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by Matt Dempster
Webs


"Personal Log: 1/5/97. Terry is free of the Gestalt creature, apparently none the worse for wear. The actual base Omega, John Littleton, seems to have only vague memories of the entire experience. SIRECOM psychologists are talking to him now, and he's undergoing therapy for multiple personality disorder. Hopefully, he'll be able to accept training to control his powers. I'd hate to think of someone stuck in a psi-suppressor for the rest of their life."

Bill pushed the pause button on the recorder, and leaned back in his chair. It had been a hectic few months. Following Teresa's injury in the fight with the Gestalt, not only had the Antarctic Harrakin went berserk and attacked the city of Washington, Bill had been sent to deal with the Alpha encampment, a fight that had been bloody in the extreme. Phase had finally recovered from his injuries and was exercising with the other members of the squad, but it would be weeks before he was up to speed.

"The battle with the Harrakin under the Fix's control took it's toll, but so far, everyone has recovered from their injuries. The Fix herself is dead, and no trace was found of Dan Carter. Those Haks were the toughest opponents I've ever faced. I hope we'll never have to face them again, at least not in combat.

"The Alpha compound raid was a success, but not without heavy casualties on both sides. The Alphas were taken into custody, but I believe some of their leadership to have escaped. A sharp eye will have to be kept out for them. I don't understand what drives people like those. Fanaticism..."

A beep went off from Bill's terminal. He looked over to see his schedule flash by. Time for another training session with Chris. Theboy was actually beginning to learn something, and was using his powers as something more than a blunt instrument.

"More later. End log."


The line shot out and adhered to the wall high above the swinging figure. His body described a graceful arc as he catapulted from one line to the next, high above the pavement. A quick release and a flip, and he landed on the wall. Quickly, he ascended and landed atop the roof.

"My god! This is incredible!"

:Well, don't let it go to your head. Remember, it's not a toy.:

"Relax. I'll bring it back in one piece."

:Wait a second. I've got a police bulletin in your area, two blocks north. Armed robbery. You feel up to it?:/p>

"If I'm gonna have a test run, might as well make it a REAL test. Heading north now."


"Come on! Floor it!"

"I'm going as fast as I can!"

The car careened around the corner, sideswiping several cars there. The driver accelerated, and turned another corner. Behind them, the police car lost it on the turn, and slammed into a lightpole.

"We got it! Go, go, go!!!"

Suddenly a loud thump resounded through the car. The driver turned to look at his passengers, and then all three looked up towards the roof of the car. The driver returned his eyes to the road and was greeted by a face in his windshield. He screamed, and jerked the wheel, sending the car into a spin, finally crashing into the cars lining the street. The three hoods, shaken, got out of the car, guns at the ready.

"What the FUCK was that?"

"I don't know. Whatever it was, it's gone now."

The third shook his head. "The car's beat to shit. We're on foot for a while. Let's..." His voice trailed off and his eyes bulged as he looked up to see a pair of huge eyes staring at him from high on the wall of the storefront the car had stopped in front of. The other two turned. "Jack, what's your problem?"

The hood pointed. The others looked up to see the shadowy figure launch himself from his perch and land on the street behind them. Twin strands of sticky line shot from his hands, and enwrapped the hoods' guns. The figure leaped forward and with two quick punches, two crooks lay sprawled in the street. The third bolted, running as if demons were chasing him. The figure leaped impossibly high, and landed in front of the fleeing criminal. The man pointed his gun at the figure, but almost too quickly to see, that gun too was covered in goo, and made useless. Line encircled the felon, and he flopped to the pavement. The last thing he saw, as the figure swung off into the night was a huge spider emblazoned on the figure's chest. After that, all was blackness.


"Police are baffled by the capture of the three men who robbed 3rd Avenue liquors last night. There were no eyewitnesses, but one of the felons who were apprehended describes a man with enormous eyes, dressed in red with a spider on his chest. A sticky web-like substance was found at the scene. Police officials have declined comment. This is Ben Stillman, Channel 5 news."


Chief of Police Sam Deveroux was not having a good day. Reporters were beating down his door for comment on the vigilante that had been prowling the city for the last two nights, and his cops were no closer to the guy's identity. A knock at the door broke his reverie. He looked up and said to the closed door. "What do you want? Keep in mind, I have a gun."

