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 clearly was still sore from other abuses.
The first floor was full of gathering rooms – a conference room, a kitchen, a high-tech training room, a gymnasium, et cetera. He found an elevator bank and noted their lair encompassed eight whole floors. No doubt each Brother got a floor, and then there was the main floor and Master Manacle's laboratory.
He figured he'd start with his own floor to see what he had been given and pressed three. He managed to keep from laughing when the door opened. It was essentially a huge, open studio. What little he owned was in a small stack of boxes next to the elevator. He wasn't much for material needs, because he never really had any, so the room was mostly bare. Master Manacle did insist on getting the boy a nice king-sized bed. It sat alone off on the southern side near the heavily tinted windows.
Standing a few feet from the elevator were four Longbow guards. Not knowing Ambush Viper's personal tastes, Master Manacle gave him a mix of races for slaves. All were nicely muscled with good, thick bottoms. As with the one he saw in the lobby, these four were wearing manacles, gags and had the seat of their uniforms cut out. The four bare asses were smooth and unmarked so far. Amusingly, Master Manacle had arranged for them to each offer Viper a gift. Each man's hands were out, palms up. In each pair of hands rested a new, treated bamboo cane. They looked at him nervously, knowing what the canes were for.
The man on the far left was a handsome Latino with striking green eyes. His naturally smooth brown cheeks quivered as Viper took the cane from his hands. The men were helpless and fearful of what would happen next. It took Ambush Viper back to another time, when he was a slave of the Tsoo, hoping to serve well and be granted his freedom as a full member of the criminal organization. The Tsoo had a magical ceremony when they created the special magical inks that gave their warriors their powers. During the ceremony, several slaves were shackled to trestles and given harsh canings as part of the process. Xian was often one of the chosen slaves and endured brutal beatings that left stripes that lasted for weeks. He once worked up the nerve to ask why the beatings were part of a ceremony to make ink. He was backhanded and told it was a tradition, and then beaten for his insolence.
Now, Xian realized what was going on. The beatings produced abusive magical energy, and that energy is what gave the Tsoo's ink its power. The beating of the slaves is needed to create new Tsoo, much like the Circle of Thorns beat their satyrs to get the energy to cast spells.
Some might have learned mercy and compassion from having endured such treatment. But these men had done nothing to help Xian. Slaving had been going on in Paragon City from its founding, and where were these alleged heroes? Busy posing for pictures and making grand speeches. With angry speed, Xian took the cane and quickly slashed it across the exposed man's bottom while he stood there. He screamed into the gag at the unexpected pain. Xian watched for a moment until a nice red line formed across both cheeks. Then he walked back and forth up and down the line, angrily caning each of the guards where they stood until all four of them were bawling into their gags. Maybe now they'd understand what he went through.
* * *
Later, Ambush Viper took a few minutes to visit the other Crimson Brotherhood members on their floors to catch up before heading to see Master Manacle. Thornscourge, the only teammate Xian could consider himself close to (they were similarly young and had suffered some significant abuse even before Crey got their clutches on them), had arranged for a deep dirt floor to be installed so he could grow his powers. He could manipulate and control plant life and could shoot thorns that were similar to The Sticking Point's spines, but wood instead of bone. The beautiful blond boy was once a model, but his mutation had caused a mild manifestation of brown plantlike veins and mossy growths on his arms, chests and legs. He believed he had become a monster, though he was really still extremely good looking. He took out his rage over his condition on any attractive men who fell into his traps. He had one of the Longbow men wrapped up in vines that grew in the dirt floor. Another viny tendril covered with thorns was beating the guard mercilessly. Viper could make out quite a few thorns sticking into the flesh of the man's reddened bottom as he pleaded into the gag. It was business as usual for him.
