Spacer The Rainforest Terror Affair 175
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    Now that we're safely away from bystanders.... Powerhouse lobbed the weird creature onto a landing strip thirty feet below, trusting that that should take the fight out of it.
    Scott, still rather confused by this treatment, shifted into a gas the moment he was free of the telekinetic field, then back to liquid as soon as he reached the ground. There he anchored himself, stretched a limb up and swatted his assailant solidly enough to drive him back a couple of feet.
    Powerhouse shook himself, surprised. "That's not moss," he observed to himself. Phil must have learned a new trick.

Phil Chlora and his other henchmen—some holding their bruised heads—ran towards the doors they burst through. "Yes!" Phil shouted. "Yes! They got it! Soon the city will be mine! Mine to rule!" With that he vanished with a mad cackle down the darkened hallway.
    A young woman ran over to Alchemy. "Are you okay! What is going on?"
    "If you haven't called security yet, do it," was her terse order. She wanted a cigarette rather badly, and a headache was starting.
    "Okay." She trotted off, yelling, "Call security! And send someone to the generator room, there's vines growing out of the generator!"
    Alchemy headed for the door, but the man with the briefcase was long since gone. No sign of him. Eight languages gave her a lot of ammunition for swearing.
    "Darn," she heard from the air beside her; Eclipse made herself visible again. "They were in a van and I got the license plate number," the teenager told her older teammate helpfully. "The guy who had your case—what was in the case, by the way?"
    "Where did he go?"
    "I don't know where he went, he took off, in a van."
    "Which way?"
    "That way."
    "What did it look like?"
    "Powerhouse!!" her full throated yell echoed across the parking lot and landing field. The sound caught up with Powerhouse while he was wondering how to defeat a metallic moss creature. "I'll deal with you in a minute, moss-boy," he promised, turning back to the airport.
    Moss-boy? Scott chased after him, flying as fast as he could.
    Powerhouse saw Alchemy standing in front of the airport's exit and came to a hover about ten feet up. "What?"
    "Give him the description of the van."
    "Um, it was green, with the name of a livery company on the side, and there was a dent in the right front fender. The guy driving it was about six feet tall, and he...."
    Alchemy interrupted her, "Find it. Stop it."
    "There's a metallic flesh-eating moss out on the air—"
    "Find it," she repeated. "I got the moss-thing already, that's not the moss-thing, whatever it is."
    Right. Powerhouse grimaced and took to the sky, grumbling softly. "I could explain that the airport livery uses green vans, and there's a major highway right next to the airport, and that I can't read license plates from thirty feet in the air, and...."
    "Hey, you cad!"
    A grey cloud blocked his vision.
    "You don't just think you can go flying around airports randomly accosting people, do you?" Scott demanded of his bewildered assailant.
    "O-kay." Powerhouse hesitated. "You're not flesh-eating moss, are you?"
    "No, I'm not flesh-eating moss!"
    "What are you?"
    "I'm 350 pounds of sentient Plovian superconductor. Hi."
    "Oh, wait a—I know you, you're one of those Boston guys." The light dawned. "Didn't you guys burn down Fenway Park?"
    "We did not!"
    "It's okay, I understand, we all screw up," Powerhouse assured him. "I've caused a little bit of property damage here and there myself." Like that gaping hole in the airport wall.
    Meanwhile, Alchemy found the nearest policeman, gave him the license plate number of the van. They promised to put out an APB immediately. "Proceed with extreme caution and call us first," she emphasized to him. Before we lose some of Seattle's oh-so-finest, she added silently. Then she looked up.
    "Have you been drinking?" Alchemy shouted up at Powerhouse, seeing him talking to the air.
    "No, there's a talking... cloud, up here, I think it was the metal I was thinking was moss, earlier. It's chastising me."
    "Of course there is." She rolled her eyes.
    Powerhouse looked at the cloud, "Can we go down and you can explain who and what you are to Lisa before she has me put on psychiatric leave again?"
    "I suppose," Scott agreed. "Besides, I left my dad and carry-on luggage."

Meanwhile, Eclipse was looking around for clues inside the generator room. A particularly vicious variety of kudzu had taken out both primary and auxiliary generators. She found the stub of an unfiltered Camel cigarette and a half-used matchbook from the Tropical Pair-o-Dice. These went into a plastic baggy that she carried around for just such occasions. Outside there was the smoking corpse of the moss-creature. She took a sample of it on general principles.
    Dr. Small was still looking more than a little bit shaken and stunned. "They got the spectrum-broadcaster! At least half of it."
    "What does this thing do?" Alchemy asked him.
    "Yo, Alchemy!" Powerhouse yelled. "This is Scott Silver of the... Evolution?"
    "Revolution," Scott corrected. "Hello." He extended a liquid "arm."
    "Do you have a cigarette?" she asked resignedly.
    "Hey guys, I found some stuff," Eclipse chirped. "Do you want to know about it? I think we need to find a place called the Tropical Pair-o-Dice because in the generator room there was this cigarette and and and this half pack of matchsticks...."
    "Oh, the Tropical Pair-o-Dice. It's a boat," Powerhouse told her. Gambling boat, to be specific. "It's all on the up and up."
    "There's also this cigarette which I don't know if we want to do anything with that."
    "Did you touch it?" Alchemy wanted to know. Scott she accepted without batting an eye; the Revolution's more unfortunate experiences were hardly secret, and Scott was, if nothing else, damn near impossible to impersonate. "So what was in the case?" she asked Small.
    He sighed. "A spectrum broadcaster. Or at least, the major components for a spectrum broadcaster."
    "And that means what in English?"
    "Orion Space Sciences has a program where we're sending up a series of satellites in high orbit to collect solar radiation. The spectrum broadcaster's going to be translating the wavelengths into something that's easily transmittable through the ionosphere so that we can collect it in some lower orbiting satellite and use it to power them, them transmit it further down, using the sun as a limitless energy supply. However, without the spectrum broadcaster we can't get it to operate. I'm bringing the thing out to GEMINI, we already brought half of it over, in hopes that the Gemini Group can figure out a way to overcome some of the basic problems in the broadcaster."
    "How can it be partially used now?" Alchemy asked him.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson