Phil Coulson/Leader of Team SHIELD
Phil clutched tightly to the door handle as the sheriff's car took the sort of drifting turn one would see in a Japanese anime. "Where'd you learn to drive like this!?"
"That wasn't on purpose!" Daltry shouted, gunning the engine.
"I miss Lola!" Skye screamed from the back.
They were driving way over the speed limit over the back roads of the swamp, bouncing up and down as they went.
"I can slow-" Daltry began to yell.
"No!" Coulson said back. "If they're in a firefight, we need to help. May has two non-combatants to protect, they need help!"
"Oh good," Daltry grinned way too widely. "Cause I always wanted to do this."
Coulson was about to ask what he meant, only to clam up when he realized what was up ahead. A hill up along the road. A hill that was perfect as a ramp in some 80's action-comedy show.
"Oh no," Skye whispered behind them.
They sped up the hill and up into the air. Daltry let out a very familiar whoop of 'Yee-haw!' Coulson's grip on the door handle turned white. Skye let out a sound that was half-shriek, half-shout.
The sheriff's car landed almost supernaturally perfectly on the other side and kept pushing along the roads while sending up clouds of dust.
"Eat your heart out, Duke Boys," Daltry said. They continued for just a moment before the radio blasted forth.
"Sheriff!?" the loud sound of Nakamura's voice dragged their attention.
Daltry ripped the mouthpiece off and handed it to Coulson. "I'm driving, talk to him."
Coulson didn't hesitate. "This is Phil Coulson, Daltry's focused on driving but he can hear you. What is going on?"
"He went quiet for a bit, I wanted to ask him that,"Nakamura sounded worried. More so than necessary. "Is he, is he still helping you, folks?"
"...Yes," Coulson said simply.
"Ah…" Nakamura let out a deep sigh. "Damn. And I guess you folks are going to help your friends in trouble near the lab."
Daltry froze. The car began to slow. He reached over to grab the mouthpiece. "Danny… How do you know they're in trouble?"
"Sorry, John," Nakamura said. The radio cut out. Daltry spun the wheel around on instinct when a camo painted jeep came roaring out of the swamps down a side road. It barreled up next to them and pulled alongside. A long black tube stretched out of the side window.
"Down!" Daltry roared just before the shotgun roared. The side window shattered as they all ducked. "Fuck!"
The jeep roared, and the shotgun fired again. Coulson reached for his Lawgiver, the massive weapon almost comical in his hands. On grabbing it, he pulled it close to his face. "High Ex!"
The gun let out a loud beep. Coulson popped up from cover and aimed at the engine of the jeep, firing.
The engine blew outwards in a fire. The overall jeep was fine, but the grates of the engine began to blow out flames, the side of the jeep deformed. The vehicle slowed down massively. Coulson aimed again, fired at the tire.
The whole jeep twisted, flipping upwards onto it's back as it's front right tire blew apart in the middle of a high-speed chase. Daltry twisted the steering wheel away and glanced behind him as the jeep skidded on its rooftop. "Jesus Christ!"
He looked over at Coulson, who raised the Lawgiver to his face and pointed straight ahead. "Keep driving!"
Daltry looked forward again with a shake of his head. "Can't believe I'm living in an action movie."
"You get used to it!" Skye said from the back.
"Up ahead!" Coulson pointed ahead again.
Two beat-up old trucks, the sort that every farmer in the south had, were blocking the road. In the center was a Sheriff department jeep. And the three cars had dozens of men with guns hiding behind them.
"Jesus H. Christ," Daltry growled, rolling the car to a stop.
"Looks like Deputy Nakamura wants a conversation," Coulson couldn't help but quip.
In the distance, just barely visible to them, they could see Daniel Nakamura, carrying an assault rifle and wearing armor over his uniform. He was lifting a loudspeaker to his lips.
"John!" he shouted into the loudspeaker. "John! We don't want to hurt you. We just want the agents. If you let us take them, we'll let you go. I'll even cut you in on all this."
