Now, onto the regularly scheduled program.]
“Took you guys long enough,” Nerdrage said, putting down the gun.
“Nerdrage!” Indo yelled.
“Ned?” Jake asked, disbelieving.
Everyone turned towards Jake.
“What? His name is Ned.” Jake said.
“I…did not know that,” Indo said.
“I prefer my pseudonym,” Nerdrage, or Ned, said.
“Same,” Dorkpool said.
“You’re Dorkpool, aren’t you?” Nerdrage asked.
“Yep. The group’s designated comic relief. And what do you mean that it took us long enough? We didn’t even know you were here.”
“I figured someone would show up.”
“Why? The team disbanded,” Indo pointed out. “And what are you doing here anyway?”
Nerdrage sighed. “After that battle with your sister, the team basically broke up. We all sort of went our separate ways. I did too, for a while. But it never felt right. So, I came back here, and just started keeping tabs on things.”
“Like what?” Indo asked.
“Like you. And Spyder, and Spellweaver, and Toxique, and Swashbuckler, and Julius. It was something to pass the time.
“I ended up finding out that Incertus’ grave was dug up, and her body was gone. I figured that couldn’t be good, and that maybe it was time we all got back together. So, I started to send out calls to everyone I could contact.
“Some were easier than others. Swashbuckler is now a one-woman vigilante version of the Coast Guard, and I was able to talk to her. She said she belonged on the high seas. Spellweaver’s in the city now. She’s actually part of a punk band, go figure. I contacted her, and she seemed to be interested, but wanted to make sure there was proof that Incertus was back. I have no idea where Toxique is. Last I saw, I’d given her a robotic arm, but I haven’t been able to find her since.
“I found out that you two,” Jake said, pointing to Indo and Spyder “had been working together for a bit, and just arrived in the city. I figured you guys would end up here soon enough.”
“And us?” Jake asked, referring to him and Dorkpool.
“Well, I figured you guys would be here too, since I heard Indo and Spyder broke you guys out of jail.”
“Good to know. One other question: how did you know my name?” Dorkpool asked.
“I found some interesting conversations between some ship called the Cheese Doodle and the government. Apparently Indo told them to leave the ship alone. I knew Indo was on that ship, and I did a bit of research into that. A guy named Dorkpool, some cat-like female, and a guy with a beard drawn on his mask named Mirror fought some guy named Vorix.”
“How do you know all that?”
“Pretty much everything’s on the Internet. You have to know where to look.”
“Alright. So, now that all the plot holes are cleared up, what do we do now?”
“He said Spellweaver might be interested in helping us. Maybe we could find her,” Indo suggested.
“She actually has a concert tonight. We could talk to her there.” Nerdrage said.
Everyone agreed that was a pretty good idea.
“Well, let’s go,” Dorkpool said.
There was a knock at the door.
“Or we could address that,” Dorkpool said.
“You don’t think…?” Jake asked.
“Has to be. She did the same thing last time. She wants us to know,” Nerdrage said, raising his gun.
“You know, maybe I should say, ‘hi.’ I’d like to meet my ex-girlfriend’s sister.” Dorkpool said.
“You’re joking, right?” Jake asked.
“Actually, he might be onto something,” Indo said.
Everyone looked at her. She smiled. “I think I might have an idea.”
Dorkpool wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to see when he opened the door. What he did see was…unique, to say the least.
“Hey, Bandit, long time no see,” Dorkpool said.
Bandit was knocking on the door, but he seemed different. Maybe it was because of the giant hole in his gut. Maybe it was because of the lifeless look in his eyes. Maybe it was because Bandit suddenly dropped when Dorkpool spoke.
Dorkpool looked down. “I think we have beds inside if you’re that tired,” he said, pointing a thumb towards the open doorway.
And then Dorkpool started walking. It wasn’t of his own accord, and an outsider could see that. The movement was awkward and jerky, like he wasn’t quite used to walking.
His destination was in front of, of all people, Laughing Jack, and what could best be described as someone dug up from a grave after halfway decomposing. She wore a black, tattered dress. A lot of bone was exposed on her body. Much of the skin on her face was missing, and what was still there was peeling. One of her eyes was surrounded by skin; the other sat unblinking in the exposed skull. She had one dog ear on the right side of her head, making it seem like she was missing one, and the tip of her tail was bone. All over her rotting body were blue lines, even on her bones.
“Ok, let me guess: you’re an extra from the Walking Dead.” Dorkpool said.
Incertus looked him up and down. “You’re Dorkpool, aren’t you?”
“I am, thanks for noticing. And if things had gone better with me and Indo, you might’ve been my sister-in-law. I’m kinda glad you aren’t, because I don’t think you’d look too good in our wedding pictures.”
