Untold Tales Of Amalgam Present:
"The Spider-Boy Rescue Squad" Part 3
Written by Crazy Ivan
PREVIOUSLY IN OUR STORY SO FAR, IN CASE YOU'RE JUST JOINING US...
The Scarlet Scarab and Golden Torch are in New York trying to find a way to clear Spider-Boy from a murder charge, and have enlisted the aide of the Teen Warriors. While Golden Torch and the Slip search the Baxter Building for records that might help them identify who Spider-Boy really is, the Scarab is working with the rest of the Warriors on repairing the costumes they designed to replicate the abilities of four new vigilante heroes who are suspected of being linked to the Arach-Kid: Dusk-Buster, Crimson Cricket, Ricochet Blue, and Prodigy Centurion.
They continue tinkering with the costumes for some time, stopping only when an alarm system informs them of visitors. "Heads up, crew! WeÕve got metamutants in the Lobby!"
LevyÕs 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, weÕre the..."
"We know who you are," Block interrupts Off-Fist. "DonÕt come looking for help here; we have a court order preventing us from interfering in the Spider-Hunt."
"ThatÕs why weÕre 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!"
DarkHawk stares at the notarized court order being presented to him by Power Drive. "YouÕll understand if I need more than a piece of paper to convince me. For all I know this is an alien shape-changer metamorphed into a signed document."
Like DarkHawk, Power Drive is much more prone to using actions rather than words. Still, his instructions not only require him to exercise decorum, he was told that should the Young Heroes For Hire engage the Teen Warriors in combat, the YH4H would be paying for all property damage accrued. "Look, weÕre not here to pick a fight, and we donÕt want to make you guys lose face. Just let us do our job, and weÕll be on our way."
"Not when your ÔjobÕ includes humiliating my team!" With that DarkHawk crumples the warrant into a ball and flicks it at Power Drive.
Block stands beside him, emotionless, while TurtleDove has to hide
her face in her hands in embarrassment.
Outside, the rest of the Young Heroes For Hire watch through the plate glass windows of the Warrior Watchtower. "Does that count?" Hulkgirl asks.
"ItÕll do," replies FrostKinght. "Move in!"
FrostKnight leads Hulkgirl, Ant-Kid, and Tigerfire in charging into the building. "Time to earn our money!" he shouts, drawing an ice-blade and pointing it at DarkHawk. Block moves to intercept, raising a muscular cybernetically enhanced arm.
"Knock it off!" Off-Fist yells to his teammates, "We are NOT here for a fight!" He then turns to the security camera, knowing that at least one Teen Warrior must be monitoring the situation. "Make this easy, guys. I have the power to search this entire building whether you cooperate or not."
Vance Chase, a.k.a. Levy, knows Off-Fist is right, and sees no way out of the court order. He calls out over the intercom system, "We've had enough legal problems lately, Warriors. If this will satisfy the city that we aren't harboring any fugitives, let's just do it. I want everyone to muster on the pier, in full costume!"
The announcement is heard throughout the Warrior Watchtower. TurtleDove and DarkHawk stand down, and exit the lobby. Block remains in place. "I'll just give the others a chance to get dressed. Wouldn't want you guys to walk in on Caricature in the shower or anything."
"Believe me, Block, NONE of us wants that!" Power Drive watches the Teen Warriors slowly filter outside. Omni-Girl, Caricature, Red Nova, Firestarfire, and finally Kid-Speed line up as instructed. "Is that everyone?"
Levy's voice sounds out overhead, "I'm staying here, if it's all the same. I'm sure you under stand the need for security here."
Power Drive frowns at the notion, but Off-Fist concedes the point. "That's acceptable. It beats having your guys escort each member of the YH4H."
"That's true, Hulkgirl agrees, "Less opportunity for them to contaminate a crime scene."
FrostKnight reviews the team roster one more time. "If Levy's on Monitor duty, what happened to the Slip and Aquaera? They're both still active, aren't they?
"Slip didn't stay on the island last night, "Levy answers," What she does on her own time is her business. Aquaera exited through the sub-basement tunnel. As soon as she gets to the other side in Manhattan she'll swim over."
"I'll just make sure she gets there safely," Off-Fist says. The metamutant martial artist summons his 'chi' energy and punches the air. A glowing hole appears where his hand stops, and by spinning his arm he makes the hole widen. Off-Fist steps through it, followed by Ant-Kid.
They emerge inside the tunnel that connects the Warriors' Isle to Manhattan. Designed to allow passage for the Teen Warriors' personal vehicles to and from the Watchtower, the tunnel holds a two-lane street inside it, that opens into a parking garage in the Upper East Side. It is well lit, so Off-Fist and Ant-Kid have no problem spotting the Atlantian woman and her companion driving a cherry red Corvaire convertible to the main island. "Stop!" Ant-Kid yells.
Aquaera comes to an abrupt stop about twenty feet in front of Ant-Kid and Off-Fist, and leans out the open window. "What do you want?" she snaps at them.
Off-Fist assumes a defensive stance and orders, "Get out of the vehicle, both of you!" As the blue-skinned Atlantian steps out, he continues, "Your friend too! We were told all the Warriors were accounted for. So who's he suppose to be?"
Temorita "Rita" Garth stands fully 6'10" bare-foot, wearing a shimmering red and black bodysuit that accentuates her muscular form. Off-Fist suddenly wishes he had brought Hulkgirl rather than the diminutive Ant-Kid. Ant-Kid is not so intimidated. "Well? He looks like one of those new guys running around." She flutters in front of the stranger. "For all we know you could be trying to smuggle Spider-Boy to shore."
The passenger disembarks, looking very much like an amalgam of the Dusk Buster and Ricochet Blue. "I don't want any hassle, guys. The name's Neuron, and Aquaera was showing me around the Watchtower. I was considering applying for membership."
Ant-Kid hovers directly before 'Neuron', eyeing him suspiciously. "You sound awfully familiar. Have we met?"
"Uh, no. I don't think so," Neuron says, dropping his voice an octave or two. "Although I was considering joining the Young Heroes For Hire, if the Teen Warriors don't work out."
Aquaera rolls her eyes and puts her 'mad-face' back on. "Are you through? Neutron isn't one of the Warriors; you have no authority to detain him!" She climbs back into the car in a huff.
Off-Fist is about to release the stranger, but something doesn't feel right. As part of his martial training, he learned to 'listen' to a person's pulse rate, primarily to tell if he or she is lying. Off-Fist tried this with Neuron (or 'Neutron' as the fish-girl called him), but the results were inconclusive. Instead, he is surprised to realize he has heard the heartbeat before, several times before in fact. His expertise is not good enough to allow him to remember every heart he's ever heard, but he knows it's someone close to him. He tries to make eye contact, but Neuron's visor and hood fully obscure his features. In the tense silence he detects Neuron's pulse nearly double, and his gloved hands begin to fidget.
"It's okay, Kid. Let them go. We're looking for Spider-Boy, not a couple second-raters."
Rita is ready to prove who the second-rate hero here is, but Neuron hops back into the car, encouraging her to drive. She stares at him with an icy glare before starting the motor up and departing.
Ant-Kid expands to normal size as they go and confronts Off-Kid. "How could you just let them run off? We hadn't even searched the trunk!"
"We don't need to. Whoever was in that costume wasn't Spider-Boy. Besides, I got a mental lock on his pulse. I can open a warp to whatever location he's at now. If nothing else turns up we can still question Mr. Neuron."
The Baxter Building, Midtown Manhattan
Four security bots and a blind engineer stand between John Carter and his goal. Ordinarily the Golden Torch would enjoy the challenge, but today the odds are against him. The Blind engineer in question is June Masters, robotics expert for Cadmus and the Challengers of the Fantastic. With him is the Slip, a handicapped heroine from the Teen Warriors with the power to slide into shadows and emerge from any other connected shadow. Together they broke into the Cadmus lab in hopes of finding evidence that would help clear Spider-Boy. Secretly, Carter wanted to get his hands on Spider-Boy's medical records, and saw this as the perfect opportunity.