The door opened. Lieutenant Robert Tse walked in, a paper tucked under his arm. "Can't shoot innocent folks, boss, at least not during the day. Wait till after work, THEN shoot me."

"Why are you bothering me, Rob? Don't you have someone else to harass?"

"I just thought you'd want to see this." Tse laid the paper on his chief's desk, and plopped down into a chair. The headline screamed 'Arachnid still on the loose.' The story went on to detail the exploits of the masked vigilante, as well as the unsuccessful efforts of the police to capture him.

"Arachnid," Deveroux snorted. "Just like the comic. Wonderful. He's making us look like asses, Rob. I want him caught. Now."

Tse stood. "We're on it, boss. We'll get him."

Deveroux shook his head. "I have faith in you, Rob. But I think we're gonna need some help on this one. If we don't get him tonight, I'm calling the Feds."

Tse smiled. "We'll get him, boss. Don't worry about a thing."


"Help!"

The man the papers had dubbed Arachnid looked down into the alleyway. How dumb did the cops think he was? Like he wasn't going to see those snipers on the rooftops? Or those awfully clean looking bums down there? "I can't believe they expect me to fall for this! Besides, don't those dumbasses know I'm on their side?"

:It's understandable. You're a vigilante. That makes you a criminal in their eyes.:

"I know." He crawled back up the wall and swung away. Four blocks up, a thin scream reached his ears. "Any police around here? "

:Negative. They're all back at the trap.:

"Acknowledged."

A quick swing and he was looking down at a classic mugging. "Gimme the purse, lady!" The mugger pointed the knife threateningly. "Give it to me, and you won't get hurt."

"No one's getting hurt around here but you, buddy." Arachnid sprang from the wall and landed in the alley twenty feet below. The mugger turned and pointed the knife at the vigilante. "Oh please. Didn't your mom tell you not to play with knives?" Two quick webs later, and the would-be criminal was hanging from a lamppost. The woman advanced cautiously. "Thank you," she said in a shaken voice.

Arachnid looked at her. "Glad to help. Go, call the police. He's not going anywhere for a while." He raised his arm, and a line shot out. Seconds later he was gone.


"SIRECOM, New York."

"This is Sam Deveroux, Chief of Police. I have a problem you may be able to help with."

"What seems to be the problem?"

"You read the papers lately?"


"WHAT?!"

"I'm serious, Wes. We just got a call from the New York office. The police there want our help to nab this guy."

"A guy pretending to be Arachnid?"

Don shook his head. "Nutcase or not, he seems to exhibit Omega powers. The cops can't handle him, so it's up to us."

"All right," Wes shook his head. "Send Michelle, Chris, Bill and Jay. They should be able to handle the situation."

"Right away, chief."

"And don't call me 'chief'!"


"So what do we know about this guy, Michelle?"

Michelle sighed. "Very little. Incredible agility, enhanced strength. He can stick to walls, and he shoots webbing just like the comic book. He only operates at night, so that's when we try to nail him. Harry, have your people come up with anything else?"

Harry Lindemuller shook his head. He'd had his people interview every witness he could find, but he had nothing substantial to add. "Sorry. No one knows anything more than what we've got. The only thing we're sure of is that he seems to operate in the Bronx. That's about all."

"Ok. Here's the plan, then." Michelle looked around the table. "Trax, you and Ricochet will scout for the target. You are not to engage unless absolutely necessary. Wait for Sonic and me to get there. We surround and subdue. Questions?" Everyone shook his or her heads. "Good. One hour to sundown. Let's get moving."


"Trax to Ricochet. See anything, buddy?"

:Negative. I don't see anything up here.:

"Keep a sharp eye out. Trax to Armor."

:Armor here. Go ahead, Trax.:

"Sector 4 is negative. Moving northwest."

:Roger, I have you on the map. Keep us posted.:

Trax sped around the corner, his eyes tracing the skyline. He had yet to sense any triggered Omegas in the vicinity. At least traffic was light.

:Ricochet to Trax:

"Trax here. Go ahead."

:I spotted something to the southwest. I'm moving to investigate.:

"Careful, 'mano. I have you on screen. I'll be there in 42 seconds."

:Roger.:

Ricochet leaped to the next rooftop where he had seen the flash of motion. He crouched and looked down into the alley below. Seeing nothing, he stood, and prepared to move on.

