Marvel - The Beginning: The Outstanding Runaways
ARC 1: TRIALS
PART 1 OF 3
Downtown Los Angeles
Wilder Industries - Duel Building Annex
His stealthy pace on the cushioned rug helped him slip past a few Night Watch guards. The shoes, extra padded on the bottom didn’t hurt either.
Making his way down the dimly lit hallways, Chase Stein, son of the infamous Mister Stein, runs up behind a beam that protrudes out the wall. Pressing his back up against it, Chase peaks out from behind it, scanning the hallway for any movement. His blue eyes searching for anything or anyone that could give him away. Nothing.
Satisfied, Chase slicks back golden yellow blond hair and wipes the sweat away from his forehead. He was nervous. So nervous in fact he almost wished he used the bathroom once more before he did this. He shouldn’t have eaten at ‘In N’ Out’. He should’ve listened to his dad and just ate a power bar and some coffee – stupid. Chase could feel his resolve waning. He needed to reassure himself and check everything once more, even if it was in the middle of the hallway.
Glancing down, Chase down a ‘pat-down’ check on himself. Wearing a fitted black vest he felt the lock picking supplies he had, top of his white shirt was unbuttoned and he loosened his black tie. Checking his pants pocket, Chase felt the objects he needed to have.
Lastly, he raises his right hand that’s encased in a weight metal glove. Its resembles to that of an armored glove from the Knights in the 16th Century – was purposeful; as was the small screen on the back hand and buttons that ran up the gauntlet covering his wrist.
He had everything he needed. He was good. Chase whispered it to himself. He knew what to do. He was the best.
Calming himself, he draws a deep breath, opens his blue eyes once more and proceeds down the hallway.
Proceeding along the ugly yellow carpeting under foot cushioning his footsteps, Chase looks to the back of his metal gloved hand. A small screen shows a 3D map of the building with a red dot of his location and a blue dot of his destination which says 700 feet closer. Glancing straight ahead, Chase sees the doors with various brass numbers on them. "Three seventeen." he mumbles to himself, turning left down a hallway.
Firming his face, Chase straightens his tie hastens his down the long corridor looking for the right suite number.
However, before he can get much further, the sound of the elevator arriving behind him is heard. Chase looks at the clock on the wall and sees it is 12:51pm. Chase quickly ducks behind a secretary’s desk outside an office suite. Squatting down, Chase feels the beads of sweat gather on his forehead. Carefully peaking over the mahogany desk, Chase blue eyes peers over the wood and between the decorative crystal paper weights to a door across the hall. The exact door he was looking for '317'
Then, Chase eyes shift to the four security men with flashlights, exiting the elevator and kicking down the office doors. Chase slowly squats back down and firms his face, he needed more time, but that didn’t matter now. Getting the job done was priority.
Taking a deep breath, Chase slowly raises up from behind the desk, not immediately notices by the four mystery men.
Quietly he walks out to the middle of the hallway, still unnoticed, and then holds out his metal gloved hand, palm facing outward as a smirk comes across his face.
Immediately all four men turn to him in unison and immediate reach for the guns.
Within seconds the metal glove on Chase hands, slides out plates metal up his arm, along his shoulder, covering his torso, then over his entire body increasing his height to 7 feet tall, only exposing his mouth and nose.
Where his eyes once were, now is replaced by two hollow lenses, which glow red.
"SHOOT'EM!" yells one of the men as the rest are hesitant.
"Bad idea." grunts Chase as he charges them men fast!
"WE NEED BACK UP!" yells one of the security men as the others shoot at him.
Bullets bounce off Chase suit as he clumsily staggers over to them and swats one of the shooters, throwing his body like a rag doll across the width of the lobby and smashing through a pane glass wall. Turning to the other three, Chase races after the men with the momentum of a freight train. Colliding into one gunman who just shoots at him, Chase sends him aback 30 feet right into the elevator door! One jumps on Chase back, shooting him point blank in the back of the head.
Chase jumps up, crushing the man between his back and the concrete ceiling! Landing on his feet, Chase grabs him and toss him aside before balling his metal fist and bashing the last gun man across the face, sending him bouncing off the wall.
Seconds is all it took. Chase deactivates the suit, the metal places sliding back into each other with abnormal ambiguity. Smoothing his golden blond hair back, Chase steps over the bloodied and battered gunman who lay amongst scattered debris.
“Don’t mess with Steins.” Huff Chase, turning aside from them to the Office Suite he needed to get to, 317.
As Chase turns the doorknob to the office, he’s taken off guard as enters and sees Nico Minoru, dressed in black jump suit standing on a desk, a painting clearly meant to be on the wall, now on the floor and a flashlight in her mouth with documents in her hand.
Chase eyes open wide as he slams the door behind him, throwing his hands up in the air.
“ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS!” Chase exclaims, "I WANTED TO USE MY NEW FEATURE ON THIS THINGAMAJIGG!" he says pointing to his metal glove.
