Agent Redeagle jumped the highway retaining wall and landed soundlessly several feet below. Thanks to his sensory abilities, Ray could see in the dark better than most people. Pitch blackness didn't hold him back much. He was well known for taking night jobs and using the rooftops as his runway. He took alleys and cut across a few blocks before coming to a halt behind a crashed car.
Several men had smashed in the front of a jewelry store and were grabbing anything they could. There was no alarm sounding, so the store owner must have been there and had it turned off.
“Seriously?” Redeagle muttered to himself, “Already?”
Agent Redeagle tightened his bag up against his body and moved toward them in the darkness. Streetlights were coming on, but in this area they didn't help much.
“Oh, man, this is so awesome!” said a scraggly haired young man as he came running out of the store. But he wasn’t looking where he was going. He probably thought he hit a cement wall as his body slammed hard to the ground from the effect of running smack into Agent Redeagle.
The boy landed with a loud “OOF” and people with flashlights turned to see Ray’s unhappy face and towering frame.
“Put it all back,” Ray commanded flatly.
The men laughed and Ray knew better than to let them make a move. He had to assume they had weapons; at least one gun. He reached down and grabbed up the one that ran into him by the strength of one arm. As Ray charged forward, he threw that man across the top of a car and into the face of one of his friends. Making a fluid motion of that, he brought his fist to the face of the next man in front of him. The force of the punch threw the man’s feet up into the air. Before that man could hit the ground, Ray jumped across the hood of another car and kicked the next man in the chest. That man’s body launched backwards into the jewelry store with a crash. As Ray turned, he flat handed the next man across the side of the face, bouncing they guy’s head off the top of the car. Then, as Ray turned to see the man that started laughing, he could see the gun coming out.
The man with the gun aimed but his gun was already gone, snatched away and he was yanked into the air at the end of one long strong arm. Ray shook that man until his teeth rattled and then shook him a little more; back and forth like a soda can.
“Ok, ok, ok,” the man sputtered and Ray dropped him in heap.
“Now, put it all back! Move it!”
The two men that were still conscious scrambled to obey.
“Where is the shop owner?” Ray asked one of them.
“We tied him up inside.”
“Well, untie him then!”
At that moment two police officers came running up the street with their flashlights. They recognized Agent Redeagle immediately. He didn’t give them time for questions.
“All these guys are under arrest for armed robbery, resisting arrest and failing to comply with an officer’s orders. They are to pick up their mess and then you chain them together like a big happy family.”
“You got it, but you are needed over at the precinct next to your HQ right away. It’s really bad.”
That was all Ray had to hear. He gave the officers extra handcuffs from his bag and took off running again.
“Now what will you do?” an EMT asked once the wounded on Staten Island were tended to.
Anubis craned his neck to look toward the sky. “I wonder how high I can fly.”
Without waiting for a response from anyone, Anubis shot into the air, intent on reaching outer space. The darkness loomed even deeper at this direction and he couldn’t see anything, not even stars. With no idea what may be ahead of him, he increased his speed. He passed the Earth’s atmosphere and reached an area that bordered on orbit. Then something stopped him. A solid barrier of darkness repelled him like a brick wall to a speeding tennis ball. As he flew, tumbling in reverse, he caught himself at mental command and stared blankly into the dark. He held his lance ahead of him like a blind man’s cane. With less speed and more caution he flew until he hit it again. His lance made no sound as it struck the barrier, but stopped solid all the same. He put his hand against it. He couldn’t feel any texture, but he couldn’t push past it either. He wondered if his powers could affect it? He put his hand forward and it glowed fiercely before a wave of destructive energy tore forward and did nothing. Unlike before, nothing came to him by any sense of what he could do. Could it be he could do nothing? What was this barrier of darkness? Considering the height of the barrier over the Earth, a terrible realization came to him.
“This must surround the whole world!”
Then he thought of Ella again. She would have been so miserable without the sun. He had to see its return for the memory of Ella and everyone living on the Earth below. Somehow, some way, he would find out what to do. As he turned back toward Earth, he saw lights flickering on below. They were beautiful from up there and he paused to marvel at the sight. Then he shook it off and set his mind to a mission he determined he would not fail.
Red and blue lights flashed all around the police precinct attached to Redeagle’s workplace of the Federal Protection Agency. The flashing lights belonged to ambulance and fire rescue. A lump formed in his throat when he saw the area littered with bodies. He recognized the damage of energy burns. The blackened scoring on the concrete and walls told him of a massive firefight. He looked up at the black sky and for the first time in his career, knew an assignment before it could be given to him. Ray found an officer standing guard while others walked in and out of the burned precinct with more bodies and evidence in plastic bags. He showed the officer his badge.
“Your partner is already inside, Sir.”
He spoke of Jason Marigold, a man called Atomizer for his ability to cause sub-atomic combustion at various scales. Jason could only use his power on non-living targets, but he could create explosions from firecracker size to possibilities he was afraid to explore.
“How bad is it, Officer?” Ray asked the man.
“The worst I’ve ever seen. It’s like they were completely overrun.”
“No, Sir, and no bodies of any perpetrators either.”
Ray patted the officer on the shoulder and started to walk past him.
“Sir, there’s more.”
The officer seemed to choke on his words for a moment, “This happened at every precinct in New York at approximately the same time.”
Ray felt a knot in his stomach, “All of them?”
“Yes, Sir, your partner has all details.” The officer stood tight lipped trying to keep his composure.
Agent Redeagle could only turn and walk in a stupor through the burned out debris. Pock marks in cement and burned holes surrounded him like snowflakes. It was an attack of military precision with weapons that seemed unstoppable. Only an army could do that, but what army? Were they to blame for the darkness? Ray felt like he could bet his life on that as he walked through his worst nightmare into the building. The charred odor assaulted his heightened senses but he pressed on. He found a Duty Sergeant taking down information with gritted teeth. The man looked up at him and just shook his head and went back to writing down information about every detail. There were men taking photos and tissue samples for forensics. More bodies were being removed. A creak from above suddenly caught Ray’s attention. He jumped forward and caught the metal ceiling beam as it plunged through the cardboard tiles toward two men carrying out some equipment. Thanks to his strength, the beam was no issue. The two men stood momentarily stunned.
“You can move now.” Ray snapped them out of it and they hurried out of the way with quick thanks. He set the beam aside and looked up through the hole. He could see where the beam had been cut through by whatever weapons were used in the assault. The floor above had a hole the size of a basketball and another officer’s face stared back at him through the hole. Redeagle almost shouted up at him to be careful, but then noticed that he wasn’t likely to respond. He had to look away from the chilling face. It didn't help, death and destruction were all encompassing. He almost cried out when a familiar voice came from behind him.
“This is insane, isn’t it?”
Ray nodded and gave his friend, Jason a good natured slap on the shoulder. “Glad to see you’re okay.”
Agent Atomizer adjusted his Stetson hat a little and kicked some dust off his matching boots. “Well, I wish I was here to help when it happened, but here I am. Good to see you made it. Now what do we do?” Jason was used to looking up to see his friends face. He was also used to seeing confidence, but it wasn't there today. Jason couldn't blame him though, he shook with terror too.
“Is our office intact?” Ray asked.
“Yeah, I was just there. Larratus wants to see us both pronto.”