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Chapter Three: The Salvation of Paradise
A crowd was quickly gathering outside the infirmary, curious as to who or what caused the crash that they had just heard. Pietro, Zarrko and Porjyst were among them, but their progress was seriously impeeded by the inquisitive throng of on-lookers. After what felt to Pietro like twenty lifetimes strung end to end of wading through the masses, he and his companions finally made it to the front of the pack to see that Thing already had the situation firmly in hand. They emerged from the pack just in time to hear Iron Fist's offer of assistance, and to see the grin appear on Ben Grimm's face.

The orange stone that made up the behemoth's face shifted as his broad smile revealed itself, making Pietro laugh to himself. The speedster knew that smile well, and knew that it often went hand in hand with a sound beating. Which was something that Logan certainly had coming to him if his actions in the last hour were any indication. Grimm answered Danny without taking his eyes off of Logan, "Nah, that's alright pal, I think I got this one handled."
It could feel the answers it sought deep within Hogun's mind, ripe for the plucking. But getting close enough to taste the fruits of the Asgardian's memories was like trying to find your way to a tree placed in the center of a maze. It wasn't impossible, but it would take time. Time the cloak wasn't sure it had. If it got to far from it's teammates it would have to spend way to much energy teleporting back, even with the reserves it was slowly siphoning from it's host. But if it went back now, it would have gained nothing and wasted a great deal of time. No. it had to continue on. Press whatever small advantage it could find.

It searched just a shade harder as it clutched on a little tighter, thirsting for information. It was difficult work, prying into the mind of the divine whilst trying to stay hidden whilst trying to comtain it own overwhelming joy at the deliciousness of such brillant senses.
“I never said we weren’t here to...” Victoria started as Pietro walked off. She shook her head and kicked at the ground slightly with the tip of her boot. Pietro Maximoff had always gotten under her skin and apparently, no matter the reality, always would.

Victoria gave concerned look as Abbey began showing them the information she had found. This wasn’t helping matters at all. Whether written by the Asgardians or Dr. Strange, she felt that familiar feeling of dread curl up in the pit of her stomach.

But then, just like the proverbial light bulb coming on, she paused and placed a pale fingertip to her lips. Her mind began to analyze the situation and part of her secretly wished she had a pen, a pad of paper, and a huge furry green mutant to help her figure this one out. But Hank wasn’t here...or maybe he was but it wasn’t her “Hank.”

Somewhere inside her a soft male laugh issued forth in her mind. “Still thinking of him? You’re nothing more than a memory to him. I can see him now, all cuddled up to the blonde goddess.” It was taking her some time to get used to this new voice.
“Oh do shut up!” she said aloud and the blushed just a bit.
“Sorry, it’s all part of being a telepath, too many voices whirling around all at once in my head.” she tried to smile but it came off as a haphazard attempt.
“Ok, back to the task at, who’s up for getting this war underway and getting home soon?” she pulled her cloak around her just a bit tighter, hoping that would keep her misgivings at bay.
"Logan's got me all riled up, now. I'm going to act out of character here, but I'm pretty ready to hit stuff."

Wow, I sound kind of like Hulk. At least I didn't say "Iron fist SMASH!"

Danny chuckled internally. "Do you think we can get Pietro and the others to cooperate with us? That also begs the question of, Can we cooperate with each other?" Danny shot a small scowl in the direction of Logan who was in the middle of being manhandled by Thing.

