“AH! Shit on a stick with a side of ass cream!” Lilly hissed as she gingerly poked the mega-bruise forming on her abdomen.
Her, Nightingale, and Stal were back in the warehouse that was their old base of operations. It was now their old base because Lilly had teleported them directly there from the prison break. Nightingale had momentarily incapacitated Hunter but he’d be back in action soon enough, and it was a tossup if the rip in space Lilly’s teleports created would still be trackable when that happened.
<Better safe than sorry.> It was a good motto for a villain to live by.
“Where the hell are my recruits?” Damascus was not pleased when the small team arrived in a blast of darkness.
“They were neutralized by the Heroes, but they bought us time to escape.” Nightingale didn’t act too concerned, which just made the pyrokinetic that much angrier.
Lilly considered telling them that she’d gotten Morina out, but then clamped her mouth shut. Morina was her friend – if you could use the word in this situation. As stubborn as the other woman was, Lilly doubted she’d help some foreign terrorist in his dastardly plan. She might help out a friend, but Lilly didn’t think the Bloody Bitch was game for all that other stuff.
“So, you failed.” Damascus sneered.
Lilly couldn’t tell if he was happy or sad that they’d failed. Ultimately, she didn’t give two shits. She was here to see Reaper suffer. Anything beyond that didn’t really concern her.
A crew was quickly brought in to help them move locations. Lilly didn’t know them, and she didn’t trust them, so it was a good thing that she didn’t have anything that needed moving.
“Call me if you need me.” She didn’t wait for a response. She just vanished.
The dark embrace of the between space was different. It brought her mind back to the prison corridor when she’d been reaching for something to avoid getting taken out by the waiting Heroes. The darkness had answered her call. It had lingered longer than it ever had before.
<That was something different.> She wasn’t sure if it was just humoring her, if it was protective of her, or if she was able to control it?
It was definitely something to figure out, but she had more important things to handle at the moment. She needed to check on Morina.
Daisy sat in the local police station. She wasn’t in a cell – at least not yet – but the local Sherriff was keeping an eye on her.
<You’d think I was one of the villains that broke out of the prison,> she thought as she shifted her weight to her opposite butt cheek. She’d been sitting there for a while.
Hindsight being twenty-twenty, dropping everyone in her half-mile radius when she saw Mr. Morningstar dead hadn’t been the best decision. Most of the Heroes had gone down. All but one of the prisoners was neutralized, but all the cops were taken out. While the remaining Heroes corralled the final criminal the officers on the exterior perimeter were called in to help secure the unconscious people littering the battlefield. When they finally reached Daisy, she was kneeling over Mr. Morningstar’s bloody body. They’d acted appropriately and taken her into custody until they could figure everything out.
Normally, she be out within the hour as the DVA coordinated her release, but she’d dropped everyone she could in her range. That meant the DVA agents and representatives that would normally be fielding the orders from DVA HQ back in D.C. were out of commission. It led to a clusterfuck of epic proportions, and it was all her fault.
<I’ll take some shit for it, but I got the job done.> She still felt a little numb.
The image of Morningstar falling and Wraith escaping with Nightingale and Stal was seared into her mind. She’d seen a lot of death in her career, and it was always tough to see a fellow Hero fall, but this felt like more than that. She didn’t know why she had that feeling, but it was there in her gut. She’d learned to trust her gut a long time ago.
The phone started ringing and snapped her mind away from the images swirling around in it. A deputy answered it, said a few words, nodded, and hung up. He turned to Daisy, gave her a look, but didn’t say anything. It wasn’t a bad look. It was more questioning. She didn’t know if this guy had lost someone in the fight, or had helped take down one of those villains the first time around.
She’d overheard that there were three villains still missing from the fight, and none of them were nice people. <Hell, one bathes in other people’s blood for fun.> It sent a shiver up Daisy’s spine. <Creepy.>
She had to wait another twenty minutes before a costumed Hero walked through the front door. It was Bender, with his giant sniper rifle slung across his back, and a smile on his face. His presence seemed to light up the room. This was the ranged-Hero’s home turf, and people loved him.
<Which is why he’s here to spring me.> There was no one better to get her out of the poke than the local golden boy.
He made his way through the growing sea of sheriff’s deputies shaking hands and taking pictures. He worked the crowd like a pro, and she had to respect that. The Sherriff himself even came out to take a few pictures and get an update on the efforts to find the fugitives. Only after all of that was done did Bender finally make his way over the Daisy.
“Reaper,” was all he said as he undid her cuffs. “You pack one hell of a punch.”
“Thanks.” She massaged her wrists where the cuffs had dug in. “There are a lot of scorched-earth Supers out there, but I’m the turn the earth on its head Super. I always have been and probably always will be.”
Bender just nodded and they didn’t speak until they were out of the station and in the DVA SUV. Only then did he start to give her a debrief on the situation.
