Mars is Jawsome!
Roleplaying Log: Mars is Jawsome!
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

The Guardians and Friends go to Mars. To save Shark People. From a Disney Princess.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: April 18, 2019
IC Location: Mars
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 18 Apr 2019 04:25
Rating & Warnings: Rated S, for Space.
NPC & GM Credits: Atli
Associated Plots

"And so, you see, that is how I defeated Galactus. By myself."

The goat turns it's strange eyes to Atli, using it's great power to bring some small amount of humility to her. Or otherwise, he just looks accusing as the Milano begins it's final descent towards the Red Planet. You see Mars isn't all that far away by Milano and Rocket/Quill piloting standards, and so, it only takes one of Atli's stories to fill the time. It made no sense at all of course. Something about a black sword, and fighting on the blasted ruins of Midgard, and her grandfather looking good in black.

"Almost by myself. Verily, I did strike a withering blow, so much that I broke my grandfather's axe. Something he was never able to do, mind." Battlemaster Gorax sits next to Atli in the back of the ship, smooshed into the tiny wall-seat and drooling from his great, nasty shark-maw. One wouldn't think sharks would drool, but, being that all the sharks on Earth live under water, how would you even know, right? Right. And so of all those gathered and forced to listen to Atli's tale, Gorax looks the most bored. Or perhaps he is worried. It's hard to say, given that he has a shark-face, which is notoriously un-emotive.

"We're here."

His voice is like gravel drawn over course sand, and though he does not speak much, it seems the excitement of arriving has coaxed a few words from him. Drawing himself up to his full ten feet in height, he immediately bashes his head and fin on the ceiling, and then grumbles before dragging his axe towards the back of the ship.

Atli beams, and then looks back at them all.

"Worry not, my friends. The shark-people of Clan Jau-Sum are a capable and clever lot. They have already changed this part of Mars so that there can be breathing! There is, if I understand it, even air enough to fly!"

This she remarks for the sake of Glorywing, who Atli may just want to see in action.

"Lord of Stars! Let us all know when the engines and off and we won't be burned to death by stepping outside!"

* * *

For all that Rocket had initially been somewhat dreading this trip to liberate the shark people or whatever the hell they're supposed to be doing out here, it's suddenly become something to look forward to, if solely because Terra aka Earth has been proving to be less and less appealing a vacation spot of late. Honestly it shouldn't bother him much at all. The Guardians were vagabonds, their most strongest ties were between themselves. That's slightly shifted for how long they've spent in one place, on one world. You can't help but get to know people, and they start to get under your skin enough that you stop calling them a pain in the ass and consider them friends.

To be fair, the Guardians have a strange relationship between them as it is, so anyone who can put up with them definitely has to have something in common with them. Take that as one will.

"Oh this place. So something actually lives there?" Rocket squints at the reddish-brown planet that takes up most of their front viewport. He flicks a few switches on his side of things, giving Quill permission to take them down because it makes it sound like he's the one in charge rather than the other way around.

Unfastening his harness he hops down from his seat and then makes way down the steps to the rest of the ship where he can gather some things. "Breathable, eh? Well, don't mind me if I pack a few just-in-cases. Also, if anyone wants an aero-rig, get 'em here. They come equipped with a personal shield and a jetpack. The shield's light and mostly for deflecting blasterfire so try to avoid getting hit directly by anything else." He tosses a few silver disks on the table for people to grab, demonstrating with his own how to equip it as he places it on his back and a harness of sorts extrudes and encircles his upper chest like a vest.

"Deadeye! Got somethin' for you," he adds as he shoves things aside in a box of…parts and weapons and grenades, pulling out a rifle-like firearm. It's not as bulky as the thing that Rocket tends to tote about, but it's a definite step-up from the tiny handgun he'd gave the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent before.

* * *

Phil 'Deadeye' Coulson is getting to the point where he's about 5 seconds away from begging the Guardians to take him in and take him elsewhere. He has been at this point before. He resisted the urge, before. He's not quitter, by nature. Something about sitting in a base that still has those little green-cursor computers from the early 80s and waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a shipment of truth serum to come in so he could interrogate a witness after watching the Triskelion blow up has made him wonder what, exactly, he's doing anymore.

So like Rocket, this is a vacation as far as he's concerned. "I'll take a rig," he says. It will be just what he needs for the goat to knock something off line and then to get sucked into space. It would be about in line with…everything else.

But when presented with this rifle, a genuine smile crosses over his face. Not the Cheshire Cat one. The real warm, friendly one, marred only by the weariness in his eyes.

"Thanks, Rocket," he says. He is clearly coming up in the world. Or getting farther and farther away from the embarrassing incident that earned him that nickname. One of the two.

* * *

Space. Space, don't want to go to space. Kitty Pryde is the opposite of the space sphere from Portal 2. The only time she has been okay in space is when she as completely drunk on space alcohol on New Year's Eve. Even now, she doesn't trust this all. She's here to help, but who knows what that will actually entail. Space is filled with a lot of terrifying and bad things.

"I mean, what are we looking to find out here, really?" She'll take any sort of protection she will get against the vast expanse of space that may press upon her at any time.

* * *

"Well people thought Martians lived on Mars, at least I remember the cartoons I saw growing up stuff on that." Quill replies as he turns the massive engines on the customized ship that is the Guardians home away from home. Well really is is more home than anything else. "I guess it seems a might rude now that I've met a /lot/ of people who aren't from earth. They think Terra is full of backwards thinking assholes for the most part." A smirk back towards the Terrans there. "No offence to that."

There is a more genuine smile for Kitty though as the slips out of his harness and checks the blasters at his side. The shield and armor rig that is tucked behind his ear is pressed, though that faceplate doesn't close yet. Checking the readings he does nod though.

"Might not smell great, but yeah. Its breathe able. Desert like if I'm reading this right."

There is a deep sigh as he looks towards Atli and the Shark.

"I'm not sure." This towards Kitty's question. "Something about getting toothy there a home so he doesn't keep crashing into your pool or something."

* * *

Warren Worthington III, codename Angel, isn't exactly sure how he got here.

Well, he knows. He made a promise to lend his assistance, and in turn he was promised that said assistance would not take long at all. He has appointments to make back in New York — a mess to triage — though even he has to admit, much like Phil Coulson, that on some level this is almost a nice… break from the stress of managing the fallout of registration. It has a gloss of nostalgia — reminds him of simpler times, times when the X-Men got into all sorts of strange trouble that, in retrospect, was Really Weird.

For example: this is not actually Warren's first rodeo in space.

He does not look like he enjoyed the last time he was in space.

Standing towards the back of the Milano, wings tightly folded in, one hand hanging onto a overhead rail as if he were a NYC straphanger on the subway and not aboard a spaceship on the way to Mars, 'Angel' is an incongruously beautiful picture among the general scrappy grit of the Guardians' vessel, looking as if he stepped straight off a runway and onto the ship. He always looks that way, to be fair. "Seconding that," he says after Kitty pipes up, leaning forward to take one of the offered 'aero-rigs.' Not that he needs the jetpack. "Do we have a plan of approach?"

As for Terrans being backwards-thinking assholes? "That goes both ways," Warren says. "Any time I run into aliens, they want to throw me into combat to the death."

His wings flick a little when Atli mentions the flight conditions. "Good to know," he says, "though I'll have to feel the actual conditions for myself before I can adapt."

* * *

This is like a field trip. Or a demented family vacation.

Whatever it is, Groot is always along for the ride. Willingly, unwillingly, it's not exactly clear — if the young tree is in the mood for adventure, then he'll never say it aloud. He tried to play it off by literally trying to beat his own scores on his handheld gaming device while they journeyed out toward the red planet, but the awe factor had come, and gone, and then came hurtling back in with added intensity.

So he hides it again as he stares at Quill and Kitty, making a kissy face as he half-listens to everyone speaking over each other to get things moving.

* * *

As the team gears up, Atli reaches out, giving Warren a squeeze on the shoulder. Maybe she sensed his previous adventures in space were not exactly fond ones. But it is in her eyes: She appreciates this. Of him, and all her friends. For his part, Battlemaster Gorax does not look at the disks that Rocket produces. Or maybe he does. It's hard to tell because his eyes are just perfectly black spheres. Atli seems to trust the Battlemaster completely, and so she doesn't reach for a disk. But Toothbender does, sauntering over in his goatly way before he snatches one off the table, held between his teeth. Laden with provisions, great big bulbous nets full of supplies, including some very large, very round supplies of some sort, the goat has had about enough carrying other people's things and wants something for himself.

He takes two steps before swallowing the disk, his hunger overtaking his need for material possessions. Ah well.

