By Jeff A. Hatch
About the Author

What's Gone Before: Blane Trask inherited the superhero identity of Eclipse from his dead grandfather, Andrew Merritt, and used it to recover the Destroyer suit prototype which his fake father, Anthony Trask, had stolen from him.  Having faked his own death, Blane was joined by Dr. Caspar Channing, who a lab explosion had transformed into the invisible vigilante, Poltergeist.  Together they set out for Brazil in answer to a call for help intended for the late Andrew Merritt, sent by a woman who knew Blane's superhero grandfather.  They must both rescue her and recover a computer disk containing the schematics for the Destroyer suit...  

Episode Fifteen:

Escape From Brazil!

Maria Gonzales looked down at her right hand. She was wearing a bronze ring with a signet of an 'S'. No one in the hacienda knew of its true meaning except her. Anthony Trask would know if he were present, but it was in light of the fact he was absent that Maria wore the ring.

Maria inherited the ring from her father who was a freedom fighter in the last revolution in Brazil. As far as she knew he had died fighting for all things good and true. Not many men could say that these days.

The ring was a sign that she belonged to the "Seacret Society", a clandestine sect of crimefighters. These days they were all but extinct, but there was always hope of a revival in their ranks. According to their records the former Icon or hero of the society went missing in 1944 somewhere in the Holy Land. Since then the Society had hunted for a replacement. Some had risen to take on the mantle of "The Sentinel" but none had been able to pass the trial of the Rebirth serum that must be imbibed to become the fighting leader of the shadowy cult of crimefighters.

The Seacret Society had been reduced to a small group of "watch dogs" who gathered information and tried to pass it along wherever it would do the most good. Some of the more esthetic members of the Society searched for another leader, a man who, according to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, would rise up to become the Skull-headed Man.

So far the search for the skull-headed one had been for naught.

Maria looked in the mirror. Her youth was almost gone; she could already see the lines of age taking hold of her. She had been a servant in the house of Trask in Brazil for over twenty years. The Seacret Society had placed her in the household in order to watch Anthony Trask, the most feared enemy of humanity. She had gathered as much information possible about the man in the only way she could get close to him, by becoming his mistress.

Unbeknownst to him, she was also the lover of Andrew Merritt, a long time prisoner here at the hacienda. She came to be close to Andrew in the last few years he was in the hacienda; she was assigned as his nurse to administer care to him. He had been used as the victum for horrible experiments by Anthony Trask. As a result, he had been withered away into a walking corpse that would not die--or so everyone but Maria thought at the time.

Merritt had secretly regained much of his vigor and feigned sickness in order to be moved from the hacienda. Maria had suggested to Trask that Merritt should be given to the nefarious Dr. Chan to work in his drug labs. The plan worked better than expected and Merritt was transferred by plane to Necropolis where he made his escape from Chan's men.

Maria had heard that Merritt, in his guise of Eclipse, had killed Chan somewhere in Japan.

Maria saw streaks of gray running through her long black hair which she usually kept up. In Trask's absence she was more relaxed; she hoped that her beloved would return to Curumba and rescue her from this living hell before she had to succumb to Trask's urges again.

She had sent out a book to Necropolis to the address that the Seacret Society had placed Merritt at. Actually a branch of the Society that was still active called "The Foundation" was responsible for setting up Merritt in his new base in Necropolis.

The entire staff of the hacienda was under Maria's supervision, so in Trask's absence the place was hers to control. The only other authority here was Trask's personal security which served mostly to keep away curious trespassers and to keep the servants from leaving; basically Trask owned each and every one of them.

Only one man on Trask's payroll was allowed to leave and come as he chose and that was Max Steel, but he was under some sort of strange bionetic control.

Maria made her rounds from the gardens to the kitchen making sure that everyone was doing what they should where they ought to. Maria had received word recently that Trask's son Blane had died; his car had run into the side of the Trask Ind. Building. The poor boy--he was not as bad as his father; kind of pompous and vain, but not the monarch of evil that the elder Trask had become.

