AN: this is a rewrite of the first chapter of a story (neon venom) I co wrought with my friend Imaxmovies aka imaxwebber over on DA.

This rewrite was written with Imaxs permission.

It is my hope that once these rewritten chapters are completed that Imax and myself can finally move forward with not only, this story but other stories with in HOTNA

Venom and Mania are marvel comics characters don't own them

Neon Venom

A Hero's of the new age story

Volume one Gathering gloom

Chapter one: becoming venom

Date 07/09/2061

Country USA,

Sate Massachsetts, Kay county,

City of Innsmouth

Local time 15:30pm

XXXX

As the ageless sun slowly descended ever closer to the distant horizon, the fathomless, azure sky above Kay County gradually turned to the colour of bruised and brooding flesh. A pitiless chill, common to the east coast as the year ran down, rose to cover the land as the sky darkened with clouds rumbled and threaten things worse than rain. Meanwhile the foam topped ocean waves thrashed the shoreline.

The damp forests that dotted the bleak and bitter barrows of Kay County, creaked with nervous energy. Fishing birds flew into roost among the old growths, their stomachs full of fish, their progeny oddly quiet and still despite their hunger as if sensing something amiss.

Beneath the waves fish and marine life of all shapes and descriptions slinked away, into reefs of rock and thick forests of kelp.

Even for a city as eerie as, Innsmouth, over burden with forgotten streets, quite shore front docks, rotting wooden pears, rusting canaries and turn of the century brown stones apartment buildings that clashed with a hand full of more modern steel and glass towers that had risen in the last century and half.

The mood that settled upon the harbor city was of a darker aspect than what was typically experienced by most of its residences who were used to feeling a certain level of eerie gloom smother their fair city.

Like any city that bordered the ocean, Innsmouth relied on the fish of its local waters, second only to that industry was the innumerable haunted and historic sites that dotted the city and its surroundings countryside. So, it came as an unprecedented and unwelcome bit of misfortune that many of these sites and their associated tours closed with little warning, before the peak of their trade as Halloween approached.

This was not the only piece of misfortune or strange happening that had befallen the city in recent days.

Joggers and dog walkers that strayed too close to some of the more notable statue cemeteries or wooded parks reported increasing sightings of strange phenomena and feelings of being watched. The city's prisons and poorer districts were hit by waves of suspicious deaths and accidents with little to no physical evidence for mundane assailant.

By the time that a squadron of government agents with dubiously warnings but all the credentials and connections they needed, to cajole the masked Innsmouth police force into assembling hastily constructed checkpoints around the ring of disused ticket booths that still stood sentinel at the entries and exist of every major highway into the city and closed every other entity into the city.

Which did little to ease the mood of the city that had already become as dark and foreboding as the storm clouds that rumbled in the sky above.

XXXX

The reason for this most recent disruption gripped the wheel of his stolen car with growing agitation as he slowly approached the check point a car length at a time. It was all the masquerading, fiend could do to not let that agitation grow into something darker that might draw the mortal's attention to the already thin façade the demonic knight, known as Nines had cloaked himself in.

The demon consoled himself, cooling the embers of his boundless rage with the knowledge that he would soon reach his masters hold within the city with his three prize's intact. The added misery of the mortals trapped in the traffic jam with him made the satisfaction he felt of a job well done all the sweeter. Though there was a part of him that wanted more, Nine's was a demon of the pit after all, there was never enough suffering to fill the hungering emptiness within him.

While thoughts of wreaking havoc among the mortals was pleasing to Nines dark heart. He would not dare risk the ire of his master over such a petty indulgence.

Already Nines could tell by just extending his sensors, that his Master the philosopher and his two fellows, Hallow and Playwright had been hard at work in his absence. The skin of reality around Innsmouth and its surrounding countryside which was thin to begin with.

Had being stretched, tortured and abused in subtle ways that few that were not native to this area would not detect at first and even those that were native might have mistaken the wounding as a natural phenomenon. However, to Nines already versed in his master's power. He could see the wounds for what they were and more importantly he already felt the effects on his depleted power reserves and essence. Even now far from the locus of local magical power and drained from a few hard day's work under his belt. He felt his vital essences, slowly replenish from, the lows he had to maintain since retrieving his masters prices.

Nines took a breath, reminding himself that even with his masters and his fellow's accomplishments it would take a few days to re-reach his zenith.

Or at least that what would normal be the case for one such as he but if the Philosopher was being truthful. Then the cargo he had brought with him would solve that issue and some much more. Nines unlike most of his kind, was far more inclined towards trust especially after the many gambles his master had already pulled of that played davit ends, yet there was a part of him that had and did doubt his masters claims as he glanced down at the cargo.

XXXXX

The three creatures contained in three separate glass jars, each about half the size of a human torso were all rather mundane. Off the three, only one of the capsules sat on the passenger seat proper, held there by the seat belt. His master had told him to take special care of the one named Carnage.

Thankfully, the government agents Nines had taken the creatures from, had helpfully etched the names of the creatures into the metal caps that topped each container. Unhelpfully they only had three out of the four, the philosopher desired but there was nothing to do about that as these were the only creatures the convoy he had ambushed, had with them and none among the survivors he 'interrogated' knew were the missing member of these symbionts was.

Carnage was the colour of flayed mussel and old blood, thin lines of black veins ran along the creatures form, here and there, were dashes of white. The other two were called Venom and Mania respectably, Venom was as black as the void between stars with splashes of white were Mania was shades of grey and white mixed

As Nine's regarded his charges, he noticed that they in turn regarded or reacted to him in a different fashion to the other.

Venom was the most active of the three, rolling and shifting its mass as much as it was able to in its tight confines intent on trying to escape but the case seemed immune to its efforts. Mania having noticed his attention formed a vaguely feminine face along with a pink a tongue which it pocked out as far as the glass canister would allow.

Nine's growled at the creature, faint whiffs of black smoke drifted out of his facades nose and mouth like dragons breath, he greatly despised being disrespected and yearned to teach the creature a lesson. However he had been strictly warned to not let any harm Befall his charges.

From his brief interactions with these creatures during his journey it had become clear to nines that each had a personality of their own though, none save Carnage seemed pleased at their liberation.

Carnage had by and large despite its namesake, seemed the most passive of the three at least up un till now, were it smiled at him every time he happened to catch the creatures white eyes.

"Toll, papers and reason for travel, please" a young if hoarse voice rosed Nines from his mussing as its owner. A skinny dark skinned twenty something man, dressed in a puke yellow hi-vis jacket and dull blue over all's leaned out of a pre-fabricated toll booth to address the car ahead of his.

Nines yellow eyes narrowed behind both with in his false face and the helm beneath it as he regarded the young man and then the strange police of Innsmouth that crept in an out of the check point around him. His hands griped the steering wheel a little tighter.

Both male and female officers wore thick dark blue, button up long-sleeved jackets. Some of which were in the style of great coats with a long flowing dress or kilt that came past the officer's knee, others wore shorter more practical double-breasted tunics. Some of the female officers sported skirts over dark blue pants both sexes wore. They all wore thick boots and gloves.

Each officer wore a dull mustard yellow cloth sash on one or both arms, around their bicep. The words, Justice has no face was stitched into the fabric of the sash and without exception every officer he could ever seen wore some manner elaborate full mask/ helmet that bore some likeness to a pith helmet.

While the most common form of helmet/mask was a stylised depiction of a squid or octopus 'face', some effort having had gone into lining up the features of the animal to each officers as much as possible without giving away any hint to the identity of the officer beneath.

