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I arrived near Johannesburg in under a minute and interrupted Banners rampage, by using my unarmored body as a shield. I quickly copied someones language skills, so I could communicate with the bystanders.
"Clear the area! Women and children first!" I called out, and they readily obeyed. "Calm down, Banner, the sexy brunette is messing with your head!" And then the jade bastard threw a car at me...
I telekinetically redirected it and then caught a punch from him, absorbing the kinetic energy and quickly directing it to upgrade my speed. Pietro had an advantage that I fully intended to neutralize, Hulk was going to help. I easily caught his other punch and began draining his increased power, feeling his strength, speed, stamina, durability, and even his enhanced healing factor flow into me, while applying it to my own. I calmly let him try pushing me, but easily held my own. I knocked him back with a telekinetic blast, and followed up with a hyper-focused magical blast to his chest that tore inches into his flesh before stopping and fizzling out.
His physical abilities were limitless! My strength had more than doubled! Hulk looked pissed that he was being over-powered, and roared in anger before rushing me. I easily caught the punch and the follow up kick and punch, absorbing the kinetic energy from the blows, and hit Hulk with a full strength punch to the face.
"Just calm down already. I'm getting bored and you won't like me when I'm bored!" Damn! Just made him even angrier!
I caught his wild punches, absorbing even more of his immense power, but I knew that I needed to end this. Everything had a limit, and I was certain that included my ability to absorb power. I took a punch to the face, and had finally had enough.
I called upon my immense magical power and focused it into my speed and strength, teleported behind him, and then kicked with all my might, holding nothing back; right to the back of his head. The force of my kick knocked Hulk forward and onto the ground, and I quickly checked for residual mental alteration, and when I found none, I insured that he wouldn't remember me absorbing any of his power. I picked up the now restored Banner and flew into the sky, inspecting the damage of the city, and quickly seeing that it was quite extensive. I quickly used my immense magical power and skill to undo all the damage, greatly draining my power, but it was worth it and I would recover in a day.
"Alright. Banners back to being himself. Where do we regroup?" I asked over comms.
"The ship. Did you break Klaue's soldiers arms and legs?" Stark asked.
"Yes. Wasn't sure how you or Cap would feel about me killing them." I said, before beginning my flight back to the ship.
"It would have been okay, but it wasn't preferable." Stark replied.
"How is everyone?" I asked in concern.
"Their alive and uninjured, but the witch really affected their minds." He replied. "How'd the fight go?"
"Relatively short. I used my powers to restore the damage done to the city, so maybe that'll lessen the public outcry some, but that's wishful thinking. I did pull enough language skill out their heads enough to order an evacuation, and I contained the fight to one location."
"I'll be at your location in a few seconds." I said, before seeing the Quinjet and beginning my descent.
"I see you now." Stark said, as I landed in front of him.
"Good, your vision hasn't gone in your old age." I said, with a smirk.
Stark glared in reply, and I outright smiled. I sat Bruce on the Quinjet and buckled him in.
"How is he?" Natasha asked, in concern.
"Just unconscious, he should wake up soon." I replied, making a mental note of her feelings for him. Aphrodite must love the possibilities offered with those two! I sat back and relaxed, and began inspecting my current condition. My physical abilities were now beyond those of most gods, excluding the likes Zeus, Thor, Odin, and other Godheads. I still needed to build up my non-physical abilities further; including my magic and my other powers, and perhaps even someday surpass those three's combined power.
I eventually drifted off to sleep.
"Wake up, Percy," I heard an amused voice say.
"Fine," I said petulantly, causing a couple people to chuckle.
"We were beginning to get worried, we've been trying to wake you up for a few minutes." Banner said in concern.
"I'm fine. I was uninjured. I just fell asleep while checking my body with magic, it requires a deep meditative state." I said, as I got up and exited the Quinjet, joining the other Avengers, and we began walking towards the house.
"What is this place?" Thor asked.
"A safe house?" Stark asked.
"Let's hope." Clint said, as we all entered the house. "Honey, I'm home." A heavily pregnant woman, most likely Clint's wife, walks in from the kitchen.
"Hi. Company. Sorry I didn't call ahead." Clint said.
"Hey." She said, before they began to kiss.
"This is an agent of some kind." Stark said to Thor, I gave him an amused smirk.
"Gentleman, this is Laura." Clint introduced.
