Disclaimer: I don't own anything Marvel.
Chapter 7; Enemies Discovered, Allies Potential
Johnny landed on the ground a few meters away from a stand of tall pine trees that were in a more barren area. Drifting up from the ground Johnny could see orange warping energy disturbing the air. The particles of cosmic radiation crackled and hissed up from an underground vent. Looking around Johnny spotted no immediate threats in the area that he could pick up on. Regardless, the young hero approached the area with caution.
As Johnny approached the spot where the orange energy seeped, he noticed how different this area of the state was than in the city. It was more open and was more rocky and plains. He thought it would be nice to go hiking and camping, absentmindedly, as he thought of a way to seal the portal site.
Unknowing to any danger, Johnny grunted in pain as he was slammed, with what felt like a metal baseball bat, in the back. The flame-powered hero flew forward into the stand of trees. He skidded along the pine needles in the dirt. Johnny groaned and sat up. His body was scraped in some areas and his back seared, but okay nonetheless. Johnny shakily got to his feet, clenching his hands into fists that burned with bright orange-red flame.
Johnny saw his opponent and his jaw dropped. Standing in his line of view was a twelve-foot monster. It had large, leathery wings with a thin membrane that bridged the flexible wing-fingers. It's hide looked leathery, pebbled, and a dark grey, almost black. The creature boasted four very large, muscular limbs that all said super-strength. The weirdest part of the animal (Johnny thought) was it's strangely shaped head, which was elongated, but broad. It had a beaky mouth and two small facial horns rose up on the ridge of the creature's brow. It roared angrily.
"Who and what are you?" Johnny demanded, hunched slightly in an offensive-yet-defensive stance, his hands still basked in the flame of his power. Johnny's blue eyes blazed with heat.
"I do not need to answer to humans," the animal said with an air of importance. Johnny was stunned that it had even talked. "Stay out of my way."
As the dragon (which Johnny thought it looked like most) moved forward Johnny unleashed two blasts from his hands, not yet fully flaming on. The dragon sputtered as the flame from Johnny's palms splattered in his face. He growled and charged forward. Johnny flamed on and flew up into the sky, his flame trail lighting debris in the standing. He ignored his mistake as the Dragon Man gave chase, flapping his massive wings and leaped skyward. Johnny threw fireballs of considerable size as he barrel rolled overtop of a stream of molten fire that jetted from the Dragon Man's mouth. Below the fire blazed and spread from tree to tree.
Don't worry about that Dragon Man that's chasing you, Johnny thought as he sped through the air, just get the damned portal shut. How though? Then Johnny remembered how he used his powers to solder the cables on the bridge down. If he could get metal over the portals entrance he could effectively block the leakage. Johnny hurled a few more fireballs before jetting off, leaving the Dragon Man to tend to his to-do-list. Johnny had to hurry though. He didn't know the Dragon Man's plan, but he knew that he had to be stopped.
Flying close to mach speed Johnny arrived at a used car parts shop. Metal, metal, where the heck…Ah! There it is. Johnny had no time to spare, so he flamed off his hands and grabbed the metal and jetted back off to the place he had left. The flight back was slower, through not by much, because the metal created drag and the wind as Johnny flew blasted against it.
When Johnny returned Dragon Man had a capsule in his large hands. That's for transporting the cosmic radiation no doubt. How could he know to do that though?
Johnny landed, dropping the scrap metal quickly and restarting his offensive plan. Jets of searing flame left his hands and connected with the dragon-like being. Growling irritably it turned around. "You again," it barked angrily. "I was told to kill anyone who challenged me."
Johnny gulped once, but then set a hard look to his face. "Bring it on, ugly." The Dragon Man seemed more enraged, if possible, by that comment. Fire rained from its mouth, spouting an enormous geyser of flame. Johnny pulled an arm up from his side, creating a force field, much like his sister's, of flame up to protect him. Johnny punched his arms forward to deliver fireballs that the Dragon Man swatted with his burly arms. The Dragon Man's thick tail wrapped around a large rock, bigger than Johnny's torso, and lifted it. Johnny ducked as the rock spun on its axis over him. Another rock was chucked at him, so Johnny rolled, watching as the mini-boulder struck the spot where he had laid down moments ago.
