Warning: Graphic Content may be ahead. Viewer discretion is advised.
INDIGO CITY, SHORTLY AFTER THE LAST ISSUE....
We've done it. Now the whole nation, if not the whole world, will know that some carriers are willing to fight back when atrocities are committed against them. And the more I think about it, the more I realize how right Blaze was. Soon enough the emblem of the wolf will make even the toughest dogs in the CBTF piss their pants.
"What we gon' do now?" Nemesis asks with his all too familiar accent as we make our way through the city back to Kingville.
"We should keep going tonight. Attack other parts of the city too. Lay it all on them." Blaze responds.
"Ah'm down foh that." Nemesis comments back. "Maybe we could reroute all the squads to CBTF headquahtahs and attack the big guys 'emselves."
"No. Definitely can't do that tonight. I think we've made our statement clear enough for one night. We'll get to the CBTF headquarters soon enough. For now, I think we should bunker down for a couple nights and see how this all plays out." I retort.
Nemesis and Blaze shrug.
"Well, I guess I should prolly take my squad and head on back a different route so we don't gain any unwanted attention." Blaze comments.
I nod. "Agreed. Meet you there." Then, as if on cue, a CBTF squad car pulls up. "Sh*t." I mutter. I turn back to our two squads here and mouth out 'Easy, easy' as I motion with my hand to keep our weapons lowered and abilities off before turning back to face the car. They're talking to someone over their radio, so I do just a quick, light scan to see what they're talking about right now. Oh boy. They're calling for backup. They wait a few minutes in their car, pretending to do things while they're waiting for those reinforcements to show up.
"What do we do?" Blaze whispers over to me.
I lower my head just enough so they can't see my mouth moving, "Did any of your guys make it around the corner before they showed up?"
Blaze nods. "And a few are just a little bit away from making it."
This is good. "Tell them to have a couple slowly slip away and to run up to the camp to let them know our situation." As I finish saying that, we can hear the CBTF sirens a block or two away. "Quickly." I add. Blaze signals to his troops what to do, and they execute the order. Just as the last one makes it around the corner the CBTF reinforcements show up. Two cars pin us up against the wall and nearby alleyway, while a third car blocks the alleyway from the other side, trapping us here. Their forces move out of their vehicles, and two of their guys approach us. I let out an audible sigh, and mutter under my breath "Here we go."
One of the two that approached us steps forward. The confidence he walks with, his commanding appearance, and the markings on his armor indicate he's the higher rank of the two, and probably the ranking official out of the forces surrounding us. From what I can make out it looks like he's a captain? Maybe. We'll see. He looks me and my troops over before removing his helmet. "Good evening, gentlemen." Kassie, one of mine, coughs loudly in interjection. "My mistake... Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I'm Captain Cooper." He pauses, as if his name should mean something. "...Of the CBTF."
"No sh*t." Nemesis spits out. I glare at him. Captain Cooper chuckles.
"So what are you folk doing out this late at night?" The captain asks, snorting a little due to his broad mustache irritating his nose.
"Just having a night out with the boys." I respond simply. "We, uh, went to the baseball game and then hit up a few bars afterwards."
He doesn't respond for a moment. "Pretty big group for that. But a baseball game, hm? Did we win?" He asks with a grin.
".... We left before the final inning ended." I respond.
"Oh, and you didn't see the score at these bars you visited afterwards?" He pauses for a response, but continues before we could give one. "And was there a fire at the game I didn't hear about? Or perhaps one of your bars had a fire?" He pauses again for a response, darts his eyes to some of the burn marks on some of us, and then starts glancing around at my troops. He looks me over, noticing my makeshift brace, bruised and bandaged face, and arm in a sling. "A few of you get in a scrap at one of these bars you went to? No? Hmph. Very well, then." He takes a couple steps back, definitely onto us. He nods at one of the guys still in a car, who then reaches for the radio. "I'm sure these bars at least showed you what happened in the slums earlier tonight, yes?"
"Oh, the fire, yeah we heard about that." I respond. He grins.
