Avenging

Act IV

The Hate Monger and the Peacemaker

Chapter 5

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[ . ]

Forward: What's gone on before. The Hate Monger drove a mutant singer crazy, who then tried to make everyone else crazy, before being stopped by both Thor and some other mutants. Someone was upset at making a mistake at a party Kodachi and Captain Japan (and the late Orochimaru) attended and is cleaning up her mess with her shapechanging, power duplicating minion and is whacking some of the partygoers and covering up her tracks. And oh yeah, Nabiki found out Ranma was Captain Japan.

[Yes, this is mostly a humorous side story, but I want to try and start writing again and this is a good way to get into the swing of things]

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Bucky regarded the terrain, as her father had taught her to always do in superhero training. Terrain was useful in determining what sort of bad guy one dealt with. For instance, if they had a secret underground base named Bitterfrost in the middle of Siberia, they probably didn't use heat based attacks.

In this case the terrain was pure swamp. It was fairly standard for a swamp. Damp, smelly, and filled with every mosquito in the world. Apparently imbibing Super Soldier Serum did not preclude one from being eaten alive by a horde of insects. At least there weren't any mossy swamp monsters, apparently a commonality in many of them. They tended to be gooey, burned you if you were afraid of them, and hung out with talking ducks. At least that was what his father claimed to have heard.

Then again, his father was a moron.

For all that was awful, it was yet normal for a swamp. The only strange thing was the mansion a few hundred feet away. It was in the style of an American plantation house from the 1800's, and so run down it might have been built then and not been touched since. A few lights could be seen through shutter covered windows, indicating some sort of occupation. What someone was thinking in constructing such a thing in a Japanese swamp was anybody's guess.

Bucky looked over her teammates that had come along on this mission: Daredevil, The Hulk, Giant Man, and Hawkeye. Bucky had actually been the late arrival, having been picked up on the way in the quinjet. Despite being filled in on the mission during the flight, she had the urge to have her teammates repeat it, just to make certain they hadn't left out any relevant facts. Like when they fought Mercurio, The 4-D Man, who could shoot both fire AND ice, and not just fire like Hawkeye had mentioned. Bucky had discovered the ice part when he had frozen her shield in midair then fried her now unprotected posterior with the fire that had been mentioned. And Thor had the audacity to say Bucky intentionally had the bottom burned out of her outfit so she could moon the everyone and have some cute guy rub aloe on her backside!

Putting angry thoughts aside, Bucky said. "So let me get this straight. The local authorities called us in because a bunch of bodies have been disappearing from the local graveyards, and they want us to investigate because the police chief is certain a super villain is involved."

"That's the size of it," Giant Man said.

"And Thor didn't want to come along because she was convinced that the only reason someone would dig up a bunch of corpses was so for...?"

"A flesh golem. She claims she had some sort of childhood encounter with one and they terrify her," Hawkeye said in contempt. "It's so ridiculous."

"I agree," Bucky said.

"...Since everyone knows when corpses go missing it's because they've been turned into zombies," Hawkeye fingered her bow. "Everyone, make sure you destroy the brains, and don't let them bite you or you turn into one. I'd hate to have to put an arrow through your skull."

"And now I disagree." It had been going so well, too. "I feel compelled to caution you to not shoot people in the head with arrows until we're absolutely certain they're members of the undead." Bucky was really concerned. Hawkeye sounded way too eager to start driving things into people's skulls. She'd been muttering about the zombie apocalypse under her breath for a while now. It was a recipe for disaster.

"There are no such things as zombies," Giant Man seconded. "And the idea that missing corpses mean walking dead is indeed silly."

"I agree." Bucky was glad Giant Man was along. He was the most level headed of the bunch. The least enthusiastic, but most level headed.

"When people start talking zombies, it's some sort of cover for an illegal enterprise. Everybody knows they always use disguises such as zombies, ghosts, witches or abominable snowmen to scare people off so their illegal activities go unnoticed."

"I'm leaning for Professor Hyde White. It's always Professor Hyde White," Bucky muttered.

"Who?" Giant Man.

"Nevermind," Even Giant Man had let her down. This was going to be bad. She could feel it. "Hey Hulk, you want to guess what missing bodies mean."

"Robots. Bad robots."

"Of course. Daredevil?"

"Since this place was previously owned by one Herbert West, I'm going with reanimation."

That brought Bucky to a stop. "Wait, this place was actually owned by someone named Herbert West?"

"Of course not! It was a joke!"

"Oh." Blast, she had completely missed the idea of sarcasm since she had thought she was the only one capable of it tonight.

Now they were at the front door of the structure, an unopened one. Bucky thought about checking if there were traps, then remembered they had brought along a portable trap detector. "Hey Hulk, open that door."

"Why does Hulk need to open door? Why not Shield Girl do it?"

"Because you're the best door opener on the team."

"That is true." So the Hulk opened the door, everyone moving directly behind him so his body would shield them in case it was trapped. They weren't worried for the Hulk since his body shielded him as well.

But nothing happened. The interior was in dilapidated shape, with the swamp's ecology adapting to it by moving in and making itself at home. Infested was the term that came to mind. At the far end of the entryway was a light with music, of all things, playing.

Hawkeye drew back an arrow. "Okay, this is it. Get ready for a zombie horde to come piling out of there when the Hulk opens the door."

