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Tales From The Marvelous World: Constantine vs Black Widow

The Intel

Following the attack at the Vostokoff homestead, Nadya placed the threat level of Constantine to a “Level 10,” which meant she and her comrades had to go to America and consult with the one frog who might have known Constantine better than any of them: Kermit the Frog.

Jean Pierre’s intel brought them to the Daily Chronicle headquarters in New York City, which bustled with activity from various reporters and other personnel in the bullpen. “This looks like CNN headquarters,” Alexei observed. “They report fake news here.”

“Let me guess,” Yelena remarked, “an orange man with a bad comb over told you that?”

“Yes!” Alexei confirmed, genuinely surprised by Yelena’s spot-on deduction. “How did you know?”

Yelena mockingly shrugged and said, “Women’s intuition.”

“I thought that was a myth,” the bewildered Alexei muttered, prompting Yelena to roll her eyes in revulsion.

Searching for Kermit through the bullpen, Nadya and her comrades heard shouting coming from the office of The Daily Chronicle’s editor-in-chief, Mike Tarkanian. The door was closed, yet Tarkanian’s voice could still be heard outside the office. It got much louder when the door eventually opened and Kermit rushed out with Tarkanian shouting behind, “…and I’ll tell you this – if those jackasses at The Daily Bugle can manage to get pictures of that Spider-Man joker, you can get me a real story for this paper to print! You got it?”

“I-I got it, chief,” Kermit whimpered.

“Good!” Tarkanian bellowed before retreating back into his office, slamming the door behind him.

“Sheesh,” Kermit uttered. He turned to make his way out of the bullpen, only to have a woman in a familiar brown uniform block his path. Looking up, he was stunned to see the lovely face of Nadya for the first time since the mix-up in Russia, four years ago. “Nadya? What’re you doing in New York?”

Even though she and Kermit were already well-acquainted, Nadya was still fangirling in the famous frog’s presence. Just as she had with Alexei, she maintained composure and kept herself strictly professional (to the best of her ability). “It’s so good to see you again, Kermit,” she said with a stiff smile. “How have things been with you?”

Noticing how stiff Nadya was, Alexei whispered to Jean Pierre, “What is the matter with her? She’s acting as weird as she did in Russia, when she first laid eyes on me.”

“Oh, she’s just a little starstruck,” Jean Pierre explained.

“That’s more than ‘a little’,” Alexei noted.

Kermit heard the two men whispering behind Nadya, noticing them, two other women, and a uniformed rat with the Gulag warden. “Who are all these people, Nadya? What is going on?”

“Kermit, I hate to be the bearer of bad news,” the regretful Nadya stated, “but Constantine has escaped.”

“What?!” Kermit gasped. “D-D-Does that mean he’s coming for me again?”

“We do not suspect so,” Nadya said. “His methods lean more towards global domination this time around.”

“That’s even worse!” Kermit cried.

“You spent many weeks in the Gulag where Constantine was imprisoned,” Jean Pierre recalled. “You were in contact with several inmates, who believed you were the Number One criminal.”

“Can we please stop calling him that?” Alexei groaned.

Not missing a beat, Jean Pierre continued with Kermit, “Supposing they told you something of major importance, such as the Red Room?”

Kermit thought long and hard back on his time imprisoned in Gulag 38B – a time in his life that he preferred to leave in the past where it belonged. But, whatever he could remember from that time would be beneficial in returning Constantine behind bars. “I do recall some talk about the Red Room,” he said. “Something about Black Widows and Super Soldiers. I thought they were just fans of the Avengers.”

“What was said about Super Soldiers?” Alexei pressed Kermit. “Tell us, frog!”

Kermit cowered from the big, burly, and bearded Russian. “I-I-I can’t remember the specifics, but it sounded like they wanted to make Super Soldier copies of Black Widow.” He noticed how the faces of Nadya and her associates were frozen in terror. “W-What’s this about? What is Constantine planning?”

Melina was specifically mortified by this information. “I heard rumors of Dreykov planning a ‘Phase Four’ of the program. Fully-trained Black Widows subjected to Super Soldier conversion, becoming virtually unstoppable.”

“Only Dreykov died before he could see his plans come to fruition,” Yelena noted. “And now Constantine plans to finish what he started.”

“You will not stop our plans!!!”

Suddenly, one of the Chronicle workers in the bullpen – speaking with a Russian accent – produced a handgun concealed beneath his desk and aimed it at Kermit. Before the frog’s would-be assassin could pull the trigger, Alexei grabbed the man by his arm, using his Super Soldier strength to snap it. The assassin’s gun fell out of his grip right before he was hurled through the nearest wall by Alexei.

Everyone in the bullpen stopped as they witnessed the brief scuffle.

Tarkanian, hearing the commotion from his office, emerged to see what the deal was. “What happened out here? Did someone get into a fight?”

“Yeah, a big one!” the shaken Kermit told his boss. “And I was almost assassinated by a Russian spy!”

“Really?!” Tarkanian yelled, sounding a bit too excited. “One of my reporters killed in a Russian espionage! That would’ve been our first newsbreak in weeks!”

Kermit shook his head in disbelief and repugnance. “I really need to find a better line of employment.”


Nadya and the others safely escorted Kermit out of the Daily Chronicle building and ushered him into the nearest taxicab – one that happened to be driven by Beauregard.

“Where you guys headed?” he asked his new passengers.

Before anyone could pick the destination, the rear windshield shattered as the taxicab was fired upon by more Russian henchmen approaching in an unmarked black van. This urged Yelena to yell to Beauregard, “Just get us out of here!”

Oblivious to the events happening around him, Beauregard gave a hard blink and said, “Right!” He stepped on the gas, screeching down the busy New York street as the black van gave chase. The Russians did everything possible to run the taxicab off the road, ramming it from the left side while continuing to fire upon it. Melina returned their fire, managing to take out one of the men, his body tumbling out of the van.

Ultimately, it was Beauregard’s maniac driving that outmaneuvered their Russian adversaries, as the driver lost control of the van and the entire vehicle flipped over, landing upside-down atop a parked, unoccupied SUV.

Impressed, Kermit acknowledged Beauregard, “Nice work!”

“Thanks,” Beauregard said. “What did I do?”

“You outsmarted the bad guys that were chasing us with your crazy driving,” Kermit expounded.

“There were bad guys chasing us?!” Beauregard freaked.

BAM!

Before anyone in the cab knew it, they were derailed by another Black Widow copycat that had landed right in their path, slamming her fists down on the hood and caving it in – shutting the automobile down instantly. They discovered this Black Widow copycat to be robust in size, built just the same as Alexei.

“Another copycat,” Melina surveyed.

“A Super Soldier copycat,” Yelena elaborated.

“She’s nothing more than a challenge to me,” Alexei proclaimed, stepping out of Beauregard’s ravaged taxicab and advancing on the copycat. She proved to be more than the Red Guardian could handle in hand-to-hand combat, overpowering him in two blows.

Yelena and Melina provided the best backup they could, but the copycat made short work of them as well. She nearly curb-stomped the downed Yelena’s head until a gas grenade had been launched into the area and unleashed a red mist that the Super Soldier/Black Widow copycat inhaled. Broken out of the mind control, the robust woman looked around in a daze.

Yelena did so herself, but only to see who it was that had thrown the grenade loaded with Red Dust. That’s when she heard a familiar voice tell her, “I figured it’d be soon before I had to save you again.”

Through the red mist, Yelena detected a woman with short blond hair and wearing the same vest she gave up to Natasha Romanoff after the Red Room incident.

As it turned out, the woman was Natasha Romanoff.

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