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  1. Episode 10: Why Don’t You Do Right? August 6th, 1946. New York City, New York. The mansion of Howard Stark. A chill came over Peggy as she held the phone to her lips. “Fred? Where are you now?” “I’m staying at a hotel in New York. While I was here I overheard some rather disagreeable chaps talking in the hall. I could only make out bits and pieces, but I heard one of them mention something that sounded like ‘Maggia’. Isn’t that the group of criminals in the papers?” Peggy looked nervously around the room, as Jarvis and Angie looked on worried. “Did those men see you?” “I didn’t think they did. But ever since then I’ve had the strangest feeling someone’s been following me. That’s when I remembered that you had accepted the post with the SSR. I have a feeling they will want to know what I know. It sounded like the Maggia were planning an all out offensive to find these masked characters they’ve been talking about on the radio.” Peggy cleared her throat to steady herself. “Well, then. If you want my advice you need to get yourself to the SSR headquarters at…” Fred’s voice cut her off. “No, Peggy. I don’t want to be seen going into that office. I will turn myself over to you. Please meet me at the Bethesda Fountain tonight at 9. Then I will explain what I know. I need to dash. Would love to chat some more, darling, but you know how it is. Until tonight.” With a click of a receiver, Fred was gone. Peggy slowly hung up the phone. “Miss Carter?” Jarvis asked concerned. “What was all that about?” “Yeah, English,” chimed in Angie. “Who’s the guy?” Before Peggy could reply, the door of the mansion opened and Daniel Sousa and Howard Stark rushed in. “Jarvis!” Howard barked. “Did you forget how to answer a phone?!” Jarvis rushed to his side. “Mr. Stark! I’m sorry, sir. I wasn’t aware that you called.” “We rang this place yesterday afternoon and we got no answer,” explained Daniel. Angie gave side eye glance to the still ruined living room. “Um, we were a little bit busy.” Daniel turned a saw the still shaken Peggy. “Peg? What’s going on? What happened?” “And more importantly,” said Howard, with a dropped jaw examining the damage. “What have you done to my living room?” Manhattan, New York. The laboratory of Doctor Jonas Harrow. Bob Frank regained unconscious to find himself in a nightmare. Leather straps around his neck, chest, wrist, waist, and ankles held him in place on a gurney. His breathing quickened as he looked around the dimly lit room. He could hear the screeching of unknown animals coming from a shelf lined with cages. “Maddie!” he yelled into the dark. “MADDIE!” A screen was pushed aside and Dr. Harrow shuffled into the room. “You! You there!” Bob shouted. “Where’s my wife?” Harrow continued pulled an IV closer to the gurney. “Oh, your wife is just fine, Mr. Frank,” he leered. “She is truly a special woman. A perfect specimen.” Bob pulled on his restraints, but they didn’t budge. “If you’ve hurt her, I swear to God I’ll…” He groaned in pain as Harrow inserted the needle into his arm. “Such spirit! Yes, you will be an excellent subject.” He walked past the rows of cages, and opened one. He stabbed a hypodermic needle into the creature inside and it snarled in response. Harrow quickly drew back and shut the cage. He walked back to the IV, as Bob’s struggles weakened. “The count says that I am free to conduct an experiment on you,” he said as he inserted the blood from the hypodermic into the drip. “I gave him strength with my first two subjects. With you, he shall have speed. And if it doesn’t work… well, I guess I’ll just have to ask for a new subject.” Bob Frank had already fallen back into unconsciousness. New York City, New York. Central Park. Peggy slowly paced around Bethesda Fountain. None of her allies was particularly comfortable with her meeting with Fred Wells, and neither was she. It had been years since she had broken off their engagement, shortly after she had received word of Michael’s death. And now, he calls out of the blue about Maggia? All too coincidental. “Can you hear me alright, Howard?” Peggy said. Her words were picked up by the microphone in the necklace she wore, and were transmitted to the moving van where Howard, Daniel, and Jarvis listened 50 feet away. “Loud and clear, Peggy. Told you this thing works like a charm!” Daniel gave a suspicious look. “Do I really want to know why you put a radio transmitter in a woman’s necklace?” “Just a precaution. When I was seeing Helen Forrest.” “Actually, it was Georgia Gibbs, sir,” chimed in Jarvis from the driver’s seat. Howard looked perplexed. “Did I? I could of sworn I gave her the negligee with the mic hidden in the…” “Gentlemen?” The three men turned to face the monitor in response to Peggy’s voice. “This is a thrilling discussion, but could it wait until after our business is done here? I think I see Fred. Listen carefully, and be ready to assist on my word.” “Don’t worry, Peggy,” Daniel said. “Just be careful. Fennhoff may have gotten to Wells to try to target you. First sign of trouble you call us in.” “Understood, Daniel. I mean, uh, Chief.” Daniel turned embarrassed to look at a bemused Howard. “Glad to see I’ve been a good influence on you.” Fred Wells briskly walked towards Peggy. He opened his arms wide to give her a hug. “Peg, darling. It’s been too long.” Peggy held him at arms length. “We don’t have time for this, Fred. I need to know what the Maggia are up to. Too many people are in danger.” Fred smiled and shook his head. “Look at you, straight to the point. You haven’t seen me in over 5 years, and this is the welcome I get?” “This isn’t a game, Fred,” Peggy said irritated. “What do you know about the Maggia?” Fred rolled his eyes and sighed. “You were so much more calm and reserved when we were engaged. So unlike your brother.” Peggy grabbed Fred by the wrist and pulled him in close. She glared at him, barely keeping her voice level. “Leave Michael out of this!” “Oh, Peg, I’d love to, but I can’t. You see, he was the reason we got together. What better way for me to observe a man, than by proposing to his sister?” Peggy let go of Fred and stepped back in shock. “What are you talking about?” Fred adjusted his coat and gave a satisfied smirk. “Really, darling, your time with the SSR hasn’t improved your skills of deduction as much as I thought. Did you really never think once why I was so willing to give you up after you broke off the engagement?” “I... I thought you understood. That I couldn’t just sit behind the lines. That I had to fight, for our country, to honor Michael’s memory.” Fred chuckled and walked around Peggy to the fountain. “Oh yes, that delightful scene. But what you chose to do with your life in the SSR really meant precious little difference to me. I already got what I wanted.” Peggy’s blood ran cold as she answered. “What did you want?” Fred turned back to face Peggy. “Why, your brother, of course. Would you like to meet him?” Daredevil leapt off of the terrace and dived towards Peggy, delivering a strike with his boomerang. Peggy fell back, clutching the side of her head, feeling blood. She gazed up as Daredevil stood next to Fred Wells. “Isn’t this a charming family reunion? Daredevil, would you kindly kill her, please?” Back in the van, Daniel spun to face Jarvis. “Peggy’s in trouble! Drive! Quickly!” Suddenly there was a loud thud as the indentation of a pair of footprints crashed into the roof of the car. “What the devil?” Howard shouted. “Um, sir?” Jarvis whispered. Howard and Daniel looked out the windscreen just in time to see Hammerhead charged toward them and slam headfirst into the front the van, tearing through metal. Daredevil drew nearer to Peggy, who struggled to her feet. “I was sure you would be impressed, dear,” Fred called to her. “We knew your brother’s record made him perfect for us. He just needed a little… coaching to make him the man he was meant to be.” Daredevil held the boomerang in one hand and one of his spikes in the other. Peggy was breathing heavily, but she readied herself. “I don’t know who you are, or what your game is. But if you are my brother, after I’m done with you, I’m going to kill the man who did this to you!” Daredevil hurled the boomerang and Peggy charged ahead. Who will win this battle of a family reunion? Stay Tuned and Find Out! Game On!
  2. AND NOW THE CONCLUSION August 6th, 1946. Los Angeles, California. Polizzi’s. Dmitri’s punch sent Jack clattering into a table where the some fallen Manfredi’s still sat. Jack grabbed the tablecloth and hurled it at Dmitri. Dmitri was able to knock it aside, but it blurred his vision for just enough time for Jack deliver a punch to the gut. He threw another punch to Dmitri’s head, and instantly shouted in pain as his hand made contact with the helmet. Dmitri grabbed him by the neck of his coat, and started delivering repeated kidney punches. Jack could feel the stiches giving way. “Very foolish, agent,” Dmitri said, still imitating Jack. “You know you aren’t fully healed. Why don’t you lie down?” With a quick judo throw, Jack was sent sprawling to the ground. Dmitri picked up a knife off the floor and moved in on the downed agent, his gun just a few feet away from his grip. “I’m ashamed that I allowed myself to be careless with you when we first met, agent,” Dmitri went on, menacing him with the knife. Jack continuing stretching across the floor to reach for the gun. “I shall not repeat that mistake. This time, I will make certain you are dead.” “Man,” Jack groaned. “I never realized…” Dmitri paused, looming over Jack. “Realized what, agent?” Jack gave a defiant look. “How annoying my voice sounds.” Jack finally grabbed the gun. He rolled to his back, aimed and fired. The impact sent Dmitri staggering backward, clutching his shoulder. The knife clattered to the ground. Hate burned in the eyes behind the mask as Jack rose to his feet. “Now, you are going to tell me what I want to know. Who are you working for? Why do they want the Arena Club key?” “You have no idea what is coming for all of you, agent,” Dmitri hissed. With his free hand, he threw a chair at Jack, who raised up his hands to his face to shield himself. Dmitri grabbed a suit coat from one of the dead and tore out of the restaurant. Jack chased after him, but when he ran out the door, he could see groups of tourists and civilians making their way on the sidewalk. Dmitri had vanished. “Damn it!” Jack fumed. He heard the door of Polizzi’s open, and turned to see Nonna Manfredi walk out. Her face still glistened with tears. Jack holstered his gun, and held his hands out to Nonna. “Miss Manfredi, look. I, um. I know you don’t care for the cops but if there’s anything you can tell me about…” Nonna took Jack’s hand and looked into his eyes. “Please,” she said. “Can… you… find… my… Giuseppe? Help… my boy?” Jack was caught off guard, but nodded. “You have my word. I’ll figure what’s going on.” Nonna took a deep breath then nodded. “Si.” New York City, New York. The mansion of Howard Stark. Angie watched as Jarvis sifted through the wreckage that remained after the battle. A wardrobe had been moved in front of the broken window, and shattered furniture covered the floor. She gave a weak smile as Jarvis deposited the remains of a Ming vase into a garbage can. “Gotta admit, my tap dancing practice in the kitchen didn’t make as big mess as this.” Jarvis raised an eyebrow at Angie, then sighed. “Very perceptive, Miss Martinelli. You make less a disturbance than a band of murderous assassins.” Angie cleared her throat and walked over to Peggy, sitting in the last functional chair in the house. “You doing alright, English?” Peggy didn’t answer, continuing to stare at the hole in the wall that led to the kitchen. Angie patted her on the shoulder. “Hey, English. Peggy.” Peggy snapped out of her train of thought and shook her head. “I’m sorry, Angie. I was just… lost in thought.” Angie sat down on an end table next to Peggy. “I shouldn’t have let you get involved in this business,” Peggy went on. “It’s getting much too dangerous.” “Don’t start that again,” said Angie, waving it off. “I’ve had my share of danger. One time my cousin Ralphie dared to jump from the roof of apartment to the roof of the one next door. I managed to make it with a running start.” Peggy rolled her eyes and smiled at Angie. “And what about Cousin Ralphie?” Angie shrugged. “Eh, he missed. Did a swan dive into the dumpster. I had to take out the garbage even after he got out of traction.” Peggy chuckled, and Angie grinned. “Glad to see you’re still among the living.” Peggy exhaled and leaned back in her chair. “This whole affair is just getting more and more complicated.” “You’ll figure it out, English,” said Angie. “I’ve seen what you can do. You can help Diana and the doc.” “It’s not just that, Anige,” said Peggy. “I can find a way to keep these people safe. But there’s something more. Something I can’t explain. At the theater, during the fight with Miss Adams? She shot at me from point blank range. And she didn’t hit me.” “Well, you’ve always been pretty lucky, English,” said Angie. “It wasn’t luck. She couldn’t have missed, not with her training. And yet, the bullet didn’t even strike the ground. It ricocheted off something that wasn’t even there.” Angie looked uneasy. “Okay, that’s pretty strange.” “And again, during the fight here. That giant man should have crushed me, but something stopped him in mid-leap. Perhaps there’s another person that was part of the same program as Doctor Benton and Miss Adams? Someone with the power of invisibility?” Angie gave a cheeky grin. “Or your guardian angel?” Peggy was about to reply when the phone rang. Jarvis put down his dustpan and picked up the phone. “Howard Stark’s residence. Yes, Miss Carter is here, but she is indisposed at the moment. Shall I take a message? Sir, I must ask you to calm yourself.” “Who is it, Mr. Jarvis?” Peggy asked. “A gentlemen who seems determined to speak with you. A matter of great urgency. He’s getting rather rude. Shall I hang up?” Peggy rose, quickly walked over to Jarvis, and took the phone from him. “Don’t worry, Mr. Jarvis. I will see to this.” Jarvis shrugged and returned to this work. Peggy lifted the phone to her face. “This is Miss Carter. Who is this?” “Hello, Peggy. It’s so good to hear your voice.” Peggy’s face went pale. She instantly recognized the voice on the other end of the line. “Fred? Fred, is that you?” “Yes, Peggy, it’s me. And I need your help.” Next Time: Why Don’t You Do Right?
