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Bank of America Plaza, Atlanta, Georgia
Panic radiated like a burning flame from the six remaining members of the Salamander’s crew, as they dragged the remaining hostages away from the main bank floor. They may have been thieves but they had made a pledge to work by Mick O’Hare AKA the Goblin Shark’s code of honour, one he had shared with the original Salamander. Of course now Mick was dead, killed by the successor to the man he admired the most.
“Enough running.” Steropes, the gang’s electrical engineer announced. “At least for me.” He added, as he slotted a glowing blue bullet into the sling he carried over his shoulder. “I will not die running, not when I have a chance to stop this madness.” He added, as he pushed his way through the group and stood facing the burning halls.
“He’ll fry the circuits in your gear before you can take a single shot.” Ram Raider stammered, as he looked up at Steropes, who at nine foot five, towered over him. And while the welding mask pulled down over his face masked his features, Ram Raider knew that the fear was gone from the giant’s remaining eye leaving only anger and the knowledge that his duty, no matter how futile was right.
“Maybe.” Steropes rumbled, as he shifted slightly in the overalls he wore, the massive power-pack on his back buzzing slightly.
“Maybe not.” A voice hissed, as James emerged from the flames, his weapon drawn and ready.
“Go all of you!!” Steropes ordered, as he began to swing his sling, a glowing blue contrail following the motion until it became an almost solid blue fan blade lighting up the darkness. Behind him he heard the sound of feet retreating, the noise causing a half smile to form on his lips as he let go of the sling, the bullet impacting with the floor to the left of James, the projectile busting open into a massive electrical discharge. Cursing James dodged away, lightning arching up and down his legs as he fired, the incinerating laser beam going wide and slashing past Steropes as he removed a metal spike from his power pack, the tip sparking and hissing.
“Weak, can’t you conjure up anything more than a few electrical tricks?” James asked, as he recovered just in time to see Steropes come charging in. With a yawn, he opened fire with a wide beam, the laser slicing the giant in half, his torso slamming into the floor. Groaning in pain Steropes heard James footstep’s come closer until the young man loomed over him, his gloved hand pulling the spike away from the engineer's loosening grip, before a new sharp pain spread through his body as James stabbed the rod into the giant’s back.
“Your grandfather would be…disappointed.” Steropes gasped. “You…are a monster, he wasn’t.”
“Maybe to you.” James hissed quietly, as he began to melt the spike, molten metal leaking into Steropes’s body. “But to me, he was someone very different.”
Athens, Georgia – Eighteen Months Previously
Madeline McCloud returned home after a brutal shift at the local bank, only to find her son reclining on the sofa, crisp packets and Coda Loca bottles strewn around him as his on screen avatar taped a chain saw blade onto the front of a quadbike.
“I see you’ve had a busy day.” She sighed, her words not even getting a response from her son. “Did you apply for those jobs I found you?”
“Did you look at the college course you were talking about?”
“Did you at least help your grandfather out today?”
“Nah he wanted me too but it was boring.” James grunted, as his character drove into a horde of zombies, blood and gore covering the front of his quad bike. “Did you pick up that six pack you promised me?”
“No I did not.” Madeline stated, her voice wavering as James got to his feet and shot his mother a hateful look. “I’m not buying you beer, not after what happened the last time you got drunk…” She stopped as James spat on her, the thick spittle dripping down her blouse.
“You’re a bad mother,” James sneered in a cold calculating voice, one that made Madeline shiver. “I hope you f*****g die or something.” He added, as his grandfather emerged from the basement, the newly cut table leg in his hand, the sci-fi looking laser pistol in his other. Already shaking, it was the appearance of the later that caused Madeline to shudder.
“Dad what are you doing with that!!” She gasped as James turned on the old man and wrestled the table leg away from him, cursing and spitting as he did so. “James STOP PLEASE!!!”
“Yeah I’ll stop, when Gramps learns that I’m the man of the house. His toy doesn’t scare me!” He snarled as the old man pulled the trigger of his weapon, a red beam of light lancing through the table leg an inch above James’s fingers, the bisected piece of wood clanging to the floor.
“It’s time you learned some respect James, respect for me, for your mother but most importantly for yourself.” The old man stated quietly, the barrel of his weapon glowing a dull orange. “Tomorrow you will go find yourself a job, and you won’t come back here until you have one. From there you’ll save for your own place, because I sure as hell don’t want you lounging around mine anymore.”
“You can’t make me old man!” James hissed menacingly, as a smirk grew on his face. “You wouldn’t shoot me, you don’t have the stones to kill me. I can assure you that, when tomorrow comes you won’t remember a thing about this, being a senile old kook and all, and I’ll be doing my thing on the sofa.”
“I may be senile, although you’re no doctor so you have no right to diagnose me, but I can assure you that you’ll be looking for work.” He added, as he turned and opened fire on the Game-Box video system attached to the TV, the device exploding in a hissing purple flamed inferno.
“How dare you!!” James yelled, as he ran forward and attempted to snatch the weapon, only for his mother to grab him by the arm and try and pull him back. “Get off me you stupid w***e!!” He yelled, his words trailing off as something warm was placed on his forehead.
“Don’t ever call my Maddie a whore!!” His grandfather hissed, his words burning into James’s scalp even hotter than the weapon resting against his forehead. “She loves you despite the fact you are a jumped up little s**t, she’s trying to protect you.”
“From what?!” James snorted, as he thought he saw flames roll across the eyes of his grandfather.
“From me!!” He hissed.