Chapter 34

The members of The Brotherhood looked vaguely familiar to Quake but his brief introduction to them was practically a blur. The focus had been on nabbing Jackhammer. The Brotherhood had been nothing more than a distraction. As he rose to his feet and looked upon them now though, he was sure there had been more than four back at his old headquarters.

Bounce slid off his back and landed on his feet beside Quake. The identity of the unexpected company was only just dawning on him.

"How did you find us?" Bounce asked, vaguely conscious of his and Quake's nakedness. He was impressed that they had tracked them down so fast, and it showed in his face.

"We're not here for conversation!" Simmi spat.

"Before you do anything," Quake said, holding up a warning hand, "we're on your side. We're not under Seduction's control."

"Bullshit!" Simmi snapped. "You attacked us! It was you that was first in the door, knocking us off our feet."

"I did what I had to do to keep my cover," Quake said.

"Liar!" Simmi was fuming. "Get them!" He launched himself forward without waiting for the others, throwing himself into Quake with a cry. Quake stumbled back a few steps but caught Simmi in his arms, using the momentum to spin Simmi around and pin him to the wall.

"Listen to me, you idiot!" Quake growled but behind him the others mobilised. Hawk lifted into the air and Vis rendered himself invisible, his shorts dropping to the ground to leave no trace of his presence. Brains scanned the room, ignoring the doors they and Quake had entered through. There was a third, and he made a beeline to it. He had to know where it lead.

Hawk swooped down on Quake, fists extended to ram him in the back. Bounce rolled into a ball, dropping to the ground and springing himself into the air, hitting Hawk square in the stomach. The birdman slammed up into the roof and tumbled to the ground, the fall softened by Bounce who was caught underneath him.

Quake turned to look behind him, his senses warning of danger but he turned back to face Simmi, satisfied there was no one there, Vis struck from behind with hands clasped into a mighty fist. He clobbered Quake at the base of this neck, sending him crashing into Simmi who immediately rammed his elbows down on Quake's shoulders.

Quake dropped to his knees and Vis quickly grabbed his arms, hauling them out and back; pressing his knee into Quake's back at the same time. Simmi couldn't see Vis but saw Quake suddenly crucified on his knees. He swung a fist, hitting Quake square in the jaw and followed through with a second punch fuelled by anger.

Quake rumbled, the tremors emanating from deep with him and rumbling up Vis' arms and leg. Vis released his hold, stumbling back and tripping over Hawk on the ground. As Simmi launched another punch, Quake blocked it, twisting Simmi's into an arm bar that caused the youth to shout in pain. Quake was on his feet again and swinging Simmi around in front of him as a shield.

"Listen to me!" Quake growled, keeping his voice as quietly menacing as he could. "We're not your enemy! Bounce was never under Seduction's control. He thought it was a laugh, but when he found out what Seduction was doing, he fucked me and freed me from Seduction's mind power. We've been biding our time since."

"Soccer!" Brains yelled and swung open the third door he'd been investigating. Vis reappeared, already on his feet beside the breathless Hawk. The birdman levitated and Vis kicked the rubbery human ball that was curled up underneath. Bounce sailed across the room and through the open doorway.

"Goal!" Brains whooped and slammed the door shut, bolting it. It was a small, bare cell, perhaps once used for that very purpose in days gone by and now they had Bounce locked inside. The odds had just improved. It was four against one.

Vis, Brain and Hawk turned to face Quake, their minds ticking over how they could free Simmi from Quake's grasp and bring the Hero down without being hit by Quake's powers. In the sudden silence, the door creaked open behind them and O'Shay peaked in.

"Attack and retreat," Brains ordered and the others nodded their agreement as O'Shay slipped cautiously into the room, staying pressed against the wall as he realised the fight wasn't over.

"You don't want to do this," Quake warned, eyeing off the timid newcomer. His own door swung open and Seduction suddenly glistened in the backlight, strong and tall and powerful.

"What is this?" Seduction's deep voice boomed. He took in the scene and stepped into the room. The Brotherhood dropped their eyes to avoid his gaze but O'Shay wasn't so quick and their eyes locked. The light from the doorway behind Seduction darkened and the villain's harem poured into the room. Jolt, Fever and Crunch stepped in front of their master, forming a protective wall of muscle of sweat. Bigger, stronger, better. From the back of the room, O'Shay also stepped forward.

The Brotherhood was surrounded.

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