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SHIELD Stories Part 3 is now up, in Entry #.71 - Obsession!

1. Introduction
2. Love
3. Light
4. Dark
5. Seeking Solace
6. Break Away
7. Heaven
8. Innocence
9. Drive
10. Breathe Again
11. Memory
12. Insanity
13. Misfortune
14. Smile
15. Silence
16. Questioning
17. Bloody
18. Rainbow
19. Gray
20. Fortitude
21. Vacation
22. Mother Nature
23. Cat
24. No Time
25. Trouble Lurking
26. Tears
27. Foreign
28. Sorrow
29. Happiness
30. Under the Rain
31. Flowers
32. Night
33. Expectations
34. Stars
35. Hold My Hand
36. Precious Treasure
37. Eyes
38. Abandoned
39. Dreams
40. Rated
41. Teamwork (Atlantic Edge)
42. Standing Still
43. Dying
44. Two Roads
45. Illusion
46. Family
47. Creation
48. Childhood
49. Stripes
50. Breaking The Rules
51. Sport
52. Deep in Thought
53. Keeping a Secret
54. Tower
55. Waiting
56. Danger Ahead
57. Sacrifice
58. Kick In The Head
59. No Way Out
60. Rejection
61. Fairy Tale - I
62. Magic
63. Do Not Disturb 
64. Multitasking
65. Horror
66. Traps
67. Playing the Melody
68. Hero
69. Annoyance
70. 6.7.%.
71. Obsession
72. Mischief Managed 
73. I Can't
74. Are You Challenging Me?
75. Mirror
76. Broken Pieces
77. Test
78. Drink
79. Starvation
80. Words
81. Pen And Paper
82. Can You Hear Me?
83. Heal
84. Out Cold
85. Spiral
86. Seeing Red
87. Food
88. Pain (or 'How To Maim Your Idiot')
89. Through The Fire 01 89. Through The Fire 02
90. Triangle
91. D.R.O.W.N.I.N.G.
92. All That I Have
93. Give Up
94. Last Hope
95. Advertisement
96. In The Storm
97. Safety First
98. Puzzle
99. Solitude
100. Relaxation
Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: strong language)

[S.H.I.E.L.D. S.T.O.R.I.E.S.]
Episode III
[Obsession]

March 6th, 2013 – Somewhere in Manhattan

“We have a problem.”

In a dark, cold room a woman stood by a window overlooking Manhattan. Her eyes peered out through the blinds, down at the city that never sleeps. It was rapidly approaching six in the morning, but the streets were as busy as ever.

“SHIELD has Gaspar, but that's hardly the worst of it. He detonated a Gamma Sphere. It appears that both he and a SHIELD operative were exposed.”

She waited, pacing back and forth as the person on the other end of the phone spoke. Her face never wavered at the words, but somewhere behind her eyes she seemed annoyed – and worried.

“... No. I don't think that's a good idea. If SHIELD finds out I'm involved I won't be able to help you anymore.”

There was another long silence, and the woman's annoyance only grew. The situation had gone from bad to worse and she knew it was only a matter of time until the SHIELD problem had to be dealt with head on.

“Right now, our best option is the wait and see approach. Think of this as a trial run for the Gamma Sphere project. With any luck, Gaspar will provide the data we need after all, and SHIELD's investigation can die with him.” She waited. “Yes... Good. I'm glad you agree, sir.”

She clicked off the phone, and turned her eyes to a nearby table, where a manilla folder lay open. Inside were photographs and printed pages. The confidential SHIELD personnel files on every member of Avril's team.

SHIELD Regional Field Office, New York
A quarantine sign had been placed over the large black doors to the medical office. Access was now restricted from everyone except for Doctor Aboy and the medical staff. No one had gone in or out in hours.

At the end of the hallway, Musashi leaned against the wall with his usually expressive eyes turned blank and emotionless. Dark circles formed beneath them as he stared at the door, absently reading the quarantine warning over and over again to try to keep his mind occupied so he couldn't think about what was happening on the other side.

“... You're going to drive yourself crazy doing this.”

Avril walked over and placed her hand on Musashi's shoulder. He closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh.

“It's my fault.” Musashi muttered. “We've been partners ever since the Academy. The first thing they teach you is don't leave your partner alone... and I did.”

The blonde closed her emerald eyes for a moment. She knew that Musashi had no idea how close to home his words hit with her. Avril gave a halfhearted smile, the best she could muster under the circumstances, and squeezed his shoulder slightly.

“It's not your fault, Musashi. It's Kardos' fault. He's the one who set the trap and detonated that device.” Avril reminded him.

The dark-haired male just scoffed in response. Just the mention of Kardos name sent anger surging through his body, and he clenched his hand tight. “You really want to help me, Avril? Give me ten minutes alone with Kardos with the camera turned off.”

“We both know I can't do that.” Avril frowned. She understood Musashi's anger and aggravation, but she also knew how important this case was. The mysterious Sphere that had detonated was just one piece of a larger puzzle, and Avril was determined to solve it.

The young Japanese man sighed, leaning back in his chair. The logical portion of his brain told him Avril was right. He knew how important it was to interrogate Kardos. He knew that the mysterious man was connected to something larger, something dangerous – but it was hard to care when his partner was so close to death.

“Avril, we have a problem.” Kasumi poked her head in at the end of the hall and quickly walked towards her teammates. She heard the deep groan as she closed the distance between them.

Avril ran her hand through her hair, feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. One of her team was down and the criminal they'd captured was in just as bad of shape. If he died, then Chloe's pain was for nothing. “What now?” Avril asked exasperatedly.

“Kardos' computer was damaged in the battle at his apartment, but Gizmo and Gadget were able to recover some of the files.” She explained in one quick breath. “I'll spare you the details, but long story short, Tiber Kardos is a fake name. One of several he's been using to travel for years.”

“Makes sense.” Avril nodded. She had always thought it odd that a man like Tiber Kardos – someone who had once worked for Justin Hammer and was believed to be connected to Hammer's treason trial – was able to travel so freely without leaving a record. “What were the other names?”

“Andris Gaal, Gabriel Gaspar and Roman Timar. I've already checked them all, we found records of extensive travel between the United States, Russia, Belarus, Austria, Hungary and Latveria.” Kasumi handed a small tablet to Avril, and then leaned in to press the screen a few times to display the information.

“What's more,” Kasumi continued. “I searched the databases for the spy and law enforcement agencies in those countries to check on the names, cross referencing with Kardos' picture-”

Avril raised an eyebrow. “SHIELD has a wide reach, but Russia and Latveria don't cooperate with us. How did you get access to their files?”

“Let's just say they need to work on their cyber-security.” Kasumi replied with a wicked grin. Then, seeing Avril's unamused expression, she quickly added: “Relax. It's totally untraceable back to SHIELD.”

Avril decided not to comment on Kasumi's obvious illegal actions. It had gotten them the information they needed, after all. “So what's the problem? This all seems like good news.”

“You'd think it would be,” Kasumi sighed. “I did a little more checking and I'm pretty sure his real name is Gabriel Gaspar. I was able to find birth records, school records, everything... but someone went through a lot of trouble trying to hide them, and whoever it was has massive resources.”

“The same kind of resources you'd need to pay a guy like Gaspar to build a robot.” Avril sighed, crossing her arms. “Good work, Kasumi. Keep looking. We need some way to find whoever hired Gaspar.”

The conversation was cut short as the heavy doors of the quarantined lab opened and all eyes immediately went to Dr. Aboy as she stepped out. She was in full protective gear, but was already taking off her mask and gloves. Musashi stood up instantly, turning his attention to her.

“How is Chloe?” Musashi asked at once.

“Stable.” Aboy replied in a matter-of-fact tone. “I've finished all the main testing. There's no risk of gamma radiation contamination from either of them.”

She motioned for them to follow her, and Avril, Kasumi and Musashi did so. Aboy led them down the hallway into a small side room that served as her office, where she walked over and switched on a projection screen. She quickly pulled up a series of files – X-Rays, blood tests and radiation tests.

“It seems like the gamma radiation specifically adhered to their muscles. It's unusual, in that typically gamma poisoning affects the bloodstream. There's a stabilizing agent present that I'm unfamiliar with, but my guess? The Sphere was designed to specifically target a precise amount of gamma radiation into the muscles themselves.” Aboy said slowly, trying to keep the complicated explanation as simple as possible.

“My God...” Avril gasped as she realized the disturbing implications of what the doctor was saying. “Does that mean...?”

“Yes.” Aboy nodded. “The real purpose of the Sphere was to create superpowers.”

Musashi stepped forward and spoke quietly. His eyes were now glued to the door to the medical office, but he aimed his words at Aboy. “... You said Gamma Radiation? Does that mean Chloe is going to... you know... 'go green'?”

“I can say for certain until she wakes up.” Aboy admitted, but quickly added: “However, I doubt it. It seems like this sphere was designed to create someone with super-human strength without the side effects... but I can't be sure.”

