A Titanic Tale Told in the Timely Fashion!
The Horror of…The Unnamable Ones!
Arkham, Mass., October 31, just after sunset
The sign outside the cottage read 'Claire Voyant-psychic'. A small dirt path lead directly to the door. The cottage was on the outskirts of the town of Arkham, and the people of the town were had preferred it if the cottage was even farther away. But that really didn't bother Claire too much. She had just turned off the porch lights after a long day reading palms and telling old spinsters how they were going to be swept off their feet by tall dark strangers when she heard a knocking at her door. Fear shot through her and settled in her stomach as she looked through the peephole. Standing in front of her door was what appeared to be a small boy dressed a devil costume, complete with horns and a tail. "Treat!" yelled the boy cheerfully.
"That's Trick or Treat, and I'm sorry, but Halloween isn't until tomorrow." Claire stammered out, quickly locking the door and backing away from it. "Sorry toots, but the boss needs you. Are you going to let me in, are do we do have to do it the hard way?" the boy said, his voice losing the cheerfulness. Sighing, Claire undid the locks and opened the door. "Tell me the job and get out." She said in a tone that would have frozen the fires of hell itself. "Look lady, I'm just the messenger, but drop the attitude. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." Collapsing in a chair, Claire sobbed quietly as the boy walked over to the fireplace and placed his pitchfork in it. A roaring fire appeared, but there was no heat from it. "Now, here's the job babe. It seems that there's a new cult happening up in Vermont. The boss wants it stopped, and it has to stopped before the start of All Saints Day. Oh yeah, we can't help you with this one. Boss says you are on your own" Claire stood up and looked at the boy. "Why would he say that?" The boy fidgeted and looked down. "Well, and you didn't hear this from me, but this cult is trying bring back some kind of bigwig from the other side. Some thing very old and VERY powerful, and even the boss looked kinda scared when he found out about it. Honey, you have got your work cut out for you. Well, it's been fun, but I've gotta skeedadle. " With that said, the boy leaped into the fireplace. The fire died instantly, leaving the foul stench of brimstone hung in the air.
Getting up, Claire looked into the fireplace. "Always sending me to do your dirty work, aren't you? Well, you won't help me, then I'll just have get some help on my own."
She walked over to an innocent looking door under the stairs and opened it. Carefully, she lit a match and made her way down the steps. At the bottom of the steps was a small doorway with various symbols around it. Sighing heavily, she began to take off her clothes. Folding the garments neatly, she placed them on the steps and walked in the chamber.
Sitting on the ground, Claire picked up a small knife and slit her left palm. A thick black ichor oozed out of the wound and fell onto the mat. "NAJORT OOATLK XAM!" She chanted. Shapes began to from on the ground. "Show me the one who will aid me in defeating my foes!" A picture of a young woman appeared on the ground. Claire stared at the picture for a few minutes as she began to mix in some green powder with the ooze. "This is to be my ally?" She wondered aloud. But looking at the picture closer, she saw something else that made her gasp. "Well, some kind of changeling, and she possess great strength. Well, I guess I really can't afford to be picky." Wiping the blade clean, she stood up. A black key appeared in the center of the picture. "Well, I guess it's time to put on my work clothes."
Closing her eyes, Claire began to meditate. Pain shot through her, almost as if her very soul was being ripped out. She fell to the floor as her body began to change. Her short brown hair began to flow down her back and it seemed to writhe like a den of vipers in the pale light in the room. Her already pale skin grew even whiter, and seemed to shrink around her skull. Her eyebrows grew and joined into one as a thin line of black hair grew from her throat down to her groin. Her soft body took on a hard edge, and muscles burst out of the skin. She howled as her vertebrae snapped and her spine grew several inches. Hair began to grow out of the center of her palms as her fingernails grew. Within seconds, her hands looked more like claws than human hands. Her canine teeth elongated into fangs, and she bit her lower lip. Her mouth bled black as she opened her eyes to show that her pupils were now totally white. Her flesh was drawn tight over her skull, making her look not unlike death itself.
Wiping her mouth, the woman picked up the key and walked towards a door that suddenly appeared. Placing the key in the lock, the woman grinned. "Well" she said in a voice that was both enticing and horrifying, "I hope that Jennifer Walters is ready to met The Black Widow!"
Falsworth Manor, English Countryside
Yeoman Jennifer Walters suddenly sneezed. Looking around the bedroom, she shrugged as she got dressed. The events of the last few days had been somewhat hectic, to say the least. Getting caught in a gamma explosion, getting kidnapped, and turning into, what had those men called her, the She-Hulk? Now that was a silly name Jennifer thought, as she looked at herself in the full-length mirror. Her uniform had been destroyed when she changed last night, so Lord Falsworth has been nice enough to give her one of his daughter's old dresses. Of course, she did have to lie about as to how her uniform was destroyed. But she brushed those thoughts from her mind.
Looking outside the window, the English countryside looked so serene in the morning sun. "I wonder if I'll change again to night?" Jennifer wondered aloud. The Invaders had said they would only stay at the manor house long enough to rest and report in to Allied Headquarters before flying both her and Captain Ross back to the States. Apprehension spread across her face as she continued to look at the sunshine. If nighttime triggered her change, what would happen if the sun set while they were over the Atlantic?
A knock on the door almost caused Jennifer to jump out of her skin. "Yeoman Walters, are you decent?" she heard a familiar male voice say.
"Yes Sir". Standing at attention as the familiar face of Captain Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross peered from around the door, she sighed in relief as he came into the room. "At ease Yeoman. I just got word from Cap, we'll be ready to go in an hour."
But just as the words left his mouth, Jennifer felt a chill go through her. The old grandfather clock down the hall stopped ticking, and the normal sounds of the morning just stopped, as if someone had removed the needle on a record player. "What's going on here?" Jennifer said, only to hear nothing in return.
"My, my, my, your choice in lovers leaves something to be desired, but I suppose why someone like you would go for him." Jennifer heard a sultry voice say behind her. Turning around, Jennifer was shocked to see a nude woman leaning against Captain Ross. "You're Jennifer Walters, aren't you?" The woman said, her eyes (or her hands) never leaving Ross's body for a second. "Who are you, and what the hell are you doing here?" Jennifer almost shouted. Pouting, the woman looked at straight at Jennifer, and Jennifer instantly wished that she hadn't. Standing up and moving towards her, Jennifer got a good long look at the woman. Her face was deathly pale, and the skin seemed three sized to small for her skull. Her hair seemed to writhe as if it were a living thing, and her eyes were two milky pools of horror. The woman walked over to Jennifer, and she grinned, showing two razor sharp fangs sticking out of her mouth. "Heh, 'hell', what an appropriate choice words." The woman muttered as she sashayed over to the horrified yeoman and draped her arms around Jennifer's neck. The woman's arms felt like raw liver, and Jennifer found herself trying not to vomit. "But, since I am in a good mood, I think I'll explain what I'm doing here. First, if you feel the need to call me something, just call me the Black Widow. Now, you see I'm on a very mission from my Master, but I need some help." Jennifer tried to break the woman's grip, but she couldn't move. The woman narrowed her eyes and hissed. "Don't run away when I'm speaking, it's rude. Now, as I was saying, I need some help, and my magic's pointed me in your direction. I wouldn't recommend running anyway. You see I've frozen time here, just so we could have this little girl talk. Now, are you going to help me?" The Black Widow stared directly into Jennifer's face, and as Jennifer looked right into the woman's eyes, she felt like her soul was melting.
"Well, too late!" The Black Widow blurted out as she jumped back. Jennifer felt the room spinning, and she felt like she was being sucked up a pipe.
Jennifer opened her eyes. It was dark, and she hesitantly looked up. Wherever she was now, it was nighttime, and the moon was shining brightly. "Oh no!" She screamed as she felt the now all too familiar sensation of her body changing…
Not too far away
The Black Widow looked around. What possible good could that human woman be to her? The thoughts of leaving the woman to the nearest demon were dancing merrily in her head as she heard (Jennifer, is that her name? She thought) that woman moaning. "What by the First's horns is that fool doing?" She wondered aloud as she began to climb the small hill separating them.
It took quite a few things to make the Black Widow speechless. Staring at the sight down below was enough to make even someone of her jaded sensibilities silent for a minute. She had brought a small, rather plain looking mortal woman with her, one who had no particular magic about her at all.
On the ground below her was a woman. She was not, however, the same she had brought with her. The woman was at least seven feet tall, and clad only in a tattered dress. Her skin was a dark gray, and even in the pale moonlight, she could see the muscles rippling under the woman's skin. "A shape sifter! Well, that explains why my magic picked you." The gray giant looked down at the Widow, and before she could react, the giant wrapped her massive fingers around her neck. Her grip was tightening like a vice as she looked down at the struggling Widow. "Alright lady, where am I, and who the hell are you?"
"You mean you don't remember, ah… Walters, right?" At that, the giant growled and the next sensation the Widow was aware of was flight as she was tossed through the air. "That's not my name!" The giant howled as she leaped after her. The Black Widow hit the ground hard and before she could move, the giant was upon her. "My name" the giant said "is the She-Hulk. Got it?"
"And you may call the Black Widow. Now that we're no longer strangers, perhaps you will be more willing to help me than your other side was" The She-Hulk looked at her with a look that was part disdain and part boredom. "Well, since I'm already here, why not?" she said, shrugging her massive shoulders. "What exactly do you what?"
"A great many things, but of you, only one. You can aid me in destroying one of my Master's enemies, and I can help you." The She-Hulk cast a sardonic look at the nude woman. "Really, and just how can someone like you help me?" The Widow smiled, and bared her fangs. "Well, you seem to have some animosity towards your human half. If you aid me, I can help you." The gray Amazon stepped back and quipped "Yeah, like I need help from some dame that can't even dress herself". The smile on the Black Widow's face then melted like an ice cube in the Sahara. Sighing, she stood up and stretched her arms. "You mortals and your damned morality. Very well…REGNIFFIH!"
A loud skittering sound filled the air. The She-Hulk looked around, but she could see nothing that would cause the noise. Looking over at the Black Widow, she was disgusted to see a mass of spiders swarming around the woman's bare feet before crawling up her legs. Within seconds, the spiders covered the Black Widow's torso enough to keep her decent. Slack-jawed, the She-Hulk could only stare at the woman. The Black Widow smirked and began walking towards the rather off-put She-Hulk. "What the hell are those?" The She-Hulk blurted out. The Black Widow stood dangerously close to the Amazon and whispered "They are my children and my lovers if you have to know. Now, if you just wait here, we can get going." Walking over the hill, the Black Widow was greeted by what looked a small child dressed like a devil, complete with a tail and pitchfork. The Widow looked somewhat surprised at the boy, until the boy spoke. "Sorry about being late. Here, I brought ya this." The boy gave a blood red cloak to the Widow. "Look, me and the boys really appreciate what you're doing here, and even we can't help you, well, let's just say we're rooting for ya toots." With a wave of his pitchfork, the boy disappeared in the ground, leaving the grass burnt to a crisp. "Well, isn't that sweet of them." The Widow fastened the cloak to her back (the spiders held in place, the She-Hulk noticed) and turned around. Well, that saves us a bit of trouble. Now, stand still, and we'll teleport over" She was cut off as the She-Hulk grabbed her neck. "Lady, I'm not doing a damn thing until you tell where we're going, and what in God's name did I just see?" The Black Widow seemed visibly annoyed by her statement. "Very well. We have until midnight to stop a cult in Rutland, Vermont from summoning forth something that could destroy the world. I'll teleport both of us to the area. I stop, you smash, understand?" The She-Hulk mulled over her options. "And if I help you, you can help me with my 'other' side?" The Widow smiled her icy smile again. "I promise." Sighing, the She-Hulk shrugged her shoulders. "Well, why not?" Quickly, the Widow stepped uncomfortably close to the Amazon, and wrapped her cape around them both. A chill went through the She-Hulk's bones as she closed her eyes.
The Devil's Mountain (so called by the residents of Rutland) stood over the tiny town like a dark giant. The entire mountain was black, save for a ring of red around the peak. The townspeople called it 'The Devil's Fire', and it had been a regular sight on the mountain every fifty years or so. Few townspeople cared to find what exactly caused the fire, but they knew it would be over by daylight. Once, a handful of people went up to the top of the mountain but they never came back alive, which only cemented the town's belief that some things should best be left alone.
This year, the fire had a more natural cause. The timberline had been set ablaze (but kept under control) so that nobody would investigate. Or at least, that's what the Cult of the Night had hoped would happen.
Around a hastily built stone alter gathered the group. The group had circled themselves around a large slab of rock, watching with perverse fascination as a young woman struggled in vain to remove herself from her bonds. One of the members stepped forward, and the rest of the group quickly bowed. The member threw back his hood to revel the face an older man. His face was the rounded kindly type with a dome of white hair cascading down his head, making him resemble someone's grandfather, or Santa with out the bread. "Brothers, I am deeply pleased to see so many of you at this momentous occasion." Two other robed men walked over and handed the man a large book. The man hugged the book to his chest and spoke to the other two men. "Did you have any problems?"
"No Brother Willard. There was a bit of difficulty with Professor Armitage up in Dunwhich, but with his niece here" (He jerked his head towards the girl) "We managed to get both the Necronomicon and the proper translation Sir."
The older man smiled broadly as he opened the book and began to flip through it. "Yes…Soon Brothers, The Unspeakable Ones will join us in this realm, and we will rule the world with them!" The gathered men broke out into cheering as their leader began to read from the unholy text.
Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Rutland
When the She-Hulk next opened her eyes, she was standing behind what looked like a two-story building. The Black Widow was looking her over like a cat looking at dead rat.
"Where are we?" The She-Hulk blurted out. The Black Widow smirked again as she looked around. "Like I said before my dear, we're in Rutland, Vermont." But suddenly, The Widow's face grew pale (Or perhaps paler, thought The She-Hulk) "What's wrong now?" asked Jennifer, but the Widow turned her back on her and began to walk towards the shadows. "I felt something horrible happen. I need to check on something first, then I'll come back for you. Feel free to walk around, I can track you down with my spells." And with that, she was gone, faded into the night like a puff of smoke.
