Helicarrier Hijacking: Outside Looking In

Summary:
March 1, 2015: HYDRA turn a SHIELD Helicarrier into a HYDRA

New York City


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


The pride of the SHIELD Helicarrier fleet is the Insight, the newest, largest, most advanced power projection platform in the arsenal. Or it was until about fifteen minutes ago. A garbled radio transmission indicated that the Insight had been boarded by unknown forces while enroute to New York and that something unnatural was happening . Then the ship went dark.

What arrived over New York wasn't the Insight. Or at least, it wasn't immediately recognizeable as such. A massive, metallic seven headed beast eleven hundred feet long, the only hints of what it had been the four glowing blue repulsorlift engines at the bottom of it's feet and the word 'Insight' painted across both flanks. Clearly, something horrible had gone wrong.

It got worse.

The huge metallic beast made a beeline for land and set down in Yonkers, just north of the Bronx and proceeded to head straight south, leaving a trail of destruction it in it's wake. In the face of this, SHIELD scrambled every asset it had and put out a call to anyone who could help stop it before it moved right into the heart of the city.

This is Eagle Squadron to SHEILD Control, we have a visual on the threat, descending to Angels 2. To any and all heroic types out there, this is Major Radison. We have a situation here. If you can hear me, sound off. It'd be nice to know we're not alone up here. Two dozen SHIELD fighters, armed to the teeth, peel off and make right for the HYDRA.

"Lock targets, fire at will."

***

Cricket doesn't consider herself a heroic type. She does, however, recieve the feed through the many communications that she scans. Never know when listening in on SHIELD might be useful for Ms. Potts. Usually to keep her informed on why Mr. Stark has been unable to make it to yet another meeting. She doesn't know if she can help. Certainly not while maintaining her human disguise. Mind you, SHIELD already knows about her after Greenland. Sigh. So much for appearing human. SHIELD Control, this is CRICKT. How may I be of service? she says as she looks out her penthouse window, kicking off her designer shoes.

***

Technomancers only happen when the level of technology on a planet gets complex enough that it can take on a complex spirit of its own - when inert, never-alive materials can be awakened into awareness. The Earth currently has at least three such persons, all mutants. Forge, Jeffries, and Drakos. All of them have gone through the Initiation of the Technomancer: becoming One with the Tech. Drakos, of the three, is the worst off; his body was destroyed, replaced entirely with machinery.

Months ago, Drakos ran across the Sun-Eater Wolf, because something evil was making metal scream with the wrongness it brought from its other world. So the Robot Mutant took up demon-hunting as a necessary calling. Today, the wrongness is so loud that it drove him out into the street, and into the sky to find its cause.

The hell-beast dragon is not something Mike would have expected. Last week, he joined with some friends to demolish a Hydra facility that called demons to possess armor. This … is like that thing, but much more. An actual HYDRA, shaped out of one of SHIELD's helicarriers. This? This is offensive.

Mike Drakos sends a signal. "Metal to X-Red. Hydra has called a demon to possess a helicarrier. I can hear the helicarrier screaming. Be advised, I may make a mess."

And then, from several places through New York, Long Island, even Jersey … twenty ton chunks of metal, five of them all together, rise into the sky on glowing blue mass-drives, reshaping into something different.

Why did Mike create five lion-shaped robots that size? You should ask him after the fight. He joins the red one, merging into its chassis and becoming one with it… and all five lions rocket toward the enormous Hydra.

***

The Eye of Agamotto flutters open..

At that, Stephen Strange's brow crinkles slightly and a slow movement of his hand closes the heavy bound volume that he was studying at his desk, "Wong," he shifts to stand, "Would you uncover the Orb, please." His movement across the study is accompanied by a slight outward gesture that summons an ornate red-cloak from its place upon a wood-hanger at the opposite end of the room to swirl upward along his outstretched arm to don itself at his shoulders.

The Sorcerer arrives at the orb as Wong pulls the thin silk veil from across his surface, "Oshtur the Omnipotent," Strange intones reverently, "May the Light of Truth reveal what danger is upon us..""

And the mists within the orb part to reveal, Insight.

