Disclaimer: This was a fanfic I wrote long ago, when I still used to write fanfic. It was originally posted on my site, The MASK Mindforge.

The versions at my site have illustrations.

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Wait for the Dawn Part One: The Kidnapping By Hytac

Like a phantom of the darkness, the abandoned oil tanker lay in the desolate harbour. Rusty and broken down, it was as a symbol of better days when the oil wells used to be productive. Unfortunately, the wells had dried up. The inhabitants moved away for the want of a better living, and left the area a desolate ghost town.

But like most things, the tanker was not what it seemed.

In the hidden base within the oil tanker, Vanessa Warfield, V.E.N.O.M. agent, argued with Miles Mayhem, V.E.N.O.M leader, for what seemed like the tenth time that week.

"That's my job!" Vanessa protested vehemently as Miles put finishing touches on his plans to permanently disable the M.A.S.K. The stout man ignored the woman, intent on carrying things out his way.

"Mayhem, have you lost your mind?" she growled.

"I've made up my mind." Mayhem said gruffly.

"What a wonderful plan, putting your trust on a mercenary." Vanessa said sarcastically.

Mayhem continued speaking, as though he hadn't heard. "Too long I have waited for the day I'd get rid of the M.A.S.K.. They've been a thorn in our sides for too long. But now. but now, I will personally see that each and every one of them is destroyed! Thanks to this new weapon of mine."

"The plans of which I got for you. Vanessa folded her arms. "I can get in and out of the P.N.A. headquarters in less time than in takes for Rax to put two and two together."

"Hey!" came the monotonous protest from the next room.

"I don't want Matt Trakker to suspect it's you. The entire plan will fail if he knows it's the V.E.N.O.M." Mayhem stated.

"That plan won't work!" Vanessa said obstinately.

"I'm the leader here, Vanessa, in case you've forgotten." Mayhem said, his voice rising.

"You're the leader all right." She thought. "That's why were all stuck at nowhere." But she only kept quiet. She would have better luck talking to the rough, algae covered, rust-stained walls of the tanker.

**************

P.N.A. Headquarters.

"Dad, I really appreciate all this, but is getting me a new partner really necessary?" asked Scott Trakker, looking rather out of place with his blue jacket and plain white T-shirt in the midst of uniformed people in the main headquarters of the P.N.A. At nineteen years of age, Scott was nearly as tall as his father, but lacked the aura of experience elder people had. His once curly brown hair had darkened a little, and had straightened out to become merely wavy. His fingers were long and looked almost delicate, proof that he had spent more time typing away at a keyboard to tinkering with fine machinery than doing rough work. His skin was pale, showing that the young man hadn't spent enough time outdoors as he should have.

"Of course , son." Matt Trakker replied. "The team needs some expanding. It's only fair that you get to start with someone new. And I've found the perfect agent, she's a commando at the P.N.A.. She's serious about her job, a good infiltration agent, and I think she'll fit in well."

"That sounds great Dad." Scott said, noticing a man in a wheelchair with the corner of his eye.

"Duane would have spoken to her about now. He's expecting us at his office."

**************

P.N.A. Headquarters, Duane Kennedy's office.

"With all due respect sir, you must be joking." Capt. Inaya Vendun said with a look of pure disbelief on her face.

President Kennedy's office was certainly not conducive to joking. The walls were painted a cool electric blue, while the floor was carpeted with a thick green carpet. Bookcases filled with various volumes hugged the wall at one side, while a couple of comfortable green chairs on the other side were bathed in the sunlight which streamed in from the narrow paned window. A painting depicting mountain scenery graced one wall while charts and maps covered the other.

"I assure you, Captain, I am not. You have been assigned to the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand." Duane said most seriously, leaning forward with a creak of his leather chair.

"But sir, I don't recall any unsatisfactory performances by my team. why am I being demoted?" The woman's face seemed genuinely distressed.

Duane hid a smile. "Captain, your recent performances have all been more than satisfactory. In fact, we've assigned you to the M.A.S.K. as a way of promotion.

"In that case, sir, I will decline my promotion. My duty is with my team." Inaya crossed her arms and looked obstinate.

"Your duty, Capt. Vendun, is to follow orders. You will obey them, will you not?" A hint of annoyance in his voice suggested suspension. Inaya's shoulders sagged. There was no alternative.

"Yes. Sir."

"You are dismissed, Captain."

