HARLEM HOSPITAL CENTER – SPANISH HARLEM
Victor Alvarez, a young man who had just been pulled from the wreckage of a collapsed building, was rushed to the nearest hospital in Spanish Harlem. He now lay in ahospital bed after doctors were shocked to find that nothing was wrong with him, other than the fact that he was unconscious. As his mother sat by his bedside, two people approached the closed room. One was the crime fighting partner and boyfriend of Araña, Lucas Garcia, who was trying to text on his cellphone. The other was Ava Ayala, the current member of the Ayala family to inherit the mantle of the White Tiger.
“You see my brother Hector was the White Tiger when I was younger,” she explained to Lucas. “And then my niece Angela took it up for a while. You’re gonna find this strange but she’s actually older than me.”
“Come on now, I’m Puerto Rican,” he replied. “I have a huge family too. Nothing like that surprises me. Damn, Anya won’t answer her cellphone. She never does when I need her to.”
“I’m sure she’s fine,” Ava tried to reassure him. “The bug is tough. You know, I was so not expecting this.”
“Expecting what?” Lucas continued to fiddle with his cellphone.
“You,” Ava laughed. “That strange vibe I get from you. I would have never pegged you to be the way you are. The concerned boyfriend, I would have never imagined you even had a girlfriend. You have such a serious attitude about you when you’re in ‘hero mode’. I expected when you pulled the goggles up to see this scarred demonic looking face, but you’re actually kind of cute.”
The two teenage heroes were the ones who helped pull Victor out of the building. After they’d finished digging through the rubble they decided to come here out of costume to see how he was doing. Unfortunately, Victor was the only survivor of the tragic event. Over a hundred people lost their lives because of the battle between the Young Allies and the Bastards of Evil. Singularity, the gravity manipulating member of the Bastards, used his powers to send Mettle crashing through the building, causing its collapse.
“I found out that he’s going to be fine,” said Ava referring to Victor. “He’s incredibly lucky, only one out of one hundred plus to survive.”
“It never ends in this city,” said someone near them.
Both heroes turned to see that the voice had come from someone within a group of people watching a television that was mounted on the wall. They both went over to see what they were watching. The local news was reporting on the building collapse.
“Witnesses in the area say the building collapsed as a result of a fight between two super-powered individuals,” said the reporter. “Authorities claim there is a connection between this event and the viral video threats sent out by a group of terrorists known as the Bastards of Evil, in which they threaten to defeat a new team of superheroes known as the Young Allies. Their latest video informs the world that they have successfully kidnapped over half of the team.”
“Anya . . .” Lucas quietly said to himself.
“Let’s go somewhere less crowded,” said Ava.
They went somewhere quiet where Lucas tried to call members of the Spider Society. He tried Miguel Legar, Anya’s mage partner. He then tried to call Ted Mankowski, the group’s hacker. Both times he received no answer. There was another member he could call but he knew there’d be no point with her in Japan.
“So who are the Bastards of Evil anyway?” asked Ava. “And why are they singling out the Young Allies?”
“Beats me,” he replied. “Though Bastards of Evil sounds a little too similar to the Masters of Evil. I’m not surprised the Allies have an enemy team that’s essentially a rip off of Avengers enemies.”
FIGHT FOR YOUR FREEDOM
Part III: Mission Cleared
The American Panther jumped up over a fence, barely being struck by the watery fist of Hydro-Girl. She was able to slide her liquid form through the chain link fence to continue her assault on the one person she was looking forward to get a little revenge on. Nomad was close by but was a little preoccupied to help her teammate. Aftershock was bombarding the otherworldly hero with her electrical powers. Nomad rolled forward to dodge a bolt of electricity. She then got behind a car that Aftershock began firing upon.
Nomad and the American Panther were two of three remaining Young Allies, the other being Araña. The rest of the team had already faced other members of the Bastards of Evil and were taken captive.
“Where have you taken the rest of our team?” asked the American Panther.