  3. If they think it will give them a better chance against Miss America, why not? Lol.
  4. ATTENTION! THIS IS A SANCTIONED MATCH OF THE TRANSDIMENSIONAL COMBAT COMMISION, ORDERED BY E.V.P. ANDREW RYAN AND E.V.P. DAVID XANATOS. NO FANS WILL BE ALLOWED TO WITNESS THIS CONTEST BY ORDER OF THE 9. No weapons or holds barred. Last woman standing, wins. Loser will be executed by the enforcer of the 9 Miss America. Game On!
  5. ATTENTION! THIS IS A SANCTIONED MATCH OF THE TRANSDIMENSIONAL COMBAT COMMISION, ORDERED BY E.V.P. RASSILON. NO FANS WILL BE ALLOWED TO WITNESS THIS CONTEST BY ORDER OF THE 9. 2 out of 3 Falls. Determined by pin or submission. 1st fall: Hand to hand. 2nd fall: Weapons. 3rd fall if needed: Last person standing. Whoever doesn't answer the count of 10, loses. Loser will be executed by the enforcer of the 9 Miss America. Game On!
  6. ATTENTION! THIS IS A SANCTIONED MATCH OF THE TRANSDIMENSIONAL COMBAT COMMISION, ORDERED BY E.V.P. VINCENT KENNEDY MCMAHON. NO FANS WILL BE ALLOWED TO WITNESS THIS CONTEST BY ORDER OF THE 9. The two combatants enter a nightclub with a wild party going on inside. Whoever is able to get the most people to hang out with them, wins. Loser will be sentenced to death by the enforcer of the 9 Miss America. Game On!
  7. Chapter 8: You Always Keep Me Guessin’ Max delivered a kick to Jerome’s groin. He crumpled over in pain as Max kipped up to his feet. Jerome shook his head to gather his senses then snarled at Max. Max tried to land another kick but it was caught by Jerome who tossed him aside against the stone wall. Dansen leapt on his back and her arms around his neck in a choke hold. He waved his arms until he grabbed fistful of her hair and flipped Dansen off him. “Stay out of this, babe!” he snapped, moving towards Max. “This is between and your knight in shining armor over here!” Max yanked a tapestry off the wall, and hurled it, covering Jerome. Jerome tore through the fabric just in time for Max to deliver a punch to his face. The big man fell to the ground, and in an instant Max was on top of him, fist raised to strike again. “Brothers! Hold!” Everyone turned to the doorway. Standing there was a statuesque woman draped in black silk robes. Her skin was white with albinism, and her black hair was tied into a single ponytail that reached down below her waist. She was flanked on either side by two women in purple and red robes. Dansen scrambled to her feet and bowed her head. “Sister Nekra. I apologize for this disturbance.” Nekra strode into the room, giving a disapproving look to Dansen. “Are you the cause of this, Sister Dansen?” Jerome pushed Max off him and rushed to Nekra. “I was just trying to get a fighting lesson, sister. But then Brother Max jumped in attacked me!” “That’s a lie!” shouted Max. “Calm yourselves, brothers,” Nekra soothed. “We are all children of Kali. Kali does not wish us to fight amongst ourselves.” “But Jerome is lying!” Max argued. “Dansen didn’t want to be with him!” Nekra looked back to Dansen. “Well, Sister Dansen?” Dansen kept her head bowed and took a deep breath. “I made a mistake, Sister Nekra. I behaved inappropriately.” Max was taken aback as Jerome leered at him. Nekra closed her eyes, and the other sisters drew close behind her. She opened her eyes and smiled at Jerome. “Brother Jerome, I have good news for you.” Jerome looked confused. “Um, you do? What kind of good news?” “The best kind, brother. Kali has spoken to me. You have been chosen to receive her blessing.” The sisters behind Nekra raised their hands above them. “All praise Kali! All praise Kali!” “You’ve got to be kidding!” The three women stared unblinking at Max. “Why would Kali give him a blessing after what he’s…” “Brother Max,” Dansen said with a strained voice. “Do not question the will of Kali. We must obey her commands in all things.” Nekra nodded to the other sisters. “Well spoken, Sister Dansen. Sister Ushas? Sister Shaya? Escort Brother Jerome to the chamber to receive his blessing.” Jerome looked very pleased as the two attractive woman took him by both arms and walked with him out of the room. He looked behind him at the fuming Max and chuckled as disappeared into the hall. Nekra bowed to Dansen and Max. “Please remember your words, Sister Dansen. And you remember them as you, Brother Max. Kali’s blessings upon you.” After Nekra had left the room, Max whirled to face Dansen. “What was that about? Why didn’t you tell them the truth?” Dansen picked her robes off the floor and started to put them on. “I cannot speak against someone who Kali has chosen. That is not the way of the temple.” “Well, maybe Kali has made a mistake! Or maybe Sister Nekra did.” Dansen turned toward Max indignantly. “Sister Nekra is the voice of Kali! She guides us in her teachings! She will lead us on the glorious day of Kali’s return!” Max shook his head in disbelief. “I don’t know about that. I only came here because I wanted to learn how to fight.” Dansen scoffed. “Of course! You don’t truly believe in Kali! You’re no better than Brother Jerome! He’s only interested in finding women, and you’re only interested in training. Why? So you could make up for not being able to save your parents?!” Dansen stopped short, seeing the hurt expression on Max’s face. She looked away from him. “I think you should leave, Brother Max. And do not approach me again.” Max took a step forward, then turned and walked out, leaving Dansen standing by herself in an empty room. “Hannibal? Earth to Hannibal?” Hannibal King looked across the table at Terri. They were sitting in a French restaurant that Terri had been telling him about. He never could pronounce the name, but it was French so it probably sounded less interesting in English. All around the dining room were guests being ushered to their seats and engaging in quiet conversation. “Huh? Yeah?” he asked. Terri rolled her eyes. “Typical. The one night we have off, you ask out for dinner, then you just sit there staring into space.” Hannibal adjusted his tie then moved the salad around his plate with his fork. “I’m sorry, Terri. I’ve just been thinking.” “About Shroud?” Hannibal tapped the plate with his fork then set it down again. Terri sighed. “Look, it’s over. You haven’t heard from those freaks in weeks. Ever since what happened at the Headmen’s lab, no messages, no leads on Tombstone, nothing. They dragged into their world, then they let you go.” “But why? Why would Shroud ask me to help and then just let me and you walk away? Maybe it’s some kind of test; he wants to see if we go to the department and tell them what happened.” Terri gave a small laugh. “Yeah, because I would really want to go to DeWolff and tell her that I was kidnapped by Tombstone and rescued by a bunch of monsters. She would have both our badges and put psych watch for weeks.” There was the sound of shouting coming from the front door, then the maître-de came flying into the dining room and crashing into the table next to Hannibal and Terri’s. Everyone in the dining room looked to the doorway and collectively dropped their jaws. In the doorway, stood a woman in a one piece swimsuit, a blue plaid trench coat, and a pink bowtie. Her face was painted white with whiskers and she had headband with bunny ears. She was accompanied by an extremely large man in a brown bodysuit, who had what looked like tusks sticking out from his mask. The woman twirled her folded umbrella and pointed it at the customers. “Good evening, all! This is a stick up! Allow me to introduce myself! You can call me… The White Rabbit!” Her large companion nudged her with his elbow. “What about me?” White Rabbit rolled her eyes and hissed under her breath. “I’m getting to you! Shut up! You’re ruining the moment! Ahem. And my friend, the greatest force of mass destruction alive: the Walrus! Now, we’re already running late, so if you would be so kind as to hand over any valuables, we will be on our way without causing you much bodily harm.” Terri looked at Hannibal incredulously as other patrons started laughing at the sight of the bizarre pair. “Do you think this is a test too?” Hannibal stared at the would be robbers. “Well, they sure aren’t any member of the Night Shift I saw.” Walrus looked around at the laughing crowd. “They aren’t giving us their money, White Rabbit.” White Rabbit groaned and waved her hand dismissively. “Then show them we mean business, moron!” Walrus nodded and lumbered to an empty table. He picked it up with ease and hurled it at one of the booths, forcing the people eating air to run out of the way before the table crushed them. Terri and Hannibal drew their guns and aimed at Walrus. “Freeze!” shouted Terri. “LAPD! Stay where you are! Get down on your knees now!” White Rabbit yawned. “Blah blah blah. Sorry, but we can’t. You see, we’re not ourselves today. But the best way to explain it… is to shoot it!” She twirled the umbrella and pulled a hidden trigger. Explosive bullets struck Hannibal and Terri’s table, forcing them back. Walrus stomped toward them with fists raised. “Now we got ‘em! Oh yep! We sure do!” “Think again, lardbutt!” Walrus turned behind him to see two men in business suits rising from a table. Another stood up from a booth next to them. “Who are you guys?” Walrus rumbled. “Just some people…” Barton Grimes said. “That want to tell you a story,” continued Percy. “Or just kick your ass,” finished Hangman. Barton and Percy raised their hands to their faces and shouted in unison. “Once Upon a Time!” They transformed into the forms of the Brothers Grimm, summoned their clouds and flew to Terri and Hannibal’s side. Hangman pulled on his hood, and threw his noose like a lasso. White Rabbit sprang through it with a mighty leap and opened fire at him. “You guys again!” Terri shouted. “Shroud wanted to make sure to keep an eye on you,” Percy explained as Walrus trudged toward them. “And that you didn’t do something stupid!” Barton snapped as they all jumped out of the big man’s way. He crashed through their table and went on running through the doors in the kitchen with a clatter. “Leave these two to us!” Percy shouted. “Get the civilians out of here!” Hannibal and Terri nodded, then turned to the frightened guests still hiding at their tables. “All of you!” yelled Terri. “Follow me to the emergency exit! Move!” Terri led the crowd behind her, as the sounds of battle followed them. Hannibal noticed two men sitting at a booth watching the fight calmly. “Hey! You two! This isn’t dinner and a show!” Hannibal called to them. “Move it!” One of the men slid a glove off his hand and rose to his feet. “I assure you, monsieur,” he said. “We are exactly where we need to be.” A waitress ran past the table to get to the exit, and the man grabbed her by the wrist. The girl screamed in agony, twisting her arm to try to free herself from the man’s grip. But her screams grew weaker and weaker, until her legs collapsed out from under her. Finally, the man let go, leaving a lifeless husk on the floor. White Rabbit looked annoyed at the macabre scene. “Hey! Did the Headmen send you guys too?! They said this was our assignment!” The man removed his other glove and nodded to his friend. “Not at all, mademoiselle. We have an assignment of our own. To all of your petty leaders. All praise Kali! Brother Fritz?” The other man cracked his neck and had a demented look in his eyes. “All praizzzzzzze Kali! All praizzzzzzzzzzz!” The man’s skin begin to rise and fall on his face, as if something was moving underneath it. Suddenly, the skin fell away, revealing countless bees swarming around in a human shape. Hannibal stood frozen as he shouted to the Brothers. “You wouldn’t happen to know who these freaks are, do you?” Percy’s terrified voice rang clear through his mask. “No idea.” Barton clapped his hands together and drew a sword from his sleeve. “But it’s going to be fun trying to kill them!” OK: All combatants at full strength. The Night Shift is Brothers Grimm and Hangman. Hannibal is still not a vampire. Game On!
  8. AND NOW THE CONCLUSION Tatterdemalion dodged swinging blades of the thugee. He swung his weighted scarf and it snagged the wrist of one attacker. With a quick tug he had sent him banging headfirst into a stone Venus statue. The Mandril roared and pointed at him, and the spellbound women lunged for him. Moth soared over the hallways as thugee shouted to each other. Some hurled knives at Moth, which she easily avoided. “You know what your worst mistake was, creeps?” she said. “Dressing up in those robes!” Instantly the silks that the thugee wore sprung to life. The hapless swordsmen cried out as the threads in their outfits tightened around their throats. Moth suspended herself in the air to admire her handiwork. Only to scream in pain as a knife clipped her left leg. The shock caused her to lose focus and her wings to collapse. She tumbled to the tiled floor and the thugee began to surround her. But the Werewolf ran down the hallway on all floors and barreled into them. A few slashes of his claws and the thugee were killed. The Werewolf bared it’s teeth as it looked at Moth, gasping for breath as she used her powers to transform one of the silk scarves the thugee wore into a bandage. “I’ll be fine. Go to the backyard. Help Tatter.” The Werewolf grunted and charged toward the sounds of battle in the backyard. Tatterdemalion was having his hands full. The dozen women lunged and stabbed at him with their knives as the Mandril and Lorina watched. “Ladies!” he shouted, as he dodged one of the servers. “I don’t wish to harm you!” The Mandril growled as Lorina stroked his fur. “Good. It’ll make it easier to kill you!” she said blandly. “Then me and my hubby to be can get on with collecting all this stuff left behind by those other losers. Weddings are expensive you know.” A howl from the backdoor brought the fighting to a halt. The Werewolf bounded past Tatterdemalion and headed straight for Mandril. Mandril leapt over the DJ table and struck the Werewolf on the back of the head with both hands. Moth limped to the door to see the sight of Tatterdemalion still dodging the women. “Let me give you some air support, old man!” she shouted. “No, Moth! Stay back!” Tatterdemalion shouted. “If you get too close, you might get hypnotized too!” The Mandril beat his chest as he stood over the fallen Werewolf. “Get him, honey!” Lorina shouted. “Beat the nasty, dog thing!” The Werewolf sprang up and rammed head first into Mandril, sending him colliding back first into the platform the DJ table sat on. The platform started swaying back and forth, and Lorina stumbled. “Baby! Help meeeeeee!” With a splash Lorina landed in the pool. The Werewolf looked on as she coughed and spluttered. “What…. What’s going on here?” she asked. Then she looked up at the Werewolf, silhouetted against the moon. The Werewolf gave a mighty howl and Lorina screamed in terror. She scrambled out of the pool, her hair a mess and her outfit soaking wet. She ran to the backdoor, where Moth was biting her lip to keep from laughing at the sight. “Sorry about your party.” Lorina glared at Moth. “I might have known it was you, Sybby! You were always causing trouble in New York! Now you come to my home! Bring a bunch of animals and weirdos! Well, just wait till I call Daddy! He’ll have his lawyers make you pay through the nose for this!” Lorina stormed past Moth, who looked on bemused. “You’re welcome for saving your life!” she called after her. “Moth!” Tatterdemalion shouted. “Can you use your powers on the other women? Corral them together?” “From here? I guess. Why?” Two women swung their blades at Tatterdemalion, clipping his robes. “Stay still so we can kill you for our man!” one of them snarled. “Just do it!” Tatterdemalion yelled back. Moth closed her eyes and held her hands out in front of her. As Tatterdemalion continued to dodge and block his attackers, they were unaware that long threads of their clothes were coming undone. Tatterdemalion leapt over their heads to get out of the crowd, and some of the women tripped up on the strands as they tried to pursue. Within moments, the crowd was completely entangled, yelling in rage and slashing at the threads, which nimbly slid out of the way. Mandril took notice of his thralls and roared instructions, but the Werewolf pounced on him, taking a bite from his neck. With the crowd completely ensnared, Tatterdemalion shouted to Moth. “Get in the air! Send them into the pool! Then dive in yourself!” Moth looked skeptical at him. “You trying to live out a fantasy or something?” “Moth! Trust me!” Moth took a deep breath, winced in pain, and reformed her wings. She rose into the air to a height where she hoped the Mandril’s powers would not affect her. Then the threads tying the women together rose into the air with her. The women cried out in alarm as they hung in the air like marionettes for a second over the pool, before the threads started to recede back into their clothes. One by one the woman dropped into the pool, with Moth diving in headfirst. The Mandril snarled in frustration and threw the Werewolf off of him. He ran with leaping strides toward the hedge and leapt over it with ease, followed by the remaining thugee. Moth broke the surface of the water gasping for air, surrounded by the rest of the party guests who were slowly coming back to their senses. Tatterdemalion offered her a hand. “Excellent work, Moth,” She slapped the hand away and clambered out of the pool on her own. “Yeah, yeah, yay for me. What kind of Girls Gone Wild idea was that anyway?” “After Miss Dodson fell in the pool, she seemed to be released from that creature’s control. Maybe it produces some kind of pheromone that…” Moth waved him off, and pointed to crowd of partygoers, screaming in fear at the sight their boyfriends stabbed and a werewolf at the DJ booth. “We can do the science crap later. Right now, let’s just get out of here. Russell!” The Werewolf ran on all fours as the partygoers scrambled out of it’s way. Moth took flight and Tatterdemalion hurried to keep up after them. “I suppose the Shroud will disappointed this party wasn’t particularly relaxing for you,” he shouted up to Moth. Moth gave a short laugh as they reached the car. “Actually, compared to other Lorina Dodson’s parties, it wasn’t that bad.” Max landed flat on his back with a thud. He gasped for breath as Dansen stood over him looking unimpressed. “I thought you would take it easy on me,” he coughed. Dansen folded her arms in front of her. “And I thought you had received better training. I get to ask you a question now?” Max sighed and nodded, still lying on the floor. Dansen walked around him. “Very well. What was your name before you came to the Temple?” Max rolled over to his side, grimacing in pain. “Fine. My real name was Maximillian Coleridge. Mom named me after a great uncle or something.” Dansen paused. “Coleridge? Wasn’t there a rich couple named Coleridge? They were in the news. They were…” Her voice trailed off as Max rose to his feet. “Killed. Shot during a drive by shooting while their son watched.” Dansen’s expression softened. “I’m sorry. But how did you…” Max quickly took a step back and took a fighting position. “Ah ah ah. If you want to know more, you’ll have to get me down again.” Dansen sighed and mirrored his stance. They circled each other for a moment, then Dansen delivered a kick that Max dodged. She threw a right punch and Max caught it, judo tossing her to the mat. Dansen slammed her hands on the mat in frustration and glared at Max. Max shrugged and grinned. “Guess it’s my turn.” Dansen muttered under her breath and turned away. “Alright then,” Max said, putting a finger to his face in thought. “What did you do before you joined up with the Family?” Dansen rolled her eyes. “I was a dancer.” Max chuckled and Dansen whirled around again. “What’s so funny about that?” “Sorry, it’s just, a dancer named Dansen. Kind of on the nose, isn’t it?” Dansen got back up to her feet as Max went on. “What kind of dancing did you do? Ballroom? Ballet? Hip Hop?” He gave a suggestive smile. “Exotic?” Dansen returned the smile and went to her stance. “That will cost you another fall, Brother Max.” The two resumed their combat, Max blocking Dansen’s strikes. She delivered a kick that swept his legs out from under him. Max grunted in pain. Dansen looked worried down at him. “Are you alright?” “Yeah, yeah. You just knocked the wind out of me.” He held up a hand, and Dansen took hold to lift him up. Only for Max pull and send Dansen falling down to the mat next to him. He rolled over, pinning her shoulders to the mat, but she quickly reversed and ended up straddling his chest. Dansen looked at Max with mock disapproval. “You cheated.” Max shrugged. “Can’t say I mind the results.” Dansen chuckled, then stopped, starring into Max’s face. “Is this a private training session or can anybody join in?” The brash voice interrupted the moment, as Dansen and Max looked to the door to see a man with black hair in robes similar to their own. Dansen quickly got off of Max and allowed him to stand up. “I was assisting Brother Max in his self-defense lessons, Brother Jerome,” Dansen said, attempting to regain her composure. Jerome smirked at her. “Really? Didn’t look like he wanted to defend himself, did you, Brother Max?” “It’s none of your business either way, Brother Jerome,” said Max defiantly. Dansen started moving for the door. “If you would excuse me, brothers, I need to attend to my other duties.” Jerome roughly grabbed her wrist as she past him. “Hey, why rush? I wanna self defense lesson too.” “Brother Jerome, let go of me,” Dansen commanded. Jerome laughed. “Oh please. This is why I came to this dump in the first place.” He turned and winked at Max. “Some old temple, filled with the strongest, hottest babes on the planet? It’s like heaven!” Max took a step forward. “Let her go. Now.” “Look at you, being all chivalrous,” sneered Jerome. “You had your fun. Now let me have mine!” Dansen delivered a punch to Jerome’s gut, who groaned in pain and released her. He spun around and snarled at her. “You’re gonna pay for that, bitch!” Max grabbed Jerome’s arm to stop him from lunging at Dansen, but Jerome quickly broke his grip before delivering a kick to Max’s knee. Max fell to the mat, looking up at Jerome moving in to strike another blow. “Now you’re gonna get it!” Lorina stormed down the sidewalk as the Geo Metro pulled up to the curb. She swung the door open as the fat driver turned to look at her. “Thank you for choosing Lyft. My name is Hubert. How are you doing to…” “Just shut up!” Lorina snarled. “Just drive, and don’t talk to me!” Hubert shrugged and started driving his car down the street. Lorina sat fuming to herself. How dare Sybil screw up her party. It was all her fault. People always said how weird she was. Maybe that monkey thing was one of her weird friends. That was only solution. Lorina suddenly noticed that car was slowing down. “Hey!” she shouted to the driver. “Albert or Qbert or whatever your name is! Why are you stopping? I need to get to the airport now!” “Sorry, miss,” he said. But it looks like there’s a pile up ahead.” Looking through the front windscreen window, Lorina could see two black SUVs blocking the road. In front of the vehicles were two men in long brown coats and sunglasses. They walked along either side of the car, and opened the doors. “They’re going to rob us!” Lorina screeched. “Do something!” Hubert threw his hands over his head. “Please don’t shoot me! I don’t have any money!” The two men simply sat in the backside with Lorina. “Don’t be alarmed, Miss Dodson,” one of them said smoothly. “My name is Professor Wyndham, this is my colleague Professor Warren. We would like to make you an offer.” “Listen, mister. I don’t need to go to college! Just leave me alone!” “We’re not here to offer you a college, Miss Dodson,” Warren said. “We are here to offer you something much more valuable.” Lorina looked at the men in confusion. “You see,” Wyndham explained. “We know about the terrible incident that took place at your house today. A disgraceful scene. All brought about by a certain Sybil Dvorak and her friends.” Lorina pounded her fist on the armrest. “I knew it! I knew she was behind all those freaks at my party!” “And I’m sure you would like to get even with her for this betrayal,” Wyndham went on. “But to truly make them pay, you will be needing power of your own,” chimed in Warren. “Something that the individuals represent would be more than happy to provide.” Lorina stared suspiciously at Wyndham. “How much is this gonna cost me?” Wyndham shook his head and smiled. “Oh, it will cost you absolutely nothing, Miss Dodson. All we ask is that you teach Miss Dvorak and her friends a lesson they will never forget.” Lorina thought for a moment. “So you are saying you can give me powers like those weirdos? And it’s free?” Wyndham and Warren nodded together. Lorina clapped her hands and giggled. “Great! This’ll be awesome! Sybby will be so surprised!” “Umm, excuse me?” The three people in the backseat looked at Hubert. He cleared his throat again. “Uh, is there any chance I could get powers too?” Lorina rolled her eyes. “Puh-lese. What would a fat slob like you want with powers, anyway?” Hubert sheepishly shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. I’ve just always wanted to be a super hero.” Lorina burst out laughing and Warren snorted. “This matter does concern you, sir. I suggest you stick to driving this alleged vehicle of yours.” “Now, professor,” interrupted Wyndham, looking thoughtfully at Hubert as their henchmen moved the SUVs out of the way of his car. “Perhaps our… friend can be of use to us after all. I’m sure the Headmen and MODOK can find a way.” Next Time: You Always Keep Me Guessin’!
