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.


Wait for the Dawn

Part Four: The Price

Story and Illustrations By Hytac


"So, you thought you had me there eh? Well, looks like you're wrong, don'tcha think, babe?" Inaya was cuffed to a stray pipe in the tanker by her hands. Floyd had lingered around in the hold to gloat.

"Maybe I did." She wriggled her fingers experimentally. They were able to reach the back of her ammo belt, which they hadn't taken.

He stopped, putting his face in front of hers. "You know, you're not a bad looking babe for a P.N.A. commando."

"Oh really?" she tried her best to look smitten.

"I'm in pretty good with ol' Mayhem. Maybe, even maybe, I could convince him to let you live." He got even closer, looking at her up and down. "But I'll want something in return, if you know what I mean babe?"

Inaya batted her eyelashes and smiled seductively. "Why don't you come closer and tell me?"

"That's more like it." He grinned and inched closer until she could feel his breath. And smell it too. She tried not to gag. That guy really needed a lot of breath mints. A whole lot.

"Well." she said slowly, still smiling. "I might find you interesting." She pursed her lips to add to the effect. She had learned some time ago that playing along and flattering were the best ways to handle Casanovas. It worked with Floyd. He began grinning foolishly.

"On second thought." Her smiling, seductive face was instantly replaced by a truly frightening one. As Floyd gaped in surprise, she snaked out her hand and caught him by the throat. Then she smiled again, this time diabolically as she pulled her other arm back as far as it would go. ". You're not my type."

Her fist connected solidly with Floyd's jaw. He slumped to the ground, unconscious. "Ouch. For a dandy, you sure have a hard jaw." She commented, gently massaging her hand. Now she had two hands that hurt. "I can't believe I did that. Ugh!"

Gracefully, she stooped to pick up her lock pick which she had dropped while giving Floyd a free trip to dreamland and secreted it in a compartment in the back of her ammo belt. "Always knew it'd come in handy sometime." she commented Then she grabbed the unlocked handcuffs which still hung from the pipe.

She bent down and began cuffing the unconscious Floyd. Just as she reached for the other hand, she paused and thought for a moment before stabbing her finger at his chest.

"And don't call me babe!"


"The Switchblade's on me!" Scott started the Remora and fled from the helicopter. Panic threatened to take control of him, and he could feel his heart hammering wildly. The Switchblade had destroyed his father and the team. for a moment he felt his eyes smart. And now there was no one left on the battlefield except for Gloria, Dusty and him.

"Scott! We're comin' buddy, hold on!" He barely heard Dusty's voice issuing from the radio.

"But how can we get over the wall?" came the voice of Gloria, off mike.

If Dusty had answered, he never heard it. He was too busy dodging the Switchblade's attack. Dive you idiot! A voice in his head hissed. Blindly, he did so.

Relief washed over him about the same time the water did. The Switchblade, essentially an air vehicle, could not pursue him while he was underwater. He simply jinked for a while, randomly changing directions as to prevent the Switchblade from guess his location and shooting blindly. While it couldn't see him, it could guess his location and shoot blindly with the lasers, which worked well enough in the water.

Suddenly he became aware that the radio was still on and someone was saying something to him. "Scott? Come in, Scott. Remora, come in." A sigh through the radio. "I think Switchblade got him, Gloria." Scott realized Dusty must have been patiently calling him and repeating those phrases over and over.

"I'm here Dusty." He spoke guiltily. "I'm sorry about that. Too busy running from Switchblade."

"Whew! I thought you were a goner!" Dusty replied in devout relief.

"I can't surface, The Switchblade's waiting for me. I'm trapped under the lake."

"We'll try to distract it then. The moment it's clear, I want you to make a break for it and find your partner. Get Diane. We'll have to salvage what we can from the situation." Gloria instructed.

"Right." Ironically, his mouth felt dry although he was basically surrounded by water. Still, he was determined not to let himself panic again.

As he waited, he wondered how Inaya was doing.


Sly Rax felt impatient. Bad enough he was stuck at the base with the jerk of a Floyd when the team was having fun getting rid of the M.A.S.K. -then that commando had to show up, and Floyd, being an idiot, had to spill the beans about the whereabouts of the girl.

