Aftermath Part 2

((Joint post! Pt 2))

By some miracle, T'Chantem was eventually able to locate Gwen from intuition alone. "Gwen?" he called out to the spiderling, who was revealed to be trapped in a tight lockdown. He thought it was rather odd that she was trapped in the room considering she was able to deactivate the robotic security measures, but he hadn't had the chance to study the building himself. Summoning his spear once more, he cut around the edges of the door and stepped aside as the metal crashed against the floor. He wasn't worried about causing any more damage, the upper level of the compound was already wrecked to the point that they would need to redesign the entire floor; adding an addition of a door was minuscule in comparison. "I don't believe we've taken the opportunity to properly meet one another yet. I'm T'Chantem, and it's nice to formally meet you," he half-joked, referencing to their original meeting in the alleyway. He then pounded the vibranium spear against the floor a single time, the metal reacting by condensing back into the small cylinder before he placed it back into his pocket.

Gwen was about to respond, happily even. Until the door started to get shredded. She watched in stunned horror. “Why didn’t you just open the DOOR!” The girl squeaked smacking a palm to her forehead. “You have a profile in the system now you could have done a vocal command override!” She sighed seeing the damage T’Chantem committed with his spear. Seriously he was supposed to be the adult here! Not hacking and slashing through everything! That was her job; wasn’t her role supposed to be the young teen with a chip on her shoulder trying to prove herself! Had she no nisch in the team!?

T’Chantem didn’t bother fueling Gwen’s fire much further, simply responding “Probably for the same reason as a lot of things that happened today, but I’m being cryptic.” With his task finally complete, he turned back down the hall, leaving the area and returning to the floor above; communication between team members was definitely one thing to be addressed.

Theo groaned and her eyes fluttered open; unfocused for a moment until they slowly fixated on Niko’s face hovered in front of her. “There’s my Niko,” She reached up and stroked his face. “I’m okay cousin.” She moved to sit up a bit and winced, gingerly touching the back of her head and checking her hand for signs of blood. She took a deep breath and quickly inspected the rest of herself. She seemed more or less uninjured and let out a sigh of relief. “Help me up Niko, this costume is cutting into my crotch. I guess your Aunt Wanda didn’t do much sitting.” She took Niko’s hands as he pulled her to her feet. All around them the interior of the base looked like it had suffered a series of attacks which it had. Theo took a few shakey steps before she gained her footing and she walked around visually checking on the others. “Aw shit, did we break little Gwen on her very first mission??”

“She managed to turn off all the murder bots,” Niko said proudly. Lowering his voice he added, “and I only had to save her one time. There were turrets.”

Sam walked over to the pair and handed Theo his bag, “Here you go. If you two need any medical supplies, take them. I’m going back out to the field to get my knife, what’s left of my baton and scan the sky to make sure we don’t have any other company incoming.” As he began to walk outside, he turned back to them, “You know, that was pretty impressive for our first time out. I think our parents would be proud.”

“Roger that, Rogers. Oh and see if you can find my wimple. It’s the sweet looking red headpiece I was wearing.” Theo popped open the bag and began rummaging through the limited supply of pill bottles. She was reading labels and throwing them back in the bag. She found a mild painkiller and slid three out onto the palm of her hand. She tossed them back, but Niko had done his speed thing and stolen two from her hand before she even noticed. His cousin had a bad tendency to swallow pills like candy without bothering to read the recommended dosage.

“Steve makes a good point. We did well for ourselves all things considered. Who could have known this place would still be actively secured against friendly commandeering.” She reached down for Sam’s bag of medical supplies, but it was nowhere to be found. Theo gave Niko a suspicious look, but let it go.

“So, where’s Ghost Spider Girl? She might need a hug and we should probably check her over for injuries. Where did you leave her, Niko?”

“T’Chantem went to find her, Miskja Brat,” Niko replied, trying to look as innocent as possible after hiding Sam’s supplies. “I’ll go check on them and find Aunt Wanda’s headband. You rest. I wonder if this place has any food. I’m starving!”

“It’s a wimple….” Theo muttered defensively under her breath. She was moving through the lower floor of the compound now that they had time to explore. She didn’t want to say it in front of the others, but she was still on edge and having the multitude of bots standing around in a motionless state was not helping. It felt like they were waiting and could still strike back at any moment. Theo brushed passed one of the robotic sentries and could have sworn its head turned to follow her movements. It was like trying to sneak through a shot up mansion full of haunted mannequins.

The witch pushed debris from her path with casual waves of her hand and soon came upon the kitchen which was in pretty good shape. The cabinets were empty and the fridge wasn’t even plugged in. She twisted the faucet at the sink and it was bone dry. Where had Niko procured a wet rag? Probably best not to ask. As Theo wandered about she peeled off her red leather gloves and fastened them beneath one of the layers to her costume. She rubbed her sweaty hands together and climbed the stairs, sending more debris sliding out of her way. She found what she thought to be a computer terminal and thumped on it bravely. “Computer, activate.” There was no response from the hardware. “Abacus, acuate!” Theo kicked the cabinet and it creaked open, releasing a toppled stack of DVDs. It was an entertainment center, blasted to hell and back.

