Previously: When Ultron, a powerful android from the future, appears in modern day and begins attacking Stark Industries property in New York, SHIELD agent Clint Barton, code named Hawkeye, takes action. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne of the Future Foundation also respond as Ant-Man and Wasp. After Ultron vanishes they team up with the hero Iron Man and are able to determine that Ultron will next strike in the Nevada desert. Upon arriving in the desert the four of them are joined by Thor, the god of thunder, who has also become aware of Ultron’s presence. In reaction to the challenge being posed to him, Ultron summons an army of advanced machine soldiers. Portals open in the sky depositing not only Ultron’s reinforcements, but also a handful of people and things from across history that have been lost to the time-stream. One of these lost gems of the past is the World War II hero, Captain America.
(Not so secret anymore) Secret AIM research facility,
The knight stood up from the desert sands alone in his black armor. How had he gotten here? Had he fallen in battle? Was this desert Hell? Surely he would not face damnation after his holy service in his king’s crusades. He had killed many in the name of his king and Christ his savoir. But what else could this be but Hell? Demon knights in strange metal armor flew across the sky shooting fire at bizarre strangers. Higher above more could be seen falling from amber holes in the sky.
Not only were more metal monsters raining onto the desert, but mortal men as well. A hairy half-clothed savage man landed nearby. He was obviously a heathen worthy of the flames of perdition. The Savage ape-like man was soon accompanied by more. A dark skinned individual in raggedy clothes and chains made his way down to the ground. Only slaves and criminals would be kept in shackles. A woman also fell from the sky rather close to the knight. Her back was apparently injured on impact preventing her from standing. This woman was no lady, however. She wore clothes that only covered less than half of her body. Her legs were exposed save for a strange tight netting and the tops of her bosoms were on display. It was the dress of a harlot to be sure.
“Father in heaven, I pray to thee, allow me into your kingdom’s glory! Let me be your just instrument and I will prove I’m worthy by smiting these sinners in your name!”
The knight made his way to the whore, sword in hand, and she screamed as he stabbed her through the chest. He proceeded to the primitive beast of a man who was huddling in the desert like a coward. Once the knight got close though, the savage stood and beat his chest while making animal noises to show his strength. One swing of a broadsword ended the display. The dark skinned man panicked after seeing the fate of the two before him. He tugged at his foot in an effort to pull it from the shackle on his ankle bonding him to weight. His efforts were in vain though as he too perished at the hands of the armored knight.
The knight’s work was not done though. A new arrival soon crashed in the sand. The elder man was fortunate to have a somewhat soft landing. The only thing strange about him was his attire, but the black knight had faith that his god was a just god and would only send down those deserving his wrath.
The old man, confused about what was going on, didn’t notice the nearby knight. He looked up at the incredible sights all around him and couldn’t believe his eyes. He scrambled through the sand to find his sunglasses so that he could get a better look in spite of the desert’s blinding sun. Finally, he found them and after sliding the glasses onto his face he looked up to see the horrifying image of a knight in black armor raising a sword. The blade came down as the old man closed his eyes.
KLANG, he heard.
The old man opened his eyes and, to his surprise, the sword had been stopped by the red, white, and blue shield of none other than Captain America.
“Enough!” barked Captain America fiercely at the knight before delivering a super soldier’s punch right in the face of the knight’s helmet.
Cap’s punch not only dented the black metal protecting the knight’s face, but knocked him out cold.
“Sir, are you alright?” he said while helping the old man to his feet.
“Hoppin’ Heroes of History, You’re Captain America,” said the man in aviator glasses as giant smile erupted under his white mustache. “You are the Hitler hating, liberty loving, freedom fighting super soldier.”
Wow, thought Captain America, they sure come up with crazy slogans to sale those bonds. The man in front of him was clearly American judging by his accent, New York no less.
“I remember hearing about you in my youth during the war. We won that puppy because of you.”
Apparently, either from age or from not being able to process the strange circumstances surrounding them, the old-timer’s mind wasn’t quite all there. The war in his youth would have been between the North and the South, not the Allies and the Axis, thought the Captain.
“I’m glad you showed up when you did, Cap. Otherwise, I’d be sliced and diced by that tin-headed killer.”
“I’m glad to be of assistance, sir.”
Cap noticed the nearby bloody bodies and regretted that, in all the chaos, he had not noticed the murderous knight sooner. He had even less of an idea what was going on now than he did when he first arrived and the elderly man probably wouldn’t be a reliable source of clarification, but two things were certain. The first was that there was a battle being fought, it didn’t take a combat veteran to see that. The second was that there was a civilian on the battlefield who needed to get to safety.
Above the strange costumed characters continued to fight the machine forces falling from the strange portals that somehow had brought Cap to this location. They were all too busy being overrun by mechanical enemies to notice the Captain or the man he was assisting. The Captain looked across the desert. There was a giant hole in the ground that exposed a massive underground structure. There were also several other openings in the ground where it looked like there had been cave-ins as a result of the battle. If the ground was unstable, he had even more reason to get the strange old man away from there. While surveying his surroundings, Captain America also noticed a car that must have fallen from the portals.
“This area’s unsafe, sir. I have to get you out of here. Try to stay calm we need to make it to that vehicle.” Captain America pointed to the car.
Although the make and model were unrecognizable to the Captain, the old man knew it was 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Captain America threw the man over his shoulder, just as he had done with so many wounded brothers in arms, and ran towards the car. He placed the old man on the ground near the driver’s door. He didn’t like the idea of someone who was possibly senile getting behind the wheel of a car, but there was nothing else that could pass for shelter.
“Okay, sir. I want you to stay in the car. Hopefully you will be safe now that you are a little further away from where most of the action is taking place. But, if things get hairy, you should try to drive away from here.”
“Don’t worry, Cap. I’ll wait it out here. Things would have to get pretty bad for me to abandon a true blue hero like you.”
Captain America’s lips curled to a slight smile. Wherever it was he ended up, he was glad that camaraderie could still be found.
“But what are you going to do, Cap? It looks like a full scale time bending robot invasion calamity.”
“I’m going to find out where exactly I am and make sure no more innocents like you enter harm’s way. And those people back there, the ones fighting these things in the sky, look like they could use some help. I’ve seen enough war to know the good guys when I see them. They’re fighting for their lives and for each other.”
“Godspeed, Cap,” said the old man from the driver’s seat of the car as Captain America closed the car door securing the man inside.
