The sun had just retired for the day and the moon was getting ready to watch over everything. People still walked the streets, traffic was still busy, horns were honking, people were yelling, buses were humming. That was normal in New York City the natives would cry foul if the noise was any other way. It's dog eat dog in New York City, everybody is trying to climb the ladder of success in this over populated city. The tall buildings towered over the lit city streets while people watched over the busy streets through their windows. Some people were too busy to be entertained by the city nightlife of New York.
Mercury sat in a plush chair reading a book about tropical rain forest. His shades were drawn and his room was dimly lit with a table lamp. The room was quiet as it possibly could be with the muffled city noise below him. There were actually a few books scattered across his hotel room with titles suggesting he was studying tropical rain forest. And he was, Daggerklutz assigned him to lead a few of his new teammates into the Gongo Jungle to retrieve a mystical object he heard through the grapevine.He didn't have much info on the artifact, but it was certain it gave the owner mystical powers. Fire Brand, Tank, Glacier and Doopliss were strangers to him, but what better way to get to know them right?They all have destructive powers, so Mercury was interested to see how this would pan out. Aphrodite was the only team member he became acquainted with by flirting and she left him hanging.
The leadership skills were there, he led a street gang to the top at the age of 14, but this was a different scenario. This was a team of super powered villains, the only thing running through his mind was how would they respond to him. They were older than he was too and Mercury believed age means nothing. If they stepped on his toes he would knock them to the ground. He didn't want to start off on the wrong foot so he had come to an conclusion. Think less about how they would react to them, but how would he lead his squad. He grabbed a small walkie-talkie and spoke into it, "The birds are heading for the sky. Roger." That was his code phrase that meant it was time to leave for the plane taking them to the Gongo Jungle. Mercury packed his books back in his black duffel bag and headed for the hotel rooftop.
Gorilla-ing Around (RPG)
The sun had just retired for the day and the moon was getting ready to watch over everything. People still walked the streets, traffic was still busy, horns were honking, people were yelling, buses were humming. That was normal in New York City the natives would cry foul if the noise was any other way. It's dog eat dog in New York City, everybody is trying to climb the ladder of success in this over populated city. The tall buildings towered over the lit city streets while people watched over the busy streets through their windows. Some people were too busy to be entertained by the city nightlife of New York.
Doopliss looked rather absurd, he was a two-dimensional bedsheet ghost wearing a party hat and a bowtie. Despite this, he was capable of causing Chaos on a grand scale, though he rarely if ever killed anyone. He decided to go on this mission out of the desire to inflict Chaos on an unsuspecting population, and if bored, his team-members. He had originally come from the Mushroom Kingdom, but after being defeated by Mario and seeing the Shadow Queen defeated by him, Doopliss wisely decided that his days of inflicting chaos in that universe was over. His opportunity to enter this universe came when Tombstone payed a visit to his home reality, and the duplighost grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Within moments of entering this reality he had turned an entire town full of people into pigs when the bell tolled, but he grew bored with this old trick and decided to play other pranks on the unsuspecting people of the earth.
Doopliss was to go to some place called the Gongo Jungle, which sounded an awful lot like the Congo Jungle in Africa, but Doopliss didn't think an awful lot about that. His entire purpose here was to create mayhem; not to wonder about Geography. The Artifact he was supposed to retrieve was something capable of turning people into gorillas, which Doopliss found to be substantially more dangerous than pigs when he had a run in with donkey kong. Accompanying the Duplighost was an man who could reate explosions, Mr.Mercury who could control the elements, fire brand who could manipulate fire, and glacuier, who had a freezy gun. The order to board the plane came at last and doopliss wasn't the type of man to back down on a mission like this, so he got in the plane before anyone else, without packing anything else, what would a ghost need to pack any way?
The night air rushed through his hair. Tank was in New York on Syndicate business and decided to inflict some havoc of his own in the mean time. He clung to the metal support beams of a bridge hundreds of feet above a river several miles out of town. The stone walls of the raveen stood at both sides of him and he looked up at the cars rushing past. Suddenly, something in his pocket began to beep. "That's the call." he whispered and drew back a glowing fist, punching into the steel beams. The bridge erupted in a massive fireball as he dove off. Cars and debris flew everywhere as he sped down, aimed at the narrow blue line far below. As he fell, there was a sinister grin stretched across his face.
He landed in the river. A normal man would have broken every bone in his body, if not been killed. But Tank, as you could guess by his name, was no man, he was a relentless war machine. He floated down stream for a few miles and crawled out onto a river bank. He stood up and ran into the woods.
A few hours later, he arrived at Laguardia Airport, New York City. There was a gleaming white private jet waiting for them, gold streak running down the side. He rubbed his hands together, staring at the plane with utter delight. "Dagger, you rich bastard!" he said, walking towards the plane. He stepped inside the plane, hoping he wasn't the first one there. "Hey, who's gonna tell me what we're doing?"
Team. Firebrand hated the word. Jack was a lone wolf by nature. He was used to being elite, at another level, good enough to go his own way with needing help. That was how he lived as a mercenary, as a vigilante, and then as a villian, but times had changed. With superhero clans and teams and cliques popping up left and right, Firebrand had been forced into a group dynamic which was entirely unfamiliar. Hell, half the time his own team didn't understand who he was and what he could do, despite explaining it a thousand times. There would be time to deal with all of these problems later, but for now Jack was on an extremely difficult mission, one that put all of his skills and intellegence to the ultimate test: dating.
For weeks now he had been dating a lovely woman named michelle, and tonight he would seal the deal, or so he thought. Jack knew that he could be called up for this treasure hunting mission, but did it really need to be in the middle of the second bottle of wine? Apparently so, because drifting through the air, plain as day, was Mercury's radio signal. Jack saw it and groaned. "What is it Jack?" Michelle asked, concerned, but yet just a little tipsy from the wine. "I'm so sorry michelle, but I have to leave. Something from work just came up. I'll call you in a few days." Jack said quickly, giving her a kiss on the cheek, dropping 300 dollars on the table for the check, and walking out the door. Even though he was in LA, he had seen Mercury's radio signal from his walkie talkie, and Jack had decided on a slow leisurely flight to NYC, just around mach 1.4.
Jack leapt 50 feet into the air and flew like a rocket, with any luck he could convince Mercury to let him fly to the Gongo himself. Airplane are far too cramped and slow for Firebrands taste. After all, who wants to be cooped up in a planes for 7 hours when you can fly at mach 12? a few hours later, Jack landed at the airport and saw the enormous white and gold jet that was waiting for them, maybe 7 hours on this plane wouldn't be that terrible. Jack was astounded at the sheer exclusivity of this jet. Everything inside was either marble, Brazilian Rosewood, or imported Italian leather. Although he was second to last to arrive, Jack knew he was still early. He took a seat next to Tank and waited for Glacier to show up so they could get underway.
A private jet, the benefits of a wealthy evil leader. A fully stocked refrigerator, Hi-Def wide-screen TV's, comfy couches, a table, mini kitchen and a bathroom, Mercury was satisfied. He sat in the back of the jet reading over papers describing La Paz, Boliva the city near the Gongo Jungle. They would arrive at the El Alto International Airport and take a helicopter from there to the jungle. He had a feeling it wasn't going to be smooth sailing retrieving the Gorilla artifact.The artifact turned whoever it affected into a gorilla. DaggerKlutz's personality was larger-than-life to Mercury, he was evil, but everything he did came off as a parody. Whatever he needed it for was beyond Mercury, but he took interest in leading his teammates. He wanted to earn their trust and respect.
Mercury's absorbed research was interrupted by a voice,"Hey, who's gonna tell me what we're doing?". His teammate Tank stood at the front of the jet. He set his papers on the circle table and got up to greet Tank. A ghost-like creature was on the jet also, he didn't hear it come on. It was a ghost so it was understood. It looked animated and otherworldly, but it could creep people out. This team was....different. To speed things up he grabbed his walkie-talkie and explained their assignment.
"DaggerKlutz has come across a mystical artifact granting the wielder the power to turn humans into gorillas. He has pinpointed the location of the artifact in between Bolivia and Peru. In between Bolivia and Peru lies the Gongo Jungle habitat to predatory creatures. If we aren't ambushed by treasure hunters, we only have be cautious of the animals. Let's make this a smooth mission. We will land in La Paz early in the morning, which is in 4 hours."
"I'm Mercury", he stuck his hand out to introduce himself to Tank.
Mercury explained their mission to him. Seeing as that it was a plan formulated by DaggerKlutz, Tank wasn't surprised. After he was done, he looked over at Tank and held out his hand. "I'm Mercury." he said with a warm and welcoming tone, one that wouldn't get him anywhere as a villain. Tank took his hand and squeezed it with immense strength. "Tank. And I suppose Patrick put you in charge of this clambake? Peachy." he said sarcastically and popped open the fridge, reaching in and grabbing a beer. He snapped off the cap and raised the foaming, perspiring glass bottle to his teammates. "To conquest." he said and took a long swig then sat down on the couch.
"So we're turnin' folks into monkeys, huh?" he asked, "I woulda just suggested nuclear annihilation, but whatever floats your boat. This artifact, it got many other pursuers? 'Cause you said there might be treasure hunters. Good I need something to kill. Just a warning, though, last time I was in South America, I leveled a village and started a wildfire that spread through most of the continent. I got an arrest warrant there, just like everywhere else. Only difference is they gave me a nickname, El Fuego Camina, the Walking Fire. So, if we're tryin' to do this quiet, I suggest you just drop me out over the jungle and we meet up later. If one person recognizes me, your cover is capput."
Tank looked around at his teammates, an odd bunch. There was a light bender, a bed sheet and a teenager who could control the elements and the cosmos. Tank despised running these team exercises, answering to some punk who thought he was hot stuff, these people were a disgrace to the good name of destruction and mayhem. There were only a handful of Syndicate members he could stand. Nerx, Canine, Issac, Ajax and DaggerKlutz. Granted, with Tank's persona, liking people only meant he didn't kill them the second he spotted them, it was still what many people would recognize as hate. "What're we waitin' for? Let's get this bird in the air!"
Tank was talking, babbling about how he could couldn't be seen in South America without compromising the mission. Jack, in the interest of saving some time, waved his hand, blurring Tanks features and making him look like an odd combination of Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. Firebrand laughed, because he had seen Fight Club the night before. "What're we waitin' for? Let's get this bird in the air!" Jack couldn't agree more, they all took a vote and decided to leave Glacier behind. They were already behind schedule and he was late, something about global warming and a giant freeze ray.
A few hours later, after completely failing to strike up any kind of communication with his teammates, they landed in La Paz. Jack didn't spend alot of time in South America, mainly because there just wasn't enough to burn down or blow up down here. There was plenty of sunlight though, which was nice. It sure as hell beats the arctic circle. The team got a few funny looks as they climbed off their fancy private jet, but one cold look from Tank and the onlookers suddenly had very important thing to do far, far away from the team. Jack didn't blame them, 4 hours on a plane and Tank had murder in his eyes, literally.
Within the hour they were ready to head of into the jungle, kill everything in their way, and get Dagger his stupid gorilla totem thingy. Not that it took much preparation, they didn't need weapons, they were weapons. Jack spend his "prep" time building a very complicated gun out of light, it harnessed raw energy and crafted it into plasma bolts. It took all of Jack's focus to carefully craft the small loops and channels of light and make sure it worked as he wished. He spent the rest of his time soaking up the suns power and waiting for the others to get ready to go. Once Mercury, was sure of where they were headed, the team headed out into the jungle. Jack wasn't sure what they would find there, but he knew it would all burn.
