Subject: [FFML] [fusion][Ranma/Avenger] Avenging Act II Chapter 7
From: DB Sommer
Date: 11/15/2005, 12:59 AM
To: ffml@anifics.com, jimbader@yahoogroups.com


Prologue

Xellos grinned as he finished setting up the boxlike device in the 
center of the clearing. Satisfied, he walked to the stump of a nearby 
log, and with a wave of the hand turned it into a comfortable wooden chair.

Lina watched Xellos closely, wondering what he was up to. She still 
couldn't fathom the purpose of the box with the glass front, one that 
couldn't be peered into. After much internal debate, she decided to go 
with the direct approach. Sometimes Xellos was straightforward, when it 
suited his purpose. "What is that thing?"

"A magic box," Xellos explained.

"What does it do?" Amelia asked.

"It entertains by showing images of far off places." Pulling out a small 
rectangle with a number of buttons on it, Xellos pointed it at the magic 
box and pushed a button. Suddenly the glass showed a snowy background 
and made a fuzzy noise.

"I don't feel entertained," Zelgadis said dryly.

"It's poor reception. Gourry, pull out your Sword of Light."

Gourry did so.

"Now put your hand on the television set."

"The what?" Gourry asked.

"The magic box."

Again Gourry did so. Instantly an image started to form and voices could 
be heard through the fuzzy noise.

"Hold it high above your head," Xellos instructed. "More to the right. 
More to the left. More to the left. Just a little more. There!" Finally 
the image came in perfectly. "Stay right there."

Gourry couldn't help noticing everyone had sat down to watch the magic 
box, all except him. He stood on one foot, leaning so far over he was 
ready to topple. To compound the matter, his arm started to ache since 
the Sword of Light was pointed in a different direction than his body.

"How long do I have to do this?" Gourry asked.

"Until the show's over."

Gourry sighed.



Avenging
Act II, Chapter 7
Hercules: Prince of Power
(Not a Sam Raimi Production)

Any and all C+C appreciated. You can contact me at:
[sommert@connecttime.net]

All the previous chapters and my other works are stored at:

Larry F's new address at:
http://www.florestica.com/dbsommer/index.htm

At fanfiction.net:
http://www.fanfiction.net/

And newer works at Mediaminer
www.mediminer.org

Standard disclaimer: I don�t own any of the Marvel characters or other 
characters from the numerous animes which are within.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The smell of decades old wood, worn smooth from bare feet moving across 
it thousands of times, permeated the air of the dojo. Light filtered 
through a handful of windows set high in the walls, bathing the room in 
sunlight from dusk until dawn. Racks of martial weapons, some practice, 
some not, lined the walls. The center of the dojo was empty for one 
purpose: combat. Currently two fighters faced off against one another in 
aggressive stances, each eager to fight. A palpable tension filled the 
air, lending seriousness to the duel that was about to take place.

Off to the side, Ranma stood next to his father. Watching intently as 
Soun and Nabiki kept their eyes riveted to one another. The older man 
was dressed in his standard brown gi while Nabiki�s was night black, 
embroidered with sinewy golden dragons on the front.

"Are you ready?" Genma asked, hand raised high above his head.

The pair continued staring silently at one another, as though to blink 
was to admit defeat.

"Begin!" The hand dropped.

The two charged one another.

Soun lashed out first with a hard right intended for his middle child's 
chest. Nabiki shifted to the side, the fist close enough to brush 
against the material of her uniform. Lightning quick she lashed out with 
a punch to Soun�s jaw while he was off balance.

Soun took the blow and tried spinning around with a kick that would have 
come close to taking Nabiki's head off if it had connected. Instead she 
ducked under the kick, lashing out with a foot of her own at her 
father's leg, the one supporting him. It struck squarely behind the 
knee, causing him to collapse on his back. She followed with an axe 
kick, raised high above her head, before bringing it crashing down on 
his stomach. Soun *wuffed* as all the air was driven out of his lungs.

Nabiki fell on her bottom, next to her father's arm. "Time to practice 
joint locks." She grabbed his arm with her hands and scooted her body 
toward him on the floor, locking her legs around his chest and grabbing 
fully onto the limb. She twisted it in three different directions, none 
of them in the way they were meant to bend.

Soun slapped his free hand madly on the floor, babbling, "I yield!"

Nabiki continued bending Soun's arm in ways that would make a 
contortionist envious. "Oh come on, Daddy, I need the practice, and it's 
not like I've broken anything� yet."

"Get off him." Ranma moved forward toward the pair.

Just before he could lay a hand on her, Nabiki finally released the hold 
and rolled to her feet. "Don�t get so worked up. Besides, he's the one 
that was asking for it. I never wanted to learn martial arts. He made me 
do it for the so-called 'family honor.' So if he ends up with a few 
bruises� let's just call it reaping the whirlwind."

Ranma scowled in disapproval as Soun rose unsteadily to his feet, Genma 
lending a helping hand. The Tendou patriarch bowed before Nabiki. "It 
has become evident I have taught you all I can."