He watched the monitor of the battle, laughing as he saw Vanessa in the Switchblade and the Gator sniping at each other, using the dam wall as cover. He panned the camera to where the other V.E.N.O.M. vehicles were and saw that They had finished off the other vehicles and were heading for the Gator.

"They'll be caught like rats in a trap!" Sly thought in satisfaction. The satisfaction quickly turned into frustration. "I should be out there!"

Suddenly it occurred to him that Floyd was taking an unusually long time to put their prisoner in the hold. Feeling more and more irritated by the minute, he stomped toward the hold. "Floyd! What's taking you so lo-ong?"

No answer.

"Bet that creep's been flirting with the commando. He's so vain, he thinks every girl who sees him falls in love with him." Sly muttered. "Well, I'm about to burst his bubble." He barged into the hold, prepared to give Floyd a piece of his mind.

No one was in it.

"What the.?" Sly looked around. Where did that Floyd bring that commando? He was sure he had told him to put her there. Just like Floyd to forget and put her somewhere else.

Suddenly he caught a glimpse of something from the corner of the hold. He walked toward it, thinking it looked rather familiar.

Familiar? That's Floyd! the little voice in his head screamed. It was Floyd. Sly was still looking dumbly when he realized several things.

One, Floyd was out cold.

Two, Floyd was cuffed and hidden in the corner.

Three, the commando was nowhere in sight.

Four, Someone must have knocked Floyd out, cuffed him and hidden him.

Five, that Someone must have been the commando.

Six, The commando was on the loose.

Seven, he had stupidly left his mask beside the monitor.

He was about to think Eight when the resounding slam of the hold door jarred him awake. He turned and ran for it, even as he heard the unmistakable sound of bolts being shot home. Then the sound of someone jamming the door from outside the hold.

The door had been left open when he entered the hold. Now it was shut tight. He tried it anyway, and confirmed that it was indeed locked. He muttered an imprecation and banged at the door.

"Let! Me! Out!!" He hollered. Whoever who was outside paid no attention. Click. Click. Clack. That blasted foxy commando was rearming herself with her weapons which he had left where he had put his mask. Then there was the hiss of static and squawking of radio.

"Arrrgh!!! Why you." he yelled angrily. The commando was calling someone, and there was nothing he could do about it. He growled. When Floyd came to, Rax vowed that that little imp was going to have hell to pay.


"Now!" Gloria shouted.

The Remora leapt out of the water in a manner characteristic of a predator ambushing prey. The difference here, of course ,that the Remora was the prey.

Scott felt a mix of relief and fear. Relief that the Switchblade's attention was focused on the Gator, and fear for Gloria and Dusty. He felt like a coward, to be the one running away from a fight and leaving the Gator. For one moment he wanted to turn back, but remembering Gloria's instructions, stuck to his objectives.

His radio crackled to life. "Vendun to Remora." Scott had never been so relieved to hear a voice before.

"Tell me the good news, Inaya."

"Don't count your chickens before they hatch, Scott." Inaya replied dryly. "Diane isn't here, but I know where she is. An abandoned warehouse on shore. It's rigged to blow, but I think I can get us past the systems long enough to get Diane out."

"I'm on my way."

"Is everything all right where you are? Did you knock that EMP generator out like Hal said?"

"Yeah." Scott told her without a hint of joy. Inaya must have detected it, for she immediately asked, "What went wrong?"

"Came too late. They got my Dad and almost everyone."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Scott." She said quietly. Scott didn't answer. "I saw what happened on a video display at their base, at least, some of it. If only they could have hung on a bit longer." she said, trailing off.

The Remora was well away from Larkpoint dam, the Exchange point and heading for the old oil wells. The radio went silent, but Scott could sense the disquiet. In the distance he could see the tanker.

"I see you Scott. I'll be on the port side."

Scott replied an affirmative. Seeing no need to dive, he skimmed on the surface and closed in on the port side of the tanker. He could see Inaya waving. When he was close enough, she began rappelling down the sides of the tanker.

"You have no idea how good it is to see you." Inaya said in devout relief and she clambered on behind him. Scott blushed.

"Hey, you're hurt!" Scott noticed the cut on her hand. "What happened?"