"Affirmative, sir." She left the room without further sound. The moment she exited, she promptly exploded. "I cannot believe this! Of every single commando in the P.N.A. and it has to be me who gets assigned to him! It could have been anybody but him!" She thought angrily. "I hate the M.A.S.K.! everyone knows that! I'm willing to bet Trakker's behind this somehow."

"Whoa! Captain! Why the fireworks?" A familiar voice came from beside her. Lt. Hal Grayson, her colleague and close friend wheeled next to her. Despite being in a wheelchair, his tall frame still towered over her petite one. He was still young, only a few years older than she, but his head of brown hair had already turned grey. He had muscular arms, perhaps to compensate for his much-wasted legs. In spite of being paralyzed from waist down, Hal still worked for the P.N.A. as a weapons specialist.

"Congratulate me, Hal. I've been assigned to the M.A.S.K." She said glumly.

"The M.A.S.K.?" Hal looked horrified. "Under Trakker?"

Ina nodded. "I just hope I don't kill him for what he did to you."

A haunted look crossed his face. "I'd rather not talk about it, Ina. Too many bad memories. And I'm cleared of those charges anyway." He smiled wanly. "Thanks to you."

Ina smiled back, then her face hardened. "No thanks to Matt Trakker. That man will pay for what he's done. So help me, Hal."

**************

"And you've met my niece, Diana?" Duane said as he introduced a young girl of ten, with soft brown hair and a rather cheeky grin. Her eyes were a bright brown. Her young face was still free from the nuisance of acne, and she wore a sleeveless blouse of pink and simple blue jeans. One dimple on her cheek gave her an adorable, lopsided look.

"Hello Diana." Said Matt and Scott.

"Hello Mister Trakkers." She said charmingly. "Are you real M.A.S.K. agents?"

"Diana!" Duane reprimanded. The girl only grinned.

Duane sighed. "You'll have to excuse her. She's rather set on becoming a M.A.S.K. agent. Her parents asked me to arrange a meeting with you just to pacify her."

"Well, she might become an agent in the future, you never know." The young girl's eyes positively gleamed.

"I know that feeling." Scott said, remembering his past.

"Why don't you talk to her while I discuss the new recruit with Duane?" Matt suggested.

"Pleeease?" Diana beseeched, tugging his sleeve.

Scott relented. As much as he would have liked to know about his new partner, he would have to wait.

**************

As soon as Scott and Diana had retreated out of earshot in to the waiting room, Matt began talking with Duane.

"You've talked to her?"

Duane nodded. "Yes. But I must say, why on earth would you want her? She's good, no doubt, but she hates you because of the Grayson affair. You know she blames you for his disability."

Matt was silent for a moment. "I know. I'm sorry about the Grayson affair. I was wrong, I know it now. Lt. Hal Grayson shouldn't have been jailed, as for his accident, I had no intention of that happening." He paused, as if the memory itself hurt him badly. "But this feud between us has gone on for too long, Duane. I want to end it. Maybe by letting her see my true side, I can get her to see what happened was a mistake. I'd like a chance."

"I've always admired you for that, Matt. But what of pairing her with your son?"

"Scott is rather hot-headed." Matt said slowly. "He refused to go to college or university because he wanted to become a M.A.S.K. agent. I know he thinks he doesn't need it. he certainly is good with machinery and computers, but maybe working with a partner like Vendun can show him that M.A.S.K. work isn't what he thought it would be. As far as I'm concerned, it's an experiment worth trying."

**************

The Mercenary wriggled sinuously though the ventilation tunnels of the P.N.A. Headquarters, making the minimum of sounds required. Known as the Albino, he was considered the best mercenary kidnapper in business.

The very same fact which prompted Miles Mayhem to hire him instead of Vanessa Warfield.

Through the slats of the ventilation grate, he caught a glimpse of the president's office. The president was talking to a younger blond man. The mercenary recognized him instantly.

"Matt Trakker." He hissed. "Not very good, this. Should have known Mayhem would leave this out when briefing me. Good thing I recognized his car."

No matter. Even Matt Trakker would not be able to stop the Albino from doing his work this day. He wriggled further on, ignoring the terribly draughty condition of the vents. The waiting room adjoining Duane Kennedy's office was occupied by two people. More accurately, a young man and an even younger girl. He was about twenty. She, perhaps twelve. Both were talking about something, the latter more than the former.

Objective sighted. Now that every piece of his plan was in place, there was nothing that could stop him. Remove the detonation remote from his belt, click the button and the everyone would be as blind as a bat.

And as defenseless as one.

A twitch of his thumb sent a chain of explosives rumbling, destroying the power system, security as well as the backup systems. Even in the vent, he could hear the dull report of the explosion, followed by darkness as the lights went out.

The Albino believed in doing things thoroughly. One kick at the sawed- through vent sent it flying. He stepped into the waiting room.

**************

The blast knocked Hal off his wheelchair and Inaya off her feet. The hallway plunged into darkness. Without the artificial lighting, The P.N.A. headquarters were rendered unnavigable.

"I'm okay." Hal reassured her. "What was that?"

"Someone set of a chain of explosives." Inaya's hand reached for her gun which she normally kept in her thigh holster, and groaned when she remembered she hadn't brought it because of her visit to Duane's office. Hal never carried firearms. "I'd better find out."

"I'll keep watch here. providing I can see anything." Hal said as he dragged himself into his wheelchair.

"Right." Inaya said as she set off in the direction of the President's office.

"Be careful." Hal called after her.

"The lights, why have they gone off?" Duane demanded. Enough light was emitted by the glass-paned window for the president to see, but that was all.

"I don't think that's the problem, Duane." Matt said, looking uneasy. "Why haven't the backup lights come on? Something's wrong."

Truer words were never spoken. Even as he said that, the acrid smell of gas seeped through the vent, and into the room. The dizzying sensation from inhalation confirmed that it was some sort of knock-out gas.

"Duane! The gas! We must get out!" Matt warned between gasps.

"My niece! Diana! And your son!" Duane collapsed into unconsciousness. Matt held his breath, grabbed the president and propelled him out the door. The empty corridor was free of the knock-out gas. Matt left him there. Taking a deep breath, he ran for the room where he had left his son.

Someone emerged from the room, a limp figure under one arm. Matt checked his pace, and attempted to intercept the figure. It wasn't Scott. The mystery man dropped the figure and raised his hands in surrender.

And somersaulted forward so quickly that he caught Matt by surprise. A violent kick in the face sent him spinning and he found himself face-down with a mouthful of carpet. By the time he got up, both kidnapper and victim were gone.

Apparently the gas was only meant to last a short while. It had already begun to clear. Torn between the decision to pursue the intruder and find his son, Matt hesitated.

Scott came stumbling out of the smoke, coughing.

"Dad! .Diana!" he gasped. ".she's been kidnapped! I couldn't stop him." Father and son raced after the intruder, but he was where to be seen.

"Don't worry. I know where we can cut him off." Matt said, a look of grim determination on his face. "He won't get away."

**************

In was instinct which prompted Inaya to duck. A shower of sparks bore evidence to the wisdom of her actions. A bullet embedded itself into the wall above her head. She had barely time to recover when a figure rushed past her. He was carrying something.

Inaya yelled out a warning to Hal, who was further down. The sounds of a scuffle broke out. Hal hadn't a chance. The intruder gave a powerful sidekick which sent him, wheelchair and all, crashing into the wall. He hit his head, slumped against the wall, and did not move. The intruder raced on.

No time to stop and help Hal. No time to do anything but run, run and run, with the knowledge that he was armed and she was not. But he had the burden to carry, she had not. And she was a fast runner. She was gaining on him. Familiar passages and rooms flashed by, barely a blur to Inaya. She smelled smoke, and knew that certain parts of the building were on fire. But she didn't care. She couldn't spare the time to.

"He was heading for the hangar!" she realized suddenly. If he got into one of the vehicles..

Too late. He reached the hangar and darted into the open door of a helicopter. The hangar door was open. The security personnel lay senseless on the floor. They must have been knocked out earlier since the hangar hadn't suffered any damage from the bombs. He had planned it all along. Inaya pushed herself to the limit as he started the copter. She had to stop him.

She caught the landing gear just as he lifted off. Grimly, she hung on as the helicopter sailed out of the hangar without the slightest bit of resistance from anyone.

Or so she thought. Out from the blue, a red Camaro with gull wings flew to intercept the helicopter. "Speak of the devil. Not him!" She groaned. Suddenly she regretted not taking another of the helicopters to pursue the kidnapper. She had been trained in the use of all of them.

Desperately, she struggled to climb into the fuselage. With terra firma hundreds of feet below, she would have to try to overpower him from inside. "They can't shoot down the helicopter." She surmised. "They'll have to think of something else. Oh wait. That man will probably use that fancy face mask and do something to save the day." She thought sarcastically as they left the city area and entered the countryside. "At least if we crash, the death toll won't be so catastrophic." Inaya comforted herself.

