Untold Tales Of Amalgam Present:
"The Spider-Boy Rescue Squad" Part 2
Written by Crazy Ivan
PREVIOUSLY IN OUR STORY SO FAR, IN CASE YOU'RE JUST JOINING US...
The citywide hunt for Spider-Boy continued last night, as six bounty hunters were arrested for destruction of private property. The vigilante teen known only as Spider-Boy is wanted for suspicion of murder in the death of Nazi war criminal Mr. Z, who was found adhered to a locomotive in south Brooklyn with the characteristic adhesive used as Spider-Boy's 'web fluid.' Other superhero activity has escalated in the Arach-Kid's absence, most notable last night were Dusk Buster, Crimson Cricket, Prodigy Centurion, and Ricochet Blue, all new to the Big Apple. Public opinion polls show many New Yorkers are softening in their zeal to see Spider-Boy captured, primarily due to his participation in the so-called "Kid-World Crisis" earlier this month. All of the city's established superheroes have denounced the manhunt, and in desperation to see a quick and peaceful resolution the Mayor has brought in the Young Heroes For Hire, with a promise to match the Daily Bugle's promised bounty for Spider-Boy's capture.
So read the morning"s headlines. Ted Reilly and Robbie West split the paper over coffee. Ted pours more sugar in his Folgers House International Blends Almond Mocha and trades Rob the Metro section for the Comics. That little dog in Doonesbert always cracks him up.
Suddenly a huge man in an orange bodysuit with a green mane and a white, devilish face busts into the Warrior Watchtower lounge toting four bazookas (two under each arm). "This is a stick-up, hands in the air! I frag the first slob who makes fun of my hair!"
Ted pops up from his seat brandishing a Super-Soaker 6000 and shouts, "Eat foam, laughing boy!" Robbie doesn"t appear to move, but he does fade out of vision for just a moment. When he returns to focus, all weapons have been laid out on the table in front of him and fieldstripped. Aw come on, Speed!" whines Ted. "We"re just trying to start the day with an adrenaline rush. We WERE up all night after all."
"Sorry, Ted, but one of us had to grow up a little. I"m all for a little R-n-R, but I don"t think you understand what would happen if Aquaera saw you with a Super-Soaker again. And you, Garfield; I know you"ve been warned about watching the Maks cartoon after pulling an all-nighter."
"Gee, what a den mom." Caricature morphs back into his Ônormal" form. He still has white skin, green hair, and an orange bodysuit, but now he more closely resembles a sixteen year-old boy than he does the homicidal killer called the Hyena. "Any breakfast left?"
"Are you kidding? Ted finished off three boxes of Toaster Pops and a bowl of Lucky Flakes!" Kid Speed complains.
Ted Reilly grins and mimics the commercials for the cereal. "They"re magically gr-r-reat!"
DarkHawk and TurtleDove enter the lounge from the kitchen, both in full costume minus their helmets. "Did I hear that right?" DarkHawk complains, "the Scarlet Scab ate all my Toaster-Pops?"
"Sorry, Hank. It"s my metabolism. What can I do?"
"You could start by paying for you own food. It was bad enough when you sponged off us before; you"re the Ôprofessional" now, a young hero for hire!"
TurtleDove slugs her partner in the shoulder. "Chill out, Hank. Ted"s a guest here. We can buy more Pops if it means that much to you."
"That"s not it and you know it, Dawn. Ted called us up claiming to have a great plan to clear Spider-Boy"s name. What happens? He shows up, starts going off on his Silly String kick, and the rest of us have baby-sit him while doing the REAL work!" Hank Powell never got along with Ted Reilly when they were both on the team. Part of his animosity stems from the Scarlet Scarab"s lack of commitment. Hank has a family in Queens; his little brothers Jason and Don were almost killed once when he chased a criminal into their house. Ted doesn"t seem to care about anyone but Ted; no one ever told him that with great powers come great re
Aquaera and Red Nova join the others. "Fun time is over, we need to get busy. The Young Heroes For Hire have already held a press conference expressing their intent to comb the city until Spider-Boy is found." Aquaera grabs the remote from the kitchen counter and flips the TV from DCH-1 to CNNBC. "I guess we just missed the Special Report," she sighs, "but they just got done showing the YH4H leaving the Baxter Building in search of the Wall-Walker."
Ted looks up at the blue and green clad Atlantean. "Baxter Building. Does Cadmus still operate from there?"
"Sure," Caricature offers. "Always have. Why?"
"Has anyone seen the Golden Torch yet?"
Baxter Building, New York City
"Thanks for helping out on such short notice."
