Monday, December 9, 2013

Insert The Original Indestructible Captain Here (part 3 of 5)

"You're kidding me..." Louise was pale. Every eye was glued to the monitor showing Tash and the Dave replica.

"Is that...what.." Miri stammered. "Oh dear God..." Her hands flew to her mouth. She was clearly picturing Michael, Claire or Tash ending up like that. Phoenixia put a comforting arm around her.

"I take it something quite dire is occurring?" Everyone turned round.

Aramayis stood at the door, Saito behind him, unaware he had just won the prize for the understatement of the century.

"You could say that..." Harriet growled.

"We leave you alone five minutes..." Saito muttered.


Michael, Scarlet, Chloe and Jared were running as fast as their legs could carry them. The replicated Mariana close on their heels. The Mysterons had apparently deactivated the permanent prohibitor when they had retro-metabolised her. Consequently, she had all the powers she had once possessed in her native X-men fandom. Fortunately, as her Nom de Guerre of Snow-Owl suggested, her powers were based around water and wind, of which there was little available around the ruined mine workings. Being a Sue however, what little there was was being used to frightening effect.

She alighted upon a disused vehicle, chanting an spell to focus her mental energies towards her opponents.

"Don't mess with Nukes!"

Mariana took flight again, and Ben's Nuke devastated only the massive Dumper truck she had been perched upon.

"Gaah! Missed!" Ben shouted, as the sue replica banked over his head.

"Um, Ben?" Lily said, tapping him on the shoulder. "I think we have other problems..."

A roar of a massive engine caught Ben's attention as she spoke. Next to the wreckage of the truck, was another one, undamaged and glowing faintly green in the sunlight. The symbol that Ben had taken to be an Audi logo vanished from the radiator, and it charged forward without anyone in the driver's seat.

"Wonderful." Michael said, scrambling to get out of the truck's way. He was irritable because the hot Nevada sunlight meant that the Darkness was restricted to abusing him, which didn't help a bit. "Thanks a lot."

Da-Da-Daa, Da-Da-Da-Daaa!

Joe was down. His arm injury wasn't fatal, but he wasn't going to be of much help if he couldn't hold his weapon. Marcus and Drake covered Pete as he helped his injured friend into cover until they could generate a plothole without being disturbed. Three clones resisted them, while the rest split up to hunt down the Spectrum personnel and society agents.

On the positive side, Rhia had found a new sniping position, and more to the point, had remained there long enough to take out a lot of those with ranged weapons. As Marcus blasted one with the Dragon Talisman, allowing Drake to finish it off with a Storm Spear, he couldn't help feeling that the odds were getting better.

A bullet bounced off a rock next to him. Marcus turned, seeing a Spectrum Agent.

"I thought you were on our side!" Then he saw the man's black uniform. "Oh..."

"You thought wrong, Earthman." Captain Black replied, taking aim with his rifle again. Marcus fired the Dragon Talisman, but as he did so, a clone brought a Klingon close-combat weapon down towards him. He was able to block in time with his Umbrella, but the shot only grazed Black, although it did melt part of his weapon. Dislodged from his hand, the Talisman skittered away over the rubble.

Drake leapt at the offending clone, engaging it, while Pete kept the other one busy. This left Marcus to deal with the Mysteron agent.

Okay. He's probably trained in unarmed combat techniques I've never heard of. Marcus thought, as Black stood up again. So outnumbering him won't work. Still, I think I can copyright him though...

He leapt to one side as Black lunged at him. Black recovered quickly, checking himself where Marcus had struck him.

"Whatever you hoped to do Earthman, it was ineffective."

Marcus was forced to dodge again. He was sure this guy was canon, so why hadn't the copyright worked? Which Talismans did he have left? Ah! Now there was an idea! Marcus rummaged in his pocket, and tried to get close up again.


"...against the mighty gift bestowed in my unworthy hands."

Aster's attacks didn't get anywhere near Lina. She was protected by some kind of magical forcefield. Chrys and Akai were beginning to make headway against the living tide of clones, but they would still be in the firing line when the spell was completed.

"Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed, by the power you and I possess!"

"Flat-Chested Little Girl!"

