The Sea Horse: Kidnapped

  The three villains and their army struck during the night. Soldier and his recruits did their best, but Dr Melvins was still abducted.  The ransom note was sent to Spectrum over the airwaves. “Your freedom for his safety, nothing else, nothing less.”

Spectrum was already on his way when the Sea Horse contacted him.  “You can’t go.”  “It means his life.”  “His welfare is jeopardized when you walk through the door.  They need you both at first.  Him to control the machine from the inside, and you to power it.  Once they have that, they intend on you dying in the explosion.”

“Sea Horse, do you have a plan?”  “Yes, but it’s risky.”  “It’s better than doing it their way.”  “All right, meet us at these coordinates, I’m bringing someone I want you to meet.” Spectrum touched down and waited for the Sea Horse, Swordfish, and the other allies.

A short while later, the villains were chaining their two victims to the inside of the Infantino Machine. “What if the President refuses your price?”  “Well then, it will be unfortunate for the East coast.”  Mammoth responded.  High Society spoke from the rafters.  “He’ll cave, they all do to pressure.”  Mimic, was the only one that was speechless.

“Do you want this enough to hurt that many people?”  It was then that Hyperbole strolled in, or rather his hologram did.  He floated around the room, taking it all in.  “Silence.  You three see what they are doing don’t you?  They want to get you to fight among yourselves.  Really, not that hard considering your past history.”

“Why are you here Hyperbole?”  Mimic asked, suspicious.  “Too bargain of course.  While you loot the countryside, I want the museums.  All of the artifacts that fill the Met, the Smithsonian, and more.”

“What makes you think you can demand of me?”  “Actually I don’t, you see this is what’s called stalling.  Sea Horse and his crew needed to get in, and I didn’t want to see the Statue Of Liberty crumbled to dust.  So we made a deal.”  “You’re a hologram, you can’t do anything.”  “Oh no, except relay the visuals around me, including the way to open your door.”

Mimic ordered, “Start the machine now!”  Titanic complied as the energy drained from Spectrum’s body.  Dr. Melvins spoke, “One factor you ignored.  Now that you have us both, and are hurting him, I have no reason to direct this machine anywhere.  You will die with us!”

High Society responded.  “I don’t think so.  Do you think that you were the only kidnapped victim.  Look at your monitor, I believe you’ll recognize your daughter.  She is safe, as long as you obey.”  The Dr. had no choice, piloting the sphere deeper into the Earth and the fault line.

The Sea Horse: The Fall Out

  “What happens when three partners fall out, especially when one tries to kill the other two?”  “Nothing, if he succeeds.” “What happens when he doesn’t?”  “Then they kill him, if they can. If they can’t, they do what you’re doing, negotiate.  You still need me, or I’d be dead.” 

The two, tired villains had escaped through a skylight, just ahead of the debris from the explosion.  They had found Titanic’s lair, making a new entrance through the ceiling.  High Society and Mimic we’re willing to listen, but their patience was thin.

“I may not survive if I go in the Infantino machine, but I will, if we use a proxy.”  “Who would volunteer to take your place?”  “No one, but then I have no problem with drafting either.”

Mimic sat down, “Who?”  “Of all Oceania’s costumed annoyances, Spectrum is closest to my power abilities.  He will accommodate, if it means saving someone he cares for, such as his stepfather. Why do you think I chose Dr. Melvins?”

“Leverage, you had a backup plan.”  “A good soldier, or scientist, always does.”  “How do we get him?”  “He is hiding in their “New Protectors” training facility. We take him by force, very simple.”

“We’re supposed to forget you tried to kill us?” “No, you’re supposed to compartmentalize it, and move on.  We have a scientist to steal!” 

The Sea Horse: Concentration 

  “He cannot control it completely.  This energy apparatus he wears, that’s why the changes in his appearance happen.  They are a side effect of the energy of the machine.  The Infantino Machine will magnify his power yes, but it will also increase his instability.”  

