by CSyphrett, with Doc Quantum
Hank Hennessy reviewed the recordings of the arrest of the Blue Streak over the next two days. He was quietly satisfied with their performance. They had acted like a well-oiled machine. Now it was time to get ready for the main event. Hennessy gathered the materials together he needed for a briefing. LAW was in the world-saving business.
The one-eyed man held his briefing the fourth day after the first mission. He kept himself in control as he waited for his team to return from their passes. He wanted to go by himself. Only the remains of his professionalism held him in check.
This had to be bigger than a thirst for revenge. He had to be bigger. He wasn’t going to lose any more people just because his goal was within reach. No — a plan would be put in place and followed until the job was finished. He watched silently as his new team filed into the room. Time to go to work.
“This is the target,” said Hank Hennessy as he started the slide projector. “His name is Bernard Spielman. He is a contact man for the Mars Council. His associate, Donald Pierce, was captured by a Scottish action-hero called the Black Lion last month. (*) And the Feds almost snagged Spielman himself around the same time after a fiasco with the Peacemaker and a private detective named Michael Mauser in New York. (*) He was able to skip the country ahead of a dragnet. He was off everyone’s radar for a few weeks, and then the NSA found some kind of activity in the South Pacific. A chance satellite recon returned a few pictures of Mr. Spielman enjoying some time on the beach.
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Paragons: Deus Ex Astra, Book 1, Chapter 1: The Black Lion and Michael Mauser, Private Eye: War and Peacemaker.]
“Our job is to go in there and extract Spielman against his wishes and bring him home to stand trial. As you can see, Mars has taken an old base from World War II and outfitted it with the latest in security and defensive technology. We’ll have to breach their defenses, secure the target, and exit before anyone notices our operation.” Hennessy looked at his team. “Any questions?”
The LAW members loaded themselves and any gear they would need onto a U.S. Army cargo plane. Hennessy took the time to inspect the weapons he had requisitioned from Equipment. He was the only one going with any conventional firearms. He was actually the only one who really felt comfortable with a pistol in his hands. The Red Knight had picked up a bag of gas grenades and a filter to use. John “Specs” Anders, Destiny Fox, and Syntac were content to use only their abilities. Of course, the Puppeteer had a bag full of tricks and gimmicks to make a stage magician envious.
The cargo plane carried the team halfway around the world with ease. One low pass in the middle of the night dropped them in the ocean on a raft a few miles from the target.
Destiny Fox began pushing them to shore with her control over water. Specs picked a clear spot to land, and she pushed them up on the beach. The invasion was exactly on time. Hennessy wondered when things were going to begin fouling up as he pulled the Uzi pistol from a holster.
Specs led the team forward into the jungle, scanning around them with his telepathy. Syntac walked at his side, disarming cameras and any mechanical trap they came across with eye-lasers. The team made slow progress in this fashion but finally reached the rebuilt headquarters Mars Council was using to house Spielman.
Hennessy knew the place had been destroyed in the 1940s by the Mystery-Men, the World War II-era version of the Sentinels of Justice. He wondered briefly what changes had been made to give added security to the renegade. Time to send in the expendable one.
He gestured at the Puppeteer with his one hand. The orange-colored operative made a “Who — me?” gesture. Hennessy nodded once.
The Puppeteer shrugged broadly. He reached into his bag and drew out several plastic eggs. He activated his V-beam and flew forward in a streak of multicolored light. Clarions went off as soon as someone spotted him bouncing around like a tennis ball.
He pitched the grenades swiftly as he made a broad curve away from the headquarters building. Various substances exploded against the building, scarring and cutting the walls on contact. Armed guards deployed from another building to shoot at the fleeing Puppeteer as he shot into the jungle on the V-beam.
Taking aim at the oncoming men, Hennessy fired the Uzi pistol and grimaced slightly at the effort involved as the troopers scattered away from the bullets. Time to secure and escape, he told himself.
“Catapult, Fox,” Hennessy ordered. This was a move they had worked on in training. Hopefully it would be just as good in the field.
Destiny Fox created a basket made of water that hovered in the air. Syntac leaped into the water basket, and with some effort, Destiny propelled the water basket forward, launching Syntac through a window on the top floor. Destiny created another water basket, and the Red Knight flew through the air next. She smashed through another window in the row, feet first.
“We need a location, Specs,” said Hennessy as he fired at the secondary building until he ran the Uzi dry. He quickly exchanged weapons as answering fire sought him out.
The Puppeteer V-beamed to the front of the barracks and threw several of his special gadgets through the open door. Screams could be heard as several clouds exploded within. He moved away, a puppet on its strings ready and whirling in his hand.
“What was in those things?” asked Hennessy.
“Industrial-strength itching powder, I believe,” said Specs.
“Location, Specs,” said Hennessy. The building had been quieted by the clouds, so he didn’t care what had been used to do it. At least they would be able to stand trial later, if it came to that.
“Our boy’s been moved,” said the telepath. “One of the Puppeteer’s victims thinks we’re after Spielman and remembered that they took him to an emergency airstrip across the island. They just left before we got here.”
“Secure this area, Specs, and then get the team together and follow us,” said Hennessy. “You’re up, Fox. Let’s go.”
The woman with the power of a river god created a hovering pool of water to carry the commander as she followed behind him. Within moments, the one-armed, one-eyed man had crossed the battlefield and went up the side of the overlooking mountain, gliding to his goal at the end of the island. Hennessy chafed at the delay, even though Destiny Fox was carrying him at double or triple the speed he could have done on his own. He glared impatiently at the passing landscape below. They had to stop Spielman in time.
When the two were in range of the secondary landing strip, both could see that a jet was being readied for take-off on a starting X. The engines roared to life as the LAW agents hovered on pockets of water. The plane began moving forward.
Hank Hennessy leveled the spare Uzi as the pool of water he was on came close to the wing of the plane. He held the trigger down as the plane coasted forward. The bullets punched through the closer engine, causing an outburst of fiery smoke. “Let’s see them take off now,” said the commando grimly. He dropped the empty clip out and reloaded one-handed as the plane rolled to a stop.
Destiny Fox carried both of them over the wing and then to the other side. She released Hennessy and hovered over the plane. A huge fist of water burst out of the Pacific Ocean to strike the plane, sending the pilot flying out of the cockpit. Hennessy walked over to where the disembarking ladder would have to descend and waited. They would either take their chances with Destiny’s powers or try to run for it.
The door burst open, and the ladder clattered down. Hennessy saw feet appear at the top and heard cries for help. The commando ran his single arm across the back of those legs to send the owner sprawling on his back.
“Hello, Bernie,” Hennessy said to the soaked figure, making sure no one else was coming out of the plane at the moment. Destiny Fox was keeping them busy judging from the splashing sounds he could hear.
“That thing in Iran wasn’t me, Hennessy,” said Spielman desperately. “I tried to argue them out of it.”
“I was there,” said Hennessy grimly. The Fightin’ Five had ended that day in 1973 in the Mars Council fiasco caused by Bernard Spielman and Donald Pierce. “My superiors think I’m bringing you back for trial.” He leveled the Uzi’s barrel at the other man’s face, his index finger tightening slightly as he looked at him with rage. Spielman’s hands came up defensively.
“And I’m going to,” Hennessy said after a moment as he let the Uzi drop off target. “But it’s more than you deserve.”
Spielman reached for his ankle, grabbing a small pistol. Hennessy’s bullets chewed him up before he could bring it up to shoot.
“Stupid sack,” Hennessy said.
LAW division’s Bishop, Tiffany Sinn, quietly read the reports at Checkmate headquarters sometime later. The U.S. Navy had arrested a bunch of the Mars Council goons, but no one had any kind of useful information. Bernard Spielman had bought a ticket to the back alley in the sky. At least Hank Hennessy had passed with flying colors. Destiny Fox’s report made it clear that Spielman had reached for a gun instead of being taken alive.
The first covert operations LAW team was up and running. After the trial period was over, Miss Sinn would try to field a second team for testing, and she wondered whom she could recruit to be the team leader.