NEW EARTH – LAIR OF THE ALL-MOTHER
Wasp drones heavily guarded the area. They were protecting their All-Mother, their creator and only other being they worshiped outside of their Lord Hechicero. These particular drones were deployed after word spread that the All-Mother was under attack. There was another squad of drones inside looking for the trespassers. Little did these drones know, the inside group had already been defeated.
“Hmm?” a drone noticed something in the distance.
He looked closer. He saw blurry figures walking down the road leading to the lair. As they drew closer their costumes became more visible. The colorful costumes belonged to a group comprised mostly of women. The only two men were one that looked like a giant red monster and the other a middle-aged man with long jet-black hair and a long black trench coat that matched the rest of his costume. The women varied in sizes, the largest dropped out of the sky and landed in front of the others. The only reason she was the biggest was because of her plated armor that shifted piece by piece as she checked the armor’s systems. Of the other four, one wore a blue military-like uniform with a pair of brown goggles over her head. Next was a one in orange and black robes with a wasp symbol on her chest. The last two was one wearing what looked like a biohazard suit and the other who was covered in armor that shared the same red and silver color scheme as the other armored woman.
This group was the opposition of the Sisterhood of the Wasp, the combined might of the Spider Society and the Young Allies. Once opposing each other, they set aside their differences to take a look at the big picture. The real threat was the Sisterhood and if they wanted earth and counter-earth to be returned to their normal states they would have to work together. With that said there were two individuals missing from the group.
The wasp drone began to make the call for a strike against the heroes. Just before however he felt his right leg be grabbed by an unseen force. He looked down from the walkway he stood on to see from underneath the railing was an arm covered in orange leather. The person it belonged to clung below the metal walkway. He pulled the drone off and sent it falling several stories to the ground.
“Happy landings,” said the Wasp Hunter Avispa. “For a wasp you sure do suck. Next time use your wings to stop your fall.”
He pulled himself up and found himself surrounded by other drones. Avispa stomped his right foot and two waves of flames surged from beneath it hitting the drones in front and back of him. Out of nowhere another drone dropped to his side and kicked him off the walkway. In this situation his instincts told him to use his wasp wings to fly out of the fall, but there was a problem. He couldn’t get them to work. All he thought now was that he was gonna fall to his death. That’s when he heard it.
Avispa was caught in midair. He was saved by the only person that could do it, Araña. She swooped in and caught him under her arm and swung them back up to the walkway where they together were now surrounded by even more drones. “I heard you make a wisecrack earlier about that drone not using its wings…,” she started. “Care to explain why you didn’t?”
“I can’t,” he clenched his fist. “I can’t feel the Wasp Hunter.”
“He’s weak now!” exclaimed a drone. “Destroy him!”
“I’ll show you weak!” Avispa said lunging forward, punching anything in his way.
He knocked the drones around while Araña sent a high jumping kick at the ones in front of her. As the duo clean house the other heroes entered the scene. Estrella kicked a drone with the pointed heel of her boot. She was then knocked back into Nomad. The two shared a quick glance at each other and moved on to fighting. The thing about the drones wasn’t that they were weak they in fact were hard to keep down. They were meant to take a beating, so that down the line they would wear out their opponents. The heroes didn’t need any help being worn out. They were already there after dealing with problem after problem.
“They just won’t stay down,” Hazmat complained as she hit one with a radiation blast.
“Aren’t bugs supposed to be immune to radiation?” asked Mettle who was covered head-to-toe in drones but didn’t feel them attacking him thanks to his hard iridium skin. “These sick little freaks won’t stay off me.”
“Just shake them off,” said Rescue.
She pulled one off of him and sent it flying over her head. Without looking she shot a repulsor blast at it. The blast made it crash into a nearby building. Back above Avispa bent over allowing Araña to roll over his back and send a kick into a drone’s abdomen. Avispa pulled out a kunai and stabbed a drone through an arm pinning it to the rest of its body. Araña shot impact webbing clearing the path in front of her enough for her to run forward and punch out the last remaining drone in front of her.
“You’re slacking off,” she said to Avispa. “I’m already done with my side. Do you need help?”
“No I got this,” he replied back.
He stuck his hands out and ignited the drones in flames. They all fell defeated by their own hunter. Araña and Avispa looked at each other before they turned their attention to the others who were still fighting mobs of drones. Araña grabbed the railing but just before she climbed it a buzzing sensation took over her. Something was about to happen. As she turned to the sound of something being shot in the air, Avispa caught an arrow in his hand that was targeted for her head. He snapped it in his hands.
“How come all you people can do that?” asked an unfamiliar voice.
The two heroes looked up to see one of the lieutenants of the Sisterhood named Apocrita. She looked almost like a dark elf. You could see her ears that poked through her black hood. In one hand she had a bow and the other some arrows.
“So it’s Lord Hechicero’s oldest brat and the Spider Princess,” the villainous archer enjoyed the sight. “Finally, someone worth my time, the last spider I fought was too weak. She was only lucky enough to walk away alive thanks to that meddling wall-crawler Spider-Man. You won’t have that benefit this time.”