"Don"t mention it. I"m glad SOMEBODY has a plan around here. And I"ll be the first to admit the Teen Warriors aren"t known for their subtlety." The Slip hugs the shadows (literally) in the ally behind the Baxter Building. She is secretly thrilled to be out here about to break into Project Cadmus" headquarters. When the Golden Torch told her his idea she nearly jumped at it. Despite her paranormal abilities, all her teammates tend to shelter her, thinking she can"t manage on her own just because she"s handicapped. This isn"t to prove anything to the Warriors, though. This is for her, Raven Chord. She"s not even out to impress the Golden Torch, she tells herself. The only man she ever wanted to impress was Dwayne Grayson, Night Thrush, who left New York, the Teen Warriors, and Slip behind for a solo career in Belfry months ago.
Johnny Carter hates himself for using Slip like this, but sees no other way. It is very possible Cadmus has files that would help in identifying and locating Spider-Boy. If Power Drive has them, it"s imperative the Warriors see them, too. He only wishes he believed that this was the reason for what he now plans to do. Oh, he wants to get into the Spider-Boy records all right, just not for what Slip thinks.
"Hold on," she whispers while enveloping him in her cape. The cloth drapes over him in a swirl of absolute darkness, causing a mild sense of vertigo. As soon as it is finished passing over his face, he sees that they are inside the building. Slip collapses as she comes out of the shadow-meld. "Sorry, passengers tend to leave me a little woozy." She stumbles trying to stand up, and uses a chair to brace herself.
John helps her up. "Are you okay? We"re in now; the rest should be easy. We have time to rest if you need to." It was a lie of course, but he didn"t see that pressuring her to push herself would do either of them any good.
"I"m FINE!" she says while jerking her arm out of his hands. She was counting on this raid to boost her own self-image, and here this guy is coddling the cripple girl like everyone else does. A flick of her wrist activates the retractable leg braces and crutch concealed in her costume. "Let"s get moving before someone notices us."
John nabs two lab coats for them, but without I.D. badges they won"t be able to walk about freely. He grabs hold of Slip"s arm, despite her objections, and helps steady her as they move so as to avoid drawing attention to them. Under the coat John is in street clothes, he wasn"t about to risk being noticed here as the Golden Torch. But Raven Chord doesn"t have the luxury of removing her costume; her mystic powers of teleportation come from within her, but in order to exact the kind of control she needs to transport others through the shadows she must rely on her hooded cape.
The two heroes slowly wind through the passageways of the Baxter Building until they discover the location of the computer room. They continue to mill about as necessary to avoid making eye contact with any Cadmus employees until they reach their destination. The door to the computer lab requires a pass-card to enter, but Raven knows she can Ôslip" the two of them under the door easily enough. Just as she begins wrapping her robe around Torch, the door opens!
"Did you see that?" Johnny Storm glances down both directions of the corridor before him, positive he had seen movement out the corner of his eye.
"Quit changin" the subject, Red," Benjamin Grimm chides his fellow Challenger as he exits the room behind him. "You just wanted to put the moves on June Masters. I watched the way you followed her every motion!"
"I was just trying to look out for her; she IS blind, Rocky. What"s it to you, anyway? You don"t think a dish like June would pick a rough-neck like you, do you?"
The two friends continue to take pot shots at each other as they enter an elevator that takes them to the Fantasti-Wagon hangar. Once they are safely gone, Slip frees herself and the Golden Torch from their shadowy perch inside an overhead ventilation shaft. "Whoa! I just saw President Grimm!"
"You mean ÔSenator" Grimm, don"t you?"
Carter is only half-listening to what Raven is saying. "Hmm? Oh, sure. In THIS decade you mean." He shakes his head to clear his train of thought and focuses on the lab. "Okay, we should be clear this time. Do you need to rest before doing another meld?"
"No, I can do this. Just don"t expect too much out of me for a while once we get to the other side." Once again Raven Chord begins to merge with the shadows, this time to slide under the heavy reinforced-steel door keeping them out of Project Cadmus" computer lab.
They shimmer briefly, but do not become one with the darkness. John Carter knows why. "Oops. I got a little excited about seeing the President, and my hands started to glow. I"ve got it under control now, though."
"I don"t think I could have made it anyway. I"m too taxed to carry you with me right now. Why don"t I go ahead of you and see if I can open the door from the inside?"
"Alright, but what should I do if they come back?"
"Act friendly. And hope they don"t have blasters."
"That isn"t very reassuring," Golden Torch says as Raven disappears from sight. He waits for what seems like an eternity (even though his watch tells him only 51 seconds pass) and finally hears the vault-style door open again. "Good job. Now let"s get at those files. Spidey may have a secret identity on record with Cadmus. You start looking for personnel files on him; I"m going to check out his medical history."
