Monday, 31 December 1990

Anglo-Force: The Formation & The Return Of Saruman Chapter 2

In a strange castle, on a small island north of the Scottish coast, the old man that had been seen often around London recently sat in a massive library. It looked as if there were millions of  books lining the walls. He sat at his huge desk in ponderous silence.
    "The pieces are starting to fall into place.", he mused. "Inspector Solo, with my help, has gathered the forces he needs. Now all I can do is wait for a suitable time to make my entrance, to return to the world."
    A day and a half later, the first official meeting took place. All were present. Solo presented his plan.
    "Gentlemen.", he said. "After our first little meeting, I came up with an idea. It involves you, Jet. Apart from the Black Squadron, have you had any other dealings with organised crime?"
    "No.", said Jet. "Orsine is scum, but he's not the one I've been after for over a year."
    "And that is our trump card.", said Solo. "Orsine has only seen you battle the Black Squadron, you haven't battled his cronies. How would you like to do a bit of undercover work?"

    It was a beautiful day in the Hertfordshire countryside. It was on this day that Jet flew high above the trees and the fields, until he came to the place he was looking for. It was a large manor house, situated about ten miles from the nearest town. He landed nearby.

    Inside the house sat Giacomo Orsine. He sat in front of five television screens. These screens were placed behind his large and rather expensive looking desk. Each screen carried a different image, images from the grounds of his country manor. On one of these monitors he had seen Jet landing.
    "Vinnie!", he shouted. "We have an unwanted visitor. Send out the security teams and the dogs!"
    First, the vicious rottweiler dogs were let out into the outer grounds of the estate. Jet soon saw them, so he quickly took to the air, and landed on the nearby roof. Four men with rifles soon saw him, aimed, and fired at him. Jet was way too fast for the bullets. He ran across the roof at a speed in excess of mach one until he came to the wing of the house he was looking for. He flew down to the window he sought and smashed through into the office of Giacomo Orsine.
    "Guards!", Orsine cried.
    Five henchmen wielding guns ran into the office. One grabbed Jet from behind, while the other hit him in the stomach with the rifle-butt. But these blows meant nothing to Jet. He quickly kicked one in the stomach and flipped the other over his shoulder. A swift blow to the jaw put another out of action. Another grabbed his arm, only to find himself flying through the already smashed
window. The final guard aimed his pistol at Jet, but he had already moved. The bullet just missed Orsine's head.
    "Call them off, Orsine.", cried Jet. "I'm here to talk, not to fight!"
    Orsine did as he was asked.
    "I know you!", he said. "You're the one who's been going after the Black Squadron. Get out of here now. I've no time for super-heroes. If you leave now you may live!"
    "Just because I want to kill the Black Squadron does not mean I uphold the law!", said Jet. "The Black Squadron is our common enemy. You want to get rid of them almost as much as I do. If we help each other, we might just get the job done."
    "I can get the job done without you!", said Orsine.
    "You haven't so far.", said Jet. "Mother Nature and her creeps are no match for you. With me by your side, you have a better, a fighting chance."
    Orsine sat for a few moments in thought. He knew that Jet was speaking the truth. He was losing this war. He needed Jet's help. He walked over to his cocktail cabinet, and poured himself a large scotch.
    "We have a deal.", he smiled. "Until I have control of the entire cavourite supply, you will be in my employ. If you cross me, your life will end!"
    Although Orsine had computerised detectors planted all over his manor house, they did not pick up the small transmitting device which Jet carried in his costume. It was sending signals back to the bunker in London.
    "He's in!", said Solo. "And with Chameleon watching him, we'll soon know every movement that the Mob makes!"
    "So now we just sit and wait, do we?", asked Mr. X.
    "We won't be sitting around for long.", said Solo. "If my hunch is correct, we'll see some action in the next twenty four hours!"

    Orsine took Jet on a guided tour of his manor house-come headquarters. He took him to a large building at the rear of his property. Inside, there was a lot of activity. It was from this building that the whole of Orsine's operations were being directed.
    "Here is where my fortune is made.", smirked Orsine.
    "What fortune?", asked Jet. "The last six cavourite shipments were ripped off by the Black Squadron."
    "Just a small setback.", said Orsine. "Soon, within a matter of months, the country's entire cavourite supply will be in my hands. Then, I will sell to the highest bidder, including the Black Squadron. I have even had interest from Sylvania."
    "Sylvania?", said Jet. "Never heard of the place."
    "You will, soon.", said Orsine. "Cavourite can not only generate great amounts of electrical power, it can also be used to create weapons more deadly than a nuclear warhead. My friend, soon the entire underworld shall toast the name of Giacomo Orsine!"