Other officers wore masks shaped into the likeness of snarling fish, grinning sharks, eels and even snapping turtles. Rarest and he surmised those who held the highest rank sported a elaborately designed masks that a resemblance to manta rays or various sea mammals. Nines had suspected for a long time that each mask represented some kind of rank, speciality or seniority but what each mask meant and want, was beyond him.

Some of the officers were accompanied by a collection of large dogs that would sniff nearby cars, once a significant number of them had gathered into what quickly became a temporary parking lot between buildings of the checkpoint which had not being here when he left and was Cleary a hastily constructed and likely a temporary addition to the previously long abandoned toll booths. Which only meant one thing, this was a trap.

While the possibility existed that this could have been a trap set for any number of criminals Nines was a practiced enough people watcher and tactician to see the trap for what it was and for whom it was meant as among the sea of innsmouth police there were a few figures that clearly didn't belong to the rank and file of the local police.

"Angels and harps" Nines swore recognising the uniforms they wore if not the nearest agents themselves. They wore black nondescript suits and pants, sun glasses and subtle ear pieces which anywhere else in the world might have meant they would blend in with police of any other city. However here among the oddly dressed innsmouth constabulary that choice of clothing meant they might as well have worn neno street signs, advertising their presence. Especially since he had cut down nearly a dozen of their comrades no less than a day or two ago when he had retrieved his cargo. Somehow, they had not only anticipated his arrival in innsmouth but also beat him here.

"Next please" the same board voice as before, called out.

Nines snorted, blowing a black stream of smoke from his false nose as he looked around the car for anything he could use to hide the containers but there was nothing. Consigning himself to the inevitable he drove up to the booth.

The young man looked at him from behind the thin sheet of glass, with tired eyes. "Toll, papers and reason for travel, please" he requested with horse sigh.

Nines fished around in the cars glove compartment and retrieved a few paper notes of what passed for currency in this country. He had taken it from the man he stole this car from along with the man's life and face which his glamour had laid over his true form. "Business in pleasure" Nines stated coldly as he hand casually drifted towards the hilt of his sword, which was hidden by his glamour.

"This day can't end soon enough" the young man moaned pinching his brow, handing back the id. "Anything to declare?" he asked stiffing a yawn, his gaze drifting away.

Venom and Mania noting both the toll booth attendants quickly fading attention and the distraction of their captive exchanged a look knowing this might be their only change summoned up all the strength they could muster in their confined states and began to rock their canisters. The clinked together loudly, drawing the attention of the toll booth attendant who looked down and first saw Carnage's capsule then the other two.

Carnage, sensing violence would soon brake out leered at the attendant.

"What on earth?" the young man shouted, drawing the attention of the female attendant that was working the other side of the toll booth.

Nines discarded his facade as a man might a soiled rag, ripping his sword free of its scabbard and plunged it into the man, once, twice, three times. His fellow attendant, screamed as she and trigging the alarm as she fled.

Nines growled as he fed power into his sword which caught alight and sent two small gouts of flame outward not caring that he smashed through the wind screen of his car as he did so. The first smashed the toll booths drop gate off its hinges, the second hit the ground under the car in front of him sending it up ward briefly before gravity brought it down on its side. He leaned out of the driver side window as he fired off a third blast of hell fire which hit the car behind his, its occupants already scrambling to get clear as sirens blared.

A few optimistic or reckless police officer fired chasing shots as Nine's pressed the acceleration paddle of his car to the floor, making the machine lung forward in a stretch of abused tires.

Igniting his blade once more, Fire leapt from his sword devouring two quick witted, bike mounted officers that managed to weave through the carnage he'd left behind though few other bike officers continued to dog him for a while as he weaved through the panicking civilian traffic. A hand full of police cars had managed to join the case before the panicked traffic made feather pursuit nearly impossible, two of their number were more particular shoved their way through. The pair didn't seem to notice nor care that they had left a score of wrecked cars in their own wake.

Normally Nines would admire such ruthless, bull-headed determination. However, his admiration was subdued by his annoyance as the lead he had opened was being closed faster than he would have liked all the while the still the surviving biker officers continued to harass him.

The bikers were moving too quickly for him to hit with his flaming strikes and calling upon, a spell that would be better suited for the task risked drawing unwanted attention, he was being far to public as it was. With no other choice he, sheathed his blade and redirected the flames around his vehicle that than burst out, devoured one of the remaining riders and causing the rest to lose their nerve, just as he sped into a more built-up district of the city hoping to lose the still pursuing police cars in the tight and twisting confines or at least make them hesitant for fear of risking civilian casualties.

XXXX

Nines panted in his driver's seat, as he redirected energy away from his failing defence into a more esoteric direction. As loathed as he was to possibly draw more eyes, and if fate was cruel which it often was, eyes that marted. He had little choice in the matter as, if he didn't act, he would be cut off as the lights for the intersection he was heading toward switched.

His lane turning red and the vertical road that cut through it in a straight line turned green, already cars from that lane were moving. He focused on a section of the road a head and the world seemed to slow,

Seconds stretching out like taffy, smoke billowing of his straining form as with a sequel of protest reality, bent but did not break. Allowing his stolen car to skip forward several meters as the oncoming cars slowed to a sluggish craw. It wasn't much, drained as he was he'd only being able to make it a third of the way across a intersection. Most of his pursuers screaking to a stop though two to continue their chase. He smiled 'It wouldn't be enough to stop him' Nines knew as reality reasserted itself. Their momentum had broken it would be a simple matter now to ditch the car and head towards his masters holdings unobserved.

However it was not to be, taken in by his moment of victory, he had failed to hear or see the oncoming Semi trailer, which truck smashed into his rear, spending him spinning like a top, off the road and through the chain link fence and plastic drum barricade of a massive construction site, his car flipping onto first its side than its back as it crashed scaffolding and porta Pottis.

His arrival sent scores of workers running from the site as the canisters that contained Venom and Mania flew out of his tumbling vehicle and into an open storm water drain. Only his quick thinking and seat belt prevented him form losing Carnage to the labyrinthine network of tunnels and pipes that ran under Innsmouth.

Taking a moment to gather himself Nines, noticed one of the workers had become trapped, a rough plan forming in his mind. Nines freed himself and his last charge from the wreckage of the car and stalked over to the pinned worker. If he was to have any chance to recapture Venom and Mania before they were lost to tunnels or found hosts, he needed to unburden himself of Carnage and have the alien taken to his master. The skiming worker was key to all three of his objectives.

Nines roughly freed the screaming worker from the scaffolding that had collapsed on top of him and pressed pressing a clawed finger of his metal gauntlet to the mans head carving a crude simple into his flesh.

"In the name of the law, put that man down and drop to the ground" a voice called out to him. "this is your only waring!"

Nines turned to see at least four masked police officer and two suit waring government agents crest the lip of the work sight "You will take" he pressed Carnage canaster into the man's arms. The man's eyes having rolled back into his skull as the spell took effect and the man became a thrall to his will, sharing all that he knew with out uttering a word as the spell ravaged his mind. Now Nines knew were he needed to go he gave the man the last instructions he would ever hear "to the philosopher".

The demon drew his sword and shield, putting himself between his thrall and the closing police while his thrall stagged off.

XXXXXX

Kay, forgive her but she couldn't help it and she couldn't pretend any more, she was Board! That's what Andrea Benton was, board! She was board of unenthusiastically trudging through the network of dank tunnels that ran under Innsmouth, year after year. She was board of half heartily listening to the droning monolog, which issued from the tour guides mouth with the regularity of time and tide. She was board of hearing the same old jokes, puns and historical factoids about these, kay blasted tunnels.

