The next few days passed in what Shane was beginning to learn was mundanity for the Hero community in Brooklyn. A small-time robbery of a convenience store involving two humans and one Standard Class strongman, not even gang affiliated. And another small skirmish between the Greens and White Boars that the Atomic Conjurers had squashed before anyone else could get involved.
His agent had been anything but idle in the short window of peace, though. With the intern’s rising popularity Lenny had set up a few merchandising opportunities for Shane, and even did temp work with the team’s own agent, Joel, for Amy, Vanessa, and Greg. For a standard cut of the profits of course.
The interns had seldom ever met Joel, the lanky red-head preferring to work in the background like most agents while giving periodic updates to Jack. Rather than frustrated, as Shane had suspected, the man had seemed down-right ecstatic to have an opportunity to work with a legend like Lenny. A stark contrast to the current state of nigh-immature dick jousting between Shane and Amy.
Shane got a poster shoot done that nicely complimented the slightly infamous and dark image he was currently cultivating as a Hero. Amy and Vanessa had gotten popular enough to warrant getting their own plushies designed for them, even if Amy wasn’t particularly a fan of how they seemed to cultivate too “cute” an image for her.
Greg had hit the jackpot out of all of them though. He’d quickly become the unprecedented champ when it came to PR during his patrols. It was unfair really, his energy constructs were just so damn good at entertaining crowds, especially children. So, Lenny and Joel had sprung for a full-on action figure on top of a poster for him. Both being glow-in-the-dark just to fit his motif.
The break really had been nice, letting them all decompress and allowing Shane to formulate a sort of truce with Amy; the competition was nice and reminded him of his sister but it had long since stopped being productive. Even so, Jack heeded Pulp’s warning and she, in turn, kept him abreast of any new developments that she thought might be cropping up. And he’d told every Hero team through Dispatch to keep an eye out for some ploy and to be ready to move quickly if any suspicious moves from the gangs popped up.
Very fortunate everyone was for Jack’s vigilance, because had he not been than Shane and Vanessa’s first night patrol would have had a much different, and far more somber, ending.
The call came in at around midnight, just as Styx and Spectrum were finishing up their patrol of the business district.
<Styx and Spectrum be advised; there is confirmed Super conflict that was reported in the shipyard between a Standard Class blaster and Construct Conjurer that seems to be restricted to self-protective spheres.>
Styx was a little surprised at the sudden stream of information. That was exceptionally detailed, even for Dispatch, the two Supers must have been fighting openly for civilians to get that good of a look.
<Gadreel and Obsidian Wraith are already flying toward the location with the intent to neutralize the threats.>
“Thank you Dispatch. Keep me posted on for any unexpected developments and warn any Heroes currently on patrol. This seems fishy.” Spectrum said before abruptly changing the direction of their patrol toward the shipyard. “Is Maria still available for transport?”
<Affirmative.> Dispatch replied without a moments hesitation.
“This is suspicious?” Styx asked as he caught up and started to feel for shadows as far as his power would allow, following his mentor’s cautious approach even as he questioned him.
“An easy looking fight when not a lot of Heroes are currently out patrolling to respond? Yeah, I’ve seen other criminals try similar things over the years. It is unlikely though, could just be a scarp that got out of hand.”
Styx nodded his head in understanding and kept himself alert, he wasn’t truly worried about anything happening but didn’t trust his instincts concerning this city enough to let himself mentally relax. This sentiment was vindicated a moment later as Dispatch’s voice crackled to life from his ear piece once more.
<Spectrum and Styx, prepare for transport from your DVA agent. The situation has escalated; Gadreel was ambushed by a teleporter hiding in wait, the original instigators are now displaying Demolition Class capabilities, and five unknown individuals are approaching the scene rapidly.>
The duo immediately stopped at the sudden message and Spectrum only replied with a curt, “Affirmative.”, before snapping off another set of commands. “Dispatch, I want a team connection through the comms to Gadreel.”
<Request received.> Dispatch said simply and there were a few tenser seconds of waiting before she responded. <Connection made.>
“Gadreel, report.” Spectrum ordered.
“… It’s been handled.” Vanessa said, a strange tilt to her voice. “I was transported to the local park and three Supers were lying in wait. They’re all down, one dead and two disabled. I’ve also been lightly injured but I can still fight. Just need to find my way back to the shipyard.”
“Alright, pair back up with Obsidian Wraith as soon as you can.”
“Yes, sir.” Gadreel replied and then all either of them could hear was the whistling of wind as she took flight.
“End the connection, Dispatch.”
“She sounds calm.” Styx said after quickly deciding not to question Spectrum’s decision to bring her back in.
“Mhmm” Spectrum said vaguely, not trusting the public venue to talk to extensively about team member issues.
Suddenly a misty, shimmering shard of light appeared on the ground in front of them, the tired and haggard looking form of Maria shimmering into view soon afterwards, her hair disheveled and with bags under her eyes. But in spite of her obvious tiredness she immediately reached forward and put a hand on both of their shoulders; their vision blurred for barely a second before they were dropped off some place that was pitch black.
The first thing Styx noticed as his vision returned to normal was what sounded like a mix between a generator malfunctioning and rapid claps of thunder, presumably from the blaster, and the grounds rumbling as something rolled across the earth with tremendous force.
It only took the barest of moments for his vision to adjust and see that they were behind a shipping container, and to connect all the new shadows around him. But it was enough that by the time he looked back Maria had already disappeared and Jack had taken off at a sprint, an orb of red energy in his hand lighting the way and was just turning a corner around the container towards the sounds of combat.
Again, Styx was thankful for the extensive endurance training he’d endured because he had to run hard to catch up to Spectrum while in full costume, even if the body armor only restricted and slowed him down minutely. He knew from experience that even being slightly out of breath could make all the difference.
What Styx saw as he rounded the corner was worse than any of the staged Sim battles he’d had in the HCP.
A boat with half of it’s hull missing was currently sinking into the harbor, most of the ground around there scorched and torn up, and he could see the two Supers responsible.
One was a man with long brown hair who was launching himself through the air with oscillating blasts of purple energy that arced with electricity, tearing up the landscape wherever it touched. The man was angling himself towards Obsidian Wraith, who was grappling with a partially-translucent marble sphere the size of a house with an obscured figure at its center.
Off to the north-east he could see five men taking pot shots at her with ray-guns, red beams of energy that lit up there general area while three shifters rapidly approached; one looking like a humanoid beetle with scales, the second a lanky figure rapped in flowing bandages, and last a hulking brute covered in matted fur.
With a steadying breath Styx breathed life into every shadow around them and focused, there was work to be done.