Dice turned on his heel and walked back outside, studiously ignoring the panda that appeared from out of nowhere. He reached into his pocket for his flask of moonshine and tossed it into a garbage can.
Silver Scorpion was ready to transport prisoners to Duluth, but could not do it alone on her motorcycle and had no other volunteers.
"I say we should find their secret base and attack," said Captain Liberty. “We can tie up the prisoners and then find their base of foul evil.” He stood in a heroic pose with his arms folded and his cape flowing behind him (having opened a window for a breeze to accomplish that).
Inwardly, Capt. Liberty began to reflect on the fact that he did not even know who he was. He got a bit choked up, but then caught himself. Then he noticed how beautiful Silver Scorpion was, but caught himself yet again -- knowing that all else must be ignored in his duty to fight evil and to protect the USA. Sigh…It was a lonely life being a hero.
Just outside the window, Captain Liberty thought he saw a mysterious figure in a black cloak before the figured vanished.
"I'm not going back to Duluth,” the Mountain Man said inside. “We're here. They may be warned but we were going to bash in the door anyway. We tie these folks up, call the state police and get to work. That's what I say." He then stripped off Jason Tenner’s shirt, found the bulletproof vest he had suspected was underneath, and worked to take it off of Jason by force.
At first Jason looked like he was going to try to fight his way out rather than give it up, but he wound up giving in. "Sure, why not? It makes me itch anyway," Jason said.
After putting the vest on, the Mountain Man continued his interrogation, asking where the temple was.
"Don't tell them anything!" Mrs. Tenner said, still struggling as the panda bear put her in a chair and Silver Scorpion tied her up with a bed sheet.
"Aw, pipe down," Jason said, smiling. "What should we care if they want to get themselves killed? Be my guest. The temple is 18 miles northwest of here. You'll never find it at night, but by daylight you should be able to spot it after a good hike."
"Yeah, maybe we couldn't find it at night,” Dice said, “but I'm bettin' you could find it just fine. Maybe we should take you with us to show us the way." Dice contemplated the idea a moment longer. "Or we could just kill ya’ and leave yer’ body here to stink up the place."
Silver Scorpion had taken a moment to not-so-subtly 'disable' the radio so that it could no longer be used to radio the temple, or anywhere else for that matter, ever. She returned to the front room in time to hear Dice’s comment and looked shocked at his suggestion, but then figured he was just threatening Jason. "Well, if we're not taking his wife too, perhaps we'd better discuss this outside, where everything we say won't be relayed back to the temple once reinforcements arrive?" she advised.
"I cannot abide the killing of a prisoner unless he has been tried by the laws of the United States of America," said Captain Liberty. "Foul and un-Americian as they may be, they will not be murdered!" At that last part, Captain Liberty began glowing. He then suggested, "We can imprison them as we can put them in a windowless room and I can put something heavy in front of the door. As for heading out of town and getting some rest -- good idea!"
It was decided that, even if they could not find the temple that night, they should at least vacate the town before reinforcements from the temple arrived. Everyone was running on a half-hour of sleep or less and everyone was fatigued.
"Wait, what about Alpha-Woman?" Gandor the Great asked. "We can't leave without leaving her some clue as to where we went. Something she would find, but the cultists will not."
"Maybe if we head a short ways back down the road to Duluth we can flag down Alpha-Woman when she returns,” Silver Scorpion volunteered. “Then we can hike out towards the Temple and rest up until tomorrow? Or we could head back to one of the small townships down the road and get another motel?"
"I have a tent and have no problem camping out,” the Mountain Man said. “We don't need Jason to lead us there, that other goon already agreed to do it. I say we head out of town a ways and camp somewhere out of the way."
And so, the Tenners are made prisoners in their own home. The Heroes agreed to backtrack out of town the way they had come and set up a campsite off the main road. Most everyone was sleeping under the stars, except for The Mountain Man. Silver Scorpion stood guard by the road and watched for Alpha-Woman's return.
Alpha-Woman kept a close eye on her prisoners, all still a combination of groggy or unconscious. She drove as fast as she could on the dirt roads, relying on her headlights to illuminate the inky blackness before her until, at last, the lights of Duluth come into view. She knew the city well, being her stomping grounds for the past year, so she found the police station quickly.
Inside, her good looks elicited stares and whistles from the policemen on duty and, when she informed the sergeant on duty that she had prisoners under citizens’ arrest in her car, he seemed not to believe her. "Who are you, and what's with the shirt?" he asked suspiciously.
Black Cat by Steve Rude
7 hours ago