Not for the first time Andi wondered if the tour guide, a moderately heavy-set woman whom she knew in passing as Miss Lumious was just as board of recanting the same routine as she and several of the other teenagers most of whom she familiar with to a greater or lesser extent were? Though she could not say she was particularly close any of them than her current companion Hannibal Servant. They were the children of her fathers, employees.

However, having given in to one of the lower forms of entertainment, at least bottom ten! people watching, if only to ease her own boredom. She had studied the half dozen full of early season tourists had filled out the group, searching for one face in particular that had caught her eye a few times.

There was an older African couple who seemed generally interested in the grizzly details of the numerous criminal organisations, corrupt politicians and honest to kay doomsday cult that had used and added to the tunnel's labyrinthine nature since Innsmouths foundtion.

There was a group, what she took to be Japanese students. Though inwardly she couldn't be certain as she had flunked her middle school Japanese language class, even if some of the words they spoke to each sounded vaguely familiar with.

There was also a white couple whom if she was being generous might have been in their early twenty's though they looked to be only a few years older than herself, with a child. The couple seemed vacant and disinterested in everything around them including their child, a boy of about eight years old. The boy had spent most of the dull trek running around and screeching like a hellion but had tired that tactic about five minutes back and clung to his mother's leg.

'There she is' thought as gaze drifted from the young parents to the last of the newcomers and the one person among the small crowd that had drawn her attention with anything more than mild curiosity. A teenager girl about her age, blonde with straight hair that ended just above her shoulders.

Andi had told herself it was the stranger's choice of clothing had been what initially her eye. Rather than her slim, respectable bust and shapely behind, 'no, no' Andi thought to herself as she bit her lip, her interest was purely in the strangers her wardrobe. Which consisted of a simple but flattering chestnut brown checkerboard pattern, sleeveless spaghetti strap dress that ended mid-thigh. She wore the dress over a an elegant long sleeved white under dress or shirt with a almost doily esk collar that flared just a little over her shoulders and ended above her breasts. She had finished the look of with royal blue ribbon that was pinned to the bottom of her collar by a large bronze pin, which had a stylised flee flying bird etched into the metal, opaque leggings and ankle high shoes with prominent heel.

Despite her desire to become an actress it became immediately clear that her attention had being noticed and she couldn't play off her gaze as anything so mundane as casual. Though rather than be disgusted or put of by her lingering gaze, the other young women gave her a coy almost flirtatious smile as she flipped her long blonde air over her ear as she started to wonder over, a hand deliberately placed on her hip. "Oh kay… shes coming this way" Andi spluttered breathless as she fought a losing battle to keep her face from turning red with embarrassment. "What do I do, Hannibal…shes got to know I've being spying on her?" She said fidgeting.

"Just talk with her" Hannibal grumbled from behind his porcelain mask, desiring to be anywhere but by his lifelong crush side, as Andi chattered with girl right in front of him. While he had accepted Andi's interest lay else ware and was trying to let go of his crush with as much dignity as he could manage. Since she had gently let him down several weeks ago, there was a wide golf between acceptance and being her wing man. However, his attempted escape was foiled by his childhood friend grabbing onto his well-developed arm with a vice like grip.

Fore her own part, Guinevere Mason smirked to herself as she observed the interaction with mild amusement as she walked towards to pair. Her brown eyes looking the other girl, whom was an average if slim, fifteen-year teenage girl like herself. With pale skin, aqua blue eyes and jet-black hair cut into asymmetrical bangs. The tips of which was the same shade of blue as her eyes, were the rest of the bang up to the crest of her head was a light purple.

She wore a long sleeved worn studded jacket, which ended just above the flair of her hips, Guinevere hand managed to notice during the long trek that the back of the other young women's jacket had the twin faces of comedy and tragedy were emblazoned upon its. Under the jacket she wore a long loosely fitting striped, pink and purple shirt. The dark-haired girl also spotted sported a plain black skirt that ended mid-thigh, tatted black leggings and well-worn pink and white sneakers. Her eyes were framed with dark navy blue eye shadow, her lips and finger nails were a similar shade. She had a few plain metal piercings, two above her left eye, one in her lip and her nose. Lastly Guinevere sported several rings, wrist bands and over the shoulder arm black arm bad with a cartoon stingray, emblazoned on the front flap of the bag. Which the other young women had opened and closed a few times through out the trek trying to read a booklet while trudging through the dark tunnels, especially after the dark-haired girl's other male companion. Whom Guinevere, guessed, the other girl was related too.

Her remaining companion was a tall boy whose, only remarkable feature was the almost plan porcelain mask he wore, the only detail which marked it otherwise blank expressionless visage was the art work depicting crashing waves that surged across the makes form left to right

Guinevere was reasonable sure, just going off the local girl and her remaining companion's energy. They were not dating which mean she could shoot her shot with out crossing and boundary but her sense for these things was far from certain and even if it was. It didn't mean she couldn't have some fun. "Hi, my Name's Guinevere Mason" she said offering her hand first to the boy and then to the girl, the formers grip had being firm but fleeting that letter gentle and lingering. "And I was just hoping you'd take my picture up in the next atrium" she pointed to the passageway that the rest of the tour group had ambled towards. "As I suck at that whole, selfie thing and herd there some spectacular wall art up, I wouldn't mind taking your twos picture in return that would be a nice memory for your date". She said with just a hint of teasing.

"We're not...not dating" Andi blurted out, a ruby red blush painting her features before she regained a enough composure to shoot her Hannibal an apologetic look. Hannibal, kay bless his heart nodded in agreement covering for her embarrassment.

"That's right miss" Hannibal stated matter of fact though sensing a mischievous spirt in this Guinevere that Andi, had not seemed to pick up on as of yet. "I'm Hannibal Servant and this mess..."

"Mess!" Andi elbowed Hannibal in the ribs, her blush fading somewhat "I'm Andrea though everyone calls be Andi, Andi Benton. How are you liking scenic Innsmouth tunnels so far?" she asked with only a mild blush flushing her cheeks.

Guinevere chuckled heartily "Hannibal and Andrea...I'm sorry Andi" she said a warm genuine smile pulling at her unpainted lips. "There pretty cool but I take it you two have done this tour before?"

"Yeah, my dad father has being taking my brother and I as well as all the families that work for him on this tour since forever," Andi said crossing her arms over her modest bust as she drew Guinevere attention to a tall dark haired man near the head of the group as they finally disappeared from sight. "He means well but we're all kind of sick of it…but it must be your first time, right?"

"Parents sometimes have a hard time letting go of traditions but its sweet of him to treat you all" Guinevere said with a faint smile, recognising the well-worn expression that could come between a slightly over baring parent and their child, as a mixture of frustration and earnest love played across Andis face. As she was sure the same look had come over her face more than once "My mom moved us here for her work. This is kind of the first thing I've being able to do now were settled".

Hannibal nodded sagely before adding "Is she here with you?"

Guinevere shuck her head "No, she isn't really into history stuff or creepy stuff for that matter…but dad would have loved this!"

"Then he must have be the one to name you…was he also an Arthurian lore?" Hannibal asked "I have to say, it is unusual for us Innsmouthain's to meet out of towners that have the same flair for names as us"

"What..?" Guinevere asked blinking.

Pinching her noise, Andi shook her head and sighed slightly "What he means is, its kind of common here in innmouth for parents to give her names flowery names." Andi said japing a thump in Hannibal's direction a teasing glint in her eye "Take silence of the lambs here for example!"

"Not this bit again, please Andi" Hannibal pleaded with a tired, long-suffering sigh.

Continuing as if she hadn't been interrupted "My dad is kind of a nerd for classics as well and named my brother, Nathaniel after a character form the war of the worlds mysical" Andi explained before pulling up the sleave of her jacket to check her beat up sports watch. "Salt in the deep, if he isn't back before the next check in. My dad's going to blow a gasket" she murmured chewing her lip.