Dr. Melvins had found the Sea Horse.  “So Doctor, since they already are planning mass destruction, what does this mean?”  “At best, their lives are also endangered, at worse, an atomic explosion ten times what they’ve threatened!”

The Sea Horse had few options, all of them bad.  He chose the most direct, relaying over Oceania’s airwaves Dr. Melvins’ message.  His hope was that Mimic and High Society were watching.  His efforts were not futile.

“You can’t control it! When we’re you going to tell us, before or after annihilation?” Mimic screamed at his enormous associate.  “I wasn’t, no more so   than you shared your association with the attack on my parents.” 

“So you we’re seeking revenge on me.”  “Not merely you, your entire organization. Plus, my cousins have some unfinished business with High Society, this was a bonus.”  

The Sea Horse’s nemesis had been quiet until then, hovering in the corner of the room.  “Now I know the face, your two henchmen.  They did some work for me, they failed, so I failed to pay them.  So you intend to do what, now that we know your plans?”

Titanic laughed as he discretely placed a pen size object under the table, and headed for the door. “I intend to kill you both, and then take over.  The Infantino machine will never need to be used, but the threat of it, will gain me power.  That will fill my accounts, and then I will disappear to enjoy it.”

He was exiting as he spoke his last words. “That bomb I just planted, in ninety seconds, will seal the room with a thermal  signature. If anyone goes in or out, it will explode.  If your body temperatures rise or fall too much from what they are now, it will explode.  I suggest you focus your concentration, not on me, but on staying alive.”

The Sea Horse: The Recruits

recruitsSoldier, dressed in tan and black camouflage, a tan face mask, and black beret, addressed his cadets. “You are here to learn to fight for your city. It’s dangerous, even deadly. You’ve prepared, as much as you can mentally, for that. Now, face the fact that what you do is lonely. Most won’t know who you are, and if they care, it’s for the wrong reason.”

“You’re job is to protect, as quietly as possible, those around you. The reason you wear costumes is to draw the same attention a bullseye would on a target. You’re volunteering to be the bait, if they hit you, they won’t hit someone else. If you’re ready, we’ll begin. First, stop me from getting across this field.”

Each recruit gave it their best. The ones with powers relied too heavily on their abilities. The ones without relied too heavily on strategy. Only one was able to get close to stopping Soldier, and he stunned him with a stun staff. It was a last minute recruit, known only as PocketWatch, that almost made it.

“Most of you did as expected, and that is not bad. PocketWatch you only made one mistake, you tried to disarm me, as if it were a gun. When the weapon is foreign to you, don’t assume what direction it fires. Now, we’ll reverse it. You all will try to cross the field, and I’ll stop you.”

Each time that day, Soldier won, but each time he taught them why. Their training would be difficult, but it had to be, because it would also be short. The recruits would be called up for active duty much sooner than anyone expected. It would take every Ally they could muster to stop High Society and Mimic’s war.

The Sea Horse: Clinics

imageHenry stood on the tarmac. Carla stood beside him. They watched as their adopted son, Aaron Matthews and his bride got off the helicopter and joined them. They had always been a little sad that Aaron had to give up medicine, but they understood. Aaron had a patient in Oceania that needed constant attention.

The problem was, now he had another patient, the whole country. Titanic was threatening the entire East coast. Oceania’s team of heroes faced a challenge. How to protect the country from one base. Ironically, the task that they needed to accomplish, didn’t need a crimefighter’s touch, but an administrator.

Henry brought this up to his son in the car. “Aaron, I’ve been thinking about your problem. I have a solution, but I don’t know that it will be accepted by your group.” “At this point, I think they’re willing to do anything, if it means stopping the epidemic Titanic is planning.”

Mimic, Titanic, and High Society were not only threatening to use his powers, coupled with the Infantino Machine to create a man made series of earthquakes, flash floods, and other weather related problems. They also were taking over gangs in major cities and supplying them with powerful weapons.