Doopliss eyed his team-mates, apparently thinking about the best ways to make them look foolish. Seeing a two dimensional ghost sit in a plane looked quite odd to say the least. But the ride was quite pleasant, and Doopliss's natural abilities to fly were nowhere near sufficient for the trip. Sadly, Glacier couldn't make the trip, so doopliss scribbled out his name and his planned prank for him on a sticky note. "I don't know about you slicks, but to me every jungle looks the fricking same." doopliss said half-joingly.
The very first native Doopliss met was immediately turned into a pig for looking at him funny, while the others ran away from Tank's rather murderous glance. Doopliss still didn't quite understand the point of turning people into a significantly more threatening animal than a normal human. The man named Fire-brand had decided to craft a gun that could shoot plasma weapons, which doopliss didn't particularly care for. His magic would provide all the offensive capability he would ever need. Doopliss didn't particularly care about what was in the jungle, but if he had any say in it, every single living thing in the jungle would look absolutely foolish when he was done with it.
Since his Brooklyn Brawler days, he hasn't taken on the leadership role. He lead an organization of what society called, criminals. At the peak of his success as the top dog of the Brooklyn crime scene he stepped down from his throne. Questions of a new leader were scoffed at with a pop in the face, personally from Mercury. Theo, his best friend, was expected to inherit the spot. But Mercury believed it was no one's place to control what he created from the dirt. Of course there were a few members who attempted to take charge, but Mercury's leadership was an art form he created. Brooklyn Brawlers as a gang faded soon after, as he planned. His organization boasted sixty-nine members before his resign and their disbandment. On average he lead eight member into missions, leading three unacquainted villains through the jungle wasn't a complication.
As he calculated, they arrived at the beautiful Gongo jungle barely before dawn. The hum of the jeep faded as Mercury ordered his team to prepare and be ready in exactly five minutes. To be fair he gave them more than enough time although it wasn't necessary for him. He would survey their prepping methods and how long it took. This was only one of the close observations he would make on his teammates. "Stay in my sight, five minutes!", Mercury yelled to his teammates as they went their separate ways to prepare. Stepping off the dirt trail into the grass leading to the jungle he felt the grass brush his ankles from the breeze. The palm trees rustled and swayed left to right at the winds command. Insects and frogs, creaked and ribbited, before the sunrise revealed itself. The outdoors always relaxed him. To his left, a golden orange glow flickered from his teammate Jack A.K.A. Fire Brand, who was crafting an object with his hands. Cosmic lenses similar to glasses formed over Mercury's eyes. After adjusting the scope of his cosmic lenses he realized Fire Brand was creating a weapon. Careful hand movements shaped the glowing energy into a gun. How Fire Brand would use that weapon would be interesting to watch, Mercury disintegrated his cosmic lenses and gazed at the orange sky.
The sun began to peak from the palm trees of the jungle behind him as his "times-up" indicator. "Times up!", Mercury called, as he walked back into the dirt road his teammates returned back to him. He slid his shaku out of a black sheath and polished it with a golden cloth. The shine of the sword put a smile of admiration on Mercury's face. Since his trip to China to learn Jeet Kune Do his twelfth birthday, he carried that shaku everywhere. It was a gift from his mentor Master Fei Wu, he received it after he completed his training. As he slipped his dagger back into his sheath, his teammates surrounded him. While ruffling his hair he filled his teammates in on their destination and his orders, "The locals say the artifact lies in a cave deep in the southern region of the jungle. Of course they warned me of animals, getting lost, treasure hunters, disappearances, strange activity yadda yadda. But I'm your leader and I assure you we will succeed. Follow my lead and you'll make it out alive. Let's go". Mercury turned around and smirked as he lead his team into the Gongo jungle. "I warned them", he thought as they entered the jungle.
Tank stayed a good distance from the rest of the group as they went into the jungle. He knew this area, he had spent two years of his life bushwhacking in these forests. He and his group had taken a short route through the Gongo, but he had experience in the area. As the walked down a hill lined with trees on either side, they reached the bottom of the valley where the trees subsided and it was clear down a long, narrow line leading east. There, at the opening of the narrows, was the golden sun peaking over the horizon. And as the sun's rays washed over the land, Tank saw also at the opening, a giant plain of singed and ash-laden jungle wasteland, burned and black. That was part of the wildfire he had caused years ago. It had consumed a massive amount of territory in South America, eco-nuts were still bothering him villainizing him for it when there were such better things to villainize him for. While the others prepared themselves, Tank just watched the sunrise, a smirk on his face as he admired his old masterpiece.
"The locals say the artifact lies in a cave deep in the southern region of the jungle. Of course they warned me of animals, getting lost, treasure hunters, disappearances, strange activity yadda yadda. But I'm your leader and I assure you we will succeed. Follow my lead and you'll make it out alive. Let's go". said Mercury. With that, he turned around and led them into the thick green wilderness. "God help ya, rooky." he said and followed him.
For hours, they trudged through the slosh and brush, whooping and hollering of monkeys and deadly, raspy hissing of snakes echoing just beyond the canopy. Tank walked alongside Mercury, at a distance. He didn't make eye contact or even glance at him. "So, you know where this thing is? How we're gonna keep it from turnin' us into apes? You gotta plan out what we do once we actually find tis goofy little artifact. I mean, I'm not grilling Dagger about his plans, he hasn't done me wrong yet, but don't you think it's a little, I dunno, Saturday morning cartoon?" Suddenly, he heard something in the trees. "Hold on! That's not any animal!" he said as he grabbed the trunk of the tree. With a loud snap, he ripped the roots from the ground and lifted the tree. His fingers dug into the bark and threw the tree down upside down on the ground and heard someone scream. He could see a silhouette moving inside and slammed his boot, snapping the branches off and reached in, yanking out a man with dark skin, scraggly black hair, wearing a tan vest and had a pistol and a machete at his side. Tank held him up by his collar and looked down, a bone was poking through the skin in his arm, several twigs jabbed into his skin. He was afraid. "Why are you following us?" he growled.
Jack followed Tank and Mercury into the jungle. He wasn't paying attention to where they were going, but rather focusing on the gun he was still tampering with in his hands. It took time and patience, but he finally believed he got it exactly how he wanted it. He was about to test his new weapon but before he could Jack heard Tank grab a tree and smash it into the ground, pulling up a man with dark skin and greasy black hair. Jack could see the thoroughly shattered bones of his arm, as well as two broken ribs and what appeared to be a ruptured spleen. Jack knew that this man would die soon, and whoever he was, he had information they needed.
"Why are you following us?" Tank snarled through his teeth. The fear in the man's eyes was tempered by the resilience in his face. "Put him down Tank, i'll get what we need out of him." Even though Jack was unstable, a psychopath, he wasn't at all fond of torture unless his victim deserved it. However, there was no other option and this man would soon be dead one way or the other. When Tank let the man go, he tried to make a run for it. He got exactly a half a step before 4 rings grabbed his wrists and ankles, yanking him off the ground and suspending him in the air as if stretched out on a rack. "Who are you?" Jack asked politely. When the man refused to answer, Firebrand created a needle of solid gamma radiation, and gave it a sickly green glow just for show. Using his mind Jack moved the needle to mans chest, inches below his sternum. Jack slowly inserted the needle, letting it burn it's way into the mans diaphram before moving it up toward his throat. Howls of pure agony filled the air.
"Why did you come here?" Jack asked, still polite, as if ordering a glass of water while waiting for a friend to arrive. Firebrand saw the mans resolve falter, he was breaking, yet still he shook his head. Jack created another needle, this time out of solid infrared light, with a cherry-red glow. Firebrand slowly, with a slow relentless pace, moved the needle toward the mans right eye. When the man tried to move his head, Jack created a light clamp and forced the man to watch the needle move slowly toward his eye. The panic and fear in the mans face was reflected off Jacks chrome skull back at him. The fear suddenly vanished as the man drew himself up as best he could, "My name is Julio Martinez Ruiz de la Cruz. I'm a scout for a group of treasure hunters like yourselves, the only difference is WE will be walking out of here with the Talisman. YOU won't be walking away at all."
Jack flicked the light-needle through Julio's skull, burning a path through his brainstem, killing him instantly. "Well, i think that was about all we were getting from our buddy Julio." Jack released the shackles that suspended the corpse in the air, and the body hit the ground with a flump. Firebrand carefully studied the face of Julio de la Vega, because the disguise could be useful in the future. Jack then turned to his teammates before tossing the gun he had crafted to Tank, "Channel one of your explosions into the gun. If all goes well, the gun should glow red. Just test it out and see if it works. If it works, whatever you shoot at will explode as if you, yourself, were detonating." After all, Jack didn't want all his hard work to go untested.
Doopliss felt rather bored walking through the forest, turning animals into pigs just didn't have quite the same appeal as turning people. They eventually entered an plains, apparently tank had burned down the place for some reason. Later Tank found and grabbed a man who had been following them by grabbing and smashing a tree, while Jack was fumbling with some silly device. "Why are you following us?" snarled the unsophisticated brute that doopliss saw as tank. "Put him down Tank, i'll get what we need out of him." protested jack. When Tank let him go the man tried to run for his feeble life before 4 rings grabbed his wrists and ankles, hoisting him into the air. "Who are you?" asked Jack with an amount of politeness Doopliss found entirely unnecessary. When the man declined to answer Jack created a needle of solid gamma radiation, which seemed nonsensical to the duplighost. He slowly inserted the needle which burned it's way into the poor sap's internal organs before approaching, and somehow the man managed to scream despite receiving a wound that would have normally rendered him mute for life.
"Why did you come here?" asked Jack again still maintaining his uneeded polite tone. It was becoming obvious that the man's will was faltering, fire-brand then created an infrared needle and poked it towards his eye, but this time the man spoke. "My name is Julio Martinez Ruiz de la Cruz. I'm a scout for a group of treasure hunters like yourselves, the only difference is WE will be walking out of here with the Talisman. YOU won't be walking away at all." threatened the silly little manle. Jack then incinerated the man's brainstem, killing the guy instantly, which didn't please doopliss. "Why kill your victims when they're so much more fun while they still lived" cackled doopliss. "Well, i think that was about all we were getting from our buddy Julio." said Jack not in response to the duplighost. Jack then handed the gun he had crafted to tank. "Channel one of your explosions into the gun. If all goes well, the gun should glow red. Just test it out and see if it works. If it works, whatever you shoot at will explode as if you, yourself, were detonating." Jack continued.
"Bah, fancy toys are no substitute for some good old magic." scoffed the ghost. "Now come on, I thought I saw a tribe of victims in the trees over there!" he offered as he rushed towards his new set of victims, that is before he bumped into what appeared to be an pickup truck from the 80's with a recoiless anti-tank gun strapped onto it's back, or in layman's terms; a technical. "Oi who's bloody lorry is this and how did they fit it in the Congo?" complained the ghost in his typical british accent as he stopped to look around, seeing that he was in the middle of a path, with the three foot tall entity blocking what appeared to be some tinpot South American dictator's convoy, judging from the various Ak-47s and technicals. "Ooh, this is going to make for a bloomin' good time." doopliss cackled demonically as he phased into the first Technical into the face of the gunner. "Boo!" he said, panicking the poor fellow who ran screaming, shouting something about evil spirits in his native language. Unfortunately the rest of the convoy was not quite as impressed and began to open fire.