Same old Ben, no matter what reality. Never as happy as when he's putting an idiot in his place!
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
Logan watched as his 'teammates' quickly recovered, taking note of Danny's agility and apparent knowledge of martial arts as well as examining Paige as her 'atire' changed to a form more suitable for defense against his force waves. Though outwardly he appeared unphased by their recovery, mentally he cursed the failing result. Once again, he had failed to take into account his ignorance of his companions and their abilities. Again, he had acted rashly, falsely assuming the people and surroundings he was immersed in were similiar to his own, acting as such. After he had awoken he mentally resolved to cast aside such assumptions, to treat this world and the people in it with an analytical eye and open mind, and not thirty seconds after making such a resolution, he went and broke it. Pride and arogance had overcome logic and reason, as it often did when someone angered him, and under their rash guidance he lashed out.
He regretted his previous actions, for now the situation he found himself in was even less desirable than before, and quickly growing worse. It wasn't fighting the two that bothered him, for even though their talents were unknown to him, he knew that they were no Sinister, no Nathaniel Essex, and because of that he knew he would emerge victorious should a conflict arise from his rash action. No, what bothered him was the time such a battle would consume. Even if he ended the confrontation quickly, too much time would be stripped from him, time that would be better spent finding the Kya the silver haired speedster was so adament on hiding, leaving this world, and returning home. Time was of great value to him, something that could not be idly wasted, and a fight would do just that, waste time.
His eyes shifted to an obviously enraged Iron Fist, who looked eager to repay Logan for the surprise attack, and he bet that Paige shared Danny's feelings. But they never got the chance, for any possible counter attack from the two was halted by a new arrival whose booming rock stature seemed to command the two into silence. Again, Logan mentally cursed. He had assumed that he had been carried to the far end of their base when he was out, and that he would have had more time before the inhabitants would hear him and gather, but once again, he had been wrong.
His stance had not changed since his attack, standing firm and seemingly nonchalant though inside he was analyzing the situation and his options. If the newcomer's appearance was any indication to his strength, the man looked as if he shared a category with Colosus and the Juggernaut. Needless to say, such a possibility was not helping Logan's situation. He had beaten the two before, crippling Marko by impaling his knee caps and using the metal Russian as a battering ram, but never under these conditions. He was corned within the medical room, surrounded by two pissed off 'teammates' and one orange giant, not to mention the growing crowd. It would take him some time to conjur a force wave great enough to not only hurt the behemoth, but to send him flying as well, and his surroudings did not allow him the time neccessary for such an attack. Plus, if the man really was Juggernaut caliber, force waves would be all but useless against him. Casting a tk force great enough to grant him control of the man's body would also take time, and constantly blocking potential blows with his tk shield would be a strain and eventually wear him out. He was sure he could out manuever the rock formed giant, but he knew he wouldn't be able to dodge him forever. Plus, he knew that if he showed any indication of attempting to attack or defend against the towering boulder, the others would quickly step in to aid him.
He was greatly outnumbered, potentially overpowered, and cornered into a room that put great hinderance on his mobility. If he fought, he would loose. He hated to admit defeat, hated to even consider it an outcome, and being his world's most powerful telekentic, he rarely had to. But he knew that even if he was able to take some of them, it was doubtful he could take them all, especially since he was ignorant to their powers and ways to counter them. And what's worse is that again, it would waste time, time that was precious to him, and he could not afford waste time recovering from a confrontation. Could not afford being delayed any longer from completing this mission and returning home to his company... and his brother.
Thomas. The sudden image of his young sibling flooded his mind, and though his face hid it, his eyes portrayed a great sense of sadness and loneliness. He had been seperated from him when he was young, torn from his arms, and stripped of the last person on earth that he cared for, that he loved. Eventually he found his brother, punished those responsible for their seperation, and swore to never be taken from him again. Years later, Strange came with his offer to aid in this mission, and he had acepted with the hope of gaining greater knowledge and power. He left his brother at home, refusing to allow him to tag alone, as he always did if a buisness trip posed a great deal of danger. He would not risk his brother's safety.
Yet up until now, he had never thought of his own safety. The assumption that he was unbeatable had been bored into his mind as his power on his world rose. Yet now, being faced with these odds, for the first time since he met Jean, met Sinister, he felt vulnerable. The possibility of being kept from Thomas, of being hurt or even killed, struck him like a bolt of lightning. On his world he had an arua of being unbeatable, invincible, and it radiated from him infinitely. But here, on this world, with so many uncertainties, of being faced with the threat that stood before him, the arua suddenly deserted him, abandoning him to face the situation alone as his parents had abandoned him years ago, and with it, it took a piece of the towering confidence that drove him to gain such power and defy such odds.
He had said it before, told Parker it more than once, "He who thinks about defeat has already lost", and he knew it to be true. Without his two angered teammates enacting their revenge, without the orange giant delivering any thunderous blows, without any of the other inhabitants aiding in the fight against him, without a single punch being given or attack being made, the battle between them had been decided.
And he lost.
He hadn't realized it before, but during his train of thought his vision had been down cast, gazing at the floor on which he stood. He looked up at the rock that stood before him, meeting his stare with his own, and while his stance was still one that was unphased and defiant to those around him, his eyes told a different story, betraying the confidence his body potrayed with the doubt and uncertainty that resided within him. He did not want to loose his brother, not again, but he knew that, like he did with everyone, he had not made himself the most favorable of people, and he wondered how far these people were willing to show their contempt for him.
For the first time since this mission started, he realized that his fate rested soley within his 'teammates' hands. He realized that he had no knowledge of how to get home, or how to even contact the man who sent them here. If they abandoned him he would have no way to return home, he would be left here for the rest of his natural life, and there was no garuntee that Doctor Strange would not do the same. He hated it, hated to rely on others, hated to feel powerless, helpless, but he knew he would never forgive himself if he left his brother, if he abandoned Thomas. He had to find a way to ensure that such a possibility would not occur, would not come to pass. He had to make sure that he returned to his brother, and he knew that to make that happen, he had to somehow rectify the situation his arogance had gotten him into. He had to make sure that his 'teammates' that hated him did not abandon him as his parents had before, and if that meant appeasing them by offering himself as a punching bag for their hatred, then so be it. He would do anything to get what he desired, even surrender his pride, and what he desired now more than ever, was to be reunited with his brother.
The small narrowing of his eyes ceased, and the invisible telekentic barrier that hovered before him vanished. He made himself defenseless, open for attack, yet hid this direct forfeit by maintaining his nonchalant appearance and stature.
"I do not want to go for a walk just as I did not want them," he directed his eyes towards Danny and Paige, "to continuously impose their morals upon me. What I want is to find Kya, ensure that she puts an end to the false dieties that rule your world, and go home."
"Ben, if you could please put him down, I don't think we have anything more to worry about from him." Boy, I don't know if it was the sight of Ben or something else, but something about Logan just changed dramatically. I can sense a definite change in his aura and he seems to have gotten slightly more docile. I don't know if I should be afraid of a trick or not, but I think he's being sincere. It would be a first since we got here, but I think we will be seeing a more cooperative side of him from now on.