All eyes turned to Aster, who could scarcely believe the words had left her mouth. It was a low blow, no mistaking that, but if the clone thought anything like the real Lina...

Her face turned several colours that Aster had seldom seen in nature in rapid succession, then settled on a look of pure fury.


The spell whisked past the agile Fae and detonated somewhere in the stratosphere. The heat was off her friends, but now she had her work cut out just to survive.

"Ray Wing!" Lina cried, taking to the air to follow her. "Blast Ash! Diem Wing!"


Da-Da-Daa, Da-Da-Da-Daaa!

Claire threw a pine cone. Dave simply knocked it away with his axe, and ducked under one of Seiryu's bolts of energy, bringing up the axe again to intercept a blow from Tash's sword.

Under normal circumstances, Tash could simply have severed the axe shaft with metal melting heat. But these weren't normal circumstances. Dave had not been given Stuishly over-powered agility, or upper-body strength disproportionate to his build. What's more, his short-sightedness meant that blows at range were less accurate. In short, he was himself, only under the control of others. Captain Scarlet was living proof that the people thus replicated were salvageable. Maybe it would work the same way for Dave.


If it didn't, then the replica had to be destroyed. No-one should desecrate the dead in this manner. That would be the hardest part. If it came to it.

Dave disengaged and fell back, breathless, but somehow uninjured. Claire and Tash on the other hand were covered in little cuts and scratches where Dave had nicked them. Tash still had her twisted ankle to worry about as well, as Dave had kept her out of reach of Valerie's healing powers. More because the author asked her politely than anything else, Tash spoke.

"Dave, don't you remember us?"

Dave paused. "Of course..."

Tash blinked. She hadn't expected a response at all. She, Claire and Valerie stopped what they were doing abruptly. Dave did likewise. Mesha still lying on the rooftop and grinning like a maniac, made no attempt to alter this.

"I remember the girl I thought of as one of my best friends, cutting a woman's arm off and burning her alive because she goaded her." Dave said, his voice and eyes blank and expressionless, but his face beginning to tighten with anger. "I remember the only thing people ever had to say about me being "nice job breaking it hero". I remember being scared to be myself because of, of all things, an overgrown matchstick!"

"That's right..." Mesha cooed softly, in the flabbergasted silence that followed. "You don't have to be afraid. Not any more..."

"So that's why you gave him those manufactured nightmares!" Valerie cried. "So you could control him!" It was a fair deduction. With Dave's concious mind beginning to sympathise with Mesha's Mysteron programming, he was all the more dangerous. To Valerie's surprise, Mesha's response was to raise an eyebrow at her, as if to ask what she was talking about.

Dave's eyes locked with the healer's and flashed a sickly green. His frown deepened, but before he could respond, a bullet went straight through the side of his head.

Dave's response was to glare at Captain Blue contemptuously, as the wound healed to almost nothing in a moment.

"By the way, I added a few upgrades." Mesha giggled, reminding everyone of her presence. A bullet, a blast of fire, a pine cone and an energy bolt abruptly shot through the space where she had been a split second before, and now wasn't.

Have it your way then... Her voice echoed mockingly around the buildings.

Dave resumed attacking, and Valerie and Claire rushed to intercept. Tash dived behind the stack of machine parts where Blue was re-loading his gun.

"Don't do that!"

Blue looked up at her. "I'm just doing my job." he said, then his expression softened. "Although, I admit I'm more used to stopping the Mysterons by any means before things get worse..."

This statement hit Tash in the face. That's what we do as well, with the Sues... Isn't it? She shook her head to clear it.

"How did you cure Scarlet?" she asked, as the impact of Dave and Claire's weapons threw up a shower of sparks.


"Wild line!" Lily's attack punctured one of the Truck's tires, and it speared off at an angle, corrected itself, and charged back towards the fleeing group.

Chloe's explosive Rubik's Cubes disabled a small number of clones, opening a new path for them to flee down. Shirley was a blur of teeth and claws, making sure that few of the clones would be able to stand up before the heavy vehicle rolled over them. Ben reached for Bahmut again, but he was quickly set upon by several clones, so he left it slung on his back where it wouldn't impede his fast step.

