Authority (4): Midnighter, Apollo, Jenny Sparks, the Engineer, Jack Hawksmoor

Heroes for Hire (13): Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, White Tiger

The Heroes for Hire huddle around one another looking at their opponents from across the field. Luke Cage addresses his team, “I don’t know anything about these suckers, but I know if we have to fight our way out of here, we’re going to!” Turning around to charge, he’s surprised as Apollo and Midnighter are already upon them. “Sweet Christmas!”

Midnighter smiles and punches Luke Cage in the face. “Ow! Not expecting that!”

“They never are!” Luke Cage cracks his knuckles and punches back, sending Midnighter flying some twenty yards back.

“That was a mistake.” Apollo makes a stern face and pick up Luke Cage, flies high into the air, and launches him into the ground.

“I don’t think you want this fight buddy!” Danny Rand, the Iron Fist leaps into the air to avenge his best friend. He focuses his chi to a point, the very tip of his toe, and kicks out. To Apollo’s surprise, the strike hurts. It hurts… a lot! He’s thrown back and lands on his back.

“Nice kick sugar!” Misty Knight hollers as she rushes past with Colleen Wing to attack the remaining three members they’re fighting. She reaches the Engineer and punches. The engineer’s chromed finish absorbs the blow, then, it connects with Misty’s machine prostetic.

“How interesting.” The Engineer grabs the arm and it lights up with blue electric. “This arm is mine now.” She takes control of Misty’s arm and swings it around 180 degrees. The attack surprises Misty’s partner Colleen, and lands square in the nose. Colleen Wing falls hard.

Misty, horrified by the action, moves quickly to remove the arm, taking advantage of the confusion, Jenny Sparks dives into the Engineer’s back, transferring to electrical energy, building power and momentum, and flies out her front, tackling Misty Knight and pushing her out cold.

Racing past teammates, Hawksmoor arrives to aid Midnighter. Huffing and puffing, “Midnighter, this… (huff… huff…) is not the place for me.” He helps his teammate up.

Blood curling from his lips, Midnighter responds, “No worries, this is EXACTLY, where I’m supposed to be!” And he takes off back to the fight. Having seen Iron Fist kick his love mid air, he knows that he’s dealing with a martial artist. Based on the amount of force needed for a man his size to take that far into the air and given the distance that Iron Fist kicked him back, given Apollo’s strength. He knows how hard Iron Fist can strike. Knowing all of these variables, Midnighter is far more prepared than when he cavalierly attacked the larger man with the yellow shirt.

Iron Fist notices the resolve from his new sparring partner and meets him halfway. The two punch, kick, push, grab, jump, roll, in a brilliant dance. Midnighter is astonished at this man’s mastery. Even having seen the power and precision, the control, focus, and depth of martial knowledge is nothing short of astonishing. Midnighter, slowly learning Rand’s prefered moves, general habits, blocks, and counters, is able to start turning the tide of battle. He’s the first to finally land a solid blow, a jab to Iron Fist’s chest, sending him reeling. Wasting no time he follows it up with a low leg sweep, sending Iron Fist to his back. Just as Midnighter has gotten the measure of his opponent, ready to axe kick down, White Tiger leaps in to help her partner, and the dance begins anew. She’s verocious, fighting like an animal, difficult to predict, difficult to read. Midnighter signs, and starts to learn this new fighter.

As the two battle back and forth Luke Cage peels himself off the dirt and looks up to see Apollo floating in front of him.

“Impressive” Apollo offers, as he soars down and punches Cage back into the ground.

“That one might leave a mark…” Luke Cage attempts to peel himsle up again. On his hands and knees Apollo punches him down again. Luke lifts his head, trying to keep fighting, and he’s struck down again.

“You’re very tough. But I assure you, I’m stronger.” Apollo races off and grabs White Tiger and Iron Fist, one in each hand, and cracks the two together. He looks around to confirm his assumptions.

“No fun, I had those two!” Midnighter complains as the five Heroes for Hire disappear and  the Authority are returned to their seats

WINNER: Authority

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