Tuesday, June 26, 2012

GZ Legends 8: And now, the PAC


Zombie henchman
                Anubis stumbled backward from the blast to his chest.

            “YEEOOW! That actually hurt!” Anubis’s eyes glowed with rage and emitted a beam the blew the weapon to pieces and threw the shooter down the alley. Instinctively Anubis also put a hand up and created a barrier of energy to block the explosion from himself and Nightfall.

            “That’s one of Zombie’s henchmen. Are you okay?” Nightfall asked.

            “Yeah, I’m okay. That must have been one of the weapons they used on the police stations. But what’s with the dorky motorcycle helmets?”

            “You’ll find those pretty hard to crack, well, maybe you will.”

            Suddenly a dumpster came racing at the two of them, but Anubis stopped it with one hand.

            “Wow, he’s back up fast and throwing trash. Well, here buddy, right back at ya!” Anubis shoved the dumpster back hard. It hit the henchman and carried him into the side of a parked car with a crash. Glass flew and metal crumpled, pinning the henchman in a sandwich of steel.

            Anubis and Nightfall watched as the man pushed the dumpster off himself and shoved it out of the way. He pulled himself out of the crippled wreck of the car and came toward them again.

            “Gotta hand it to these guys, they can take some punishment,” Anubis said

            “Do you think you can capture him without destroying him?” Nightfall asked.

            “Say what?”

            “We might be able to learn something from him on examination or take him to someone who can.”

            “Oh fine, oops, hang on,” Anubis blocked a punch from the henchman, picked him up and threw him back at the wrecked car.

            “I’m sure glad you’re strong enough to deal with it,” Nightfall said, remembering her encounter before they left her to burn.

            “Yeah, well it’s clear how they’re too much for the police to handle. Let me think now. Hey, is that a tow truck over there?”

            Out of the alley and across the street, they could see a tow truck parked near some cars. People who heard the fight were at a distance, but watching.

            “Okay, let’s see how good my golf swing is,” Anubis flew at the henchman with his lance and swung at an upward arc. The body of the man sailed through the air and cracked bricks in the wall when he hit. As intended, he landed near the tow truck.

            Before the henchman could get back on his feet again, Anubis flew high over and threw down his bladed lance. It pierced his target through the chest and into the sidewalk. As Anubis figured, the henchman still moved and struggled to free himself. Anubis landed on the tow truck. He gripped the housing for the long metal cable meant to tow vehicles and peeled it apart in his fingers. He reached in and pulled out the wheel that the cable was wrapped up on. He felt sorry for whoever owned this truck, but this was now a chaotic world and the need was great.  While the henchman was still pinned, Anubis started at the man's feet and wrapped his legs in the tow cable. The henchman swung at him but Anubis caught his hands and bound those to his chest, wrapping the upper torso in the rest of the cable. Anubis made it tight and when the end of the cable came along, he held it to the rest. Much like when he repaired the baby carriage, he fused the metal together. Then Anubis pulled out his lance and grabbed the henchman up to his feet. For a few moments, he watched the bound man struggle to no avail.

            “Good, there’ll be no more trouble out of you for a while.”

            “You put your lance right through his chest,” Nightfall said.

            “And yet he’s still struggling,” Anubis said.

            Further down the street two men observed the whole ordeal in awe.

            “Hey, Jake, isn’t that your tow truck he just tore up?”

            “What am I supposed to do? Go tell him 'no'? Look at him, you idiot, he can have my tow truck!”

            Anubis put the struggling henchman over a shoulder. He and Nightfall walked back through the alley toward the precinct.

 ********

Blacktide
            Sandstorm and Electrode were the first to arrive at  Powers Hospital. It took another hour for Redeagle and Atomizer to pull up in the truck.

            “Good to see you made it,” Electrode said.

            “We aren’t mobile like you two and there’s a lot of wreckage to get around,” Redeagle said.

            “Hey, just kidding.”