The mixed group of heroes and villains entered the final room within the lair of the All-Mother. Members of the Young Allies joined forces with the yet to be revealed Bastards of Evil, along with the Ant Council’s hunter Hormiga and a mysterious web-slinger who has yet to choose a suitable name.
“Look from now on I’m calling you the Crimson Spider and that’s final,” said Hormiga. “Now stick to the plan.”
“That’s fine,” he tried not to argue. “Hey, why don’t we think of a name for the group? Mostly everyone here has a connection to a spider so how about the New Slingers?”
He of course was referring to Aftershock, Hydro-Girl, the Goblin, Hormiga and himself. The other three members were already Young Allies.
“Really?” asked Jolt. “This is the team we’re working with?”
“Jolt, Toro,” the American Panther stuck a hand out for a handshake. “I’m the American Panther. I’m with Rikki’s new Young Allies group. We’re all allies here.”
“Rikki’s here?” Toro asked. “Where is she? We should all be together to take down this…thing.”
“There’s a lot going on right now,” the Panther started to explain. “We’ll have to make do with what we have at the moment.”
Their conversation was ended the moment they heard an extremely loud slam. The wasp All-Mother had arrived. The group spread out and surrounded her. The appearance of the All-Mother was quite grotesque. Her body was mostly gray. What was creepy was the lack of eyes and the continuation from that spot of a bizarre cranial adornment.
“Intruders must die!” hissed the All-Mother.
“She’s a cheerful one ain’t she?” asked the Crimson Spider as he shot webbing at her face, or what he though was her face.
She continued to hiss which summoned more drones, “Kill the spider!”
“What!?” he yelled dodging a number of attacks.
He jumped back and landed on a pillar. The Goblin flew in and threw pumpkin bombs at the drones nearly hitting the Crimson Spider in the process. He flipped back and adhered to the ceiling.
“Hey, watch it Goby!”
Hydro-Girl transformed one arm into water and attacked with it hitting the All-Mother head on. While doused in water Aftershock let her electricity run through the hive mother. It seemed effective but the All-Mother was still able to fight. She swung her large abdomen that had her stinger at Aftershock. The American Panther ran in and pushed her out of harm’s way. While very briefly in the air he threw a pair of energy daggers at the giant bug.
“Not spider!” the All-Mother continued to hiss. “Doesn’t matter what species, will die!”
She shot some sort of substance from her backside, which the Panther ran straight ahead to avoid. He twisted his body slightly while running to throw more energy daggers. The hive mother’s large abdomen was able to swat them away without being harmed.
“I knew this wouldn’t be easy,” said the Panther, he saw that the All-Mother began to flap her wings.
She didn’t lift off the ground. They only caused a sound that was supersonic to boom through the room making the team cover their ears. The sound was painful but it hurt the American Panther the most. His vibranium armor echoed the sound making even more intense for him then the others.
Apocrita fired a barrage of arrows at Araña and Avispa. In the air the two heroes bounced off of each other. The elven wasp focused her aim at Araña as she lost sight of Avispa. The web-slinger seemed to ricochet from wall to wall as she climbed higher into the skyline. The villain was so caught up in what she was doing she didn’t notice Avispa reappear and then dropkick her.
“Sorry, elf, but we don’t have time to play,” he said. “I have an appointment to keep with my old man.”
“Rematch time!” exclaimed Armory as she turned her hands into repulsor cannons.
The group of heroes all went after Apocrita. This is when the other lieutenants of the Sisterhood came to her aid. The monster wasp Stinglash charged in and speared Hazmat in the back. Mettle gets in his way and locks hands with him. Both tried to push the other back. They were equal in size and apparently in strength. The Red Wasp was the next to enter the fray. She was too small for anyone to see. She opened fire on the heroes. The sting blasts hit Estrella and then Nomad. A blast hit Rescue but just nicked her armor.
“Rescue, find and subdue her!” commanded Nomad.
Nomad quickly ducked as Armory was thrown her way by Apocrita. The brawl in front of the All-Mother’s lair continued with both sides not showing any signs of stopping. Meanwhile Araña landed on a rooftop nearby. Miguel, her mage, joined her.
“Hechicero’s henchmen are all here attacking the Allies,” he replied. “They need your help.”
“It will have to wait,” called a voice from behind them.
Araña turned to find someone she never expected. A transparent figure wrapped in pink cloth. Anya’s eyes widened at the sight of her mother.
“Mama…” she muttered as tears ran down her cheeks and filled the rim of her goggles.
“There’s no time for that, mi Arañita. Now is your chance to fight Hechicero without the risk of his lackeys interfering,” Sofia explained. “Trust the All-Mother’s fate to Lucas. It would be best if he didn’t get involved in the fight with his father.”
“I was thinking the same thing,” Araña said. “I didn’t know how I would convince him to not get involved.”
“Don’t try, because you won’t be able to,” her mother insisted. “You two must head out without their knowledge.”
THRONE ROOM OF HECHICERO
The lord of the wasps sat at his throne anticipating what would happen next. He already knew that the All-Mother was being assaulted by the young heroes and villains. That’s how his lieutenants arrived so promptly. How could anyone be a good ruler and not know what was happening in their dominion?
