Narrator: The Flashpack stood in awe of the three five-foot spider-robots
that stood before them, obliviously weaving their elaborate digital webbing
throughout the forest on the shore of the Cross River Resevoir in Westchester
County, New York in October, 2006. Max Thornfield stood at the head of
the group, his adopted sister Drallus taking up the rear.
Max: Malicious Moebius, what are those things?
Drallus: They must be the "Cryptogs" Lucien mentioned!
Molly: It makes sense. This digital hyper-fiber their spinning, in addition
to being strong as steel and sticky as Saturnian Honey, it appears to be decoding
all encrypted information on the locals' global computer network, the "world
Max: Why did the 21st century people call the global electronic information
network a "web"?
Molly: Rumor has it they would get caught in it for hours at a time without
being able to disentangle themselves.
Max: Poor bastards!
Jimmy: That's ironic. Spider bots on a "web" of electronic information?
Keane: I'm sure it's a coincidence, Jimmy. Some things are too corny to be
Slotter: Well, so long as these spiders aren't from Mars, we should have
them wrapped up in no - WAH!
Furtrace: Slotter! It got her!
Narr: One of the cryptogs had shot a glowing purple thread out at Jill, then
began using four of it's legs to reel her back in. The little Catman grabbed
onto her foot as she was drawn in and held fast.
Furtrace: Drallus, help us!
Drallus: All right, but don't take it the wrong way!
Narr: Drallus, always the team's physical powerhouse, leapt into the fray
towards the mecharachnid that had ensnared her friend, but just as she got
close, it vanished in a flash of electricity, along with her captured friends.
Drallus: Where'd they go?
Keane: My infoglasses say it rode through its digital line to somewhere else
on the planet!
Molly: How do we save them?
Max: It looks like we've got our own problems, Molly!
Narr: Indeed, the remaining two cryptogs had taken notice of the five remaining
'packmates, and had woven a virtual net around them on all sides.
Max: I'll take this one, Molly, you take that one.
Molly: Got it. I think...
Drallus: I'm with you, Max.
Keane: And Molly, I can- Aiie!
Narr: Simultaneously, both eight-legged fiends leapt at the 'pack, Max and
Drallus grappling with one, Molly and Keane the other. Within seconds, both
had whisked their opponents away through the virtual inter-web they had woven
throughout the planet, leaving Jimmy standing alone in the forest clearing,
surrounded by the purple wires.
Jimmy: Um. I'll wait here, I guess. Hurry back.
Narr: A minute or so before, Slotter and Furtrace had appeared on the 50-yard
line of the Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field, a 4,500-seat multi-purpose facility
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, scattering football-players like ping-pong balls.
The spider-bot proceeded towards the field goal, still dragging the humangirl
and catman behind him. The football game's audience was clearing out of the
stadium faster than a Titan's rubber bobsled.
Slotter: What happened? Where are we?
Furtrace: He must have surfed us away somehow!
Slotter: Surfed? What does a computer network have to do with surfing?
Furtrace: I don't know, I just-
Narr: The cryptog, atop the goal, lifted Slotter off the ground and grabbed
a hold of her, spinning her around as it coated her in its fiberoptics.
Furtrace: I'll save you!
Narr: As Slotter dangled from the goal post, Furtrace gripped his claws into
her pant-leg and climbed up her spinning body. At her chest, he slashed into
the sticky electric connection, and slit it all the way back down to her feet.
They both tumbled to the ground and immediately began scampering down field,
dodging the newly spun chords being fired at them as they went.
Slotter: What do we do now?
Furtrace: Let him catch you again!
Slotter: What? You just got me free!
Furtrace: Trust me!
Slotter: All right. Hey, you ugly spider-butt! Stick to this!
Narr: Almost immediately, the bug had reroped Slotter.
Narr: The catman leapt the wall to the stands, raised his paws, and began
incanting like there was no tomorrow.
Furtrace: (Cat Noises)
Narr: Slotter noticed the air around her getting... wavery, like a humid
summer day. The effect got worse and worse until the entire football field
was full of water. All the wiring connecting the mecharachnid to the flickered
out and the connections to the base of the bug sparked and smoked as the creature
shorted out. The cryptog lost its grip on the field goal and plunged into
the water below, just as Slotter bobbed to the surface. She swam over to where
Furtrace sat, comfortable and dry.
Slotter: You did it! How did you know the electric wires wouldn't electrocute
Furtrace: Eh. Luck.
Narr: Meanwhile, Max and Drallus had been vanished to Bidwell Mansion State
Historic Park in Chico, California. They appeared in the drawing room of the
Italian-style villa, and immediately Drallus began walloping the robotic creature.
Max: Can I help, Drallus?
Drallus: I think I've- UNG!- got it, Max! I can- UNG!- take this thing! Just
Narr: And just outside the Royal Palace of Belgium in Brussels, Molly and
Keane were having trouble of their own. They'd managed not to get bitten by
the mechanical jaws, and were circling the cryptog as it looked from one to
the other, calculating who it should pounce on.
