Shiva’s Eye, Northern Indakistan
“It’s a glow box?” Krall said as she crouched down to look at the white prism on the table.
“It’s something called a Cosmic Cube,” Warstar watched it, the box seeming to move as if it were alive. “The Eye of Agamotto tells me that a guy called Red Skull once used it centuries ago and it can reshape reality. So no touching?”
“But isn’t this what we want?” asked Naila scratching her head. “This cube could set the world right. The Iron Army could be no more.”
“You could happily pick that up and wipe billions of people from existence?” Daniel asked her. “The Supreme Commander, all his generals, all the grunts, you could pick it up and wish them all to be gone forever and still sleep at night?”
Naila paused. “I hadn’t thought of it like that.”
“That is a weapon, just like the Infinity Gems that Thanos was after.”
“Who?” Kushtrim asked between bites of his apple.
“Large purple alien with a prune face. The point is this thing is dangerous. In the wrong hands, stark, even the right hands this thing could make everything better and worse at the same time.”
-STUPID INSIPID CRETIN-
“Oh I was wondering when I would hear from you,” Daniel said looking in Dhanny’s eye sockets.
-TOO WEAK, TOO AFRAID TO USE POWER AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. WEAK INSUFFERABLE MAGGOT!-
Daniel Warstar picked up the cube and grabbed Dhanny by the collar. “Um Daniel, you’re h…”
“Quiet!” Daniel snapped as he gazed deep into the hollows of the skull. “Maybe I use the cube to end you Dormie, you want that? Erase you from existence. Or better still make you suffer like everyone you’ve ever met? You want that? WELL? DO YOU?”
The cube crackled and glowed causing Daniel to stop. He dropped the cube back onto the table and left Dhanny go. “I’m so sorry…”
Portland Iron Hall, Maine
Jessica Mongoose pulled down Daria Ngyuen’s ill fitting uniform. “Do you ever eat? You’ll give a girl a complex.”
Daria muttered a response from her gag that was barely understandable and completely full of insults as she lay hogtied in the bottom of her wardrobe. She strained against the cable ties to no avail.
“How do I look?’ Jessica asked looking in the mirror where the skirt bunched where it shouldn’t. “Just needs to fool them long enough to make them look stupider than they are. Now, I’m going to turn the cameras back on so maybe you’ll get out of this alive but of late, your Supreme Commander has been a bit nutcagey. Bye Daria, don’t get up.”
And with that she strode confidentially out of the office towards the hanger bay.
Fremont Island, Salt Lake City, Utah
-You have nine Hunter units, twenty standard Iron Army units and one Iron Sentinel in the nano-array-
Darius smiled as he looked at his growing army. “Good. How many more can it handle?”
-Checking parameters…six more units with system working at peak efficiency. After that…-
“Well I best start building a second nano-array. You can run two simultaneously Kimberlyn?”
-Searching…and please stop calling me that. Theoretically up to four nano-arrays could be run from this unit with thirty slaves per array without damaging or compromising this unit-
“One hundred and twenty,” Darius mused. “Possibly enough, but essentially they are all cannon fodder and distractions so I can get in close and kill him myself.”
-Chances of that a…-
“Oh be quiet! Now where in this forsaken land will I find the parts for a nano-array?”
Ferrum, Lab 7D, Brooklyn Heights
Jack panted like he’d just run a marathon as the guards face dripped off his knuckles. Looking on in stunned horror were Fisk, Warren and Prince.
“Where am I?”
“Ferrum,” whispered Fisk.
Jack thumped his head like he was trying to squash a cockroach crawling inside his skull. “Who are you?”
“Desmond Fisk,” Fisk stepped forward. “It was my plan to bring you backkk!” Jack’s hand lashed out and grabbed the former head of Ferrum by his Adam’s apple.
“You took my wife from me,” Jack hissed, twisting the flesh in his hand and tearing Fisk’s throat out. Desmond gasped for air through the gaping hole as he fell to the ground.
“Now calm down,” pleaded Imck Prince as he fumbled for something to use as a weapon. Dr Warren lunged for the door only to be clotheslined by Jack’s massive arm, a sickening crack as his head met the reinforced concrete floor.
“I was with my family!” Jack roared as he cleared obstacles between him and Prince.
“No, no you weren’t. You were dead. You were sewn together and left to rot in a tank. We brought you back to life, we saved you Jack.”
Jack grabbed the cowering scientist by the ears. “Where ever I was, I was happy. I was with my family. It was nice. But now, now I’m here in this ugly, horrible place. It’s like hell! And you brought me back!”
“Please don’t hurt me!”
Jack stopped and looked Imck Prince in the eye. “Hurt you? I’m not going to hurt you. I’M GOING TO PUNISH YOU!”
Avengers Base, under New York’s Central Park
“That was bonza!” Samantha said patting her already swelled belly.
“I believe that’s Australian for good, yes?” Vision queried as he packed up the plates from the evening meal.
“When’s Jessica back?” asked Hawkeye. “I’m itching for a rematch.”
Jason elbowed his teammate “I’ll go a few rounds with you.”
“Stark no! You don’t spar fair. Besides if I have a choice between Jessica Mongoose and you, she wins every single time!”
Jason pretended to be hurt and shuffled over to Samantha who gave him a hug “Aww my poor baby.”
“Shall we discuss the mission to remove the New York Iron Hall?” Vision asked.
“Always work, work, work with you,” Hawkeye complained. “Makes me miss Distain…almost.”
“What is that rude insect doing?” Jason asked.
“No idea. Vision?”
“There has been no contact from Darius Stane nor any alerts or bulletins since he was last spotted in Nova Scotia several months ago,” Vision replied. “Despite his rudeness and inflammatory remarks, he was an effective weapon.”
“Why don’t you try to find him and apologise?” suggested Samantha. “If you all miss him so much.”
“I would rather rub crushed glass in my starkhole!” Jessica stated as she entered the room, dropping a datapad onto the table. “Blueprints for the NYC Iron Hall. We’ve probably got a two hour window to do things if we’re going to do something. And since we’re all assembled…”
Iron Army Hall of Patriots
General Falcon Helfitta stood on the steps of the building dedicated to the battles, warriors and generals who had served the Supreme Commander. Part shrine, part memorial, all propaganda. Falcon held a copy of The Bronze in his hands, a subversive document issued on paper and spread around the city. The headline read "Who is the new Daredevil?
Up the stairs came Dolph Stevenson, the head of Ferrum, his once blonde crew cut was showing signs of grey at the edges.
“Are you ever going to get that ugly thing fixed?” Falcon asked pointing to the scar on Dolph’s face caused by Jack Payden raking glass down it nearly a year ago.
“What do you want Falcon?” Dolph snapped ignoring the jibe. “I have things to do.”
“I was wondering if you’d considered my idea.”
“The ridiculous one of fake killing the Supreme Commander in an effort to make New Latveria drop its guard? No, not all. It’s like a child thought it up.”
“So you have thought about it,” Falcon smiled. “Have you seen this?”
“I don’t read rubbish,” Dolph hissed as his datapad hummed. “Stark!”
“Trouble?” Falcon asked. Dolph scowled and quickly ran down the stairs to his waiting hovercar.
To be continued...