Join Date: Jun 2009
Return of the Scarlet Archon, Part 3
Like a surgical scalpel Shard maneuvers the SDL transport craft into through the jetstream. The night air over the unnamed South American country is crisp and clear. The line-of-site teleporters will get the 4-man group to the ground, but a landing point with few obstructions is needed. Keen eyes and GIS input soon spot a scant relief in the thick jungle terrain.
Less than thirty seconds guys- says Shard as he noses the plane downward.
The four heroes take their position on the cells and give Shard the thumbs up. With Comet incapacitated due to the cloaking effect, it’s up to Shard to send them on their way. The plane reaches treetop level and slows air speed a bit. Shard turns to his passengers, gives a salute, and flips a switch on his consul. The plane then arcs towards the stratosphere.
A brief light glimmers on the grassy knoll as the heroes materialize. As the point of origin for the teleporters was a moving object, a fraction of residual momentum is carried over in the process. The four heroes land awkwardly on the ground with only Panther remaining fully upright.
Guess you really are part feline- jokes Crusader.
Spy’s fist goes up as he speaks- Stealth mode begins now. Hand signals only. Whispers in extreme situations.
The group forms up into single line with Panther in the lead. After a twenty-minute trek through thick jungle they reach their objective. From a slight ridge, Spy immediately surveys the camp with his binoculars. While still focusing on the camp, he gives a thumbs up. The other three heroes take off into the jungle. Within minutes they all return and signal with a thumbs-up. All four then lie on the ground and disappear into the vegetation. Their 24-7 vigil begins. Two sets of eyes constantly monitor the camp. First point of interest comes on day 2. Despite being out of costume, Spy and Panther both recognize Mr. Master. Not totally unexpected as he is a weapons genius and has a history with the Scarlet Archon. Definitely not a good sign though they all think. A routine at the camp is identified early on. At nearly the same time every day a cloth covered box shape is transported between two structures. On day 5 a single brief glimpse leads Brennon to believe he sees a recognizable face (could it be Dr. Nova?), but he’s not certain and remains silent for now. The days and nights pass silently, all the while not a glimpse of the Scarlet Archon is seen. They wonder if he’s even here. Finally on day 8 they catch a break. An opportune wind gust ruffles the cloth covering the box during the daily transport. For a split second a heavily muscled figured is spotted lying limp and naked on the floor of a cage. Spy and Panther immediately turn to each other. Despite them both wearing full-face masks, their mouths are clearly agape. Crusader and Brennon realize something major is up.
It’s Allen!?!- Spy and Panther say at the same time at a level far above a whisper.
Allen who?- asks Crusader.
Spy turns to him and begins to speak. A groan is all Crusader and the others hear. Spy reaches for his back as he falls forward, revealing a knife protruding from his torso.
Someone is afoot- says Brennon as he draws his sword and scans the area. In seconds he speaks again- there!
Crusader and Panther turn in the indicated direction. Their trained eyes quickly spot the anomaly. The blur of a figure can be barely recognized, but it is indeed there. It darts behind some thick canopy and disappears. Panther motions towards Spy and then to his two other companions. Brennon and Crusader take off in a flash on the trail of the ghost.
Panther crouches near Spy and removes the knife from his back with one fluid motion. Spy lets out a muffled moan, but doesn’t flinch. Panther retrieves a compression bandage from one of Spy’s pouches and applies it to the wound. Working quickly the flow of blood stops.
Well old buddy, how bad is it?- asks Spy?
We’ve both had much worse. We probably better abort ASAP though as this jungle environment won’t promote healing; you’re still more man than machine- replies Panther.
Meanwhile keen eyesight allows Crusader and Brennon to quickly find the path of their fleeing adversary. A small clearing allows them to spread out, with Brennon advancing at a more rapid pace in an easterly direction and out of site. As they again enter moderate canopy, Crusader totally loses Brennon in his peripheral vision while also seeing his prey beginning to slow and then stop near a large tree. Crusader maintains a manageable distance with his near invisible foe. He barely, but clearly, hears the pants of his opponent above his own heavy breathing.
Fancy trick invisible man- Crusader finally says out loud.
Touché- quickly replies the mystery man.
Suddenly Brennon leaps from behind a tree. The phantom figure is now pinched between the two heroes.
He speaks- I see my stealth advantage is less effective than I’d hoped with highly trained soldiers like yourselves. Very well.
With that a shape begins to form in the air. Within seconds a gray suited figured is revealed in the jungle surroundings.
Nvisible! Should have known- says Crusader.
Yes Crusader, it should have been painfully obvious. Maybe you’re slipping a bit. A soldier like yourself and an obvious warrior like your friend are both in an unenviable situation.
How do you figure?- replies Crusader.
I managed to splinter your core group and lead you two here- says Nvisible.
Nice try villain, but clearly we have then upper hand- says Brennon through gritted teeth.
Oh do you? Your focus on me materializing blinded you to surroundings…- says Nvisible. He raises his arms and continues- ...gentlemen, please?
From opposing side step two behemoths; different but similar in appearance. Crusader shakes his head as he knows they have indeed been trapped. He locks into with Brennon’s steely eyes as they both take defensive stances.
Nvisible speaks as he again disappears into nothingness- Rad, Prime Concern; please take care of our guests while I check on the other two. Hopefully they’ve already been introduced to Fade and Devastator.....
Back at the base area, two figures step from the thick vegetation.
Spy immediately recognizes them and says- Bad news friend. I recognize them from the SDL files; it's Fade and Devastator.
No problem, from the looks of them we've faced tougher- replies Panther.
Maybe, maybe not. This wound in my back isn't going to help our odds though- says Spy as he pushes a button on his belt.
Nvisible sends his regards...- says Devastator-... and wants his knife back. Let's play!
To be continued with pulse pounding action courtesy of Rick Jones