The Blister Boyz
Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 24 Aug 2008
The Blister Boyz
Ch. 33: Another Interlude, Brotherhood Rising
Dr. Howard Grand – Master Manacle
Jeremy McIntosh – Thornscourge
Xian Sheng – Ambush Viper
Maj. Paul Greeley – Holler
Ben "Buddy" Smith – Granite Growl
Roger Collier – Jolt Jammer
He acted rashly. Ambush Viper realized this the second he knocked the box of vials in front of Andrew Porter and Heat Blister to the ground. He was so angry when he saw the vials he couldn't see straight. He had been tortured so many times in the development of that chemical. Combined with all the shocking secrets he had learned while skulking around the adepts he completely lost his temper.
Now he needed to escape fast. God knows what sort of secrets the mages here could draw from him. He couldn't hurt Heat Blister – he was too valuable to Master Manacle's plans. But the manly business-leader behind the desk was under no protection. A quick slash across his chest would serve as a distraction to escape.
Even so, the young leader showed how quickly he could act and nearly singed Ambush Viper with a blast of flame as he fled the hall. The monks outside looked startled but he moved far too quickly for them to react in time. Unfortunately, his adrenaline levels were too high to fade back into invisibility at the moment. Doing so required utter calm for at least a few seconds. He needed to make his way out of the caves. He actually knew the layout of Oranbega more than most mortals – it was how he traveled between the Rogue Islands and Paragon City – but this was an unfamiliar area.
He stumbled into the main room, full of adepts who had started to finally react from Heat Blister's shout of alarm. Worse, the older mage, The Augurer, was here, along with three of the other Blister Boyz – Ice Hazer, Major Fry, and The Sticking Point. They had been watching those crystals that showed people getting punished in the city.
Ambush Viper had watched the boys all summer and acted quickly. Ice Hazer was the primary threat – he could freeze him in place instantly. So he leapt at the large young man and stunned him quickly with a kick to the head. He knew Ice Hazer would recover quickly, but it would likely leave him too dazed to use his powers well. As the boy collapsed to the ground he quickly turned on The Augurer, who was casting a spell. Viper interrupted him with a quick but painful rabbit punch to the throat. The man gargled and doubled over.
Then he grabbed the mage and spun him around, predicting correctly that Major Fry would attempt to stun him with an electrical charge. Instead it struck the mage, further preventing him from reacting. But the boy with the spines, The Sticking Point, was almost upon him. He dropped the mage and flipped back in a series of acrobatic moves to get some distance from the heroes.
By this point, pretty much everybody was running to the room, including some of the other heroes. Ambush Viper backed away, brandishing his sword as Smaqdown and Murky Menace ran out from a nearby hallway. The wrestler was still partly bound and not in a position to do much but watch, but Smaqdown's fists were glowing with energy. The big man dropped to his knees and slammed the his fists down into the rock floor, creating an energy wave intended to knock Ambush Viper off his feet. Viper responded by leaping backward onto a natural rock balcony overlooking another large gathering hall about fifteen feet down.
But then a blur of gold bounced over Smaqdown's body while he was on his knees, ricocheted off a nearby wall, and before Ambush Viper could even react, struck him square in the chest. A flurry of quick kicks knocked the swordsman off his feet. It was Jacob Brass, the man he had dismissed as a clown after watching him crawl around with his blistered ass in the air. He reacted in a speed Ambush Viper thought was impossible. He wasn't a speedster. It was like he was just a few steps ahead of everybody else, including Viper. Even worse, he was soundly outfighting him even though his hands were still tied behind his back from his stint over Smaqdown's lap. He was just using his feet and the inertia of his body. Viper looked into the eyes and saw that the flippant, devil-may-care attitude was gone. Jacob was all business now. Behind him, Viper saw that the Humiliator had also appeared on scene. With a gesture, the boy released Jacob from his bonds and gag.
"You better tell me why the Tsoo would do something so stupid as to try to infiltrate us here or I swear I'll hand you over to the Circle of Thorns myself."
Viper growled at Jacob's presumption that he was Tsoo. He didn't even have the tattoos, as he was arrested long before that ceremony was to have taken place. But at least that meant they would look in the wrong places for him when he escaped. The only way out was down. And even then Jacob could easily follow him. He had no choice but to use a power he hated to use. He leapt off the balcony toward the floor below. Jacob followed him. He focused as he fell ... and fell through the floor and kept going.