As the ramp descends, the visage of Mars comes into view in all it's sweeping, red glory. Atli walks forward, right towards the great big cave entrance that seems to be at the foot of a much bigger mountain, not but a few dozen feet from where the Milano landed. The goat marches alongside her, and as Gorax seems poised to lead the way he is stopped, Atli raising a hand to address them all as they gear up for the trip into the Realm of the Shark People.

She turns abruptly at the cave entrance, and waits for them to file out into the cool Martian air. It really is quite breathable, and though there is a metallic taste on the air, it is not even that cold. Perhaps something to do with the fissures nearby, dotting the desert landscape and releasing what looks to be steam into the air.

"Ah, indeed Glorywing, I most certainly have a plan."

For once, somehow, Gorax looks worried, and pointedly looks to Quill. Then Rocket. He even looks to the goat. There is no mistaking it. The shark-man is pleading with his eyes.

"In fact, I was inspired when I dropped in through your Gloryhole, which I have decided, all Midgardian buildings could do with. A wonderful invention of yours. In any case, my plan is quite simple. Fool proof."

The goat moves to stand beside Atli in front of the great, big, open cave that leads down to the home of the shark people, as if to claim some credit for this plan. Assuredly, she's just going to say Fix Everythi-

"We drop into the depths of this cave here, and take our enemy by surprise. You see, there appears to be some damnable ice queen of some sort who has imperiled all the shark people so that they might work for her at some impossible task. So, I have been thinking, if we can simply subdue this horrible creature, either through force or the Son of Coul's skill at seduction, we"

Great red eyes appear in the cave to either side of Atli.

"-can almost certainly call the shark people to arms, and with their might combined with our own we can retake their ho-"

GREAT GIANT SHARK-SERPENT JAWS reach out of the cave and clamp Atli and Toothbender into it's toothy maw. The creature flails and smashes them both too and fro, it's immensity filling the whole of the 20-foot wide cave and spraying the whole of landscape with thick, viscous red fluid before it suddenly disappears into the depths of the Realm of the Shark People.

Gorax simply stares.

Then he runs a great hand down over his face as if to claw it off.

* * *

"…I'm going to guess that was /not/ part of the plan."

* * *

"-and if anyone suddenly realizes they're having trouble breathing, use one'a these," Rocket adds, tossing another disk-like device to people, mostly their Terran-guests. "Space suit. Same deal, just attach and it'll activate."

He throws a wrench at the goat who makes off with one of the aero-rigs, but with it already being down the hatch he decides he's not going to wait to get it back. Gathering up his own equipment, he starts towards the rear ramp, glancing up at Warren as he tries to visualize how a winged-man might put to use a jetpack before nodding at the guy as he wanders past, shouldering his favorite rifle, which in its collapsed state is still nearly as long as the Guardian is tall.

"Funny, they just wanna throw me in jail or kill me," he chuckles at Warren's comment on aliens. That oughta make him feel so much more reassured. "Groot! Get your stuff an' that twiggy butt'a yours in gear."

The look from the Battlemaster is disturbing, if only because even with those soulless black eyes one can see that he's worried. It just ain't right. Rocket sighs, giving Gorax the smallest of nods. They're here, ain't they? Although he can't help but shudder just a tiny bit as Atli discusses her plans, exchanging a glance with Peter, Groot and Coulson, who are no strangers to Atli's ideas.

The hair at the back of his neck stands on end as giant red eyes appear behind the girl. "Atli—!" he shouts, already swinging his rifle down in front of him, extended with the fluidness of someone practiced in priming the weapon at a moment's notice. It's still a moment too slow as the thing engulfs both Atli and the goat, but he lets a blast fly off anyway as the thing thrashes about. It's the eruption of red that has him standing stock-still. Peter fills in the silence with words that Rocket can't even muster.

* * *

Groot's expression is met with a bit of a look, however she does not say much else about it. Instead, Kitty is the most reluctant about what is going on right now and as Atli reassures them and then steps out…only immediately to be eaten by a space shark she can't help but squeak out, "I told you!! I said this was a bad idea!!"

However, she is an X-Man. An X-Man in space. And therefore she lets go of her column of safety and starts to move forward. "Do we have a plan of some sort? I'd take even 10 percent of one!"

* * *

That is definitely not part of the plan.

And yet, as Coulson gets covered in red goop, it almost feels like he should have expected it really. He fires a shot or two off at the giant shark head as well, and then shakes his head.

"I think 10% of a plan would be leaping down the hole in ill-advised fashion and shooting anything that becomes a problem while attempting to retrieve our Asgardian friend."

This is not the clever chess-match planning that made Phil Coulson's career.

But he's standing on frickin' Mars with a frickin' sentient shark, and there are apparently some giant frickin' sentient sharks, so he's just…going to default to Guardian level planning.

* * *

Those words were automatic and really just snuck out before Peter could stop them. The space pirate turned HERO OF THE GALAXY(tm) just stands staring at the empty space where the massive shark worm was a moment ago. Red goo all over the walls and the ceiling and some of the people as the worm-shark retreats with its prize. Noting Rocket though there is a smirk as he thumps the racoonid on the shoulder. "Come on. Lets go find her. I mean she's tough as Drax, and you know how much he likes jumping don't monster's throats. Always shouting something about them being easier to stab on the inside."

Then Peter Quill sighs.

"Yeah that about seems like 10 percent of a plan to me." He mutters as he slams his armor into active mode and pulls his guns free. "Rocket see if you can drop some stunners on its head to slow it down. Gorax?" A glance at the shark, then back towards Kitty. "…isn't that like something shoes are made out of." Then back to the shark. "So I have no idea if you can understand me or not but gonna go after Atli and then apparently an ice witch. So. That's a thing. Hopefully that'll work!"

A pause again. "And look space is fine! It is just sometimes full of gaint shark things but really what isn't! Come on darlin! At least it won't be boring!"

And then? Then he's rushing for the way down, trying to not let a giant worm get too far ahead because…you know…the Asgardian /is/ part of the team.

* * *

A winged man doesn't need a jetpack. But he can find a lot of ways to have fun with a jetpack.

Warren catches one of the disk space-suits, too, though he seems dubious about it. "Is it going to slice off my wings if I deploy it…?" he wonders, because most outfits aren't really designed for people with wings springing out of their backs, and 'activate' has a really automatic sound to it. He looks even less reassured when Rocket talks about how most people just want to throw him in jail or kill him. Or maybe it's just that he's still getting used to a talking raccoon.

Reassurance levels bottom out when Atli squeezes his shoulder, and proceeds to outline a plan that includes the words 'gloryhole,' 'seduction,' and 'if we can simply.' Gorax's expression does not help.

Neither does what comes next, interrupting Atli's explanation.

"…so have you got another rifle?" Warren asks, presumably to Rocket, after a pause. His gaze swivels to Kitty; maybe it's just the eagle-sharpness of his eyes that makes them look accusing. Maybe. "Is this always how it goes?!"

Regardless of the answer to either of those questions, he's moving forward, slinging red gunk from his wings with rattling flicks and fluffs of his feathers. "Let me see if I can get a clear view of what's up ahead, at least," he objects, "before we just jump straight down in there?" Of course, Quill is probably already gone by this point.

* * *

"I am Groot!" The treenager's eyes are still locked onto Quill and Kitty as he yells back at Rocket, looking pleasantly satisfied with being a butt.

But somewhere between sharing the glance with the other Guardians, Coulson, and even their friend Gorax, there goes Atli and the goat.

Giant, serpentine sharks. They knew nothing of giant sharks. Or that they'd spray red gooey stuff everywhere. With a disgruntled teenage sigh, Groot shakes his arms out, shaking his head.

"…I am Groot."

For once, he agrees with Quill. A small hop in place gets him moving, propelling forward and charging off after the Star Lord without hesitation. So he's not lonely.

* * *

As the heroes bask in the fresh, red viscera he will realize it is not blood at all, but rather.. some kind of melon juice. It appears the shark-monster crushed the provisions. Weapons fire lances out, fierce impacts scoring hits on the face of the great monster. And perhaps on the hindparts of a goat, which does make a horrible sound as it's drug into the depths of that cave. But as the heroes leap forward with their 10 percent of a plan, they will see the creature suddenly open it's jaws to swallow both Atli and the Goat,

"I UNDERSTAND YOU STAR-LORD, PHILANDERER OF THE GALAXY." This from Gorax, who immediately leaps into the cave, and dives down the whole, his axe held high as he slowly begins to catch up to the big, red-eyed shark-serpent. Any who leap after him will find it roaring fetid breath in their direction, breath that somewhat smells like Ruby-Melon and goat, and as Gorax tumbles and tumbles he manages to clip it with his axe and then get promptly smashed against a cave wall that has, in fact, turned almost vertical.