Hydro-Girl laughed before she answered. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
Nomad and the American Panther had gotten themselves in a fight that might be too difficult to win, since they didn’t have any powers. Nomad tossed a number of her throwing discs at Aftershock, each exploded upon being struck by an electrical blast. With the blast causing a sufficient distraction Nomad took the chance to pull out her shield. It was a new design made by Rescue to allow easier carrying. Upon gripping it, it unfolded and popped into place forming a blue shield with a yellow N centered on it. Nomad rolled forward and stopped to deflect a bolt shot at her. She then lunged forward and rammed Aftershock with her shield, driving her into a car.
The American Panther threw two energy daggers at Hydro-Girl, which simply slipped through her liquid form. She swiped him away with her expanded hand. He spun wildly in the air but landed much like a cat, on his feet.
“I see,” said Hydro-Girl. “The costume isn’t just for show. You really move like a cat.”
“Inspiration I got from the Black Panther,” he recalled while grabbing a gadget from the pouches lined on his belt. “However this is something I came up with all on my own.”
The Panther threw the gadget. Hydro-Girl instantly recognized it and shifted back to her human form. She jumped out of the way as the cylinder-shaped object hit a fire hydrant and froze solid in a flash. Hydro-Girl recollected herself. Using her left hand she arranged her fingers to look like she was pointing a gun at the Panther. She then fired water at him in the form of bullets.
“Take this!” she exclaimed. “Don’t think for a second they won’t hurt you!”
She was astounded, however, that her water bullets just splashed on his chest. His armor mesh protected him from guns and knives. The water dripped off his chest and hit the ground. A bit surprised she decided to stay in her human form. Effortlessly she flipped onto a car and then formed a ball of water in her cupped hands.
“How about you try this on for size?” she followed with a bit of a giggle.
She then hurled the ball of water at him. There was a surge of water that went everywhere. He pounced back but not in time as the sheer force from the attack sent him flying back. Again, he landed on his feet. This time he was a bit disoriented. Nomad was then sent airborne. She landed torso first on the hood of a car with her shield extended in front of her letting off charges of electricity.
“Damn it,” she groaned.
“Shocking isn’t it?” asked Aftershock with a lame pun. “That you and your team are falling so easy to us. Why don’t you just give up already? You can keep trying and trying but in the end it won’t get you anywhere. Even though he’s good on his feet we’ll soon have the American Panther in our collection of teen heroes. And I know you can’t stand her but the bug will be ours too. Then what? You’ll be all alone against the world. Just give it up.”
“Never.” Nomad slowly got back up. “I was taught to never give up. Nothing will change that.”
While they continued fighting Araña was swinging through the city skyline. All of a sudden she felt a tingling sensation in her head. Her spider sense was warning her of animpending danger. A moment later, an arrow shot through her web-line. Quickly she reacted by shooting more webbing to stop her fall and then swung over to a building and looked in the direction the arrow came from.
“It has to be that archer,” she said to herself. “The Hawkeye wannabe.”
She decided to go after the archer she’d already fought once before named Trickshot. Araña knew that she was a member of the Bastards of Evil and was aware of their intent to attack the Young Allies. As she approached Trickshot she was met with a barrage of arrows that she swiftly dodged. Araña dove at the archer legs first. Trickshot did a one-handed cartwheel to get out of the way. Back on her feet she spun around and tried to hit Araña with her bow. She blocked however by holding up both arms in front of her.
“I bet a big time superhero like you thinks she can’t be beaten by someone like me,” said Trickshot. “Isn’t that right?”
“You got it all wrong, Red,” Araña replied referring to Trickshot’s long red hair. “Quite the contrary. I’m a little concerned, getting beaten by a loser like you would be embarrassing.”
Lucas and Ava were in their respective costumed identities of Avispa and the White Tiger. Before arriving Avispa called his sister, Estrella, and informed her of the situation. He told her that he planned to break into the WebCorps building after being unable to contact them. She pleaded with him knowing that the Spider Society would see that as an act of aggression since he was a wasp.