Silence hung over the hallway like a shadow cast from a massive figure. Avril closed her eyes, and spoke softly. She did not want to say the words she knew she had to, but she forced them out of her mouth anyway: “Prep Chloe and Gaspar to be transported to the Rig.”

“What!?” Kasumi gasped aloud. “You can't be serious, Avril!”

Avril slowly shook her head. “It's not just protocol, it's a standing order from the Director. Prep them for the rig. I'm going to call the Pentagon and get us on the fly-in list.”

The blonde turned and started down the hallway, eyes aimed away from her team. She felt a heaviness in her heart and hated it. The burden of command was not something she had ever truly desired, and this was a reminder of why.

“Musashi!” Kasumi turned her attention over to the male who had gone deadly silent. She looked at him with wide eyes flooded with concern. “You have to talk some sense into her!”

Slowly, Musashi just shook his head. “... She's right. It's standing orders.”

“How can you even say that?” Kasumi asked incredulously. “You and Chloe have been friends for years, right? You've been sitting outside Aboy's door ever since they brought her in! You haven't eaten, haven't slept... and now you're just going to go along with sending them to The Rig?”

“Don't act like you know me, Kasumi.” Musashi snapped, shaking his head and pushing back the twin-tailed girl as he hurried out of the hallway, fists balled up and quivering with rage. She watched him in confusion as he disappeared out the door at the far side of the room.

No sooner had the door closed before it opened again. In walked Lavan and Didymus, who exchanged puzzled looks. They spotted Kasumi across the room and quickly approached. Lavan tilted his head, scratching his chin. “What's the deal with Musashi?”

“I don't know.” Kasumi shook her head. “... but we have bigger problems. Avril just ordered us to take Chloe and Gaspar to the Rig.”

Lavan's eyes widened, but Didymus raised an eyebrow. The redhead swore loudly, shaking his head and muttering something under his breath. As Lavan walked around in a circle, muttering, Didymus turned his attention to Kasumi.

“I'm unfamiliar with The Rig.” He admitted. “My last assignment was mostly transporting 0-8-4's from where they were found to various SHIELD processing facilities.”

“The Rig is a special medical facility designed for those with Gamma Radiation exposure. Technically it belongs to the military, not SHIELD.” Kasumi explained quickly. “Thaddeus Ross had the place commissioned after the first Hulk incident back in 2005.”

Didymus' eyes widened. “I've never heard of a facility designed to contain The Hulk.”

“It's unique.” Kasumi confirmed with a nod of her head. She snapped her fingers and a black orb with green lighting around it flew towards them. The orb was Gizmo, one of two that Kasumi had invented. She tapped Gizmo once and a holographic projection appeared above it, displaying a facility at sea.

“The Rig was named because it uses a design similar to an oil platform.” Kasumi pointed out the structure that was seemingly out at sea. It was constructed like an oceanic oil rig, with a large platform suspended above the water by four enormous pillars. However, instead of a drilling facility on top, there was a large square building that looked more at home in the business district than out at sea.

“Fascinating...” Didymus admitted. “I suppose the idea was to isolate the Hulk away from the mainland?”

“Partially.” Kasumi nodded. “The facility itself was built to withstand a direct missile attack, and there's only the main entrance and no windows. A few ventilation slits, but no way anything can squeeze out of that place. The idea was if the Hulk was taken there and he went out of control, the support columns could be blown using explosives implanted in them internally.”

Didymus nodded in realization: “Then the facility falls into the ocean and sinks. If it's locked down, there would be no way out... and the ventilation slits would allow water in. Presumably drowning the Hulk, or at the very least keeping him trapped at the bottom of the ocean. One of the better Anti-Hulk strategies I've heard.”

“That was Ross' plan.” Kasumi shook her head. “Of course, after the Battle of New York last year, Bruce Banner has been under SHIELD protection... it's created a lot of friction between SHIELD and Ross' unit.”

A grim chuckle echoed from Didymus' mouth. “And now we get the pleasure of asking Ross to use his facility. That should go over well.”

“Nah,” Lavan finally turned back to the others and shook his head. “Avril's too smart to waste time asking Ross to play with his toys. She'll go to Fury. He can get approval from Ross' superiors.”

“Yes, because I'm sure that will make him less angry.” Didymus rolled his eyes.

Lavan simply shrugged. “Yeah, might create some tensions later on... but we don't have time to play games with Ross.”

The Pentagon
General Thaddeus Ross sat behind his mahogany desk in a tiny room deep within the heart of the Pentagon. A half-empty bottle of Scotch sat on the corner of his desk, sandwiched between a picture of his daughter and a plaque of his medals. An ashtray sat on the corner of the desk, with the stubby remains of a fat brown cigar buried in a pile of gray ashes.

His eyes lazily scanned the dim screen of his computer monitor as suddenly an email arrived in his in-box. Ross leaned forward with confusion on his face. The email address he was currently using was only known to those in his unit. His eyes widened as he noticed an unfamiliar sending and he opened the letter.

Suspect and a SHIELD agent were exposed to Gamma Radiation.
Being moved to The Rig.
Fury went over your head.
Possibility of two new Hulks.
Do you really want that possibility?
Is it worth it to let SHIELD take such a risk?

Ross' eyes widened and he swore loudly to himself. He had always known that Fury was one to get whatever he wanted, but Ross would be damned if he'd allow a third creature like Hulk or Abomination to exist.

He grabbed his phone and quickly placed a call. “Get the team ready. We have a problem.”

The Rig, 11 Miles Off The Coast of New York
The sleek SHIELD helicopter made quick work of crossing the waters and came to hover over The Rig. The wind propelled by the blades pushed hard against the helipad, and a few people in military uniforms and orange vests were waving the helicopter down to a landing. As soon as they had landed, Lavan threw the door open.

Several men in army uniforms dashed forward and Avril shouted over the roar of the helicopter for them to help. The soldiers obliged and quickly aided Didymus and Musashi in unloading two cots from the helicopter and transferring them to waiting wheeled stretchers.

Neither Chloe or Gaspar were awake – IVs attached to the side of their cots kept a constant drip of a powerful sedative in their systems. The soldiers quickly took the stretchers and wheeled them forward, across the windy deck of the rig and towards a large pair of double doors.

The facility in front of them had no windows, and only the one set of doors. They were huge and completely made from metal. One of the soldiers scanned an ID card at a smaller device attached to the side of the wall, and then the doors beside it opened. They wheeled the two inside, while the team followed behind.

The minute the doors closed behind them, all sound from outside the Rig went silent. The helicopter was still spinning noisily beside the helipad, but the inside of the Rig was entirely soundproofed.

“Which one of you is Agent Deveaux?” One of the soldiers quickly approached.

“I am.” Avril stepped forward. “I assume you've already spoken with your superiors?”

The soldier nodded. “Yes ma'am. I've been informed you were coming. I'm Captain Tylor.”

“Thank you Captain. Take the two we brought in to the exam room immediately, and make sure your men don't disturb the IV tubes. We'll need access to the lab and privacy.” Avril quickly laid out her plans. She wanted to keep things as close to the chest as possible. Chloe was one of her own, and Gaspar was a SHIELD prisoner – she didn't want a custody battle with the military.

Aboy hurried to follow the soldiers and the cots into a room behind heavy iron doors. The rest of the team followed Avril and Tylor to a smaller room with multiple monitors.

“This is the CO's room,” Tylor explain as he led the team inside. “We have cameras covering every inch of the Rig. We'll be able to keep an eye on those two and your doctor from here without the risk.”

Kasumi took a seat in the chair in front of the monitors and immediately started typing away at the computer, pulling up a view so they could watch inside the room. Avril stood beside her, with Lavan, Musashi and Didymus stood near the door.

“... You think Aboy will have better luck at this place?” Lavan wondered aloud.

“Well, this place was apparently designed by Ross, and he's more obsessed with this gamma poisoning stuff than anyone.” Didymus shrugged. “It's probably the best chance we have.”

Lavan leaned back against a table, crossing his arms. “That's a good point... Ross is probably a little TOO obsessed. I mean, the guy is an Air Force General who has command of an Army Unit and a facility in the ocean. Dude is just getting himself all kinds of confused.”

“Ross has wide resources when it comes to dealing with the Hulk.” Didymus replied with a frown. “Or at least he did until SHIELD declared Bruce Banner to be a 'friend'.”

One of the redhead's eyebrows went up and a sneaky grin spread across his face. He leaned over to Didymus in curiosity. “Sounds like you think Fury got that one wrong.”

Didymus shook his head. “Don't get me wrong, The Avengers stopped an alien invasion. I've seen the news footage. Hulk saved a lot of lives during the Battle of New York... but he's still a giant, nigh-unstoppable monster that is driven by anger. All it takes is him losing control once and an entire city block can end up rubble.”

“That's a good point.” Lavan nodded as he leaned back, closing his eyes for a moment before opening one towards Musashi, who stood to the right of the two. “What about you, spiky-head? You got an opinion on Big Green?”

