Previously on Blessed Inversion Rise of the Pheromaster…
With his official Inversion Registration Card in hand, Black Ice sets out for his first legally sanctioned day of super heroism. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, he was intercepted by the still at large Cinder. With clever planning Black Ice defeats his nemesis once more. But not before discovering he was planning to attack RajTEK once more and capture Raja. As he set off to avert the kidnapping; Haze arrives to do just that with Forecast, Sunspot, and two new allies called Orca and Shifter. Their surprise attack keeping Doctor Khonshu from defending the pair. SWAT-Spider, having arrived himself at the suggestion of Haze, prepares to intervene. However, the criminals have planned ahead and hid yet another member, Crawler, who intercepts him. But none were prepared for SWAT-Spiders secret skill…
Black Ice/Henry “Hal” Sharp
“No more playing around.” SWAT-Spider said as he sat suspended several feet off the ground. Four massive spider legs extended from his upper back and down to the ground to support the vigilante. A feat he rarely used outside of quickly scaling buildings. While they were quite lethal in combat, they lacked in raw power and could easily leave him open to more injury. The six eyes of his helmet shifted to a menacing squint as they scanned his surroundings. Behind him was one of the new players, Crawler. He had an Astral Manifestation much like SWAT-Spiders Guardian Aranea but took the form of a chameleon. He was still reeling from the surprise attack to his snout. There were no hints where he could’ve come from. To SWAT-Spiders right was Forecast who was uncomfortably close to Doctor Khonshu. He could never forget the smug look on his torturers face. Next to them were the other two new players Orca & Shifter. Both looked like professional opera singers but given they were criminals, they had to have been members of the Northside Bishops and the Westside Rooks respectively. Rival gangs run by rival twins wearing clashing colors. SWAT-Spider had occasionally dealt with them but nothing of huge consequence. Lastly, to the left was Haze. Given the…warm surprise SWAT-Spider received, either his deal* was a setup or he’s a good actor to keep himself covered. Either way, the fact SWAT-Spider summoned Aranea’s Legs meant he already knew what he needed to do. “I’m killing all of you.” he boasts making his first move. Launching himself over Orca & Shifter, retracting Aranea’s Legs as he lands on all fours only to respawn the top right leg which swings and decapitates Sunspot. Without missing a beat the top left leg juts forth and stabs Forecast in the neck. “Two down.” SWAT-Spider thought to himself. But his victory is short-lived when their bodies fade from existence much like Haze was fond of doing. “Damn illusions…just how many of them aren’t real?” he thought to himself. His head tilting slightly to glance towards Haze.
“Seems the gig is up. We’ll meet up at the Pathogen.” Haze says casually as he and Raja fade away. Leaving SWAT-Spider to defend Doctor Khonshu from Orca, Shifter, & Crawler alone.
“I’m out.” Orca says raising her hands in surrender. “I did not sign on to actually fight you.”
“Knew you Bishops were cowards.” Shifter sneers at Orca. Spiraling the floor under Orcas feet upward into a prison.
“Hey! Let me out of here!” she yells slamming her fist on the walls of her new prison. “You asked for this!” she hisses before unleashing a hellish sonic scream skyward. Bending her prison enough to allow her to escape while disorienting SWAT-Spider, Shifter, & Crawler. “Au revoir.” she waves before strutting onto the elevator unopposed. Abandoning her former allies in the process. “Oh well.” Orca sighs. When the door opens, she comes face to face with Black Ice. Her first instinct is to stare blankly at his skintight costume and bandana mask hybrid.
“Weird question, have you seen any crazy Inversions?” Black Ice asks with a smile.
“Besides you?” she jests to hide her fear. All the gangs in Silver Plains knew about Black Ice. She wasn’t here to fight him and if she did she wasn’t entirely sure she’d win.
“I know I’m crazy awesome but I mean like crazy in the I like to tie women to train tracks while cackling maniacally and twirling my mustache crazy.”
This offered Orca an opportunity she could benefit from. “There’s two upstairs. Some spider guy is trying to hurt one of the scientists.” she lies to try and pit Black Ice against SWAT-Spider.
