The fire raging in the east wing can be seen through Digger Harkness's window. It's not the most subtle breakout attempt, he thinks. Usually it's just a guard dropping a key and a boomerang into his cell before some yard time, and then it's up to him to get out. Even the Tarantula is this obvious, leading Digger to believe this wasn't the person that was currently their benefactor breaking them out of Stryker's Island. Whoever it is, they want to put on a show.
Panicked guards run through their cellblock, trying to figure out how to move the prisoners safely. They have about as much of a chance at doing so as putting the fire out with a collective exhale. The men in this prison aren't going to let a chance to get out slip by.
The prison is about to become a bloodbath, if Harkness is a betting man."Looks like we're on our way out,"
Gargan laughes from he cell beside him. "Didn't think it was gonna be this quick. Tarantula must have gotten someone on the inside usually takes him a little longer when we come into a new market.""Da,"
Sytsevich agrees. "Wonder vhat tha idea with tha fire is?""The idea is it's not the cartel,"
Harkness responds calmly. "Someone else is here to get us out.""How you figure that?"
Gargan is unconvinced. "Tarantula knows we're loyal soldiers. He'll want us out.""Sure he will,"
Harkness nods. "But he ain't the one who's here."
A hail of gunfire erupts in the cell block, and a wave of guards falls to the ground, dead. Precision shots, Harkness thinks. Highly trained men, at the very least. From out of the smoke that begins to billow in from the spreading fire, step a group of shock troopers. Not wholly different from what the Silk Cartel, save for the masks. Too high tech for even the resources of the Black Tarantula. "Bout time you mooks showed up,"
Gargan growls. "Open this cage."
One of the men motions to the others further down the hallway and the entire cell block pops open, freeing the men held inside."Ah,"
Sytsevich strolls out and stretches out in the open space, "dat is much better."
"Come with us," the strike team leader motions for them to follow. "Yea, I don't think I'm gonna be doing that,"
Digger leans against the outside wall of his cell. "Not until you fill me in on who you lot are."
"That's on a need to know basis."
Harkness chuckles, "Yea well, I'm gonna 'need to know' in order to go, follow?"
The strike team goes to point tasers at Captain Boomerang, who flicks his wrist from his hip. The homemade boomerang he had fashioned from the bed metal since the fire started ricocheted from taser to taser as he runs at the closest trooper. Before the man can react, Harkness has his fire arm pressed against the man's temple, "I don't care who you lot are. But I'm not going with you.""Vhat are you doing!?"
Aleksei yells at his longtime friend. "Who cares who zhey are? Zhey are getting us out of here.""Yea, mate,"
Gargan smiles. "We work for the highest bidder. I say breaking us out of prison is all I need."
"Out organization wants to offer you the chance to get revenge against Spider-Woman," the leader says to the Enforcers. "To become as powerful as a superhero.""Sounds good to me,"
Sytsevich agrees."I didn't get into this business to become a freak,"
Harkness responds. "You want to sign up for that? Fine. But I'm out."
The fire, beginning to stretch its grasping fingers into the cell block, alights the roof. Harkness pushes the guard he has hostage towards his friends as the building starts to give way. Rubble crashes down between Captain Boomerang and the others. He watches, through the flames, as they head off, and Harkness goes to find his own way out of the jail, leaving his time with the Enforcers behind.
I land on the roof of Ravencroft, the breadth of the fire consuming Stryker's Island prison spread out in front of me. It looks like hell on earth, if I'm being honest. Flames reach out from the barred windows of the prison, reaching for freedom as if they were prisoners themselves in the old, stone penitentiary. Even a few football fields away I can feel the intense heat. I'm not even going to try and get closer to that mess. I've see scores of guards and prisoners alike escaping the prison, meaning someone opened the cages. That's good. No matter what the people in there did, they don't deserve to burn to death.
What I am here to do is find Firefly, and put him down. He's not going to stop with Stryker's Island. He's a fanatic, and he's already started a massive blaze. He's going to do everything in his considerable power to keep it going. If he sets Ravencroft ablaze, I'm almost certain Max Dillon is going to get out, and that's no going to be great for anyone.
From the flames, I see the form of Firefly zoom into the night sky, the orange-red glow in the sky making him seem like a demon escaping from hell. He fires the flamethrower, creating a celebratory spiral of flame.
Well, here goes nothing."Hey, nutter-butter!"
I yell at the pyromaniac. The flaming revels stop and Garfield Lynns floats above his masterwork, staring me down. For a few moments I think he won't even bother coming after me. Maybe all his talk of wanting to take out superhumans is nothing but talk. All he really wants is to set the biggest fire he can and watch it burn.
