Disclaimer: I dont own Marvel
Here we are with another update, I know it took a while but I was working on the main series as well. This chapter adds to the growing casualty list as seen in the main storyline.
Captain America: Rebirth of the Dream
Chapter 3: Casualties of War
You all know me as one of the greatest scientific minds on the planet. A founding Avenger, but not necessarily a good man. I'm the leader of a makeshift group of Avengers that are dedicated to training a new generation of heroes. Avengers Academy they call it and the Infinite Avengers mansion is our home. But we now stand in the aftermath of an attack that's shaken the dimensional void and cost us the life of an Avenger.
Hercules is dead, Cho's still screaming with Jimmy Woo trying to calm him. Our friend's death hits us more than any of the attacks Deathblade had. Venus is in the infirmary, more out of fear than anything else. Something happened to her mind when she tried to calm Deathblade. Finesse has a broken arm and the rest of the students are traumatised. Veil will probably need some comfort, the kind of comfort Komodo's seeking from Hardball. I'm not sure what happened between them but they've been holding each other since Deathblade left. My scientific mind wants to study what he's done to the void and how it affects the mansion. But another part of me knows that I need to support the others.
That's when I see another young hero, carrying a mantel no one should have to carry. Michael Van Patrick was apparently the most brilliant cadet at Camp Hammond. He's got more burdens then Cap had, making his life just as heavy and hard to bear. First there's the fact that he's a clone, an attempt Gyrich made to cover up the truth of Van Patrick's death. There's his ruined life and reputation just because of his grandfather's history. He was once an athlete, an Olympic hopeful, but his medals were taken away after they found out that Michael's grandfather was the man that created the super soldier serum.
Michael's generation has already been through so much and the Avengers have lost so many people. Before the Squadron took over Camp Hammond, Michael visited the graves there everyday. So many heroes lost, even the heroes of Michael's generation. Dragon Lord was killed by Michael's clone KIA, who also killed Van, one of the Scarlet Spiders. The second Scarlet Spider Michael was also killed by Osborn's Dark Avengers. D-man died because of a heart attack when he was chased by Cape Killers. T'Challa blew his palace and himself up in order to kill the people that invaded Wakanda. Cloud 9 was killed by Onslaught when she tried to help Aeon.
So many people are dead, the people we protect, our enemies and even our friends and family. The original Swordsman and Vision, Jack of Hearts, Thor's human host Donald Blake, Scott Lang, Goliath…and Janet.
Now this Deathblade man is killing all the worlds' villains using our dead friends. He's even going after criminals that have done their time or have reformed. Then there are the villains he says we wont touch, Korvac and Mikaboshi. He's been travelling across space but his focus has been Earth. Osborn was killed and Count Nefaria was recently cut apart. Songbird and Nighthawk are both in critical condition. How many more people are going to die before we can stop all this madness?
"This is madness, complete idiocy, I demand that we know what your government intends to do with our citizens!"
The human right of independence has been broken in every country. Not by the governments this time but by a group that's thinking of itself as the new world order. The Squadron Supreme are going from country to country, kidnapping people who show signs of Meta-human genes. Doesn't matter if they have powers or have yet to get powers, these people are still targeted and America still gets connected to the attacks.
"I assure you President, we are not responsible for these unfortunate turn of events," Hands a good agent, good at adapting to her leadership too, but she doesn't have the gall to lead an international task force.
Victoria Hand is an accountant; she never served in the squads we'd send into battle. I understand this because I'm the same; I'm a politician and not a commander. But I always thought I could see the bigger picture. That's my problem I guess, I tried to dictate what the best course was for the Avengers Initiative and ended up making a grave mistake. That's how I know that this is our fault, we wanted something different from Avengers and we got them with the Squadron.
My name is Henry Peter Gyrich, you probably think of me as the ass hole whose always in the Avengers or the X-men's way. Truth is I love my country, but I never wanted to see the things this Utopia program is bringing out. Mass gathering and imprisonment of civilians, countries accusing one another and hundreds of heroes dying. Yesterday the Squadron attacked Russia and gathered a loud of villagers, the new Darkstar tried to stop them with the Winter Guard. Azrael, some kind of swordsman with red wings, stabbed Darkstar, Vanguard was beaten to death and the others are in critical condition. What the hell can the countries of the world do when their icons are getting killed left and right?
