Spacer The Rainforest Terror Affair 174
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    Disembarking with the rest of the passengers, Scott walked off the plane, somewhat clumsy in solid form but deciding it would be easier and more acceptable. He spotted his father's wheelchair in the crowd and headed in that direction.
    "It just looks so wrong for you to be human," Jeffrey observed.
    "It was hard to fit in the seat otherwise," Scott explained.
    "You can change back if you like."
    "Oh. Okay." He morphed back into his usual liquid form.

Suddenly, an explosion rocked the waiting area and the lights went out. With the rain and the gloom, the emergency lighting barely lifted the shadows.
    "Hey! What's going on!" Eclipse yelped.
    Her variant eyes cut through the darkness, and she spotted something of interest: Someone wearing a maintenance uniform was walking out of a door labeled "generator room." No doubt he was the cause of the recent explosion and blackout.
    Two more doors slammed open and a half dozen large men rushed in, followed by a man wearing a bright green costume with a huge petal cape and a mask shaped like a Venus fly trap. They were rushing toward Alchemy.
    Powerhouse could make out strange shapes in the shadows, but couldn't see clearly enough to identify his opponent. "Who the?!"
    "He's wearing a Venus fly trap! And I saw the maintenance guy who blew up the generator!" Eclipse told Powerhouse.
    "Phil Chlora," he intoned grimly, heading toward the incipient fight. "See what you can do about the maintenance guy, I'll draw their fire."
    "Okay!" She jumped down from his shoulders.
    "Hold it right there, Chlora!" Powerhouse ordered, taking flight and gesturing dramatically at his old adversary.
    "Not this flying buffoon! Quickly, my henchmen—get him!"
    Two of said henchmen stepped forward and unlimbered very large guns.
    "Given that this is Phil," Powerhouse thought, "I can be pretty sure these are high-speed compressed air thorn launchers, probably coated with hyper-concentrated poison ivy sap. If these get out into the crowd there is going to be a problem...." Wincing, Powerhouse spread his arms wide and give the rent-a-thugs a clear shot, so they wouldn't fire blindly into the crowd. The barrage of thorns lasted only seconds before he reached them and slammed their heads together with a satisfying clunk. He flexed his pecs and a half dozen thorns popped from his chest, several leaving small itching bruises. "Nothing I can't handle," he thought. Invisible and unnoticed, Eclipse followed the man from the generator room. He walked through the crowds, very casually, left the building and headed for the parking lot. Outside, the shadows were sufficient for Eclipse's powers to continue to hide her, and she scampered after her quarry.
    In the darkness and confusion, Alchemy grabbed Dr. Small in one hand and his bag of stuff in the other and headed for the nearest exit—she'd had a chance on the plane to memorize the layout of the airport in case something happened. The doctor was stunned by the sudden events, and nearly lost his feet as the Israeli heroine dragged him past Powerhouse and away from Phil, towards the main exit. There should be a reinforced concrete wall 40 meters away that she could get Small behind for cover, then counter-attack.
    "No! Stop her!" Phil shouted. "Get her my Henchmen." Then he turned his attention back to Powerhouse.
    "It's obvious that I can't defeat you hand to hand," Chlora admitted readily, "but can you defeat—this?!" He pulled out a mysterious glob and threw it, its size and shape expanding rapidly in the gloom with disgusting slurping noises. "You know how moss and decay consumes the flesh of dying animals? This is EVIL moss which consumes all flesh near it!"
    The evil-moss grenade flew past Powerhouse, struck the ground and oozed around a corner, moving of its own volition. Powerhouse could hear people screaming as the shambling monstrosity approached. He snatched up a nearby garbage can and flew after it.
    Cholra's other henchmen opened fire at Alchemy, sending a hail of thorns across the airport at the retreating pair. Alchemy threw Small in front of her, trusting her specially designed armored trenchcoat to protect her. One thorn pierced the hand holding the briefcase, but it didn't itch too badly. She couldn't deal with these idiots until Small was safe.
    Powerhouse turned the corner to see a huge blob in the darkness threatening a man in a wheelchair. He flew at it with the garbage can ready. "This oughta hold you, you overgrown mold!" he yelled as raised the can to slam over the creature.
    "What are you doing with that trash receptacle!" Scott yelped, startled, and then it was on him. "Hey!" Scott freed himself quickly, but not before Powerhouse had dragged him away from his father. "What are you doing!"
    "Evil AND intelligent," Powerhouse observed. "I'm taking you outside."
    Scott, for his part, could only assume that the flying man facing him was neither evil NOR intelligent. What to do?
    Deciding their guns were useless, two of Chlora's henchmen sprinted after Alchemy and lept at her. She dodged the first and slammed the second square in the face with the Doctor's case; he fell with an acceptable thump and groan.
    "No, we can't have this happen!" Phil Chlora protested. He raised his hands to his head in concentration, and the moss creature did an end run around the distracted Powerhouse in the darkness—after all, he had it cornered, didn't he? The creature launched itself at Alchemy, covering her almost completely—only her hands were free—one holding the scientist's arm, the other his briefcase.
    "Ptui!" Alchemy had ducked her head into her coat as protection from the creature, but she could still feel it burning her skin and it certainly blocked her vision. A moment's concentration and her coat became a steel armored carapace, thrusting spiked through the creature, wounding it badly. In the confusion someone grabbed hold of the briefcase in her hand and hauled with superhuman strength; the handle snapped under the pressure even as the moss thing flowed off her back.
    "Powerhouse, get your ass over here!" she shouted as she lost her grip on the case, still half-covered in moss creature.
    Eclipse followed the man out to a parked van, which he drove out around to the general parking area. He had taken off his jacket and changed his hat, and was now wearing a completely different sort of uniform. "Interesting." She memorized the license place of the van just in case.
    Powerhouse, unable to hear Alchemy's voice over the commotion, grabbed hold of the blob in front of him and tried to fly out with it through the wall. The six weeks of structural engineering courses Survivor had forced on him after a few unfortunate incidents let him recognize a load-bearing wall by sight.
    Much to Scott's surprise, the strange man actually managed to pick him up; he tried to flow around him, but felt some form of force holding his body together. Telekinetic field, he thought as they crashed out through the airport wall into the rainy parking lot.
    Alchemy was growing seriously annoyed with the moss thing. Air to... sulfuric acid. There was a liquid rain on the creature. A few bubbles, and the evil plant withered away. She grabbed hold of her scientist again and looked around for the missing briefcase. There—the man running for the door!
    Eclipse continued to follow her quarry as he pulled over, swung the main door of the van open, and a man ran out of the building with a briefcase in his arms. She dove to intercept him as he sprinted like a running back heading for the end zone. Unaware of her presence, his momentum still smashed her out of the way; she rolled with it, but it was instantly clear that he was far stronger than a normal human. He dove headlong into the back of the van, which screeched off in blatant violation of the speed limit.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson