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Chapter 6: I Was Working In The Lab… Shroud surveyed the laboratory from inside the tube he was trapped in. Across from him the Werewolf clawed at his own enclosure. To his left, however, was another man strapped to a large, metallic chair. “Please, please!” he begged desperately. “You! You with the face! Please! You’ve got to get me out of here!” Shroud raised a hand to his face, feeling that his mask and hood were gone. The man could clearly see the blank eyes and the scarring that covered the upper half of his face. “Where are we?” he asked, his voice sore. “Where are we?” The man laughed hysterically, then suddenly became panicked again. “This is where they do their experiments. Where they put us to learn how to create more creatures. Like that… thing in the cage!” Shroud could sense the Werewolf’s fury as it slammed against it’s cage. Shroud reached up and touched the wall of his cell, and instantly received an electric shock. He drew back in pain as the door to the laboratory opened and Dr. Wyndham and Dr. Ohn walked in. “So, how are our new subjects?” Ohn asked cheerfully. Shroud didn’t reply and Werewolf simply growled. “Now, now, there’s no need to be bad sports about this,” Ohn said. “It’s an honor to be chosen by the Headmen. Just imagine! Wants we discover the secrets of your powers, we’ll be able to duplicate them for the highest bidder! Of course, you both will probably be dead, but you’ll live on in spirit! And science!” “Enough of your prattling, Ohn,” Wyndham said bored. “For the moment, let us turn our attention to Mr. Tarleton.” Tarleton renewed his struggle with the chair’s restraints. “Please! I’m telling you, I just worked for AIM as a janitor! I don’t know anything about what Killian was up to! I don’t know nothing about Extremis!” “Don’t worry, Mr. Tarleton,” Wyndham said nodding to two lab techs who moved to either side of the chair. “You may not have given us information. But you will still be useful as our subject. Dr. Ohn?” Ohn was distracted looking at the chair. He snapped out of it and pressed a button on his iPad. “Oh yes, Dr. Wyndham!” The chair suddenly hummed to life, as electricity shot from it directly into Tarleton’s head. He screamed in agony and Shroud slammed into the cell wall but all he received was a shock of his own. “That’ll do you no good,” Ohn lectured. “That is the same material they were using to contain Zero Matter in the 40s. I figured you used similar stuff. It is odd. We’ve heard reports of someone matching your description in New Orleans, right down to the outfit. But he could use the Zero Matter to teleport himself. If we could copy that power in you… ha ha! This will be fun!” Shroud slumped back in the tube, the repeated shocks taking their toll. Meanwhile, at the Tower of Shadows, the Night Shift was in the living room screaming and arguing with each other. With the exception of Needle, Hannibal and Terri, all the other Night Shift-ers were debating who was to blame for their trouble. “I can’t believe this!” ranted Hangman. “We have a man who can see into the future, and we still got ambushed and outplayed!” “My powers only look a minute ahead,” Tick Tock said haltingly. “By that time it was too late.” “So what good are you?!” “You’re one to talk, creep!” snarled Misfit. “All you got is that stupid piece of oversized dental floss!” “Hey, don’t be like that, Misfit,” snarked Digger. “The floss is with him!” “Say one more stupid joke, and we’ll see just how much pain a corpse can be put through!” “All of you be silent!” Dansen yelled over the room. Suddenly a gunshot rang out. All the Night Shift turned to face Hannibal, who had shot his gun at the ceiling. Dansen nodded. “Thank you, detective.” Hannibal shrugged and holstered his gun as Terri looked at him in shock. “Just what kind of nightmare have you gotten me into, Hannibal?” “We cannot go on like this,” Dansen went on. “We need to decide our new course of action.” “Look at you, talking like you’re running something,” Barton Grimes sneered. “I was Shroud’s second in command. Leadership of the team falls to me.” Barton got in Dansen’s face as Percy tried to hold him back. “And I say the leader of this gang should be the people with most power. Not some screw loose ballerina.” “And you think it should be you and your clown of a brother?” Hangman barked. “It takes more than power to run this gang. I should be in charge and I say our new course of action is hitting Tombstone hard!” “But what about Shroud? And Jack?” asked Moth. Hangman shrugged. “Casualties of war.” “I don’t believe this!” Terri shouted. The Night Shift all turned to look at her and Hannibal. “Um, Terri, better just stay out of it,” Hannibal whispered. “Hell no!” Terri snapped. “I’ve been dragged into this because of you and this freak show you got here! And I have something to say about it!” She turned back to the dumbstruck Night Shift. “I know Hannibal has told me a little bit about you people. You’re criminals, thieves, even killers. But apparently he left out that you were idiots and cowards!” The Night Shift bristled at that as Hannibal put his head in his hands. “This Shroud guy is your leader. And right now these Headmen people have him and an innocent man prisoner, getting ready to do who knows what to them! So how about you stop sitting around yelling like a bunch of children, and actually use your powers to do something?!” Digger and Misfit snorted with laughter. “Please, lady,” said Misfit. “Do we look like the Avengers to you?” “No,” Terri said coldly. “The Avengers wouldn’t hesitate for a second to save one of their own. Especially the one who brought them together in the first place.” The room fell silent again. Dansen turned to the Night Shift. “Well? What say you? Do we allow the Headmen to get away with humiliating us? Or do we get our revenge?” Moth, Tatterdemalion, and Needle nodded. Tick Tock sighed. “I suppose I could track his communicator. It could at least give us a general location of where to look.” “You’re not seriously listening to this?” asked Barton. “You have no idea what the Headmen have waiting for you!” “Which is why they might need a little magic, brother,” Percy interrupted. Barton rolled his eyes and shrugged in agreement. Dansen looked at Hangman, Digger, and Misfit. “And what about you three?” Digger looked over at Terri. “Great speech. 10/10. I’ve always wanted to fight mad scientists to save a werewolf. I’m in.” Misfit and Hangman remained silent. Hannibal cleared his throat and stepped forward. “I’m sure you two will be able to find lots of people you can beat the hell out of.” Misfit looked at Digger and nodded with a grin. “Hey? Why not? I want to get a look at these Headcases myself! Show you how easy you can bust ‘em up!” Hangman glared at Dansen, then sighed and folded his arms. “Fine. You win. What’s the plan?” OK: The Night Shift: Dansen Macabre, Moth, Tatterdemalion, Tick Tock, Needle, Digger, Misfit, Brothers Grimm, Hangman, Hannibal King, and Terri Lee, all at full strength. If they can find and rescue Shroud and Werewolf, they will be able to join the fight. The Headmen: Gorilla Man, Shrunken Bones, Ruby Thursday, Chondu the Mystic, Jack O’Lantern, 8-Ball, and the Orb, plus 50 mercenaries, all at full strength. If the Night Shift can rescue Shroud and Werewolf, trash the lab, and defeat the Headmen, they win. Game On!