People die in war, I have always known that, it's still hard but in battle you can't always mourn. We couldn't mourn when our brothers were dying around us, we just had to keep fighting. Everyday I find myself relieving the trenches and the beaches or the woods ambushing or being ambushed by Germans. I couldn't control the course of those histories, and I can't control the course of these ones. It makes it all the more harder. I know what's coming and yet people still die.
"You humans have no idea what you have unleashed!"
Now I'm looking up at the original Aeon and I flash between two points in time. The time I first met him and the time I'd meet his apprentice. Yet its not the kind of meeting one would expect.
"Sven watch where your going?"
"Sorry dad, sorry sir!"
I've woken up, I'm on the streets for the first time in decades. A boy walks into my leg and his father chides him. They both look identical, especially when they smile.
"Sorry about that Mr," The man says, offering me his hand.
"Its no problem, boys will be boys after all," I smile.
"They sure will, come on Sven we need to go meet your mother!"
I smile as I watch them leave, then I flash back to the moment I met the original Aeon. Going back to that moment shocks me, to the point where Namor flying past me doesn't make me flinch.
"IMPERIUS REX!" He yells.
Aeon raises his hand and fires a blast that sends Namor flying into the ground. We all raise our weapons to fight, but Aeon raises his hands in protest.
"Humanity should not possess this kind of technology!" He says.
I remember a great fight. We're all beating into Aeon and he's getting up after every hit. Whizzer punches him and Bucky even breaks the aliens arm. But he never gives up, in the end he keeps on fighting until he destroys what the Axis forces tried to use. I remember that fight, but I'm not reliving it now.
"Stand down everyone," I say, buts it's not what I said originally.
I'm not just stuck reliving these events, maybe I can change how they turn out.
"Let the man do what he's come here to do!"
I relieve fight after fight; for once I just want to go through a memory without having to hit something. Aeon claps his hands together and fires a blast into the ground, destroying the pentagram the Axis forces had created.
I was shifting through data when it happened. The mansion seemed to shake and everyone felt it. Veil and the Academy students ran into my office, asking me if Deathblade had come back. Well actually Veil mentioned Deathblade, she seems to be really scared of him. The mansion soon stopped shaking and I went back to my computer. I was looking through Caps profile, his missions during the war. My intention was to find something that would inspire the kids and particularly Michael. But then one of the files changes, the outcome says that Cap surrendered to the Axis fighter, even though Cap himself stated that he fought to preserve the equipment in the previous interpretation of the file, it now states that he "agreed with what man said". I quickly realise that this is something of great significance and promptly give Sharon Carter a call.
Michael was already at the mansion, he ran to Pym's office, rushing past the Academy students. Swinging Pym's door open, Michael saw Pym standing with Sharon Carter and Falcon.
"What's going on Dr Pym?" Michael asked.
"Calm down Michael, its nothing yet so try to take it easy," Falcon said.
Dr Pym was facing his computer, tapping the bridge of his nose as he looked at one file over and over again. He turned the chair around and looked at the people present.
"Sharon told us that Cap is stuck somewhere, I think he's reliving the past," Pym said.
Michael widened his eyes, he knew Pym had a reputation for being blunt but this was something else. Pym didn't even seem certain or a hundred percent confident in his prognosis. The doctor stood up and walked over to the file he had printed out.
"World War 2, Cap and a large group of heroes are sent to an Axis facility to obtain the materials being used there, Cap wrote in his report that a new comer to the fight arrive, destroyed the Axis forces and stated that the materials of the experiment were too dangerous for human beings to use. Cap agreed with him and allowed him to destroy the equipment without trying to stop him, simple right?" Pym asked.
"I know your going to say its not but for the sake of your ego I'll just say yes!" Falcon sighed.