“Tell the others,” he started. “Only a spider may enter my domain.”
LAIR OF THE ALL-MOTHER
The All-Mother’s attack still boomed through the room. The team still clenched their ears. There was no end in sight. While still flapping her wings she caught a glimpse of two bright red eyes shining through the darkness. A new enemy awaited her from above.
“Eyes,” she hissed. “Those eyes.”
“Evil creature,” the voice of Avispa broke through the noise. “This is where your life comes to an end.”
“Wasp!” she recognized who it was. “You dare betray me!?”
“Can’t betray someone I was never with,” he said as the darkness lifted revealing himself to be clinging on a wall.
She growled, “Rah!”
She ended her attack allowing the others to catch a break from covering their ears. They all looked at the object of her anger. Only Hormiga knew who this was. His first thought brought upon confusion. Why would the Wasp Hunter fight against his own kind? Little did he know that the ability to use the Wasp Hunter had been turned off from Avispa and the power he was using was that of the Ant Council, the very group he was hunter of. The hive mother started by firing a projectile from her backside. Avispa leapt from the angle he was standing and pulled out his sword. He slashed through her attack and then went for her head on.
“Stay out of my way and I’ll tend to this ugly thing,” he said to the others as they just watched him jump around landing attack after attack.
He swung his sword up. His body went up in the air while swinging. He spun his body and kicked the All-Mother below the jaw. Enraged she swiftly moved her abdomen and hit Avispa into a nearby wall. When she removed it he fell over and coughed up blood. As he cleared his head and looked back at the hole in the wall he left behind, the American Panther ran up the course of the All-Mother’s body and pulled out two handguns. He shot at her but the bullets bounced off her armored body. She then flew up knocking the Panther off. Avispa pulled six kunai out and placed them between his fingers.
“Hey, bull-guy,” Avispa referred to Toro. “Are you familiar with the fastball special?”
“The name is Toro,” he replied. “And no I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“It’s an X-Men thing,” Avispa stepped closer to him. “Aww, never mind just throw me up there.”
Toro grabbed hold of Avispa and launched him upward. With the kunai drawn ahead of him he flew right into the All-Mother and pierced her tough hide. She roared in pain knocking Avispa out of the air. He slammed into the ground. The others gathered around him to see if he was okay.
“He’s so cool,” Hydro-Girl hovered over him. “I wonder if he has a girlfriend.”
“As if he would go for someone like you,” Aftershock insulted her.
“Is he dead?” asked the Crimson Spider.
The spider got his answer when Avispa opened his glowing red eyes. This surprised him and made him jump back. The Panther looked up at their enemy as she hissed in pain. More drones entered the room and attacked the group. Hormiga looked down at Avispa and found it strange for his eyes to be burning red. To his surprise Avispa started being covered in a familiar red exoskeleton.
“You’re an Ant Hunter?” asked Hormiga.
Just as Avispa stood up the All-Mother opened her mouth and out spilled water. It was the one weakness to a hunter. It poured out more rapidly and crashed into the drones that came after the heroes. The heroes were hit next and the room filled completely.
Nomad threw discs at the Red Wasp while Armory squared off with Apocrita. Mettle struggled to keep Stinglash at bay. The two wrestled with one another. Apocrita shot an arrow at an attacking Rescue which hit the palm of her hand stopping a potential repulsor beam. At that moment the doors to the All-Mother’s lair burst open, spewing water as if a flashflood was coming their way.
“Damn,” was all Estrella could muster up before getting hit by the wave.
Araña and Miguel walked to where Hechicero was holding up. It was a bit surprising to Araña that no one was trying to stop them, however Miguel felt less than surprised. He knew a bit about Hechicero, not much but enough. His past exploits with Sofia Corazon would bring him against the wasp leader and his Sisterhood, which was named that for the All-Mother. Araña couldn’t understand why it wasn’t called the Brotherhood of the Wasp.
“Hechicero is extremely confident in his power,” explained Miguel. “He believes he can stop us. You must be at the top of your game. He will be the toughest opponent you’ve faced yet.”
“I know,” she replied. “This is Lucas’s father, the man who bonded a demon to his own son. I couldn’t imagine anything crueler to do to your own child. But we’ll put an end to this madness.”
The pair continued to their destination. As they arrived they found the courtyard to Hechicero’s palace to be filled with guards. Araña’s first thought was they looked like drones on steroids. She was prepared to fight them but they didn’t even move. Their orders from their lord were simple, allow any spider to enter and kill anyone else.
“Miguel, this is just too weird,” she said. “Why are they letting us in like this?”
“Like I said, Hechicero is extremely confident.”
They followed the trail of guards as if they were step up as a trail to their leader. Araña clenched her fists, she was eagerly awaiting the moment she could get her hands on the man that brought the person she loved so much pain.
[Araña Narrates]: I have to do this before Lucas finds out where I am. I think it will be too much for him. I could never imagine how it feels to be treated the way he has by his own father. The worst thing is the feeling of abandonment. First he bonds the hunter to him and then disappears from his life for years. I never saw so many emotion fill one person at a time.
