RESCUE INC. TOWER

The Young Allies haven’t been a team for too long. They in fact were just getting started. The plan, at least James Miles’ plan, was for the team to use the upper levels of Rescue Inc. Tower as their base of operations. The lower part of the building was where their business operated. This was where most of their projects were worked on. It was almost like a normal day at work for everyone. People worked on their projects not aware that their bosses haven’t been heard from in days.

In one room, which was cluttered with all kinds of devices, a woman in her early twenties dug through the mess that was her office. The nameplate on her desk was still visible. It read ‘Hannah Shade’. The only other thing that was visible in this mess was her cellphone that sat on her desk. The phone was ringing with the screen reading ‘Ethan Townsend’.

“What?!” she finally answered after letting it ring for a long time.

“Jeez, glad I decided to call you,” said Ethan over the phone.

Hannah dropped her head back. “Sorry, my morning’s not going so well. What do you need?”

“Did you have your coffee this morning?” Ethan was both joking and being serious at the same time. “Look have you heard from James or Monica?”

“No actually.” She lifted her head back up a bit confused. “Monica’s usually the first one in the building and the last to leave. Maybe she’s out handling business with her brother. I’ll give her a call.”

“Don’t I already tried multiple times,” insisted Ethan. “I need you to come meet me up at the top floor.”

“The top floor?” she questioned. “Of this building? You know half the building is sealed off from us. Only James and Monica have access to that part of the building.”

“Just come up here,” he requested.

Hannah walked to an elevator while putting her long red hair into a ponytail. Once inside she tried pressing the buttons to get to the top floor. They didn’t work. She looked away annoyed. Just than the elevator began moving by itself. She wasn’t sure how it was moving by itself. The elevator climbed all the way to the top and opened for Hannah to see Ethan standing waiting.

“Took you long enough,” he said.

Hannah was annoyed. “Hey, you called me up here. Now are you gonna tell me what the deal is with this place?”

“Look I’m only bringing you up here because Monica trusts you and i need a better hacker than myself,” he explained. “I told James to just give me access to their network. This is where the new superhero team the Young Allies operate or are supposed to. They only recently came together and now they’re missing.”

“Wait that team with Araña and that female Captain America sidekick?” she asked.

“Yes, that team.” Ethan signalled for her to follow him. “If you’re gonna help come this way.”

He would bring her to the Young Allies’ communications room where she would inspect the different computers to see what she was dealing with. When she found what she needed she went to work. Ethan sat next to her and watched as she managed to hack into the computer network.

“None of their comms are online but I am picking up an S.O.S. that’s unfamiliar to this system,” explained Hannah.

“Can you trace that S.O.S.?” he asked just as she started doing so.

The large monitor above them followed the call for help and ended at a building. The computer was unable to identify the building. Hannah’s next idea was to try and hack any surveillance cameras that might be in the area. Through one camera they see three costumed heroes standing outside the side of the building.

“Do you recognize any of those costumes?” Hannah zoomed in on them.

“Yeah, the ones in orange are Avispa and Estrella, they usually can be seen partnering with Araña,” he replied. “And is that the White Tiger? We need to communicate with them. They must have something they use to contact Araña.”

After some work Hannah was able to connect to Avispa’s comm.

“Avispa, sorry to just sneak on your comm line like this but we wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t important,” explained Ethan. “My name is Ethan and I’m friends with the American Panther who teams with your comrade Araña.”

“Umm, how can I help you?” asked Avispa.


FIGHT FOR YOUR FREEDOM
Part IV: The Master Plan
Written by:
JUSTIN SANTOS


WORLD PARTY HQ

The three heroes stood together in a spot they believed was safe to keep out of sight. Estrella and the White Tiger weren’t sure who Avispa was talking to. The two female heroes kept a lookout while Avispa talked to the person who contacted him.

“Lucas, is this really the time to be having a chat with someone?” asked Estrella.

“This is important someone is contacting me about the Allies,” replied Avispa. “Sorry, my sister is concerned because I just saw what was going on up on the roof.”

“What’s going on?” asked Ethan via Avispa’s comm device.

