Part 6

by CM Towns

   Inside a pharmaceutical research center, specifically a large lab that had been burglarized days prior, Brown Widow paced back and forth while Kid Victory took pictures of his surroundings with his visor. Red Sprite was busy on a computer, combing through data to see if anything stood out. Widow looked at the back of her hands, scratched the exposed skin where her webs shoot from, thinking about the costume that she only wore a handful of times thus far. A russet brown outfit for the most part. A color she found unappealing on its own but effective for the costume. There was the rust color hour glass design on the chest which she thought was neat. The sleeves of the outfit were black, matching gloves and boots, which had a rust colored stripe down the center. Her small black mask connected with the red wig was similar to her old, ugly outfit. She thought about that costume and how most of her work as a hero in that time was spying on bad guys, reporting them in and only occasionally having to get into actual fights.
   “You okay, Widow?” Kid Victory asked.

   “Just a little nervous. You think we should check the other labs?” she asked.
   “We will. This was the one we know was visited. So a thorough search is required,” he answered.
   “But didn’t the authorities take the important evidence?” asked Widow.
   “Yes, but sometimes they miss things. So checking it out and then we’ll acquire the intel on evidence and police photos so to cross check. Actually my visors have the police photos on file, so I can compare,” Kid Victory told her.
   “That is impressive. You and Sprite doing your thing, me pacing around waiting to help,” Brown Widow said.
   “You are back up. Being here is helping.”
   Kid Victory stopped to listen to the receiver on his visor. A mic extending form the metal ear muffs.
   “Yes Professor?”
   “I sent some of the information acquired to Tesla to take a look at. The items stolen are above my understanding,” she told him.
   “Thanks, but I imagine he’ll have to pass that off to someone more skilled in that field,” Victory said to her.
   “You are right. So expect details a little later than if it was in his field of expertise,” Professor replied before adding, “I have also put together a list of possible Teiwaz agents that match a few descriptions we have gotten about this break in. I have sent you and SubHuman copies of these.”
   “I have GR44 comparing and contrasting the images you have been uploading with the crime scene photos. I’m sure you are doing the same,” Professor said.
   “I am. So far nothing of note.”
   “Well 44 is also looking over notes from investigators too, so we hope to have something helpful soon,” Professor added.
   “Excellent. How is Reina’s team?”
   “Things are moving much more quickly for them. Red Sprite also helped with part of their op.”
   “I guess that’s good news. Keep me informed,” Kid Victory said.
   “Will do,” Professor said before signing off.
   “So?” Brown Widow asked.
   “No clues yet,” he answered to her dismay.
   “Not nothing,” Red Sprite said from the computer, “Some of the acquired chemicals match substances used in Teiwaz booster shots.”
   “Booster shots? I read about those in your files. They’re suppose to give soldiers superhuman strength and speed,” Brown Widow said.
   “Suppose to but they are not that powerful. All it does is puts the users body into its prime state. They are not stronger, they are at their strongest. They are not faster, they are their fastest,” Red Sprite clarified.
   “When we fought them we thought they were just well trained. It never occurred to us they were on some super energy drink nonsense,” Kid Victory said.
   “So then them targeting this facility was to either get more materials for the shots or look for ways to improve the formula,” noted Brown Widow.
   “That is the likely conclusion but its possible it could be something else,” Red Sprite observed.
   “Alright peeps, we do a quick search of the rest of the facility-see if anything stands out. Then we move to hook up with the rest of the team,” Kid Victory instructed.