Michael however had noticed something strange. It took a lot of effort for them to bring down even one clone soldier, but one shot from a mysterious beam weapon that Captain Scarlet was carrying seemed to be fatal to them. He didn't have time to wonder about this for long however, as Mariana/Snow-Owl was still around, and whipping up whatever water there was available into a devastating attack.

"Don't mess with Nukes!" Ben said, pointing at a specific area of the truck. The warhead detonated in the back and the force was directed away and up. The vehicle kept moving, but Mariana was caught in the blast. Being a Sue, she survived, although she landed hard.

"Boomhammer!" Jared managed to land a decisive blow against a clone soldier. A second clone armed with a Force Lance, a mixture of ray gun and quarter-staff from the Andromeda fandom, moved in to attack him, but was blown away by earth magic.

"How long can we keep this up?" he yelled, dancing out of the way of the truck as it roared past him.

"Lily!" Avak cried. She was standing beside the crater, apparently caught like a rabbit in the headlights of the truck as it charged towards her. Just before it struck however, she used Top Gear to dash out of the way, leaving the heavy vehicle to roll into the rubble filled crater. Because of it's momentum, it flipped over onto its back, allowing a Landslide triggered by Jared to bury it.

"Nice, but we ain't done yet!" Michael cried, exchanging blows with a Bat'leth using clone with his own sword, darkness tentacles lashing out at every foe in reach. It was at this point that the Truck decided to explode.

Da-Da-Daa, Da-Da-Da-Daaa!

Aster and Lina were now very high up in the sky above the mine workings. They heard the explosion and looked down. Lina seemed to decide they were high enough now, and began to recite another spell.

"Lord of the dreams that terrify, sword of the cold dark void..."

Aster gasped and sent a spear of ice at her, but Lina simply dropped out of the sky, as if in free-fall, still chanting.

"...Free yourself from the Heaven's bonds. Become one with my power, one with my body..."

Aster dived too, but Lina was using gravity to open a big lead on her.

"...and let us walk the path of destruction together. Power that can smash even the souls of the Gods!"

Lina pulled out of her dive, over the startled heads of Chrys and Akai, who were finally finishing off the last of the ground-bound clones, dark energy coalescing in her hands as she used the momentum to fly back up at Aster.


The sword of the Lord of Nightmares struck Aster's staff. The spell's caster wasn't the real Lina Inverse, and nor did she posses the amplification talismans she had bought from Xellos in Slayers Next, so the energies released weren't fully controlled. Sparks of Chaos energy broke from the blade and lacerated Aster's face. Fae and cloned Sorceress struggled with the clashing energies for a while, Aster trying to hold back the chaos blade, and Lina pushing it home.

Something had to give, and it did. There was a bang, and both girls crashed to earth in a cloud of smoke.

"Aster!" Chrys and Akai ran to their friend as she struggled to sit up, desperate to defend her. Lina, although weakened, wasn't about to let this opportunity pass by.

"Van Rail!" she cried, through a mouthful of blood, slamming her palm into the ground. Tendrils of ice spiralled out of the ground and swirled towards the trio. Aster desperately raised a hand.

With Aster's powers over ice, it was no contest, and the spell rebounded on Lina, cocooning her in ice. Aster sighed with exhaustion.

"Poor choice, Lina-san." She muttered, as her friends helped her to her feet.


Marcus took the opportunity to search for the Dragon Talisman. His reprieve had been gained by using the Tiger Talisman to split Captain Black. This had worked better than he had hoped, as instead of splitting him into good and bad halves, the dormant human part of him had been released.

The society agent looked over his shoulder at them. Conrad Turner was fighting his Mysteron self like a man possessed, and Marcus could only imagine what the man had seen as his body had been used to kill and destroy in the name of the Mysterons. Surely that would drive anyone insane...

He caught sight of the dropped Talisman and reached for it. No sooner had his fingers closed over it, than the rubble shifted as the heavy lorry nose-dived into it and flipped. Drake and Pete gestured him over to the side of the crater, opposite the now buried vehicle. It was at this point that it decided to explode.

The two Captain Black's were blown into the crater wall and joined together again. Marcus landed on top of him and was promptly split up by the Talisman's power.

Dazed, Drake peered over the crater edge.

