The Spider Entry 26
With more rage inducing speakers around City Walk Jaeger, Overburn and myself left to put out those fires while Dynamo offered to stay behind and watch over the downed Outcasts members until Argus arrived. As much as Zach was itching for another fight he couldn’t pass up being the first to speak to the press.
It’s good we didn’t waste any time breaking up the other mobs, the longer folks were exposed to the speakers the more violent they became. When we got back to Dynamo the Outcasts were gone and Zach was majorly peeved off. Argus never arrived and once they awoke up, the rage against the topsiders was gone and they fled, but without access to take my bike, I mean the Dyno-Cycle into the sewers they got away.
Back at the crash pad Jager told us about his recent visit into The Downs, meeting a friendly Outcast meta named Faye and how music was being used to rile up mobs of outsiders and Outcasts alike. We all agreed that the Outcasts were used as pawns or tools by a bigger player. No shock but Overburn wanted to rush to the Downs and turn the place upside down looking for the remaining Outcasts and whoever is behind the psychic speakers. Jaeger and I agreed the area is too big and we’d be too obvious to search the whole place. Instead tomorrow Jager will try and enlist Faye to be our eyes down there and call us when the music and mobs start up again, if it does. Overburn and I did agree that Jaeger should reach out to Psimon again and see if he was behind the City Walk attack.
I went to the lab as two pending results were waiting for me. First the spectra graph readings on the Rage samples was finally completed. Thank goodness it didn’t share any of Centurion DNA like the drug Boost did. That line of super drug remains dead. Rage is pheromone based and its primary chemical component is a tweaked version of a formula for G0-13N1. I recognize it from my internship at Omni Corp. It was designed as a battle stim. This Rage version was modified to make it easier to reproduce and to hide its chemical matrix signature. And no surprise the lead scientist on the project was Allister Smythe. His dirty little hands are on everything shady from Omni-Corp, if I could just find some hard evidence I’d show it to Mr. Samuels and get Smythe arrested before he kills anyone or bring the law down on Xander’s dad. More tests reveal what I suspected after the warehouse fight with the Ragers. This stim uses the subjects’ adrenal glands to increase strength and dull pain, but there appears to be no upper limit. The higher the dose it’ll allow the user to push their body to the point of a stroke or even death. Looking into recent thefts of the equipment needed to synthesize this formula bared no fruit. These items were stolen five months ago, but seen as minor crimes there was no arrests or clues of who was responsible. Unfortunately, this drug lab could be set up in thousands of different places in the city.
With that dead end I completed the final tests on the Raven’s Toxic blood. The toxin was completely inert to anyone without at least 96.44% DNA markers of The Raven. It’s targeted just at him, maybe a close blood relative. It’s also not designed to kill, only cause pain on a level that could make an elephant forget he loves peanuts. It’s amazing that the Raven can even function. Further analysis of the Raven’s blood transfusions provided by Ezekiel shows something even odder. After a blood treatment the toxin is gone, but when it does return like it always has over the past year, it instantly reappears. The foreign cells show no sign of separation or spreading, it’s like they just materialize in his system instantly, which defies all known science of toxicology and Oncology. Sharing this with Ezekiel I’ve ruled out all sources except alien or magic. Ezekiel revealed that this all started when the Guardians disappeared and The Raven may even know who is behind this attack, but has been focusing on building this team. As much as I’m afraid to tell the Raven I have been testing his blood behind his back, I have to talk to him and allow us to help. A year of this level of pain is unimaginable.
Exhausted already, there was still more to do that night. There is no telling when the Psychic speaker man will strike next, and the tampons in the ears was not only embarrassing, but only a half measure. I need to understand how that effect worked and find a defense against it. Using audio recordings, I was able to isolate a low level frequency from the broadcast that was carrying the psychic stimulus. A couple hours later in the fabrication room and I had a nice set of ear buds that will filter out this specific frequency for the team to wear should we need it.
[Entry from the next afternoon] Today I was so exhausted at school I didn’t realize that I was in a conversation with Ebony at Lunch until I was shocked awake seeing Providence Pope walking in looking like a supermodel and having the school’s elite falling over themselves to please her. Even Zach was tending to her every whim. I took her aside and told her she can’t use reality warping; she doesn’t have the control. She told me she isn’t doing anything she isn’t supposed to and I should let it go. I tried to get through to her, but she wouldn’t hear it and I left school before causing any more of a scene. I went straight to Dr. Eldrich’s house at 771 Greenwich, but his stately manor appears as an abandoned building meaning he wasn’t home, or I wasn’t welcome.