   In the 9th arrondissement of Paris the young Arturo Vargas, codename El Hijo De La Bestia, was knocked through the window paneled back door onto a tiny balcony. He looked behind and forward before hopping down, two floors. He relaxed his muscles much like the stray cat a few yards away would do when leaping from great height. He brushed off the broken glass on his costume. A full body avocado green outfit with black, gold and silver feathered serpent design on the thighs. The mask he wore was matching green with black eyes and silver edging as well as black film forming a mouth with silver fangs. He wore a matching short ceremonial cape connected by rope that he quite liked.
   A couple of goons piled out from the entrance way. They stared down El Hijo who checked behind him, dead end in this narrow street. He put his fists up to fight when Bravado landed in front of him, rolled into a squat and up into a boxing stance.
   “Now things are getting good!” he shouted in pride.
   Hunter Manly was quickly getting into his persona of Bravado. Crafting an attitude that matched his own in his own cocky and self assured demeanor. His costume seemed to only be appreciated by himself. An odd mix of colors and design. Burgundy pants and long sleeve top that had a skull cap mask (opened for the mouth) connected to the body. The symbol at the center was a fist inside a yellow circle. Boots were charcoal gray and had yellow buckles. Gloves were charcoal gray on the outside, yellow on the inside. Yellow stripe ran down both the leg sleeves and he had a matching yellow utility belt. A design that would be considered anachronistic in today’s superhero comics.
   One of the goons charged and Bravado squatted a bit, moved forward for a shoulder tackle type move. He connected at the mans body sending him up, forward and down on his gut. El Hijo De La Bestia lunged like the cat he was mimicking. The second goon who was charging stopped in his tracks, stunned, unable to block the tackle. El Hijo hopped up and dropped his boots into the mans sternum before stepping off. Bravado gave his partner the thumbs up and El Hijo returned it kindly. Both were mimics. Bravado could memorize movements and replay them when he wanted to. El Hijo could mimic the abilities, attributes, and strengths of any animal within range of his powers for a period of time. When the time was up, the powers would be gone.
   A witches circle grew out from behind them. SubHuman, Water and Araminta jumped out to join the fray.
   “You stupid son of a bitch! I did not give an order to attack!” SubHuman said.
   “Whats the point of being dressed like this if we can’t pick a fight with bad guys?” Bravado asked.
   “I normally would be chomping at the bit to start a fight but I am in charge,” SubHuman reminded him.
   “Guys,” Araminta said as more Neo-Nazi thugs of the France Resistance Front piled out into the narrow street.
   “Shit,” Erica, codename Water, said. Her sour mood had worsen. Besides not wanting to be a superhero she was facing off against associates of the Teiwaz-the organization that once kidnapped and brainwashed her. She also felt silly in her costume. Her outfit split between two blues, midnight and celestial. Most of the outfit (top, sleeves, connected gloves, and tights) was in the midnight color while the vest she wore over said outfit, with the thermoplastic water tank connected, was in celestial blue. Her boots and cap were also colored the same. Water adjusted the goggles on the cap and prepared herself for the fight. Summoning the water from the pack through the tubes lines into her outfit, holding it at the tip which lined on the back hand sides of her gloves.
   “So whats the plan punk rock star?” Water asked.
   “It’s only some delusional jackass’ who don’t understand the severe power difference between us and them,” Bravado said.
   Two men, almost identical with the differences being height and one having both a broken nose and scar on chin, stepped forth. The taller one raised his fists, both glowed. The smaller one showed of a blade that began to light up. A couple of the men around them pulled knives and even pistols.
   “Araminta take Water behind them, Bestia take to the sky,” SubHuman whispered.
   Araminta made a witches circle while SubHuman threw blast. El Hijo took to the air while the ladies slipped into the portal and popped out behind the mob. Bravado took a shot to the shoulder, his outfit protecting from the small arm fire but still he felt it. Water summoned a liquid whip to trip out a few goons. Araminta put up a shield to block a knife thrown-which exploded on impact. El Hijo dropped in on the superhuman, distracting him before swooping back into the air. Water tried to use the moment to hit him in the face with a ball of water, she missed and hit a guy behind him. Araminta swung her sword to the superhuman, caught him in the chest. Her blade being dull it didn’t cut him but it did knock him to the ground.
   Bravado dodged a couple knife strikes, caught the wrist of his attacker, kicked the leg so the man would be down to one knee and followed with a punch to the mans nose. SubHuman dodged a blast attack by the taller superhuman. The shot sped forth a few feet before shrinking away. SubHuman tried a blast of his own, his opponent raised his arms-the fists and forearms glowing, took the shot. It gave him a small shock him but his energy created enough shielding to limit impact. SubHuman made a mental note about that. Clothing provided only so much protection so he could still put an enemy down with a body shot if he amped up.
   The opponent was keeping in close, obviously because his powers limited range. SubHuman kept his hands at his hip, going for lower blasts with more juice. Bravado and El Hijo finished working over the few foot soldiers while Araminta and Water dealt with the other superhuman.
   Sirens started in the distance, SubHuman’s opponent hopped back away from him and shouted in French before blasting a hole into a wall and cutting out. A couple of the men on the ground scattered. The other superhuman tried moving but Araminta used a witches circle below him-he fell in and dropped from ten feet on the ground hard. He tried to pull himself up but SubHuman nailed him in the head with a blast.
   “Let’s get outta here!” SubHuman called out.