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An Itsy Bitsy Problem – The Horn of Dr. Falcon

Itsy’s legs began to descend upon the oblivious Loki, but his friends reacted, hands drifting towards their spider covered weapons.  They could feel the tiny legs on them tensing as the situation grew more desperate.  Bookworm struggled to keep confidence in her tone, “That’s close enough, Itsy.”

 The spider woman turned an amused gaze toward her captive audience, only Mr. Wright stood confidently, until he took a glance at Loki’s head and saw what Itsy had already noticed. His cap had a small fire growing on it, baking his mind even worse than the brownies he was ingesting.   The lad stepped forward offering his hug again with a lopsided gait while Itsy stepped back with a mocking shot, “Very well, I won’t save him then, Captain.

Wright grabbed the hat and stepped on it quickly, ignoring the burning sensation in his foot.  

“OI! Wot was tha’’ for!”  Loki demanded as he swayed and sat down uncomfortably onto something padded.  He could feel his tail going numb suddenly.  “Tha’…was…a goo’ ‘at…”

“Not after it started burning, lad.  Your hat was on fire.”  

“Oh…” He said weakly as he smelled the singed cat hair coming from his own head and ears.  He then laid back into the webbing gently and felt the last remainder of his energy seep out of him.  Wright sighed as the boy lost consciousness.  He’d have to cut him free later.

“There he goes. I found him like that in my house recently.”  Russell shook his head at the exchange dropping his hand from his weapon.  “Is that boy ever sober?”

Bookworm remembered the brownie that he had offered her and decided it would do the world a favor if she burned it.  “I should have a word with Dr. Sonnerstein…he wasn’t like this up North.”

Wright’s ears perked, the hat was now extinguished and Loki was in no state to bridge the gap anymore.  It was up to him to reach out to Itsy and connect with the boys failure.  Fortunately, he was used to speaking to monsters…especially monsters who had been hurt.

Drawing himself up diplomatically he turned to the intimidating figure that made his hackles rise, and tried not to think about what was happening to the men in the sacks.  “Miss Itsy, I would like to make a report that I think will bring you some comfort.  About that man who hurt you…Hartschlägel.”

He could feel the tension of the room become palatable.  He had ignored the spiders crawling over his fur, but now he noted the absence of movement on his person.  Her legs shook but her body had become rigid at the mention of the dreaded man’s name.  The doctor who had tormented her and countless others in the lab she was created in at Aquila IX.  

“I hope this brings you some comfort…but I arrested the man who hurt you.  He’s not going to hurt anyone ever again.”  He added with satisfaction.  “He’s not going to be a killer anymore.”  

Dr. Harteschlagel?  The beast?”  The intimidating and confident figure that had stood before them moments before stepped back in surprise.  She had been told that Aquila IX had fallen, but none had told her of the brutal doctors fate.  “He was served his own justice?

“Yes he has,”  Wright replied relishing the memory of the doctor collapse.  He felt the wolf inside him howling as his eyes started to turn black.  The monster inside him growing stronger with the moon and his own inner delight at crushing his opponent.  “And, thanks to the impact of a well swung mace, he will not be passing his disgusting philosophy onto any offspring.”

The spider was silent for a short time, and then slowly the spiders removed themselves from her captives.  Bookworm breathed a sigh of relief as she felt that she and the others had been freed to go after their talk.  

“Thank you for what you have done and for telling me,” She responded with more warmth than she had before, the wicked mirth in her tone had evaporated when addressing them.  Her voice sounding less cold, though still alien. “And I will share some knowledge with you in return.  But first allow me to help the little thief…”

She did not wait for an answer before pulling him free and removing the dangerous webs.  She handed the boy over to Wright who flung him over his shoulder.  As he set him comfortably there, the spider added a dire warning, “The little thief has imbibed to the point of disease.  He will only hurt himself more if none prevent his fall.  Consider that knowledge my gift to him.”

Wright nodded, “We’ll get him back to his father…”

Itsy did not appear to be done paying back the debt she felt towards them.  What had transpired between her and the doctor was something Wright had tried not to think about.  “You.  You came here to find Doctor Westbridge.  He is safe along with Ironside, but not trapped in the webs.  I merely let everyone believe that.  I won’t let them harm him.  I won’t let them kill him.”  She paused, and suddenly her tone shifted back to the familiar spinechilling croon, “As for the wicked ones, they will stay with me.  They have called me a demon, and a demon punishes the wicked.

Her cackle filled the cave with a twisted humor that was lost on the Captain, but Wright nodded, “Keep protecting him please.  It’s no longer safe out there, but we have to find some way of stalling Dean Thorne.”

You could release Doctor Falcon against him.  She had been a Dean too, I have been told.”  She turned to look at the unconscious Loki, most of his pack was still on his back looking like it was crushing him while he dangled on Wright’s shoulder.  “Why do you carry her with you?

The companions glanced among themselves confused, Bookworm who had stayed away now approached cautiously now their path was cleared.  “What do you mean?”

Doctor Falcon lies in the little thiefs pockets.  He has stolen her somehow.

Bookworm remembered the horn in Professor Quinn’s office and she went to the pack opening it.  She rummaged inside and brought out the last remaining piece of their clockwork friend.  “This?”

Yes.  Why do you carry her like that?  And in such a tormented state?

Wright shook his head, confused.  “Her horn…Itsy…I don’t know how to say this but, Doctor Falcon’s body was destroyed.  That was all that survived after the institute melted her down.”

The same institute that is her enemy now?” Itsy coyly asked as she gestured to the object resting Books hand. “You are holding Doctor Falcon.

Book and Wright examined the horn, their expressions ranging from confusion to speculation.  “If we destroy the horn, what might happen?”

If you destroy the horn you will release Dr. Falcon.  Have you seen no evidence that she still walks the world trapped in an incomplete form?

Wright nodded slowly, he had passed a glowing cloud of purple energy that had resembled a ghostly horse before.  Book replied reservedly, “There have been…rumors.”

That horn…the creature that I was made of, the cloud angel, did something to it.  It trapped her there.”  Itsy explained generously, her previous threatening demeanor having vanished as if it had never been.  “Dr. Falcon moves within a metal form, but her spirit, her aether presence if you must was always the energy. I can feel it.  We can feel it.

“If we release the energy…will she be able to return to us?”

“It is the only way it could happen.  Trapped as it is, it could never inhabit another vessel.”  

That must be why the scientists could not rebuild her, Book thought to herself.  She finally looked up from the horn.  “We will take care of it.”

Itsy clapped her hands once happily, “Doctor Westbridge knew that he could count on you, Captain.”

Bookworm looked puzzled.  “How does he know about me?”

Doctor Falcon’s reports of course.  She has spoken in the past most highly of you.  You are a Heroine yes?” She grinned, not wickedly for once. “He’s the one who  suggested you when we influenced someone to send the message discreetly.”  

Bookworm nodded, feeling the title meant something again after her recent melancholy.  With a last look at the cocoon’s she turned back to the two men. “We should get back.  We have a horn to melt down.”

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