The fire that he had started was isolated to the stand of trees. A plume of smoke danced in the winds currents that drifted by. Johnny and the Dragon Man stood facing each other a good distance apart, letting streams of flame pour from their bodies. Johnny heard a whirring noise and the Dragon Man cocked his head, but the flame issuing from his mouth never skipped a beat. Johnny chanced a look skyward to see a piece of the Fantasticar zoom towards him, dispelling the smoke with its thrusters. Johnny faltered for a moment and Dragon Man's blast smacked into the Human Torch, plowing him through pebble-covered ground. The Dragon Man took flight to attack Reed.
Johnny stumbled up and grabbed the metal, not affected as badly while flamed on, and ran to the portal site. The Dragon Man released fire upon Reed's pod, but the flame separated into two thin ribbons in the air when Reed activated the force field feature. Dragon Man howled and flew straight at the covered air vehicle, slamming into it so hard that the impact broke the force field and sent the Fantasticar attachment reeling backwards.
Johnny threw down the three layers of metal and turned his flame up higher and higher, his temperature scorching the ground below him. The metal gradually began to melt. Johnny looked up to see the Dragon Man bored with Reed, staring down upon Johnny. The monster roared and dived at Johnny. He poured his soul into the molten flames; leaving his hand at a temperature that seared so hot the air wavered rhythmically. Finally the metal had melted completely. Johnny had no time to move as the Dragon Man struck him from behind. Johnny cried out in pain and slammed into a tree, meeting blackness as he sank to the ground slumped over. Blood trickled from above the boy's right eyebrow and the rough bark had damaged his uniform.
"Johnny!" Reed called from the sky as the Fantasticar pod fixed its balance. Reed pushed the throttle lever forward and gunned it down to his fiancée's younger sibling. The Dragon Man gave one roar and a jet of fire in rage, and then took flight as fast as it could to escape. Reed pressed a light blue button on the console. A hose inside the pod dispelled the flame with water from within in the hull of the pod for emergency fire situations, which was a useful tool. Reed landed the car and hopped over the small door, running to Johnny. The gash on the young blonde's head steadily dripped crimson blood. Reed picked up the fallen hero gingerly in his arms, carrying him back to their vehicle. Johnny was slumped on the backseat while Reed rushed the pod back to the Baxter Building to get his comrade to the medical bay.
* * F4 * *
Susan Storm felt irritated as she flew onward to her portal site atop her invisible force-disk, following her GPS device given to her by Reed. All she had wanted for the past few months was to finally turn seventeen, enjoy life, and maybe fight crime. She was irritated to say the least that it was finally their turn to try and save the world. Of course the Fantastic Four would have help and make allies along the way, but the sense of impending doom shrouded her mind, fogging any thoughts of hope.
"Sue," Reed's voice crackled in her earpiece in the wind. No one had talked in a while and Sue had even started to become worried, adding to her irritation. "Sue, can you hear me?"
Sue pushed the earpiece with her left index finger, "Yeah, Reed, I can hear you just fine. Can you hear me? I'm on my way to the portal. Where are you?"
"I'm on my way back to the Baxter Building. I was able to close my portal with a fair amount of success. I ran into a lion-like humanoid that called himself Blaastar. I'm not sure what his deal is on why he would want to take cosmic energy, but I'm sure he's hoping to gain some extra power. Your brother had an encounter with a Dragon Man. I'm taking Johnny back to the medical—"
"Is he all right?" Sue asked urgently through her side. Her nervousness skyrocketed.
"He's out cold and has a cut above his eyebrow, but he should fine in my opinion. I'll get back to you later."
"Okay, Reed, I'm almost there. I'll get back to you as well when I've wrapped everything up."
"I love you, please be careful."
"Always am. I love you too." Sue said, slight blush on her face despite being alone. She smiled and Reed's earpiece went dead in result of him turning his communicator off. She turned down her worry, knowing her fiancée and younger brother were safe at the Baxter Building.
Sue began to lower her force field toward the cement that lined the harbor. As she touched down she let the disk fade out of existence, standing on the firm ground. Tossing her blonde hair over her shoulder she explored the area of the docks and loading areas where cargo was exchanged easily with ships and the warehouses. There was no strange rippling or power surge that she could determine. Thinking, Sue created a force-disk again and began to search the top of the warehouses, but still found no source of cosmic radiation leak. Dropping until she was just above the water Sue scanned the sewer pipes leading from underground out into the open, dropping its contents into the harbor.
