Caught in the Webb
I hate this town,” Fixit snarled as he, Medik and Red Sniper took
another look around the house of a once dead inventor. “I mean, in
L.A. you have gang shootings, muggings, riots, but no crazy men bent
on world domination. If someone commits a crime out there, you know
who to catch.”
“C’mon man, you know that’s not true.” Medik returned
while he looked under the designer couch for the third time, hoping
he may have missed something. He found nothing, not even dust bunnies,
which seemed odd to him. “Are we sure this guy is connected to Gamester?”
Fed up with fruitless searches, Medik turned his attention to his
wavering conviction. “I mean, just because he has nice things doesn’t
mean he’s crooked.”
“I’m with Medik,” Red Sniper chimed in from behind
his micromesh, “I don’t think we’re in the right place. Look,” he
turned to Fixit, “there are several, more organized super groups out
there. Let them do the heavy lifting like we always have. People out
there being tromped on by those winterlords and that’s something we
have the power to help with. I know you’ve been all about us becoming
more serious ever since your run in with Arachnos’s Hand, but maybe
this just isn’t in our cards.” Both Fixit and Medik were stricken
speechless. Red Sniper had never said more than a few words about
wanting action around either of them; he was not known to be so eloquent.
Fixit wanted to finish this investigation, even if he had to go it
alone. The choice was taken out of his hands.
“You are correct, it
is not in your cards; living is not in your cards.” The three turned
to see several figures clad in red jackets with black and white stripes,
each with a different pattern, and black masks over their eyes. The
one who spoke held a card to her head. She was flanked by a man who
twirled knives nonchalantly, and another, juggling balls of energy.
A third, large man stood behind them.
The sight caught the heroes
off guard; they barely had time to make a confused face before the
lady spoke again.
“I predict Death!” She hurled the card at the three
heroes, laughing. The card impacted on the floor between the three
and exploded. Flames poured from the explosion, heat, pressure and
impact flung the men from where they stood. Medik was flung into the
kitchen, Red sniper landed in the hallway and Fixit went through the
wall; each was knocked senseless.
Fixit was only down for a few seconds.
He gathered himself as quickly as possible and dove from the interior
wall back towards the fray. He appeared closest to the energy juggler,
and gave him a hard side kick that threw the man out the door.
naughty, you were supposed to stay down like your friends.” The man
with the knives taunted as he jabbed Fixit once, twice, three times
in the stomach; each wound pouring out more blood than the last. Before
Fixit could recover, the large man stood over him and gave him a blow
that nearly took his head off. Again Fixit was airborne and again
he crashed into a wall. Struggling to maintain consciousness, Fixit
heard the leader speak one more time.
“That should do it, we have
bigger fish to fry.” Darkness then washed over Fixit.
“… at all of
this.” Voices filtered in through the black fog. He couldn’t see,
and the voices sounded far away, he struggled to hear more.
messing around, get that put away and help me pull him out.”
just leave him there, with all this, we could buy a new Fixit.” The
voices got closer, the darkness paler, and a cold light filtered through
his vision. Warmth returned to his bones, his stomach hurt; bring
a hand to his stomach he felt it, no holes.
“Welcome back.” Medik
smiled over him, “You have very selective healing powers you know
that?” The healer helped his friend up, “Not long ago, I found you
clinging to a payphone in the rouge isles so close to dead I could
smell it and yet you were conscious. Today, you had a few stab wounds
and you curl up ready to die.”
“A guy punched me too.” Fixit grumbled
in response. He was going to spout more about his friends going down
over a playing card, but the sight before his eyes silenced him.
Sniper was on his hands and knees scooping up diamonds and placing
them in a bag. Fixit had landed in a compartment in the wall full
of cash and a rather large sack of precious stones.
attempted to find the words. “That’s a lot of ice. Just one or two
of those would go a long way towards a real HQ.”
“We can’t keep ‘em.”
Medik didn’t sound convinced. “They have to be from the heist, you
know that right?”
“Think of all the guns and beer we could buy.” Red
Sniper chirped, sounding like an excited child. He continued scooping
handfuls of diamonds into the sack.