Confusion suddenly being replaced by concern, "Is your brother lost...Should we tell the tour guide or someone?" Guinevere asked going to call to the group before a light, but firm pressure gripped her elbow. She turned back to see Andi looking at her, a plea in her aqua blue eyes.

"He isn't lost he knows these tunnels like the back of his hands! The issue is he and my dad have been at each other like bloody Allie cats recently and I'd rather not go through another bloody row." Andi explained, starting to fidget.

"Is it really that bad?" Hannibal asked genuinely concerned.

"It's going to be worse than bad if dad finds out Nathaniel's ditched" Andi murmured her eyes searching through the gloom for any sigh of her twin but the darkness beyond the ceiling lamps. She checked her phone "no signal" she exclaimed "Do you two feel like doing me a favour?" she asked glancing between her childhood friend and the young women who caught her eye.

"Andi I'd rather not be caught between whatever strife that's been going on between your brother and dad" Hannibal stated matter of fact. "It's better if you avoid that to, Nathaniel needs…"

"Our help and so dose Andi" Guinevere sated knowing an opportunity when she saw one as she saddled up to Hannibal like an overly friendly used cars dealer or circus ringleader looping her arm around the larger teens. "Go on, Lector and I will cover for you and try and slow down the tour group but you're shouting us dinner when we leave these lame tunnels deal?" Guinevere offered with a Cheshire smile.

"Oh Kay, you got her doing it too!" Hannibal moaned freeing himself from the strangers embrace.

Andi Smiled "Were all going to the Salty Nelson when we are done with the tour, best surf and turf place, this side of the harbour…" she grinned before starting to turn back they way they came and quickly found a door away into the deeper section of the tunnels. She had a good idea where Nathaniel would be "Ill treat you!" half yelled.

XXXX

The network of tunnels, sewerage pipes and draining cannels that sat beneath the streets of Innsmouth like a vast hive had added it since the city's foundation for ever conservable prepose and by every breed of person to had a mind to use them for everything else other than their original prepose. It was for that reason the tunnels have become such a tourist trap. They were, riddled with hidden rooms, secret hallways, cellars, false doors, private chambers and steeped in local legend and history.

In the golden age of sail, pirates and privateers had used the tunnels both as smuggling routes and if local legend was to be, believed hiding places for their ill-gotten gains. During the revolution, colonial militias had conducted and planed whole gorilla campaigns against occupying red coats. In the lead up to the civil war and throughout its bloody duration the tunnels had become a valued link in the underground railway for escaping slaves.

In the prohibition that fallowed the first world war, rum runners and other criminals' fraternities had frequently run afoul of a most unusual competitor in the form of the esteemed church of Dagon, a dooms day cult.

It was in one of the many hidden alcoves these groups among others had left behind, some distance forms his parent, twin sibling and the tour group that an energetic fifteen-year boy with a can of spray paint in his right hand and brush in the other had done what many of his forebears had before him, made use of the tunnels for his own ends as he had done for weeks now. Gradually he had replaced the kaleidoscope of old, fading graffiti that had covered his chosen wall, with something far found more appealing.

While he was not one for the physical arts as his twin, Nathanial Benton gaped and slaished as his neat, completed work with quick almost frantic, dramatic flourishes and faints as if he were a knight of old and the wall or more importantly his art, a dreaded rival. A dragon to be slay. He stepped back from his work assessing "Now let's see how its turning out..." Nathanial murmured his dark gaze intent as he, chewed on his callused thumb, mindful to keep his brush's still very wet head away from his cheek. So far, he had managed to keep himself relatively clean, well clean enough that few new accidental additions scotches of paint or grime, to be lost among his deliberately messy exterior.

Which consisted of a simple dark leather jacket speckled with splotches of old and faded paint alongside several, colourful plastic pins one of the largest of which read 'art happens'.

He also wore a plain red hooded shirt, faded denim jeans that had become so worn in places they had to be resewn or new cloth added just to keep them from falling apart he also wore steel cap work boots that like the rest of his clothing had seen better days.

Like his sister he had pale skin and jet-black hair, the latter had been, cut into a short spiky mow hawk leaving the rest of his skull bare save for a light fuzz. While his sister had aqua blue eyes and his father had brown.

Nathaniel's own eyes were a miss match of the two, his left mirrored his sister while his right eye was a copy of his father's eye earth shade , though besides that, his harder features and board frame. He and his farther had little in common.

Clearing his mind of distractions such as the prospect of having to face his father's disproval when he returned to the tour group. Nathaniel was mildly annoyed that his art had unintentional come to reflect not just his mood of late but his ever-denigrating relationship with his father. It was clear for anyone to see the meaning behind art. To the point that to his critical eye, it looked nothing more than a trite cliché.

The picture he had crafters was that of storm ravaged shoreline that nestled a small collection of fishing boats which were being, menaced by meter high waves topped with foam. Blots of white-hot lighting streaking across a dark brooding sky.

Nathanial grimaced, disappointment burning in his chest as a bitter revolution seeped into his already dark mood, like bacteria flooding an open wound and making it septic. Had he really wasted weeks of his time, snuck out of his house, ditched school and more to come here just to draw this? He thought bitterly. Art was meant to be subtle to provoke the sensors and discussion, be wondered at, speaking secret truths to those that viewed it. This was tortured metaphor at best, hardly worth the paint and time he had spent on it.

It was as he dwelt on the bitter failure coiling around his heart like a snake. He felt more than heard a distant 'thump' which was strong enough to reach him and send a shaking vibration through the tunnels, despite Nathanal being certain the sound had come from above. "Fucking depths" he swore as one of his discarded spray cans slipped under his foot as he turned about to focus on which direction, the vibration had come from.

He stumbled knocking the pile of cans he had left haphazardly under an open storm water pipe the exited into his alcove. He was able to catch himself before he fallowed several paint cans and more importantly his old radio over the edge of his alcove and into the passage way below which lead, in a roundabout way back to the tour groups main path "Shit" he swore as his radio smashed against the coble stone floor.

"Nathaniel is that you?" the familiar voice of his twin sister called out to him, causing him to look up from his smashed radio and see that his sister was a little more than half way up the passage that ran below and up to his alcove. "Are you all, right?" Andi asked as she rushed toward him

"Yeah, just made a mess..." he grumbled as pressed his hand against the wall but couldn't feel anything, though he could have sworn he heard something over the ever present though dissent gurgle of water in the pipes. It sounded like something heavy and large was clanking its way down, he paid it no mind as he turned back to regard his sister who nearly at the foot of the ladder that led up to his alcove "Hold there Andi, I think something from the construction site above us might have…..woah…" he cried out as he jumped backwards to prevent from being stuck square in the chest by a large glass capsule that fell from the storm water pipe but he couldn't avoid the black, thick viscous tar like substance that splashed all over his legs as the battered capsule smashed against the ground, nor was he agile enough to avoid being put on hic back side for a second time in as many minutes

Andi screamed as a second capsule broke virtual on top of her covering her torso, shoulders and neck in a ashy grey goo. "Oh my kay...it's all over me" she said trying desperately pull some of the stuff away from her body but it was like pulling at bubble gum. "Oh my fucking kay…. Nathanial….I think it's moving" Andi screamed as she realised the grey mass was now spreading all over her body.

"You should tell her to relax kid this won't take a second. Oh, try and concentrate on a good look. We might be together for a while and papa Venom got to look cool for his big comeback..." a gravely though not unpleasant alien voice intruded into Nathaniel's mind as he tried to kick at the goo that spread up his own legs while he had been distracted by Andi's struggle.