  9. Episode 9: It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie August 6th, 1946. Los Angeles, California. Waverly Memorial Hospital Jack Thompson sat in bed looking through the files that Samberly had delivered to him. Police reports on the attacks in New York. The SSR case files on the incident at the Met Hospital. There had to be a connection. A man who looks like Sousa shows up and shoots him to get his hands on Carter’s file. Then Sousa shows up at Auerbach just as all the other agents are called out to assist at the hospital? Jack Thompson did not believe in coincidences. Especially when they surrounded Peggy Carter. He grunted as he adjusted his pillow, and some files and newspapers slid off the bed the floor. Cursing under his breath, Jack reached down and picked up the newspaper. He saw the picture on the front page and froze. It was a picture of Joseph Manfredi with his father. The caption read, “Joseph Manfredi and suspected mobster Silvio Manfredi refusing to comment on recent slayings on August 3rd.” Jack quickly consulted the files. He found an edition of the LA Times. It’s front page was a picture of the sheriff having a press conference to give their answers for the Arcade incident. In the corner of the picture, just within view of the cameras, was Joseph Manfredi, looking despondent at the passing of Whitney Frost. Jack checked the date of the picture. August 3rd. Either Joseph Manfredi was able to be in two places at once, or… “Son of a bitch,” Jack breathed. Then he threw the covers off him and scrambled to the chair where his clothes were set. Manhattan, New York City. The mansion of Silvio Manfredi. Count Nefaria sat in Silvio’s office, talking into the phone on his desk. “The situation here is developing nicely. I believe it’s time for you to return to New York.” Dmitri’s impression of Joseph Manfredi’s voice sounded low in response. “I wouldn’t have a problem with that, boss. I’ve been getting tired of playing nursemaid to these clowns.” Nefaria smiled. “You really have captured young Joseph’s voice perfectly. Have all of his men been accounted for?” “Yeah, there all here at the restaurant just like I asked ‘em, so’s Nonna. What do you want to do with her? Same as the rest?” Nefaria shrugged. “It’s a shame, but yes. No witnesses. Then take the private plane back to New York. Understood?” “Gotcha, count. See you in a few days.” “Good. See you then, Mr. Manfredi.” Nefaria chuckled and hung up the phone. Then turned in his seat to see Joseph Manfredi leaning in the doorway. The young gangster smirked at the count. “Hey, Nefaria? Are you talkin’ to me?” Nefaria cleared his throat and rose from his seat. “Forgive me, Joseph, but I don’t know what you mean.” “Oh, I think you do, count,” Joseph said dangerously. “I heard you saying something about my voice, and that ‘Mr. Manfredi’ stuff. You were talking to Dmitri, weren’t you?” Nefaria tightened his grip on his cane, keeping his voice calm. “Joseph, my boy. I understand you have a lot on your mind. Your father’s troubles, the tragedy with Miss Frost. You are jumping at shadows.” Joseph drew closer to Nefaria, not breaking eye contact. “You were setting up a hit! Who do you think you are giving out orders to that nut? He works for my pop, not you!” “Your father,” Nefaria said matter-of-factly. “Only sent Dmitri to take your place under my suggestion. As you can tell with your father’s issues with these vigilantes, Silvio is not the man he was. He requires a guiding hand to ensure the continued prosperity of the Maggia.” Joseph snorted. “Well, it ain’t going to be you. You’re two gorillas got trounced by Carter and those other freaks. And when my pop hears your making moves on your own with Dmitri…” “Have a care, boy!” Nefaria snapped. He paused, and took a breath to steady himself. “I only wish to advise your father. And I am willing to advise you, as well. You have a chance to regain a place of honor in the Maggia. It would be foolish to risk that by jumping to conclusions.” Joseph stared unblinking at the count, then smirked and turned to the door. “You don’t scare me, count. You are done. As soon as I let pop know.” The front door of the house slammed shut. Nefaria watched through the window as Joseph got in his car and drove off down the street. Hammerhead and Kangaroo stepped behind Nefaria as he continued to gaze forward. “Young Joseph has become tiresome. Follow him. Make sure he doesn’t reach his father.” Los Angeles, California. Polizzi’s. Jack Thompson pulled up to curb outside of the restaurant. He checked his loaded pistol then replaced it in his holster. He could feel the stiches in his chest tighten under the strain. He breathed deep to calm his nerves. And in the silence, he heard the sounds of multiple gunshots from inside Polizzi’s. Jack jumped out of the car and ran to the door of the restaurant. He grabbed the handle and slowly pushed open the door. The dining room of the restaurant was the site of a massacre. Five Manfredi family enforcers were dead, slumped over on tables and laid out on the floor. Each one had a bullet hole in their head. On the far end of the dining room, Jack could see a man that looked like Joseph Manfredi with gun drawn. He had his back to Jack and was pointing his gun at Nonna Manfredi who was kneeling on the ground, begging for her life. “Giuseppe! Giuseppe, per favore! Sei un bravo ragazzo! Non farlo per favore!” “Calmati,” the man said with barely any emotion. “Fai la pace con Dio. Questo e il tuo momento.” “SSR!” Jack shouted. “Put down your weapon!” Dmitri turned to see Jack and Nonna scrambled away, screaming in fear. Dmitri spun back and took aim at Nonna, only for Jack to fire a warning shot. Dmitri ducked behind a table and returned fire. Jack fired again, aiming for his opponents head. The bullet struck Dmitri in the cheek, sending him flying backward. Jack rose from his cover and slowly walked toward his opponent. He was lying still on the ground. Jack gave a soft kick to the body, causing the head to turn the other way and showing Jack Joseph Manfredi’s face. There was hole and scarring where Jack’s bullet had hit. But there was no blood, no bone. Just a white, ceramic-like material. “What the hell are you?” Jack breathed. ‘Joseph’s’ eyes opened and kicked the legs out from under Jack. Jack groaned as he looked at Dmitri discarded his ruined mask. “Me?” he said in a perfect imitation of Jack. “I’m Agent Jack Thompson of the Strategic Scientific Reserve.” OK: Can Jack capture the Chameleon? Or can Chameleon kill or elude Jack? Stay Tuned and Find Out! Game On!
  10. AND NOW THE CONCLUSION August 5th, 1946. New York City, New York. The mansion of Howard Stark. Peggy flew back as Dottie delivered a kick to her chest. She tumbled over the couch but sprang up block another strike from Dottie. Hammerhead charged headfirst toward Benton. He swung with a right hand and the fist struck with a clang. Benton looked at his fist in shock, only for Hammerhead to knock him back with a punch of his own. “You should’ve backed up,” he snarled. He lowered his head and charged straight into Black Terror, running with him and crashing through a wall. “Benton!” Miss Masque shouted. She ran to the hole in the wall only to have Kangaroo leap in her way. “What’s your hurry, doll?” he said. He lunged toward Miss Masque, but she slid underneath him. Angie ran toward the stairwell, helping Jarvis to his feet. “Let’s go, Jarvis!” she shouted as she hurried up the stairs. “We got to get out of here!” Miss Masque reached the table where her purse sat. She pulled out a revolver, only to have Kangaroo’s fist engulf her hand. “Girlies shouldn’t play with guns,” he leered, raising his fist to swing. Miss Masque responded with a low blow that made the gangster howl in pain and release her. “I’m no ordinary ‘girlie’,” she shouted. She aimed her revolver, only for Dottie Underwood to crash into her. Dottie got up first, grabbed a vase and hurled it at Peggy. Peggy ducked and grabbed a floor lamp. She swung it and it connected with Dottie’s face. Kangaroo delivered a dropkick with both feet that sent Peggy slamming into the wall. Knocked silly, she fell to the ground. “Time to squash you like a bug!” Kangaroo growled. Black Terror and saw the gangster getting ready to jump. Miss Masque was still down on the floor. “Miss Carter!” he yelled, only for Hammerhead to deliver a right hand to his jaw. “You just stay outta the lady’s business!” Peggy looked up as Kangaroo leapt into the air and came hurtling down towards her. And then he stopped. Peggy looked in confusion, as the gangster seemed to be standing in mid air above her. Kangaroo swayed back and forth, as if he was trying to maintain his balance on an invisible surface. “Hey! Hey! What’s going oooooooon!” Kangaroo flipped backwards through the air and crashed through a coffee table. “Kang!” Hammerhead shouted. “What are you doin’?” Black Terror grabbed his arm and hurled him back into the lounge. “We aren’t supposed to get involved in their business. Remember?” Peggy lay frozen on the floor. She had the strangest sense, like the one she had during the fight with Miss Masque at the theater. Like there was someone else in the room. She squinted and could almost see something. A shadow? A shape? But then it faded into nothing. Dottie scrambled to grab Miss Masque’s revolver, only for Miss Masque to grab her ankle and trip her. Dottie spun on the floor and delivered a kick to Miss Masque’s face. She fell away as Dottie got the revolver and pointed it at Peggy. “I’m glad he didn’t kill you,” she said serenely. “Doesn’t he know that’s my job?” “Dottie Underwood!” Everyone turned to see Jarvis and Angie, standing behind Howard Stark’s ‘jitterbug’ invention. “I order you stand down and surrender!” Jarvis shouted. Dottie raised an eyebrow and smiled. “That’s sweet of you, Mr. Jarvis. But I think you’re in no place to make demands of me. Not while I have a gun to poor Peggy’s head.” Jarvis knelt down and started pressing buttons on the jitterbug. “Not at all. You do recall the device the incapacitated the men who had captured you? Would you like to feel it’s effects first hand?” Dottie’s confident expression wavered. She gave a look to Peggy then ran towards the window. “Kangaroo! Hammerhead! Move!” The henchmen lumbered after Dottie, as Angie turned to Jarvis. “They’re getting away! You said you knew how to use that thing!” “Of course I do!” Jarvis shouted. “Let’s see. Carole Lombard’s measurements were…” Black Terror looked on as Peggy picked Miss Masque to her feet and hurried to get behind the jitterbug. “What is he going on about?” “No time to explain!” Peggy yelled. “Get out of the way!” Black Terror ran to jitterbug just as the sequence was put in by Jarvis. Dottie crashed through the front window followed by Kangaroo and Hammerhead as the device fired a concussive blast that sent furniture and debris flying after them. Peggy ran to the remains of the window. Their attackers had gone. The only thing she could detect, was the sound of a car’s wheels screeching in the distance. Manhattan, New York. The laboratory of Doctor Jonas Harrow. Madeline opened her eyes to find herself tied to a chair. She was in a small, dark room with a mirror on the wall facing her. She pulled on the restraints but they wouldn’t give. “So sorry, Miss Joyce,” said Dr. Fennhoff, walking out of the shadows of the room. “But we sadly must take these precautions.” Madeline took a gulp of air to steady herself. “I don’t know who you are,” she said, trying to keep her voice from shaking. “But you should know that I’m a lot stronger than I look.” “Oh, we know, Miss Joyce. That is why Doctor Harrow gave you several injections of sedative while you were under my sway. It was enough to, in his words, knock out several herds of elephants. But with your increased stamina they should simply reduce your strength to that of a normal, charming woman.” Madeline began breathing faster, and tried again to pull free from the ropes on her wrists and ankles. “Careful, Miss Joyce. You mustn’t hurt yourself. What did your mother always say?” “Gentle, gentle.” Madeline paused, looking surprised to hear the words coming out of her mouth. “And you should be aware,” Dr. Fennhoff went on. “That if you did manage to free yourself, we would have no choice but to render permanent damage to that… charming husband of yours.” Tears sprang to Madeline’s eyes as she stared at Fennhoff. “Where is he? What have you done to Bob?!” Fennhoff nodded thoughtfully. “Bob. Hmm. Of course. Naturally you would choose someone who shared a name with Dr. Benton. The file did note you were attracted to him. Something slipping through the conditioning.