            “So who are we here to see?” Atomizer asked.

            “We are here to see Larry Peters, but maybe you’ve heard of his street name, Blacktide,” Sandstorm said.

            “I’ve heard of him. He disintegrates everything he touches, right?” Redeagle asked.

            “Almost. He committed himself here to protect others from his powers. His problem is control of his powers. I tried to help him once before but he had a lot of trouble believing he could gain control.”

            “Do you really think he’s a good choice?” Atomizer asked.

            “I think he’s an excellent choice, especially in these conditions. Look, beggars can’t be choosers. Just give him plenty of space. I think just two of us should go in and that should be Agent Redeagle and myself.”

            “Okay,” Atomizer sat down on a bench, “Good luck, partner.”

            The two men went into the hospital and Sandstorm led Redeagle to the psychiatric wing.

            “Larry lives in a very special cell of plastic surrounded by thousands of gallons of water,” Sandstorm explained, “There’s a secondary measure of chloroform gas hooked up to the ventilation system in case of any loss of control.”

            “Seriously?” Redeagle doubted this choice the more he heard about it.

            “He can’t disintegrate liquids or gasses. That’s why you are going to stay at the airlock door and listen in while I talk to him. Unless of course you can change your shape into water, like me?”

            “No, I can’t. This is your deal and I’m following your lead.”

            “Good idea.”

            “Are you sure you want to see him?” an orderly at the airlock asked.

            “Yes, as always,” Sandstorm answered, “We don’t have a lot of time.”

            The orderly shook his head and let Sandstorm through the airlock door. Redeagle watched in concern as the door clanked shut so a second door could open. Sandstorm walked through it calmly.

             The orderly looked up to Redeagle's face, "You're smart for not going in there."
  
             "Gee thanks. Is there any way I can see what's going on in there?"
  
             The orderly switched on a monitor next to the airlock door.

             "Good. I'll let you know if I need any more of your enthusiastic help."

            Larry, known as Blacktide, lay back on a wide plastic shelf from the wall that had a mattress on it.  In one corner of the room was a metal commode built in so he never had to leave the room for anything. He even had his own sink to wash at and a shower with a built in floor drain. His dark sunglasses covered his eyes, but Sandstorm knew those eyes were on him from the start, even through strands of the long blonde hair. Blacktide wore a gray tank top and jeans. A pair of heavy biker’s boots were on the floor nearby. On a nearby table there were scattered magazines about motorcycles. Blacktide said nothing as Sandstorm stood in the middle of the room.

            “How is your exile treating you? Is this helping you to control your powers?” Sandstorm asked.

            “I control them or die. What do you think?” Blacktide didn't move at all as he spoke.

            “I think you should consider something else.”

            “We’ve been over this before. Too many people have died from my power.”

            “Do you know what’s going on outside?”

            “I’ve heard about it.”

            “There’s a new task force being formed. We could use your help.”

            “You know I don’t work well in a team. I’m too dangerous.”

            “Whatever is doing this out there is more powerful than anything I’ve ever faced. The city is without police protection and it’s getting worse. I know you care too much to let that go by.”

            “More powerful than anything you’ve faced eh?” Larry raised an eyebrow.

            “It’s true. Come on, I know if we try again, you can control your power. You aren’t committed here beyond your own choice. Come with us.”

            Larry stood up and looked around at his confines. He bit his lower lip in thought and deliberated for a long time while Lombard waited patiently. He stared at the airlock and then the floor.  “I guess I’ll put my boots on.”

            “That’s the way.” Lombard smiled.

            The staff acted almost relieved to let Larry go and didn’t even try to question Redeagle’s authority or the fact that Blacktide wanted to leave.

            “Good to meet you, I’m Agent Ray Redeagle,” he offered his hand.

            “Get this straight right now. I don’t shake hands and don’t touch me even if it looks like my life depends on it.”

            “Fair enough,” Ray said and they all left for the FPA building.

