Hey folks, we’ve finally been accepted on Topwebfiction! All I need is a simply one-click vote here weekly to keep the readers flowing in. The link is also on the front page. The more readers we get, the more bonus content we can put out in the future. Thank you for following thus far, we’ve got about half a dozen chapters to go in this arc.
Fritz would have been lying if he’d said this had been one of his better days. Sure, it wasn’t his worst either, but boy, vigilante work was tough and the people were even more nuts than usual. Somehow he’d never expected to fight a giant bug.
To his surprise, Prism had lived through the encounter and was now headed for the weapons cache on his own. Something about stealth. Onyx and Shade were supposed to meet him there.
On the way, however, Cerberus jerks had been making the journey a pain in the ass. It seemed like every corner he turned, there were some assholes blocking his path and slowing him down. Just as he thought he’d found a clear way, there were some more soldiers with assault rifles. It was getting old. They were all walking in the same direction, seemingly only interested in searching above for any threats. Not one of the men had any thought to look over his shoulder and catch Prism following.
It gave Prism more than enough time to gather light around himself, weaving and stretching it into an impossibly smooth yet flexible surface. He hesitated, whirling the light around himself like a potter’s wheel. Only once he had a wide enough surface area did Prism send it out, weaving it right under the goons’ boots.
The first cry alerted the rest of them, but not before the two furthest back had slipped and fallen right onto the frictionless light pooling around them. As the two of them desperately grappled for purchase and found none, the rest of them stepped on the almost icy trap that materialized just below their feet. In only a few seconds, the group was flopping around like fish out of water with only each other to hold onto. Their guns laid useless at their sides, and their bulky figures only served to pin them in place. No matter how hard they tried to squirm out of the trap, they went nowhere. It didn’t take long for all of them to give up and lay there, breathing hard.
With that done, Prism waltzed out from his hiding spot and jogged past them.
“Trust me, guys-” he called as he passed them, giving a little wave. “-working for Cerberus ain’t gonna work out for you.”
All he heard was a groan in response as he kept on towards the rendezvous point.
For a little while, it was smooth sailing. The only goons he saw were in the distance, well out of his way. Prism kept up a brisk pace and it seemed like he’d get where he was going on time. Of course, as luck would have it, there managed to be a bigass truck blocking his way. It was practically on top of his target location, for God’s sake, could Cerberus not have moved it one block over?
Prism pressed up flat against the truck’s front end. The doors were open, but the mooks were all out back. He peered out from behind it to watch them duck in and out of view, carrying corpses as they went. It was impossible to tell how many there were like that, but it sure looked like a good group.
Half of a plan formulated itself in Prism’s head. He glanced around at the ground before grabbing a chunk of concrete from the ground. With all the force he could muster, he brought it down on the truck’s nose. Immediately, he dropped it and hauled himself up onto the truck, scurrying up onto the roof and laying flat on it.
“The hell was that?” someone asked.
“Well, go find out.”
“I’m not going, I’m hauling bodies. You just been standing there, you go.”
“Fine, jeez, no respect for the sentry.”
Prism heard the unfortunate soldier plodding along, and, once he’d passed by, Prism leaned over the truck’s sides and formed frictionless sheets of light on either of them. With that done, he pulled himself back in, and started bringing light into both of his hands. Slowly, but surely, two solid batons formed from out of his fists and he held them in a solid grip. All the while, he drew himself up into a crouched posture.
“Ah, come the fuck on!” the goon whined from the front. “That was new paint! Fuckin’ looters got no-”
Prism exploded out of his crouch, pouncing on the soldier and delivering two solid whaps to his head. He went down just like that, and Prism landed on his feet.
“Leo?!” another of them called.
Prism ducked behind the truck’s front and couldn’t stifle a smirk as the cries of confused goons hitting the ground came flooding in. Funny as it was, he had no time to waste. Prism peeked out on one side to make sure none of them were still standing. They were collecting themselves fast, and, as Prism came close, one of them yelled for someone to grab a gun. No one ever did.
Three solid whacks on three very empty heads later and Prism was left with, hopefully, only a few left to deal with. Of course, how he was going to do that was the question, but he was sure he’d think of something. Prism made his way around the back of the truck and-
He froze at the open door. Inside was a seemingly endless pile of body bags and not all of them were zipped up all the way. The smell of rot hit Prism hard, and he brought a hand up to his mouth and nose, squeezing his eyes shut. The moisture in the air was not helping.
It was then that he felt something butt against his shoulder.
“No sudden moves, buddy,” one of the soldiers said from beside him.
Prism took a deep breath and opened his eyes again. Surrounding him were four of the Cerberus goons, all with their rifles trained on him. He brought his hands up and gave the best smile he could.
“Hey, guys,” he said. “How are you all doing today?”
No one even cracked a smile. Buncha jerks. Prism glanced to the side and began concentrating light into a small sphere just out of their peripheral views.
“Who are you?” the first of them demanded, prodding Prism with the nose of his gun. “What’s with the get-up?”
“We-ell,” Prism drawled. “You can call me Prism. It’s not my name, but you can call me that, if you get what I’m saying.”
Again, he was jabbed in the chest. They didn’t get it.
“You sure look familiar,” the guy said, squinting at him.
“Oh, well, you do too,” Prism said, giving him a saccharine smile. “Did I meet you at the bar? The one who wasn’t packing as much heat as advertised?”
Prism heard a snort from one of the other soldiers before he was punched right in the jaw. He faltered back, hunching a bit.
“Talk, asshole, or you’re gonna end up with the rest of them!” he snarled, like the overcompensating brute he was.
“Alright,” Prism said, raising one hand. “You’re a bunch of douchebags.”