Keane: What's the play, Molly?
Molly: I thought you said you weren't answering to me anymore?
Keane: I meant in my love life! This is 'pack business!
Molly: Your love life is 'pack business!
Keane: What? How?
Molly: How about when you save all your teleporter charges to run off to
see your boytoy instead of using it to save your friends from Vampiros!
Keane: Oh, you want me to use my teleporter, do you? You want me to teleport?
Narr: Keane kicked at the Cryptog's metal foot.
Keane: Hey, you worthless, decoding, web-spinning, info-sucking, netwhore!
You couldn't decode binary for zero! Here's a puzzle for you: T-I-E-B space
E-M! You want a piece of this? Come get some!
Narr: The spider-bot leapt at Sara Keane with all its might. Thankfully,
Keane teleported out of the way before it hit her. Instead, the metal beast
collided with the large stone columns of the palace, forcing its processor
into a hard reboot, and knocking it unconscious.
Narr: Molly spun around to see a grumpy Keane behind her.
Keane: Now I can't get us back to the rest of the 'pack.
Molly: Max'll figure something out. Who knows where they might be, anyway?
Narr: Max and Drallus, for example, were still in Bidwell Mansion, Max ducking
behind a large chair as Drallus continued to pound the stuffing out of the
Cryptog. Problem is, none of the stuffing was actually coming out. The bot
Max: I don't think it's working, Drallus!
Drallus: Got any- UHG!- better ideas Max?
Max: Just one...
Narr: Max hopped up onto the back of the chair, and with a-
Narr: -leapt out onto the back of the spider-thing.
Drallus: Max, no!
Narr: It bucked and shook like an angry sea-serpent in the fist of Triton,
but Max kept his legs wrapped around its torso with all his might, holding
onto its neck with one hand and letting the other fly free.
Max: (riding hard) Settle down now, Girl! Settle down!
Narr: The Cryptog continued in its attempts to shake the Flashpack's leader
off its back, Max reached into his pocket with his free hand and pulled out
a little metal box. He held it near the bug's cyber-eyes.
Max: (still riding hard) See this? It's an EMP! Electro magnetic pulse! You
going to settle, now?
Narr: The cryptog ceased its movement immediately, and the sudden stillness
almost threw Max to the ground. He managed to stay on, however, and held the
EMP to the mecharachnid's temple.
Drallus: I... I can't believe that worked!
Max: Of course it did, Drallus! I learned to ride from Tex Mornestar, craziest
cow-poke of destiny on all of Alter Earth! Now, hop on! This cooperative little
filly is going to take us to our friends!
Drallus: My pleasure!
Narr: A moment later, the pair rode the web-signal to Pennsylvania, where-
Slotter: -could have killed me!
Furtrace: But I didn't! Besides, you're human! You should have nine lives,
Slotter: What? No, cat's have nine lives!
Furtrace: Pfft! That's a myth. Look, it's Drallus! You saved me!
Drallus: Actually, Max beat the thing.
Max: Grab a hold, guys! And you, (the cryptog) web up your wet buddy there
and drag him along!
Narr: And soon, in Brussles...
Keane: Well, I think he IS good for me, and you can't stop me from-
Molly: Max! You found us!
Max: It was easy, Molly! This tame little thing was able to sense you on
Drallus: Good thing, or else we might have had to just... browse the web
until we found you! Who knows how long that would've taken!
Narr: And finally, back at the resevoir...
Jimmy: You're back! And you beat the Cryptogs!
Max: Yes, Jimmy! Now we've just got to figure out what to do with the finks.
Jimmy: I've got an idea about that, actually. I've been sitting here looking
at this web woven all around me, and I thought... who better to deal with
a bunch of spiders than the Goddess of Weaving?
Jimmy: Of course, I can't contact Athena... but her priests can. So then
I thought, where is the biggest shrine to Athena in all of history?
Max: The Athenic Cathedral in Canterbury England! Good thinking, Jimmy!
Molly: And where better to imprison electrical impulse feeding robots than
in a time with no electronics?
Slotter: What do you think... 1683? Sound good?
Keane: Perfect! William is... er... Sir William is alive then. I can stop
in and... give him a report on our progress.
Slotter: (teasing) Yeah, make sure you give him a real... personal report.
Max: It's ok, Sara. We all know you've been 'seeing' Sir William.
Keane: You do?
Slotter: It's natural. He's a dashing guy! We all understand.
Jimmy: I don't.
Slotter: You will when you're older, Jimbo.
Max: Come on, gang, lets get going before the Cryptog realizes this EMP is
just a glamour. Uh... Whoops.
Slotter: Quick! Hands! Everyone!
Narr: The Flashpack quickly joined hands around the captured spider-bots,
just before they were able to make a move, and vanished back into the British
isles of the past. As the Flashpack goes back to their primary mission of
fighting the Vampiros, will they come out on top? And will they all survive?
Find out next time, in... "Marsh Madness!"