"Hey you there!" A male voice broke the night's silence. Turning around, the She-Hulk saw the outline of a man. "Miss, can you come out into the light for a second?" The man asked, his voice friendly, but with a steel edge behind it. Deciding that she handle herself if the man tried anything funny, the She-Hulk steeped out into the lights of the city. Looking around, she saw the main drag down up in steamers and jack-o-lanterns. The man was dressed like a cop, but Jennifer knew that appearances could be deceiving. The cop (if that's what he really was) was looking her over in way that Yeoman Jennifer Walters would have hated, and the She-Hulk would have despised.
"Lady, I knew this is Halloween, but you are going to have to find a costume more decent than that, or I'll have to run you in for indecent exposure." The officer said.
"Costume? Um…right. I just got into town, you wouldn't happen to know where I could find a new one?" The policeman looked somewhat disappointed by her attitude, but he turned around and pointed down the block. "There's a shop down there by the corner. Better hurry, the Halloween Parade starts in about five minutes." Thanking the officer, she started walking down the street, but stopped when she saw the mountain. "Hey, is the mountain on fire?" The policeman took off his cap and scratched his head. "You really are new in town, aren't you? That's the Devil's Fire. Don't worry, it'll burn itself out by morning. Always has before" The last bit was added under his breath, but Jennifer could still hear him. Jennifer continued down the street, trying to suppress the urge to smash the man's head like a walnut. The shop at the corner was the only one with its lights on, and Jennifer could the sign hanging above the door. In gilded letters, the sign proclaimed: 'Taylor's Tailor and alterations-Nothing we can't do!' Taking that as good omen (the first I've had in a while, she thought) Jennifer walked into the shop.
Meanwhile, in Dunwhich
The first thing that the Black Widow noticed as she walked out of the shadows was the broken widows staring back at her like a prize fighter's smile. Her features shifted to a more human like countenance as she ran up the walkway into the house. The door was ajar, and the house looked as if Patton had decided to practice his maneuvers inside the hallway. A low moaning coming from the den broke her train of thought as a shambling figure stumbled out of the room. It was a man, his graying beard streaked with blood, and his face swollen and purple. The Widow's face regained it's inhuman features as she drew herself up to her full height. "Armitage, what happened here?" The man slid slowly to the floor and sighed. "They came. They took it!" The Widow scowled and grabbed the injured man by his neck, hoisting him to his feet. "You mean you let a group of mortals make off with the Necronomicon?" Without waiting for a reply, she dropped the man to the ground. "Beial's eyes! I never should have trusted this job to a human!" With a curse, she had disappeared from the house. Armitage sighed as he leaned back against the wall. "Heaven forgive me: the old man muttered under his breath.
Back in Rutland
Inside the shop, Jennifer was marveling at herself in a full-length mirror. Her tattered dress lay in a crumpled mess at her feet. The shop's owner hadn't said a word about her, or her manner of dress. The old man had merely nodded his head, ushered her into the changing room, and given her a white box. Her old dress had come off rather easily (mostly by exhaling. The dress just fell off of her frame.) and she stood before the mirror clad in a costume rather similar to her first one. It was bright purple, and like her first one, it hugged her body like a second skin. The plunging neckline was a bit much, but for the first time since she had changed, she felt like plain Jennifer Walters, and not the She-Hulk. The old man behind the counter seemed to wink at her, and the next thing she knew, she was standing on the street corner, with not a trace of the store anywhere.
"I hate this damn town" she said under her breath as she started jogging towards the mountain.
At the top of the mountain
The chanting of the group was reaching fever pitch when with out warning, they stopped. The air seemed to freeze around them and even the fire seemed cold. "Brother Willard, is this part of the spell?" One of the younger members asked. The older man placed the book down and drew a pistol from his robes. "I'm not sure. According to these translations, the gateway should just open up, and we'll put the girl in the gateway so her soul can keep the way open for our Masters. It doesn't mention the weather being affected…"
A noise, like someone shoving a grapefruit into a thimble, filled the air. A large fist smashed it's way out of the ground near the center of the group. The group stared in shock as the ground gave way to a large figure. Shaking the dirt off, the cultists stared in horror at what had appeared. It looked a man dressed in armor as black as the night itself. A visor hung low, totally obscuring his face, and a massive mace hung from his side. Straightening himself, the man roared in an inhuman voice "WHO DARES TO SUMMON THE NIGHT-CRAWLER?"
While off in the distance
The Black Widow watched the events with a perverse gleam in her eyes. "Well, Armitage gave them the wrong translation. Good for him." Sighing in contentment, she leaned against the tree's trunk. "Now all I have to do is sit back, let those fools get slaughtered, and my job is through for the night."
But off in the distance, a strange flying object caught her eye. Squinting her eyes, she could make out what looked like a human dressed in purple. "Bael's horns! That woman is going to ruin everything!"
Flying through the air, the She-Hulk thought about her plan. She knew that something or someone was on the top of this mountain, and that crazy spider woman hadn't come back yet. She really didn't care if she returned or not, but her curiosity had to be satisfied.