“You need more than a central hospital, so to speak, you need a series of clinics. Some of your allies need to move, at least temporarily, into the cities where the threats are. Oceania can generate new protectors, they set the precedent. The other cities don’t have time to learn it.”

Elizabeth looked at Aaron. “They’ll listen to Henry. They won’t like it, but they’ll listen.” Aaron sighed. “It’s the right answer, I just dread losing coverage here. We’ll have to start training people to take their place.” Carla spoke up. “No, not you two. Neither of you have the time, but I know who does.”

The Sea Horse: Going National

  The two villains spoke through video conference. Just hours before they were trying to kill each other. Now, they were each other’s only hope of maintaining control of their criminal empires. Each had lost face, it would be only a matter of time before challengers knocked at their doors.

“Titanic is one of those rare entities you don’t control. He is a partner, and must be treated as such. Ignore that, and he will lose interest in your affairs. He is an eccentric genius, a scientist with the body of a steel tank that happens to be twelve feet tall. He will simply shut down and return to things that interest him. I know this, and I take steps to prevent it.”

 “You’re telling me this why?” “Because now Society, he is our only possible option. The Sea Horse has embarrassed both of us. He freed the Mayor, stopped you from killing me, and defeated Carbuncle. The only relevant factor that forces our subordinates to continue to listen to us, is Titanic.”

 “You have forced yourself to become my ally, if you want to remain viable in the city. To remain viable, we must release the Titanic on all of Oceania.” High Society didn’t like giving up his only ace. He had the plans for the Infantino Machine, but Titanic was the key. Titanic would not change loyalties, so the two ‘societies’ had to come together.  

 “All right, but who is he? Is he really related to Franklin and Edison? How does he do what he does?” “Who knows? Who cares? The Titanic never goes by anything else. His hair color and features alter almost independently, one moment he’s bald, the next minute he has red hair and a gray goatee. Here is what I know about him.”

He is a walking energy plant, producing electricity at a a massive rate. Able to channel it through vibration and affect the weather in a few hundred mile radius. His body generates heat, his bodysuit channels that through a atmospheric based process akin to hydraulics, and he generates bursts of destruction.”

 “So a combination of him and the Infantino Machine will secure Oceania?” “Oh no, this is larger than Oceania. This will place the East Coast at our feet. We are no longer campaigning for the Mayor’s attention. The entire country will take notice of us now!”

The Sea Horse: Thief Vs Thief

  High Society had threatened every player in Oceania.  Mimic had kidnapped the Mayor, and put a price on The Sea Horse’s head.  Now, before Sea Horse could get back to the city, the two were leveling buildings around them.

“I lead this city Mimic, give me the Mayor.”  High Society demanded as he shot lasers directly at Mimic’s torso.  Mimic blocked them with a force field his suit generated, then countered by returning energy blasts of his own. “My army says otherwise.  You are a small player on a much larger stage. I suggest you withdraw!”

“I’m not afraid of your society Mimic.  I’ve known of its existence for years, and kept at bay from it.  Now, I make the threats.  I control this city.  You are mine!”  

High Society knew he was playing a dangerous game.  His goal was to make the other factions think he had become unhinged, capable of doing anything.  While, all the time, playing behind the scenes.  He had been strategically bribing Mimic’s lower lieutenants for weeks now.  

The problem was, everyone he paid off, eventually disappeared.  Mimic didn’t tolerate disloyalty, so Society had to take another tactic.  If he couldn’t take Mimic down through graft, he would embarrass him in battle.

Once the society saw their Baronet defeated, High Society could exert his influence.  His brother had been a member of the Society, so he knew it’s workings.  Unfortunately, Mimic was proving stronger than High Society had expected.