Now he and the Slip have to try to escape before more security arrives, in the form of the Challengers of the Fantastic. Raven Chord has already found the case files on the Arach-Kid, that may be enough to make the trip worth while.
But why take chances?
"I can melt those tin cans of yours in a flash," he tries to bluff Masters into backing down, "so why not withdraw them and save a bundle on your cleaning bill?"
"IÕm sure you can do it, you made it this far. But Senator Grimm and Johnny Storm are still in the complex, and I know theyÕll be able to deal with you."
"LetÕs give them the Slip!" Carter calls out. He fires a ball of flame from his hand and destroys the fluorescent light overhead. Immediately beams of light erupt from the floating robots, flooding the compartment. Slip gives out a yelp as she is caught mid-way between shadows. Up to me, John thinks. "LetÕs see how functional your droids are after I fry Computo!"
"No!" June Masters reflexively throws herself between her assailant and the computer that represents her lifeÕs work. "YouÕll blow up this entire complex! The Baxter Building is sitting on top of a nuclear reactor, and Computo is the control for it!"
That gives him reason to pause. "ThereÕs a nuclear reactor inside Manhattan Isle?"
"Not really," Johnny Storm and Benjamin Grimm inform him as they come running in through the front door, "but it bought us enough time to catch you here!" Senator Grimm rushes the lab-coated stranger and catches him with his right shoulder. Carter throws up a heat shield strong enough to force him to back off, but not really hurt him. They may be attacking, but the Challengers of the Fantastic were always his favorite heroes.
Raven Chord, still unable to ÔshadeÕ without the added control her special cape offers, attempts to use her empathic abilities to calm the Challengers. Storm reacts, aborting a firing sequence he was programming into the droids. Grimm is more determined, however, and snags a fire extinguisher off the wall.
No sooner does he begin spraying CO2 foam on the Golden Torch than Masters cries out, "Stop! YouÕll ruin the computer!"
"Aw, geeze! How am I suppose to clobber this flaming nut if I canÕt hose him down?"
"Like this!" ÔRedÕ Storm pulls a lever, releasing a weighted flame retardant drop cloth from the ceiling. It falls directly onto Johnny Carter, knocking him down.
"Alright," he says, crawling out from under the cloth, "I donÕt want to fight anybody. IÕm just trying to get some info on Spider-Boy."
"Another bounty-hunter, huh?" ÔRockyÕ Grimm has a disgusted look on his face. "You parasites are worse than super-villains! Spidery never killed anybody, but everybody from Trevor Castle to Lobo the Duck is after him, shooting up the town in the process! At least two of you wonÕt be back on the streets in a while. Hey, Red! Call security and tell them we have two burglars down here!"
"No, wait," implores Slip, "We donÕt want the money. WeÕre trying to HELP Spider-Boy. WeÕve been drawing everyoneÕs fire while trying to locate him. We just want to make sure heÕs okay until all this blows over."
"LetÕs give them the benefit of the doubt, Grimm," Johnny Storm, still under the influence of SlipÕs emotion powers asks, "We should at least find out who they are before we turn them in."
"IÕm Slip, of the Teen Warriors, and thisÉ"
Oh no, thinks Johnny Carter, if they find out IÕm with the Young Heroes For Hire, theyÕll bust us for sure! "And IÕmÉ Stick, as in Matchstick. I know you guys canÕt get involved in the Spider-Hunt, but if you could give us access to any files, it could be useful. You know, case history, medical records, those sorts of things."
"The Teen Warriors IÕve heard of. TheyÕre good kids. If youÕre trying to help the Web-Head, heÕs in good hands. But we canÕt just release classified documents like that," Storm says while helping Slip to her feet. "Besides, all the important files are stored in the Cadmus Labs at Fantastic Mountain."
