Earth-717: Iron Maiden Vol 1

Chapter 11: Irradiation Destination
Brandt sneered as she looked around the room. Green mist was slowly enveloping all of the air.
She looked down to see the bodies of several AIM agents strewn about the room. Next to the pile of
destroyed crates were two more agents.
“Anya!”
Brandt ran over to the two agents, and crouched next to the female one. Placing her ear against
the woman's head, Brandt could hear a soft groan. Gasping, she then put her arms around the woman's
shoulders. Placing her other arm around the woman's knees, Brandt pulled her up and held her.
“Don't worry, Anya . . . . I'm going to get you home safe.”
“Ugh . . . .”
Brandt looked into the helmet, seeing the blonde-haired woman inside it. Her eyes were closed.
Breathing heavily, Brandt then opened up her communications channel as she walked out of the room.
“This is Brandt. Any agents . . . . report!”
At first, she heard nothing but static. Brandt started breathing faster.
“Report!”
Static.
“This . . . .”
“This is . . . . DeWitt,” said a man's voice. “Ugh . . . . I'm in the . . . . arc reactor chamber.”
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah . . . . some scrapes and bruises, but otherwise . . . . I'm good.”
Brandt sighed with relief as she walked through an open door.
“The others doesn't look so great, though,” said DeWitt. “The arc reactor is damaged . . . .”
“Just hold tight. I'm on my way to you.”
She then heard more static as another voice was heard on the com.

“This is Forson . . . . shuttle three is still active . . . . Stark destroyed the rest.”
“Forson!” said Brandt. “What's your situation?”
“Flying around the tower,” replied Forson. “She obliterated shuttles one and four . . . . I can't see
anyone inside. You had better hurry and get any survivors out here, because we're leaving.”
“Agreed,” said Brandt. “I'll try and find the survivors and call you when we're ready.”
“Understood, Lieutenant.”
Walking into the arc reactor chamber, Brandt looked over at the arc reactor. The glass was
cracked, and the energy inside was pulsating between blue and green. More mist filled the room.
Brandt's internal helmet HUD showed that the radiation levels were increasing. As she trudged onward,
Anya in her arms, she saw DeWitt pulling himself to his feet, holding an assault rifle.
“DeWitt. Did you find anyone else?”
“No,” answered DeWitt. “Everyone else is gone . . . . but you'd better come see this.”
DeWitt walked over to the other side of the arc reactor, leading Brandt. As he reached the other
end, he pointed towards the floor. Collapsed on the ground, with pieces of the reactor around him, was
Chen.
“Is he alive?”
“According to my readings . . . . yes,” said DeWitt. “Barely, but yes.”
“We're getting him out of here,” said Brandt. “Forson! Head to the east side of the building.
Give us a way out.”
“Yes, ma'am.”
After a few seconds, Brandt and DeWitt heard a missile collide with the wall from the outside,
blowing a hole in the building. The shuttle parked next to the hole and extended a loading ramp. Brandt
rushed over to the ramp and handed Anya to an AIM agent who was standing there. She then turned
back and looked at DeWitt.
“DeWitt, help me with the doctor.”

DeWitt and Brandt ran over to the Chen, and each one took one of his arms in theirs. As they
did, Brandt noticed he was clutching a shredded device in his hand. Heaving him up, DeWitt and
Brandt walked over to the ramp and pulled him on board.
“Forson, go!”
Once everyone was inside, the ramp closed, and the shuttle blasted off into the sky.
****
Coughing violently, Tasha's entire body shook as she placed her weight against a nearby
container in the empty hangar. Her blurred vision vibrated as she looked around at the destroyed room.
Coughing again, she watched as several drops of blood flew from her mouth and onto the floor.
“Oh . . . . shit . . . .”
“Ma'am!”
Tasha looked down at her hands to see that only her left one was armoured. Her right hand was
completely exposed.
“Ma'am!”
“Yeah . . . .”
“The arc reactor core is overloading with radiation,” explained Janice. “Apparently, it reacted
with Radioactive Man's body, and since you extracted the vibranium core, it couldn't properly channel
it . . . . this entire floor is flooding with radiation.”
Tasha fell to one knee, breathing laboriously.
“No . . . . shit . . . .”
“Ma'am . . . . your armour has suffered catastrophic damage, and is breached in several places.
You've been exposed. Containment is at zero percent.”
Tasha pushed herself off the ground again, and wobbled in place as she attempted to maintain
her footing.
“Heads-up display is offline. Life support systems are offline. Targeting systems are offline. I've