    Orsine could be sure that the Black Squadron would not be toasting his name. The Black Squadron had made their headquarters in an old disused factory in the east end of London. They had installed the best technology that stolen money could buy, and in the lab, Dr. Theophilus was hard at work, putting the final touches to his first "neo-mutant". His leader, Mother Nature, walked in.
    "Is all ready, Doctor?", she asked.
    "All of my machinery is ready and in complete working order.", replied Theophilus. "But this specimen you brought me may ruin the whole thing!"
    Theophilus pointed to a puny looking man, who was strapped down to the table in the centre of the room.
    "Just look at him!", he said. "He's puny! I would have thought that you could at least have gotten me an athlete, or someone who was physically fit!"
    "You should be thankful for the specimen you have!", said Nature. "Now stop bickering and start the process!"
    Theophilus grunted, and walked over to a large machine. He switched it on, and a whirring noise began to fill the room. He then turned round to see a glow enveloping the table. The glow gradually got brighter and brighter, but the noise remained constant. Then, after a few minutes, the noise began to die down. The glow subsided. Theophilus switched off his machine. He walked over to the table. Instead of the weakling that had laid there minutes earlier, there now
lay a mighty looking warrior, standing nearly seven foot in height. Muscles rippled all over his body.
    "Is he alive?", asked Nature.
    "Very much so!", Theophilus smiled. "My scanning equipment reveals that his strength has increased a thousand-fold. He can turn his skin into adamantium, the strongest known metal alloy. This man could lift an oil tanker with his pinky!"
    "Excellent!", said Nature. "Trull is born! Now you must use your powers to bring him round to our way of thinking. Then, you must start work on the ultimate neo-mutant!"
    "Impossible!", snapped Theophilus. "We need more cavourite, at least five times the amount we used for Trull."
    "Then you shall have more.", said Nature. "I know of a large amount of cavourite which is currently stored in the Hertfordshire countryside. We should be able to kill two birds with one stone!"

    The time had come, the Black Squadron made it's way to Orsine's house. They were not unexpected. Orsine summoned Jet.
    "The Black Squadron are on their way here. It's time for you to prove yourself."
    Closely followed by some of Orsine's henchmen, Jet left for the attack. As they moved outside the house, Trull picked up a huge stone lion and hurled it at them. It missed by smashed a hole  in the wall. One of Orsine's men aimed at Theophilus, only to have his head explode as the mind master ruptured his brain. Jet followed the Grim Reaper, who moved into the house. Sensing his presence, the Reaper turned and fired a blast at Jet. In his haste to dodge, he crashed into a wall knocking himself unconscious. The Reaper stood over him, his scythe poised to end Jet's life. Then, the ever present old man appeared.
    "You will take no life today.", he smiled. The Reaper found himself cast out of the house by some unknown source.
    Mother Nature had been more successful. She had gained access to the strong room of the house. Together with Trull, she had taken all of Orsine's cavourite. As the Grim Reaper recovered to join them, a strange grey mist encased them, and then they were gone. Celsius flew high above the house and blasted it with fire. Then he left along with the rest of the Squadron.
    Jet sent out a signal from his transmitter. Soon Solo and the fledgling Anglo-Force were on their way to the Hertfordshire countryside. As they drew nearer to their destination a car appeared below them. Then, as they watched in horror, it exploded. Solo called up the vehicle's details on his portable computer.
    "That car belonged to Orsine."
    He landed the helicopter. As he climbed out he noticed the old man again.
    "Quick, grab him!", he ordered. "He must know something about this."
    Lightning Kid lunged forward, but the old man had gone, and was nowhere to be seen. They moved on to Orsine's house. It was a scene of total devastation. The house was burning out of control. Battered and charred bodies lay everywhere. Chameleon moved over to where Jet stood, still in a dazed state.
    "We were told that Orsine had a cavourite store.", said Mr. X. "But my detector can't find any trace of it."
    "Then it looks like the Black Squadron has won.", mused Star Man. "And how does that old man fit into all of this?"
    "Any way I choose to, young man.", said a voice.
    They whirled to see the old man behind them.
    "You have taken the name of Anglo-Force. A noble name, dragged through the dirt by the government you now serve. The esteemed Mr. Harkes was a mere parliamentary under secretary forty years ago when he signed the order disbanding us."
    "What do you mean, us?", asked Chameleon. "I've studied the old files, you don't look like any of the old members. Beastmaster is on Skull Island, studying the giant apes there. Stingray is now running an electronics firm and the Highlander and Dr. Magus have not been seen for years!"
    At the mention of the last name, the old man smiled.
    "I've no time to mess around.", snarled Solo. "Who are you?"
    "I will put it this way, young man. You all received notes recently initialled P.M., but the Prime Minister is not the only thing P.M. Stands for."
    Chameleon's jaw dropped. "Phineas Magus?", he cried.
    The old man bowed low, and then straightened up. The old suit was gone, replaced by the elegant black tailcoat of the master wizard. In his hand he held the cavourite topped cane which was the source of his power.
    "How do we know you are who you say you are?", asked Solo, still suspicious.     "Paul, how can you?", asked Chameleon.
    "The emergency services will deal with things here.", said Magus. "I must depart as I have other things to attend to."
    He smiled at Chameleon.
    "I am touched that you remember me. I have been gone a long time."
    With that, he vanished.
    "I still don't trust that guy.", said Solo.