Well, today, May 6th, 2020, I am posting a new entry in my story, Infestation In Limbo. It has been a while since I posted a chapter of this fic, but with everything that had been going on in my life, this sort of fell by the wayside for a while. At least I got back to this, and can now start thinking of the next chapter. I do hope you enjoy this entry of Infestation In Limbo.
Silverhawks was initially the property of Lorimar Telepictures, and is now the property of whomever holds those rights now. No money was made off this story.)
Infestation In Limbo
|Previous Chapter||First Strike|
Chapter 3: The New Factor
The Sprinthawk and Moonstryker returned to Hawk Haven after taking care of the deceased armored vehicle pilot. It had been a disaster that neither Hotwing nor Moonstryker wanted to do the report on. Once the vehicle landed in the hanger, Moonstryker shut down his flying device, and went up to Hotwing as he got out of the Sprinthawk. “How do you think Stargazer is going to take the news of the death?”
Hotwing shook his head. “Not well, especially when we tell him about this new force in Limbo. He’ll probably blow a gasket.” Hotwing wondered if Commander Stargazer could afford to blow many of those with all his spare parts melted down. He might have to magic some of them back if he did.
Before they could contemplate more about that, they heard Stargazer’s voice boom through the intercoms, which meant he did know they had arrived. “All Silverhawks to my office now. This is priority one.” Now they knew something serious was going on, and both of the them ran for the elevator.
All of the Silverhawks were racing to the Commander’s office. The Steel Twins, Steelheart and Steelwill, left their workshop and one of the many projects they worked on during their off time. Bluegrass and Copperkidd left the simulator, having just completed another of the various lessons that he had continued for Copperkidd’s piloting of the Maraj. Condor and Flashback left their stations, being on comm duty, and quickly reached the office. Quicksilver made his way from his own room, having been going over what had happened on Bedlama, and had figured what had to be going on, and made his way up there.
Once everyone was up there, Stargazer motioned for them to sit down, and set up a communication with Brigadeer Brightlight. Once the leader of the planet's security force was on screen, everyone watched as Stargazer started the meeting. "Earlier today, Quicksilver and I were called down to Bedlama due to a serious issue. Seems that someone set up a house of ill repute on the planet."
For a moment, some of the Silverhawks looked puzzled about the term. Inwardly, Stargazer was cursing himself out for using the old Earth term. Only Condor and Quicksilver understood what he meant, but the others looked like they were a bit puzzled.
Quicksilver was quick to point out the term. "In other words, a brothel. Mon*Star has set up a brothel on Bedlama; one that uses drugs to keep the women complacent. It has also been there for some time. "
That statement caused gasps of disbelief and disgust from most of the other Silverhawks. Steelheart was the first to respond in outrage. "The Mob has gone to far on this one."
Echoing the outrage was Brigader Brightlight as he spoke in agreement. "Indeed. We just got done going through the client list they had, and a lot of high officials are on it. Mon*Star could blackmail them at any moment."
Before anyone else could add to the protests, it was Moonstryker who offered what most had not considered, and it was something Stargazer was most certain of. "Maybe it isn't The Mob, but someone else. When we were out on patrol, Hotwing and I tried to stop Buzz-Saw and Windhammer from attacking an armored vehicle."
Hotwing nodded and said, "He's right. When we did, this other group came out of nowhere, stole the contents, then shot the pilot we were trying to rescue, and blew up the vehicle."
The room had gone silent at that. The actions that took place were very extreme, even for The Mob. There was only one person visibly uncomfortable with that news, and Stargazer noticed it. He wasn't going to address it yet, since he figured Condor might have heard of these tactics before.
Instead, Stargazer pulled out a file, and started to address the group. "Exactly. With all my years in Limbo, I managed to find out a few things to. There were two things Mon*Star didn't approve of in his ventures that past Mob bosses in Limbo did, and those are prostitution and drugs. The former is what led to the Mob Was that was gripping Limbo when I first arrived, and the latter is often too disruptive to normal Mob activities. "
It was Steelwill who voiced a valid argument to Stargazer's statement, and Stargazer even expected it from someone. "Commander, what's to say that he hasn't changed his stance on those crimes? He was willing to destroy armored vehicles in past schemes, and he wasn't above that Fantascreen of Hardware's." All of the Silverhawks there familiar with those events nodded in agreement.
In response, Stargazer opened the file he had, and started to explain. "If you knew some of the back story of one of his best people, it would explain things. I'm sure you are all familiar with those talent competitions on some worlds. "With everyone nodding, he continued. "Well, on one world, there was a strong contender for winning, until they fell victim to a very cruel trick."
