1755The Defenders #73
- May 1, 2010San Francisco, California.
Bobby Drake drove his rented SUV across the Golden Gate Bridge, admiring the waters below. Not such a long time ago, he could have frozen those waters by sheer force of will, his mutant condensation power allowing him to ice over anything he pleased.
Thanks to the Leech virus, this was no longer the case. (1)
Now, he was just plain, ordinary Robert Drake, spokesperson for human/mutant relations. He worked with the X-Men in cases of public relations and meetings with diplomats. He was no longer involved in any combat scenarios.
This suited him just fine, for the moment; he knew he would have to settle down some day, he just hadn't anticipated that day coming so soon. He had been distraught, depressed, at first, upon losing his powers. Now, he was gradually beginning to accept it as a fact of life, and come to terms with being an ordinary human being with no x-factor gene separating him from ninety-nine percent of the population of the planet.
"Just a normal guy on vacation," Bobby chuckled to himself, wondering what he was going to do tonight. Too bad Hank couldn't get off monitor duty with the Avengers, or they could paint the town
Bobby had to swerve out of the way of the car before him as he slammed on the brakes. Whatever was going on had stopped all traffic. Bobby got out of the vehicle and hopped onto the hood to get a better view.
In the middle of the bridge, a giant scorpion, the length of a semi trailer, was snapping its pincers and wagging its tail at the parked cars.
The mysterious DOCTOR STRANGE! The savage WHITE TIGER! The alien RINTRAH! The high-flying VALKYRIE! Evil-doers tremble at the names--for these four form the crux of the greatest NON-TEAM in history, heroes called together only when the need arises--to battle MENACES that threaten the security--or the very LIFE--of the planet Earth!
Dan Gordon Presents: The Dynamic Defenders!
The Defenders #73
Writer: John Flint
Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
Bobby got back in the rented SUV and rummaged through his bags in the back until he found the one he was looking for. It had the gift from Forge that he had asked for. He hadn't planned on making use of it so soon, but when duty called
In under two minutes, Bobby had slipped out of the normal clothing he had been wearing and had slipped on the cold blue costume that had been in the bag. He slipped the mask over his face to protect his identity as he stepped back onto the bridge, resembling Blizzard more than Iceman of the X-Men.
He iced up a bridge over the cars between him and the giant scorpion, and once he had crossed it he saw that another hero was already on the scene. At first he didn't recognize him as he was also wearing new duds.
"Doctor Strange!" Iceman said as he came to a landing on the pavement, happy to be off the ice-slide which wasn't so natural to him as it had been when his own body made it and his feet were made of ice.
Doctor Strange turned to look at him, eyes scrutinizing the unfamiliar costume. Strange was dressed in a sharp blue suit, black tie, and quickly yanked a silver pocket watch from his pocket, opening it up and shining its blinding light at the Iceman.
"Yikes," Iceman said, shielding his eyes with his arms, "I'm a friend! A friend!"
"I apologize, Iceman," Dr. Strange said, "I wasn't sure just who you were at first. I've been out of the loop of late and I don't know who is wearing what anymore."
"Right, it's cool," Iceman said, "So what've we got here?"
"What we have here," Dr. Strange said, "is a giant scorpion. Frankly, I'm surprised you had to ask."
"Where did it come from?" Iceman asked, watching as the scorpion snapped and whipped about but did nothing to actually strike anyone.
"That's what I would like to find out," Strange said, "he means no harm, of course, but given his size, could do considerable damage if let loose in a populated area. Worse, he isn't alone; where there's one "
Iceman watched as Valkyrie loaded up civilians on the back of her winged steed, Aragorn, flying them over the hastily parked vehicles to get them clear of the bridge. Rintrah wrapped several people up in his levitating cloak, carrying several more as the cloak carried them over the scene to safety.
"I thought the Defenders disbanded awhile ago," Iceman said.
"When the need arises," Dr. Strange said, "now, if you could be so kind as to freeze up our friend here, he won't present any problem as we take him home."
"What? You want me to freeze him up?"
"It won't hurt him but it will keep him from lashing out at us," Strange said.
Iceman obeyed, firing his palm freezer-rays at the giant scorpion and slowly slathering it until it was iced over and had stopped moving. "Is it is he okay?"