"I know all your names." She said, we all looked at her awkwardly. No-one here knows my real name! Cuz, I'm awesome! Or extremely paranoid and distrusting, depending on who you ask. But I prefer awesome.
"Ooh, incoming." Clint said, in warning. Two children ran into the kitchen, and a Kodak moment ensued.
"Sorry for barging in on you." Rogers said.
"Yeah, we would have called ahead, but we were busy having no idea that you existed." Stark added, causing me to roll my eyes. I fully intended to keep my family secret, and destroy anyone who tried hurting or endangering them. So, I won't begrudge Clint or anyone else doing the same.
"Yeah, well Fury helped me set this up when I joined. He kept it off SHIELD's files, I'd like to keep it that way. I figure it's a good place to lay low." Clint replied.
I nodded in understanding, before noticing Thor leaving the kitchen, Cap and I followed him out.
"Thor." Rogers said in concern.
"I saw something in that dream. I need answers, I won't find them here." Thor said, before using his hammer to fly away; Rogers turned to enter the house when he seemed to suddenly stop.
"Psychic shields might keep the Maximoff girl out of your heads. I can install outer shields in your minds, but it requires a great deal of trust, because the telepath can look around and possibly learn your secrets. More shields can be installed further in the mind, but that requires absolute trust, because the telepath will see a lot of your secrets." I said, catching his interest. "I normally wouldn't offer, given how little you all know me, but the effects are severe on all of you, and it's better to be rejected and say that I atleast offered. There's also telepathic immunity training, but it can take months."
"I'd like the shields," Rogers said in reply.
"Alright, you'll need to think of something requires your full focus. It keeps your thoughts from wondering to classified intel and secrets. Tell me when you're ready."
"I'm ready," Cap said, moments later. I placed my hands on his temples and began the installation. I weaved my magic into shield form with practiced ease. Sadly, I couldn't leave myself a backdoor without it being found by others, I had no choice but to risk closing a way to foresee betrayal from them to protect them. I really wasn't pleased with losing this resource for information gathering or identifying potential traitors.
I finished minutes later. "It's done," I said, and he nodded. "I'll offer it to the others, too. Though, I doubt they'll all be interested."
Surprisingly, most of them were. Banner refused, worried it might trigger the Hulk. Natasha refused, but was interested in telepathic immunity training. Clint was the most eager and asked me to make his extra strong. Tony agreed, but intended to make tech-based option for himself later and undertake telepathic immunity training.
I had already overheard Bruce and Natasha talk about running away, and I was going to wish them luck, until I overheard something very personal and then decided against it. Seeing that Clint and Natasha are able to have stable relationships, I decided to try doing the same. It had been a while, years, since my break-up with her, and I was finally ready to move on and try for happiness. I was distracted from my musing by Stark walking in with Nicholas Fury, who's capabilities I quickly copied.
"I thought Nick Fury was dead," I said, in surprise, getting the attention of the others.
"He faked it." Stark replied, cutting off Fury.
"Cool," I said, making a mental note to start asking my uncle or Thanatos when I'm suspicious about faked deaths.
"You must be Perseus Aegaeus." Fury asked.
I stood and offered my hand. "I go by Percy, but nice to meet you."
"The feelings mutual. Maria tells me your a Demi-god with an extensive military background, but SHIELD had no record of you whatsoever, or any of your activities." Fury said, fishing for information.
"A fact I consider a major achievement, and proof of my own awesomeness." I responded, keeping my answers extra uninformative, and causing Stark and Clint to smirk. "The gods keep their wars separate and away from humanity, and clean up after them if they're unable to."
Fury sat back and studied me for a few moments, before realizing he wouldn't get any information out of me. I knew he would be searching for other Demi-gods though. It wouldn't benefit him any, such liabilities were dealt with in secret by the Olympians, and the gods would anticipate his actions and easily counter them.
"Ultron took you folks out of play to buy himself time. My contacts all say he's building something. The amount of Vibranium he made off with, I don't think it's just one thing." Fury said, finally getting to his reason for being here.
"What about Ultron himself?" Rogers asked.
"Ah. He's easy to track, he's everywhere. Guy's multiplying faster than a Catholic rabbit. Still doesn't help us get an angle on any of his plans though." Fury replied.
"He still going after launch codes?" Stark asked.
"Yes, he is, but he's not making any headway." Fury said.
"I cracked the Pentagon's firewall in high school on a dare." Stark bragged.