Danny powered down his fists and adopted a more friendly stance, though he could switch back at any moment. I think he's just starting to feel what we're all feeling...home sickness. We agreed to help Strange with this task, but I don't think any of us were truly prepared for what we had to leave behind. I wonder what it is that Logan left? His sudden shift in attitude suggests that it must be something pretty big.
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
Victoria walked away from where Abbey was standing. She needed a few moments to try to clear her head. Try to get the thoughts that were swirling around in there to calm down.
"It's gone. I've single handedly doomed this reality just by coming here. " She braced both hands against the nearest wall and looked down at the floor. Her white hair formed a curtian around her face so that no one could see the few tears that fell from her deep brown eyes, nor could they see the look of imminent sadness that filled her features.


"You never know until you try." She said to herself as she felt a very large hand place itself on her shoulder. Even though she didn't need to, she glanced over her shoulder and saw emerald green fur covering that hand.
"Penny for your thoughts, Dr." Hank smiled at her as he pushed his glasses up on his nose. Victoria couldn't help but smile at him.
"Nothing really Green. Sometimes it's just hard keeping all these thoughts sorted. You know, trying to keep from doing the things the voices in my head tell me to do." She tried to laugh and shrug it off. Hank's massive arms wrapped around her and Victoria just let herself melt into his embrace, her eyes fluttering closed.
"You're never alone Toria. I'm here." Leaning her head against his chest, she let out a little sigh.
"I know I'm ever alone Hank. That whole Phoenix thing..." she looked over her shoulder at him and managed a grin, he didn't.
"That's not what I meant and you know it." with a kiss to her cheek he broke off the embrace and turned her to face him.
"You've got enough on you without having someone to turn to. Come now, let's go act like we haven't got a care in the world... and depants Sam in the process. What do you say... are you game?" there was a twinkle of mischief in Hank's eyes that Victoria hadn't seen in a long time. She smiled and grabbed his hand.
"Only if we can put Icy Hot in Kyle's, sure, I'm up for it." with a grin of absolute innocence, Victoria pulled Hank down the hallway.

The thought brought a temporary smile to Victoria face.
"You're never alone..." If Hank had only known Sinister used to say the same thing to her, he probably would have never said it.
"But it's true, my love. You are never alone. Even now, as the Phoenix has abandoned you, just as your great love Dr. McCoy has. I am still here. Even when your Father left you, I remain. Come to me Victoria. Let me heal your soul, let me make you my Queen."
Victoria spun around quickly. Her cloak and hair whirling as she did. She looked around as if trying to see where the voice came from. The whole scene probably seemed odd to anyone watching.
"Hank?..." Victoria voice was soft, yet questioning. She knew Hank wasn't behind this...She could barely feel Hank anymore. Closing her eyes for a moment, she held back the tears that threatened to spill. Why did it always come to this? Everyone she had ever managed to come to love had distanced themselves from her. She paused for a moment, damning herself for thinking about things like this right now. But the Phoenix, with it's burning comfort was gone. Hank...had barely spoken to her in over a month before she left for this mission...and Sinister? Part of Victoria longed for him. She couldn't understand it and it made her almost physical ill to think about. But deep inside there was a yearning for the sight of him that set her blood boiling.
"Scott..." the image of Scott Summers floated through her mind and she about dropped to her knees. Now wasn't the time to think about Scott. How just his very touch had sent her to she had fought all the feelings she had for him, telling herself it was just Sinister's programming. Then Scott was gone... and it left her heart with an ache she could not explain.
Victoria couldn't think straight. Too much was going through her mind at rates too fast for her to process. Images of people long gone from her life, the yearning in her soul for Hank, Scott, Sinister, the Phoenix.
She bit down on her lip so hard it started bleeding but she didn't care. She couldn't let her feelings overwhelm her right now. She had unleashed a cosmic power on this reality and it's downfall was squarely on her shoulders.
"Cosmic....COSMIC!" Her mind screamed. She knew of one being who would have seen what had happened, who had KNOWN all along that sending her here was going to do this.
"UATU!!!!!" "UATU!" she called out both mentally and verbally.
Victoria's cloak swirled as she rounded the room like a caged panther.
"You bastard! You knew this is what would happen and you sent me here anyway! I know you can hear me! Stephen may not, but by all that holy you DOOMED us before you even sent us here! You worthless son of a...."
Her eyes held an anger rarely seen by those in her group. Her hands were balled into fists as she raised her voice to the heavens, hoping The Watcher heard every single word.