Stargazer then pushed a button on his desk, and an audio recording played. Soon his office was filled with a beautiful voice, singing an almost angelic song. Bluegrass let out a low whistle of amazed approval. Copperkidd, whose natural version of communication tended to include whistles, common for inhabitants of the planet of the Mimes, commented on the range reached. "Five octaves."
After that, Bluegrass stood up, and looked at Stargazer. He could already tell the Colonel had figured out who the singer was. He started to say, "Commander, you don't mean to say that's..." Stargazer just nodded, and then Bluegrass sat down, holding his hat. "I would have never imagined."
The response appeared echoed around the room as they all realized who they were hearing. Even Brightlight was shocked as he said, "Given their history and mania, I would have never known they were capable of it." It was obvious to Stargazer that the Brigideer never knew the full history.
Starter then read from the hard file. "The trick was done by her younger sister, Harmony. She was jealous of Melody's success and decided to expose her to a very large dose of Crystal Twist. Melody was hospitalized and pulled through. Apparently one of her ancestors had been through something similar, and the resistance was passed down. Apparently, it either affected her mind, or her vocal cords. She dropped out of the competition, but that wasn't the end of it. "
At that moment, it was Flashback who asked the obvious question that went through the group. "Did her sister pay for what she did?"
Stargazer shook his head. "Nope. She was a minor, and her parents claimed she wasn't in her right mind. Melody lashed out verbally, and then left home, obviously not trusting the legal system. She has, however, stayed away from Crystal Twist, and even brought other criminals who used it in their organization to ruin. She has also been strongly against trafficking. That is why I think the Mob isn't behind this brothel. "
At that point, he saw Quicksilver had his head lowered in contemplation. No doubt, the team leader was trying to wrap his head around this new information. Others appeared to be doing the same, except for Condor. It was as if the old detective had an idea what they were dealing with.
Condor, as it was, had been listening to all the facts, and he was recalling things he had heard years ago, when he had been pursuing The Rattler. The Rattler had been flushed out due to another mob moving into his territory. Now that group appeared to be moving into Limbo.
He then heard Quicksilver voice the question that was on all the others' minds. "Then who is running this brothel, and trying to muscle into The Mob's territory?" He heard all the other Silverhawks echo the question in various forms.
At that moment, Condor broke the noise with a loud whistle. He saw surprise on all their faces, except that of Stargazer's who seemed to expect it. He then said, "I've heard of a group that works like that. Another private investigator had crossed paths with them, but I thought he ended up getting rid of them. I never caught the name of the group myself, but I can get in touch with him." He saw Stargazer nod and took it for what it silently meant. He rushed out of the office, and went to make the call, hoping he would get in touch with the man.
On Brim*Star, Windhammer quickly got out of the vehicle, and helped Buzz-Saw out as well. As he did so, he heard the robot say, "Mon*Star is not going to happy about this. He had expected the Silverhawks to interfere. He wasn't expecting this."
Windhammer nodded and helped him towards the main hall. As they walked, he said, "I know, but I think the boss won't take it out on us. He will want to know about a new threat in Limbo." Deep down, Windhammer had hoped what he said was true. A group trying to muscle in on Mon*Star’s domain was a serious issue. It would mean a mob war, and he knew the Planet Master wouldn’t be happy with that, even though he was the victor of the last true mob war in Limbo.
With that on their minds, Windhammer and Buzz-Saw entered the main chamber, and saw Mon*Star pacing the chamber. Yes-Man was apparently wringing his hands. No doubt the snake had been watching the botched heist. It was him who had noticed the arrival, and said, “Boss, Windhammer and Buzz-Saw are back.” It was enough to make Mon*Star stop pacing and look at them. Yes-Man looked at them, and said, “We saw what happened, but the Boss wanted to hear what you saw in person.”
Mon*Star looked over at them, and it was Buzz-Saw who spoke first. “Planet-Master, we were ready to rob the vehicle when the Silverhawks showed up. While we engaged them, some new group attacked the vehicle.” Buzz-Saw finished his brief statement with a buzzsaw like whine. Deep down, the robot was scared that Mon*Star would take it out on him.
To his relief, Mon*Star nodded, and said, “I know. Someone has decided to muscle in on my territory, and I think I know who it is.” He then turned to Yes-Man and said, “Yes-Man, summon everyone here right now. We have a serious matter to discuss.”