Those thoughts are banished when the bug-looking villain zooms towards me. I want to keep him away from the Institute, and closer to the parts of the island already burning. I'm sure the fire department is on the way, but who knows how long it's going to take them to get here. I can't let this guy go Carrie on anything else.
Taking a running start, I leap off the roof of the asylum, fire a webline to the edge of it, and use it to send myself like a bullet towards Firefly. He attempts to fire a stream of fire my way, but I change my trajectory by webbing myself towards the ground. As I rocket to the ground, I attach a webline to the hoverpack of my enemy. Yanking hard, I send him spinning back into the yard of the prison I now stand in."How dare you defile this holy moment, abomination,"
Firefly says through his voice modulator. "This will be the end of you.""Oh spare me the sermon, Reverend,"
I roll my eyes under my mask. "Do you have any idea what you did here tonight? You let a lot of dangerous people out into the streets of New York. A lot of people are going to get hurt.""A small price to pay to add soldiers into the holy war."
He raises his hands in a pious fashion. "All the more people to try and stop you.""Okay, Marshall Applewhite,"
I crack my knuckles. "Time to put you down. And this time I'm smashing all your stuff. You lost your toy privileges."
He takes off towards me, and I leap into the air, ready to strike.
The air, thick with silica particles floating as if the room lacked gravity, stings Otto Octavius's throat. He wanders the lab, inspecting the blown out equipment, paying little attention to the shocked Hammerhead sifting through the pile of sand that used to be his best friend. Miles Warren keeps muttering about how this isn't possible, but of course it is.
A power surge from the disabling of the New York City grid would have done this easily. Otto knew there would be one tonight, of course. He had hoped that the Flint Marko experiment was over by the time it happened. Flint is, well was, a good man. A bit simple, to be frank, but a good soldier. That's a hard thing to come by in this line of work. Plus, Otto would have liked to see what the Sandman would have looked like. All for the benefit of AIM, and all that.
Movement out of the corner of Octavius's eye draws his attention towards the center of the room, where Flint Marko had been mere minutes ago. The silica particles in the air swirls around them, making the pile bigger and bigger. As it grows, it begins shifting, morphing, almost as if it is alive. It stretches up, a skeletal face forming before disintegrating back into a nondescript pile. Skeletal, sandy arms reach out of the pile, and as they pull themselves up a torso forms and a head builds out of the shoulders. The face forms, revealing Flint Marko's likeness. His face contorts into a silent scream before his body falls apart, and the sand slips through a crack in a door.
Well, this fight is going about as poorly as it could. I can't get anywhere near the Firefly, and he's nearly blasted me three times with that damn flamethrower. At this point, my only chance is him running out of ammo. I don't know if the damn thing can run out of ammo, but it's about all I got. The only other shot I have is some law enforcement coming and giving me some backup."So what's the real deal, Firefly?"
I ask him, flipping out of the range of his weapon. "Why do you really hate me? I never did anything to you."
He flies towards me, releasing a steady stream of napalm, "You did everything to me! You've corrupted the soul of the country I love! You've shattered our world, and it will only get worse! Look at the alien that has come to us! Punishment for the abomination humanity has become!"
Not surprising that the Silver Surfer will have set this guy off. Religious fanatics have always saw scientific happenings they can't explain as a higher power's show of strength. The Surfer legitimately told the other heroes that he was here to test them. Once that gets out, people are obviously gonna think he was sent by someone more powerful."I didn't bring that shiny bald bastard here!"
I respond defensively. "I certainly don't want him around!""Then allow yourself to be purified to show God's messenger he is not needed, lest he render humanity unworthy!"
he swoops in close to me, almost close enough for me to grab him.
Of course. He's a hot head. He has no self control. The more I anger him, the better chance I have to get up close and personal. Then I can at the very least disable that damn hover pack, giving me the upper hand in mobility."Nah, I think God's probably cool with the gal trying to help people on the reg,"
I smirk beneath the mask. "Last time I checked burning down buildings with people inside them is pretty high on the religious no-no list.""You dare speak of things you don't understand, heathen!"
his rage is palpable, even in the heat. He rushes at me again and attempts to grab me. My spider sense easily allows me to get out of the way and hop onto the back of the pyromaniac. I smash my hands through the back panel of the hover pack and rip a big handful of electronics out of it.
The pack fires the two of us into the air, and we begin to float over the river. It begins to shake violently, and quickly falls to pieces below me. Firefly and I tumble towards the water below. I wrap him in webbing before snagging the two of us on a webline to the shore. Once there, I assure he's secured with more webbing, and turn back to the fire. As the two of us watch, one of the cell blocks collapses, sending a torrent of embers floating into the air."I hope you're happy,"
I seethe at the villain. "And I hope they throw you in a hole for a long, long time."
I swing off and call Peter, "Pete, just want to let you know I'm okay. For now. I feel like New York's about to get a lot more dangerous."