When I got to the crashpad I tried to warned Jager and Overburn, but before I could Providence appeared in a whole next level beauty Ms. Mystic outfit. Overburn practically tripped over his tongue gawking at her. I fully admit she was a knockout, but apparently fear works well as a cold shower. Before I could protest Ezekiel announced a robbery at the Federal Gold Reserve and Providence teleported us all to the reserve. With a confidence she never previously possessed she announced herself as Madame Mystic to a group of heavily armed goons. Looking around I could tell things were worse than I thought. She was on bus advertisements as the leader of the New Guardians. Everyone knew who she was.
The goons were not alone, they were led by a flying energy blaster called Celtic Bolt, a brick named Shamrock and a ghostly women called Banshee. The normality of battle was a nice break from the rest of the craziness, but I was afraid Providence would lose control and do real permanent damage. Just as we were winning the fight things got even stranger. Overburn shot shamrocks out of his gauntlets and I shot harmless garden snakes out of my web-blasters. And no it wasn’t user error. Both events where followed by laugher from the roof tops. I asked Providence if she was telling me the truth she really didn’t use magic to alter reality. She said she didn’t use magic, but may know who did, but wouldn’t tell me. I explained that’s not how a team works and people are going to get hurt. She spilled the beans that she found a four-leaf clover pin among Dr. Eldrich’s oddities and it released a trapped Leprechaun and he granted her a wish. After saying come again five or six times, then after scolding her over the many different ways that was a terrible idea I found the little sharp dressed imp on the roof.
He admitted to be behind all this fun. I asked if the Celtic Crew were real he assured me yes, they are one of his favorites to use in pranks, although they aren’t always happy about it. I unleased a pissed off Banshee on the Leprechaun and he took that has his que to leave, but promised he’d be back next year since he is free now.
Back at the base Providence came clean that she felt ignored by the team and how we took Dynamo right in, but left her on the sidelines. All she wants is to join the team and help. We agreed it’s better to give in to her a little instead of pushing her away taking the chance she may try more things like this. So we give her a communicator and allow her to start training, but she has to start at the bottom and slowly work her way up.
With Providence handled for now Jaeger told us about his recent encounter with Psimon. He shared that his group is called the Brain Trust and eluded one of them may have been behind the City Walk attack. He doesn’t know if they have a true motive only that it’s just one big game to them. They want Jaeger to join and stop trying to hold his power back. They see themselves as gods among mortals. Remembering what happened when Jaeger was out of control that last time I handed out the ear buds to Jaeger and gave the frequency for OB to isolate. OB was impressed and once again offered me a job to work at Price Industries. I couldn’t really tell him that my work availability would be greatly hampered by my high school classes. Plus I can’t stand Lex Price, I told him that part. OB got very defensive and I reminded him it was Lex who went on national TV and said the new guardians were obsolete. And now he is saying he is officially supporting the New Guardians, without our approval by the way. Overburn wants us to give him a chance, sit down with Lex and see if something could be worked out. I thought it would be a waste of time, he’d just lie to us. To my surprise Overburn said Lex may be willing to let Jaeger read his mind for lies. We are to meet on the roof of price tower.
Mr. Price and I immediately start off butting heads, he so pompous and his British accent sounds fake by the way, like bad high school play fake. He calls Dynamo a moron and I defended him, that at least Dynamo is putting his life on the line and not just throwing money at the problems of the world from his ivory tower. Lex refuses to apologize for the terrible things he said about the New Guardians in the past, stating it was just business. Now he wants to provide money and tech as needed to help keep the city safe. After going in circles Lex agreed to let Jager read his mind to see if his motives are true. A second later Jager drops his glass. I pulled Jager aside and asked what terrible thing he found out. As always Jager was tight lipped and said he ddoes want to help the city, but wants merchandizing rights to the New Guardians. And shockingly Jaeger trusts him, but wants to give Lex the chance to tell me himself.
