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RCM FanFic - Agents of ARACHNOS, Ep. 26
Agents of Arachnos Episode 26

*****
"Her real name is Vera Weaver," Shinzon read into the phone. "Goes by the code name 'Absinthe.' Leader of the female assassin squad known as the Black Widows...oh, this is interesting. 'The Black Widows are known to be nymphomaniacs, seducing and sleeping with their victims before they kill them. It is unclear whether this is a psychological issue, a cult-ish ritual requirement, or some combination thereof.'"

Manly Stuff let out a low whistle. "Man, Baron knows how to pick some intriguing adversaries, doesn't he?"

"Wait'll you see the photos of these ladies. Can't say I would be able to resist very easily were one to come up and talk to me."

"And that," Manly replied, "is EXACTLY why you need to get out of the office more often."

He checked his bearings as he made the approach to the island, a slightly darker mass poking out of a deepening night. The skies had been clear for the majority of his flight over Australia, and it wasn't until he was almost to his destination that the clouds started forming around his plane like a blanket. Manly usually didn't mind this, as it afforded a degree of extra protection and gave the air tower a perfectly legitimate reason to keep the other birds out of his way for a few moments, but it would make his reconnaissance photos slightly more difficult to obtain.

And he hated using autopilot.

"Alright," he said into his mic as he flicked a few switches on his control panel. "Alert the tower that I'm about to switch the autopilot on. I'm coming up on the compound in 45 seconds."

There was a brief pause, then Shinzon's accent came back over the air. "Roger that. Air tower confirms you are clear up there. Awaiting your instructions."

At that, Manly Stuff clicked out of his seatbelt and flipped his headset to a wireless, continuous transmission. Quickly, he grabbed the camera waiting on the seat next to him and made his way down a hatch in the floor to a little porthole type window built into the belly of his plane. As he maneuvered himself in the tight space, Manly silently cursed HQ's asinine budgetary arguments about why a window was a more cost-effective tool than putting in a proper surveillance camera that could be operated from the safety of his cockpit. Especially, he thought bitterly as he bumped his elbow hard, for solo-mission tasks that took place on his day off.

Shoving the lens hood up to the glass, the clouds parted just at the right moment for him to snatch some clear views of the grounds. The compound appeared to take up most of the western side of the island, surrounded by thick forest around most of its perimeter. This, he thought, would provide excellent cover should they need to launch a full-scale invasion. The mansion proper was comprised of two large wings jutting out from a central block built in the palazzo style, with a number of smaller buildings dotting the grounds. The north end of the compound seemed to have a clearing with what appeared to be a lot of technical equipment - cranes and vehicles and trailers of various sizes, along with some sort of large tent and...were those sound booms?

He zoomed as close as he could to get the frames, when suddenly a bright explosion with its accompanying crackle lit up near the house.

What the...

He just barely had enough time to shoot off some quick photos before a second explosion came from the same area. Manly dropped the camera and sprinted back up the ladder to the cockpit, strapping in and switching quickly back to manual control and higher altitude.

"What the devil is going on?" Shinzon's voice came through his ears. "Do I hear gun shots?"

Manly was already checking his controls. "I've no idea, but something odd is definitely going on down there. I have a feeling this extraction is going to need to be backed up with some heavy fire power. Let tower know I'm back and switching back to normal channels. I'll see you in fifteen minutes."

*****

Baron cringed at Absinthe's choice of restraint for her prisoners. He'd have been fine with ropes, or shackles, or even one of those medieval torture racks. But no, she decided to leave him and Alex both ensnared, spread-eagle, in giant spider webs not unlike what Scarlett had been suspended from during the morning film shoot. She'd had them taken down to the cave-like chamber where Baron had met Sven shortly after he arrived. Baron's web was facing the wall to the giant aquarium tank, and he noticed a number of spider fish had been introduced to the contained ecosystem. That diabolical bitch, he thought. Alex, meanwhile, was strung up somewhere behind him - periodically, Baron could hear the actor whimper.

"Alex!" he hissed, trying to get his friend's attention. Baron had watched the other man get clocked pretty hard by one of the spider-ho's henchmen, and was more than a little concerned that if he drifted into unconsciousness, he might not wake up again. "Alex, stay with me, buddy. We're gonna get out of this, okay? But I need you to hang on. Come on, buddy. Stay awake until we get out of here..."

"I would love to know how you think you're going to accomplish that feat, Mr. von Gosu."

The slow, almost methodical clacks of spike heels against marble floors echoed through the chamber as Absinthe sauntered towards him. The high-necked, skin-tight black leather jumpsuit seemed painted onto her skin as she moved, the only flecks of color being the ruby red of her lips. She circled the perimeter of the room, slow and deliberate, watching him. Baron tried not to notice the curves of her silhouette as she arched her back in a cat-like stretch before the glow of the aquarium lights. He turned his head away from her gaze as she seductively licked her lips.