"Okay, both Marcus' are out cold." he paused. "Where's Captain Black?"


Mesha looked up from her binoculars as Captain Black appeared next to her, in the same manner as he had vanished from the crater.

"Enjoy getting your butt kicked?" she asked, teasingly. The Mysteron Agent frowned.

"Have they observed our secondary objective?" he asked in turn. His tone was slow and deliberate

"Not that I can tell."

"Then I have succeeded in my endeavour." Black paused. "I would note that you failed to inform us of certain information."

"Like what?" Mesha was looking back at the battle from the hilltop, uninterested.

"The Mysterons expected this society to be of similar purpose and organisation to Spectrum. You did not tell us the degree of unfamiliar powers they possessed."

"They're barely competent enough to use them." Mesha retorted, annoyed that she should have to justify herself. Her earlier effort had made sure the Mysteron's loyalty wasn't dependant on her powers, but she wasn't aware of how fragile her control was... Unaware of the Copyright, she turned on the Sueish charm again. Fortunately for her, she was still wearing the Archangel necklace. "Surely you can deal with that?"

"Even incompetence of use can threaten us. It is better we do not keep secrets..."

"I'll make a note of that." Mesha replied, focusing her binoculars on the battle again, unknowing of how close she had come to disaster. She wondered vaguely what Valerie had meant by manufactured nightmares, but decided to think about that later.


General Idea stood on Martha's dashboard. In the brief moments before he was forced to run from the cloned army, Jared had ordered him and the small detachment of LPGB he had with him to search Dave's Land Rover for anything that might be useful in combating the Mysteronised clones.

The General himself however was privately convinced that the Mysterons were aligned with the Soviet Union. And he didn't like the sound of this Bereznik state he had run across in the background of this fandom either...

"General Idea, Sir!" Idea's electric thoughts returned to the present.

"Captain Crunch?"

"We have completed our inventory, Sir."


"Plastic carrier bags quantity two, containing one complete set of clothing and a pair of boots. All non-ferrous. One standard issue Communicator. One pair of Specsavers glasses, associated case, and clip-on sunglasses..."

"Anything that isn't standard issue?" Idea queried.

"Yes sir. One device of Society manufacture matching the description of experimental gadget designated "Guest Appearance". Also, one Poke Ball of the "Heal Ball" variant, containing unidentified Pokemon." Captain Crunch paused. "Permission to speak freely, sir."


"The deceased was not known for carrying superfluous items around with him. It is my strong belief that both the anomalous items are present for a good reason."

"Agreed Captain. But lets not waste time speculating on what these reasons were. Prepare to move out, the Admiral needs this information."

"Si- Get Down Sir!" Crunch roared. General Idea turned, wondering why Crunch had addressed him in Spanish, and only just got out of the way in time. Jared's Boomhammer impacted against the Land Rover's bonnet, bounced off and passed straight through the windscreen, striking the centre console before coming to rest on the back seat. The sonic boom of it's impact in the car's front shattered all the windows, and the computer screen in the dashboard.

"Are you alright Sir?" came a shout.

"Never mind that!" Idea replied, lifting a large piece of glass off himself. "That was the Admiral's weapon. At best he is disarmed, at worst captured by Soviet agents! Move out!"

"Warning. Handbrake has been disabled." said Martha sweetly.

The Land Rover was indeed in motion, slow now, but gathering pace all the time.

"Well this makes deployment easier." Idea remarked. "Miss Martha. Engage engine and apply brakes."

"Drive controls for this vehicle are not governed by this system. Please fasten your seatbelts and rejoin the nearest main road."


Da-Da-Daa, Da-Da-Da-Daaa!

A minute or so earlier...

Jared cried out as Mariana, grounded but still fighting, lifted him of the ground with a gust of extremely cold wind, letting go of his Boomhammer as he did so, and allowing it to be blown away. He landed on top of Ben.

"T-t-t-thanks for the s-s-s-soft landing mate."


"Sorry?" Jared asked moving his foot.

"I said "You need your boots re-soling"." Ben repeated.