Except for that one thing. Those that leap down here will find the walls are covered in translucent ice, ice that turns into a spiraling slide that anyone without the capability to fly could certainly land on.

Star-Lord and Groot will have the closest vantage, having jumped right in. But of course, Warren's eyes can see alllll the way down.

And it is absolutely beautiful.

The shark-serpent is suddenly surrounded by open air as it falls from this tunnel, which was clearly carved into the ceiling of some much greater cavern. The ice slide curve outward, elevated by ice-supports and stalagmites as it curls all around the massive chamber, which must be a thousand feet high and five times as long. At the bottom steam curls as it collides with ice. Warm and cool air mix, providing pleasant drafts that swirl all about. Great pools of water dot the landscape below, and all around the edges are caves that must serve as the homes for the shark-people.

But there is much, much more. Ice structures curl up and around all of it, forming a web of inter-locking buildings and walkways, and burning with a great, blue light, on one far end of the chamber, is a great dias at one end of the cavernous chamber.

There, a great throne sits, carved of ice, shimmering in blue energy, and all around it is gold and trinkets and chests full of who knows what, the treasures of ancient Mars unearthed.

By the enslaved Shark-People.

Chained in ice, hacking at the ground of the chamber with great picks and shovels, they toil endlessly for Her.

But where is She?

A haunting melody carries on the air. A song that is hard to make out, but almost familiar.

The Shark-Serpent tries to retreat to a great, mostly iced-over pool, it's thousand-foot long body mostly coiled up in a great pile there, but chased as it is it paused it's descent to lash out at Groot with a sudden, powerful, if clumsy chomp!!!

Why?

IT HATES PLANTS.

* * *

Peter's thump on his shoulder is enough to snap him out of staring, and with a nod he activates his jetpack and flies up. "Catch!" Rocket says, tossing one of the pistols from his holster over to Warren. It's a bit bigger and bulkier than a standard Terran bullet-shooting pistol but that's because it doesn't shoot bullets and it's been heavily (and illegally) modified, and didn't shoot bullets to begin with. "Also, the suits expand to fit. Yer wings shouldn't be a problem but then again I've never had anyone using one with wings so…" Pause. "But for sure they won't chop 'em off." At least that much he's positive of.

"Ten. Okay, we're agreed upon. Let's light this thing up."

He zips in after the others of his team, flying along as his own eyes adjust to the dimness. He can't see nearly as well as Warren but he can still see better than Peter and Groot, unaided by enhanced goggles. "Sure hope you guys use those jetpacks!!" he shouts in warning, back over his shoulder.

"…what the hell's this..?" he murmurs as they emerge in this underground…lair? Realm? It's like completely different world than up-top. His ears perk at the song, faint but there. For the moment he's distracted- at least until the shark-serpent thing decides to try hitting Groot. Then he's swung his rifle about and started to unload with reckless abandon. "DIIIIIIIE!"

* * *

"PHILANDERER MEANS GUARDIAN IN SHARK-WORDS!" Quill has to make this fact known. To everyone.

* * *

"It really doesn't, Quill!!" Warren retorts, the judging meter increasing by ten percent.

* * *

Phil is definitely using the jetpack. He is definitely not going to take a frozen slide all the way down. He's too old for working water slides at Six Flags. He is definitely too old for thousand foot ice slides. He navigates in this thing like he's used one before. Not this specific one, but he's familiar with good old-fashioned Rocketeering. He is also shooting at the creature attacking Groot again, hazel eyes narrowing. He's not as openly pissed about it as Rocket is…nobody could match Rocket's fury when Groot is under threat…but there is a flare of raw anger there nonetheless.

The banter somehow produces a slight twitch of his lips though.

* * *

"Who is the ex-space pirate here hawk-guy!" Quill shoots back as he skids down and is dropped into freefall from ice tunnel. There is a muffled curse before he flips right side up and kicks in the rocket boots.

…if there is one thing the X-men should learn about the Guardians. It is that they are /so/ not subtle.

"HEY! I know you're chunky but this ain't the time for salad!" He shouts at the worm, the twin blasters snapping up to spit lightning and fire towards the body of the thing. Trying to stay away from the head.

Atli might be in there.

"So Goarx!" He shouts up the hole. "Rally your followers or something! Once you…dig yourself out."

Helping!

The music though draws a frown. Something jogs his memory. Something disturbing. Something missing. Something that should be…but isn't…

"Oh yeah…"

One of the blasters is tossed up into the air to free a hand before Quill jams the 'play' button on the Walkman he always wears. His hand snaps expertly up to snap the weapon back out of the air as his headset starts up.

~~Everyone was Kung Fu Fighting~
~Those cats were fast as lightning~
"Much better!"

* * *

Catching the pistol out of the air, Warren checks it with perhaps unexpected familiarity. It's not a Terran slugthrower, certainly (Warren should really have brought one), but some things are close enough, and he took home plenty of honors in competition shooting back in the day. How much could be different?

"Let's find out," he says, mostly to himself, checking that nobody else needs a lift before he opens his wings to their full span and dives straight down. Darting agilely through the air in order to loop around the ice and avoid the thrashing of the shark-serpent, Warren takes a moment on the way down to squint around the cave in a sweep of the area, even as he briefly folds his wings flat and skims through a space between two spires of ice. "Underground chamber," he observes, wings re-opening afterwards, sail-like, to catch an updraft and moderate his descent. "Thousand high, five thousand across. There's some kind of dias at the far end, but I don't see any 'ice queen.'"

Not that he's certain anyone is listening to the scout report. Apparently plans aren't a thing among these people. It's certainly extremely different from the regimented way the X-Men work.

Getting their Asgardian back is as good a plan as any at this point, at least. With the agility of someone born to live in the air and then heavily trained to fight in it, Angel loops upwards in a distracting arc before reversing direction abruptly and diving. Unlike Quill, he does aim for the head, because he's going for a very precise target and is confident about his ability to fly close enough.

He fires towards one of the creature's red eyes once he's within range, before abruptly dropping a wing and rolling to change direction against retaliation.

* * *

An ice slide!?

Tiny Groot would have been: WHEEE!!!
Older Groot also would have been like: WHEEE!!!

Teen Groot, however, is mentally like: HrrrRNGh why

He's not bothered by the mix of cold and hot during the drop, but he does have the jet pack on him. "I AM GROOT!" he yells in regards to Rocket's warning again, in a similar tone as he did moments earlier. Slamming it on helps his landing against the ice, spiraling down like a snowboarder without a board.

Without the jetpack, he could have ended up in the water. With the shark-serpent trying to eat him alive, the chances of that scenario happening shrink even more. He instinctively brings his arms up in defense, but the shots fired snap his gaze upward, squinting up at Coulson.

Aw, crap. He doesn't want to feel these feelings right now.

Instead, he pushes it down into gathering his fists together, letting them form a large branch-y mess so that he can add a hammer blow right on the serpent's nose. "I am Groot!"

* * *

"AND DON'T CALL ME MOM!" Rocket growls as he continues blasting.

* * *

NOVEMBER 27, 2013

Smoke fills the dark room filled with framed posters of masterpieces past. Animated adventures filled with song and jest. Each and every one part of a Magical Kingdom. One that was far more literal than anyone ever knew. There is a kind of nervousness in the older man's eyes, and as he speaks to his confidant, the one with which he strikes his deals, he seems uncertain. "You're certain? Certain this one will be the biggest yet? Certain the song will play in the minds of a generation of children, until they demand their parents buy them backpacks and dolls and everything that comes with it?"

The figure nods, concealed by shadow, his grin just a little to big, a little to toothy, and he places a hand on the man's shoulder. "The demon that gave me the song said it was the anthem of her people. And if Imameimein, Ice Demon of the Frozen Realm has a failing, it is that she cannot lie.

NOW.

The familiar song enters a crescendo, well, familiar to anyone who watches Disney movies. As energy weapons fire belts out against the serpent, pock-marking his face from Rocket's furious blasting to it's face, and Quill's furious blasting to it's body, and Warren suddenly popping out it's eye, the furious dance of energy and flailing branches (which do SMACK against it's shark-ly snout) will all be in lockstep to the musical backdrop:

~Be the good girl you always have to be, conceal don't feel, don't let them knowwww, well now you knowwwwwwwww!!!~

As the battle anthem of the Ice Demon of the Frozen wastes belts out, she rises up on a column of ice. Blond, blue-skinned, and wearing a flowing long dress that billows in the mix of hot and cold wing. Her hands twist, arcing through the air as she sings, vibrations rocking the chamber to dislodge ice from the walls.