Everyone tensed up as the Hulk did as he was asked. To everyone's surprise the interior of the room had been renovated to look like a dance club. There was even a black DJ wearing a blue cowl and cape that looked similar to that of a chicken, complete with yellow gloves with talons on the backs of the hands. He was in a DJ booth, mixing a dubstep beat in loud tones that caused everyone's bones to vibrate.

The room was also filled with scantily clad dancers, many of them with too much jewelry.

They were also all in various states of decomposition.

"Yes! I called zombies!" Hawkeye declared.

"Okay, but... dancing zombies?" Bucky noted. The dancers still hadn't reacted to their presence.

Giant Man said, "Well, I still think this is some criminal enterprise and that guy is wearing some sort of witch doctor outfit, so I'm not entirely wrong either.

"And Hulk thinks bad noise is made by robots."

Bucky had a similar opinion when it came to dubstep. "I think we ought to get to the bottom of this, and the only guy with a full case of flesh is probably the one with the answers."

The group made their way to the DJ booth. Upon seeing them, the DJ stopped with the music and said. "Darn. I was afraid of this. Busted by superheroes. Unless you're here to dance?" he said hopefully.

"Afraid not Mr...?"

"My real name is Bob Makihara, but since I'm dressed in this the title of Black Talon is more appropriate. You're probably wondering how this situation came to be."

"It's probably going to end with me punching you out, but please, go ahead and fill us in on what's going on first."

Black Talon cleared his throat. "Well, you see, it was always my dream of opening a night club in Japan."

"With zombies?" Bucky asked.

"What? No! Just a normal nightclub. Only there was a problem. Skin color. Apparently Japanese officials don't like the idea of gaijin opening nightclubs when there are plenty of Japanese that could be owning them. I couldn't get the certification for it. So I took the only path left to me."

"You raised a zombie army to take vengeance on those that wouldn't let you open one?"

"No! Of course not. How would that get me a club?"

"Oh," Bucky deflated a little. Most villains minds operated like that.

"I decided to open an underground club, but I still had a problem with finances. No banker would loan me money to operate an underground club."

"And that was when you raised a zombie army to get vengeance on those that wouldn't give you a loan?"

"No! Of course not. I saved up my money like any normal person would."

"Said the man in the chicken outfit," Daredevil muttered.

"Anyway, the only place I could afford was this. It was dirt cheap since it was run down and in the middle a swamp. Only there was a problem."

"Zombies already infested the place?" Bucky asked hopefully.

"No! That's absurd. Zombies are not like cockroaches. Anyway, the problem was apparently people don't want to go to an underground dance club in the middle of a swamp. So I was forced to employ the talents of my Haitian ancestors and used voodoo to raise the dead so I could have someone dance in my club."

Hawkeye was appalled. "This is a travesty of the highest order."

Bucky nodded her head in agreement.

"The Zombie Apocalypse does not involve dancing zombies."

"And we're 1 for 2." Bucky rolled her eyes. "You know, I have a bad feeling I know what you named the club, but since I've been making bad guesses all day, starting with 'I should probably get out of bed', why don't you let us in on it."

"I call it 'The House of the Dead'."

"Yeah, saw that one coming." Bucky turned to Daredevil. "This guy one of your villains?"

"Never saw him before tonight," Daredevil said in admission to his lame rogue's gallery of foes.

The Hulk suddenly tensed up and got a distant look in his eye. "Hulk knows that name. Hulk remembers when he was smaller, Hulk liked that video game. Hulk was excited about movie coming out. Movie had Jurgen Prochnow, who was great actor, so Hulk thought movie would be good. Hulk waited 12 hours in line for advance screening he was so excited."

The Hulk's veins started throbbing as he shouted, "Only movie was bad! Very, very bad! Bad plot! Bad dialogue! Bad acting! Except Prochnow! Hulk remember good guy say to bad guy, 'You created all this to become immortal. Why?' and bad guy say, "So I can live forever,'! Hulk can write better than that and HULK CAN'T WRITE!"

The green goliath looked around wildly. "Now Hulk is trapped in sequel! Hulk must smash sequel before it too late!" His fist struck the nearest wall, which caused the dilapidated structure to shudder.

Bucky cried out, "Look out. The green galoot's popped his top, and I don't blame him. But we need to get out of here."

The Avengers ran as the Hulk continued smashing things. They had barely made it outside when the entire building lost its structural integrity and collapsed in on itself, leaving behind a pile of rubble.

Giant Man looked back in concern. "We'd better go back and rescue the Hulk."

"Why?" Daredevil asked.

"He just dropped a building on himself." The dawn of realization shone in Giant Man's eyes. "Oh, right."

The rubble was already shifting as Bucky lamented, "You know, when we first got together, I never thought we'd be reduced to ending up in swamps fighting evil DJs."

"Can we truly call him evil?" Giant Man wondered.

"Do you want your ancestors remains desecrated and forced to dance to dubstep?"

"We should dig him out and kick the crap out of him."

"Nah, let's call the cops to arrest him, then go home and pretend this never happened."

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[End chapter]

yes, it's silly, but I need to get back into the swing of things. And I think I owed it to an obscure character like Mercurio to get his name dropped. ^_^

And yes, House of the Dead is that bad, and that really was a line of dialogue in it.