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Madeline sobbed. “I don’t want any part of this! Just let us go!” “Oh, we will, my dear. We will. But first there are some matters we would like to discuss with you. Specifically what happened on your squad’s final mission.” Madeline let her head fall back onto the back of the chair in resignation. “I’m telling you. I don’t know anything!” Fennhoff pulled out a small notebook, and flipped through it. “Actually, you do, Miss Joyce. Just a matter of jogging your memory.” He stopped at a page and pointed at an entry. “Ah. Here we are. Now let’s see. ‘One Life To Lose For My Country.’” Madeline instantly stopped crying. She sat up straight in the chair, a look of resolute calm on her face. Fennhoff gave a smirk of approval. “State your call sign.” “Miss America,” Madeline said in a firm voice. “Who are the other members of your squad?” “Black Terror. Fighting Yank. Miss Masque. Daredevil.” “Very good. Now, give me the details of what happened on your team’s final mission.” Madeline’s head twitched and she gave a short gasp. Then returned to her calm voice. “The squad was given orders by the Council of Nine to demonstrate our effectiveness on an enemy target. We were informed of a Nazi scientific facility reported 5 miles west of the town of Homburg. Our mission was to locate the facility, eliminate all personnel, and return to the states with any notes and equipment we could salvage.” “How many personnel were stationed in the base?” asked Fennhoff, checking the notebook. “20 scientists. 50 soldiers.” Fennhoff turned to the mirror and nodded, then looked back to Madeline. “Tell me about the attack.” “Black Terror, Miss Masque, and Daredevil engaged the troops on the ground. Fighting Yank and I provided air support, drawing enemy fire.” Madeline paused, then flinched and closed her eyes. “Go on, Miss America,” Fennhoff ordered. Madeline took a breath then continued. “The soldiers had a mortar. They fired at us. One of the shells struck Fighting Yank and exploded. He was stunned. He couldn’t maintain flight. He started spiraling out of control in the direction of Homburg. Black Terror ordered Daredevil to see to Fighting Yank while we dealt with our objectives.” “And did you complete your objective?” asked Fennhoff. “Did you eliminate all personnel?” Madeline continued to stare straight ahead, but bit her lip before continuing. “Yes.” “And what happened next, Miss America?” Madeline’s hands clenched and unclenched, as she started to subconsciously pull on the restraints again. Her voice was becoming more shaky, less sure. “After we had… eliminated all personnel in the facility… Black Terror ordered us follow after Daredevil. We… made it to the village… the village of… Homburg! The village of Homburg. Fighting Yank had crash landed and had been captured by the villagers. He had been knocked unconscious and locked in a cellar. Daredevil had… he… had engaged the villagers in combat. One by one he cut them down, until he got to the cellar door and opened it.” “And what happened then, Miss America?” Madeline was starting to hyperventilate, talking faster and more hysterical. “Fighting Yank… Bruce…His eyes. He was delirious. There was nothing but rage. The villagers tried to stop him, but… He was too fast, too strong for them. We tried to get him under control, but the villagers turned on us. They knew we were with him. They attacked us, and we… and we…” Madeline’s eyes grew wide in terror. Her body heaved with her sobs. “Oh God! God forgive me! We killed them! All of those people! We… I killed them!” Fennhoff shook his head and closed his notebook. “It was war. They were Germans. They were the enemy.” “They were civilians!” Madeline screamed. “They weren’t a threat to us! Not with our powers! Why?! Why did you do this to us?! Why?” Fennhoff stared dispassionately at Madeline, and she dropped her head and wept. “Just make it stop. Don’t ask me anymore questions. I don’t want to remember anymore. Make me forget again! Make it stop! Oh God, make it stop!” Fennhoff started rubbing his ring. “There, there, Miss Joyce. That will do for now. For now, just focus.” Madeline slowly drew calmer and sat back up in her chair. “That’s better. Just rest. Do not try to break the restraints. Just sleep.” Madeline’s eyes closed and she let her head drop to her chest. Fennhoff gently closed the door to the cell. He walked over to the men staring on the other side of the two way mirror watching Madeline. There was a man with brown hair in a brown suit, Count Nefaria, and Daredevil standing at attention. “Very impressive, doctor,” the man in the suit said. “You should be congratulated for your work.” “You flatter me, Mr. Wells,” Fennhoff said. “Whoever your masters hired for the conditioning of these subjects was skilled, but not and expert. A few visits with each of them, facsimiles of their costumes, and some violent stimulation. All that was needed to bring their powers to the surface.” Wells turned to Daredevil. “Is what she said correct? Is that what happened?” The masked man nodded. Wells shook his head. “And you had been on the run ever since. The Council certainly did smashing work on all of them. 5 super soldiers, long before Erskine was able to get his formula to work. If only Fighting Yank hadn’t gone rogue. We could have ended the war in months.” “And secured wealth and influence for the Council as well, eh, Mr. Wells?” Nefaria chuckled. “Now, the Council maybe no more, but we can still make some use of your friend. But after the fiasco at Stark’s, I’m sure that Agent Carter will continue to be an inconvenience to us. Perhaps our devil can see to her? Would Peggy Carter meet with you if asked her?” Fred Wells gave dangerous grin. “I know Peggy. I’m sure she would love to see her fiancé again. And then to meet her brother too. One last time.” Next Time: It’s A Sin to Tell a Lie!
  11. Chapter 7: Who Run the World? Max stood in the courtyard of the temple. He watched as people slowly walked and spoke in hushed tones to each other, some working in a communal garden tending the soil. He could look out through the temple gates and see the peaks of the Himalayas stretching out before him. And he also saw her. The beautiful woman with the silver hair, wrapped in white silks. She strode briskly through the courtyard and went down a stone stair way. Max followed after her, trying his best to keep up. He reached the bottom of the stairway to find the woman had disappeared. Candles lit the way and corridors branched out before him. Max could hear a grunt of exertion coming from the left and turned. A large oak door was open just a crack to allow the sound to escape. He peeked around the door to see the woman, shadow boxing and throwing kicks. She leapt into the air and combat rolled back to crouch. She froze suddenly, then quickly turned her head to the door where Max was. Max jumped back in surprise, grabbing a hold of the door. “Sorry! Sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you.” The woman rose to her feet, and looked up and down at her visitor. “Brother Max, isn’t it? You are one of the new acolytes. You arrived two weeks ago, correct?” Max nodded. “Yes, Sister Dansen. I’ve been meaning to talk to you,” Dansen raised an eyebrow suspiciously. “How do you know my name?” “I… was asking around. I saw you when the guides brought us here. Some of the other brothers told me.” Dansen turned her back to Max, and started going through kata poses. “And just what need would you have for knowing my name?” Max took a step in the training room. “I don’t know. I figure if I was going to talk to you, it might be nice to know your name first.” Dansen continued her practice, throwing a few thrust kicks towards the wall. “I would prefer you not to listen to other peoples gossip to learn about me, Brother Max.” “Fair. Soooo, how about you tell me about you yourself instead?” Dansen nearly lost her balance. She looked at the smiling Max in disbelief. “You are certainly persistent, Brother Max.” Max shrugged and walked onto the mat. “Hey, it’s a gift. So, why not? Where you from? How’d you join the Family of Kali?” Dansen went back to her kicks. “We are allowed to talk of such things. Nothing exists before we found the embrace of Kali.” “Come on. It’s just you and me. Why not?” Dansen paused for a moment, then continued her kicks. Max looked at her for a moment, then moved to her side. “How about this; how about we do some sparring? You and me. If I can take you to the ground, you have answer a question about your past life. You take me the ground, you can ask me anything about mine.” Dansen rolled her eyes. “Really, Brother Max. That is simply childish. I would never play games like that.” Max gave a knowing smile. “Especially if you thought you were going to lose.” Dansen froze again, and turned to Max. “I assure you, Brother Max. You would never pin me down.” Max took a fighting position, still grinning. “Prove it.” A faint smile flashed on Dansen’s face as she mirrored Max’s stance. “Shroud!” Shroud’s memories were interrupted by the sound of Dansen’s voice. He turned on the cushion he sat cross legged on to face her. “Yes, Dansen? Anything to report?” Danesn walked into the meditation space and stood to Shroud’s right. “Misfit, Digger, and Hangman are making the rounds picking up our cut from the gangs. Needle, Tick Tock and the Brothers are looking for any new leads on the Headmen.” “And what about Moth? Is she on her way?” Dansen gave a sharp exhale. “Yes, her and Russell were driven by Tatterdemalion a half hour ago.” Shroud turned away and closed his sightless eyes. “You don’t approve of my forcing her to go?” “I don’t believe it was necessary. Moth and the others would be more useful in the field then…” “Russell has still been on edge ever since you rescued us from the Headmen. And it would be good for both him and Moth to be out of the Tower for a while. And Tatter can keep an eye on them.” Dansen stared at the meditating Shroud. “Why did you send Tatterdemalion? If Moth was correct, then there shouldn’t be any trouble. Unless you have sensed something more to it?” Shroud took a deep breath and folded his hands together. “Simply a precaution, Dansen. I’m sure they will have a relaxing evening for a change.” “This sucks,” moaned Moth. She and Jack were in the backseat of a limo being driven by Tatterdemalion in chauffeur attire. As for themselves, Jack was dressed a black suit and blue tie, while Moth wore a blue sun dress. The limo passed through ornate gates and followed a winding drive way to the front door of a extravagant mansion. “I don’t believe this is happening,” she went on. “Just relax,” said Jack. “It’s just a party. You’re friend invited you. Nothing to get worked up over.” Moth shot Jack a glare. “You don’t know this girl. Lorina Dodson is barely an acquaintance. I had to put up with her parties all the time when I was with Jason in New York. I don’t know how she found my address here. And I have no clue why Shroud would make me come here!” “Well, if it’s any consolation, you do look very charming, Moth,” Tatterdemalion said smugly. Moth stared daggers at Tatter. “1: it’s no consolation. 2: you can’t say anything without sound like a creep. So 3: shut up.” Tatter shrugged and turned back to the wheel. “You do look great though,” said Jack. Moth opened her mouth to say something, then just sighed. “Let’s just get this over with.” Jack exited the car and held the door open for Moth. “I’ll be listening through the ear buds,” Tatter said. “I’ll enter if there’s any trouble.” “Thanks, mother,” Moth snarked. The limo drove back down the drive way to where similarly expensive looking cars were parked. Jack and Moth walked up the steps to the door. They could hear the bass of loud music drifting from the backyard. Jack rang the doorbell, and Moth adjusted her dress. Then she used her power to cause the hem of the dress to rise until it had morphed into a skirt. She nodded in satisfaction, then glanced up at Jack, who was enthralled by the new outfit. Moth grinned. “Now, I look great.” Jack was about to agree when the door of the mansion swung open. A woman with red hair dressed in a pink crop top and yoga pants stood before them. “Sybby!” she squealed. She gave a bear hug to Moth, who looked toward Jack with a piteous expression. “Hi, Lorina,” she said, desperately trying to sound enthusiastic. “Oh my god! I’m so glad you could make it!” Lorina rambled on. “I thought you had said something about moving out west! When I managed to find the address to the apartment, I just knew I had to invite my bestie!” Lorina released the hug, then gave a suggestive look to Jack. “And who’s your boyfriend?” “I’m… Jack.” “And he’s not my boyfriend!” Moth and Jack shot each other an awkward look. Lorina chuckled. “My, my, my. Curiouser and curiouser. Well, don’t worry, Sybby. I won’t steal your man. That’s what this whole party’s about! Come on in!” Lorina led them through the entryway and down the hall that lead toward the sounds of cheers and music. “Um, Lorina, what do you mean? What is the party about?” asked Moth. “My engagement, silly Sybby! Today I’m going to introduce all my friends to the man of my dreams!” Jack cleared his