Musashi gave a sharp glare back at Lavan, but slowly the anger faded from his face and he let out a hefty sigh. “... You remember back in 2011, when Hulk and Abomination fought in Harlem? Chloe and I were still rookie SHIELD agents then. We were on our way to Manhattan when the call came in about the two giant rampaging monsters.”

He slowly shook his head and stared at one of the monitors. It was showing Dr. Aboy as she leaned over Chloe's bed, drawing blood from her arm. Musashi closed his eyes and quietly continued speaking: “We were re-routed to Harlem. Got there just in time to see some of the action... by which I mean Abomination threw a car at us.”

Musashi gave a slight laugh, but there was no joy in his tone. Only a palpable sadness that emanated from him. “... I thought that thing was going to kill us. Chloe grabbed me and pulled me down behind one of the overturned cop cars. We were both rookies, didn't have a chance against those things... luckily Abomination got too busy fighting Hulk to really pay attention to us again, but...”

His crimson eyes slowly moved back to the monitor. “... I'll never forget that night. I don't think Chloe will either. We saw what Hulk can do close up and personal, and it was scary as hell... the idea that Chloe might end up like Banner or Blonksy... I can't even start to wrap my head around that...”

Lavan placed his hand on Musashi's shoulder and he offered a small smile. It was not the robust and energetic grin the redhead was so famous for... there was an uncharacteristic sadness lurking in the corner of his eyes, but he hid it well. “Listen man, Chloe is Chloe. No matter what. She'll be fine.”

Musashi's eyes stayed glued to the monitor as he exhaled slowly. “I know... I'm just worried about her.”

“We all worry about our friends,” Lavan replied quietly. “Sometimes you just gotta trust that they'll be okay, even when the evidence says otherwise.”

Across the room, Avril stiffened a bit. Although she was not facing them, she could feel Lavan's eyes had just flickered in her direction at those words. She hated the way he did that. Sneaking a comment like that into an unrelated conversation and insuring that she couldn't argue with him for once.

Slowly, she shook her head. There was no time to worry about that. Chloe and Gaspar were the priority today.

“Ma'am,” Tylor suddenly interrupted Avril's thoughts and all eyes turned to him. He was in the corner of the room, and had his phone in his hand. “I'm afraid we have a... situation.”

“What type of situation?” Avril asked as she focused back on the screen. The image of Aboy working over a beaker had not changed. Chloe and Gaspar were still strapped to tables and unconscious.

Tylor shook his head. “I've just received new orders, ma'am. I'm afraid that I have to terminate the testing. You and your team are going to have to leave, immediately.”

All eyes went to Tylor. Musashi started to step forward, but Didymus held him back and shook his head. It was Avril who raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms. “Captain Tylor, I don't know what you're talking about but Director Fury authorized this mission.”

“I just received word from General Ross, ma'am. My new orders are to escort your people out of the facility immediately... and to detain you if you refuse to leave.” Tylor looked strained. The officer's face had twisted up in discomfort and he was sweating from his brow, but he maintained a professional tone.

“Ross...” Avril muttered. How had the General gotten word so fast? She needed this facility, but she couldn't very well defy the Pentagon. With plans of calling Fury already in her head, Avril slowly nodded. “Fine. We'll leave. Have your men take Chloe and Gaspar back to the chopper, we'll go as soon as they're loaded in.”

“Avril!” Musashi growled; but Lavan pulled him back, helping Didymus in keeping him quiet.

Now Tylor shifted uncomfortably, and slowly he shook his head. “... I can't do that ma'am. I'm afraid General Ross explicitly ordered that Miss. Sanchez and Mr. Gaspar are now in Air Force custody, and we're to hold onto them until he arrives.”

The room became extremely quiet. Lavan's eyes widened and Didymus bit his lip. Musashi was shaking as if he was standing in the arctic wearing only his birthday suit. Avril was quiet for a moment, before she shook her head and spoke in a commanding voice.

“That's not happening. Chloe is a member of my team, and Gaspar is a SHIELD prisoner. They are staying with us, Captain.” Avril stated clearly.

Tylor let out a sigh. He had expected that answer, but dreaded it all the same. “Yes ma'am... I thought you'd say that... but General Ross has command over my unit as part of the Thunderbolts Task Force... and I have very clear orders.”

His hand moved down to his holster, unsnapping the covering and letting his fingers slide over the handle of his pistol. “So I'm afraid I have to insist, ma'am. You can leave as ordered, or you can be detained.”

“Please Captain,” Didymus stepped forward – his hands held out to the sides to show he wasn't making any threatening moves. “I understand you've got your orders, but so do we. More importantly, we're all on the same side here. SHIELD and the US military are two sides of the same coin. We're working for the good of the country and mankind... and God knows we have enough enemies out there without making enemies of one another.”

Tylor nodded. “I agree, sir, but I have my orders. Would you ask me to disobey them?”

There was a pause as Didymus stood, and then he slowly shook his head. “... No. I can't ask you to do that.”

“I have a solution.” Lavan said calmly; then he quickly drew the black pistol with the lightning bolt symbol from his holster. Tylor had already draw his pistol and brought it up, but Lavan shot first. Tylor let out a loud groan as a bright spark of electricity surged through his body and he collapsed against the wall, before sinking to the floor.

Tylor twitched several times on the floor and began to drool. Lavan looked down at the electrical pistol and grinned. “God do I love Aboy sometimes. That chick is a freakin' genius!”

“LAVAN!” Didymus roared in shock as he rushed over to make sure Tylor was still alive. He checked the Captain's vitals and soon let out a sigh of relief as he confirmed Tylor was alive, but incapacitated. “You just shot an Army Captain!”

“I tased an Army Captain.” Lavan replied with a shrug.

“Oh well that's perfectly legal then.” Didymus' sarcasm was more powerful than ever before as he stood back up. “You realize Ross is on his way here, and any chance of talking our way out of this just went out the window, don't you!?”

Avril bit her lip. “... I don't think talking to Ross would have helped. I know for a fact that Fury spoke to Secretary Pierce to get permission to use this place. Ross can't resend an order from his boss.”

She walked over and slapped Lavan in the back of his head. “That doesn't excuse you being this dumb, though! Now if Ross gets here before we get out, he'll have us all shot.”

“Then I suggest we get the hell out of here.” Lavan replied.

“What about Captain Tylor? Don't tell me we're just going to leave him twitching on the floor!” Didymus groaned. One look from Avril and Lavan told him that that was exactly the plan, and the newest member of the team sighed deeply. “... I really miss my ship and my non-insane old crew.”

“You get used to it.” Kasumi replied as she turned around in the chair. “By the way, I disabled the alarm systems for the Rig. Nobody knows that Tylor is down, but we need to MOVE. There's over forty soldiers stationed at the Rig and if they find out we tased their CO we are all kinds of screwed.”

“I don't think I want to get used to something like this.” Didymus sighed. He glanced to Avril. “... What are our orders?”

Avril was distraught. A billion thoughts were racing through her mind. Her team had really gotten in over their heads this time and now they just needed to get back. They could straighten things out once they were back at the SHIELD facility... once both her teammate and her suspect were safe in their custody.

She grabbed her phone and called Aboy. On the monitor, she could see Aboy look annoyed as she answered with: “I don't have results yet. This will take some time.”

“We don't have time. Ross is on his way. We had a small incident, bottom line: get Chloe and Gaspar ready for transport and get back to the helicopter. We need to leave, right now.”

Avril hung up and ran her hand through her hair. She closed her eyes for a moment, taking in a deep breath before turning to her team. “Okay. No one knows that Tylor is down. We're going to calmly walk to the exam room, escort Aboy, Chloe and Gaspar to the chopper and get out of here before Ross shows up.”

“We can't.” Didymus shook his head. “We'll need clearance to take off... and Tylor was the one who could authorize that.”

“I know.” Avril sighed. “... but Tylor's men still think I have command, and legally I SHOULD still have command... come on. We need to try.”

Musashi had been quiet the entire time, but now he stepped forward and placed his hand on his holster. “... and if they won't let us take off? We can't shoot our way out.”

“Hopefully we won't have to.” Avril bit her lip.

Air Force Helicopter
“Sir... I have to voice my objections.”

Three Air Force helicopters were quickly flying towards The Rig. The trip from DC to the installation eleven miles off New York's coast was not a short ride, but the choppers were among the best the Air Force had. Fast, heavily armored and well-armed. They were stealth choppers – invisible to radar and remarkably quiet.

'Thunderbolt' Ross glanced over at the Lieutenant who was speaking up to him. The gray-haired man gave a puff on his cigar, and then glanced over at him. “I heard your objections, son. My orders stand.”

“Sir... these are SHIELD Agents. They're on our side.” The lieutenant frowned.

Ross gave a grim chuckle. “Are they? SHIELD is a damn joke. They don't answer to our chain of command. They listen to their beloved 'World Security Council'... and more importantly, SHIELD has been harboring Banner.”

He clenched his fist, crushing the cigar in anger. “I'm not going to let SHIELD start breeding their own damn Hulks. I don't give a damn about some 'Avengers'. This will backfire. This will ALL backfire. I'm not allowing a third monster to be born, not on my watch.”