“Lucas, you’re not listening to me!” Estrella continued to plead. “And who the hell is she?”
“The White Tiger,” she replied for Avispa. “Nice to meet you too. . .”
“I agree something feels really wrong about all of this.” Estrella ignored the White Tiger. “Each Insect Kingdom group looks after their own Hunter to the point that there’s almost always someone following them. Other than Miguel and Emi working with her, I’ve seen no one else. And it’s gotten to the point that we’re the only ones backing her. That’s why we formed the New Slingers, because you and I agreed we didn’t trust the Spider Society. Doing this is a bad idea. A stupid idea.”
“I have no idea where she is,” he began to defend himself. “And I know they can track her. I’m tired of this. I’m kicking the door in. If you want to follow you’re more than welcome, otherwise, go home.”
He kicked the door down from the roof entrance. Entering, he felt strange that it was silent. No alarms like he had expected. Estrella followed him down the stairs and the White Tiger followed as well.
“Don’t mind me,” said the White Tiger. “I don’t mean to be a third wheel.”
They continued on to find the building empty. Even Ted’s room, which he was almost always in. He never left the building due to the mob wanting him dead. There were no signs of anything.
“What’s going on?” he asked himself. “Where did everyone go?”
Estrella walked over to Emi’s office. She remembered that Emi had been working on tracking equipment. Upon entering her workspace Estrella noted how things haven’t been touched in a while. She immediately went to work to see if she could track down where Araña was.
“I’ve heard stories of the Spider Society,” said the White Tiger as she entered the room and examined the weapons. “That they had an ancient past and were enemies of wasps.”
“There’s more to the story then that,” Estrella replied. “I’ll spare you the boring details. I found her. Her signal appears to be stationary. She could be fighting someone.”
“We need to get to her as fast as possible,” said Avispa joining them.
BACK OVER THE CITY
Trickshot tried firing a number of arrows that she called ‘gunk arrows’. They were the same arrows she’d used to pin Araña down during their first fight. Realistically, this was her best option of stopping the web-slinger. Trickshot had no powers to speak of. She did however have exceptionally keen hand-eye coordination and excelled as ahand-to-hand combatant, but so did Araña who had the proportionate strength of a spider.
Another arrow shot toward Araña which she intercepted with a ball of webbing. Trickshot decided to try other versions of her arrows. She fired one that popped open in the form of a boxing glove. Araña leaned back Matrix-style to dodge the shot. Next, Trickshot tried some explosive arrows that Araña avoided with an agile twist of her body. She then used webbing to swing away from the explosions.
“Just like a spider,” commented Trickshot.
Araña decided to swing to another building to throw off her opponent. Trickshot was reluctant to be lost as she shot another arrow. The tip popped open and revealed a hook that connected with the other building. She tied her end off and used her bow to glide across. Once over, Trickshot was met with a bombardment of impact webbing. Her quick feet helped her to avoid it. The last she ended up swatting with her bow.
Trickshot pulled another of her trick arrows and quickly shot it. Araña turned slightly and thought she evaded it but the arrow unleashed an electric discharge that pulsed through her. After the charge burnt out Trickshot took her chance to tackle Araña. Trickshot quickly got back to her feet and started kicking Araña as she lay sprawled on the ground.
Down on the street, Nomad and the American Panther were fighting for their lives as the brawls continued. Nomad was breathing heavily and smoke was billowing off her costume. She tried throwing more of her discs but they were blasted to bits by Aftershock. Nomad gritted her teeth. She only had a small amount of energy left. She tried to ram Aftershock with her shield but the young villain was able to get out of the way in time.
Nomad threw a punch that was blocked. She was than countered with an electrically charged fist. Nomad was knocked down and wasn’t getting back up.