"Yeah, well, I contacted our friends at the NEXUS about that." Fury said.
"NEXUS?" Rogers asked.
"It's the world internet hub in Oslo, every byte of data flows through there, fastest access on earth." Bruce replied.
"So what'd they say?" Clint asked.
"He's fixated on the missiles, but the codes are constantly being changed." Fury replied, catching our interest.
"By whom?" Stark asked.
"Parties unknown." Fury replied.
"Do we have an ally?" Natasha asked.
"Ultron's got an enemy, that's not the same thing. Still, I'd pay folding money to know who it is." Said Fury.
I began tuning out the conversation, I got bored and knew they'd get to the point eventually.
"Has anyone been in contact with Helen Cho?" Banner asked. Oh! Damn! The Cradle could create Robo-Hitler a new body!
Everyone followed his line of thinking and began to get ready.
"I'll take Natasha and Clint, and Percy." Rogers said.
"Alright, strictly recon. I'll hit the NEXUS, I'll join you as soon as I can." Stark said.
"If Ultron is really building a body..." Rogers said in concern.
"He'll be more powerful than any of us." Stark said. I snorted derisively, and got a glare from Stark. "Maybe all of us. An android designed by a robot."
"You know I really miss the days when the weirdest thing science ever created was me." Rogers said, causing me to smirk.
"I call dibs on Ultron, by the way." I said, getting amused looks from the team. "Just getting that out there."
"I'll drop Banner off at the tower. Do you mind if I borrow Ms. Hill?" Fury asked.
"She's all yours, apparently. What are you gonna do?" Stark asked in return.
"I don't know. Something dramatic, I hope." Fury said, to my confusion.
Meh. I didn't care enough to analyze the meaning. I just wondered if Maria was reporting information about me to Fury. She probably was, but looking further and alerting them to my suspicions might turn a suspicion into a reality. I would just have to cut her loose and start building a relationship with someone else, preferably someone younger and more trustworthy.
Eventually, after we all said our goodbyes, we got onto the Quinjet and flew away...
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We were finally at the U-GIN labs, and proceeding inside cautiously.
"Dr. Cho!" Steve called out, drawing my attention to where he was looking. We ran over to her, and I quickly healed her.
"He's uploading himself into the body." She said.
"The real power is inside the Cradle. The gem, its power is uncontainable. You can't just blow it up. You have to get the Cradle to Stark." Helen said, while checking herself for injuries.
"First I have to find it." Rogers said.
"Go." She said.
"Did you guys copy that?" Rogers asked.
"We did." Clint replied.
"I got a private jet taking off, across town, no manifest. That could be him." Natasha added.
"There. It's the truck from the lab. Right above you, Cap. On the loop by the bridge. It's them. I got three with the Cradle, one in the cab. I could take out the driver." Clint said.
"Negative! If that truck crashes, the gem could level the city. We need to draw out Ultron."
We both jumped onto the roof of the truck.
"No, no, no, no, no. Leave me alone!" Ultron exclaimed, before blasting the truck door. I intercepted the blast and began fighting Ultron, Steve quickly stopped the truck.
"You know what's in that Cradle? The power to make real change, and that terrifies you."
"STFU, you defective science project. Now, hold still so you can be reincarnated as a coffee maker." I ripped off his arm, and knocked him upside the head with it, before destroying it. He tried escaping to a nearby train, but I pulled him back and slammed him into the roof and was rewarded with the sounds of him becoming even more damaged. I quickly blasted his Iron Legion bots into scrap metal when they rushed the truck.
"Steve, the Cradle. I'll handle this piece of scrap metal." I said, before beginning to telekinetically rip him apart, while restraining him.
Moments later, the Maximoffs arrived near us.
"If you've come to help this trash, that won't end well for the two of you." I said in warning. I would snap their necks, and that would be far better than they deserved.
"We aren't here to help him," Pietro said.
"Cradle is secure, and it looks like Ultron is too." Rogers said a minute later.
"This isn't a permanant solution, Stark created something unkillable. Eventually, it will escape, and is likely an eternal extinction level threat that will keep bugging us and future generations. I really wanna kill Stark right now. Is that a normal, healthy response, or am I desensitized to violence and killing due to exposure?"
"He created a genocidal robot, so I'm not sure what to say, but lets go with no." Rogers said in humor. He must have thought that I was joking.
"Ultron just escaped," Wanda informed us.
"You can see into his mind?" I asked in surprise, my interest piqued.