Both men suddenly remembered they were in battle, just in time to see Rhia and Cristoph slide between Snow-Owl and them, still fighting off the cloud of cloned Pokemon. Their two sets of foes promptly became entangled with each other, but only briefly. They soon came at the four agents again, coordinating their attacks with each other.

It was then that Michael realised that his group of agents had been forced into a dead end. There was no-where for them to retreat to, and as he saw Drake and Pete heading for them, both supporting a Marcus and Joe covering their retreat as best he could, he realised that returning to the library was their only option.

"Warning, unknown interference." said his plothole generator.

"Stacey, Phoenixia, we're locked!" he yelled into his communicator. There was no response. Apparently they were on their own for the next few minutes. He looked down at the device again, and his eyes were drawn to the Phoenix morpher on his wrist.

Five times only... Only in major emergencies... It was becoming hard to known what those emergencies were. Activate it too soon, and he would waste the power. Too late... He looked up at the agents, his colleagues, his friends. If he guessed wrong, then one or more of them might die.

Captain Scarlet seemed to be having trouble with his weapon. He looked at Michael. No words were spoken.

You're obviously an amateur organisation...Prepared physically, but not mentally...You start taking things for granted, its all the harder when the miracle you're depending on fails to turn up...

Scarlet noted Michael's gaze, and nodded, almost imperceptibly.

Get on with it will you! The Darkness growled, impatiently.

Fine then. Michael thought. We make our own miracles. The Chief Agent's hand crept towards the activator.

It was at this point, music caught Michael's ears.

He looked up again, just in time to move out of the way of Martha, as the LPGB steered her towards the group of agents. It was just as well they had accidentally switched her stereo on, or whatever they had done, or he wouldn't have noticed them.

The plastic soldiers wrestled as best they could with the vehicle's heavy steering, too early to be power-assisted, but Martha's next destination was looming ahead of them. A building's wall.

The impact was undramatic. The Land Rover did not crumple up, but merely struck the brickwork and shuddered. There was the sound of part of the mechanics underneath the vehicle coming loose, and the patter of the plastic figures of the LPGB falling all over the bonnet. It was now possible to hear exactly what was blaring from her speakers.


All fire stopped, both sides paralysed by the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. There was a flash of light from the front passenger seat, which coalesced on Martha's roof.

A blue-black creature with scary eyes surveyed the scene calmly, the tail with the yellow throwing star on the end twitching slightly. Still, no one moved.

Dave's Luxray noted the music and looked down through the shattered sun-roof.


Captain Crunch, in something of a daze, pushed a button. A different music track began to play.

This bloody road remains a mystery. This sudden darkness fills the air.

Asuka grinned. This was her kind of battle music. Leaping from the roof, the Luxray charged into battle, as the clones finally resumed fire.


"You won't help us?" Harriet was annoyed, but not exactly surprised with the Counter Guardian's response.

"Not our problem." Saito said, brusquely. "Not serious enough for us to be needed."

"I thought it was your job to stop these things before they got worse!" Jess exclaimed. "Now you're saying you can't stop them until it gets beyond the point you should have stopped them at?"

"I would point out before we go any further," Aramayis said, in the confused pause this statement created, and gesturing to the monitor. "That the society seems to be winning. Quite conclusively, unless I'm mistaken." He was right. The tide of battle around Captain Scarlet and Michael seemed to have turned with Asuka's intervention.

"That still leaves Dave..." Miri murmured.


Claire hadn't planned to be fighting to the death when she woke up this morning, and if she had, she certainly wouldn't have guessed that it would be Dave she was facing. She disengaged, allowing Valerie to hit him in the neck with an energy bolt. He healed himself close to instantly, and Claire found herself wondering vaguely how Jack Harkness would react if he saw this...

Tash swooped in again, Nephthys swishing to and fro, knocking aside his axe blows. One swing allowed the sword to connect with the hook of the axe, and yanked it from Dave's hands.

Then something neither Claire, nor Val had expected happened. Nephthys vanished, and Tash hugged Dave, her arms sliding beneath his shoulders and locking behind him in a death grip. Tash's wings spread out to their maximum span, and the two of them rocketed skywards.

The Girls looked at each other, then at Blue for an explanation. Before he could reply however, all three of them noted the music, punctuated by the sounds of battle.