“Thanks.” Black Ice gives a thumbs up as he takes the elevator upstairs. Humming with the smooth ambient music that played on a loop to help pass the time. Not realizing he just allowed a gangster to literally walk out the front door of RajTEK without any opposition.
When the elevator door opens, Black Ice doesn’t know what to make of what he’s seeing. The floors and walls of the room were warped into a labyrinthine series of beams extending throughout the room from ceiling to floor, wall to wall, and everything in-between. The handy work of Shifter distorting the room to aid Crawler in his fight with SWAT-Spider. A fight that now raged high above the floor. With each leap SWAT-Spider performed to navigate the maze, Crawler was able to match him. The Astral Manifestation that made his costume seemingly also granting him a more flexible spine.
“Do not flee Crawler!” Crawler shouts. He leans forward and launching his tongue at SWAT-Spider like a bullet, wrapping around his right arm, and reeling him in. The only thing keeping him from being eaten whole was a quick web net shot over Crawlers mouth from SWAT-Spiders free arm. But this didn’t deter Crawler. He just wraps his tail firmly around SWAT-Spiders stomach and neck.
“That liar! What type of good guy tries to eat someone?” Black Ice thinks to himself frustrated at the deception. “Ice Beam!” he calls out firing an ice beam with his right hand towards Crawler.
“Eh?” Crawlers left eye rotates a full 360 degree to watch the ice beam approach and easily moves aside to avoid it.
“Oh did I say, Ice Beam?” Black Ice notes cheekily. The Ice Beam hitting one of the warped support beams, rebounding from surface to surface beyond Crawlers capability to track. The distraction giving SWAT-Spider a chance to punch him in the left eye with his free arm before kicking Crawler in the throat, freeing himself, and leaving Crawler stunned long enough to be frozen in place with only his snout exposed. “Shoulda said, Ricochet Beam.” Black Ice taunts.
“Think this is my cue to leave.” Shifter thinks to herself moments before a web hits her from above. Pulling her into the air towards SWAT-Spider who uses Aranea’s Legs to wrap her up in a cocoon.
“You distort this and I can’t guarantee I won’t drop you.” SWAT-Spider threatens.
“You don’t have to threaten me I’ll cooperate.” Shifter blurts out shamelessly.
“What happened to not being a coward?”
“There’s a difference between being a coward and being dumb. I’m not gonna even waste my time fighting you and Black Ice.”
“Smart choice. Now, what are you planning to do to Raja?”
“I don’t know. Boss got a call from Biohazard then all I know is we had to catch him. Haze knew all the plans.”
“So what I’m hearing is I don’t need to keep you alive.” SWAT-Spiders eyes squint as Aranea’s Legs begin to loosen their hold on Shifters web cocoon.
“Wait, what if I asked my boss? She’d know!”
“Maybe…maybe not. Either way, I don’t have time to waste and you’re not leaving.” SWAT-Spider fires a web connecting her cocoon to the ceiling before returning to the ground. “You okay Doc?” he asks Doctor Khonshu, pulling apart the prison he remained trapped the entire battle.
“I may have been a bit hasty in taking back the Khonshu Band.” Doctor Khonshu mumbles as he’s helped to one of the surviving chairs.
“Beat yourself up about it after we get Raja back.” he says turning his attention to Black Ice as he approaches. “Now to find out who this new guy is.”
“Me? You’re the new guy.” Black Ice replies.
“Actually, you’re the new guy here.” Doctor Khonshu corrects him. “Black Ice, SWAT-Spider. SWAT-Spider, Black Ice.” he introduces the pair. “Now that that’s done we have more pressing matters to attend to. Like how to find Raja.” he tries to contain his rage as he retrieves the Khonshu Drives once more.
“What about his tracker?” SWAT-Spider asks.
“Wait you put a tracker on your friend?” Black Ice asks confused. SWAT-Spider and Doctor Khonshu look at Black Ice silently moments before SWAT-Spider looks back at Doctor Khonshu.
