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Children of the Green - Part 1 - #6
Melissa felt like a movie star as she walked through Arrivals at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport dressed in leather trousers, green tank top and leather jacket, a pair of aviators and high heel boots completing her look. The trip to New York had been purely work related and overly gory to boot. Called in by Detective Dallas Rhioden to ID the body of her old wrestling partner Hellen Feliciano after she had been slain by the Scourge of the Underworld, a brutal vigilante intent on ridding New York of it's criminal population. Looking around she saw a sign written in green ink displaying her name and walked over glad that her teammates had come to pick her up rather then leaving her to the mercy of the cities public transport network. She was shocked to find the balding figure of one time teammate Samuel Smithers dressed in a dirty trench coat waiting for her, a nervous look etched into his features.
''Sam hey what's going on?" Melissa asked cautiously.
''Can't talk, the Green is trying to kill me.'' Sam whimpered as a customs officer walked past with a beagle, it's tail excitedly wagging back and forth as it pulled the handler towards a man standing by the baggage reclaim belt.
''The Green?" Melissa gasped, ''But I thought that when you lost you're powers any link you had would be severed.''
''So did I but two nights ago I was attacked and my parole officer was murdered by mutated Kudzu vines. Both SHIELD and the local police are after me so I went to one of the few people I trust.'' Sam explained as the beagle barked at the man at the baggage reclaim before a vine snaked out from his boot and slashed the dog's throat before stabbing into the handler, his blood staining the tendril a dark red. The officer's collapse caused Melissa and Sam to jerk round as the assailant strode towards them his skin tinting green and vines sprouting from his back.
''Oh Man is that what I think it is?" Melissa asked as she and Sam began to withdraw from the mutated traveller.
''Yeah it's a Simuloid but it's not one of mine.'' Sam told her, ''I don't suppose you have you're sonic rig on you?"
''I left it at home.'' Melissa answered, ''Luckily I have a plan.'' She added grabbing Sam's hand.
''And that is?" Sam asked as the other passengers around them realised that something was amiss.
Abe stood on the edge of the high rise in his MACH IV armour looking down at the city streets below. It was so quiet and he hated it, not the lack of noise but the fact that after the arrest of the Cobalt Man a week ago there had been almost no movement in the underworld community which usually meant that something was already happening. At current his team were watching skyscrapers after a series of robberies had occurred in the penthouses of Seattle's wealthiest citizens. What had made this gang of criminals unique, and therefore very interesting to both the media and the police, was that other then a thin layer of silicon dust the thieves had left no trace, hadn't tripped any alarms or woken their victims. It was all bizarre and so far the gang nicknamed the High Rollers had gotten away with a king's ransom of cash and valuables.
''Donnie this is Abe.'' MACH IV called, ''The crime scene is the same as the others. No trace, no casualties and the family jewels stolen from an otherwise immaculate safe''
''So the thieves knew the combination.'' Donnie answered as he stood at the base of another skyscraper hit by the 'High Rollers'. ''So they probably cased all the targets before hitting them.''
''Or they read the latest issue of the Seattle Herald.'' Sara yawned as she perched on the balcony above Donnie, ''They had an article on the richest young people in the city, six of which have been burgled.''
''Whatever the case these thieves, despite the millions they've stolen keep hitting targets.'' Abe informed the others, ''It might be that money isn't their only motive to commit such felonies.''
''So our next move is?" Donnie asked.
''Sara has a lecture in half an hour.'' Abe replied, ''So you and I will stop by the Herald and find out about the journalist who wrote the article and then head back to base and welcome Melissa home. If everything is going according to plan Victoria and Orka will be picking her up right about now.
Victoria opened the boot of Melissa's Landrover and helped pull Orka out before straightening her blouse and skirt as her massive companion removed a hand written sign that read 'Maulicer Goald'. Victoria rolled her eyes before the doors flew open and a tide of screaming travellers flooded out.
''Well that's typical.'' Victoria moaned as she bent down and removed a telescopic baton from her boot. ''As soon as we take some personal time the next calamity comes along.''
Inside the terminal Melissa darted round the back of an electronic sign and kicked off her boots before peering round the edge as a vine bullwhip slashed through the sign, sparks showering her and Sam. With a grunt Melissa pushed Sam down before crawling under a bench as the Simuloid advanced on them, two red flowers sprouting from his shoulders and showering their position with seeds that exploded into acidic pulp that melted their makeshift cover.
''Any idea on how to beat this thing?" Melissa asked as she and Sam started running again, heading for the escalator as a flurry of seeds exploded around them.
''Heat, cold, pesticides and sharp force trauma.'' Sam replied as he hit the escalator, running up the stairs as they descended towards him. With a single flick of his vine whip the Simuloid stalled the stairs causing his prey to stumble backwards, their bodies falling down the stairs towards him. ''And please can we do something soon.'' He added as the Plant-Man advanced on them.
Looking around Melissa spotted a fire extinguisher on the wall and crawled towards it as Sam backed up the stalled escalator. Reaching the wall Melissa wrenched the extinguisher off the wall and charged at the Simuloid before letting loose with the frozen CO2, the spray freezing the Simuloid's free hand before shattering it, the Plant-Creature not recognising that it had been injured. Swinging the extinguisher Melissa hit their attacker in the face before the creature's chest opened up, small thorny vines restraining her hand. Looking to where Sam was Melissa saw him hesitate before running up the stairs away from the confrontation.
''Uh well it's good to know you're appreciated.'' Melissa grunted, ''So why are you after Smithers?" She asked the Simuloid.
''He is essential to the plan.'' The Simuloid boomed, his whole body vibrating as he talked. ''You are not.'' It stated as the thorns curved and dug into her flesh. ''Fear not you're body will not be wasted, it will be converted into useful fertiliser for the Green's Children.''
''Pass.'' Melissa told him as she slammed her free fist into the creatures face only for it to sink in and get stuck. Straining she saw more vines whip out, the mobile tendrils attempting to entomb her in a nest of living plant matter. Blacking out she dealt a cold hand grab her by the neck and rip her free from her tomb. Coughing she looked up to see Orka ripping vines away as the tried to choke him and Victoria as she jabbed the Simuloid in the chest.
''You're interference is not welcome.'' The Simuloid boomed before secreting acid over Orka's hand causing him to flinch and avoid a quick vine punch to the face, barbs stabbing in just under the eyes. Victoria continued to hack away until vines restrained her before dragging her slowly towards the main body.
''Leave them alone.'' A commanding voice called from the floor above. Melissa looked up to see Sam clutching an armful of perfume bottles. ''I don't want to harm you but you've left me little choice.'' He added bringing out a lighter and flinging it down to where the Simuloid was standing. As the liquid flame washed over the creature, Orka dived in wrenching Victoria and carrying her to safety as the Simuloid collapsed into a puddle of green mulch.
''What the hell is happening?" Victoria said sternly as Orka put her down and scooped up a sample of the gunk.
''I have no idea.'' Sam answered, ''But now you know why I need you're protection.''