"Dart grazed my hand." Inaya replied nonchalantly. "Nothing serious. Now let's get going. Diane's life is at stake. We don't have long. Mayhem never intended to give her back to the P.N.A. He's set a timer to detonate in case he wouldn't get the chance to do it himself."

"Knew that worm would do something like that." Scott muttered. "Well, not if we get there first."

"We will save Diane." Inaya said grimly, "No matter the cost." They pulled away from the tanker, leaving the Margaret-Norris far behind them.


"Oh man." Dusty couldn't help but say at the sight before them. An ominous line of V.E.N.O.M. vehicles approached from the south, and the Gator still had the Switchblade to deal with. "Gloria."

"I know Dusty. How can we possibly beat them all?"

"Well. we dang sure can try!" Dusty finished for her. "Let's go!"

A deadly game of cat and mouse began. The Gator roared around crazily like an out-of-control car, avoiding blasts of laser fire and dealing out punishment to any vehicle unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of its guns. Fortunately for them, the V.E.N.O.M. vehicles were so tightly clustered that friendly fire soon became an issue amongst themselves.

But it wouldn't last long. Dusty knew it as well as Gloria did, but they were going to give the V.E.N.O.M. a run for their money. They'd go down fighting.


"Hmm. this place looks just about to fall down." Scott commented. Indeed it did. The walls of the warehouse near the unloading docks were covered with old posters which had been rendered illegible long ago by the elements. Piles of refuse lay around, scattered by the wind.

"Look again." Inaya instructed.

"Don't see anything." Scott answered, after a moment of scrutiny.

"See the windows on the second floor? They're all boarded up."


Inaya removed a pair of the smallest binoculars he had ever seen from some hidden pouch. "Here, have a look." Scott accordingly obeyed, pulling Aqua off to do so. "See what I mean? If you look carefully, you'll see the glint of reinforced steel behind those boards."

Scott whistled. "You're right. So Diane's up there?"

"I'd bet on it."

"Then we'd better get going. We don't have much time. Mask on!" He pulled Aqua over his head.

Inaya nodded. The Remora roared forward(if that could be used to describe a vehicle that moved relatively silently for a bike) and headed for the warehouse. "Wait a minute. I thought I saw some- Scott!! " Inaya suddenly shouted.

Scott swerved sharply and out of the way just as a blast he never saw coming incinerated the rubbish piles just next to where they had been.

"Gun turrets!" Inaya yelled. Scott nodded and rode like a madman with Inaya clinging for dear life behind him, weaving to avoid the bombshell blasts coming from a pair of hidden gun turrets. Suddenly he felt the pressure of her grip slacken and realized that she was holding on to him by only one hand. What on earth was she doing?

Then felt a hand holding his shoulder lightly. "Keep going! Occupy those turrets." he missed a few words. ".till.of them." Just as the Remora raced by a crane parked next to the building. Inaya fired her grappling gun at it, then activated the winch, launching herself off the bike.

Unsure of what to do, he simply obeyed what she had told him to do. Carefully he sped around the compound in irregular circles and figure- eights, presenting an irresistible target for the gun turrets. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Inaya, still swinging in the air by the cable from the grappling gun, pull out her cannon-like gun and fire three consecutive shots at one of the gun turrets.

The first shot went wide and missed her mark by a wide margin, wasting itself on the ground in the distance. The second hit the first turret with a satisfying boom, damaging it considerably. The third scored a direct hit, tearing it out of its anchoring and throwing the wreckage right in front of the other remaining turret.

The other turret, still intent on obliterating the Remora, kept shooting regardless. However, this only resulted in the explosive shells hitting the wreck of the other gun turret, causing the shells to explode before it had cleared the barrel of the turret. This continued for several seconds, then both turrets suddenly exploded, sending a dark cloud of smoke heavenwards. Scott, very much relieved, slowed the Remora and stopped right under the crane.

Inaya slid down, unfastened and retrieved her grappling gun and gave him a thumbs up. "Good riding."

"You're the one who took out the turrets." Scott replied, secretly pleased.

"Couldn't have done it without you playing the hardest part-the bait. And not to mention a lot of luck." Inaya smiled and got back to business. "Now, we'd better get up to the second level and find Diane. We have less than an hour."

