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United We Stand

ick gazed out onto the burning tower from the Quinjet. It was in a pitiful state. The entire thing was aflame or burnt to a crisp, what had formerly been the Avengers symbol lying on the ground.

"Used to be your base?" he said, gesturing towards it. The rest of the team was somberly looking onto the ruins.

"Yeah," replied Marcus in a soft voice. "Yeah, it was."

Dick shook his head. This was their home, all their personal belongings inside. To destroy it was the ultimate insult: the destruction of one's home while a hero is demolishing their personal life. He would know; it had happened to him. He took a deep breath, clenching his fists. He absolutely had to retain his composure, he knew that. But it made him angry to see such a complete disregard for the humanity of a person's enemies. But soon they had landed, and Dick focused on his breathing and calmed down. When he stepped out, he immediately regained his stoic mask and focused on business.

"What are we trying to get out of this wreck? Personal items? Equipment?" As Dick spoke he looked around the area, mentally taking notes on anywhere that something important could reasonably be hidden.

"We need to get that star piece, or whatever it's called out of there-well, we really gotta get whatever we can. Stop the fires." Moon Knight tried to respond calmly, but there was a certain tension in his voice Dick could detect.

"Hey, it's fine. We'll salvage what we can." Dick's attempts to reassure him might fall on deaf ears, but it seemed important for him to at least try. 

After trying to calm Moon Knight, Dick immediately got to work. He started with some nearby piles of rubble, overturning large chunks of cement and metal, but he found nothing of significance; it was mostly clothing. It seemed that in order to get anything out of the wreckage, he'd need to get in. Just as a test, he tried forming an energy shield around him, a common tactic in his home universe. And, like so much else he had tried here in the Omniverse, it had failed. The energy he exerted merely fizzled out into the air in a blue flash. 

Thinking for a moment, he went over to some of the rubble. The doorway was burning, but he might be able to form some protection. His suit itself was already flame retardant, but he couldn't rely on that alone to protect him. But if he managed to smother the flames with something, he might be protected. He quickly grabbed a wool sweater and twisted it around in his hands. It was slow to burn, he remembered learning that from a person back home who designed clothing (and hero armour). But it was also highly flammable, so would not solve the problem. But, fortunately, there was also a rain poncho. Simply by covering the wool with the poncho he could take out one small portion of flame, enough at least to get in. The wool would allow time for the fire to spread before it heated up the poncho, and the poncho would melt before it let any flames get through.

Dick walked toward the entrance to the building. Too engulfed by fire; he'd be burnt before he could even press the smothering device down. But nearby there was a crack in the wall, the bottom inflamed. He took the opportunity and pressed the cloth down... only for it to burn almost immediately. He had forgotten to factor flames from the side and above, which quickly melted the poncho. He verged on panicking, but soothed himself by focusing on breathing. Reinvigorated, he thought about how he could get in. Clearly, it would take someone able to withstand the flames. Which meant he couldn't take on the tower alone. He turned around, yelling to the team.

"Anyone here got some flame resistance? Or a shield?"

Mr. Jarvis stared at the wreckage silently as the Quinjet's engines roared behind him. He looked out and saw the hovercraft sailing two feet above the waters.

"Alert: repairs complete," the interface of the suit chirped beside him.

"Who is this?" the butler said, rising to his feet.

Moon Knight crossed his arms. His face was masked, but he was clearly infuriated.

"That's Dick Howland," the vigilante growled, "He's alright."

Mr. Jarvis nodded pensively. Unable to say much more, he stepped into the suit and felt it shut around him.

"Communicators... online," the suit said.

"Open comms to the Vision," Mr. Jarvis mourned. He could only imagine the android's disappointment. He had trusted the butler to defend the tower, and even with what he considered sufficient defenses, HYDRA had collapsed the entire tower.

The Avengers A burned loudly as the communicator hummed. With two strong beeps, it connected the suit to the Vision.

"Query: what is the reason for this call, Mr. Jarvis? I am busy."

"Sir, Avengers Tower was attacked, and... and destroyed." the butler reported, "By HYDRA."

The other line went silent for a moment.


"HYDRA," the Vision said, his voice barely audible over the gunfire, "That is troubling, Mr. Jarvis. Did they secure the Artefact?"

"It appeared they were attempting to do so, sir," the butler sighed, "We are searching what's left of the tower for it. Sir?"

The butler licked his lips.

"I apologize."