The shark people dive for cover, even as the axe digs deep in the serpent, sending it flailing to the side and then, the combined fire and ax-ing bringing it to a sudden, slamming crash into the ice-castle.

The singing continues. Builds to a harping crescendo. LET IT GO!! LET IT GO!! CAN'T HOLD BACK ANYMORE!! LET IT GO!! LET IT GO!!~

Ice erupts from the chamber walls, and forms, mid-air, into a hundred tiny ice-devils with flickering wings, and with the motion of one claw-like hand, the ice-demon directs them towards the Guardians of the Galaxy.

~KILL THEM ALL!! KILL THEM ALL!! EXCEPT THE SON OF COUL!! HIS PROWESS IS KNOWN!! BRING HIM TO ME!!~

One is left to wonder just how many people Atli told that story about Phil too.

It's about then the serpent-shark, felled low, makes a choking sound.

As if something is trying to crawl out of it's throat.

* * *

The Son of Coul gets a very flat look on his face when he finally recognizes the anthem. It is two parts 'what the Hell' and one part 'seriously?!?'

And then the…Elsa…makes her demand of her ice devils.

"I should have known letting that story stand was going to bite me in the…"

Actually he'd better not finish that sentance.

He starts firing at ice demons, backing up quite a bit, only to…

Well, he gets swarmed. He's not known for panicking. Unruffled under pressure, that is Coulson. But it is safe to say that he is looking a little bit concerned. Maybe a lot concerned, as an ice demon swoops down to try to enter a tug of war with his gun, and another grabs at his jet pack and pulls it off him so they can catch him in the air.

"Great," he mutters, as he lets go of his gun with one hand to haul off and punch an ice demon in the face. "I already knew objectively there were fates worse than death. Now an alien Disney Princess wants me to have objective proof. This is fine. This is absolutely fine."

* * *

Coulson's not doing bad. Neither is the chicken man. Peter- well, he's doing his thing and really, by now anything that Star-Lord does, Rocket can hardly be surprised nor impressed, if ever he had been. Impressed by his stupidity, perhaps, but otherwise…nnnnnah.

Rocket pauses shooting long enough to lob a grenade at the shark-beast but the clearness of the tune that had wafted within the icy chamber earlier instantly snags his attention.

"Oh HELL NO."

Even before the frosty queen emerges the smallest Guardian's already shifted targets, snarling as he jerks a lever on his rifle and the front of the barrel just glows an actinic yellow. "I FLARKIN' HATE THAT MOVIE!!" It's the strangest but most definitely heartfelt battlecry ever as he depresses the trigger and lets out a continuous beam from the rifle right in the blue-skinned woman's direction. Even before the first blast tapers off he's flinging homing grenades that blink wildly.

"QUILL! PATCH US IN!"

That order makes no sense but Peter would know as the raccoonoid slips out a small device from a pouch, depressing a button. It's a link to the Milano's sound system.

* * *

"YEAH! TAKE THAT FISH LIZARD THING!" Quill calls as the worm falls with a crunch to the ground. He spins though just as the ice demon appears, a quick and automatic check of her hotness levels before he frowns. "…oh god. /THAT/ Flarkin song?!"

He knows only one thing song, only one movie, that induces /that/ much rage in his furry little friend. "Kill it!" And then there are a swarm of demons as Quill smirks behind the mask. "With /fire/."

Arcing though the air the blasters are snapped up and forwards. Twin plumes of flame erupt in the closeness of the cavern. Sweeping round Coulson but not enough to splash him at least. Quill /is/ actually almost as good as he thinks he is.

Almost.

The tempture of the cavern spikes as Quill burns ice demons, at least until he hears Rocket's shout. "On it!" He calls back, one weapon going up for a moment as he adjusts the com system to link into the sound system on the ship above.

"Got just the thing for it…" He mutters as he swiches songs.

~Get your motor runnin'~
~Head out on the highway~
Lookin' for adventure~
~And whatever comes our way~

…Steppenwolf is always appropriate for Guardian plans.

* * *

One thing Peter Quill and Warren Worthington appear to share in common? Warren also performs an automatic hotness level check on the ice queen as she emerges. Kitty can never find out they have even this much similarity, or his ability to judge her about Quill will decrease.

Whatever evaluation rating he reached about the queen, however, is immediately tanked to 0 when he realizes what the song is. "Are you kidding me?"

It distracts him enough that he idles briefly in the air. Movement in his peripheral vision snaps him back, however, in time to beat his wings strongly and flip out of the way of the first surge of those ice-devils.

Seeming to take the swarm of fliers a little personally, he swivels and darts straight towards the largest concentration, which seem to be busy tormenting Phil Coulson by pulling off his jetpack. Which would be quite fatal with the drop in this cavern! "Catch and hang on," Warren warns, dropping his weapon to Phil to replace the one the demons have taken, before he grabs for Coulson himself and flies off with the man, presuming that the ice-demons will want to follow to finish the job.

Yeah, he might be using Phil as bait. Because he will lead whatever demons follow them, breakneck, dead-on towards an ice-wall of the cavern — and crank a hard turn straight up at the last moment, betting on them not being as mobile as he is to avoid the unforgiving wall. What of them Coulson hasn't already picked off, anyway.

* * *

Oh.

Oh no. His youth is haunting him.

"…I am GROOT!!!"

The very song riles him up, the memory of watching That Film the one time sent a tinier version of Groot on a rampage around the hangar bay of the Triskelion as soon as the credits were rolling. It's a memory he's repressed until now, its trigger like a flashbang in his mind behind ever-widening eyes.

ALIEN ELSA MUST BE DEALT WITH.

But first, the ice demons. The treenager thrashes at some of them, his arms lengthening as he swings back, then forward, at the ones within range. The intention to catch as many as he can and throw them at the other ice demons attacking him and his Guardian pals is up to eleven — first in Coulson's general direction (which gets changed once Warren gets in there), then Rocket, Kitty, and so on — matching the volume of retaliation music coming from Quill's walkman.

* * *

In that moment the front of the giant serpent-shark lights up, as if a rainbow were forming in it's mouth. And it does. Before blasting out of it.

"BORN TO BE WILDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!"

Atli gives her battle cry from the back of her goat, trailing melon-viscera and shark-serpent guts along her spear in a gruesome arc that sends her flying right towards a pack of flying ice demons. It is her exclamation, her knowledge of this song she has heard so often on the Milano that solidifies her sudden fury in battle: This is the song of her people, HER people, HER family, and though Atli looks a bit ruffled, it does not stop her from unleashing lightning and furious stabbing at the creatures in her rainbow-goat laden path.

"I am sorry it took me so long to cut my way free of that creature's mouth parts! I suggest we move on to the back up plan. It might be easier to just Fix Everyth- WAIT! NEVERMIND! THE SON OF COUL IS MOVING INTO SEDUCTION RANGE!"

Gorax whirls violently, chopping at ice-devils that flutter around before leaping a hundred feet or more to crash his axe into a great chain that secures a dozen or more of his people. Tossing a few of them his hand axes, he shouts.

"THE PHILANDERER OF THE GALAXY HAS BROUGHT HIS PHILANDERER FRIENDS TO PHILANDER THE ICE QUEEN AND SAVE US. DO NOT ASK ME HOW THIS WORKS, JUST FIGHT FOR YOUR LIVES HONORABLE WARRIORS OF CLAN JAU-SUM."

The sound of the song barrels in, and the ice rumbles. Some of the flying horrors recoil, the disruption of Imameimein's song shattering them where they fly. But she retaliates, escalates, the song taking on a more horrific (if that's possible) tune and timbre than the Disney version. It twists in a horrific mockery of what they know so well, and it pummels the ears.

Heat melts ice, and it fogs and rains inside the great cave, and the ice Queen summons beams of pure ice to combat the sudden barrage of death headed her way. Finally, an ice shield is thrown up, but the Guardians are quickly working through it.

Wait, wasn't the plan for The Son of Coul to carry the Ice Devil Queen away?!

Instead Phil is carried away by a blond who's beauty rivals only the Ice Queen's, and as the devils are thrown from Phil and stumble to give chase in a sudden, swarming flock they weave around stalagtites and dive through frozen walkways and spires until-

KRA-KOW!!!

The ice demons collide with ice-covered stone and shatter into a growing pile of slush. Well, all but one. That ice demon is tiner than the rest, and hangs on by Phil's foot. As energy weapon blasts fly and flame decimates his companions around him, he flings himself forward, grasping for something, anything to take him from the horrors of the Guardians of the Galaxy as his little wings are burned off.

