Daken slashed through the thrall, his claws coursing through the living corpses congealed blood. The area now clear was ready for the line of tanks rolling up behind to enter. Despite the heavy armor of the US Army's M1 Abrams and HAMMERs Autonomous S90 Battle Tanks, it had become apparent that the Thralls while for the most part dead, had the intelligence to use modern weapons effectively. From the long range scans of the ruins of Asgard into a massive manufacturing complex churning out everything from swords and axes to infantry portable mortars and heavy machine guns. Rubbing his claws Daken felt the change of texture from where the new growth had occurred, ever since his humiliation by Victoria's Kid Squadron his hatred for Osborne had increased and now was almost on a level with the special brand of anger he had for his father.
"Hey Wolverine." he heard Hawkeye's mocking tones, "You missed one." Daken snarled before looking down to see the torso of a thrall clutching the spear embedded in his chest. Roaring Daken gave the corpse a quick curb stomp before pulling out the spear and embedding it through his enemies neck. "Somebody's touchy." Hawkeye mused.
"Shut the fuck up Lester." Daken snarled as a group of HAMMER agents led by one of the stiffs from Camp Hammond arrived.
"You guys are wanted back at the base." one of the agents said, "Okay Equinox start the clean up process, we don't want these guys coming back to life again." he ordered the Initiative member who quickly lit up the bodies of the thralls in the area, the dead corpses screaming as they caught alight. Daken started back towards the command centre that sat under the protective gaze of the HAMMER Helicarrier. Sliding down the ridge he passed a group of US Army Engineers putting the final touches to a fortified ramp that would allow the tanks up and over the previously impassable terrain.
"You," he sneered to an Engineer unloading the final set of sheeting from a cut down HUMVEE, "I'm not asking I'm telling you." he added throwing the soldier out the way as Hawkeye appeared on the ridge before running down the ramp.
"You will not believe how cool that sounded." Hawkeye told Daken, "I mean that sound was beautiful."
"Shut up and get ready for whatever Osborne's going to throw at us next." Daken snarled as he gunned the truck and began to drive the five miles back to the camp as a Zeus Transport Jet lifted up from the fortified perimeter. Passing the column of tanks and then the line of electrified fence the two Avengers dismounted and then pushed their way into the tent where Osborne was waiting for them with the rest of the team as well as the Super Solider Scourge and a bald man, his face and body scared clad in a cut down suit of HAMMER armor.
"We're all here." Karla announced impatiently, "You can begin now Osborne."
"This is Private Thorne, he will be joining the Avengers, you're to treat him with the utmost respect because he died trying to save me." Osborne told them.
"Then why is he alive?" Antman asked
"He's not." Mac said his Symbiote tongue licking his lips, "He's just electricity and rotting meat, We can smell it."
"Thorne was dead, he has been reanimated as a member of Project Brigade, a military programme to enhance a soldier's ability." Osborne growled, "Now if you don't mind let's get onto the real business at hand."
"Which is?" Karla asked as Osborne paused.
"The war." Osborne said shaking himself, "I'm splitting you up to accomplish my goals. Daken a Zeus Class Transport carrying an Elite Unit crashed behind enemy lines, You, O'Grady and Thorne will infiltrate to the crash site and report on the condition of the crew and retrieve the black box."
"What do you want me to do with the crew?" Daken asked
"If there in good condition then let them head off, if there seriously wounded kill them and burn the bodies." Osborne ordered, "They are all ultimately disposable so their loss won't affect the war to much. Karla I want you and Ironclad working with Scourge to advance the front line up to phase line Echo."
"Great so we're the Jarheads pushing the front line." Karla said bitterly, "I really hopped that this would be easier then last time with all their deities being dead and all."
"Well there not." Osborne chided her, "From the reports with the encounter with Hemindell it appears that there the God's spirits are using the bodies of fallen heros as containers until they can manifest their own forms."
"So it's a crispy heroic casing with tasty god meat inside?" Mac asked
"Yes if you like the blunt definition, Mac, you and Kephi are coming with me, the Helicarrier has picked up strange signals from Phase Line India, from the looks of it a lot of living enemy troops are massing ready for an attack. We're going to find out what they are and if possible stop them before they become a problem." Osborne informed them, "Now move out before I smack you round the head."
"What about me?" Hawkeye asked.
"You, I have something in mind for you Hawkeye, stay put and I'll deal with you in private." Osborne said threateningly. As the remainder of the team left the tent leaving Osborne, Hawkeye and Scourge alone.
"He's all yours Frank." Osborne told the Initiative Commander as he exited the tent.
"I need Bullseye to do a job for me." Scourge told Hawkeye, "I would do it myself but war is my true calling not the assassination of one man."
"Who do you want dead." Hawkeye asked taking off his mask and revealing his trade-mark scar on his forehead.
"The Taskmaster." Scourge replied, "I want him killed quickly and painfully, I understand that you can do that for me."
"My speciality." Bullseye replied grinning, "So where is he?" he asked placing the bow on the table and picking up a pair of knives.
