Steps during Conflict

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
About the dark side of vigilantes, people born with gifts, extra-humans. The new generation of heroes. Remember to comment, like, or/and subscribe!

Submitted: July 27, 2012

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Submitted: July 27, 2012

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Intro: Glory Days

The members of this group should be clad in colorful latex costumes with logos. They aren't, however. The first heroes were. They made public appearances on talk shows, commercials, movies, and a few entered politics. Green Boy, the plant controller, became the first president known to have such an alterego. In the course of extra-human history, five heroes, none more distinguishable than the rest, sired the smallest generation yet. Split Second, the fastest land mammal topping off at 85 MPH, was born in 1973 to a middle-class family with 2 brothers who didn't display abnormal qualities. Christened Oliver Borghum, his public profile described an average Joe working at a tire shop, Darnell's Tires. Split Second, wearing silver and a lightning bolt on his chest, started openly assisting police at the age of 19 when he first learned of his talent, capturing exactly 201 criminals. Not too shabby for a 8-year career. He died in a drive-by shooting during a parade in his honor. Surviving him is a daughter with a similar gift. Servant of the People, a telepath that can control electronics, saw a rather pleasant upbringing in high-class New York. Born to an industrialist and a model in 1909, 8 year old Charlotte Finch realized she was special when she caused her parent's entire apartment building to short-circuit during a tantrum. Servant's most notable escapades were during WWII when she volunteered herself as a human radio scrambler, intercepter, and transmitter. She had a very revealing costume and her symbol was the hammer. At the age of 29, her company fell victim to a German ambush. Servant's survived by 2 ordinary sons, one of which sired another "technopath." Tigerman, a hero who faced discrimination after being disqualified from the Olympics, was born in 1977 as Domingo Chavez. His was a dirt-poor family in Little Rock, Arkansas. Tigerman used his extreme agility and strength, discovered at 13, for sports and crime-fighting, arresting 542 recorded criminals in a 12 year career. His costume and skillset should be selfexplanatory; he is permanently in a wheelchair for injuries sustained after a vengeful gang jumped him. Tigerman has 3 children, one of which inherited his prowess. Checkmate, history's most intelligent man, is responsible for supplying the U.S. government with high-grade weapons of mass destruction such as the Picky Bomb, a smart explosive which detonates without harming friendly forces. Originally named Mark West, he was born in 1977 and worked with various vigilantes in Chicago, hacking into cameras all over the city and tapping phones when he needed to. He never directly fought criminals but he oversaw operations by street level heroes. Checkmate picked up the charge after he came across evidence of corruption in the police force. Mark's daughter rivals and perhaps surpasses his I.Q. but refuses to allow her father know. Dark Horse, born in 1969, is another telepath who discovered the ability to mirror people's psych at the age of 15. William Hurt worked professionally as a homicide detective but donned his alterego when he had to interact with LA's criminal underworld. His gift backfired after a fateful encounter and he now assumes over 100 identities. He lives in an institution with a single gifted son on the outside. There are other "superheroes" out there. Some refuse to acknowledge themselves while others, like Checkmate, capitalize off their abilities. The older "supervillians" spread destruction as they saw fit. Most were apprehended by the costumed vigilantes. The new ones are smart and fester in the underworld, under the radar of the old heroes. The days of bright tights has come and gone. Presently, the heroes have adapted, discarding old notions of trademarked names and logos. They are a smaller group with darker methods. In the city park, they meet under the largest gazebo. For the passerby, it looks like a group of loitering social misfits. It's really the last of the city's heroes. In attendance: Run, Control, Think, Copy, and Fight. No real names are shared, no backgrounds are discussed, no relationships are established. Just a guerrilla force against the city's underworld. Fate brought together the daughter of Split Second, Run; the grandson of Servant of the Peace, Control; the daughter of Checkmate, Think; the son of Dark Horse, Copy; the son of Tigerman, Fight. Heroes who, in their prime, also shared the task of social balance. Their offspring carry the burden, outnumbered by a new wave of gifted criminals. These are far more cruel than their predecessors. They have also thrown away their costumes and grandiose plans of domination. They don't reveal their plans during extended monologues. The new generation is more violent to counter the rise of merciless villains. Arrests are rare; instead, a policy of capital punishment is enforced. Bite me Lennon Chavez's first kill on February 11, 2010 at the age of 19. Fight stands over the bloodied crook, breathing rasp breaths of exhaustion and fury. Clouds are produced with every exhale in the frigid frost of February. His knuckles drip blood onto the trashy alleyway where the scuffle had broken out. Fight had heard the hyena-like laughter of a midnight hoodlum as he stalked his prey. The hyena waited for the victim in the darkness. Fight's instinct took over and now he found himself looming over the whimpering coward.

