5th Column Comics: Joe part 1

Continued from here prologue

The Facility: Ten years ago.

Joe Milton and Victor Cole stand with blood dripping from their mouths and noses as their instructor orders them to halt. Their combat training stops as the boys are mid swing. They stop and turn at attention in an almost mechanical fashion.

The subjects of project Sparta are filed into a large room where they take note of armed soldiers all around them. After a quick head count the head of the project stands before them, "You have all been doing very well. We've gathered you all here for a sort of graduation ceremony."

The soldiers were unnerved by the cold expressions of the teens, not one made a sound as they listened. Joe and Victor looked around noticing the safeties were off on the loaded weapons being held. In near unison the subjects nodded as Victor turned to the nearest soldier and smashed his jaw while disarming him. He then shot the soldier next to him before he had time to react.

The soldiers began to fire but the kids had already mixed into their ranks disarming many and using them as human shields before turning the weapons on their attackers.

After a few minutes the firing stopped as the last soldier died. Joe turned to see Victor standing over his twin brother. Of all the subjects only Victor and his brother knew they had family, they were identical aside from a scar under Victor's eye that Joe had given him in a training session.

While the rest kept their cold stares Joe noticed a single tear on Victor's face before shouting, "We should go, more will be here shortly."

As a group they made their way out of the Facility easily evading the security measures.

***

Hours later a government agent was giving a report to his superior, "We only managed to eliminate ten of them. They wiped out the soldiers."

He then nodded as he listened to his ear piece, "Understood sir."

He then turned to his partners, "Bring in the cleaners, we need to get a story together for this. I want every agent in the company keeping an eye out for them. Kill on site orders have been issued."

***

Indigo City: Present, Denton area better known to locals as Devil's Den.

A soldier returns home from duty after quite a while away from home. He'd been a bit disappointed that none of his family had met him at the airport but he was still glad to be back. He was shocked to see his wife and teen sons dead but posed on the couch, blood still dripping from their wounds as Demon Dog played on the television.

On the wall above the couch he noticed a Latin phrase written in their blood, 'Mihi Vindictam' <Vengeance is mine.>

As he stares in shock he notices a bag filled sitting near the door. He moves to check it but is caught by the hand of an invisible attacker. Suddenly his throat erupts with blood from a wound caused by an unseen blade. His last sight before dying is the bag by the door seemingly disappear as the door seems to open by itself.

Victor Cole silently walks away from the house. He has the ability to bend light around himself rendering him and anything he touches invisible leaving him safe from detection by the soldiers neighbors as he casually walks away from the house, not that anyone would care much in this neighborhood.

Victor had seen four muggings and an attempted rape between his current home and this house and this was a calm day. He kept himself fed by robbing his victims but that was hardly his motive. He blamed soldiers for taking the only family he'd ever had so he dedicated himself to taking their families away as well.

The papers call him the Indigo Butcher. For the last few months he's been stalking the city due to the recent uptake in soldiers turned task force agents living in the city.

***

Joe entered the area known as Devil's Den where three men immediately attempted to mug him. He quickly dispatched them without even needing his power. One began to rise from where Joe had thrown him but Joe turned, "If you get up, I'll put you down permanently."

The man dropped back down as Joe walked away. As he walked he noticed someone sliding a hand into his pocket. They let him walk away a bit then turned before noticing Joe's hand still holding the his shirt sleeve. The pick pocket looked shocked as Joe began to reel him back. He then lifted the young girl into the air while holding a hand out in front of her, "Wallet?"

She put it in his hand as he dropped her and turned, "What's with the rubber freak powers?"

Joe didn't turn but replied, "My last visit to this city was eventful."

As he walked the girl followed, "My name's Roxi, I got powers from the impact too."

Joe gave a nod, "Obviously not one that made you a good pick pocket. You following me for a reason?"

She became annoyed, "Seriously, I can prove it. Try to do your stretchy thing."

Joe shrugged and humored her tugging on his thumb. He stopped walking as he noticed it stayed in place. He then turned seeing a smug grin on her face, "Told you?"

He was now genuinely curious, "With an ability like that, why aren't you in a lab?"

"My dad was a soldier assigned to the task force, he thought they'd dissect me if they found out so he didn't register me."

Joe gave a nod, "Sounds smart, does he know you're a pick pocket?"

She got a sad look, "The Butcher killed him, almost got me too but he was surprised when I turned his power off and I got away. He was invisible so I think I'm the only person who has actually seen his face. I knew I couldn't go to the police cause those scanner things they have would let them know I was a carrier and they wouldn't care what I had to say, so I ran. Been on the streets ever since."

Joe sighed, "I'd suggest you find a better way to earn a living, or at least get better at what you're doing."

He began to walk away but Roxie followed, "I ain't looking for a side kick."

"You don't seem too worried about getting spotted, maybe you can teach me how to avoid it."

He gave a wary look, "I have neither the time nor the patients for teaching."

She dropped her head, "Well maybe you...."

She looked up with a pitiful stare but he was gone. She sighed as the phony puppy dog eyes went away, "Damn it."

Joe chuckled from a roof top and began to walk away but noticed a flag hanging from a shop moving. He knew it wasn't the wind because it was blowing in the opposite direction and it moved as if someone had brushed against it. Anyone else wouldn't have noticed but Joe was trained to observe every detail. He followed the path from the flag with his eyes and saw a small splash as an invisible form stepped into a puddle of spilled soda, "Ahh, goddamn it."

Roxie was walking as Joe's hand wrapped around her and yanked her to the roof. She heard an angry grunt as she was yanked up. Joe hushed her as he looked down. Unknown to him, Victor was staring back up at him. He recognized his old sparing partner and decided to wait to get the girl.

(To be continued.)

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