As her momentum eased off, she could see the top of the mountain as she was descending. She could also see an alter of stone, and what looked a giant stomping around. Even at her height, she could hear the creature screaming. "What the hell is going on?" She asked aloud as she landed directly atop of the giant. The giant grabbed her by her feet and tossed her to the ground with a sickening thud. "WHO DARES TO SULLY THE NIGHT-CRAWLER'S BODY?" The giant roared. Unhooking his mace from his side, the Night-Crawler began to swing his weapon wildly, crushing any cult members who got in his way.
Brother Willard was a patient man. He hadn't moved up the ranks by being fool. And in the course of two seconds, a monster was killing off all of his men. Sighing heavily, he lowered his head and awaited the deathblow as the monster spotted him.
Groggily, Jennifer got up. The giant had cornered a old man and was raising his mace in the air. "Alright, this is getting to be too damn much! Hey, tall dark and soon to be smashed!" The giant stooped bellowing and looked at her and slowly turned around.
"WHO DARES TO ADDRESS THE NIGHT-CRAWLER IN SUCH A FASHION? I WILL" but as the words left his gaping maw, he was silenced as The She-Hulk head butted him. The Night-Crawler reeled like a drunkard as the gray Amazon cracked his visor with a flurry of punches to the face. Grinning, she nailed him in the gut with a left hook that was heard as far away as Albany.
Brother Willard was amazed. This strange woman had just saved his life, but she didn't seem to care about his welfare as she continued to pummel the giant. Walking away quickly from the combatants, he made his way towards the girl bound on the stone alter. Leveling his gun at her head, he spoke in a soothing tone. "I'm very sorry about this, but I do believe I've found someone better. And hopefully this will show your uncle that nobodies defies us and lives!" Pressing the barrel against the girl's head, Willard stopped as he felt a suddenly chill. Turning around, he dropped his gun as he saw a woman dressed in black making her way towards him. The fire that was raging minutes ago went out as she walked through it. "You!" Willard screamed as he fell to his knees. "Please, we can make a deal, I can you give your Master my follower's souls if you" but he was silenced as the Widow gently caressed his jaw with her right hand, then gripped it so hard he felt the bone beginning to crack. "Please, let me live. I'll even toss in that girl" He pointed to Armitage's niece, still tied down, and looking near hysterical with fright. The Widow cocked her eyebrow and walked over the girl, dragging Brother Willard behind her. She snorted in disgust as her pupil-less eyes lingered over the girl's form. "You're trying to bride me with this? She barely has any meat on her bones, and besides, the fool's probably still a virgin." Gripping Willard's jaw tighter, a smile broke across her face as she heard the old man's bones beginning to crack apart. "My master has no use of virgins or fools Willard." And with a simple twist of her hand, the old man's neck snapped like a twig. Grinning, she wrapped her cloak around herself, but a voice broke her concentration. "Excuse me, but could you help me?" Turning back around, she saw the girl struggling against her bounds. 'Well, I suppose I do owe Armitage for giving these fools that wrong translation, but don't tell anyone." Clicking her fingers, the girl's lock's came undone. "Thank you, but shouldn't be helping your friend?" the girl asked, nervously looking towards the Widow. The Widow sighed and looked over to the battle raging between the Night-Crawler and the She-Hulk. "Well, I suppose I should help her. I did bring her here after all."
If the two combatants had heard the conversation between the two women, nobody would know. Trading blows loud enough to shatter the eardrums of anyone too close, the two fought like there was nothing else in the world. "DAMMED MORTAL, WHY WON'T YOU FALL?" The Night-Crawler bellowed. The She-Hulk, her anger rising like the tide, felt a new surge of power like a supernova go through her body. "Nobody beats the She-Hulk. Nobody!" With a blow that caused even the Black Widow to wince, the She-Hulk grabbed the giant's visor with both her hands and slammed her head directly into the Night-Crawler's face. The giant wobbled like a broken top before a hole opened up in the ground and he toppled headfirst into the abyss.
The sound of clapping momentarily cleared the Amazon's head, but as she saw who the audience was, her rage came bubbling back to the surface. The Widow smiled gaily as she slinked her way towards her, the abyss closing itself up without a sound.
"Sorry about that, but I had to put him back. It would upset the balance, you know. Well, it looks like I didn't need you after all."
Snorting in disgust, the She-Hulk looked down at the shorter woman. "You mean you dragged me halfway across the globe for nothing?" The Black Widow shrugged her shoulders and started to walk away. "Like I said, sorry. The Home Office does have the tendency to stretch the truth a bit. Nothing personal?" The She-Hulk smirked, then she hit the Widow with a right cross that would have made Johnny L. himself wince. The blow sent the woman flying through the air, but her journey was cut short as she hit a tree headfirst.