"Stop. Please," he begged between sobs.

Fight always ignores cries of mercy from the hypocrites, "What about the girl, huh? She said the same and you didn't stop. Why should I stop, huh? Why?"

The hyena began screaming, "Help! Someone!"

Fight rushed to the man and covered his mouth, "I'm going to stop when you die."

He struggled and kicked Fight who shrugged off the feeble strikes. The man got to his feet and ran for the street. Fight was behind him, keeping pace with effortless ease. He runs past him, turns, and grabs hold of the man's collar, lifting him off the ground. Fight hurls the hyena several yards and into a wall. Again, he pounces on him and throws him like a ragdoll. The man lands and rolls away. Fight is upon him before he can escape and kicks his ribs, launching him into the window of an abandoned apartment. Fight follows.

The hoodlum lays on the shattered glass and filthy carpet, "Why?"

Fight clenches the man and pushes him through a ruined wall. He tries again with the next one but collides with brick. Regardless, Fight repeatedly slams the man into it until he hears bones crunch and break. Fight steps out. The woman had long since stopped breathing; she fought back and the man had stabbed her.

"They'll blame me for her, too," Fight said out loud.

He won't stick around for the authorities to arrive. He has other places to be and other people to eliminate. This day marks Fight's slow descend into a dark abyss, justified by his twisted ideal.

Sincerely

Tarot Borghum's first kill on October 1, 2011 at the age of 16. Run always found patrols easy. She inherited her father's gift and mobility wasn't an issue. The only person close enough to her caliber is Fight, Tigerman's son. Fight's speed comes second to her own; he's stronger than her as well. For that, she admires him. Fight seems to enjoy killing. For that, she fears him. Her patrol came to fruition when she encountered a familiar scene: gas station hold-up. A hooded man held the frightened clerk at gunpoint, demanding cash and lottery tickets. In his panic, the clerk dropped to the floor, begging for his life. The gunman jumped the counter and fired at the register. He began stuffing his backpack with bills and lottery tickets before leaving, but not without pistol-whipping the man on his way out. Run spotted him as he made his getaway in rusty pick-up truck. How fast can that thing go? She wondered. Run pursued the criminal at her perception of an easy jog: 30 MPH. The driver didn't expect anything like her. She reached in the cab clumsily with her Bowie knife. The thief swerved away from Run and sped up to run her over. She stops abruptly and stays behind the truck. The driver is panicked at the sight of the girl. He drives ahead to loose her in traffic. Run maneuvers expertly through the obstacles, catches up to the driver, and stabs his eye. He attempts to ram Run but she clings to the door. She begins stabbing the driver's chest. Run's memory kicks in and she recalls Fight's lesson on knife-play: aim for the neck. Run sinks the blade into the driver's neck, using the serrated edge to walk it down his throat. He begins spouting blood like a macabre fountain, splashing Run's face. She disengages and watches as the truck continues its crash course into a series of parked cars. Run's first victim died a slow death. His blood is forever on her hands. She wishes she could take back the heinous act but it's her duty, her responsibility, her burden by birthright.

Aggression

Mary West's first kills on December 29, 2011 at the age of 20. Grey skies offer a rather bleak view. They ruin landscapes that would otherwise look beautiful. Think turns her binoculars back to the smoggy city. She's been shadowing a city official for 20 minutes from her perch: the roof of a hotel. Think has stalked him before on suspicion of a link to racketeering and connections she has deducted with high-powered gang leaders. He covered his tracks sloppily, unaware of her presence. A black Cadillac pulls up and takes the politician away from the hotel. Think aims her grapple gun, an air-powered invention of hers, high into the next building and gracefully swings around the corner. The car continues a straight path with the 20 year old girl not too far behind. Think lands deftly on another roof, this one adjacent to the Cadillac's destination: the city dock. He, and an armed entourage, enter the maze of shipping containers. Think's grappling hook shoots in the closest container. She clambers up a tall stack and resumes her pursuit. The group stops in a clearing with another group standing on the opposite side. An exchange begins.

The city official: "The harbor should be all yours for the next 4 days."

The other: "Should? Are you guessing?"

The city official: "I'm sure. The shipment will be safe. You have my word."

The other: (laughs) "You're engaged in a transaction where you have to dishonestly lie a boatload of illegal narcotics, Chinese immigrants, and sex slaves into a high-security harbor. You're word isn't something I hold at high value."

The city official: "You know my face. You know my name and who I am. That should be enough."

Think, who has been documenting with a digital camera and recorder, chuckles lightly. The other group sends a man over with two large duffelbags to the city official. One of the burly guards opens them, inspecting the bills. He gives a thumbs-up, lifts the bags, and places them in the trunk. Think has more than enough to turn in the official, instigate a conflict for the traffickers and throw a wrench in their works for a while. She turns and locates a building suitable for grappling. She pulls the trigger to launch the hook, it catches, and she jumps. The concrete gives away and she falls in the middle of the clearing. The two groups stare surprisingly at the girl.

A guard pulls out his gun and aims it at Think, "Who's this?"

Think throws two tear gas grenades in either direction. She uses the confusion to choose another ledge before she's hoisted away from the meeting. "Fuck me," She curses as she retreats to safety. Think's the hero who has never killed a perpetrator. Nonetheless, she manages to put major dents in the crime world. A hail of gunfire opens up at her. She grapples to another ledge, this time being the followed. The black Cadillac is joined by a cavalcade of assorted vehicles. Mid-swing, Think devices a plan: lead them back to the harbor, eliminate the threats without harming innocents, and escape without a trace. She turns back to the containers and drops to street level. Think throws more smoke bombs and places a trip wire in the vehicles' paths. Her grapple gun reels her to away as the shipping containers tumble on her pursuers. Think scans the rubble for the black Cadillac. It's still intact and speeds away into the city. Think's night turned out to be better than she expected. Despite that, she frowned at the grey sky. It ruined her view.

Slowly

Franklin Hurt's first kill on August 8, 2010 at the age of 25. Copy has met over 21 blackbelts specializing in an array of fighting styles from drunken fist to sambo. This gave him an advantage over Drako the mad Russian. Drako swung wildly at Copy. This fight was child's play for him. Copy struck him with an uppercut then he snuck his forearm under Drako's chin. Copy caught him in a rear-naked choke hold. Drako had only seconds to break the lock or succumb. Copy released Drako who staggered around drunkenly. Blood rushed back into Drako's brain in time for him to see Copy's boot. Drako's back met the wall where he slowly slid to the ground.

The murderer laughed, "Wow. I've never met such an excellent fighter."

"You know it, buddy."

"I cannot continue. I am sorry," Drako coughed.

Copy smirked, "Get up, comrade. 132 kills with your bare hands and this is the best you can do?"

"I know you. Son of Dark Horse. Copy. You are worse than your meddling father."

Copy's face twitched under his ski-mask; he just absorbed more of Drako's past experiences: a younger Drako had encountered Dark Horse after his first murder. Drako's was the mind that toppled Dark Horse's. The troubled youth had so many things wrong with him. Copy began tracing the contorted emotions.

"Stop!" Copy could feel the torn feelings inside young Drako, "No!"

He buries his head in his hands and screams in agony. Drako seizes the opportunity and circles his aggressor like a shark.

"Your father broke down just like that," Drako kicks Copy, "He yelled like a little bitch," he strikes Copy again.

Copy tries to crawl; Drako steps on his back. He bends over and lifts Copy to his feet. His face twitched once more as he realized his father fought off Drako by accepting Drako's brutality. For the first time, Drako decides to utilize a weapon. Copy knows how to disarm knives with knowledge he gained from a Navy SEAL. Drako thrusts the sizable knife at Copy; he catches Drako's arm by the elbow and turns it to Drako's stomach. Copy allows the forward momentum to continue, pulling Drako down. Drako lands on the tip of his knife, all the way to the hilt. It was just a glancing blow, missing vital organs and doing flesh damage. He'll bleed but not enough. Copy rolls Drako over and stabs the man's chest repeatedly. Copy's face twitches once again to learn that Drako was also born an extra-human. His father had shot Drako's leg; he healed almost instantly. Drako headbutts Copy and regains control of the knife. Copy's father left a week after the Drako incident. Before that fateful day when Dark Horse's identity came to light, William Hurt took 10 year old Franklin to a circus. The performers had played a game of catch with knives. Franklin didn't know it but his extraordinary talent had, for the first time, begun analyzing, storing, and understanding the tandem knife juggle. Franklin had no idea 15 years later that performance would save his life. Drako throws the knife at Copy who catches it by the handle and returns it to Drako's forehead. The mass murderer stands perfectly still for a few seconds before falling in a heap. Copy couldn't help but smile at the death of the man who ruined his father's life. Do most people smile after murder or just me? He thought.

Easy Boss-First Level

Greg Finch's first kill on September 30, 2011 at the age of 19. Servant only had radios to contend with during her tour. Control has an entire city of beeping, buzzing, lighting electronics at his disposal. He can do as he likes with the entire network of things. One week later, Control will meet a man he'll kill by shutting off his pacemaker. A guilty woman will walk away from prison time. Control will simply switch the red light to green. A truck will run right over her. This day, Control's first target is Smith, a contract killer with the reputation of assassinating heroes. The man flaunted his accomplishments carelessly and Control easily tracked him down at his dayjob. Control's gift is among the most passive he has ever encountered and served little in offensive terms. Someone like Fight or Run stood a better chance against this expert killer. Copy could hold his own just as Think would if she had to take down Smith. Control purposely kept the whereabouts of his opponent secret; he wanted Smith all to himself. He and Think often work in tandem. The girl's father still has a network of hacked security cameras and tapped phones. Control's hyper-vigilance paid off when he figured Smith's a creature of habit, always visiting the Fuher's Pub after his shift at the steel factory. 44 year old Johnathan Smith born and raised locally. Good marks in school, state champion archer, rifleman, track, wrestler, and played hockey in college. He did time for an attempted murder charge when he was 24. Smith served a mere 5 years thanks to a high-powered lawyer. After his time, the kingpin behind the lawyer recruited Smith, leaving him under the tutelage of top assassins. Smith discovered his hidden talent: spontaneous adaptation, an ability similar to Copy's but with the severe limitations of sporadically forgetting and attaining new knowledge or skills. With the hacked city, Control knows everything about Smith right down to the last thing he bought. Smith's skillset is random and Control needed to stalk him before ascertaining what Smith had recently learned. Control caught up with Smith as the man made his way through a crowd exiting the factory. He can use the people as cover. Control slithered past faceless shadows. Smith stood arm's length away. Control tensed for one quick stab. Everyone around him disappeared, only him and Smith now. He covered Smith's mouth and lunged forward to bury the knife in Smith's side. Smith grabbed his hand and flung him over his shoulder. He took Control and dragged him off to the dark interior of the factory. Literally alone this time, Smith drew his pistol on Control. The gun sparked in his hand. He tried to pick it back up but Control had magnatized it to the metal ground.

"Perhaps not the best idea to fight a conductor in a steel factory," Smith chuckled.

Control said nothing as he plotted his next step. He used judo on me, He concluded, Maybe that's all he knows for now. Control began focusing more electricity for a defibulater punch, an attack with heart stopping results. The hair on his body stands on end.

"Come at me!" Smith yells.

Control roars a battlecry. The two clash and Control lands his punch on Smith's chest. The man seizes before passing out. Smoke rises lazily from his clothes. The smell of burnt flesh fills his nostrils. Smith's still breathing, barely. Control picks up the knife and approaches Smith.

"Eyes up, A-hole!" Smith sweeps Control's legs and retrieves his pistol.

He shoots at Control's chest. His vest blocks the worst of the damage but it'll still injure him. Smith tosses the pistol at Control and runs deeper into factory. One of Control's favorite pastimes is free running and the factory offers everything he needs to pursuit Smith through the mayhem of swinging machines.

"I have friends of my own! Meet your maker, Control."

Control frowns at the cheesy villain line. Smith hides behind machinery as factory workers, Control's new opponents, emerge. He draws his stun rod, a steel pole able to subdue anyone any size. The workers rushed Control in an instant. One by one, he disposes of the assailants in a flash of voltage.

"Die, you fucker!" Smith attacks him with a sledgehammer.

Control ducks and dodges the wild blows. Gradually, Control begins leading the enraged man towards an elevator shaft. Smith does an overhead swing; Control sidesteps, wrenching the sledgehammer from his hands. Smith falls over the safety railing and down the shaft. Control drops the tool on Smith's head, crushing it with a satisfactory whack.

Overwatch

Run strolls down the empty street with her white umbrella. She wears a dreadfully short dress of a likewise color with a wide V-neck to advertise her abundance of cleavage. To the unknowing eye, she could be mistaken as an attractive hooker. That would be the point of her attire. Run had volunteered to be the whore since she's convinced she looks better than Think.

The girl couldn't understand Run's vain logic, "You want the role because I'm not pretty?"

Run laughed, "Don't make it personal. Where will you hide your gadgets in such a tight dress?"

Think saw her point but still couldn't believe Run's ulterior motive: showing off her body even if it meant masquerading as a prostitute. As Think stood on the ledge she began prodding her small breasts. She may be a genius but she isn't immune to self consciousness. Run purposely wears her equally tight black shirts for the guys. Strictly against the rules: no names, backgrounds, or connections. Think equipped her goggles to pierce the darkness. A sneaky creeper strayed a little too close to Run.

She played her part, "Hey there. Looking for a ride? How about it, cowboy?"

The man laughed his creeper laugh, "You know it. Just a quickie though."

Run took his hand and led him away from the light of the lone lightpost. Run immediately began unzipping the client's fly. Jesus Christ, Run! You're not supposed to fuck him. Run brought his pants to his ankles. She snapped her fingers: the sign. Think bungeed from the ledge and tied a rope around his pants. She bounces back up, stringing the man upside down. Think drops to the ground to admire her handiwork. Run laughs at the hanging man. She pats Think's back and goes back to the sidewalk. Think reassumes her perch over Run. In no time at all, another weirdo approaches Run. This one brandishes a shiny pistol.

"I ain't paying for no pussy, bitch."

Run screams and heads into Think's trap. She cowers behind a trash can, directly under Think. The gunman's helpless as soon as Think ensnares him with her net gun. Think picks up the pistol, holstering it for future use. Run pokes fun at the humiliated thug. All he does is sulk in silence. Each man is adorned with a sign reading: "I pay for sex." Tonight turned out to be an excellent night for fishing. Run decides to call it before Think can debut her double hooked rope.

Run takes off her high heels, "Shh. You hear that?"

"No, wha-" Run places her hand over Think's mouth.

A black van speeds into the alley where the girls stand. Run panics; Think puts an arm around her and grapple-guns herself over the van. The back doors open and a man steps out.

"Hello. Please don't resist, ladies. I don't want to hurt you," the man coolly requests, "Enter or I will be forced to use violence."

Choosing the latter, Run covers the distance in an instant with her knife drawn. The man simply ducks and Run trips over him, falling into the van. The man jumps in and makes an escape. Think takes to the rooftops and follows the van. She swings past it, dropping caltrops to pop the tires. The spikes dig deep into the rubber but the van doesn't stop. It takes a turn for the highway, an area with no buildings for her to grapple onto. She has to disable the van before it can get there. Think surveys her surroundings from the rooftops before beginning her plan. She jumps, landing square on the hood of the van. She pulls out the pistol and fires at the glass. Her bullets only crack the bullet-proof glass but doing so obscures the driver's vision. She then climbs onto the van's roof and places a remote explosive on its side. With the bomb armed, Think retreats for the second part. Before the highway, an onramp leads vehicles onto the road. Think gets to a road sign spanning the entrance, places a hook in a big rig going in the opposite direction, and, with the other hook, snags the van's front bumper. It flips, landing wheels up. Think activates the explosive, snapping the cable, and opening one side of the van. Think pulls a shaken and dazed Run from the wreckage. The man staggers out with a bloodied head. Thinks draws her pistol and empties her clip on him. More cars stop to observe the crash. One driver exits his vehicle to get footage of the scene.

Think seizes the opportunity, leads Run inside, and takes the truck. "You know, this is the first time I've ever driven stick."

Run replies, "I've never driven a car. Or a truck, for that matter."

"Have you ever listened to Kevin Hart's standup?" Think asks.

"Most definitely."

"Almost lost you today, didn't I?"

Timeless

On rainy days, places like the Church turn into rather daunting scenarios. Its attic's a bleak, empty, cavernous room. Footsteps echo loudly in such an area. The only light came from a series of sizable stain-glass Biblical illustrations installed around the attic. With each lightning flash, Control catches a glimpse of Think's delicate face. She had removed her bloody, drenched ski-mask. Bleak darkness again. Lightning. Bony cheeks and raccoon-like rings around her eyes, one swollen. Pitch black. Flash. Thin lips, chapped, bloody. Nothing. Control stands silently, straining for any sound of their attacker. It's easy to scurry around unnoticed when your feet are padded like a cat's. His claws, retractable. Control could hear Think's unsteady breathing. He found himself face down in an instant. The prowler slashed at Control's exposed back. Think fires her tazer, temporarily disabling him. The lightning goes off again, Think tackles the creature, stabbing furiously. It screeches painfully. The sound resonates sharply, breaking the glass. Rain pours in and drenches the feline. A stink of caked blood filled their nostrils. Think followed the stench. Control felt useless against his aggressor. Lightning offered a short chance to witness the animal: an uneven mixture of cat and human. He leapt with frightening speed. Control put an arm up in defense. Think intervened, meeting him with her knife. The two clash and tangle, cutting deeply into each other. Using his powerful hind legs, he knocks Think away. She deftly lands and rushes back for another round. Control, still in shock, does nothing but observe this skinny, harmless-looking girl duel a 200 pound beast. He lunges at her, claws extended, gnashing mouth agape. Think slides under him with her knife stabbing into his rib cage, ripping from end to the other. Quite a gory gash but not enough to kill. The knife remained lodged in him. Think reached into her backpack and found her brass knuckles. She charged, landing a firm punch on his abdomen. He bares through the pain and forces his weight on her. She tries desperately to lift the animal off of her. His jaws, studded with jagged teeth, snap only inches away from her face. Control brings himself together and strikes the creature's head. He turns his attention to Control. In frustration, he yells a sound somewhere between scream and yowl. Behind him, Think wields her most rudimentary weapon, a baseball bat adorned with nails. Think slams the animal's head, bringing him to the ground. He starts to recover but she hits an arm, breaking it. Think is on him before he can try anything, repeatedly pounding his head with the bat. Finally, Control hears a cracking of the animal's skull. Think doesn't. She continues flailing her bat, snapping it in two. She stabs it through the thing's skull. Lightning flashes. Think's face has one more detail: blood-lust.

Shirts vs. Skins

Rarely do three vigilantes come together for one task. Fight, Think, and Copy hide themselves from the patrols circling the facility. Think and Control's planted bugs uncovered a rather offensive secret: internment of extra-humans. In all fairness, not all of the gifted gained "gifts." Misfires include those born with severe defects, those too dangerous. The team's objective stood as: eliminate incarcerated humans -Undesirables- and salvage any innocent extra-humans. No one stood up for the Undesirables; they were thorns in their collective sides. Fight and Copy wait on the roof of a higher tower across the street from the incognito office building. Copy looks over the edge to a vertigo inducing view. From his vantage point, he can distinguish the small girl. She almost floats as she crosses the street with ghost-like grace. Think is followed by Control, who wasn't supposed to be part of the original plan.

Control radios in, "Okay, Copy. The rooftop access locks are disabled. Bring it in."

Fight snatches the radio from Copy's hand, "What the fuck are you doing here?"

"Think invited me for the tricky cameras and locks. I see why she's the smart one."

Copy and Fight share a glance, "Copy and I are ready. Just do your job and maintain radio silence in three, two..."

Fight throws the radio to the street, aiming at Control. The device almost vaporizes upon impact of the pavement.

"That was our only radio."

Copy pushes Fight; he follows the zipline, crash landing on the gravel-heavy roof. Copy lands with more ease. As Control had said, the rooftop access latch yielded as Copy turns it.

Fight's phone rings, "Fight, you're a fucking idiot. Cameras are recording that hall. Keep your eyes on and look out for cameras."

Control's warning stood as heeded. A camera began making its way back towards them. Fight pushes Copy into a room and out of view.

"Control, shut down these damn cameras."

"Think's trying to hack the electrical unit. I'll flicker the lights every time a floor's been cleared."

Fight sat silently until the lights flickered. He takes Copy back to the hall. The camera hung lifeless from its overhead fixture. Copy hears the steady footsteps of someone approaching. Fight creeps along the corner, waiting for a guard before snapping his neck as he came around. The guard goes limp and Fight tosses the body aside. Copy observes Fight and follows suit with the another unfortunate guard directly behind the first.

Fight calls Control after a full search of the floor, "And then there were two."

"One down, more to go."

They resume their mission and purge the 10 story building of any threats, 52 guards later. They meet the pair outside.

Control nods at their mutual victory, "Nice."

The squad enters through the sliding doors. Control takes charge once inside.