Nico spits out her flashlight, "Not my fault your too slow.” She quips, slamming shut the safe door and spinning the rotating lock.
“Besides, this is a single effort trial." she says flirtatiously.
Chase narrows his eyes, “Single? So does that mean I have to stop you then?"
Rolling her eyes, Nico reaching down and picks up the painting, carefully placing it back on the wall. Seeing the painting positioned the way it was when she walked in, Nico hops off the desk and wags the rolled up paper to Chase, who stands by the door, stiff lipped and rather quiet.
"Stop me now, but I may make you ‘chase’ me for it though." she says sultrily.
Chase immediately blushes as he nods, "We-well ya...thats what I thought. We're workin' together" he says.
Nico winks at him, "You'd think I was gonna betray you now? Come on, we only got each other in this, who knows what our parents have planned for us, we just got to get through this together."
Chase nods happily, "Right. Now let’s get outta here." he says.
Suddenly the dim lit lights go out!
"What's happening?" Nico asks, concern lacing her voice.
Promptly Chase looks on the screen on the back of his metal glove, "Someone is cutting off all the power to the building." He replies.
Nico raises her eyebrow, "Why?! This is a simple extraction. We only have an hour left." she says.
Chase shakes his head, "No, no, no all the safety precautions we took, are getting undone. Someone is interfering. Get ready to use that staff."
Nico face firms, "No.”
Chase looks to her in visible protest, "What do you mean know?! You know this building was chosen cause it has an ex-military back up security force! I can take out a few guys but not…Nico get it out."
Nico’s face shifts from angry to scared, looking at her chest, “I-I no. I can’t.”
Suddenly a TV behind them turns on, bathing them in a soft white glow. Nico and Chase hold their hands just over their eyes from glare as gates slam shut over the massive windows and then the door to exit the office!
Immediately a face appears on the television screen. A bald African American man, his expression tired but almost aglow with, irritation. He threw his head back, swallowing down a mouthful of whatever liquor made him suck the air between his teeth. He returned his eyes to the screen, opening the top button on his white collared.
“So its you two. Stein’s boy and Minoru’s girl.”
"Mister Wilder?” Chase exclaims in almost disbelief, “What are you doing?!” he asks.
“You can’t do this Mister Wilder.” Nico states, hoping to reason with him, “Stop now and I promise we won’t say anything.” She pleads.
Chase cuts her look, “We won’t?” he scoffs.
Nico face firms with determination, “NO, we won’t.” she insistently replies.
“Nico Minoru…” Mister Wilder sighs, “…if only your mother was as kind as you, but I’m afraid that even if you made that promise, its too late for that.”
Chase points at the screen, “Listen old man…” he says in a slightly deeper voice that only Nico knew he was forcing to put on so he could sound tough like his father, “…this is Trials and you know the rules…
“Shut up boy.” Wilder snarls, silencing Chase, “…bad enough I had to deal with your father all these years, I won’t deal with him again in the lesser undistilled form of your arrogance and stupidity!” he states.
“And I know what this night is.” Wilder continues, “This, is Trials. The night to prove yourselves to the Pride that you’re worthy of Leading our Cabal by surmounting the challenges set by the Pride. So what do they have you doing?”
“Looking for ways to piss on your coffin when they hang you for this.” Chase spits.
Nico steps forward, “It’s a treasure hunt.”
“NICO!” Chase exclaims, upset she told him anything about Trials.
“We’ve been going through all of Los Angeles.” Nico explains, “That’s all it is. Its all Innocent Mister Wilder. Please just let us continue.”
Still on the Television, Mister Wilder starts to chuckles, “Innocent, really Nico? Then how come all the places you’ve been ‘infiltrating’ in your ‘treasure hunt’, are my Companies, my subsidiaries. Everything you’ve taken, ruins me overnight!!"
Chase and Nico look at each other confused.
On the television Mister Wilder rubs his eyes, "Look, you can pretend like you don't understand. But I know how much your parents have a hold over you…”
Nico tilts her head at the screen, feeling nauseous at his presumption.
“…but I can’t, I won’t let them ruin my legacy after already ruining my son!” Wilder says, focusing his attention to them he shakes his head sadly, “We did this before to a good man in New York. Parker I think. It was on New Years too. Talk about Karma.”
Chase grits his teeth, “KARMA ISN’T GONNA GIVE US BACK THE TIME YOU’RE WASTING WILDER! NOW RAISE UP THESE SHIELDS AND LET US OUT OF HERE!”
Nico looks at Chase, stunned at his temper, “You’re going to make his worse!” she whispers, “He’s clearly upset don’t…”
“Look Stein boy…” Wilder says with a pointed finger, “You’re father may think of you as a Howard Stark but I don’t like you, bad enough Nico had to be here.” He says, shifting his eyes to her, “My boy always said you nice to him.”
Nico gulps, “We did get along.”
“And now he’s a low life runaway.” Chase blurts, “A dead beat just like his father.”
