Chapter 27

Jackhammer sagged in his restraints, haunted by the demise of The Brotherhood, his personal responsibility crushing him. The sound of their thumbs rattling around in Crunch's trophy box nauseated him. As Crunch snapped the box shut, Jackhammer felt a slight wave of relief pass over him. How could he have been so cocky to think he could win this war with kids that had barely started their training? How could he have promised to keep them safe in a war against the best heroes around?

His army were conquered and destroyed. There would be no outside help since he'd activated the Omega Protocol, creating an exclusion zone in this region until the situation could be controlled. Jackhammer was on his own once more, only this time with the weight of guilt for the young lives he'd destroyed. His vow to protect the innocent had led him to be their killer.

Crunch smiled at the sight of the fallen hero. If not for the chloroform soaked rag around Jackhammer's neck, there was no doubt the villain would have moved in closer to make the most of his victory. Instead, Crunch kept himself out of reach of the potent vapours and stretched out an arm to squeeze Jackhammer's cheeks into a pucker. Jackhammer braced for a kiss, confirming his suspicions that his nemesis has always craved something more than just a battle victory.

A low growl, almost a purr, escaped from deep within Crunch's throat.

"Don't!" a familiar voice barked.

Crunch twirled around, as Jackhammer used the sharp voice to refocus his thoughts against the vapours of the chloroform. Jolt was standing in the doorway, impressive in his tight fighting shorts that highlighted his toned furry torso.

"Seduction wants you." Jolt snapped, entering further into the room.

"Give me five," Crunch growled, turning back to Jackhammer.

"Now!" Jolt ordered. Crunch released Jackhammer and advanced on Jolt. The latter stood his ground and the duo stood inches apart, their chests puffed out in a display of masculinity.

Crunch stepped threateningly closer.

"Try it," Jolt growled, and his fingertips began sparking with electricity.

Crunch stole a glance down at Jolt's hands, then decided better. He ceased his advance. "What does Seduction want?"

"He wants you," Jolt responded elusively.

Crunch hesitated, then stormed out of the room to find his master.

Jolt's attention turned to Jackhammer. The prisoner eyed his former mentor cautiously as the volts dissipated from Jolt's fingers. Slowly, a smile formed on Jolt's lips and for a moment Jackhammer thought there was hope.

"Look at you," Jolt said and stepped towards his fallen pupil. "I always thought it would be you that brought me down; challenge me one day to lead our little League of Heroes. You were always the dark horse in our group; the one person who could probably do it."

Jackhammer frowned and shook his head, partly to clear his hazy mind; partly in response to what Jolt was saying.

"But look at you now," Jolt continued. "You look pathetic."

He reached out and tore the cholorformed cloth from Jackhammer's neck, tossing it into a corner of the room. "Wake up!" he ordered and back-handed his prisoner across the face. He knew Jackhammer would barely feel it but what else could he do?! " Don't worry - those chains will hold you. They're reinforced more times than you could ever imagine. I want to see that fighting spirit of your's. I want to watch when you give up the fight on your own accord - not because you're drugged but because you know you can't win. And most of all, I want to watch - you - sumbit - to - me!"

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