In that moment, Yes-Man pushed the button to call all of the Mob there. This caused all the Mob members there to come running. Timestopper, Zero, Mumbo-Jumbo, and all the others were soon assembled in the room, wondering what was going on. They wouldn’t have long to wait as Mon*Star quickly got to the point. “We have a new problem here in Limbo, and I believe it is the work of The Infestation.”
This caused a collective gasp from the group. Each one of them had heard of the group. The criminal underworld had stories about the group, and how ruthless they were. They were even known to infiltrate other mobs effectively. One person, however, knew more about them since The Infestation had impacted their own family. He was also the most surprising member of the mob to speak up. “The Infestation. Planet-Master, that’s seriously bad news. They were the ones that pushed my uncle out of his area.” That outburst caused everyone to look at Yes-Man in shock, even Mon*Star.
While Mon*Star would always remind the Mob members that the Mob was their family, an issue he had to repeatedly tell Yes-Man when The Rattler came to Limbo, he didn't feel like doing so now. He looked over at Yes-Man and said, "He had been affected by the Infestation, Yes-Man?". When his lackey nodded, he inwardly chastised himself for being harsh on Yes-Man. He then asked, "Is there anything you might have been told about how they operate?"
Yes-Man, feeling more important than he usually did, nodded, and tried to recall all he was told. "Yes, Planet-Master. He told me the leader of the group always kept his identity hidden, but if anything was seen, it was his one hand. He also said they had a way of infiltrating an area. They would sneak people into the police force, the prisons, and even into criminal groups. They would do it long before they announced their presence." This made everyone stop and look around.
While every member present was a long-time member of the Mob, there had been the occasional turmoil. It wasn't outside the realm of reason that any one of them might not be loyal to the Mob. Mon*Star had only managed to regain the two who had wanted to split away due to some serious negotiations, and threats. While Poker-Face remained busy at the Starship Casino, the other person was missing. It was Mumbo-Jumbo who picked up on their absence first. He grunted in his usual manner, getting out the few words his near primitive mind could handle. “Where’s Melodia?”
Mon*Star had picked up on the murmur that was starting. He silenced it quickly by raising his voice. “Melodia is not going to be part of the Infestation. Unlike us, they deal in trafficking, and use Crystal Twist.” Not many knew Melodia’s past, and he didn’t feel like going into the details.
Luckily, he could tell Hardware recalled her reaction to the news of the brothel. What he didn’t expect was Hardware to mention something he hadn’t considered. “Maybe she’s on her way to tell Poker-Face about this. I doubt she’d be so foolish to go after the Infestation on her own.”
Mon*Star had never considered that Melodia might go after the Infestation, but then her recalled all he knew about her background. There was one individual she would go after, and he had heard some rumors about that person being linked to the Infestation. He would have to be certain, however, that Melodia hadn’t done that. He turned to Yes-Man, and said, “Call Poker-Face right now. I want to know if he’s seen Melodia, and we need to fill him in on The Infestation.” Luckily, Yes-Man didn’t waste time agreeing with his command. Mon*Star had a feeling he knew why, as he was already trying to figure out how to get at The Rattler in the Penal Planet. They could use what he knew about The Infestation.
At that time, past the Light-Year Limit, Poker-Face was in his office in the Starship Casino. He was currently going over the take, and to his chagrin, he noticed that it was less than the previous day. Business in the casino had been steadily dropping. It was a slow drop off, and might have been normal, but the decline had been happening for a while.
He was trying to figure out what the possible cause was for the drop-off in business. The casino was one of the few operations that Mon*Star run that was almost completely legal. Keeping it outside the Light-Year Limit kept it legal, and he made sure that the odds remained on the house side, while still making sure wins were possible. This slow drop wasn’t due to the odds being stacked too much in the casino’s favor though. All the machines were adjusted to be paying out more often at the current time. He also made sure all the employees weren’t cheating, or at least not adjusting the games to be more in favor of the house. They hadn’t had any unusually lucky gamblers lately.
He was brought out of these thoughts when the special line between him and Brim*Star came to life. It was obvious to him something important was coming, since the screen showed Mon*Star’s face right away. The Planet-Master would only do that if it was serious. Before he could even properly respond, he heard the mob boss say, “Poker-Face, we have serious things to discuss. One of those things is if Melodia is there or not.”
For a moment, Poker-Face almost did a double take. He wondered if the Planet-Master thought he and Melodia were trying to start their own gang again. They hadn't attempted that again, since they were able to renegotiate matters. He had no desire, at least now, to break away from Mon*Star. He then answered as calmly as possible, "No Planet-Master. I haven't seen her today at all. To be honest, I've been busy trying to determine the decrease in revenue here. "It was the truth, especially since he wanted not to be in trouble.