Leaving the man in the car, the Captain ran back towards the battle. As he ran, he noticed a large shadow on the sand under his feet begin to grow larger. He looked up and saw something massive and green falling towards him. He dove forward to avoid being crushed by the mammoth object which hit the ground with a loud THUD.
Cap quickly turned around to see what had landed, but as soon as his eyes made out what it was he realized he never should have stopped running. Between him and the car stood a massive creature he recognized from both books at the library he studied as a kid and the movie King Kong. Looking down at him, the towering Tyrannosaurus Rex let out a loud roar from its giant mouth full of razor sharp teeth. Behind the beast he saw the car speeding as the old man drove away, but who wouldn’t have? At least Cap had gotten him out of the place.
The dinosaur’s mouth swooped down to gobble up the American hero. As its jaws closed, Captain America ducked down and held up his shield. Lucky for Cap, even the tyrant lizards of the prehistoric world were no match for vibranium. The T-Rex raised its head back up trying to bite through the shield jammed vertically between its upper and lower teeth. Captain America hung from the shield just outside of the monstrous creature’s lips. The ancient animal swung its head back and forth until the Captain was thrown to the ground.
Captain America rolled on impact trying to get as far away from the Tyrannosaurus as possible. It had dropped his shield and set its eyes back onto Cap. He knew he couldn’t get to his shield. His only option was to run, so run he did. His super soldier legs were actually fast enough to stay in front of the monster chasing him until he noticed the ground below him giving way.
Suddenly, he dropped down about twenty feet into a metal chamber. He was surrounded by four walls with no way out. He could hear the thunderous steps of his pursuer. Well, this is it, he thought as the dinosaur reached the hole and looked down at the Captain who had nowhere to run. His time of service was at last coming to an end. He thought about all he had done, all he had been through during the war. He remembered all the battles he fought. He remembered leading the Invaders. He remembered the brave soldiers he served with. Above all, he remembered that the war was coming to an end. Before he ended up in this crazy place that was going to be the death of him, he saw the Allies overwhelm their enemies in both the Pacific and in Europe. Hydra had been stopped and, although it came with the high price of losing Bucky, his last mission finally put an end to Red Skull and his madness. No, he wouldn’t get to go home to the girls and the victory parades, but he didn’t need any kind of recognition. For years he was told he was too weak to ever make a difference, so just knowing that he actually did get the opportunity to serve and fight for a noble cause was all the reward he needed. In fact, in those dire moments facing certain death, he felt like the luckiest man who had ever lived, because he couldn’t have asked for a better life.
The dinosaur stretched down but before it could devour the world’s first superhero, something crashed through the wall behind the Captain. From the wall came a tall amazon of a woman, completely green and completely nude. She swung one of her perfectly toned arms across the nose of the giant reptile with enough force to turn its brains to paste, killing it instantly. The head of the T-Rex shot back up the chamber, with so much force in fact, that the entire animal was soon lifted from the ground and soaring through the air.
The green woman stood in front of Captain America with long messy green hair hiding most of her face. At close to seven feet tall she was easily the tallest woman the Captain had ever seen. He didn’t know which big green thing to fear more.
3 years ago,
Empire State University
“Just a little farther,” whispered Jennifer Walters to her cousin Bruce Banner. “Dr. Sterns’ lab should be just ahead.”
The two ran through the dark hallways in the middle of the night. Bruce hoped that if he reached the lab of Dr. Sterns, the nation’s next expert scientist in gamma radiation, he might find a way to cure himself from transforming into the creature referred to as ‘The Hulk.’
“Okay, Jen. I can make it on my own,” said Dr. Banner to his 23 year old cousin. Jennifer was weeks away from graduating from ESU Law. He hated coming to her for help but he needed someone he could trust. He had been on the run from New Mexico and was a wanted man. He only came to her dorm room because he needed a place to stay until he could figure out how to enter Dr. Sterns’ lab, and hopefully, find helpful information that would aid his endeavors to cure himself from his transformations.
“I told you, cuz, I’m sticking with you,” said young Jennifer. All she wanted at that moment was to help Bruce. She tried to reason with him to just wait, let her finish school, give her time to collect evidence and build a case, and then let her defend him in a court of law. Apparently, Bruce thought curing himself from the transformations was more urgent than clearing his own name, so they were sneaking in to the ESU Science Department’s main building instead.
The two of them made their way down a hall to the elevator that would take them straight to the lab.
“Okay, if you’re that determined to throw away your career as a big shot lawyer, help yourself. Just don’t say I didn’t try to talk you out of it,” Bruce said as he pressed the button to summon the elevator. Before the elevator could arrive however, the pair noticed three men come around the corner at the end of the hallway opposite them. The three figures were dressed in the yellow jumpsuits that Banner recognized. They were operatives of AIM, sent surely to capture Banner and learn the secrets of the Hulk.
“That’s him! Open fire!” yelled one of the AIM troops. A barrage of fire from strange energy weapons was unleashed.
“GET DOWN!” yelled Bruce as he grabbed his cousin. He knew that if AIM was after him, probably trying to learn the secrets of the Hulk, they were smart enough to use energy weapons that would possibly stun the beast. Such a high yield would kill a normal person. The elevator doors opened as the bolts of energy shot towards them. Crawling on the floor, Bruce pulled Jennifer behind him and boarded the elevator.
“Don’t worry, Jenny,” said Banner as the elevator rose to their destination with the two of them laying on in it. “I’ll think of something.”
“Bruce, I’m so sorry,” said the law student in response. Banner was confused. Why would she be apologizing? Then he noticed what was wrong. The blood leaking from the wound in her abdomen gave it away. She had been shot by one of the AIM weapons and it was all Bruce’s fault. If only he hadn’t come into her life and brought this madness with him.
“No, Jen!” Banner exclaimed. The bleeding was severe. There was no way he would ever manage to escape the building, get past the AIM team, and get his cousin the medical attention she needed. If she was going to live it would be through actions he took there on the scene.
The elevator opened on the floor that served as Dr. Sterns’ laboratory. The entire story was dedicated to the study of gamma radiation and the effects it has on DNA. He picked Jennifer up with both arms and ran down a hall, leaving one of his shoes on the threshold of the elevator, which prevented the doors from closing. Hopefully, he could save his cousin before his AIM pursuer could get to him. He knew he couldn’t allow his body and the secrets in it to be captured by AIM but, even more importantly, he knew that, as Jennifer’s only hope for survival, he had to save her.