"Wrong, Cap had originally written in his report that he and the Invaders had tried to stop the new comer, but no matter how many times they injured him, he only became more determined to destroy the Axis experiment. Time has changed; Cap's judgement of that mission has been altered somehow. I think that Cap isn't just stuck in some pocket world, he's actually in the past and he can change that past," Hank explained.
Sharon looked at the ground, gritting her teeth together. She cursed herself for her part in the Red Skulls punishment of Steve. But with Lukin dead then the Avengers could at least rest easy. Falcon only needed to rescue Bucky while Pym saved Cap.
"That complicates things even further," Michael sighed.
"How does it complicate things?" Sharon asked.
"Michael's right, if Cap was simply in another dimension we could have used the Negative Zone or even the Infinite mansion to find that plain of existence and rescue Cap. But if Cap's stuck in our past we cant just simply travel back and rescue him because…"
"We'd be creating a paradox, damn it, I don't get how this has happened," Sharon groaned.
"I could explain the science but that would take too long, Sharon you said that Lukin connected you to a machine and that it was bringing back Cap, what can you tell me about the machine?" Pym asked.
"The Red Skull was going to use Cap for something terrible, I felt that much so I couldn't let him succeed," Sharon said.
Michael lowered his head as the others spoke. Falcon noticed his hesitance and knew exactly why Michael was distracted. Hank and Sharon however were too busy going over their options, which were very limited. Michael squeezed his hands into fists and then turned to Pym.
"Dr Pym, I need a favour," Michael said.
There's been too much death in my line of work. I wasn't anywhere near the mansion when Jack of Hearts blew up, killing Scott Lang. But I was still there when Wanda was losing her mind. I think of stopping it, like I stopped my Invaders from attacking Aeon, but then I stop and wonder about what I'll do to the time Stream when I change it. Instead I relieve the day the Avengers were disassembled. I see Scott's skeleton being dug out of the dirt, Hank's look of shock as he sees Janet wounded, She-Hulk being dragged on a containment truck, Lionheart into an ambulance and what's left of vision being picked up and thrown into a box…oh god I know what's coming.
"CALL YOUR MEN OFF!" I yell at the Kree soldier.
I know he's just an illusion, I know he's only Wanda's creation but I still scream at him. My words have to reach her somehow; somehow Wanda must know that what she's doing is completely wrong.
"STOP IT! STOP IT NOW!"
But it all plays out exactly as I remember it. Every person that had even been an Avenger fights in front of the mansion. They're battling what they think is a Kree invasion force. But we later learn that they were just illusions created by Wanda. Everything happens as I remember it. Hawkeye rushes out of the mansion, loaded with quivers of arrows. He fires one after another, still moving with confidence even in this desperate time. But the bravado doesn't last when a blast hits his back.
"Not again," I find myself whispering.
"Not like this," I hear Clint whisper.
"Clint wait," I call to him, running ahead of Natasha.
"Not like this!" He ignores me, grabbing a Kree and his jetpack.
"CLINT NO!" I yell but Clint's already flying towards the Kree ship, leaving his bow behind.
He flies himself into the engine, triggering an explosion that brings the craft down. All of the Avengers gather around it as the fighting stops. I pick up Clint's boy again, staring at his signature weapon. Finally I let it out and scream.
I'm in the snow now, my costume gone, I'm in civilian clothes.
"Make it stop, make it stop," I say out loud.
"At this point I don't care who hears me, just make it stop, I don't want to see all of this anymore. Damn it, JUST LET ME DIE IN PEACE FOR ONCE!"
I wait for minutes and feel the tears on my face freeze. When I finally open my eyes I see the snow falling between the gravestones. I'm in New York during the winter, at a time when I'm not carrying the shield. It's a graveyard and I'm right in front of several stones covered by the snow. I wiped the snow off one and sigh. I'm looking at Roscoe's grave; he was a kid that tried becoming me. He could have made it too, but the Red Skull wanted the real Captain America, not someone trying to honour his legacy. Roscoe was tortured and killed; yet strangely I haven't relived the moment I found his body tied up to a chimney.
"Is this really time, or is this hell? WHY AM I HERE? Why is this happening! WHAT IS THIS!" I scream.