Ross shook his head. “If these SHIELD Agents won't cooperate, then I'll do what I have to do. I expect you to do the same, lieutenant.”

He leaned back and grabbed the phone from the clip on his belt. He dialed Tylor's number for the fifth time since he boarded the chopper, and once more it went straight to the Captain's voicemail. He swore, and slammed the phone down on the seat next to him.

“Listen up, boys! Tylor isn't responding. At this point we're going to have to assume SHIELD is up to something. We're going in assuming hostility. If those SHIELD bastards don't surrender on sight... take 'em out.”

The Rig
The team hurried down the hallway, but did not run. They knew they had only precious minutes until Ross would arrive – and it could be even less if someone entered the command room and found the unconscious Tylor. Kasumi had switched off the surveillance cameras and override the locks on the doors – except for the command room, which was locked up tight.

Yet all were aware of how suspicious any of those things would be when someone noticed, and as Didymus was quick to remind everyone, it was a matter of when and not “if” someone would notice.

Avril led the group in through the double-doors to the exam room, where the soldiers had prepped Chloe and Gaspar to move.

“My team can take them from here. No need to strain yourselves.” Avril said to the soldiers calmly.

The soldiers nodded, but Didymus took note of the way one of them raised an eyebrow. He was trying not to think about what would happen when Ross arrived and found the Captain unconscious.

Musashi and Kasumi began to wheel Chloe's bed, while Lavan and Didymus pulled Gaspar's. Aboy approached Avril with a skeptical look in her eyes as they walked behind the others.

“What's going on?” Aboy whispered.
“Thunderbolt is on his way.” Avril replied quietly. “He ordered his men to take Chloe and Gaspar into his custody. We had to knock out the Captain so that order couldn't get out.”

Aboy's eyes widened behind her glasses and she groaned. Usually the scientist was one for the calm and logical approach, but now her head was swimming. “Avril are you insane?”

Avril just shook her head. “I'm not losing a member of this team, Doctor. Not to our enemies or our allies. I've lost enough friends.”

They turned to a long, narrow hallway that led to the entrance doors. There were two heavily-armed soldiers on either side of the doors, but neither looked suspicious at all. Avril felt her heart pounding, but she ignored the nervousness building inside her and quickly stepped forward.

“We're heading back to SHIELD. Open the door.” She commanded.

“Yes ma'am.” One of the soldier s moved to comply, when suddenly there was a low groan from behind Avril. She turned in time to see Gaspar moving on the table. Didymus and Lavan looked on in surprise as the unconscious man start to groan and began to thrash around. Avril's eyes fell onto Gaspar's wrist and she saw that the IV had fallen out – probably when they had been in such a rush to move him.

Avril dashed forward and grabbed the IV that hung loosely from the side of the cot and quickly grabbed it, but she had never placed a IV line before. “ABOY!” She yelled out.

In one quick motion Aboy grabbed the IV from Avril and went to work looking for the proper place to insert it, but Gaspar's eyes opened and he sat up and began screaming at the top of his lungs. Lavan reached to hold Gaspar down, but with one hand the sixty-plus year old man picked Lavan up off his feet and tossed him down the hallway.

“Definitely got super strength from the Orb.” Aboy noted as she took a step backwards.

Everyone went for their guns, but Gaspar was moving rapidly. He had broken free of the restraints and jumped off the cot. Didymus, Avril and Musashi all shot him with their electric guns – but Gaspar just roared in pain as threw the bed at them, pinning Musashi beneath as he turned and went dashing down the hallway.

“Higher setting!” Aboy yelled. “The electric guns have three settings, go to Orange!”

Gaspar had already turned the corner at the end of the hall and was out of sight. The soldier s ran forward and helped Musashi and Lavan back to their feet, as the rest of the team moved the dials from the Yellow non-lethal to the Orange level.

“Orange can be lethal to normal people, but I don't think Gaspar counts anymore.” Aboy explained as she too prepped her pistol.

Musashi groaned, rubbing his aching side. “We don't exactly have time for this! We need to get Chloe to the chopper!”

A growl of frustration echoed from Avril. She knew that Musashi was right. If they were going to get Chloe to safety they needed to be gone before Ross arrived – but now their super-strong suspect was running free through the base. “soldier s! Sound the alarm, get everyone looking for Gaspar – but we need him ALIVE!”

“Sorry ma'am,” The soldier  shook his head. “We have standing orders that anyone with powers like that is to be put down if they get out of control.”

The other soldier  was already sounding the alarm on the wall. Alarms were sounding throughout the base, and the entire security team was jumping into action. Kasumi's eyes widened in fear at this, and she ran to Avril's side and leaned close, whispering in her ear: “Someone will head to the command room and find Tylor!”

The soldier s turned and dashed down the hall, their task complete. They were eager to rendezvous with the rest of their unit and start the hunt for Gaspar.

“We can't just let Gaspar run loose.” Avril frowned in response. “He's our responsibility, we need to secure him.”

“What about Chloe?” Musashi growled, as he turned towards the two. “If we don't get out of here...”

A few feet away, Didymus had opened the doors and looked outside – and he suddenly groaned and quickly closed them, turning to the rest of the team and shaking his head. “Too late. Three Air Force choppers are on the horizon. They'll be here in less than three minutes... and they're already within firing range.”

“So even if we board the chopper now, Ross could blow it out of the sky. Perfect.” Avril sighed deeply as she leaned against the wall. She quickly grabbed her phone and dialed Fury's number. “Come on, we need to get out of this hallway. We find a room, barricade ourselves inside and hope we can hold out long enough for Fury to tell the Council about Ross.”

“What about Gaspar?” Aboy asked grimly. “There's no telling what other super-human abilities the Orb could have given him. It's impossible to know if Ross' team even has a chance against him.”

Avril slammed her fist against the wall. “I know, okay? A lot of good people could lose their lives because of Ross' damn obsession with everything related to Hulk... but MY job is protecting this team. Now come on!”

The team turned and ran down the hall. Musashi and Kasumi stayed on either side of Chloe's cot, steering it as quickly as they could. Halfway down the hallway Didymus pointed out a door on the side and the team hurried through, ending up in a small conference room.

“Not exactly an idea spot.” Avril frowned.

Suddenly the alarm cut off, and a voice came over the Rig's PA system. “This is General Thaddeus Ross to all personnel. The SHIELD Agents on base have violated protocol and are attempting to harbor a dangerous monster. Consider this your ONLY warning. Lay down your weapons, get on your knees and place your hands over your head. We will take any other action as a sign of aggression and open fire on sight.”

“Oh come on,” Didymus groaned as he leaned against the wall. “I expected Ross to be mad, but is he really going to order his men to gun down federal agents?”

“He just did.” Lavan sighed. “There's what, fifty, heavily armed soldier s on this base? Plus the three choppers full of special forces Ross just brought with him? I'm not liking our odds.”

Avril was dialing her phone, but she quickly scowled and dropped her arms at her side in frustration. “Ross must have a signal jammer active. I can't get through to anyone. Kasumi! Can Gizmo and Gadget-?”

“Nope.” Kasumi turned towards the blonde and shook her head. “They're advanced tech, but they use the same signals as the rest of SHIELD tech. If your priority phone is blocked so are they.”

While the others groaned in hushed tones, Aboy was looking down at the tablet in her hand. Suddenly she started speaking to the team: “Gasper was resistant to our stunners, but he didn't turn green. His muscle mass didn't grow. He looks the same. I'm guessing he's not as strong as an actual Hulk, or as resistant to bullets. It's entirely possible that Ross could gun him down.”

“Good to know he's not as unstoppable as Banner, but that doesn't exactly help our situation.” Didymus frowned. Since joining SHIELD, Didymus had faced the prospect of death from terrorists, aliens and super-powered beings... but the idea of being gunned down by the Air Force seemed stranger than any of those.

“We have to assume Ross has people stationed by our chopper. He's probably taken the pilot into custody already... or worse.” Lavan hissed. “There has to be another way out of this place.”

Aboy just sighed. “It's a prison designed to hold the Hulk. It was specifically designed to only have one way out – and Ross has that blocked. The chopper is our only chance.”

“Well, there's six of us who are conscious and we're armed with stunner pistols. There's over seventy heavily-armed soldiers under Ross' command, all with the best training and weaponry the military has.” Didymus pointed out. “I hope you're not suggesting we can fight our way out.”

As if on cue there was suddenly an explosion in the distance, followed by the sound of automatic weapons fire... and then screams. The gunfire continued on, but slowly it started to get quieter – as if fewer guns were still firing.

“... One of Ross' teams must have found Gaspar.” Kasumi gulped. “And from the sound of things... they're not doing so well.”

“Maybe Gaspar is more bullet-proof than we thought.” Lavan growled.

Didymus was practically shaking. “... We can't just sit here! Ross might be insane, but his men are just following orders. They're going to be butchered by Gaspar and we're the ones responsible!”