(OOC-Sing it with me folks..."I'm back in the saddle again!")
Hogun rode hard, like the man on a mission that he was. He seemed deadset in getting where ever it was he was heading, which was good for the cloak, allowing it to continue to spiderweb into the Asgardian's consciousness undetected. It was still....challenging, however. Bits and peices could be pulled from here and there, but it wasn't enough. It wouldn't be enough until until it could get to the heart of the man's mind. Deep within where all secrets lay.

It wasn't something the cloak particularly enjoyed, forcing itself into the mind of others, but such a evil seemed warranted in this particular situation. As did the light seeping of energies the cloak was undertaking. If Hogun discovered it's presence it would need to teleport away in a hurry, and it wanted to make sure it have enough juice for the journey. Regardless, such things would all be for nought unless it cou....


The mind of a god was structured unlike any other the cloak had experienced. It was something more complex and subtle that that of a mere human, and thus much much harder to navigate....but it had arrived. If such an experience could be put into visual terms, the cloak had just walked into the main corridor of a grand castle. Stone walls and heavy wooden doors decorating the structure as torches and candles illuminated the surroundings in a bright light glow that left no comfortable or familiar shadows in sight.

Before it stood an overly large double door, crafted from thick redish wood with heavy iron hinges and supports. It was it's destination. It also seemed quite inpenatrible. But the mental world didn't have the same rules as the physical world, and even a air tight seal could be bypassed if one knew what they were doing. And the cloak had learned long ago that unlike so many others, it didn't have much of a problem slipping under blocks and barricades whether they be physical...or mental.

It became a practiced whisper. A thought within a though. "Kya" permeated it's being as it lay there, suspended in place before it's destination. It became that which it wanted to be. Answers to questions. A thought about Kya. It could never force it's way through the mind of a god. But if it became something that should be locked away with other things....perhaps the mind would let it through of it's own accord.
It seemed like eons had passed to him, as if an enternity had come and gone while he waited for the seemingly inevitable beating that the thing before him was about to unleash. In truth, mere seconds had barely passed after his last words had escaped his lips. It wasn't that he was anxious about what was to come. The remarkable speed and efficiency of his healing factor allowed him to survive and quickly recover from the worst any being had to offer. He had endured pain before, and he would endure this. Nor did he fear the growing crowd whose hostilities were all directed towards him. Throughout his entire life he had never encountered a being who was capable of invoking fear withing him, save for one. And despite the power and growing anger of the individuals withing the gathering mob, he knew that none of them even began to compare with that devil. No, it wasn't anxiety or fear that boiled inside him, but impatience.
While he stood and waited for them to enact their revenge for his reckless actions, time was slipping away; time that would be better directed at ending this mission and returning to his home, and his brother. He had wasted enough of it already and could ill afford to squander any more of it on this foolish squabble.
He looked to the corner of his eyes, directing his gaze at Danny as he encouraged Ben to quickly administer the beating so they could continue. He looked back at the Thing, preparing to say something in response, but he never even got the chance to open his mouth.
Words that were not his own were bellowed into the air, as if their very purpose was to reach the far ends of the cosmos. But it wasn't the massive volume of the voice that drew him, it was the pain that radiated within it. The words were full of a sadness, a despair that seemed so powerful that it threatened to engulf whomever they possessed. Yet for each ounce of suffering that came forth there seemed to be an equally great anger that matched it, fueled it, and drove it so that its rage may be know to all. He had identified the voice immediately, for it was one he had been watching the moment he became aware of its presence. It was that of Victoria's. She was in an unbearable amount of distress, and if it had anything to do with demon her appearance mirrored, he had to be there to stop it. Any uncertainties that still lingered within the telekentic had instantly vanished and replaced with a stern determination that flowed into his core.
"Well now, you can either indulge your petty vengenance and foolishly waste more time on me, or you can let me pass so we can tend to whatever is ailing Ms. Victoria."
He had already begun moving forward with increasing stride to pass the Thing and push through the crowd before the words had left his lips. He knew that doing so gave his would be agressor a clear advantage, allowing Ben to hit him while his back was turned, but such a detail did not hold any merit in Logan's mind. His only present concern was finding Ms. Essex and making sure that the taint of the devil had not followed them here.
Of coarse Uatu heard every rage filled word that echoed from Victoria’s lips. For it was his charge that he be all seeing and all hearing at all times. And while The Watcher could not have predicted the Phoenix Force’s rash departure from its host, the cosmic being could certainly watch as it raced across the country side. Since leaving Victoria, it had retreated into itself in a desperate attempt at self preservation. It was still weak from the Sorcerer’s spell, and Uatu surmised that its current coarse of action was being taken to find a more willing and submissive host. It had taken the shape of a wandering firefly, scouring the planet for the life force that it had sensed earlier, yet could not pinpoint. Uatu knew that existence itself was lucky; for Loki had unwittingly hidden this would be host so well that even an entity as powerful as the Phoenix force could not find it.