“Medik’s right,” Fixit returned
to his senses, “we have to give it back.” He looked at Red Sniper,
“All of it.” Fixit removed a fresh cigar from his jacket pocket and
lit it. “We have to take it back to city hall, to Hero Corp.”
streets were beginning to be overrun by winterlords. Just the trek
from Skyway to City hall took hours to traverse. Between Red Snipers
enthusiasm for action, Fixit’s call to be heroic and Medik’s helping
nature, there had to have been thirty stops along the way to fight
off abominable snowmen.
When they did reach city hall, it was a riot-house.
There were usually super-types all over the place; be it signing up
as a new hero or bringing in leads and accomplished tasks. Today City
Hall was three times as crowded as the busiest day any of the heroes
had ever seen. The three heroes decided that any department was as
good as the other for this caper and barged in the office of Susan
Davies, department head of E.L.I.T.E.
“We think these came from Van
Briesbock’s.” Fixit stated plainly as Red Sniper dropped the bag on
her desk, spilling diamonds over the desk.
“Oh, my…” Susan stammered
in surprise. “I’ll call you call you back.” She snapped at the person
on the other end of her phone, hanging it up. “Where did these come
“Doesn’t matter,” Fixit stepped in, putting his knuckles on
her desk and looking her square in the eye, “you wouldn’t believe
me if I told you. All I need to know is if you can tell me they are
Davies matched Fixits glower and responded,
“I need to know
where they came from.”
“Brian Webb.” Fixit grumbled. Susan sat slack
jawed for a moment, “I said you wouldn’t believe.” He dropped a card
on her desk as he turned around to leave. “Send those to a lab or
whatever you to find out where they came from; call us on that number
when you know. C’mon guys, we’re gonna need some help tracking this
Medik, Red Sniper and Fixit sat on the steps to city hall.
They had all been trying to reach any contact who might be able to
help them. It seemed that the whole super hero world was already mobilized.
Everyone who answered was already following their own leads, most
didn’t even answer.
“Solanum, this is Medik, we met earlier. It looks
like we found some of the Van Briesbock diamonds. The stones are being
tested right now and we are trying to track down the man who was holding
them. Brian Webb is his name, he may or may not be the same web who
invented the portals. Call me when you get this, we could sure use
a hand.” Medik disconnected the call, shoulders slumped.
not answerin’ huh?” Mock sympathy dripped from behind Red Sniper’s
“You do know I’m married right?” Medik snapped at his partner,
“We need any help we can get, that’s my interest. I want to stop this
craziness. Those damn winter lords are getting ever more numerous
as more idiots open packages instead of turning them in. I seems like
they’re getting stronger too, even your flame thrower is becoming
less and less effective against them.”
“Alright guys,” Fixit interrupted,
“here’s the plan. I just got off the phone with Lindsay, she’s looking
into it, but it appears that a couple years ago Mr. Webb got a divorce.
The lady had most the money and left Brian nearly broke. I’ve got
an address, but it’s clear on the other side of town. We definitely
need a hand and it sounds like none of us are having any luck. We
have one choice,” fixing both his teammates with his gaze he told
them his plan, “we’re bustin’ Emplate out, and he’s gonna help us.”
“You do realize that this is illegal and it could get out hero privileges
revoked and could put us in the Zig?” Medik asked one more time before
they entered the hospital.
“If you’re afraid, you could wait here.”
Red Sniper teased his teammate.
“No he can’t, we need him to get Emplate
mobile, otherwise we could never get him out.” Fixit broke in. “Let’s
get our villain out of there.”
As the group headed into the hospital,
Fixit actually extinguished his cigar, not wanting to draw any attention
before they broke any laws.
Red Sniper entered the hospital room first.
The two officers guarding the man in the bed turned toward the intruder
just in time to be blasted with rubber slugs. Taken out quickly and
with as little fuss as possible, the officers were moved to a corner
and tied up. Medik and Fixit entered and woke Emplate. His eyes opened
wide when he saw Fixit standing over his bed once again.
to get you out of this bed and into your ridiculous suit.” Fixit told
the villain, “If you agree to help us, we’ll heal you up enough so
that you aren’t using a bedpan anymore.”
Emplate nodded an agreement
and Medik quickly got to work. It only took the healer a few minutes
to get Emplate out of the bed and in good enough condition to leave
the hospital. The villain finished donning his costume just in time
for several officers to storm the third story room. Emplate grabbed
Red Sniper and Medik by their shirts and pulled them to the window.
“Can you pour energy into me on the way down?” He asked Medik just
before he leapt from the window. Fixit turned towards the police storming
the room just in time to hear breaking glass. Whirling around, he
saw the others had vacated the premises already.
“Shit.” He muttered
under his breath as he leapt out the window following his fellow teammates
and the villain they had released.
Once he was in freefall, Fixit
realized that this fall was likely to hurt. Flinching as he watched
the pavement get closer, and bracing himself for impact, Fixit was
astounded to find his descent slowed as he reached the ground.
get scarce,” Emplate hissed, “those guys don’t look too happy about
The four men ran into an alley and quickly headed towards
another part of town. Fixit hoped their anonymity would work in their
favor for once and that no one would be able to recognize them. The
phone ringing brought his thoughts away from these concerns.
listen; Brian Webb was divorced from his wife and they share custody
of their child, Jack. It appears that this boy has been in Juvenile
a couple of times. Even more interesting, Eva Webb was the breadwinner
and when she left her dear husband, she took the money with her; the
cash and diamonds you found are definitely suspect.”
Fixit said in a hushed voice, “do you have anything else on ‘em?”
“I have an address for Eva.” Fixit could hear the smile in Lindsay’s
“We know where someone linked to our inventor is,” Emplate
pressed his opinion again as they headed toward Eva’s house, “I say
we break in and take what we need. Done and done.”
“How about we try
to reason with her first?” Medik glowered in response.
answered the door of her Founders Falls home to find four men inquiring
about her child. When they introduced themselves as heroes, her demeanor
turned even colder. She told them that yes, he was home, but no they
could not talk to him and quickly slammed the door in their faces.
“This is how we do it where I come from.” Emplate smiled, turned back
toward the door and blew it in with a blast of gravitational force.
Before the woman residing within knew what was happening, there was
a nearly seven foot tall man grabbing her and informing her that these
men were going to have words with her son. Jack Carlin-Webb heard
noises in his mother’s home and entered the scene asking what was
happening. He didn’t even finish his sentence before he was locked
down with a strong gravity well.
“Jack,” Emplate’s voice came in a
screeching, teasing sing song tone, “these nice men want to have a
few words with you. If you take them to another room and play nice,
I won’t kill your mommy.” His scarred face was made even more horrible
by the mocking sweet smile he wore. Lifting the boy off his feet,
he floated him into another room. Giving sideways glances to each
other, the three heroes, not feeling so heroic, followed.
was less than helpful about anything to do with the gamester. He refused
to spill the beans on where they could find his father. After several
minutes of telling the boy that they knew he had been in trouble and
his lack of cooperation was likely to get his mother hurt against
anyone’s will, Fixit told his partners to go keep an eye on their
questionable partner. The boy was still being held in place by a gravity
well; Fixit used that to his advantage and walked circles around the
boy while he talked.
“I sent those two away because they are better
people than I am kid.” Fixit spoke low and calm as he lit a fresh
cigar. “I’m a mutant kid, I can do amazing things.” He puffed a few
times on his cigar, pulling a large pungent cloud of smoke. Fixit
got right in Jack’s face and stabbed the cigar out on his own forehead.
The smell of burning flesh made Jack think he would be sick. Fixit
closed his eyes, pain clearly visible on his face. Within seconds
the wound closed, scarred and healed over.
“Now, I can deal with that
kid, but what bout you?” Fixit re-lit his cigar. “I can stand here
and put this out all over your body. You may be a tough guy for a
kid your age, but I have seen much tougher men cave in when a lit
cigar touched their eyes.” Fixit blew smoke in the boy’s face. “Or
you could tell me where I can find your father now. I promise you
he won’t get hurt.” Suddenly his voice softened, Fixit’s voice seemed
to be asking forgiveness for what he had just said. “I need your father
to find the gamester, the man who kidnapped you and your schoolmates.
I don’t want to hurt your mother or anyone else. Help me out kid.”
Fixit emerged from the room, looking disappointed.
“Let’s go guys,
I got what I need.”
