At Meteor Labs - Ace exhaled, his breath a foggy cerulean blue. The earth broke apart around him, surrendering to his otherworldly power. He held the ground ripped open with both his hands. Threads of blue energy wound out from his palms, stretching across the vaults, then up towards the labs - all of its floors - and pulled.
Pulled the very fabric of their atomic structure, causing everything to break apart into a swirling vortex of destruction.
Ace did not spare any of the labs. All of it was complicit in his suffering. And the very idea that these labs, ran by these people, these creatures so far beneath him, caused him suffering was inexcusable.
Everything had to go.
But most importantly -
"Found you." Ace whispered, sensing Machine Mind's energy signature. It was deep down in the earth, inside a nigh impenetrable doomsday bunker. There was another energy signature there, too.
One that was familiar to Ace. One that shone blue and bright. The Blue Ring. He did not know what it was, just that it did not come from this planet, but in the end, he did not really care either.
It was power he was going to soon absorb anyway. Power that belonged to him by right.
Ace pried the fissured earth with a grunt. The split halves trembled as they sundered apart from each other, creating tremendous earthquakes. Like curtains parting, the splitting earth revealed the bunker below, several hundreds meters down.
It looked pitifully weak from where Ace was. A little ball of fortified metal that he could pick apart with all the ease of shredding wet paper.
Ace flew downwards, slamming down into the bunker with his feet. As a testament to its structural integrity, the bunker trembled at the impact, but its metal - reinforced smart neosteel - absorbed the impact admirably. It glowed bright around Ace's feet, but it did not splinter apart.
The bunker was about as big as a large house. Bigger than what it looked like from above. But still nothing of consequence to Ace. He put his palm on the surface of the heated metal. Strands of blue stretched out, wrapping around the entirety of the bunker.
Then, the bunker unraveled from Ace's hand. The metal peeled apart neatly, creating a hole to welcome him in.
Below, Ace saw a circular room with the Blue Ring floating in a containment chamber at the center. Scientists in hazmat suits stared up at him, taking steps back, trembling in terror.
His gaze scanned past the scientists and landed on Machine Mind.
The elderly man had his hands on a control panel standing in front of the containment chamber. Blue circuit streaks spread out from his hands, covering the panel and reaching out to the entirety of the chamber and even the ring itself.
Machine Mind's usually golden eyes were now azure blue as they stared up at Ace triumphantly.
"Despite being an Outerworldly being, you are still weighed down by all too human sentiments of vengeance," said Machine Mind. "Which now leads to your demise, my child."
Ace blitzed downwards, his hand reaching out to grasp Machine Mind's exposed head. However, he stopped right before his hand could close around Machine's Mind's skull to crush it into a pulp.
"You think I did not have countermeasures for your kind?" said Machine Mind. His voice was shaky, reverberating with an inhuman current. Circuit patterns had emerged from the Blue Ring like arrows, shooting outwards and digging into Ace's body.
The pattern was equal parts gold and blue, indicating a fusion between Machine Mind's powers and the power of the Blue Ring.
"From the ring, your powers came. Through the ring, it may be controlled!" said Machine Mind. "I have not been above experimenting upon myself. The Blue Ring can control the force of all things - including that of your life and mind. And with my power piloting it, I can dominate anything I desire.
The circuit patterns spread from Ace's body and crawled slowly up toward his head, attempting to hijack his mind. He remained unphased in expression, but nobody could deny the fact that he could no longer move, nor could they ignore the circuits slowly reaching his brain.
It was only a matter of time before Ace was taken over.
"Doctor!" A violet-eyed scientist shouted, taking off her hazmat helmet. "You can't do this! The Ring's integrity is falling rapidly - if you keep this up, we might be ground zero for an explosion the world hasn't seen since the Monstering!
And our research - all of it will be for nothing!"
"Quiet, girl!" said Machine Mind, straining. His breathing was heavy and deep. Veins popped across his wrinkled forehead. His eyes began to bleed. Every bit of him exerted as he tried to tame the power of the Blue Ring. "Our research...MY research...is right here, right here to take, so close-!"
"No." Ace moved suddenly, shocking everyone. He moved his hand up to his face, right below his eyes where the circuits had managed to get to. He clawed at them with his fingertips, peeling them off like cheap stickers.
The whole circuit pattern broke apart, showing just how unstable it was, leaving Ace's entire body free to move.
Machine Mind's eyes widened in shock before he doubled over, coughing up blood. He lurched backward, taking his hands from the control panel. With his access to the panel cut off, the power of the Blue Ring stopped flowing into him.
The circuit streaks around the ring and its containment chamber faded as well.
"You said it yourself. You made me perfect. My compatibility with the Blue Ring is high. Higher than any of my siblings you murdered. Higher than what you can ever hope to control," said Ace. He looked down at the room of scientists. "And now, none of you will control anything ever again."
Ace began to slowly close his fist. As he did so, the innards of the bunker began to crumple in on itself, as if it was being crushed inside a giant hand.
"Wait! Ace!" Clint landed with a thud atop the bunker, peering down from the open ceiling. His eyes flashed red as he took note of the situation. "Take the old man out, but keep the scientists alive!"
"No." Ace's fist began to close in more. The bunker groaned and creaked as it crumpled down further. The scientists were starting to shout and panic, getting huddled uncomfortably close to each other.
"The scientists have no blood on their hands in this!" said Clint. "Look at them - they don't even know you! And I've read their minds - their projects weren't related at all to the ones that made ya suffer.
All of that was the whacked old man's fault!"
"It doesn't matter," said Ace. "Nothing does."
"Hahaha!" Machine Mind chuckled before his throat caught on blood. After coughing it out, he stared up at Ace and Clint with a weak smile. "Do not waste your breath, Unbreakable. The being you are speaking to now is above us, above even you who have only been dipped in the Outer's blessings.
You are witnessing the birth of an Outer being beyond us all.
How glorious...it is. How prideful I was to believe that I...could control it.
Yet, none will control him.
In a way, I feel content in knowing that my research has produced a being this...magnificent."