"I bet you did." He retorts before glancing back at the guy on the radio. They nod at each other, and the captain puts his helmet back on as he starts to walk away. "Have a nice night." Captain Cooper calls back as he nears his car, with the soldier that followed him out closely behind. He glances over to his guys down the alley and gives a little nod, then turns to the other squad on this side and gives them a little nod. We can't wait any longer. They already have more reinforcements on their way, we need to leave now.
"Now!" I shout. Captain Cooper glances back at us one last time before diving behind his car. Blaze let's out a shout as he hurls a massive ball of flame down the alleyway, decimating the troops and CBTF car over there. I hear the captain shout open fire, followed by the sound of bullets ringing out. I see Nemesis lunge to the front and give the soldiers by him a heart attack by appearing as their worst nightmares before their eyes. Their screams are followed by a volley of bullets from Nemesis and others, and then a volley at them. Nemesis and another collapse to the ground for their injuries, but they appear to be still alive.
Captain Cooper and his squad open up on our forces, picking off four of our guys and injuring a few others. I use my TK to grip their car and slam it into two of their guys, crushing them, and then throw it at another one, but he rolls out of the way. The captain runs over to the last remaining car as the last of his squad gives him covering fire. Again, I use my TK to grip one of them by the neck, snapping it midair, and then whipping his corpse at one of their other troops, pinning him beneath his dead friend as I hear the tires of the car Captain Cooper got in squeal away. One more remains standing, he tries running down the block, but the Shadow comes out of nowhere and somehow slips into the man's body. The soldier completely freezes in his tracks, and after one scream cut violently short, he implodes. I can hear the Shadow's laughter all the way back here.
The last guy left is still stuck under his dead co worker. He coughs out a little blood and spits it out. As I move towards him, he pulls out his handgun. He takes a couple shots at me, both of them are way off, but the next few he aims a little better with. But instead of letting them hit me, I raise my hand and direct the bullets away from me. He unloads the whole mag on me. "Why... Why won't you-" He's interrupted by a cough, "Why won't you die?"
"Because I'm not finished yet." I tell him. "I won't be finished for a while, honestly." I pause, and then look him directly in the eyes. "Not until you, all your little CBTF friends, and the CBTF itself is either a hated relic or a forgotten ruin. Not until everyone that has ever discriminated a carrier is rotting in the ground. Not until each and every monster from those carrier concentration camps is slaughtered and consumed by maggots.... And I'm just getting started with all of that." I continue as I kneel on his chest.
He coughs a few more times and spits out some blood. "Why?"
"Because of what you did to me, my wife, my daughter," He coughs. "-and hundreds, if not thousands, of others." I respond.
"But-" He coughs again, interrupting himself, "I didn't do anything to your wife or daugh-" Another cough. "And what about our families? Don't they matter?"
I look up to the scene that just unfolded, seeing the troops tend to the wounded. "Guilt by association, Mr. Kens."
His eyes open wide. "How'd you know my na-" I start to put pressure on his chest so he can't speak.
"Don't worry about your wife, Mr. Kens. I'm sure she'll name the baby after you." His eyes widen as much as they can, and then squint in rage as he realizes I've been going through his mind this whole conversation. He can't respond because I'm crushing his chest, he can't breathe. He gasps for air, but I just apply more weight and pressure. He tries to hit my leg, to get it off, but before long he takes his last swing and his arms fall to the ground. He stares at me in fear as the light leaves his eyes.
"Let's move." I order my troops.
"Hold on a sec." Blaze responds. "You two," Blaze says as he points to two of our guys, "Draw the emblem all over this place." Blaze glances back at me. "Might as well." He continues with a shrug.
"Sure, fine, whatever. Just take your men, Nemesis, and the other injured, and get home. I'll wait here with these guys. I don't know if the injured can wait for them to finish." Blaze nods in agreement before signaling his guys to pick up Nemesis and some of the other injured. They start to head back while Blaze lingers for a moment.
"What should we do with, uh... Our dead?" Blaze turns to ask. I stare at their bodies, contemplating what to do. The Shadow walks up right next to me, this time in a more humanoid form.
"You can't leave any evidence of who these men are that could lead anyone back to your camp, Alex." The Shadow comments with his dark, eerie voice. Then he turns to me and mutters out what only I can hear. "Burn them." Dammit. He's right, yet again. We can't have them lead back to us in Kingville.