Her head bent at an unnatural angle, she slowly got and staggered towards her Amazon opponent. " I said I was sorry, but if it's a fight you want…" Wrenching her head back into the proper place, the Widow stared down the She-Hulk.
Suddenly, a voice broke the tension. "Wait, why are you two fighting?" Both combatants turned the new interruption. It was the girl who had been tied down to the alter. She stood away from the two women, confusion etched into her face.
"Claire, get away from here!" The Widow screamed. "How do you know my name?" Claire said as the She-Hulk grinned. Rushing towards the Widow, she grabbed the woman in a bear hug. The sound of bones breaking filled the air as the Widow tried to escape the She-Hulk's iron grip. Struggling, she managed to gasp 'Why are you doing this?". The She-Hulk grinned and squeezed harder. "Because I can, that's why." The Widow reared back and a blue mist sprayed out of her mouth, coating the She-Hulk's face a bluish slime. "Oh God I'm blind!" She screamed, dropping the Widow to the ground. Unsteadily, she got to her feet and walked over to the Amazon. "I didn't mean to" But the She-Hulk removed her hands form her eyes and grabbed the Widow's head in a embrace. "Sucker". Picking her up like a toy, the She-Hulk tossed the Widow high through the air, and watched her crash to the ground like a dead albatross.
"Well, that was fun, now what am I going to do about you?" She said, turning her attention away from the (literally) fallen mystic to the shivering teenaged girl.
"Perhaps I was mistaken in bringing you here." Shocked, the She-Hulk turned around to see the Black Widow standing up, and nonchalantly brushing dirt off her costume. "No matter. EEZRFE!" Everything began to spin for the She-Hulk, and soon she was sleeping a dreamless sleep.
As the She-Hulk dropped to the ground, the Widow turned towards Claire. "Don't worry, I'll take care of her." Claire nodded mutely as the woman walked towards her. "And be sure to tell your uncle that all debts are paid."
Claire faded away like a ghost as the Widow walked away from her and towards the slumbering from of the She-Hulk. "Now, what am I to do with you?" She said with a wry grin on her face
The next day
A small man dressed like a clown was busy banging a bell with a sledgehammer. The bell kept on ringing until Jennifer Walters realized it wasn't a bell that was being rung, but her own head. Slowly, she opened her eyes, and the room swam around her. Closing them quickly, Jennifer waited until the room stopped spinning before opening them again.
She was in a bed. That much she knew, but she was at a lost as to where and why she was in a bed. The room was sparse, just the bed and a table. The door opened silently and a woman walked into the room. She was a foot shorter than Jennifer, and she looked as nondescript as a person could be. Jennifer was having a hard time looking at the woman directly, as if her face wouldn't show itself. Shaking the cobwebs out of her mind, she listened to the woman talk.
"Good morning. I hope you slept well." Well, at least the woman was pleasant, Jennifer thought as the stranger sat down at the foot of the bed. "I know this may seem a bit awkward, but I suppose I should start the conversation first. My name is Claire Voyant, and you're in my home in Arkham." Jennifer sat up quickly, and almost instantly wished she hadn't. In between dry heaving, she managed the gasp out "Where? I was in England…how long have I been asleep?" Claire smiled and patted her hand. "Only since last night. I brought you here to help me...wait, your other half told me you might not remember last night." "Other half? Dear God, did I hurt anybody?" Jennifer jumped out of the bed and grabbed the other by the shoulders. "Calm yourself. No, at least nobody who counted, now, as per our arrangement I will help you." Reaching into the folds of her shirt, Claire pulled out a small gold medallion. In the morning light, Jennifer could see woven paths of silver and jade mixed in with the metal.
"Pretty, isn't it? Now, I can't guarantee that your problem will be solved, but this talisman will help a little bit." Placing the medallion in Jennifer's hand, she stood up and walked to the foot of the bed. "Now, shall I send you back, or do you want some breakfast first?"
Rising like Lazarus from the tomb, Jennifer got out of the bed and managed to get both feet on the floor. Shakily, her hand clutched the medallion and she tried to focus her eyes. "What the hell happened? What do I do with this and" But Claire silenced her with a wave of her hand. "You'll figure it out in time, don't worry. Well, I think I should send you back, don't worry, if you can't remember everything we did then I won't spoil the surprise for you." The room around Jennifer began to spin wildly and she felt like the floor had opened up and swallowed her.
"Yeoman, are you alright? You look like someone stepped on your grave." Captain Ross's voice snapped Jennifer back to reality. Looking around, she saw that was still in the Falsworth's guest room, with a puzzled looking Ross standing in front of her.
"I'm fine sir, I just I'm still a little bit tired from yesterday." Ross shook his head and stepped back out into the hall. "Of course you would be, sorry. I just came by to tell you that we'll be ready to leave in an about an hour."
"Thanks you sir." Returning his salute, Jennifer slumped down on the bed. She felt something heavy in her dress pocket. Pulling the medallion out of her pocket, she stared at its glow in the morning light. "Well, I still don't know how the heck this is suppose to work." Placing it around her neck, she stood up and walked out of the room.
Several hours later
Over the Atlantic was when Jennifer felt as if her soul was being ripped out. She had fallen asleep while Prince Namor was piloting them back to America in his airship when she felt her body beginning to change. The man in the moon looked indifferent as she clutched at her throat as her skin began to darken to gray. Sitting in the back of the airship, none of the Invaders or Captain Ross were paying any attention to her. Her thoughts felt sluggish as she began to fumble for the medallion around her neck. "Please, please work! I can't change here, there's no telling what I'd do!" Jennifer thought frantically to her self. She gripped the medallion so tight the metal almost warped in her hand. Her uniform felt like a boa constrictor, and she could feel her bra beginning to tighten around her chest. Closing her eyes, Jennifer pressed the medallion against her expanding chest.
In a few seconds, it was over. The pain passed, and Jennifer opened her eyes. Her uniform was in disarray, but she was other wise fine. Relief flooded her mind, until she noticed that Captain Ross was staring at her. He said nothing, but he looked at her like he had never seen her before. How much had he seen, and what did he know?
The rest of the ride over was held in total silence.
Later, on a small airstrip near Washington, DC
When the airship landed, the unusual passengers exited the craft and mulled about on the runway. "Captain Ross, can you handle it from here? We're needed back on the front." Captain America said. Ross glanced at Jennifer, then back at the Super Solider. "I appreciate the offer Sir, but I can handle it from here." The two saluted and Jennifer watched as the Invaders returned to the Sub-Marnier's ship and took off.
Ross watched the airship fly off into the night sky before turning towards Jennifer. "Yeoman, I don't think you've been totally honest with me. Now, before we travel another step, what" But his words died in his throat as something wrapped itself around his neck and jerked him away like he was nothing. A harsh laugh filled the air as two figures walked out of the shadows and towards Jennifer. The tallest of the two had raven black hair done up in a tight bun and she was dressed like something out of a "special reel" film that the officers would watch when they were suppose to be working. Her companion was a foot shorter, blond, and looked like she escaped off the cover of a dime novel. Both the women were grinning like Cheshire cats as they approached Jennifer. The blond spoke aloud in German, and the brunette snickered. With a flick of her wrist, she retracted her whip back to her side and the two advanced on Jennifer. "I know the tall one is Warrior Woman, but I don't have a clue who the blond is." Jennifer thought to herself., still white-knuckling the medallion. "What do you two want?" Jennifer asked, causing the two women to stop in their tracks and laugh out loud at her question.
"Ilsa, I do the American has found the courage to speak to her betters." Warrior Woman said in accented English as she cracked her bullwhip into the air.
The one called Ilsa simply smirked and sucker punched Jennifer in the stomach. The blow knocked her to the ground and she was quickly slung over Ilsa's shoulder. A damp cloth was placed over her mouth and Jennifer felt the world swimming away from her.
The next sensation Jennifer was aware of was cold metal on her bare back. Opening her eyes, she was shocked to see gray skin staring back at her. "Damn, I must have changed when I was asleep." Springing to her feet, the transformed Amazon looked at her reflection in the window. "What's going on? I feel like myself, like the gray haze is gone! Well, Jen, it's damn rude to look a gift horse in the mouth. Now, how do I go about getting off of this flying balloon and getting my clothes back."
In the cockpit
"Ilsa, my love, why do you tease me in such a way?" The Warrior Woman, known throughout Europe as a viscous and unrepentant sadist, was at the moment giggling like a schoolgirl at the sight of Ilsa, better known as the She-Wolf of the SS, gadding about the cockpit of the plan dressed (if such a word could be used) in the purple outfit that once was clothed the body the young American yeoman held tied up in the cargo bay.
Ilsa shrugged at move back to the copilot's seat. "Sorry, but we may not have any more time together after this mission. Our glorious leader" the words were drenched in venom "has deemed that I am to be more useful to Aryan cause by placing me in charge of Love Camp #9." Grabbing her ample breasts, she looked heavenward. "Such a perfect body, to be wasted on mongrels and half-breeds! Has that mono-testicled twit lost his mind?" Warrior Woman glanced away from the ranting and turned her full attention back to flying the aircraft. "I wish you would be more careful when you say things like that. If the Red Skull heard you saying something like that, you body would never be found!"
Sighing, Ilsa flopped down into the copilot's seat and stretched like a cat. "But Herr Skull would have to hear me first, correct? Anyway, why do you think that American was wearing this outfit under her clothes?" Her velvet voice slowly turned into a snicker "Do you think we've captured one of those dammed superheroes? I wonder who she could be?" Warrior Woman waved her hand dismissively. "Nein, there's not a chance of that. What would her powers be, having a set of knockers the size of grapes? Besides, it's not our place to ask. We are to just bring that woman back to the Fatherland, something even Baron Strucker and his squad failed to do… something about a giant destroying the base." Both women broke into a hearty laugh, but their laughs died in seconds as a loud stomping noise began near the back of the plane, and slowly worked its way towards them.