He finds a single wing feather.

Ice-eyes go wide as it dislodges.

In slow motion he falls, one tiny hand reaching out until….

HE IS INTERCEPTED BY A FLAILING GROOT-ARM OH GOD.

The arm instantly obliterates him, along with a dozen more of his buddies as chaos rains all around them. Slushy water fills out the steaming pools in here. The ice chains begin to melt from more of the shark people.

Then, there is a horrible, horrible bellow from the south.

Because, the Guardians of the Galaxy killed Fjornmorgl, daughter of Fehrsweir, daughter of Wehrsweir. And now, Fehrsweir, sister to Sloane Brightscale (not really), is charging in from a great cavern from the south.

And she's ten times bigger than the child the Guardians just killed.

* * *

The song already causes pain in its own way. The ice woman's ramping it up however only serves to make Rocket angrier. As though that couldn't be possible.

Then again it's probably not a good thing to stoke that rage-o-meter any further considering his propensity to casually create weapons that might perhaps obliterate small moons.

Oh wait, how many people present actually know this?

…it's fine. It'll be fine.

—Phil, you owe him a new gun.

"RAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAaaaaaaarrrgh!!" Rocket continues to yell as he's returned to blasting his beam rifle in rapid fire, circling with his aero-rig above the wet grounds as he continues to shoot at anything not Terran, tree, nor shark-shaped. It eats chunks through ice shields, heat burrowing through and he's not even particularly sure when they'd even gotten rid of the wanna-be Disney Princess. Maybe if he'd stopped shouting and tried listening above their fantastic background soundtrack of their own he'd realize that the horrible other song had ceased.

But when something greater emerges he doesn't even flinch as he swings around and continues to fire. It's another target. It's a bigger target. WHO CAN MISS IT?!

* * *

"Thanks," Phil says, in tones that says he is eternally grateful to one Warren Worthington as he swoops down like the beautiful guardian angel he's named after and rescues him from this horror. Turned into a flying turret moving at breakneck speeds, the older man keeps up. Shots fire out until there's no more need, at least from demons.

Buuuuuut now something bigger's showing up. He sights along the rifle, his hand steady, trusting Warren will eventually move him into a position that's condusive to shooting. Whenever that happens, he will begin shooting at the newcomer too.

As for Rocket's gun? Well hey, he's good for it, right?

* * *

Kitty hates space. This is just the sort of thing that always happens when space things happen!

Having gathered a space pack from Rocket, she activates it and immediately phases. As far as these Frozen jerks know, there's only Warren, the Guardians and Coulson. She's slowly using her powers to step upward - the gravity here is a little weird, so keeping herself camouflaged takes a bit of time.

There's a lot of judgement and invisible frowning as she keeps hearing Quill yelled about as the Philanderer.

Kitty is perfectly positioned to take out the Alien Elsa. She starts the leap and then the ice demons are shattered. "Shit!" she gasps as she starts to try and angle her descent. Fjornmorgl is gone, but there's another target.

"I actually don't mind Frozen!" is her battle cry as she angles herself toward the larger attacker now. She probably is not able to phase her through the full ground, but maybe she can get her legs stuck.

* * *

"I AM NOT A PHILANDERER! I DON'T EVEN LIKE CHARITIES!"

…Quill is not helping his case at all.

But really for Peter Quill that is par for the course. He's also kinda busy blasting both music and Ice Demons as he twists in the air. The space pirate though /does/ have an idea.

Everyone should fear.

Reaching into his bag of tricks the man twists and dives towards the Queen herself as he pulls out a quartet of devices. Flinging them in place around her shield as he slices by. Cracking into the frozen ground the quartet of devices unfold into…speakers.

Because of course they do.

Which is when he just /cracks/ the volume on the Milano's sound system to direct it into that shield. The reverb should kill that. And then they can kill the demon.

…right?

He doesn't have time to feel proud about that though. Because now Kitty is there and things are roaring and Rocket is shouting back and the whole place eems to be coming down. "…so what happens if we melt the ice cave…" He mutters as he tears one weapon free to add his fire and explosives to Rocket's which is when…

…Kitty falls from the sky? OH GOD WHY. And he angles towards her. Totally forgetting she can phase herself out of danger. Because…well…that is just how he does ok!

* * *

A Brief Rewind:

Groot! Get your stuff an' that twiggy butt'a yours in gear.

Between getting yelled at and seeing Atli and her goat swallowed whole by the alien shark-snek, Groot spent his time grabbing the nearest stuff en-route toward the bay, not really paying attention to what he was picking up or shoving into the worn pack he now had on his wooden body.

Some of those things just happened to be a good number of Rocket's home-made detonators.

Flashing-Forward To The Now:

Groot makes a face at the monstrous thing from the southern end of the cavern, muttering an annoyed "I am Groot" under his breath as he pulls out two of those home-made detonator/bomb things out of the pack. A quick glance down makes sure he's setting it off right before fully Groot-lobbing it at the gimongous charging monster alien Fehrsweir, letting them fly once his arm meets the right point and angle.

And he doesn't want to wait to see if it actually does anything to stop its course, making it dead is all that matters when it comes to their survival.

But HOPEFULLY Kitty is already past the exterior of the creature's skin, out of harm's way. There's still a handful of bombs on him, so he'll be grabbing another two to be ready for the next throw.

But aw man, QUILL. WHY IS HE GOING THERE. THERE ARE EXPLOSIONS THAT ARE GOING TO HAPPEN VERY SOON.

Amidst teenage apathy, Groot breaks character and balks. "I AM GROOT!!"

* * *

THE SON OF COUL IS MOVING INTO SEDUCTION RANGE!

"The what?" Warren inquires, a little perturbed. He pauses — and looks down at Coulson, who he is currently carrying. "Wait, why are you the seduction guy?"

Unanswered questions. "Well, whatever. You're welcome."

Having given up his own weapon into Phil's possession, Warren lapses back into what he does best: flying. He swings around in the air sharply as the last of the ice demons are taken out, winging back towards the new (and even bigger) arrival so Phil can get clear shots in on Fehrsweir.

Distantly, he takes note of Kitty crashing in from above, as she's wont to do. And Quill —

"That's PHILANTHROPIST."

* * *

"I don't know which offends me more," Phil says to his rescuer with mild humor, as he lines up a shot. He aims, before firing, trying for a shot on Fehrsweir's head. Probably won't work as well as a normal headshot. Or, say, your average Bucky Barnes carefully aligned shot. But he'll give just spewing her brain matter all over the cavern the old college try all the same.

"That you're questioning my capabilities as seduction guy, or that you just turned my name into quite possibly the world's worst battle pun."

* * *

Fehrsweir roars, and the whole the cavern shakes of half-melted ice and running water. Splashes sound in the air as great pillars and structures fall as the red-eyed half-shadow rumbles through the ice buildings, smashing them to pieces and sending shark-people scattering as the great creature heads right for The Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by a belting song that echos from behind a shield of ice. Shark people rally, turning to ice demons that melt and slosh through water as the last of them pancake into the wall.

Oddly, they do not turn on the great serpent, instead running for their very lives as energy weapons fire pelt it from all directions. It's face snarls in pain, but when it sees it's beloved child laying, floating on icy waters…

It's sound is deafening. It's ire impossible, It's rage untold. And so it turns that untold, impossible, deafening rage right towards Rocket, since he looks very much like Lohkey, son of Lo-Key, son of Loki, ancient enemy of Fehrsweir!

Rearing back under those unending assaults, the bulk of the creature suddenly snaps forward, or would, if it was not suddenly sunken into the floor of the cavern, which is now all but underwater. Only the island of rock where the ice throne and Ice Queen stand is left, with piles of gold and items dug from the many tunnels beneath this home of the Shark People.

KA-FOOOOM!!!

Groot's grenades rock the creature before it can try to wrench free from the ground, head smashing back and forth against the cavern wall. And yet STILL this creature seems ready to kill the hated Rocket and all of his upsetting faceparts. Except Peter Quill, known Philanthropist, does gift upon the Queen the sound of sweet, sweet music.

Indeed the ice shield does shatter.

Indeed, Imameimein's eyes do go wide.

Then she lets out a silent scream. Silent because her body begins to crack, to tremble. She questions how this could be, but no sound emits forth from her mouth that slowly turns…

Frozen.

The song ends, and suddenly the red fades from Fehrsweir's eyes. Confused, bloodied, the serpent wavers.

And then Toothbender and Atli go crashing through the Ice Queen as if it will matter, utterly obliterating the frozen statue of a woman before Asgardian and goat go tumbling across the floor to SMASH into the throne too, leaving them both covered in slush.