"What about this?" Slip holds up the folder marked ÔThe Adventures of Spider-Man when he was a boy!Õ
"Those are just the press releases," June informs them. "SpideyÕs PR man writes up his own version of what happens for the media. Those will help about as much as back issues of the Daily Bugle."
"Not much we can really say," offers Senator Grimm. "The bug hasnÕt been seen here in weeks. AinÕt like the kid has a secret identity to fall back on. If we knew any way to track him down weÕd have done it already."
"Well thanks anyway. Say, could you do us one last favor? DonÕt tell anyone we were here. ThereÕs a restraining order forbidding the Warriors from getting involved in this." ÔStickÕ hopes they donÕt question his own membership in the Teen Warriors.
"Yeah, we understand." Rocky opens the door for them. "Next time try calling ahead first. And leave the lab coats on the table!"
Raven Chord and John Carter leave empty handed. Golden Torch feels terrible about the encounter; not only becaise they failed to find a way to help Spider-Bpy, but because he finally got to meet Johnny Storm and President Grimm and was forced to lie to them. If they knew he was really hoping to find the files from Operation: Rebirth so he could uncover the secrets of cloning, they would never have let him leave. But it isnÕt scientific exploration or monetary gain that motivated his break-in, he needs to find a means to stabilize his genetic make-up and eliminate the Suicide Gene inside him.
"Thanks for not giving me away in there," John says to Raven. "I donÕt want you taking the fall for this with the Warriors."
"ItÕs okay. IÕm just angry we werenÕt able to help. LetÕs get back before the other miss us."
When they arrive at the Warrior Watchtower Carter and Chord compare notes with the rest of the Teens. It is obvious they must step up their timetable in order to do any good. So, by 1:30 p.m., they once again send out four heroes, the Scarlet Scarab, Kid Speed, Levy, and the Slip, disguised as the Crimson Cricket, Ricochet Blue, Prodigy Centurion, and Dusk Buster, respectively. Ted Reilly curses his luck getting stuck with the Cricket outfit again; last night he singed himself several times on the suitÕs rocket pack.
"LetÕs attract some attention," he says to himself as he flies over the city. He heads for the most obvious place he can think of; the top of the Empire Trade Center. As soon as he reaches the observation deck he notices three very familiar looking costumed figures arriving at the same time.
"I thought we agreed to cover different parts of the city!" he yells through a voice amplifyer in order to make sure they can hear him in the high winds. "I took Midtown! You guys should beÉ!"
He stops as he realizes the other three figures are all dressed as the Crinson Cricket.
To Be ContinuedÉ
DonÕt BLINK, you might miss something!
October is almost here, and with it comes Australia Month, a special event in which many Untold Tales Of Amalgam writers are sending their heroes down under to meet their Australian counterparts. Why such interest in the Land of Oz? Simple: Nobody else has done it yet! ThereÕs a plethora of characters in the States, and the AU already boasts an impressive number of British, Russian, and Canadian heroes. But how often do we get to see what the heroes and villains below the equator are like? If, like me, you answer is ÔNot bloody often enough, mate!Õ then I invite you to join in! All you have to do is write a story set in Australia, with at least one character in the story native to the region. Hey, IÕm easy! IÕll even accept New Zealanders for this one! If this event is successful, weÕll be doing more like it, centered on other countries! Who knows, you might be reading the adventures of the Latkovian League of Avengers some day!
October is also the month for Halloween, and you canÕt have a Halloween roll by without a spooky story or two, right? So this is your chance to scare the amalgamated begeezus out of the rest of us! Just be sure to post by October 31st, or IÕll have the Great Pumpkin King, Halloween Jack, leave a rock in YOUR goodie bag this year!
Till next time, Always Ask About Amalgam!
COMICS SHIPPING THIS WEEK:
AMALGAM TAILS #42
Spider-Monkey swings into action when New Pork City is threatened by the Sluggernautilus! The last time this saltwater slug caused mischief it took Thorilla Grodd of the New Gorilla Gods to bring him down! What can one lone primate with an arachnid fixation hope to accomplish?
