OOC: The kids are at Ground Zero evacuating the city. John Reynard prevented Zemo from firing a chemical weapon at the heroes. However, with Thunderstrike and the others occupied with saving lives, they're too busy to help Reynard escape/fight Zemo's nigh-invincible Black Knight (a.k.a. Skarr, a.k.a the "Butcher of Venarium").
Reynard stared. The smoke hung in the air, making it hard to see what was going on. But the Black Knight simply walked through the dark cloud and continued lumbering along. Reynard hit him square in the chest with a middle and he just shrugged it off.
"Damn", he muttered to himself. He dropped the missile launcher and started to run inside the compound. It was damaged beyond repair, with rainwater pouring in where the ceiling used to be. The base was still in lockdown, with only one way in and out of the building.
Skarr just laughed and followed along. He was in no hurry. Zemo hated when he "played with his food" but, well... Zemo wasn't there right now.
Skarr was a big, bad wolf and Reynard was just a little fox he was playing with.
The sounds of Reynard's footsteps echoed through the building. The occasional splash as he stepped into an unseen puddle seemed much louder than they had any right to be.
As he went deeper into the building, Reynard reviewed his options. He could call and ask the kids for help, but that could lead to innocent people dying. He could hide, but that's only a temporary solution at best. He could run, but, with only one way in or out, Skarr has the advantage.
There was only one option left: Reynard had to fight.
But he had a plan.
"Run, run, run, little fox!"
Skarr's footsteps sounded like thunder as he followed Reynard down the main corridor. Every door the Black Knight passed, he would destroy the handle or otherwise rend the door inoperable.
Eventually his prey would find himself cornered. Leaving him no escape in a literal "dead end".
Reynard was barely staying ahead of his pursuer.
After all, the Black Knight was a disembodied murderous spirit encased inside an unbreakable suit of armor. Whereas John Reynard was simply a fairly fit man in his 50's.
It wasn't even a contest.
As he ran, Reynard reviewed what he knew about Skarr. The Black Knight doesn't get tired, doesn't feel pain. When he was "the Butcher of Venarium", it was known far and wide that he couldn't be bargained with. He doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he won't stop.
Reynard pushed himself to the limits of his endurance and got ready to make his move.
Even though he had never been in this installation before, John knew right where to go. He had seen this place in his visions time and again. He remembered the access codes and had taken a pass key from a fallen soldier. Even through all the twists and turns, Reynard made a beeline to the center of the base.
Skarr was hot on his heels.
Growing impatient, the Black Knight sped up. His hurried footsteps sounded like mini sonic booms as he ran faster and faster.
If he hadn't gotten tired of the chase, he might have noticed the warning signs, even if he didn't understand what they meant. Of course, he was too confident, too cocky to worry about it.
"Come out and fight, little fox!" he laughed. "Today is a good day to die!"
Suddenly, everything went black.
Regard sprung his trap.
First, he unloaded his pistols into the Black Knight's face. It didn't actually hurt him, but the bullets in his eyes temporarily took out his sight.
Enraged at this, Skarr swung wildly as he entered the room. The sword missed Reynard by inches. He tried to sneak around the blind knight, but he must have made some sort of noise. Even a glancing backhand blow by Skarr's armored glove was enough to send Reynard flying.
Reynard landed HARD. He knew that a rib or two had snapped. That leg he landed on could be broken, too. Luckily, he managed to land outside the small vault-like room that the Black Knight was trapped in.
Skarr's vision was blurry, but he could tell that he was trapped. Unlike the rest of the building, this room could actually hold him for a few minutes.
"You're DEAD, little fox!" bellowed the Black Knight. "This won't hold me long!"
Reynard smiled to himself a bit. This room was strong enough to withstand a nuclear explosion.
John struggled to make his way to the control room. He hadn't counted on getting hurt along the way. His leg was aching and his side was on fire.
This was looking more and more like a one way trip. "So be it", Reynard thought as he flipped the switches.
Skarr heard the machines powering up, but didn't know what was going on. He damaged the bomb blast door a good bit, but was unable to open it. Yet.
John Reynard knew what he was doing, however. A "controlled nuclear event", some call it.