"No need, Mr. Jarvis," the Vision said matter-of-factly, "You and I have both experienced enough breaches of Avengers headquarters buildings that this does not concern me. What concerns me is that the Artefact may no longer be secure."

The butler blinked in confusion.

"I beg your pardon, sir, you are not upset?"

"Negative. I *krsht* unable to *bbzzt* entering a *krsht* Communicators are not *krsht*"

The interface displayed the word "Disconnected". Mr. Jarvis shrugged.

"Mr. Howland," the butler said, "This suit is fireproof. If you would allow me..."

The butler tromped into the wreckage, pulling up broken steel beams and throwing them aside as he searched for the vault.
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Dust limped over a bit of rubble, taking in the entering party and a large group of men joining the rest. Inside his wolf was ready to consume his being once more, but they both understood there were no more men in dark armor... That made him straighten up and look over his broad shoulder, blood drying from the gunshots and the stabbings he'd received crumped away as his muscles were used again. He looked at the tank he'd used as a footstool and expected to see the wounded soldier that had apparently been important enough for the pajama wearing man to have at his side. It occurred to him at that point that he would be someone to fetch for information. But no matter how long he stared at the empty space he'd been at there was no telling where he'd gone off too. Well.. There was, but Dust couldn't smell the scent of fear in the air anymore.  Just disappointment and regret...

And his own uncertainty where he stood in all of this.

Dust approached about the same time Jarvis explained to another older fellow that the suit was fireproof. He noted several new people, most of them looking as if they had a bad day in one way or another. He walked in closer, approaching someone that was at least familiar to him.

"Anyone else?" Dick asked, not wanting to send one person in. That was most unwise.

"I can go," Marcus said, approaching the flames. As a terminator, the fire would not disturb him.

Dust was good enough at information gathering that he understood what was going on. He wouldn't know what it is they were looking for but understood that something was in the rubble that needed to be found. He raised his hand, driven by the need to be helpful. "I can.. Go." He offered, nervously adding: "I just.. Need..." He looked at Jarvis. Then at the rest of the people. "This is going to sound weird, but I need to kiss someone to use my powers." He explained if the butler could hear him there was no sign of it.

Everyone's eyes shifted from one man to the other. Frenchie. Or, those who knew. The rest of them side glanced towards each other as if this sounded like a plan only a fan-girl could.

Except he looked ashamed of it, had some fan wanted to make out with anyone specifically, they would be glancing up and singling out someone specifically. Like a few did to Frenchie. Dust was too busy looking like a dog who was happy to see its master, only to remember they tore up the newspaper that had been left out. Frenchie, who didn't hate the idea at all, was just shocked to hear this. Noticing afterward that people were looking at him.

He wasn't the type to pout, but there was a bit of a look on his face that told everyone that this silent volunteering wasn't amusing at all. "Et bien.." Sounding a bit tired of fighting, and then waved the stray over. "Come here big guy, I will kiss you." He expected Dust's refusal, but instead only got mild hesitation. Frenchie would say that the boy looked like a dog who needed coaxing out after being yelled at by someone. Instinctually, he waved the man over like such a creature.

Dust finally braved going over. It occurred to him only after he began, of how he has yet to ask permission first to kiss. He remembered back when he was fighting for the Russia when permission didn't come up a lot. Everyone on his side knew of the contract and what they may be expected to do. He avoided his commander unless stakes were dire and the -usually- guy demanded he does so. Dust has never had the awkward situation where he had to walk over to someone specifically in front of a crowd and make out with someone while they watched. Hokori was suddenly subconscious about all of it and his steps were slow.

Frenchie stood there, hands on his hips waiting. When the newcomer was in front of him, Dust was looking a bit at the ground. He wondered what was going to happen next. "Well?"

"Oh.. Yeah. Sorry." Wolf said trying to work up the motivation to do so. He decided to push the nerves of what he was doing out of his mind and just going for it. With a visible gulp and a 'you can do it' jerk of his hands, he finally looks up at Frenchie. DuChamp had a curious look on his face, for a half second before Dust grabbed him by the collar and pulled him into a kiss. The French man grabbed him gently by the shoulders. Expecting this to be more awkward than anything.

Hokori felt the effects of the beast being pushed back in his cage, it growled and swatted. It was so hard to not re-cage the beast by making out with Frenchie for however many uses of his claw and bite he'd lost count to using during all that. The smarter part of him even begged him to. How interesting that its times like this where his emotions were high that he wished he could turn them off for more logical thought processing. After all, already the strain of his payment was weighing him down. He had to be careful with how much more he put himself through.

That said, the kiss required for Volk had to be 15 seconds and passionate. So while he wanted to erase the debt, he had to focus on the task at hand. Dust wrapped his arm around Frenchie's strong back and pulled him closer, deepening the kiss, keeping his eyes closed and starting to count. As he did, he didn't expect the man under him to start kissing back. Dust didn't expect that in the least bit and found himself losing count. He started over just to be sure, feeling a bit of heat form on his cheeks from his surprise.

At least that's what he is going to say if asked.

Frenchie kisses back, partially because he wasn't sure if the power would work if he didn't do so, and partly because he wanted to. Might as well enjoy something offered to you, right?

After a bit longer than he needed, and Dust would know because of the inner workings of being a Contractor, Hokori pulls away gently but quickly. Both men shared an awkward but subtly interested look before he turns his back to Frenchie and grabs his ears once more. The transformation was not for the weak stomach, the sound of bones cracking was painful to hear, but watching his body turn red and dark, his muscles swelling, his bones thickening and his spine lengthening.

It was grotesque and horrific, and it was furry.

Moon Knight's angry eyes widen as the transformation finished and before him stood a 10-foot maroon colored wolf that stood on two strong legs, with an arched muscular back. The monster before him invoked the wrath of the white-clad 'hero' with a not-so-subtle grunt of disdain.

By then, however, the long furred wolf was already throwing himself into the burning building, behind Jarvis and the Terminator Marcus. The voice that slid from the tongue of Volk was thick and growly, so much so that it was nearly impossible to understand him but Dust managed to bark out something. "Why?" It had to be simplified or he could not communicate, even that might be too much.

"An artifact was inside or base, Master Dust. We need to find it." Jarvis said, but that's as much as he'd give out. Time was being wasted. Dust new that more than anyone actually. He glanced at Marcus once more, before leaving to seek out something that looked important enough to go into a burning building for. Already the heat of the fire singed the fur on his back and arms, getting too close would leave him looking as bad as you think it would.
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"Centurion: I'll leave you to your work then Dust. Thanks for chatting!
Me: no problem. stay awesome!
Centurion: It's more of a passive ability"

The tower burned as everyone debated who would take one for the team. Three, nearly four Avengers stood up ready to take on the task. At this point, even one second longer talking would lead the tower rubble to cover the artifact. The burning building smelled of fire and brimstone and burning paint.

The Iron Butler took his leave first as he flew toward the flames and landed, searching in the burning, volcanic rubble for the vault. The terminator, Marcus then took a running start as he pushed aside the heated door into the fiery inferno once known as the Avenger’s tower. Flames, burning rubble and melting personal items blocked off what was considered “doorways” of the tower.

The butler's fireproof suit came up with a short computer trying to alert him where the artifact was located when the wolfish being named Dust hopped into action. Rubble left from the remaining parts of the tower were crumbling into making a drop onto the terminator’s and dust’s own parts.

The “man” waved his hands to the side pushing aside the earlier rubble meant for his teammate. The sparks left rotting flesh revealing metal underneath Marcus’s face.

He noticed something and made sure it wasn’t some illusion and in fact it was not. It was the black vault, fireproof as it was.

“I FOUND IT.” Marcus yelled, trying to alert the others.

He bit his tongue as he pulled the hot door off its hinges, leaving a burn mark and some blood under his skin exposed.

Marcus grabbed it quickly, the artifact had a mending effect on his skin. The wounds that had been burned quickly dissipated where bruises and burns normally remained.

The unnatural effect was worth everything to the cyborg, yet he knew he had to give it up at the end of the day.
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Ratione sat in the sand, greatsword leaning against his chest and one knee tucked up. Janna stood next to him, for once at a similar height, straddling her massive rifle in her arms. The massive tower burned before them, rubble and debris littering the beach.

"I've never fought like that before." The yordle's eyes failed to stray from the roaring pyre of steel. "I've never been so scared, and s-so crazy." She held up her blood-stained hands to her eyes, still locked on the flames. "I ended so many lives in such a short amount of time."

"That's called war." Ratione kept staring, even as Janna's gaze was finally broken and her big, beady eyes turned to her friend. The veteran continued, "It is not epic, or something to celebrate. It is something to put off for as long as possible. Something that is more like a chore to be taken care of.

You do not want to hurt others, but you have to. They do not want to hurt you, but they have to." He brought his hand up to his eyes, fingers dragging down before pausing and holding their lids shut. Janna's eyes rested on the Novan, the old man sitting in front of her.