Before the break in they had already studied the layout of Sterns’ lab. It only took Jennifer two dates with one of the doctor’s interns to get all the information they needed. With Jennifer in his arms, Banner knew exactly where he was going and made his way to the school’s gamma emitter.
Banner laid Jennifer down on one of the tables in the room. Was he really about to do this?
“Bruce, I’m so cold,” she said as she passed out on the table. She had lost so much blood. Banner noticed the red trail that they had left. He told himself again that it was the only way. Quickly, he grabbed a syringe and jabbed it into his arm and began withdrawing his own blood. Once the syringe was full he pulled it away. With his other hand, he ripped down the sleeve of Jennifer’s shirt to expose the meat of her arm. He stabbed the syringe into her flesh and injected her with his own blood.
“I hope I’m right,” Bruce whispered to himself as he dashed to the controls of the gamma emitter. His theory was that there was something unique about his DNA that allowed him to not only survive his exposure to gamma radiation, but also gain certain regeneration abilities from it. That coupled with the strength he possessed when in the form of the Hulk was surely why AIM was hunting him. It was also something he hoped he could transfer to Jennifer and save her life.
Bruce powered up the emitter. He was surprised how much of the technology was based on his own work from his days at the Future Foundation. Apparently, Sterns had only been copying the work Banner had done and had little to contribute to Bruce’s quest for a cure. It was such a shame to realize that Jennifer was put in danger for nothing. Banner had even more reason not to let her die.
Once the emitter reached full power, he engaged the machine and a beam of concentrated gamma rays was transmitted directly into Jennifer Walters.
Banner ducked down to the floor to avoid the incoming fire. Bolts of energy were projected over his head.
“Continue firing! Remember, we can’t kill him, but we can stun and capture him.”
These cocky fools thought they could capture the Hulk, thought Banner as his blood began to boil. They honestly thought they could contain the monster and were so determined to do so that they didn’t even mind putting the lives of innocent people like Jenny in danger. Bruce didn’t like that, not one bit.
Although the Hulk was able to escape the AIM attackers with their high yield stun weapons, AIM was still able to capture one specimen of interest that day. Jennifer Walters had been transformed by the gamma exposure. She had grown over a foot in height and possessed strength that rivaled that of the Hulk. AIM was able to keep her unconscious and study her body. They concluded that, unlike her cousin, she did not possess the ability to transform back and forth to a normal human body. She remained in her large “hulk” state the entire time she was in custody. They also learned that, although stronger than any other individual whose physical abilities had been charted, her strength appeared to be at a constant finite level unlike the Hulk’s strength which could grow with his rage. For three years she was poked and prodded while being kept in a drowsy state of half consciousness. For three years she served as a specimen for experimentation by AIM scientists. For three years she was a prisoner until the facility she was kept at came under attack, and in the disarray, she was set free.
AIM Research Facility,
Iron Man flew through the sky blasting away at his opponents alongside Wasp. “Keep it up, Jan,” he said, as the repulsors on the palms of his hands took out another of the robotic enemies. “He’s got to run out of these things eventually.”
“Tony, look,” said Wasp as she flew in her shrunken form, “the portals are closing!”
Sure enough, the amber vortexes in the sky began to collapse and fade away. However, they had already deposited over a hundred robot drones. Iron Man and Wasp attacked as many in the air as they could while Hawkeye picked off the ones that made it past them. Thor, hammer in hand, went of the offensive against Ultron himself once again while Ant-Man attempted to formulate another approach to defeating the android.
“Okay, at least with the portals closed, we know we are only dealing with a specific number of these things. The best course of action is t-”
As Iron Man spoke to Wasp who was about twenty feet away from him in midair, the body of a dead Tyrannosaurus Rex passed between them and continued, hurled through the sky until disappearing.
“Tony, what the hell was that?” asked a confused Wasp. The two looked down to see a large naked green woman leaping from the ground to astonishing heights.
“NO MORE!” she yelled. “ENOUGH OF THE MACHINES AND EXPERIMENTS AND DRUGS!”
The green woman leaped through the air from machine to machine, ripping each one into shreds before jumping and landing on her next target. Iron Man and Wasp flew down to where Hawkeye and Ant-Man stood.
“Is that the Hulk?” asked Wasp.
“I thought the Hulk was a man, not a woman,” Ant-Man responded.
“Well,” said Iron Man, “no one can be sure as to the full extent of his transformations.”
“Actually, the Hulk is kind of hot,” said Hawkeye shooting explosive arrows at the robots while staring at the nude, furious, green woman.
“Get serious, Barton,” said Ant-Man. “You might have noticed that the temporal disruptions brought some time traveling pieces of history, like that old sailing ship over there.”
“I noticed the flying dinosaur that was thrown my way,” added Wasp.
“What are you getting at Hank,” asked Iron Man as he fired his repulsors at several targets above. He noticed that most of the machines were starting to ignore them and attack the green woman, but she easily handled them. Her exposed skin had no signs of damage from the particle weapons being shot at her. She easily ripped through the robots one by one, sometimes jumping in the air to smash one in the sky while, higher above, Iron Man saw that Thor was keeping Ultron himself busy. “Do you think she was brought here through one of those portals? I don’t recall ever studying scary green amazons in history.”
“No, Tony,” replied Ant-Man. “Judging by the way she’s lashing out at every piece of technology in front of her, I think she came from the AIM facility below. She’s probably been kept here against her will for who knows how long and there is no telling what those twisted hacks have done to her.”
Hank Pym loathed AIM. They had all the resources of the Future Foundation but none of the responsibility that comes with science and no desire to make the world a better place for mankind.
“She’s ripping those metal bastards apart like their made of paper mache. With her and Goldilocks on our side we might be able to finally scrap Ultron,” Hawkeye declared.
The swarm of machines that had flocked to her location was soon transformed into pieces of metal, wires, and strange liquids spread across the desert. Dozens of machines lay ruined at her feet. “I’M GOING TO BE FREE NOW! NOTHING IS GOING TO STAND IN MY WAY!”
Everyone stood in amazement from a distance of the green powerhouse. She single handedly laid waste to all of Ultron’s machines. However, that wasn’t enough to vent all of her frustrations from three years of enslavement. She looked up and saw Thor engaged with Ultron.