Some people may think it would be amazing to be able to pass through solid objects. Ambush Viper dreaded it and used the power only if he had no choice and couldn't rely on his invisibility. It felt so unnatural, like he was one of the dead ancestor spirits the Tsoo sorcerors called upon as slaves. Holler mocked Ambush Viper for his superstitious nature, but as Viper actually lived several years surrounded by magic and the spirits of the dead, he was not embarrassed the slightest.
The young man willed himself solid as soon as he fell into a large open cave a few dozen feet below the hall he left. He didn't know how long it would take for others to find him and he didn't know if he was in Adept of Discipline territory or Circle of Thorns territory, not that either were inclined to be friendly to him. He concentrated on relaxing and slowing his breathing, pushing the fears of discovery out of his mind. Eventually he was able to calm down enough to fade back into invisibility.
He had no choice now but to return to Rogue Isles. He had compromised himself too much. But he would have plenty of information for the Crimson Brotherhood. It wasn't as complete as it could have been, as he stealthily wandered around and got bits and pieces of all these conversations. But he understood the main points of the secret of Oranbega and the war between the forces of discipline and abuse.
He quietly wandered through some cavernous tunnels to try to determine his location. He quickly realized he was in Circle of Thorns territory when he came across some mages. They were unconscious on the floor, fortunately. He heard fighting down a hallway and snuck down to see. It was Jacob, fighting his way through ranks of mages and their satyr minions. He dodged magical blasts easily and literally laughed at their efforts to subdue him. After he had defeated them, he grabbed the two satyrs there. They bleated in submission, as they always did. Jacob spun them around and stared at their exposed bottoms.
"God, they did a number on the two of you, didn't they?" he mused out loud at the switch marks that had raised red welts across their cheeks. "Let's get you guys back to human again. Follow me." Having no mages around to contradict the order, the submissive satyrs did as they were told.
As Jacob headed back in Ambush Viper's direction, Viper noted that he had a magic crystal that was emitting a ray of light and he was gesturing around the caves with it. He smiled to himself; on the belief that Viper was a Tsoo member, he was incorrectly assuming that Viper's invisibility was magical in origin. The light ray passed directly over Ambush Viper as Jacob stormed past, but he was not revealed. Viper checked out the man's ass as he passed by. Even with his tight little shorts pulled back up, Viper could make out the dark welts and marks at the tops of his thighs from Smaqdown's beating.
Now that he was safe again, Ambush Viper could afford to get angry with himself for his recklessness. He wandered down the halls, looking for familiar markings to get his bearing, berating himself in his head for shaming himself and acting emotionally. It would have been smarter to have stolen the lockbox and brought it back to Master Manacle, who was obsessed with making his army to take down Crey Industries. There were any number of thugs on Rogue Islands who would do anything for more power. It would have made their battle so much easier.
He found familiar ground and began his journey back to Rogue Islands underground, passing invisibly past the evil mages and their mythical and demonic minions. There was one particular alcove he used to rest for the night on this long journey to international waters. It was too small to be of any use to the Circle of Thorns so nobody ever came there. He stumbled upon it again and lay down on the rock floor for the evening.
But Walt wasn't the only guy obsessed with self-discipline in these halls today. Master Manacle had developed anal inserts that give off electrical pulses that stimulate the pain receptors in all the Crimson Brotherhood's bottoms. This allowed them to activate their powers without paddling each other, though it hurt just as much. To discipline himself for his actions, Ambush Viper used a small control device to crank up the power of the insert, causing waves of excruciating pain to throb its way across his cheeks. He whimpered and winced as he lay on his stomach on the floor, clutching the seat of his pants, swearing to himself he'd never make a mistake like that again.
* * *
In Ambush Viper's absence, the team had moved to Grandville, the seat of power in the Rogue Isles. It is considered a huge honor to get permission to build a base there and an open endorsement of your potential for power by Lord Recluse. It was also generally impossible to get such permission without the patronage of one of Lord Recluse's lieutenants. In the Crimson Brotherhood's case, armored nightmare Black Scorpion had given his mark of approval. He was impressed with the team's sadistic treatment of the Longbow agents who came to Rogue Islands from Paragon City to try to keep the villainy under control. Those who ran afoul of the Crimson Brotherhood inevitably were returned to their home base with extremely blistered bottoms. Black Scorpion's patronage also allowed Master Manacle access to a lot of technology he used to have to scavenge from raids, so Ambush Viper wondered how far his inventions had come.
