Defenders (2): Doctor Strange, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Namor, Valkyrie

Renegades (7): Pete Stanchek, Faith, Torque, Flamingo, Kris Hathaway

Pete Stanchek looks around, the rest of his team standing there with him. Even under the dark influence surrounding them, his fragile mind cannot accept the bizarre reality of the situation and his mind has betrayed him before. “What happened? We just fought those other guys and…” he grabs Kris, give a big, unwanted hug. He grabs Faith, and inspects Torque, then stares out at Flamingo. “We’re back, we’re all back.” he pats himself down. “No, this is just another trick, WHERE ARE YOU HARADA!?” Pete envelopes himself in an amber psychic aura and blasts into the air. He’s trapped in the crackling purple electric plasma encasing the arena and starts punching at it. “I’LL GET TO YOU! MARK MY WORDS, I WON’T LET YOU GET AWAY WITH THIS!”

“Maybe someone should go, I dunno, try to talk to him or something?” Flamingo suggests. Without needing to, the whole team looks to Faith Herbert.”

“Yeah, I know, I’ll go.” She takes off after him.

Before the other three members turn back around, they’re met by an enthusiastic “HULK SMASH!” Seeing Torque is the largest of the three, he punches him first. The shot smashes him into the ground so hard the his hard light projection instantly shatters and the body underneath blacks out as it flies across the field.

Valkyrie charges in immediately behind and grabs Flamingo. “You hath great power within you warrior, I witnessed it in your first battle in this realm.”

“You bet your skinny ass I am.” She pushes out her fire, fully engulfing her aggressor.

“I’m sorry young one, but you’ll find that I do not burn so easily.” Valkyrie pulls her sword back and stabs Charlene Dupree. The fire licks around and dissolves.

Kris Hathaway stands in the middle of her fallen friends clutching her head in horror and confusion, “WHAT THE $&*^ IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!?!”

Doctor Strange strides up to her smiles. He places his hand on her cheek. A small rune emanates from his fingertips, circling around her face. She drops asleep in his arms. He catches her falling body and lays her gently on the ground. He looks up at Valkyrie and Hulk. “Not everything has to be so brutish.” Valkyrie scoffs and Hulk roars as he stands looking around for someone else to punch.

Namor saunters up the group and looks up, I suppose these two are for myself and the Surfer.” He asks with raised brow.

“The ambient Powers Cosmic are weak in this realm, but my reserves in them are full. I saw that man in his previous encounter, and I believe that I may aid him. To me my board.” Silver Surfer hops onto his cosmic board and takes to the skies

“And you need me to hurt the cheerful one. Cowards, the lot of you.” Namor flies after the former herald of Galactus.

“Hey buddy, how’s it going up here?” Faith gingerly probes at her friend.

“Why? Why does this keep happening? What sick game is this?” I’ve seen you all hurt, maimed, and killed too many times. I know that I have a problem, I know that none of this is real, and I KNOW that my mind is strong enough to get out of this!”

“Pete, I need you to listen to me, listen to my voice. I need you to understand what’s happening here. Our friends got beat real bad last time, and you saved us, and we’re here to fight again. Until we can get out of here, we have to keep fighting, teh half of the teams that lost are gone, they’re just GONE Peter.”

“So what? So we can fight again, and again, and then what? We fight each other? I know this scenario. This is my nightmare. It’s always been my nightmare, because ultimately, I’m always the one that hurts you, no matter how much I think I’m not.”

“Pete. Pete, you can’t think that way, you…”

Namor grabs her ankle and yanks her down. “I take no pride in this, but what must be done, must be done.” She smashes into the ground, her flight field probably saving her life. She starts to get up, but the diving body of Namor has other plans as he barrels into the fallen target.

High above, Silver Surfer reaches out with his cosmic senses into the damaged mind trying to soothe him. “Rest easy young one.” A white light crawls from the Surfer’s fingertips and weaves around through Peter’s forehead.

“I… I… I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know why we’re here…” He begins to cry.

“Most of us in this life, and most in others, do not either.” The Silver Surfer calmly states. “I am sorry that things have to be this way, but they must.” He unleashes an awesome explosion of cosmic energy, Stancheck collapses, and the Surfer glides down to regroup with his team, carrying his victim. “I do not care for these tactics either, Doctor Strange, but this is the unfortunate grouping you’ve assembled, and when there’s a fight that needs to be won, it is the Defenders job to do so.”

WINNER: Defenders

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