“The World Party are all up there standing in ranks as if they’re ready to go to battle,” informed Avispa. “It’s like a scene from Lord of the Rings or Star Wars with an army standing in formation. In front of them stands their leader and next to him Nomad. She was wearing a costume that made her look like Supergirl only with a swastika instead of a ‘S’.”

“We’re dealing with Nazis?” asked Hannah.

“I assume the Young Allies are all in this building?” Ethan followed. “I don’t know if you guys are up for taking suggestions but it looks like you’re still trying to figure out what to do. There’s two things you need to do. Someone has to get up to the roof to try and hear what the World Party is planning and the other two need to breakout the Allies.”

“Guys, I’m gonna go up to the roof again since I can meld with shadows,” said Avispa to his companions. “You two have to breakout the Young Allies.”

“What?” questioned the White Tiger. “What if you get caught up there? Are you prepared to fight a whole army?”

“No one’s gonna see me.” Avispa looked at a concerned Estrella. “I agree with these people. We need to know what they’re planning. Araña is the only other one who can hide in the shadows like me and she’s tied up so…”

“Okay, okay…” sighed Estrella. “Just be careful. I hate it when you get yourself outnumbered. The sooner we get Araña out of there the better I’ll feel.”

Inside the White Tiger and Estrella walked down a hallway trying to stay alert in case they walked in on someone but the place was basically empty with everyone on the roof. Estrella looked into a couple rooms before coming up to the one where five of the Allies were locked in cells. Just as she opened the door an arrow flew by hitting the wall barely missing Estrella. She turned to see Trickshot with her bow held out in front of her. The White Tiger was in a fighting stance with her claws drawn out ready to pounce.

“Get them out!” exclaimed the White Tiger. “I’ll keep this archer at bay.”

“Oh, you will?!” barked an insulted Trickshot.

Estrella ran into the room while the White Tiger dodged an arrow and then slashed at another with her claws. Estrella inspected each cell to see who was in them. Araña stood up happy to see her close friend.

“Estrella, thank God!” cheered Araña. “I was starting to think you guys didn’t get my distress call.”

“Oh, we got it,” said Estrella. “There’s just utter craziness going on out there. I need to figure out how to get you out quickly because Avispa is gonna need help on the roof if he is found.”

“What’s going on up there?” inquired the American Panther.

“As far as I can tell Nomad has been brainwashed by her brother.” Estrella started to explain. “She is now basically a Nazi version of Captain America and they’re probably getting ready to attack the city.”

“WHAT!?” yelled Jolt. “You gotta hurry and get us out of here.”

Estrella found a panel that she assumed opened the cell doors. She shifted through the number of options and couldn’t figure out how to open the cells. After becoming annoying she summoned a pillar of water which she motioned the strike the panel. It shorted out and eventually the energy cell door faded allowing the Allies who were able to walk out.

“Thanks, feels great to be out of there,” said Araña as she cracked her knuckles.

“We still gotta bail Benny out.” Jolt looked into the last two cells. “And Jennifer’s not faring too well over here.”

Toro on top of being put in a cell was chained to the walls. Hazmat was laying in the fetal position at the back of her cell. Jolt didn’t enter because she knew her body was toxic. Estrella grabbed Hazmat’s containment suit as Araña walked in her cell. Araña shook her with her exposed fingers coming in contact with Hazmat’s skin. Hazmat was shocked when Araña didn’t succumb to her poisonous powers. Estrella walked also not feeling her toxic powers.

“How can you guys just walk in like that?” asked the American Panther. “Her powers are dangerous.”

“We’re immune,” explained Estrella. “I assumed since Avispa was immune that I would be since we’re twins but wasn’t too sure about Araña. But you know her, always being stubborn and reckless.”

“I love you too, mom,” joked Araña.

“We need to pick the locks on these chains,” Jolt said while examining Toro’s bonds.

The American Panther popped his claws. “Let me see what I can do. Once he’s out we gotta go look for my sister.”

“Mettle is still unaccounted for,” added Jolt.

“The White Tiger is outside this room fighting an archer,” told Estrella. “So we have to back her up and then my brother has an army of nazis on the roof with your leader Nomad.”

“Trickshot, aye?” Araña was interested. “I owe her something. Then we’ll go find Lucas. You guys just focus on getting the rest of the team out. The Bastards are probably somewhere around as well.”