Nabiki's attitude suddenly brightened. "You mean I can quit these stupid 
training matches?"

"It means you'll be training with Ranma from now on." Soun breathed a 
deep sigh of relief and walked to the sideline, still trying to catch 
his breath.

Nabiki's ire returned, doubled. She snorted disdainfully at Ranma. 
"Forget it. I don't fight, or spar, for no reason."

"Oh, afraid you'll lose?" Ranma asked haughtily.

"No, I'd win. I have nothing to prove, and there's no profit in it for me."

Unflustered, Ranma smirked at her. "I see. You're one of those people 
who cover up their insecurities with bravado."

Nabiki suddenly mirrored Ranma's attitude, right down to his posture. 
"Like you can bruise my ego with your transparent ploys." She was about 
to say more when she snapped her mouth shut with an audible click. Her 
eyes traveled over Ranma's form, and a smile returned to her lips. 
"Okay, I'll fight you under one condition. If I win, I'm no longer a 
contender for the engagement."

Soun was quick to add, "And if you lose, you agree to marry him."

"No way." Nabiki crossed her arms under her bosom and half-turned away.

Ranma made a choking sound and looked like he wanted to bolt. Of course 
he'd defeat Nabiki. It was a foregone conclusion, but no way was he 
marrying her or anyone else. He had to come up with some reason to 
change the stakes before the fathers blackmailed him into the fight, and 
he ended up an unwilling husband. "We, ah, can't do that because it, ah, 
wouldn't be fair to Akane or Kasumi."

Soun's eyes widened, then narrowed in consideration.

"A date, then," Genma suggested.

Soun rubbed his mustache thoughtfully, then nodded to his friend's 
recommendation.

Nabiki weighed the potential losses versus gains and said, "Fine."

"I agree too," Ranma said. He could live with a date. He had even gone 
out with the other girls already. At the same time, actually. It had 
made for an interesting time, and a good one since neither girl could 
put the moves on him without offending the other.

Nabiki brought up her fists, setting her legs as though she might attack 
at that moment. "Get ready to make it a two girl fianc�e race, Ranma."

Ranma tensed up slightly. "The only chance you have of winning is if I'd 
gone ten rounds with the Hulk beforehand."

There was no more banter exchanged as Nabiki inhaled deeply. She 
intended to end things quickly using whatever means necessary. Once she 
was out of the running she could help marry off Ranma to either of her 
sisters, have him carry on the Tendou school, then drop this whole 
martial arts crap. It was obvious he was overconfident. Many of her foes 
took that attitude since she didn't like martial arts. But not liking 
something didn't mean one wasn't good at it. On the contrary, she was 
very, very good, as Ranma was about to discover to his eternal regret.

Nabiki mentally pictured her first two attacks and calculated all of 
Ranma's potential defenses against them. She settled on one that she was 
certain would be effective against the big lug and prepared to take the 
battle to him. An early critical blow could end things quickly.

Just then a small red blur shattered a window and shot into the room, 
attaching itself to Nabiki's breasts. She froze in place, statue still. 
Slowly she looked down to the new growth snuggling against her bosom.

A mostly bald cranium with a ring of white hair was there. The head 
turned upward to reveal a repulsive visage so wrinkled it looked like 
someone had tried to dehydrate a prune. It grinned broadly, flashing 
perfect white teeth, even if the smile itself could curdle milk.

"Sweeto!" the elderly ball of perverted energy declared.

The voice shocked Nabiki into action. She gave a shrill cry of "Get off 
of me!" and slammed her fist into the elderly man's face.

The force of the blow knocked him from his perch, but rather than 
resulting in injury, he simply bounced upon hitting the floor. His 
upward arc took him between Nabiki's legs and behind her. His tiny hands 
firmly attached themselves to her derriere, where he began rubbing 
against her bottom as he had her top.

Nabiki screeched in terror. She began spinning around, trying to figure 
out how to dislodge the ugly man, when the matter was taken care of 
courtesy of a roundhouse punch from Ranma. It hit the pervert solidly, 
driving him to the floor. This time the old man lay there, groaning in pain.

Genma shouted, "Don't let up, boy!"

"Yes, kill it before it has a chance to recover!" Soun seconded.

Momentarily taken aback by the men's bloodthirstiness, Ranma hesitated, 
allowing the little man to return to his feet unharmed, despite the 
force behind Ranma�s punch. Idly the pervert pulled out a pipe, which 
began smoking despite not being lit.

Surprised by the little creature's resilience, Ranma went to attack him 
again. The old man caught Ranma's fist in the crook of his pipe and 
casually used it to toss Ranma into a far wall. The impact shattered 
boards and shook the walls.

"It'll take more than that little tap to finish of Happosai, you young 
punk," Happosai boasted. He then turned to the pair of cheerleaders. 
"And you two. How dare you show such disrespect to your master."

Both men prostrated themselves before Happosai.

Genma said, "We're sorry, Master."

"The only thing you're sorry about is not using more dynamite," Happosai 
replied.