The snow turns into rain and I find myself looking at a different graveyard. My heart sinks as I look at a different grave, a grave I thought I'd never have to look at.
"Janet Van Dyne!"
My heart sinks as I step back in horror. I don't try to hold back the tears, nor do I stop myself from sinking back down to my knees. The Lightning flashes and I look at a new grave:
Thor's original human host and Janet, my god, must death always claim the best of us?
"What is this place? IS this the time that's yet to come?"
"Think of it as the time that is passing this very moment!"
I recognise that voice and the tears are replaced by anger. Rising from the floor I turn to face the new arrival. Kang the Conqueror, one of the first villains I faced with the Avengers. He's standing before me, his arms crossed with a smile on that blue face of his.
"Kang, this is your doing," I accuse him, yet for some reason I doubt my own words.
"I wish I could take responsibility for your suffering Captain I really do, but no this is not my work. Your in a nightmare created by one of your deadliest foes, one might say he is your nemesis," Kang says.
"The Red Skull," I growl.
"Bingo, despite his Alexander Lukin being dead, Johan Schmitt, the true Red Skull has moved his spirit into an android body and is currently rethinking his plans. Especially now that the world is decimated and a new world order is establishing itself, the Utopia Program has become quite infamous in the present Captain," Kang keeps his grin fixed, but I'm in no mood for his games.
"Tell me what you know!"
"You don't need to threaten me Captain, even if we could fight one another I promise you…I am no threat to you!"
I blink, Kang just changed right before my eyes. He's shorter now and his armour is…then I remember, Kang is just a future version of the Young Avengers founder Iron Lad. Standing before me now is Iron Lad.
"I am sorry Captain Rogers but that's something you'll have to get used to," Iron Lad says as he walks amongst the graves.
I can tell from the look on Iron Lad's face that he knows something bad is going to happen.
"There's a storm coming Captain," This time I'm speaking to Kang again. "You are re experiencing moments of your history and you've even changed one part of it, your friends have realised this and have begun working on a way to save you…but your successor is having a very difficult time restoring hope," Iron Lad sighed before turning back to me. "My knowledge of history is telling me that your friends will try to find the Red Skull and stop him from carrying out his plan, when they find him he'll…enough boy, what good is there in telling him anyway, nothing you do will make a single bit of di…NO KANG! We must intervene; our present situation is proof enough that if Deathblade is allowed to continue, time itself will be in jeopardy!"
"Iron Lad, please explain to me what's going on?"
"Something worse than Deathblade is causing damage…they aren't ready to know of the true extent of the threat yet boy, let them discover it for themselves…Deathblade created a rip in the fabric of dimensions when he attacked the Infinite mansion, a lot of people thought it was to restore Aeon to his original power set but its something much worse…or perhaps its something good, even evil actions can be for a greater good, you should know that better than anyone boy…this is all just a prelude Captain, a prelude that you are a part of," Iron Lad's voice has become frantic.
"Iron Lad, calm down and tell me what you know," I speak as kindly as possible, considering how important this all is.
"Time is changing, the future isn't what I remember it to be, I was once a king of an empire, but in the future there wont be an empire left for me to rule," Kang lowers his head in regret, I cant say I feel sorry for him, Iron Lad maybe but not that man.
"Let me show you just a fraction of what awaits in the future:"
Iron Lad taps some of the buttons on his gauntlet and the jewel on his forehead glows. When he shifts to his Kang persona, it's his "face" that glows as a hologram appears before us. The hologram grows and it feels like the world I'm in now is changing into the world the future will become. That world is a place of emptiness, a dark desert of rock and sand; the only source of civilisation I can see is a great crystal fortress. Iron Lad appears again and points his hand away from the fortress. I turn to where he is pointing and widen my eyes.
He walks across the planes, a black cloak flapping behind him. Raising his head, he reveals a pair of red eyes obscured by the visor of his helmet. Silver hair sticks out of the back of his helmet while the rest of his body is covered by dark armour, held together by straps or simply fused with the red fabric of his suit. He raises a gloved hand and squeezes the fingers together.