I nod angrily, succumbing to the Shadow being right once again. "ID them. Remember who they are... Then burn the bodies. Leave no evidence of who they are." I order Blaze. He doesn't look happy with my answer, but goes through with it anyway. Soon as he finishes he runs ahead to catch up with the guys carrying the injured. "We'll try to follow behind you guys in case you get into anymore trouble." I shout to him as he continues running.
Just as he gets out of sight and the two troops finish up drawing the emblems we hear something fall, and then some scuffling from behind a dumpster. I nod over to Kassie and another troop to go check it out. Kassie has a more passive power of invisibility, but she's good with explosives which is why we brought her along. Kassie fades out to check out the other side of the dumpster while the other guy stands at the ready with his gun pointed on it. We hear a scream before two teens are thrown into the middle of the alley by Kassie. One guy, one girl.
"Bit late to be out, don't you think?" I ask both of them.
"Look, man. We don't want any trouble. We didn't see anything. We just wanna go home, man." The guy responds. A quick scan of his mind says otherwise, they both saw the whole thing.
"They saw it all. You have to kill both of them." The Shadow spits out.
"I know. Jesus. I got this." I retort, annoyed by the Shadow.
"It's been a pretty exciting night for you two, hasn't it?" I ask with a laugh as I finish my scan. "Ah, well. You saw too much." I comment just before I shoot into the guy's mind, completely obliterating it. The girl lets out a scream. "Don't worry. I have to get you too, girly." But when I go to do it, the memories of Rebbie come flooding back. She's just a young girl that was at the wrong place at the wrong time. If I kill her, I'm just as bad as the monsters that slaughtered my daughter. I can hear her whimpering out her begs underneath her sobbing. "I.... No... I can't." I whisper half to myself, half to the Shadow.
"....You're kidding me." The Shadow responds. "You just murdered the boy in cold blood without a second thought. What's different with her?"
"I think that's exactly what the problem is... I didn't give a second thought at all, just went with yours right away." I say with a realization as I stay my hand.
"Pathetic." The Shadow spits out. He waits a second for me to change my mind. "Fine. If you won't, I will. Much slower, more painfully, and much more gruesome for all parties involved." He retorts as he moves up towards the girl.
"F*ck." I whisper to myself. "I'm sorry." I say to the girl. She shouts out a bloodcurdling 'no' right before I empty her mind. Her body falls limp on the cold alleyway next to her boyfriend. "I'm so sorry." I say again, but this time I don't know who I'm saying it to. Myself, the girl, or Rebbie. I stare blankly in reflection at the girl's body. What have I become?
"Is she dead, Alexander?" The Shadow turns to me and asks, doubting my ability to actually do it. I nod as I continue staring at the body. "Good. That's the Alex we all know and love. Now let's get out of here."
"Bring the bodies." I demand, still staring at her. At least give them the dignity of a burial, and spare their parents the pain of knowing their kids passed on, while still retaining the hope of their someday return. The Shadow looks at me disgusted and confused. "If the public sees we murdered two innocent kids, it'll completely undo everything we've accomplished tonight." I pause, looking the Shadow directly in the eye. "Bring the bodies." Kassie and the two troops that were drawing the emblems are staring at me in complete confusion. "Today, please." I say, gesturing towards the bodies. They do so, and we start making our way back to Kingville.
The Shadow begins to dissipate as we walk along, but his dark voice echoes out one last thing before he completely fades away:
"Time to go home."
Author's Notes: I've never made so many revisions in an issue before, over half the stuff in the final form weren't even a thought when I first started typing. If this ended up being a longer or shorter issue, apologies. I lost track if it was long or short or normal or what after I put in and took out so many different things. Ah, the magic of the mind. Always pumping in new ideas. I did review it for typos and flow, but I still couldn't see if it was longer or shorter. I'll find out once it's up, though. But PLEASE IGNORE THIS MESSAGE WHEN YOU COMMENT, I want to hear thoughts about the issue, not the author's notes! Only put this here for transparency.
Hope you enjoy(ed) the issue!