By then Nabiki had fully recovered and was angry, angrier than she had 
been in years. "No one touches me like that and lives." She lunged for 
Happosai, aiming a chop at his skull, one that could shatter bricks into 
pebbles.

Happosai leaped out of the way, using Nabiki's head to vault up into the 
air. He dropped straight down as Nabiki passed under him. As he landed 
on the floor, he caught the waistband of her pants and pulled them down, 
revealing a black thong underneath.

"Nice taste in panties." Happosai leered.

Nabiki made a wholly girlish screech and pulled her pants back up.

Before Happosai could say anything further, he narrowly avoided a fist 
intended to crush his entire body. He looked at his attacker. "Say, kid, 
you're pretty resilient. Who are you anyway?"

"Ranma Saotome, the guy that's going to kick your ass."

"Only after I do," Nabiki said, moving alongside him.

Startled by her willingness to stand at his side, Ranma said, "I thought 
you didn�t fight if there wasn't something in it for you."

"Revenge is always worthwhile," Nabiki said in deadly tones.

Happosai ignored their conversation and turned to Genma. "He's yours?"

Genma nodded in pride. "Yes. In fact, we decided he's the one to carry 
on the Anything Goes legacy."

"We did?" Soun asked, then a knowing light came on in his eyes. "Oh yes, 
we did. He's much better than us and there's nothing else we can teach 
him. He is the one to carry on the art. He should be your student 
instead of us." He had a near pleading tone.

Happosai looked Ranma over, then nodded. "Very well. He shall become my 
student. I can tell he's got more potential than both of you put together."

The two men shouted, "Free!" and hugged one another, tears rolling down 
their faces.

"What in the hell is going on?" Ranma bellowed.

Genma detached himself from Soun. "Ranma, meet Happosai, the founder of 
the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts and your new master."

Ranma recoiled in disgust at the little man. "You've got to be kidding me."

"Nope. It's all true," Happosai assured them. "I was your parents' 
teacher until they got me drunk, tied explosives to me, and sealed me in 
a cave." He shot his two former pupils a dirty look, showing the matter 
was far from over even if they weren't his students. "Since I'm your new 
master, you need to show me some respect."

"I'll show you my fist!" Ranma shouted.

"And mine!" Nabiki seconded.

Both ran to attack the diminutive man. He taunted, "Catch me if you 
can!" and darted out of the dojo with the pair hot on his heels.

Soun watched the events develop, tears flowing from his eyes. "Saotome, 
is it true? Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?"

"Yes, Tendou. Our children are working together. The future of our 
families is secure."

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Akane used her cane to support her as she made her way through the home. 
It was a bad day for the leg. Worse, she had overheard her father 
talking about training with Nabiki and had avoided the dojo. She hated 
watching anyone performing the art; it was too heartbreaking. And she 
hated Nabiki for wanting to reject the very thing Akane would have given 
anything short of her soul for. At least she had two bright things in 
her life: Dr. Tofu and her alter ego. She could go on like that. In 
fact, maybe she should go out and change now. There was nothing quite as 
exhilarating as not being a cripple.

She considered locating Kasumi and letting her know she was going out 
when a red blur landed right in front of her. An elderly face looked up 
at her and bowed. "Hey ya, Babe. The name's Happosai. You wouldn't 
happen to be Soun's youngest, Akane, would you?"

Akane's eyebrow twitched. "Od's blood. A troll on Midgard. And it knows 
my name."

"Don't even think about touching her, you lech!" Ranma shouted as he ran 
into the room, trying to kick Happosai, who darted out of the way. Ranma 
followed hot on the little man's heels as they left the room

Before Akane could think, Nabiki shot past. She paused long enough to 
say, "Don't worry, Sis, we'll kill that thing before it tries anything 
else, like breathing." And then exited the room.

Akane considered everything that just happened. Yes, it was definitely 
best to head for Avengers Mansion. She'd just leave a note to say she'd 
be out until the evening.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Kasumi toiled away in the kitchen, making lunch, when the red blur shot 
into the room and firmly attached itself to her bosom. Like her younger 
sister, she froze for a moment at the sensations coming from a body part 
that was not used to stimulation of any kind.

Happosai looked up from his perch. "Say hello to your uncle Happi!"

Kasumi screamed at the top of her lungs and slapped him across the face, 
unleashing a full power 'sting' at the same moment. Happosai went flying 
into a wall, cracking it before landing hard, a smoldering handprint 
left on his cheek.

Ranma and Nabiki ran into the room. The instant they spotted Happosai, 
they stopped in their tracks. Both of them looked at Kasumi in surprise.

Nabiki said, "Whoa, Sis. What did you do to him?"

Kasumi, surprised at being able to unleash her blasts at full size, 
thought quickly. "I slapped him."

"He's smoking," Ranma pointed out.

"I must have hit a vital spot."

Nabiki picked the unconscious little man up. She shook him once, 
disappointed to note he was still breathing." Let's throw him out in the 
garbage before he comes around."

