Avengers Midwest

Issue #5

A Six Pack of Problems

After a several-hour flight to Colorado, our heroes are closing in on the source of the cosmic energy emissions—when suddenly their quinjet is fired on by missiles! Some quick maneuvers from Lowrider brings the Peregrine in for a shaky landing and the Avengers decide to make the rest of the journey on foot to avoid being shot at.

The road they travel leads them to a gated fence in the middle of nowhere, and when Cadmus tries to approach the gate, he is fired upon by concealed machine gun turrets. A short battle later, Nightshade is able to discover that the turrets are automated… and are the property of SHIELD. Apparently, this is a SHIELD facility that they’ve stumbled onto.

Bypassing the gate leads them to a small hidden town, designed to look like a small town from the 1950s. There are signs of recent battle everywhere, and only a single survivor that they can find, a badly wounded SHIELD agent named Julie August. She informs them that the other agents were captured by a group of superpowered mercenaries called the Six Pack.

Walker and Cadmus have heard of these mercenaries before, though they don’t seem to be traveling with their usual leader, the mystery man called Cable. Instead, they are currently being led by Cable’s second-in-command, Domino. Telling Agent August to stay hidden, they make their way toward the SHIELD facility concealed by the town.

On their way, they hear a gunshot and the sound of a radio cutting out. They choose to investigate and find a green-clad warrior. Calling himself Solo, he radios to his teammates for advice—before blowing up the street with concealed explosives and dropping everyone but Cadmus into the sewers. Cadmus and Solo have a raging battle that ends only when Cadmus knocks a building onto the teleporting mercenary.

In the meantime, the other Avengers are exploring the sewers to get away from the battle over their heads, which might well bury them alive. They find an underground vehicle garage, guarded by two more members of the Six Pack: the career criminal named Anaconda, and the former SHIELD agent turned supervillain called Constrictor.

Deadly battle ensues, with Anaconda doing some damage to Lowrider and Constrictor bruising Nightshade, only for the heroes to turn the tide. Nightshade distracts Anaconda with a bone spur to the back, giving Lowrider the opportunity to punch her lights out, while Walker uses his telekinesis and newfound cosmic powers to drive Constrictor nearly mad with guilt.

Cadmus catches up to the others and they storm the SHIELD base, finding a wrecked hangar filled with hostages guarded by the man-monster Grizzly. The mercenary and Cadmus trade barbs for a moment before Grizzly charges the demigod—almost gutting him in one stroke!

With Cadmus down for the count and the rest of the team still bruised and beaten from their previous encounters, the battle turns desperate. Nightshade leads the SHIELD agents to safety while the remaining heavy-hitters take on Grizzly. In the end, Lowrider shows his Decepticon pride by beating Grizzly to a bloody pulp.

Cadmus is badly wounded and the others recommend that he stay behind for medical treatment, but he pushes on regardless of the pain. They make their way through the facility, using the codes that Walker telepathically stole from Constrictor in order to bypass the subverted security systems, and finally reach the lab at the heart of the complex.

A sole remaining scientist points them the way to follow the villains, who are currently escaping, but Walker and Lowrider have suspicions about his information. They quickly ascertain that the scientist is actually a life model decoy, reprogrammed to give them false directions, and cut through the lab to free the real scientists before pursuing the remaining mercenaries.

The Avengers reach the exit to the surface just as Domino, Solo, and Deadpool are escaping on motorcycles with the object they stole. Lowrider transforms and rolls out, Nightshade and Cadmus on his back, while Walker takes to the air using the Evil Eye’s cosmic power to bring himself aloft.

A heart-pounding chase ensues. Cadmus breaks Deadpool’s neck—but the Merc With a Mouth seems only mildly perturbed by this development. Nightshade tries to use one of her bone spurs to puncture Domino’s tires, but a lucky break sees the spur get stuck in Lowrider’s chassis instead. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Lowrider takes the opportunity to sideswipe Domino’s ride, almost knocking her off her bike. Solo opens fire on the group, spraying bullets wildly.

Fed up with the chase, Walker gives in to the cosmic storm welling up inside him and unleashes the full power of the Evil Eye against the Six Pack. Domino’s motorcycle is blown to scrap, and the mercenary herself knocked cold. Deadpool and Solo stop, ready to fight to the end, but Cadmus sees the object that has fallen out of Domino’s saddlebags—the Siege Perilous, a mystical portal that allows its user to face his own weakness.

Unable to stop himself, Cadmus activates the Siege Perilous, drawing both himself and Walker into its depths. When the magic mirror vanishes, Deadpool and Solo curse their failed payday and grab Domino before teleporting away.

Lowrider and Nightshade are left alone in the mountains, with no idea where their teammates have gone…

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