The men left the home and headed towards Kings
Row, where the lad of Dr. Brian Webb was hidden away. Emplate was
practically laughing while they headed toward what they hoped was
the justified culmination of their misdeeds.
“What happened in there?”
Medik whispered to his friend.
“I threatened to burn out a kid’s eyes.”
Fixit looked up at Medik, a look was in his eyes that the healer had
never seen before, regret. “I don’t feel like much of a hero right
“I’m telling ya Fix,” Medik turned to his friend as they readied
to enter the ‘secret lab’ of Brian Webb, “this had better pay off,
I’ve felt like a villain too often in this caper.”
“Me too man.” Fixit
agreed. “Ready?” The group opened the doors and entered into a nearly
silent room. The buzz of electronic machinery thrummed down the hall,
but the entry was unremarkable. Once deeper inside, the walls gave
way to scientific machinery, computer consoles and lab spaces big
enough for several men to work.
“This looks like ill gotten goods
to me my friends.” Emplate’s voice cackled through the empty rooms.
“No friend of mine.” Red Sniper’s voice reflected the thoughts of
The room farthest back in the complex housed the quarry
of the four man expedition, Dr. Brian Webb.
“Web!” Fixit’s voice broke
through the hum of machinery and gadgetry. The scientist looked up
from his work; without hesitation he threw several devices towards
them. When each device hit the floor, it exploded into several winter
lords. Three became six, became twelve, became twenty-four. The temperature
dropped sharply in the room due to the presence of the snow monsters.
Three heroes and a villain have never fought together with such efficiency.
Fixit kicked, punched, head butted and even bit the wintry foes. Emplate
did more than his share of damage; snowmen fell before the onslaught,
torn in half, thrown into the air, locked to the ground and blown
to pieces. Red Sniper joined the fray with the same enthusiasm; bullets
tore them apart, fire melted them down and grenades blew them to bits
of slush and snow. When one man hit the floor, Medik was there to
warm his body with a bit well placed thermal radiation. Between healing
his companions, Medik threw blasts of the radiant energy at the winter
lords, weakening the snow men.
Emplate used his powers in concert
with Fixit, sending him into the air, then bringing him down with
immense power, turning the mutant into a living wrecking ball. Medik
and Red Sniper worked together, weakening the snowmen and then riddling
them with machinegun fire and the rubber slugs.
The battle was brutal,
but brief. Soon, Webb’s summoned help was reduced to melting slush.
“Doctor Webb,” Fixit panted between breaths, “you’re under arrest.”
During the process of apprehending Brian Webb, the scientist couldn’t
help but flinch whenever he locked eyes with Emplate.
“Why does he
do that?” Medik asked the gravity manipulator as they neared City
Hall. Emplate’s response was mocking laughter. He stopped walking
and threw his head up in laughter. Blue light began to form around
and within the body of the villain. With an implosion of air, he was
gone. The heroes turned to the scientist.
“He was a client. He threatened
my family if I ever reported him, but I guess it’s too late for that
now.” He hung his head, “I’ll cooperate, take me to D.A.T.A. I’ll
tell them what I know.”
Fixit stood on the steps of City Hall in Atlas
Park, cell phone to his ear. Rick Davies explained Dr. Webb’s confession
to the exhausted hero. Rick explained how Brian Webb was from another
dimension, came to our world and liked it better than home, how he
married a wealthy Lawyer named Eva Carlin. Webb confessed to using
money from his wife to further his experiments in secret, and eventually
used his son to steal equipment for him. Davies Explained that Webb
had been coerced into helping the Gamester, that if he hadn’t created
teleportation devices for the Gamester, he would blow the whistle
on the experiments he was conducting.
“I think he may be sugar coating
the story a bit,” Fixit suggested, “we did find nearly a million dollars
in diamonds at his place, and cash too. I don’t completely believe
his sob story. Thanks Davies.” Fixit closed the line.
get out there and find Emplate.” Medik let his friends know his feelings.
“We’ll get to that,” Fixit offered, “first, we’ve got word to spread
about the Gamester and how his devices work.” Fixit looked at his
teammates, “We did good today guys, call our friends spread the word.
Let’s lock down this Gamester creep, then we’ll get Emplate.”