“If you can’t win the battle, destroy the trophy!”  High Society said as he blasted the pillar holding the Mayor.  Just in the nick of time, Swordfish rescued the politician.  “Not today gents, Oceania can’t handle another set of speeches while someone tries to fill the Mayor’s post.”

Angry, both villains turned their blast on Swordfish.  It was at that moment, the Sea Horse arrived. “I don’t like uneven games.  How about we change things up a little.”  He said, as he picked Mimic up off the ground.

Swordfish speared High Society’s tank, destabilizing his flight pattern.  Mimic and Sea Horse were locked in battle.  Each returning and repelling the other’s blows.  Always an opportunist, Carbuncle had decided to seize the day himself.  

His solution was to fire a missile, aimed directly for Langly Tower, Mimic’s skyrise headquarters.  Spectrum and Loggerhead intercepted it in midflight.  They were able to change its direction, sending it to the ocean instead.

Am earthquake finally stopped the battle, the villains retreating as the heroes rescued innocent citizens.  High Society hadn’t got what he was after, but he secured his runner up prize.  Mimic returned to his real base, thankful for his ally’s intervention.

“Thank you Titanic for the distraction.  You were right, High Society is more dangerous than I had anticipated.  He managed to secure  the Infantino Plan on his exit.  We can’t have that.”  The monument sized Titanic responded.  “He won’t be able to activate it,  only I have the mechanism that powers it.”

The Sea Horse: Society Rules

  The Sea Horse, Armor, Carbuncle, Hyperbole, and The Brittish Rose all went.  Mimic was invited, but he sent a representative instead.  Each were summoned to the abandoned Air Force base just outside the city.  The land had been purchased recently by a shell corporation. Everyone knew it was a trap, but they were too curious not to go.  

Soon each faced a hundred men. They were subdued in an energy field, and suspended in anti-gravity chambers above acid tanks.  When the stage was set, their captor appeared to gloat.

“For too long factions have stolen the spotlight.  I am The Sea Horse’s nemesis, I am the criminal leader of this city, and I am tired of all of you.”  High Society announced calmly as he pushed the button that turned off the anti-gravity chamber.  Each prisoner was sent hurdling face first towards an acid bath.

Just as quickly as he turned it off, he turned it back on.  “What good is it if I kill you.  I want you to each know the rules of this city, the Society Rules, and I’m not talking about Mimic’s toy group either.”

“Stay out of my way. Do not anger me, and most of all, fear my actions.  Now that we’ve established this, you’re free to go. If you can figure out a way to escape.  Otherwise we’ll, we’re done then.”

High Society flew away as his henchmen filed out in trucks.  Sea Horse, having heard what he needed to hear, broke free.  Armor followed suit.  Hyperbole was never really there, it being one of his robot doubles instead of his holographic projections.  Soon, each was free of the death cell.

Once each man was loose, the robotic Hyperbole spoke to the group.  “He seemed different somehow.  Slightly unhinged perhaps.”  Armor spoke next, “Maybe the equipment that gives him his power has affected his brain. He’s angrier than I’ve seen h.”  

The Sea Horse shook his head. “This wasn’t insanity, and this wasn’t anger.  He’s as sane as he ever was, he staged this show for each of our benefit.  His goal wasn’t to kill or even capture us.  Society knew we’d escape, his goal was … to get us out of the city.”

Each rushed back to see what High Society’s real plan was.  All but Hyperbole, since he was never really there, he and Actrice escaped to their ‘appropriated’ yacht in the marina.  Mimic’s representative, Titanic, conferenced in his boss on the way.

It hadn’t even been 12 hours since Mimic had kidnapped the Mayor and threatened The Sea Horse.  Titanic knew his boss did not like being upstaged.  This High Society seemed to have skills, equipment, and manpower.  He would be an opponent to watch closely.

“High Society is planning to hit us, and hard.  He made it plain that he wants to run this city.  You are in danger, you need to evacuate.”  Mimic laughed.  “High Society is like all the others.  I do not fear him, if he wants a war, I’ll match his actions, move for move.”