"Tash knows what she's doing..." Claire said, moving towards the noise, all the while casting fleeting glances at the red/orange spark vanishing into the clouds.

Da-Da-Daa, Da-Da-Da-Daaa!

Won't anybody help us? What're we running for? When there's nowhere...

Asuka was mopping up the last of the clone troopers now, her Discharge filling the air with static. They were panicking now, targeting her instead of the society agents, apparently she was more of a threat to them. This meant that it was fairly simple for the society agents to lay down a suppressing fire.

...nowhere we can run to anymore!

As the Luxray connected a Thunder Fang with Mariana, Michael felt Scarlet tap on his shoulder.

"What is that?" he shouted over the music, indicating Asuka.

"Lion with X-ray eyes and the powers of an electric eel." he said, quickly. "Not sure why she's doing so well though..."

We can't afford to be innocent. Stand up and face the enemy.

A clone with a large Katana made as if to bisect the Luxray as she landed near him after a jump. He suddenly found Akai's spear sticking out of his chest. And then he had a set of electrified fangs in his shin.

"Mysterons are impervious to X-rays and vulnerable to High Voltage Electricity." Scarlet replied, taking out another clone with his repaired weapon. "That's how this Electrode Rifle works."

"You tell us this now?" Michael was suddenly struck by how thorough Dave was... Had been.

Be fair, you never asked him, did you? Came a sarcastic voice in the back of his mind.

It's a do or die-ie-ie-ie-ie...

Combat stopped again, as if by some unspoken agreement. The LPGB could be heard debating amongst themselves how to stop the CD skipping.

"Advise application of manual overshoe!"

"Make sense Major Detail!"

"Kick it sir!"

ie-ie-ie-ie situation.

The fighting picked up where it had left off, as if it had never stopped.

We will be Invincible!

Scarlet shouted a warning. Michael turned around in time to see another clone with a very big gun standing some way behind him, obviously in the final stages of charging to fire.

And with the power of conviction, there is no sacrifice!

An energy bolt struck the power pack, detonating it, and spreading the unfortunate man over a wide area.

Valerie grimaced, she hadn't meant to do that, but it had saved Michael.

Its a do or die situation. We will be Invincible!

The song finished just as the battle ended. Asuka finally allowed herself the luxury of collapsing under the weight of a dozen minor injuries and bullet ricochets. Had she been under level 70, she wouldn't have survived. The society agents spread out, making sure all of their foes were actually dead, tending their wounded, searching for other halves they had been separated from. Everyone was accounted for, except...

"Where's Tash?" Michael asked. Claire and Valerie looked at each other, then up in the sky, where a tiny dot was only just visible.


Tash bit her lip to stop herself crying out. Dave was punching, kicking, doing everything in his power to hurt her, uncaring they were now almost a mile up in the sky.

She didn't know what the "London Car View" was, or how high it had been. All she knew was that somehow, falling from such a height had been a major factor in Captain Scarlet's De-Mysteronisation.

She glanced down. This was high enough, surely? If he falls too far...

Could I...?

Inexplicably, her grip tightened, as if hoping Dave would pass out from lack of oxygen.

He didn't.

The composite plates in Dave's toe caps found her shins again, and Tash was sure she felt something break. She flinched in pain, and heard something rip. Cold air buffeted her front.

Tash hadn't realised that she'd closed her eyes, and opened them. Dave was falling away, part of her blouse in his outstretched right hand. His face registered neither fear, nor anger.

It was blank. Empty.


"Um... Guys...?" said Ben, his gaze firmly on the descending dot.

It was quite easy to tell where Dave was going to land, and everyone scrambled to reach the spot as fast as they could.

Dave landed hard, and deep in the ground, closely followed by Tash, who was using her wings to keep the weight off her injuries. Few noticed she was holding her ripped blouse closed, as her face was stricken.

"Please... please let that work..."

Scarlet started forwards, but just as he reached him, Dave's arm twitched, then spun almost comically back into its accustomed position.

"You're kidding..." Someone murmured.

The former agent pulled himself out of the hole his impact had created, the dust falling away from his clothes as they too repaired themselves, cracks and pops signifying his bones returning to normal.