"TAG!!" A figure leapt from the shadows and slammed a kick into Chris's side that sent him flying. His KE field automatically engaged, and he bounced back up to the rooftop. There stood his quarry. Chris sized him up. A tall, well-built man, dressed all in red with a black spider on his right shoulder, his target stood with a relaxed posture. Chris stood and, with all the authority he could muster, said "You are under arrest. Please come quietly."

"On what charge?"

Chris stared at him. "What are you talking about? How about assault and battery for starters?"

"Okay." The man nodded. "You think you can take me in?"

Ricochet snarled, "Mister, I'll take you so fast you're head'll spin!"

Arachnid cocked his head. "All right, junior. Let's go."


The streak arrowed past him as he dodged left. 'Damn, this kid is good!' Arachnid swung up to a higher point. 'Now, where did he go?' A beep sounded in his helmet, and instinctively he flipped downward in time to see Ricochet's glowing form shoot past. The young man landed below, and bounced back up to impact with Arachnid. The collision knocked him from the wall, and the two fell to a rooftop below. 'All right. This sucks. I have to wrap him up somehow.' He stood and jumped left as Ricochet came shooting past again. Spinning, he loosed a strand of web at the hurtling form. It hit and adhered. 'Well what do you know? Rubber Boy there isn't immune to my webbing after all!' The line went taut, and Arachnid swung Ricochet in a huge arc, right into a brick wall.

Ricochet bounced. 'Oh. Shit.'

Arachnid leaped over Ricochet, but as he jumped, he twisted, creating a virtual wall of webbing. Ricochet slammed into the net...and stuck. Arachnid landed, arms raised, ready to fire again, but it wasn't necessary. The Seeker wasn't going anywhere. "Toodles, kiddo. I've got places to be. Maybe we can do it again sometime."


:Ricochet to Armor.:

"Go ahead, Ricochet."

:He got me, sir. I'm tied up but good.:

"We're en route to your position. We've got him on our map now."


"I can't believe they sent the friggin' Seekers after me!"

:It's only natural. People probably think you're an Omega. You have to admit, you can do some amazing things.:

"Yeah, okay. I'm heading back to base."

:Make sure there's no one on your tail. I can't crack their radio codes.:

"Acknowledged."

Arachnid swung west. Two hours to daybreak. Best get moving. He looked down. Shit. I don't think normal joggers move that fast.


:Trax to Armor.:

"Go ahead."

:Target is located. Moving in.:

"Roger."

:Armor, the subject is not an Omega. I get no vibe from him at all.:

Armor turned to look at Sonic. "Jay, are you sure?"

:Trust me. I know.:

"Keep him busy. Our ETA is 3 minutes."

:I'll try and leave something for you.:


"Another kid? Geez, are the Seekers recruiting at nursery schools or what?"

Trax looked at the figure perched on the wall. "You're under arrest."

"Is that all they teach you in school these days?"

Trax smiled grimly. He sped forward, quickly turned, and then rushed at the wall, full speed. And ran straight upwards.

Arachnid gaped. 'Amazing!' He had time to blink before Trax knocked him off the wall and down to the street below. As he picked himself up, Trax screeched to a stop 20 yards away. Behind him, a van skidded to a halt, and two more of the black-uniformed Seekers stepped out. 'Oh crap. This is not going to be fun at all.' He stood and looked at his opponents. 'Have to isolate Speedy there. He's big time trouble.' A quick burst of webbing, and Arachnid was on the wall again 30 feet up. Quickly he fired three shots at Trax, who sneeringly avoided all of them...and ran smack into a big net of the stuff. He struggled vainly. "You all fall for the same tricks. Learn something, would you? Always watch the road!"

Sonic stepped forward. "You might follow that advice yourself." He pointed his arm, and fired a subsonic burst into the wall that Arachnid clung to. The building facade shattered, and Arachnid fell back to earth. Armor ran forward, and grabbed the vigilante, putting him in a crushing bear hug. Sonic moved in to assist. Arachnid twisted and got his feet on the ground. Using that leverage, he flipped Armor over his shoulder and leaped backwards. Sonic zeroed in for a high-frequency blast, but as he fired, Arachnid leaped. Sonic tracked...and hit Armor, who the bounding figure had landed behind. The metallic Seeker collapsed in a heap.

Arachnid crouched. "Looks like it's just you and me, now."

