by Doc Quantum, Bejammin2000, and Christine Nightstar
“Can you believe those guys?” said Indigo as she and Mister Marvel left the Trigger Twins behind with the Tigress and moved forward with the rest of the group. “How immature can you get?”
“Yeah,” said Stanley Beamish, feeling out of place among all the others in the asbestos-lined flight suit that, along with aviator goggles and a white scarf, acted as his uniform.
He knew that, as Mister Marvel, he would only have an hour of super-powers after he took a power pill, so he kept it in a pocket and waited for the right moment to take it. But as he nervously stalked forward, he began wondering if his flight suit was also bulletproof. If he got shot before he had a chance to gain super-powers, he could die just like anyone else. He gulped at the thought.
“You okay, Marvel?” said Indigo. Lowering her voice and whispering in his ear, she said, “Want to go find someplace a little more… private?”
“What?” said Stanley. “We’re in the middle of a mission!”
“We’re miles inland, Marvel,” said Indigo. “What’s a girl with water-based powers supposed to do on a mission like this? The only way I can even exist out of salt water is to wear this special suit, like my dad’s, which helps me retain sodium. And you — you only have your powers for an hour at a time. Besides, we’re only here because Commander Steel doesn’t need us. He’s got enough power in the Suicide Squad members present to take over this place without us. And the only reason you’re here is to keep an eye on me and keep me safe, isn’t it?”
“Well… yes,” Stan admitted, looking uncomfortable as he began to realize that she was completely aware of her unique situation in the Suicide Squad as the only really non-expendable member.
“Then you’d better hurry up and catch me, Mister Marvel, if you can!” said Indigo, suddenly sprinting off to the side and ducking down a corridor.
“What? Indigo, wait! Wait!” called Stan, running after her. Was she really making a game of this?
The day was still young in the fabrication building. There were grenades, rifles, pistols, rockets, and all sorts of other weapons and ammo; unfortunately, nothing else was as spectacular as that one handgun. When they finally met up with the Tigress, who was told to babysit them while they were shopping, she just looked at them.
They were bulging, clanky, and looking overweight. Rifles, guns, and ammo belts were in every odd place.
“What? You never saw a man with a rifle in his pants before?” Mitch Lawton asked nonchalantly.
Tigress placed the palm of her hand on her face and shook her head. Damn gun-nuts, she thought to herself. “Actually, no. But either way, let’s get going. We have to play catch up with the others.”
And with that, they were headed out. But then the two Trigger Twins, never light on their feet to begin with, set off a security system. This one was connected to a Gatling gun in the far wall down the base of a T-corridor. Tigress and Sharpshooter were on one side, and Marksman was on the other as the gun began firing round after round of heavy fire.
“If I die, I’m killin’ the both of you jackasses!” Paula Crock shouted over the sound of the machine-gun fire.
“Noted!” Jake Lawton replied just as loudly before looking across to his brother. “Whaddaya think it is? I’m thinking it’s a Helgun. You?”
“Nah. I can hear the mechanism. We’re looking at an H.I. Helspitter rotary machine gun.” Mitch nodded. “Shouldn’t be too hard. Only shoots three-thousand rounds a minute. Takes five seconds to load up the next box mag, to boot.”
“Are you thinkin’ o’ doin’ what I think you’re thinkin’ o’ doin’?”
“It’ll be a good test for Jennie!”
“Aw, you need ta stop namin’ yer guns after those chicks you had a crush on in high school!”
At that moment, the gunfire stopped. Mitch ducked into the corridor, Jennie in hand, and fired. The gun barked once, and a crash followed. There was no more gunfire.
“The hell did he do?” Tigress asked, peering around the corner and seeing that the rotary barrel to the weapon was on the floor. Jake and Mitch looked at her.
“It’s the flaw in the Helspitter design,” they both said together. Jake then lightly punched his brother in the shoulder and added, “Shoot out the rod holdin’ the barrels to the main assembly, and it’s no longer a problem.”
“Well? Is it as good as they say it will be?” asked Mitch.
Two states away, in the facility below the Missouri River, an alarm went off that alerted the former Mindwarp about the infiltration of Helstrom’s Utah compound.
“What’s this? I have more visitors. How unexpected!”
As Commander Steel and Lefty Burkowitz were each forcibly placed in adjoining holding cells by the deadly Arnax, they guessed that the Suicide Squad had arrived in Utah. The robot suddenly turned and walked away from the two men, leaving them in their secured cells.
“Excuse me, gentlemen, but I must ensure that our new guests are properly welcomed. You have earned a temporary stay of execution.”
Helstrom Industries Corporate Headquarters, Utah:
“Blockbuster, smash down that wall!” Agent Liberty ordered the dim-witted hulking man, who did what he was told. The security wall preventing their access from the main headquarters crumbled under the tremendous pressure of Blockbuster’s great strength.
The bulk of the Suicide Squad had already left the main fabrication building and had been smashing through the high-security laboratories. Arn Munro had ordered his team to provide cover for Gypsy and the Minstrel so they could retrieve enough evidence to put Darius Helstrom away for good.
The rest of this task force readied themselves for whatever might come. Karnage, Brainstorm, Darkstar, the Icicle, the Archer, the Dart, and Heatmonger prepared themselves as a horde of Green Hats descended upon them from all sides. Vengeance used his formidable mental abilities to instill the task force with more confidence than they’d need.
