My search for where Carl and Moai were hidden had been temporarily thwarted by the Australian military’s secrecy. Then the spiders got everywhere. I figured I should mention that.
It didn’t bother me too much, since I slept in my armor. Waking up to the sound of screams didn’t bother me either, until I noticed I didn’t have anything to do with them.
It happens, though. Seriously, I’m not the only guy running around trying to do bad things to people. There’s Scientology, too.
The spiders had nothing to do with me or Scientology, it turned out. Instead, another villain attacked Brisbane in a plan to make them pay. Revenge is a common motivation for supervillains. Remember that the next time you’re picking on the kid that seems way too into bugs. I’m not saying you’ll grow up to be Centipede Man’s first victim. I’m just saying you’ll have much better odds of it.
At the time, I thought people were all collectively on something when I noticed people hopping around and hitting themselves. One guy smacked at his own crotch with a newspaper. Feeling like getting in on the action, I ran over to him. “I’ll save you!” I yelled just before I kicked him in the balls. He didn’t sound appreciative. Squeaky, but not appreciative.
Blinking sleep out of my eyes, I figured I better see what the radio waves were saying.
That was helpful.
“-the spiders! Yeew! They’re everywhere and invisible! You’re not off your head. The Huntsman rocked up to whinge with more spiders and this time we can’t see the tossers. It’s a fair dinkum sickie, so pick up a slab and she’ll be right.”
I had a better idea what they said on Isla Tropica. I didn’t even recognize for sure that the guy’s name was Huntsman from that broadcast. It became clearer as I got to higher ground. First, I found the spiders were on me when I hit the side of a building and dropped to the roof of another one next to it. Their gooey inner parts don’t stay invisible when smooshed. Then, when I had more height, I saw a guy in dark brown spider costume riding something giant and invisible.
I figured that was the Huntsman, who took his name from the Huntsman spiders of Australia. Those are the big ones. The biggest ones, I think. I think they’re the ones that eat birds. The one this guy rode would have been big enough to chow down on Mothra, I’m guessing. Buildings crumbled in its wake and Huntsman laughed maniacally. It was a good laugh. I don’t think he practiced it, because he went on long enough to run low on air, but it’s a very good start.
I don’t talk about them that much, but there really are a lot of other heroes and villains out there. For some reason, they’re not keen on inviting me to all the intimate get-togethers and social functions. I feel like I’m missing out. Are there newsletters? I bet they have newsletters.
The heroes who showed up to take on the Huntsman were a young couple. Proton and Electron. I think they were a couple. A quick search turned up forums full of such speculation. Proton was the guy in a slick white and red outfit. I say slick, but just another form-fitting one.
In some ways, the superhuman community really lacks creativity. With how bad some of us look, you’d think fewer people would go with tight clothing. Hell, short shorts and cowboy boots would be just as ridiculous on people with the added benefit of being unique among heroes.
Proton didn’t have boots and short shorts, and neither did Electron, whose uniform matched except for its blue coloring. Now she was a tough one to follow. I think she has a form of superspeed that forces her to move erratically. She just appeared all over the place, but not immediately. That would suggest teleportation. She may lack some of the secondary adaptations common among speedsters.
Think about it. The human body can only stand to move so fast, so a speedster has to be physically tougher, even super strong to an extent. They have to be capable of breathing while moving extremely quickly, which isn’t easy. Their senses have to adapt to be able to tell what’s going on after they pass the speed of sound and approach the speed of light. Because they need so much more energy, they typically have faster metabolisms and other bodily functions, meaning they heal faster. Oddly enough, this also means that their bodies have a much slower aging process so that superspeed doesn’t put them in a nursing home after a couple of years. The last one I can think of is that they also need to be able to react quicker than humans typically can.
That’s why superspeed is one of the most overpowered abilities out there. Most of them can think faster, punch harder, and take more damage than almost anyone on earth. They’re difficult to asphyxiate or escape from, but any wounds are going to heal up before long anyway. If they didn’t run around, they’d live much longer than the normal human.
Electron looked like she only had the speed and a couple of unrelated powers: she drew some stuff toward her and zapped other stuff whenever she reappeared. I saw her disappear from near Proton, then reappear somewhere near the giant invisible spider to haul an ambulance to the side. Something left a dent in the street where it almost drove.
Down the street where she appeared first, a flailing driver almost hit Proton, but he held his hands up and the car rapidly slowed. Then he struck a pose and Electron suddenly reappeared nearby.
The pair of Australian capes wrecked Huntsman. They started by hurling Electron at the spider at extreme speed, knocking off at least one limb. The angry chittering sound it unleashed is going to give some people nightmares for years to come. Huntsman’s mount shifted and the next attempt ended with Electron flung into a nearby building almost too fast to see. Once again, Proton pulled her to him. The next throw seemed to miss, curving around Huntsman. When Electron got to the other side, she stopped in midair and a line of electricity burst into being, attaching her to Proton. Then she pulled toward him. That disarmed another limb that proceeded to fall over and smash though the front window of a shoe store.
That’ll be good advertising.
The cape couple tried that trick again, but this time webbing splattered all over Proton. The web stuck him to one spot and interfered somehow with the electricity trick. Then Huntsman held. It looked like his mount raised up. Electron disappeared, then reappeared falling to the ground as if swatted out of the air. Huntsman pumped his arms in the air. Electron disappeared and came back to Proton, who threw her. This time, she took several nearby cars with her into the air with whatever telekinesis she possessed. When the spider tried to knock her or grab her this time, she threw them at the thing. Hissing its last, the spider on its back, crashing through the roof of a nearby pest control company and pinning Huntsman there until the heroes dragged him out to be arrested.
He made a sorry sight. He even pretended to have been knocked unconscious so he wouldn’t have to face the cameras of the press and public. They threw him in the back of a waiting armored van setup. Kinda like a SWAT van, but not SWAT.
To break him out, or not to break him out; that is the question. Actually, it isn’t the question. I got a running start, charged my gauntlets, hit the jump enhancements, and hoped like hell my computer’s guess was close enough on the money. I hopped and formed an arc that ended with me crashing through the cab of the van some ways down the road. In the process, my leg bones filed a formal protest and went on strike.
Yes, that was being right on the money. When I’d twisted myself around, I punched through what remained of the back wall and used a pair of severed legs as crutches. I expected a more dramatic reception. I found Huntsman zip tied on the floor and the rear doors swinging closed because of how everything tilted toward the wrecked cab.
Huntsman looked up at me, his jaw hanging open. I brushed a severed hand off where it stuck between my shoulder and collar armor. Then I reached out with a leg crutch to the downed villain. “Come with me if you want to live.”
After imitating a fish for a second, he said, “They wouldn’t kill me, mate.”
I hit him in the head with a foot. “I’m trying to give you a hand.”
“That’s a foot,” he said.
I nudged his nose with a toe. “Keep this up, you’ll never get ahead. Now, let’s get you out of here before those Special Task Force guys come back.”Those wankers aren’t here yet. These are police.”
I dropped the crutches and fell to my knees, popping out my Nasty Surprise to unzip tie him. The crash punctured the nanite layer I wore under my armor along with several internal organs I wore under my skin, so they’d flooded my body to get some healing out of the way. By the time I crawled out of the truck, I could stand with the assistance of my armor.
Wherever Proton and Electron went, they didn’t arrive to stop the escape, so I got away with my prize. And so I wound up in possession of a grateful villain with some ability to control invisible spiders. I mean, he’s going to keep those things in a box or something around me, but only until I build them little cameras. And maybe soft shoes, so they’re stealthy.