“Not anymore. Apparently, it was unethical and an invasion of privacy.” he rolls his eyes. “The one time I decide to listen to you all and now it backfires.”
“Anyway, they attacked us and they attacked the Inhibitors. We should be asking what they have planned.” SWAT-Spiders thoughts are interrupted by the sound of a rhythmic beeping coming from the Khonshu Drives.
“Oh, what now?” Doctor Khonshu glances down at the computer onboard the left Khonshu Drive. The display informing him a VTOL was approaching and requesting permission to land. “SWAT, Ice, we’re going to the roof.” he says blowing a hole in the window with the Khonshu Drive. He then puts the trio inside a gravity barrier and begins to float up to the landing pad located on the roof.
“Was any of this necessary?” Black Ice asks. “I mean it’s awesome but couldn’t we take the stairs or like…the elevator?”
“My lab and all my work have been ruined two times in two weeks by someone else. The same assholes responsible for that and both kidnapping and torturing him.” Doctor Khonshu signals behind him to SWAT-Spider. “Are likely planning the same for Raja. And I’ve been struck with a bolt of lightning. Do you know how that feels? I mean electrocution sucks as much the first time as it does the 349th no matter how used to it you are but I digress. I’m in no mood for wasting time waiting for an elevator or walking up stairs.” Doctor Khonshu explains to an awkward silence. His frustration boiling over on the innocent Black Ice. “Let’s just hope whoever wants to land isn’t here to kill us too.”
After several minutes of waiting, a VTOL comes into view and lands on the roof of RajTEK. On the side door, it bore the symbol of the Inhibitors. Doors which open to let out two women. One was an Asian woman with short black hair. Her expression exhausted and full of contemplation. The other a teenage girl with the right half of her hair black and unkempt while the left white and smooth. The right arm partially turned into darkness while the left arm partially turned into light. Her eyes were similarly affected by this duality and were white with black lines surging around the pupil. Reflex & Chaos of the Inhibitors, both accompanied by their pilot Miles Shephard, who followed seconds behind.
“You!” Chaos shouts surging with dark energy at the sight of SWAT-Spider. Memories of their battle still fresh in her mind.*
“Karen wait!” SWAT-Spider calls out holding his hands up and banishing his helmet.
“Steven? You’re alive?!” she says with tear-filled eyes running to hug her former mentor. Her joy at seeing him alive overwriting her anger at him being the person she thought responsible for killing him in the first place.
“Um…how new am I?” Black Ice asks feeling increasingly like a third wheel.
“Very.” Doctor Khonshu replies patting him on the shoulder.
“We don’t have time to waste.” Reflex interjects forgoing any pleasantries. “You were right Steve. Fabiana wasn’t the only traitor. Rory, Katerina, Raina, Stephanie, Wei, and our new member Wendell are all either traitors or under her control. Pretty sure they’ve captured Ms. Boone and if Kathy isn’t being held hostage too she’s probably working with them now.”*
“They captured Raja too.” SWAT-Spider adds putting his right hand under his chin in thought.
“What? Can someone please translate for me?” Black Ice asks even more confused than before.
“Long story short; Inhibitors are evil, the bosses of the Inhibitors and RajTEK just got captured, and right now we’re outmanned and outgunned.” SWAT-Spider sighs running his hand through his hair.
“Oh, and I thought it was something bad.” Black Ice shrugs his shoulders casually at the answer.
“This isn’t a game.” SWAT-Spider snaps back.
“I know it’s not. But I mean come on, we’re heroes, aren’t we? When are the odds ever in our favor?” his optimism remained unaffected by the seriousness of the situation. “We got six-”
“Five.” Miles finally speaks.
“Five people now. How many do we have to fight?”
“About 11.” Reflex responds giving Black Ice a chance to make his point.
“See that’s not so bad. We have almost half as many people as them. All we gotta do is find their hideout, save the hostages, and punch the hell out of whoever’s in charge.”
“It’s not that easy.” Reflex says skeptically. She had seen what her friends were capable of in action and knew how grim their chances were.