Sonic growled. "One too many."

Arachnid looked at the way the Seeker stood, listened to his voice. "Bill? Is that you?"

Sonic looked startled. "Do I know you?"

"You don't remember. I'm hurt. Kuwait ring a bell?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Doesn't matter. I'm out of here."

"You're not going anywhere," said Sonic.

Arachnid looked at the Seeker. "I beg to differ. Bye!" And with that he fired a bolt of webbing right into Sonic's face. By the time he had pulled it off, Arachnid was gone.

Sonic ran forward, but a call from the recovered Armor stopped him. "Let him go. We need to get Jay and Chris free. We can wait."

Sonic looked off into the rising sun. "I know him."

Armor stared. "What?"

"I know who that was."


Frank Hughes sat at a computer console, his face illuminated by it's blue glow. He didn't look up when he heard the skylight creak open. "It's about time you got back."

"Sue me. I had to make sure they didn't follow me, didn't I?"

Frank turned to see Arachnid leap down to the floor of the warehouse they had holed up in. He looked the adventurer up and down critically. "Any damage?"

Arachnid shook his head. "No, just some bruises from where that kid Ricochet slammed me."

"I was talking about the suit."

Gary Bolton pulled off his helmet, and ran a hand over his bald scalp. "Your concern is touching. No, the armor held up fine." He began the process of taking it off, first deactivating each magnetic field that gave it it's integrity, then removing it from it's neighbor piece. Soon, the entire suit hung on a rack, like a medieval suit oh chain mail. "I think I'm gonna have to make some more webbing. I was running kind of low out there. Oh yeah, check the right toe-claws. I was getting some slippage on the way back."

Frank turned back to the screen. "Whatever." He studied the data that rolled up his display. "Did the new 'spider-sense' gizmo work?"

"The sensor array? Like a charm. The alarm went off, and I had time to avoid the danger. We got any more of the polycarbonate?"

"No. We used it all for the last batch."

"Shit. I'll have to make more...."

"Do it in the other room. That stuff smells REALLY bad."

Gary smiled, his white teeth flashing in his dark face. "You gotta make some sacrifices, son."


"So who is he, Bill?"

Bill sat hunched forward, his hands clasped together on the table in front of him. "His name is Gary Bolton. He's an ex-Marine sergeant, specializing in reconnaisance operations. There was no one better."

Chris looked at Bill. "So how do you know him?"

"Let him tell it his own way, Chris." Chris subsided, and Michell turned back to Bill. "Go on."

"It's a long story. First let me ask; how many of you know my background?" Heads shook around the table. "That's not surprising. What I'm about to tell you is classified, and they could have my hide on a stick if they knew I was letting you in on it, but I think you need to know. I was part of a secret unit during the Persian Gulf war. The unit's name was HEAT, stood for some damned thing. I think they named it after the tank shell, you know High Explosive. That's what they said about people who triggered in the Army; they went HE. Anyway, that's neither here nor there.

"HEAT was the Army's answer to SIRECOM and the Seekers project. The brass decided they didn't like the idea of an intelligence agency, especially one as shady as SIRECOM having the only team of controlled Omegas. So they recruited from their own ranks.

"I'd triggered about two years earlier. I had my powers pretty much under control by then, and the Army figured I'd be an asset to the unit. I was the new guy. They already had a few guys. There was a guy who was completely bulletproof, stronger than hell, and with an attitude to match. They called him Ram, I think on account of his attack style; plow into it and keep on going. There was Polarity. Now there was a weird Omega. Actually two, Harry and Ralph Krantz. It was a pair of twins. The two had no Omega powers whatsoever while apart, but see, the two would...merge somehow. Depending on who merged with who, the combined Omega had different powers. When Harry was in charge, we called them Ion. They had electrical discharge powers, enough to melt armor plate. The other way, with Ralph in control, they had some sort of heavy gravity ability. We called them Core when he was in charge.

"And then there was Gary.

"The token human, put there, I guess, to make us look less threatening to the other units. Hell, he was as much of an asset as the rest of us. A better scout you'd never find. He could move more quietly than Phase on a good day. He could sneak up behind you and stand there for minutes before you noticed he was there. We called him Ghost.

"Anyway, we were sent into Kuwait as part of an expeditionary force. It was supposed to be low key. All we were supposed to do was find transportation, get into Qatar, and get some of our diplomatic folks out of harms way. Simple, quick, in and out. It didn't happen that way."