Chord finds a manila folder labeled Spider-Boy and removes it from the cabinet drawer while Carter messes with the computer. John claimed that his future background would make it easy for him to crack Cadmus" security measures, but he seems to be having a difficult time finding what he"s looking for. Inside the folder is a stack of pages stapled together marked case files. Written over the document header in permanent marker is the banner, "The Adventures Of Spider-Man When He Was A Boy!"
This is it, she thinks to herself. If Golden Torch is as successful as she was, they might be able to round up the Arach-Kid before nightfall. Who says Night Thrush is the only detective on the team? Or, WAS on the team. But that"s neither here nor there. Right now all that matters is getting these files back to the Warrior Watchtower.
"How"s it going, Goldie?" she asks while turning to watch him hacking away at the keyboard.
"Not so hot, no pun intended. This machine keeps changing settings on me, misdirecting my queries, and generally confounding my every attempt to get anywhere. It"s like it has a mind of its own."
"Many people believe Computo DOES have a mind," a voice tells them. A woman in her early thirties steps out of an adjacent and walks over to the terminal. "Computo knows who is suppose to have access and who is not. So do I."
June Masters taps a button next to the monitor and four squat security-bots enter the room, hovering approximately two feet above the floor. Each one has two tentacle-like arms that end in pinchers. "These robots should hold you until the Challengers of the Fantastic arrive!"
Warriors Watchtower, New York City
"I"m sure we"ll have better luck tonight," the Scarlet Scarab says spiritedly to his former teammates. "If we spread out a little more we ought to be able to flush him out pretty fast."
"But if we spread out we won"t have the back-up we need in case something doesn"t go as planned," Omni-Girl reminds him. "And with you on the case that"s all we CAN plan for!"
Ted ignores Omni-Girl"s witticisms; she joined the team after he left, and he doesn"t feel that they know each other well enough to joke around like that yet. "Can someone pass me a 9 milli-inch socket? The thruster-pack on the Cricket armor needs to be spaced farther back from the torso. I nearly got fried last night!" Lying on his back directly under the fuselage, he can see what went wrong.
The entire team is busy working on repairing the costumes they used the night before impersonating the Crimson Cricket, Dusk Buster, Prodigy Centurion, and Ricochet Blue. It isn"t nearly as easy without Johnny Carter"s technical expertise to rely on, but between the Scarlet Scarab, Block, and TurtleDove they still have a fair amount of mechanical know-how.
Robbie West strikes up a conversation with Ted to make the time pass faster (and keep tension from mounting with him and Omni-Girl). "Did I tell you what Super-Soldier asked Angelica and me?"
"No, I didn"t know you KNEW Super-Soldier!"
"We"ve met before! Okay, it was one of those crossovers where they get all the heroes in a big meeting. But we HAVE met!"
Anyway," Angelica Anders, a.k.a. Firestarfire, butts in, "Super-Soldier showed up at the Watchtower a couple weeks ago and asked if the Kid and I would consider joining the JLA!"
"WHAT!?" Ted bolts upright, knocking the Crimson Cricket costume off its gurney and slamming his head into a platform bearing most of the tools. He shakes off the physical blow, not the mental one. "Super-Soldier came to YOU and invited you to join? THE Super-Soldier?"
"Yeah," continues Robbie. "He said they were having a membership drive and told us he would be proud to sponsor two experienced heroes like ourselves."
"I think he was just trying to make sure the new roster wasn"t top-heavy with muscle-men," suggests Firestarfire. "With West"s Speed and my microwave energy, we could have provided a little more diversity."
"COULD HAVE? You mean you guys turned down the Avengers? But..."
"Look, Ted. It"s not like we"re just those super-kid wannabes we used to be. We"ve grown, as individuals and a team. The Teen Warriors are a family, one that you"ll always be a part of, I might add. No Justice League could ever replace that. You would have done the same thing."
"Yeah, okay. I suppose that may be true," the Scarlet Scarab hesitantly says, "but still, don"t you think Super-Soldier is a tad... intimidating? How do you say Ôno" to the Living Legend?"
"Just trust me; it wasn"t that big a deal. It wasn"t a question of where I could go. It"s where I BELONG that counts. And I belong here."
"Guess that makes me the odd-man out." Ted"s sarcastic tone doesn"t hide the fact that he"s feeling uneasy about Wally"s implications.
"Nah, more like Ôodd-ball out,"" the Caricature tells him, "Say, does anyone know where Raven is? I don"t think this ÔDusk Buster" suit will be very effective without her powers to back it up."