"Oh fuck that noise!" Nathaniel yelled as he made to grape for a broken shard of glass and went to stab at the thing that had new engulfed his legs up to is knees, however he was prevented form doing so as the goo sprain off the ground like a snake and pinned him to the wall he had being painting mere moments ago soaking the back of his cloths in his freshly applied paint.

"Oh, you got spirit, I like that kid" the voice which had identified itself as venom hissed.

"Get off of me!" Nathaniel yelled as he thrashed about in a futile effort to rid himself of the thing, but all his thrashing managed to do cover himself in more paint. Paint that the creature seemed to suck up like a sponge and incorporate into itself as it moved up his body.

"Good idea, kid a dash or two of colour might just be what the doctor ordered to change things up" Venom stated.

Nathaniel tried pulling the spreading mass away from his body but it was no use. "What are you...who are you...why can I hear you in my head?" Nathaniel yelled while trying to listen out for his sister, but he could only hear the occasional splash and muffled gurgle.

"Questions, questions, you apes... Always with the questions! Is it so much to ask that one of you hairless bipeds get with the program right from the start?" the voice asked "But don't worry kid, uncle Venom will explain everything but first how about some calming juice pumped straight into your grey matter" Venom said was a self-amused chuckle

"Calming...wh...what?" Nathaniel mumbled as he felt his mind go foggy, like his brain had been swaddled in cotton balls.

"Whoops, my bad that was a bit too much...been a while since I had a teenage host...give me a tick" Venom explained somewhat apologetically.

True to Venom's word, Nathaniel felt the metal fog lift as suddenly as it came upon him, while his sensors, touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight all expanded exponentially out form him. Which made even the smallest details of the tunnels around him were as clear to him as the details of the back of his hand and there was more...it was like he was more aware of everything around him. Not just in the purely physical sense of the world, it was like he had a real-time three-dimensional map, complete with something like radar or echolocation extend off his awareness constantly but it so much more than mere radar. He was aware of things he couldn't even see, touch or hear.

Gradually Nathaniel felt his mind and body adjusted to the new sensations as Venom covered him utterly and started to change structure, forming a Hooded mid-night black biker jacket, white spikes sprouted from the tops of his shoulders. An elaborate neon white spider icon grew across his chest and back, its front most pair of legs anchored to his collar bone, were the other three pairs stretched across the barrow of his upper and lower chest which he suspected met with their counterparts on his back, the spider had an extended abdomen which was nearly split off from the rest of the body by a stylized V and ended just above his belly button in three triangle prongs.

His denim jeans were replaced by thick leather jeans, with neon blue knee pads and none descript bicker boots with blue lace. His fingers were now covered in thick gloves with sharpened finger, glowing neon white squares formed on the back of his hands. A impulse that was not entirely his own had him reach for his phone which he used as make shift mirror. The space with in the hood were his face and head should have being was a nearly featureless void save for two strangely shaped eyes and a wide toothy grin, complete with thick pink forked tongue that lolled from his maw. He also noticed two glowing bluish white Xs on the outside of the jackets hood.

Taking a moment to study himself Nathaniel couldn't fail to notice; he had somehow grown nearly half a foot in height and his build once merger at best now surpassed many of the top jocks of his school.

With the transformation now complete Nathanial realised he could not read or feel Venoms own thoughts as such but rather sensed the aliens presence as a distant intelligence and identity attached to his own sense of self. It was almost like there was a roommate that he had not asked for nor wanted that had barged into his domain and started filling the space with his own detritus.

"Wow rude...You're not exactly my cup of tea either kid" Venom huffed as he grew, a long vaguely serpentine proxy head and neck, so he and his host could speak more directly. He had learned from his many previous hosts that they tended to respond better to his companionship if they could anthropomorphise his personhood, in the form of a head.

"Kay wept!" Nathaniel exclaimed taking a step back from the hell beast that emerged from his body, not that did him any good as the 'Venom' head could seemingly stretch or shrink at will. The euphoria that had made the transformation as pleasurable as it had been faded into a dull background comfit. "What in the salty depths are you and what did you do to me?" Nathaniel asked looking down at himself with alarm.

Venom rolled his proxy heads eyes "Look, this isn't my first rodeo since I came to this arm pit of a planet. So let me cut a long story short! Let's just say we formed a partnership, a symbiosis. I get something...mainly a ride on your body and few other things here and there that aren't worth mentioning right now...and you get a whole bag of tricks...it's a sweet deal" the alien said, his proxy head smiling with all the sincerity of a crocodile.

Before Nathanial could press the alien feather, he felt a shift a sudden an profound sense of threat tingle down his spine. It was not unlike the feeling he got when he was small and still afraid of thunderstorms, when a crack of lighting trigged some primal irrational fear. Yet this new dread, this sense of threat of danger it was to close and to specific. It drew his attention to the dimly lit hallway his alcove attached to, the same hall way he knew had a man hole nor far form the construction sight on the street above.

"I thought we'd have more time" Venom hissed, "Best watch yourself" the alien started as his proxy head melted back into his body

A light appeared in darkness beyond the out edge of Nathaniel's heighten vision, a wicked sword reefed in dark red flames that hurt his eyes to look at, the swords welder who soon came into sight was no less pleasant to look upon.

The figure was tall at least seven feet tall and looked to be male, wearing a wicked parody of knightly plate armour rendered in blood red and crude brace with a few leather bindings, belts and a knee length loin cloth. All of which had a disturbing likeness to human skin and was only a shad or two off Nathaniel's own skin tone. The hellish figure wasn't just armed with only his wicked blade, he also carried in his offhand a large shield, which had bony spikes growing out of its surface and was rimmed in what looked to be flesh bone.

Lastly wore the creature wore a brutal helmet with full face mask which was shaped into a vicious sneer. Four horns blood red horns emerged from the knight's head, seemingly though his hamlet. One pair horn's curled downward and shared a likeness to rams horns the other two curled backwards and pointed upwards like deer twisted antlers.

Nathaniel met the knight's eyes and knew in that instinct, as he met its slitted yellow eyes that this thing was not human.

Nine's pointed his flaming blade at the new host, rage boiling of him like steam. "Give me symbiote's," the demon knight screeched. A fist sized blot of fire lanced out from the tip of his blade which exploded were Nathanial had been standing.

Acting on his new instincts, Nathaniel jumping upwards and away from the impact sight long before the ball had even travelled halfway. Though he could feel the alien flesh quiver despite this distance he had managed to get away from the first fire ball which was strong enough to engulf his art piece and the dozen or so paint cans. Despite the distaste he had felt for his work mere moment ago, he felt a great well of anger surge though him at seeing weeks of effort, miss placed as it was be turned to ash. However, before he could think of retaliating in any manner, as he clung to the ceiling via his feet. He was forced to fling himself over the lip of his alcove and into the tunnel below as another fire ball slamped into where he had being standing again. This one was faster than than first and strong enough to shatter the stone and concreate the tunnels were made from, showering him in white hot shrapnel.

Annoyance and anger flaring hot in his chest, Nathanel griped up one of the larger chunks of rock as he jumped downwards and threw the chuck back at the knight. The burning stone whistled through the air as it impacted upon the knights shield with enough force to not only dent the metal but also turn the stone to powder.

The knight didn't seem to care for the project of retaliation, as he slashed his sword horizontal though the air, sending a razor thin line of burning light through the air until it impacted into Nathaniels broad chest.