John, in answer, ripped the mouthpiece off the radio and yelled into it. "Damn it, Danny, what the hell have you been doing!? You stole government weapons!"
Danny chuckled into the loudspeaker. "Come on, John. We get paid less for our job then guys who bang rocks into other rocks. You gonna blame me for selling a few grenades?"
"We all wanted a better life, John!" one of the other men said. "You can't blame us for that."
John pulled away from the mouthpiece and grumbled to himself. "I can if you start firing a damn shotgun at me."
"Okay, this is dumb," Coulson said, turning to look at Daltry. Nakamura kept speaking as Coulson ignored him. "Sheriff. I'm not sure how much Deputy Nakamura has done. But he's currently threatening our lives. He's trying to kill me and Skye-"
"Damn you," Daltry whispered, his voice raw. He looked at Coulson. His eyes were shaking. For a moment, Coulson was worried he was going to attack him. Then Daltry lifted the mouthpiece to his lips. "Danny… I wish you hadn't done this. If you give up, we can speak to a judge. But if you don't-"
"Don't be stupid, John!" Nakamura crowed into the loudspeaker. "I have twenty guys with me, all armed with SHIELD's best guns. What do you have!?"
"...They aren't called SHIELD anymore," John said sadly. "And those weapons you have are outdated now."
"That's my cue," Skye said with a grim smile, lifting her hands to place something on her head. She kicked her door open and stepped outside. As she stood in the light, it was easy to see what she was wearing.
Skye stood tall in a black chest piece of armor that glowed with green lines. A pair of black gauntlets rested on each arm, covering her from fingertips to elbow. A helmet came around her face to wrap around her head completely. She raised a hand, the center of her palm glowing with a purple light before firing.
A plasma blast split the air, slamming into one of the trucks and sending it sliding back a couple of feet. The blast also melted a hole through the metal, dripping molten steel on the floor.
"HOLY FUCK!" Nakamura yelped, ducking back.
"Come on!" Coulson yelled at John. "She'll need back up!"
Coulson grinned when John, unfazed by the armor-wearing young woman currently firing plasma bolts. Instead, he reached behind him, pulled a shotgun out, and spun out of the car, moving behind the car while Skye kept shooting. Coulson joined him, and together the pair raised their guns. Daltry looked from his shotgun to Coulson's Lawbringer.
"Don't suppose you have another one?" Daltry asked, popping out of cover to fire towards the men and women currently hiding behind their trucks.
"One of a kind, sorry! ICER!" the gun beeped as Coulson spun out of cover and fired the Lawgiver. One of the men was shot in the shoulder and immediately passed out. That was the beauty of ICER's. Hit someone anywhere and they would always go down, as opposed to just fighting through the pain of a bullet hole.
John popped up as well and fired, his shotgun bucking in his hands. Danny shouted.
"DID YOU JUST SHOOT AT ME!?" the deputy shouted over the loudspeaker.
John shot again, getting a loud yelp. He was forced to duck down when some bullets hit the car near him, a line of holes running along the trunk and shattering the back window. Skye stood behind the car door and kept shooting palmfuls of plasma, the powerful blasts eating through steel and rubber.
"If they aren't being stupid, they'll try to flank us," Coulson shouted, spinning to his feet to fire again. He missed but caught sight of the back of Skye's hands opening up to reveal two small tubes. She aimed and fired, catching one of the women in the stomach with an ICER round. As that woman passed out, she fired again and again, only to switch to plasma when a few men began to move to flank. Skye fired the plasma rounds into the ground in front of them, sending dust and swamp water exploding upwards and driving the men back.
"She's good at this," John said to himself.
Even in the heat of battle, Coulson had a moment to agree with the sheriff. Then he rose and kept shooting. "May, we've been delayed! What's going on in your end?"
Otto was terrified. The doors of the trailer were buckling inwards, the entire thing shaking around him. He was desperately running around the lab, trying to figure out a way to escape. The men outside would break in soon enough. He would need to find a way to get out of the trailer.
