Jenkins ran out of her study, maybe she would get there
in time, just maybe it wasn't too late. She sprinted as fast as her
fifty-three years old legs permitted, rushing down the stone stairs,
shovelling everything out of her way. Coming out of a side alley,
she reached the center of the magic city out of breath. She grimaced
at the sight. Whoever had taken the place of Turbo Starr had paid
a dear price. The Behemoth Fire Lord had burnt the entire body, broken
bones at odd angles, he had followed orders. What was pinned to the
X, was a charred, misshapen, groaning and wailing human wreckage.
She would never know who this man was.
Taking a step back, holding
her forehead, she thought about the consequences. True, whoever that
was, held enough to power for the transference. true also, that her
Master didn't need to know that they didn't get their hands on the
famous leader, and that by making this mistake, it might just be possible
that the Apocalypse people would not come looking for him. She came
to stand before the tortured man, reaching with a hand to press a
finger on his thigh. The skin felt like cooked chicken, and the impostor
only could grunt. Who was that man, that he didn't say anything when
the chips were down. What could have motivated him to withhold such
an information. If she would've been in his shoes, she would have
screamed to the world that it was a case of mistaken identity, would
have convinced them with solid proof. But he, he didn't say a word.
Was it possible that he didn't know? Or that, much like herself, he
obeyed orders in such a way, that if he failed, he died?
him for the ritual." She says to the life mage who had kept him alive.
"It will be done. What about the young ones?" Asked the mage to Jenkins
"Let the ghosts flesh them, then prepare them for sacrifice. The extra
power it will give us during the casting of the spell will be appreciated."
Jenkins waved their fate like swatting a fly. Annoyed, bothered and
very much scared that her Master might find out the truth, she walked
back briskly towards her study. The Master couldn't find out, it was
as simple at that.
Entering her study, she found the mage that had
analysed the blood sample still there, waiting for her biding, as
always. She walked towards the library, as if to reach for a book,
which placed her right behind her servant. In a swift motion, she
turned around, drew a curved cursed blade, and slid the throat of
her man servant. He died silently, trying to hold in the blood that
was flowing freely out of the wound. She wiped the blade on his robe,
then drew a small red pouch from her desk. Walking towards the body,
she opened it, poured some dust on the inert man. Within a few seconds,
the body started to vanish, to turn to dust. After a few minutes,
all that was left of her most trusted servant, was a pile of dust
that she quickly scattered over the floor.
"No one will know..." She
whispered to herself.
Bear Cat had followed her all the way into Crey's
Folly, almost to the entrance of the Ritki Crash Site. He had watched
the Crey sniper shoot and injure two heroes during the last eight
hours, and couldn't help but wonder why the elite shooter hadn't changed
location after the first shot. It was a standard military reaction
and tactic of snipers to move themselves after each shot, so as to
make them difficult to be spotted. The sniper made her way through
the Freaks town undisturbed, some did see her, but let her pass safely
and without challenge. Which, in itself, was even more disturbing,
Freaks were well known to rob from anyone that came within their reach.
But not here, not today.
The Crey sniper came to a alt in front of
a run down factory. Windows were broken, roof had caved in at one
of its end, most doors were lying on the ground. She must have taken
a small portable radio of some sort, because a few moments later,
a man came out of the building, nodded to her, took the rifle from
her hands, and headed out into the territory, most likely, to assume
a firing position. This was very odd, to say the least. Bear knew
when he saw something fishy, and this qualified. He stayed there,
hidden in the shadows, not moving only waiting, for almost an hour.
Quietly and swiftly, he jumped through the opening in the roof, wide
enough to let in an helicopter, and landed in the middle part of the
old factory. Rusted machines and debris completed the decor. He went
to position himself by an old truck, slanting on its side, and looked
around himself. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Trying to discern
footprints from the agents on the ground, he noticed they vanished
about halfway across the factory floor. Could it be? He asked himself,
was this factory built the same way as the one the Hunters used for
Stepping outside, he searched the ground for the telltale unused
sewer hole. He found it, almost in the same place it would've been
in Kings Row. Bear Cat then jumped away from the building, removing
himself from the perimeter of the building. The next few hours, he
spent locating the four snipers that were protecting the area. After
assembling all the information he needed, he headed back towards HQ,
tonight, the Hunters would hunt.
Price check on a soul…
of voices reached its peak, Jenkins had been reciting the intricate
words of the ancient spell without a fault, all was coming to an end.
Before her, laid on a rectangle rock made to receive a sacrifice,
laid the body of the unknown man, which had passed for Turbo Starr
up until recently. In her right hand, she held an incense burner hanging
from a chain, in her left hand, the Shard of the Soul. That last was
the only remaining crystal of the Dark Age library of Orebanga. With
it, and the proper spell, she could transfer the soul essence of a
vessel into another vessel, which, in this case, would be the dark
matter that laid in the tar pit of Orebanga. The tar pit conscience
was pure evil, unable to take shape in any form, it was the idea of
hate, the fuel of all evil, assembled in a black river that laid around
the city itself. From it, would rise the dark champion that had been
prophesized in the scriptures, and through it, the Circle of Thorns
would once more reign supreme on Earth.
She raised the sharp, green
long crystal over her head, as if it were a knife, finishing the last
sentence of the spell, she plunged it into the heart of the helpless,
blind and unable to flee, impostor. His body jerked, a long moan escaped
from the tongueless mouth, anger and despair mingled in it. Then,
all life escaped the man, and all voices stopped reciting the rhythmic
chorus of the spell, all was silent. Jenkins looked on in anguish,
looked for a sign that all was going according to plan. From the river,
slowly rose a dark, viscous human shape, tall, strong and not holding
yet any features. A fearsome scream escaped it, and some of the acolytes
present took a step back, as if to ward themselves from the danger
coming. Jenkins watched in awe as the dark matter being started to
walk towards the altar of sacrifice.