“No, I think he’s right.” SWAT-Spider says to her surprise. “They aren’t some grand mastermind. There aren’t any traps that we know of. Just a hostage situation and if Raja and Director Boone are as important as I think they are we won’t have to worry about them getting hurt.”
“See? That means we just gotta go there and kick some ass. Now we just need to figure out where there is.”
“The Pathogen, the prison where the Inhibitors captured criminals are supposed to go.”
“Okay, so where is that?”
“That’s the problem, it’s constantly moving.” Doctor Khonshu laments having helped create the facility. “It’s supported by the Inversion Director Todd so it quite literally could be anywhere.”
“And if Mentalist gets on board then we’re going to have a lot more people to worry about.” SWAT-Spider thinks aloud.
“I don’t think we have to worry about that.” Miles speaks up once more. “The times I’ve gone I only got the directions from Director Boone. You can’t just go there without her say so. If she weren’t immune to mind control I’m betting she wouldn’t have given us that warning.”*
“That’s one concern down…” SWAT-Spider begins to think once more. Assuming the role of leader, he takes charge. “Chaos & Reflex get some rest. We’re gonna need both of you at 100% when we move out. Doc, find a way to locate the Pathogen. Pilot, Black Ice…just…Do whatever it is you can do while the Doc is busy. I have to make a call.”
Elsewhere in Silver Plains, Gabriel Kessler sat bored at his desk during 5th period Art Class. His foot tapping rhythmically as he waited desperately for the bell to ring signaling the end of class and his next step towards the end of the school day. While the other students began to draw and shade their circle drawings into a sphere, he sat listless staring at the clock with paper untouched. The super speed that let him race across the city made his focus difficult to maintain at times like this.
“Could Gabriel Kessler please report to the Principals office. Again, Gabriel Kessler to the Principals office.” the school intercom sounds to Gabriel’s confusion.
“Least it’s not class.” Gabriel thinks to himself, grabbing his book bag and heading out the classroom. With the school halls mostly empty, he uses his super speed to make it to the Principals office unnoticed. Knocking on the door after standing outside it for two minutes to make it seem like he walked normally. “Um, you wanted to see me Ms. Roiland?” he sticks his head into the small office that consisted of a desk, several bookcases, and an uneasy atmosphere.
“Yes, please sit.” Ms. Roiland was an older woman who loved her job despite the stress. Her hair was short and silver and her wrinkles pronounced from years of working in the educational system. “Your father called. He said there was a family emergency and asked if you could be excused to meet him at RajTEK.”
“Oh…okay.” Gabriel nods standing from the chair.
“Before you go Mr. Kessler.” she starts signaling Gabriel to sit back down. “Is everything okay at home?”
“Yeah.” he answers glancing off to the side.
“Okay, just making sure.” she says unconvinced. “I hope everything’s okay.”
“Thank you.” Gabriel leaves the office, races to his locker, and back home at super speed. Leaving his book bag and grabbing his goggles before racing to what was left of Doctor Khonshu & Raja’s laboratory. It took him seconds to scan the room full of people but most of his attention focusing on Black Ice. “Dude! That costume’s so cool!” Gabriel says finally stopping to admire Black Ice’s costume. Shocking all but SWAT-Spider upon his near instantaneous arrival.
“Uh, thanks…you…” Black Ice says confused once more by the new arrival.
“I wish I had a costume…I just have my goggles and hoodie. Couldn’t even find my sweatpants to match so I’m stuck with shorts this time…” he complains.
“That really sucks. Sorry to hear that.” Black Ice replies knowing the pain of a makeshift costume.
“Everyone, this is Jetstream. He gonna be helping us out. JS this is Black Ice, Chaos, Reflex, Miles, and Doctor Khonshu.” SWAT-Spider motions to each as he says their name to introduce them to Jetstream.
“Ooo, what am I helping out with?” Jetstream asks ecstatic. His giddiness visible to all in his wide grin and shaking.
“You’re gonna be going to Sweden.”