“You're right.” Avril replied quietly as she stood up and drew her pistol. “Okay, here's the plan. Kasumi and Aboy will transport Chloe to the helicopter. If Ross has men stationed at the chopper you'll have to disable them – non-lethally, of course. Musashi, Lavan, Didymus... we're going to help Ross whether he likes it our not. We'll stop Gaspar and hopefully not take a bullet from the Air Force while we try.”

“Sounds like a shitty plan.” A weak female voice suddenly cracked. All heads in the room turned to behind them, where the cot was sitting against the wall. Chloe was leaning up, her eyes barely open as she pulled the IV out of her arm. “... Of course I have no idea what's going on, so who am I to judge?”

Instant Aboy rushed to Chloe's bedside and tried to push her back down, while Musashi ran to the opposite side of the bed and grinned like an idiot.

“About time you woke up.” Musashi snickered.

“Shuddap, Miho.” Chloe shook her head. She gave Musashi a playful shove – but it was forceful enough to send him falling backwards to where he tripped over the edge of the table and ended up on the ground, groaning and rolling in pain. “Shit, you okay?”

Aboy groaned a bit and placed a hand gently on Chloe's shoulder. “Chloe, listen to me. You were exposed to Gamma Radiation... I think you might have... super-human strength.”

“... Cool.” Chloe grinned up at the doctor.

Somewhere In Manhattan
“What the hell did you do?”

The private office looked like it could belong to any major business in New York. The carpet was impeccable, the walls were crisp and white and the solid oak desk that sat by the window was easily worth a thousand dollars by itself.

The moment the angry woman walked in, the man behind the desk simply looked up and gave a slight sigh. He leaned back in his chair as he stared at the woman in front of him.

“I anonymously tipped off General Ross. It's well known that his obsession with all things related to Gamma Radiation mutation causes him to cross the lines. He will dispatch the SHIELD Agents who have become a nuisance lately and we can get back on track.” The man replied with a grin.

He was a short man with dark hair and tan skin. He wore an impeccable business suit, but his face was filled with stubble that betrayed his businessman persona.

“I told you, we can't just kill an entire SHIELD Team! You think Nick Fury is stupid?” The woman growled, slamming her fist onto the desk.

The man behind the desk raised an eyebrow. “You've gone to great lengths to protect that SHIELD team. It's enough to make me question where your loyalty truly is.”

The woman's eyes narrowed. “I'm tired of these games! I've proven myself to this organization time after time! If it wasn't for me you wouldn't even have a hold in Latveria! It's because of my past with SHIELD that I know how dangerous they are. You underestimate Fury at your own peril.”

“I do not underestimate Nick Fury or SHIELD.” The man shook his head. “And you should not underestimate this organization.”

The Rig
“Damn it!” Ross slammed his fist against the wall in frustration. The aged General was pacing back and forth in a hallway that was littered with bullet holes, blood and the bodies of his team. The wounded were already being pulled back to a side room, while the dead were left where they fell for the moment.

His team had taken up positions outside the doors to the exam lab. Most of them had taken defensive spots, rifles aimed towards the door. A few were setting up explosives near the door.

“How long until we can blast our way in?” Ross grumbled to his lieutenant.

“Sir, these doors were designed to hold Hulk. I'm not sure we can blast our way in.”

Ross grumbled once more. He closed his eyes and then glanced around at the dead. “I lost too many... screw it. We shouldn't have even tried. This is all those damn SHIELD bastards fault... give the order! Get everyone back to the helicopters! We're going to blow the rig and let that monster – and the SHIELD idiots who unleashed it – all drown!”

[…]
“Are you sure you're up for this, Chloe?”

In the minutes since Chloe had woken up, the team had quickly briefly her on what happened and the situation they were now in. Chloe was quiet at first, and eventually merely asked what she could do to help them survive.

“I'm positive.” Chloe nodded to Avril. “My head feels like I drank an entire keg by myself, but I'm pretty eager to try out this super-strength thing. Besides, what other choice have we got?”

“None.” Kasumi turned to the others. “I was able to remotely access the command room with Gadget. I could only get the surveillance cameras back on and it's NOT good. Ross' men are pulling out.”

Didymus raised an eyebrow. “I take it that means Gaspar proved stronger than they – or we – anticipated.”

“I'd say so judging from the bodies.” Kasumi shook her head quietly. “He took a much larger dose of Gamma Radiation than Chloe did, so he's probably stronger. It looks like he was injured, though, and barricaded himself into the exam lab.”

Lavan's eyes widened and he groaned. “Ohhhh geez. This place was designed to be sunk in an emergency, wasn't it? How much you want to bet that's why Ross is high-tailing it out of here. He's going to collapse the supports and send us all down to the bottom of the ocean!”

“So basically our options are to be shot or drowned?” Didymus groaned, running his hand through his hair. “I'm starting to get Deja Vu from when my ship sank.”

“There's another way.” Kasumi looked to the others. “There are maintenance tubes running underneath the Rig, they lead down the support columns. According to the maps Gadget downloaded from the commander's computer, there's an escape sub at the bottom of the south-most support column.”

Aboy raised an eyebrow. “Why didn't you mention that sooner?”

“The only way into the maintenance tubes is through a hatch on the floor... and we'd need heavy machinery to open that hatch. Or at least we would have...” Kasumi turned her eyes towards Chloe, who gave a grin.

“You would have if I wasn't even more awesome now?” Chloe laughed. Then her face fell a bit and she sounded unusually serious. “... Of course, I don't know if I'm actually strong enough to do that...”

The team hurried out of the conference room, Didymus and Lavan leading the way with their pistols drawn. The others followed behind them closely as they rounded the corner and came to a long hallway. Kasumi pointed excitedly to the middle of the hall, where a small round hatch was attached to the floor.

“There!” She called out.

The sound of a massive explosion echoed throughout the halls and suddenly the Rig began to shake violently. The team were all thrown to the ground in a heap, and all quickly struggled to straightened up and scrambled to their hands and knees.

“Damn it! Ross started the collapse!” Avril yelled. “We need to HURRY!”

Chloe scrambled forward and grabbed the hatch. She tugged with all her might – and to her surprise she easily ripped the hatch right off the floor, tearing the steel hinges apart as if they were made from paper. “I should get doused with weird radiation WAY more often!”

“How about no?” Didymus groaned.

The hatch led to a cramped crawlspace that ran beneath the metal floor. Lavan was the first one in, follow by Chloe, then Musashi, Didymus, Kasumi, Aboy and Avril bringing up the rear. They hurried down the narrow passageway, each having to stoop down as they walked.

After nearly a hundred feet they came to another hatch. Chloe squeezed past Lavan and kicked it open in one swift motion, revealing a small ladder that extended downwards. One by one the team started down the ladder, as fast as they could climb. The building start to shake around them, the support structures weakening by the moment.

“HURRY!”

The ladder they headed down was starting to shake so badly it was becoming almost impossible for anyone to keep their grip. Explosions echoed from the Rig above them, and the helicopters began to speed away from the facility.

“Shit! Ross' people are pulling out, which means they're going to initiate the final phase and blow the support columns!” Lavan yelled over the roar of the wind and the sound of the booms above their heads.

“We're almost there!” Avril called out to the others.

As the Rig came crashing down, the team managed to make it into the small harbor beneath the support structure and into the submarine docked there. The submarine sped away as the Rig sank down into the murky depths...

SHIELD Regional Field Office, New York
“I am SO GLAD you knew how to pilot a sub!” Lavan laughed as he raised a glass of alcohol to Didymus.

The brown-haired newest member of the team just shook his head and declined the glass offered to him. “Learning to pilot a submarine was a requirement for commanding a ship... and I'm afraid I'll decline the wine. I don't feel much like celebrating.”

The team had gathered in the office, everyone sitting around their various desks. While Lavan was trying to get a celebration started for Chloe's recovery, the rest of the team was looking quite glum.

“We stunned an Army Captain, a prisoner in our custody killed half a dozen Air Force soldier, and we destroyed a three billion dollar military facility.” Avril snapped. “Not exactly a day to celebrate, Lavan.”

Lavan frowned over at the blonde. “Geez... now you're starting to sound like-”

The door at the far end of the room was suddenly thrown open so hard it slammed into the wall and caused nearly everyone to jump. All eyes went to the door – and then those eyes widened. The entire team jumped to their feet at the sight of the extremely angry man who was stomping towards them.

“Maybe this is my fault. I admit I didn't think I had to tell one of my teams not to get into a gunfight with the AIR FORCE!” Nick Fury roared, a vein protruding on his bald head. The Director of SHIELD stared at the team with his eye narrowed dangerously.

Lavan cleared his throat. “It wasn't actually a gunfight, just a single shot.”

“Shut the hell up,” Fury snarled as he rounded on Lavan. “You of all people should know a lot better than to antagonize me, Agent Razy. Or is this your way of volunteering to go work the night shift guarding Blonsky's cryo-cell in the underground prison in Alaska?”

Lavan went silent.

Fury rounded on Avril. “I expected better from you, Agent Deveaux.”