The American Panther was in trouble himself. In his attempts to plot out a plan he found that his only option wasn’t gonna work. He had frozen her once before but she wasn’t going to let that happen again.
The American Panther let his guard down while trying to come up with an idea. Hydro-Girl hit him with an enlarged watery fist. While he was down she converted her entire body to water and covered him to suffocate him with her own form. The two powerless members of the Young Allies had no chance against these forces of nature. If they had more time to prepare maybe they could come up with a scheme sufficient enough to take them down but the Bastards of Evil were beyond determined to take down their assigned targets.
Hydro-Girl carried her prey and placed him next to an unconscious Nomad. She then reverted back to her human form and gave Aftershock a devious smile. Moments later, soldiers of the World Party arrived by helicopter to take their two prisoners to their headquarters where the rest of the Young Allies were being held captive. With them taken all that remained was Araña.
The web-slinger got up after being shocked by one of Trickshot’s arrows. They immediately started hand-to-hand combat. Every punch Trickshot threw was evaded byAraña with the use of her Spider Sense. Araña spun around another punch and then kicked the back of Trickshot’s leg.
“Report’s coming in,” Trickshot said while on one knee. “It seems the rest of your team has been captured. You’re all that’s left. No one can help you now.”
“Is that what you think?” asked Araña. “I think you’re the only one that needs the help Red.”
“Oh, really?” smirked Trickshot.
The roof they were fighting it out on was flooded with members of the World Party, all equipped with blasters aimed at Araña.
“Hmm, why am I not surprised?”
“Don’t move girl!” ordered one of the World Party soldiers.
“Don’t?” smiled Araña. “I’m sorry that word’s not in my vocabulary. Can you explain it to me?”
She jumped up as they tried to fire upon her. Her first move was to dropkick one of them. She than caught one of their blasters by webbing and swung it around to hit the others. While she was focused on them she didn’t notice Trickshot had an arrow centered on her. The arrow was fired. It was another Gunk Arrow. Before she could react Araña was pinned to a wall.
“Finally,” moaned Trickshot. “She really gave me a workout. And not just my body, but ears as well. She never stops talking. Bring the helicopter around. I think some of you may have to stay behind so we can make room for the bug. All that gunk is gonna take up a lot of space.”
When the helicopter arrived the soldiers had to work together to load Araña as the gunk that trapped her expanded to a massive shape. When they finally got her inside,they closed the helicopter door and it took off leaving a number of the World Party behind.
“Did I finally shut you up spider?” questioned Trickshot.
“You know I don’t think you did enough research into me,” claimed Araña. “If you thought I only had the Young Allies to rely on than you are so misinformed. If I were you I’d let me go. You don’t know what follows.”
“Why did I even speak to you?” Trickshot was annoyed with her inability to crush her spirit. “Just keep quiet.”
WORLD PARTY HQ
Mettle was carted into the headquarters of the World Party in a containment unit specially designed for him. The only visible part of him was his head. He looked around to get a feel for the place all while trying to keep his emotions in check.
“As you can see I kept up my part of the deal,” said Singularity as he propped up against a wall. “Now what are you going to do about finding my father Graviton?”
“Somebody having daddy issues?” quipped Mettle with a bit of a smirk, not fully looking at his former opponent. “Sucks to be you bro. So what shindig did you bring me to? Just curious, I want to know what I’ll be tearing down today.”
“Will you just shut your mouth?” moaned a disgruntled Singularity. “You must be the most annoying superhero there is.”
“You obviously haven’t met Araña,” joked Mettle. “I think her special power is to drive criminals crazy by just talking non-stop. She follows the Spider-Man crime fighting manual pretty well.”
“What’s with the sudden change in attitude? I thought you were gonna bash my skull in for collapsing that building with you.”
Out of all the individual battles between the Young Allies and the Bastards of Evil, the one fought between Mettle and Singularity was the most devastating. After all they did manage to bring an entire building crashing down.
“Oh, that’s still gonna happen,” Mettle said as he saw someone else enter the room. “Just you wait.”
The Goblin walked in with a prisoner. It was Jolt wrapped in a metal coil. She seemed to walk in under her own ability while being escorted by the Goblin. No one questioned it as he walked away with her further into the headquarters. She was brought to a room where Toro and Hazmat were being held. Jolt would be locked into her own containment cell designed specifically for her. Toro was chained to the walls in his cell, while Hazmat was sitting in the corner of hers in just her underwear with her arms wrapped around her legs that pressed into her chest. Jolt looked out her cell noticing Hazmat’s containment suit resting on a table across the way.
“It’s up to you now to help your friends,” said the Goblin. “The cells will open when the time is right. You’ll have a short moment to act. So take advantage of the time you have. Your armored friend is in another room across the hall. They’re having difficulties trying to remove her armor.”
“What are you going to do?” asked Jolt.
“I’m going to their main computer room to leave them a parting gift,” replied Goblin. “That’s when the cells will open, so be ready.”
Minutes later, the Goblin walked into a computer room with his glider floating directly behind him. With the press of a button on his wrist guard an oddly shaped device popped out of his glider. He caught it and then walked over to a control panel which he then plugged it into. Just as he went to hit a button on the panel the room filled with soldiers of the World Party followed by their leader John Barnes.
“The Jackal was right to warn me about you.” He stood in front of his soldiers with his arms crossed. “Of course to be fair I didn’t for a second trust a single member of the Bastards. But their services are needed in order to bring my plan to fruition.”
“Tsk, so you’re that guy?” The Goblin hopped on his glider. “The crazed villain who uses words he has no business saying.”
“You were all just merely pawns,” explained Barnes. “I needed help to get a foothold in this world. Now that you’ve done your part your services are no longer required. You were the weakest member of this team. Your obligations to your family are what made you weak. You could have been so much more. Me, I have no such obligations. I could care a less what happened to my own family.”
“A person who doesn’t care about their own family is truly heartless!” exclaimed the Goblin as he threw a pumpkin bomb.
“Kill him!” commanded John Barnes.
His soldiers opened fire. Goblin, with an underhanded toss, threw his pumpkin bomb. It exploded and sent shrapnel all over, immobilizing a good number of the soldiers. John had left the room when they started firing. The Goblin flew around to evade being hit.
“All right boys it’s time to show you why I’m a Goblin!” he exclaimed with a haunting laugh.
Of course, one couldn’t be a Goblin without the eerie laugh. The soldiers started getting nervous as pumpkin bombs started being slung about. One popped open unleashing a flurry of razor bats that slashed at them. The Goblin then took his turn shooting at them. Two turrets popped out of his glider allowing him to do so. Outside the room, John answered his cell phone.
“You got them?” he asked. “It’s about time. Bring them in immediately.”
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK
The World Party members left behind talked amongst themselves while they waited for another helicopter to come and pick them up. One of them was starting to notice how much time had passed since they had loaded Araña into the helicopter.
“Where the hell are they,” asked the female soldier. “This is taking too long. What’s the deal?”
The soldiers were all dressed in similar grey uniforms with red strap accessories wrapped around their right arms and wrists. They were getting a bit nervous. They were in a city that was notoriously known for its superhuman activity. They kept a tight hold on their blasters just to be prepared for anything.
That’s when he appeared. The soldiers all nearly jumped out of their boots. He appeared out of nowhere so quickly that no one had seen him coming. It was Avispa who landed in a crouching position in the center of them. He stayed put as his orange scarf blew in the wind. Some of them took a step back not sure what to expect. He remained quiet, scanning them all without moving a muscle.
“You look like Nazis,” he said randomly. “Not the best look in this city. If I recall there’s a few star-spangled heroes in New York that might want to come after you. I’m gonna make it simple. Where did you take Araña? Tell me now or expect me to beat it out of you.”
“We will never answer to a piece of trash like you!” exclaimed a male soldier.