Moments later..

The tiniest bend in the fabric of reality connects the sky above Yonkers to the Sanctum in Greenwich Village permitting Dr. Strange to slip innocuously into the heavens so that he can behold the carnage with his own senses.

***

The huge metal Hydra stomps southward, letting out a deep basso roar. And it is not without defenses. As SHIELD fighters descend, point defense cannon hidden along the sides open up them, causing the flight to weave and break formation. "Eagle One, Fox two!" "Eagle Five, Fox two!" "Eagle Eight, Fox two!" Radio chatter lights up the boards as the pilots try to coordinate their attacks. Missiles slam into the beast but don't seem to slow it down.

"Cricket, this is Agent Gorman in SHIELD Control. If you've got the juice to fight this thing, please, we need help." Several of the Hydra's mouths open and… there seem to be large cannon inside. At least that's the impression they give when, with several large booms, massive shells lance out at Mike and Doctor Strange.

***

Striding into her bedroom, Cricket is determined not to ruin yet another outfit that costs more then most people's rent. Agent Gorman, I will be out there to help as soon as I find something suitable to wear. The robot closes her eyes and groans, cursing her programming for making her sound like a complete superficial freak. She slips on a bathing suit, knowing it won't interfere with her cannons should she need them, and by the chatter over the SHIELD airwaves, she will.

She takes to the air, wondering just how long she's going to be able to keep her skin this time. She instructs the vats in her laboratory to start growing a new batch, pretty sure she's going to need it. She makes for the direction the chatter on the airways has told her where this little beasty is, pausing in midflight when she sees exactly how big it is. No time for reflection, she picks up the speed to join the others, arm cannons firing.

***

Metal keeps a chat line open to the X-Red office, so his progress will be logged in case they have to send the pieces somewhere… or he needs to gloat review his performance later. Also, now that all five lions are near one another, Metal's mind replicates, a separate copy running on hardware inside each lion, and a telepath or someone with the proper magical vision might see that there are faint connections of life-energy from the Red Lion to the other four.

"Two missiles for me? One aimed at something I can't… oh, there's a human in a cape there. Hope he's got missile defenses… heck, just in case, Gold Lion go fetch!" Metal says. Hopefully he tracked all the missiles, but if not, at least he got the ones aimed at him personally, right?

The gold lion intercepts the missile aimed at the good Doctor, and it sputters in the jaws of the robo-beast, while black and blue lions capture two others, and they likewise sputter. A white lion keeps a watch on the Hydra-Beast.

"FORM UP!" the red lion roars, audibly, and they come into the same point in the sky. And then, as every faithful watcher of giant mecha knows, they combine together into a humanoid shape, incorporating the missiles into the armory of the mecha. He fires one of them back at the nearest Hydra head, as it opens its mouth.

***

Upon both hands Strange's middle two fingers curl inward to alight upon his palm leaving him three fingers upon each to act as shuttles with which to weave the threads of mystical energy.

<THOOM> <THOOM> <THOOM>

The Sorcerer's hands move in whirling circles, "By the Seven Rings of Raggadorr," he incants energy flaring between his fingers and then expanding outward rapidly ton construct seven bluish rings which whirl in a blur of otherworldly power — Stephen at their center.

THowever, the missile never connects. Whisked away by the faithful feline.

"Horrendous Hydra," Strange ascends, the rings still whirling about him, "Let the power which bound your aquatic cousin terminate your trek through the city.."

The weaving circling of his hands alters itself in a subtle fashion as he weaves long ovals that begin to connect to one another, "Chains of the Kraken bind this Lernaean Leviathan!"

A pale blue tide seems to seep upward from the ground about the Hydra's feet..

..Dr. Strange heaves his arms upwards..

…titanic chains erupt from the mystical tide seeking to ensnare the beasts limbs and pull it down into the depth.

***

That… seems to piss it off. Chains wrap around the mighty beast, halting it just inside the New York city limits. All seven heads let out a mighty roar… and them BOOM! Six heads. Make that six. The one Mike destroyed seems to be starting to regenerate though.