Bill stood up in the passenger seat of the jeep, and shielded his eyes against the glaring noonday sun. "How far out do you think we are?"

Gary shrugged. "Five hours or so. Not much more. You guys okay back there?"

The other three regarded Gary silently, the huge Ram in the middle, and the twins squished uncomfortably on either side. Ram rumbled, "Couldn't we have gotten a truck?"

Gary turned his head. "We could have, if you hadn't stomped all over the only one in the whole damned compound. We're lucky Harry found this when he did, otherwise we'd be hoofing it."

"It's not my fault they tried to run me over."

"So you had to rip the engine apart?"

Bill looked down from his perch atop the seat. "Knock it off, guys. I think we got company." A glint of sunlight off metal in the sky. "Looks like...a chopper. Not one of ours. Gary, get us under cover."

Gary stared at Bill. "Where? All I see is sand!"

Ralph spoke from the back. "Too late. They've seen us."

The helicopter flew overhead and quickly looped back they way it had come. Bill raised his hands to try and bring it down, but Gary's touch on his shoulder stopped him. "Doesn't matter now. We've been spotted. Company will be on the way. I've got a small town about a klick west of us. We could make our stand there."

The jeep moved off over the dunes, heading for the small nameless town. Soon enough, they arrived. Gary quickly split off from the rest of the group to take up a sniper's position atop one of the low buildings. The rest of the group waited patiently, hidden in alley's linig the main thoroughfare. They didn't have long to wait.

The first thing was the noise. There is something very distinctive about the noise a tank makes. It's easily recognizable, and a sound to be feared, unless you happen to be the one driving it. Or unless you were Ram. He stepped out of the alley, his enormous form standing braced in the middle of the dirt road. The tank commander popped his head from the top hatch, and shouted in broken English, "You surrender now!"

Ram shouted something unprintable.

The TC stared. Ram started to move forward. Quickly, the .50 cal atop the tank was oriented, and a long burst was triggered. The burst struck Ram square in the chest, and splashed harmlessly. The TC's eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets. His head vanished below, and the tank turret oriented on Ram. Bill put his hand over his eyes, knowing what was about to happen. The tank fired, it's gun bouncing with the recoil. The SABOT round slammed into Ram's chest, and knocked him a hundred yards backwards into a small house. The house collapsed in on itself, and the TC popped out of the turret once more.

And just as quickly ducked below as the wreckage exploded and the hurtlig form of Ram came barrelling straight at the tank. He swerved as a shell launched past him, pumped forward, and impacted the tank, deeply denting the front, and setting off several of the reactive armor packs in the front. Ram grunted, got a hold of the tank's bumper, and heaved. The whole thing flipped over and landed atop the turret. Inside, frantic voices could be heard calling for help.

Help arrived in the form of two BRDM's, both with heavy machine-guns. Harry and Ralph merged to Ion, and took to the skies, raining electric fire on the crew of the first. Bill stepped out and stared at the second BRDM, emitting a low sonic pulse to test the vibration. Quickly, he put his hands together, and fired a bolt of sonic force into the side of the armored carrier, shattering the walls, and filling the inside with shrapnel.

:Ghost to Sonic:

"I read you. Go ahead."

:I just spotted choppers, attack ones, vectoring in from the north.:

"Tell Ralph, and have them remerge to Ion. Core's not gonna help with that." Bill looked over to see to twins split into their separate selves, ceasing their demolition of the troops inside the BRDM, and melt into their second incarnation. The crackling figure rose to meet the challenge. Twin bolts of lightning struck from his hands and burst against the rotor of the lead chopper, sending it downwards. The second chopper dodged the bolts and fired it's own guns at the flying Omega. The two danced in a deadly aerial ballet, each attempting to guess the other's next move.

Ralph/Harry never saw the other chopper.

Bullets riddled the Omega, and he plummeted to earth, splitting in two again before impact. Bill raced over to the prostrate forms, but he was far too late. There was little left of either brother. He stood and was about to signal the others when the new chopper loosed twin Hellfire missiles directly at the wreckage of the tank Ram was still ripping to shreds.

Both the tank and the huge man were engulfed in flame.

"RAM!! Gary, this is Bill, oh shit get the fuck out of there! It's a setup, the fuckers knew we were coming, get out! Get..."