“Oh, a piece of trash?” questioned Avispa with a bit of a ‘smart’ tone in his voice. “Is that because you can see my skin color? I’m not white like every one of you. So you call me a piece of trash . . . Is that really the best you got? A bunch of Nazi fan-boys and girls and that’s the best you can do? How about you throw a racial slur my way? Oh, no? Cat got your tongue?”
Coincidentally, that’s when the White Tiger showed up with Estrella. The World Party soldiers looked up at them not sure what to expect. This is when Avispa attacked. It went fast. Before White Tiger and Estrella could enter the fight Avispa already had them laid out.
“You guys took too long,” he said to them as he stood atop one of the soldiers. “So are you gonna tell me what I need to know?”
Avispa pressed hard into the man’s chest as he stood on him. The man winced in pain.
“I don’t know where they took her,” he responded as he began to tear up. “I’m just a low tier member of the World Party. I don’t get to see the main headquarters.”
“World Party?” asked Estrella as she watched Avispa pull out a kunai and threw it at a soldier who tried to grab his blaster.
“They’re a white supremacists group from another world,” claimed the man. “From what I hear another earth from the other side of the sun.”
“If you don’t know where the main headquarter is then where do you go?” asked White Tiger.
WORLD PARTY HQ
The conflict within the World Party’s headquarters was settled. It took a little effort but they were able to chase off the Goblin. Not exactly the outcome they were looking for but it will do knowing that their overall mission had been accomplished. Now it was time to initiate the next step in their plans. Nomad had been carted into the building. John Barnes joined them to see his sister unconscious and strapped down.
“Get her to the lab immediately,” ordered John. “Put the other two in their cages.”
The American Panther and Araña were locked up as the henchmen were ordered. The Panther saw the other Allies, all except his sister. Toro was still chained and Hazmat was in the foetal position. Jolt sat down in her cell. She was mad at herself for trusting the Goblin. She didn’t know that he truly meant to keep his word but had beenchased off by the World Party.
The Panther stepped into his cell with little fight. He didn’t plan on staying long but for the moment needed time to regain his strength. Araña had to be brought in since she was still incased in the gunk from Trickshot’s arrow.
“Don’t worry bug,” said Trickshot. “The gunk will dissolve after a while but you’ll be trapped in this cell so it really doesn’t matter if you’re free from it or not.”
“Whatever,” signed Araña.
“Oh, is somebody mad that I bested her?” Trickshot smiled with pride.
“Bested me?” questioned Araña. “You did no such thing. You just used the classic heel move. You relied on others so you could attack me from behind. You took the easy way out.”
“It doesn’t matter how the job gets done as long as it gets done. You’re just being salty.”
Araña shook her head. “No you clearly don’t know the definition of someone being salty. Someone being salty is a person who argues and argues but in the end is wrong no matter what but still keeps on arguing.”
“What an intriguing conversation we’re having,” said the American Panther sarcastically. “But I wonder if we can steer the conversation in another direction. Like say maybe about where my sister is or maybe also where they just took Nomad.”
“Your sister is just in the next room over,” answered Trickshot. “Nomad on the other hand not too sure.”
“Are you enjoying this archer?” The American Panther punched the force field cell door. “Don’t get too comfortable. I’ll get out and make you pay for this.”
“Hmph, wishful thinking Panther.” Trickshot smiled again, beginning to leave the room. “The World Party has this building filled to the brim with armed soldiers. Not to mention all of the Bastards of Evil are here. You have no chance to escape.”
“Hey Red, before you leave let me tell you something.” Araña smiled herself. “Be wary of wasps.”
Trickshot left the room.
In another room of the headquarters, Nomad was brought in and placed on a table that was in the center of the room. John took a good look at the sister he hadn’t been this close to in a long time.
“Begin the procedure,” he commanded. “And wipe her memories so she doesn’t remember anything of that pathetic team of hers.”
To be continued…