“Now…” Wilder retorts, “…you sound like your Father.” He sighs leaning back, “Although I doubt he’ll ever know that after tonight.”
Nico feels her face drain, “Mister Wilder…”
Wilder holds up his hands, “Enough.” He sternly interrupts, “I’ve been with the Pride for decades, but after EVERYTHING I’ve done for them, after the lies, the secrets, the killing…” He recalls, balling his hands into fists before slamming them flat on the table and staring at the pair, “See, the Pride, belonged to me.”
“What’re you smoking?” Chase chides.
Wilder narrows his eyes, “Save for the Mancha boy, my boy Alex was gifted.”
Chase remains quiet, not willing to dispute it.
Wilder points at him, “And your father knew it. And sabotaged my entire family so he could keep his grip on the Pride through you boy.” He says, folding his arms, “But that plan is gonna go up in smoke, along with you.”
Chase steps forward, "Screw this.” He huffs, “Wilder, you know that if any ‘participant’ during the night of Trials, if faced with an imminent threat of exposure, We can kill you! You know that right?” he sneers coldly.
Nico pulls his arm, "Chase stop we’re not killing Alex father!”
Chase yanks his arm away and points at Mr. Wilder, "I mean it! I’ll back trace this feed to whatever hole your in and put a bullet square in you before daybreak!"
Nico shakes her head, "NO YOU WON’T!” she protests, “There's another way! There's always another way."
"You don’t listen do you boy.” Mister Wilder says to Chase, “I have a private ex-military crew ready to do a clean up in twenty seconds after you go up in smoke." he says as red countdown numbers start to flash on the television screen, starting from 10.
"Up in smoke?" Nico nervously repeats, hoping it doesn’t mean what she think it does. She knew from Alex that the Wilder’s were kind and intelligent people, but the meaning of their actions were in their words, and when they were mean, they were ruthless.
“Yes…” Wilder answers, “Because after the C4 lining the walls in that office.”
Chase shakes his head, JEEZUS!" he exclaims in a panic and points his glove at the floor and blasting it. The floor rumbles but Chase and Nico quickly a thick metal sheet glistening in the dark under the rug that smolders from blast fire.
Suddenly, the screen on Chase glove shows the through the x-ray mode of where the C4 is located.Chase looks at Nico as the numbers hit six and points to the wall.
"Remove the C4! Summon that stinkin staff! Thats the only way you can channel your powers and save us!" he yells, panicking.
"I can't i'm too stressed I need to focus!" she exclaims as she looks at her chest.
Angered, Chase grabs Nico by the shoulders, "WE ARE GONNA FREGGIN DIE NICO!!" Chase yells they both see the numbers hit five.
"STOP YELLING AT ME I CAN'T DO IT LIKE THAT!" Nico yells.
"DO IT!!!" yells Chase as they lock eyes.
As Nico turns and sees the numbers on the television go down to 1 and then zero.
Suddenly, as if the walls seem to jump, all the glass shatters as the walls crack like paint chips from a ceiling with a red glow of fire behind them.
Almost as if the room slowly started to lift from the opposite end of the hallway into the air and the opposite towards the floor, everything starts to shift to steep incline. Confused, Nico feels the room start to vibrate as she looks at the wall behind the television start to glow red at the center and slowly become engulfed in a seemingly never ending pit of fire!
As if fear and dread made a hole in his stomach, Chase eyes open wide as his hair starts to fly back from the force of the oncoming explosion and sees Nico remains motionless and in a trance-like state.
As if something calmed Nico. Staring at the fire, she becomes almost completely entranced by it. It was beautiful. More than that. It was powerful. The curling fire engulfs the wall, quickly devours along the flammable rug towards them and smothers the glass table ahead of them, shattering completely. She loved it. She felt it. Not the fire…but the power.
Tuning almost everything out as the wall gets brighter and brighter white with Chase yelling at the top of his lungs until he is red-faced for Nico to do something.
Suddenly a glow emits from the center of Nico’s chest. A long bronze staff extends out of Nico's chest and she automatically grabs hold of it with both hands.
Baring her teeth, Nico eyes glow bright yellow as she exhales white smoke from her mouth and nose. The Staff vibrates in her hands, trembling with raw power but she focuses on the approaching fire, the eruption from the C4. She feels everything moves, crackle and burn all at once and channels it, into one word:
"WINTER!!!" yells Nico.
Suddenly, Chase is slammed against the wall as fire fizzles out at his feet while he slumps to the floor. Holding his head, Chase, slowly opens his eyes as he sees Nico standing in the middle of the room with bright moon glow on her. However, as Chase gets his barrings, he rubs his eyes and sees Nico standing in the middle of the room with her staff in her hand, snow on her shoulders, ice on the floor and thick clouds floating on the ceiling as the moon glow from outside filters in through the blown out windows!
Chase staggers to his feet as he sees Nico turn to him with glowing yellow eyes.
Chase gulps, “What the fudge…”
To be continued….