"Good idea." Ranma grabbed some garbage bags and went to locate for some 
heavy duty chains.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The building referred to as Avengers Mansion had been formerly known as 
the Kunou ancestral home. The building itself was large, able to 
comfortably house two dozen family and staff. The grounds surrounding 
the building took up a number of acres, a sign of old money given its 
location in Nerima. However, anyone approaching the mansion would be 
most surprised by the lack of activity in the buildings surrounding the 
estate.

That silence was due to missing Kunou patriarch, who had purchased the 
surrounding land, not for developmental reasons, but because he found 
his neighbors 'too noisy'. So now every building surrounding the estate 
lay vacant, making things very quiet indeed.

Along with serving as the headquarters for the Avengers, the mansion 
held but one servant (Kodachi preferred to live in an apartment near her 
lab) an individual known simply as 'Sasuke,' the Kunou family's faithful 
butler/ninja.

As far as Sasuke, was concerned, he had landed the best job in the 
world: butler to the Avengers. It was like heaven. For the first time in 
his life, he felt like he was making a difference. True, he was still 
doing the same things he did as a normal butler, but it was for super 
heroes who helped protect the world from bad people. Since he made a 
difference in their lives, that meant he made a difference in others 
people lives. It was like an indirect kiss, which were the only kind he 
ever experienced.

Besides, he was a ninja, and he was certain once he impressed them with 
his ninjalike abilities, they'd put him on the team and then he'd be 
able to land the babes. It was only a matter of time before they 
acknowledged his talents, then he could choose a name. 'The Ninja' 
sounded pretty good to him.

Currently only the Hulk and Thor were in residence. He had already won 
over the Hulk with his sneakiness, even if the green goliath insisted on 
referring to him as 'Small Mouse Man'. One day he would earn the title 
of 'Small Sneaky Man.' Someday.

Sasuke was still in the midst of pondering his super hero name when his 
communicator beeped (and it was an official Avengers communicator, too) 
His communicator was tied directly into the house's central computer, a 
device designed by Kodachi. The whole house could be controlled via a 
computer that could see to its denizens' needs (which was how Sasuke was 
able to maintain the sizeable mansion on his own). Nothing but state of 
the art for the Avengers. It alerted Sasuke to the exterior defenses 
having been activated. That meant an intruder of some kind. Luckily, the 
numerous protective devices hidden throughout the grounds were 
non-lethal in nature. Already they had neutralized a number of 
prospective thieves and the occasional low-powered super villain: the 
Grinder, Mister Fish, and Kangaroo had been laid low on separate 
occasions by the defenses. Personally, Sasuke felt they didn't need the 
defenses and he could have defeated them all on his own to prove his 
worth, but his mistress wouldn't hear of it. Obviously she valued his 
butler skills highly to want him to stay out of danger. But the 
beckoning call of heroism couldn't be denied. It was in his blood.

In any event he had to see who had tripped the defenses and alert the 
proper authorities to round them up.

Sasuke opened the door to find himself confronted with a very large male 
gaijin. He was huge, taller than anyone other than the Hulk, and his 
musculature was incredible, more so even than Captain America. His 
costume consisted of little more than a short skirt with a wide belt, 
boots, and a leather strap that fit over one shoulder and served as 
additional support for his skirt. He had a beard and a friendly smile.

More disturbing was the path of destruction that lined the walkway to 
the door, and that the man showed no sign of being affected by them in 
anyway. No, that wasn't exactly true. There was a torn mechanical arm 
wrapped around his ankle. It was composed of titanium and could confine 
an elephant.

For a brief moment, Sasuke envisioned defeating this intruder to prove 
his worth to the Avengers. Then he decided being a manservant was a 
perfectly reputable job. They also serve who only stand and wait, after 
all. Words to live by, which were infinitely better than words to die by.

The stranger said in archaic Japanese, "Greetings, and Manservant. Is 
this the domicile that Thor doth reside in?"

"Yes, it is," Sasuke said meekly.

The man looked the mansion over and muttered. "Truly mine friend is 
doing what the mortals refer to as slumming." More loudly he said, "I am 
the Thunderer's comrade of old, Hercules. Dismiss your awe and announce 
my presence.

"You can come inside," Sasuke offered.

Hercules shook his head. "Nay, I would prefer to remain without and play 
with more of these entertaining devises that line thy yard."

"I see." Sasuke closed the door and had the computer locate Thor. 
Hopefully this being was a friend of the Goddess of Thunder, because he 
didn't like the idea of being near a villain who thought the house's 
protective devices were a form of entertainment.

The butler found Thor in the main meeting chamber of the Avengers, 
tapping an impatient finger as she watched the trouble monitor. 
Employing his ninja skills, Sasuke was about to sneak up on Thor when 
the goddess in question asked, "What dost thou want?" without turning 
her head.

Sasuke shrugged off the failure. She was a goddess, and he but a mortal. 
No contest at all when it came to stealth and detection. "There is an 
extremely large man outside that claims to be an old comrade of yours. A 
Mr. Hercules."

Thor shot out of her chair, a bundle of eagerness and delight. "Mine old 
friend! Where is he?"

Sasuke was relieved the man was who he claimed. He didn't want to know 
what sort of damage Hercules could inflict on the manor, or the ninjas 
serving in it. "He wanted to wait outside so he could� test our defenses."

Thor was off like a bolt of lightning, which fit well with her status as 
Goddess of Thunder. It had been centuries since she had last fought 
alongside her Olympian comrade-in-arms. While they were from differing 
pantheons, they got along infamously. Well, after they had nearly beaten 
each other to death thanks to the machinations of Loki and Ares. But 
they had discovered the plot to set one against the other (technically 
it was Sif and Hermes who had uncovered it, but Thor would have done it 
eventually), and soundly thrashed the Gods of Mischief and War. Since 
then they had undertaken grand adventures, like defeating the Egyptian 
Death God, Set, recovering the Cask of Ancient Winters, and destroying 
that self-proclaimed angel, Adam, in the Antarctic. Larger than Fafnir, 
still the creature had fallen to the gods' combined might. Well, it had 
taken Odin to prevent catastrophe by impaling the beast with his spear, 
Gungnir, to keep him from exploding and destroying most of the southern 
hemisphere, but how was Thor to know 'Angels' were so volatile?

Ah yes, many a fine adventure had been experienced with Hercules. Many 
unending nights of drinking and debauchery to be had. Like when they 
raided the hundred woman harem of that mad shiek, Abdul Azzurah. By the 
time he and Hercules were through with them, they had shown the women 
what there was to 'immortal might' indeed�.

Thor felt a heat rush to her cheeks. No, that was not right. She had not 
done any such thing. She couldn�t have. It was a mistake. Yes, that was 
it. Her memories were scrambled for some reason. She wouldn�t do *that* 
sort of thing with a woman, or a dozen women to be more accurate, skin 
gleaming in oils�.

Thor shook her head free of her erroneous thoughts and rushed through 
the house and arrived at the entryway. She took a moment to compose 
herself, then opened the door to greet her old friend.

And there he was, standing in the doorway, wide smile on his face. Thor 
returned the smile with one of her own. "Greetings, my fr--"

And then Hercules drew back his fist and struck Thor with all of his 
godly might.

There was a resounding boom as Thor was belted through the entire length 
of the mansion, destroying wall after wall with her immortal body, until 
she went through the last wall. Momentum finally killed, she skipped 
across the ground several times before skidding to a stop.

Hercules was in motion so quickly that he was halfway through the house 
by the time she landed. He spotted her on the ground, and rushed up to 
her. He gave a jovial, "Greetings, my old comrade. It hath been too many 
centuries since last we met."

Thor had just gotten up on all fours when Hercules kicked her in the 
stomach, punting her through a fountain lined with plump granite 
cherubs, and a stone retaining wall. He followed quickly behind her once 
again.

Thor lay on her stomach, trying to collect herself. As she tried to 
rise, she unhooked her hammer from her belt, but before she could do 
anything she was picked up by the back of the neck and pulled a foot off 
the ground.

"Thou hast lost much weight, Thunderer. You are as light as Artemis 
now." He drew back and threw Thor like a football, her hammer slipping 
from her grasp. She flew like a javelin straight into one of the large 
buildings surrounding the mansion, collapsing most of the five story 
structure right on top of her.

Rather than chase after his old friend a third time, Hercules waited for 
Thor to reappear, but no one emerged from the wreckage. The Olympian 
held his hand to his chin in thought. "Hmm, perhaps I greeted Thor too 
enthusiastically. The might of Hercules is not to be trifled with, and 
the Thunderer was always weaker than mineself."

Hercules was about to walk over to see if Thor needed excavating when he 
became aware of an aura of anger the likes of which had not been felt 
since Zeus heard the Titans were being considered for parole. He turned 
around, only to find himself having to look up into a ton of emerald fury.

The Hulk shouted, "You hit Hammer Girl, now Hulk hit you!"

Hercules had just enough time to brace himself for the blow, which is 
why he only flew to the edge of the grounds of Avengers Mansion instead 
of Detroit.

For a moment, Hercules couldn't think. It was then he realized the blow 
had rendered him momentarily senseless. He slowly rose to his feet, 
looking around to see he was lying in the center of a pit nearly ten 
meters across.

The emerald goliath leapt into view, landing a handful meters away from 
Hercules, a distance that could be crossed in a second with his 
prodigious might. The Olympian examined his new foe in a new light. "By 
Hades, thou hits with the might of Zeus's thunderbolts." Rather than 
being angered, Hercules appeared excited.

The Hulk shouted, "Hulk not hit like thunderbolt. Hulk hit like Hulk."

And Hercules proved he could hit nearly as hard as a Hulk as he leapt to 
the attack, landing a punch that sent the Hulk sailing away back into 
the partially destroyed fountain, making it completely destroyed..

The Hulk rose to his feet, angrier than ever.