Psyche Hayden, hidden from view, pushed her emotion-manipulating abilities to their limit in an attempt to cause their foes to experience despair and helplessness. It had finally begun to work, as a few of the men had already dropped their guns and ran off, while some had even attempted suicide. But she was growing tired from the exertion.
A voice resounded through the facility, loud enough to be heard over the sounds of gunfire and battle.
“Welcome to Helstrom Industries,” said a voice they’d all heard on television. “I am Darius Helstrom, your gracious host. Is there something I can help you with, gentlemen?”
“You’re going down, Helstrom!” Agent Liberty shouted as the elite forces called Grey Hats swarmed in to take down the team. As bullets deflected from his iron-like form, Munro leaped out to sweep the legs of several of them in one fluid motion, causing many to fall.
The Icicle followed up with a freezing attack, creating an ice-wall with the Grey Hats embedded within, before Karnage shot mini-missiles that shattered the ice, incapacitating and in some cases killing these elite special forces.
Arn Munro cringed. Their opponents weren’t enemy soldiers in a war; these were Americans who were just doing their job. At the same time, he had to keep reminding himself that this HelCorps had been responsible for instigating wars, and they might be holding onto a powerful bio-weapon capable of killing thousands. They needed to be shut down before innocents could be hurt.
The underwater facility beneath the Missouri River, Kansas:
Commander Steel punched at the walls of his cell, hoping to break through and get out, but all he’d done with his enhanced strength was to make impressions where he’d struck the wall, with nothing but sore hands for his trouble. All the while he continued examining the situation from multiple perspectives.
Nearby Lefty Burkowitz sat quietly in his cell, worrying about what Mindwarp had in store for him; he could have sent Arnax to kill them, but he’d instead wanted to torture them before ending their lives. So much for his big comeback. If there was even a possibility that he could cut a deal with Mindwarp, Lefty would jump at that chance and betray Steel and Reed in a moment, but he was pretty sure there was no love lost between him and Joseph Goddard.
“Hank, think for a moment!” Steel shouted to himself as he stopped. “Remember who we’re dealing with!”
Calming himself down, Hank Heywood remembered the martial arts training he’d picked up in Japan after the war. Closing his eyes, he started to concentrate on what was real, rather than believe his lying eyes. Finally, he opened his eyes and saw the truth: that the walls of his cell were already in shambles. He had punched clear through to Lefty’s cell, and neither man had known it, thanks to their foe’s power to dominate minds.
“You figured something out, didn’t you, Commander Steel?” said Mindwarp. “Good for you. It won’t help you, though, even if you do get out of your cells.” The mentalist laughed. “It would have been interesting to see you hit that pillar one more time and collapse the ceiling in on Lefty’s head. But I’ll have to live with this small disappointment.”
The robotic Arnax, having also returned without their notice, walked over to Commander Steel and Lefty with deadly intent, moving with a speed that neither man could match, and knocked them both across the chamber.
“Watch, father, as Commander Steel and ‘Fraudshot’ die.”
Barton J. Reed watched the screen from his own cell, built to contain an ordinary man with no powers of his own, and vowed, “I must help them.”
Helstrom Industries Corporate Headquarters, Utah:
It took the Trigger Twins and the Tigress another ten minutes to catch up with Agent Liberty, who had sent the main group to press the attack farther into the main building.
“Where the hell have you been?” was all that Arn Munro asked the villainess.
“Tweedledumb… and Tweedledumber…” she said, motioning first to Jake Lawton and then to Mitch Lawton, “…decided to pick up a few wares.”
“Hey!” Mitch shouted. “He’s Tweedledumber.”
“Whatever!” Munro said. “Now isn’t the time to scrap like school children. Right now we still have a job to do, remember?”
At that moment, someone else spoke. “And so do we.”
The Suicide Squad members turned to see three men wearing black hats — a beret, a cowboy hat, and a ball cap.
Mitch shook his head. “Rent-a-cops. I hate rent-a-cops.”
However, before the Squad could do anything, the three Black Hats whipped out their weapons and opened fire.
“Who in the hell gives security guards rock and rollers?” Jake asked, ducking behind a wall; he noticed the Tigress next to him.
“This is getting to be too familiar,” she sighed. Turning to Mitch, she said, “You! You think you can pull off another miracle like before?”
“Maybe. I need covering fire, though.” And with that, he tossed a gun to Tigress. “If you, Jake, and the big guy can keep ’em from turning me into Swiss cheese, I might just do it.”
What happened was another Mitch Lawton miracle too incredible to put into words. However, after the sounds had died down, and the three Black Hats had fallen, the Suicide Squad members noticed something.
“Mitch, yer shot!” Jake said, looking at his brother holding his shoulder.
“Thanks for the insight, Captain Obvious,” Mitch said, holding the wound. “Feels through and through. You have some rifle rounds on you?”
“Yep. Shore ’nuff.” Jake handed his brother three rifle rounds. Tigress frowned as he took the bullet out of each one and then packed the wound with gunpowder.
“What the hell are you–?” She didn’t get the rest out as Mitch touched a match to the wound. There was a small explosion. He still had a hole in his shoulder, but the bleeding had stopped.
“That’s what they call a gunpowder cauterization. Nasty, hardcore, but gets the job done.” It was Agent Liberty who said that, nodding at Mitch Lawton. The boy had guts, that was for sure.