The team agreed and everyone began doing what they planned. Araña and Estrella stepped out of the room just barely being hit by the two broken halves of Trickshot’s bow. The White Tiger picked up Trickshot and threw her.

THWIP!

A strand of webbing caught Trickshot and pulled her back to Araña who knocked her out with one punch. Araña then webbed the archer to the ground and looked at the White Tiger.

“Another one that’s cat themed,” said Araña. “At least she makes sense. Is there even such a thing as an American panther?”

“The things you think of at times like this.” Estrella raised a hand to her brow. “Tiger, we’re heading to the roof. The Allies are gonna go look for their other teammates.”

This group headed off to help Avispa. In the room, the American Panther managed to pick the locks and freed Toro. He stood up and stretched out his limbs. He walked out and looked into Hazmat’s cell to be caught off guard by her redressing into her containment suit. He looked away and blushed.

“Come on you two we still have to find Rescue and Mettle,” said Jolt.

The four of them headed out and searched the other rooms in the World Party’s headquarters. American Panther and Hazmat found Rescue while Jolt and Toro found Mettle. American Panther walked over to his sister and knocked on her faceplate.

“Monica, you in there?” asked the American Panther.

Rescue’s faceplate opened. “What took you so long?! Jeez, I haven’t eaten in forever and I’ve had to pee for like I don’t even know how long I’ve been here.”

“I’m not sure how long it’s been,” answered the American Panther. “But I can tell you, you’ve been here awhile. What’s the status of your armor?”

“I’ve been repairing all my systems.” She seemed a bit annoyed. “But something is keeping me grounded.”

The Panther looked around while he pulled out one of his energy daggers. When he found what he thought was keeping his sister down he threw the dagger. A panel on the wall shorted out and Rescue lifted an arm to show she was free. In the other room, Toro unlocked the adamantium chair that Mettle had been trapped in. He got up and jumped in front of Jolt and Toro to block a blast of radiation. Mettle turned to slam an arm into their attacker. It was Warhead, who was the first to put the plan to capture the Young Allies in action. Warhead stumbled back and collided into Mortar who was joining him.

Mortar was knocked out but Warhead got back up and wrestled around with Mettle who appeared to be immune to his radiation abilities. Jolt then jumped in front of Toro and intercepted a blast of electricity from Aftershock. Longstrike entered the scene stretching out her metal arms. The American Panther appeared leaping up he ran down her extended arms until he reached her head landing a diving punch. Longstrike dropped as the American Panther flew over head. Hydro-Girl tried to sneak up on him but before she could attack she started feeling sick. Hazmat herself snuck up on Hydro-Girl and started pouring a form of radiation into her water-form.

“Bitch!” Hydro-Girl reverted back to her human form and began throwing up.

Mettle lifted Warhead in the air. Warhead struggled but stopped when he saw Rescue floating behind Mettle. She raised one hand up and hit Warhead with a repulsor blast that sent him flying into Aftershock. Warhead stirred looking back at the unconscious Aftershock. Rescue shot again with her repulsors. Jolt joined firing off a biokinetic energy burst. The American Panther threw a number of his energy daggers. Finally, Warhead was down for the count.

“There’s only two Bastards unaccounted for,” said the American Panther.

“The Goblin left,” stated Jolt. “So that just leaves Singularity.”

Mettle gritted his teeth. “That guy.”

On the roof Avispa watched the World Party. He was joined by Araña, Estrella, and the White Tiger. They all crouched behind a wall. Avispa hugged Araña. In the hug, Araña saw over his shoulder Nomad dressed in a costume that made her instantly think Supergirl.

“Isn’t that copyright infringement?” asked Araña. “What the hell is she supposed to be? The Super Nazi?”

“Does it really matter?” Avispa followed up.

The four heroes watched as the World Party loaded up a number of helicopters. John Barnes supervised this until it was time for him to get in one himself. Nomad didn’t get in one. The heroes were surprised to see her fly alongside the helicopters.

“What’s going on?” asked the White Tiger.

“Their leader said he turned Nomad into a weapon for the World Party and dubbed her Master Woman,” explained Avispa. “He said they’re going to attack New York’s City Hall to make a statement.”

“A statement?” Araña was confused. “For what?”