Sue spotted one storm drain opening, leaking water and a wavering orange energy. There is it, she announced to herself, moving her disk in the direction of her target.
As Sue neared the geyser she started to think of a way to close the portal. I could just exert tons of pressure to collapse the pipe. Sue had started to concentrate, but screamed as a searing pain erupted on her body's suit. Sue was blasted into the cold, dark harbor water. Under the water Sue tied to remain calm, kicking her legs steadily to rise to the surface. When she reached fresh air, she tossed her hair back behind her, clearing her eyes of the obstruction her hair provided. The sight she was met with was one that made her stomach lurch and chills compulsively surge up her spine—chills that were not a result of the cold water.
"Well hello there, Susan," the cloaked figure said. The voice paralyzed her within feelings of fright and complete rage.
"Victor," Sue growled. The Invisible Girl rose up out of the water on another force-disk, glaring at Victor with such hatred she hoped he would explode. "Get the hell out of here."
"I can't do that Susan," Victor said. The eighteen year old had disappeared for two years, much to Sue and the Fantastic Four's relief, but here he was in the flesh, back to annoy and terrorize. "I'm here for a restoration." Victor ripped off his cloak to reveal a metal alloy body, silver encasing his being. Victor reached an arm towards the orange energy, hoping to use his own energy to draw it forward.
Sue acted quickly, discharging a force field from where she was above the water. The invisible energy surged forward, exploding upon Victor. Her old metallic friend, and ex-crush, was only knocked back a few feet.
"Is that a ring on your finger, Susan? I'm shocked. Reed Richards…proposing. You could do so much better!" Victor's words ended in a snarl as he cast both arms forward to throw a large amount of lightning at the heroine.
Sue threw the blast out over the water with a deflection from her force field. Sue swerved and dodged as Victor threw repetitive bolts of lightning at her. Lightning spider-webbed across the water, before large explosions hefted water up in geysers chaotically. Sue hadn't noticed Victor's plan, his distractions worked, and Victor had been able to draw from the orange cosmic radiation.
Sue gasped as the metal covering Victor's body melted away; leaving him standing in the same pants and shirt he had been in whenever the body-conversion had finished. Sue remembered the time she and her friends had accessed a portal, their powers had went haywire, and the power in them grew drastically.
Oh my God. Get him away fast, Sue, and get the job done.
Sue charged forward, sending her balled fists forward, shooting a ray of shimmering blue-purple power at her opponent. Victor was driven back away from the waters edge. Sue redirected her arms, bringing the force field to assume the shape of claws. She grabbed Victor by his shoulders and lifted him skyward, slamming him into the warehouse. Victor tumbled through the air, but as he neared the cement below he utilized streams of lightning to slow his momentum. Victor threw an electrocution bolt at Sue, one meant to incapacitate her body, which would allow him free access to the cosmic radiation. Another power boost and harnessed energy in a bottle could allow him limitless authority.
Sue threw up a wall of psionic energy to block his offensive attack. Pushing her hands forward, Sue sent the wall of energy blasting forward. Victor put his arms forward, lit them in electrical energy, and miraculously cut through the force field. Sue looked alarmed. She had a moment to put up a tiny, thin shield as a massive blast erupted from Victor. The impact sent Sue back into the harbor water. Sue coughed and kicked in the water, all the while Victor calmly walked back to his goal, harnessing cosmic energy.
Sue gasped when she felt strong arms wrap themselves around her lower back and under her knees. She felt herself flying into the air; body cleared from the icy clenches of the New York waters. Sue turned her head to look into piercingly dark eyes. Sue was set back on the concrete. A deep voice from a matured man asked, "Are you all right fair lady?"
Sue looked the man up and down briefly to get a better view of her assistant. A man with jet black, short hair and muscular body stood to her side, arm defensively in front of her. His eyes sent out waves of anger towards Victor, who had frozen to also size up the latest disturbance. The man wore a vest and black spandex pants. Golden armor power braces adorned the man's forearms, running from wrist-to-elbow.