Reynard figured that brief exposure to radiation would be enough to hurt the Black Knight. Possibly even kill him.
The blood-curdling screams confirmed his theory.
Reynard kept it up until the yelling stopped. And a little longer, just to be sure.
Reynard was growing weaker by the second. He could barely engage the safeties to stop the radiation.
His internal injuries were catching up to him. Reynard knew he couldn't make his way out. And, with the damage to the building and the possibility of radiation poisoning... "Maybe today IS a good day to die", he asked himself.
But it wasn't meant to be. Not today, at least.
Before he blacked out, Reynard heard a familiar voice calling out. And he heard the sound of footsteps, much lighter than the ones he heard before.
He didn't know how long he was out. But he woke up as EMTs were loading him up.
"Thunderstrike? You.. you came back for me? No... You had to save them. Save the innocents."
Smiling at him, he said, simply "John, you're an innocent, too."
(More than likely I'm going to pass on the rest of my Wild Cards)
Not sure if I'll have the time or the brainpower to get the kids involved in the action, but here's a little vignette to tie that particular bit up...
A bright red car barreled down the highway as the seconds ticked on. It veered and swerved, almost dashing through the traffic like a mad dog. Behind the driver's wheel was Tasha Morris, intently watching the road, speeding and passing cars with impeccable perfection. She took gaps with inches to spare, cutting every possible corner to keep the vehicle going. Next to her, Simon Grange braced himself against the dashboard, eyes shut, concentrating.
His eyes opened suddenly, and he said "Exit in 10 miles. We need to turn off there."
"Hearing you loud and clear," Tasha muttered. "How much longer do we have? Hey, Jackie? How's she doing?"
Jacqueline Kim fought to keep her pulse steady, which was surprisingly difficult when one of her hands was intertwined with the shaking green-tinted fingers of a Hulk incident waiting to happen. "Not now! Just...chill...please. We're gonna be okay." She looked back over at Mallory, who was hyperventilating and intermittently snapping her head around. "You're gonna be okay, Mal. We're all here for you."
"It's hard for me to get a read on her," Simon said, "but whatever she's feeling, whatever's drawing her, it's getting closer. A lot closer."
Tasha sighed. "I'm seriously starting to regret getting involved in this, because I'm dead sure that whatever we're running into is going to be a lot worse than our girl going green."
A roar escaped Mallory's throat, as the car surged forward and headed further west.
In the meantime... I had a bunch of ideas that I didn't run with.
Like Old Man Stingray, who became an kaiju expert (thanks to the Hulk Virus).
I was going to make an avian "hawkguy" with an origin tying into the "Maximum Security" crossover, but I realized that he basically had Aquaman's story. (Later on, I folded some of those ideas into the moon prison).
I was also going to create a Samoan "Turtle" who looks like "Maui" from Moana. A guy with the power to create impenetrable forcefields... but they only protect his back, but I couldn't think of a good story for him.
Continuing our round-the-clock coverage of the Hulks attacks:
It's been just over a week since the attack of the Hulks and we still have more questions than answers. Where did these Hulks come from? What stopped their rampage? Where did the Green Sun come from and what does it mean for us?
Casualty reports are still coming in. However, they're much lower than initial predictions.
Limited footage of the carnage made it to air and most of the witness reports are conflicting, at best.
To that end, we've reached out to several superheroes at the scene, to no avail.
Several members of the newly christened "Avengers of Tomorrow" were seen helping out with relief efforts. When we caught up with them, they claimed to know little more than we did; that they were primarily focused on rescuing civilians.
Other recognizable heroes, like Ben Grimm, have simply disappeared.
The WCA have been unavailable for comment, presumably already moved on to the next crisis.
Rumors that Doctor Reed Richards, long presumed dead, marshalled the defense against the Hulks sadly remain unsubstantiated.
President Fisk has been on site for days now surveying the damage. He's expected to address the country in the next few hours. Given the lack of information available and a perceived reluctance to address the populace, President Fisk will likely use this as another opportunity to attack our heroes and tighten regulation against them.
In unrelated news, the Fisk administration reports the closure of several local military installations. No word if those bases were designed in the attacks.
As any additional information becomes available, we'll be sure to let you know.