CRAZY IVAN'S FOURTH HOST #6
ThorionÕs case against Oa is heard by the Living Spectator! And while the trial is waged, Oa the Living Planet is so taxed that it can no longer maintain its Cosmic Gulag! Goldface-Bug and Mobula escape their prison cells, and only Tagak the Lantern Lord and Zeta-Beam Bill are available to stop them!
FREEDOM CRUSADERS #6
With Brother Blood still on the loose in southern Italy, the Freedom Crusaders must give up the hunt to handle an even bigger threat! A strange fighting force has been seen over the skies of London, riding wings as if angels! But this is no host of heavenly helpers; itÕs the Aquiliad, a special unit of soldiers armed with personal flight suits and plasma rifles!
NIGHT THRUSH #6
A trip to Gold Keel NJ reveals a surprise: Morphiend and the Jaspar are both still incarcerated in Arcana Psychiatric Hospital! Now Night Thrush has to deal with a copy-cat killer who emulates famous psychopaths! And heÕd better hurry, because the killerÕs latest modus operandi is that of the maniacal March Hare! NOWHERE-MEN #6
The Scarlet Scarab has a run-in with the Young Heroes For Hire at the Warrior Watchtower! The Golden Torch gets caught breaking into the Baxter Building by the Challengers of the Fantastic! And the skies over New York City are chock full of super-powered busy-bodies looking for Spider-Boy! THE SPIDER-BOY RESCUE SQUAD continues!
THE BOOKS OF DARKHOLD #6
Stephen Hunter must cast the AntiLiving Formula to stop Barnae the Un-Dead Devil Dinosaur! But in doing so he has also banished all necromantic magic from Earth! Brother Power the Voodoo Geek and Speed Demon have only twenty-four hours to find
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. Tagak the Lantern Lord was created by Kurt
Buseik. The rest are mine. This original work of fan fiction
is for non-profit, entertainment purposes only.
THERE CAME A TIME WHEN THE OLD GODS... CHANGED!
-- THORION AND THE NEW ASGODS #1
Ricochet Blue [Blue Superman / Ricochet] -- Possible identity of
Dusk Buster [Gang Buster / Dusk] -- Possible identity of Spider-Boy
Crimson Cricket [Red Superman / Hornet] -- Possible identity of Spider-Boy
Prodigy Centurion [Alpha Centurion / Prodigy] -- Possible identity of Spider-Boy
Teen Warriors [Titans / New Warriors] Hero team based in
Manhattan, occasionally associated with the Judgement League
Night Thrush [Nightwing / Night Thrasher] Dwayne Grayson
Block [Cyborg / Rage] Elvin Stone
Firestarfire [uh...] Angelica Anders
Levy [Danny Chase / Justice] Vance Chase
The Slip [Raven / Silhouette] Raven Chord
Kid Speed [Kid Flash / Speedball] -- Robbie West
Caricature [Changeling / Slapstick] Garfield Harmon
Omni-Girl [Wonder Girl / UltraGirl] Suzie Troy
Red Nova [Red Star / Kid Nova] Richard Kovar
DarkHawk [Hawk / DarkHawk] Hank Powell
Aquaera (Temorita) [Tempest (AquaLad) / Kymaera (Namorita)] Temorita
TurtleDove [Dove / Turbo] Dawn Musashi
Young Heroes For Hire [Young Heroes In Love / Heroes For
Power Drive (Hard Cage) [Hard Drive / Luke Cage: Powerman]
Hulkgirl [Monstergirl / She-Hulk]
Off-Fist [Off-Ramp / Iron Fist]
Tigerfire [Bonfire / White Tiger]
Ant-Kid [Zip Kid / Ant-Man]
FrostKnight [Frostbite / Black Knight]
Scarlet Scarab [Blue Beetle / Scarlet Spider]
Golden Torch [Booster Gold / Human Torch 2099]
Challengers of the Fantastic
Johnny "Red" Storm
Benjamin "Rocky" Grimm
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