* * *

"Oh, you want a piece'a me, eh?! COME GET IT!" the small Guardian taunts, jetting back and forth as he holds down the trigger, a steady volley of glowing blasts pelting its target. He cuts it short when he glimpses Kitty and then Peter moving to help, his head craning about as he catches movement from below.

"GROOT! WHO SAID YOU COULD BRING—"

Rocket breaks off, squinting after the deceptively small grenades that Groot flings. "Hey Wingboy, did those have red bands or blu— Know what, never mind. GET CLEAR!"

Which he does as the grenades impact, taking mental notes even as he turns head over heels in midair. Righting himself, Rocket looks back and grumbles. "Still in one piece? I needa adjust the compounds on those things. Oh flark-"

Rocket shouts as he lurches with an abrupt aerial retreat, trying to get out of the angry serpent's way. The crumbling compromised ceiling above doesn't make it any easier as he gets clipped by debris and spiral-dives sharply into the cold, melty water.

* * *

Kitty drops down onto Fehrsweir and tries to phase it right into the ground. However, it's a crazy large and Kitty's powers tend to also do some crazy things when magic gets involved. The ice shield shatters and Kitty is tossed from the serpent and onto the floor with a splash. Bouncing a few times she splashes to a stop.

Pushing herself up and shaking off the wter, she glances at the others and then back to the serpent. "So, uh, no more musical I guess?" The jet pack she's wearing stutters and she remembers that she could fly. "This is bad! What's next?"

* * *

If there was any battle punning it was totally unintentional.

Peter though is entirely intentional in his desire to 'help'. Though help in this case is dubious as he is charging towards a angry, thrashing, ice worm that is now wondering just what the hell has been going on in its house.

I mean come on. It totally looks confused now.

Confused or not, Kitty is also sort of heading in that direction. Then Kitty is being thrown in a different direction and then Groot is throwing a string of something at…

…wait that looks familiar.

"ROCKET I THOUGHT YOU HID THOSE!" Peter shouts as he banks in the air to follow Kitty's arc, jetting in to try to scoop her and her sputtering pack up and away as he jets /away/ from the explosion that is sure to happen.

"Please be the blue bands please be the blue bands."

…blue usually means exploding /small/ buildings and not /big/ buildings.

"Well next," This towards Kitty's question. "Is not get exploded!"

* * *

"My apologies," Warren mentions lightly to Phil. "It's just that usually that's my job. I was a little startled."

A pause. "And the pun wasn't intended. Peter Quill's simply a man in dire need of correction on the use of the English language. Though now that you mention it — " A wince. "It was bad."

He manages to multitask this conversation with some swift flying around the thrashings of the serpent — and a sharp bank away as Rocket tells him to get clear of… whatever Groot threw. But as the ice queen shatters and the serpent wavers, Warren similarly pauses in the air, hovering briefly before slipping into a wide circling in the air, because he's not really built to hover in place for long periods of time.

Leaving Phil wherever he might want to be left, Warren starts to wing cautiously over towards where Atli impacted. He hasn't seen her be really hurt by anything yet, but there's always the off chance.

"…So we don't have a plan more elaborate than 'don't die," is his remark on the 'what next' exchange.

* * *

The great and mighty Fehrsweir struggles, thrashes, it's attack on Fair Rocket aborted as it finds itself partially trapped by the ground. It howls a sound of confusion, of defeat. And that is before those grenades go sailing in.

For at least one (okay two) beings here, it is a thing of beauty, blue plums of plasma detonations that send the poor, confused serpent rocking back and forth until it slams into one cavern wall, dislodging more ice. Then another. Oh, hey, the Shark People have painted the caverns! Shark people art! Is that Stark tower on one of the murals?

"Yes.. I have… It is…"

The Girl of Thunder stumbles from the slush, hair tossed back in what should be a majestic, heroic display of recovering from an expert landing. Instead she nearly falls over again and goes sprawling at the newly landed feet of Warren Worthington. The goat fares no better, sputtering off until he decides to headbutt the throne, mistaking it for the fallen Ice Queen. She squints up at Warren then, eyes wide at the angelic vision before her, distracted entirely as the light that streams in from the cavern entrance above hits his wings just right…

But then she sees Phil moving over towards the fallen Serpent, which is breathing, if only barely, half-floating in the giant pool below. "Yes… Son of Coul, use your powers of seduction to fell that serpent low. Or perhaps more explosions. Or my spear. Where is my spear?"

Atli must have hit her head. Or perhaps she is drunk. Only the very, very astute will notice a difference.

As Atli begins fishing around in the piles of gold and other items that surround the now-slush throne, she calls to Warren. "Warren you have an affinity for money, tell it to relinquish my s-HEL'S BELLS!!"

A golden light fills Atli's face as she bumps a nearby treasure chest, which does open to reveal a most glorious sight: A pair of familiar armored boots.

Her boots, in fact. The brand new pair she so recently lost. Which would mean this is where Thor was meant to find these boots, and gift to them to her sometime in the future. So, as it would seem, Atli has found them this time, for the first time.

Be thankful this time travel conundrum only involves boots.

Meanwhile, the shark people begin to converge on the serpent, looking to it in the aftermath, weapons at their sides, but no real ire in their hearts.

* * *

After Warren drops him off, Phil shoots Atli what can only be described as a look. He opens his mouth, perhaps to deliver another dry comment. But then he frowns. "I think…"

He does not, thank all that is good, sweet, and holy, try to seduce the serpent-dragon. If anything, he walks up to it with his hands in his pockets and studies it with a tilted head. "Oh, poor thing," he murmurs. He reaches out to pat pat the shark snake trying to tend her young. This is not, LET US BE CLEAR, any kind of pass whatsoever.

He then pulls out a first aid kit and starts working to help out the baby serpent-shark thing, the one that tried to kill Atli from the start. It too appears to be alive. "I'm pretty sure she was under mind-control," he explains. "Especially because…"

He points to a carving in the wall that had been all covered in ice before. It looks vaguely religious, showing the shark people revere these things.

* * *

"ALSO WHO THREW GRENADES AT MY WIFE?!"

The Battlemaster Gorax shouts, standing guard near the fallen Fehrsweir and looking pointedly to the many flying heroes.

That's right.

Wife.

* * *

Quill points at the remains of the snow queen. "SHE DID IT!"

* * *

Unfortunately it's difficult to properly appreciate explosions or their aftermath when one is under water. Very frigid water at that. It's only when things have seemed to settle, if perhaps briefly, that the sound of thrashing and sputtering breaks both silence and the stillness of the pooling icemelt.

It's probably for the best as Rocket had forgotten all about the reason they'd even come up here, a wild adventure spawned from Atli's loss of footwear.

"Ptoo! Aghghgh," the small Guardian shivers, shaking himself out from head to tail as he hauls himself out of the water. He looks in mild horror as his weapon has been thoroughly soaked, and his aero-rig gives a sad putter as he taps at the button. And then it finally occurs to him that things seem to be largely lacking in the exploding department, a cue for him to look around then.

He hears a Dead-Eye-sounding murmuring from somewhere but can only see the large bulk of the serpent from where he stands, still shaking off his feet. And then comes the angry bellow. Also a familiar voice. Rocket hauls his waterlogged gun along as he starts around, muttering, "Oh yeah, don't everyone be overly worried about me, I'm fine."

Eyes glancing around for Groot, namely to make sure the twig hadn't gotten himself crushed or worse, he speaks up as he takes it in, puts things together. "Hey! Not like they were my red ones!" he shouts, glaring at Gorax. "Also, I woulda never pegged you as the marrying type!"

* * *

"SHOCKING THAT THE PHILANDERERS OF THE GALAXY DO NOT BELIEVE IN FAMILY VALUES." Retorts the Shark-man.

* * *

"Whaddoes family got to do with anything!" Rocket huffs.

* * *

Here Groot is, trudging his way over to where Rocket is while everyone else is busy.

Not because he's worried about Rocket, mind you. Itxs more to avoid the attention of being the grenade-throwing culprit.

But he does check on Rocket, reaching out to help yank the raccoonoid Guardian to his feet. "I am Groot?"

* * *

Mind control? Wife? Oh boy.

Warren's question is met with a nod. "Yeah, I think that's basically what we're getting at." There is no plan. "However, I mean, 'don't die' is not exactly the worst plan."

Shaking out her hair, she looks to Phil and then to Atli who grabs her boots. Then, she looks at the shark people, hears the roar of Gorax and moves quickly toward the walls to look through the carvings to see what she can glean from them.

"Maybe we should just high tail it out of here?" she suggests. "There have been explosions, Atli got her boots, we all aired out our feelings about Frozen, this has been a pretty successful mission all things considered, right?" She glances to the others and then to Warren to hopefully back her up. A plan of some sort is in the working at least!

* * *

There is a rush of jetboots as Quill alights near Kitty to look around. "I mean really. No ones dead or on fire. So that is usually what we call a win." A pause. "Rocket! Groot! Neither of you are on fire right?"

He assumes if Atli was on fire she could handle it. Because Asgardian.

"And I'm not a philanderer! Who even told you that anyway!" This towards the giant Space Shark Man that towers above him. Quill is not afraid. Or he's dumb. Possibily both. "So! Moving on from people who get our name wrong. It's GUARDIANS of the Galaxy." Again a glare at Gorax. "Looks like everything turned out pretty well." A pause. "And now we should leave, before anything else shows up. Or the cavern caves in. Or something like that. I mean I don't know if that was a load bearing demon or not."

* * *

Warren looks down as Atli falls over in front of him. Almost as if by instinct, his wings flare slightly — just enough to catch the light in, indeed, the most angelically photogenic way possible. His natural instinct for posing prettily must be some kind of tertiary mutation.

He does, at the least, offer her a hand up a moment later. Once he's assessed she's not really damaged, and doesn't need his aid in other ways. "Yes, well, let me get right on that," he says with profound dryness as she implores him to use his money-whisperer powers to compel the piles of gold to disgorge her weapon. But soon enough something happens which distracts him entirely from Atli's looting activities.

Warren turns slowly as Gorax demands to know who threw grenades at his monstrous serpent of a wife.

SHE DID IT! Quill yells helpfully, indicating the slush-pile.

"Sir," Warren remarks after a pause, "I find it concerning that this somewhat important information was omitted from the briefings, prior to this…" He can't even call it a mission. He shouldn't even have called any of what happened 'briefings.'

As Kitty suggests they just get the fuck out and looks to him for reinforcement, Warren nods, apparently giving up and just channeling his Exposure to Scott Summers. "Things look pretty liberated to me. If that's all, then we should start extracting. Yes." Straight-faced: "I am sure the Battlemaster wants some time alone with his wife."

* * *

And now that the worst (?) is over (??), or certainly at the least the most immediately life-threatening (???):

"Worry not, my cosmic companions! Your courageous cavalry has arr — oh. You're already done."

Enter — Loki Laufeyson.

"Well! That saves me a bit of effort, doesn't it?"

And enter the gregarious God of Magic (and Mischief (and Lies)) certainly does, with impeccable timing. Dressed in his green and gold regalia, fully armored, the black sheep of Asgard (to a certain point of view) arrives simply by arriving. There's no flash, no grandiosity, no 'oh I just used the front door and would you look at all this then.'

As is the wont of tricksters, Loki is just standing in the space that he was not, and just as soon abandoning it with the clap of his hands and little explanations as to the hows or, more debatable importance, the whys.

"Well, I'm truly glad to see that in lieu of my presence the wings of my moral support have carried you soaring to victory," a pause, a glance Angel-wards, an addendum, "wings of a figurative variety, to be clear, though I'm sure yours are quite compelling for morale as well."

And here does steadfast Loki deliberately meander his way towards the slush-that-was-a-throne, armor bleeding off of him in dissolving eddies of golden light. He presents his staff. Prods at the slush. Frowns.

"I don't quite recall things being this wet before," muses the magician, before sparing a passing glance towards the sorry state of Fehrsweir.

"And what in the name of Odin's wisest beard have you done to this poor man's even poorer wife? Well! I suppose we should very well depart, before anyone egregiously violates anyone else's spouse!"

Shame shame, Loki knows your name.

"I'd say we all did a marvelous job!"

* * *

"I'm amazingly compelling for morale," says Warren, with a distinct 'and who the fuck is this?' expression on his face as he looks at Atli.

* * *

The shark people begin to move as one. Not just the few dozen which took up arms to fight ice demons or slow the thrashing of their mind-addled Serpent-Queen. Now there are hundreds. Maybe as many as a thousand. Far more than the few that once dotted an asteroid far out in the abyss that Atli coaxed them from when Stark Tower once needed liberating. As Quill begins to correct the Battlemaster, they seem to crowd the Lord of Stars just a bit, drooling maws and ink-black eyes staring in no particular direction whatsover.

One of them bumps Kitty.

Another rises before Rocket.

They loom. They stare. Then…

THEY CHEER!

Arms raised high, they begin to chant, a sound that might shock Peter Quill.

Because they actually listened to him.

"GUARDIANS! GUARDIANS! GUARDIANS!!"

Gorax begrudgingly allows the cheering, until Loki appears, a hand quickly raising as if to cut them all off. Which of course coincides with one shark person whispering to another, and finally one old, wrinkled shark-person hobbling forward to press a box into Gorax's hands.

"Yes, well," says Atli, upon Loki's prodding of the slush. "With the combined prowess of the Worthyton Glorywing, the Inexhaustable Son of Coul, and the Lord of Stars, things were certain to moisten up a bi-LOKI!!" Atli rises, having just finished pulling her new (old) boots on, one hand in Warren's to accept his help up.

Poor Warren, Asgardians do weigh quite a lot.

Still she's on her feet in no time, and to Warren's expression, Atli strides forward to Loki to clap him on the shoulder, giving a shaking squeeze. "Worthyton Glorywing! This is my Uncle Loki!! Master of great, big bendy horns and… some sort of magical somesuch. As you can see, he has excellent taste, having noticed your wings!" Atli gives a great big smile at that, gesturing to those wings as if they were in fact the most amazing things in the world.

Meanwhile, a shark people are trying to hoist Kitty, Phil, Rocket, Groot, and Quill onto their shoulders for celebration, all of the grenading apparently forgotten in that whole liberation business.

A tap on Warren's shoulder might summon his attention away, as Gorax looms close. "YOU. FEATHERED ONE. THE OTHER SPACE BIRD PEOPLE THAT WERE HERE WERE LOOKING FOR THIS, BUT MY PEOPLE SUFFERED TO KEEP IT FROM THEM, FOR THEY KNEW IF THEY FOUND THIS TRINKET THEY WOULD ALL BE EXECUTED. PLEASE TAKE IT FROM THIS PLACE WITH YOUR GLORYWINGS SO THEY NEVER COME BACK."

The box has an ominous black feather carved into the top, and the longer one stares at it…

The burning image of a Phoenix comes forth in the background.

* * *

Rocket mumbles a thanks to Groot, eyeballing the approaching shark people warily as he holds his rifle close, despite knowing it wouldn't be good for much more than a bludgeon right now. "No one's on fire," he assures Quill, but the sound, the arrival of someone altogether different yet all too familiar has the raccoonoid turning his head.

"Okay, who used the butter?"

But it seems that Loki of the Bendy Horns has come by his own ability. Not that Rocket has any problems with the Asgardian. Or hasn't as of yet. But with things looking like they've been resolved for the most part, he's inclined to agree with Warren and the others. Plus his fur's wet and he's cold and grumpy. The latter may not be all that obvious from the usual.

A challenging look is shot in Gorax's direction, ready to tank whatever the shark man might have in objection or otherwise, but instead he finds himself nearly deafened by the thunderous shouts of the other sharkpeople. Brows lift, and after glancing around, the hint of approval touches his face. Now this is more like it-

"WHOA! Watch where you're grabbing!!" he yelps as he finds himself being tossed up onto someone, and he grabs at whatever he can to keep steady.Which is awkward to do when you're still stubbornly trying to hang onto your gun.

* * *

Groot did have a comment about Battlemaster Gorax's wife, and it was a really good one, but it was (fortunately) sidetracked by the immediate cheering of the shark people.

"I am Groot!?" The treenager pipes up, sort of answering Quill, sort of yelling at the shark people now that he's up on top of some shark shoulders. Dark eyes jump from Rocket to Quill, then to Kitty and Warren, lingering before jumping over to Atli and Loki's family reunion. A semi-disgusted noise crawls up his throat as he rolls his eyes, but not even that action finishes once the box is presented to the winged man.

* * *

Oh god they are surrounding them?!

OH GOD ARE THEY DROOLING?!

OH GOD NO—wait no this is good.

THis is actually good! They listened to him! Yes. Yes this is the best part of the new job. This is totally the good part. Quill thinks as he finds himself hoisted up and carried on the shoulders of giant sharks.

…I mean as long as they aren't going to sacrifice them all to some kind of space ice volcano.

That just gets awkward.

The box is noted though, along with Loki's sudden appearance. And the words of Gorax. Because. who can ignore all that shouting.