Bill watched as the building Gary was in disintegrated under the force of Hellfires. The choppers wheeled about, and flew away, not considering the lone man a threat. Bill sat and watched the plume of smoke for a long time as it spiraled into the clear blue sky.


"I didn't know. I looked for him. I tried to find him. When I was finally picked up by friendlies, I was delirious from dehydration and sunstroke. The medics told me I kept raving about Gary, how he had to go, how I had to find him.

"The Army declared him MIA, and told his wife he was killed in an action miles away, over a different border. I wrote a letter to her, telling her how sorry I was, how brave her husband was. I don't know if she ever got it. I don't know what happened that day."

Bill looked up, his eyes burning. "But I do know this. There is no way in hell the Iraqis had that kind of firepower just in the neighborhood. Not with no action nearby. We were set up that day. I don't know why, or by who. But I think Gary knows. I think he got that rig so he could do something about it. Gary was always a hopeless romantic, comic books, Sci-Fi, the whole bit. This sort of thing is just his style. I also know this. We're not likely to catch him. We didn't call him Ghost for nothing."

Michelle looked at Bill steadily, before looking at the sheet of paper lindemuller had laid before her. "We better. Someone's putting pressure on the boss to get this thing solved."

"Who? CIA? FBI?"

"Would you believe Amazing Comics? They're suing this guy for trademark infringment, and they want us to collar him quick."

Jay looked at Chris. "Could this get ANY weirder?"

Chris just shook his head.


"I finished the new webbing. That new polymer chain we scammed from your old Dynamax records worked wonders. I'd guess the stuff is three times as strong as before."

Frank nodded absently. "Good. I just finished with the new stingers."

Gary looked the suit up and down. "They functional?"

"Of course." Frank stood and wiped his forehead. "One launcher in each arm. Two types of rounds. Normal is a tranquilizer, induces a temporary paralysis in the target. It's calibrated for normal humans, so it might not work as well on an Omega."

Gary nodded. "I'll remember that when I tangle with our black-suited friends again."

"The other round is a lethal dose of the same drug. I only made three of those, in one clip. We don't want any accidents."

"That's right. We sure don't." Gary walked over and started to put on the suit, a legacy of SIRECOM's research into the Harrakin armor. 'Ironic, isn't it? A creation of your creation is coming to kill you.' Gary pulled the mask down over his face, covering his features. The huge eyes gleamed.

"I'm coming for you, Owen."


"I'm glad you're here, Philip. We could use the help."

Philip Bailey, codename Trace, leaned back in his chair. "No problem. I was up here to do some refresher training of our NY agents. So do we have anything from this guy?"

Michelle nodded and produced a strand of the webbing found at the scene of the evening's battle. "This is his webbing. Get anything from it?"

Philip closed his eyes, and concentrated. "Organic....man-made though...no psychic signature to speak of...but damn what a horrible scent!"

Chris sniffed. "I don't smell anything."

"I got a nose like a bloodhound, Mr. Josephs."

"Anything else, Phil?" asked Bill.

"No...not really...some kind of teflon on here, probably how he can let go of this stuff. Other than that, nothing." Trace looked up and grinned. "But I have all I need. I could track this smell in a three city block radius."

Michelle looked around with satisfaction. "That's our hound! Saddle up folks. Time to catch us a Ghost."


"You sure about this?"

:Trust me. I cracked their radios. He'll be there.:

"I hope you're right. You do realize this is Seekers Central."

:The suit is up to it.:

"Thanks for the confidence booster."

:You'll be fine. Just remember, those three stingers..:

"Don't worry. Only one man gets these."

Arachnid's silhouetted for swung onwards, towards Wall Street.


"Left."

The van careened around the corner. Trace sat in the back, his face turned towards the open windows. On the left, Trax streaked by, running interference alongside the van.

"Straight.....right."

The tires screeched as Bill brought the van to the right, siren flashing. "How close are we, Phil?"

"Very. And don't call me Phil, all right?"

"Sorry."

Philip turned back to the window, and sniffed. His eyes shot up, and scanned the wall of the building the van was passing. "Here! He's here! Up there, on the wall!"

Michelle looked upwards. "Philip, are you sure? This is.."

"I know where we are, damnit! He's here! I can see the fucker!"