Just after Araña had settled things with the Young Allies, she stepped aside with Lucas. Her concern for him had grown ever since he lost total control of his powers. The combined energy of both hunters unleashed at the same time nearly killing him and everyone around him. She pulled her goggles up and then his.
“You can’t go on like this,” she said to him. “You almost killed yourself.”
“I’ll be fine,” he claimed. “I’m worried more about you.”
She shook her head, “No, the biggest concern should be you. You’re pushing yourself too far. And now you’re trying to take everything on by yourself. You said you’re gonna kill your own father. How can you say something like that? There’s no way you could do such a thing.”
“What does it matter what I do to him?” he turned away from her. “What about what he did to me? He doesn’t deserve the right to call himself my father. He was never there for me. I had to fend for myself. Sure my mom did everything to try and protect me from the people that hated me, but I could see it in her eyes. She’s afraid of me to. Do you know what it’s like to have a parent that’s afraid of you, one that doesn’t give a damn about you?”
“No I only know what it’s like to lose a parent I loved dearly,” she could only answer.
“I don’t need him,” he still looked away from her. “I thought myself how to fight, how to take care of myself. And I’m gonna learn how to set my life right by myself.”
“But you’re not by yourself,” she grabbed his arm and turned him to face her to see he was crying. “See this is too much. You can’t…”
“Why doesn’t he care about me?”
“Baby, I don’t know why he’s like this,” she wrapped her arms around him to console him. “Some people just don’t know how to care for others. Some people just care about themselves. What he did to you is just plain evil. Look we need to take care of the hive mother. We’ll figure our next move after that. Now wipe your tears away. With your warm blood you’re gonna end up fogging your goggles up.”
She was able to snap him out of his funk. She saw small signs of smile. This is where she decided she needed to face Hechicero by herself, or at least without Lucas.
HECHICERO’S THRONE ROOM
Araña finally stood before him, the true leader of the wasp. Before all this she believed that the Sisterhood had long since been defeated but yet here we are. Hechicero stood to greet his guest. He had not formally met the new Spider Hunter, but he could tell the similarities to her predecessor. It was mainly the wild hair.
“So we finally get a moment alone,” he said. “So you’re the one who has caught my son’s heart. I never saw this coming. It’s ironic. The daughter of my greatest enemy and my son. Hmph.”
“You’re greatest enemy?” she was confused.
“Didn’t you know?” he asked as he stepped down from his throne. “Your mother and I have battled for centuries. She is the one who founded the Spider Society. Ever since those days in the eleventh century. The first and second Great Insect Wars. We have fought each other. She blindly followed the Kingdom of Castile while I opposed it.”
“Mama…couldn’t be that old,” she looked at Miguel.
He didn’t have an answer, “She never told me much about her life before the Spider Society. It is possible that there was no life before. You may be a second generation spider hunter.”
“And just like your mother you are a fool with unrealistic ideals,” he continued. “My world is pure. Free of the evils that plagued the old world from even before the days of Christ. You come here to change this world to its former state of filth. A world where super-powered villains run free, the superheroes left unchecked and an entire species is feared and hated just because their genetic makeup is different. No more. No more villains, no more heroes, and no more mutants. Just wasps!”
“No my dear,” Hechicero laughed. “I’m the only sane one here.”
“What could drive you to this madness?” she threw a fist up angrily. “What could possibly lead you to do what you did to your own son!?”
“My own son…” he closed his eyes as an image flashed in his head. “You think I caused him pain. I protected him. And gave him the power to protect himself, so he wouldn’t turn out like…”
KINGDOM OF CASTILE – 11TH CENTURY
Anthony García, a man born in the eleventh century walked a stone path that lead to his village. The village which was the birth place of the Sisterhood of the Wasp. The people of this ‘Sisterhood’ worshiped the being known as the All-Mother. She was their god just like the Great Weaver was to the Spider Society. These days were different. Anthony was different then. His heart was warm. This day he couldn’t wait to return to his wife and son.
He returned home after months of being away defending the kingdom from its enemies. He wondered if his son had grown. He was getting close to the age where he would start learning the ways of the Sisterhood. A smile grew on his face as he moved closer. But it was cut short. He smelt smoke and it was coming from the village. He rushed to see what was happening. He was too late. The village was already set ablaze. There before his eyes, his people were being burned alive. And in the middle of the village knights of Castile. In their grasp were his wife and son. All he could do was watch as they were slain.
Years passed before he could regroup. He made a bargain with the All-Mother which she agreed upon if he served her as she wished. She revitalized the Sisterhood, creating beings like the Red Wasp who originally took on the name Swarm. She would find an abandoned dark elf and grant her the abilities of a wasp naming her Apocrita. With his two new henchmen he began to wreak havoc in the Kingdom of Castile and seek vengeance for the deaths of his family, truly believing he was fighting evil when in the long run he was committing evil acts himself.
It was around this time that he would go to war against the Spider Society, a rivalry that lives to this day. Taking on the name Hechicero, he would convince the other groups to side with him in time. The scorpions were first, and then the beetles and bees. The tarantulas of the time had long since died out. And the ants. They wanted nothing to do with it. This would be the first Insect War. In the second war all of the groups had their own personal agendas and a new Cult of the Tarantula had been formed by the disowned children of Hechicero, Marcos and Nina. This is when the five kingdoms of the ant, beetle, bee, scorpion and tarantula would be sealed away on the island of Puerto Rico.*
*Seals that are broken in Araña #1 by Nina—Justin.