Scarlet took a step back and raised the Electrode rifle, but Dave reached out, and pushed it down, away from himself. His blank eyes flashed green.

Mysteron Green.

Before anyone could react, Asuka sprang forward, clamping her jaws around Dave's throat. Only when he let go of the rifle to try and pry her off did she start to pass current through them. She knew Scarlet was just as vulnerable to her powers.

Dave gave a muted gurgling noise, then fell over under the Pokemon's weight. The Luxray clung on for a moment longer, but Dave didn't even twitch this time.

It was over.


"The evacuation of the reserves is completed...It is Done." Black commented.

Mesha grinned. "Good. Now we proceed to the next stage of the plan." She said. A split second later, the ridge where they had observed the battle was vacant, as if they had never been there.

Da-Da-Daa, Da-Da-Da-Daaa!

Michael, Ben and Lily were attempting to explain to Captain Blue what was going on in way that made some kind of sense to him. Their success was varied in this, but as long as Mesha was still in the fandom, it was clear they'd have to establish some kind of understanding if they were going to be sticking around for a while.

A few agents had been brought to, and indeed sent out of, the fandom by Tash's doors as the plotholes were still not working, and the society were making sure there were no extra clones waiting in the ruins to ambush them. Scarlet had sent for some extra Spectrum back-up agents to provide a cordon around the mine.

When the rain started, Claire and Miri had to bodily pick Asuka up and carry her into the shelter of a nearby shed, as she was almost completely catatonic. She had only done what Dave had asked her to do in the event of his being taken over -Valerie had found this out pretty quick- but that didn't alter the fact that it had been hard for her.

Dave himself lay under a tarpaulin, as they didn't dare bring him back to the library just yet. As the wind got up, it blew it off his head briefly, allowing the rain to strike his face. However, when Avak covered him up again, he failed to notice that he wasn't as pale as he should have been...


"Mesha's not getting away with this!" Said Louise firmly. "Can't we get in yet?"

Phoenixia shook her head. She, Charis and Emily were working at full tilt to try and get the plotholes to the Captain Scarlet fandom working again, thus far with little success. Tash was needed at the mine so the team there weren't completely cut off and Adrian was in no position to be distracted, so they left him to get on with whatever he was doing.

"I'd love to help," said a message on one of the monitors, "but my hands are just collections of zeros and ones. Oh dear. Poor, poor Dave (sniff)."

The Blue Italic font that @ had used to compose this note made it clear she was being sarcastic, and Harriet only paid as much attention to it as was required to push the delete key.

"Alright." the society leader said at last. "As soon as we have plotholes again, I'll lead a team in there personally. Louise is right. Mesha's gonna pay!"


In the Medical wing, Valerie was treating the injured agents. Aster was exhausted, but her injuries were mostly cosmetic, so she left Aimee to clean her up, and dealt with Joe's arm.

It was as she picked up her records, meaning to write down exactly what medicine she had given to him, that she suddenly felt something strange on the edge of her empathic senses.

A wayward emotion. Vague and insubstantial, but definitely present. She put her clipboard down to focus on it, and the emotion abruptly vanished off her mental radar.

The healer frowned, and took her obsidian pendant off. If it turned up again, she'd know about it for sure. Turning to continue, she touched the clipboard lightly...

...abandon us? ...Pushing it a bit... Traitor...

Valerie dropped the clipboard with a yelp of surprise that drew Rhia over from Cristoph's bedside.

"The paper. Its... Psychic!"

Rhia looked from the dropped medical report to Valerie and her eyes widened.

"Psychic paper is from Doctor Who..."

Mesha set Dave up by giving him nightmares that stirred his emotions. Something in the library was giving him these nightmares by a psychic signal that Phoenixia couldn't pin down. The library's paperwork bred at an exponential rate. Psychic paper had evidently cross-bred with it. It's native fandom was Doctor Who. So was Mesha's...

The half-second it took Valerie to make this deductive leap seemed to her to be a century long.

"Get Harriet down here, now!"


Captain Scarlet was still marvelling at the society. He had seen a great many strange things in his career as a Spectrum agent.

An alien plant that caused three spaceships to crash as its mutated vines lashed wildly in the cabin, a fantastic city built in secret on the lunar surface by the Mysterons, and much more besides...