SHIELD fighters swarm around as the hydra-beast thrashes. There is no avoiding the collateral damage in this and some of the heads seem to be lashing out at buildings and people out of sheer spite. Another wave of missiles slams into the flank of the beast, leaving divots and gouges but not seeming to slow it. Automatic cannont fire tracks the fighters. For the most part they evade but one gets caught and an engine flames out, sending it spinning into the depths below.

Now Strange really has it's attention. Three heads begin to fire on him while the other three snake out for Mike. Chomp chomp. It hasn't seen Cricket yet.

***

Searching her databases for beasts that fit the description of this one, Cricket quickly finds the legends of the hydra. Hercules dealt with it by cutting off heads and burning the stump to stop them from regrowing. Seeing that the large mechanical man is doing his best to blow off the heads, she takes the task of cauterizing the wound before it can regenerate. The cannons on her arms are joined by the cannons on her hips as the tiny woman, merely a speck in the air compared to the jets or the mecha, fires everything she has at the wound.

***

"OK, down one head, and it's growing back. I wonder if fire would stop that," Metal says, on channel and aloud. He spots the flameout, and dives down to try to catch the plane, taking the opportunity to fire another missile into the mouth of whichever head is looking down at him and firing on civilians.

Cannon fire impacts on his body, the metal quickly becoming a part of him… he's close to his mass-limit though, so he starts shaping more missiles.

Meanwhile a parallel mind begins pulling information out of his database of demon-fighting designs. A sword begins to form on his back, and a second parallel mind begins directing the energy plants of his combined body to begin producing a LOT more power. They won't last the ten years they should. However, they will power a weapon system he has been working on. A series of heavy lenses appears in key points over his body, as the Hardlight system constructs itself, and a structural integrity system comes online shortly after. This is good. Metal fatigue would be happening, taking away his attention from moving.

***

"So many heads," Strange says with a bravado that is likely lost in the din of the conflict holding up one of his hands, displaying three fingers of his own, "But will they know which foe is true?" Turning his hands slightly to one-side he then moves it rapidly back and forth at the wrist causing a 'blur' of fingers, "Images of Ikonn!"

Suddenly the Sorcerer splits once, twice, repeatedly over and over until there are a dozen perfect replicas which begin to whirl in and out, too and fro, feinting close and retreating.

When one is struck two more appear nearby giving ample targets for the beast's distracted rage.

***

Cannon fire isn't working, clearly, but you can't fault the beast for trying. Strange turns the Hydra's best trick against it. Cut down one, two more appear. Cricket cauterizes the head Mike had disabled and as she does large doors open on either side to disgorge… well they look kind of like Quinnjets but they have jaws and teeth and they're flapping their wings as they shreik and head for the fighters, who suddenly have other things to do, and Cricket herself. Now you have it's attention.

Since Mike seems to be impervious to cannon fire, the Hydra lifts one of it's feet to point the bottom at Mike and lets loose a blast of repulsive energy that it would ordinarily use to keep itself aloft. All around now buildings are on fire and the destruction the beast is wreaking has cut off emergency response, not that it'd be safe to do that right now anyway.

There's a thrum of power from the body. It's building up for some kind of discharge as Mike armors up, Strange works his magic and Cricket blasts away.

***

Small and hard to spot, Cricket uses the oppertunity that presents itself. As the doors open up for the altered quinjets to fly out, she flies in. She blasts at anything that isn't flagged on her visual recognition as a friendly, looking for that thrum of power.

***

"Dammit Stark," Metal says, as the glowing foot comes up and points at him. The lenses on his left arm flare and a shining blue kite-shield appears in his "grip" and faint, armor-like pieces materialize around his body. The repulsor blast hits as he jinks to the left, and his shield catches it, reflecting it into the sky… with luck, into empty sky, because even with that, Mecha-Metal was knocked backwards a half a city block.

A laser-blast from where his eyes would be if he was simply human lashes out at the repulsor-foot, trying to find the counter-frequency that will jam and overload the repulsor. Parallel mind-track number three mutters a prayer for success.

Meanwhile, the multicolored composite-lion fighter draws a sword to go along with the shield: a handle with its own power supply and a minimal structure, surrounded by a molecular-thick hardlight blade, head number three? if he can get there, he'll slice at it.

***

Images split and weave. Titanic chains grapple.

Dr. Strange allows himself a momentary reprieve from the direct conflict as others seem to be making literal headway upon the monster.

The lines of the Sorcerer's face darken with consternation as an inferno brought on by all of destruction seeks to consume potentially thousands of lives. He descends away from the conflict pulling himself fully from the fray.

Touching the six tips of his fingers together he stirs them together in an intricate fashion, "Mists of Munnopor arise.." Spreading his fingers apart he peaks the top of his hands and draws them slowly upward, "Your foe is the flames. Smother them with your power but harm no mortal within."

A bluish fog begins to appear at the street-level and, above, the images begin to fade.

***

Cricket finds out what's making that noise. Hundreds upon hundreds of capacitor banks, charging up with some otherwordly energy. She can get some of them. It'll lessen the blow, but it's coming. There's too many of them and not enough time… and she may want to get clear before it goes off… or- A Shriek behind her lets her know that she was followed. A Quinnjet-dactyl lands in the 'roost' and snaps its jaws at her.

Head number three slides past Mike and is severed at the neck for it's trouble, but heads one and two are coming in on purpendicular angles, aiming to catch him up. If missiles won't work, perhaps just chewing on him will.

Thankfully Strange gave thought to the decimation happining around them and the fires are going out one by one. That alone will save hundreds, maybe thousands… but as his defense fades the beast zeroes in on him again. One of the free heads jaw's unhinges and a massive cannon shell arcs out toward the Sorceror Supreme.

***

Cricket starts to blast at the capacitor banks, disabling them as she flies past. She spins in the air as she finds she was followed, shooting at the Quinnjet-dactyl in the hopes that it lands into some more of the capacitors and disables more then what she can take out herself. This is CRICKT. Evidence would lead one to believe that they are going to blow this beast up from within for maximum effect against the human population. She starts to zip through the hallways, still shooting anything she can. If you have some way of teleporting this thing into the statosphere, I suggest you use it.

***

Being able to think with multiple instances of one's mind is not always a complete blessing. One of Metal's secondary processes is tasked with overwatch. It's becoming a bit panicky, before the emotional limiter kicks in; it still has time to point out, 1) we're all gonna die, 2) CRICKT was next to that energy anomaly the thaumic sensors were detecting, 3) There is a cannon being fired at a friendly who is undefended, 4) There are two heads about to bite. Fine.

As the missile leaves the mouth of the cannon, mutant metallokinesis grabs hold of it, yanking it into a tight arc, aimed at those capacitors. This leaves his body to rely on the hardware alone; his shield grows spikes that slice into head one, and head two gets him in its jaws… but then it has to overcome the structural integrity field, which might not be that easy. A sword snakes its way down into the jaws of the Hydra-head… can we stab it in the cannon before it bites us in two?

***

A glowing ankh appears upon Strange's forehead in a dire portent that Death approaches..

Strange begins, "Eye of Agam—" turning sharply around to brandish the eye at whatever looms over his shoulder — but the Ankh suddenly fades as the artillery shell it heaved into a wide arc. The Sorcerer Supreme makes a low thoughtful sound, smirking dryly, "Not today, Mistress." He goads her.

***

Jaws crunch down on Mike, trying to penetrate his structural integrity field and, quite literally, grind him to bits. As his sword stabs back in the throat it detonates a shell coming out split seconds before it impacts, blowing the head apart but also hurling Mike-mech away from the explosion.

As Cricket flies out a pair of Quinnjet-dactlys latch onto her six, trying to catch and crush her. Then a missile hits one. "Cicket this is Eagle One. Come to Two Seven Zero, I've got you covered."

The charging makes the entire skin of the Insight-beast glow blue… and then the energy discharges in a blast wave that shorts out any non-hardened electronics (fortunately the fighters are hardened) and throwing everything away from the beast. Doctor Strange is still putting out fires and it finally has the room to haul itself free of the chains and stomp inland, spitefully blasting everything in it's way.