“They plan to take over the United States and usher in white supremacy,” responded Estrella having not actually heard their plan. “What? It’s pretty obvious. They’re nazis.”

“We better go after them,” said Araña as she slammed a fist into her other open hand. “I’ll knock some sense into Nomad.”

They walked out and discussed the best course of action for following after them. While they decided who would carry who, they would be pushed into a wall by an unseen force. They gave it everything they could to try and move on their own but were stuck on the wall. It was then when Singularity made an appearance.

“Isn’t that the guy that used Mettle to level a building in Spanish Harlem?” asked the White Tiger.

“He has control over gravity!” yelled Avispa trying his hardest to fight being pulled down.

“What are we supposed to do against someone with that much power?” Araña hoped someone could answer the question.

A dagger magically popped into Avispa’s hands. He tried throwing it but it went back to him. Estrella struggled to pull her hands together so she could cast a spell. She uttered a few words that Araña couldn’t understand. A cloud of smoke appeared before them that opened what looked like a portal that showed the backside of Singularity. Avispa already knowing his sister’s magic slung his dagger which sliced the back of Singularity’s costume. The White Tiger called upon the power of her amulet to grant her the strength she needed to reach in and scratch villain in the same area.

THWIP!

A strand of webbing hit Singularity’s backside and tugged down his pants. He freaked out and lowered to the ground to cover himself. The three female heroes stared at him a bit grossed out while Avispa was huddled over laughing.

“Dude goes commando when doing supervillainy things,” laughed Avispa.

The girls looked at Avispa. He snapped out of his laughter and slid toward Singularity in a baseball slide. This caught his legs which allowed Avispa to sweep him off his feet while still in the air Araña came in with a flying forearm. The White Tiger swooped in with her cat-like reflexes before he could hit the ground and pounced up ramming her back into his midsection knocking the wind out of him.

“Oof.” Singularity then crashed into the ground and laid defeated.

LOWER MANHATTAN – NEW YORK CITY HALL

People ran away in any direction they could to get away from the World Party who had landed their helicopters. Some got a glimpse of Nomad in her Master Woman costume. The swastika alone scared people. John stepped out of his helicopter and signalled for his group to take position.

“I don’t know who you clowns think you are rolling up to City Hall armed to the teeth like this,” called a police officer who looked around to see how many were surrounding the building. “Every police officer in Manhattan will be here in a matter of minutes. If you’re lucky one of the heroes in this city won’t show up. But I wouldn’t give your hopes up with Avengers Island in the harbor.”

“We won’t be here for too long,” claimed John. “We just want the country to know we’re here to bring it back to its former glory. The World Party wants to make America great again.”

The New York Police Department set up a perimeter around the area. John laughed as he motioned for his people to open fire. He then looked at his sister who hadn’t moved since landing.

“I think it’s time to show them our Super Soldier,” said John. “Master Woman take care them.”

Master Woman flew in the direction of the police and began her assault. She picked one up by the throat with little effort. She chokeslammed him into the hood of his squad car. Other police officers seeing how strong she was began to open fire on her. The bullets just bounced off her chest. She continued to terrorize the police until a World Party soldier was thrown at her. She turned around to the four heroes who chased after them. They were fighting the World Party soldiers, dodging blasts from their rifles.

Araña leapt on top of vehicle. The two starred each other down. Araña suspected that it would come to this one day but she didn’t expect Nomad would be turned into a nazi super soldier. Master Woman ripped a car door from its hinges and tossed it at Araña. Webbing connected with the door and pulled it away from hurting anyone.

“You and I could never see eye to eye,” said Araña. “But I always thought one thing we could agree on was the need to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves. Don’t let your brother do this to you.”

Araña’s words fell on deaf ears. Master Woman flew toward Araña, who in turn flipped over her while catching her back with webbing. Araña sat on her back hoping to keep her down. All the struggling made Araña look like she was riding a bull.

“Hey, do any of you guys have any kryptonite?” The other three weren’t too sure if she was being serious or joking. “Okay nothing?”