Scott parked the Remora and both of them set off at a quick sprint.


The crosshairs of the Jackhammer's targeting systems centered on the Gator. Mayhem had missed several times before, but he knew this was going to be different this time. This time the pesky jeep would be converted into a mass of fire and molten metal, and there would go the last of the M.A.S.K.

"Die M.A.S.K.!" he bawled. "This'll teach you to think you could ever stand up to me!!"

Just as his thumb was about to depress the trigger, the world abruptly turned upside down. More precisely, the Jackhammer was being rammed hard from behind by something he hadn't noticed. His shot stabbed the sky and hit nothing.

"What the?" Cliff said, bewildered. The much ignored rearview mirror showed the fatal truth. Larger than life, the huge bulk of the Rhino, with its battering ram extended, was just in the process of backing away from the Jackhammer, having butted it hard enough to crumple the back end of the vehicle. Mayhem and Cliff had been so preoccupied in getting the Gator that they hadn't noticed it coming. "It's the M.A.S.K.!"

"Impossible!!" screeched Mayhem, his eyebrows bristling. "No! We destroyed them. unless." he paused and went silent. Suddenly, all the times he had been tricked before flashed before his eyes. "The holograms! Those blasted holograms they use! We've been tricked!"

As if to emphasize his point, A wave of the other vehicles thought to be destroyed flanked the Rhino. Cliff floored the gas pedal and brought the Jackhammer into a screaming start. The Rhino opened fire and proceeded to demolish the tires and what remained of the back of it. Undaunted, the vehicle kept moving, if that word could have been used to describe the jerky, ear-tearing movement of the damaged vehicle.

Rendered irrational by panic at seeing their leader hit, each and every V.E.N.O.M. unit fled before the onslaught.

Inside the Gator, Gloria and Dusty both stared in amazement.

"Do ya see what I see?" Dusty said, mouth agape.

"I do, and I still don't believe it! It's too good to be true! They're alive!" Gloria looked on the edge of jumping for joy.

"Then what are we doin here chewin' the fat for?" Dusty suddenly realized. "Let's join the party! Yee-Ha!" Without a warning, the gas pedal met the floor and the Gator leapt forward to help out.

The Jackhammer was partially disabled, so they didn't bother about it, but drew up beside the Rhino. "Guys!" Gloria yelled, forgetting completely about her radio.

"Hi Gloria." Brad's head was out of the window and Hocus-Pocus was on full blast. Gloria gaze followed it and realized the truth. All the other vehicles were holograms! Only the Rhino was real.

"Well I'll be. you got 'em runnin' from a buncho o' holograms?" Dusty said in admiration, having realized the truth.

"Hey, Illusion is the ultimate weapon, remember?"

"I'd say." Gloria muttered, unable to decide whether she wanted to slap him or agree with him. "But what I'd like to know is how did you escape that missile? I know it wasn't a hologram."

"We got your warning just in time." Answered Bruce. "Brad lured the missile away with Hocus-Pocus, while Hondo detonated it with Blaster as soon as it passed us far enough. Then Brad kept up the illusion of us being destroyed until the V.E.N.O.M. went after you."

"That was quick thinking."

"Hey, I'm just glad we're alive." Matt said. "Scott?"

"He went off for Diane. That kid of yours did great Matt."

"I know."


"Blast. Twin triggers. I don't like this." Inaya peered through the tiny gap, a frown marring her face. Scott tried to see over her shoulder, but all he could glimpse was a few wires and her wire cutter.

"You do know how to do this, right?"

"I've been trained in it, but no, I'm not a specialist. My specialty is bio- weapons, not explosives." She paused for a moment. "Hmm. I don't think that was assuring, was it?"

They had broken into the warehouse to find it deserted. Despite all that, Inaya and Scott had been very careful. Which was as well, because when they had made their way to the room where they presumed Diane would be, Scott had spotted a elaborate laser detonated bomb which would have set the building on fire if they hadn't been so cautious. Scott was willing to bet that this was the same bomb as the timer Inaya had mentioned earlier.

Since Scott wasn't qualified in dismantling bombs yet (Although Bruce had been teaching him), Inaya had taken over. She had by some miraculous means, produced a compact bomb diffusion kit and begun work on the bomb.