Mercury smirked at the Spanish spy as he revealed his motives."My name is Julio Martinez Ruiz de la Cruz. I'm a scout for a group of treasure hunters like yourselves, the only difference is WE will be walking out of here with the Talisman. YOU won't be walking away at all." He knew there would be treasure hunters here, but he would give Julio and his friends hell. He slipped out a small blunt he rolled on the way here and lit it with a spark of fire on his finger. During the time he puffed on his blunt, he watched Fire Brand burn Julio from his insides. These treasure hunters they would eventually run into weren't bright. More than likely, there was a small army of them, a bad move on their part. Their army would lead him to their leader quicker, who was already heading to the artifact.
A ray of light shined on Mercury's neck causing him to look up through the tree branches, realizing it was becoming daylight. "Idiot.", Mercury commented as he flicked his smoked blunt on a dead Julio. Julio was just a mindless pawn, an accessory, to the bigger plan of his coward leader. At that moment gun shots began to fire behind him, Mercury spun around and watched Doopliss phase through a stream of bullets with an aloof look on his face. Gunmen could be heard yelling and ordering each other around in Spanish as he walked closer. He pulled branches out of his way to discover a small camp. They scattered around more than they attacked and Mercury caught himself laughing as he stepped into the fray.
With a force field protecting him he surveyed the battlefield. On his left, a few hunters shot recklessly at him hoping the bullets would pierce through. For a moment, he stared at them, then smirked and sent a truck flying at the gun toting hunters with the motion of his hand. They were crushed, but one hunter managed to crawl from under the truck. Mercury created a cosmic body cast inside of the hunter and expanded it, exploding him from the inside out. As Mercury threw a henchman in the turned over truck and sealed all the exits he yelled, "Kill all of them, don't blow up anything! We can find some info here." To his side, striking his shield, a crazed hunter tried to break his shield to no avail with the butt of his rifle. This guy had to be on drugs his eyes were bulging out of it's sockets and they were blood-shoot red. He was screaming and flailing his body on Mercury's shield, unsurprisingly it had no effect. Laughing, he teased the drugged hunter, "Keep trying your getting there, try shooting it with your gun." The crazy hunter stopped for a moment and gave him a crazy look then began screaming again, this time firing his gun.
He put his hand up and turned his face away laughing, "Stop, stop. Do you want to live or die, It's your lucky day. You made me laugh, I got an idea for you Juan. Go change your name and move to Russia." Mercury himself was under the influence of marijuana, but he let it run it's humorous course on him. It didn't affect him as much as you would believe. Mercury had been smoking since he was sixteen, so his body was used to it and so was he. It chilled him out and made him laugh more than he usually does. Juan, that wasn't his name, ran out of bullets and started bashing at the shield again. "No Juan? Dumb ass", Mercury made a slit on his arm and drop of blood leaked out, he focused on the blood and not even two seconds, Juan spazzed out. His eyes began twitching and sweat ran down his face. Mercury spread his fingers out and Juan's left arm pulled back, he did the same with his right arm. Closing his hand like he was crushing something, Juan arms crossed each other and two loud cracks followed. Juan flailed as he fell to floor crying in pain."Stop whining, I gave you a choice dumb ass", Mercury laughed and shook his head as he headed to their biggest tent at the camp.
He walked past Fire Brand and Tank reminding them not to destroy anything, "Remember kill the people, don't mess with anything else". As he entered the camp tent, a pig ran past his feet squealing, Doopliss did that. All the tent had was a desk, laptop, chair and a pile of papers. Burnt plastic permeated through the tent and as he came closer to the desk there was coke lines on the desk with a razor and pipe sitting nearby. "Crackheads", he commented under his breath grinning. He sifted through some papers reading snippets of information. All the papers were updates, some long some short and they all signed Domingo de la Sousa. Mercury had a hunch it was their leader, he moved the computer mouse and a map popped up on the screen. It lead to the location of the treasure, that meant the treasure hunters had found the artifact. The map said they weren't that far from the cave that held the artifact, it was west of this camp. Looking closer at the papers again, he noticed they all were in Spanish. The most recent letter was at the top of the stack and was faxed last night, written in Spanish . It was unclear what it said, but he understood the topic of the letter. Domingo de la Sousa had not retrieved the artifact, yet he was having trouble getting past traps in the cave.
Exiting the tent he got all the information he needed, telling Tank and Fire Brand, "I got what I needed do what you want, just speed it up." He shattered the window and the freed hunter grabbed at his legs. He clasped his hands together to pray, he was begging Mercury to let him live. Raising his eyebrows he joked, "You the only one not on crack here?" He put his hand out and the pulled the man up on his feet. The scared hunter got on his knees and pleaded in Spanish. "I can't understand you, what are you saying?", he understood exactly what he was saying. Mercury was irritated with his pleading and quickly motioned him to stand up, "Get off the ground Jorge." (pronounced horr-hay). When Mercury raised his hand in the air Jorge was hovering above him terrified closing his eyes, praying in Spanish. Jorge cried in pain as his body burst into flames. "Why didn't you stand up like I asked you to Jorge?" Mercury threw him to the ground and Jorge crash landed sliding across the ground in flames like a human meteor. A few flames were extinguished to reveal a burnt Jorge he looked like he was dipped in black paint. Mercury laughed at Jorge's crisp corpse with no guilt or sympathy.
Mercury clapped his hands still laughing as he called his team together, "Ay! I got good news. The treasure hunters are already at the artifact site, but they are having some trouble retrieving it. The cave has a few obstacles they can't seem to get over. Their leader Domingo de la Sousa has a power suit giving him enhanced abilities, but he's no match to us on a bad day. When we reach the artifact I'll grab it with a cosmic ball because touching it might set something off." Jorge's fire ignited again behind him interrupting the conversation"Forgot about that", Mercury generated a big splash of water over Jorge's burnt body it sizzled with a few trails of smoke. "I digress, we need to wipe out Domingo's esse's and get through the cave to the artifact. The cave is west of this camp not far from here, so let's move out." Mercury examined Jorge's body one last time. His eyes bulged out of their sockets and he had a weird face expression, his mouth on the left side sagged while the right was normal. He stared for a while and burst out laughing leading his team to the cave, "Jorge you crack me up."
Tank watched as Mercury handled the other treasure hunters behind them, a little offended about how little he'd gotten to kill on this trip. He trapped one of them inside the truck, going mad in a drug induced paranoia. He could smell the faint trail of marijuana that followed Mercury as well. Maybe this guy had some bad in him after all. He ordered Tank and Fire-brand to kill everyone in the camp, but not to touch anything else. Tank held his fist in his palm and cracked his knuckles. "'Bout time." he whispered. He saw a man who looked not unlike their pal Julio, but with a thick beard. He was in a sleeping bag by the fire. Somehow, he had slept through the crossfire, guess he was just used to it. Then he looked closer at the man, his ears were cut off and burned shut. Sleepyhead was stone cold deaf. Tank's heavy boot dug into his side and nudged him awake. He looked up only to see the sole of a boot slamming down on his face. His head caved in and a quick burst of blood sprayed out at all angles, chunks of skull and gray matter scattered in the dirt. "Sorry, sleepyhead. You know what happens to the early bird." he said to the corpse. He moved on to one of the tents, stepping up quietly and ripped it open, revealing two scared treasure hunters. Tank took one of them by the collar. "You like skydivin'? Well here it is without the parachute!" and with that, he lazily flung the man upward. He soared into the sky, crying at the top of his lungs as he went, flying until he was nothing but a black dot in the cloudless sky. The other man looked at Tank, clearly tweaked out of his mind. He frantically crawled away, trying to escape, but the Daredevil Detonator grabbed him by his ankle and swung him over his head in an arc, slamming him down on the ground. He pulled the treasure hunter to his feet and held him by both arms, kicking him in the chest. The man went flying, slamming into a nearby tree... without his arms. Suddenly, there was a scream slowly growing louder and an abrupt THUD! He turned around to see the other treasure hunter lying face down, dead on the jungle floor.
Tank turned around to see Jorge, or Juan, or whatever Mercury was calling him, was burning to death and Mercury looked at him laughing. Tank wanted to join in on the laughter, but he knew you never interrupt a man's murder laugh. He dropped the charred treasure hunter to the floor and he lay there, dead and crispy as a potato chip. "Ay! I got good news." said Mercury, "The treasure hunters are already at the artifact site, but they are having some trouble retrieving it. The cave has a few obstacles they can't seem to get over. Their leader Domingo de la Sousa has a power suit giving him enhanced abilities, but he's no match to us on a bad day. When we reach the artifact I'll grab it with a cosmic ball because touching it might set something off." Suddenly, Jorge set fire again and Mercury dropped water out of nowhere on him, revealing yet another blade in his swiss army knife of powers. Tank couldn't help but feel a bit impressed. He had killed someone in one of the most brutal ways possible, laughed about it and shown no remorse afterward. Maybe he would turn out to be an okay psycho. "Forgot about that", Mercury said nonchalantly, "I digress, we need to wipe out Domingo's esse's and get through the cave to the artifact. The cave is west of this camp not far from here, so let's move out." he said and lead them farther into the jungle.
They traveled for hours, trudging through the thick wilderness. Sunlight leaked through the canopy, giving this place an almost heavenly glow. Tank always found himself in both awe and disgust at the serenity of this place. The jungle was a beautiful but treacherous place. Every inch of it looked the same as the last, so easy to get lost, so easy to die. After all this time of awkward silence, Tank decided to open his mouth as they went. "So, I'm confused. Who's the bad guy here? Us or the sweaty treasure hunters?" He kept walking. He couldn't help but take a disliking to Dooplis. He claimed to enjoy the finer things like chaos and disorder, but he hadn't done anything but turn one animal into another. And for that matter, what was the plan behind turning the entire world into monkeys? Had Dagger finally gone off his rocker? Well, all the way off his rocker.
After Jack was done with Julio, Doopliss discovered a small camp. Jack would have seen it long before if he hadn't been focussed on building weaponry and questioning Julio, but that didn't matter now. "Kill all of them, don't blow up anything! We can find some info here." Jack walked through the gunfire and approached the treasure hunters, many of them reloading weapons or aiming recoilless rifles at him. With a flick of his wrists, Jack produced two long light-blades and leapt forward slicing through men and weaponry with ease. Bullets bounced of his metal skin and rockets were easily deflected with either his wrist blades or his bare hands.
Jack noticed one of the technicals was starting up, so Firebrand sprinted after it and with one clean leap landed on the roof. Jack drew back with his wrist blades and sliced the truck neatly in two length wise. With a thought his wrist blades dissolved into nothing and he collected two handfuls of infrared light and flung them at the driver and passenger, walking away as they burst into flames from the inside out.
As Jack worked his way back to the camp, he saw that most of the treasure hunters were dead, or pigs. As Jack strolled back toward Mercury, he saw a man inside a tent, preparing to leap out at him with a machete. Jack knew that there was no way this man could know Jack saw in the full EM spectrum, and so could see him plain as day through his IR and gamma signatures. Jack decided to play dumb and calmly strolled by the tent where the man was crouched to pounce. With a massive clang, the machete bounced off of Firebrands metal neck. Jack slowly turned and slowly changed his appearance to that of a twenty foot tall demon with a flaming sword. Jack almost collapsed with laughter at the look on the little mans face. Firebrand reached out, grabbed the man by the head, and crushed his skull like an egg.