***

Using her small size to her advantage, CRICKT weaves in and out of the other fliers with more dexteriry then even the dactyl can. Not that she is unscathed though. Once again, her skin is charred and bits have fallen off. How utterly mortifying, to be seen like this! She flies over to where she is instructed, spinning to look at the beast as the blue glow blasts out. While she herself is hardened, she knows that much of the city is not. And without power, who knows how long it will take the masses to resort to mob tactics. //We need something bigger. I can't lift something that heavy."

***

Hardened, but that much energy has to go somewhere, and Metal has enough, well, metal, in his body that his structural integrity field is momentarily stressed — and his power supply recharges abruptly as the induced currents are shunted. His mutant power again available to tend to his own injuries, Mecha-Metal pulls up just short of smacking into the side of the Baxter Building, hovers for a quarter second while he re-braces and rebuilds, and then a shell of blue light gives him an aerodynamic profile, and he moves at something just under the speed of sound, back at the Hydra.

Mind Three points out that it has a demon-trapping sigil in common memory … maybe they can carve that into its back? He has to try anyway; he circles to approach it from a blind side.

***

"This is SHIELD control. We're registering that thing moving again. And some kind of energy anomaly opening in Manhatten. No clue what but my gut says they're going to stomp it through the city and steal it. Don't let them. There are, we think, two teams inside. Just… hold it off."

There aren't many SHIELD fighters left in the air. But the beast is three heads down now. Only four left and they're glaring at…. mostly Cricket and Strange. Mike seems to have slipped off their radar.

With that much magic in it, really ,a simple exclusion spell would work. Not for long. You'd need a lot of juice… but maybe long enough. It'll get mad so… dealing with the remaining heads might be a good idea.

***

This is CRICKT to the large mechanical man. Hello. Our tactic for the first head seemed to work. Might I suggest we try that again? She leaves the side of the fighter jet that she was beside to start blasting away at the severed heads to make certain that they are fully cauterized.

***

The simplest trap sigil Mike knows is the Seal of Solomon, which is simultaneously an exclusion. It starts with the Star of David, and it has to be laid down in the proper order, which fortunately it can be done by using a holographic cutter to stamp it into place. The fun part is then the tetragrammaton, which needs a prayer, and if the demon is particularly obnoxious, there's the bindings and strictures, which Mike doesn't know, because Kabbalistic magic isn't really part of his background. Both of his parents think it's rude to try to use parts of the Name of God to coerce God into doing things for you, which is where that ended up going.

He finds a clear spot above the back of the beast, and as his hardlight is slammed into the clear spot, he calls out, "Baruch Adonai ha'mevorach le-olam va'ed!" Praised be the Lord to whom all praise is due, now and forever! It's not just traditional, it's an Invocation. Laser eyes flash, cutting the four letters of the Name, the Tetragrammaton. And then, "Amen!" and he draws the sword in one motion with jetting forward to attack the head that almost certainly has turned to attack him. Because that may hurt it a bit.

Copy, CRICKT. This is Metal. I may have just made it very mad.

***

Dr. Strange makes a wide gesture with both arms dispelling the thick choking Mists of Munnopor.

Then lifting into the air he turns slowly as he rises through the quickly dissipating fog and observes the unfettered beast stomping its way back into the city, "You have broken the Chains which bound the Kraken!" He exclaims flowing forward through the air, "So I give you a second challenge!"
"Contend with the might of the Octessence." He places the tips of his four fingers together leaving his thumbs pointing towards himself, "Lord of Oblivion I permit your power into this realm. Let the power of the Crimson Cosmos flow forth unto this machination." Rotating his wrists he spins his thumbs downward until his hands are splayed into an awkward position and his elbows are flared, "By your crimson bands I challenge you, O' Cyttorak, to hold this creature fettered until our task here is complete!"

Dread energy flows from Strange's twisted hands to encircle forming a set of four powerful that are placed from its legs up its body. But will that be enough to prone it?