"I am Namor," the man said loudly. "I heard a disturbance while on my patrol and I saw this young woman being attacked." Sue's face went scarlet momentarily, until she realized the battlefield was still live. Sue sent a force field past Namor towards Victor, who was blasted back against a wall now that his human body was not covered by metal.
"He's the enemy," Sue said. Victor hurled another bolt of lightning before he clicked a button on a remote in his hand. What the hell, Sue wondered, but her internal question was answered as a flying board landed in front of Victor.
"Maybe some other time we can get together, Susan. It was nice seeing you." With one more blast of lightning, deflected by Sue's force field, Victor rocketed off.
Sue turned to face the man who had helped intimidate her opponent, smiling a friendly smile. In her mind she imagined the sewer pipe crushing under tons of pressure and eventually the metal could be heard squealing from the other side of the cement. Sue checked her handiwork and destroyed it further. Victor might come back.
"Thank you, Namor, but I really don't require much assistance." Susan's gratitude was genuine in the way she meant it. Fresh waves of effort shrouded her skull, the bass of a headache blaring.
"You are welcome. If I had not been here you might have gotten damaged. In my home men always defend women with courage and bravery."
Sue's eyes snapped onto Namor in a glare. "I would have been fine, thank you," she growled dangerously. Namor raised his eyebrows, a sly smile sliding over his features; a woman who would defend herself was something he found attractive.
"I must be going," Sue said, stepping onto a force-disk, ignoring both her headache and slight exhaustion. I'm not sure whether or not we should ally with him or not. I'll find out after I discuss things with Reed. "Thanks for standing in my way, and looking pretty." With a toss of her hair Sue surged forward in the direction of the Baxter Building. Namor saluted the beautiful blonde and leapt back into the harbor waters to finish his patrol.
Perhaps we will meet again, Susan.
* * F4 * *
Ben Grimm was overjoyed at the chance to drive his part of the Fantasticar. He was overwhelmed at the prospect of flying his pod, flying in intricate loops and twists, pretending to evade enemy fleet ships. He grinned at his own antics. Before the cosmic radiation accident, Ben had always dreamed of piloting. Whether it was planes or rockets for N.A.S.A, the prospect of flying for a living was something that had always been in Ben Grimm's heart and mind—soul even.
On Ben's pods console a GPS displayed geographic information, stating that he'd reach his destined portal in ten miles. In the meantime he decided to test out Reed's gadgets. Pressing a red button on the dash, Ben watched as energy projectiles shot from two canons located on the underside of the craft, creating explosions on the empty landscape below. There were three others buttons on the console. White produced a singular spherical field of protection, and if pressed twice went invisible—Sue's power. Blue allowed the Fantasticar pod the ability to somehow—magically almost—change into varying forms—Reed's own power. Orange armored the pod in some type of thick metal—a play on Ben's own power. What and what not the metal could protect against Ben was unsure of. The red button, Ben deduced, was like Johnny's firepower.
Ben continued on course towards the circle that blipped on the GPS display. As Ben approached the area, the sight of numerous aeronautical vehicles of unknown origins shocked him. The Thing deemed them spacecrafts, since they took an otherworldly appearance. The ships were long, but fanned out towards the rear, as well as being tall. There were areas where wide tunnels (it looked like) slipped out of the ships main body and sloped down to make a bottom chamber. The glass of the ships was black, but Ben didn't doubt that the pilots and their crew couldn't see through them. The ships' tops were green and it rolled into deep purple for the rest of the body.
There was a fleet of seven ships, small for an invasion, but undoubtedly drawn to Earth because of the cosmic radiation leak. Ben turned his pod invisible with the double click of the white consol button. Unsure of what lurked in the ships, Ben approached with caution. The sight of alien ships was both terrifying, yet exhilarating.
I might even get to clobber aliens today with the Fantasticar! The Thing could hardly drown out that excitement. A chance to go toe-to-toe with a fleet of ships singlehandedly was a bonus to his day. Ben felt confident in his abilities to defeat his opponents. Ben landed his ship a distance away, diligently looking for enemy pilots or their crews.