"Ay! I got good news." said Mercury, "The treasure hunters are already at the artifact site, but they are having some trouble retrieving it. The cave has a few obstacles they can't seem to get over. Their leader Domingo de la Sousa has a power suit giving him enhanced abilities, but he's no match to us on a bad day. When we reach the artifact I'll grab it with a cosmic ball because touching it might set something off." Jack simply nodded, though if the rumors about this artifact were true, they had nothing to fear. The legend said the artifact can only work if it's hit by sunlight, and that was Firebrands area of expertise.
Jack looked off into the distance though the dense foilage, and saw the object they were looking for, off to the West. After a few hours of trekking through the jungle, Jack was sick of having to push past all of the brush and debris, and he was growing frustrated with following the slightly lost Mercury. Firebrand took the lead of his little group and had them halt for a minute. Jack gathered a large amount of infrared light and after carefully determining the fastest route to the cave, Jack unleashed a powerful beam of infrared light, burning through all of the jungle between the syndicate and the cave. With a nice straight line to the cave, they made good time without any more delays to the mouth of the cave. Jack gazed through the stone and the darkness and picked up traces of gamma waves and x-rays coming from deep in the cavern. Something in there was alive, and probably wanted to kill him. Jack took the first step into the cave without any apprehension or fear, confidant in his abilities.
As the other three cut their way through the small camps of Mercs, Doopliss was busy doing things like causing many deep pits to appear beneath the soldiers, cause guns to jam catastrophically, and stealing the engines from the technicals. When he was done, a good portion of the camp was either burnt to a crisp, pulverized, trapped deep underground, running around as various harmless animals, were buried up to their necks in sand, beaten to death, irradiated, or had wedgies that looked inhumanly painful. His compatriots seemed to be rather unphased by the heavy machine guns and anti-tank guns, and they didn't seem to have much trouble destroying the converted trucks.
Ay! I got good news." said Mercury, "The treasure hunters are already at the artifact site, but they are having some trouble retrieving it. The cave has a few obstacles they can't seem to get over. Their leader Domingo de la Sousa has a power suit giving him enhanced abilities, but he's no match to us on a bad day. When we reach the artifact I'll grab it with a cosmic ball because touching it might set something off." When mercury mentioned power armor, Doopliss imagined some kind of sleek form fitting suit, but that image quickly faded when he reminded himself of the general level of technology of the world; much less what one Mercenary could afford.
As the group headed towards the Cave, doopliss did manage to catch the sight of some Huey Helicopters, probably Vietnam war vintage, and by their markings he could identify them as federal forces. Some of them hovered near the camp site as if they were observing for something, and as soon as they appeared; they slipped away into the horizon. Moments later a wing of five Vietnam war vintage F4 Phantom aircraft flew over the ruins of the campsite and released a cluster of Napalm bombs, burning a huge swathe of the forest to the ground and incinerating the campsite, melting the metal of the cars and incinerating the corpses. Perhaps the government of this country was in on the secret of the artifact and wanted to remove all evidence of the struggle, or perhaps they were just chasing the mercenaries.
Nevertheless, Doopliss didn't think much of it. Jack had lead the group a wee bit and halted them for a minute, burning away more of the forest and probably some unfortunate animals in a straight line to the cave. When they reached the mouth of the caves Doopliss got the feeling that something was alive deep in the cave; probably some sort of monster. Though jack made the first step into the cave, Doopliss barreled into it. "Come on slicks, don't be afraid of the bleedin' dark." he said in a rather silly tone. It was at this time that Doopliss's voice woke up practically every bat in the Cave sending thousands of tiny, annoying, but ultimately harmless flying mammals screeching out of the cave. "Cheeky little blighters ain't they." Doopliss remarked.
But the main problem wasn't the bats, since they weighed less than three pounds each and were herbivores, they would be harmless to a regular person; much less this squadron of superpowered villains. No, the real problem were the big bat eating Centipedes that called the cave home. As Doopliss turned around to signal the group further, an impossibly large Twenty foot Foot long centipede had reared up behind him to a height of ten feet, it's fangs dripping flesh melting venom. It certainly wasn't the creature from deep inside the cave, or the only such centipede in there, but that didn't stop it from being one of the ugliest looking bugs imaginable. "Hey...does anyone else hear that?" he remarked as other centipedes crawled out of their crevices, though none were as big as the first one. "It's probably behind me isn't it?" he sighed as he turned around to face the immense arthropod. "Criminy, that is one big bleedin' bug." he said snarkily as the Centipede shrieked in his face. "Wait...bugs can shriek now?" Doopliss remarked.
In the dark cave, water dripped and made the stone floor slick and treacherous. Tank moved cautiously behind Mercury and Firebrand, his stalky, muscular frame nearly slipping every step of the way, but his experience in the area kept him on his feet. Suddenly, the sound of a thousand scattering little arms echoed throughout the cave, bouncing off the walls. From what light there was, Tank saw the walls moving as countless centipedes crawled in their direction. He looked at Doopliss behind him, still not believing such a thing could, or should exist. But it was an affront of God's creation, which earned it Tank's unsteady favor. Behind the ghost lumbered a menacing beast, twenty five feet long, not the only centipede of its size, but the one bold enough to attack. Tank reached for the pistol Firebrand had given him which he had filled with his explosive energy, aiming at the insect's torso. His eyes widened with a sudden realization and he lowered the gun. The explosion would bring down the cave on them. Although this wouldn't bother Tank, the others would be killed. And he could still manipulate them further. He decided to let them live for the time being and jumped to the right, landing on a foothold in the stone wall and recoiled off, leaping toward the centipede. He quickly slammed his fist into its chest, ripping it out covered in brown and green bile. As the beast fell, wounded, Tank sat atop it, raising both fists and with a powerful roar, crushed its head, practically flattening it against the cave floor.
He pulled himself away from his kill, looking at his group. There was nothing light-hearted about him, even when he jested, his face was stone cold. He glared at them, nerves tingling with the thrill of decimation, the sensation of bone giving way beneath fist. From behind came another centipede, rivaling the size of the first. It lowered itself on Tank, fitting half his body into its mouth right away. He let it take him. The big bug raised its head back, using its throat muscles to push him down. The Daredevil Detonator squeezed down the bug's esophagus, its many rows of spiny teeth rending against his flesh to no avail. As he felt the mouth of the beast close around his feet and felt his head dip into the stomach, he charged up his fist, snapping his fingers and the infernal insect spewed out its innards and lurched over dead. Tank crawled out of the scaly carcass and wiped the slime off himself. He marched past the group, further into the cave. "Moving on."
The humidity of the jungle subsided as they traversed further into the cave. Water leaked profusely making it slippery against the rocks under their feet. Fire from Mercury's hand lit the dark cave filled with obstacles. Spiders obviously infested the place with all the cobwebs they walked past. The wind from outside echoed like someone was blowing into a can or bottle. Scattering insects came from every direction and Mercury shined light on small centipede's as they shied away from his light. His teammates became cautious and looked everywhere waiting for something to lurch out the dark.
Out of the dark a monstrous centipede slithered into Mercury's light. The team stared at the centipede as it bared it's sharp circular rows of teeth. All the sudden Tank climbed into the centipede's mouth. "Clever Tank.", Mercury smirked as he witnessed the trick to come from Tank. When he feet were inside the centipede's mouth it's inside exploded out it's mouth. Mercury shielded himself and his teammates with a cosmic shield. It's organs splattered on the shield like it was colliding with glass. It slid down slowly as Mercury turned the shield intensity up. It's insides began to singe against the shield until finally they burst into flames and were burnt to oblivion.
Mercury dealt with the small centipedes on the floor by trapping them in a cosmic bubble and shrinking the bubbles size, crushing them. "Moving On", Tank said as he wiped himself off while they continued deeper into the cave. "That must of been one of the 'obstacles' Domingo was talking about", Mercury thought to himself. He was positive each member on the team could handle those centipedes on their own. And Domingo's men were no match, they were coked up to make it worse. The hunters had to have sacrificed themselves to let Domingo get this far, with little effort from his power suit.
The cave began to widen into a what seemed like a circular opening with a door in front of them. "Wait.", Mercury held his arm out to stop them from stepping any further. "There is something that activates here when we walk across", Mercury tightened his hand and the ground began to shake. A rock in the center of the walkways burst out of the ground and a slithering sound set off. "Knew it, but what is it", Mercury leaned his fire-lit finger into the walkway to and vines grew right before his eyes. They appeared to be strong and vicious whipping around expecting to grab something. It latched onto the rock he rose out the ground and wrapped it's tentacles around it. It was like a snake trying to suffocate it's prey, but the vine did more than that. The rock was crushed into pieces as the vines tightened it's grip. "Stand back, I know what to do."
That statement was true and false. He knew what to do, but never done it before. When Mercury was on the X-Viners he watched his teammate Moriz sap the life out of a water women named Plasma through a plant. What Mercury was attempting to do was sap the life out of the plant by extracting the water from it. Clenching his fist he stepped into the vine's reach, he shot it with fire and it burned for a little, but the vine continued thrashing. The fire only irritated it more, he figured this wasn't a normal plant. A tentacle lunged at Mercury and wrapped around him, immediately trying to crush him. Concentrating he began tapping into the vicious plant for water. The squeezing made it harder for him to concentrate and breathe. He had to do this quick.
His hands became tightened into claws and he could feel the water running through the plant. Swiftly moving his hands as much as possible restrained by the plants bind, Mercury felt water disperse from the plant. It worked, but that wasn't enough the plant tightened it's grip on Mercury's upper body. This try had to be the last if he wanted to live. Clawing his hands with more focus, he motioned them outward and a strong mist of water excreted from the vine. It's grip weakened and it began to lower Mercury on the floor. He sliced the vine from dying vine and he broke his fall on the ground. The decapitated vine began to sprout another tentacle, but it was already dying. Mercury did it, it wasn't done the smoothest way possible, but he did it. Shaking off the near death experience Mercury walked towards the door,"Now you can come."
Jack walked carelessly throught the cave, ignoring the giant centipedes that tank crushed and smashed. He watched, disinterested, as Mercury sucked the life from killer mutant vines, nearly dying in the process. Firebrand was certain that at some point his special abilities would be necessary, but clearly this part was childs play. It was dark in the cave, almost pitch black. The absence of light weakened him a bit, forcing him to create light out of his own energy. And so they wandered through the cave, occasionally making a wrong turn and having to backtrack after hitting a dead end. Here and there were traces of treasure hunters who had fallen victim to a trap or viscious mutant animal; a head, an arm, a grenade belt.
Soon, the team came up to a genuine challenge, more of a challenge than anything they had come up against so far. Jack was walking next to Tank, both wondering why Dagger needed all of them to come on this mission, when the team entered an enormous round chamber. The room was a perfect semisphere, the very top of the dome open to the sky, which let in a dull permeating glow. Inside were what appeared to be three 40 foot tall stone statues, standing in a cluster facing out from the center of the room. The team barely glanced at them as they walked toward the tunnel at the other end of the chamber. Jack was the first to notice some thing was wrong. As the team passed the group of stone giants, each armed; one with a sword, one with a massive war hammer, and the last was armed with a war axe, Jack suddenly saw a massive increase in the infrared heat signature of the statues.