"The sword, fool, give me the
sword..." Said Jenkins to an acolyte standing outside the ritual circle.
He handed her a long sword, sheathed in a plain red sheath, the hilt
of it being silver and black leather at the handle. Nothing about
it could discern it from any other sword, except that it wasn't earthly
forged. The dark being put a viscous hand on the hilt, pulled the
sword, slowly, from it. The blade came out with a soft sound, it was
ebon dark, with red magic signs running from the bottom to its tip.
When the sword was finally fully out, the beast raised it above its
head and roared. Features had appeared on the being, those of a handsome
man, very tall, very muscular, dark hair, dark beard and glowing red
"I am Ghost Starr." It screamed in a thunderous voice that could
be heard far across the city. And in response, came the vociferous
clamour of an entire army, ready for battle.
Where is everyone, thought
to himself Bear Cat. He had just made it back to HQ, in Kings Row,
and upon entering the underground factory, not even the support staff
could be found. He walked around the empty corridors, looking for
anyone left in the building. His search brought him to the infirmary,
where he found the doctor, sitting at her desk, reading papers and
"Doctor, where is everyone?" Asked the quiet leader.
"Gone... Keeping a Riders of Apocalypse prisoner, namely O-Lan, had
everyone talking, Bear. They were afraid that the Riders would come
looking for her, the union representative said they would come back
to work once the situation had quieted down." The doctor looked at
Bear Cat with a raised eyebrow, wondering what his reaction would
be. He remained still, introspective.
"How's the kid?" He asked about
"Fine, he's sleeping it off, should be alive and kicking
in the morning. The technicians looked over his transponder, and it's
not emitting any signals, here's the report they left for you." She
handed over the papers she had just been reading. "Now, if you'll
excuse me, I'm going home, my cat must be missing me." She then got
up and headed for the main hallway, that would lead to the outside
world through the secret sewers exit.
"Bear wish the doctor good night.
He sat at her desk to read the technical file on the transponder unit.
Everything about the little locating device implanted in Shadow-Step's
shoulder was familiar, very familiar. The frequency wave, the numbers,
the assembly. Yes, someone was using the very same technology that
allowed Firebase Zulu to become a prison for Voyager, someone was
sending heroes to die out there. With such a device implanted, no
one could get close to the shield without the base knowing it. It
prevented re-entry into our world, and it allowed careful monitoring
of life signs and powers. Why was Shadow-Step equipped with it?
got up and headed for his office, footstep resonating across the floor.
Stopping in front of the boiler room, he remembered they had locked
in O-Lan in there. He stood in front of the door, wondering if the
simplest solution wasn't the best, in her case, set her free and hope
she doesn't squeal. He opened the door to find her, still sitting
in her cage. When she saw him standing there, on top of the short
stairwell, looking at her, her face became flushed. She stood up and
came to stand close to the thick metal bars, grabbing them in her
"I am hungry!" She yelled at him while shaking the cage like
an angry animal.
"They... They haven't fed you yet?!" Bear was taken
aback here. No one left on the base grounds, who would cook for O-Lan?
Granted, he had the skills needed to perform dangerous and perilous
missions, never backed down from a fight, but, picturing himself attempting
to make a tuna fish sandwich for a hungry prisoner, was beyond his
"You big loaf of a..." Bear closed the door on her, as
if shutting her out. He walked briskly away from the boiler room.
He would leave a note to the doctor to feed the scrapper, when she
got back in the morning. No way in hell was he gonna throw a cooking
apron over his battle suit, to fix lunch for her. A man, and especially
him, has his pride.
He stopped by his room, to dump the technical
file on his desk. Then went on to the supply room, where he gathered
some things he would need to raid the Crey base in Crey's Folly. Smoke
grenades, stun grenades, rope, night vision goggles, battle harness
and his most favourite toy in the whole world, the taser gun. Turning
to look on the weapons wall, he wondered about the wisdom of bringing
a gun. Looking at the hand pistols, he decided against them, he wasn't
such a good shot with small weapons. He pondered upon borrowing a
blaster rifle, those guns had everything to level a city block, probably
even including a setting to shoot down satellites in orbit. But, last
time he attempted to use one of these, the ordinance sergeant had
ended up in the infirmary with a bullet in the foot. Besides, guns
were too primitive, they lacked class and honour.
But a big nasty,
spiky and rusty war mace, now there was a weapon. Medieval weapons
were very short range, unless you could throw them at your target,
which he could. The wall had a profusion of them, swords, knives,
shields, maces, bows and hammers. He brushed his hand on a few maces,
imagining the stunned look on the bad guys, as they would see a big,
tall and angry guy coming down on them with a mace. A wicked smile
started to make its appearance on his face. Yes, life was sweet at
His eyes stopped on a war hammer. It looked vaguely familiar
to him, had he used it before? He took it down from the wall mount
to weight the weapon. Two-handed with a long hilt, its head being
flat on one side, sharp and curved on the other, well balanced and
light enough for him to use it with one hand if needed. He liked this
weapon right away, even tough rust covered it, the old hammer felt
good to hold.
Strapping the battle harness and affixing the grenades
and trinkets he had chosen, Bear Cat took the hammer by the middle
of the hilt, and carried it like a musician would carry their guitars,
by his side. He headed for the main hall, tonight he would perform
a true symphony, a rock’n roll concert, he thought to himself, a rugged
smile that he was unable to contain still present on his face.