Once More Into The Fray
Thank you for your patience.
The second round will now commence.
Team A vs Team M.
Metallic fingers reached to the abyss of space and spread out. The faux-city rematerialized once again as the metal disc floating below the pods formed an entire cityscape in seconds. McClane jogged in place and took heavy breaths. “Don’t get too worked up,” Zatanna warned, “If we lose, we lose.” McClane shook his head, “Winning would be a helluva lot better than being put on ice for the rest of this thing If that’s even what’s going on here.” He disappeared from the pod…
… And reappeared in the street below. He pulled his sidearm and quickly moved against the nearest wall with his hammer cocked. “Just take it easy, John,” he said softly to himself, “You’re gonna play it smart this time.” He whipped around the corner, gun trained before him. With the coast clear, he darted across the street and once again placed his back against a wall. He looked to both sides and saw no signs of his target, then he looked up and barely caught a glimpse of a pair of boots dropping from above. “Shit!,” he shouted and leapt back, his gun drawn on Judge Dredd who remained calm once he landed.
“I saw you in the first round,” Dredd somehow growled even when speaking in a conversational manner, “You’re a police officer, correct?”.
“Yeah, that’s me,” McClane noticed Dredd’s strange suit and large badge, “I’m assuming you are too, wherever you’re from.”
“In a manner of speaking, yes. It is against Judge protocol to assault a member of law enforcement, regardless of the time period or the universe.”
“That a fact?”
“Badge number. Now.”
“8-8-1. What’s yours, asshole?”
“That don’t sound like no badge number I ever heard of.”
“I don’t have to prove anything here,” Dredd turned to leave, “I can wait a few more moments for your teammates to arrive. I have no such protocol regarding them.”
“You might wanna rethink that protocol of yours, pal,” McClane took aim between Dredd’s shoulder blades and began to squeeze the trigger. Dredd turned, his hand quickly going to his Lawgiver holstered at his side, “Self-preservation is within the parameters of Judge protocol.”. McClane stopped and lowered his weapon, giving Dredd a smirk as he glanced in the opposite direction, “Nevermind.” Dredd continued on his way while McClane ran into a nearby building.
“At least he hasn’t gotten killed yet,” Juggernaut sneered as he watched.
“What’s the time, Spidey?,” Zatanna asked.
“It’s been almost a minute. Looks like you’re up, Kirby.”
Kirby happily bounced up and down and flapped his flippers. He disappeared mid-bounced and re-emerged in the city. An instant later, a boot struck him in the side, sending him sailing into the air where he bounced off a wall and fell back, only for Dredd to punch him to the ground. Once on the pavement, Dredd drew his gun and took aim. Kirby quickly inhaled as a barrage of bullets flew his way. Soon, they disappeared in his mouth and he puffed out his cheeks, ready to spit. “Damn,” Dredd muttered as he anticipated what happened next. He dove into a nearby alley and Kirby began spitting the bullets back out in rapid fire. A hand reached down and grabbed Dredd’s gloved hand in order to help him to his feet.
“Seems you’re in a bit of a pickle, old chum,” The Brit chirped.
“Unidentified alien lifeform,” Dredd spouted back, “Proceed with caution. I suggest killing it on sight.”
“Not one for conversation, eh? I can appreciate that.”
McClane raced out into the street from a nearby door. “I got something set up,” he told Kirby, “I don’t suppose you can take me up to the third floor of that building,” he pointed to the building he had just come out of. Kirby gave a knowing nod and cooed a bit. Once Brit and Dredd came out of the alley, they noticed Kirby inflating himself while McClane climbed onto his back and held on tightly to his flippers. “Take it easy. I hate flying,” McClane said as Kirby began flapping his flippers. They levitated three stories before McClane noticed Brit and Dredd running into the middle of the street; Dredd took aim and McClane held on tight. He jerked Kirby to the side roughly and they both did a barrel roll through the air just as a bullet passed by. They crashed through the window and slid along the floor along with plenty of glass. Kirby stood up and gave McClane an annoyed look. “Hey, don’t look at me like that,” McClane told him, “Would it have been better if I let that guy shoot ya?”. McClane brought Kirby over to a nearby elevator. Once there, Kirby noticed the elevator had been propped open with a fire extinguisher and beyond that, an open shaft with an exposed series of cables. “You don’t say much, but I hope you can see what I’m doing here,” McClane told him. Kirby gave a knowing wink in response. McClane nodded, “Good. Think you can lure those guys into the first floor for a little surprise?” Kirby gave a salute and rushed to the broken window, then leaped out. “Seriously John, the fuck are ya doing here?,” he muttered to himself.
Brit and Dredd slowly entered the lobby of the building. It was a spacious lobby with an elevator at the far end and a receptionist desk (one that was obviously empty). Dredd had his Lawgiver out and held in a defensive stance. Britt trailed behind to cover him. He glanced over his shoulder as something caught his eye, turning just in time to see an inflated Kirby hovering. There was no time to say anything as the cream-puff exhaled, releasing a massive burst of wind that blew past both of them. It lifted Dredd off his feet and sent him tumbling over the receptionist desk. The Brit, meanwhile, stayed his ground. “I’m afraid I’m made of sterner stuff,” he took a swing, but Kirby flattened himself against the tiled floor, then slid between Brit’s legs, then hopped into the air and pressed the elevator door with his flipper. The elevator doors opened, making a ringing sound that echoed up the shaft enough that McClane could hear it. Kirby rushed inside the empty shaft and looked up, spotting the elevator car one floor above. Brit stepped inside, “I’m afraid you’ve run out of options.” Kirby kicked off the wall and flipped over his head, landing in the lobby. “Kirby,” he called out loudly. Hearing this, McClane shot the cables of the car. The Brit looked up as he heard the sound of an echoing gunshot and barely made out the shape of the bottom of the elevator just before it fell. The outside doors closed just as Kirby heard the impact, waffs of dust flowing out from beneath the doors.