Despite this the Spider Society and Sisterhood of the Wasp continued waging their secret war. And the five lost groups still had agents on the outside. When Hechicero met Erika Gonzalez he had three more children, the eldest of the three he would bond the Wasp Hunter even though he was already in possession of the Ant Hunter through his mother’s bloodline. After this Marcos while still trapped behind the seal created by Anya’s mother he managed to banish Hechicero to Counter-Earth with the aid of his sister Nina.
NEW EARTH – 21ST CENTURY
Araña stood there after listening to what Hechicero had to say. She was dealing with an enemy that was just over nine hundred years old. A known magic user. With so much time behind him he must know more than any person on the planet, know magic not even a sorcerer supreme may know.
“The Kingdom of Castile betrayed us,” he said. “Your mother was too blind to see it.”
“Aww, what a lovely tale,” there was sarcasm in her voice. “So an evil deed that was committed centuries ago was what led you to do something so drastic as to alter the world against what? A kingdom that no longer exists? Or a world that has no idea what the Insect Kingdom is? I’m sorry for what happened to you back then but you hurt a lot of innocent people. A lot meaning billions.”
“I grow tired of your mouth child,” he was angered.
“And I grow tired of you old timer,” she struck back. “It’s time to move on and except the way the world is now. My generation is taking over and your rule has long since run out.”
He attacked out of anger. Araña couldn’t see what he threw at her but her spider sense told her to move. The invisible force hit a statue and caused it to turn to dust.
“Crap,” her jaw dropped. “Miguel I can’t see his attacks.”
“Draw out your exoskeleton now!” Miguel
Araña did so and Hechicero replied, “That won’t help you.”
Her blue exoskeleton covered her body fitting around her large goggles making them look like big bug eyes. She ran forward with her stinger extended. She then ran in a zigzag to dodge more of her enemy’s strange attack. What they hit also turned to dust. She ended up on Hechicero’s side and spun left to strike with her stinger. He leapt back to get out of the way. She then started swinging wildly which he would go back to avoid.
“You’re going to have to do better than that little girl,” the villain laughed.
“There is no girl here sorcerer,” called the voice of the Spider Hunter. “This ends now wasp!”
“Ahh, the Spider Hunter!” Hechicero strangely showed signs of excitement. “You come to protect your host? Never thought I’d see the day a hunter was fond of its host.”
An electrical charge ripped around the Spider Hunter’s stinger, “You’re right I won’t let you hurt her. I’ve seen all that you have done from within this girl. It’s proven that you are as mad as ever, Wasp Lord! I’ve fought against you alongside her mother and never thought you would go to these lengths. All this because a few knights from the old days killed you’re family, it’s shameful.”
“You don’t understand demon!” he exclaimed as he created a geyser of water. “The spiders will never understand!”
OUT ON THE STREET…
Well if you could call it a street. The street was more like a river. It was completely flooded by the All-Mother’s attempt to stop Avispa while in hunter mode. The water raised two stories off the ground. Estrella floated to the top and stepped on the surface of the water. With one hand she pulled her brother up. Her connection to him allowed him to step atop the water’s surface as well.
“I need a vacation,” sighed Avispa.
His sister snickered, “You know there’s no such thing as a vacation from crime fighting.”
“Really?” he asked. “After all those people that run around New York? I heard someone say Spider-Man and Hawkeye were fighting the wasps as well. Why aren’t they here with Captain America and the rest of the Avengers.”
“That is not Captain America!” exclaimed Nomad as she was pulled out of the water by Toro and escorted into a building that Mettle had broken into.
“Calm down,” Toro requested.
The Crimson Spider crawled up the building out of the water, “I swear if someone starts singing the itsy bitsy spider song I will go nuts.”
Hormiga joined Avispa and Estrella atop the water. The Insect Kingdom heroes looked at each other. Next the American Panther popped his head out the water and looked confused at the three standing on the water.
“How the hell are you doing that?” he asked.
“It’s called magic,” Estrella responded as she pulled the Panther out of the water allowing him to join them. “There.”
“Where did you get the Ant Hunter from?” Hormiga demanded to know as he grabbed Avispa.
Avispa looked at Hormiga’s hand, “I was born with it. Now I suggest you unhand me or I’ll break that hand.”
“You couldn’t take me even if you had the hold Sisterhood backing you,” claimed Hormiga.
Avispa pulled Hormiga closer to him, “You think you could win against me? The Ant Council is nothing but a group of cowards! And I can tell you that I would whoop your ass like you would never expect.”
“Hey,” the Panther interjected. “There is no time for your little bug war. We have a bigger problem here. And she’s coming our way.”
The All-Mother flew their way backed by her drones. The wasp lieutenants made it to a rooftop and in Apocrita’s grasp was Armory. She went for the kill but as soon as she pulled out a dagger a powerful radiation blast hit Stinglash. Goblin glided over Hazmat and nailed the Red Wasp with his pumpkin bombs. Armory took the distraction as an opportunity to break free from Apocrita and formed her arm into a blaster which she shot the wasp elf, finally defeating her. Hazmat kicked Stinglash in the head.