***

Between Mike's binding and Strange's exclusion spell, the creature slams into an invisible wall and screams in rage. Then the legs are bound securely. It's not going anywhere. Which leaves Cricket to deal with all the fun. Four heads snake toward her. If they can't get to where they're going, they'll just eat them some robot.

Something… changes. Something happens inside. There no longer seems to be a guiding intelligence behind this thing. Just animal fury. All the weapons on it begin to discharge at random.

***

As maneuverable as she is, the CRICKT unit is only capable of so much. She was designed for assassination, not for mass combat on several fronts at once. While she manages to dodge head one *and* head two, she finds herself slammed by the missiles coming from head three and goes flying, her skin gone and leaving only the robotic frame from underneath. She slams into a building and starts to fall to the ground, deactivated.

***

Random discharge… Metal(3) notices that CRICKT has gone offline, and dispatches a seeker drone to scan for and locate her. It's autonomous and quite small, so it has a good chance of locating the chassis. If it finds her it will send a signal, then lock on and stay as a locator.

Meanwhile Metal flashes forward along the body, arcing into the sky in front. The sensation of a cannon preparing to fire has become recognizable after this time. The sword becomes a bow, and Metal fires two bolts, each a small hardlight generator to create the arrowhead and shaft, into the mouths of two more heads, which should cause those to blow up and die. And then he's dodging incoming fire, shields up, and hopefully keeping it from doing much more to anyone else.

***

Weapons discharge in every direction..

"Sisters of the Seraphim!" Strange raises his arms high above his head and rotates in a slow circle, "Weave for me your ancient aegis!" His arms begin to fall and he moves his fingers one over another to crochet mystical energy into a neigh-impenetrable field, "Protect the innocents from the ravenous rage!"

A glaze of mystic power begins coat surface of the structures around the thrashing beast.

The Eye of Agamotto narrows itself in sudden focus.

. o (Such power cannot be maintained. Finish this task.) it is Stranges' voice that echoes in the mind of those who fight.

***

There's a sense that this is the tipping point. Or maybe the last gasp. The Hydra thing is trapped but it still seems to think it can outlast Strange… maybe…

Or maybe it can just kill a whole lot of people. It's bays open up again and it disgorges every last little critter on it to run amok amid the population. Something of a sadistic glee in it's voice as it roars and focuses in once more on Metal and Strange.

"This is SHIELD control. We're recieving a signal from Cricket. Sending a recovery team."

***

A black BPRD helicopter swerves into view around one of the buildings shrouded in a protective cloak of light. The side hatch is open, a massive red creature hanging out of the side, brown greatcoat billowing and a trail of rancid cigar smoke caught up in the thudding chopper blades. Hellboy flicks the stogie stub away just in time to catch the plummeting Cricket in one arm. "Hey, I found a robot!" he yells into the vehicle before tossing her chassis into the body of the craft. The helicopter dives toward street level, and Hellboy sighs, the sound lost to the rotor. "Let's get janitorial," he says, hefting the Samaritan and then diving headlong into the mess the monster is spewing into the city.

***

Back at the penthouse, the CRICKT mainframe has been keeping track of its mobile unit. Unfortunately, so has SHIELD. Sending a message to JARVIS, the CRICKT mainframe calulates the chances of Ms. Potts getting to the Triskelion to retrieve the mobile unit before SHIELD can tamper with it are about 80 percent.

***

As the mobile unit is caught and thrown into a helicopter that is *not* SHEILD, the CRICKT mainframe needs to recalculate.

***

The Metal Tracker Unit zips in and attaches itself to the CRICKT mobile unit, cheerfully sending him a ping. Metal consciousness three notices that the copter where it's reporting from is (1) not a SHIELD machine, and (2) nobody is trying to molest her. Which is good because it's only armed with an optical pointer, and the Red Dot isn't usually that compelling to humans.

Meanwhile, back at Mecha Mike — that thing just started spewing death in the form of what the hell are those things… and Metal unloads that last warhead it captured earlier on the largest hatch, figuring that blowing up will be as bad for them as it is for the heads. He's also got a pair of lower-yield explosive devices attached to flingable objects, and turns them into arrowheads, shooting the last two mouths… and then it's time to start cauerizing the necks where they might be trying to grow back. Laser time!