We walk back to Lex and I tell him we know his secret and why did he do it. I was floored to hear him say he slept with Ultra-Girl. Thanks a lot spider-sense for not giving me a warning on that nuclear bomb! Jager was also surprised as said that’s not the secret that made him trust Lex. God I hope not. Its about who the Overburn pilot it is. Lex summons Overburn and flips up the visor and no one is inside. Lex reveals he has been piloting the Overburn suit the entire time from day one. I felt gut punched by El Toro. The same guy who was fighting alongside us was also working against us to get a military contract. I could forgive the employee/pilot angle, but this is different. He’s lucky he wasn’t wearing the armor or I would’ve socked him. I had to get out of there and think.
Back at home I knew I wasn’t upset that he kept his identity from us, or that he lied about being just some pilot I can understand the needed to protect his company and personal life, but we on the team had to trust him with our lives and at least for a time he was working against us. Oh the betrayal! The humanity! Ok maybe I was self-indulging a little too much in teenage angst.
I was reprimanding Providence for not sharing vital information in a battle, and Overburn for wasting time having to pretend to call Lex for important information at times, yet am I doing any better? I’ve been keeping my undercover investigation into the Street Kings a secret to protect my secret ID, but what if without help I miss something and the Street Kings serious harm or kill someone. Is that worth it to protect me secret ID from my teammates? I don’t know, its too much thinking to do right now, when I really need to be practicing for tomorrow NOW: City under siege try out.
[Entry from the next afternoon] Jaeger calls with a little knews about the Downs. When I get there Lex is there in the Overburn suit. Jaeger tells us that Faye will be a look out for us and we learned she is surviving on her own and barely a teenager. Lex suggests once this is all over to fund her so she can leave the dangerous Downs. Eziekel let it slip that Gabriel Price was the Afterburn pilot. Oops! I was impressed that Lex was related to a real hero like Afterburn, Lex talked about being abandoned by his brother. Knowing it was his brother I shared with him that The Guardians may still be alive and if so he shouldn’t give up on family, because once they’re gone you don’t get a second chance to set things right.
The Raven arrives and drops a two-handed smack down on Lex. Saying he initially didn’t wanted Lex on the team only the suit that Gabriel Price left behind. And how Lex wasn’t the man his brother was. The Raven did say that Lex has been making improvements, but I’m pretty sure Lex was still reeling from the verbal haymaker and didn’t hear that. Jaeger and I both felt bad for the guy and stuck up for him. Stupid reflexes. I know, hard to believe…it just came out. Raven told us the city is dire straits and we need to get some of these players off the board before we worry about finding The Guardians. And also Argus prison is on total lock down. Lex will look into that. I decided to share with the team my plan to infiltrate the ranks of the Street Kings and that I’ll need back up.
Just before midnight we meet up across from the Paradise cyber café. Dressed in my street clothes and with no mask I was nervous from them to see I’m just a sophomore high school kid. I’m afraid they’ll lose respect for me or treat me different. Jaeger didn’t say a word and with the whole black hole for a face thing he is working, he is a tough read. Overburn was on aerial patrol so I don’t know if he bothered to look or not. I gave my comlink and web-blasters to Jaeger to hold for me in case they searched me. If they are really working for MODOK a techno-path he may be able to detect my gear.
I was not paranoid, once inside they made me leave behind my phone and all electronic and then scanned me. It seems I wasn’t the only new recruit. Some serious gamers with handles I recognized were there; Gambit, Terrible T, Ozone and Timex. They gave us use of sleek new rigs that fully immersed us into the game world. It was like being in the Hazard Room. The learning curve was tough, but the control was amazing. Daemon put us together as team and we kick some serious butt. Terrible T had some mad skillz (Note Eziekel, do not spell correct Skillz, this is not a typo), but he wasn’t a team player. The motion and effect of when getting hit in the game felt nauseating. When we finally unplugged Gambit was just coming out of an epileptic seizure and some ex-military brute named Gollum took him to the hospital. Daemon excused Timex & Ozone as well based on their physical reactions stating that if they can’t handle 15 minutes they’ll never last. This left just me and Terrible T has official recruits. He took us aside and told us that this rig was just the beginning and if we are in, we’ll feel some real power soon. We both agreed we wanted more. He opened up a secret staircase and invited us down the rabbit hole.