He turned and saw Dredd rising from behind the desk. He straightened his helmet and took aim once more. Behind him, he could hear the ring of the elevator doors opening once more. Several panels of metal and plastic poured out and Brit began removing himself from the destroyed elevator. Kirby inhaled, sucking up some of the debris from the destroyed elevator and turned, his cheeks puffed out from the chunks of metal he just took in. Dredd threw himself across the lobby just as a ball of metal flew past. The Brit reached down, snatching Kirby in his hands.
Just then, McClane came through the stairwell, his gun in one hand and the fire extinguisher in the other. He raised his gun and fired a single bullet that bounced off Brit’s forehead. The brit rolled Kirby up in a ball and hurled him at McClane who ducked to the side, allowing him to pass and bounce off the door behind him. He then brought the fire extinguisher down, which was blocked by the older man in front of him. The tank bent almost entirely in half, releasing a jet of fluid into Brit’s eyes. “Bloody hell,” Brit stepped back and began rubbing his eyes furiously. “Good enough,” McClane said to Kirby.
“You have both violated a number of safety hazards,” Dredd raised his gun and raced across the lobby. McClane likewise ran in the opposite direction and both men threw themselves through the air as they fired bullets at one another. The ballistics flew past both of them, putting holes in the walls around them. Dredd rolled along the floor and quickly switched to heat-seeking ballistics. He sat up in a crouching position, ready to fire just as a figure flew toward the window across the room. Spider-Man smashed through the glass and shot a webline that clogged the barrel of his Law Giver. Dredd angrily ducked behind the receptionist desk and tried his best to rip it loose.
“What the Hell took ya so long?,” McClane asked.
The Brit’s vision was mostly clear, at least enough to find the red-and-blue blob standing nearby. He went for a swing, but Spider-Man ducked under the punch, grabbed him by his jacket, and spun around around, hurling him through the wall and across the next room. “I thought he’d be stronger,” he said to himself.
Behind them, Dredd had switched to napalm, “One count of obstruction of a Judge’s weapon. One count of unlicensed adhesive.” He stood up and fired, allowing the flames to burst through the webbing, but also setting half the room on fire in the process. “Time to go,” McClane shouted and the three of them quickly jumped through the front door and out onto the street as flames chased them.
“I think we lost them for the time being,” McClane explained.
“Don’t celebrate yet,” Spider-Man warned, “I caught a glimpse of an old friend about a block away… and I do mean old. Chances are, he hasn’t slowed down over the years.”
The base of Spider-Man’s skull tingling: the tell-tale sign that danger was approaching, “Oh… speak of the devil.” With his spider-sense going off, he shoved both McClane and Kirby back to the ground before back flipping over the figure rushing from behind. The air whistled as three claws sliced past them. Logan watched as Spider-Man sailed through the air and landed on the side of a wall.
“Logan,” Spider-Man began, “Before we continue, could you remind me which horrific potential-future you’re from? It’s hard to keep track of them sometimes.”
“Parker,” a subtle smirk emerged on his wrinkled face, “I didn’t think I would, but I’ve honestly missed those jokes of yours.”
“Yeah. Damn shame when you died.”
“Aaaand, that’s when the conversation got awkward.”
Dredd came out of the flaming building, once again, taking aim. Acting quickly, McClane jumped behind Logan while he was distracted by Spider-Man, wrapped an arm around his neck, and twisted him around just as Dredd opened fire. Logan barely grunted as a slug hit his gut and he never lost his footing, prompting McClane to shout, “What the Hell?” in disbelief. He repaid McClane by cocking his head back, allowing McClane to feel the brunt of the oddly hard skull. He fell to the ground as stars danced across his vision. Logan raised a claw, ready to strike, but was quickly tackled across the street by Spider-Man. Kirby, meanwhile, inhaled, sucking Dredd up in his now-massive jaws. Kirby was surprised when he felt Dredd trying to fight him from within, the inside of his mouth rippling with every kick and punch. It was only a matter of time before he would decide to simply shoot his way out. The Britt came through the fires in the lobby, ready for attack, and Kirby knew it was the right moment. He spat and released Dredd, sending him flying into Brit’s chest; they were both thrown back through the flames and into the destroyed lobby.
Spider-Man slammed Logan against a car, smashing the windows in the process. Seeing Kirby sending Dredd into the Brit, he turned as he pinned Logan’s wrists, “Are they out?” The Brit came back out of the lobby once more and began taking swings at Kirby who began hopping around to avoid him. Logan brought his knee up into Spider-Man’s chin and kicked off the smashed car, pinning him to the ground. Spider-Man quickly rolled onto his back and kicked him across the street.
“Looks like the British guy is still in the game,” McClane said as he held his bloody nose and tried to pick himself off the ground.
“But that guy in the helmet hasn’t come out of the building yet,” Spider-Man jumped into the air as Logan returned with a series of claw swipes.
“So then that means...,” McClane turned and looked to the sky.
Above them, a glowing blue orb exploded in the sky with telekinetic energy. Small its of debris levitated into the air and McClane felt his hair stand on end. Both Logan and Brit stood back from their opponents, confident now that their allies have arrived. The mutant known as Cable and the combat-sorcerer known as Gravel hung in the air and surveyed their surroundings.
“... We’re screwed,” McClane continued.