Dice impatiently threw in his question. "Where's the temple?"
The two living room prisoners, eager to be more useful a prisoner than the other one, spilled all they could. The temple was 18 miles to the northeast. There was no road leading there, only a trail, and it was so rough that none of their cars would be able to take it. Most of the townsfolk had relocated to the temple, setting up a makeshift village around it.
The Mountain Man, with slyer methods, got his willing prisoner to reveal -- no, gloat -- "I've heard that all we have to do is make the temple an attractive enough hideout and master criminals are going to be drawn to it. They'll probably bring a lot of their own muscle, but hire local too," Chuck said. "There's also a rumor floating around that some master criminal is coming sometime this week to check the place out."
Alpha-Woman's prisoners too were desperate to think of something else to tell her to pacify her. "The clerk at town hall is in on it too!" they squealed.
Alpha-Woman spoke to her crew. "I don't think we should just leave these men here,” she said. “I suggest that we can drive them back to Duluth to the prison there. I have a car that can fit four of the men in."
"Tell you what,” the Mountain Man said to Chuck. “I'm going to have to tie you up for a second to figure out what the others are going to want to do with you. I'd be right happy if maybe you could guide us to the temple tomorrow morning." The Mountain Man then set to tying Chuck up with some rope he found in a bin on the back porch.
He then went inside and spoke quietly to the others so Chuck could not hear him. "I have one of the prisoners convinced this was a misunderstanding. I think he'll also lead us to the temple tomorrow morning if we ask him to. We should also deal with the motel clerk and the town clerk before any more word about what's happening here to the temple."
Captain Liberty walked to the front porch and then outside, looking around the yard for anyone else lurking about, or another surprise attack from vile evildoers. Finding no one but a figure watching from the window of a darkened room in the small house next door, he returned inside, his cape flowing as he spun around.
Silver Scorpion was satisfied with the answers she got from her prisoner and let off on the arm-twisting. "Alright, you done good... for now! But if I find out any of you haven't been straight with me..." She eyed each of the prisoners in turn menacingly, letting their imaginations fill in the rest of the sentence. Then she turned to the other vigilantes and said, “Seems like this whole town is under control of this Temple. They are sure to know we're coming, even if we manage to stop Jason from letting them know what happened..." Suddenly realizing what she has just said, she pushed her prisoner to the floor and rushed to the private apartment of the motel owner.
Alpha-Woman loaded up four of their prisoners in her car two at a time, one over each shoulder as Silver Scorpion sprinted past her. Captain Liberty related how he saw someone watching from the home next door and the Mountain Man stepped out front to check things out.
Silver Scorpion found herself stopped by a locked door as Alpha-Woman drove away, bound for Duluth for the next couple of hours. Behind her, Captain Liberty came up to assist and threw himself into the locked front door of the motel owner’s house and barely managed to wreck it down. He was greeted by the loud static of a radio in another room and the sound of Jason yelling, “Calm down and keep trying to reach the temple!” Then the thuggish motel proprietor appeared in a doorway, revolver in hand blazing.
Jason emptied his first chamber and winged Captain Liberty before the star-spangled hero was even halfway across the front room. Silver Scorpion dashed in past him to flank Jason on the left, Capt. Liberty on the right, and the Mountain Man charging up the middle. The Mountain Man, not wanting to get shot in the face, wasted time pushing the gun up in the air so Jason’s next shot hit ceiling instead of Mountain Man. Captain Liberty tried to get in a knockout punch as the four closed into a tight melee, but got an elbow in his fresh wound instead and winced in pain. Silver Scorpion slashed with one of her silver knives, but only scraped something under Jason’s shirt, presumedly a bulletproof vest.
The Daoist, who had been resting, curled up in a ball on the porch, shot up at the sound of gunfire. Bounding toward the small house, he raced to aide his new friends.
Silver Scorpion continued her assault upon Jason, attempting to disarm him by cutting his hand with her knife so he would drop the gun.
"Nice shooting! Maybe a poke in the eye will improve your aim!" The Mountain Man mockingly roared as he took another swing at the motel clerk with his boulder-like fists.
The Daoist, still in mountain lion form, bounded into the front room of the small house. Jason had backed into a corner, trying to limit their ability to come at him all at once. Captain Liberty kicked a couch out of his way so three of them could still continue their melee with Jason, leaving the Daoist forced to perch on a chair for now and waiting for an opening to strike.
"I don't know who you crazy people are, but I'll take you all down with me!" Jason roared with a savage snarl as he emptied more chambers of his gun. A dark halo of gunpowder smoke formed over his head. The Mountain Man was right there in his face, though, pushing his gun aside.
The flash of the muzzle and the deafening clap of the gunshots were too disorienting for Captain Liberty and The Mountain Man, who failed to land solid blows against their hulking foe. Silver Scorpion barely managed to scrape the back of Jason's hand with her silver knife, but the big thug was too tough to drop his gun from the light wound.
Iron Man by Bob Layton
13 hours ago