"All right, team. You know the drill. Chris, you get up there, and try and corral him. The rest of us will head inside and lock him down. Bill, get on the horn, and put the local Seekers on alert. Move out."

The squad piled out, and converged on the U.N. Building.


Arachnid looked down. Oh shit. He looked up and resumed his climb. "Frank, they've found me."

:Okay, stay calm. Probably the same crew who was there before.:

"Right, so they'll send Rubberboy up here after me."

:No problem. Avoid him, and get inside. They'll never find you once you're in there.:

"Roger. Here he comes..."

The red glow of Ricochet's kinetic energy field gleamed off the windows of the U.N. He arrowed upwards, pushing off the wall, and using bursts of force to push back into it, climbing all the while. Arachnid watched until the kid was in range, and then simply leaped off into space. Milliseconds later, a line attached itself to the wall, and Gary swung back, and right through a window.

Not the quietest entrance, but I suppose it'll have to do.

He made for the door, and looked around for a second. "Elevator shaft?"

:20 meters right.:

Gary pelted down the hall, and arrived at the closed doors of the elevator. Quickly, he forced the doors, and jumped onto the opposite wall of the shaft. "Location?"

:He's in the penthouse.:

Gary began his ascent.


:Ricochet to Armor. He's inside the building.:

"Roger that. Moving to intercept. Armor out." Michelle turned her blank metal face to Philip. "What do you have for me?"

Trace shook his head. "I think...wait a second." Just then the elevators opened and several people stepped out. "There! He's in the elevator shaft!"

Armor nodded. "Prism."

:Roger. Go ahead.:

"He's in Elevator Shaft 1. Move to intercept."

:Acknowledged.:

"Let's go."

The Seekers entered the elevator, and the doors closed behind them.


Gary found that the shaft was barred before the top floor. 'Untrusting foks up there, aren't they?' He dropped a floor, and started to force the doors. As he did so, he heard a voice echo upwards. +Halt! You're under arrest!+ He looked downwards to see a ghostly figure floating just below him. Gary loosed two rapid blasts of webbing at the apparition, but both passed thrugh harmlessly. 'And I thought I was the only Ghost around here...' He resumed his efforts on the doors.

The apparition shook her head, and placed her translucent hand on Arachnid's shoulder. Gary screamed. Intense, burning cold radiated from the chill touch, numbing his right arm. Groaning, Gary forced the doors the rest of the way, and flopped down into the hall. Inside the armor, stimulants were pumped into his system as Frank read his condition back at the base. Gary struggled upwards to watch the phantom float through the wall. He spun and bounded off down the hall.

The phantom watched. +Spectre to Prism+

:Prism here. Go ahead.:

+Subject is on 15, moving towards your position in the north stairwell.+

:Acknowledged. Armor and her squad has secured the top floor.:

Gary climbed down the hallway, moving on the ceiling. He cautiously pushed open the stairwell door, and poked his head inside, waiting for a buzz from his 'spider-sense'. Hearing nothing, he flipped down, and jumped to the first landing. Another bound, and suddenly the ringing was loud in his ears. A door two flights up burst open, and another black-jumpsuited figure leaped down the steps, his arms pointed, his hands glowing with rainbow light. Gary drew back. 'How many of these guys are there?'

Agent Carl DiTillio drew in even more light from the fluorescents above, and the glow about his hands increased. "Stop! You're.."

Arachnid shook his head. "Under arrest. I know. You need a new line. How about, Freeze! My jumpsuit is too tight, and it's making me chafe!"

Prism stared at the red-suited figure. Then he smiled grimly. "Fine. Don't come quietly." Twin bolts of light shot from his hands, scoring the wall where Arachnid had been nanoseconds earlier. Prism waved his arms as he tried to keep up with the flashing figure. Two more bolts, and then a small prick. 'What the...' Carl looked down to see a thorn-like projectile embedded in his shoulder. A drowsy feeling overcame him, and he slumped to the ground, the aura around his hands extinguished.

Gary stared at his stingers. 'I'll be damned! They actually work!' He bounded over the comatose form of Prism, and made for the top of the stairs. "I'm at the top floor, north stairwell."

:Should open to a hall. To the right, there's a door. Owen's supposed to be in that room.:

"Let's hope he hasn't bugged out."

:Security cams say he's still there.:

"OK. Moving in. You'd best get moving."

