Chapter 10 – Revelations
Vulcan stood on the rooftop of the Bear Back Hotel, ten blocks away from the Bermuda Triangle, trench coat billowing in the summer night breeze. He held his rifle in position, peering through the scope, waiting for any signs of attack from Banshee.
“How you holding up, Vulcan,” Raul asked through the earpiece.
“Pretty bored up here. Been two hours and nothing. I don’t get it. Why can’t I go around and look for any leads on Kayla? It’ll be much smarter if we divide and conquer.”
You’re thinking too much like a soldier, Vulcan,” Tobias said. “You’re a vigilante now, fighting super villains. People like Silas and Alexandros keep things close to the chest. They will never stray away from something important unless it is heavily secured.”
“And what about Ifrit? How does he fit into this?”
“Nightmare says that Ifrit is Alexandros’ bodyguard Ramon Ramos,” Raul said. “A guy like him enjoys killing and destruction. He has to be a guard outside the club somewhere. Keep your eyes open and your guard up.”
“I read his file. I know what he’s capable of.”
“You’re still thinking like a soldier,” Raul said. “Ramos is much more dangerous now that he is the Ignis’ operator.”
“How can his Ignis differ from mine?”
“Would you like to find out,” said a voice from behind. Vulcan turned around to see who it was, but was punched hard in the face before he got a chance to see. Ifrit stared down at Vulcan, orange eyes piercing through the darkness. “So this is the supplemental unit that saved Nightmare from the Golem. Pathetic.”
Vulcan drew out two of his pistols and opened fire, shooting Ifrit in the face. Ifrit fell to the floor, unable to move. “I ain’t nobody’s supplement,” Vulcan said as he got up. “The great and mighty Ifrit taken down by a couple of shots. I don’t understand why Nightmare found you so difficult to handle.” Vulcan holstered his guns and picked up his rifle, but when he pointed it at Ifrit, he was gone.
“Allow me to show you,” Ifrit said from behind. Suddenly explosions went off within the Bear Back Hotel and the whole building was set ablaze.
“So what do they call you,” Lucian asked, unaffected by Cyril’s revelation.
“I am Deus. You don’t seem surprised about who I am or about how I know who you are.”
“If this was a movie, perhaps I would have been, but I don’t surprise easily.”
“Shame,” Deus said, shaking his head. “I would have liked savoring that moment. It’s not every day I get to play the super villain.”
“Sorry to disappoint. Now tell me what I need to know so I can get the hell out of here.”
“And what would you like to know?”
Lucian clenched his fist, trying to keep his anger under control. “For starters,” he growled, “where’s Kayla? Better yet, hand her over to me, alive and well, and then I’ll consider granting you a quick death.”
Deus chuckled. “Nova told me you were a bit of an ass, but do you really think you can threaten me without facing repercussions?”
“Remember, you are inside one of my strongholds, giving me the home field advantage. Plus, I have three of your loved ones in my grasp. One of them is under my employ, and the other one is…how do I put this…my sex toy.”
Lucian pulled out the gun he had hidden on him. “If anything happens to them, I’ll—”
“You’ll what? Kill me? And lose your only lead to finding Kayla? I don’t think so.”
“There’s still Ifrit and Nova,” Lucian said, gun still pointed at Deus.
“No there isn’t. See, Nova is guarding Kayla as we speak, no doubt doing nasty things to her. Guy is kind of sick. So you won’t be able to find him if you can’t find her. As for Ifrit, well, he is loyal to me, even in death. So your only option is a trade.”
“The Nox for Kayla? She’ll kill me if I did that, even if it is to save her. So, no. No deal.”
“Very well then,” Deus sighed. “There is a train that leaves from the docks on Platform 7 making its way to one of my offices in Felton City three hours from here. You will find Kayla there.”
Lucian was surprised that Deus was telling him this, but he didn’t show it. Instead he kept him at gunpoint, scowling, and said, “What’s your game, Alexandros? Why tell me this?”
“Because I want the Nox, and the fastest way of getting it is by having you come to me. I honestly hate all this bullshitting Nova and Ifrit have you do. The train leaves tomorrow night, 8 p.m. sharp. Don’t be late. You may go.” Lucian didn’t move. “Did you want something else?”
“The girls. If anything happens to them—”
“You can try,” Deus said. Lucian turned to leave. When he reached the door Deus, back as Cyril, called out to him and tossed him an envelope. “Oh, and Nightmare,” he said. “The train is guarded, heavily guarded.”
Lucian caught the envelope and saw the money. He then walked out and climbed down the stairs. Esperanza and Rosaline were waiting for him at the foot of the stairs, a scowling James behind them. Lucian ignored him and smiled at the girls. He was going to say something, but then the whole building shook and the sounds of explosions rumbled through the walls. The people in the Bermuda Triangle began to panic, knowing full well what is going to happen.
“Oh no! Not again,” Rosaline panicked.
“Luke,” Johnson called from the head of the stairs. Stephanie and Samael were with him, too. They pushed past the panicking crowd to get to Lucian and the others.
“Captain,” Stephanie said to James. “It’s Banshee again.”
“Figures,” he said. “Is the target on the scene?”
Stephanie shot a quick glance at Lucian, then said, “I’m not sure, but Sam and I have our gear in the car. Give us the order and we’ll get ready.”
“No. Our priority is to evacuate these people. I don’t want any repeated incidents. Go!”
“Sir,” both Stephanie and Samael saluted and went downstairs to escort the people out the doors while James called for backup.
“Luke,” Johnson said quietly. “Don’t you have a job to do?”
Lucian nodded and handed Johnson the envelope. Esperanza pulled him to the side and gave him a deep, passionate kiss. “Be careful out there, Luke. Please?”
“Johnson will make sure you get home safe,” he told her.
“Will you come by after? So I know that you’re still alive, I mean.”
Lucian smiled and slipped out the building through the emergency exit on the second floor. He took the fire escape stairs to the roof of the club and saw fires and explosions several blocks away. “Raul, Toby, what’s the situation?”
“Vulcan has encountered Ifrit,” Raul said through Lucian’s earpiece. “He could use some backup.”
“Yeah, no shit. But my ribs are still hurting, and that son of a bitch James Marshall broke my wrist. I’m going to be severely limited.”
“The nanites will form around your wrist and act as a makeshift cast, but you still need to get it treated afterwards,” Tobias said. “As for your ribs, well, try not to exert yourself too much. But knowing you, you’re going to do it anyway.”
“Pretty much,” Lucian said.
“Alright, Luke,” said Raul. “It’s morphin’ time!”
“I’m going to kill you guys.” Lucian pulled out the necklace from under his shirt and said, “Noctis venator!”
The fires that started at the Bear Back Hotel began to spread to the other buildings. Ifrit continued to shoot streams of fire from his hands as Vulcan ducked and rolled away, firing his assault rifle in rapid-fire bursts. The heat grew intense as the fires raged on, but neither Ignis operators were backing down. People were screaming inside the hotel, distracting Vulcan for a second, but that was enough time to allow Ifrit to bull-rush him to the roof of the next building. They skittered across the roof, Ifrit punching Vulcan relentlessly in the face, until Vulcan released a barrage of bullets from his holstered guns, forcing Ifrit off of him.
Vulcan staggered getting up, but Ifrit pressed on with his attacks. The people trapped inside the buildings continued to scream as the fires raged on. Vulcan couldn’t do anything to help. Ifrit stood in the way, throwing balls of fire at him, exploding as they landed on the roof. Vulcan took out his guns and started firing at Ifrit, closing up the distance between them. When he reached him, Vulcan flipped his guns around, holding them by the barrels, and started clubbing Ifrit, but he blocked every attack. Ifrit grabbed Vulcan’s wrists and before he could attack again, twisted them till he dropped his guns and headbutted him repeatedly.
The thick horns on his head shattered Vulcan’s visor. Bruised and bleeding, Vulcan tried to escape, but Ifrit’s grip was too strong. The screams of those trapped in the hotel fell silent, setting off Vulcan’s anger. He kneed Ifrit in the groin, and then kicked him in the gut, sending him flying a few feet from him. While Ifrit recovered, Vulcan entered a code on his arm console and the bull’s-eye implant over his right eye began to glow a bright red color.
“Overdrive System engaged,” he said. “Ignition Mode, activate!” The orange markings on his suit began to glow, and Vulcan unleashed a stream of white-hot fire from the flamethrowers on his wrists, engulfing Ifrit in its intensity. Ifrit teleported behind Vulcan, but Vulcan kicked him before he could attack. Punch after punch, kick after kick, both operators fought with relentless fury. Even with his Ignition mode, Vulcan still couldn’t get an edge on Ifrit.
Vulcan’s power levels were draining fast. He needed to finish this before his power died. Ifrit continued his assault, not giving Vulcan any leverage. He showed no signs of fatigue, whereas Vulcan’s Overdrive limit was almost spent. Ifrit grabbed Vulcan’s head and ran his knee to it, shattering the rest of visor and mouthpiece, and breaking his nose. Last ditch effort, Vulcan charged two of his napalm grenades and tossed them at Ifrit right when his Overdrive deactivated, and fell to his knees. Ifrit juggled the grenades like a soccer ball and kicked them back to Vulcan.
“Oh, fuck,” Vulcan said, unable to move. The grenades were headed down for him when a blade of blue-silver light knocked them back towards Ifrit, detonating and showering him in liquid fire. Nightmare landed next to Vulcan, Noctifer in hand and glowing bright. Ifrit, still burning, released a volley of fireballs at him, but Nightmare cut through them all with his sword.
Nightmare and Ifrit stared down at each other. Ifrit then released a white-hot stream of fire, but not at Nightmare. His target was the roof of the building. Bombs began to explode around Nightmare and Vulcan, engulfing the building in flames. Nightmare grabbed Vulcan and teleported to another building to escape the blasts. Ifrit used the distraction as a chance to escape.
Nightmare and Vulcan looked at the destruction that was done during the battle. Fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances swarmed the area, putting out fires, pulling out bodies, and setting up barricades. News vans arrived at the scene, as well.
“I couldn’t save them,” Vulcan said. “I couldn’t save any of them.”
“It’s not your fault, Jason,” Nightmare said. “There was nothing you could have done.”
“How do you deal with it? How do you deal with all this responsibility?”
“By knowing that I did everything in my power to keep it from getting worse. By knowing that I will be able to make them pay for their crimes in the end.” Nightmare kept staring at the burning buildings. “One thing’s for sure. This chaos has to stop.”
“Do you have a plan?”
“Never. I make it up as I go.”
“Great,” Vulcan said sarcastically. “I feel much better now.”
“Come on. Let’s go.” Nightmare opened a Dark Void and both operators stepped in and disappeared.