Daken led the way to the edge of the front line, from his position he could see the downed ship, the wreckage still smoking. Scattered around the edge of the crash site were thralls dragging pieces of wreckage off the ship in a frenzied attempt to get into the interior.
"That's a lot of Thralls." Eric commented as he rocketed up to land on Daken's soldiers, "What is it?" he asked as he noticed Daken sniffing.
"My farther was on that ship." Daken growled, "Osborne is doing business with my farther."
"You mean the real Wolverine?" Eric asked, "I thought he was dead."
"Hey you Brigade." Daken asked shaking Eric off his shoulder, "What are your powers?" he asked.
"Mr Osborne had the Baron implant DNA samples of several prisoners of war into my blood stream." Thorne explained, "Notable donors include Stonewall, Deadpool and the Lizard."
"So I guess you heal very fast?" Daken asked
"Full Regeneration takes 18 seconds although the amputation of limbs requires additional time to heal." Thorne explained.
"Good because you're going to help me take down my father and his black ops friends. You coming O'Grady." he barked.
"Osborne ordered us to simply retrieve the black box and make sure they were okay. If your father heals as fast as you do it's a safe bet that he'll be off and running." Eric reasoned.
"That's why we're going to hunt him down and kill him; I wonder if that's why Osborne sent me after him." Daken mused, "So you're chickening out Eric, how about you soldier."
"Combat against Wolverine Prime would be a sufficient beta test of my abilities." Thorne answered.
"Sorry O'Grady your outnumbered." Daken sneered. "Now let's go hunting."
"Before you head off on your vendetta mission, it might be wise to find out what happened to the other members of the Spec Ops Team. Who knows what Osborne partnered with Wolverine. I mean our team consists of a Space Cannibal, Egyptian God, two Psychos, a weaponized Corpse as well as you and me all being led by a schizophrenic megalomaniac." Eric said grabbing at a last chance attempt to stop something crazy happening.
"Your point?" Daken asked
"He's calculating the odds that Wolverine Prime is not alone." Thorne theorized, "A safe assessment considering the limited durability of the insect."
"We go hunting but first we'll drop you off at the ship, so you can tell us who my father is eloping with." Daken growled, "I suppose it's always nice to know who you're killing." he added as he ran out of the depression they had been crouching in, the Thralls turning slowly to face him, a few firing their weapons before he reached them. Close on Daken's heels Brigade came storming in, moving faster then the thralls who fired shots into him, his skin healing rapidly causing the bullets to pop out.
"That must be the Deadpool in him." Eric commented as he jetted after them weaving around the bullets. Daken leered at him as he cut down a Thrall armed with an antique crossbow while Brigade slammed another carrying an Assault Rifle into the ship's hull. As his skin made contact with the vehicle, metal plating spread across Brigade's skin as a third defender ran in swinging a battle axe that splintered off his back. "And that must be the Stonewall." Eric added as he fired a stinger burst into the eye's of the last Thrall who was carrying a vicious looking mace. "Let's move fast." he added, "These guys get back up after they die and since we have no area denial weapons we can't keep them dead."
Brigade ripped the door off and slipped inside followed by Daken and Antman as they moved through the sticky mess of liquefied corpses that covered the floor. "These two are alive." Daken commented to the forms of Calvin Carr and Airborne strapped into the seats, the security protocols counting down to their release. "You wake up." he asked slapping Calvin's face.
"What do you want?" Carr asked aggressively.
"You were working with my father, tell me where he went and I'll kill you quickly." Daken asked as Throne dragged out a body from the cockpit of the Zeus.
"We were hired to terminate your father and his team." Carr spat, "One Million per head for the deaths of Wolverine, Black Widow, Ghost, Toxin Geode and Victoria Hand as well as War Machine and some bitch calling herself Chemistro. I'm willing to pay you to get us out of here with the money I get for melting her skull."
"I was willing to kill my father for free." Daken growled, "But a reward of One Million for his death would be a good bonus. Come on Brigade we got what he need let's follow the trail before it goes cold."
"What about the pilot, she still lives?" Thorne asked, "She's wounded but is stable."
"I'll get her back to base." Eric offered loading the Black Box onto his harness. Thorne sniffed and turned to the unconscious woman before sprouting a massive syringe and sticking it into the pilots arm. "That's just creepy." he commented as Thorne removed the syringe.
"Meta DNA catalogued." he announced before moving outside and looking at the field of thralls who were begging to writhe and twitch. Cutting himself with a shard of the broken Zeus hull Thorne felt his blood soak over his body before delivering a punch to an armless Thrall in the process of wobbling to its feet, the blow melting the body as if the blow had been tipped with acid. One by one the Thralls fell and dissolved as Thorne hit them as Daken and Eric moved the pilot out of the Zeus.
"That's nice." Daken growled, "Come on Brigade let's go and meet my father. Later Antman, enjoy your perv time with the fly-girl." he added as the two AWOL Avengers headed towards the ruins of Asgard.
"Come back." Carr yelled, "She's one of the targets." Eric ignored the bound mercenary and headed back towards the command centre the unconscious woman draped over her shoulder, the blood from her cut leaving a luminous trail behind them.