“What are you simpletons doing in my lair?” Count Nemesis demands. Portal sits on the ground Indian-style in between Mouse and Ernie. He looks up at them for answers.

“Beats me, I just got here,” Portal shrugs.

“We’re looking for my lunch! That you stole!” Ernie points at Count Nemesis.

“Why would I steal your lunch?” Count Nemesis shoots back.

“Because you’re a super villain! It’s what you do!” Ernie counters.

Count Nemesis nonchalantly strolls over to a black refrigerator. He opens the evil cooler up to reveal that it’s fully stocked with food. “Tell me, why would I want your soggy brown bag when I have the most delicious food right in my desk drawer?”

Ernie has no response. He hangs in mid-motion, speechless at the plethora of delicious fares in the fridge. Mouse steps forward and takes control of the conversation. “Speaking of desk drawers, how do we get out of this place?”

Count Nemesis smirks. He revels in revealing his riddles to the rest of office. The Count steps up to his desk control console. “One desk drawer… leads to another,” he devilishly states before opening the desk drawer and disappearing from sight.

Back in the office, The Count leans on his desk waiting for the others to return. He is spinning Politenessman’s hat on one hand. WHOMP! Mouse, Portal, and Ernie tumble out of Count Nemesis’ desk drawer and onto the floor. The Count promptly places the hat on top of Ernie’s head, transforming him back into Politenessman.

“My word. If The Count didn’t dine on my supper, then who did?” Politenessman wonders while tightening his tie.

As the others get their bearings, Alter-Ego and Angel of Justice walk by the group of dimension hoppers and see that Portal has returned. Angel of Justice’s eyes light up. “PORTAL! You’re safe!” she shouts and rushes over to him. Angel wraps her arms around Portal and squeezes, giving him the biggest hug of his life. The oxygen pushes out of Portal’s lungs as she clasps him tight. Portal’s face is engulfed in her blonde hair.

Angel finally pulls away from Portal and lightly smiles. Portal is too lost in euphoria to respond in any way. “Don’t ever do that to me again! I mean it Mister! I can’t do this job without ya,” she says while poking him in the chest. She then wanders off back into the depths of the office.

Portal longingly watches her go. His face has turned a brilliant beet red. Alter-Ego, ever the jokester, sneaks up beside Portal, jabs him in the ribs, and asks, “How ya doing there, buddy?”

Portal continues to gaze off in the direction of Angel and replies, “I’m in trouble.”

“Yeah, you’re in trouble,” Alter-Ego agrees and grins.

Stay tuned for Chapter 11 of STAN LEE’S WORK FORCE next Tuesday!