Echoes Long Forgotten, Part 11: There And Gone

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(October 1st)

“Aw, crap, he started without us.” As the car pulled up to the quay, Lucky leaned out the window and shook his head. A faint roar echoed across the water, and he sighed heavily. “Poor Tony, getting all riled up over nothing. Let's go see if there's anything we can do.”

As the four piled out of Handyman's car, plus Mayfly swooping in from where she had been pacing them, they found Moonbeam already waiting for them. She tapped her watch impatiently. “You said ten minutes.”

“There was traffic.” Timebender frowned. “You're here, so I take it things have gone badly.”

“Oh, yes. But they've just about sorted themselves out. Blastwave's just finishing up vaporizing that damned zombie squid and coaxing Tony into calming down.” Moonbeam sighed, shaking her head. “Turns out that, being mindless, neither the zombie nor the Tony are vunerable to my powers.”

“That's tough.” Mayfly nodded sympathetically. “So, do we still have to fight the Witch Doctor?”

“Yeah, his zombie frogmen are still around.” Moonbeam gestured towards the dock. “Follow me.” She glanced behind the Champions. “Oh, and you must be Bryce Ecchs. Agent Moonbeam, from the SEA. Nice to meet you.”

“A pleasure to meet you, too.” Bryce walked quietly for a moment. “Frogmen as in monster-people, or…?”

“No, just zombies in wetsuits. With SCUBA gear.” Moonbeam glanced over her shoulder, obvious bemusement on her face. “I didn't ask why zombies needed to breathe.”

“Because it looks cool, I'd imagine.” Handyman twirled his laser for emphasis. “We won't ask any more. Wouldn't want to put you in a bind.”

“Thank you. Well, here we are. I'm going to go check on Blastwave.” The noise from the water was dying down as Moonbeam walked to the lake's edge. Turning away from it, the Champions walked towards the pier, seeing two dozen sodden figures standing forlornly on the wooden docks. In their lead was the Witch Doctor, his immaculate suit drenched to the skin and what little hair he had hanging mussed. Behind him, Kaniessa was trying vainly to smooth down her dress, shooting glares at the Witch Doctor whenever she thought he wasn't looking. His own disgruntled appearance shifting into a brave sneer as he glanced over and saw the Champions.

“Ah, I see you finally made it. Overcame your terror well enough to find us, I see.” His lip curled upwards in contempt.

Lucky smiled cheerfully. “We're not the ones who wet our pants.”

The Witch Doctor's sneer fell away to a flat stare. “Juvenile as ever, I see.” He looked past the Champions, inclining his head briefly. “And young Master Ecchs. I don't believe we've met, officially. You should be honoured to see a professional at work.”

“I thought you swore up and down that you weren't going to descend to Uncle Spencer's level.” Bryce asked the question innocently.

“I had a change of heart. No sense punishing you for his many failings.” Jason paused thoughtfully. “His many, many, many failings.”

“Yeah, if we were going to start hurting other people for stupid things Ecchs did, we'd run out of people before we ran out of grievances.” Kaniessa spoke up simply from her spot by the frogmen, and Lucky chuckled.

“Hey, that was almost a joke. When did you get a sense of humour?”

His smile wilted in the face of her stare. “Shut up, Ladd.” She spat the words like bullets. “I'm still not talking to you.”

“Oh, come on. That was four years ago.” Lucky sighed heavily. “Anyway, weren't you the one spite-dating with me to get back at the Doc? I feel like I should be the annoyed one.”

“I am not here to discuss your romantic failings.” Kaniessa turned her attention back to the Witch Doctor. “Can we begin?”

“Yes, let us do that.” The Witch Doctor returned his attention to the Champions, as behind him the zombies drew out matching knives. “We are here to humble you, Champions, to defeat you and claim the riches of this port as one step in the reconstruction of my company. You are outnumbered and outmatched, and this time Kaniessa and I have equipped ourselves personally.” He drew forth a heavy, glowing-red ball. “My temporal stabilizer will shut down your speedsterism, my newly-designed levitation belt will alow me to engage your flyer, Kaniessa's skill is more than a match for blind luck, and simple numbers shall account for your technologist.” He flashed a smug smile towards Bryce. “Watch carefully, boy. This won't take long.”

Two minutes later

Mayfly glanced at the retreating forms of Kaniessa and the Witch Doctor, flitting across the bay. The frogmen remains were scattered around the pier, and the only casualties that the Champions had taken was Jim's laser, when it ran out of charge. She gauged distances for a moment. “Damn, they've got some good speed, there. Better than mine.”

“Well, he was right about it being short, at least.” Lucky was trying to extricate his leg from a frogman's face. “Nadia, could you come over and help me?”

“That was… impressive.” Bryce nodded thoughtfully from his perch by the water's edge, a safe distance back from the prior conflict.

“All in a day's work.” Timebender grinned. “Nothing to it.”

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