Hercules appeared even more delighted. "And thou has the endurance of 
Typhon. Truly thou art a worthy challenge to the Prince of Power."

The Hulk responded with an articulate, "Hulk Smash!"

And then the fight was on.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Matsui Tanaka of the Tokyo Seismic Institute shot out of the chair he 
had been leaning back in and shot to his feet as the sensor he had been 
staring at suddenly registered a tremendous shock. As he rubbed his eyes 
to make certain he wasn't dreaming, a second tremor was recorded. A 
third and fourth followed as he dialed up his supervisor.

After misdialing it twice, Matsui shouted, "I think a big one is coming! 
We're getting a number of hits, increasing in intensity." Panic seeped 
through his statement, despite his attempt at professionalism. His 
entire family lived in Tokyo.

"Calm down," his supervisor soothed. "Determine the epicenter and we'll 
work from there."

Matsui went over to the proper computer and used a program to determine 
the location. "It's� Oh, it's the Avengers' Mansion."

"See? There's nothing to worry about," the supervisor said in a tone 
identical to a parent assuring a child there was no boogeyman under his 
bed.

Matsui hung up the phone, suitably humiliated. It was all the fault of 
those damned superheroes. As far as he was concerned, anyone that 
pretended they were a natural disaster should be treated as one. Someone 
should do something about them.

He had dark thoughts regarding them for the rest of his shift.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Yusaku Hino (aka The Crusher), stood outside Avengers Mansion, eager to 
show the world his anger by crushing all of the overrated superheroic 
scum (hence his super villain name. Well, that and the fact he possessed 
superhuman strength due to his being a mutant), and he was starting with 
the Avengers.

Like many mutants, his powers had been triggered through adolescence and 
a traumatic incident. In his case it was learning the love of his life, 
Haruka Hiyama, was in a lesbian relationship with Madoka Ayakawa. The 
shock had proven too much for poor Yusaku. From that day onward, he 
became a walking testament to self-pity, excessively melodramatic 
misery, and a propensity to whine about how no one could understand his 
pain.

Basically, he became a full-fledged teenager. Except for his ability to 
bench press fifteen tons.

Yusaku stood on the periphery of the estate grounds and shouted, "Come 
out, Avengers, and prepared to be crushed by� The Crusher!" He flexed 
his arms to show off his impressive physique.

In answer a huge boulder came hurtling through the air. Yusaku had just 
enough time to register it before it landed on him. Unfortunately for 
him, the boulder weighed sixteen tons. It broke all of his limbs and 23 
out of 24 ribs. When Yusaku was dug out by emergency crews later in the 
day, the headlines would read 'Crusher Crushed by the Avengers'.

Xxxxxxxxxx

Akane Tendou grimaced at the scene of destruction wrought by the 
Hulk-Hercules fight. Nearly half the buildings surrounding the mansion 
had been leveled, and the grounds had been forever altered. Only the 
mansion had escaped damage, at least more damage than what Akane had 
inflicted when her old comrade had used her as a human missile. Despite 
the signs of intense battle, the pair attacked one another just as 
viscously as at the start of the fight, even if both sported a number of 
bruises. It appeared they could go all day long. Not that the area could 
take it.

Akane probably could have stopped the fight earlier, save Mjolnir being 
knocked from her grasp by Hercules' final blow, the one that had brought 
half the building down on top of her. By the time she had unburied 
herself, a minute has elapsed and she had reverted back into her mortal 
form. Now she was forced to limp across the battle zone, trying hard to 
keep from becoming collateral damage as she sought her stick. As intent 
as both men were upon beating each other to death, she doubted if a 
cruise missile could catch their attention. A high school girl stood 
even less of a chance of being noticed, at least until it was too late. 
She had to find her stick. Then the fight would end. Cruise missiles had 
nothing on Thor.

Luck was with her for the first time all day. The area she had dropped 
her hammer looked like a demilitarized zone, but her stick lay unharmed 
between two newly hewn craters. Akane had just grasped the handle of the 
stick when the giant torn up tree came hurtling through the air straight 
toward her. Two sets of lives flashed before her eyes as she reflexively 
brought her arms out in front of her.

Xxxxxxxxxxx

Hercules pounded away at his emerald foe, delighted at the fight. While 
in the beginning he was stronger of the two, now the tables seemed to 
have turned as the creature was hitting for far more damage than perhaps 
even Hercules himself could inflict. Truly it was amazing. Not that 
brute strength was the difference. While Hercules relied on his 
strength, his skills in battle were unmatched after centuries of 
fighting. The emerald one lacked even the basic rudiments of trained 
combat, simply opting to 'Smash, smash, and more smash' as his 
technique. Still, between that and his ability to absorb literally godly 
amounts of punishment, it proved an effective strategy. Hercules would 
win, of course, but he would have to earn this one. He wouldn't have had 
it any other way.

Lust of combat clouding his senses, Hercules leveled the Hulk with a 
divine fist. As the Hulk went down, he brayed to his foe, "This contest 
is magnificent! Not since I last strove against the Destroyer have I met 
a being of thy mettle. Let this be a fight to the finish, so that bards 
may sing of it for the centuries to come."

