Heavy Metal Horde Finale 4: Avengers Assemble ... in Space!

Brief Title:
Heavy Metal Horde Finale 4: Avengers Assemble … in Space!

Characters:
Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Spider-Woman, Beta Ray Bill, NPCS: Wasp, Skuttlebutt

Scene Runner/Watcher:

IC Date:
08/06/12 12:00

Location:
Near Earth Orbit!

Summary:
One of the many simultaneous strikes by heroes around the world against the forces and nefarious plans of Ultron, the joint strike force heads to space in search of the evil bot himself. They find a mighty ally turned against them, and some of the Avengers must buy the rest of the force the chance to get through, even if it must be purchased with their lives. Avengers Assemble!

Social or Plot:

TS:
No

Log:
It came in waves. First, robots malfunctioned. Then, they actively attacked and temporarily broke the ranks of the Avengers and X-Men. Finally, giant robots landed in every capitol city of every nation on the planet. Earth wasn't about to take that lying down, however. While Nick Fury and Doctor Strange coordinated simultaneous attacks on the giant robots earth-side, a taskforce made up of members of the Avengers, X-Men, and their allies boarded a quinjet and launched into space, thanks to the Master of the Mystic Arts and the mutant alien, Ariels, working in concert, the Quinjet was inserted -directly- into orbit.

Iron Man's technical skills (with a little covert help from a certain Suzi Endo) helped the team locate Ultron's base - an abandoned AIM space platform. The quinjet headed straight for the source... when a transmission came up from Earth-side.

"Carol, its Jan." the Wasp spoke into the headset of mission leader Ms. Marvel, "S.W.O.R.D. just reported that Beta Ray Bill's spaceship is taking up position in geosynchronious orbit above North America and powering up all its systems. They're convinced its about to begin orbital bombardment of the United States. You have to stop it!"

So, a command decision was made. The taskforce was split into two. Part of the team headed out into space to stop Bill's ship from blowing up the country. The team is lead by Ms. Marvel and those who needed protection were outfitted with very nifty Starksuits - the latest in power channeling armored space suits. The rest of the team, led by Cyclops, continued on their way to Ultron's space platform, hoping to put an end to this once and for all.

That's why you're here, floating in space, about to take on a warship with enough firepower to take on an entire alien armada. Good luck

At the controls when the call comes in from the Wasp, Carol frowns almost immediately. "Roger, Jan. Report back to SWORD, and to Fury. I'm splitting the team, taking those who can operate in space with me to approach Scuttlebutt and try to solve this, or at least hold her off until the second team can do the job. I'm putting Cyclops in command of the second unit, and turning the quinjet over to him. Ms. Marvel, out."

"Alright, folks." the blonde Marvel offers, as she unstraps from her seat and moves to the back of the jet. "You heard the news, and you know how bad it is. I'm taking volunteers. We're going to EVA and approach Scuttlebutt on our own. Our primary responsibility is to keep her guns from firing on Earth. If she blows us to the Kingdom Come, that's what we signed up for. It's not what the civilians signed up for. And don't forget to put your comm unit inside your helmet before you launch."

Now, Ms. Marvel is in the cold depths of space, flying almost effortlessly towards the ship in question. Out here, without atmosphere to slow her down, she's incredibly fast. And intent. "Bill, I need you to hail her. I don't know if she can stop herself or not. But we start by trying. Iron Man, match up the schematics from Bill to what we're seeing, tell me if there's anything on her that doesn't belong. Otherwise, pick your targets, and let's go. I'm putting myself in the way of her guns. Her artillery is energy-based. It'll hurt like Hell, but I can take it, and keep it from hitting Earth. Go!"