Above, the Asgardian had been concerning himself with the fight at hand. “The smith that forged you should take pride in his good work, Ultron,” he said. “There are but few who can stand up to battle with a son Odin as well as thou has. In spite of this I will see that thee shall indeed fall on this day. I shall not yield until then.”
Thor gripped his hammer with both hands and swung it with all his strength towards the android. To Thor’s surprise and disappointment, he hit nothing but air. Before Mjölnir could strike Ultron, the green body of Jennifer Walters collided with the android and drove him up and away from his brawl with Thor. The god of thunder watched his foe and strange green mortal of Midgard soar away and crash into the ground below.
“NEW SUPERHUMAN THREAT DETECTED,” announced Ultron as his computer brain analyzed the situation.
“YOUR DAMNED RIGHT I’M A THREAT!” shouted Walters as she began to pummel the shiny metal figure. Ultron fired his energy attack directly in to her face, but it was no more effective on her than it was on Thor. Perhaps less so.
Thor, almost saddened that his opponent was stolen from him, floated down to where the others stood. “Who is this mighty green fury that has come to our aid?”
“Don’t be so sure she’s her to help us, Thor,” said Ant-Man. “She acting out in blind rage, smashing away at anything she can get her hands on.”
“Aye, I like her,” Thor said with a grin while watching her naked body wrestle with Ultron.
“We need to figure out a new plan. Her presence changes the whole dynamic. We need to use her to our advantage and stop Ultron before he can leave or summon more reinforcements,” said Ant-Man in an effort to turn the conversation back to something productive.
“Gentlemen, ma’am, I would like to assist,” said a voice coming from behind everyone. They turned to see Captain America, his shield in hand.
Everyone stood in awe.
“No. %#$@ing. Way,” said Hawkeye in reaction to seeing one of the greatest figures of 20th Century history standing right in front of him.
“It’s him, it’s really him,” said Iron Man. As a boy, Tony Stark had studied everything of Grandpa Howard’s he could get his hands on. That included all of Howard Stark Sr.’s notes on Captain America. The uniform, the shield, Tony had memorized every description and every old photograph. “That’s Captain America, the real Captain America.”
“How can that be?” asked Wasp who couldn’t believe her eyes.
“It’s very possible,” said Ant-Man. He always played the role of scientific skeptic, but he couldn’t deny the possibility of a war hero traveling time as easily as a dinosaur. “The body of Captain America was, after all, never discovered.”
“I see you folks have heard of me,” said Captain America who was becoming more confused by the second. “I want to help you people, but I think it might be useful if someone, anyone, could explain to me what’s going on. Ten minutes ago I was taking down Red Skull’s last Hydra stronghold. Now I’m ringing the bell of medieval knights, running from dinosaurs, and watching a large naked green gal rip apart robots. Can anyone make heads or tails of any of this?”
“Captain, I’m sure this is all very strange to you,” started Ant-Man, “but you have actually been transported from wherever you were to this place. I’m not sure why. All I can tell you is that we are trying to stop this menace that has put innocent lives in danger.”
“You’ve also been brought to the year 2012,” said Iron Man. Ant-Man shot an angry glance at Iron Man. He had had wanted to break the news to the legendary hero slowly, not tell him right of the bat, in the middle of Ultron’s assault, that the world Steve Rogers knew was gone. Instead of returning to a postwar America he had been brought decades into the future.
“This is the year 2012?” asked the Captain. How is that even possible, he thought. He had seen some bizarre things in his life, the years he spent battling Hydra had taught him not to rule out the far-fetched scientific concepts, but time travel? That was a new one.
“Yes it is, Captain,” answered Ant-Man in an attempt to take control of the situation before Tony could make it worse. “I can’t imagine what this is like for you. I know this must all seem a little hard to believe. I know the world, the country, has changed a lot from what you remember.”
Captain America looked around in concern. “The country? Is this America?” He was standing in a lifeless desert that was littered with the remains of a destructive battle. “How did this happen? Last I checked, we were winning the war?”
“Calm down, old man,” said Hawkeye. “We’re in Nevada. It’s supposed to look like a wasteland.”
“But normally, with fewer killer robots,” added Wasp.
Not only had the Captain just lost Bucky, his entire world was turned on its head. Surely most, if not all, of the people he knew and cared about almost seventy years ago had passed on too. Few people could ever feel as alone as Cap did in those moments, but this wasn’t the time to feel sorry for himself. There was a mission at hand. He could square things away later after the situation was addressed.
“Okay people, let’s say I assume this isn’t some kind of last ditch Hydra trick and accept that you are telling the truth, we can figure out why I’m here later. You,” he pointed at Ant-Man, “you seem to be in charge.”
“That’s a poor observation,” said Iron Man.
“No mortal leads a prince of Asgard,” scoffed Thor.
“I’m not sure about that,” replied Ant-Man, “but I am trying to figure out a plan to stop this craziness. That machine trading blows with the green woman is an extremely dangerous android constructed from designs of mine.”
“Actually, it is constructed from an improved version of your designs,” interjected Iron Man. “If it had been constructed from your original designs, dealing with it wouldn’t have proved much of a challenge.”
Wasp fluttered near Ant-Man. “Come on, Hank, he’s from the forties. I really doubt he knows what an android is.”
Captain America spoke up, “Actually, one of my best friends is an android.” Perhaps this new time wouldn’t be so different after all.
Ant-Man continued, “Captain, do you know of any connection you might have to Ultron that would explain your arrival here?”
“All I know about this ‘Ultron’, judging from what I’ve just seen and heard, is that he is attacking the United States of America and needs to be stopped. You seem like a gifted group of individuals. Let’s get to work on putting this machine down.”
“I’m all for that Captain, but if there is any information you could provide about how or why you’ve been transported to this time and place it might be useful to let us know.”
“This is what I know. I was on a mission to kill or capture two Hydra big shots, Baron Zemo and the Red Skull.”
*(See CAPTAIN AMERICA #1)
“Right,” Iron Man interrupted, ‘The Raid of Castle Zemo.’ It was the last mission of Captain America and Bucky. The castle was bombed to prevent advanced Hydra technology from falling into Soviet hands.”
“Glad to hear that it sounds like we succeeded. Unfortunately, Bucky was apparently killed by the Red Skull in an explosion that no one could have survived. It looked like the Skull opted to end his life, as well as Bucky’s, and avoid being captured. Before I could get out of the castle, I knew the bombs were going to drop any second, I was pulled into some kind of tunnel of light. I spun around in there and, I know it sounds crazy, but I think I saw a blonde woman who was trying to tell me something.
“Actually that’s not as crazy as it sounds,” said Iron Man. “Jarvis, prepare audio playback from temporal anomaly scans,” Two external speakers emerged from the shoulders of Iron Man’s armor. “Did she sound anything like this?”
His suit played back the transmission it received from the portal he had scanned outside of his father’s factory. “-will need your cleverness and knowledge in the days to come, Stark. Follow the Capt-.”
Upon hearing the recording, Captain America and Thor both stepped closer to Iron Man. It was clear by the looks of their faces that they both recognized the voice.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s her,” said the Captain.
“By Odin’s beard! The voice that whispered to me. So familiar it is.” Thor’s face suddenly shifted to an expression of dread. “No, it cannot be that wench.”
A bright flash appeared in the minds of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. For an instant they all three had their perceptions flooded with sights of long blonde hair, the smell of perfume, and a woman’s wicked laugh. Then, nearby, green energy crackled in the air as a beautiful slender blonde woman appeared before them.
Like Thor, her body was shaped like the ideal perfect and her clothing seemed to be not of this world. She wore a tight green top and short green skirt with black leggings. Green sleeves separate from the rest of her clothes ran down from her shoulders to her wrists. Her golden hair was decorated with an elaborated green headdress.
“Stand back mortals of Midgard, you are in the presence of true might.”
“That’s a bit gaudy,” said Wasp.
“Enchantress, you witch!” Thor yelled as he raised his hammer.
“She’s the one I saw right before I landed on this desert,” said Captain America. “Do you know her?”
“To much misfortune, I do indeed know this she-devil. She is Amora the Enchantress. Many ages ago she attempted to use her arts of mystic deception to gain control of the kingdom of Asgard. In retribution, the All Father caste her and her ally, The Executioner, out of the Realm Eternal and forbade them from every returning. She has been stripped of once great power, left to be little more than a mortal, and forced to live her endless youth forever banned from Asgard. All that she says is false. She smells of honey but tastes of poison. Do not trust her, my fellow warriors. If she has regained her dark powers, she will seduce thee and use thee for her own twisted means.”
“Oh, sweet Thor, have you no pleasant memories of our courtship. I’m sure I need no magics to find my way back into thy bed, that is if it isn’t occupied by the cow, Sif.”
Lightening sparked from Mjölnir. “Hold thy tongue villainess!” Thor marched towards The Enchantress ready to strike with his hammer, but Captain America stepped in his way and stood there against the mighty thunder god.
“Wait,” he said, “we need answers from her.” Cap turned to Amora and remained between the two Asgardians. “From what I can tell, you are the reason I’m here and it sounds like you might be what brought at least two others here. We need to know why. Spill it, lady, right now!”
The Enchantress did not take kindly to being told what to do, especially by a mortal man, but she knew her objectives would require her to cooperate. “No you fools, it is the presence of you three that has summoned me. All you need to know is that I was sent her to help. I will see that the machine of man, that thinks itself worthy to be armored by the metal of the gods, falls today. I will give you the aid of my magics and then by on my way.”
“How is it thou have reclaimed the gifts my father took from thee?” asked Thor who was annoyed at Captain America for standing in his way.
“I have spent ages rekindling the power inside of me. Not only have I gained most of my strength back, but I have developed new spells that are far beyond anything I knew before, including a spell that would neutralize Uru metal’s invulnerability and immunity to magic.”
“Timeout,” said Hawkeye. “The ex-girlfriend says she can take out Ultron’s metal armor. As much as I would love to see the magic blonde sky people play out their super powered lovers’ quarrel, I suggest we get busy on sending Ultron to the junkyard.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Barton,” said Ant-Man. “You really want us to resort to witchcraft?”
“Do you have a better idea?” asked Wasp.
Ant-Man hated to admit it but he didn’t. He wasn’t willing to call it magic, but he knew there had been certain individuals in the past who used abilities that couldn’t be explained by known science.
“It took me years to conjure the spell,” Said Amora. “I thought it worth it though in case you ever came after me with that hammer of yours, such a shame that I must use it now instead.”
“Okay, I can’t believe I’m entertaining this out loud,” said Ant-Man, “but what needs to happen for you to use your hocus pocus?”
“Stupid little worm!” Amora snapped in response to Ant-Man’s tone. There is so much of the universe that you do not understand, so much beyond what you can know in your limited perception. You are indeed an ant of a man.”
“Listen up,” shouted Captain America, “I know it might not seem natural for any of us to be working together, but the reality of the situation is that we can’t let that green woman keep the fight against Ultron going indefinitely. We all seem to want to put an end to the threat that he poses so we need to act. I’ve been keeping an eye on them and it looks like our girl is losing her edge. We need to get her on our side, formulate a plan, and execute it before she is tired out completely.”
“Here is your plan, mortal man, I will caste my spell on your enemies metal and make him vulnerable. I will need him to be held stationary briefly so that my spell may strike him. It will weaken my body so I implore the rest of you to attack quickly as I will temporarily be unable to aid or defend myself. Then I shall leave.”
“Sounds like we are finally forming a winning strategy,” said Iron Man. “With the armor cracked all we need to do is get Pym inside of Ultron so he can created the internal interference that will bring on a critical power overload.”
“He’s right,” said Ant-Man. “We just need to hold Ultron still long enough for this ‘spell’ then I can enter Ultron and end this.”
“Getting a hold of Ultron sounds like it might be the hardest part to pull off,” said Captain America.
“I will do what must be done,” said Thor with confidence and eagerness.
“I saw you tangle with Ultron in sky,” said Cap, “and although you put on a good fight, we are only going to get one shot at this. We need to get you some help and our girl in green seems to be the only other person we’ve got who can handle Ultron on a physical level.”
“Not sure if you notice Captain, but she doesn’t seem to be in the mood to be a team player,” said Hawkeye.
“I’ll take care of that,” Wasp said. “Just give me a chance to talk to her.”
“Wasp flew to where Jennifer Walters was battling Ultron. The two had been pummeling each other and neither had received any visible damage. Wasp noticed that she was beginning to breathe more heavily and her reactions slowed with each blow. Cap was right when he said she would give out before Ultron.
“Hey, listen,” Wasp said as she tried to hover close to the green ear without getting destroyed by one of Ultron’s punches.
“What is this? Did you bastards put voices in my head? I won’t be controlled like that! I’m not some damn experiment.”
Wasp flew passed Jennifer’s eyes to show to her that she was real. “Of course you’re not. I’m not trying to control you. My name is Jan. I’m not sure what those AIM jerks have done to you but I’m not with them. We want to help you.”
“I don’t need any help. I need to SMASH THIS PIECE OF JUNK!”
“I know you have some anger that you want to get out but this thing is no AIM machine. It’s almost indestructible and you should be able to tell by now that you’ll give out before it does. It doesn’t have to go down like that though. We have one chance to take it out if you help me and my friends.”
“Why should I care? My life is ruined now. What would it matter if I died right now punching away at this thing here in the middle of nowhere?”
“It would matter to me, I want to help you. Let’s work together and after this we can get your life back on track. I’ll help you find those responsible for this. You won’t ever have to be a victim again. What do you say?”
Jennifer just wanted to go back to being the pretty girl at law school weeks away from diving into any legal career she wanted. The perfect life was presented to her only to be taken away at the last minute. Maybe she couldn’t have that but she couldn’t let those crackpot scientists break her completely. She could still be part of something good. “Okay Jan, I’m Jennifer by the way.”
In that moment though, Jennifer’s guard dropped just enough for Ultron to clock her good right across the face. Stunned from the punch, she fell over backwards into the desert sand. Ultron stood over her looking down. “SUPERHUMAN INTERFERENCE WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.”
“Then prepare for GODLY interference!” Thor flew into Ultron and knocked him back away from Jennifer. She quickly got back on her feet and together the two of them grappled with Ultron.
Several yards away the Enchantress began to work her magic. Her eyes glowed and she floated just a few inches from the ground. She focused her energies onto Ultron’s location and green flame shot from her finger tips and across the desert to Ultron. Jennifer and Thor were blown away from the android, which was now glowing every color of the rainbow simultaneously. Ultron let out a digital scream impossible to describe. The once shiny plating on his body became a dull metal.
Amora dropped to her knees weakened from the spell. It would have taken a lot of energy to do that to even an ounce of Uru. Ultron targeted her, knowing now that she was the greatest danger to him. The opening on his face began to glow as his energy attack charged. The red beam fired at her helpless body but before it could reach her Captain America made his way over and deflected the blast with his shield.
“Hurry, Barton, before he escapes through one of his portals!” yelled a shrunken Ant-Man from Iron Man’s shoulder.
Soon an adamantium tipped arrow flew from Hawkeye’s bow and struck the exact location on Ultron’s abdomen that Ant-Man had described to the archer. “He did it, Tony!” exclaimed Ant-Man and signaling for Iron Man to charge forward. Iron Man flew to Ultron as Ant-Man clung to Stark’s armor. Iron Man collided into Ultron knocking the android off balance and allowing for Ant-Man to jump down to Hawkeye’s arrow protruding from Ultron. Ant-Man ran down the shaft of the Arrow and entered Ultron’s body.
The machine began to speak and stutter “I AM ULTR1010100011 SUP10110001 ENCE WILL N11010”
“Stand clear, he’s gonna blow!” yelled Iron Man warning everyone to get back. Ultron’s entire body began to shake and rattle uncontrollably. He’s head began to spin in circles firing his energy blasts blindly into the sky. Then, an explosion erupted from his midsection.
Nothing could be seen through the smoke flames and sand. As it settled, pieces of Ultron could be made out. Several yards away from the explosion was the top half of his body minus one arm.
“Hank! Where’s Hank?” yelled Wasp in a panic as she grew to full size.
Amora lifted her head from the ground and saw the destruction of Ultron had been accomplished. With that she was satisfied and she teleported away in the same fashion in which she arrived.
For the first time since her release from captivity, Jennifer Walters stood calm. There was nothing left to hit, nothing left to hate. She sat down to the ground and put her head against her knees sobbing uncontrollably in the desert.
Wasp ran through the sand looking through the remains of Ultron. “We have to find Hank!” She said yelled.
“Right here,” a voice said behind her. She turned to Ant-Man standing, a piece of shrapnel sticking out of his side. Hank Pym collapsed as she ran to him. He was losing blood and fast. She pulled off his helmet and looked in his eyes.
“You were right, Jan” he said in a faint voice. “We have a responsibility. We need to fight the battles no one else can you were always ri…” He went silent.
“Hold on Hank. I won’t let it end like this,” cried Wasp with tears coming down her face.
Hawkeye yelled into his radio. “If anybody can copy, I need medical emergency evac ASAP.”
Cap, Thor, Iron Man approached Ant-Man.” He managed to open his eyes again briefly and looked up from the blood and sand to see a super soldier, Norse god, and an armored pain in his ass. This is what the future looks like, he thought before passing out.
“The wound looks to sever to stabilize,” said Captain America. Keep trying to get someone on that radio.”
“Wait, look!” said Iron Man pointing towards Ultron’s upper body. The android was using his remaing arm to pull himself away right as a glowing amber portal opened in front of him. Captain America ran to the portal with Thor and Iron Man in flight behind him. The android had passed through but maybe they could go after him. However, once they reached the portal a surprising image appeared.
“Ho! Do not enter here or be lost to the timestream,” said the image of the Enchantress glowing in the portal.
“What further trickery is this, sorceress?” barked Thor.
“Tis no trickery, thunderer. I am the voice of Amora many years from now and it was I who reached out to you three.”
“She’s telling the truth,” said Iron Man. “My suit’s scanners indicate from the tachyon readings that the image we are seeing is from another point in time.”
“Then tell us, why have you brought us here,” demanded Cap.
“I convene with you from 26 years into your future. Today the world is a dark place. A mad conqueror known only as Kang has enslaved the world. He plans to use the Cosmic Cube, his ultimate weapon to grant himself god-like rule over all that ever was and ever will be. I speak to you from the moments before the end of time, when all his plans will culminate.”
The portal changed to images of Kang’s robots and an army of men all led by Ultron attacking the nations of the world. Some were fighting against them, some were joining them, but all were suffering.
Captain America was all too familiar with the type of images he was seeing. He had just fought a war to prevent such a world from existing. “If you want help to fight this Kang, why contact us and why now?”
“Kang must be stopped,” said the future Enchantress. “He has access to all of the past and has altered history to his benefit. He watches time unfold and when he sees someone or something he wants removed from history he simple pulls them out of time with his timeportals, just like the timeportal I am using to reach out to you or the one that brought you, Steve Rogers, to your future.”