“When we find Gwen remind her to turn on the magical computer voice commandments for this place. I can’t work any of the buttons,” Theo yelled to the compound at large, but she was sure someone was taking notes.

Erik was left alone briefly in the main room to look over the wreckage. The smell of blasted rock and circuitry filled the air as he picked through the bits of robot and scenery that was still standing. The item that dominated his search though was the mace that still stood upright amongst the rubble. Why was it here? Did Thor leave this here? And if he did, why the hell wouldn’t he tell anyone about it? He had crouched down beside the mace as he considered all of this and found his hand hovering closer to the handle by the second.

As he inched ever closer he could feel it pull toward him as well. He had loved the feeling of having it in his hands last time, the clarity of his feelings and complete lack of fear. He was completely in control...but still he had managed to hurt those around him even then. He winced as the thought of Niko pinned under the bar flashed back to mind. But just as he was about to pull away the mace began to glow blue, or rather, text on the mace’s flat end began to glow blue. Erik squinted at the strange text, before realising it was indeed upside down and in a text he didn’t fully recognize but seemed to understand. In a brief moment of curiosity overtaking his fear, Erik took up the mace and held it up so that he could read the script properly. There, emblazoned on the cold metal runes that lit up Erik’s face amongst the rubble, spelled out the simple phrase: THE WORLD STILL NEEDS HEROES

Gwen trailed behind T’Chantem back upstairs to ground level. “Uh … not much compound left is there?” She noted whistling at the holes in the walls. “Did we all make it? I mean of course we all made it just … do we need to call 911 or something?”

"We all appear to be in one piece. Sam is looking after Erik, and being Theo," T'Chantem responded as he looked around the compound. "We'll definitely need to rebuild, but that's only one of our problems. Most of this comes from us being thrown around," he regretfully added.

Theo found T'Chantem’s compliment about being back to her usual self refreshing given all that they'd been through. She would have patted him on the back except that he was royalty. Instead she pointed her finger at him and gave a cheeky wink. “Right you are, your Princeship. This place is busted up; we'll need new locks and doors and walls. But first we need to search this place. When Rogers gets back you guys should pair up.” All too quickly she added, “I'm with Thorson.” Theo started doing the math on her fingers then smiled when she ended on an even number. “We'll explore the basement." The compound would at least have a downstairs right? “Erik, you're with me. Bring that umbrella of yours."

The mention of his name brought Erik out of his shock and as he did the words on the mace faded back into the metal. He looked about at his current situation, beyond the destruction at least. He popped his head around the corner toward the group, “ one would’ve happened to have brought an extra shirt or something right? Mine’s kinda...yeah I need a new one.” His face was a bit red and his eyes were strongly fixed anywhere so as to avoid anyone else’s eyes.

“No.” Niko groused. “And no one brought food, either. But you might be able to find a shirt in one of the rooms - there are plenty of them that have shoes and clothes and stuff.”

“Don’t worry about a shirt, Thorson. You’re perfect just the way you are and it’s barely even cold in here.” Theo’s eyes lingered on his man nipples then she sighed, still looking at his man nipples. “Besides, it’s just me right now and I’ve already violated your mind so the shirtless thing shouldn’t really make much difference. Come on, we may find something better than shirts like armor or team uniforms. But if things get too awkward between us I could always join you in this shirtless trend. Relax Thorson, it’s just a suggestion.”

Having stared daggers at Thorson to defend his cousin’s honor, having stopped Theo from over-medicating and then finding nothing at all in the kitchen, Niko set down the basement to check on Gwen. She was walking and talking super slow, or maybe he was going faster than he’d anticipated, but she was in good hands with T’Chantem, he kicked some serious murder-bot ass without calling in a single tornado, so after once again fixing her hood to hide the bullet hole, Niko took off outside the compound in search of Theo’s Whippoorwill.

Sam finally managed to pry his knife out of the Hulkbuster’s arm. Unfortunately, the tip of the blade was melted and warped from the heat of the blast. His baton didn’t fare much better, being jammed down a bot’s throat and sent crashing to the earth. “Well, I don’t know what I expected really.”, he mumbled to himself.

“On your left!” Niko called, zipping past Sam, trying to cover as much ground as possible, when the red material amongst the copper colored armor caught his vision. Luckily it was still in relatively good condition, so Theo would be happy, her wampum was in tact. “That was pretty awesome.” He said, sliding to a stop next to Sam. Inwardly he wished they’d remembered to pack snacks, sandwiches or something. Maybe there was a town nearby. If there was a town nearby, he could pick up food. Gwen would likely have a map. “I thought we held our own pretty good. You with the shooting and me with the not getting killed.”

Sam chuckled and tossed the melted knife behind him, “You handled yourself better than I did. In retrospect, it may not have been entirely smart going toe to toe with this guy.”, he patted the Hulkbuster on the stomach. “Still, everyone performed admirably and we’re all in one piece. Now let’s head inside and hope that the trip wasn’t for nothing.” He hooked Niko around the neck with his arm and began walking back to the compound. He could see from the gaping hole in the wall, that Gwen made her way back up to the main floor and he waved at her.

“I like it,” Niko said, nodding in approval as he glanced around. “It looks lived in. Speaking of living in, how far do you think town is? I’m starving.”

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