Authors: Thomas Macri
Tags: #Marvel Junior Novel (eBook)
BACK IN THE
Quinjet, Natasha, Tony, and Steve stood sentry over Loki. Fury radioed in, telling them to get Loki to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. They'd continue the search for the Tesseract later. The main thing was to make sure it wasn't in Loki's hands and that he was kept in a place where he could do no more harm.
Natasha was at the controls, piloting the Quinjet and watching as dark black clouds rolled in over the jet under an otherwise crystal clear sky.
“Where's this coming from?” she said. The clouds began to ripple with lightning, and a low, rolling thunder sounded, rattling the jet.
At first the group thought that Loki was responsible. But that didn't appear to be the case. He looked more nervous than anyone else on the jet.
“What's the matter?” Cap asked. “You scared of lightning?”
“I'm not overly fond of what follows,” Loki replied.
A loud crack of thunder punctuated Loki's remark, and the group could feel something huge and powerful land on top of the jet. Captain America and Iron Man suited up, preparing to respond. From a jet cam, Natasha could see a man in full battle armor that she immediately recognized from S.H.I.E.L.D. files as Thor standing on top of the jet, illuminated by the lightning that crashed around him.
Iron Man ordered the gangway of the Quinjet to be lowered so he could fly out and respond.
“Wait! He might be friendly!” Captain America warned.
“Doesn't matter, if he's come to rescue our prisoner.”
As the ramp began to open and Iron Man prepared to jet out, huge, strong hands wedged into the opening and pried the ramp open the rest of the way.
Stunned, Iron Man held up his hands to fire a repulsor blast, but before he could act, Thor flung Mjolnir at Iron Man, sending him cascading across the Quinjet into Captain America. With Iron Man and Captain America out of commission, Thor grabbed his brother. Mjolnir returned to Thor, who raised it and used it to flee from the Quinjet with Loki in tow.
Iron Man and Captain America looked at each other in disbelief. Then Tony did the only thing there was to do in a situation like thisâhe rocketed out of the ship.
Steve was amazed at the speed at which Tony moved. He grabbed a parachute and strapped it on.
Natasha looked at him skeptically. They were thousands of feet above land, the Quinjet was moving at a supersonic clip, andâas far as she knewâCaptain America couldn't fly.
“Um, maybe you should sit this one out,” she said.
Cap just turned to Natasha, saluted her, and jumped out of the plane.
Meanwhile, the Asgardian brothers had alighted on a mountainside, and Thor, now the more diplomatic of the two, continued his never-ending quest to understand his brother.
“With the Bifrost destroyed, Odin must have used all his power to get you here,” Loki said.
“We thought you were dead. We mourned. Our fatherâ¦”
father!” Loki replied. “Did he not tell you my true parentage?”
“Loki, we were raised together. Played together. Fought together. Do you remember
“What I remember is growing up in your shadow,” Loki said bitterly.
“You must return to Asgard. We will talk to the Allfather.â¦”
“I am not going anywhere. If Asgard can't be mine, then I shall rule over Midgard,” Loki said, becoming increasingly incensed.
“You know nothing of ruling,” Thor shouted back.
Just as the exchange between the two gods was reaching a fever pitch, something shot from the air and plowed into Thor, knocking him clear out of the scene: it was the Invincible Iron Man. Thor responded in kind, and the two heroes battled violently. Tony's circuitry started to go haywire, due to the interference caused by Thor's lightning. Thor wailed upon Iron Man's armor with Mjolnir, rocking Tony with blow after blow. Every time Tony picked himself up, Thor knocked him back down. With every blow, it became more difficult for Tony to pick himself back up. He and his armor were taking a beating, and his armor was shutting down.
Thor was growing weary of Tony's resistance. He had a feeling Iron Man could go on taking a beating all day and never stay down. So Thor raised Mjolnir and summoned all the power available to him, causing a great column of lightning to descend from the skies and jolt Tony's armor with an unearthly clap of power and energy.
Inside Tony's suit, J.A.R.V.I.S. alerted Tony that the lightning had fed the suit with an unprecedented power surge, and his power was now at 400-percent. Tony shot up and blasted Thor with a repulsor blast that knocked the Mighty Thor down and kept the battle alive. Thor picked himself up. Before turning his attention back to Iron Man, he shot a warning glance toward Loki, letting him know he should not even think about trying to flee. Thor wasn't done with him yet.
As the two superpowered beings faced off again, something shot down between them, blocking any further aggression. Tony turned to see Captain America with his shield raised, urging diplomacy.
In response, Thor swung Mjolnir over his head and slammed it at Captain America. But Cap was quick to block the hammer with his shield, resulting in an unearthly sonic BOOM!
All four men on the mountain were knocked back by the shockwave from the collision.
“Are we done here?” Captain America asked as the vibrations subsided.
The three heroes looked over toward Loki, the reason they were battling. The god of mischief smirked. Thor grabbed his brother and brought him back to the Quinjet, where he would force the Trickster to cooperate with S.H.I.E.L.D. It was what needed to be done after what Thor had learned about his brother's desire to conquer Earth.
Once S.H.I.E.L.D. had what it needed from Loki, Thor would return his brother to Asgard, where he was sure to pay for his ways.
BACK ON THE
S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Bruce Banner watched as Loki was locked up in a huge glass cage.
“This wasn't meant for me, you know,” Loki taunted Bruce through the video surveillance. “It was constructed for someone angrier and greener.”
Bruce sensed his heart rate increasing as Loki antagonized him. He breathed deeply to settle down.
Loki hissed at Colonel Fury. He wouldn't be held so easily.
But Fury argued that point. The colonel showed that there was no way out on any of the cell's sides. He flipped a switch and the floor slid open, revealing a glass enclosure over a 30,000-foot drop. If Loki tried to escape, the doors of the glass floor would part, and Loki would plunge to Earth.
Agent Coulson radioed in that the Tesseract, Agent Barton, and Dr. Selvig had been located. The two men had been brainwashed by Loki. With Loki defeated, the effects of his hypnosis were wearing off, and the Tesseract was on its way back to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s carrier.
Loki was trapped and the world was safe, at least for the moment. Thor stood aboard the Helicarrier, waiting to return his brother to Asgard to face Odin's strong arm of justice.
Bruce, Steve, Natasha, and Tony each looked at one another and then over at Thor. None of them could have captured Loki alone. It was only togetherâdespite their rocky startâthat they were able to prevent certain disaster.
This was the first, but surely not the final time that the great Super Heroes of the world had come together and assembled into a team. It was the start of something incredible, invincibleâ¦and mighty. It was the beginning of an initiative that Nick Fury had tried to assemble for years, despite facing obstacles every step of the way. But with the fate of the world, perhaps the universe, hanging in the balance, Earth's Mightiest Heroes had come together to protect, to serve, to defend, and to avenge.
And as Colonel Fury watched Loki contemplate his cell and Thor ready his brother for a trip back to Asgard, he realized that if the world ever again needed them, they would band together again.
Whenever duty called, the Avengers would answerâfor now and forever, fighting for the greatest good and never relenting till the battle was won.