Maria had spent a good deal of time with Blane when he was a child. She did not think that he knew about her connection with his father, but that was not important now.

Maria heard a jeep approach. She moved to the front door and brushed the curtains aside from the window. She saw that a young man had come up the drive with packages from the airport which was about five miles away. Maria knew the young man; he was a young pilot who sometimes worked for Trask. The young man was named John Walters; he had been working for the Curumba airport for several years now.

Maria looked at him as he approached and noted to herself that he was the handsomest man she had ever seen. John Walters possessed a boyish face and a stout square jaw. Blue eyes sparkled out from beneath a high intelligent brow. His brown hair was always topped by a leather pilot's cap. The young man approached the front door with a bundle of mail.

"Hey there, Miss Gonzales, howz it goin?" He always greeted her the same way.

John had a quality of greatness to him, like he did not belong as a pilot for the evilest man who ever walked the earth.

"Things are fine, Senor Walters," replied Maria as formal as she always was.

"Bueano!" spoke Johnny. "Good to see that you're keeping in good spirits. Say...when are you going to leave this place and run away with me, I've got the plane ready and waiting." He always flirted with her and she always blew it off not wanting to draw attention to herself.

"You know that I am old enough to be your mother, Senor Walters," she replied. "But if I was a girl again I would fly away with you." She thought a little return flirting would be OK.

"Well now!" John replied, somewhat surprised. "That's better; I see you're loosening up a bit. It looks good on you--not that you weren't already the finest babe in the hacienda."

"Mouchas gracias, Senor Walters. Thank you very much," she replied, blushing visibly.

"Listen, if you really are going to loosen up, then call me Tailspin, all my friends do."

"Very well....Tailspin." She seemed uncomfortable, but did her best.

"Bueano, now try to hold that good mood till I come back next time," replied John and then he turned to leave. "I have to get back to the airport; they have me filling in at the tower today."

John Tailspin kissed her on the cheek and dashed away, leaving Maria wanting even more for her freedom, and missing her lover Andrew Merritt even more.

What Maria Gonzales did not know, was that Andrew Merritt was dead and it was Blane Merritt who was on his way to rescue her. Blane was riding in a small twin engine plane that had just lifted off from Lima, Peru. He and his companion, a man who looked like he had just gotten out of the burn ward in the hospital, rode in the cramped plane.

The flight was the second leg of their journey; the first leg had been by a larger commercial flight; they had to hop aboard a charter to get the rest of the way to Curumba. Blane had used some of his savings to buy the tickets. Now he had only a few thousand dollars left to live on. His companion was Dr. Casper Channing, "The Poltergeist".

Channing had decided to masquerade as a burn patient rather than try to smuggle himself to Curumba aboard a plane. It was hard to find a place to sit when you were invisible; people had the habit of sitting on you or knocking into you.

Blane turned to Channing and whispered quietly. "Dr. Channing, what did happen to you?"

The man layered in gauze like a goggle-wearing mummy replied in hushed tones. "I was working on a new procedure that would bend light waves in a way to allow sightless persons to actually see. A by-product of the experiment was a sort of invisibility aura. I made notes of my findings and filed them with ENCO, the company that I had been working for. Apparently someone found out about the invisibility thing and sent that homicidal maniac and his thugs after me."

Blane interrupted: "What homicidal maniac?"

"Some guy calling himself Captain Chaos; he wore a costume like a jester. He had a group of thugs who looked like Looney Tunes gangsters." The Poltergeist spat out these words in his hushed tones. "I think he was sent by Trask Industries. I have heard that Trask has all kinds of mercenaries working for him."

"You'd be surprised how many," replied Blane.

"What do you mean?"

"I'm his son; I mean....I was his son. I know that he has at least a few deadly criminals in his employ and he had more," replied Blane as the aircraft started to taxi in...

Next episode...The Conclusion!!!....Just Call Me Tailspin!

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Necropolis is copyright 1999, Jeff A. Hatch. It may not be copied or used for any commercial purpose except for short excerpts used for reviews. (Obviously, you can copy it or print it out if you want to read it!)