managed to maintain a connection to the Stark Enterprises database, but your arc reactor was torn out
during your battle with Radioactive Man . . . . the power won't last very long.”
“Ugh . . . .”
“Ma'am . . . . there's something else.”
“What?”
“The arc reactor is emitting radiation . . . . and it's overloading. Within a few minutes, it will
reach critical levels and detonate . . . .”
Tasha's eyes widened.
“What's . . . . the radius . . . .?”
“The entire building will be destroyed . . . . and the radiation will flood the city. Estimates
indicate that between the explosion and the residual radiation poisoning, casualties will be in the
millions.”
Tasha sighed as she began walking forward.
“Ma'am . . . . the radiation has entered your blood! If we leave now, we might be able to get you
to a hospital in time . . . .”
“Don't lie to me, Janice,” said Tasha, as she took another step. “I know the math. I'm dead, and I
have no way out . . . . but if I don't stop that arc reactor, millions of people are going to die . . . . if I
destroy the reactor before it overloads, what happens?”
“The arc reactor's energy should wipe out the radiation . . . . but ma'am . . . . you can barely
stand . . . .”
Tasha took another step as blood dribbled from her mouth.
“Where . . . . are . . . . Obadiah . . . . Pepper . . . . Rhodey . . . . Happy . . . .”
“They're still in the building, ma'am.”
“If I don't . . . .”
Tasha grunted as she convulsed. Falling against a support column, she began hyperventilating.

“Ma'am!”
“If I . . . . don't . . . . stop it . . . . they die.”
Tasha pushed off the column and continued to walk towards the open door. Stepping over the
body of an AIM agent, she hobbled onward.
“Ma'am . . . . shall I try to connect one of them through?”
Tasha sighed as she took another step.
“Might as well.”
Sputtering, Tasha took another step.
“Ma'am . . . . I've managed to connect Ms. Potts.”
“Tasha?”
“Hey . . . . Pep . . . .”
Tasha groaned in pain.
“What happened up there?” asked Pepper.
“Is that Tasha?” asked Stane, whose voice could barely be heard.
“Yes.”
“Bad guys . . . . lost . . . .” said Tasha. “Have to . . . . stop . . . . the ar-arc . . . . arc . . . .”
As she was passing through the doorway, Tasha fell onto her knees again. She tried to pull
herself up, but collapsed onto her chest, drooling.
“Ma'am!”
“Tasha . . . . what are you doing?!”
“Ms. Potts,” said Janice. “Tasha is attempting to destroy the arc reactor before it overloads . . . .
but her vitals are dropping steadily. She's been exposed to high concentrations of radiation.”
“Then get her out of there!” shouted Pepper.
Tasha started to crawl into the hallway that led to the arc reactor chamber. She moaned as pain
flared all over her body.

“I can't,” replied Janice. “Her suit is heavily damaged . . . . her mobility tech is all beyond
repair.”
Tasha could hear Pepper begin to cry. She grasped at the floor with her hand and pulled her
body forward.
“Tasha . . . .” said Pepper, choking back tears.
Tasha sighed and breathed in and out a few times.
“Pep . . . .”
“Tasha . . . .”
“Please . . . .”
Tasha pulled herself forward again.
“Please . . . . don't . . . . do-don't . . . . cry . . . .”
Tasha winced as she heard Pepper crying. Her body started to become numb as the feeling
drained from her face and limbs. She heard a small clicking noise, and then Stane's voice.
“Tasha . . . .”
“Ob-Obadiah . . . .”
Tasha continued to crawl forward.
“Y-You . . . . don't have to do this . . . . there's still . . . .”
“No . . . . there isn't.”
“But . . . . you're not going to make it!”
Tasha groaned.
“I'll . . . . make it . . . .”
“Tash . . . .”
“Don't worry, Obadiah . . . . I made . . . . a . . . . agh!”
Tasha cringed as she sputtered more blood on the floor.
“Tasha . . . .”

“A . . . . promise . . . .”
She could hear Stane choking up.
“I . . . . pro-promised . . . . to protect . . . . you . . . . t-to . . . . take care of you . . . .”
She could hear a small gasp from Stane's voice.
“And . . . . I'm going . . . . to . . . . k-keep it.”
She could hear Stane's breathing.
“Rem-remember . . . . Ob . . . . Obadiah . . . . I will . . . . always . . . . lo . . . .”
Tasha collapsed again as the communications channel closed.
“No remaining power, ma'am . . . . I'm . . . . sorry . . . .”
Janice went silent. Tasha pulled herself forward again, as she saw the arc reactor ahead of her.
Aiming her arm, she activated her wrist launcher. Her last rocket loaded and lit up. It then fired at the
reactor, blasting it apart. Tasha was winded and knocked back as the reactor exploded, emanating a
pulse of blue energy that wiped out the green mist in the area. As she rolled onto her back, the last of
her feeling drained away. The world became empty and silent.
****
Stane's mouth was open as his hands shook. A tear streamed down his cheek. He then closed his
eyes and looked down, shaking his head.
“Janice . . . .” said Rhodes.
“No more readings coming from the armour, Colonel,” replied Janice, who was talking through
the building's speakers. “No life signs detected . . . . but the arc reactor has been destroyed. The
radiation is clearing.”
Stane gulped.
“So . . . . she's gone?”
Janice took a moment before responding.
“Yes, Mr. Stane.”

Pepper's eyes widened.
“No she's not,” said Pepper.
Pepper then started running for the staircase.

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