Chapter 3: Trouble in the Gap

This is a brief write-up. I'll add more detail at some point in the future. 

A week passed since the fight with Tick-Tock at the docks. Hyper-Girl has been doing a lot of research on the thief and had discovered that he'd been pretty active over the last nine weeks, probably committing a theft at least six times over that time. He always seemed to be able to get in and out without setting off any kind of alarm. Nothing concrete was found, but it was a start. 

Bullseye and Waverider arrived at the Bunker, as they spent the weekdays at home with their mentors instead of living at the Bunker full-time, and the team decided to head out to pizza for lunch, where they discussed the next day's meeting with Leonard Gordon, owner of Gordon Technologies, the company Tick-Tock and Red Rhino had robbed. The team spent that night training and watching terrible movies. 

The meeting the next day with Gordon went alright, discovering that Tick-Tock had stolen an Anti-Gravity Machine that Gordon had designed and that he may have used knowledge of the future to do so. Hyper-Girl gave Gordon a description of the time-manipulator and Gordon agreed to keep an eye out for him and to tell the Team if he found anything. 

The next day, the Team was gathered by Watchman and given their first assignment: a team of scientists disappeared in the Darien Gap while studying strange energies detected near an impact site somewhere in the jungle. The team had not made contact with M.E.R.L.I.N. in more than a week and the Guardians could not go to find them due to how Central and South Americas viewed superheroes in general. To avoid being perceived as an act of war, the team would operate under Stealth Protocols: they were to dress in civilian clothes unless in direct contact with a paranormal enemy. Their mission would be to travel to the scientist's last known location in the jungle, by way of the river with the help of the vigilante known as Challenger, and discover what had happened to the scientists. However, the energies meant that comlink communication with the Guardians would be impossible.

The team teleported to the satellite before taking a jump-jet to Yaviza, Panama. Once there, Bullseye and Hyper-Girl found Challenger and worked out how things would go down. On Challenger's boat it was his rules and at the main site, he'd wait for them at the boat: if he left to go to shore with them, his ship could be stolen by members of the cartels, guerillas, psychic monkeys and worse.

The team departed with Challenger that day, taking turns between keeping watch and sleeping in a crowded storage area below deck. It was hot, humid and miserable. Two days into the journey, the boat hit some kind of jam and Waverider checked it out. He found a weird hunk of metal and told them that he'd need Hyper-Girl to help clear it. So, she changed into her swimsuit and joined him in the river, clearing the jam with a single, powerful punch. However, she was immediately grabbed by a metallic tentacle and dragged underground! 

She found herself in a weird unloading area surrounded by guys with guns. However, a mad scientist named Dr. Madness cleared his goons away, noticing that he'd not apprehended their boat as he'd hoped but instead pulled her down into their lair (unaware she was a superhero). He gave her his lab coat and explained that he and his men robbed boats traveling down the riverway (mostly the cartels) in order to fund his Disintigration Ray research, since heroes wouldn't stop him from robbing the cartels. As he was escorting her outside, he figured out she was a hero based on what she'd told him about why she was in the Darien Gap. He groaned, saying, "Alright, well, if this is gonna be a fight, let me go grab my ray-gun…" 

Hyper-Girl convinced him she didn't want to fight and since Dr. Madness primarily targeted members of the cartels, the two eventually worked out a deal: he would give her information on the whereabouts of the science team based on his surveillance gear and she'd leave him in peace and never tell anybody about his operation. He held up his end of the bargain and escorted her out of his HQ, letting her know that if she was in the market for an arch-nemesis, to let him know. 

Hyper-Girl returned to the boat, to her teammates relief, and they immediately made for the coordinates Dr. Madness had printed off for her, though she was vague on where she acquired it. The team eventually found the campsite, Feral caught a scent—headed in the direction of the coordinates—and quickly made their way. 