The Sea Horse: New In Town

  Mimic had chosen a costume.  He wasn’t unaccustomed to them, having acted all his life. This would be different, it was his first public persona as a Baronet of The Society Of Thieves. Prior to now, he had worked in the shadows, preferring to build his public reputation as head of the Almeric Group.

Leonard Almeric would have to learn to juggle two faces. One legitimate, and the other totally opposite.   His costume needed flair, it needed class, it needed “an ascot.” He laughed at his own style.  He was a Baronet, a General of con men, he would mimic famous leaders and disarm others with his flamboyant but dangerous image. 

He wore a bronze metal mask with the features of a skinny Henry VIII.  A Napoleonic crown topped the mask, while a shogun’s robe covered his torso, exposing the red ascot and black camouflage jumpsuit underneath.  His weapon of choice, a small rifle fashioned with the same coloring and pearl accents as Patton’s prize side arms. Black knee high boots finished the outfit. Mimic’s voice was disguised to give him a Swedish accent.  

He wanted to leave an impression beyond fashion.  So as his first public exhibit, he kidnapped the Mayor of Oceania in broad daylight. Dropping down from a helicopter during the Mayor’s press conference on the steps of City Hall.  “The ransom is one billion dollars or the Sea Horse’s freedom.  Oceania, you have forty eight hours to comply. If not, I suggest you hold a new election, and interview another hero.”

The Sea Horse: Rubble

  “It’s rubble! Everything but those two paintings the chef purchased.” The curator was on his knees in tears. The Sea Horse spoke from behind him. “He wasn’t a chef, and it’s not rubble. All of this is an illusion, a bit of dramatic flair. The question is, who is his audience?”

The battle of Siegel Heights had ended with the final collapse. The main players withdrew, leaving Oceania’s Protectors to round up the lesser henchmen and accomplices. Spectrum was able to secure Wonzu’s weapon as a trophy. Each side suffered injury, there was no clear winner.The media weren’t sure who to blame, the villains or the heroes. The people of the city chose to blame the villains. They realized that Sea Horse and his allies were one of the few lines of defense their city had.

While they were all sorting out why, who, how, and what Siegel Heights was about, the two protagonists were weighing their options. Leonard Almeric stood looking out his window, the billionaire philanthropist and international media mogul was livid. His entire empire was turning on the dime that was Hyperbole.

Meanwhile Hyperbole, and his new bride, were rehearsing a play. It might seem odd, but they were actors after all, as well as thieves. It was more to pass the time, although halfway through the performance, they grew a crowd of one.

“Welcome Sea Horse to our humble chateau.” Hyperbole said with a bow and a flourish. “It’s hardly humble when almost the Colonnade’s entire contents are stored in the basement.” The man on the stage laughed heartily. “I’ll help you load them up if you promise to share the news with the world.”

“You mean the fact that they’re all fakes?” For the first time the woman spoke. “Ah, you are right Horatio, he is perceptive.” She was a beautiful woman, just an inch shorter than Hyperbole with long brown hair and hazel eyes. 

“Sea Horse, may I introduce the newly Mrs. Horatio Lavalier. You may refer to her as Actrice, just as you know me as Hyperbole.” “How does this play out?” “I either embarrass my rival for holding the woman I love as extortion, or I cost him his entire art collection.”

“Meaning he coughs up the real ones and rebuilds the museum, or you expose him.” “Precisely! I’m so glad you are inclined to agree.” “Who is he really?” “Oh you’ve heard of him. Actrice answered. “He is known as Mimic in the criminal world. In the business world he’s the head of media conglomerate, The Almeric Group.”

“How did you get here?” “It started with Shakespeare, and ended with Keats.” Sea Horse didn’t move, Actrice explained. “I’m afraid he’s serious, actors are passionate about their roles. Especially when the role pays four billion dollars…”