“Then why was I brought to this year? Why would Kang want me here?”
“When Kang pulls one out of time, it is with little concern for where they go. He simply wanted you lost in the timestream. You are when you are because when Kang moves large numbers of his forces, like he did when his machines launched their attack to assist Ultron, many of the things lost in the timestream will fall through the portals. Although, from where I am in the heart of Kang’s timeship, I was able to guide you to this year. The year in which you Rogers, will unite with the genius Stark and Thor, mightiest of the mightiest. Under the guidance and leadership of Steve Rogers, the three of you shall unite the heroes needed to face Kang and defeat him. Assemble together and prevent Kang’s dark victory.”
“And what of yourself?” asked the Captain. “Wasn’t that you that helped us today?”
“Indeed, but my younger self will not be so eager to cooperate. I have reached across time to tell her of the future and she knows that she must work with you. Find her.”
“The image of Amora began to fade. “I can say no more.”
The portal collapsed and the three stood there in silence. “Look,” said Captain America, “I know we don’t know each other very well, but that looked serious. We accomplished something big today. If the world needs us to save it from this ‘Kang’ character, I think we should work together.”
“Bah!” bellowed Thor. “I refuse to follow instructions from her. I will search the nine realms myself to find that women and force the truth from her with my bare hands.”
Thor swung Mjölnir and then took to the sky disappearing in the clouds.
Cap and Iron Man made their way back to Ant-Man and Wasp. “How is he holding up?” asked Iron Man. Tony was concerned. He actually had more respect for Hank Pym than he would ever show and knew he was a good scientist and a good man.
“It doesn’t look good,” she said. “Clint got a hold of a SHIELD transport though. I just hope they make it in time.”
“Within minutes, a SHIELD jump jet appeared in the sky above and performed a vertical landing.
“It’s about time, Bobbie” Hawkeye yelled to the pilot as she came out the hatch with two medics. “This guy needs treatment now. And what’s the situation with the Helicarrier?”
“Just get on board and be glad I was in nearby Vegas. I’ll brief you once we are in-flight ” The medics carried the unconscious Hank Pym on board.
“What were you doing in Vegas?”
“I was tracking some magic using grifters trying to cheat their way to riches. Now hurry. Let’s fly?”
Cap, Iron Man, and wasp got on board the plane. Bobbie recognized Captain America from the images she had seen in the history books. “Is that-?”
“Don’t ask,” said Hawkeye. “It’s a crazy story.”
“I’m coming too,” said the still nude Jennifer Walters. “I have nowhere else to go,” she added as she walked on board.
Bobbie turned back to Hawkeye in awe.
“I said don’t ask.”
Two days later,
“You know it was hard for us to believe you when you said your name was Steve Rogers, but DNA normally doesn’t lie,” said Nick Fury looking across the desk to Captain Steve Rogers.
“Well, it was hard for me to believe you when you said your name was Nick Fury”
“I’m sure it was, but as you can see, the world has changed a great deal.”
“Actually, I’m surprised how many things are still the same. The laws of science are being rewritten every day, innocent lives are still put in harm’s way too often, and mad men still want to take over the world.”
“That’s all true, Captain, but maybe what has changed is the way we go about fighting the good fight. I know in your day you worked with SABER, an international organization that handled some of the more fantastic forms of warfare. After the war, the US government felt that what we needed was no longer a saber, but a shield. That’s where we came in. The Nick Fury that you knew wrote the book on SHIELD when he served as our first director, and since then we’ve been trying to keep things in the world running smoothly, despite all the incredible crisis that pop up from time to time. I have to say though, that in recent times, that mission has become harder.”
“Sir, if you’re asking me to join SHIELD,”
“I’m not, Rogers. Just let me finish. I think what the world really needs is the same thing that you gave it in your time, a hero, or actually ‘heroes.’ More superhumans show up every year, practically every day. SHIELD can’t be everywhere at once and we are having plenty of problems of our own right now. Plus things are becoming too public. We don’t operate as well in the spotlight. I think that’s where you would do the most good though. You have what it takes to lead this generation of heroes. I mean, you’ve already done it once when you led the Invaders. What do you say, veteran, ready for another tour of service?”
The Mansion of Maria Carbonell Stark
Central Park, New York, NY
“Are you sure about this, Mr. Stark, no one’s ever given me the keys to a mansion before.”
“Look Cap, said Tony Stark as he escorted Captain America back to the foyer of the Carbonell Family Manor, “My mom hasn’t set foot in this place since she got her penthouse, and I’m not about to move in. I’ve been out on my own for a while now and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that being your own man is something money can’t buy. No one is using this place.”
“Sure I can’t talk you into sticking around Tony. You have more to offer us than just giving us a place to stay you know.”
“First off, Captain. I can’t give the place to you. After mother gave it to me I sold it to a friend for one dollar. I just got him to agree to putting up with you lot. And second, I have a lot going on right now. I’m not sure how much use I could actually be.”
“I heard about your family trouble. You’d never believe how shocked I was to find out you were Howard’s grandson. You remind me of him though now that I know.”
“That’s nice of you to say, Cap, but I’m not the man he was. Not yet anyway. He had his act together from day one. He helped the Allies win the war and built Stark Industries. I do good just to pay my rent two months in a row.”
“I could use a genius like you at my side. It’s bad enough that our powerhouse, Thor, dodged the draft.”
“If you really need me, you’ll know how to find me. Until then, you’ll have Jan at your side. I know she hasn’t been the same since Hank’s funeral but she is actually a quite brilliant scientist at the Future Foundation. I don’t say that about anyone either.”
A car horn could be heard from outside. Tony looked out the window and saw that Happy was waiting to give him a ride.
“That’s my ride. I’ve got to get going.”
The two men shook hands.
“Tony, this is all very kind. Is there anything we could help you with?”
Stark walked to the door. “This is something I have to do on my own, Cap.” He proceeded out the door and made his way to Happy’s car.
In another one of the mansions many rooms, Jannet Van Dyne was sitting on a bed waiting for Jennifer Walters who was changing in the bathroom. “Come on out, Jenny, I’m ready to see the She-Hulk.”
“You’ve already seen plenty of me, just like everyone else in Nevada,” said a voice from behind the bathroom door before it opened and revealed Jennifer in a purple leotard.
“I look ridiculous,”
“That’s nonsense,” said Jan as she jumped from the bed in excitement. “I worked in the fashion industry before I followed my father’s work at the Future Foundation. Believe me when I say, if you have a body like that you don’t need much more to look great.”
“You could have given me a little bit more. I’m wearing a purple swimsuit.”
“Sorry, but unstable molecules are hard to come by. That’s the only thing we could use to make sure your clothes hold up to all the smashing the She-Hulk does. And are you sure you want to use that name? It sounds a little sexist, ‘Hulk’ with ‘she’ in front of it. I’m glad you decided to stay with us now that we are taking this team public, but wouldn’t you rather the world know you by a name of your own?”
The green skinned Jennifer Walters face got serious. Jan could tell that her mood went from playful to something else. Then Jennifer spoke “I don’t know where Bruce is, but I hate him for bringing me into this life. I hope that, wherever he is, he learns of the ‘She-Hulk’ and sees that he’s responsible for doing this to me. She was obviously holding back a furious rage ready to explode at any minute. It was scary.
“Okay then,” said Janet while making a mental note to avoid mentioning anything that might be related to the fugitive Bruce Banner, “Let’s show off your new duds to the boys.”
The two of them left the room and made their way through the hallways of the elaborate mansion until they reached a room that contained a massive round table surrounded by a dozen chairs. Sitting at the table, was Agent Barton and Captain America in costume with his cowl off exposing his face.
“Ladies, glad to see you two in the conference room. This kooky quartet wouldn’t be complete without our strongest and smartest members.”
“For the record, we are not calling ourselves ‘Cap’s Kooky Quartet,” said Barton. “When Fury asked me to join your little superhero team and keep an eye on you all, I agreed, but it’s bad enough I’m going to have to start wearing a mask again like I did in my criminal days. Let’s try to keep a lid on the corniness here.”
“No,” said Cap I believe that Jan here had the best suggestion for what we should call ourselves. Before we discuss how we are going to proceed in finding The Enchantress and preparing for Kang, the first order of team business will be declaring our official name as well as our mission statement.”
Jan smiled. Although she was still grieving the loss of Hank Pym, who she never made clear to how much he meant to her, she was joyed to know she could be part of something that would fight to avenge him as well as avenge the others who Kang and Ultron endanger. “That’s right, Cap. We are the Avengers and we can fight the foes that no single superhero can withstand.”
Office of Norman Osborn
Oscorp Building, New York, NY
Monica Rappaccini sat across the desk from Norman Osborn. Although they would appear to simply be two powerful business executives, they were actually two of the most powerful and sinister individuals in the world who weren’t lording over some country as a dictator. She was the Scientist Supreme of AIM. He was the head of one of the largest corporations in the world and had been effectively making gains in his own evil agenda.
“So you’re telling me that you had to nuke your secret desert research facility to make sure SHIELD wouldn’t find anything, and you lost your prisoner that you promised would help me with my gamma radiation research?”
Rappaccini didn’t like being reminded of her recent losses. The surprise attack by Ultron had served a severe blow to AIM. “There was nothing we could do. Just be glad the machine that attacked us and Stark Industries didn’t go after any Oscorp assets. We still want to continue with the trade though.”
“The trade?” Osborn was ready to dismiss Rappaccini. He should have known better than to try to make deals with these mad scientists. “You were promised the plans only after you gave me the female Hulk.”
“In honesty, the prisoner wouldn’t have done you any good Osborn. We’ve been studying her for years and couldn’t learn anything about how Banner survived the gamma exposure that should have killed him. It would appear that if one wants to replicate the Hulk, one needs Banner himself. We have something that will help you in your endeavors to acquire him.”
Osborn was suddenly more interested in the conversation. “And what would that be?”
“Before destroying the research facility, some of our operatives were able to collect components of the machines that attacked us. The technology is very advanced. It appears that the machines are made to interact with organic hosts. With Stark obviously losing the SHIELD contract and is currently unable to resume production of his drones, you will not only get the funding to build your mandroids, but you can also use this technology to make them better. Imagine what your Hulkbuster units could accomplish with the same kind of firepower used by the forces that attacked us.”
Osborn pondered at the possibilities. It seemed that Ultron had actually done him a few favors. “Your terms are acceptable. Let me review these discoveries you made and if it is all you are making it out to be, I will give you the designs. It’s a deal.”
The designs Osborn mentioned weren’t even of any value to him. They were stolen from the Russian government by one of his associates, a corporate spy from that part of the world. Years ago, a prisoner of the Soviet government had designed what he called a Cosmic Cube. It was a theoretical device that could alter reality. Osborn had his people look over the plans and they all agreed it was complete science fiction. He didn’t have any reservations about giving away the information. He would give it to her and receive better mandroids in return.
Somewhere outside of time
Kang watched Norman Osborn and Monica Rappaccini finish their meeting. He sat in a throne like chair in the control room of his Timeship and viewed the scene through a portal in front of him. He wore a suit of army built from the most advanced technology he could steal throughout time. Over the armor he wore a green tunic. At the side of his throne was his purple and blue helmet. He was a bald man with olive skin and a sinister look in his eyes as he gazed into the portal.
Everything is going as planned, he thought to himself. Soon AIM would begin constructing the Cosmic Cube and Osborn would take the first steps to seeing that Ultron would have a new army to lead as soon as he was repaired.
“Zemo,” he said into the dark corner of the room, “do you still believe you have found another recruit?”
Baron Zemo stepped forward from the dark shadows at the edge of the control room wearing a purple suit that announced his nobility to the world. His face was still hidden by a hood and on top of his head was a crown.
“Yes lord Kang, I believe he will fight fiercely for your conquest and will serve well after your victory as one of my fellow Masters of the Earth.”
Kang pressed a button on the controls built into the armrest of his chair and the image in the portal vanished. The portal grew larger and brighter. “Then be on your way,” he ordered.
Zemo stepped through the timeportal and appeared in the desert outside of the AIM facility. He arrived after Ultron was defeated and the heroes left but before AIM detonated a small nuclear device to cover their tracks. He stood above the fallen knight in black armor.
The black knight, woken by the lights and sounds of the portal, removed his dented helmet so that he could get a better look at what was going on. He saw Zemo before him.
“Stay away from me, devil!” he yelled out. “I have served in my lord’s crusades! Why must I now be tormented by you Satan?”
“I come not to torment,” said Zemo in a villainous German accent, “but to give you a new lord and a new crusade.”