“I take full responsibility, sir.” Avril replied automatically. She knew that the mess had hit the wall, and she needed to step up as the commander. “... But for what its worth, none of this would have happened if General Ross hadn't tried to shut us down. It was in our panic to get out that Gaspar was able to wake up.”

“You know, I should be more upset about Gaspar. I should be pissed that now I have to go explain to the World Security Council and President Ellis why the hell one of my teams was trading fire with the Air Force... but you know what? I can deal with that. I can deal with ALL of that. I just have one question.”

Fury turned away from the team, walking towards the door before he stopped. He turned and looked back at the team, a quizzical expression on his face. “Who the hell told Ross about Gaspar and Sanchez? Hmm? Because I didn't authorize anyone to call the Pentagon.”

Silence fell across the room. Avril raised an eyebrow. “I assumed that Ross heard about it when you went over his head to get us use of the facility.”

Fury shook his head. “I called Alexander Pierce and asked him directly. I doubt the Head of the World Security Council decided to turn around and screw SHIELD.”

The silence increased. No one spoke. The Director was living up to his namesake at the moment. Fury clenched his jaw, and then slowly exhaled. “... I'm asking Agent Rica from DC to step in and conduct a full investigation of your team, Agent Deveaux. Until his investigation is complete, all of you are on desk duty. That means your weapons go in the lock-box until I say otherwise.”

Fury walked out the door without another word, leaving the team to sit in utter silence and disappointment.

March 7th, 2013 – New York Apartment Complex
“What are you doing out here, Miho?”

Musashi nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard Chloe's voice. He had believed he was totally alone – standing on the rooftop of his apartment building, a cold wind blowing as the clock struck midnight.

The male just shook his head as he turned around to face Chloe. “I don't know. I guess I can't sleep after today.”

“Yeah, somehow I can relate to today being weird.” Chloe rolled her eyes as she walked over and leaned against the railing beside him. “... I heard you stayed by my bedside the other night. You still got a thing for me, Musashi?”

An actual laugh erupted from the Japanese man as he shook his head. “Don't go dragging ancient history back up. I just... I was thinking a lot today about-”

“Harlem?” Chloe cut him off, raising an eyebrow. “When I totally saved your ass from being stomped by Abomination?”

Musashi sighed. “I was worried, okay? I just... you might be a monster in a lot of ways, but I didn't want you to become like Banner or Blonsky.”

“You sure? I hear Banner's clothes tend to come off when he transforms.” Chloe smirked.
“Turns out I'm just not that into green boobs.” Musashi shrugged.

Chloe rolled her eyes. “You know, normally I'd punch you for that miho... but I don't want to break your arm.”

“You are just going to be insufferable with this super-strength thing, aren't you?” Musashi groaned.

Chloe just grinned, and after a few seconds the two broke out into laughter. It echoed in the dark sky for several minutes, before finally dying down and fading away. Neither of them said a word, they each simply walked back to the doors of the roof and returned to their respective apartments.

Elsewhere in the building where each of the team was staying, Avril too was still awake. Sitting at her computer and staring intently at a very old photograph on the screen. It was of herself and another woman, each wearing a SHIELD Uniform and standing proudly in front of the logo at the SHIELD Academy.

“... I'm really starting to hate command.” Avril sighed. “I used to think the hardest job in the world was trying to cheer you up after a day like today... now I'm starting to wonder who is supposed to cheer me up...”

71. Obsession
Previous Episode: 70. 6.7.%.
Next Episode: -coming soon-

Took me a while to actually write this one, but it was a lot of fun! We now have one member of the SHIELD Team with Superpowers! Who could have possibly expected that - except probably everyone.

Fun fact: Captain Tylor is actually a reference to a really hilarious anime called "The Irresponsible Captain Tylor". Though this Tylor was nothing like the one in that. And don't worry, Tylor will make a full recovery off-screen.

[Credits]

Avril Deveaux (c) :icondarkphazon395:
Chloe Sanchez (c) :iconangel-star727:
Kasumi Yagami (c) :icontuxedomoroboshi:
Aboy Spork (c) :iconagodofirony:
Didymus (c) :icontheviditoflight:
Lavan K. Razy (c) :icondarklordsaifer:
Musashi Miyamoto (c) :icongoldensama:

Nick Fury, Thaddeus Ross, SHIELD, The Avengers and all other Marvel characters and concepts (c) Marvel & Disney
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34/100

Chrom's worst day makes a new update in #13. Misfortune!

1. Introduction - fav.me/d35rrju
2. Love
3. Light
4. Dark
5. Seeking Solace
6. Break Away - fav.me/d3f7o6e
7. Heaven
8. Innocence
9. Drive - fav.me/d7xcjzc
10. Breathe Again
11. Memory - fav.me/d7mow9m
12. Insanity - fav.me/d3f7sj8
13. Misfortune - fav.me/d7xxr0q
14. Smile
15. Silence
16. Questioning - fav.me/d6agwxg
17. Bloody - fav.me/d64v44o
18. Rainbow
19. Gray
20. Fortitude
21. Vacation - fav.me/d48dqvc
22. Mother Nature
23. Cat - fav.me/d47b1jy
24. No Time
25. Trouble Lurking
26. Tears
27. Foreign
28. Sorrow
29. Happiness
30. Under the Rain
31. Flowers - fav.me/d3fecfv
32. Night
33. Expectations
34. Stars
35. Hold My Hand - fav.me/d650kqk
36. Precious Treasure
37. Eyes
38. Abandoned
39. Dreams - fav.me/d3km0d1
40. Rated
41. Teamwork - fav.me/d6z9fs6
42. Standing Still
43. Dying - fav.me/d3fgqmb
44. Two Roads
45. Illusion
46. Family
47. Creation
48. Childhood - fav.me/d49z5zz
49. Stripes
50. Breaking the Rules - fav.me/d6x8hhf
51. Sport - fav.me/d7xblam
52. Deep in Thought
53. Keeping a Secret
54. Tower
55. Waiting -fav.me/d6y9oyr
56. Danger Ahead - fav.me/d3fe2ad
57. Sacrifice
58. Kick in the Head - fav.me/d7nftek
59. No Way Out - fav.me/d7nja8s
60. Rejection
61. Fairy Tale - (I) fav.me/d3g2jcy
62. Magic
63. Do Not Disturb 
64. Multitasking
65. Horror
66. Traps
67. Playing the Melody
68. Hero - fav.me/d7x0pe2
69. Annoyance
70. 67% - fav.me/d7fgnl2
71. Obsession
72. Mischief Managed - fav.me/d35rucu
73. I Can't
74. Are You Challenging Me?
75. Mirror
76. Broken Pieces
77. Test
78. Drink - fav.me/d3f80pk
79. Starvation
80. Words
81. Pen and Paper - fav.me/d3fhe54
82. Can You Hear Me?
83. Heal
84. Out Cold
85. Spiral
86. Seeing Red - fav.me/d4vw565
87. Food
88. Pain - fav.me/d7m83j1
89. Through the Fire - (I) fav.me/d4ma4kv (II) fav.me/d4ma4n4
90. Triangle
91. Drowning - fav.me/d7f1x0e
92. All That I Have
93. Give Up
94. Last Hope
95. Advertisement - fav.me/d4j1jyx
96. In the Storm - fav.me/d3jtkvr
97. Safety First
98. Puzzle
99. Solitude
100. Relaxation
Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: sexual themes)
“Frederick, do you never tire?” Chrom sighed as he looked up at the stalwart knight who had always been at his side. He knew that Frederick was the finest knight in all of Ylisse – a man who took his sense of duty and honor to extremes beyond the pale.

He had spent the last several minutes listening to Frederick's report. The Knight had been busy, patrolling the camp, inspecting the weaponry, reinforcing tents, procuring supplies... Chrom was both impressed and a little worried at just how far Frederick went, not just to protect the camp, but to make everyone's lives easier.

“Of course not, milord. I am here to serve.” Frederick replied, and then a look of remembrance crossed his face. “Ah, and one final thing: I've taken measures to raise troop numbers and morale. I had an artisan create posters emblazoned with your noble image. It's milord in a bold pose – naked, save a scale in one hand and a sword in the other. And at your feet, I scrawled our new recruiting motto: 'Chrom Wants You!' I had them pinned inside each and every tent. Surely the troops will be thrilled to rally behind their common leader, milord.”

There was a brief silence as Chrom's brain made sense of this information. For a few fleeting seconds, he clung to the hope this was all just a joke – but then he remembered that Frederick never joked.

“... Wait. You did what?! In whose... You hung this pict... In EVERYONE'S tent?!” Chrom looked stunned, his eyes wide as saucers.

“No need for thanks, milord. Merely doing my duty. And that concludes my report. Rest well, sire!” Frederick gave a bow and then walked out of Chrom's tent without a second glance back at his the blue-haired prince.

“F-Frederick! Wait! We really need to... talk. … Oh, gods. I've got to tear those posters down before anyone sees them!”

The young prince, normally a bastion of composure bound from his tent like a mad drunkard at closing time. He began to run through the camp, bursting into the tents of his fellow soldiers and scrambling around like mad to find – and destroy – the posters.