"Oh god wing space people? Those guys are total d-bags."

A pause.

"They make good guns though. So thats something."

A pause.

"How the hell did the butter thing work anyway! Its never been explained!"

* * *

Groot just shrugs, shaking his head. "I am Groot."

* * *

Quill slowly nods. "Well. I guess that explains it."

* * *

Now, Warren is moderately stronger than the average human his size and build — had to be, in order to fly and tote around Scott and Jean all day back in the day — but even he finds himself a little staggered by the unexpected heft of Atli Wodendottir as she accepts his hand up. He tilts a little, wings opening for counterbalance. They stay open afterwards, Warren a little distracted by the sudden uproar of shark-cheering.

And, you know, the appearance of Loki, who Atli greets as her uncle. "Master of the fashionably-late arrival," Warren mutters. Louder: "Yes… people do tend to notice the wings, though I prefer that to other things they tend to notice — "

He trails off as he is approached by Gorax with … some sort of box, however. Taking it carefully, he listens with a frown as he's addressed.

"The other space bird people?" He stops, as he notices the black feather, and as an image eventually appears to his eyes.

"Motherf…" Warren hisses, not finishing because there's a treenager listening. "Shi'ar? What is this?"

* * *

And so the heroes are hailed. The legends say that of all of them, FAIR LOKI was humblest of all, offering only a bow of appreciation for the space shark's praise.

That he had nothing to bow in appreciation for, having only just arrived, has no bearing on the current narrative; further debate about just how useful FAIR LOKI actually was to this story can be found in Appendix 52-B of the Holy Scrolls of Legend.

The great tragedy is, of course, that the trickster god only has so long to soak in some well-(un)earned adulation before he is seized upon by Atli with great vigor. Thusly shaken, Loki's good cheer is replaced by a frown is replaced by good cheer as he seizes hold of Atli's hand with great familial fondness.

That it also ceases her vigorous vibrations is just a tragic side effect. It was touching. Truly.

So thinks the God of Lies.

"Yes, my forthcoming niece saw fit to invite me on this little excursion for need of a Master of Magical Somesuch, and over the hallowed payment of sacred waffles I saw it within myself to agree to lend a helping hand."

Now we take a moment, to look over the very drenched and drowned battlefield and the shenanigans in which FAIR LOKI had no part.

"But then something tragically came up."

And so with the clap of hands, Loki makes his way past the muck and mire that was once a throne, offering a most cheerful wave to the assorted Guardians as they are thusly accosted by Sharkpeople.

As for the butter:

"Your teenaged tree friend is quite astute! Which is rather remarkable for a teenaged tree, they're usually a touch more oblivious than most teenaged anythings."

Dare not look at Atli, for she is surely an exception.

And so, with a passing wave, the God of Mischief prepares to make his exit once more with a declaration of, "If you should happen upon any more waffles, do feel free to look me up once more; I would be more than happy to lend my generous ai — eh?"

But then he pauses. And green eyes blink, exactly once, as Warren is handed off a box. The trickster squints, lips pursed. And as Warren asks his question —

The once-prince of Asgard leans in, to tap a single, nimble finger on the surface of that box.

"This, my avian accomplice," begins Loki, and his voice lowers just a touch. Just enough to impart import,

"is a matter of cosmic calamity."

And there, he leans back, and smiles.

"Or perhaps it's just a box. Certainly, it's a good thing you have a Master of Magical Somesuch here to discern such things, after his hunger is well-sated."

See also: waffles.

* * *

To Kitty Pryde, who was ever so gentle with the Serpent Queen in trying to restrain her because CLEARLY she was mind controlled, they give the gift of a golden cup, one that fills with wine whenever the bearer wishes it. Assuredly this won't lead to future New Years Parties in Space where Kitty has far, far to much.

To Peter Quill they recognize for his chosen weapon in defeating the Ice Demon, gifting to him an ancient shark-people musical device. One so prized, so beautiful in make, it can hardly be called an instrument at all. More like a work of art.

It does, however, somewhat resemble bag pipes.

To Groot, the Shark People do give another gift. The only piece of drift wood to exist on Mars. How did it get here? Is it the last of the Martian Trees, all having died out millions of years ago? Who knows. But they shove the little object, little more than a bit of nearly petrified twig with a leather cord wrapped around it into his hand. Clearly it was once a necklace. Now it's like they're giving him a relative! Right?

…Right?

There is much discussion about what to give Coulson. Even some arguing. You see, this gift-giving is a great shark-people tradition. And also a way for them to prove they're good friends if they ever come back, since they have a habit of chomping first and asking questions later. And so, to Coulson they do gift him what seems to be an Asgardian helmet. A winged one. In fact, it looks very much like it might have been a Valkyrie's. Maybe they just heard he knew all the Valkyries and might be able to get it back to it's owner. Of course, inside the helmet is a communication device pre-programmed with the numbers of several Shark-Women. Sorry Phil, your Legend Grows.

Finally, Rocket will lose his rifle. It will sting. It will hurt. Hopefully he won't punch a shark out over it in the twenty to thirty seconds that it takes for them to modify it and add some of their technology, rendering it both operational and waterproof. Also, it now has a shark fin, and teeth on the front. They of course, hand it back.

Woe to those who dare stand in the way of a Shark Gun.

Loki is gifted a whole lot of crossed arms and drooling stares. Because really, where did this guy come from? As for Warren, well… he got a box. One that is apparently making him very, very happy. This is only an approximation, as Shark-People have a hard time reading the expressions of Bird-People. To Warren's question, the most magnanimous response:

A big hulking shrug. But oh does Gorax narrow his sharkly eyes on the form of Loki.

"YES. SHI'AR. FILTHY FOOLS IN LEAGUE WITH THE DEMON. ENSLAVED MY PEOPLE TO FIND THIS. ITS A BIRD BOX. YOU'RE A BIRD PERSON. MAYBE NEST IN IT. I DON'T KNOW."

Atli of course doesn't receive a gift. You see, she owed the shark people. But, after blinking out of a daze in which Loki slips away, she does take something from the pile of treasure, and raises it high!

Jarnbjorn, Reclaimed. Yes she just found her spear, and gives all credit to Warren for his ability to bend money to his will. But soon there is talk of waffles, and she rounds on the Guardians all, who will all be deposited on the throne platform with the rest, since the shark people must now get two unconscious serpents back to their resting chambers. "Verily, such a grand idea! My merry friends and family, one and all, let us take our victory to the land of Midgard, and feast with divine might upon the spoils of THE WAFFLE HOUSE. Also, Uncle Loki! Did I mention that Glorywing is so Worthy that he, on a nightly basis, brings great comfort to The Dazzler?! I have no doubt that once we take care of this Shi'ar business he will convince her to come to Asgard and sing tales of The Guardians of the Galaxy and their many friends!"

* * *

There are things about the butter ritual that Rocket will never understand. He looks about to warn Peter about asking questions with answers he may not be prepared to receive. Instead Groot states… well, something suitably Grooty, and rather than provide translation, Rocket is suddenly rather rudely interrupted as shark hands seek to part him and his beautiful baby!!

"HEY!" he growls, and very well looks like he might have shark people for dinner as he tries scrambling from their grasp, watching his rifle vanish amidst the crowd. It's just as well that it doesn't take long at all for them to return it. There might have been a whole new round of explosions and death.

The raccoonoid stares at his regifted rifle, cleaned up, dried out, additionally modified (seriously one day this thing'll explode for how much it's been modded). The teeth are a nice touch. And the grin that pulls across Rocket's face then is a near match.

Woe indeed.

Okay, he'll call this a win. At least until he takes stock of what all of his weapons, guns and grenades, that he'll have to replace later. But for now? Waffles sound great.

* * *

Those Groot eyes, which were turned toward Warren, are still staring intently as he narrowly escapes ruining the innocence of a young tree.

Of course, who knows how much innocence Groot really has. The look he wears almost eggs on the man to say it no matter the cost.

In a blink, Groot looks away to glance at the other gifts being handed out to him and the rest of the Guardians. As he receives his, he squints.

Driftwood. Really?

He feels offended. "…I am Groot." At least Kitty gets a good gift! How come he doesn't get a refillable goblet? Or a waffle maker? Dang, he can go for waffles now too.

* * *

"Usually it's cosmic calamity," is Warren's grim reply.

He does not dignify the suggestion to 'maybe nest in the box' with a reaction.

His mood lightens slightly at Atli's tale of The Dazzler, however. Despite the ugly portent that is the box he has just been given, he manages a smirk that is downright sly.

"Well, you know, she doesn't like space," he says. Or Asgard — but he feels like that's better omitted in present company. "But I'll work on her."

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