Nathaneal screamed as he felt every sense and nerve ending fill with agony so great that it nearly made him throw up as he impact into the tunnel far wall with enough force to leave a small impact crater. Despite his newfound straight he found he couldn't bring himself to stand for several seconds as yellowish energy, crackled over him, like visible static. Breathing hard he looked up to see a second figure dash towards him and help him to his feet as the energy dissipated.

"Nat...Venom are you alright?" Andi yelled as she rushed towards her bother. She saw had gone through the same process as herself. After receiving a curt nod she expanded the length of her arm a few meters and griped onto a mostly submerged rusted grate at the bottom of the dirty channel her bother had landed in and with contemptable ease ripped it form the coble stone arch and used it as make sift club as a demonic figure jumped from Nathaniel's alcove and into the mucky thigh high water of the channel and rushed towards them with a smoking sword.

While Nines easily blocked the blow with his shield sending the crude weapon away, he knew in that same moment he had underestimated the strength of the strange creatures master had him fetch.

As the seconded figure, this one clearly female sent him sliding back a foot, simultaneously Venom and its new host railed far faster than they should of from his previous attack and fired a barrage of fist sized balls of black goo towards him, these seemed to be made from the same kind of material as the strange creatures and impacted him like a hail of gunfire and like the mortal fire power he had faced already he thought to dismissed it, at least at first. However, unlike the more mundane firearms he had overcome. These balls of goo had a sticky element to them, not unlike spider webs though far stronger, soon he was anchored to the ground. "Give me symbiote's" Nines yelled, a spark of flame burning away the webing in a moment and sending the two alien suited hosts back.

However, that proved to be a mistake as the water in the channel of knee-high water he had landed in, now free of the grate Mania had used. Surged forwarded as the gate, gad acted like a cork for all the trash and filth trapped behind it and a small tidal wave knocked him from his feet and pushed him under the water for several moments.

"I think we should get some distance between us and him so we can make a plan" Nathanial stated swinging away from the floundering knight.

Andi wanted to argue, say they should press the attack but thought better of that plan as the surge of water she had unintentionally unleashed was starting to ease. Being in an enclosed space with an experienced combatant with limited routs of escape and where they couldn't use their newfound agility to its fullest extent was a recipe for disaster. "I think I saw the sigh for a brake or maintenance room a few tunnels back the way I came".

"Lead the way there might be something we can use to even things up on our end" Nathaniel agreed fallowed his sister as she swung down the twists and turns of the tunnel network.

Andi's own symbiote "Maina" Vemom added helpfully, had dressed Andi in something like a dark grey full body leotard. Though upon feather inspection Nathaniel realised there was more to the costume than he first thought. The symbiont while covering his sister's hair as it had the rest of her body in its own strange mass, it also clumped Andi's hair into several stylised 'spikes' only one of which resembled the 'bang' Andi had favoured over the last few months. Mania had grafted spiked shoulder pads, wrist bands and had even grown spikes from his sisters' elbows.

There was mirrored pair of thin white bands wrapped around lower Andi's upper arms, mid-way between her spiked wrist bands and her bicep. She had also reserved a thick spiked belt alongside tall gothic stylized boots that encapsulated her legs up to and including the knee, the cap of which was also spiked. There were several white bands wrapped around her boot, one just below her knee and two smaller bands on the bridge of her shoes.

A spider icon stretched across both her chest and back, though hers was a slightly different design to the one he now wore. The icon's legs were all connected and fanned out from the central spider almost like wings. The top most peck crested her shoulder then wrapped around the barrow of her rib cage before connecting with a mirrored iron that rested upon her back. Were the abbermin the icon that had being branded on his chest and back was almost a square that came to a crown of three spikes at its rear, Mania's icon was akin to a curved diamond shape with the bottom most angle cut in two to form two horns on eather side of the shape.

Like his own hand, Andis had become claw like, white squares formed on the outside of each wrist. The mask Mania had formed while remaining vaguely famine but gave, gave no hint to Andi's true features however unlike the mask he now wore, hers lacked a mouth though the creature had formed a similar pair of eyes.

"I suppose while we are in this mess you got us into, I should call you Venom?" Andi asked sarcastically landing on the ground of a tunnel with a gymnast's flourish before she swung open a door that led to a dimly lit stair well.

"I don't see how this is my flaunt!" Nathaniel grumbled "But I suppose that makes you Mania right?" Nathaniel asked a hint of annoyance in his own voice which was far gruffer than his normal tone. Andi's voice had changed as well, she sounded a little older and perhaps a bit bolder

"I suppose it dose" Andi said somewhat flustered as they stopped to gather their wits for a moment though already, she could sense the demonic knight was not far behind. "Persistent isn't he...I think the brake room is just up this way. We can hunker down and hide and wait for him to pass" she suggested her grey second skin changing to the same colour and texture of the walls they were surrounded by as they spirted down the stair well.

"Neat trick" Nathaniel compartmented. He looked down concentrating on his right hand and repeated 'blend in, blend in' inside his head like a mantra. His seconded skin changed slightly but not enough to fool anyone who wasn't otherwise distracted, while Andi almost became an optical illusion even while he was looking at her. It wasn't perfect either but a dame sight better than his ability to blend in. "I don't think that's the best idea if he loses us, he could retrace our steps and find the tour group or anyone else down here."

"But the break room is still a good idea" Nathanial considered "the work crews store all kinds of goodies in the brake rooms down here. Easier than having to go surface side all the time so there should be something in there we can use to turn the tide on this wacko" he growled racing ahead of his sister, pointing to the brake room that stat at the end of the long hallway they traversed. Savouring the idea of unleashing a world of hurt on the arsehole that had jumped them.

Andi shook her head in disagreement "Whatever he is, he's probably had years to explore and develop his powers. We've had minuets...We don't stand much of chance" she said gloomily as entered behind her brother. While she could see fine in the dark thanks to her new abilities she reached out and found a light switch and flicked it out of habit.

A dusty ceiling light flicked on and illumined the room, not that there was much to illuminate. There were about a dozen, tall metal lockers, several shelves roughly blotted into walls each one had a smattering of plastic bottles and cans of various sizes and shapes, any labelling that had being on them had long since faded into illegibility. There was a fire extinguisher hooked onto the far wall, an old bucket of to one side filled with worn shovels, sledgehammers, picks and other tools a few large plastic contantors filled with all manna of stuff.

In the centre of the room was a bare metal table with four plastic chairs around it. Old fast-food wrappers and discarded drink cans littered the place

"Try and look for something useful like a walkie talky we might be able to call the police or something" Andi sated as she opened one of the lockers nearest to her. While checking her phone for a signal, she wasn't surprised to find that here 'Wi-Fi' single had being replaced by a question mark. Walkie talkies could at least reach any work crews down near and they could either warn the tour group or get the police or both. 'that's if we can convince them there's a flame happy renaissance reenactor down here with us' she thought grimly.

Nathaniel shook his head as he picked up a large pick testing the weight "These will be more useful than the police" Nathanial scoffed, his already toothy grin grew larger. His seconded skin wrapping around the tool making it larger and adding some spikes for good measure.

Andi whipped round glaring at her bother feeling her temper spike "Ok what is with you?" she hissed "Ever since I mentioned this place all you've wanted to go mano e mano with sir Flemington".

He turned regarding his sister with intense interest "I could say the same, your normally not one to back down from bullies and this guy jumped us, sis" Nathanial spat as he riffled through the chemical bottles on the shelves, popping some open and taking a quick look inside.

"Humm little bleach, some oil...ammonia, could be useful...let me show you a trick" Venom hissed into his hosts mind

Andi crossed her arms over her chest and glared at her twin "Neither of us asked for these. Things...neither of us have any kind of combat experience and you want to fight a guy who can throw fire. Which these things don't seem to like!" she said stomping her foot, her new strength was such that she the tiles she was standing on without even really trying.