All of Stark Enterprises' capabilities have been leant out to SHIELD and all the various Earth support and defense agencies, and Iron Man...well in a way he's one of those resources. With the aforementioned help from Suzi Endo they've been able to identify targets and now Tony, Iron Man, finds himself zooming through space on the incandecent blasts of repulsor powered rocket boots. He takes an arc downward in an approach to give him the maximum scan time as he links with HOMER to start providing additional analyzation power. "Bill, those schematics please, I'll also need composition and power levels, power flow and EM shield keys if you've got them. HOMER, concentrate on those nano-scale robots and any EM comms that we can pick up. "

Settled into her seat, with her spacesuit's helmet in her lap, Jess watches Ms. Marvel rise and listens to the other woman talk. The dark-haired Spider-Woman gives a nod and unbuckles her spacebelt (safety first!) and rises to her feet, "I'll volunteer." She adjusts her comm unit and locks her helmet into place before moving to follow out into space, "Just let me know what the plan is, and tell me what to do." She uses the repulsors or jets, or whatever the suit happens to have, directing herself after Ms. Marvel.

Beta Ray Bill takes to space as if born to it, despite his origins, and of course, has no need for a helmet, even before being granted Asgardian power. His expression is grim, even for his fearsome visage. He feels responsible, despite the reality of the situation. In the long times during his people's exodus, when not in stasis, he was utterly alone, with only his ship, his 'sister-in-arms', for company.

"Transmitting." he says as he uses a small device in his massive hand to send full schematics to Iron Man, "This is everything, including internal defenses and locations of her reactors." The array of weaponry is honestly -frightening-. She is made for war, having had to battle hordes of Surtur's demons alongside Bill. And in addition to the energy weapons she is festooned with, she also seems to show several semi-autonomous gun-pods, plus mass-drivers.

Bill draws ahead of the group and 'speaks' across the void to the gigantic ship as it accelerates and interposes itself before the assembled heroes and the station hanging in the void. She casts a vast shadow over them, and a disheartening array of massive guns turn to track them.

<< Skuttlebutt, this is Beta Ray Bill, do you copy? >> he does so in English, as a courtesy to the others. What comes back is not encouraging.

<< Scan confirmed, demon-breed detected. >> a strong, female voice returns << Alert! Massive infestation detected on planet! Priorities - evade first wave of defenders, initiate planetary bombardment. >>

Bill's eyes go wide as he transmits frantically, << Skuttlebutt! This is Champion - Beta Ray Bill! Countermand! Command override! Countermand! >>

She does not respond, but a small wave of gun-pods swarms away from her, metallic spheres which slide open side-to-side, segmented metallic 'tails' uncoiling.

"Well, that tears it, folks. We stick to the plan. I'm pulling around to get between her and the planet. Iron Man, direct our attacks as you see fit. Spider-Woman, take out those pods as best you can. If they hit Iron Man, it won't be pretty." If they hit Carol with their energy-draining, it won't be fun either. But as usual, Ms. Marvel isn't worried about herself. She's worried about everyone else. "Bill, I'm sorry to say it. But we have no choice. We /have/ to keep her occupied, and may have to do a lot of damage to prevent her from harming the planet, or team two. They /must/ get through, or all of this is for nothing." The one benefit they all have is that Scuttlebutt is seeing them as Surtur's demons, and will attack them accordingly. That means using weapons suited to fire demons, not to their actual abilities. "GO!"

As HOMER starts analysis on the schematics under Tony's direction, looking for the nanite infusion and EM signatures they've caught before, Iron Man begins a series of maneuvers designed to keep him relatively out of harms way as that calculation continues. "Bill, we need to shut her down, and quickly..can you do that from out here? " On the spur of the moment Tony glances at the drones, pulling up schematics, "HOMER, do you have the access frequncy that Skuttlebutt is using to control those drones? Might be we can turn her own drones against her and use those energy draining weapons to bring her to a halt..if we can get control of enough of them."

Spider-Woman grimaces behind her helmet's mask as she listens to Bill and Skuttlebutt. That doesn't sound good. And then little spheres are flying out towards them, "Alright, Ms. Marvel. On it." SW answers Ms. M's orders and twists a bit turning herself, and doing her best to quickly adjust to using the suit for spaceflight. She moves in the direction of the pods, green arcs of electricity flickering along her arms.

Thick fingers curl even more tightly around the uru warhammer's haft at Ms. Marvel's words. Very quietly Beta Ray Bill intones, "Forgive me." But he is resolved not to let Skuttlebutt suffer for actions she cannot control.