She struggled and got hauled herself up to the fuselage door. The victim, who was a young girl, lay motionless on the passenger seat. Inaya recognized her instantly. It was Diana Kennedy, Duane Kennedy's niece. She must have been drugged.

The kidnapper hadn't noticed her yet. He was busy at the moment and in the process of activating a control of some sort.

Suddenly, the Camaro's hood blew. It was a very small internal explosion. But the car-plane began loosing power. Inaya watched helplessly as the Thunderhawk faltered, and plunged towards the deadly ground. The closest water was a lake in the distance, and there was no way the Thunderhawk could reach it in time for a water landing.

The Thunderhawk spiraled downwards, leaving a spire of oily black smoke. She almost couldn't bear to look as they neared the ground. As much as she disliked Matt Trakker, she had no wish to see him die this way. They were heading for an empty pasture. Moments before it crashed into the ground, the car plane righted itself and crash landed.

"I'll say one thing for that Trakker. He certainly can crash-land." She muttered to herself. Then she noticed the pair of boots in front of her. She muttered a curse as the kidnapper, having finally noticed her, moved to get her off the helicopter.

For the first time, she managed to get a good look at the man. He was tall, very tall, and powerfully built. He was covered from head to toe in black, plus a grey face mask. A pair of tinted goggles covered his eyes and he wore a beret pulled low on one side. He moved with the grace of a cat.

This would not be an easy fight. She was a skilled fighter, but so was he. And he was so much bigger and heavier than she was.

She threw a punch, which he deftly blocked. His powerful kick nearly hit her torso, but she darted out of the way in time.

Then something caught her leg and she crashed to the ground, or more appropriately, the fuselage floor. She rolled over and hit out blindly, managing to catch something. It came off in her hand. It was the kidnapper's face mask.

For one crystal clear moment, they made eye contact. She saw his pale face, his crop of short white hair, his weak eyes. Green eye met white. Then too fast to follow, his leg connected with her midsection and sent her hurtling out of the helicopter. She screamed and grabbed the landing gears again.

Well. Back to square one.

Vaguely, she was aware of the wide blue expanse of water looming towards her with horrifying speed. The kidnapper was going to shake her off by dunking her into a convenient lake. And there was nothing she could do about it. She would have to let go or be killed.

Gritting her teeth, she let go and rolled herself into a ball, bracing for impact.

She hit the water. After the first confusing moment, she surfaced, spluttering and stared at the fleeing helicopter, now a distant speck against the azure sky. She had lost the kidnapper, and with him went Diana Kennedy.

**************

P.N.A. headquarters resembled a stirred-up bee-hive by the time Inaya had made her way back. The explosions had injured many of its occupants, and the damage to the property was intensive. Smoke poured out of several sections, still blazing despite the firefighter's attempts to douse the fire.

The blinking lights of paramedics and other rescue personnel outside dazzled her. She could see men carrying the injured into ambulances before rushing them to the hospital. Even some of the faces were familiar. She hoped that Hal wasn't one of the injured. Catching the grisly sight over several body bags, she hope it wasn't worse. Men and women were scurrying about, no one seemed to notice her.

"Inaya!" Someone called her. She saw it was Captain Bailey, her onetime superior and mentor. The bulky man with the bulldog jaw was overseeing the salvation of equipment. "Are you hurt?" Inaya shook her head. "Grayson told me you went after the kidnapper. that was dangerous! And you weren't even armed! What were you thinking?"

Inaya shrugged. "Not now Bailey. I knew the risks. But he got away." The taste of failure was bitter and it stung her. "How's Lt. Grayson?" She asked, unable to hide her tone of concern.

"He came around sometime ago. I sent him home since the paramedics didn't think it was serious." Capt. Bailey told her. "Nothing but a knock on the head, they said. You don't have to worry about him. By the way, there's a man who's been asking for you. Over there." Capt. Bailey pointed.

Inaya followed his gaze. Her eyes settled on the blond man standing beside an ambulance. Her heart sank. The man was Matt Trakker.

**************

Scott's leg was still a bit stiff, but aside from that, he was fine. It had taken them some time to get back to the P.N.A. Headquarters after the Thunderhawk had crashed. Somehow, the kidnapper had managed to plant the bomb on the Thunderhawk. Fortunately, the Thunderhawk's safety systems had kicked in and prevented them from any injury. Scott had a bruise on his knee, but that was all.