Finally, Ben saw the people—or whatever they were—he was looking for. At first their image was obscured as they walked down the ramps from their spacecrafts, but as they neared the portal Ben clearly saw their features. The aliens marched in purple uniforms, black adorning the collar of their shirts. Black gloves and boots were worn as well. Their faces were green, with large mouths and average-sized eyes. Their ears were long and tapered into a rounded point. They were not unnaturally ugly by Ben's standards, but he couldn't guess their origins or decipher their language that was, of course, foreign to his ears. Their noise was garbles to Ben's rocky ears.
His first objective was to destroy the portal opening. Followed by chasing the offenders or Earth away. Why there were so many portals, with so many new invaders on this day Ben didn't know. He knew for certain that all of the portals needed to be closed, and fast. Keep the Fantasticar pod on invisibility, Ben gently pulled up on the thruster lever to bring him hovering above the ground. He edged his pod forward as the strange creatures approached the cosmic radiation hands reaching for it.
Ben rushed his pod forward, disregarding the fact he might give the aliens a sign of his charging. He watched as the aliens turned their heads in unison, stopping their march. By then it was too late. Rather than blast through them, Ben pressed Sue's white button and a powerful force field surged into existence, sending the alien invaders flying through the air. There was a guttural noise, to Ben's ears, that boomed through loudspeakers on the alien spaceships.
While the aliens retreated towards their ships, Ben dispelled the field, hopping out of the pod to close the leakage. Ben ran forward, clapping his hands, causing an eruption of vibrations to reverberate through the air. Dirt and gravel loosened up. Ben hurriedly kicked and swatted the stony ground into a mound over the leak. As Ben hurried to the Fantasticar pod, the alien ships' platforms mechanically raised up. Ben pressed Johnny's button down, and rather than press once for a rapid fire, he held down the button to release a jet of flame. Ben was unsure of how fast his plan would work, depending on the flames heat, but he was able to complete his task. The rock and debris melted over top the leak.
He had but a moment to through up a force field on his own hovercraft before fire from the other ships hit. The plasma lasers and bullets ricocheted off the energy the pod had thrown up, exploding all over the fields ground. Ben raised his vehicle into the sky in order to be able to maneuver. Ben quickly pressed Reed's button to make the pod shift to a sleeker shaped pod that would allow him better aerial stunts while in combat. The pod shifted so that it was more triangular from underside-to-top and slim, rather than being square and bulky.
Ben dissipated the force field, which would use up available pod energy, and barrel rolled under the first volley of fire without the force field. Ben cheered loudly in excitement as he dodged the lasers than were beamed towards him. Ben pressed the car levers forward, throttling him forward towards an enemy ship. Pressing down the red ammunition button, Ben discharged a rapid fire of energy bullets that pierced the shell of the enemy ships. Ben veered to the left of the ship, activating the force field feature yet again, just as he collided into another ship. Ben shook his head in amazement as he realized he was not dead, but had succeeded in bringing down an entire ship. Smoke poured through the enormous hole in the side of the alien ship. It spun slowly through the air as it headed towards Earth.
Grinning wickedly Ben spun the car around in circles, letting off rounds of bullets pierce through the air. Below he could see the aliens hop out of the downed ship, running for cover. Luckily the force field had remained up, because as the ship exploded a plume of scolding fire and smoke rose up in a giant wave, enveloping Ben in a temporary darkness. One alien craft lowered itself to the earth below and allowed its stranded comrades to climb aboard.
Ben called through his intercom to the aliens, "Leave now or I will bring you all down. Then I'll deal with you one-by-one until I've ruined you all."
Ben waited and a gruff voice angrily said back, "Well be back Earthling."
The alien ships rose in altitude slowly and then soon Ben could see them leave the atmosphere. He followed them up a distance to ensure their departure. Ben hollered in victory when their ships image finally left his sight. Man that was awesome! I can't wait to tell the gang. With his victory in mind, and story brewing, Ben headed back off to his home where he hoped his friends were already waiting for him.
I am back into Fantastic Four mode! I apologize for not updating in about forever, but I had just lost everything during school – my muse, my time, my sanity. So I had vacation and I wrote this. I enjoyed writing it very much. Drop a review. The next chapter will either be the X-Men and their battles, plus extra, or just the extra (made longer). It's up to you guys – the reviewers - whether you want another action packed chapter or not. Either way I'll get the time to write and get some more awesome Fantastic Four into my life! Please review and tell me what is desired in your next chapter. Thanks!