The cosmic powered insect zipped along, trying in vain to find what it sought. It felt a nearby source of power and changed direction to investigate, but found it to be nothing more than two riders on winged horseback, heading toward the western horizon. Finding them altogether unsuitable for its needs, it disappeared into a copse of trees below, leaving Hogun and Yarsug talking amongst themselves. They were speaking of the disturbance they had broken up back in Landsbystyv, and agreed that Loki didn’t need to know they had failed to apprehend the culprits. Instead they turned their attention to their destination. And it was then, as Hogun’s train of thought shifted, that the Cloak, secreted away within the Asgardian’s mind, had his answer. As quickly as the dark being could, it retreated from Hogun’s mind and teleported itself back to the village.

Franki had been quiet for a while. She was busy taking the situation in, trying her best to make sense of it all. She didn’t have much experience with alternate realities, so she was basically keeping her mouth shut and her eyes open. That was until the Cloak returned and wasted no time in draping itself across her shoulders. She had learned in her short time in contact with the strange being that it did not usually act with this much haste, so its unceremonious bonding caught her off guard. But when its thoughts began streaming into her mind, she realized the reason behind its actions. And as soon as she had the details of what the Cloak was trying to impart to her straight in her own mind, she shared the information with her team, and then with Quicksilver and his fellows as well. The news was such that it put all other concerns to the side for the time being. Everyone in the camp realized that The Cloak had discovered information that could end this mission for the Watch, and set this reality back onto its proper coarse.

As it turned out, Quicksilver’s band of rebels, known as Separatists, knew just about as much concerning Kya’s whereabouts as the members of the Watch did. Pietro and the others had been searching for the girl for months. After her birth the silver haired mutant did everything he could to protect the girl, and her mother Wanda, from Asgardian law. But even the fastest man alive couldn’t outrun the gods. Eventually they caught up to him, taking his sister and her newborn baby away, and leaving Pietro for dead. If it hadn’t been for the fortuitous intervention of Stephen Strange, he would have died for sure. Ever since, Quicksilver had been helping the Separatists, all the while trying to find his sister and niece. But Loki had hidden them too well. Nothing they tried had been able to unlock the mystery, until the Watch had arrived. Cloak had gotten close enough, and was persistent enough to discover that Kya was being held in one of the Realms’ reconditioning centers in Arizona. The mystery had finally been unlocked, and the Watch had been the key.

And now, after a day of preparation, the Watch found themselves face to face with an amazing sight. Before them stood what was the very last of Earth’s super heroes. Their numbers were not many, but their roster was impressive. This was the toughest the Earth ever had to offer, which likely explained why they were still standing after all they had seen in the last fifteen years. To their left stood Pietro and a blonde woman who had been introduced as Warbird. They stood in front of a veritable army of human Separatists. Directly in front of the Watch stood three men. One of which was instantly recognizable to them all as Stephen Strange, though he was much more battle weary than any of them had ever seen him before. All of his usual magical trappings had been stripped from him and his eyes were clouded white with blindness. But his confidence seemed unaffected, which may have been a result of the two men at his side. Wolverine, of the long dead X-Men, and Captain America stood at the ready, prepared for anything. And as if that was not enough, to the team’s right stood Benjamin J. Grimm, introduced the day before as The Thing, and his two comrades, the android being known as Vision and the jade giant known simply as the Hulk. This trio was to act as back-up for the mission ahead. And oddly enough that made the impossible task ahead seem somehow attainable.

In a hurry as usual, Pietro glanced around the chamber and surveyed the troops. Everything looked as it should. Raising his voice to the gathered heroes, he said, “It’s not going to get any better than this. Lets get this war over with...” But his rallying call was cut short by the calm voice of Dr. Strange, “No, there is one yet to join us.” And with that, he opened a portal before them and from it stepped a noble looking man dressed in magenta chain-mail adorned with a blue-steel helm and a white cape. Balder the Brave’s appearance seemed to ruffle some of the heroes, Wolverine in particular, but they all held their tongues. They knew that if their plan was to work, they would need all the help they could get. And even though he realized he wasn't exactly a welcome guest here, Balder did his best to remain calm. He knew that history would likely burn him for his actions, but right was right, and this needed to be done. Turning to the Watch, Midgard’s newest recruits in its war upon the realm, Balder asked, “Arst thou prepared for the battle that thy now face?”
A day had passed, yet Victoria's anger at the Watcher had not quelled in the least. Though she kept it to herself since her outburst, she knew that once they returned...IF they returned...from this mission that she and Tall, Silent and Mysterious were going to have a few words, even if she was the one who did all of the talking.
At the entrance of Balder the Brave, Victoria was pulled from her thoughts and watched the Asgardian for the span of a few minutes. Saying nothing as he spoke with the others she knew the situation in this reality had to be grim if an Asgardian was joining the "wrong" side.
The cloak had listened through borrowed ears to the plan of action that they were to be set upon. It had decided to stay upon Franki for the ensuing conflict, as she was one of the seemingly only two of his compainions without some sort of innate offensive ability. The other was the one called Abbey, but at the moment Franki was still the most familiar and thus, the one it trusted more. It had spent most of the previous day informing the young lady of the abilites and powers it could grant her, and let her practice using them in concert with it, not wanting any harm to come to a teammate if it could be prevented. And also wanting to help end this conflict in any way it could.