Before they could get there, however, they were ambushed by the tribe of psychic monkeys, led by their most powerful warrior named "Great Ape". The team managed to negotiate the tribe into letting them go unhindered, as they were after the "bad men" who were "defiling" the monkey tribe's land. Great Ape agreed to let them pass as long as they defeated the "bad men" and the group continued on their way. 

They found the camp and Hyper-Girl volunteered to fly in and scout out what they were facing. She found a makeshift campsite with a large sheet-metal shed lined with lead. They were definitely expecting Guardian intervention, or were at-least preparing for it. She also discovered that heading the group who had kidnapped the scientists was Spasm—a former pro-wrestler who became a mercenary after he developed elastic shapeshifting powers in the Event. 

After telling the team what they'd seen, the group immediately set to figuring out how to take down one of the Guardians' most dangerous enemies. Bullseye knew the way the Guardians took down Spasm before was to use ice, but they had none. It was Hyper-Girl who figured out how that they could use liquid nitrogen to do the job, if there was any inside the makeshift lab the scientist team was being kept in. Bullseye decided that the team would break in loud and distract Spasm while Hyper-Girl grabbed the liquid Nitrogen.

The plan started off strong as Bullseye blew open the doors and the others set to work on the goons immediately inside. However, the guards were better trained and better armed than they had anticipated and the four of them got clipped by machine gun fire a few times. As Hyper-Girl crashed into the lab, Spasm stepped out of hiding and fired an Rocket-Propelled Grenade at the four heroes storming the gates. The resulting explosion not only injured Zip-Line and Waverider, but severely injured Bullseye, whose primary arm was badly burned and damaged to the point that he'd be unable to use his bow. 

The fighting outside raged brutal and surprisingly bloody as Spasm engaged in combat with the team, dealing out a devastating amount of damage while shrugging off the team's own blows thanks to his healing factor derived from having such a malleable physiology. Meanwhile, Hyper-Girl made it into the lab and was ambushed by Spasm's partner, an assassin known as the Scorpion who used an adamantine sickle-blade on the end of a whip. Scorpion was quick and strong, but Hyper-Girl was faster and stronger and she put him down relatively easily with a powerful blow to the head. 

She grabbed the liquid Nitrogen and flew back outside to see Waverider unconscious, Bullseye with one bum arm and his other devastated and now broken, forced to fight with only his feet and an injured Zip-Line and Feral pushed to their limits against Spasm, who was relatively hale. 

In a fury, Hyper-Girl dropped her cannister and flew into Spasm, determined to take him to the upper-atmosphere and knock him out due to the lack of oxygen. However, Spasm was more slippery than she'd anticipated—literally—and escaped her grasp, turning into a glider and returning to finish the job he'd started. Hyper-Girl, however, was faster and tackled the mercenary to the ground, pinning him there. Right as Spasm readied to once again escape her grasp, Zip-Line ran over with the cannister of liquid Nitrogen and spilled it onto Spasm, freezing him there. The team was victorious, despite how close they'd come to defeat. 

The team eventually freed the scientists and discovered Spasm had been hired to capture them to force them to figure out a way use a meteorite as an energy source, potentially for a weapon. The team made their way back to the boat and the trip back to Yaviza before taking the teleporter back to the Satellite HQ of the Guardians. 

Bullseye had received some healing from Waverider, but the half-Atlantean's magics were not strong enough to heal him completely, so Bullseye was taken to the Infirmary while the others went to the Guardians' war-room for a debriefing. Hyperion apologized for sending them in without vetting the operation further and promised that they wouldn't send them in blind again. 

Afterward, Waverider, Feral and Zip-Line went to get some food and unwind, while Hyper-Girl visited Bullseye in the infirmary. Bullseye apologized and insisted he'd still be useful if he couldn't fire his bow anymore and Hyper-Girl assured him that he would always be a part of the team no matter what.

The two shared a moment and Hyper-Girl spent the rest of the ray with Bullseye, watching shitty Spanish soap operas. 



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