"Yes." She replied, seeming confused as to why I was surprised.
"Impressive," I said, simply. "We need to get the Cradle to Stark and Banner and put them both under guard, so they don't try making another extinction-level threat for us to fight." Everyone nodded in agreement. "I need to inspect the city for damage and see what I can repair with my powers." I said, before taking off.
It thankfully wasn't that bad, so I just had to spend fifteen minutes repairing it, before chasing after the Quinjet. I could tell that my actions had garnered a lot of public approval, and hopefully that would keep South Korea pro-Avengers.
I teleported back to the Quinjet, after publically apologizing to the people of South Korea on behalf of the Avengers.
"How'd it go?" Natasha asked, being the first to notice me.
"It went well. I fixed all the damage I saw, and publically apologized to the people of South Korea on our behalf. I thought it would help our public image and hopefully stave off the inevitable." I said, to everyone's approval.
"What's inevitable though?" Natasha questioned.
"Registration or Government/United Nations oversight. If we appear too dangerous and uncontrollable, they will try to do that, and I'll refuse."
"Why?" Natasha asked.
"Most governments are useless, slow, corrupt, and inefficient. The Avengers would become the same, due to waiting for approval to do what needs to be done quickly. And their meaningless politics and games would just get in the way." I noticed that most seemed to silently agree that I presented an excellent point. Good. Maybe, if that does happen we can stay united and defend the earth.
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We had a great system where we prevented Stark and Banner from playing God again, and even made our distrust of them clear, which seemed to have struck a chord with them and then we discovered they were passing notes like school children...
"I'm gonna say this once." Rogers began.
"How about 'nonce'?" Stark replied.
"Quit making rape references, they aren't funny." I said, in disgust and exasperation.
"Shut it down!" Roger said angrily.
"Nope, not gonna happen." Stark replied. I had my gun, ready to fire, against his head, a mere second later.
"I'm afraid we insist. It's not worth risking billions of lives." Stark and Banner both looked shocked, and the other Avengers weren't stopping me.
"You both don't know what you're doing."
"And you do? She's not in your head? Percy has a gun against Tony's head, and you're all saying nothing!" Banner said.
"Steve and I are shielded against her powers, Banner. You were offered the same. You're both gambling with billions of lives and haven't learned from creating Ultron." I said in argument.
"Banner, after everything that's happened..." Rogers began.
"That's nothing compared to what's coming!" Stark said in reply.
"Which you created! And now your risking the same damn thing! The world can't risk having two Ultron's!" I said, by this point tempted to just end the threat without waiting for Rogers okay.
"You don't know what's in there!" Wanda argued, making a great point.
"This isn't a game..." Rogers said.
"The creature..." Wanda began, before Pietro destroyed all the lab equipment. He made a snarky comment, and got the glass floor shot underneath him by Clint.
"Go ahead, piss me off." Banner said to Wanda. Thor entered and pounded the cradle with his hammer, sending a powerful bolt of lightning that brought the body to life. "Wait!"
"I'm sorry, that was...odd. Thank you." It said.
"Thor, you helped create this?" Roger asked.
"I've had a vision. A whirlpool that sucks in all hope of life and at it's center is that." Thor said, pointing to the gem inside it's head.
"What, the gem?" Banner asked.
"It's the Mind Stone. It's one of the six Infinity Stones, the greatest power in the universe, unparalleled in its destructive capabilities." Thor said, to my shock, concern, and slight horror.
"Those are supposed to be a myth! Granted, I also used to think the One-Above-All and Living Tribunal were myths too, but still." I said, causing the Avengers to become confused.
"Why would you think the One-Above-All was a myth?" Thor asked in amusement.
"I thought Hermes was pranking me," I said, somewhat defensively. "I didn't exactly know that the Judeo-Christian God was actually real, because I hadn't ever really thought about it."
"We're getting off-track." Rogers began. "Why would you bring it to life?"
"Because Stark is right." Thor said.
"It's official. All those hair care products negatively effect godly brains." I said, getting light laughter and a glare from Thor.
"The Avengers cannot defeat Ultron." Thor replied.
"All the more reason to kill Stark to prevent him from creating more. Honestly, I thought he got out of weapons to prevent his legacy from being a bodycount, but it looks like that'll be his legacy either way." Stark looked downright murderous after that remark.
"The point is, we can't beat Ultron alone." Thor said.
To be continued, in Chapter four.