It didn't take long for Ambush Viper to discover exactly how much more prominent his team had become in his absence. As he made his way through the central hub of the island, where a giant statue of Lord Recluse intimidated the cowering citizenry, he encountered an unusual construct that he new immediately was Master Manacle's creation. It was a small carousel of sorts, set off in an open plaza. Instead of the familiar horses that kids love, it was mounted with special steel "horses" designed for riders to be bent over and exposed. Manacles, of course, were used to restrain the riders in place. And at various points in each rotation, a mechanized engine had been installed operating either a metal paddle or a thick leather strop. As the horse passed by the station, the "rider" was struck hard on the backside by the implement.
Riding the carousel were six Longbow guards, their red and white spandex pants pulled down to expose their muscular asses. Ambush Viper watched for a few minutes. The carousel spun at a decent enough rate for the victims to receive a good hard swat every two seconds. The six men were crying and openly begging out loud to be released. Their asses were a dark red; they obviously had been riding for quite a while. Their carousel was also well in view of the main citizen gathering area, sending a powerful, unspoken message to the oppressed masses: Look at what we do with the heroes who dare trespass here. Somebody as small as you doesn't stand a chance against us.
He had alerted Master Manacle to his arrival back at Rogue Isles with his communicator and received directions to their new home. He found his way to an entrance to one of the sinister high-tech towers that dominated the central part of the island. He was surprised to see a couple of armored Arachnos Crab Spider guards at the doors. Lord Recluse's guards weren't known for guarding anything other than their lord's interests. They are actually encouraged to attack villains on sight to keep them on their toes and make sure only the most skilled rise to the top. That they were now helping guard Master Manacle was a show of support for his efforts.
"Welcome home, sir," said one of the men as Ambush Viper approached. "Master Manacle awaits you in his laboratory." Ambush Viper nodded politely at each of the men as he passed through the circular cataract-like doorway into the building.
He was struck immediately at the size and impressive technology on display. A huge corridor led into the building with monitors set in the walls at regular intervals. He was struck next by the fact that there was a Longbow agent standing there, apparently waiting for him. He started to draw his sword as a reflex, before realizing the man was not going to attack him. He was gagged and apparently holding a silver tray bearing a selection of glasses with different drinks. Viper peered over the man curiously. He looked at him nervously but couldn't speak to him through the gag. Viper noticed an unusual addition to his body-hugging red-and-white spandex uniform. There were gleaming silver metal manacles around his forearms and his calves. They didn't appear to be connected to anything, so they were more like bracelets. But he knew they weren't part of the agent's uniform.
The monitor nearby flickered to life with Master Manacle's image.
"Welcome back, Ambush Viper!" he greeted, sounding quite enthused. "Did your scouting go well on the mainland? You've been gone for quite a while."
"Yes," he said simply. He had decided while completing the trip back not to tell Master Manacle about the extra chemical vials at all so as not to have to deal with his anger if he decided Ambush Viper had acted rashly. "I have a lot of information for you, some of which goes well beyond investigation of the Blister Boyz." He couldn't help but to keep peeking back at the Longbow agent standing there. It made him nervous.
"Good, good, hold on a minute." There were some beeping noises on Master Manacle's end. "I had to use what you just said to program your voice authorizations into the security system. You're good to go. Do you see that Longbow agent standing there?"
"Yes. He's a little ... difficult to miss."
"Order him to turn to the left."
"Just trust me. You'll see." Ambush Viper gave him the order. He watched as it appeared that the man's legs moved of their own volition and turned him to the left. Ambush Viper could see now that the seat of the man's uniform had been cut out and his exposed bottom had been heartily abused.
"Are those manacles responsible?" He asked.
"Yes, indeed. Combining Black Scorpion's technology and my research I am able to turn these Longbow agents into my unwilling slaves. I can't control their minds or mouths though and they complain and threaten a lot, so we just went with the low-tech gag solution."
"Will it work on heroes with actual powers?"
"Ah you're thinking ahead already. That's what I'm working on next. Feel free to explore the building a little bit. I'm on the sixth floor in my lab when you're ready to debrief me. You have the third floor, by the way."
"The third floor? The whole floor?"
"Yes. And four Longbow servants. If you need more than that you'll have to capture them on your own."
Ambush Viper was used to just a cot and had no idea what he'd do with a whole floor to himself, let alone servants. But looking at the Longbow agent gave him a good idea as to how he ended up in such good favor with Arachnos. Enslaving Rogue Isles' most devoted enemies certainly made an impression. He wondered if Master Manacle hadn't provided a few servants to Black Scorpion or even Lord Recluse himself.
Ambush grabbed a glass of wine from the servant's tray, and just for fun, gave him a firm slap on the ass as he passed by to explore their new headquarters. The agent whimpered. It wasn't a hard slap, but his ass cl