The first tent he jumped into belonged to Stahl, a loyal knight who had long served the Shepherds. As he burst inside, he saw Stahl sitting at his desk and writing a letter – and the moment the messy-haired knight spotted Chrom he just shook his head and turned red.

“Um... sir... that poster... it's not, like, a rule that we have to have that hung up, is it? I'd really rather not have that on the wall all night...” Stahl rubbed his neck awkwardly, clearly afraid to offend the future King he had sworn allegiance to.

Chrom just uttered a foul groan as he grabbed the parchment from the wall and ripped it down, crumbling it in his hand before rushing out of the tent without even attempting an explanation. He needed to get the rest of the posters before anyone else saw them!

The next tent he spotted belonged to Sully and Chrom jumped inside without a moment's thought – only to end up with a fist slammed down square in the middle of his nose. He fell backwards, letting out a loud grunt as he clutched his nose, feeling the trickling of sticky blood as it oozed down between his fingers.

“Oi! Chrom, what the HELL, man?” Sully growled as the curly redheaded tomboy stared daggers at him, her fist clenched tight – and her armored gauntlet still on. “You shouldn't just jump into a lady's tent, especially not after you hung your porn in here!”

“It's not porn!” Chrom groaned. “And I didn't hang it! It was Frederick! He's trying to raise the troop's moral!”

Sully started to laugh and slapped her knee, shaking her head. “You sure Frederick ain't trying to raise something else? Actually, looking at the picture, maybe the artist should have raised your moral.”

“STOP TALKING.” Chrom shouted as he ripped the poster from her wall and crumbed it like he had the first. He stuffed it into the bag strapped to his belt and then ran out of the tent. Normally the idea of rushing out of a woman's tent in the middle of the night with a nosebleed would have been unthinkable to Chrom, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

He dashed down the dirt embankment towards the next tent, well-aware that his shirt was quickly getting covered in droplets of blood. As he rushed to the flap of the tent, someone unexpectedly stepped out and Chrom crashed right into them, falling backwards into the dirt.

“Lord Chrom!” Virion declared loudly as he looked down at the prince. “You have my apologies, although I fear that I must demand an apology from you as well! While it is true I have many nude portraits hanging on the walls of my tent, if you had looked closely you would notice none of them are men. So I must insist you remove that picture you hung of yourself!”

Chrom did not feel like arguing, especially not with Virion of all people, so he just jumped up and pushed past the ruffled archer. Inside the tent he indeed found all manner of nude portraits on the walls, but his focus was entirely on the poster Frederick had hung. He grabbed it and ran out the opposite side of the tent.

As he stumbled back out into the cold night air, Chrom looked up to see two me standing in the road. The first was the hulking, shirtless form of Vaike – and the second was the smaller Donnel. Both were staring at him and shaking their heads.

“Wow, milord, I didn't know this was the kind of stuff y'all big city fellers did to raise moral.” Donnel shook his head.

“Chrom. Bro. The Vaike loves you in a platonic way. You know the Vaike will swing a lot of things. Axes, Swords, Spears, Maces, Clubs... but the Vaike don't swing that way.” Vaike rambled, before he tossed more wadded-up balls of parchment at Chrom's feet.

As Chrom picked up the parchment balls to stuff them into the recesses of his bag, he noticed there were three. Despite his condition and his eagerness to get the rest of the posters down before they were seen, his curiosity got the better of him.

“Why are there three posters but only two of you? Oh, gods, did Frederick start hanging multiple posters!?” Chrom felt like he could cry.

He heard a third distinct voice clear his throat and Chrom turned to the right, and then uttered a sharp gasp when he spotted a third person. An enormous man in massive plate mail armor.

“Oh, Kellam...” Chrom finally recognized the third man. “When did you get here?”

“... I was here the whole time... I was even here before Vaike and Donnel...” Kellam sighed, shaking his head. “... would people notice me more if I hung up naked posters, do you think?”

Chrom decided it was best not to answer. He had more important tasks at hand. He turned and sprinted off towards the next set of tents, when his heart sank – the next tent was Lissa's. He hoped and prayed that his younger sister had not yet returned to her tent, but as he pushed through the flap he was greeted by the overwhelming sound of laughter.

Lissa was indeed in her tent, rolling around on the floor and laughing hysterically. She had one hand on her side, and in the other she held the poster. As she noticed Chrom through tear-filled eyes, she just laughed even harder and held out the poster to him.

“Lissa...” Chrom sighed as he snatched the poster away from his sister. He turned to leave – only to see an extremely angry looking Maribelle blocking his path. She held her umbella firm in her hands, and skewered at the tip of the parasol was another poster.

“Lord Chrom! I must say I am simply disgusted by this lurid display! You are to be our King – the noblest of all nobility! A good noble – especially a KING – should never so flagrantly display his... his... crown!”

“Heeeeey!” Lissa suddenly sat up and pouted, her laughter coming to an abrupt halt. “Don't call that a crown! I get a crown too, and I sure as heck don't have one of those!”

It took all of Chrom's willpower not to scream. He snatched the poster from the end of Maribelle's parasol and rushed past her without a word. He could hear her yelling things at him, but Chrom did not want to stop to hear any of it.

Chrom was running so blindly he lost his way and ended up back beside his own tent. Just as he was about to turn around and reembark on his quest to find the posters, he heard footsteps and in an instant Lon'qu appeared from the side of his tent. The foreign swordsman looked enraged.

“Chrom!” Lon'qu growled as he ran over. “Just because I'm afraid of women doesn't mean I want to look at pictures of your junk!”

The prince groaned loudly, rubbing his hand through his blue hair. “It's not like that! This is all one big misunderstanding... where's the poster Frederick put in your tent?” Chrom made sure to distance this idea from being his.

Lon'qu looked skeptical, but merely shrugged his shoulders. “I sliced the offending drawing into pieces and let them blow away on the wind.”

“Good enough.” Chrom shrugged and he turned and rushed off, just as Lon'qu gasped and started shouting something else at him. Chrom knew he would have to explain things to everyone tomorrow, but right now he just wanted to get the rest of the posters and hope he could spare himself any further embarrassment.

Chrom's dash was interrupted after just a few feet, this time by Libra. The fair-haired man stepped out in front of Chrom, forcing the prince to stop in his tracks. For once, Libra's calm and gentle demeanor seemed broken.

“Sire, I must protest!” Libra shook his head. “I am a PRIEST! I cannot have such a picture hanging in my tent! It must be a holy place, free from such lurid thoughts!”

Libra handed a neatly folded poster to Chrom, who snatched it up and crumpled it badly as he forced it into his bag. Libra looked confused, but Chrom wasted no time in dashing off. He didn't want one more person to see these posters, but he had a feeling the damage was already done.

He threw open the next tent's flaps and found Miriel, who was sitting at her table, holding the poster in her hands and examining it carefully with a magnifying glass. Chrom felt his heart skip several beats and for a moment he was tempted to simply drop dead right there.

“M-Miriel! What are you doing!?” Chrom demanded, forgetting his task for a moment.

“Examining this rendition of yourself.” Miriel explained in the same dull tone she always spoke in. “I must say, I do not find it very lifelike. You have engaged in combat on numerous occasions and have received many wounds, but this portrait does not show even a single scar. If the purpose of such an image was to be realistic, then it has failed. However, with the way in which it was drawn, I would hypothesis the actual goal of this image was to provoke feelings of sexual arousal towards you. Is this correct?”

Chrom turned as pale as fresh snow, finding that he was at a total loss for words. He dashed across the room, snatched the poster away from Miriel, and then ran out of the tent without another word. He wasn't sure when – or even if – he could ever speak to the Mage again.

As he ran down the road, he overheard two people arguing nearby and stopped in his tracks as his brain processed their words and he got the eerie feeling that he knew why they were arguing.

“Gregor doesn't think such pictures are appropriate for girl of your age.”
“Gregooooor! Don't treat me like a kid! I may look little, but I'm a thousand year old dragon! Remember?”

Chrom felt the sickening realization of what they were talking about and he jumped through the bushes to see the enormous mercenary Gregor, and beside him the green haired girl called Nowi.

“Ah! It's you, Chrom! You should not distribute such things to children's tents!” Gregor scolded the prince.

“I'm not a kiiiiiiiiiiiiid!” Nowi complained loudly, pouting and puffing out her cheeks. Then she looked up at Chrom. “... but, you know, just because I'm actually an adult doesn't mean I want to have posters like that on my wall.”

Chrom felt worse than he had already, and he quickly snatched the posters away from Gregor. He hoped that since there were two clung in the mercenary's strong grip, it would account for the one from his tent and the one from Nowi's. Chrom muttered an apology as he went running off.

He came to another skidding halt in the dirt, kicking up a small cloud of dust, as he found the next tent. The large skull decoration on the flap marked it as Tharja's – and Chrom gulped at the idea of bursting into the Dark Mage's private room.

“Oh. It's you.”

Chrom nearly jumped out of his skin as he heard Tharja's voice. He turned to see her slink out of the shadows, clutching a book to her chest as she often did. She paused, and then tossed a crumpled up poster to his feet. The dark-haired beauty had the same air of mystery and danger as always.