Bill's reply to Stark is in the negative, "She -cannot- be remotely shut down. At times, she was the -only- conscious being in the entire fleet. Her AI has no way to be remotely accessed unless she allows it. But her main reactors are in the rear section, beneath the conning tower you see, not far from the engines. If we can get through her hull we can physically cut the main lines - although the results won't be pleasant." he then adds, "The pods aren't remotes, they're extremely simple AIs, each one identical to the others. They can be downloaded into any available unit. My people weren't foolish, Iron Man, and we have several thousand years of advancement on you. A software attack isn't likely to work well." he notes.

Skuttlebutt shifts in flight, rolling along her central access, and the three main cannons that adorn her foredeck begin to turn, ominously, towards Earth below. << Major concentration detected. Let's sink it. >> she transmits into space. Looks like her personality is still intact. A massive power surge begins, we're looking at a huge laser to create an ionized pathway, then a gigantic stream of charged particles from -each- gun when it fires...

On the other hand, the guns festooning her flanks begin firing at the assembled heroes. Magnetically-bottled plasma mostly, though a few seem to be railguns. The pods detect Iron Man and move his way, maybe 8 of them. << Tasty! >> << Thermal energy! >>

As already planned, Ms. Marvel has flown around the engagement envelope and put herself between Earth and Skuttlebutt, ready to intercept those energy beams, however painful it might be. "Hit it, and hit it hard! We don't have to like it, this is what /has/ to be done. Fire!" Meanwhile, Ms. Marvel waits until the energy beams fire, opening herself up take the blasts on the maximum of her body's surface, absorbing even as the blasts will drive her towards the atmosphere and cause excruciating pain. She has no choice. The alternative is allowing that ship to fire on the planet, and that will not happen while she lives.

They want thermal, do they? Iron Man ponders several things as he brings targeting online and uses the schematics of the devices he's been given to quickly identify power points and frequency adjustments for the tightly focused repulsor blasts he fires at each Pod that heads his way while he begins to circle around towards the aft of Skuttlebutt at an ever increasing speed. Thermal damping that's usually only used in the atmosphere and around crowds at his feet shifts into place to prevent from becoming too much an attractant to the Pods as compared to the rest of him. "HOMER, find me the key power points and the shield frequency for Skuttlebutt, it's got to be on a shifting algorithim, but every shield has a weakness..bring PLATO into it if you need to."

Jess pushes her Starksuit as fast as it can go, shifting to move towards Iron Man and the pods pursuing him. She flicks out one arm as she moves, green bio-electricity flying out towards one of the pods. At this range, in space? The blast doesn't make it much farther than fifty feet before dissipating completely. Spider-Woman continues onward, trying to distract some of the pods from Iron Man.

Beta Ray Bill does not hesitate now, "Much as it pains me, I must act!" and he hurls his mighty uru hammer towards the cannons (each easily the diameter of a highway tunnel) which have stopped and finished charging up...the far right cannon is impacted a few dozen feet along its length and bent almost 90 degrees as Stormbreaker blasts out from the other side and begins a rapid arc, back towards the Korbinite cyborg. The other two erupt with gigantic bolts of crimson energy, lancing towards the island of Manhattan far below - or rather, towards the Kree-power-imbued leader of the Avengers!

Unfortunately for Beta Ray Bill, this has not gone unnoticed, << Alert! Demon-breed has offlined one of the main cannons. Retaliating. Hard. >> Skuttlebutt fires towards him in the moments after she takes damage, but before Stormbreaker can return. She isn't fooling around << Power-levels high, energy signature extremely similar to initial contacts. >> and several of her purely physical railguns fire at Bill who, without his hammer...must rely on his innate durability to protect him. Bolts of incredibly dense metal are hurled forth at terrifying speed and impact him, scattering off, shattering, sending him careening away. Several holes appear in his cape, and amazingly, one draws a small line of -blood- across the engineered and enhanced skin of his muzzle...these weapons could core holes in Muspelheim demons, after all.

As she presses the attack, her power readings ramp up near to levels that a Herald of Galactus might put out. But her shields do fluctuate in a pattern as she diverts ever more power to attack.

As the 8 pods close on Iron Man, he dampens the heat coming off from him, and 4 peel away, seeing Spider-Woman, as if for the first time. << How'd we miss -that-! >> << Me first! >> << Wait for meeeee! >> as they begin firing, those metallic tails surging forward.

