Monday, 31 December 1990

Anglo-Force: The Formation & The Return Of Saruman Chapter 6

Anglo-Force’s move to the estate of Arthur Pendragon went very smoothly. Also, good news came from Westminster. The Anglo-Force bill was about to get it’s second reading.
    When they moved into the estate, they modified Pendragon’s gym for their own needs. A few days after they finished the modifications, Mr. X and Star Man were conducting training sessions for their protégés, Axe Kid and Lightning Kid. As they watched them testing their skills, Magus joined them.
    “They are looking good gentlemen.” said Magus. “You are training them well.”
    “I’m afraid there’s not much more we can teach them.” said Mr. X. “We’ve taught them all we know.”
    “Only experience will complete their training” said Star Man.
    “That is what I would like to talk to you about.” said Magus. “I’ve been closely observing Axe Kid and Lightning Kid during the past month or two. If possible I’d like to discuss my idea at the full meeting tomorrow.”
    “It’s okay with me.” said Mr. X.

    The day of the meeting dawned. They assembled to hear what Magus had to say. He rose to his feet and grabbed his lapels.
    “Gentlemen” he said. “Even as we speak a bill is passing through parliament to give us full legal status. The time has come for us to consider the future.”
    “What do you mean?” asked Star Man.
    “What I mean is, none of you are immortal. There will come a time when, due to age or injury you will have to retire. We should begin to train replacements for you now.”
    “I notice you don’t include yourself in that statement.” said Chameleon.
    “There is no need for me to do so.” said Magus. “For I do not age. Nor will I die.”
    “Magus, you look older than any of us!” laughed Axe Kid.
    As they watched, Magus changed into a younger version of himself, then back again.
    “The age I look is immaterial.” he said. “What I propose is to set up an academy for training young super-heroes. I have available my castle upon Craigmillar Island.”
    “I do not think the government will provide funding.” remarked Red Sun.
    Magus smiled. “My wealth is beyond measure, my dear. I have travelled extensively across the universe.”
    He raised his cane. “This cane is worth more than the national assets of this country alone. It’s head is of mithril silver and cavourite. The only mine capable of producing mithril silver on this planet is on Craigmillar.”
    “I take it you propose to rung this academy, Magus.” said Mr. X. “Who do you propose should attend it?”
    “If they are willing, Axe Kid and Lightning Kid would be my first choices. I also have my eye on one or two other promising young heroes who are in need of guidance.
    “What about a replacement for you Magus?” asked Watt.
    Then, the door opened. A huge, brown furred figure entered.
    “Gentlemen.” said Magus. “Meet Woodwose, last of the ancient race of Wildman in Britain. I propose him as my replacement.”

    Sherwood Forest, deep in the heart of Nottinghamshire. This place was renowned for the adventures of Robin Hood and his merry men. On this day, however, it was the site of a visit from a group of students from Nottingham University, as part of their nature course. Once such young man, Charles Borne, would have a day that would forever change his life.
    Charles Borne was eighteen years old, and in his first year at university. He walked through the forest, chatting with his friends, when he stopped to collect a specimen. His friends thought it insignificant, and continued on their journey. As he kneeled down and cleared away a few old leaves, he noticed something shining under some more leaves. He brushed them away and found two slightly muddy gold bracelets. The young man could not believe his luck, a chance to make a bit of money by selling some old costume jewellery. But then, he had a change of mind. He quickly wiped the bracelets, and put one on each wrist. Not giving it a second thought, he got up and continued walking. His thoughts drifted back to his childhood. He remembered that as a child he idolised the original Captain Marvel, the telekinetic master. A smile came to his face, and then, for some reason, he decided to re-enact the process that Captain Marvel used. He put down his back pack and held his hands high in the air. And then, with one movement, he brought the bracelets together with a mighty clang. There was a blinding flash of light. When the light cleared, Borne found that his street clothes were gone. They were replaced by a red and black costume, and a yellow star on his chest. He now wore a black mask. He now wore the original costume of his hero, Captain Marvel.
    But before he knew what was happening to him, Borne turned round to see two men clad in black pointing rifles at him. He turned round again to see another man standing in front of him, this one clad in red with a blue flowing cape, with grey hair, carrying a shield.
    “Why thank you, young man.” he said. “I’ve been looking for those telekinetic bracelets for many years. Now, if you’d like to come with me.”
    “Never!” cried Borne.
    It was then that Borne made his mistake. He did not know the extent of his new found powers, or how to use them. That came with experience. He was easily captured by the two men in black.
    “Take him below. He has something that I want.”