:All right. I'll meet you at the rendezvouz. And Gary?:

"Yeah?"

:Nail the bastard a couple of times for me.:

"Roger that. See you soon."

Gary threw the door open and leaped into the hall, webs at the ready. Empty. There was a switch. 'Figured I'd have to fight a dozen of those goons to get here....' Gary ran to the double doors, and slammed through, arms raised and ready to fire off his deadly stingers.

The room was deserted.

"But..."

The doors clicked shut behind him, and he spun to see Bill standing in front of them. "Sloppy, Gary. You know to always check your six in hostile territory."

"Where did he go?"

"Where did who go?"

"OWEN!" Gary screamed. "He was supposed to be here!"

Bill moved cautiously to the left, keeping between Gary and the doors. "What does Owen have to do with this?"

"Are you blind? HE SET US UP!! All those years ago, he was the one who tipped off the Iraqis! Ram, Harry, Ralph; they'd all be alive if it wasn't for his stupid power games! I'm here to make sure he doesn't do it again!"

Bill shook his head. "I'm sorry, Gary. I can't let you do that."

Gary stared at the Seeker. "Bill, he has to answer for what he did. What he still does."

"That may be. But he doesn't answer to you. He answers to a court of law."

"No court can catch him! Only I.."

"No! No, Gary. You're coming with me. Don't make me have to use force."

The two looked at each other. Gary moved first, his arm firing off two stingers. Bill swung his baton, shattering the projectiles in flight. Quickly, he moved to the attack, grabbing the armored vigilante. Arachnid flexed, heaved and broke Sonic's grip, reversing it and throwing him into the wall. He turned and leapt for the doors. Sonic got to one knee, and launched a baton at the fleeing Arachnid. The baton twirled end over end, to strike the vigilante in the knee. He collapsed, groaning, the armor there partially shredded. Bill walked over to the prone figure. Gary tried to get an arm up to fire off more webbing, but Bill reached down, and squeezed, crushing the web-shooter.

"Sonic to Armor."

:Go ahead, Sonic.:

"Suspect is down, repeat, suspect is down. Send for an ambulance, he is injured."

:Roger that. All other Seekers report no casualties. Good work, Bill.:

'Yeah. Real good.' Bill looked down at the moaning figure.

"I'm sorry, Gary."


Michelle stood at the head of the table in the Seekers U.N. office. "Good work, folks. Y'all did a terrific job. No casulaties, no property damge to speak of. The perp is on his way to Riker's now to wait for his hearing. Congrats. Especially you, Bill. I know that must have been hard."

Bill had his eyes closed. "You have no idea."

Michelle looked at the older Seeker for a minute, and then turned back to her troops. "Anyway, the boss is real pleased with how we did, and there are some commendations to be passed out. We got a flight to D.C to catch, so..."

A knock at the door interrupted Michelle. A uniformed guard stepped in, and handed her a slip of paper before ducking out again. Michelle stared at the paper, her eyes widening in disbelief.

Jay looked up at Michelle. "What is it?"

"I don't believe this! He escaped!!!"

A collective shout went up from the Seekers.

Jamie Welles aka Spectre spoke up. "What happened?"

"Apparently he wasn't as injured as we thought. He jumped the guards, and stole the ambulance, with the suit inside! He's gone!"

A sound broke the ensuing silence. All eyes turned to Bill. Quickly, he stifled the chuckles that threatened to become full-scale laughter.

Michelle looked at him in disgust. "Well, shit. All right. We leave this one open. Carl, you run the investigation. APB's, warrents, pics, the whole shot. Come on people. We gotta get back to D.C. and see the boss."

The Seekers filed out, leaving Bill alone in his seat for a moment. He cast his eyes towards the ceiling, and smiled.

'Way to go, Ghost.'


Next:
Battery!

Authors Note: It's back. I revived it. I know you missed it. It's Seekers. And boy do I have plans for my mighty team of power players! Of course I can't tell you what they are, but rest assured they are well worth the wait! So why did I write this note? Two reasons: This is a disclaimer: I meant the character Arachnid to be utterly derivative. That's the point. Therefore, this is NOT fanfic! No flames on that point please. Two: I want to thank the crew of Omega for coming over and slapping me around until I started writing again. Hell Badger wrote more than I did, and he didn't even have Usenet access! Thanks for making me feel guilty guys...8)

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