“We only have three unaccounted for, which for the size of the riot is pretty good. Property damage is severe, but that can be fixed. What can’t be fixed are the fatalities among the guards, and that was just about every one that was caught in the path of the escaping criminals. Our casualties were light, and the healers are working on the rest.” He left it at that. “All things considered, I think we won.”
“Did we?” Daisy just stared out the window.
Bender didn’t have the idealistic glint in his eye of a fresh out of the HCP Hero. He’d been at this a bit, but her comment still caught him off guard.
“Sure, we won the fight,” she clarified. “But we don’t know why it happened. We don’t know what their goal was in the first place? Hell, the three people missing might be the people they were trying to spring in the first place!” She took several deep breaths and controlled her emotions just like Dr. Johnson had taught her.
“True.” He granted her that.
“We need to figure out why the hell this happened in the first place, and we need to punish those that did this.” Her face was hard with determination.
“Of course.” Bender nodded. Whatever their difference, they both had that in common.
They rode the rest of the way back to the battlefield in silence. It was swarming with people now, so he took her to the command center. Her reception was lukewarm at best. Half the people in the room she’d dropped like a dollar bill at a strip club. She eventually found Grace who wasn’t at all pissed that she’d taken out the competition because she was already down for the count.
“Thanks.” She mumbled to the healer as the uniformed man walked away and Daisy replaced him.
“Are you? I heard what you did.”
The two women gave each other a look before nodding. They were both clearly tired and just wanted to go home, but their day wasn’t over yet.
“Reaper?” A SWAT officer walked over to them with a satellite phone. “Call for you.”
She took the phone with a questioning expression, but the guy didn’t offer any more information. “Hello?”
“Hey.” Topher’s voice washed over Daisy like a warm summer breeze.
“Hey.” Her hard demeanor melted immediately.
“Are you ok?” His first question was for her well-being, and that’s how she knew she had a winner, but once she’d confirmed she was fine things took a turn.
“We have a problem.” He explained the situation.
“Shit! You’ve got to be kidding me!” she exclaimed when the call ended.
Apparently, she wasn’t the only one who’d seen the inside of a police station today.
<Ugh.> Seth pulled himself out of a hazy world of dreams and into reality.
He had a crick in his neck. It felt like something hard had been poking into his kidney all night long, the place smelled like day-old piss, and the familiar scent of his own vomit made him gag a few times before getting it all under control. Only once he opened his eyes did he understand.
He was in a large communal cell with several benches and a toilet in the corner. He didn’t know how it had happened, but he’d ended up spending the night in the drunk tank.
“You’re up.” A man with sergeant’s stripes was sitting on the other side of the bars with his feet kicked up on a desk.
“Sure am.” Seth would have given anything to not have the acidic taste of puke in his mouth. “Not sure how I got here.”
“Your girlfriend brought you in.” The sergeant got the keys and opened up the cell. “Put your hands behind your back.”
Seth had played this game in bed before but never in real life. Nevertheless, he complied. It wasn’t like he couldn’t turn into a human bonfire and melt the cuffs if it came to that.
“She’s not my girlfriend,” he forgot to mention that up front but got around to it.
“Could have fooled me,” the sergeant easily slapped the cuffs around his wrists and tightened them. “I’m not going to lock them since we’re only walking a short way. Struggle and they’ll synch tighter and be a pain in the ass. Understood?”
“Sure thing, but I’m still not sure why I’m here.” Seth shrugged as he was led out of the cell.
“The detectives want to talk to you.”
“About what? I doubt with everything going on in this fine city that they have time to scold a college kid about underage drinking.” Seth was confident enough to smirk.
“That’s not my department. I just recognized you and wanted to have a moment to talk to you on the way to the interrogation room.”
<Interrogation? Who is this guy?> a few questions ran through Seth’s mind.
“I remember you were at Sprout just about a year ago when the place got hit. You were with a now-notorious someone.”
Seth didn’t say a word. He wasn’t sure how far the SI infraction clause at the HCP went, but he sure as shit wasn’t going to give away anything.
“Don’t worry,” the man gave him a pat on the shoulder. “I’m familiar with one of your professors. I gave her a heads up that you were here and why. Someone will be along to pick you up at some point after questioning.”
“Uh…thanks.” Seth didn’t know if the guy had done him a favor or fucked him. He also didn’t know how the HCP reacted to students getting busted by the cops for one thing or another.
“I’d give you the ‘tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ speech, but I know what you’re planning to do with your life, so you know what the right thing to do in this situation is.” They stopped in front of a heavy, plain white door. “Good luck.”
The sergeant led him in and plopped him down in front of two men. Both were older: one fat and one skinny. The fat one was rocking a pretty good mustache and a monster pistol in a shoulder holster. The guy screamed old-school cop. The skinny guy was dressed in a suit and wore his police-issued sidearm on his belt next to his badge. His demeanor screamed “ladder climber”. The two detectives might look completely different, but they had the same look on their faces. It was a relaxed “I got you kid” look.
“Mr. Abney,” skinny detective smiled to show his perfectly white and straightened teeth. “Thank you for coming in after we gave you a call.”