He turned to regard his sister again and sighed putting the small collection of chemical bottles and small gas bottles he had found to one side "Look, we got a shit deal. No arguing that but calling the police in isn't an option neither is hiding till he passes us by" Nathanial stated seriously "Sir stabs a lot isn't exactly subtle is he? I'll bet you. He's already classed with the police and walked through them, he'll do the same again to everyone down in these tunnels till he gets these…" Nathaniel pursed "Symbionts…Like it or not we are the ones that got these things sis and that means we are the only ones that have a chance of him before he hurts anyone else"

Andi felt a spike of guilt and horror spark across her mind "Your right…but we cant just fight him straight up we have to level the playing field" she said as she looked over the collection of items her bother had collected before she deposited a few gas canasters she had found in her locker, most of them were small. Likely used for welding torches but there was one prise she had found that was sure to level the playing field, in the most litiual sense of the word.. "Ok Venom…I think I have a plan" she said as she held a half empty bbq gas canaster onto the table.

XXXXX

Nines picked up his pace as a fire alarm blared, growling as he felt the ire the had filled him since his cover was blowen smoulder to newfound depths of rage as desperation lent itself to his motivation. While he and his prey hadn't made much of an effort to hide their passage, that dammed smoke alarm would lead the no doubt railing and vengeful police and government agents right to him. While such mundane forces were normally beneath his notice drained as he was from his long absence from the city, the fighting and 'swaying' a wounded consecution worker into taking Carnage to the Philosophers holding, left him lest than optimistic about his chances.

Especially if the symbionts and their hosts chose to fight alongside the forces on his trail. There was also the chance extremely slim though it was the innsmouth police whom have suspected his true nature had managed to corral one or more of the mystical inclined residences of the city into their service. If those same residents hadn't taken an interest in his public display of magic already and were already on the hunt for their own reasons.

Nines and his colleges had sent decides skirting under the surface of awareness among the magical community with in Innsmouth and his rash actions would have all but announced their presence. Something their master, the philosopher would not be pleased with.

Nines knew in his black heart, that the punishment he would face would already server, the only chance to lesson his master's wrath then was to retrieve the symbionts. He didn't dare countenance the concept of losing them but as poor as they were at covering their tracks. The possibility that he would lose them grew greater with ever second that passed.

As the potency of Venoms and Mania's unique essence's which had being quite concentrated in their containers, had diluted significantly since they and their hosts left him behind. He suspected with in a day or if that he would not be able to discern any difference between the hosts and base line humans. It was fortunate then they had sought to go to ground rather than flee the tunnels out right.

'Perhaps they seek to make a stand?' he smiled behind his helm as the dark thought crossed his mind as he entered what looked to be a slightly neglected brake room, closing the door behind him to prevent any escape. Steeping on a pile of discarded work overalls, rags and an assortment of trash which littered the floor.

He sniffed the air but couldn't smell anything over the stench of ammonia and old sweat which filled the air though he needn't have bothered relying on such a mundane sense as he could sense the hosts fear spark through the air like summer lighting as soon as he entered. It was delicious though none specific, he could sense they were in the room but little beyond that 'no matter that' he thought smiling 'time to play'

"You are here!" nines said raping his knuckles on the nearest locker three times before he opened and looked inside. It was empty. He closed and opened the door twice more before moving on.

Andi didn't dare move, breath or look to Nathaniel's hiding spot in the small vent as she clung to the celling like a spider her second skin blending into the brick work, lest the slightest movement somehow alert the hellish knight as he went about his strange ritual. 'I didn't see this before?' She thought to herself 'he doesn't just talk in threes, he has do to things in threes, its like he's obsessive compulsive…I wonder if that include things we do to him?' she asked her alien partner whom formed an image of what Andi took to be her new appearance in her mind.

Mania's mental avatar put a hand to her chin as she shared dim memories of several instances where the knights obsession with threes had flared up. Mania agreed that his OCD might be exploitable but she recommended caution and to stick with the plan, she and her brother had already come up with.

Andi had to stop herself form noddeding in agreement as the knight walked below her having now gone a little over half way into the trap and clearly getting more and more irritated as went through his little ritual. With the knight distracted with the last few lockers and the brake rooms table between her and the knight. She risked a glance towards the vent where Nathaniel hid, dropping a portion her chameleonic disguise around her hand to give her brother the thumps up. However dropping her stunt seemed to be a bridge to far as at first the rest of her arm returned then her entire body dropped the camouflage pattern and texture Manias 'skin' had taken on returning her alien partners skin back to normal and that was the least of her issues as she suddenly felt faint. Like a drop in blood sugar and felt her grip on the ceiling start to weaken and her mind go a little fuzzy as a result.

Nathaniel tensed as he saw Andi's grip weaken on the cealing brick work she had clung to like some human sizeds spider, ready in a moment to spring forward and catch her should she fall but his sister rallied at least long enough for the knight pull open the third to last locker door open.

There was a small 'chink' sound which was barely audible above the presently ringing fire alarm. Nines stepped back from the locker rubbing at his chest as he felt something splatter against his torso. It took him a second to realise that sever open bottles filled with veryous chemicals had being spring loaded into the locker and now covered the fround of him and the thick pile of rags that covered the floor, in the hells knew what. "You will pay" the knight growled, igniting his sword but found to his mild surprise and amusement that the flames eagerly jump from his weapon onto his body.

Nines laughed "I am fire" he chuckled wickedly "It wont..." he tailed of as he noticed something new, the small of gas. Nines blinked as he realised the trap hadn't just pored flammable liquid over him which he had carelessly ignited, it also popped the lids of several small gas canisters which had been hidden among a pile of discarded cloths and rags. He turned away from the locker intented to get away only for the world seemed to slow for a second as a lot of things happens at once.

The vent in the upper right corner of the room bust open and Venom jumped out, a fire extinguisher in one hand while the other covered Nines in a thick layer of organic webbing sticking him in place at least for a few moments. While Mania fell form the celling, panting heavily as she ripped the brake room door off its hingers and used it as a make shift battering ram and ramming it into Nines back pushing him fully into the locker just as the damp cloths they had soaked in oil and ammonia started to catch on fire.

Andi turned to sprint but couldn't manage more awkward loping run, thankful that along with a helipng hand from her brother in the form of a web line he had attached to her gut which all but flung her well clear of the brake room.

"We should run!" Nathaniel managed to say just before both he and his is twin were knocked off their feet by the blast as the room exploded.

Thankfully while their alien friends didn't seem overly found of fire, or loud sounds as both let out an ear-piercing screech as the room exploded. After a moment they didn't seem any worse for the experience

Their enemy was not so lucky as he had been blasted part way through the plaster wall that made up the other shell of the brake room, his head and about half of his torso now hung lumpy through the smoking frame. Several large splinters of wood and metal had pierced his armour or what remained of it, which had turned the same colour of charcoal and seemed to be crumbling away.

Andi cupped her masked mouth as she absorbed the scene still a little dazed from her use of her chameleon cloak and the mad sprint from the brake room, though if she was a betting women, she would have put odds that it was the former that left her feeling…thin. Evidently Mania's ability to change her skin and texture tone to match with the background was not to be used lightly. 'I'll have to keep that in mind for next time' she thought absently. "Kay in the deep, did we do that?" she asked somewhat rhetorically feeling oddly apiece with the violence and bodily harm she and her brother had unleashed.

"Yeah…" Nathaniel huffed flipping Andi the bird as she helped him to his feet. Taking extinguisher as she did

"We should get him out of there and leave him for the cops…he's not going to putting up much of a fight now" Andi added as she using the fire extinguisher to hosed the knight down.