"I"ll wear it tonight," offers Ted. "I got to be the Cricket last night. The police reports never specified that the Buster has any powers did they? I"ll improvise."
They continue tinkering with the costumes for some time, stopping only when an alarm system informs them of visitors. "Heads up, crew! We"ve got metamutants in the Lobby!"
Levy"s warning comes across crystal clear. The Teen Warriors rush to conceal their work while Block, DarkHawk, and TurtleDove, already in costume, head for the Watchtower lobby to greet their guests. They are met by Power Drive and Off-Fist, the co-commanders of the Young Heroes For Hire. Other members of the team can be seen waiting outside. "Good morning, Warriors, we"re the..."
"We know who you are," Block interrupts Off-Fist. "Don"t come looking for help here; we have a court order preventing us from interfering in the Spider-Hunt."
"That"s why we"re here," Power Drive tells him. "We have reason to believe you may be harboring Spider-Boy inside. According to this search warrant, the Teen Warriors must evacuate the building and stand-by for questioning while we investigate!"
To Be ContinuedÉ
Okay, a few of you may have noticed that it"s been a while since a new Alpha Guard story has come out. One or two readers may even realize I never finished the often-promised "General Concerns" two-parter. Simple fact is, I don"t have the time to do it right now. Hey, there had to be a reason we call them "UNTOLD" TALES OF AMALGAM, right?
I will be continuing the Alpha Guard series in the future, picking up with issue #13. I also have a DOUBLE-PLUS ONE ANNUAL Featuring Alpha Guard & JLX in the works. Hey, I"ve put a heck of a lot of work into creating this team, and giving them personalities I look forward to writing about! You better believe I will return to them! It just isn"t going to be today.
In the meantime, I still have NoWhere-Men and a number of one-or-two issue stories slated to come out in the coming months. I have had to drastically reduce the amount of time I spend typing on the word processor, but that only makes me more determined than ever to see these projects through! With any luck, they"ll be worth the wait.
Till next time, Always Ask About Amalgam!
COMICS SHIPPING THIS WEEK:
AMALGAM TAILS #41 Little Cheese the Mighty Mouse must defeat Hoppy the Hulk-Bunny in order to save the Justa Lotta Scavengers from death at the hands of the Ant-Bee-Yonder! The trouble is, if Hoppy loses, the ÔMazing Moo Crew will be destroyed by the cosmic GameWarden!! Can both Animalgam heroes win at the same time?
CRAZY IVAN'S FOURTH HOST #5 Thorion the Celestial charges Oa with the creation of Galactiac! As the Thor Corp converges on the Living Planet it summons it"s own protectors in defense; Tagak the Lantern-Lord, Iron Lantern, Uatu the Guardian, the Green Guardsman, and Jim Gardner: Warrior-Machine! The TRIAL OF OA continues!
FREEDOM CRUSADERS #5 The Freedom Crusaders are holed up in Syracuse working with a partisan group when they face the awesome power of Brother Blood! Ensign Jack and True Believer are already down; can the rest of the team protect the Greek resistance from falling before an unstoppable vampire?
NIGHT THRUSH #5 Facing the Morphiend was bad enough, but now Night Thrush has to deal with reports that the Jasper is on the loose! Could both maniacs have escaped the Arcana Psychiatric Hospital in Gold Keel at the same time? Night Thrush better find out soon, because the police in Belfry are ready to blame him!
NOWHERE-MEN #5 The Young Heroes For Hire vow to bring in Spider-Boy, and enlist the aide of Project Cadmus to do so! Too bad Golden Torch picked the same time to raid the Baxter Building on his own hunt for information. Is there a connection between Spider-Boy and the mysterious new heroes who"ve arrived in New York? THE SPIDER-BOY RESCUE SQUAD continues!
THE BOOKS OF DARKHOLD #5 Damion Hellblaze has entrusted one of the Books of the Darkhold to young Stephen Hunter! Can the novice mystic ward off the evils inside from getting out? Can he prevent Baron Wotan from using the tome to resurrect Barnay the undead-devil-dinosaur? Yes and Yes, but only at a terrible price!
Disclaimer: The NoWhere-Men were created by "Donovan" Scott Dempley and myself, but the Scarlet Scarab and Golden Torch are based on the concept of Amalgam Comics. Several characters in this story belong to DC & Marvel, and are used without permission. The rest are mine. This original work of fan fiction is for non-profit, entertainment purposes only. If you"d like to learn more about copyright laws and the internet, visit your local public library, or go to http://www.csusa.org/ home of the Copyright Society of the USA.
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