He barely had time to tackle Mercury to the ground before the war hammer, swung with immense power and speed, passed inches above their bodies. The hammer hit Tank like a freight train knocking him into the dome wall 300 feet away. Though the team was dazed at the speed and ferocity of the attack, they quickly reacted counterattacking the gargantuan guardians hoping to bring them down with their combined powers. "Tank! Shoot the one with the hammer!" Jack shouted while he leapt toward the sword wielding statue. Jack struck the statue with all his might just in time to realize that they were not actually statues, but living creatures.
Tank fired the pistol Firebrand had given him, hitting the hammer troll square in the chest, creating an enormous explosion. The troll staggered backward as Jack, who had leapt off the sword troll, built a chain from solid light and wrapped it a dozen times around the reeling trolls feet. BOOM! The entire chamber shook with the impact as the giant hit the ground. Tank leapt through the air, swinging his arms with all his might, blasting the trolls head off and knocking himself through the air over Jacks head, landing 15 feet behind him. Jack glanced at Mercury and Doopliss fighting the axe troll, both taking a beating, but dishing out serious damage in return. Jack turned his attention back to the troll with the sword who was closing in on Jack and Tank, wielding his 30 foot long, twelve ton sword with one hand, the fallen giants 15 ton war hammer in the other. Jack knew that neither he nor Tank could take direct hits from the giant without being destroyed. Jack, in a last ditch combination attack, grabbed Tank by the arms and launched him at the trolls face like a javelin while shouting "Charge up!"
Before any of them could see it coming, a giant warhammer swung just over Mercury's head and struck Tank, sending him far across the stone chamber, flailing around out of control. He crashed into the wall far off and pulled himself up, dusting off. He charged back into the fight, firing the gun Firebrand had given him. The first beast hit the floor, his comrade took up his warhammer in the hand not occupied by his sword. Tank jumped into the air and crushed the other, landing next to Firebrand. The final troll charged at them, armed with both sword and hammer. Either one of these massive weapons could possibly injure or, with a well placed strike, kill Tank. He reached for the gun, realizing he had dropped it several yards away on the ground. Suddenly, Firebrand took hold of his arms and hurled him at the beast. "Charge up!" he shouted. Tank folded his arms over his head and pulled his legs over his stomach, an orange glow gathering all around him. With great speed, he hurtled toward the living statue and BOOM! The impact sent the warrior back, the earth rumbling beneath his feet. He dropped the sword, keeping the hammer in hand. As he dust cleared, he pulled his hand away from his face to reveal a large portion obliterated, the right side of his face, gone. He looked down at Tank with one eye and raised the hammer. Tank quickly dove for the twelve-ton sword. He raised the gaudy blade over his head and narrowly deflected the hammer, spinning around and slicing the leviathan's foot off. It stumbled backward, falling to the earth with a loud THOOM! Tank held the sword at his side, a little awkward handling a weapon of that length. He tossed it aside and it dropped to the floor. He turned to Firebrand. "You wanna finish this one?" he asked.
Jack walked forward to where the giant was writhing on the ground. Tank had neatly severed the creatures foot and blown off half its face, but it was still alive and starting to recover. Tank threw him a wry grin and asked if Jack wanted to finish it off, Firebrand simply nodded. Jack pulled together light from the top of the dome and gathered it into a ball of energy a foot across. He molded the blob of light into a sword the size and shape of a scottish claymore. Jack leapt gracefully onto the giants chest and with a single smooth motion he twirled the sword, dropped to his knee, and plunged it into the beast's heart.
As Firebrand rose to his feet, he absorbed the light from the sword, regaining some of his strength he had lost in the dark tunnels. He looked around and saw that the third giant had fallen to Mercury and Doopliss, who was nowhere to be seen. Firebrand spotted Mercury taking a knee off to the side of the dead giant. Jack walked over and helped Mercury to his feet as he asked, "Where the hell did Doopliss go?" Mercury just shrugged and went to check that all three giants were dead which they definately were. Tank then framed the question which Firebrand hadn't considered, "How did a bunch of crack-head treasure hunters and a guy in a power suit get past those things?"
A shiver ran up Jack's spine when he thought about what it had taken for three highly trained and incredibly powerful to win out. Jack knew that things were more complicated then it had first seemed, and considered just flying out through the hole in the top of the dome and leaving. In the end though, Jack decided to stick with the team a while longer. It wouldn't go over well at syndicate headquarters if jack just abandoned the group mid-mission. Plus, Tank would kick his ass for leaving him alone with Mercury in the middle of a cave. The group cleaned themselves up a bit before heading out through the other exit, onward to the next challenge in the madhouse.
It was a success, this was a new alternative to his basic powers. The plant sapping wasn't done with finesse, but it was executed, all he needed was practice. He wondered what other untapped powers his other elements had to offer him. It became his long term goal, master his manipulation, while finding entirely new ways that hadn't been done. He knew if he respected his power, he would reap the benefits and become a powerhouse. He couldn't count the ways he could use his power to his personal gain. He wanted to lead a team again, this time of mutants like himself, in the future. It was weird being a lower in rank than someone, but he had control of himself at the least. DaggerKlutz nor any of his teammates have crossed him, yet. They may doubt him but, that isn't left to the imagination for long.
A circular chamber similar to the last one, only bigger was in front of them. He stared up as he realized sun had peeked through an opening to the jungle. Trees shaded the opening, but the sun shined through none the less. God-like statues stood above Mercury and he knew what was coming. These statues would magically come to life then fight until Mercury and his team were killed. "How did Domingo get through this", he wondered. That's if he made it through this, who knows, he could be following them. Mercury wouldn't be surprised, he already declared Domingo was a coward.
Immediately, Firebrand tackled Mercury to the ground as a war hammer swooshed over their heads. It missed Firebrand and Mercury, but it pounded Tank and sent him flying across the chamber room. Mercury got on his feet and charged at a living statue farther away while Tank blasted the other statue with Firebrand's gun. Doopliss was already fighting the rock monster, circling around it. Mercury didn't see where that was going, but Doopliss was full of mystery. Standing at the statues feet Mercury projected a burning cosmic wave at his face. Mercury never let anyone intimidate him even though they were humongous in weight and height. The statue kicked Mercury into the air and instead of fighting on the ground he decided to fly. With his air manipulation he recovered and hovered in the air.
Out of thin air two large cosmic spheres generated in front of Mercury's fist. They were connected to his arms but they showed no attachment whatsoever. He zipped around the statue and decked it across the face with a cosmic sphere punch. His fist and arms were swinging but the spheres dis all the hitting. There was no way he could punch this thing without breaking any bones. It swiped it's hand barely missing Mercury, this monster was agile despite it's size. He flew down and went in between it's legs punching the cosmic spheres into his pelvis with a two piece. The statue fell on it's knees grabbing his crotch, "I really didn't think that'd work". Mercury smirked and circled around and punched him simultaneously with his cosmic spheres knocking him to the ground.
Mercury landed on the ground rushing at the statue. He leaped up on his legs and ran on his torso then leapt into the air. Clasping his hands together above his head the cosmic spheres merged into a larger, more powerful sphere. Hands still clasped together, he brought them down to his legs and the sphere smashed the statues face into dust. Landing where the statues head used to be, he rolled to break his fall, collecting some debris on his clothes. He dusted himself off and realized Doopliss was nowhere to be found. Tank and Firebrand were fighting together, but Doopliss was missing. If he ditched the team, he ditched Mercury and that was crossing him.
The three went deeper into the cave, leaving Doopliss who had apparently ditched them. Good. As they passed through a massive arc, the floor narrowed to a single long bridge, not much wider then their feet and surrounded by unfathomable darkness. Tank scooped up a rock and tossed it into the pit. He waited for a good minute and never heard the stone strike the ground. He cocked his head to his team behind him. "I'm pretty heavy so I'll go first. You guys can fly, right? Whatever. If I fall, I'd have an okay chance at livin'." With that, he cautiously stepped onto the stone bridge. He sidestepped slowly, keeping his balance. The narrow bridge was over a hundred yards, and he couldn't see much past the end.
Tank's legs began to wobble beneath him as he reached the end. Just before he fell, he jumped onto solid ground and turned to his group proudly. "I did it!" he shouted and suddenly, felt the shadows lurch and squirm as though the could no longer contain the foulness that they veiled. His smile slowly drained from his face as he heard a rumbling groan and slowly turned around, looking up at the towering beast in front of him, big and threatening enough to eat a handful of those giant centipedes in one bite. It peered down at him and raised one powerful claw. "Oh, f**k me." he groaned nonchalantly and rolled forward, narrowly dodging the massive claw. He slid across the floor and jumped to his feet, seeing the creature in its entirety. It was a sickly pale green, four black eyes dotting its long, glistening head. Its skin looked hard and almost impenetrable. Its jaws molded perfectly to its skin, teeth resembling green thorns. It walked on all fours and long green tendrils, nearly thirty feet long, with barbed thorns and spiked ends jutted from its back. The beast roared and leaned back, exposing its chest to Tank. On its chest were many rows of black spores which it shot out and fired at him. They burst against the stone surface and sprayed a green gas across the room. Tank began to cough.
He took a giant slab of stone and hurled it at the creature, slicing one of its tendrils clean off and scathing its back with a long gash. Green and white gunk leaked from the wounds which, miraculously, closed before Tank's eyes. The tendril regrew and the thing charged at him. Suddenly, it all made sense, the spores, the thorns, the regeneration, the damn thing was organic. It was a living plant. It dropped more spores and plants resembling the ones Mercury had sun-dried earlier crawled out. This thing must have left one for them to find before and now there were six of them crawling around and bound to be more. Without a doubt, the mama was going to be much harder to take down. "60 foot plant monster that regenerates? Sounds like a party to me!" Tank growled.
Jack watched with baited breath as Tank crossed the narrow footbridge, prepared to cast a web of light to catch him if he should fall. Jack wasn't just nervous that Tank would fall, but he was seeing some trully bizarre energy signatures from up ahead, and Tank was too tough and too good a fighter to be spared. Just as Tank reached the other side of the bridge he wobbled, started to fall, and triumphantly leapt to safety. Jack almost breathed a sigh of relief, but then he saw what was giving off those wierd light patterns.
It was enormous, easily over sixty feet tall. Jack had no idea that creatures could even get that large. Even more frightening, it had what looks like spiked tentacle on it's back, black spores on it's chest, and enormous green fangs that looked like rose thorns from hell. Jack saw that Tank was facing this creature alone and sprang into action. He leapt out into the open air of of the chasm, ignoring the bridge entirely, and let out a spectrum burst to boost his jump.
As Firebrand sailed through the air, he saw the beast dropping spores toward Tank before spinning in a tight circle and launching several razor edge spikes at Jack. Jack threw up a solid light barrier and the thorny projectiles shattered off of it. Jack landed on the opposite side of the chasm, slid for a good 40 feet, rolled, and popped upright. As he leapt to his feet Firebrand flicked his wrists, producing two hard-light Tonfa style blades, hot enough to slice through stone like butter. Jack leapt toward the small, yet lethal, vines that were crawling toward Tank, who was busy chucking large cave sections at the beast to keep it busy, and whirling like a hurricane, Jack neatly slashed each vine in half.
Firebrand now turned his attention to the monsterous creature, which had recovered from tanks attacks and was going back on the offensive. Jack stopped, and focused. He pulled every last photon of light in that he could, effectively blinding Tank, Mercury, and the creature, molded it, focused it, and sent a massive beam of full spectrum light at the creature, blasting of an entire leg. In the next moment, with the light returned and the creature staggering, Tank leapt forward and punched the beast in the head with all his might.
The creatures neck snapped sickeningly, and it collapsed to the ground. Again, Jack almost let out a sigh of relief, but didn't. Before he could he saw the creature stir, it's head firmly anchored and it's leg crawling forward to reattach with long thick vines. Firebrand grew worried and he wondered why Mercury was not standing beside them. He looked over and saw that Mercury was preoccupied by the vines Jack had cut in half, which had grown back into twice as many, and they had Mercury surrounded, about to crush him to death.
Without a moments hesitation, Jack blasted Mercury off the ledge with a ball of light, caught him and dangled him over the edge where the vines blindly followed, plunging into the abyss. Firebrand, rather pleased with himself, pulled Mercury back in and lowered him to the ground. Jack heard a deafening whooshing sound, and spun on his heel to see that the massive plant-beast had recovered fully. Before Jack could react, think, or even twitch, the monster's massive spiked tail hit Firebrand squarely in the chest. Although his bulletproof skin shattered the spikes like glass, the impact knocked him across the chasm and into the cliff so hard Jack was knocked unconcious, transformed back into his squishy human form, and plummeted into the bottomless chasm below.
They took on a life of their own as they were sliced from the monsters body. They squirmed rabidly on the floor before lunging at Mercury. The vines were the same size as the vine he encountered earlier. They were small, but strong none the less. Mercury created a barrier and they crashed into it causing a ripple on his shield. As they recovered Mercury sent a pulse through his cosmic barrier pushing them further back. He targeted one of the vines and managed to take control of it. It was called geokinesis, manipulating plant life, but he was actually controlling it through hydrokinesis. Immediately he made the vine lash out on the other vines jabbing and whipping them simultaneously.
It was a cool little trick, but he was actually improvising; they would only double if he sliced the vines in half. There wasn't much he could do on the offensive side as far as slicing and dicing. From behind, Mercury was blasted off the rock and continued down the never-ending dark pit. "Nice one Fire--", Mercury turned around and Firebrand was knocked off the platform by the plant monster. Mercury jumped off the ledge and flew at Firebrand.
Speeding closer to Firebrand, he realized he was unconscious. He scooped Firebrand up and lost control a little from his weight. He was in his human-form and he appeared asleep. Mercury landed on the platform they came in from, away from the fighting. He carefully set the unconscious Firebrand on the ground. He put his hand under his nose to check if he was breathing and exhaled air brushed across Mercury's finger. "Wake up.", he slapped his face a few times with no result. He picked Firebrand's arm up and it dropped lifelessly to the ground. "Sh!t Firebrand, wake up!", it was no use. Mercury zipped across the chamber irritated with the plant monster.
Flying towards the plant he shot fire at it lighting up the dark cave. The plant turned into a living torch and it wailed in pain as the fire singed it's skin. Trying to defend itself it shot spikes at Mercury. He deflected the vines with his cosmic barrier while the plant dispelled water that extinguished the fire. Steam rose from it's body into the air as the cave grew darker again. "Why won't you go jump off a bridge!", Mercury smirked as he watched Tank fighting from below.
"Tank! You get to blow up like a nuclear bomb!", Mercury created a large cosmic dome, enclosing Tank and the plant monster. This was the best option, but Mercury didn't know if he could really contain Tank's explosion. He got comfortable so he could focus as much as possible on strengthening the barrier. The barrier had to be stronger than Tank's explosion if he didn't want to be blown into the cosmos. He never created a shield this size to contain an explosion this big.
Mercury turned to Tank and shouted , "Tank! You get to blow up like a nuclear bomb!""Groovy." Tank replied and suddenly, a giant dome barrier of energy formed around him, and the plant beast. He took a fighting stance, standing in the shadow of the creature. His entire body began to glow and he let the energy build for nearly a minute as he stood before the leviathan. He stood straight up, looking to the beast. "Gimme a hug!" he shouted with a smirk on his face and the beat lunged at him. Just narrowly avoiding the jaws, Tank smacked the monster across the snout and a devastation nuclear blast erupted from his punch. He hoped Mercury could handle this. The explosion was an approximate twenty miles in radius and could usually level an entire city with the resulting shockwave. Anything within thirty miles was instantly incinerated. That didn't bode well for their plant friend, especially sense the fallout of the blast would stem his chances at regeneration, but Mercury might not be able to handle it.
Jack opened his eyes groggily, dazed and confused. He took approximately half a second to gain his bearings when he realized what had happened. The lack of decent light in the dim cave had weakened him substantially. When the plant creature hit him, his strength failed and he was knocked out. Jack saw Mercury flying toward the plant shooting a massive stream of fire at the beast. It was the light from that fire that gave Jack some strength back, and Jack absorbed as much as he could while not transformed. Jack switched smoothly back into his metal Firebrand form, absorbing more light and building his strength when he heard Mercury call out to Tank. He didn't catch what Mercury said, but suddenly Tank was charging up a massive explosion.
Jack saw Mercury erect a forcefield and he groaned. Firebrand knew that there was no way that Mercury could ever contain a blast of that size alone. Jack saw immediately that if Mercury couldn't contain the blast, that they would all die when the entire cave collapsed on top of them. Firebrand leapt to his feet and thought of a plan. Tank was going nuclear, and nukes gave off light, alot of it. Jack would never be able to absorb that much light that quickly, it would kill him.
Jack built a bubble of light, the entire spectrum from gamma to radio, inside of mercury's shield. Jack knew he couldn't make the shield strong enough to fully contain a nuke, but he built it to absorb as much light as possible, without being overly concerned with duration. His shield would simply blunt the force of Tanks blast, when Jack's shield fell it would be Mercury's job to contain the rest. Jack finished his shield with no time to spare. With a sneer, Tank punched the plant-beast across the jowls setting off a phenomenal explosion.
Jack saw a magnificent display of light, as lightwaves he had never seen spun before his eyes. Jack felt like a kid at a candy store as he quickly examined each new lightwave, but soon he brought his eyes back to the shields and saw the aftermath. Jacks plan worked beautifully, the light shield absorbed much of the gamma and x-rays, blunting the attack and letting Mercury catch the remainder. Jack absorbed all the light he safely could, restoring himself to his normal power level. With mercury's force field taken down and the smoke cleared from the air, Jack could more clearly see Tank, blackened with soot and ash, standing in the middle of a charred black circle, the beast totally annihilated.
As Jack mopped up the remaining radiation, the three of them discussed the treasure hunters. From the trail of body parts leading through the caves, it was obvious that Domingo de la Sousa was either far more powerful then they thought and had gotten past the giants and plant-beast; or he was clever, had let them pass, and was using them to clear the way, hoping to take them out after they exhausted themselves getting to the artifact. They discussed these options and in the end they decided the push forward, so together the three mighty men continued on through to the next chamber.
The explosion had gone off and Tank felt the incredible torrent of destructive force whirling around him, the immense heat brushing against his skin. He could smell the ashes of the plant beast as the explosion tossed them around. The explosion subsided and the forceflied faded away. On a patch of blackened earth, Tank stood alone, entirely naked. His clothes were made fireproof and otherwise heavily durable because of his powers, but that level of explosion was too great. He looked at his fellow villains as the stared in disgust and shock. "What?" he said nonchalantly and strolled casually into the next corridor. Unless god truly hated them, which Tank wouldn't blame him for, the artifact should have been right in the next room.
They arrived, and surely enough, like some cheesy adventure movie, there sat the idol in the center of the vast stone chamber, a single stream of light pouring down on it and its pedestal. Tank moved forward. "You guys might wanna let me handle this." he said. Walking up the cold stone steps, he reached out and grabbed the idol, snatching it from its pedestal. He gazed down at the idol, made of solid gold and embroidered in a special gem the likes of which Tank had never seen. It was truly an amazing sight. Suddenly, there was a loud rumbling and from just above his head, a giant boulder rolled out of the shadows. Without diverting his eyes from the idol, Tank held up his fist and the rock shattered against it.
Tank turned around, the shadows conveniently hiding his assets, and held up the idol. "I did it!" he shouted with glee. "Yes." boomed a voice of bold and exotic accent, "And I'll be taking that idol now." Out of the shadows, the sounds of hydraulics moving around could be heard and the fabled treasure hunter stepped into the light, clad in a triumphant suit of purple and green power armor. Tank eyed his suit closely and realized the logo on its shoulder that read HAIRY BACK CORPORATION. "GOD DAMMIT, PATRICK!"
This mission was pushing his limits above and beyond and so far it helped him. Mercury was confident, he always believed he would get the job done. But lately he's realized nothing is guaranteed and even he is able to fail. Tank could deliver on his end of course, but would Mercury deliver? Flying in the air would take more concentration he needed to hold the shield together, so he landed on the ground. A few feet away from barrier Mercury dug his shoes into the ground and prepared to contain the explosion.
The cosmic shield illuminated the dark cave similar to the moonlight with a green hue. Making the barrier that large wasn't as exhausting as he thought it would be, so far. Waking up from his nap Firebrand came from behind already helping keep the explosion contained. He added a layer of light to assist Mercury's cosmic barrier. Tank charged at the monster and punched it across the face and detonated his explosion. The strength of the explosion could be felt by Mercury. Like he was the shield trying to contain the explosion. It was muffled, but the explosion was ear popping. As the explosion ended his ears began ringing.
He evaporated his barrier and Tank stood in the blackened floor naked. Mercury mouthed, "What the hell", as Tank talked. He couldn't hear what he was saying, but he probably addressed his nudity. Shaking his head, Mercury walked into the next room, expecting to see the artifact. There it was on an idol with a ray of light on it, that made it shine in the darkness. "You guys might wanna let me handle this.", Tank strolled up the stepping stones and grabbed the artifact. Grabbing it set off another trap and a large boulder fell from above. Tank crushed it with his fist and continued marveling at the artifact.
"And I'll be taking that idol now." Domingo finally revealed himself, walking out of the dark corner grinning. "So, the coward finally reveals himself.", Mercury charged at him to attack. Domingo didn't move, he raised his hand and shot two energy bullets at Mercury. Out of instinct, a barrier deflected the bullets and his punched Domingo in the face. His nose started to bleed and he grew angry and started attacking. Punching and kicking Mercury dodged as many of his attacks as possible. When he did get hit he recovered quickly enough to dodge the next attack.
The darkness made it hard to see him, so he shot fireballs at vines against a wall and it lit up the room. Domingo shot a concussive energy blast at Mercury and ran towards Tank. Mercury slammed into a wall and crawled a little before he got back on his feet. Domingo had pissed Mercury off and his blood was boiling with anger. Getting in a closer range to Domingo he blasted him was a cosmic wave. Domingo looked back, but not in time, he was leveled off the ground and sailed in the air. When he slid across the sandy ground Mercury laughed with excitement, "I'm the real deal, Domingo".
Tank prepared to lunge at Domingo when he revealed himself. He smacked Mercury, sending him flying across the room. Domingo then turned back to Tank and charged at him before being hit by a devastating blow which sent him across the cavern. Tank walked down the steps, cracking his knuckles. "I look forward to takin' that armor apart piece by piece. Then, I'm gonna do the same thing with you." Domingo's armor suddenly bellowed an electrical sound and two orbs of fire shot out of his feet, propelling him forward with baffling speed. Domingo slammed into Tank's stomach, grabbing on and carried him out through the long tunnels of the cave. They flew for a long time, this cave had stretched for miles. Tank finally got a bearing on what had happened and swung wildly at Domingo, unable to reach his exposed head. He quickly dug his fingers under the shoulder plates and ripped, taking them both off. He then pounded at the secondary layer of green plating beneath them. Leave it to Patrick to use vibranium in his armor. It absorbed every blow Tank could throw at it. There were weaker points made of simple titanium or tempered steel, but Tank had little time to find them. They shot out of the mouth of the cave and Domingo turned upward into the sky. He looked up at the Daredevil Detonator with a grin as the ferocious wind tossed his long, greasy hair. "I hear your weakness is cold!" he shouted over the wind, "Well prepare to be a BOMB-SICLE." Tank looked down at the treasure hunter. "YOU'RE PUNS FREAKIN' SUCK!" he replied.
