessa stated, glancing at Wong briefly, “We are merely unlucky enough to be in the general vicinity of this attack.”
Norrin lowered himself and his traveling partner to the ground. Barry will have a much better fighting chance if he's able to move around and use his superspeed. On my board, he would just be a sitting duck. "Barry, maybe you should bolt back to the others and inform them that we've got trouble on our hands." Still not sure of his role in this team, Norrin attempted to mentally prepare himself for anything. He felt an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety at the thought of what was in store for them just lurking beyond the shadows. "How many do you suppose we are dealing with?" Norrin asked Blade as he braced himself for an oncoming horde of the undead. I feel as if my insides were on fire. It's like something were boiling inside me, and it's just mere moments away from erupting out of my body. Both of Norrin's hands began to glow with a bright blue aura of light. "Wh...What's happening?!"
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
Hank looked around their darkened surroundings. The light breeze brought the scents of multiple bodies to him, each more acrid than the last. These vampire's seemed to have no love for bodily hygiene. Luckily their group were also shrouded in darkness so perhaps the enemy were wary of attacking until they were sure of their advantage. This might explain why they had held off so long. Perhaps he could use this to their advantage.

Hank's eyes followed his other senses as he searched for the largest congregation of vampires surrounding them. "Perhaps I can use the darkness against them." he thought to 'Toria. "See if you can contact the others and get them to follow my lead."

Without waiting for a response Hank bellowed into the darkness surrounding them. "I am taking these cattle to Logan." he snarled, hoping to confuse them into believing he was this realities McCoy. "As long as this reality's McCoy isn't out there.." he thought allowing a small doubt to enter his mind despite the fact his senses could not detect a scent similar to his own nearby. "Go to the city and bring more.! These are mine and Logan's!"

As he shouted his orders into the darkness, Hank braced himself, ready to pounce in whatever direction they may be attacked from. "Here's hoping their eyesight isn't much better than normal humans..." he thought glancing towards 'Toria and the others once more.

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