He looked at the screens displaying what the cameras outside were seeing. The men outside were fighting May and Melati. His fellow scientist kicked one man in the chest, sending him flying back to crash into a tree with bone-crushing force.
Otto knew that Melati had gained a slew of powers due to her transformation. The young scientist could now lift just over half a ton, move as fast as Captain America, heal wounds at impressive speed, and had obtained the natural weaponry of claws and teeth. However, he had never considered her a 'fighter'. For all her fearsome appearance, she was a scientist first and foremost.
Now though, she let out a sound Otto could hear through the trailer's walls. Like a chainsaw running along bone. One of the women attempting to attack them shot her in the chest. Melati roared again and attacked that woman. The black-armored woman shot her again with a pistol, then Melati sliced outwards with animal ferocity. Claws tore across the woman's face. She screamed audibly as four red gashes blossomed on her face. Melati picked up the woman and tossed her back, sending her into the treetops. Another person tried to attack Melati from behind, only for Melati's tail to lash out in a vicious blow to the man's face, sending him tumbling.
More people tried to surround Melati. May made that impossible. The agent was flitting through the trees like a shadow. Even with the aid of the cameras, Otto could barely make her out. Until one man was shot in the right kneecap, tumbling to the ground in agony. A woman was hit in the throat, collapsing in a spray of blood. The rest pulled back into cover when another spray of suppressing fire came from May. The man May had shot in the kneecap tried to crawl away. An enraged Melati punched him as he lay on the ground.
But more men were still trying to break in, even as May and Melati distracted the rest.
The trailer shook. Otto closed his eyes for just a second to run things down in his head. This was a problem. He needed a solution. Just like all things, knowledge and intelligence would carry him through it. One of the finest minds on the Earth ran down the facts at incredible speeds.
There had been twenty-three men and women when all the people on the screens had first appeared. Three men had been initially defeated by May and Melati. Then one woman tossed into the trees, one man knocked out by a tail swipe, one woman shot in the throat, one man knocked out. Three men were trying to break into the trailer. The rest, thirteen, were focused on Melati and May.
So help wasn't coming. In his brief time in the trailer, Otto hadn't managed to learn about any weapons. While he had obtained some basic weapons training as part of his induction into BRIDGE, he didn't carry a pistol as a matter of course. So he would need to improvise.
Strange. His mind had quickly turned from flight to fight. The instinct of the body to turn to attack when all other resources failed, perhaps?
Otto moved even as he mused on that idea. Quickly, he began to search the shelves of the lab. Weapons, weapons, a way to fight back.
"Chemicals," Otto mumbled. He grabbed a small package and read the word along the side. cesium.
The label also had dozens of warnings, and the package had been surrounded by foam, with several other safety features in place to protect the material. No need to be complex about his improvisation. Simplicity is the weapon of the desperate after all.
He placed the package on a counter, took a portion of the soft metal out of the protective packaging and carefully put it into a half-liter glass bottle which had two compartments. The cesium filled one of those compartments about halfway. He took care to grab another chemical, one that would make for a very volatile reaction on top of the cesium. Then he ran to a nearby fridge, pulling out a clear glass bottle filled with chilled water. As he did, he sighted his main project. It sat on a cart, ready to be worked on. For a heart-stopping moment, he froze.
His mind warred with itself. His project was one of hope. One to aid those who had nowhere to turn. Not a weapon of war, but a tool to make the world better. His desperation and logical mindset fought against romanticism.
The trailer shook again. Desperation won.
Otto grabbed his main project's cart and pushed it into the conference room, just behind the door. Then he rushed out to the cesium resting on the counter, grabbing the water as well and pouring the cold water very carefully into the glass bottle with the cesium, very carefully keeping the water and cesium separated, as well as the third chemical.
The doors imploded inwards. Otto shouted in surprise and pain as he stumbled back, his ears ringing horribly.
"We're in!" one of the men shouted. "Grab that guy, now!"