    In Surrey, Mr. X and Magus sat in Pendragon’s study, discussing Magus’ plan.
    “If Charles agrees.” said Mr X. “I’m going to miss him. I made a promise to his grandfather to keep an eye on him.”
    “I understand your reservations, Simon.” said Magus. “But it is for Christopher’s own good…”
    Before Magus could complete his sentence, he leapt to his feet, grabbed his head, and let out a huge cry of pain. He then slumped to the ground. Mr. X rushed over to him.
    “What is it?” he asked. “What’s wrong?”
    “It is something I have not felt in many years.” Magus replied. “Not since the death of an ally of mine. A great surge of mystical energy, as if it were striking at my very soul!”
    “Where from?” Mr. X asked.
    “Sherwood Forest.” said Magus. “Deep in the heart of Sherwood Forest!”
    “Then we’ve got to go and check it out!” said Mr. X.
    “You go.” said Magus. “I am too weak. I must rest.”
    “Right.” said Mr. X. “Are you sure you’re going to be okay?”
    “Just go!” said Magus. “I sense great danger! As if something has fallen into the wrong hands!”
    Mr. X ran out of the study. On his way to the stables, he collected Axe Kid, the only other member of Anglo-Force currently available. At the stables stood Paul Solo’s helicopter, currently on loan to Anglo-Force.
    Instead of taking the usual amount of time a journey from Surrey to Nottinghamshire would take by helicopter, the journey time was halved, largely due to Chameleon’s modifications. They landed in a clearing just outside the forest, and then, using the directions Magus had given them, they made their way into the forest. They soon found the back pack that belonged to Borne. Axe Kid crouched down, and began touching the ground.
    “My senses tell me that there has been a struggle here.” he said. “Three men attacking one. The one was unable to defend himself for a reason I do not yet know.”
    Mr. X held a small sensor to the air. “I’m getting a small reading. It’s definitely some sort of energy. Only Magus could tell if it was mystical or not.”
     Mr. X continued to keep an eye on the sensor readings. As he turned round, he was eye-to-eye with a laser rifle being held by a man clothed entirely in black, except for his yellow mask.
    “Come quietly, and you will live! Otherwise your life will be terminated!”
    Mr. X raised his hands, but the man did not hear Axe Kid creeping up on him from behind. A savate kick to his should made the man drop the rifle. A blow from Mr. X left him lying in a puddle of mud, face first.
    “Where do we go from here?” Axe Kid asked.
    He did not have long to wait for an answer. Suddenly, they were surrounded by ten more baring various weapons.
    “It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a good workout!” said Mr. X
    “I agree!” said Axe Kid.
    And with that, the two leapt into action. To the normal layman, in a battle ten against two, the ten would normally win. But on this occasion, that was not the case. In just a matter of minutes, Mr. X and his youthful companion took care of their under matched foes. Just as their opponents lay unconscious on the ground, Mr. X and Axe Kid were attacked from behind. Axe Kid was attacked first. A shield had knocked him to the ground. Mr. X spun round, to see a man clad in red with a blue cape.
    “I’ve always wanted to test myself against the best!” said the man. “So I could prove that I was the best!”
    Mr. X leapt toward the stranger, rope in hand. Using the rope as a lasso, he wrapped it around the stranger’s ankle, and pulled him off his feet, As Mr. X ran toward him, the man monkey-flipped him to the ground. The man then got to his feet. Axe Kid was now on his feet again, and hurled his axe at the caped man. He raised his shield just in time as the axe imbedded itself in the shield. He then leapt toward Axe Kid, and caught him with a karate thrust to the throat. Axe Kid grabbed his throat in pain. Mr. X then came up from behind. The stranger took a throwing star from his belt, and threw it at Mr. X’s leg. The tips of the star were coated with a sleeping serum. Mr. X was dosing within a few seconds. As the stranger stood over his fallen foes, four men clad in black appeared.
    “Take them below.” he ordered. “Put them with the boy.”