“That’s what you get for attacking from behind!” she yelled. “You ugly freak.”
Back on the water the four walking on its surface prepped for the All-Mother. The drones swarmed in first. The American Panther fired with his handguns as the two Ant Hunters ran forward at an equal pace. They glanced at each other as they plowed through the drones.
“I’ll get more down than you, wasp!” Hormiga exclaimed trying to assert his superiority.
But as he looked back he saw that Avispa had already dispatched a large number of them through the use of his flame casting abilities. Bodies flew everywhere as fire spun around Avispa. He threw a pair of kunai at a drone that was dodging his spiraling flames. You could see no facial expression from Hormiga thanks to his helmet but you could hear a low grunt that proved he was angry about being upstaged. Avispa grabbed the last drone’s ankle and threw the creature at the All-Mother.
“All right monster let’s see what you really got,” he landed a couple feet away from Hormiga.
Estrella connected to her brother by the stream of energy pouring out his back was behind him, “Follow my lead!”
With the wave of her hands she took control of her brother’s body. Together the two ran forward.
“What?” a confused Hormiga watched.
Just underneath the All-Mother Estrella arched her back and inhaled a large breath of air. Her brother mimicked everything she did.
“Lava burst!” she exclaimed as the strongest blast of fire came out of her brother’s mouth hitting their enemy from below.
When the smoke cleared they noticed that she was still in the air. Everyone was stunned by the fact that such a powerful attack wouldn’t take her down. Hydro-Girl finally resurfaced with Aftershock safely tucked inside her body which was in the form of water. Aftershock spilled out of her when they entered the building with the others. She coughed up water.
“Jeez, how do you think I feel?” Hydro-Girl looked queasy. “I had your nasty butt inside me.”
“How do we stop this witch?!” Avispa yelled.
Estrella felt her brother’s anger. She tried to formulate a plan in her head but nothing came to mind. She then saw Hormiga and an idea popped into her head. Avispa didn’t notice his sister walk over to Hormiga and tap him on the back with the palm of her free hand. Just like her brother she had a connection to Hormiga. The red energy flowed from his back into her hand.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“I can connect to any hunter from the wasp and ant, and strangely to Araña despite the fact I can’t connect to Spider Hunters,” she tried to explain. “With my help you two can combine your powers and use them against the All-Mother. So set aside your differences and work together.”
“Hmm…” muttered Hormiga.
“Let’s get this over with,” demanded Avispa. “And get one thing straight I’m only doing this for her.”
Both Ant Hunters bring their hands in to a close proximity of each other. Estrella began chanting something. The two watched a tiny sphere of light appear before them and it grow bigger. The red ball of energy churned with their combined powers. Estrella insisted they move to attack. Both hunters ran forward with the ball held back between their two hands, Estrella followed right behind. They sprung up hurling the mass of power at the All-Mother.
“Wasp god, feel the bite of the ant!” Hormiga ran his mouth.
The members of the Spider Society, Young Allies, and Bastards of Evil all watched in astonishment as the bright attack then blinded them for a moment. When their vision cleared they saw the All-Mother fall out of the sky, beaten by the combined might of the Ant Council’s power. A short moment later everyone gathered to look over the fallen corpse of the hive mother. With her gone the water receded.
“Feel the bite of the ant?” Avispa questioned Hormiga’s choice of words. “You’re an idiot.”
“Guys, where is Araña?” asked Estrella. “For that matter where is Miguel?”
Armory dropped the head of Apocrita after getting some information out of her, “It seems that she has gone off to fight Hechicero with Miguel.”
“What?” Avispa went for Apocrita hoping to shake some more information out of her.
“It won’t help she’s out cold,” Armory stopped him. “Hechicero’s palace is north of here. But he has ordered that only spiders may enter his domain. So it would seem only I may pass his guards without having to fight them. And she claimed that his guards are more powerful than the drones with the same ability to keep fighting even after being knocked down. There’s no way any of you will make it through the guards after all we’ve been through. We’re all warn out.”
“He said spiders only huh?” said the American Panther. “We got another right here.”
He of course was referring to the Crimson Spider, a relatively new crime fighter. He nervously shook his hands in front of him.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” he slowly backed up. “Are you trying to volunteer me to fight the big baddie? I’m just as warn out as you all. How could I possibly fight this Hech…Hech-y…umm…something?”
“That’s a nice costume you have there,” Avispa put a hand on the Crimson Spider’s shoulder.
“Yeah it’s a stealth suit that can change its appearance,” he said. “I can do classic spidey suits including the badass black costume.”
BACK WITH ARAÑA
Araña was out of her blue armor. Hechicero used his magic to create water that would force her to retract her exoskeleton. She flipped out of the way as he sent another of his projectile attacks that would turn whatever it touched to dust. She then fired strands of webbing to attack him that he countered by letting them succumb to his magic. The webbing broke apart.
“Damn it,” she pulled a bottle of pepper spray from her belt and threw it at him. “Hit it now!”
Miguel threw a knife at the bottle to make it explode in front of Hechicero. The contents of the bottle spread out but the wasp leader vanished. He reappeared to the left of the duo and went after Miguel. The sorcerers would go into hand-to-hand combat. Miguel would throw punches his way but Hechicero would be able to sidestep them all. The villain then would try a kick to the chest which Miguel would block. Between blows Araña would shoot a strand through that Hechicero would snap with a chop.
“He’s too fast,” Miguel said. “We’ll have to take him together.”
Both hunter and mage attacked together. Hechicero kicked Miguel back while bending his back backward to avoid an aerial assault from Araña. He grabbed Araña by the arm and then swung her into Miguel making them fall into the wall behind them.
“The age of the spider is over,” he laughed. “You are in the dominion of the wasp. And it will forever be our world.”
“That’s what you think…ehh,” Araña was grabbed by the throat.
Hechicero continued the laugher, “There’s no way out of this. You’re finished.”
“Sorry, mind if I cut in?” a voice belonging to the strand of webbing asked.
Hechicero turned his head to see the old school red and blue Spider-Man, “What is this?”
“Oh, nothing much,” Spidey said. “Just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man joining in to lend a hand.”
“It doesn’t matter how many spiders there are you will not stop me,” Hechicero grabbed the webbing and pulled Spider-Man near him. “This is your end arachnid.”
He pulled closer. Upon reaching him he bounced off his chest, sending the lord of the wasps staggering back. Spider-Man flipped through the air and clung to a nearby wall. Just as he looked up two explosives flew his way. They went off lighting the room up and setting the wall-crawler ablaze. Araña screamed for him as she watched the inferno before her grow and fill the area. She noticed though movement in the flames that wasn’t usual for someone who was set on fire. The fire actually dissipated in an instant revealing the tattered costume. He tore off the mask revealing himself to be Avispa. He ignited his entire body on fire to burn off the rest of the costume. The only thing that remained was the web-shooters.
“Lucas!” Araña was surprised.
Back with the others, the Crimson Spider wasn’t so crimson anymore. He stood before the others in his boxer shorts with a paper bag over his head with two eye holes punctured in it.
“I hate him,” is all he said.
The American Panther laughed, “Hey, that’s sort of a classic Spider-Man costume to.”
The fight in the palace paused for a moment. Hechicero took in the sight of his son. His son until recently believed he was the oldest child of the Garcia family. He was filled with all kinds of emotions now that he’s seen his father. His old man committed so many wrongs, told so many lies, and pretty much abandoned him. In his eyes he wasn’t his father, just some stranger he needed to defeat in order to restore order.
“Humph,” Hechicero saw his son’s eyes flash red. “I see your mother’s blood is strong.”
“I’m not here to talk, you bastard!” he yelled. “Don’t be confused by my display in that spidey suit. I’m here to kick your ass for everything you’ve done to me, Jessica, Elena, and now for putting your hands on my girl.”
She was shocked. She never heard him call her his ‘girl’ before. He lunged forward and threw a punch at his father. He blocked it and pushed his son back. Araña made a move gliding through the air with a high knee targeting Hechicero. It hit its mark freeing Avispa from his father’s clutches. While he reeled from the strike Avispa ran up the side of the wall and pushed against it to twist his body and landed a kick in the back of Hechicero’s head. At the same time Araña slid in and used a leg sweep to knock him off his feet.
Avispa then tried to stomp his father who rolled out of the way. He got up only to be attacked again. Araña grabbed the back of his head and dropped her weight impaling her knees into his face once on the floor. She kicked up from the ground and stood next to Avispa.
“There,” she said. “He’s down.”
“Heh, ha, ha,” their enemy laughed a bit madly. “You thought that little show would finish me off?”
His body lifted up and got him back to his feet without the use of his hands. Araña appeared a bit freaked out. Avispa didn’t wait for him to attack, he went for his father. Right as they met Hechicero kicked his son in the gut sending him hurdling through a wall. Looking back quickly she faced back to counter her opponent. She shot webbing at a small statue and flung it at him. He used his magic to turn the statue to dust.
He then meant to use his spell on Araña but a thrown kunai intercepted it. Avispa stood in front of the wall he went through holding his left arm. He then grabbed another kunai and through it. The blade would have its molecules destroyed just like the statue. Hechicero shot the spell one more time and this one looked like it hit Avispa head on.
“Lucas, no!” Araña yelled.
“There’s nothing you can do for him,” claimed Hechicero.
She ran to Avispa’s side, “How could you do this to your own son?!”
She put a hand on his chest. Nothing appeared to be injured or missing for that matter. Relief grew over her as he opened his eyes and gave a smile.
“How?” she asked before she noticed the string of energy extending from his back.
“I can’t leave you alone for one second can I?” asked Estrella who of course was on the other end.
Hechicero was infuriated by her presence, “How did you slip past my best guardsmen?”
“What pops, you not happy to see your daughter?” she asked jokingly grabbing her chest. “It just hurts me right here. All kidding aside, we have some business to attend to. The restoration of the planets. Do it now or we’ll make you without hesitation.”