On the final syllable, Prism fell to the ground in a ball and a blinding flash went off between the four of them. He heard a few rounds fired and some screaming, but nothing hit him. As quickly as he went down, Prism hopped up again and reformed his batons. Just like before, he whacked them all in the head and they went down like flies. Man, this hero work wasn’t so hard after all.
With that taken care of, Prism dared one last look into the truck before he took off running down the street. It would only take a minute to get to the rendezvous from there, assuming no more Cerberus soldiers got in his way. No problem at all.
“So there’s Cerberus soldiers everywhere, and it looks like some of them are gathering up bodies,” Prism explained. “Disgusting, let me tell you.”
“Bodies?” Shade questioned, but the answer didn’t take long to deduce. “Hmph. Some of Grigori’s men must have missed the boat. Makes our job easier.”
She gestured around the building they were standing before. “Cerberus is just around the corner, plundering the bastard’s stash. I’m going to see if I can’t find any explosives to rig. You two cover me.”
The boys nodded and zipped off, leaving her to slink around the building’s edge. The were a few squads worth of men scouring the warehouse, checking in and out of their vehicles. She’d love to have asked Grigori how they hidden so many weapons in Liberty, right under the public’s nose. Perhaps one day. Right then she needed to make sure those weapons didn’t end up the wrong hands.
“Hey, uh, Shade? I’m – I’m not sure if I’m not seeing things, but – you might want to check out who their commander is.”
She grumbled beneath her breath. Was the crypticism necessary?
“Just spit it out man.” She peered around a van, letting her eyes adjust to the warehouse’s lighting, and nearly jumped a mile.
“No! Fucking hell, not her!”
A few Cerberus troopers heard fear getting the better of her and turned around, taking a few tentative steps. Their parting fully revealed a woman in a tattered white cape.
“Screw this – fall back,” she commanded, making a break for the building they had come from – but a squad of Cerberus soldiers doubled around.
“Fuck.” Holding her breath, she crawled under the nearest van. An agonizing minute passed, and every second she thought her heartbeat would give her away. When the sound of their boots faded away, she put a shaking finger to her ear.
“Onyx, Prism, they know I’m here. I’m trapped. I need a distraction.”
“Hold tight Shade, we’ll get them off your back,” came Onyx’s reply. After a moment she heard a whistle from the roofs. Evidently the mercs had too, and they hurried towards it. She began to crawl out when she was hauled to her feet by the scruff of her neck. There was no time to react before Phantasm spun her around and decked her in the nose.
Shade staggered back, clutching her face. The response was automatic, just as she practiced so many times – she blinked away the pain and threw a jab of her own. Phantasm parried the punch but missed the knee rocketing into her gut. Even through the goggles her surprise was evident. Shade punched downwards and Phantasm doubled over. As she went for a second blow she found herself staring up at the sky, clutching her shoulder, listening to the sounds of gunfire nearby. Even near fifty, was her mother still faster than her?
She spun around and kicked herself back to her feet, throwing a van door into Phantasm’s face. Phantasm slammed it shut, hovering a hand over her sidearm. Shade readied into a disarming stance, but the gun never came. Phantasm instead went for – bolas?
Shade struggled to free her ankles, but the wire held fast.
“Take off that mask,” Phantasm demanded, leveling her handgun. She gritted her teeth. Fine. At least she’d see what she’d done to her only child.
“Some hero you are, lady,” Onyx growled. They glanced up to see him crouching atop the van. Phantasm attempted to fire a round at him, but hit a block of shadow instead. He leapt on top of Shade and in an instant she found herself on the roof of the building.
“If you really wanted to get on top of me so bad, you just had to ask,” she teased.
“Let’s flirt when there’s not so many bullets flying around, okay?” He stuck a finger to his ear. “Prism, we gotta go.”
“Wa-ay ahead of you, buddy,” Prism said, a grin in his voice. Somewhere in the distance, a deep boom could be heard.
“I guess that’s our cue.” Onyx studied the bola wires for a moment before shrugging. “I’ll just brute force it.”
He cracked his neck before surrounding his hand in those befuddling shadows. The wires gave way with little resistance.
“Impressive. Wait, watch ou-”
Shade managed to throw up her hands in time to guard her eyes from the flash grenade, but Onyx wasn’t so lucky. He howled in agony, clutching his forehead. His eyes were sensitive to strong light, weren’t they?
Balling her fists, she marched to the roof’s edge and threw a haymaker when Phantasm scaled over. Her mother’s eyes shot open. Before she could tumble over Shade grabbed her by the collar and slammed her to the ground. She went for a stomp before she caught the glint of a blade. They locked eyes for a moment.
Gritting her teeth, Shade threw down a smoke pellet and fell into the gas.
No no no no no.
Her belt and mask nearly toppled the whiskey.
No no no no no goddammit all no no.
Shaking hands pried the bottle open and she didn’t bother with a glass. After downing three – or was it four? – shots, Rebecca slumped down into her chair, forehead in her palms. She thought she was going to be sick. That couldn’t have been Jessica, her girl was in jail, she couldn’t have betrayed her, she wouldn’t.
The door to the diner clicked open. Rebecca stole a glance at her Field Commander and curled her lips.
“It’s the mayor, ma’am,” he said, wagging a cell phone. “He wants to speak to you directly.”
The man nodded and complied before slipping away.
“Rebecca? Why haven’t you reported in? What the hell is going on over there?”
“Chaos. I tried to warn you that these gangs had grown too powerful. We just seized over two tons of weaponry from the Russians.”
She could audibly hear the mayor leaning back in his seat.
“And that’s without mentioning Mouse has yet to truly deploy her latest drug, and God knows what Martin’s got planned… Mister Montana, I think we need to plan for the worst case scenario.”