“Whatever I can do to help, Officers.” Seth knew he sounded like a smartass, but he was still pretty hungover and was kind of pissed at Izzy for dropping him off.
“I’ve looked at your record and it’s a little extensive. Mostly stupid juvenile behavior back in North Carolina: public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and one count of public nudity that got dropped.”
“The courts, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t feel it was appropriate to slap that charge on me when I was only one of many sprinting naked through the school’s quad with two dozen others. It was nothing more than school spirit.”
“School spirit?” The fat detective gave a gruff laugh. “Sure.”
“The past is the past, Mr. Abney.” The skinny detective reassumed control of the conversation. “We’re concerned with the present.”
“Me too.” Seth eyed the two men. “Why haven’t I been read my rights? If I haven’t been read my rights then I must not be under arrest, and if you’re arresting kids for underage drinking now-a-days then all the government subsidies pouring into this department are grossly misappropriated.” Seth shrugged. “So, I see this going one of two ways. The first is that you arrest me for something and read me my rights and I don’t talk until my lawyer gets here. The other is that I’m not under arrest, I’m not going to answer any questions, and you have to let me leave. Your holding time for public intoxication is already up I’m assuming.” Seth leaned back in his chair with a confident smile.
The two detectives smiled back just as smugly.
“Fine by us, Mr. Abney. You are under arrest for battery. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you. Do you understand your rights?”
“Yeah,” Seth was stunned.
“We wanted to give you the chance to share your side of the story, Mr. Abney, but if you want to play it this way we can.” Skinny detective flipped around a laptop that was sitting on the plain table between them.
It was a time-stamped surveillance video from yesterday. Seth recognized the place. It was his building, his floor, and the camera was directly facing his door. A man came running into the frame. It was the guy who manned the desk in the lobby during the day. Seth had talked to him a couple of times. He was a nice guy for all that Seth knew.
There was no audio so Seth only saw the man pounding on the door and his mouth moving. It looked like he was yelling something. Suddenly, the door flew open and Seth appeared in the doorway.
<Is that me?> Seth had no memory of this. He didn’t recognize the blank look on his face. The blood on his hands and clothes wasn’t a surprise.
The man said something to Seth, but he didn’t move. He said something else, this time looking more agitated. Finally, he said some more stuff and gestured with his hands. That was when Seth reacted. He grabbed the man’s waving arm and twisted. It was clear from the agony on the man’s face that Seth had broken something, but he didn’t stop there.
Granted, the guy took a swing at him, but Seth easily blocked it with a raised forearm, and unleashed a devastating combo on the man’s head and upper torso. One…two…three hits to the head and the man collapsed like a sack of potatoes. His nose was clearly broken and blood was leaking freely from it. In terms of beat downs, it was over quickly and cleanly, but that wasn’t what bothered Seth.
He kept wracking his brain for any memory of what had happened, but he pulled up squat. All he remembered was seeing Lilly kill, then be killed, the broken glass mirror, and then the unconscious guy.
“Anything you want to add?” Young detective asked with a victorious smirk on his face.
“Lawyer,” Seth stated.
“That’s your right,” fat detective spun the laptop around and close it. “But you should also know that the fire was started in your apartment. The fire inspector is looking into it, but if we have arson on our hands then I think we’ve already got our suspect.”
“Lawyer,” Seth repeated.
“I know,” skinny detective made a placating gesture. “But this is the time for you to…”
“That’s enough!” A man dressed in a suit that made the detective’s look like sewed together goose shit strode into the room dramatically. “My client has refused to answer any of your questions. If you do not leave right this minute you’re going to have a harassment case on your hands.”
Both detective shot Seth’s lawyer a withering glare that the silver-haired attorney shrugged off easily.
“We’ll be back.” Fat detective stated before they walked out of the room.
“Don’t say anything.” The attorney stated as he took a seat and gave Seth one of his own glares. “You already have the DVA all over your case and now the local PD is getting in on the action. Do you not understand what the term ‘keep your nose clean’ means, Seth?”
“How did you know I was here?” Seth hadn’t received his phone call yet.
“A Ms. Perko phoned me and stated that you were at the police station. She sounded quite upset about it. Lucky for you, Mr. Abney, you haven’t pushed everyone away who cares about you.”
“Yeah,” Seth thought about that for a moment.
Izzy might have been the one to drop him off at the station, but she’d also called his lawyer. It might not make him totally forgive her, but it certainly helped balance the scales.
“I’ll review the evidence the authorities have against you and have you out of here on bail in no time.” The lawyer continued despite Seth’s lack of attention.
“Yeah, sure, ok.” Seth just nodded as the man left to get everything situated.
His mind was fixated on Izzy. Everything that had happened since his apartment was a bit fuzzy, and that left him wondering just how much of an asshole he’d been.
Now he needed to figure out how to make it up to her because the attorney was right. Seth had very few people he could count on, and Izzy had proved she was one of them.
Watching Star Trek: Discovery as I’m posting this and I like what I’m seeing 🙂
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