"Ok. Here's the hard part. Which wire?" She was muttering as she reached the final part. Her wire cutter hovered uncertainly over two wires: One maroon and one green. Both powered a separate laser trigger, making it impossible to cut both at once. "Red? Green?"

The wire cutter eased into position, over the red wire. Inaya was about to cut it when suddenly, a flash of insight blinded Scott. "Stop! Not the red!"

"What?" Inaya looked shaken.

"It's standard procedure for the trigger wire to be red, right?" Scott said, heart pounding. "If I know V.E.N.O.M., they'd do it the other way wrong to confuse anyone trying to diffuse the bomb."

"You sure?" Inaya asked, looking at him piercingly.

Scott didn't answer. Self-doubt was beginning to creep in. But he had had a gut feeling.

"White roses." Inaya said suddenly, out of the blue.


"Commando joke." Inaya explained. "When a commando in my team is about to cut a trigger wire of a bomb, he or she names the type of flower he or she likes most."


"It's a way of expressing hope that your comrade lives to put those flowers on your grave should you blow it. No pun intended." She added hastily.

"Uhh. ok." Scott didn't know what to make of that kind of logic. "White roses it is." Scott's stomach gave nervous lurch. What if he was wrong?

Without further conversation, Inaya cut the green wire.


Back at the battlefield, the M.A.S.K. were still pursuing the V.E.N.O.M., but they kept a steady distance so that the V.E.N.O.M. wouldn't realize that they were running from two vehicles and a bunch of holograms.

Suddenly, the V.E.N.O.M. veered off course, as if avoiding something. "What's going on?" Brad said, bewildered.

"I say! There's a line of. tanks blocking them." Alex observed.

"Tanks?" Dusty echoed stupidly. "Tanks?"

"No just any tanks." Gloria looked even more incredulous. "P.N.A. tanks!"

The dull droning on gunfire could be heard. "They're opening fire!" Thick black smoke rose in the distance.

"Talk about nice timing. But who called them? Matt?" Bruce turned to their leader.

"Not me." Matt shook his head. "This is." then his eyes widened. "Vendun! She must have called them. Who else could it have been?" He frowned slightly. Matt had never liked military help when on a mission; although in this case he certainly needed it, it still didn't appeal to him that Vendun had called reinforcements behind his back.

He forced his mind back on track. "This is our chance!" he told the others. "Our one chance to get Mayhem and the V.E.N.O.M. once and for all!"

The others looked back at him, amazed. So far, their thoughts had been getting out of this alive. They'd never contemplated the possibility of capturing Mayhem after he had slipped through their fingers for so many times. But the amazement lasted only for a few seconds.

"What are we waitin' for?!" yowled Dusty. "Let's do it!"

"With just the Rhino and Gator?" Brad's lone comment sounded rather skeptical. But no one took any notice. The very appealing idea of putting Miles Mayhem behind bars had them all motivated.

But a thought suddenly struck Gloria. Acting immediately, she exchanged a few words with Bruce and Matt. Minutes later, the ATV belonging to the Rhino detached itself and raced off; but its direction was not that of the other two vehicles.


The red diode winked out. Inaya held her breath. If the green lighted up, they were both dead. No, she corrected herself; all three of them would be dead. She, Scott, and Diane Kennedy.

The green diode flared to life. Her eyes widened. She stared at it in disbelief for what seemed like an eternity, then heard Scott say something, she couldn't make out what- before all hell broke loose. Some invisible force shoved her forward, throwing her into the air and she hit the iron cast door hard. Pain exploded and her vision blurred into a haze of red. She could hear Scott's cry of pain, and her own alien scream.

She came to and found herself lying in a tangle of a limbs. She was sprawled in a most awkward position, her limbs all bent at odd angles. Everything hurt. There was something sticky running down her cheek. From prior experience, she knew it was blood.

It was still liquid, which meant she hadn't passed out for more than ten minutes. Slowly she opened her eyes. She was surprised to see that instead of a cavern of rubble, the section of the building they were in was relatively complete. She realized with a jolt that they'd been lucky. The bombs wired to this side of the building, for some reason, hadn't blown. If they had, she wouldn't be where she was. She would have been dead. The shockwave from the other bombs must have been what which had slammed her and Scott against the wall.