"Mr. Trakker?" A voice penetrated his thoughts. He looked up and saw a young woman. Her long green-black hair was plastered to her face and her clothes were rather wet. She wasn't very tall, about a few inches over five feet. Her body was shapely and trim, evidence of the physical demands her line of work called for. Her face showed a mix of European and Oriental. Eyes a shade of dark green that could easily be mistaken for black flashed in the morning sun. He recognized her immediately. It was the woman who had hung from the helicopter.

"Over here, Capt. Vendun." His father, who had been talking to Duane (who had by then recovered) spoke up.

"You called, Mr. Trakker?" She said, her voice hard.

Was it just him, or was there an edge in her voice which suggested anger, even hate? Her face certainly looked rather hostile. Never mind their trying to hide it. It was there.

His father and Capt. Vendun had locked gazes. They were challenging each other, Scott realized. Something was very wrong here. No mistake that she hated his father. It was present in her face, the way she moved, and her tone of voice.

"It's been quite awhile since we've seen each other Capt. Vendun." With a shock, Scott noticed his father's face bore an expression usually reserved for Miles Mayhem and the V.E.N.O.M. His father had no violent love for Capt. Vendun, that was certain.

"Well, you'll be seeing a lot of me, from now on, Sir. Since I've been personally asked by the President to join your team." Somehow she made it sound like an insult. Then it dawned on him.

"Very well, Capt. Please meet my son, Scott. Scott, meet Inaya Vendun. She's your new partner."

Scott made a ghastly attempt to smile. Her cold eyes stared back. Automatically, he extended a hand. She took it, and shook it, and dropped it as soon as possible.

"Mr. President." She said, turning away. "I engaged the kidnapper, I couldn't overpower him."

"Not your fault, Capt. Vendun. I didn't expect you to be able to stop him." Duane said glumly. The loss of his niece seemed to have drained the spirit out of him. Inaya winced at the words.

"What am I going to tell her parents?" Duane said sadly to himself. His shoulders sagged.

"I'm sorry I failed this time, Duane." His father said, laying his hand on the man's shoulder. But I'm going to get her back. I promise."

Scott risked a quick glance at Inaya. Her face had softened with compassion at the sight of the distraught man. "There's a human being under that tough exterior." He realized.

Suddenly, working with her didn't seem to be so bad after all.

**************

Miles Mayhem was pleased. Everything was going according to plan. Diana Kennedy had been kidnapped and yet Matt Trakker had no idea that the V.E.N.O.M. was behind it.

Which would ultimately prove his doom. Mayhem grinned evilly as he set the second step of his plan in motion.

"The meeting point will be here." He pointed at the digital map. The Albino nodded. Beside the corpulent Mayhem, the Albino seemed even taller than ever.

"Just get on with it." He hissed. "And next time tell me if Trakker will be there or not."

"I had no idea he'd be there last time." Mayhem protested, his mustache bristling.

The Albino waved his long, slender hand impatiently. "Whatever. Just continue."

"After you send the ransom demand, you will make plans to meet them here." Mayhem pointed at the map again. "The fool Trakker will show up with a team of people called the M.A."

"I know!" The mercenary snarled. "Get to the point!"

Mayhem felt a surge of dislike for the mercenary. His satisfaction at being able to capture Diane vanished as quickly mist in the morning sun. If he wasn't the best, Mayhem would have fired him long ago. "There, we'll receive the ransom money. You can take it and all of it, there and then. That will be your payment. As soon as the money is exchanged, my agents will take care of the M.A.S.K.!" A fanatical light gleamed in his eyes.

The Albino saw it and shook his head. He had seen that look in others before. They all had had bad ends.

To be continued...

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Credits: First of all, I'd like to thank The Hitman, Lisa and Kallah for reading over the first version of the fanfic, pointing out the mistakes, and helping me to make this a better piece of fanfic and giving me the encouragement every fanfic writer needs. I'd also like to give my thanks to Megaman, the really cool guy who provides all those Realvideo episodes of M.A.S.K., which in turn keeps me interested. Also to all those people who gave me feedback, you know who you are. Lastly, I'd like to thank Jarod Kowalski (Did I spell that right?), who started the M.A.S.K. RPG long long ago. So it didn't last long... but hey, if he hadn't created the RPG, my character, Inaya Vendun would never have been born... Thanx all! - Hytac ------------------- This fanfic is the copyright of Hytac Please do not use without written permission. M.A.S.K. is the copyright of Kenner Parker toys... yada yada yada