“... Not my taste. Although if you have a poster of Nanami...” Tharja giggled and trailed off.

Chrom shuddered, grabbing the balled-up poster and taking off running even faster than before. He was sorely afraid of a hex from the half-crazed Plegian Mage. He turned a corner and came upon a small, wooden-stand that had been quickly built by the roadside.

Anna, the redheaded saleswoman, was leaning on the front of the stand – and much to Chrom's horror he saw several copies of the poster besides her.

“Oh, hey your highness!” Anna called out to him. “I loooove the poster! It's been great business!”

“W-W-What are you talking about? You're SELLING THESE!?” Chrom felt his stomach churn at the revelation.

Anna pressed a finger to her lip and nodded quizzically. “Of course! When I first saw Frederick posting them everywhere, I knew there was some value, so I've been copying them and now I'm ready to sell them! I'll sell them at every town we stop at, we should make a fortune!”

Chrom practically jumped forward, grabbing the entire stack and then rushing off. Anna jumped up and started yelling at him, demanding that he pay her thousands of gold pieces for a stack that size, but Chrom ignored her every word.

“MAN-SPAWN!”

The blue-haired prince nearly tripped over himself as suddenly Panne jumped out from the bushes. The half-rabbit woman growled at him as she blocked his path, narrowing her beady red eyes and barring her teeth.

“P-P-Panne!” Chrom stammered in surprise.

“What is this, man-spawn? Is this how your kind gives invitations to mate?!” Panne growled.

“N-NO!” Chrom shook his head and snatched the poster away from her. “This is all just a misunderstanding, Panne! Frederick messed up! Please, you must excuse me! I have to take down the rest of these!”

With a mighty leap, Chrom cleared Panne's path and ran back towards the main huddle of tents. He wanted this night to end, almost desperate enough to just return to his tent, bury his face in a pillow and hope that in the morning this would all be a bad dream.

His heart stopped as he reached Sumia's tent. He could hear the neigh of her Pegasus, and knew that she was likely inside. Reading himself for her reaction, Chrom ducked his head inside the tent.

Sumia was lying face down on the ground, a few feet away from her table with a pool of blood around her. Chrom gasped and he raced over, the silly posters forgotten as he scooped Sumia up into his arms.

“Sumia!? SUMIA!? Are you okay? What happened? What did this to you!?” Chrom tried to awaken her, shaking her slightly as he stared down at her bloody face.

“... Captain...” Sumia murmured. Chrom could see that the blood was coming not from a wound, but from her nose. “Captain's... Captain's penis!”

Sumia's deceleration was shouted louder than Chrom ever could have expected, and all color drained away from his skin. He looked down, horrified as he realized that the poster was clutched in her left hand.

He grabbed the poster, stuffed it in his bag, and then tucked Sumia into bed before rushing out of the tent, practically in tears.

As he stumbled down the road, his heavy boots leaving imprints in the dirt, Chrom's head was spinning. It seemed like almost everyone had already seen the posters, and he felt like he might collapse. Was there even any point in continuing?

“Chrom!”

From nearby, a nervous young man with a wizard's hat and a book clutched under his arm, came running forward. Ricken had long idolized Chrom, but right now he was frowning. “... We all look up to you, Chrom, and we all admire you... but this is ridiculous!”

Chrom felt like someone had punched him in the stomach. Even Ricken seemed disgusted by all of this. He shook his head and rushed off, heading down towards the final few tents.

The next tent was Corderlia's, and Chrom took a deep breath before he came bursting in. He looked inside and was met by an immediate, surprised shout.

Corderlia was curled up in here bed, the blanket pulled up to her nose. From what little bit of her face was visible, she was as red as her long hair.

“Corderlia! I'm sorry, I didn't know you were in bed...” Chrom gulped. “Um... did Frederick put a poster up in here?”

“P-Poster? No. No posters here. I've never even seen a poster. I don't even know what a poster is. Is it a type of cheese?” Corderlia stammered, keeping her face hidden. She shivered beneath the blanket. “C-Chrom, perhaps you can leave? I'm... um... trying to... sleep.”

Chrom paused for a moment, and then a thought crossed his mind – a crazy thought, one that could not possibly be true. He shuddered and ran out, just on the off-chance that he was actually right about his suspicion.

He stumbled backwards, slipping on a rock and falling onto the ground. He groaned, rubbing his lower back as he heard laughter coming from his left. His head snapped around and he spotted Gaius, who was sitting at the base of a tree with a bag of candy propped open in his lap.

“I am so glad I started working for you Shepherd guys. This is the funniest thing I ever saw.” Gaius chuckled loudly.

Chrom uttered a deep sigh. “... Is there a poster in your tent too?”

“There was, but I sold it to Anna. I also collected a bunch of others for her. She traded me a big bag of sweets!” Gaius grinned, revealing chocolate stains all over his teeth and lips.

“Good.” Chrom sighed, laying back on the dirt, finally having collapsed. “I already got the stack from Anna. So that should be all of them. I collected them from everyone... except for... oh, GODS! Nanami! I forgot to check Nanami's tent!”

Gaius shrugged. “Well, everyone else has already seen it. So what's the big deal?”

Chrom uttered another groan, covering his face with his gloved hands. “... It's complicated. I... once kind of walked in on her when she was showering...”

Gaius broke into uproarious laughter, slapping his knee. He shook so much from his mirth that chocolate ended up in the end of his short red hair. “Oh man, that's just the best! Bubbles is going to kill you, bro.”

“Maybe I'll have some good fortune tonight and she won't have found it yet...” Chrom muttered as he sat up.

Then, the night air was broken by a loud shout. “CHROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!”

The blue-haired prince shuddered, and Gaius winced at the sound. From the other side of the camp, a tall woman with a black ponytail came bursting forth from her tent, a sword clutched tight in one hand and a spellbook in the other.

“Yeeeeah, Bubbles is going to kill you.” Gaius shook his head. “I'll hide you under my bed in exchange for a big bucket of sugar cookies.”

“Deal.” Chrom quickly agreed.
13. Misfortune
The first of what will likely be a series of short Fire Emblem additions to the 100 Theme Challenge! I've actually taken a break from playing the game because I need to restart it - again - and I don't have the constitution to do so at the moment, but that doesn't mean I can't write some stories!

I used a random number generator and when I got to 'Misfortune' I knew it had to be about Chrom, thanks to the Smash Bros meme... and then this was the obvious way of reenforcing that misfortune. Poor Chrom. 

If you haven't played Fire Emblem, this is based on the actual C-Rank Support Conversation between Chrom and Frederick, part of which was replicated in the beginning. There's also references to other support conversations.

Fire Emblem(C) Nintendo
Nanami character(c) :icongoldensama:
Loading...
35/100

SHIELD Stories Part 3 is now up, in Entry #.71 - Obsession!

1. Introduction
2. Love
3. Light
4. Dark
5. Seeking Solace
6. Break Away
7. Heaven
8. Innocence
9. Drive
10. Breathe Again
11. Memory
12. Insanity
13. Misfortune
14. Smile
15. Silence
16. Questioning
17. Bloody
18. Rainbow
19. Gray
20. Fortitude
21. Vacation
22. Mother Nature
23. Cat
24. No Time
25. Trouble Lurking
26. Tears
27. Foreign
28. Sorrow
29. Happiness
30. Under the Rain
31. Flowers
32. Night
33. Expectations
34. Stars
35. Hold My Hand
36. Precious Treasure
37. Eyes
38. Abandoned
39. Dreams
40. Rated
41. Teamwork (Atlantic Edge)
42. Standing Still
43. Dying
44. Two Roads
45. Illusion
46. Family
47. Creation
48. Childhood
49. Stripes
50. Breaking The Rules
51. Sport
52. Deep in Thought
53. Keeping a Secret
54. Tower
55. Waiting
56. Danger Ahead
57. Sacrifice
58. Kick In The Head
59. No Way Out
60. Rejection
61. Fairy Tale - I
62. Magic
63. Do Not Disturb 
64. Multitasking
65. Horror
66. Traps
67. Playing the Melody
68. Hero
69. Annoyance
70. 6.7.%.
71. Obsession
72. Mischief Managed 
73. I Can't
74. Are You Challenging Me?
75. Mirror
76. Broken Pieces
77. Test
78. Drink
79. Starvation
80. Words
81. Pen And Paper
82. Can You Hear Me?
83. Heal
84. Out Cold
85. Spiral
86. Seeing Red
87. Food
88. Pain (or 'How To Maim Your Idiot')
89. Through The Fire 01 89. Through The Fire 02
90. Triangle
91. D.R.O.W.N.I.N.G.
92. All That I Have
93. Give Up
94. Last Hope
95. Advertisement
96. In The Storm
97. Safety First
98. Puzzle
99. Solitude
100. Relaxation

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GoldenSama
Brandon T. Rice
Artist | Professional | Literature
United States
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Golden Sun - Book One by neshirys
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