"Inaya? Can you hear me?" Inaya looked around and realized that Scott was beside her, looking very anxious. He, too, looked considerably battered, but judging by the look of horror on his face, he was better off than she was. "You all right?"

A stupid question, but she decided to overlook it. He was just being concerned. "I'll live." she ventured and got up. She could have sworn her joints creaked and her muscles screamed, but at least they still worked despite all the protests they were shrieking.

"What happened?"

"Half the bombs blew. I must have cut the wire which triggered the bombs on this side of the building." She caught the stricken look on Scott's face. "We're lucky." She added. "If I had cut the other wire we'd all be dead while the bombs on the other side of the building wouldn't detonate. Thank goodness you intervened."

"And Diane?" Scott prompted. To tell the truth, she'd forgotten about Diane for the moment, but the urgency came rushing back.

"We've got to get her out- now. The building's still standing but it could go any moment." Without further discussion she forced the door open. It yielded.

The room was stark and bare. A rusty bed stood in one corner, next to a boarded up window. On that bed lay Diane Kennedy, cuffed to the railings. She raised her head groggily in bewilderment. Scott followed her into the room. Diane's eyes widened. "Scott!" she shrieked and burst into tears.

Instinctively Scott put his arm around her as she continued sobbing into his shoulder. "I knew you'd come. I was so scared."

"Move over Scott." Inaya said quietly. He looked up. Was it his imagination, but was there something glistening in her eye? She was holding a lock pick in her hand. She reached over, and in a moment, had Diane's manacles off. Her wrists were chafed and bleeding, but what worried Scott was her condition.

"She's been drugged."

"Curse those terrorists." Inaya muttered suddenly with inexplicable wrath. "No child should ever have to experience this."

Scott couldn't help feeling that Inaya had a personal agenda against terrorists from the way she spoke. But now wasn't the time or place to discuss terrorism. He lifted Diane. "I'll carry her." he announced. Inaya didn't protest. The smaller woman would be much more useful in protecting them.

They hurried out of room and headed for the stairs. Inaya was trying to wipe off some of the blood from her face, but some still stayed on. The result was ghastly. But she didn't seem to care. She held her handgun in front of her, alertly scanning for any possible threats.

"Oh no!" They had reached the stairwell. But they could go no further. The reason: it had disappeared. the lower stairs had collapsed. Acrid smoke rose in a billowing column from it.

"How are we going to get out?" Scott asked Inaya.

She thought for a moment and pointed up. "Roof." The stairs up to the roof were still intact. "But the smoke's going to be a big problem. How long can you hold your breath?"

"Won't need to." Scott tapped Aqua. "Does your diving gear work out of the water?"

Inaya looked dumbfounded. "'Doh! Never thought of that. Good thinking. But that only covers the two of us, what about Diane?"

"Leave that to me." Scott said confidently. Reaching to a hidden compartment on Aqua's right side, he detached what looked like a breathing mask. It shared the same air supply with the mask. "I designed Aqua for rescue missions as well. The supply will deplete faster, but we won't need that much anyway."

"Have I told you that you surprise me sometimes?" Inaya said just before she put on her diving mask. From the look on her face, her opinion of him had risen a few notches. Scott couldn't help but feel pleased.

Approximately five minutes later a trapdoor on the roof of the building burst open. Scott and Inaya scrambled out. Diane blinked in the comparatively bright light as the last rays of the sun bathed the sky with rays of pink and gold, edging the clouds with a filigree of the same color.

Scott was about to say something to Ina when he stopped short. Her eyes were wide open in fear. Slowly he became aware of the fact that the air vibrated with the unmistakable beat of a helicopter. "Brad?" he guessed even though he knew it couldn't possibly be. The Condor was currently in pieces, and he knew it all too well. By the reflection of Inaya's amber hued diving mask, he could see the Switchblade right behind him. It must have tracked the Remora there. As he turned around to look at it, he saw the guns slides out from their hidden panels and aim at them.

Inaya thrust her grappling gun into Scott's hand. "Run! Fire at crane.get down.get clear.be right behind!" she barked so fast that he could barely keep up. He hesitated. " GO! Leave this to me! " she commanded as she unslung the rifle from her back.