Master Woman swatted Araña backward causing her to slam into a nearby car. She shook it off and decided to take the fight away from the police. The two would swing and fly into each other repeatedly, eventually leading them away from the area. Master Woman caught Araña by the arm threw her through a building’s window. People screamed not sure of what was happening. Araña quickly got back to her feet. She stood before a woman who she grabbed by the arms to guide her out of the shop she crashed into.

“Hey, nice purse,” rambled Araña. “My friend’s favorite color is turquoise. She would absolutely love it. So how about you head out this way before…”

A rack of sunglasses came flying by which Araña dodged. She shot webbing back to bring it back to hit Master Woman with it.

“I’m pretty sure this souvenir shop has a severe ‘break it you bought it’ policy,” Araña continued her rambling. “And those look like some expensive sunglasses.”

Master Woman began throwing punches at a fast pace which Araña was able to fully evade. They approached a pillar that Araña would spin around while webbing down her opponent. It didn’t work however. Master Woman broke free and struck the pillar with her arm snapping it in half.

“Okay, if you do that you’re gonna bring the building down on us!” yelled Araña. “Maybe we should take this back outside.”

Master Woman hurled another rack at Araña which she flipped over. Araña took cover and popped in and out to fire balls of webbing that ricocheted off of Master Woman’s body.

The rest of the Young Allies would catch up to the others fighting the World Party foot soldiers. American Panther assessed the situation. He had no idea where Nomad and Araña had went.

“What’s going on here?” the Panther asked of Avispa.

“Nomad has been brainwashed and is fighting Araña right now,” explained Avispa. “They heading south, not sure where. We could use you guys to help reduce the number of these guys. Also someone needs to go after Barnes.”

American Panther looked at the team. “Guys I’ll go after Nomad’s brother. You help clear things up here.”

Mettle stood before a number of World Party soldiers who were firing their blasters at him. The blasts of course weren’t doing any harm to him. He ripped a blaster from one of their grasps and then slapped them around with it. Jolt fired her biokinetic energy while Hazmat sneaked up to soldiers to lightly tap them to make them sick from a form of radiation.

Toro’s body transformed. His muscle mass increased, horns grew on his head, and his feet turned to hooves making him his namesake. Like a bull, he stomped his leg back and lowered his head to charge forward. The World Party members he collided with went flying. Rescue stayed in the sky and shot people with a low intensity repulsor beam.

John Barnes saw that his people were no match for the Young Allies and turned to his helicopter to signal the pilot it was time to leave. He went to pull himself up when his arm was grabbed by the American Panther. John turned now with a handgun and shot at the Panther who flipped out of the way.

“Tell me what you did to Nomad!” demanded the Panther.

John began to laugh. “My sister is where she belongs. By my side! For someone who wears this country’s colors you sure don’t have its best interests in mind. I’m trying to bring it back to its former glory!”

“Your type of glory is something I want nothing to do with!” yelled the American Panther as he popped his claws. “Now we can do this the easy way or the hard way. It’s your choice.”

John chose the hard way. He shot at the American Panther who slashed with his claws to deflect the bullets. Out of ammunition, John dropped his gun. While the American Panther moved in on him he pulled out another gun of a more unusual design. With a pull of the trigger he was able to send the American Panther flying back violently. The Panther was uncertain what he was hit with. It was almost like being blown back by severe windstorm.

John climbed into the helicopter. “Get us out of here before he gets back up. I’m certain at least three of them can fly so let’s get some distance.”

Araña was out on the street trying to get people to evacuate the area. Her spider sense began tingling. She ducked. A sewer cap came flying over head. She straightened back up and faced Master Woman. Araña couldn’t get through to her. She also tried fighting her but was afraid she would hurt her. Talking wasn’t working. Fighting wasn’t working. She was gonna have to be creative if she wanted to end it.

Master Woman moved over to a car. To Araña’s surprise she lifted it over her own head. With sheer ease she hurled the vehicle at Araña. Without hesitation she sprung upward as her blue exoskeleton covered her entire body. Her feet actually connected with the side of the car while it was still in the air. Pushing off it propelled her with greater speed toward Master Woman. Araña drew out her stinger and thrusted it toward Master Woman.

The Stinger was caught. Even with its electric discharge it wasn’t strong enough to bring down Master Woman. They then exchanged punches that didn’t do anything to each other. Master Woman pushed Araña away and turned to pick up another car. This time she chose to directly slam the car on Araña. The webslinger shot out webbing to get away. She swung up to the building and looked down to come up with something.