***

Hellboy finds himself confronting… well. They're just monsters. That's the only word for them. Each shape is different, all of them ugly, and they seem to be streaming out of the holds as fast as possible.

As Mike sets to dealing with the last of the heads the form of the thing begins to waver. If they can just hold out a minute longer, it'll revert! Just… protect everyone… another minute. While the Hydra devotes it's remaining heads one each to Mike and Hellboy.

Uh oh.

***

The Shield of the Seraphim resists the explosive artillery its mystical power flaring with the hues of the rainbow at every major impact.

Yet, as its multitude of critters are disgorged into the populace its power seems to wane at having to maintain so many individual pieces of the spell at one time..

..until finally the mystic glaze fades.

"By the Demons of Denak! Begone from this realm."

Amidst the crescendo of noise there comes the sound of claws skittering upon the ground. Suddenly a host of creatures are knocked to the ground where they seem to wrestle with invisible phantasms which rend great strips of flesh from their fleshy hides.

The horrid of sounds of demonic entities shredding each other apart is palatable.

***

Hellboy isn't graceful and he isn't precise. What he is is big and strong and damn near impossible to keep down for any length of time. The last thing he has that's perfectly suited to dealing with these demonic helicarrier antibodies is a strong stomach, as the first wave he hits practically disintegrate under the impacts of his hooves and stone fist. Turns out you don't get to be the BPRD's go-to cleanup guy without a strong stomach.

He drags as many of the things down with him as he can in his landing, then opens up with the Samaritan. He can't aim to save his life, but the antibodies are everywhere, so he doesn't have to. The first shot misses his intended target but hits another, and the various anti-occult talismans in the bullet cause it to swell to three times its normal size, turn neon blue, and then explode. The fluid spray from this detonation is white-hot and apparently shares the qualities of the Samaritan's bullets — wherever it hits another antibody, it goes kaboom (or kersplat, more accurately) as well.

Hellboy looks on in wonder and joy as the street turns into a massive firework of chained demon explosions. He's fought so many resistant and nonmagical creatures in recent months that he almost forgot the pure joy of watching the Samaritan in full effect. He's laughing and skipping through the ichor-slick streets when one remaining Hydra head descends from out of nowhere and chomps him whole.

Word to the wise, monsters: if you're going to chomp Hellboy, for the love of all that's unholy, don't chomp him whole.

The robotic dragon-face has just enough time to register an expression of profound indigestion before a stone hand plows out of face right between the eyes. The Right Hand of Doom scrabbles for purchase, then Hellboy drags himself out right through the thing's metal face. On the plus side, no beheading means nowhere for more heads to grow, right?

***

Inside the helicopter, the CRICKT mobile unit is going under self diagnosis. Mostly it is that her processors have been shaken loose. That was a whole lot of missile that hit her when she wasn't prepared for it.

***

And, one of the heads did that annoying Hydra thing… two heads remain, somehow, and one of them is focusing a barrage of not just high-powered flechettes, but ranged explosives and a big ol' metal projectile, with lots of inertia behind it.

Mike feels it loading in the throat of the cannon, and moves in as close as he can, letting his hardlight armor translate the explosions into power - it's not very efficient, and some of his mechanical sensors go offline from the jolting, for a moment, but then he's in REALLY close… and he touches the face of the Hydra and orders it to change right NOW. Solid. It might resist if it had any sentience, but he's not waking the metal, just shaping it.

The kaboom of a backfiring, wedged, blocked firearm that size is kind of a neat noise, and would make a great special effect.

The robot moves away from the red-hot slagged mess, pulling his explosion-rattled self together again.

Power cells now showing 30 percent charge. The hardlight is going to fail in one minute thirty seconds.

***

A light washes over the whole scene, bright white. The form of the hydra starts to contort and twist and the demonic 'things' start to disintigrate. In twenty seconds it's not a monster but a SHIELD helicarrier again… which dips once before a bunch of young kids take control of it. X-Men and Titans (and Spearhead). Gotta love em. The battle is over, but for the cleanup, mourning and long, costly repair.


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