    An hour passed. Slowly, Mr. X and Axe Kid regained their senses. When they finally awoke, they found themselves bound up. Special restraints had been placed on their hands and ankles. Spread-eagling them.
    “Where are we?” asked a groggy Axe Kid.
    “My guess is in some sort of stronghold.” said Mr. X.
    Mr. X then looked around. Various machines lined the walls. Then he looked to his immediate right, where another prisoner was being held.
    “Impossible!” said Mr. X. “Captain Marvel? I thought you died years ago!”
    The groggy figure gazed at Mr. X. He was too dazed to say anything.
    Then, a huge door opened. About thirty guards marched in, each carrying various weapons. Then, after all the guards had lined up, a familiar figure entered the room. It was the grey haired man, clad in red and a blue, flowing cape.
    “Who are you?” cried Mr. X. “Where are we?”
    “Impatience is not a virtue, Mr. X. I will introduce myself. I am Professor Cornelius Moriarty.”
    “Moriarty!” gasped Mr. X. “I haven’t heard of you in years!”
    “Indeed.” Moriarty replied. “There were rumours linking me with Giacomo Orsine and the Mafia, but I would never associate myself with such scum!”
    “Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black!” said Axe Kid.
    “I should expect such comments from a young fool!” said Moriarty. “You are no doubt going to ask why I have captured you.”
    “I did not know you were telepathic.” said Mr. X.
    “My plans are simple.” said Moriarty. “I disagree with the way the civilized world is being run. I intend to install myself as president of the world.”
    “I hear Mother Nature and the Black Squadron have the same views as you.” said Mr. X.
    “But I am going about it in a different way.” smiled Moriarty. “Rather than trying to get my own way all at once, as they do, I gradually build up my strength and use it gradually.”
    “The word for people like you is terrorist.” sneered Axe Kid.
    “I think realist fits better.” replied Moriarty scornfully. “The governments of this planet, be they elected or not, have run it into the ground. As Supreme President of the world I would run things my way.” He pointed at Borne. “My plan was proceeding quite well until that youth turned up.” He gazed around the room. “After Captain Marvel was slain, his telekinetic bracelets vanished. I knew they had landed somewhere on this planet. Then this young fool found them, and became Captain Marvel.”
    “Captain Marvel Junior more like.” said Mr. X. “He doesn’t look more than sixteen.”
    “With these bracelets my abilities would have been complete.”
    Mr. X laughed. “The last time I heard of you your ability was pointing a gun at someone’s head!”
    “You fool!” boomed Moriarty. “I have spent the last few years perfecting my fighting abilities. I can even match the skills of you and your pathetic allies.”
    “You’re just an old man!” said Axe Kid. “If I wasn’t trussed up like a chicken, I could take you out easily!”
    “Such youthful confidence!” said Moriarty. “Confidence which will soon be shattered. Attack Squad E, I am your target! Give no quarter. Ten thousand pounds to the man who takes my head!”
    Fifteen men surrounded Moriarty. He drew his sword from it’s sheath, a sword that resembled Excalibur. He then began to give a display of fighting technique that any Japanese sensei would be proud of. Within two minutes, fifteen of the most highly skilled soldiers had been dealt with, each one lay unconscious on the ground.
    “Deal with these soldiers.” said Moriarty. “And dock them a weeks pay for sleeping on the job!”
    “An impressive display.” said Mr. X. “But please excuse me if I don’t applaud. But how….”
    “Did I do it?” said Moriarty. “Ten years ago, Armand Theophilus injected me with some sort of serum. It was meant to increase intelligence, and he tested it on me, because he wanted to test it on himself. When my IQ did not quadruple, he was most ‘disappointed’. After he dumped me, I found that I had developed photo-genetic reflexes, which means that I can copy any movement I see. After I completed my training, I set up my organisation, slowly making my plans and building my forces. Within the next year, I will be ready to strike!”
    “But you said you needed the bracelets.” said Mr. X. “If I remember correctly, the only way they can be removed from their owner is if he is killed, and the kid there is the owner.”
    “I know the legend.” shouted Moriarty. “But until now, I have not thought of a way. But remember this, when I do, you two will also die!”
    And with that, Moriarty stormed out of the room. As he did, Borne began to wake up.
    “Hey kid!” whispered Mr. X. “If you do have Captain Marvel’s powers, you’re the only one who can get word out!”