He didn't even stop to think. With Diane over one shoulder and grappling gun in hand, he ran. Seeing the crane, he fired at it; The grappling hook glinted as it arced through the air and caught the metal support. Instinctively he thumbed the trigger again. The winch activated and pulled him off the roof. Now he was swaying in mid-air. Diane was screaming in fear. He depressed the trigger once more. It slowly lowered them both towards the ground. The familiar boom of Inaya's rifle and the hiss of the Switchblade's laser blasts. and an uncanny silence.

Then the world fell apart in a series of explosions. He felt a strange burning pain sweep over him. But he still kept his death grip on both Diane and the cable.

The moment seemed to be frozen in time. Everything was stunningly clear. He saw the entire building he'd just vacated explode and crumble into dust. Oddly enough, he couldn't help thinking what a beautiful effect the dust clouds formed against the sunset. The Switchblade, caught in the blast, spun out of control and was spiraling into the harbor. He saw the immolated figure that was his partner somersault into the air, thrown by the incredible force of the explosion- which he knew now, had been caused by a stray shot from the Switchblade. It must have hit one of the undetonated bombs and triggered a chain reaction.

She grasped vainly for the cable as she plummeted past, still shrouded in a corona of flames. He caught a glimpse of her doomed face as she plunged into the shadows two floors below. From the corner of his eye he could see a familiar black ATV rumble towards them.

But his attention was directed upward as a crack was followed by a lack of tension from the cable. It had given way and snapped.

He never remembered hitting the ground.


The voices seemed far off. They swam in Scott's head.

".hasn't been any change at all?"

"He's been out for most of the night." the second voice seemed familiar, but he couldn't place it.

His eyes snapped open. He was lying on a bed, in a dim room. Two figures were beside him. One was sitting, the other standing. "Dad?" he ventured uncertainly.

"Scott!" Matt was sitting on the chair. He looked as though he wanted to hug his son, but didn't dare to. The doctor, whom he didn't know, looked relieved.

"What happened?" he asked.

"It's over now. Bruce got there in time and saved you both. " His father urged. "Diane is safe thanks to you. Now rest."

"But what about In.?"

"You need your strength. Rest." Matt was deliberately avoiding the question.

"What- happened- to- my- partner?!? " Scott pressed. His father had fallen silent and was avoiding his eyes. But deep inside, he knew. "She's dead, isn't she?" he said softly.

Matt gave an almost imperceptible nod. Scott leaned back, letting the pillows support him. His eyes turned and looked at the clock on the wall. It was forty past five. There was no light coming from the window. Dawn had yet to arrive.

"I'm sorry Scott. She was still alive when we got her to the hospital, but the doctors said she succumbed to her burn wounds at approximately one 'o six this morning."

"She died to give us a chance to get away." he said brokenly. Suddenly, he knew that he hated the V.E.N.O.M. more than anything else in the world.

"We got the V.E.N.O.M." His father said, as if reading his mind. "Miles Mayhem and the rest of the team are now under lock and key. The only one we didn't get was Vanessa. She went down with the Switchblade. The other two- Sly Rax and Floyd Malloy got away."

"So we win. It's over."

"Yes. It's over."

Or was it? Somehow, Scott doubted it.


The interior of the room was shrouded in darkness, lighted only by the glare of the computer screen. A single figure sat before it.

"Up so late, Cain?" A single voice loomed out of the darkness. A second man, rather heavily built, joined the first. "Or should I say early?"

"I had work to do." Cain replied. "Look at this. I just found a bit of information that might interest you. Here: the demise of a Captain Inaya Vendun, P.N.A. Commando squadron. Cain looked up at the second man, as if trying to read his emotions, but his face remained impassive. "Another one?"

"Possibly. Look into it."

"And you'll be.?"

".contacting an old friend." the second man replied. The radiance from the monitor caught his face, and lighted up the twin scars that marred it.


Deep underwater, the wreck of the Switchblade waited for the dawn. For only then would it be discovered and brought to light once more. Until then, it would have to wait on the ocean floor. At the present, it seemed most unremarkable. Unremarkable. except that the cockpit door was wide open.

THE END... For now


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