Incertus was taken aback. “Indo went out with you? Talk about low standards.”
“Oh, ha ha, it’s not like everyone else has made that joke. Seriously, get some new material.”
“That sounds like too much of a hassle. How about instead I let my new friend Laughing Jack kill you?”
“Oh, you guys are friends now? How sweet. Do you wear matching friendship bracelets?” Dorkpool looked at Laughing Jack. “By the way, hey, Jack, it’s been a while. Wish it could’ve been longer.”
“I can’t say the same. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you again, and listening to your last words before I kill you.” Jack said.
“Wow, no quip? I’m disappointed. Oh well, I’ve still got a good last word for you.” Dorkpool cleared his throat. “ASSEMBLE!”
From the building, everyone ran out, ready to attack. Nerdrage and Jake had guns out and started firing at Incertus and Jack, while Spyder fired webbing at the two. Indo let loose lines of fire at the duo.
Surprised, Incertus pushed Dorkpool away, past his friends. Indo stayed back, and went over to him.
“You ok?” Indo asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Didn’t expect Laughing Jack to be there, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Bastard’s been on my tail. Anyway, shall we go?” Dorkpool said, getting up.
Indo nodded, and the two started walking towards the base.
“Why’d you yell out ‘assemble?’” Indo asked.
“I’ve always wanted to do that with a group of superheroes.” Dorkpool replied.
“But they’re not the Avengers.”
“Still cool. You know, I never got a chance to ask how you’ve been.”
“Could be better. How have you been?”
“Well, now that I’m not an alcoholic, pretty good.”
“That’s good. How’s Mirror?” Indo asked.
“He’s alright. Kind of a wreck after he saw the third volume of RWBY,” Dorkpool responded.
“He’s still into that?”
“Last I checked, yeah.”
“He hasn’t a changed a bit, has he?”
“Well, he’s got a new costume.”
“Yep. Now it’s yellow.”
The two got back inside the building.
“Maybe you should make your costume yellow,” Indo suggested.
“Nah, I think I look better in red,” Dorkpool said. “Should we call them?”
“I got it,” Indo said, creating a fiery image of an arrow pointing at the base.
“Subtle,” Dorkpool noted.
Nerdrage, Jake, and Spyder fell back to the base, and Incertus and Laughing Jack chased them. Spyder webbed the duo’s feet to the ground, and the three were able to make it to the base and close the door before Incertus and Jack could make it inside.
“Alright, Ned,” Dorkpool said. “Lead the way.”
Nerdrage took a second to glare at Dorkpool, then went in front of the group and started walking. Everyone followed, with Spyder at the rear, spinning webs.
It took about a minute for Incertus and Jack to cut through the webbing, but it was a minute too long. Everyone had gotten inside the building.
“You know,” Jack said as they ran to the base. “Maybe we should’ve taken the subtle route.”
“No way,” Incertus said as they got to the door. “This is much more fun.”
Incertus opened the door, revealing hallways filled with webbing.
“Still fun?” Jack asked.
Incertus sent a flood through the hallway, ripping off the webbing. “Oh, definitely.”
The group heard the door open, and the water.
“They’re here,” Jake said.
“And so are we,” Nerdrage said, stopping, bending down, and lifting up a hatch and revealing a ladder leading down. Nerdrage went down first, with everyone following behind him. Spyder went last, and webbed up the hatch.
The base had an escape tunnel, in case of emergencies. The base also had a self-destruct system, also for emergencies. The plan was to utilize both.
All five were walking through the escape tunnel. There was very little lighting, so Dorkpool decided to use his crotch light once more. Everyone was thankful he didn’t make any jokes about his crotch light.
After the got a certain distance away, Nerdrage pressed a button. They felt the ground shake from an explosion. After a minute, everyone looked at Indo. Her lines were still there.
“That just bought us some time,” Nerdrage said.
“I hope it’s enough,” Indo said.
Incertus and Jack emerged from the rubble, alive but not unscathed. Thanks to the webbing and a shield of water Incertus threw up when she heard the bomb go off, they were able to survive. However, they were still hurt, and very angry.
“What happened?” Jack asked.
“They must’ve triggered the self-destruct system, and left through the escape tunnel.” Incertus answered.
“Do you know where the tunnel lets out?”
“It lets out at a bunch of different places.”
“So you’re saying that we lost them?”
“Maybe not. I saw a flyer for a band that seems to have an old friend of mine. I think they might want to see her. Now that I think about it, I’d like to see her too.” Incertus said, a smile forming.
“Will you introduce me?” Jack asked.
“Of course,” Incertus said. “This will be one big, happy reunion.”
TO BE CONTINUED…