"This fight is finished!" a feminine voice shouted out behind him.

Before Hercules could react, a hammer thrown with the full fury of the 
Goddess of Thunder struck him squarely in the back. It was bad enough 
that the attack caught him unaware, preventing him from bracing for it, 
but the blow threw him straight into a full strength punch of the 
enraged Hulk. A fist nearly as large as Hercules� skull met his 
unprotected face, throwing him through the air and destroying yet 
another section of the forest. When his aerial journey finally came to a 
stop, he lay on the ground, unmoving.

Seeing his foe beaten, and that Thor was in good health, the Hulk began 
to calm down. He turned to the goddess. "Hulk did not need help smashing 
Muscleman."

"The blow was to restore my pride," Thor assured him. "Besides, he did 
not truly intend me harm. Hercules is merely� exuberant in his 
greetings. Now it is time to deal with the muscle-bound dolt."

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Consciousness returned to Hercules, and on its heels, the memory of what 
he had been doing. "The fight!" He tried to rise, but found himself 
unable to move, his arms and legs bound to a chair he was seated in. He 
found himself in what appeared to be a meeting chamber. He was poised 
next to a huge table with an 'A' enclosed by a circle in the center of 
it. Seven chairs, some quite large, surrounded the table. Hercules was 
in the second largest one. "Who tempts the Fates by daring to bind the 
Prince of Power?"

"I did."

Hercules turned to see his former foe and Thor standing side-by-side, 
unamused.

Seeing his old friend, Hercules's mood changed as fast as Hermes as he 
gave a cheerful smile. "Thor, mine old friend, how good it is to see� you?"

Thor suddenly became uneasy as she saw Hercules staring at her chest. He 
had never looked at it like that before, she was certain. She�d have 
remembered, even with a memory as full of holes as hers was.

Exerting his full godly might, Hercules snapped the cables snaring him 
and shot up from the chair. He rushed up to Thor and grabbed her 
breasts. "Zounds, they are real!"

Thor grabbed him by the wrist and twisted his arm backward, "Ware thy 
hands, else comrade or not, thou shall be taking the place of Prometheus 
on his stone of woe. And I will see to it the vultures pick at things 
other than thy entrails." She stared meaningfully at his groin.

Hercules stared at her, stunned. "How can it be that thou art a woman?"

Thor stared at him, bewildered. "I have always been a woman."

"Nay. While much time has passed since last we met, I distinctly 
remember thou being a man, as many a wench can attest to," he assured 
her. "Of all mine companions not Olympian, thou were easily the only one 
almost capable of keeping up with mineself. Remember that time we 
fornicated with Indra's wives? The ones with four breasts?"

Thor smirked. "Truly that was�" The goddess turned green. "Nay! I never 
did such things! I am not a pervert!"

"I concur!" Hercules said, a lascivious leer on his face. "There is 
nothing perverted about wishing to indulge in pleasures only women can 
experience. And I would be honored to be the one to initiate you in such 
pleasures." He grabbed her in his arms and bent her low, as though about 
to kiss her. Thor was so stunned she froze in place.

Before Hercules could lower his lips to hers, his head was engulfed in a 
giant green palm. "Hulk will not let Muscleman kiss Hammer Girl."

Hercules released Thor, who landed on her bottom. He effortlessly batted 
away the Hulk's hand. "So, it is a challenge then. To the victor shall 
go the Goddess of Thunder."

"Hulk accept."

"I don't!" Thor shouted.

Xxxxxxxxxx

A pair of eyes peered through the walls of the mansion, seeing all, 
hearing all. This was bad. Extraordinarily bad. It was a good thing he 
had come to Earth to personally supervise the matter regarding Thor. The 
Enchantress� breaking the Imperial Edict prohibiting contact with Thor 
had been bad enough, but by some miracle neither Urd nor Skuld had said 
anything to upset the plan. Hercules was another matter altogether. 
Being Olympian meant he could ignore the edict, and already he had given 
Thor too much information. Another word might upset everything, and that 
could not be allowed to happen. Too much was at stake.

Stretching out with senses far beyond those of mortal or god alike, he 
searched the dimensions for anything that could be used to remove 
Hercules from Thor's presence, anything outside of having to intervene 
personally was acceptable. Almost instantly he discovered a solution. 
All he had to do was plant a little information in the leader's head, 
and then reach out and guide them right in the heart of the room.

Xxxxxxxxxxx

Just as Hulk vs. Hercules Round 2 was about to begin, a swirling vortex 
of sparking light filled the far side of the room, taking up nearly the 
entire wall. All three occupants stopped their argument and tensed up at 
the unexpected display.

Emerging from the vortex were a dozen women, each nearly as tall as 
Thor, and every one of them a testament to human beauty and perfection.

