Warning: Graphic Content may be ahead. Viewer discretion is advised.
After the Last Issue, Undisclosed Time and Location....
As I regain my consciousness the sound of sirens and helicopters in the distance fill my ears. The fire of the abandoned apartment I was just in blazes in my eyes. I'm propped up on the trunk of a tree a safe distance away. My leg is in a makeshift brace, my arm is layered in bandages, and my head is killing me. I glance around to see most of the squads around me. Then the last thing I remember pops in my mind. "Blaze!" I shout. "Where's Blaze?" I ask concernedly. Nemesis walks over to me. His face is covered in smoke and ash. "Good to see you made it out of there, Nemesis."
"Yeah, soon as I heard you's fightin' ah grabbed Blaze's boys and booked outta there." He responds as he helps me stand up. Sometimes it's really hard to understand his accent, but hey.
"Good work. How many did you pull out?" I ask back as he leads me through the squads. Some of them with their eyes on the fire, most of them with their eyes on me. A few cheers and whistles come from the crowd.
His head lowers. "Only the two ah found." My gut feels like it's just been ripped open. But before I can respond he pulls me to the very back of our little setup. The two men Nemesis found are laying out, resting, and Blaze is behind them. Wide awake, talking to one of the guys.
"What?.... How!?" I question in disbelief. Nemesis looks at me with confusion.
"How do ya think you made it outta thah?" He says with a little attitude. "We dunno what ya did, but ya somehow managed to save both of you's from the 'splosion 'n the fiah." He continues. "We wah just able to pull you's outta there before the emahgency vehicles showed up. Then we wah long gone by the time the news 'copter got thah." By this point Blaze has noticed us and gotten up. He extends his hand out for a handshake.
"We did it." Blaze comments as he signals something to Nemesis with a huge smile on his face. Nemesis disappears into the crowd for a second before returning with a bag. He pulls the detonator out of the bag. "Now let's finish it." Blaze continues. I grab the detonator out of Nemesis' hand. I examine it, and feel the power, of such a tiny thing, as it sits in my hand. I storm back to the front of our setup, back to the tree I was at. I push through everyone, ignoring the pain from walking on my leg.
"Tonight.... Tonight is our night." I mutter to myself, almost as if I'm reassuring myself. "Are either of you students of history?" I ask to Nemesis and Blaze. Nemesis shakes his head no while Blaze does an indecisive shrug. "I'm not much of one myself, but one of the quotes that always stuck with me was from the Mexican Revolution. '¡Viva la Revolución!' Was the quote." I pause and turn to them. "It means long live the revolution." I turn back to the burning apartment. "I'm gonna borrow that. Even if it's a little corny." I take a deep breath. "Long live the revolution!" I shout out.
A mix of responses come from the squads. Varying from, "Hoorah!" to "F*ck yeah!" or even a simple "Wooo!"
After I give them a second to finish I take one last look at the detonator. "Viva la Revolución." I whisper to myself. I firmly grasp the trigger on the detonator. Then I squeeze it.
The whole block erupts into the night sky. Debris shoots everywhere. Fire sears through everything. The news chopper filming the apartment fire there is tossed around in the air like a rag doll, but the pilot manages to regain control before it crashes into the inferno. I can't help, but grin at our success. As I watch the scene unfold I glance behind me to see the faces of all my troops staring in awe at our work.
Then I overhear Blaze send someone to get a laptop. A minute or two later Blaze is typing something in. "Using a personal hotspot?" I ask him. He nods. "Those are expensive. Where'd you find it?"
"Somewhere in the Iron Circle." He responds dismissively before turning the laptop towards me. "Check this out."
The words 'Breaking', 'News', 'Denton', and 'Update' are plastered all over the webpage. Then Blaze clicks on the live video. The feed is coming from inside the chopper. "That's correct, Marlene, the local law enforcement aren't giving us much information at this time as the events have just unfolded, but what we can confirm now is that CBTF forces have been called to investigate for possible terrorist activities. But from what we're seeing up here in Chopper 8, it seems pretty clear to us that this is, in fact, a terrorist attack due to the emblems we're seeing at every location that was destroyed by the explosion. Some speculation suggests that this is a response to the recent Beneforce activities in New York City." The reporter cuts off for a second, turns to the pilot, and points to the ground at something. Then the camera cuts over to the emblem the reporter was talking about:
I give Blaze a suspicious glance before tuning back into the news. "No, Marlene, we have confirmed from police forces on the ground that this isn't the work of Name Lime, the terrorist apprehended earlier this week by CBTF forces. And no, unfortunately, we cannot give a total causality number yet, but it can be expected that several of the first responders were injured in the attack." The feed goes back to the newsroom where Marlene gives an update to those just tuning in. I slowly stand up and signal Blaze to follow me away from the crowd. When I stand up I notice nearly all of our soldiers are gathered around the laptop. Blaze hands the laptop off to Nemesis and catches up to me as I push through the crowd.
Soon as we're both clear from the crowd I grab him by the throat with my one good arm and hold him in the air. "What. Was. That!?" I shout violently at him. He tries to generate a little fire from his hands to get me to back off, but I pin his arms behind his back with my TK. "I can still kill you with one hand, boy. Now speak!" I yell at him rage-fully before tossing him to the ground.
"I ordered them to do it.." He coughs. "For us. For carriers." He looks at me furiously. "How was anyone supposed to know that it was us, that it was a group of carriers, that carried out the act without-" He coughs again. "-some sort of sign?"
"And how was that emblem supposed to do that? It just makes us look like terrorists with an agenda." I respond, dissatisfied with his answer.
"It wasn't." He smiles. My eyes widen. "The sign is the message the police covered with their cars when they pulled up. The media will see it soon enough." He chokes a little and spits something out. Then he stands up. My mouth drops. "The emblem is simply the new face of our movement. Something for us to rally behind. Which is why we choose a wolf emblem." He pauses and smirks. "So we could rally behind Wolffe."
"Get back to the medic." I order him, not responding to what he just said. He goes to argue. "Now." I say sternly. He turns around and walks back into the crowd. Then the full weight of all this hits me. I stare blankly at the destroyed block.
"It all worked out perfectly." The Shadow floats beside me, startling me. I don't respond, but I glance over to it. It's simply admiring the burning block, the devastation, and the death. I start speed walking into the crowd. The Shadow follows behind closely. "You know Blaze is right, Alex. You need an emblem to rally behind." I break into a jog." We aren't terrorists with an agenda, Alex. No, we're much more than that." I start running. It doesn't let up. "We're revolutionaries with an agenda." That line echoes into my mind as the Shadow dissipates and I charge through the crowd in a full sprint to the laptop. My leg killing me as I do so. I have to get away from the Shadow, but instead of it feeling like I'm getting away from it, it feels like I'm being led by it. When I reach the laptop a short, bright message that is written on the pavement of one of the locations shines clear as day on the screen. It reads:
"Justice for the unjust. The murderers will be murdered. There is no mercy for the unmerciful."