Granite Growl, a fairly dumb former thug for the Family, Paragon City's Italian Mafia, had fairly simple and tacky tastes. The walls were covered with porn centerfolds, shag carpeting and tacky furniture that might have been recovered from the '70s. Xian was a bit surprised when he walked in to see that Granite had bent a Longbow man over the edge of a couch and was roughly fucking him. He blushed when Viper walked in but it didn't occur to him to stop.
"Er. The girls are scared of me," he explained. "They say I'm too big now. Afraid I'll break them. I'm not a fag! I just have needs, you know?" Xian didn't really care. The big man had developed the ability to turn into solid rock, so Master Manacle had given him the biggest, beefiest of the Longbow men to play with. Still, Buddy's victim was obviously in some distress as Buddy's massive tool pounded into his bottom.
On Jolt Jammer's floor, Viper wasn't surprised at all to find out that the Jamaican former Freakshow had turned it into a rat's nest of junk and wreckage. Loud metal thrash music blared from speakers he had installed throughout his floor. Xian found Roger amusing himself by forcing his Longbow slaves to spank each other.
"The one who gives the best spankin' gets a prize," Roger explained.
"What is it?" Xian asked.
"He gets to give me a spanking!" he grinned.
"Really? You're going to let them spank you?"
"Yeah, everybody needs a good spanking now and then, you know? They're still my slaves though. The ones who don't go as hard are going to get some electrostim." Jolt Jammer produced electrical current at a very short range. One of his favorite tricks is to shove his fingers up the rectum of a victim and crank up the wattage.
Roger's willingness to bottom reminded Xian of the Augurer and Ice Hazer's analysis of the Freakshow, some of which Ambush Viper had spied on. It seems as though there's a part of Roger that wanted to be punished. Xian recalled how flippant Roger was about their torture at the prison. Maybe it wasn't bravado after all? Clearly he does enjoy it a bit.
Holler was his last stop before visiting the doctor. He and Holler didn't get along well. Holler was imprisoned after overseeing some abuse at a military academy. No doubt it was physical, but probably also sexual. He developed sonic powers, which heightened his loud, brusque personality. He was quick to criticize and slow to actually solve any problems. His floor had a militaristic theme, of course, and he was loudly berating and beating a guard who had displeased him in some fashion. The man was on his knees, his cheeks quivering as Paul lashed at him with his riding crop. Xian decided not to interrupt the man and headed up to see Master Manacle.
The boss was hard at work as always. Xian noticed the man's robots had grown bigger, sleeker and more powerful. One of them had a Longbow guard wrapped up in metal tentacles and was beating him with a metal paddle hand.
Howard put down his tools and greeted Xian warmly. The two of them tended to get along pretty well, as Xian had proven his loyalty and didn't argue. After some brief pleasantries, the two sat down so Xian could go over all his adventures. Howard sat rapt for quite some time as Xian went over the discoveries about Oranbega and its likely influence on how they were treated in prison.
"So did Oranbega turn Hopkins into an evil sadistic bastard?" he asked.
"No, I don't think so," Xian said. "Based on how they explained it, Oranbega drew Hopkins here because he's an evil sadistic bastard."
"We need to call up the others and you can repeat some of this story if you would." Xian nodded.
The rest of the Crimson Brotherhood gathered and Xian went through the story again. Holler, as was his way, was openly skeptical of any sort of magical "joojoo" he called it, in spite of all the actual interactions the team had had with magical opponents.
"But this is good, though, in a way," Howard pointed out. "We really do have the same goal. Once they find out Crey Industries is a force of 'abuse', they'll want to help us stop them." The men stared at him. Sometimes he was a little oblivious about what they actually did to people with him wrapped up in his research and inventing.
"And what will they do when they find out we're forces of abuse, too, yeah?" Jolt Jammer asked, pointing over his shoulder at the suffering Longbow agent in the corner.
"Well, they started it by attacking us!" Master Manacle insisted. "That's not abuse!"
"Having spent the summer watching them, I really don't believe the Blister Boyz, or any of them there will voluntarily assist us," Xian said.