"Yes, as long as we get him back quickly," Strange said.
"Everyone is safely away," Valkyrie reported as she returned on Aragorn.
"Excellent," Strange said, "I'm going to need you and Rintrah to carry the scorpion back to its island."
"Lead the way, Stephen," Valkyrie said.
A tiny island poked up its head from the waves, and Dr. Strange hovered above it while Rintrah and Valkyrie, still astride Aragorn, lowered the iced scorpion down onto the island. Iceman followed on an ice-slide, which he repeatedly nearly fell off of.
"Here we are," Strange said, "Scorpion Island."
"Never heard of this place before," Iceman said.
"That's because it was never here before," Dr. Strange said, as he used the flames of the Faltine to melt away the artificial ice and the giant scorpion stirred back to life.
The scorpion fled towards a cave, and the Defenders and Iceman watched as several more scorpions, just as large, poked their heads out of the large cavern beneath the island.
"The island rose above the surface recently due to seismic shifts," Strange explained, "the cave system under Scorpion Island protects them from drowning, but when they found they could leave the caves, well, naturally, this one wanted to explore a bit."
"How did you know all this?" Iceman asked.
"The Eye knows all," Strange said with a smile, slipping out his pocket watch again.
"Okay, so now what?" Iceman asked. "Like you said, they aren't evil, but we can't just leave them here, so close to San Fran."
"Whatever we are going to do," Rintrah said, "we had better do it quickly."
The Defenders looked towards the water. "I can feel it," Valkyrie said, able to detect the movements in the waves. "Submarine?"
"Yes," Strange said. "They're going to attack Scorpion Island."
[Inside the sub.]
The Blue Sabres went to work at their stations, prepared to launch missiles that would return the small island to beneath the ocean waves where it, in their opinion, belonged.
`Wait,' a psychic voice commanded, and everyone halted immediately through the sheer force of the voice's will.
The commander stared into the astral image of Doctor Strange, appearing before him as though it were a hologram. "Out of the way, mutant; we're here to protect humanity from those bug-eyed monsters!"
`They're not monsters, they're living beings the same as you or I,' Strange replied, ignoring the mistake of labeling him a mutant. `They mean no harm; give us an hour to relocate them. We'll move them to an island further out to sea, too far for them to swim to shore, and you'll never have to worry about them again.'
"Uh-huh," the commander grunted, "until the Mole Man or Doc Doom gets a hold of them an' sends them to crush the United States!"
`I won't let that happen, I promise you. Please, an hour?'
"Fine, have an hour," the commander agreed, "then we're demolishing your precious scorpions!"
[A half-hour later.]
Iceman, riding Aragorn, flew through the rip in the fabric of spacetime which Valkyrie tore via Dragonfang, thus moving swiftly from one ocean to another, plastering the sea beneath him with a steady ice-bridge which the giant scorpions crossed, with Rintrah riding the scorpion in the lead, having established a mental rapport with her.
A mile ahead, Valkyrie and Doctor Strange waved to them from the beach. Though still carrying the dimension-splitting Dragonfang, Val now wore a pale yellow bikini, Strange in red swimming trunks. The Eye of Agamotto was in a pocket of his suit of levitation, wrapped over a branch of a nearby tree.
The giant scorpions crossed the ice-bridge to Akhnet, and Rintrah patted their queen's head in silent praise.
Iceman set down on the sand and hopped off the winged horse's back, sliding off his mask to enjoy the salty breeze. "Nice place you've got," he said, admiring the Rune Island.
"And thanks to Stephen, animals can live here once more," Val said as the scorpions began to explore their new habitat, crawling into the massive forests full of lush habitation.
"What are they gonna eat?" Iceman asked, scratching his head.
"Akhnet will provide for them," Rintrah said.
"Works for me," Iceman shrugged and laughed.
"While we're all here, I thought we might enjoy ourselves for the afternoon," Stephen said and motioned with two fingers towards something in the forest. A volleyball rolled out onto the beach.
"I'll do the honors," Iceman said, using his gloves to create an ice-net. "Should last long enough for one game, and I can make another when it starts to melt."
"Alright, then," Stephen said, "Val, you're with me."
Rintrah stepped onto Iceman's side of the net, and the game commenced.
1. See Uncanny X-Men #421.
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