The woman in front, taller than everyone but the Hulk, moved boldly 
forward. She wore a red bodysuit, with pieces cut out along the navel, 
top, leg and arm. Yellow lightning ran up both sides and her yellow 
ankle boots. On one of her arms was a manacle with a huge chain on it, 
one that looked like it weighed two-hundred pounds and could be used to 
break out of a prison rather than keep one in. She was the most 
beautiful by far, with long strawberry-blonde locks that traveled 
halfway down her back and carrying an air of authority about her.

The woman said, "Where is the one called Hercules?"

Hercules's tension disappeared and he shot the woman his most winning 
smile. "I am, oh giantess of beauty. And might I ask your name?"

"I am Thundra, Queen of the Femizons." Anyone hearing her tone would 
have no doubt she was not only a leader, but used to being obeyed. "I 
shall speak plainly. I have come from a planet similar to this one, 
though in a different dimension. On our world men have been wiped out. 
Because of this we are forced to seek out virile males, the more 
powerful the better, in order to have children. Sadly, since we Femizons 
are incapable of producing male children, we must do this several times 
a generation. Word reached us of the mighty Hercules and his legendary 
prowess, and we felt drawn here."

Hercules laughed hard. "I assure you I exceed whatever rumors thou has 
heard. I have little doubt I could satisfy whatever demands you have of 
me." It appeared as though he was ready to pick up the lot of them and 
drag him through the portal himself, but then he turned and gave a 
questioningly look to Thor.

Thor's eyebrow began twitching. "Thou should go. It shall be infinitely 
less painful than the course of action thou was about to take." She 
fingered her hammer meaningfully.

"Then it is settled." The god turned to Thundra. "Now, how many women 
are there?"

Thundra said, "Currently the ratio is about 1000:1, which is why there 
are other groups seeking out men as well. We should really bring back 
more than just you." Thundra appraised the nearby Hulk, who stared at 
her, oblivious.

"There is no need," Hercules assured her.

"I beg your pardon," Thundra said.

"I am immortal and have tremendous stamina. A thousand shall take but a 
few months. A mere blink of the eye, as any god can tell you."

"I see," Thundra said, gazing upon him in a new light. "Very well, we 
shall return to our homeworld now and you may begin aiding us with our 
procreation problem."

The group departed the way they had arrived, one extra member in their 
ranks. The vortex closed behind them, as though it had never been.

"Truly a trying day," Thor said, collapsing in her chair.

The Hulk nodded. "Hulk is going to get Little Mouse Man to get him some 
beans, then Hulk is going to sleep."

"Sleep well, mine comrade. There is much I must ponder." Thor held her 
hand to chin in thought, trying to sort out the jumble of conflicting 
and missing memories in her head.

It was a trying night as well.

Xxxxxxxxxxxx

The figure relaxed. That had been close. Too close, and it did not feel 
as though it had been Fate that had dropped Hercules in Thor's lap. No, 
this had all the earmarks of one whose primary goal in life was 
mischief, and confounding Thor to the best of his abilities. Punishment 
would have to come. Immediate punishment.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Damn!" Xellos said, slamming his staff into the ground.

"What are you getting so worked up for? The show wasn't that 
interesting," Lina said.

Zelgadis nodded. "Yes, I couldn't really get into it. I couldn't 
sympathize with the characters because they were too unrealistic. I 
mean, people running around with superpowers? It's completely ridiculous."

"True," Ameila seconded. "Maybe if they had used some magic in it, then 
it would be believable, but as it is, no way."

�And I wasn�t amused at all,� Lina added. �I can�t see this catching on 
as a form of entertainment. Doing things yourself is much more 
interesting than watching someone else doing something.�

It was at that moment a swirling vortex of sparking light appeared in 
the middle of the clearing. A number of incredibly tall, scaly, obese 
women with yellow skin emerged from it.

The tallest and ugliest among them, who carried an air of authority, 
spoke with a voice that sounded like nails being drawn across a 
chalkboard. "Where is the one called Loki?"

"Never heard of him," Lina said, absently noting that Xellos was 
beginning to back away.

The woman scratched her head, then snapped her beefy fingers. "Oh, yes, 
he goes by the name of Xellos here."

"Squinty-eyed guy over there." Lina pointed at him as he had by now made 
it to the edge of the clearing.

The woman said, "I am Ugley, Queen of the She Beasts," she said, and 
anyone hearing her tone would have no doubt she was not only a leader, 
but used to being obeyed. "I shall speak plainly. I have come from a 
planet similar to this one, though in a different dimension. On our 
world men have been wiped out. Because of this we are forced to seek out 
virile males, the smarter the better, since we rate intellect more 
important than mere muscle. Sadly, since we She Beasts are incapable of 
producing male children, so we must do this several times a generation. 
Word reached us of the trickster Xellos and his legendary mental 
prowess, and we felt drawn here."

"He's all yours," Lina said casually.

"My thanks." Ugley pointed a large spear at Xellos. "Get him, girls!"

Xellos tried casting a teleportation spell, but found his abilities 
blocked. With the She Beasts nearly upon him, he turned tail and ran.

And the race was on.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

[End Chapter]







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