The two blasts strike within less than a second of one another, hammering into Ms. Marvel with force the like of which few can fathom. Were Carol anyone but herself, she'd have simply been vaporized. As it is, she blacks out, hurtled backwards at speeds well in excess of Mach 7 by the force imparted by the blasts. But those blasts proceed no further. The Kree-infused heroine falls into the atmosphere, glowing brightly like a star, the energy she has absorbed enhancing every aspect of her powers ... including her ability to heal. Within moments, she will recover enough to wake up, and possibly realize where she is, what is going on, and take some action not to become a humanoid meteor striking her birth planet with enough force that who needs Korbinite energy canons? Maybe. If she's lucky.

Beta Ray Bill pages: When Stormbreaker comes back, Bill would go after her if she hasn't woken uo, not concidentally putting himself in line with the remaining main guns.

So..leaving his suit on autotargeting to fire the repulsors at the Pods should they get too close, Iron Man arches around at a rather impressive speed now..and as he moves around behind Skuttlebutt on his trajectory across her stern he fires the plasma bolt from the central chest emitter, the weapon one that gains power and intensity as it gathers distance....and out here in space that is quite a bit of distance to pick up as it makes it's way towards the best point he can locate to try and knock out power from Skuttlebutt's systems..timing it with the fluctuations in her shields. "HOMER? PLATO? Got anything for me on those shield frequencies?"

Bill tumbles through space, curling up a bit...that -hurt-, a fine ship, even if she is doing her level best to tear them apart and kill millions on Earth below. The golden hammer streaks back towards him, landing in his gauntlet firmly. And not a moment too soon, as more projectiles slash through the void as he hurls Stormbreaker Earthwards, towards Ms. Marvel, and to interpose himself between the guns and the world below.

It was a sticky problem, and both HOMER and PLATO had to crunch a large number of variables. The plan they send back to Tony Stark is daring, possibly suicidal, and brilliant. "Sir, the shields pulse for .004 seconds as the energy emissions from the weapons pass through the focusing arrays. You may be able to modulate your repulsors to carve a channel -through- the center of a single blast from one of the lower-powered weapons in the instant it clears the shield's edge but before it leaves the barrel. The potential for damage is high, and you may be subjected to some neurological disruption tdue to the extremely powerful EM fields...but it has a 38.92% chance of working. You could proceed into the ship's interior - if you survive."

Hurtling wildly down through the atmosphere of the planet, glowing withh the heat of friction against the air, tumbling end over end, Ms. Marvel finally awakens, still glowing almost like a miniature sun fromt he energy she has absorbed. She twists about, trying to get some sense of where she is and what is going on, struggling to pull herself out of her fall as the giant golden uru hammer streaks towards her. Righted and twisting, Ms. Marvel pulls out and starts flying back up towards orbit, looking in many ways as if she is actually on fire. It is a look few have seen or recall, but those who knew her from ages long past would recognize Ms. Marvel's former identity as Binary. She keeps herself levied in position between the attacking spaceship and the planet, ready to absorb yet more of those attacks, as the hammer nears to striking.

"Got a plan..though it's gonna tickle a bit, more'n likely." Iron Man says in his broadcast to the team, even as he alters his trajectory around towards the ship when his plasma bolt doesn't seem to manage to penetrate the shields effectively. He ramps up the speed as much as he can, then lifts his hands to fire at one of the smaller guns as he shifts all the rest of the power, life support included, in his suit to the magnetic shielding that provides the true strength to his armor. Quick programming goes into place, HOMER and PLATO both working at Tony's direction to set the timing and angle of approach as the Invincible Iron Man aims himself right down the 'gullet' of one of the smaller guns. "C'mon, Skuttlebutt..shoot at me.." There's a scary moment as one of the Pods gets close, forcing him to move one hand and knock it away with a full power blast from his repulsor before he can bring that glove back to bear on the larger ship.."Wait for it...wait for it.." The billionaire does just that, unconcerned that the odds aren't in his favor, he's never really been one to play them - Tony Stark /makes/ the odds.