"The last lines of civilisation, the last shelter of the ignorant masses that cause these disasters…DESTROY IT ALL!" He yelled
He clicked his fingers together and in an instant, crystal drills burst out of the ground. Hundreds of Sentinels, robots and demonic soldiers began flying out of the holes. He created a sword on his right hand and took flight.
"Consume this world in battle and recreate it from the ashes," The Dark lord said as he flew towards the fortress.
A silver haired woman stood at a balcony on the fortress. Her armour was a white and red colour and was formed from similar crystals to the ones that formed the fortress. She threw her hand forward, creating a red and white crystal sword, and ordering her own forces forward. Costumed individuals began flying out of the fortress, straight towards the Dark Lord's forces.
I continued to watch as the two forces collided, so that was the future that awaited the world. Iron Lad turns to me and plants a hand on my shoulder.
"You can stop this Steven Rogers in a way that I cant, I still haven't yet regained full control of my abilities but you will soon go back to reliving your history. And you can change your history Cap; you can stop this future long before it happens. Sven Reilly, the successor of the alien you and your Invaders encounter during the war, he will come to care for and protect a young child by the name of Siegfried Wallace. Sieg is the one that will create the future you just saw…the only way to stop him is to kill him!" Kang said.
I step away in horror, and that horror quickly becomes anger.
"No…I refuse to kill a child," I say.
"A child who will kill millions, do what must be done Captain!"
"I will, I will return to my timeline and take steps to create a future where Sieg doesn't become this monster you speak of!"
Kang barely has time to argue with me as I return to my past. Whatever is happening to history is something I'm sure everyone back home can fix before it gets out of hand. Right now I'll endure for as long as I can. Because that's all dreams can do in times of war, they endure.
I've worked with super humans all my life. One thing I know is that if these alien threats and magical demons are going to lurk around forever, the best defence against them are super heroes. They are the only deterrent we have against total Armageddon. But the world has lost their faith in the heroes. That faith can't so easily be restored. Especially with Miriam Sharpe spreading her idiocy. We all feel sorry for her about her son, but if she keeps treading the path she's on then there wont be any heroes left in the world to protect the rest of our sons, our children wont believe in a better future. I know what its like to exist without hope.
"Commander Hand, our scouts report an incident in Moscow, the Squadron have hit the city sir," I hear one of the techs speak; he's a kid so he's obviously nervous about the job.
Hand marches over to the console, I have one of my own techs follow the signal of the recording. A Moscow reporter is recording a fight between some Squadron Members and two super villains. He's that Whiplash that Iron Man encountered when he was accused of murder and the Titanium Man that attacked the senate when they first discussed registration. The fights getting dirty, and all hope seems lost for the Russian children being dragged away. I've seen this kind of picture before; I'm not going to look at it again.
Commando of the Squadron Supreme quite frankly loved his job. He was paid to kill Russians whilst wearing the American Flag, that was the part of the job he loved. His costume consisted of silver gloves and a cowl, worn with a red shirt that had the American star on the chest and back. An energy shield covered his right arm and with every order Commando's teammates would bring down another great Monument of the Russian city. Missile Blue was currently engaging Titanium Man in midair and the others were beating Whip Lash out of his armour.
"God bless America, God Bless the Utopia Program, become Justified and join our new world order," Commando said.
Several Russian soldiers aimed their rifles at Commando, only for a silver shield to slice their guns apart. Commando grinned as his second in command Silver walked into the fray. Silver wore a blue bodysuit with a gold helmet, gloves and boots. He grabbed the silver kite shield as it returned to him and walked to Commando's side.
"We're almost done loading them up, what do you want done with Whiplash?" He asked.
"Only one good Russian really, kill him!" Commando spat and turned away from Whip Lash.
"Sorry babe," Temptress grinned as she sharpened her nails.
"Dasvidania Comrade!" Blue Nova said.
The android opened the palm of his hand. He fired the blast, only for Whip Lash to disappear. The Squadron members widened their eyes as the children they gathered disappeared too.
"SPEEDSTERS!" Commando yelled.
"A lot more than that!"