He looks at Think, "We don't have much time until someone comes around because the building has gone quiet. Access that terminal and find out how we can get underground."

"No, it's cool. Take your time; everyone's dead," Copy says.

The usually-quiet Think snaps, "You killed the security guards?"

Copy shrugs, "Yeah, what's the problem?"

"They are innocent!"

"No, these people were in our way. We disposed of the normies for the sake of our own."

"Copy, you don't understand. This is outright murder."

Fight puts his hand on Copy's shoulder, "I don't see the issue. Think's being soft."

Control couldn't believe it, "How many?"

Fight raises an eyebrow, "How many what?"

"How may did you kill?"

"I don't know. Fifty something."

Control lunges at Fight; he tosses the enraged man aside. Control unsheathes his knife and flings it at Fight. Copy catches it, returning it to Control. He drops to the ground to avoid it. Fight leaps on Control, pinning him with a knee. Think had disappeared during the fray. Copy hands Fight the knife. Fight turns it over, inspecting the shiny sliver of pointed steel. He spots a tiny dot on the tip: poison.

"Get off!" Control snarls.

Fight's hair begins standing on end, "You're stupid little shocks could hardly faze me. And if you even think there's a way out, take a look at Copy."

Copy clicks the safety off the gun, "I bet you're wondering what we're doing."

Control opens his mouth to reply; Fight shoves the hilt in his mouth.

"Now, now, Control. Sit, I mean, lay there. I'll explain."

Fight begins laughing uncontrollably, "This is the best part."

"Shh, shh. I can't finish if you keep that up."

Fight puts a hand over his mouth to stifle the laughter, which spurts out sporadically.

"Okay. I forgot what I was saying."

"The big reveal."

"Oh yeah. Thank you, Fight."

"Don't mention it."

"Anyway. Umm, okay. You see, Fight and I have created this, "he pauses, "disorder, of sorts."

"With Think's dad paying the bills and shit." Fight adds.

"Fight and I started off by knocking down his corporate competitors -intimidation, sabotage, the random murder- and he would reward us. Then, after Mark had this brilliant idea, we began rounding up extra-humans. You might remember Jonathan Smith, the 'copy of a Copy', your first kill. He was the first piece of the puzzle: placing our abilities in normal people. At one point, we tried to take Run but Think pried her away. Still, Fight's in on this, too."

"At first I was reluctant."

"A pussy," Copy corrects. Fight ignores him, "But the payoff is awesome. Didn't you ever wonder where the money came from? For Think's ridiculous gadgets? Your stupid stun rod? All money from Mark West himself."

Fight removes the obstruction from Control's mouth, "You aren't any better than the Undesirables."

"We are they! Mark never killed a soul: a billionaire. Split Second: a town hero and national treasure. We aren't doing cameos on TV or have Halloween costumes in parody of our own. No one likes us. Come on, a group of murderers with an all black attire of combat boots, cargo pants, bullet proof vests, and ski-masks? That's a bank robber's uniform!"

"Why did you set all this up? What's the point?"

Fight's hysterical laughter returns, "For the fuck of it!"

"The guard thing was for fun. But the whole 'killing you' thing is because the prison was never meant to be found. This is Mark's biggest undertaking: replicating what makes us superior and transferring it to normies. We can't have you fucking this up," Copy trains his sights on Control, "I'm sorry, friend."

Copy ends Control's life with a simple pull of the trigger.

Last level-Big Boss

She heard the distinct crack of a gun. She heard everything about Copy, Fight, her father through the tap on the cameras. And what if everything had gone through as they planned? Control's presence threw them off and they had killed him. She slumps at the memory of leaving him behind. I had to. They would've killed me if I stayed. Think hugs her knees and begins to sob. Tears soak into her ski-mask; she removes it. She holds it in her hand, staring hatefully at it. She grits her teeth in anger. How could they? We were supposed to help people not kill them. Everyone in our deathtoll deserved to die: rapists, paedophiles, kidnappers, corrupt officials. She spits out the last of the list: "Murderers." Run. She needed Run's help. There aren't any other vigilantes living in the city she could turn to for help. Run would definitely be on her side; they tried to abduct her so they aren't on the same team. Think's industrious mind begins to formulate a brutally simple yet effective strategy: find Copy and Fight, eliminate them. Her dad can easily be blackmailed now that she possesses information against him and a practical means of exposing him using his own "net tap" of the city. He can wait until later. The details of the first endeavor aren't much to gawk at. Think tracks down Run, the only hero she personally knows outside the group. Run, Tarot, lays idly in her bed, methodically bopping her head to heavy metal. Think ziplines down to her window and knocks on the glass. Run rolls of her bed in shock, knocking down a potted plant. Someone yells at her and she yells back.

Think reads her lips: "Shut the fuck up, Dad!"

Run slides the window open, a din of music pours out. She throws a shoe at her stereo, hits the power button, and turns to Think.

"We aren't supposed to meet."

"Listen." Think enters and plays the recording.

Run's face develops a steely gaze at the end. "What now?"


Think explains, "I still have the cameras rolling and the boys have left. Copy and Fight should be on the lookout for me. I know them and they don't play the defensive. We can use that to our advantage."

"Copy can out-fight me any day of the week. Fight is... Well... Fight's his name! That's all he does."

"But I'm smarter," Think taps her head, "We can take them out together."

Run strokes her face worridly, "How though? They killed Control with a gun. They'll do us the same."

"He's not exactly the strongest of us, Tarot. Control had no one to help him," she said shamefully.

Run pulls on her ski-mask, "But you do." She kisses Run's cheek through the fabric.

The skinny girl sheds a single tear. Run wipes it away and finishes dressing herself.

Think sits on the window ledge, dangling her legs, "I'll be at the largest gazebo, where we always meet." And with that, she swings away.

At the peak of her pendulum, she releases the hold and hooks into another building. Think flies through an unsuspecting city, towards the concluding clash. An island of green foliage springs into view; she deploys a small parachute to slow her fall. She lands with a grunt, parachute dragging lazily behind her. Run's already beside her in case Copy and Fight arrive. Think carefully packs her parachute for later descends. Run stands uneasily by Think, unknowing of any plan.

"Okay, Mary, I'm here. Now what?"

Think puts up one hand, "Look."

Copy and Fight leisurely stroll towards the girls, identifiable despite their masks by their builds: Copy, short and thin; Fight, tall and broad-shouldered. Copy pulls out a gun, pointing it at Run first.

Run turns to flee but Think holds her, "They won't fire. Not unless they want cops here."

Another silhouette appears behind them, then another. Slowly but surely, Copy and Fight's legion of Undesirables emerges from the shadows. Think reaches into her backpack and hands Run two smoke grenades and a breathing apparatus. She takes one herself, launching it into their midst. Run unsheathes her twin knives and dashes into the melee. The former heroes stand aside the obscured cloud and observe what little can be seen. The cloud dissipates, allowing a brief glimpse of Run's carnage. She drops another for continued coverage until every last Undesirable is butchered. Out of nowhere, Fight rushes the tired girl. Run takes a running start, jumps, and connects with a flying kick to the head. Fight tumbles, recovers, and swings at Run. Think fires her grappling hook at Fight. The projectile runs through him; she reels it back, towing in a dead ex-hero. Copy fires his gun, hitting Think's Kevlar vest. Run sprints into Copy, tackling him off his feet. She slams him into a post and steps away. Copy pulls out a second weapon: Control's stun rod. It glows it blue aurora in the diminishing light. Think tosses a flash grenade at Copy, who's immediately blinded. She hands one end of the double-hooked cable to Run. She ties her end around Copy's leg. Run fulfills her role and sprints away. Copy is flung to the ground and dragged relentlessly onto the concrete sidewalk. Run looks back to see Copy turning the stun rod back on; she heads to the lake and, with so much forward momentum, leaps across it. Run releases the cable just as Copy hits the water. The stun rod short-circuits in a brilliant blue flash. Copy's body floats to the surface face-down. Run lands unsteadily, falling head over heals on the other end. Think locates her and lays beside the exhausted Run. They exchange no words as they gaze at Copy's corpse.

Finally, Think speaks, "Now what?"

Run takes a firm hold of Think's, "It's hardly over. Your dad will find replacements. Goons like Copy and Fight are supple in this city."

"Let's pay him a visit." Run sits up, "We'll rub his face in the compelling evidence."

"And he won't put a hit out on his own daughter," Think finishes.

"Come on, while the night is young."

Think stands by Run, "I love this job, Tarot. I don't think other girls our age can have such a 'career' as ours."

"We eat, fight, and kill together," she places a hand on Think's shoulder, "and we'll die together if we have to."


© Copyright 2017 CourteousSoul73. All rights reserved.

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