Bill's timing may not have the staggering precision of Iron Man, but it's easy to forget he is also, in part, a product of incredibly advanced technology. The same technology trying to kill everyone at the moment, but still. As Ms. Marvel recovers and flares with new power he does not hesitate, but alters his course, releasing his gleaming hammer after whilring it once, sending it back towards Skuttlebutt's main guns - but this time, it crackles and roars with golden energy - not merely lightning, but cosmic power drawn from the firmament itself, with luck, it may disable both guns...

Meanwhile, the pods have mostly swarmed Spider-Woman, who managed to draw several in with her venom-blasts, and use her strength to grab onto one, battering it into the others << Owie! >> << Quitit! >> as the remaining ones head her way.

Skuttlebutt is a warship, and she's hardly one not to try and vape a target who's foolishly flying right into one of her guns << Demon, that is your -last- error. >> she broadcasts as she fires. But her scrambled perceptions may have aided the Golden Avenger, as she dials her systems for an effect calculated to slow down the molecular reactions in a being of living fire. it won't be pleasant, but it's more of a chance...

With that terrific, if not perfectly forumlated, blast of the gun aimed at Iron Man, the Avenger turns off all the suit's energy output save the repulsors that are firing back down into the blast that's aimed at him..and that which fuels the magnetic reinforcement of his armor's shielding. Still..that leaves him exposed to a terrific amount of heat and other radiation, even some over-loaded circuitry that doesn't shunt out in time. Even as he manages the timing just right, Tony screams in pain as he's damned near cooked before he can transition the spot in the shields and carom through the sidewall of the gun that blasted him , to be carried through past the depression angles of the other weapons on Skuttlebutt's hull where his suit can begin a pre-programmed HOMER driven assault on the power nodes and conduits that are closest to the surface of the ship near the main guns first and then shield generators should he not get swarmed before that happens...and he runs out of power.

Ms. Marvel continues to streak up out of the atmosphere, glowing with power, to intercept the next planetary bombardment fire. Enhanced as she is, Carol is able to catch the blast and hold her position, even if she wobbles a good bit and screams with the pain of it. Yet that only augments her own power further. As soon as Bill's last hammer shot disables the main canons, Ms. Marvel actually streaks ahead, a searing line of white-hot starlight, through the gap in the warship's shields created by the broken housings of those canons. Bursting out through the remnants of one of those armored firing tubes, Ms. Marvel joins Iron Man on a 'bombing run' across the hull of the ship, blasting away, until she can reach the point from their earlier scans. She does not hesitate, but dive-bombs head first into the spot at incredible speeds and full force, digging down towards those main power channels. One can only hope it is enough.

A flea on the surface of a rhinocerous, that's what Iron Man seems on the surface of the huge vessel. But this flea can -bite-. Inside the shields themselves and with Skuttlebutt unable to fire at her own hull, nor engage internal defenses that have not yet been breached, she is momentarily at a loss << Get off of me, you vile interloper! >> and she asks, confused << Where is the Champion? >> for if the Sons of Muspell have attacked her, where then is Beta Ray Bill? He should be acting in concert with her upon -just- such an occurance. A useless sensor sweep distracts her, for Ultron's nanomachines have warped her perceptions, She will not, she -cannot- find him.

<< Bill? Where is Bill? >> she queries, and the note of concern in her broadcast tears at the heart of the alien titan even now rocketing after Binary, falling behind her in the blank spot in Skuttlebutt's field of fire caused by the damage Iron Man has wreaked on the systems in armor almost fully guided by his programming, for it remains to be seen if Tony Stark is even conscious...or alive...within his technological shell.

"The reactors." Bill broadcasts to the shining Carol Danvers, "There will be four main conduits. Tear them apart 10 meters from the reactor itself or the exotic matter in the housing could spill out...and destroy her." His tone is cold and clinical, he cannot allow himself to feel too much at this moment.

Ms. Marvel does exactly as prescribed, blasting and tearing down through the armored hull of the ship to reach the main conduits from the reactors to the rest of the ship's systems. Of course, every strike seems to only enhnace the cornea-searing glow of power and energy flowing from the blonde heroine. Her communications reach back, though her communicator itself is long since tiny molten bits of slag. << Iron Man? I'm coming. Just hang on. >> Just as soon as that fourth conduit is severed, she can go fetch her fellow Avenger. Then they have to figure out what to do with the damaged ship. But it won't be firing on Earth again. And the second team is long since through. They have done their duty.