Commando looked up, widening his eyes as several super heroes jumped out of a Quinn Jet. Leading them was someone dressed in a Captain America uniform. Michael landed first, throwing his shield into Alchemy.
"Speed, Spitfire, continue clearing out the civilians, Patriot take Nomad and Blazing Skull and take down those Justifier tanks, stop them from hitting the Kremlin," Michael went into full leadership swing, taking command of the group he had put together.
Michael realised that as Captain America he needed to restore hope not just for his country but also for all other countries. So he got Patriot and Speed from the Young Avengers, with Speed representing the Whizzer. Then he went to the Baxter Building and recruited Johnny Storm. The Fantastic Four's Human Torch was currently assisting Titanium Man in taking down Missile Blue. With Jocasta's help Michael then found Initiative members Miss America and Blazing Skull. Union Jack and Spitfire then came over from Britain to offer their services. Michael's objective was clear, create a new team of Invaders to help the countries America's brass wouldn't.
"Invaders, take them down!" Michael commanded.
Union Jack punched Azrael across the head, while Miss America flew in and kicked Temptress. Spitfire and Speed continued running into Squadron transports, pulling out masses of captives faster than the eye could see. Michael smacked Shape across the head with his shield and ducked to avoid Blue Nova's sun blast. He quickly threw his shield, hitting the android in the head. Then he jumped and flipped over the Silver Ape, throwing concussive grenades into several of the Squadron members. Alchemy began charging energy blasts, but cursed as Union Jack began firing his revolver. Miss America grabbed the straps of Temptress's costume and threw her against a wall.
"We're doing it, we're taking back Moscow!" Nomad said, tripping a Justifier to the floor.
Human Torch threw a series of fireballs, destroying Squadron jeeps and knocking out Justifiers. Blazing Skull stopped his marching and fired a heat blast into a Squadron tank, burning the barrel of the cannon and its tracks.
"We're gaining an advantage but we cant get too cocky," Patriot said, blocking an energy blast with his shield.
Speed stopped his running, rubbing his hands together and blowing up the engines of several Squadron transports. Spitfire then ran into Alchemy and Blue Nova, clothes lining both villains. Azrael swung his sword at Miss America, drawing her away from Temptress. But Spitfire quickly knocked Temptress unconscious. Silver tackled Union Jack and both men rolled across the floor. Joseph drew his knife, swinging it at Silver's head. The helmeted man shattered the blade with his shield and swung his fist into Joseph's face. Union jack quickly slammed his elbow into Silver's shoulder, lodging the man's arm out of place. Silver yelled and kneed Joseph in the chest.
"Guys, can I get some backup?" Miss America asked, dodging increasingly quick swipes from Azrael's sword.
"Nomad, see if you can provide sniping cover for Miss America, Blazing Skull, Titanium Man and Human Torch, you three focus on the Squadron's artillery units. Hit them hard and fast, we need to capture at least one of them so we can question him on their plans," Michael explained.
"Cap, we need to protect our own," Union Jack said, delivering a swift punch to Silver's head.
"We also need to win, this is a war Chapman," Michael said.
Blazing Skull huffed as he blasted several more Squadron tanks.
"You do what you have to in war, but that doesn't necessarily mean what your doing is right Van Patrick. What would your girlfriend Abby think of all this? Say what you will about World War 2, Cap wasn't an angel back then but he didn't do anything to compromise his beliefs, he protected his own and he didn't compromise if he had the choice," Blazing Skull explained.
He created another fire blast, hitting another tank. But the third tank turned the barrel of its cannon. Blazing Skull crossed his arms together, bracing himself as the turret fired. The blast sent Blazing Skull flying over the battlefield, bouncing across the floor until he hit Union Jack.
"GUYS SERIOUSLY HELP ME OUT!" Miss America yelled.
"I cant get a clear shot, this guys good," Nomad said, growling as Azrael dodged blasts after blast from her rifle.
"Damn it I knew this would happen, everyone we need to go now," Patriot said.
"NO! WE WONT LEAVE OTHER COUNTRIES TO THEIR FATES!" Michael yelled.
"YOUR NOT CAP VAN PATRICK STOP ACTING LIKE HIM!" Eli yelled back.