And yet all that was nothing next to the sight of the Jun-Akuma hovering above Akai's head, apparently balancing an Umbrella on top of its own head as she checked the clones for signs of life.

"Paul, over here!"

Scarlet shook his mind back to the present and walked over to where Blue was standing, staring at the ground.

"What do you make of this?"

Several hand-sized fragments of ice were scattered over a wide area, as if something had dropped an ice sculpture from a great height, causing it to shatter. Scarlet shrugged.

"One of the society could throw ice around Adam. Remember the girl with blue hair? One of her shots must have gone wild."

Blue frowned. "She struck me as being a better shot than that..." he stopped, and picked up a fragment that had caught his attention. Encased inside, was a lock of red hair.


Tash sat in the shelter of a building, wearing Claire's coat to cover her ripped blouse. Her two sisters sat next to her with Asuka across their laps. It was Miri that spoke first.

"Stroking a kitty is supposed to be therapeutic, Aneki." she said, gesturing at the grief-stricken Luxray. "Maybe it'll do both of you good."

"I've got my own kitty, thanks..." Tash replied, smiling faintly. "And to be honest, people that have come back..."

Are the last thing I want to think about right now, she silently finished.

Asuka glared at Tash with tear-soaked eyes. "Ray Lux RAY!" she snapped, standing up with a sharp crack of static that had both Miri and Claire feeling like they had just been punched in the chest.

Tash wasn't so good at Pokemon languages, but she got the drift of what she had said.

"It's not fair?" she repeated, as if confirming it. "Agreed. Dave was my friend too, and- You don't mean that?"

Asuka had interrupted, shaking her head and clearly frustrated by the language difference.

"You don't think its fair Adrian gets to come back properly and Dave doesn't?" Claire suggested. The Luxray nodded.

"It doesn't work like that." Miri said, stroking the electric Pokemon in an attempt to get her to calm down. "Adrian was just a bit... luckier."

Lucky was a poor word to describe what had happened, and everyone present knew it.

"Hmmmmm. Ray ray Luxray..." Asuka replied, casting a suspicious glare at Tash as if she had just confirmed something she had suspected for a while...

"Um, I hate to interrupt..." Michael stuck his head into the shelter, a thankful distraction from the building tension. "Captain Scarlet has just told me that all the clones we've faced thus far can't equate to more than half of what he and Dave saw in the tunnels earlier. And it gets better! The clone of Lina Inverse is missing. We think she's thawed herself out and is lying in wait around the ruins."

Tash looked up at the Luxray again. "Think what you like Asuka, but we need your help now." Asuka nodded slowly. Tash understood. She would help because duty demanded it, not for any other reason.


The minutes, and the rain squall, passed, and still there was no sign of Lina or any other clones, despite an exhaustive search of the mine buildings. When the society and Spectrum met again, they reached the conclusion she was long gone. It was at this point that someone noticed they had lost contact with base again.

Tash stood to open a door back to the library.

"Befis Bring!"

The ground split under everyone's feet, and swallowed them up to their calves, which on Asuka was up to her chin. All except Tash, who of course could fly. Sure enough, there was the cloned sorceress, waiting to fire again. She fled over the mine, and Tash gave chase.

"Jurai-Ke-" Tash stopped in horror as her eyes alighted upon something Lina had just flown over. The tarpaulin that Dave was under had been rolled back, revealing that there was nothing underneath! He had vanished.

"Elmekia Lance!"

The moment of distraction cost Tash dearly. Although she was able to move sufficiently for the spell to be robbed of it's lethality, it snapped her head to one side in passing, and she blacked out.

Drake and Michael were the first to free themselves, and ran towards where Tash had crashed. Where Lina was standing over her...

"Digger Bolt!" Her arm crackled with power as the spell charged.

Another arm intercepted hers as it fell towards the prone society leader. Lina's eyes widened in shock as her assailant guided her electrified palm into her own stomach. Being an electric attack, the result was as it had been for the rest of the clones.

Michael and Drake held up their weapons in fright as the cloned sorceress collapsed at the feet of her attacker. His face hidden in shadows as he turned to regard them...

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