Her laughter was disarmingly sweet as it tinkled through the cavern.

Baron closed his eyes and tried not to visibly shudder. "Why are you doing this?"

He heard the slow clack of her heels come closer. "Why?" she asked, and Baron didn't have to look at her to see the wicked smile. "Because there is nothing in this world more exhilarating than the rush of pure, unbridled power. Because it pleases me when I see overzealous charlatans put in their proper place." Her breath was hot on Baron's neck as she continued:

"You so-called heroes think yourselves so clever, so noble as you lay waste to entire families of our kind. So clever, yet you failed to see how you played into our web the whole time. It was we who convinced the eccentric Sven Applach of the feasibility of your capture, we who gave the tips to ensure your presence was recorded as you committed atrocities against our children, we who sent the information gathered by the spy agency to your conspiracy-loving comrade and, as a result, we who sent you running right into our trap. My Black Widows, the agents of Arachnos, lie in wait all over the world so that we may act at a moment's notice to fulfil the desires of our master. We calculated every step of your downfall. The only thing that wasn't carefully calculated-" she rubbed a spindly finger softly around the outside of Baron's ear and across his jawline, "-was your trip to Bippy Headquarters."

Absinthe used a single finger to gently pull Baron's face toward her own as she pressed her lithe body against his. Baron fought hard to keep from responding to her advances, and for once in his life was glad when the thought of Mysti popped in his mind.

"What was it that made you go there?" her voice purred in his ear.

"Well," he murmured conspiratorially, "I heard your sister was the new spokesharlot for Bippy Soda, and I wanted to see if she really was as skanky as the guys said."

His captor stepped back, eyes narrowing. "Need I remind you, Mr. von Gosu, that you aren't meant to be killed outright when Arachnos arrives. No, she intends to keep you as her plaything for as long as possible." Her voice softened, taking on that almost ethereal tinkling from before as she slid her gloved hands over his chest. "I could save you from a terrifying, drawn out end... maybe even make it...pleasurable for you..."

Absinthe pressed her lips to his, but her kiss tasted bitter, and all Baron could think about was how this vile seductress shot a man before his eyes. Had Sven, too, been a victim of this trollop's charms?

"The greatest pleasure you could give me," Baron said carefully, "would be to scuttle back to your own web and die. You must be stupid if you'd think I'd want anything to do with you."

As soon as the words had left his mouth, Baron felt the claws of her fingernails scraping his face as she slapped him hard. He smiled as he felt the blood bubble up on his cheek.

"You call us stupid," she hissed, "yet it was you who was fooled the whole time! You call us monsters, squash our kin, set our webs ablaze in your self-righteous belief that you're eradicating a terror from the Earth. But again, Mr. von Gosu, you fail to see the terror you bring forth. You claim your podcast a celebration of all things horror; to our kind, you are the horror."

Baron looked her dead in the eye. "Good."

Absinthe's eyes narrowed. "Good? Funny. That's not what your friends are saying at this moment, as thousands of our kind gather at your RivalCon at this very moment to drain the life from their bodies. And certainly," she sneered, "it isn't what your dear wife said when one of our agents infused her with their venom."

She hopped backwards with a giggle as Baron lunged at her, the sticky strands of webbing holding him safely in place as his captor looked on in amusement.

"When I get off of this web, you're going to regret ever saying that or anything else." Baron's eyes glittered with a cold hatred.

Absinthe raised an eyebrow. "You would punch a woman?"

"What can I say? I'm an equal opportunity badass."

She glared at him a moment more, then smiled the most unnerving smile Baron had ever seen. "Perhaps I have been going about this all wrong," she said, her heels tapping slowly as she moved out of Baron's field of vision. "Perhaps, I needed to start with someone a little more...willing to cooperate."

Baron's stomach plummeted as he heard Alex scream behind him.

*****

Bennett slipped through to the narrow catwalk behind the stage in the ballroom, gun drawn as he moved swiftly toward the main wing. If what his informant told him was correct, and he had no reason to believe it wasn't, the next few months would be very interesting indeed. But the immediate concern was dealing with this pesky spider problem - by now he was sure the Americans had regrouped, re-armed, and reconned. Now all Bennett had to do was listen for a barrage of gunfire and he would know exactly where the enemy could be found.