Blazing Skull got up off the floor, shaking his skull as he faced Silver. He let out a breath of fire, completely covering Silver's shield. Silver grinned as he dropped his shield, floating it off the floor. He rotated the shield around until its edge faced Blazing Skull. Then he clicked his fingers, sending the shield rolling forward. Blazing Skull widened his eyes as the shield darted towards him. Union Jack got off the floor, and quickly rolled out of the way as a shield darted towards him. Speed ran at Silver, punching him across the head.
"That's that bad guy down, hey Skull why are you just sitting around?" Speed asked.
Spitfire quickly ran up behind Speed, covering the boy's eyes as Blazing Skull's skull slid apart. The two pieces of the skull shattered when their touched the floor and Mark Todd's body landed with a thud. Nomad looked down the sight of her gun, getting a lock on Azrael as he swooped towards Miss America. She pulled the trigger, sending a bullet flying towards the red winged man. But Azrael flew around the bullet, and plunged his sword into Miss America's chest.
"NO!" Nomad yelled.
"She was barely remembered anyway," Azrael huffed as he threw Miss America off his sword.
"We're slowing getting an advantage but lets not lose what we've already got, begin teleporting our remaining prisoners and operatives out of here," Commando spoke into his communicator.
"Good, that means no punishment for killing the Ghost Rider wannabe," Silver grinned as he disappeared.
"NO! YOUR NOT GETTING AWAY!" Michael yelled.
Michael dived at Commando, slashing him across the face with his shield. Commando clutched the cut on his face in horror before Michael punched him in the chest. He quickly countered by kicking Michael in the chest, knocking him back. Commando drew his pistol, unloading a clip into Michael's shield. As commando reloaded, he spotted the unconscious Whip Lash lying on the ground feet away from Michael.
"If you are like Captain America then you have to make the right choice always don't you?" Commando asked.
"Of course I do," Michael said.
"Good, then your next choice wont be so difficult," Commando grinned.
He aimed his pistol at Whiplash, grinning as he pulled the trigger. That grin deepened as Michael threw his shield, imbedding it in the ground to protect Whiplash from the bullets. Commando turned his pistol on Michael, only for a bullet to fly into his shoulder. Union Jack stood behind Michael, his revolver smoking.
"That was for making fun of Steve," Joseph said.
Commando yelled as he began firing his pistol wildly. Michael ducked, and then dived for cover. Union Jack merely fired his revolver again, sending a bullet straight into Commando's head.
"That was for Blazing Skull…you lucky bastard," Blood stained the mouth of Joseph's mask as he fell to his knees.
"Chapman," Michael whispered.
"JOSEPH!" Spitfire screamed, grabbing Union Jack as he fell.
"Damn it, lucky shot, don't let it get to you kid, there's been so many who take up that shield and let it weigh them down, don't collapse under the weight, pick it up and get back in line!" Union Jack explained as the other heroes gathered around him.
"We can still treat the wounds, lets just run him to a hospital," Speed suggested.
"Not an option…now I'm afraid…I feel so cold," Despite the statement, Joseph Chapman still pulled his mask off.
"Joseph stay alive, I'll run you to a medic," Spitfire said.
"Don't waste your energy…" Joseph paused as he caressed Spitfire's cheeks. "You know…dating…an old lady wasn't bad…you were one stand up girl luv," He grinned.
Spitfire widened her eyes in horror while Nomad latched onto Patriot. Johnny grit his teeth together, flames rising from his shoulders as Joseph Chapman's life faded.
"How many more of us have to die?" Eli asked.
Michael kept his eyes on the floor, raising a hand to his head as his eyes began to water.
"Too many more Patriot, too many more," He whispered.
Next Chapter 4: The Child of destiny
Next time we take a break from all the present battles and focus on the main character of the main series. Michael meets with Sieg before he continues his investigation into the Squadron, meanwhile Sharon meets with Tony Stark to discuss Steve and Bucky's predicaments, while Steve relives the memory of when he first met Sieg.
Next time we see Sieg as an infant and the first time Sven vows to protect him.