Skuttlebutt does not feel pain. Her builders saw to that, but damage alerts blare and flash across her systems, << Alert! All points! Main reactor compromised! Rerouting. Negative. Physical conduits severed! Alert! >>

It is fortunate that Ms. Marvel is who she is now, as the energy lashing across the shielded reactor rooms is scorching metals designed to bear the heat of a star's corona. << Backups online in 6.84 - error. eRRor...foReIGN sig-nals de-tec-ted...offline. I - what? What has happened? Scanning. Champion detected. Major damage to reactor, shutting down all nonvital systems. Beta Ray Bill, what has happened here? >> The starship sounds confused, and rightfully so, as her engines go dark. She doesn't know what to -do-, which for her, is a rare thing.

The champion in questions lands on the ship's hull, nearby the form of Iron Man, magnetically locked in place so as not to drift off, the last action taken before his suit went into standby mode.

"I am...so sorry, Skuttlebutt. You were compromised, threatening the Earthlings below. And now look at what we've done to you..." his eyes close as he again contacts the leader of the Avengers, "Ms. Marvel, Iron Man is here. You can secure him and return him to Earth. I am unsure...wait. Skuttlebutt, my friend - can you tell me if he lives? I'm sorry to ask aught of you now, but..."

<< No, Beta Ray Bill. I will comply. >> a pregnant pause, << The human within is injured. Unconscious. Low pulse rate. Minor neurological disruption. Heat damage. >>

<< I'm coming, Bill. >> Ms. Marvel sends, as she flies back up out of the smoking crater she dug in the proud warship's armored hull, flying in her blazing form towards Iron Man's position. << We will get help for Skuttlebutt as soon as we can, Bill. You have my word. I'm sending a signal to SWORD to get their help in mobilizing resources. I'll have Pym and others here as soon as we have the all-clear on the robots planetside. Just let us know what you need, and we'll make it happen. >> Ms. Marvel writes a mighty hefty check, but they just helped save the whole damned world. She's pretty sure her credit is good with the governments and the heroes of the world.

Oddly enough, Ms. Marvel does not remain powered up into her Binary form for very long, despite the tremendous, indeed massive amounts of energy she has absorbed. For some reason that energy seems to bleed out of her at an accelerated rate, returning her to her current-normal state - 'merely' Ms. Marvel - within a few minutes of finishing the battle against poor Skuttlebutt. That will leave her without communications until she can rejoin the quinjet for a new communicator, since hers was slagged.

Beta Ray Bill, conversely, has all he needs internally, and can make himself understood to Ms. Marvel even now. The Asgardians are strange indeed, sometimes, "So, it is done, then? The others succeeded?" His concern for others and a discreet drawing of his cape forward masks the wounds he himself had taken when unable to defend himself. There is a rent in his armour, and the flesh beneath, exposing a strange amalgam of dull, alien material and muscle fibers. His muzzle is still marred on the left side as well, his blood surprisingly a familiar red. And he cannot accept too much as he says, "Just enough to get her spaceworthy again. I am sending her ho- to New Korbin after that - at least for a time. She'll need to be 'drydocked' until the technicians there can be assured all remnants of Ultron's technology are removed and she is fully repaired."

He then asks, idly, again to distract himself, "But what of you? What -happened- to you?" she cannot answer, but the question hangs there...

Ms. Marvel understands Bill's desire to send Skuttlebutt away from all of this, and respects it. She says so, and promises to respect his needs in this. Sadly, that's about the last she is able to send before the power she absorbed suddenly is gone, leaving her as 'merely' Ms. Marvel once more, without sufficient energy reserves to generate and send out broadcast signals once more. She has no idea, currently, that she actually /became/ Binary again during this battle. But it is likely that knowledge will come to her from outside forces. She just doesn't know, because she can no more hear Beta Ray Bill's final words than she can send more of her own.

It is done. Ultron's plan is defeated, his hold on the technologies of the world is broken. Now, it is time to clean up and rebuild. To heal.

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