Apparently, telling Mon*Star about the decrease in intake didn't make him mad. It made the Mob boss frown, but not overly angry. "It isn't as much as it has been. Given what I just found out, Poker-Face, I am not surprised. It has come to my attention that another organization has come to Limbo, and is trying to take over."
For a moment, Poker-Face felt a chill go through his circuits. A small part of him had a feeling that Mon*Star was thinking he was forming a gang again, but another part had a feeling it was something else due to something Melodia had told him once. Still he had to make sure the Planet-Master knew he was still loyal. "I am still loyal to you, Planet-Master. I have been trying to figure out what is happening here, since the drop in business is hampering some other projects I have been trying to look in to."
To his relief, he saw the Planet Master nod. "I know, Poker-Face. I am already aware of who is muscling in on my territory. It is a group that I know Melodia would have no interest in joining but would possibly rush to stop." That made Poker-Face's eyes spin to display question marks. Before he could ask, the Mon*Star answered the unspoken question. "It is The Infestation."
Poker-Face gasped at that revelation. He had heard of the group, but most likely not in the same way that the Planet-Master had heard of the group. While he had heard bits and pieces from patrons at the Starship Casino, he heard some information from Melodia, at least about one of their members. “That is bad news, but I don’t think you know the half of it.”
That statement, he noticed, caused Mon*Star to raise an eyebrow. To make it more disturbing, it was the eye this MoonStar attack came out of. “Why do I not know the half of it, Poker-Face? I am aware that they use and even deal Crystal Twist. I am aware they deal in trafficking. That is something I won’t deal in, and Melodia does very well in enforcing that no low-level thugs try peddling that trash.” It was something that Poker-Face was well aware of, but he was one of the very few that probably knew the whole truth.
He glanced around the room, momentarily worried that he was going to make a mistake saying this, but given the circumstances, he was certain Melodia would forgive him. “Planer-Master, Melodia once told me about her first encounter with Crystal Twist. She had been forced to take an overdose. She had recovered from it, which is something rare for an overdose of the drug. The biggest thing about this was that it was her younger sister who caused it, and Melodia had found out through sources that her sister is…”
It was apparent Mon*Star was shocked when he completed the statement. “in the Infestation. That could mean that…” He saw Mon*Star turn to someone off screen, most likely Yes-Man, and shout, “GET MOVING. DO A SEARCH FOR MELODIA. TRY TO FIND OUT WHERE SHE WENT.” He then saw the Planet-Master turn to him. “Poker-Face, get in touch with Harry on Fence. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Infestation is stopping in at the Sini-Star Diner. I want to know if Melodia is there, and if she is, have him relay to Melodia that she needs to get back here immediately.”
The screen went blank, but Poker-Face felt a growing dread. While Mon*Star hadn’t said why this was needed, he was already coming to the same conclusion that the Planet-Master had reached. If Melodia’s first instinct was to go after anyone dealing with Crystal Twist, and the Infestation, which apparently had Melodia’s sister in it, was in Limbo, then they might already be aware of her, and be planning to capture her, or worse. It was enough of a realization that caused Poker-Face’s eyes spun around twice to display two two-letter words. ‘Oh No’.
Meanwhile, while all those meetings were going on, Harry, the owner and bartender of the Sin-I-Star Diner, was bringing a drink to Cyclops. The cyclopian balloonish alien had been in there a lot, and solo. It was obvious to Harry that Cyclops missed his friends but was still managing to do some small criminal jobs. As he set the drink down, he said, “Are you doing alright?”
He heard a slight grumble, before Cyclops actually spoke. “I honestly don’t know. Since Bandit and Rhino joined The Infestation, I haven’t even spoke to them. Even when I needed to be in the hospital, they would stop by. We had been a team, almost a family.”
Harry knew that last statement to be true. Each one of the them, when they hadn’t run up a tab, would each take turns buying a round of drinks. Even spats between the trio were short lived. Add to it, the trio usually remained on amicable terms with The Mob. This wasn’t like any of those times.
Harry wanted to comfort the lone crook, but before he could say anything, he heard the door open, and a female voice that sounded slightly familiar said, “I want to talk to the owner of this joint.” He glanced over at her and paused for a moment. If it wasn’t for her blonde shoulder length hair, and the fact that her green eyes were not covered by glasses, she would have been a dead ringer for Melodia.
Something in the woman’s tone worried Harry, and he knew this wasn’t going to be good. While others showed up at his place to sell goods, he was allowed to operate as a free market by Mon*Star. He did so by providing information to the Planet-Master. He had a feeling that whatever this woman had to say, it wasn’t going to be good. He looked at her, and said, “I’m the one in charge here.”
He watched as she sauntered over, and noticed she had a sashay to her step, most likely in an effort to distract him. Harry was glad he didn’t get affected by such things, but the walk definitely told him that this woman who looked similar to Melodia was definitely not Melodia. She never tried to present herself as an object to be lusted after.
When the woman reached him, she slammed her hand down on the bar, which if he had been distracted, it would have startled him. When she did that, she said, “I’m here to inform you that starting today, you owe tribute to The Infestation, especially if you want to keep operating here. Also, any business done here needs to give a cut to The Infestation. Things are changing in Limbo.”
That statement caught Harry off guard. Mon*Star never demanded that. He felt the information was much more valuable that extorting funds from Harry. Besides, some of the Mob members would sell stuff there. It was also a safe spot for informers like Grod. Grod would always let him know what information he had to sell to law enforcers, and some would deal with him there. He also knew that some of the Mob had workshops there, including Hardware. He had to say something. “I don’t know what you think…”
Before he could continue, he saw Cyclops get up, and start to poke at the woman. “Now hold up, bitch. This location is a free market. We are allowed to deal with individuals outside of Limbo Galaxy here. No one gets a cut of business done here, especially The Infestation.” Harry was a little thankful for Cyclops standing up like that. Loyal regulars were a gem all barkeeps liked and valued as much as their establishment.
Harry started to worry, however, when the woman pulled out a weapon and pointed it at Cyclops, and he saw a smile cross her face at that moment. It was one full of sadistic glee. “Tubby. This is between the barkeep and me. Try to butt in again, and I’ll puncture you like my boss did, and maybe you won’t survive it this time. You already turned us down once, and that was one time too many.”
Cyclops looked down the barrel of the blaster. He chanced a glance at Harry and saw the worry in the barkeep’s many eyes. In all honesty, he was certain that if he did mouth off anymore, he was dead. His kind, as a rule, were very resilient, and could only be truly killed if they were blasted in the head. If he kept shooting his mouth off now, he would end up dead. If he decided to back down, he could do something secret, yet bold. He could relay this information to the Silverhawks. He might get arrested for his petty crimes, but he might be released for providing them with this information.
He raised his hands, and said, “Alright. I’ll back down. I’ll even go after I finish my drink.” He backed away, and reached for his drink to finish it, still keeping an eye on the woman. There was something about the look in her eye that he didn’t fully trust. He had heard a few stories at how ruthless The Infestation could be.
The blonde woman smirked as she saw the tubby alien back down. She had no doubt that he was backing down only because he was going to run to someone to tell about what she was doing. She watched as he grabbed his drink and started to drink more of it. She turned to look at the barkeep but lowered her gun just enough so that she wouldn’t kill the other alien. She fired the blaster, and she heard the other alien yelp as he started bouncing around the place, sounding like a screaming deflating balloon.
She then returned her attention to the barkeep and turned her blaster to him. “Now, barkeep, are we going to be fixing that loyalty issue, and making sure The Infestation gets their rightful share.” She already had the demand with her. It would be the typical ninety-nine percent of the profits, until The Mob was eliminated. It would then go up after that.
She watched as the barkeep worried, and noticed he was keeping some of his eyes on the deflating bouncing alien. She was certain he was trying to stall for a moment, but it wouldn’t be long. She made sure he didn’t take too long by bringing her blaster to the barkeep’s face.
The blonde had another reason for coming to Fence though. If she had figured correctly, she was certain someone else would be arriving there soon. It was someone she had been waiting to see again for a long time. She wanted to finish what she had started so many years ago. It was then she heard someone kick the swinging doors open to the place. She also heard a familiar voice shout, “HARMONY!” The blonde had figured right, and she turned around to face the newcomer.
Standing in the doorway was a familiar person to the blonde. She noticed that the figure still favored wearing the purple tights under that black outfit. While the figure was similar to hers, the hairdo was a lot different from the one she saw years ago. She also noticed that the figure wore glasses styled in the form of a musical note. Her facial features that could be seen definitely gave off the impression that she was ready to kill. This just made the blonde smile even more, since this was exactly what she wanted. She then said, “Melody. Nice to see you again.” Harmony knew everything would go as planned, since getting Fence under Infestation control was the secondary objective of this visit.
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