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Part 12

The men who worked for Professor Irons were all battle hardened Eastern European men, guys who had lived through brutal war and combat. They looked as if they were chiseled from ivory and stone and the older the guard, the tougher he looked. Dan and the Red Spider fought hard, hitting the men with everything they had. Punches were thrown back and forth and both Dan and the Spider managed to take down three men before they were overwhelmed. The guards were expertly trained and in the close confines of the lounge, the two heroes had no space to maneuver. Dan and the Spider used every dirty trick they knew, using everything around them as a weapon. No one, however, went for a gun. There was a code when involved in a fight of that magnitude; the two heroes were too proud and determined and the villainous henchman had superior numbers and deadly training. For either side to go for one of the guns lying about would have been considered an act of cowardice.  It was only through sheer physical strength that the guards managed to overwhelm Dan and the Spider, there were simply too many pairs of hands holding them down that they eventually were restrained and handcuffed.

The Spider was put on the ground on his knees; once Dan was restrained he was held next to him. The Spider’s lip was busted and blood dripped down the middle of his chin, staining his crimson suit.  One of Dan Chase’s eyes was badly bruised and swollen, making it difficult for him to see. Once the two men were on their knees, the guards dragged them roughly along a metal grate, out the lounge and into the underground base of Professor Irons. It was a long journey; the Professor’s office was on the opposite side of a secret lair that was much larger than the Spider had suspected. The Spider took in everything he saw as he was taken through the lair; the storage facility of rocket fuel, the training facility, the massive steel assembly lines below them, the Spider saw it all but said nothing. Finally they were thrown onto a soft imported rug from India in a massive living room. The steel girders were visible outside the room, but a square had been made that appeared to have been lifted straight out of an English manor. There was even a fireplace with a mounted deer’s head above it. The Professor got up from his chair, the metal support frame he wore creaked as he stretched out his old body.

“Ah our guests have arrived!” Irons said. There was no pleasure or humanity in his metallic machine voice. The Professor’s hands had lost mobility years ago and had been replaced with cold steel, he rubbed them together gleefully, creating a horrible screeching sound.

“The Red Spider! What a pleasure to meet you sir!” The Professor said, standing over the Spider. Neither man could or intended to shake hands with the other.

“The pleasure is all mine.” The Spider growled. When he finished, he spit out a mouthful of blood on the Professor’s rug. The old man scowled and glanced up at the large guard who stood behind the Spider. The man had lost a front tooth in the fight and was incredibly angry, so when Irons gave him a nod, the guard gleefully backhanded the Spider across the face.

“Blood does not bother me, vigilante.” Irons said casually.

“Where is Jessica?” Dan blurted out. The Professor looked to the same guard who gleefully backhanded Dan across the face, knocking the man to the floor.

“Manners, young man. Miss Kinkaid is no concern of yours. All you need worry about,” Irons said, leaning closer to the two men, “is how much of your dignity you wish to die with.”