And what a conflict it was shapping up to be. An assault on an Asgardian installment. A rescue mission where the one to be saved was but an infant. And more god-like beings than it cared to count. The brightness of these people was astounding, and reawoke the hunger it had been trying so hard to sedate. If it was lucky perhaps, sometime during this battle Franki would allow him to feast for a moment or two. Drawing an enemy into it's folds would not only nourish it, but remove a threat from the field. Yes. It would definately need to ask if such an action would be allowed.
Was she prepared for a battle, yes, she was. Perhaps not the one that the Watch was about to embark on, but Franki was no stranger to seeing crime and bloodshed. It was the life she lived, the existence she kept up; she grew up in a city of War; war of a different kind, but still war.

They wouldn’t be fighting the drug dealers, murderers and rapists that she was familiar with, but Franki had mentally prepared herself for this battle. She felt as prepared as she could be, and she could fall back on the assistance of The Cloak if she was losing ground using her own combat abilities. Franki was not afraid of whatever they were headed into, and if she had been she would have simply fed off that fear to make herself stronger than before; a trait learned from years in Gotham.

“I don’t think you can fully prepare for anything.” Franki commented under her breath in response to the question posed to the Watch, it was the first thing she had said audibly since the day before.
Paige was surprised with herself, as she stood with her teammates anxiously awaiting the minute they were to head out she felt no fear, only a the deep calm of knowing that she was doing the right thing by being here. Paige could remember the last words Jono had said to her before she’d walked back through the portal to be met with a new mission.

((“Love, you know your doing the right thing”))

Those words had been like a pinball in Paige’s brain the entire time she’d been back with the team after her down time. Was she doing the right thing? By risking her life wasn’t she risking never seeing her family again, and by doing so wasn’t she risking the happiness of Jono and her family? Those questions would probably never cease to spin around Paige’s brain. But now wasn’t the time to be thinking this, right now she had a battle ahead of her. One which if she allowed herself to truly dwell on those questions she knew she would not longer feel the calm of thinking she was doing the right thing, this reality needed them….Kya needed them.

Upon hearing Balder’s question Paige’s resolve faltered for just a moment before she replied. “Ah’m as ready as ah’ll ever be.” Wringing her hands nervously Paige focused her nervous energy into that, anything that would keep her mind off of getting self-doubts floating through her mind was beneficial to her.
The cloak, which had been billowing softly, fell still at Balder's words. Now was not the time for petty indulgence, but rather for unrelenting focus. The cloak had sparcely seen battle, and never all out war, so it's feelings tended towards the "worrying" end of the spectrum. It wasn't concern for itself that troubled it's consciousness, at it could reform itself in time so long as a large enough shred remained, but rather it worried for it's companions.

Whether a person had powers or not was something that held little relevance at times like this. The cloak had borne witness to several powerful entities getting their hind sides kicked by the likes of Strange and Kale alike. So naturally it felt a measure of fear for each of the others about to ebark upon this endeavour. It knew what it was like to be robbed of life, and had even caught a glimpse of the other side. Because of this, it didn't like to see any living creature die, let alone one it liked.
Victoria finally spoke up as her teammates began to answer Balder. Her eyes were focused on the wall across from her.
"All I ask, is that if you come across a blonde chick on a winged horse...I get first crack at her." she looked up as she drew her Asgardian sword and smiled darkly.
Looking over at Paige, she arched an eyebrow, the malovelent grin had yet to disappear. "Hank's ex-girlfriend in some reality. You try competing with a Goddess."
Without missing a beat, she looked from Balder the Brave to Pietro.
"You boys ready to get this show on the road?" rolling the hilt of the sword in her hand, she dismissed the voice that echoed in her mind.
"Patience my dear, all will come to you in time." the seductive male voiced barely caused her to pause at this point. One voice had fled her, another had taken refuge within her. Nothing was a surprise to Victoria at this point.
Battle she understood, but being ignored did not sit well with Abbey. With what she read in the short time she had with the books, this character named Loki was someone she thought everyone could be on the lookout for. Listening to the group speak again she ran her hands down the length of her body making sure that her hidden holsters were strapped in and loaded. It was instinct anymore. Doing all of the mercenary espionage for the Hammer had her paranoid. Battle she could handle, and soon she would make her thoughts about this Loki person known.
Paige returned Victoria’s grin, for a brief moment it felt like the good ole’ times when the blond and the pale skinned woman weren’t the only ‘veterans’ on the team. At the mention of Hank the southern blond began to realize just how much she missed those first few missions as a reality hopper, when she’d been the new girl on the block and had believed that she was doing this to save her own reality. Now is was a bit harder to play superhero when she knew that her family and friends lives weren’t in danger and were actually going on like normal while she was trapped in the cave preparing for a battle she wasn’t sure she’d come back from. Oh how she missed just being the ‘teenager’ on the team, letting the ‘veterans’ make the decisions while she simply followed orders given to her. “Hey ‘Toria, yah know there’s no competition, yah’d beat this blond chick any day.” Paige gave her friend a small smile before getting back to the task at hand.

“Hate t’ bother yah boys, but Victoria’s right are we ready t’ get this show on the road?” The southerner was getting impatient standing in the cave waiting for this battle to begin.
Victoria smiled at Paige and shook her head.
"No, I don't think so. But I'd love to "beat" her. Just for old times sake."
She kicked her booted foot against the ground, her mind drifting to Hank again.
"Gods above I miss you, Green."


Victoria's head swam just a bit. Her eyes felt so heavy, she had to fight to open them. Slowly, the world came into focus. The harsh white light above her caused her to squint. Her voice sounded hollow as she called out for the one person she knew would be by her side.
Instantly she felt his big furry hand wrap around her own. Turning her head, she blinked several times to get her eyes to focus on his face.
"Am I dead?" she asked in all seriousness.
"Fortunately not, my dear doctor." he leaned down and kissed her pale forehead.
"Get some rest, I'll be right here." that was all she needed to hear. Her eyes closed and she drifted back into oblivion.


"I haven't thought about Atlantis in forever. God, how long ago was that? Yesterday? A year, twenty?" Jumping from reality to reality had taken it's toll on all of them. But most of all, Victoria hated not knowing how long she had been away. How long had it all been gone. It felt like she and Beast had been apart forever.
"Clear your mind. You'll do them no good like this." She told herself, still rolling the sword back and forth in her hand.

"I'm ready to get this over. I'm going home a different person. I need to talk to Strange." she said softly.
She looked around at the group assembled and wondered how many of them would make it out alive this time? Would she ever see Hank again?
A slightly shakey, but still well formed hand protruded from the folds of the cloak, giving the traditional thumbs up to indicate that it was ready for whatever was to be thrown at them. Secretly it wished that the battle could be avoided outright, though it knew that such a thing wasn't possible. How did the saying go? Freedom is never given? If these people were going to be free....if the cloak was going to help free these would have to fight. Or at least assist the others in battle. It could shunts foes here and there about the battlefield...confusing them. or better yet, absorb them into it's dark dimension where it could feed on thier life force.

That was provided of course, that thier enemies were the type that could be affected by such actions. A being like Hogun didn't seem the sort that would go quietly into the enternal night of the darkness, nor did he appear to be the kind that would become disoriented on a field of battle even if he were being bounced around. But alas, the cloak could only do the best it possibly could and hope that when the dust settled and the field was clear, that the side it had chosen to fight for had emerged victorious.
The Sorcerer Supreme of Earth stood before his amassed army, locked in concentration, his whole being focused on finding the beings that would oppose his cause. At one time this sentinel's position was held by Dr. Stephen Strange. But those days of honor and respectability were long gone. The Eye of Agamotto and deep red cape, the crimson color of which may as well have now been a result of the innocent blood its current wielder had spilt in his time as the realm's Security Master, represented fear and ill gotten power for the man who wore the magical talismans clasped around his shoulders. The gathered soldiers and unwilling dungeon inhabitants watched as the trickster god known as Loki peered into seeming nothingness. But he was most certainly looking at something, and judging by the evil sneer that curled his lips, he was pleased. At once he gathered a few scattered items that sat perched upon a nearby table and sprinted for the stairs that ascended directly to his lord and master's personal chambers. He had finally uncovered the answers that his brother, the mighty Lord Thor, had sought for some time. The Separatists were as good as vanquished.

Not far away, in the secret caves far below Landsbystyv, the gathered heroes were, after a seeming eternity of preparation, ready to embark on what would hopefully be their greatest victory. Explaining that his current condition would not allow him to transport all of them at the same time, Dr. Strange began to create portals, ushering the Separatist forces through, a few dozen at a time. The forces were split between four groups. Thing, Vision and the Hulk were the first to go, taking most of the human fighters with them. Captain America was the next to depart, with a small contingent of human soldiers in tow, each of them looking almost eager to fight alongside the legend. Quicksilver and Warbird were the next to leave, although they went alone. Strange explained that he, Balder and Wolverine would join Captain America just as soon as everyone had been transported to safety. Porjyst and Zarrko the Seer would remain, seeing to the Separatist civilian’s safety. This only left the Watch still to be sent forth. Looking over the group Dr. Strange said, "Even though I no longer wear the trappings of Sorcerer Supreme, I am not without power. And it was that power that allowed the man you know, my other-dimensional counterpart, to find me and alert me to your presence here in this reality. We have been fighting against the Asgardians for some time now, but I believe your participation will be the wild card that will grant our cause victory. Kya's survival has been foretold as one of the key elements in bringing an end to Thor's reign." And then with a slight shift in demeanor, the mystic lowered his voice, looked over the heroes once more and then imparted one last thing, "Because I may not have the chance to tell you all this later, you must know that we are eternally grateful. For all of mankind, I thank you." And then, out of nowhere, one final portal appeared and the blind man who was once Sorcerer Supreme of Earth ushered the Watch through.