Nathaniel surged while reaching out with his new sensors. "Be careful I'm still getting a vibe so he's probably still alive…more the pity" he growled darkly observing the knight as his sister anchored a web to him and began pulled the rest of the knights through what remained off the wall just as the fire suppression system in the tunnels activated showing all three of them and making the coble stone floor slick. "Given his fire thing, I wonder if water hurts?" he wondered.

Andi nodded "There might be something to that" she agreed as she checked the knight over. While she couldn't claim to be an expert in physiology nor was, she experienced, with mutants or innhumans. She would have thought if he was one of the other he would at least have wounds she could make sense of given the advanced first aid training she had gotten from her job with F.E.A.S.T. but what she could see of his flesh seemed to be…crumbling away like a sand castle bing washed way with the tide. "I can't help but wonder why he would want our two new roommates? They really don't seem to like fire?" She asked scathing her chin through her second skin as he looked around the area for the knight's sword. 'Weird I thought I just saw it' she thought "We should get out of..." she trailed off as her 'danger' sense exploded insider her mind and she jumped backwards just in time to stop form being skewered but she wasn't quite fast enough to avoid the blow entirely as the knight leapt from his prone position lunged forward like a mad man.

Even with her lightning quick reflects and the knights diminished state, the tip of his blade cut across her lower torso, cutting though Mania's skin and wracking across her own. Sending blazing hot agony to dance across her entire being making her fall backways. It was like someone had pressed a branding iron to her very soul. "Don't…don't let him cut you" she managed to cry out as she kicked backwards, enlarging her foot to an almost comical extent and kicked the knights sword out of his weaking grip and attached a web ling to it pulling it away from the monster as, more of his charcoal armour crumbled to ash. She sagged backward clutched the sword, while she felt Mania stitch her wound shut before she lost to much blood however torn flesh was the least of her problems as she her soul felt like it was had been showered in white hot ambers.

Nathaniel has raced in, "I have had enough of this creep" Nathaniel growled, the teeth that immerged from his mask growing to comical length before, they shot out like bony darts and impacted the knight with dagger length bone shards.

Nines growled as he staged under the hit "That are mine" Nines screeched smoke bleeding of his form hitting Venom with a burst of super-heated air making him stager as he swung a clawed fist at him. "That is mine!" he cried out made a jerking motion with his clawed hand and pulled his sword from 'Mania's' hand and towards him just as Venom regained his footing and rushed forwards headless of the ranger. He smiled under his cracked and smoking helm. "That is mine" he said pointing at Venom and Maina, as he slashed at the acrobatic would-be hero. Before changing tact and punching forward, his first white hot as he griped on to his right arm which had drifted a handful of centimetres to close and snagged the limb long enough to feel the bone being to fracture as the alien symbiont recoilded form the heat.

Nathaniel cried out in pain but rather than clutch his wounded limb he pressed his attack, kicking at the knight with savage abandoned forcing him to let go back away as more of his armour cracked and crumpled.

Overcome with anger and pain, Nathaniel was about press in, when the knight hand glowed once more and a fork of lighting cracked from his hands catching the teen hero in the chest and sent him flying backward and left him smoking on the ground. He lifted his head and looked to his sister who rushed over having recovered form her own wounds "Tag in?…"

"Be ready to back me up, we put and end to this now!" Andi growled as skittered up the wall her fingers became knives, sprinted forward closing the few meters between herself and the knight. She jumped over his head as she lunged for her, hanging upside down in mid-air for a second before landing behind him. The muscles in in her armed seemed to double in size for a second as she stapped her finger knifes into his back, with enough force to penrate deep into the hell knights body. Ash bellowed for the wounds but she was not done, she drew back her claws, ducked a swap and slashed twice before leaping up to the ceiling once more barely avoiding another of his gradually slowing swipes.

Seeing her brother up and snarling, she ripped a lamp form the celling along with a few arms full of electric cable. She three the lamp at the knight as she jumped down form the celling, pulling cord with her and manging to get the cord tangled behind the knights legs. As he staggered under impact, if she didn't know any better she would have sworn the knight was almost, flickering now as ash fell of him in curtins "Now Venom"

Nathaniel, wordless nodded firing a web line to the discarded fire extinguisher, brought it to him as he ran full bore at the knight and smashed it into the knights head and forcing him to nearly trip over the cable but a bust of weaken flame from the knights sword was enough to melt the wires into slush but the effot had clear cost the knight as his form seemed to flicker once more.

Andi Kicked upwards, hitting the knight hard but he wasn't out of the fight yet. He caught her leg before she pulled pack and he swung her into a nearby wall, he was about to press the attack when Nathaniel slipped past his failing guard and wreathed knights arms backwards with a sickening crack, like he was pulling part a wish bone.

Growling and pissed to the depths and back, Andi transformed her hands into wicked axes and buried them into his chest.

"Hosts...will die" Nines screeched as he kicked backwards into Venoms groin sending alien and host sliding across the slick. "Philosopher will win" he cried out and went to fire lighting again this time aimed at Mania, but no not so much as a spart jumped between his fingers. He stared in transfixed horror as his fingers than his hand started to crumble away.

The female host was less than pleased at his attempted murder and ran towards him full pelt, picking him up by his crumbling waste and slamming him into the ground were her male counterpart ready with Nines own blade in hand. Though he didn't need land the finishing blow, as he all but came apart upon impact. "I…will…return" Nines said with quite certainty as the last breath of accused air left him.

The anger or rather the source of her anger having crumpled away before her eyes made Andi staggered back gasping in horror, clawing at her mask as she fell to her knees. The strange second skin pealed back allowing her to vomit up the merge contents of her stomach.

Nathaniel rushed over with all the speed he had left, holding his sister apparently watching the yellow bile not that there was much, mix with the ash and drift down the drain "Easy easy…its ok Andi don't fight it" he soothed as he tried to shield her best he could from the constant down pore the sprinklers unleashed.

"I hate it when that happens…" Andi murmured somewhat groggy "Last thing I need is people to think I'm bulimic…on top of everything else" she chuckled weakly though there was no humour in her weak joke. A small number of small grey tenduals emerged from her second skin, one provided a handkerchief from her bag another rubbed itself against like worried pet even going so far as to mimic a cats comfiting purr. The others combined to form a fleshy umbrella that protected her and her brother form worst of the down pore as their partners seemed to almost melt away before her eyes.

For a brief moment she thought the aliens had left them now the danger had past but she could still feel Mania's presence in the back ground of her mind. Distant, nonintrusive but there. "Venom still with you?" she asked feeling her straight slowly return

Nathaniel nodded "He is and I think they both will be with us for a while yet…Do you hear that?" he asked hearing the distant sound of foot steeps and the crackle of walkie talkies emanating through the tunnels they had ran through to reach the brake room. "We should get back to dad and the tour group, I don't feel like explaining this to the cops, do you?" he suggested gesturing to the ruined brake room and hall way.

Andi bit her lip "We could explain…they could help us…" she trailed off as a dim, foreign memories caressed her mind. They were foggy vague, scattered but she could see some details few were pleasant. Gun fire. Abuse. Medical slaps. Frozen. Sickness. Stunted development. Punishment. Siblings and father yanked part, experiments. Words were spoken by figures in white coats, their meaning lost. Flags burn. War ranged. Madness. Betrayal. Loss.

"They won't help…not today at least" Nathaniel sharing a meaningful look with his sister, Andi nodded and they both raced towards a nearby door. With a little use of their new powers and knowledge of the tunnels it didn't take them long to get back to the tour group.

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End of chapter one

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