"And you know that too, dontcha, Doc," Paul added. "That's why you're working on the manacles, right?"
"Hey, I bet those Circle of Thorns guys don't like those heroes, neither," Buddy pointed out. "Mebbe you should get them to help us. They're already over there and stuff."
The men looked at their dumbest member. Occasionally his lack of mental filter caused him to come up with some surprisingly interesting ideas.
"The Circle of Thorns would benefit if we were to ... put the fraternity in a situation where they could no longer encourage 'discipline' as they wish," Howard noted. "And then I would have the boys for our own use."
Xian's mind clicked as he sat watching the helpless Longbow agent get paddled. His butt was good and raw as Master Manacle tested how long it would take for the robot's battery to run down while punishing an enemy.
"You realize that we are actually already helping the Circle of Thorns with our treatment of the Longbow men. They grow stronger because of our treatment of our slaves."
The men watched the agent get punished.
"Let's keep that part to ourselves for now," Howard said. "Lord Recluse is not a fan of the Circle of Thorns. He sees them as a threat to his power. They act far too independently of his control." The Circle of Thorns and Arachnos forces clashed regularly on the outer edges of the island.
Xian's eyes widened suddenly as he realized something.
"They can spy on us!" he burst.
"Who?" Howard asked.
"The Circle of Thorns. Remember, the Adepts of Discipline can watch the incidents of corporal punishment in Paragon City. No doubt, the Circle of Thorns can do something similar I would bet. Their power is much greater than the adepts."
"Do you think they've been watching us?" Roger asked.
He got his answer seconds later when a flaming ball appeared in the middle of the room in a burst of red light. Granite Growl instinctively turned to stone and Ambush Viper drew his sword. The flames disappeared quickly, though, and a scroll dropped out of the light and plopped on the floor. The men stood silently for a minute, prepared for a possible ambush.
"All security, warning stations," Master Manacle ordered. The robot stopped spanking the hapless Longbow agent, who was crying furiously now, dropped him to the floor and stood up at attention for possible further orders.
The men all looked at Xian expectantly. They always did when magic got involved even though he really knew very little about it. He walked over and prodded the scroll with his sword. Nothing happened. He leaned over and picked it up and unrolled it. A message slowly began to appear on the scroll as if it were being written by magic from a remote location. Xian read it aloud:
"Greetings, Crimson Brotherhood. Congratulations on your recent discoveries of our well-hidden secrets. We must confess that, yes, we have been watching your activities, but wish to assure you we mean no harm. We owe you much and have directly benefited from your actions on the Rogue Isles as much if not more than Lord Recluse. As you have surmised, the Blister Boyz represent a growing threat to our actions, and by coincidence, you are developing a way to neutralize them so that you may use them for your own needs. You may be pleased to know that we have researched a number of ways to control powers that tend to be resistant to technological suppression – psychic powers, shadow powers, and the like. If we can find a way to fuse our magic expertise with your technological know-how, we may be able to reach what you refer to as a 'win-win situation'. In the coming weeks, we will be sending an emissary to meet with you, if you'll have him. He will not be in our typical dress, so you won't have to worry about Lord Recluse being alerted to your actions. We sincerely hope our two teams can work together to achieve our aims."
"We gonna do it?" Roger asked.
If Manacle Master had really thought it through he would have realized he didn't really need the Blister Boyz or the other frat boys to make his plans. He had enough power to recruit other villains to help him out. But he had become obsessed with those handsome young men who apparently enjoyed being beaten. How could that be? He wanted to find out. He wanted them here serving him. He wanted them over his knee. He wanted them in his bed. After having suffered at the hands of Hopkins and his cruel experiments, he wanted nothing more than to find these young men who could take it with such aplomb.
"Yes," he said simply. The Blister Boyz would be his. He would settle for nothing less.
NEXT: Summer's end and Andrew's fate.
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