None of the team knew what they would find on the other side of Strange's shimmering magenta portal. Some thought they would be dumped into the middle of a raging battle already in progress. Others felt they may find themselves surrounded by the shimmering spires of Asgard herself. But what they found at the end of the mystical passageway was not what any of them expected. They stood alone, just the nine of them, in the bitter cold of the desert night. They were about to conclude that they had been sent to this place alone, until they noticed a set of very fresh tracks that began at their exact position and trailed off toward the horizon. There was only one man, other than Barry, that could have laid those tracks that fast. With the barren earth beneath their feet, they looked out over the bleak landscape toward the footprint’s vanishing point and spotted a structure on the horizon . Quick to act as always, Barry took off in a flash before any of the others could even begin to form of a plan of action, and was back alongside his teammates almost as fast. "The place looks pretty crappy, but there is an old sign still hanging onto one of the fences up ahead. It says Hulkbuster Base Gamma-Beta, Arizona USA. That mean anything to anybody?”
It didn’t ring a bell to Paige, but she was sure with the vast differences amongst their group of heroes someone must know what that place was, and why they would be headed in that direction. Although she hated admitting she didn’t have any idea what the place was, she knew that by keeping silent she wouldn’t be of any help to the team. “Ah haven’t a clue.” Paige commented as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other, anxious about whatever might face them in this battle. Although the young girl had become somewhat of a powerhouse on the battlefield, she still got very nervous before a battle.

“All it means t’ me is that we’re in America.” Paige added, before moving her thoughts to doing a mental run down of all the husks that might come in handy in a battle against Asgardian warriors.
Victoria had turned her back for a mere moment before Barry came whizzing back with his report of what he had seen. Her long white hair whipped around her as she spun quickly.

“Did you say Hulkbuster base?” if anyone could have sensed her skin go a bit paler, then they definitely would have seen the reaction she had to Barry’s assessment.

Living in New York had its upside. In her reality it was the second largest base of operations for most of the caped and cowled bunch. She’d seen the Hulk a few times herself. And seen enough on the news to know what Hulkbusters were.
It also helped having a unique insight to someone who happened to be Gamma irradiated himself.
“Hank…’ Each day that passed she missed him more and more. It was like a part of her soul had been yanked away.
It was at that moment that the voice who had been filling her head of late decided to talk to her again.
“My sweet, why would you pine for that?” it asked her with a soothing yet sarcastic tone.
“Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answers?” She asked it challengingly.
“Just wait, when we get back, I’m talking to Strange. Whoever you are, whatever you are, don’t get comfortable in there. Just because the Phoenix went AWOL doesn’t mean my mind is a halfway house for displaced cosmic entities!”

Turning her attention back to the group, she swallowed hard and went about explaining what she knew of Hulk Busters to the group.

“…so, with all that said now… you guys ready to go? I’m anxious to get this over with.” She said over her shoulder, having already begun walking towards the abandoned base with a grim look of determination in her eyes.
The cloak was all to aware of who and what the Hulk was, as well as Hulkbusters, though on his world they had a different name for them. Pointless. Where it came from there was no stopping the Hulk, and the cloak doubted there ever would be. At best the 'Busters only served to slow it down. And if that's what they were here to do....try to stop the Hulk....the cloak was going to have to seriously consider asking to be reasigned.

It hovered noiselessly above the ground, formed into the shape of a man once more, following closely behind Victoria as she seemingly lead the way towards whatever their objective was. It wasn't until it's thoughts began to center on the unstoppable force of nature known as the Hulk that it began to wonder about the other forces of nature in the world. Back home, the Asgardians weren't the only gods known to walk the earth. There had been a few Olympians as well. Where were Hercules and Ares in the midsts of all this? Hermes and Apollo? Did they not exist in this world? Or had the Asgardians with the help of the Eye blocked them from the mortal realm?

It didn't matter really. Calling in another set of gods might only exchange one regime for another, and letting itself be distracted dwelling on such things would only leave it vulnerable to destruction. It had to stay focused on the task at hand. Of course if things did suddenly go sour, it wouldn't hesitate a moment to teleport the entire group a good half mile away.
Franki followed silently, mentally working herself up for whatever they were going to face. She didn’t have the luxury of being super-powered, Batgirl had to hope that she could get herself through this on wits and agility. It worked well enough for her in Gotham, but the evil in Gotham was the evil she knew; she didn’t know this evil.

These opponents were relative strangers, she didn’t have an edge. Not even the luxury to know how they fought, which she would have appreciated. Knowing how well your enemy moved was always a helpful bit of information.

She didn’t even have any of her gear to rely on; the only thing in her possession was still just the rope.
“Do we have a plan? You know, something to go on once we reach the building?” Franki questioned the rest of the team, “I know that we’re expecting the worst, but beyond that I don’t recall much of a discussion.” Her blue eyes were taking in her surroundings hungrily, watching for anything out of the ordinary.

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