After some thinking an idea formed. She examined the area to see what she needed to follow up on her plan. Araña then dove off the building. She shot passed Master Woman firing off a strand of webbing that she would tear off only to be webbed again. Araña quickly webbed down her entire body from the neck down. Master Woman fought to break free. Araña knew she had to move fast to fulfill her plan. She flipped over to a fire hydrant and kicked it to make water rush out. Putting her armored foot over the water allowed her to spray Master Woman.

The water hit her exposed head. It occurred to Araña that Master Woman’s strength level was similar to her own while in her exoskeleton. The only real way to stop a Hunter while in their exoskeleton was to cut off their oxygen, something she would commonly see Estrella do to her own brother when he would go on a rampage. As soon as she saw Master Woman become motionless she stopped the flow of water.

She called to the rest of her team. “Guys, I need help over here. I cut off Nomad’s source of air and I’m gonna resuscitate her but I can’t keep her down on my own.”

Minutes went by before Master Woman opened her eyes. Her first thought was to lash out against Araña. However, Rescue dropped in front of her to stop Master Woman. A panel opened on her armored arm and shot out a device that stuck to Master Woman’s forehead. A light shock knocked her unconscious. The rest of the team showed up seeing Araña removing her webbing and placing Master Woman flat on the ground.

“The police are handling the World Party,” said the American Panther. “Barnes got away. We should probably do the same.”

The Young Allies left the scene. Before returning to Rescue Inc. Tower they went to the World Party headquarters to find out what they did to Nomad. They were able to reverse the brainwashing and some of the enhancements faded away leaving her a bit stronger than she was before the procedure that changed her.

RESCUE INC. TOWER – A FEW WEEKS LATER

Rikki sat in the medical bay with her arms folded around her bare chest. She wasn’t wearing anything aside from a pair of underwear. The reason was because of all the bruises and welts around her body. She was cut up and bleeding from every spot of her body. In the room with her was Anya, Hallie, and Ava, respectively Araña, Jolt, and the White Tiger. Hallie was saddened by the shape her friend was in.

“What were you thinking?” asked Anya. “I never thought there would be anyone more reckless than Lucas and now I see I was wrong.”

“Does it make you angry knowing you were wrong, Bug?” grinned Rikki.

“This isn’t funny!” yelled Hallie. “Anya and Ava may not know you that well but I do and this is wrong. You shouldn’t be doing this to yourself. Anya, you said the Spider Society trained you in first aid? Please patch her up.”

“If she’ll even let me.” Anya motioned at Rikki’s arms.

“You think I’m just gonna let you see me topless?” Rikki blushed. “No way. Only a handful of people should ever see you naked. Your mother. Your doctor.”

“Rikki, we’re all girls here,” Ava tried to reassure her everything was fine. “Besides technically Anya counts as your doctor right now since you refuse to go to a hospital. You have lacerations on your chest and if not treated you’ll continue to bleed. You’re with friends.”

“All right if the Bug really wants to cop a feel…” Rikki tightened her hold. “But remind me, who are you again?”

Anya rolled her eyes as she grabbed a med kit. “Do I need to remove my top too? Will that make you feel any better? Because honestly that would make this weird. You’re having to do this for medical treatment. And for the record Ava is here because she has the clearer mind of the three of us. You irritate the hell out of me and Hallie is too distraught. Now unfold your arms so I can ‘cop a feel’ as you suggested.”

In another part of the building, James and Monica stood behind the counter in the kitchen. Sitting across from them was Ethan and Hannah.

“I really appreciate all your help,” said Monica. “We might not have been here if you two didn’t work with Araña’s allies.”

“It’s not a problem,” said Hannah. “We didn’t want anything to happen to you.”

“So with the pleasantries out of the way, now to discuss why you’re here,” started James. “Our team is still fairly new. We could use help here. Help training in the building. Help out in the field. Just really anything that will make the team more of a cohesive unit.”

“You know I’ll help anyway I can,” replied Ethan.

Hannah thought for a second. “Who would have guessed this is where this job would lead me? Of course I’ll help. So what’s next?”

NEXT: Life on the Other Side