"That armor you wear. You need it... cause you do the most fighting, out of anyone, don't you?"

"I did. Then I got old."


Both of their heads whipped to the voice of the machine man, coming from inside the wreck.

"What are we doing there again?" Ratione looked to Janna.

"I guess they wanna recruits us."

"Who are these people though?"

"The Avengers. A bunch'a do-gooders, super-heroes, ya know the type." The yordle looked to him, doing a mock strong-man flex. "Spandex and capes."

"We do not have those where I come from." Ratione suddenly smiled, "But we do have legends of great Novans, of great minds and bodies! We act them out in plays."

Janna's eyes held a wide-eyed gaze at the old man for a moment before sighing. "You guys really are straight up medieval."


"Our fear is our weapon."

Vengeance. What is vengeance? Is it the act of retribution on those who delt wrong? Or is it a punishment inflicted upon those who've done yourself and others wrong? Some might say vengeance was the act of God but all was up for debate. All there was built inside Moon Knight was the burning embers of revenge. 

Marc's jaw was clenched tight. His hands balled into fists as they held beside his torso and eyes narrowed to the burning tower. Spector's veins bulged as if they were going to burst out of his skin and boiling magma coursed through them. It had been ages since he felt this anger and helplessness before. He remembered that day as if were yesterday. A day unlike any other until Thanos. Empowered by the Infinity Gauntlet he set half of New York City on fire. This situation wasn't as bad as then but it all felt the same. What were they the Avengers Earth's, no Omniverse's mightiest heroes to do?        

How? How can this happen? We fought the evil that plagued the streets. We stopped the prison riot. How Khonshu... How? I- we made it here as fast we could and yet our efforts were nothing. Khonshu, I don't understand. 

Marc, you did your best but there are things that fate- Shai, my brother does not want us to stop. I can only give you one answer to your problem. One that you already know. 

What do you mean? 

My son, you are the Blade of Vengeance only you can aid your friends against this hence act. The tools of retribution are yourself and I the moon am your master. This Hydra is a great evil. An evil that must be stopped at any cost. If they are not the ramifications will be too much to bear for this amalgam world. Cut the heads of Hydra and let those who travel the night know that Khonshu protects his followers. 

Moon Knight's masked right eye cocked upwards in a confused look. 

There are followers here as well. Did you build a church when I wasn't looking? 

A situation that is for another time. One that is for only your future to deal with. One that will test your might for an even greater danger in the roads to come.      

Flakes of ash circled like a whirlwind behind Marc. Each individual piece fell place into place before forming into the body shape of Khonshu. Brushing some ash off his shoulder the moon god took a step beside his avatar. Cocking his bird skulled head to the right giving a long sigh and placed his left hand on Moon Knight's shoulder. 

"The fire still grows. It burns bright as if my father Ra had made it." Khonshu's grip on his shoulder tightened. "Your mind is still weak Marc but your spirit and skills still impress me. The war you fight for me has only begun but we have yet to even fight back." 

Moon Knight closed his eyes for a second. He needed time to process all that was happening. The Omniverse, it was still a weird place and there were things that he had yet to understand. One thing was right though; if Hydra was in this world then no one was safe. Opening his masked eyes he turned to face birdman. 

"Then we do what Captian America always preached about. We'll beat the shit out of them and do all that never give up junk. As of right now though this place is pretty much out of the question," Moon Knight paused to collect his thoughts. "Hm, I did overhear one of the prison guards mention a place by the name of Coruscant? I think that's what he called it. From some close judgment of our situation. I'm sure nothing could get worse and that's the part I like." 

Giving a nod in agreement with his avatar Khonshu faded back into Spector's mind. Taking a few steps Marc took a breath of the salt air from the Deep's oceans. Climbing up top a small sea stack he cleared his throat loud enough to get the others attention.

"Team! Pack your bags and get in the Quinjet we're leaving." 

"And where to?" All Might said his arms folded. 

"We're headed to Coruscant and if anyone has information on where that is please for everyone's sake step up."

Marcus stepped forward from the others only nodding at the Silver Avenger. 

"Marcus, I had you figured as a man who travels," Moon Knight said stepping off the rock signaling for Jarvis. "Jarvis, I'm in need of change in the costume area." 

"Very good sir, which persona are you now might I ask?"

"...Mister Knight." 

"Ah, feeling classy I see. I'll fetch your white formals in just a moment, sir."

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