            Blacktide went to the storage garage on site and got out his motorcycle. As he kicked it on and rolled away, he had to admit, it felt good to feel the wind in his hair again.

            When they came into the briefing room, Larratus waited for them. Anubis and Nightfall were there too. They had brief introductions and exchanged information. Larry "Blacktide" Peters, kept his distance in the meeting room. Once pleasantries were past, Larratus started talking.

            “While you boys were out, Anubis here brought us a little gift. He caught one of the gunmen. We can’t make him talk, but our lab is running some tests on him. The little lady has told us all we could want to know about Professor Zombie, the man behind the police station attacks. Nightfall, would you care to fill them in?" Commander Larratus put up a photo of an obese man with a white beard and balding head.

            "That's the ugliest Santa Claus I've ever seen," Anubis remarked and got a sharp elbow from Nightfall.

            "Thank you, Commander. Everyone, Professor Zombie is a genetics and robotics genius. Don't let his "fat man" looks deceive you. He's half cyborg underneath it. The Professor has developed a serum that makes anyone into an undead servant. They can take lethal damage and keep coming at you, so be very careful. Zombie has them wearing some body armor and helmets designed to be almost unbreakable. I don't know how many men he has, but clearly it's enough to be an army versus the police of NewYork."

             "What about the weapons?" Redeagle asked.

             "Those are not the Professor's work, so I expect there's still someone else behind this. The darkness is also beyond his capabilities."

              Commander Larratus spoke again, "We need to find out where he’s hiding and bring him in. As for his men, you are authorized to dispose of them at will. Now I have a little something for you from our tech boys,” Larratus stopped for a breath and drag on his cigar, “These cell phones are virtually indestructible and resist most parahuman powers. You can call each other from anywhere on Earth and maybe even the moon and get a perfect signal. They aren’t blocked by this darkness either. They have a few other tricks but I’m going to let you learn those on the go with the built in tutorials. Each of you take a phone and welcome to the task force called PAC. It stands for Parahuman Activity Commission.”

            “I will not be joining your team, but I will be happy to help out,” Anubis said. “My powers were given to me in order to find those who may combat this terror. I believe I have done this. Now we will deal with it together.”

            “You didn‘t tell me about that. Who gave you your power?” Nightfall asked.

Destiny
            “I only know that I am a Herald of Destiny.”

            “Destiny? The Lord Entity, Destiny?”

            “I don’t know. The little old man told me.”

            “Oh, wow, you’ve met Destiny. I really am impressed now. That explains so much.”

            “Whoa, what’s going on here?” Commander Larratus said, “What’s Destiny, some kind of god?”

            “Destiny is a Lord Entity, much more powerful than a god,” Nightfall explained.

            “Okay, great, well we can get to explanations of that later, I’m sure. Agent Redeagle, give us a roster check and let’s get to finding Zombie.”

            “Okay guys, checking off our roster for this mission. Lombard Ogleson is Sandstorm. Scott McCross is Electrode. Larry Peters is Blacktide, Hakim is Anubis and Nightfall is all we know of the lady. Jason Marigold is the Atomizer and I’m Redeagle. Now we just need a plan of action.”

            “In order to hit all those precincts at once, he has to have several bases of operations across the city. That’s a lot to supply and organize. Electrode and I know of someone who might have information on an operation like that. We’ll go and talk to him. The rest of you should split up and try to find the locations of those supply points. They shouldn’t be far from the precincts. Maybe if we wipe them out, we’ll get Zombie’s attention,” Sandstorm said.

            “Then I’m going out to search on my own, I’ll let you know if I find anything,” said Blacktide.

            “Nightfall and I will go together. We already make a pretty cool team,” Anubis gave a sly smile and Nightfall gave him another elbow shove.

            “Okay, then Atomizer and I will go as a team. And I'd like to make a nomination for our team leader. I think that should be Sandstorm, he has the most experience of us all.”

            Sandstorm stood silent for a moment, "I'll think about it."

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