"Mien Gott! What could make such a racket?" Ilsa stood up. Cocking the hammer back on her Lugar, she exited the cockpit. "I think our guest has woken up. I'd better go and quiet her down again." Leering, she turned away from Warrior Woman and made her way towards the racket.
Jennifer was not in a good mood. Her mind was clear, but that didn't help her much as she was dangling upside down like a prized mackerel in some kind of net.
The sound of approaching footsteps snapped her back to the present. A small blond lady, clad only in a purple body-hugging suit walked into her line of vision. "Well, at least I know where my suit got to.
"Who are you, and where is the American?" The woman asked in near perfect English as she brought a small Lugar pistol close to Jennifer's right eye. Not answering, Jennifer brought her hands closer together, unseen by the woman. Leaning in close, the woman flicked her tongue over Jennifer's bare nipple. "Nice, if you cooperate I may be able to spare you from any…unpleasant actions."
Jennifer upturned the corners of her mouth in thought. Whisperingly, she said "Come closer please" The blond smiled and bent down towards Jennifer's mouth. "You talk too much." Jennifer said as she slammed her now free hands into the blonde's skull. The woman's eyes rolled up and she dropped to the floor like a deflated balloon.
Snapping the ropes like rotten twine, Jennifer stood over the unconscious blond. "Lady, don't touch the merchandise." She carefully removed her costume from the blond and slipped it on. "Now, let's see who's flying this crate."
In the cockpit
Warrior Woman relaxed at the sound of the cockpit door opening. "Well Ilsa, what was our guest up to?" Hearing no response, she turned around, and screamed. Standing over her was a woman clad in the same purple outfit that Ilsa had been wearing. The woman's gray skin brought back a forgotten memory. "You! You were the one who destroyed our secret gamma base!" The controls the plane forgotten, the Teutonic Titan leaped at the She-Hulk with an unbridled hatred in her eyes. "You, it's all your fault! That half-eunuch of a leader is going to make me marry that blundering twit Master Man, and IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!" She screamed as she began to pummel the She-Hulk as hard as she could.
Only one thought was racing through Jennifer's mind as the pilot screamed and began to attack her. "Boy, I wish I knew more German. Oh well." Out loud, she spoke "Now, I'm not interested in fighting you, but" the sound of the plane going into a nosedive broke into her conversation. "Oh damn."
If her appearance or the sound of the plane going into a dive bothered Warrior Woman, she didn't let on. Cursing loudly in German, she leaped towards the She-Hulk's throat. "You idiot, we don't have time for this!" Jennifer yelled as she punched the enraged woman in the face. The sound of cartilage being crunched and bone breaking sounded like gunshots in the plane and the raven-haired titian collapsed in a bloody heap. Jennifer smiled to herself, but her joy was short lived as she saw the ocean rushing towards cockpit windows. "I just knocked out the only person who knows how to fly this thing."
Those thoughts raced through her mind as the plane nose-dived into the water, and then Jennifer's last thoughts before the rushing seawater enveloped her like an old lover were of Captain Ross. "How the hell am I going to explain this?" she thought as the all too familiar feeling of unconscious took hold.
Man, what are ride. Anyway, here's some fan mail
From Phantom Dennis
This was rather cool. Although, you probably need a leader. By the way, could you have a Miss America with her Golden Age Levels. I don't generally agree with Jess Nevins especially about Roy Thomas. But a real Miss America vs. She-Hulk fight would be cool.
Well Dennis, ask and ye shall receive. Issue 3 (out before 2004, hopefully) will have that exact slugfest, I promise.
And some comments from the artiest himself, The Manic!
What do I think? The continuing adventures of yeoman Walters please! That was fab, and it was clever how you how insinuated that mini comic strip I did into it. Send it off to ShadowLurker if you haven't done so already, he'll love it!
It's comments like this that make me proud to be a writer. As for ShadowLurker, there's already an overabundance of talented people on his site, and factoring in the rate that I write, I don't think I could keep up with guys like Terry or Rev.
And (be still my heart) words from the green lady herself The She-Hulk! (Hey, it wouldn't be a SH story without some kind of feedback from her, would it?)
Thank you. I read it and it seemed to me a kind of racier "What If?" story. Very well- written and it's clear that you did some research before you wrote it.
She did write more, but that's pretty much all she said about the story itself. I have to admit, it was fun doing this series, and I'll keep writing for as long I can.
The characters of the She-Hulk, Thunderbolt Ross, Warrior Woman and the Invaders are owned by Marvel.
Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS is based on the character from the film of the same name, written by John Royston and directed by Don Edmunds. I don't know who owns the copyright.