    Four hours had passed. At Pendragon’s mansion, the tension had grown. Together, the rest of Anglo-Force, bar Magus, stood in the stable area.
    “It’s been far too long.” said Star Man. “They should have checked in hours ago! And with Magus being out of action….!”
    Then, Woodwose looked up to the sky.
    “I can hear something!” he said. “An engine sound!”
    “Which direction?” asked Watt.
    “South-east.” Woodwose replied.
    Before anyone could do anything, Watt took off. Less than a minute later, they could see a helicopter in the distance. Chameleon took off. He soon reached the helicopter, but he was surprised to see it was being piloted by Watt, not Mr. X. He landed the helicopter near the stables.
    “I found this note, lads!” Watt said. “Robin Hood and his merry men are about to be replaced.

    A short time later, Moriarty walked into the prison room, holding a strange device in his hand.
    “At last, I have it!” he said. “Very soon, the powers of Captain Marvel will be mine!”
    Moriarty walked over to Borne. “With this injection, I will kill this young fool!” Moriarty laughed. “And my plan will be near completion!”
    But just as Moriarty was about to inject the poison into Borne, the whole building began to shake. Then the wall began to crumble, and after two might bangs, it collapsed completely, due to the joint effort by Watt and Woodwose. Behind them stood Star Man, Lightning Kid, Chameleon, Red Sun and White Knight.
    “Knock knock!” said Lightning Kid.
    “I’m not going to use any boring cliché.” said Star Man. “But you know why we are here!”
    “Squadron D!” shouted Moriarty. “Joint Attack Force T. Attack Anglo-Force! Take no prisoners!”
    The battle began. Forty highly-trained soldiers against seven super-powered beings. Chameleon immediately camouflaged himself, making it almost impossible for anyone to attack him. Woodwose tossed the soldiers about as if they were rag dolls. Red Sun, Star Man and Lightning Kid blasted them. White Knight was in his element, his skills as a swordsman having not been tested like this in a long time. Watt, meanwhile, smashed the restraining controls, releasing Mr. X, Axe Kid and the young Borne, so they could join the battle.
    Several minutes passed before the battle swung Anglo-Force’s way. Moriarty watched the battle from afar.
    “Blast it!” he though. “My forces are losing the battle, and there is no way I could take all ten of them!”
    Moriarty ducked into a small tunnel. He thought that nobody had noticed him, but Star Man was soon after him. But he could not catch him up. The tunnel lead to a small hangar. Moriarty quickly boarded his small jet aircraft. He flew out of the hangar, and Star Man continued to give chase, but the jet was far too fast for him. Watt soon arrived. Then there was a huge boom.
    “It’s no good!” said Watt. “He’s travelling at least at mach four! There’s no way we can catch him!”
    They returned to what used to be a battle ground. Moriarty’s forces had been defeated.
    “Moriarty?” asked Mr. X.
    “Gone.” said Watt. “So what do we do now? Contact Solo and his boys?”
    Then, Magus arrived.
    “Inspector Solo and his forces are on their way.” he said.
    Mr. X walked over to Magus. “Are you okay?” he asked.
    “I am still a little weak.” Magus replied. “But I cam here to check on young Mr. Borne. You must come back to the estate with us.”

    Two hours had passed. Borne, now back in his normal clothes but still wearing the bracelets, sat in front of Magus.
    “I hope you understand the gravity of your situation.” said Magus. “You now possess great power, and you now have many responsibilities. I can teach you how to use your powers for good, if you are willing.”
    Borne stood up, and extended his hand. Magus grasped it.
    “Welcome, Marvel Boy.” said Magus. “Welcome to the Warriors