Grab. Not kill. They wanted to take him hostage. To use him to force Melati and May to concede.
Something within Otto clenched at his chest. It was bitter. Angry. For a moment, he felt his heartbeat in his ears, booming. Someone entered the trailer. One of the soldiers. He was a big man, overweight, but muscular under the fat. He had black armor on. Despite how advanced the armor looked, it was also ill-fitting, slabs of fat poking out around the straps. Of course, it was ill-fitting. It was stolen.
As was the shotgun in his hand.
Otto stared at the man. The man glared at him and barked. "Come here you little shit!"
The words. They triggered a memory immediately. "Come here you little shit!"
As the man stepped forward, Otto wasn't seeing a soldier in black armor.
He saw his father.
Fear, anger, and old heartache filled him. And the urge to hurt someone flowed in Otto Octavius like blood in the veins. He tossed the cesium/water/undisclosed filled bottle at the man while jumping back with a loud shout. The man shouted in response, raising his arm to block the bottle. The glass shattered on his arm. Three chemicals mixed in the air as the glass shattered. The cesium reacted as it met the water. For a heart-stopping moment, nothing happened. Just a wet and angry man carrying a shotgun. Then the cesium exploded on the man's skin. Flesh and skin shredded apart. The man screamed. The third chemical reacted as the explosion hit it, blowing up as well. The man was sent flying out of the hole he'd created in the truck, falling on the swampy ground outside screaming.
Otto didn't stop to watch. He was running already, even as someone behind him shouted 'FUCK!'
He entered the section of the trailer that contained the conference table, where he'd wheeled in his personal project. Working quickly, he grabbed a glove off the cart the project was on, placing it hurriedly on his right hand. He hesitantly turned on the battery underneath the cart. After a few motions with his right hand, he winced. Not as dexterous as he would have wanted. But then, that was okay. He didn't need precision. Just power. He got as far from the door as he could.
The loud sound of someone running towards him sent a jolt of fear through Otto. He clenched an untrained fist. A woman rushed into the room. Otto swung his fist in a clumsy punch, his back and abdomen screaming in pain, followed by his shoulder.
His project moved. Made of black metal and plastic, shaped roughly like a human arm attached at the shoulder to a pole. The arm had several wires running from the pole to the cart, to it. When Otto punched, it was almost hilariously slow, but the robotic arm on the cart moved the instant he did, commanded by the motion-capture glove he was wearing. Electric signals flowed through the air to force the arm to move. With far more speed and power.
A mechanical fist smashed into the woman's stomach with a horrendous smack. She let out a loud gurgle of pain, her finger reflexively pulling the trigger on her gun. Otto screamed in pain when a bullet hit him in the shoulder. The feeling of a hot knife slicing through skin and flesh was unbearable. He reflexively lashed out. The mechanical arm whined as it snapped upwards, smashing into the woman's chin with a sickening crack. Otto fell back, blood streaming down his arm.
"Confound you!" Otto shouted as he landed on his back. "Oh god!"
He stared at his wound. Good lord. He could see into himself. A great gaping hole, with flesh opened to the air. The feeling of hot blades in his shoulder made him want to scream.
"You!" someone shouted, drawing Otto's attention. He looked up at the man who entered, stepping over the unconscious form of the woman he'd punched with his project on prosthetics technologies. "You piece of shit!"
The man spoke with a Southern accent and wore a trucker hat. He was also carrying a shotgun. He had mud-green eyes that were wide with rage. "I'm going to kill you!"
Otto desperately waved his arm, screaming as he did so. The prosthetic project spun around to hit the man. The man blocked it on his forearm, then kicked the cart, sending Otto's project sprawling onto the ground.
Otto tried to think of a way out. But he'd run out of options. Exhausted everything. As he stood there, staring at the man who stalked towards him, fear flooded his body.
And then, the screaming began. Not from Otto. From outside the trailer.
Otto and the man looked at the screens in the conference room, which showed what the cameras outside were picking up. And both stopped to stare.