“There’s nothing you can do to stop me,” he followed. “I already told your little spider. It’s time to face facts. This world is mine.”
“Okay, I’m getting bored of this now,” Estrella pressed her right hand forward. “Tap.”
Her right hand tagged Araña’s shoulder blade and much like how she did with her brother and Hormiga she was now connected to her while still with her brother. Avispa held his hands out to Araña.
“Lift your hands up,” he said to her. “We’ll combine our powers to take him down.”
“As if that would work! Your attempts are pathetic!”
“This is anything but,” Estrella slammed her hands on the ground. “Time for some old friends to give us back up. Ancient summoning, spiders come forth! And for the first time, ant come forth!”
Clouds of smoke popped through the room, eventually fading to reveal humanoid spiders and ants. The spiders flexed their six arms while the ants squeezed their pincers.
“The Scarlet Spiders are ready to exterminate some wasps!” called one of the spiders.
And not be outdone an ant followed, “The Fire Ants will show you how it’s done!”
Together Araña and Avispa formed a sphere of energy much like it was done against the All-Mother. This time however the power churning within it was the combined power of the spider and ant. The couple looked at each other and then at their objective. Hechicero jumped up, punching and kicking his way through the Scarlet Spiders and Fire Ants. He grabbed one of the spiders by the shoulders and threw it at the two heroes who dodged it simultaneously. They headed for him with their powerful attack between their hands. He kicked an ant into the sphere making it disappear when struck. He continued to avoid the attack but it was inevitable. With all their strength they rammed the sphere into Hechicero. The blast that followed sent him flying through the ceiling of his palace.
In the air his body was a mess but he insisted on enduring the pain, “I’m not finished yet!”
Now separated Avispa was surrounded by the ants. In his right hand he molded a ball of fire. The ants then grabbed both his arms and slingshot him upwards. Avispa aimed the ball at his father’s abdomen and struck hard. He fell back to the building hoping someone would catch him but felt something on the way down. The Wasp Hunter returned allowing Avispa to take flight and save himself. Still not yet defeated Araña swung up via web-line in her armored form with stinger drawn and collided with Hechicero. The electrical current went through his entire body.
As she fell back to the earth exhausted she was caught by Avispa. The two watched as Hechicero fell to the roof of his palace. Upon landing a white light took over everything. The whole planet was engulfed including all the heroes.
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Estrella walked down one of the back alleyways. There she looked around for something. One more turn would bring her to what she was looking for. Her brother, sitting against the wall asleep with Araña in his lap, head resting on his chest.
“Heh,” she snickered. “Cute.”
The two would wake up and the trio would go to find the others involved in the strike against the Wasp Dominion. The Bastards of Evil had long since vacated the area. The heroes all celebrated. Hormiga would take an early leave bringing the half-naked Crimson Spider with him to get some clothes. That left Araña’s team with the Young Allies.
“We got off to a bad start,” the American Panther was the first to admit he was wrong by holding a hand out to Araña. “You put up a good fight back there. I would be honored if you two would teach me some of your moves.”
“Sure I guess that could be fine,” Araña replied with a handshake.
The surprising thing of it all was that Toro and Jolt were on this earth with them. Jolt was a native of this planet and formerly a member of the Thunderbolts. Toro was alien to this world but with nothing left to return to on Counter-Earth he felt it was time to move on.
“So what now?” asked Armory. “You guys formed this team to fight the Insect Kingdom, but now with the wasps defeated what will you do?”
“We’ll stay a team,” replied Nomad. “I’m sure there’s a place in the world for the Young Allies.”
And without hesitation Araña added, “And I’ll help you guys find that place. I may not be able to be around all the time but I’ll be there when needed.”
With that the groups went their separate ways. James and Monica Miles brought the Young Allies to Manhattan to see their new base of operations. While Araña and friends went back home to their normal lives, well sort of normal.
THE NEXT DAY
Lucas placed his books in his backpack and left his room. As he headed downstairs he heard his mother call him to tell him Anya was waiting for him outside. He got to the bottom of the stairs and approached the door. There he was stopped by his mother.
“Lucas…” she started. “I love you.”
He was shocked to have his mother wrap her arms around him. He couldn’t believe it. He knew how she felt about him. And he knew what Jessica said about a mother unconditionally loving their children. He felt that she did love him but was still afraid of him.
She looked him in the eyes, “From this point forward things are going to be different. I’m sorry baby.”
After kissing him on the cheek and wishing him a safe day, he stepped outside his house to see Anya standing at the bottom of the stoop facing the street. He didn’t see the devious grin on her face. He joined her on the sidewalk.
“Where’s Jessica?” she asked.
“She already left, which is weird because she’s not the type of person to go to school early.”
“Ahem,” the sound of someone clearing their throat came from behind them.
The couple looked to see Anya’s father Gilberto standing next to a woman with long jet-black hair. Anya was confused. Her father never stopped her while on her way to school before.
“Anya, I have something I need to tell you,” he started. “This is Elaine and she and I have been seeing one another for quite some time…I…”
“Relax, Gil,” she said. “Hi, Anya it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Anya couldn’t reply. She was left speechless. Lucas waved a hand in front of her face and then looked away uncomfortably.