They went higher and higher until Tank could practically feel ice crawling up his hands. A breathing aperatis shot out from under the breastplate of Domingo's armor the second that they reached the altitude beyond oxygen. They hovered in the sky, miles above even the clouds. Domingo's armor had a heating and insulation system that kept him alive, but Tank both suffocated and froze. Frost covered his body and even if he wanted to explode, he couldn't. He was fully frozen and dying of a lack of oxygen. With one last thrust, Domingo hurled him into the air and turned around to finish Firebrand and Mercury.
Tank dropped back towards the earth, unable to move and nearly suffocated. He fell for longer then he had ever fallen straight down. For nearly a minute, he fell and still there was no oxygen. He pierced through the sheet of clouds and the green canopy of the Gongo was visible far below, a beautiful canvas stretching to the horizon and Tank saw it flawlessly. He opened his mouth and let oxygen fly in. He was still frozen but he had managed, with his incredible strenght, the break the ice around his joints and was allowed partial movement. He took a deep breath as he shot down to the earth and bellowed a powerful roar to his teammates "HE'S COMIN' BACK! GET THE IDOL AND TURN HIS ASS INTO AN APE!"He crashed brutally onto the ground, debris scattering for nearly half a mile. That was the farthest he had ever fallen straight down. He was tired and soar, still encased in ice. He couldn't muster the energy to get up out of his crater, so he sat there, out of the fight for the time being.
Jack was weak. He knew that this stupid cave would give him trouble, but there was nothing to work with, no light to absorb or control. Everything he did had to come from him, and he was getting very tired. Between being knocked out by the plant beast and helping contain Tanks massive explosion, Jack was running on empty. When he walked into the last chamber, and saw the stream of pure sunlight coming down, he almost cried with relief. He started sucking up light like a madman. but of coursae his relief was short lived. Domingo was already there, in giant purple armor with the logo of The Hairy Back Corporation. Is there anyone Dagger hasn't sold weaponry to?
Jack was hit by a burst of electricity, knocking him down and shocking him violently. He was breathing hard and was trembling from the after effects of the electricution. He absorbed all the light as he could while Tank brawled with Domingo, and he saw as Mercury was knocked back violently into the cave wall. Jack saw as Domingo carried Tank out of the cave and up into the atmosphere. By now, Jack was stable enough to get up, he grabbed the talisman that Tank had dropped and leapt strait up out of the hole in the top of the cavern, and into brilliant godsent tropical sunlight.
Firebrand was back, and better then ever. He rocketted up toward Tank and Domingo, and before he could get anywhere near them, way up in the outer atmosphere, Jack saw Tank lose his grip and fall. It felt like hours that Tank fell through the air, ice encasing almost his entire body. Domingo was coming back down to finish off Jack and Mercury and Jack knew he had to act, but had no idea how. Then he heard Tank yell out at the top of his lungs "HE'S COMIN' BACK! GET THE IDOL AND TURN HIS ASS INTO AN APE!" Jack would have punched himself in the face, if he had the time. Jack would have one shot at this. If he missed then Santiago could hit him with that electrical beam and Jack would be through, Santiago would win, and the entire mission would be caput. Jack did the only thing he could thing of, he focused all the sunlight he could through the gems on the artifact, and redirected them straight for Santiago.
The armor suddenly stalled, and fell. Jack flew over to check on Tank, sitting at the bottom of his little crater. Jack hit Tank with a wave of IR light, vaporizing the ice that encased him. Jack reached down and helped him up before seeing Mercury flying toward them swiftly. Jack scooped tank up in a light bubble and flew them both to meet Mercury over at the crash site. They landed and took a moment to regroup before approaching the wreckage. Jack was entirely unsure what to expect as they approached.
Domingo grabbed Tank and took him into the sky, he was smarter than Mercury assumed, but still a coward. He must have hid in the shadows this entire time, waiting to be lead to the artifact. The Syndicate members were all exhausted in some way, shape or form and Domingo capitalized on their fatigue. Mercury would have chased after Domingo, but he would end of exhausting himself and fall to his death. His head was throbbing from the concussive bolt and the crash into the wall. Since he had the opportunity to stop he realized how sore he was. His legs were numb, his arms were burning and his knuckles were scraped and bleeding. Some of the sand thrown in the air got in his throat and he started coughing, "Ahh". He cleared his throat and spit what dirt he could out his mouth.
Firebrand was gone when he looked around the artifact room. When he ran into the plant monsters lair Firebrand was rocketing out the roof of the lair. To get a better view he ran under roof opening and saw three tiny specs in the sky. Mercury's cosmic lenses gave him a microscopic view of the air fight . Tank was falling helplessly down from the sky and looked frosted, "How did Domingo think of something like that?", Mercury thought. Firebrand shot a beam at Domingo's armor and he was sent twirling down out of the sky with Tank. Mercury ran to catch him at his crash site, hoping he was done for.
Mercury met up with Tank and Firebrand to check if Domingo was dead. "I'm so sick of this guy.", Mercury angrily stated. This Domingo dilemma was taking longer than he thought it would take. Mercury was tired and was a little tired in the thought-processing also. The wind picked up the smell of smoke that had to be from Domingo power suit. Stepping over bushes and pushing through branches they arrived at the crash site. Domingo lied there groaning in pain with the singe of his damaged armor. "This has gone on for way too long, Domingo. And I'm tired of your spanish ass!", Mercury yelled. A red cosmic cylinder pole with a sharp edge formed in Mercury's hand as he walked to Domingo, pissed.
Without saying anything Mercury bashed Domingo's armor and made sure he destroyed the energy shooters on his palms. Wacking him across the face giving him a bloody nose Mercury asked Tank and Firebrand, "Who has the artifact?"
"Who has the artifact?" "Yo." Tank replied, holding up the artifact by the thin leather strap. He held it in his outstretched hand, directly in a ray of light poking through the leaves. A beam of energy filtered through the gems in the center and shot at Domingo. Suddenly, he began to scream. His exposed head sprouted hair all over and his bones quite painfully shifted in form. Tank watched as parts of the armor squirmed. The armor was designed to fit a human. Inside, Domingo's body was shifting against the mold of the rigid metal suit. He sprouted hand thumbs and his entire skeletal system changed, which was painful on its own, but was intensified by the crushing force of the armor. His torso stretched and his belly extended but the suit remained in the shape of a sculpted human chest. At last, the transformation was complete and Tank looked at the artifact. "So it does work." he said, "Maybe this Saturday morning cartoon crap isn't so bad. Hey guys, I wonder if Gorilla Patrick would have any hair." as Tank made small talk in the midst of Domingo's suffering, he dropped the artifact which hung by the leather strip around his wrist. The artifact remained in the sun and swiveled on the strap, turning its ray to the three super criminals. When Tank returned his attention to the artifact, he was barraged with light.
Ooo-kay. he thought to himself, I feel... short. He looked down at his hands, Were may hands always this gray and... hairy? OH CRAP! Tank looked at himself, realizing that he had been turned into a 700 pound silverback gorilla. His clothes were ripped and he looked to his ape counterparts to say "Hey, look! I'm the furry Hulk!" but all that came out was "GNAAGH NAAR OOK OOK!" The inside of his mouth tasted like dog breath and his eyes felt miles apart. He raised his fist and looked at it with determination. Charge up. Come on, charge up! Tell me I'm not stuck without my powers! he smashed his fist into the dirt when his fist didn't glow. He then stuck one finger into his gut. Squishy. I'm vulnerable. And I'm weak. Gorilla strength is good, but nothing next to my usual. We need to get to Dagger. He can reverse this. Hopefully.
Suddenly, the sound of heavy tires and roaring engines was heard around the bend as well as the wild crack of gunfire. The treasure hunters were coming to finish them. "ROON!" he shouted, managing to almost form a word out of gorilla grunts. He then raced into the jungle, somewhat awkwardly, on his short feet and extended arms.
"God damn it" Spectrum sighed as his frame began to bulk up. Well, maybe i'll keep my powers as a gorilla, that won't be so bad. Suddenly, darkness overtook Jack's eyes. Jack began to thrash violently, believing himself to be blinded somehow. Soon, the mid day sun of the rain forest flashed in his eyes reminding him that he was NOT blind, but damn close. Crap, these eyes are next to useless. I can't even see past this thin wall of foliage. Jack heard the roar of engines and sharp pop's of gunfire, as well as Tank's half-formed warning, and sprinted away as fast as a gorilla can, which is really really slow.
Jack remembered reading something about gorillas. Although they were shorter than humans, their bone and muscle density are much higher, giving them superhuman strength. Jack heard the thin whine of a two stroke dirt bike closing fast on his position, so Jack pulled a medium sized tree out of the ground and timed his swing, shattering the bodies of the driver and gunner of the motorcycle. Jack, despite weighing over 600 pounds with short little legs, hopped on the bike, kicked it to life, and ripped off through the jungle. He was simply hoping to out run the treasure hunters, knowing the team rally point was a few klicks due west; a barren promontory where he had stashed a few weapons a few years ago.
A high pitched whirr behind Mercury got his attention as he bashed a cosmic pole on Domingo's face. It was a ray blasted at Domingo's body turning his skin golden-yellow. Tank shot the Gorilla artifact at Domingo and he would be a gorilla in no time.The ray made him twitch and squirm around on the grass, he tried to fight it, gritting his teeth. Mercury stepped a few more inches back and laughed hysterically at Domingo's fate. He thrashed around ripping grass from the ground, throwing dirt in the air. He appeared to be throwing a tantrum, but he was really trying to fight the gorilla transformation. Tank and Firebrand watched from a distance; their enjoyment not as extreme as Mercury's. Domingo's bones began morphing, cracking and popping. Domingo winced in pain on the brink of tears, losing control of his body.
Now Domingo was a gorilla trapped in a power-suit, grunting. If what he was saying could be translated he was probably cursing at the three villains. The high pitched whirr sounded again, but this time Mercury was facing the artifact. For some reason, the idol slipped from Tanks hands and it swung hitting sun rays. The sun rays activated the artifact and it shot aimlessly in random directions. Mercury shook his head and slowly sighed as the ray darted at him,"Sh!t." The first sting of the gorilla ray was on his hand, then his entire body went stiff. Before you could say blueberry pie, Mercury was a hairy gorilla.
His knuckles pressed against the grass and when he straightened up he felt shorter. He wondered what he looked like now, he knew he would laugh if he ever saw his refection. His mind felt the same, but his body was different. Mercury knew this all could have been avoided because he explained retrieving the artifact in the beginning. He guessed; Tank maybe panicked and grabbed it when Domingo ran towards him. Or he forgot what Mercury told the team. Either way he didn't do what Mercury said and this is what happened. There was no use scolding him about it now. Domingo was trapped in the power-suit huffing when Mercury realized he didn't twitch like Domingo. It just happened, he came to the conclusion that it had to do with him being an evolved human.
When he tried to test his powers, nothing happened. In his head he said, "Are you kidding me!", but his voice said, "OOO-OOO". Covering his mouth, he lost his balance and fell on his face. The "OO-EE-AH-AH " made his face warm up and he felt his pores ready to sweat. He wouldn't speak another word until he turned back into a human. When he scanned the area he saw two more gorillas, Tank and Firebrand's human bodies were nowhere to be found. Looking at them he had a basic idea of what he looked like in the face, they looked different, but they looked the same. Large nostrils, sunken small eyes, and wide lips. Mercury counted the seconds til he got his body back.
In the meantime, they had to focus on the gunshots and approaching cars. Mercury was not used to this body and fighting people with range was suicide. The best thing to do was go back to the meeting point they were dropped off at. At first Mercury ran on his feet, but after he realized he on moved thirteen inches in five seconds, he ran on his legs and knuckles. He moved faster and it was easier to maneuver past the bushes trees, trees stumps, dirt mounds and the treasure hunters far behind him. He wasn't sure if they knew if they were the gorillas or not, but he kept running through the jungle.
Tank trudged through the thick brush, vines and leaves lashing against his rough, leathery hide. In his human form, he could run through a see of razor blades and not feel a thing, but now, this simple plant life was semi-annoying. As he ran, his foot fell into a gap. He could hear the treasure hunters hooting and hollering, firing their guns in the air, growing ever closer behind him. He wondered if in this part of the world, they had monkey skin rugs instead of bear skin, but quickly pried his thumbed foot free. Suddenly, an idea sprung to mind. He scooped up a log and wedged it in as far as he could. This area had enough vines and leaves to cloud the driver's vision until it was too late. That would cause some deaths, a pile up, they'd have to chase the three gorillas on foot. He made sure the log was secure, protruding from the ground diagonally, and then ran to catch up with his group.
Speeding through the jungle, he heard the screams of many men, a crash, the scattering of breaking glass and brain matter, the sound og trucks smashing into one another. That would buy them a couple minutes. Tank made sure the artifact was still wrapped around his wrist by the leather strap, they would most likely need it to change back. Hopefully, the pilot of Patrick's private jet could understand gorrila grunts, because they needed to get out of there as soon as possible. Suddenly, he noticed a long dark stain running down his fur, blood. He had been hit by a bullet. Only a flesh wound, but the burn of hot lead began to sear the hole in his upper arm and he found it a little harder to run. Wait up, assh*les! he shouted in his mind, unable to speak. They rushed up the hill where they had entered the jungle. They were almost there. Hopefully, they'd have the plane waiting to get them to safety before the treasure hunters killed them all.
Jack got back to the rally point. It wasn't far to the airport, but this spot was easily defendble and he had left a stash of weapons here a long time ago. Jack pulled out two gun belts and slung them over his massive shoulders in two makeshift bandoliers. He checked his pistols to make sure they were still fully functional and fit in his jumbo hand. He started to prep some of the other weapons: A twelve-gage remmington, two MP5's, and an M79 grenade launcher. They felt strange in his large leathery hands, but he still had his mercenary gun skill.
Jack arrived at the rally point a few miutes ahead of the others, thanks to his creative dirtbike manuever. Jack prepped a few claymores, and readied a few grenades. He saw a gorilla stumble out from the tree line 130 yards away, bleeding and stumbling, but certainly alive and ready to fight. Jack drew his name in the dirt, waiting until the other gorilla carefully wrote out "TANK" before handing him an MP5 and a desert eagle. Jack and Tank waited for Mercury to show up, hoping to delay the pursuing treasure hunters while Mercury got the pilot and plane ready for take off.
The treasure hunters were gaining on Mercury and his teammates were nowhere to be found. Danger was a like a drug to Mercury and this close to death feeling gave him an adrenaline rush. His body felt light and ready to lift off the ground at any second. His heart pumped three times faster and three times stronger. His palms became damp and sensitive to the touch. The gorilla fur cooled his body as the wind blew against him. A gut feeling told him to climb the next palm tree and he did, struggling at first, but he climbed it. The treasure hunters spotted him as he climbed to the top and bullets drilled the palm tree. He leaped to the next tree, jumping farther than expected as they sped closer. Screams, glass shattering and bodies slamming sounded at once as he jumped to the next palm tree. He glanced back and saw their trucks destroyed and two dead treasure hunters, they had crashed into a log jutting out the ground. The drivers skull was caved in and another treasure hunter neck had snapped when he was tossed out the truck bed. While the rest slowly recovered, Mercury sped up his pace and tree hopped the rest of the way.
From the height of the trees he saw the clear field of grass the team was dropped off at. Tank and Firebrand were obviously the gorillas armed with weapons, it was surreal. Gorillas carrying weapons waiting to unload on a gang of treasure hunters. The look on the hunters face would definitely be a priceless moment. At the last palm tree before the field he slid back to the ground and glanced around for transportation. There was no truck or plane to escape in and he angrily ran deeper into the field to the airport. Running on his hands became easier and he found it a little fun. Being in the shoes of a gorilla was something you could experience in a dream or video game. Actually being a gorilla was a strange, but intriguing experience. The body structure, movements, sounds and perception was eye opening. Humans had better sight and communication, but the natural strength gorilla had was amazing. Tank and Firebrand's human intelligence with a gorilla's body would dominate the drugged treasure hunters, with no problem.
The powered-down helicopter rested on an elevated helipad. The gorilla's eyesight wasn't as sharp as his vision and it was unclear if there was a pilot in the helicopter. The grass became pavement and his hands and feet started to patter. The rhythm of a gorilla's running was different from a humans. The pattering was accompanied by gunshots and explosions from behind; the treasure hunters were greeted by Firebrand and Tank. He carefully climbed three metal steps and raced across the helipad. A pilot was sat aloof in the helicopter, but jumped when he realized the gorilla. He approached the pilot slowly trying not to scare him and grabbed a clipboard on the dashboard. He scribbled, "Mercury", on a departure/arrival log-in sheet and handed it to the pilot. He told the pilot when they were dropped off, that "Mercury" was the codename to green-light the lift-off. Mercury grabbed the clipboard again and wrote, "Go down the field to pick up two more.Then take us to our jet.", the pilot read and rubbed his eyes before powering on the helicopter. Mercury hopped in and the helicopter rose into the air hovering towards Tank and Firebrand.
Tank caught an armful of guns as Firebrand tossed them to him. Two Heckler and Koch MP-5 automatic weapons, a .357 caliber Desert Eagle pistol and a grenade launcher. Hell yeah. Tank thought to himself as he grasped the surprisingly tiny guns in his massive, calloused mits. He took the two MP-5's and opened fire on the treasure hunters, who stifled, making absolutely sure this wasn't a hallucination brought on by a mound of coke. He exploited their moment of disbelief and mowed them down, his long, hairy faced stretched into a mad sneer, roaring in a way that nearly sounded like laughter. His beady, yellow eyes lit up with every ounce of blood that trickled down the leaves.
They stood their ground, doing the maximum damage to the hunters. Suddenly, there was a repetitive click and mini doses of painful death stopped firing from his guns. Tank tossed the guns aside and took up the grenade launcher. Every few seconds, there was a puff of grey smoke and a blunt WAPUNK! And a small cylinder shot into the crowd of treasure hunters, who immediately were sent flying into the air. Those who stayed on the ground watched as their limbs took flight. A gorilla firing a grenade launcher he thought to himself, God DAMN I hope someone's taping this!
Overhead, there was a loud WHUPPA WHUPPA WHUPPA WHUPPA and a harsh wind batted against he and Firebrand, all the surrounding plants flattened to the ground by the intense wind of the helicopter blades. Tank could see Mercury inside and jumped into the air, grabbing onto the skid by his long, muscular gorilla arm. As he hovered above the jungle floor, he drew the desert eagle and fired into the dwindling crowd. A gorilla, with a gun, shooting at treasure hunters, from a HELICOPTER! If Mercury isn't taping this, I'll kill him! he thought. He signaled for Firebrand to get on board and kept firing.
Jack caught the rope latter that Mercury tossed down, he picked up his favorite gun with one hand and fired. The fifty caliber slugs from the M60 tore big holes through the mob of treasure hunters, who simply stared dumbfounded at the mixture of Rambo, King Kong and Indiana Jones that flew away above them. Jack unloaded the machine gun, tossing it in the helicopter when it was empty. Jack hauled himself up the latter and sat in the doorway as the helicopter made the 3 minute flight to where the jet was waiting. Jack was the first off the chopper, unholstering his two Colt .45's and watching the perimeter as the other two got off. One of the few surviving treasure hunters rolled up on a quad, and was shot to hell by Jack as they got on the plane.
A few minutes later, they were safely on the plane. Even though they were gorillas, they were alive and they had the talisman. Undoubtably, Dagger could return their normal bodies when they got back, then Jack could replay their getaway using his powers, Tank could even film it if he wanted. Jack bandaged himself up, having taken a few bullets in the firefight and prepared for the long ride home.
Mercury searched the back of the helicopter for a rope to toss down to his teammates. He opened a locker on the wall titled in stencil letters and white spray paint, "Supply". There was aspirin, rubbing alcohol, two parachutes, knives and a coiled rope sitting at the base of the supply locker. The helicopter hovered above his team, while they massacred the horde of treasure hunters. They were being scattered throughout the entrance of the jungle. The treasure hunter bodies he saw were severed or turned into mush from the grenade explosions. They ran out the jungle only to getting blown to pieces or drilled with bullets. He caught two treasure hunters stand in disbelief at the gorillas with guns before being pelted with bullets. As fun as this was to watch, Mercury wanted to get back to New York City.
He grabbed on to a rail on the roof of the helicopter and uncoiled the rope letting it fall to the grassy field below. Firebrand grabbed on with one hand and his M60 screwed bullets into the treasure hunters with his other hand. A treasure hunter barreled out the bushes discharging assault rifle bullets, but exploded when he slipped on a grenade. Mercury pumped his fist in the air, cheering for Tank and Firebrand's comical blood-shedding. Now, Firebrand and Tank were climbing up the rope and the helicopter began to take off. One of the remaining treasure hunters raced at the helicopter on a quad bike. The hunter fell off his quad, after Jack shot him in the forehead as it sped on. They were up in the air and Mercury wrote, "Take us to our jet". The pilot nodded and flew above the jungle towards the city, La Paz to land at the El Alto Airport. They retrieved the Gorilla artifact DaggerKlutz wanted and were ready to head home.
Seven hours later meeting DaggerKlutz...
They delivered the artifact personally to DaggerKlutz hoping he could turn them back. When they stepped into his office, he laughed at them hysterically. Mercury let him laugh and sat the idol on his desk. But that didn't stop his laughter, they stood there for a minute while DaggerKlutz carried on laughing. Mercury patiently waited for him to finish laughing before he slowly walked to his desk. DaggerKlutz observed the gorilla artifact then opened his blinds. The sun shined through as he pointed the artifact at Firebrand with a high pitched whir. Then another high pitched whirred at Tank and lastly at Mercury, "It's good to be back!", Mercury sighed with relief. DaggerKlutz began laughing again, but this time Mercury was puzzled. When he looked down, he realized he was naked, "Excuse me", he ran out the office. DaggerKlutz laughter echoed through the empty hall as he ran into the bathroom with his hands between his legs. As the door slammed behind him, DaggerKlutz yelled, "Great job guys, Welcome back!" and continued laughing. Mission accomplished!
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