throat. “Congratulations. Where is he?” “Oh, he’ll be here in a little while. Good thing you two made it in time. You were almost late!” Lorina pushed the glass doors open to reveal the spacious backyard. A DJ stood at his equipment blasting pop music while Lorina’s guests danced, chatted, and swam in the pool. Jack’s eyes widened at the sight of some of the guests wearing rabbit masks. “You’re friend… er… Lorina sure throws an interesting party,” he said, waving aside a server offering a plate of hors d’oeurvres. “Jason dragged me to every one of them,” Moth muttered under her breath. “Lorina always has have some stupid “Alice in Wonderland” gimmick. Bunch of privileged pricks making small talk. It’s a miracle I didn’t became a thief sooner.” “Hey, take it easy,” said Jack. “You were able to save me from a mad scientist. I’m sure you can handle a party full of 1%-ers.” Moth was about to reply, when she was interrupted by a high pitched whine. Lorina had grabbed a microphone from the DJ. “Helloooo, everyone! Is everybody having a good time?” Cheers and applause rang out from the crowd. “Of course you are! Everyone knows my parties are always lit! But this one is going to be the best ever! Because I know you’ve been hearing the rumors, and I’ve thrown this party to tell you all… they’re true! I’m gonna get married!” More cheers and shouts of congratulations followed. “Thank you! Thank you! I just feel like the luckiest girl in the world! And I want to take this moment in time to introduce you to the man of my dreams! Come on out, honey!” The partygoers turned to the house where Lorina was pointing. The backdoor opened and the crowd gasped. Trudging into the backyard was a creature that resembled a 6 foot tall ape. The guests backed away as the creature walked past, it’s knuckles dragging on the floor. It reached the DJ booth, and Lorina wrapped her arms around it. “Isn’t he beautiful? Don’t be too jealous, girls!” Jack turned to Moth as the crowd started murmuring. “You said she was strange, but has she done anything like this?” “Hell no,” Moth replied. “Something’s not right.” “Is this some kinda joke, Lorina?” a male guest shouted. “What’s with the monkey?” Lorina looked insulted as she held the creature to her. “He’s not a monkey! He’s the man of my dreams!” She looked to the rest of the crowd. “Come on, ladies. You understand, don’t you? How could I resist a guy like this?” There was more murmuring and some laughter from the men, when suddenly one of the women who had been swimming in the pool started walking towards the booth. “Yes, Lorina!” she shouted. “He is beautiful! Let me get close to him too!” “Yes, Miss Dodson!” called out one of the servers, tossing her tray to the ground and running toward the booth. “Don’t keep him all to yourself! It isn’t fair!” To the amazement of the men, the other women in the backyard started moving toward the creature and Lorina. Jack stared at the scene in confusion. “Moth, I think we need to get going… Moth?!” He turned to see Moth slowly stepping toward the crowd. Jack grabbed her arm to hold her back. “Moth, what are you doing?” He could see the blank look in Moth’s eyes. She struggled to free herself from his grip. “I need to go him! Don’t you see? He’s so amazing! Let me go to him!” Jack dragged Moth toward the back door. “Moth, we need to go now!” “Hey!” shouted Lorina. “You can’t leave! My party isn’t over yet!” The creature gave a low growl. Lorina tilted her head as if she could understand. “Oh. Alright, dear. Now, ladies, my man says its time for a little party game.” She reached underneath the DJ’s table and pulled out a box. She lifted the lid, reached in and pulled out a knife in each hand. She carefully handed a knife to each of the women as the men shouted in confusion. “Okay, Lori, jokes over!” “Come on, Jackie! Get back here!” “We’re leaving now!” Lorina calmly held the microphone and looked to the now armed women. “Okay, girls. Time to play my fiancé’s game. Kill ‘em all!” The women spun around and giving a scream charged into the men, blades slashing. The men ran and shouted in alarm, but many were cut down and sent falling into the pool or fell bleeding on the walkway. Some managed to make it to the hedge on the edge of the backyard. They clambered up to try to escape. But the first man to reach the top of the edge was sent falling back into Lorina’s backward, with his head detached. Behind the hedge stood a row of Asian men in turbans and robes, and armed with long swords. Jack and Moth had made it inside, Jack still dragging Moth behind him. “Jack! Jack, slow down!” said Moth holding her head. “What are you doing?” “I’m trying to keep you from falling in love with a monkey,” Jack snapped, taking a second to recognize how ridiculous that statement was before continuing toward the door. The door swung open to reveal more men with swords. They filed into the lobby and brandished them towards Jack and Moth. The pair backed up towards a staircase as Jack muttered under his breath. “Tatter, we need you now!” Giving a cry the swordsmen charged toward them. Moth leapt into the air, letting her outfit be molded to form a set of wings for herself. Jack ducked the first swordsman and ducked into a side room. He moved a bookcase in front of the door and put his back to it. “Ok,” he gasped for breath as he heard the sound of someone banging on the door. “Not a full moon, but I could sure use some help here.” He ran to a window and pulled back the curtains. The waxing moon had finally broken through the clouds. Moth flew over the swordsman, causing the sashes that two of them were wearing to tie together and slam them into each other. Tatterdemalion, rushing to put on his scarf, burst into the entryway, and leveled two more swordsmen. “Is this what you young people do at parties like this?” he snarked. “Oh shut up!” Moth yelled, delivering a kick to swordsman’s face. “You need to get to the backyard! There’s some creature in there with Lorina! I think it’s controlling her and the other girls!” “What about Russell?” There was the sound of crashing wood, howling and screaming. “He’s fine!” Moth snapped. “Now move it!” OK: Tatterdemalion, Moth, and Werewolf by Night (Waxing moon so he’s slightly less strong.) Mandrill has control of a dozen women, plus is backed up by 20 Thugee. Game On!
  12. Episode 8: Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive August 5th, 1946. New York City, New York. The mansion of Howard Stark. “Just when exactly are you planning to show up at the office, Miss Carter?” Peggy winced slightly as Acting Chief Flynn’s voice pierced through the telephone. “I’m sorry, Chief Flynn, but…” “Acting Chief!” Peggy took a deep breath and tried to keep her voice steady as she sat on the couch in the living room. Robert Benton, Diana Adams, and Angie sat around the room, watching in anticipation. “Acting Chief Flynn. But you did tell me to take time off. I’m just following your instructions.” “Well now I’m giving you new instructions! We’re up to our necks in paperwork here! The mayor is having us run clean up on that Stilt Man fiasco, suspected Maggia are flocking to the city like it’s a convention. And we STILL haven’t found that nutty actress!” Peggy looked over at Diana, sipping a cocktail. “Oh, you mean Diana Adams? You don’t have any leads?” Diana coughed and choked on her drink while Angie stifled a laugh. “No, we don’t,” grumbled Flynn. “But we have the situation under control. If she tries to leave town, we’ll get her for sure.” “Don’t worry, Acting Chief,” said Peggy, winking at Diana. “I’m sure she’ll turn up eventually.” “Spare me the sympathy, Carter!” snapped Flynn. “You just make sure to be in the office tomorrow morning at 8 sharp!” Peggy was about to reply only to hear the slamming of a phone being slammed down and the line going dead. “Good day to you, too, Chief,” Peggy said as she hung up the phone. “You are too much, English,” Angie chuckled. “That Flynn guy would have steam coming out of his ears if he knew that that lady he’s looking for is on the other end of the line!” “Well, I don’t think it was that funny!” Diana pouted as she refreshed her drink. “I wasn’t trying to be funny, Miss Adams,” Peggy explained. “You are still wanted by the SSR. I need to know what they know so we can keep one step ahead of them.” “Fair point, Miss Carter,” said Dr. Benton. “But this is still a dangerous game. I just wish we could tell you more about how we have these… abilities.” “Maybe you can,” Peggy said. She rose from her seat and walked over to a table where her purse sat. She reached in and pulled out a picture of a bald man in a white suit jacket and a bow tie. She handed the picture to Dr. Benton. “Take a look at this. Have you seen this man before?” Dr. Benton squinted at the picture, then shook his head. “I don’t know. It’s very strange. It’s as if I’ve seen that face before, but it’s as if something’s stopping me from knowing where.” He handed the picture to Diana, who looked bored but examined the picture anyway. A flash recognition appeared in her face, but then she frowned. “Same here. Maybe at the theater? On the street? He doesn’t look like much to me.” Peggy took back the picture. “His name is Johann Fennhoff. He’s an agent of an organization called Leviathan. He is an expert in hypnosis. When I encountered him before he was able to use his abilities to kill two SSR agents.” “Are you saying this Fenhoff guy hypnotized these to two to give them powers?” asked Angie. “Maybe not the powers,” said Peggy. “But both of you and our boomerang throwing friend seem to have been conditioned to forget you have powers, then use them expertly when threatened. Perhaps Fennhoff or someone with his abilities found you, and tried breaking down those walls for you to access those powers again.” “But where did we get these powers in the first place?!” Diana cried. “I don’t want to live in hiding with a bunch of cloak and dagger nonsense in my head!” Dr. Benton walked to Diana’s chair and put and comforting hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry, Diana. We’ll be able to figure this out. Miss Carter will help us.” Peggy looked at the pair with thoughtful expression. “Are you sure you can’t tell us anymore, Dr. Benton?” Dr. Benton looked insulted at Peggy. “I don’t have anything to hide from you, Miss Carter. My only desire is to make sure Miss Adams and any others like her are given the help they need.” “But Diana was saying that she could trust you,” Angie said. “Maybe there’s something else that you might have forgot. Something that you could…” “I’m telling you, I remember nothing else!” Dr. Benton’s outburst silenced the room. He looked at Diana, then cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, ladies. I have been under a lot of strain. If you want answers, why not ask this Fennhoff person?” “That’s what I’ve been waiting to hear,” Peggy replied. “I’ve been in contact with Daniel Sousa and Howard Stark. They should be arriving at the prison where Fennhoff was confined today. Then we’ll know whether or not he was in any position to be involved in this business. Don’t worry, they won’t let us down,” “Ha!” Diana laughed dryly, and sipped her cocktail. “Howard not letting me down. That’ll be a first.” Peggy smiled as the doorbell rang. Jarvis hurried out of the kitchen to the door. “Really, Mr. Jarvis, I could get that,” said Peggy. “It’s not bother, Miss Carter,” said Jarvis, brushing himself off as he approached the front door. “You feel free to continue your strategizing.” Jarvis opened the door and froze in the doorway, a look of terror on his face. Peggy turned to him in concern. “Mr. Jarvis?” Jarvis grunted in pain as the kick to his midsection sent him falling backward into a suit of armor. Dottie Underwood strode into the mansion. She smiled sweetly at Peggy. “Hey, Peggy. Did you miss me?’ Arlington, Virginia. Steadworth Prison. “We’re pleased to have you come to pay us a visit, Chief Sousa.” The guard led Daniel Sousa and Howard Stark down a stone corridor lined with steel doors. “We don’t get many visitors. Well, we don’t get any visitors.” “The SSR just wants to check in on your prisoner, Pierce,” said Daniel. “Your reports have been thorough, but we wanted to see if Fennhoff has been giving you any trouble.” “Oh no trouble at all, sir. Me and Domenetto keep our eyes on him around the clock.” Howard looked behind him and saw the outline of the guard in question. “Yeah, sure you guys do great work. But, um, where are the other guards?” Pierce looked confused. “Other guards? There are no other guards.” Daniel and Howard shared a look. “But there is supposed to be a whole squad stationed here at all times,” said Daniel. “Oh there was, sir. But the squad had been recalled. They received their orders months ago. Domenetto and I were told to stay here. Makes sense, really. Shouldn’t need a whole bunch of soldiers to watch one prisoner who doesn’t even leave his cell.” Howard was about to say something when Daniel nudged him. “Correct, Pierce. That does make sense. Carry on.” Pierce nodded and moved further down the corridor. “I don’t know about you, Sousa,” muttered Howard. “But I’m beginning to feel the way I did when Rita told me Orson wasn’t going to be home.” “You’re right. Somethings off here. Did you see Domenetto? Both him and Pierce seemed confused at the very idea that other guards would be needed.” Howard grinned. “Then I guess we’ll just have to keep our guard up.” Daniel rolled his eyes as the two reached the door where Pierce was waiting for them. “Here it is, gentlemen. This is Dr. Fennhoff’s cell.” Pierce banged his fist against the steel. “Hey, doc!” he shouted. “Company’s here!” There was silence from the cell. Pierce shrugged and turned back to Howard and Daniel. “I suppose he’s resting. Maybe you can come back later.” Daniel took a step to the door. “Sorry, soldier. I need to see him now.” Instantly Pierce had drawn his pistol and aimed it at Daniel. “Please step away from the door, sir,” he said in strained tones. Daniel held out a hand to Pierce. “Stand down, Pierce. We just need to see Fennhoff.” “No! You can’t! I have my orders!” Daniel’s eyes narrowed. “Orders from who?” Sweat beaded down Pierce’s face. His eyes began to have manic look in them boarding on hysterical. “I… have… orders! Step away from the door, or I will shoot!” Daniel slowly moved aside from the door. “Alright, Pierce. Whatever you say.” Daniel swung his crutch, knocking the gun from Pierce’s grip. Daniel lunged forward and pinned Pierce to the wall with the crutch. “Howard!” he yelled. “The door!” Howard pulled out two circular devices from his coat and placed them on the door. Pierce pushed the cane away, knocking Daniel off balance. “Domenetto!” he screamed before swinging a punch that Daniel blocked. The tumblers in the lock clicked, and the cell door swung open as Domenetto ran towards them gun drawn. Daniel swung his crutch to the head of Pierce, then ducked into the cell. The cell was completely empty. A steel frame held a thin mattress and small basin of water were all that were inside. “Hold it right there!” Domenetto commanded, pointing the gun at Daniel’s head. Howard pulled out the ‘zapper’ and jammed it into Domenetto’s neck. The guard convulsed and twitched until he fell to the ground unconscious. “Well, look at us being a team,” Howard said. “Don’t start,” Daniel said, exiting the cell and moving back down the corridor. “These men must have been compromised by Fennhoff. He’s in the wind. We need to get in touch with Peggy.” New York City, New York. The mansion of Howard Stark. Peggy stood at the ready, with Diana and Dr. Benton flanked her. “Angie, get out of here now.” Dottie quickly drew her pistol. “Now, now. There’s no need to be rude. I thought you’d enjoy having the old Griffith gang together again.” “I take it you know this woman?” Dr. Benton asked. “Sadly, yes,” said Peggy not breaking eye contact with Dottie. “What do you want, Dottie?” “Oh, I don’t want anything from you, Peggy,” Dottie said slowly moving into the room. “Let’s just say I’m representing some men who have a problem with your masked friends here.” “You? Working for the Maggia?” Peggy scoffed. “How the mighty have fallen. Leviathan’s top spy becomes Silvermane’s errand girl?” “Think what you like, Peggy. And just in case you think you are going to stop me from leaving here… Boys?” The imposing figures of Hammerhead and Kangaroo walked into the lounge. “What you want, Miz Underwood?” Kangaroo asked. “Be a dear and escort Doctor Benton and Miss Adams to the car.” Dottie turned her gaze back to Peggy. “Then leave Miss Carter to me.” Jarvis leapt up and pushed past the henchmen and grabbed Dottie’s arm. “Miss Carter! Run!” Dottie easily shook Jarvis off her and judo threw him to the floor. “As gallant as ever, Mr. Jarvis.” Peggy charged forward and delivered a punch to Dottie’s face, as Diana and Dr. Benton followed after her. Angie ran to the kitchen and slammed the door, as the battle was joined in the living room. OK: Can Peggy, Black Terror and Miss Masque hold off the Maggia’s hit squad? Or can Dottie and her henchmen succeed in capturing one or both of our heroes? Stay Tuned to Find Out! Game On!
  13. AND NOW (finally) THE CONCLUSION Shroud screamed in agony as Ohn increased the shocks. His darkness was beginning to fill his tube and travel through a series of pipes into another chamber. “Very good!” Ohn said gleefully. “Now all we need to do is provide the proper stimulation to cause the Zero Matter to assume it’s other forms!” The door to the lab opened and Chondu’s mechanical legs carried his head inside. “Dr. Nagan would like a progress report on our guest.” Ohn was about to answer when Wyndham quickly spoke. “We are able to induce a state that allows us to force the subject to activate his powers. As yet, Dr. Ohn’s teleportation theory is still theoretical.” “Then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind if I take a look inside this one’s mind? Perhaps it may give is insight on his allies, as well as his powers.” “Er, I’m not sure,” Ohn stammered. “He is in a lot of pain. How could you possibly read his…?” “Just check the instruments, Ohn,” Wyndham snapped. “Leave the rest to Chondu.” Chondu gingerly stepped past the Werewolf’s cage and stood before Shroud’s prison. He closed his eyes as Shroud continued to fight to resist Ohn’s equipment. “Your will is strong, subject,” Chondu murmured. “But not invincible. Let’s see. Yes. I can see your allies. First in your thoughts is… a lady with silver hair. Dansen. You have feelings for this woman?” Shroud slammed his fists against the tube and grimaced in pain. “Ah yes. Very strong. And also a strong desire to protect Mr. Russell, and the one who calls herself… Moth? Yes. Sybil Dvorak. Percy and Barton Grimes. Arnold Paffenroth…” An alarm starting blaring through the laboratory. “What the hell is that?” Wyndham shouted. “Remain here, Dr. Wyndham,” Chondu said as he clattered to the door. “You continue the experiments with Dr. Ohn. We shall deal with this.” Through the halls of the underground bunker of the Headmen stormed the Night Shift. Digger and Misfit charged into crowds of mercenaries and tossed them aside. Hannibal and Terri hanged back and watched as Tatterdemalion, Hangman, and Needle all viciously dispatched any who stood before them. Orb gestured toward the mercenaries. “Come on, you punks! Get up and fight!” His shouts were cut short as Needle’s blade was stabbed straight through the eye of his helmet. 8-Ball swung his pool cue only to have it blocked by Digger’s shovel. “You are gonna be so dead, freak!” he snarled. “What do you mean ‘gonna’? I already am!” 8-Ball ducked under the blade of the shovel, charged up the cue, and delivered a shot right to Digger’s chest. He was sent flying down the corridor and into a wall. “Laugh that one off, wise guy!” Moth’s wings swiftly carried her over 8-Ball to snatch the pool cue out of his grip. “Take ‘em, Tatter!” Tatterdemalion leapt onto 8-Ball and placed his gloved hands on his helmet. The helmet began to turn red with heat and 8-Ball howled as his head began to boil within his own helmet. A pumpkin shaped grenade exploded sending mercenaries and the Night Shift scattering. Jack O’Lantern flew toward the fray only to be met by the Brothers Grimm on their clouds. Percy pulled a rope out from his sleeve and threw the end of it to Barton. The flew towards Jack O’Lantern then veered off, still holding the rope between them. It clotheslined Jack O’Lantern and sent him falling off his hovercraft and right into waiting fist of Misfit. “Where to next, Tick Tock?” asked Dansen. Tick Tock closed his eyes and concentrated. “If we take the left, we are guaranteed to encounter more guards. I say our best bet is to the right.” “Actually, your best bet is to turn back now.” Nagan and Ruby Thursday stepped out from behind the corner. “So glad you all could join us.” “What have you done with Shroud and Russell?” said Dansen coldly. “Oh I assure you, my dear, your friends are being well cared for as they give their lives to science. And so will you. Dr. Thursday, if you please?” A dozen tendrils sprung from Ruby’s sphere and lunged toward the Night Shift forcing them to scatter. Misfit charged with a roar toward Nagan who leapt over him and grabbed hold of a pipe on the ceiling. “You are a dumb animal, primitive,” he said as he flipped on top of Misfit and wrapped his hands around his throat. “I am the perfect combination of genius intellect and brute strength.” “You’re a frickin’ monkey!” Misfit choked. Digger swung his shovel and caught Nagan square on the head. He turned to Dansen and shouted. “Keep going! Leave ‘Planet of the Apes’ and Miss Mad Ball to us!” Dansen nodded and ran down the hallway, followed by Hannibal, Terri, Tick Tock, and Moth. Hangman’s rope tangled itself in the tendrils approaching him. He drew a knife and pulled it back to swing, when he was distracted by a clattering from above him. He looked up just in time to see Chondu crawling on the ceiling before pouncing down on him. Hangman dodged the spider-like metallic legs as he looked up in shock at the head perched on the platform. “It is useless to resist, invader!” He raised his legs for another strike only to have them parried by Needle. Tatterdemalion grabbed a hold of the back legs and the metal started to burn red. Within seconds, the acidic touch had caused the strut to break off in Tatterdemalion’s grip. Hangman and Needle shoved forward, causing Chondu to tumble to the ground, his remaining legs waving in the air. Hangman glared at Needle and Tatterdemalion. “I would have gotten him.” Needle and Tatterdemalion shared a look, before leaping out of the way the Ruby’s tendrils. The sounds of blaring alarms, shouting, and running footsteps were heard outside of the laboratory. Wyndham turned to Ohn. “We need to evacuate. We must stop the experiment.” “But we’re so close!” Ohn whined. “I’m detecting something developing in the canister! Just turn up the amperage another 50% and we’ll have it stabilized!” Over the cries of pain of Tarleton and Shroud, Wyndham shrugged and made the adjustments. Something did seem to be developing in the canister that was collecting Shroud’s Darkforce energy. With a final spark of electricity, the shape became clear. It was the shape of the tattoo scarred into Shroud’s face. Ohn and Wyndham looked on in amazement as the projection contracted, then suddenly expanded and shattered the canister. Bolts of black lightning shot out of the image, causing electrical equipment to explode. Another bolt struck Tarleton in his chair, and his screams for mercy were reduced to a high pitched wail. Ohn peeked out from behind a desk, a look of sheer joy on his face. “I did it! I did it! We made the portal!” “Shut it off, you idiot!” Wyndham yelled as Hannibal, Terri, Tick Tock, and Moth ran in. “Shroud!” Moth shouted. “We need to get him out of there!” “What the hell is that?!” Terri said, pointing at the portal. “We don’t have time for that!” Tick Tock yelled over the roar. “My visions predict that within 40 seconds that… thing is going to collapse and explode!” Hannibal darted for the control panel next to Shroud’s prison, only for Ohn to leap onto his back. Hannibal struggled to get the scientist off of him. “No! No! You can’t take him! This is my project! You can’t take him away!” “Get off, Frankenstein! Didn’t you hear? We’re all dead unless I get him out of that machine!” While Hannibal tried to free himself, Moth ran to the Werewolf’s cage. She looked at the keypad then at Terri. “Are you attached to that jacket?” Terri stared at the jacket she wore in confusion. “I got it as Christmas present. Why?” “Don’t worry. If this goes wrong, I’ll buy you a new one.” The jacket started unravelling and the threads snaked into the cracks of the keypad. Terri could only stand and glare at Moth as the remnants of the jacket hung loosely to her. “You could at least have asked.” The Werewolf snarled and Moth looked at it. “Take it easy, Russell. Just a second.” Unobserved, Wyndham slowly stepped out a side passage and disappeared. Hannibal finally flung Ohn off his back, but in the struggle his gun had slid from his holster to the ground. Ohn quickly scrambled to the gun and aimed it at Hannibal. “I’m very sorry, sir,” he said. “But your gloomy friend isn’t going anywhere.” With the sound of snapping plastic and electric surges, the keypad Moth was picking at fell apart. The bars of the Werewolf’s cage lowered into the floor. It looked at the mad scientist with the gun, then at Moth. She nodded. “Sic ‘em.” The Werewolf charged toward Ohn with a howl. He turned and froze in terror as the beast drew closer. “Oh no. Nonono! Good boy! Nice doggie! Be a good doggie!” The Werewolf leapt forward and battered Ohn with his paw. The scientist was sent sprawling into the Shroud symbol, then disappeared. There was the sound of Ohn’s screams, then the symbol folded in on itself and collapsed, vanishing into thin air. The Werewolf sniffed the air where his prey had vanished in annoyance. Hannibal returned to Shroud’s tube and pressed a few buttons on the side of it that caused the tube to rise up into the ceiling. He caught Shroud as he collapsed toward the floor. “Take it easy. We got you.” Shroud turned his sightless eyes toward Hannibal. “Well, detective. I see I wasn’t wrong in choosing you to be a part of my organization.” “Swell. Make me employee of the month. Right now we need to get to the others and get you out of here.” “Hannibal!” Hannibal turned to Terri and carried Shroud with him. She was standing next to the upturned chair that still housed Tarleton. He sat unmoving and unbreathing, while the electronic equipment buzzed around his now enormous head. “What have they done to him?” Terri asked in shock. “Another of the Headmen’s experiments gone wrong, I fear,” said Shroud. “But Mr. King is correct. It is time for us to make out exit.” Hannibal’s team ran back down corridors to where the rest of the Night Shift did battle. Ruby Thursday’s projections had morphed into razor blades that she swung at the Brothers Grimm. They dodged them on their clouds as Moth flew to them. “We’ve got Shroud and Russell! Make with the magic!” Percy nodded. “Right then, everyone! Get close together! Time to go!” “Oh come on!” Misfit grunted, as he and Digger traded blows with Nagan. “I’m just about to get this guy!’ “Misfit!” Shroud shouted. “Now!” Misfit shrugged then delivered a final punch that sent Nagan flying into Ruby. The Night Shift gathered in the center of the hallway as Percy and Barton each pulled out a silken handkerchief from their sleeves. They threw them towards each other and the two handkerchiefs melted together to form one enormous one. “Make sure you focus, Barton,” Percy said. “Or this isn’t going to be a long trip.” “Oh shut up and let’s do it already!” Barton grumbled. The Brothers Grimm threw the giant handkerchief into the air and flew their clouds under it. The entire Night Shift stood covered in the cloth. “How pitiful,” said Chondu. “Do they really think they can outwit us with parlor tricks?” “Allow me to finish them, Dr. Nagan,” hissed Ruby. “Oh by all means, my dear,” said Nagan. “Deliver the final blow!” Ruby raised her arms and her sphere produced dozens of blades. They all stabbed into the cloth, but no outcry was heard. Ruby pulled back her blades and took the cloth with it, revealing that the Night Shift was gone. Chondu looked in confusion as Ruby’s tendrils slammed the floor in frustration. Nagan’s eyes narrowed on the spot where the intruders had been. “Very well, Shroud. You have won. This day.” Ohn opened his eyes to find himself inside of a cage. He groaned and held his head. His white lab coat had disappeared, and now his entire body was white and covered with black spots. But he was too busy nursing his headache to notice. That nasty Werewolf had hit him, he had fallen backwards toward the portal and then… Ohn looked up through the bars of the cage to see that he was in a lavish sitting room. A curtain blocked the view to the rooms beyond, and in front of him was a couch. Lying on the couch were two Asian Indian women, wrapped in silks, one red one purple. They smiled and looked down on Ohn, who looked up at them in confusion. “Umm, hello?” “Hello,” the women said in unison. “I am Sister Ushas,” the woman in purple said. “I am Sister Shaya,” said the one in red. Ohn stayed on the floor of the cell, neither his confusion or his headache improving. “Am I… dead? Or dreaming? I think I had dreams like this before.” The two women chuckled and rose from the couch. “Oh no, brother,” said Ushas. “You are very much awake.” “And alive,” chimed Shaya. Ohn rolled over to his side and rose to his feet, using the bars of his cage to steady himself. He looked at the bars and the sudden realization hit him. “Why am I in here? You can’t put me in here! Where am I?” “Patience, brother,” soothed Ushas. “This is the will of Khali. In preparation of your blessing.” “Blessing? What are you talking about?” The sisters glanced at each other and smiled knowingly. “Your blessing, brother,” said Shaya, gesturing to him. “See?” Ohn finally looked down, and saw his newly gotten spots. He yelped in terror. “What have you done to me?” he said, scratching at himself in a vain attempt to rid himself of the spots. “Get these things off me!” “But they are your gift, brother,” said Ushas. “Your gift from Khali.” “Well, I don’t want a gift from Khali or Cardi or whatever his name is!” Ohn snapped. “Get me out of this cage! Now!” The sisters simply stared and smiled as the scientist banged on the bars of his prison. Unnoticed by Ohn, a black spot began to form on the ground beneath him. “Do you hear me?! I don’t want to be in this cage anymore! I want to get out nooooooooooooow!” Ohn took a step backward and fell into the spot. It closed in on itself just as another spot appeared on the ceiling of the room. Ohn fell out of the spot and landed with a thud on the couch. He rolled off it and clattered to the floor. Ushas and Shaya stood over Ohn and nodded to each other. “The Mother is wise and generous,” said Ushas. “All praise for her blessings! All praise to Khali!” Ushas raised her hands to the sky and looked up in blissful reverence. “All praise to Khali!” said Shaya, following suit. Ohn remained on the floor, looking up at the two women as the worshipped. “Umm, yay?” Next Time: Who Run the World?
  14. THE BOTTOM LINE "Congratulations to all, ladies," Elsa said grandly to the assembled competitors in the courtyard. "I trust you had fun?" There was a loud cheer and laughter from the princesses. "I thought so," said Elsa smiling. "But we still have some business to see to. Will the winners of the 3-way fights please step forward?" Belle, Mulan, Snow White, and Pocahontas did as they were asked. "Although your teams were eliminated early," Elsa said. "You 4 were able to find your own paths to victory. Please accept this gift as a remembrance of your victory today." Elsa gestured and snow and ice began to swirl around the heads of Belle, Snow White, and Pocahontas until it crystalized into a tiara on each of their heads. "And for you, Mulan, here is a gift for your victory." The winds circled around Mulan, forming a tiara and necklace as well. "Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, Chel, Fiona, and Astrid. Please step forward to accept your reward." The winds swirled around them and bestowed them their own tiaras and necklaces. Chel looked at the icicle looking diamonds on her necklace. "This stuff isn't going to melt, is it? Owch!" Chel held her side where Fiona had jabbed her elbow. "Chel!" "What? it's a reasonable question!" Elsa cleared her throat and went on. "Ahem. Odette, Anastasia, and Mavis. You were undefeated in this tournament. All three of you played incredible. Congratulations to all." The wind circled around the team, fading away to reveal their tiaras, necklaces, plus new dresses. "Oh, they're beautiful!" gushed Odette. "Thank you, Elsa!" Mavis held out the skirt of the dress slightly uncomfortably. "Yeah, thanks. Not really much of a dress girl." Anastasia gave her a hug. "Don't worry. You deserve this more than anyone! You were amazing! We never would have made it as far as we did without you." Mavis blushed and smiled. "Thanks, guys." "And finally," said Elsa. "Anna, Moana, and Raya. Please step forward." The three competitors stepped in front of Elsa. Elsa gave an approvingly look to Anna. "Sister, you, Moana, and Raya had more fights than other team in the tournament. You lost in round 1, but you didn't give up. You stayed focused and you achieved victory. Congratulations to all!" The icy winds circled the team, crystalizing into the other gifts but a scepter for each competitor. "Thanks, Elsa!" said Anna. "Not just for the gifts, but for coming up with this idea! Maybe now you remember how much fun snowball fights are!" Elsa gave a look to the sky, missing a wink Anna gave to Moana and Raya, who ran back to the line. "Well, it's certainly easier to manage than having you all running around the castle like a herd of reindeer," she said, not paying attention to the whispers and giggles coming from the princesses. Anna looked over her shoulder, then back to Elsa, turning her back to the crowd. "But didn't you want to join in? I mean, you watched every fight. Didn't you want to give it a try?" "Oh, really, Anna," said Elsa. "I wanted to visit the castle to relax, and give you a nice snowfall. Besides, with my magic it wouldn't be fair." Anna gave another look to the line, watching the princesses trying to roll up snowballs as quietly as possible. "Really? I mean, Mavis had powers and we were able to get her out." Elsa rolled her eyes. "It's not the same, Anna. I have the power to control snow. There's no way I could be hit with a snowball." Anna looked behind her again. All the princesses were holding snowballs, grinning in anticipation. "Oh, is that so?" she said, then darted behind a snowbank. "Yes, Anna, that is so. And... where did you go?" Elsa turned around to see 23 snowballs flying towards her. Instinctively she raised her hands and every single projectile stopped midflight. With arms still upraised, she looked at the princesses who all looked sheepishly back at her. "Well, all of you still haven't had enough snow, have you?" The princesses shuffled their feet and laughed nervously as Elsa gave a dangerous smile. "Alright then. You want more snow? Have some!" Elsa sent a gust of wind into the courtyard behind her, causing hundreds of snowballs to start to form and rise into the air. The princesses took off running, laughing and screaming as the snowballs hurtled down at them. They ducked behind trees and snowbanks until they all made it to the safety of the castle and slammed the door shut. Elsa gave a proud smile and lowered her arms, allowing the remaining snowballs to plop down to earth. She dusted off her dress and called out behind her. "Very clever, Anna. Sorry it didn't work. But it's like I told you. No one can hit me with a snowbaMMMPH!" Elsa had turned around just in time for a snowball to hit her square in the face. She spluttered out the snow and wiped it off her face as Anna emerged laughing from behind the snowbank. She ran up to Elsa and hugged her. "Happy Holidays, Elsa." Elsa looked down annoyed at her sister, until her expression softened to a smile and she returned the hug. "Happy Holidays, Anna." AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A HAPPY HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF US HERE AT CBUB!
  15. With the score tied, I will cast the final vote. The battle starts with Team 2 throwing as many snowballs as they can at Mavis to try to get her out early. They manage to tag her twice. Mavis dodges the rest of the snowballs, but they wind up hitting Odette instead, who quickly gets the 5 hits to eliminate her. Anastasia jumps into the fray to distract Team 2 while Mavis looks for higher ground in the courtyard. She manages to tag Anna before Moana and Raya pelt her with snowballs to eliminate her. Mavis then swoops down and blitzes Anna with snowballs, eliminating her. Raya and Moana run for cover, Moana managing to tag Mavis again before she is eliminated. It is down to Raya (2 hits) and Mavis (3 hits). Mavis chases Raya into the corridors of the castle, landing 2 more snowball hits (4 to 3). Raya dodges another snowball and lands a hit of her own (4 to 4). Raya hides in the courtyard behind a snowbank and lets Mavis go past her. She uses her whipblade to catch Mavis and bring her to the ground, stunning her. In that moment, Raya tags Mavis with one last snowball to eliminate her. Anna, Moana, and Raya win the Snowball Battle Royal!
  16. We have reached the finals of the Snowball Battle Royal! Odette, Anastasia, and Mavis are currently undefeated, thanks to Mavis using her vampiric magic to give them an edge. Anna, Moana, and Raya had a rough start, but gradually learned to work together to make it to the final fight. Can they score a final victory for the princesses of the Kingdom? Or will the team of outsiders brought in by Elsa steal it? 3 v 3 Snow Ball Fight! The competitors can take the battle anywhere in the castle grounds. Get hit by 5 snowballs, you’re out. Whoever gets out all three of their opponents, wins the tournament! Vote for who you think wins and stay tuned to find out which team goes all the way to the end to win the tournament. For the blog post that is the inspiration for this rumble, click here! Calm Before the (Snow)Storm - broadwaybeyonder - The Electric Ferret Message Boards For the match that I wrote that also used the castle set up, click here! Match 16928 Snow White vs. Cinderella - CBUB Rated Matches - The Electric Ferret Message Boards Game On!
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