He didn't have long to wait - he had just reached the back of the ballroom stage when he heard two shots from the other side of the curtain, close enough that some of the metal casings hitting the floor came rolling to a stop against his shoes. He took a deep breath and dodged around the curtain just in time to see teh_leet_haxor dragging Baroness by the hand through the drawn front curtains, the obliterated remains of what Bennett could only presume was a former spider splattered all over the piano bench. Cautiously, he checked the rafters from whence he supposed the creature came, and seeing no additional threat followed Haxor and the Baroness.

While he wasn't entirely surprised by what was waiting on the other side of the stage, Bennett was momentarily startled by the enormity of the arachnid army. As he took assessment of the scene before him, he could tell the expressions of Varyar, Killer, and a woman Bennett didn't recognize matched that of Haxor's: shock, bewilderment, and slightly ill. Only the Baroness seemed to regard the situation with a sort of bored detachment. Bennett couldn't tell if it was an exceptional poker face, or if a side effect of the toxins (which by his calculation were still very much in her system) was causing her to not quite comprehend the danger of the situation. As it stood, he was rather impressed she was awake at all, let alone up and about.

The spider leader, clearly identified by the small crown it wore on its repugnant head, stood in the middle of the room and surrounded by hundreds of its comrades. From his position in the doorway, Varyar took aim at the monster's head, but the shot was no good - Hax and Baroness were right in the line of fire. Behind him, Varyar heard Vampy's full out Southern exclaim "Oh my God," and a second later Bio was at his elbow, taking assessment of the situation with a very concerned "Oh, dear..."

Varyar had a sinking feeling in his stomach as he realized Hax only carried his pistol and Baroness, looking very out of it, wasn't carrying anything. His heart skipped as the curtain behind them fluttered, and he was only mildly relieved to see Other British Guy had shown back up as well - that was one more gun on the isolated side of the ballroom, but Varyar didn't trust the spy in general and certainly not with the lives of his friends.

"Bio," Varyar whispered, "what the hell is she doing over there?"

"We...had some problems upstairs," Bio whispered back.

"Yeah," came a Texan drawl from behind. "I had to let out some pent up frustrations into one of those fuckers' exoskeletons."

"Lyserg! Good to have you back, buddy! Uh..." Varyar risked a quick side glance. "Bio, are you carrying Mr. Blasty?"

"Indeed."

"Doesn't Lyserg need his gun?"

"Nah," Lyserg said, cracking his knuckles. "I got this."

There was a low buzz of clicks and hisses throughout the room as the arachnids shifted around, waiting, it seemed, for some sort of signal. Slowly, the lead spider raised its front leg, and the murmur quieted down.

Cara took a deep breath. "What's it doing?" she whispered to Killer.

Killer shook his head. "I'm not sure..."

Bennett didn't speak spider, but the impression he received, and what he would report to his superiors afterward, was that it appeared to be a rally speech between the leader and its troops. The beast started with a series of quiet clicks, eliciting a response from its minions. As the clicks grew louder and more frequent, several of the foot soldiers tapped their own legs as well, almost like a show of solidarity. The energy in the room had a perceptible change as the spiders' clicks and hisses and stomping rose to a crescendo.

On the other side of the room, both Hax and the Baroness were plotting. Hax spotted a potential route around the perimeter of the room that could rejoin them to the rest of their team, but it required jumping across tabletops, and he wasn't certain if Baroness would be able to keep up in her current state. The alternate plan forming in his mind was to have her go first while he kept the spiders at bay with the gun, then follow once she got across.

He came to the determination that this would probably be the most likely chance of success and turned to explain the plan to her, only to find that Baroness seemed to have made a plan of her own. She was wielding a pole from a music stand that she found onstage, and had the same look on her face that she had when she contemplated puzzles.

"Baroness..."

"Shh..." she told him. "Their clicking is like a pattern, and I'm trying to figure it out so we know how to beat the boss. She edged a little closer to the front of the stage.

"Baroness, listen to me, please. I really don't think it's wise to...what are you doing?"

"I told you, Hax, it's just a giant puzzle. I'll figure it out, and then I get to wake up."
"Wake up?" Hax thought a moment, his alarm growing. "Baroness, this isn't a dream."

She shook her head. "Really? We're in a room filled with spiders larger that small children. We aren't in Australia, so we must be dreaming."

Baroness reached down to poke at one of the spiders with the pole, but before Hax could catch her, the creature shot a wad of sticky webbing at her, smearing the white goo all over the skirt of her dress. Her eyes flashed in rage. "Oh, no, you did NOT...do you have ANY IDEA HOW EXPENSIVE THAT WAS?!"

And at that, the jaw of every Rivalcast staffer dropped at the same time as Baroness launched herself into the spider pit, swinging her stick like a ninja as she cracked into the first of her arachnid foes.






Crap, what happened last time?
On to the next episode
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