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On The Job
Posted: November 1st, 2013, 8:32 pm
OOC: An account of a few of Cleric's previous Jobs, before Return.
The Halloween Job
The cold night air blew through the small town of Peach Tree, as it's residents kept their reinforced doors locked and their bar-enclosed windows shut. Tonight was All Hallows' Eve and something terrible would soon to befall them. A feint roar over the distant hill was followed about a choir of chaos, as a trail of fire snaked it's way closer.
A procession of motorcycles tore into town—their riders with crude torches and flaming bottles of liquor they gladly threw upon the lawns and porches of their victims. Each wore masks of demons and monsters, as they wailed and hollered at the full moon in the sky above.
They gathered in the town square—around the statue of Founder Jeremiah Peach—where a man with a form-fitted pumpkin mask stood atop his chopper and raised a sawed-off shotgun into the air, as the others quieted.
“Welcome, brothers and sisters!” he called out to them. “It's been seven years since we started coming to this piece of s**t town and it's been seven fun-filled years of ripping the s**t out of it, every Hallows' Eve.”
His followers screamed their delight, as they fired into the air and revved their engines.
“But I have sad news,” he continued. “It seems we're not wanted—the quaint folk of Peach Tree apparently don't like it when we come for our yearly visit.”
Mocking 'boo hoos' and laughter echoed in the square.
“It appears our ungracious hosts have gone and hired themselves their very own hero—their very own party pooper—to s**t on our good time.”
They cursed and made obscene gestures at the buildings around them.
“But I'm not gonna let one man ruin the fun of my brothers and sisters,” he said, as they cheered him on. “I'm not gonna let one man take away the only night we get to let loose and show these f**kers how to have a good time. So, I'm calling him out. You hear me, hero? You gonna show yourself or did you already piss yourself and run away?”
“I'll be with ya' in a minute,” a voice hollered.
All eyes turned across the square to the steps of the town hall, where a gray-haired man in a trench coat, white shirt and blue jeans sat with a cell phone in one hand, a bottle in the other and a lit cigarette perched in the corner of his mouth.
“Are ya kiddin' me?” the man asked into his phone. “I'm all fer doin' the job, but their wearin' bloody costumes. How am I suppose ta' take 'em seriously?”
“Hey Jon, you're the one who wanted the gig,” answered an aged voice on the other end.
“Ya said there were a bunch o' bikers tearin' up a town, but this is just ridiculous—I got a fella' with a pumpkin mask hollerin' at me, fer Christ's sake.”
“That's their leader. Calls himself the Headless Horseman.”
“Aw Jesus, yer kiddin me right?” Jon asked, as he stood up and looked to the leader. “Hey, jackass. Ya don't actually call yerself the Headless Horseman, do ya?”
“You making fun of me, a**hole?!” he yelled.
“Guess ya do,” Jon said, as he returned to his call. “Dammit, Red; I almost shot root beer out of my nose, when I saw them ride up like that. Ya know how embarrasin' that woulda' been?”
The Headless Horseman jumped down from his cycle and made his way toward the town hall; his followers in tow.
“Damn, looks like he wants ta' talk,” Jon said, as he put the bottle down. “I'll call ya back in... hmm, five—maybe ten minutes.”
“What was that, old man?” the Horseman asked, when he neared.
“Nothin'”, Jon answered, as he put the phone away. “Just chewin' out my agent for getting' me such a lousy job.”
The Horseman looked at him—puzzled—before he chuckled. “You have balls, old timer. Too bad I'm gonna have to crush them.”
“Can we just move this along, kid,” Jon said, as he motioned to come at him. “I got s**t ta' do n' yer holdin' me up.”
The Horseman's lips twisted beneath his mask, as he thrust the butt of the shotgun into Jon's face. The rest of his flock ran passed him and surrounded their leader's enemy. They pummeled him with their fists and their feet, as well as boards, bats, chains and pipes. One grabbed the bottle and smashed it over his head, before they lifted him up and threw him down the steps. On his stomach, Jon began to crawl away, as the onslaught continued.
“Not so tough now,” the Horseman said, as his people backed away. He aimed the shotgun at Jon's back and smiled. “Any parting words of wisdom, old man?”
“Just one,” Jon grunted. “Call yerself Sally; it suits ya better than the Headless-”
The blast from the shotgun silenced him, as it tore through the back of his coat. “Old f**king geezers, man,” he said, as he aimed once more at Jon's head. “Always talking s**t.”
Another blast bellowed through the town, followed by an uproar of feral satisfaction.
“That takes care of the party pooper,” the Horseman said, as he reloaded. “Now, what say we drag our hosts from under their beds and scold them for being so discourteous.”
Before anyone could shout their approval, a loud “Ha!” came from beneath the corpse that laid amidst them. “Who's callin' who discourteous?”
Jon pushed himself off the ground, as everyone gave him a wide berth. “Like it was necessary ta' shoot me again,” Jon said, as he rubbed the back of his blackened head. “Gunshot residue is such a bitch ta' get out.”
“No f**king way,” the Horseman said, as he watched Jon scratch the buckshot from his hair. “I just killed you.”
“I get that a lot,” Jon said, as he rolled his shoulders and turned to him. Other than the damage to his clothing, there were no signs of injury; not even a bruise.
“This isn't happening.”
“Ya know, I've thought it over,” Jon said, before he stepped up to the Horseman, grabbed his hand and twisted it inward; the barrels of the shotgun shoved into his crotch. “Headless suits ya just fine.”
Jon yanked the Horseman's hand and, with a thunderous boom, everything that made him a man was splattered onto the steps behind him.
Jon reached into his coat and drew the .45's from their shoulder holsters, as the Horseman fell to the ground. He shot into the crowd—taking out those armed with guns—as they scattered about him. A few who neared too close felt the butt of his guns against their heads, while others received a bullet in their legs. In moments, the square was barren, save for the dead and injured.
Jon slid his guns back beneath his coat, as he walked to the Horseman; who cried in agony, as he grasped the empty space his manhood once occupied. “This didn't have ta' happen,” Jon said; his voice stern. “There's only so much sin a man can commit, before it catches up with him... n' it caught ya ta'night.”
“Not like this,” the Horseman said. “Dear God, not like this. Please... kill me.”
“N' let ya off easy?” Jon asked, as he walked over to the Horseman's motorcycle. He stretched his fingers, before he reached down and took hold with both hands. The veins in his arms glowed red and stretched to his hands, as he lifted it over his head and returned to the Horseman.
“Tell me, Headless Horseman, would ya have been so merciful ta' the people ya were about ta' pillage? Were ya goin' ta' spare them their sufferin'? Would yer men have let the women leave unspoiled? Would yer men have let the children free of thrashings? Try ta' bulls**t me all ya want; it's not me yer gonna have ta' beg mercy from.”
Jon brought the motorcycle crashing down; crushing the Horseman beneath it's broken frame. “Beg God,” he said, as he walked away. “If Lucifer bothers ta' let ya.”
Jon dug his phone out and called Red.
“That was eleven and a half minutes,” Red said, when he picked up.
“Really? Seemed a helluva lot shorter ta' me.”
Jon took a look back, as the motorcycle caught fire. “Well done.”
“Good, 'cause I just found you another job.”
“Where? In Sleepy-bloody-Hollow?”
“Funny. Just get your ass out West and I'll send you the details.”
“West, eh?” Jon asked, as he heard a boom in the distance. “I'm not gonna be takin' on a bunch o' cowboys, am I?”
Silence on the other end.
Jon paused. “Red?”
“Now bare in mind: a job's a job.”
“Red, what did ya agree ta'?”
“You ever been to one of those Wild West towns for tourists?”
“I swear ta' Christ, Red, the day I meet ya in person is the day I knock yer head in.”
The two of them continued to bicker, as Jon left town for his car. From there, he would head West to the next job and after that, whatever else Red could find him. For all his complaints, he knew every task he took was one step closer on his road to redemption; if not in the eyes of God, then hopefully in the eyes of those he owed for his renewed sense of purpose.
For now, onto the next job.
Re: On The Job
Posted: March 8th, 2014, 1:27 am
The Highrise Job.
“How did I end up here?” Jon thought, as he fell through the air, next to a fifty story building. He noted several floors of shattered windows and smoldering offices. He then realized his clothes were frayed and smoldering themselves; a faint odor of explosives on his collar. “Oh yeah... Red.”
1 HOUR AGO...
“Dammit Red, ya know I hate babysittin',” Jon spoke into his cellphone, as he looked up at the towering Morifasi Building; the giant letters of Morifasi Enterprises held atop its massive roof. “Especially rich pricks with their names on their buildin's.”
“Devlin Morifasi ain't just another millionaire with a big ego,” Red said. “He's a billionaire. So I suggest you quit your belly achin' and earn yourself some money.”
“I assume ya mean earn ya yer twenty percent?” Jon asked, as he entered the building. The lobby itself took up the space of three floors, with six giant gold pillars lined along the walls. The staff wore bright white clothing, as well as the security guards. “Good God,” Jon exclaimed. “Who the hell is this guy?”
“Devlin Morifasi is literally born from money,” Red explained, as Jon went through security—allowed to pass without hindrance, for his job. “Rumor is his mother gave birth to him in their family vault; used money bags to dry him off.”
“How 'bout ya gimme somethin' a little more useful.”
“Fine—I remember you being a little more fun when we started.”
“That was before Tahiti,” Jon said, as he was ushered to a personal elevator. “The twins, remember?”
“Tahiti wasn't my fault. You're the one who had to “rassle with a volcano god.”
“It woula' been nice ta know I was up against two targets—three, if ya count the lava Golem.”
“I still wish I could have seen it,” Red chuckled.
“I'll be sure ta snap ya a photo, next time,” Jon said, as the open-faced elevator arrived. “Now... Morifasi?”
“Right. Morifasi was born in Africa to a British mother and African father; fifty-eighth in line for the throne.”
“Which throne? There's like a million over there.”
“Doesn't matter. Anyway, the father dies in an assassination and his mama flees to America; with her dead husband's money, of course.”
“Think she was in on it?”
“You never know. Money makes people do crazy things; especially women.”
Jon shook his head. “Okay, father's dead and mommy dearest may have hired the trigger. Anythin' on the man himself?”
“I'm getting around to it. In his teens, Morifasi was a renowned whizkid, when it comes to money. He calculated the possibilities of floundering businesses bouncing back strong and bought tons of stock in them; made a killing. Now he's the majority shareholder of five major companies, owns his own international consulting firm and, to top it off, one of the top five richest men in the world.”
Jon could feel the bitterness in the back of his throat. “I'm guessin' with all that cash comes alotta enemies.”
“More like frenemies; that's why you're here,” Red said. “Looks like some within Mr. Morifasi's employ feel it's time for him to “step down” and let some new blood run the show.”
“Fellow shareholders, eh?”
“Always. If he dies, his lawyers will make a killing in keeping as much of his assets for themselves as they can, but the shares of the companies will fatten some back pockets and they'll be divvied up between the remaining holders; who're more than happy to share with each other.”
“Great. So ya got me babysittin' Richy Rich and, to top it off, tossed me in the middle of a corporate turf war. If this ends up like Tahiti, I swear to God-”
“Relax, this one's easy,” Red reassured. “FBI has their own task force bringing these guys down. All you're doing is making sure our paycheck lives long enough to get cashed.”
Jon was quiet for a moment, before he said, “There's somethin' that's got me confused. Why hire me?”
“Because you're good at what you do.”
“But this guy can have an entire army back him up,” he said, as he looked out the elevator window at the shrinking world below. “Why hire one man; me specifically?”
“What's got you worked up?” Red asked, concerned.
“I dunno. This one just feels... off. Like there's another reason he--”
A loud boom shook the elevator, as debris fell from above. Jon managed to keep his footing, as he looked about the small space. “What the bloody hell?”
“Jon, what's going on?” Red asked; his voice fuzzy. “Jon, y-u -ear me? Jon? Jo-”
Jon looked at his phone. NO SERVICE blinked on it's screen, before he put it away and grabbed at the elevator doors, but they were sleek and without any edges to catch onto. “Oh well,” Jon said, as he cracked his knuckles. “Here's hopin' I don't plummet ta' my doom.”
In a dimly lit room, a figure sat behind a desk, as a large monitor on a distant wall played several images. On it, Jon MacDagget continually punched the elevator doors—each blow stronger than the last—until he busted his way onto the forty-fifth floor.
“Interesting,” the figure said.
“I told you,” a woman's voice spoke from the darkness. “He's no ordinary gun-for-hire.”
“Indeed. Is he a member of the Consortium?”
“He has ties, but not an active member. Intel says he stayed there for a while to dry out; former alcoholic.”
“We all can't be perfect,” the figure said. “I wonder, why bring him to my attention?”
There was a brief silence, before she said, “It's my understanding you have an interest with rare Psionics and there aren't many who can manipulate kinetic energy.”
“You are correct, Psionics interest me greatly. Such a pity the Consortium keep all the good ones for themselves.”
“Well this one is all yours,” she said, as a woman's silhouette passed in front of the large monitor. “Feel free to do with him as you please.”
“You do not wish to watch some more?”
“Wish I could,” she answered, before the sound of a door opening was heard. “But I need to make preparations, for the finale.”
ON THE FORTY-FIFTH FLOOR
Jon walked along the hallway; following the little placards leading for the stairwell. Open rooms filled with cubicles were littered with panicked workers, on either side of him; some of whom hid under their desks at the sight of him.
“Best not grab the guns right now,” he thought. “Don't need a bunch of suits runnin' around like chickens with their head cut off.”
No sooner had the thought crossed his mind, a woman wearing a red pantsuit ran to him from one of the rooms. “Help us!” she pleaded, as she latched onto him. “They're going to kill everyone!”
“Who?” he asked, as he scanned the offices for anyone suspicious; until he felt something press under his chin.
“Me,” he heard the woman say, before a loud bang rung his ears and a sharp impact flung his head back.
He managed to keep from falling back, straightened his posture and looked at the woman; a surprised expression on her face. “That wasn't very nice,” he said, his voice an echoing thrum in his ears, as he grabbed her by the throat and held tight. “I think ya need a time out.”
She shot a couple more times into his stomach, to no avail, until she eventually passed out. He took her into the office, undressed her, save for her undergarments, and used her clothes to tie her to a chair.
“Sorry for bein' so immodest,” he said; his hearing returning to normal. “But I doubt I can find a sturdy rope from a desk drawer.”
He drew his guns and made a quick sweep of the offices, before he continued to the stairwell. There were no other obstacles, when he reached his destination. He opened the door and proceeded with caution. He passed two floors, when he heard a noise from above; the sound of metal hitting floor. He rounded the corner, in front of the door to the forty-eighth floor, when a couple of grenades came rolling down the stairs.
“crap,” Jon cursed and kicked the door off its hinges, before the explosion rocketed him into the hallway; sending him to a skidding halt midway. He lay the for a while, as he waited for the world to stop spinning.
“I think I'd rather be shot in the head again,” he said and pushed himself to his feet. He staggered, as he used the walls for support. The floor was like the previous one; only quiet. Weary, he poked his head into an office and found the employees on the floor; their clean white clothes stained with blood. “Sons-a-bitches,” Jon grumbled.
A sudden burst of gunfire filled the hall, as Jon was struck in the back. He twisted around, as he ducked, and opened fire. Two men in gray fatigues, camouflage masks, and black flack jackets fell to the ground, as others dove into the cubicle laden office. Jon followed suit and thrust himself behind a flimsy cubicle wall.
“Ya bastards are gonna regret killin' these folk,” he said loudly, as he poked his head out.
“Big talk,” one of the men hollered. “You're outnumbered, old man.”
“Old man?” Jon grunted and stepped into the open. “Stick yer head out and see what this old man can do.”
Three men with automatic rifles left their cover and unloaded their clips into him. He fired back, as the bullets tore at his clothing, and was able to kill two of them, before falling on the ground. His chest was on fire from stinging welts. He let his spent guns on the floor, as he heard footsteps come toward him, until the gunman was standing over him.
“I'm impressed,” he said. “Took a lot to take you down.”
“Oh, I may be down lad,” Jon said and whipped his foot into the man's crotch. “Well, you know the rest.”
Jon kicked the gun out of his hand and rammed his feet into the man's chest; sending him crashing against the ceiling and falling back to the ground.
Jon got up and brushed his ripped shirt. “This is gettin' old,” he said and inspected the gunman's person. He found a couple clips for his guns and a spare magazine for his newly acquired rifle. He made his way to the opposite stairwell and proceeded to the next floor; where the next flight was trapped with rows of proximity mines. “Gee, I wonder if they want me ta stop here,” he mocked and entered the forty-ninth floor offices; a mirror image of the first two, save for living or dead civilians. “Yeah, this feels safe.”
At the far end of the hall, heavy footsteps echoed, as Jon readied his rifle. A large man, clad head to toe in thick body armor, stepped out from one of the offices; a mini-gun clutched in his hands. “Jesus Christ,” Jon said aloud. “That's just overkill.”
The heavy footsteps continued, as a similarly dressed came from the opposite office, with a mini-gun of his own.
“N' that's bullshit,” Jon said and ran down the hall for an office entrance, as he heard the guns begin to whir. He dove, as the hail of bullets flew passed over his head. He kept his head down and crawled, as the gunfire continued; ripping the walls to pieces.
“This is like a damn boss battle in a friggin' video game,” Jon said, as he was covered by debris and office supplies. After a while, the shooting stopped and Jon took a look over a bullet riddled desk. The wall was so destroyed, he could see the men through large gaping holes. They nodded to each other, before one of them began a slow walk down the hall; gun trained along the office wall. Jon looked at his rifle, shook his head and set it on the floor. He rose to a crouch, as quiet and careful as he could, and poised himself like an offensive lineman.
“This should be interestin',” Jon said, as he watched the armored gunner move down the hall. Once he was in his path, Jon filled his legs with energy and launched himself through the wall, into the man and into the next office. Jon poured more energy into his fist, as they fell parallel to each other. He got to his knee and drove a heavy punch into the face-plate of the gunner's armored helmet; it's material crunching into the skull within. There was no time for a respite, as a storm of bullets cut a swath through the office. Jon took several hits to the back and was knocked back to the floor.
“Good Lord, does it ever end?” Jon asked aloud and rolled onto all fours. He could feel the absorbed energy stored in his “reserves,” but the pain was unbearable. He heard the hard thunk! of the other gunner's steps and saw the top off his head over the remnants of a cubicle, as he entered the room. Jon scooted away and hid behind one of the few remaining desks.
“Make this easy on yourself and come out,” the gunner said. “I'll kill you, quick and easy.”
“That's a classic,” Jon whispered, as he reached behind and grabbed the rifle magazine tucked under his belt. He filled his arm with energy and threw it at his head; knocking him off balance. Jon took the opening, hopped to the dead gunner and hoisted the mini gun out of his hands. It whirred to life and unleashed a five second burst of devastating gunfire. He dropped the gun, as the second gunner fell to the floor; the mass of holes in his armor smoking from the high velocity impacts.
Jon let himself fall to a knee, as he took a breath and held his sides. The strain was getting to him, from being knocked around so much. “This is a helluva job,” he said, as he reached for his cigarettes. “They must really want this fella dead, considerin' all the firepower.”
He froze. It came to him in a flash. How could he have been so stupid? Why hadn't he realized it before?
“You son-of-a-bitch,” Jon exclaimed. He looked around the room, as he fumed with anger, until his gaze became fixed on the mini gun.
AT THAT MOMENT
The floor of the dimly lit room was torn away, by an eruption of bullets; soon followed by an irate Jon MacDagget, smashing his way up with a mighty jump. His eyes darted, as he tried to find anyone inside. The lights came on and he found himself in a lavish office, with exquisite works of art, standing expressions along the wall and several animal skin rugs on the floor.
“Come on out, ya bastard!” Jon yelled.
“No need to shout, Mr. MacDagget,” a voice said.
Jon turned to see a tall thin man in a white business suit behind an ebony desk. “Morifasi, I'm guessin'.”
“This is the office of Devlin Morifasi, after all,” he said, as he walked to the center of the office. “I owe you my thanks, for coming to my rescue.”
“You mean your audition.”
Devlin Morifasi's mouth stretched into a long crooked grin. “Why I'm sure I have no idea what you could be talking about.”
“Stow it, ya gobshite,” Jon said, as he drew his gun and held in in front of Devlin's face. “This whole thing was yer doin—all of it.”
Devlin's grin opened into a smile. “What gave it away?”
“All the bloody party-favors yer friends have been tossin' at me. The lass, the bugger brains and the twin bruisers. It's all some kind of test—ta' see if I could get here alive.”
Devlin burst into laughter and clapped his hands. “You've surprised me Mr. MacDagget. I was sure you would have made it here alive, but I never thought you'd have the mental capacity to figure it out.”
“Why, ya sick sack-o-crap?!” Jon asked, as he pushed the gun against Devlin's forehead. . . when it went through with no effort. “What the-?”
“Oh dear,” he said and in a blink, he was standing behind his desk again. “Looks like you found out my other secret.”
“What's goin' on, Morifasi?”
“I may as put all the cards on the table,” he said, as the chair beside him turned around; an electronic hum emitting from it. Sitting with his hands tied to the armrests was Devlin Morifasi, with a hole in his temple.
Jon did a double-take, as his mouth hung agape.
“Uh oh, I've thrown you for a loop, haven't I,” he asked. “To catch you up to speed, let me begin with Devlin Morifasi being dead for hours now; shot by his new secretary. I believe you two met earlier.”
Jon gritted his teeth. “Test number one.”
“Quite. First was to see if you were as. . . resistant to harm as I was informed. The second was simply to see how well you handled multiple enemies.”
“And the third?”
“Endurance, Mr. MacDagget. You would hardly be a prime specimen, if you couldn't stand up to such an obstacle.”
“Specimen? Specimen for what?”
“I'm afraid I cannot tell you just yet, but you will find out someday. . . if you pass the final test.”
“What test?” Jon asked, as Devlin vanished. Jon shook his head and flung his gun across the room. He placed his hands on his hips and tried to collect himself, when he heard something; an electronic chirping. He followed it to the deceased Devlin Morifasi's desk. He looked over and saw it came from a box on his lap.
“. . . Bugger.”
The wind was deafening, as Jon continued to plummet. “So much for passin' this test,” he thought. He had fallen from staggering heights in the past, but never from one such as this. He could focus his energy into the point of impact—he had plenty of energy from his tests—but with that much power, he could blow his body apart. There was a chance he could absorb his collision with the pavement, but from such a distance that could prove just a deadly.
He was four more stories from his unknown fate, when the solid ground below reached up to greet him, in the form of a spiraling chute, and swallowed him whole. He slid along the smooth surface briefly, before it opened up and he slammed into the side of a car. He laid there, exhausted, as the car's alarm blasted in his ears and the multitude of onlookers snapped pictures and took videos on their phones.
“What the hell was that?” he asked aloud, as he tried to stand. He looked to the stone slide, just as it fell into rubble. They broke easy, but were completely solid before. “I hate this job.”
He heard a feint hum and felt a soft buzz come from his right buttock. “You gotta be shittin' me,” he exclaimed, as he pulled his phone from his pocket and answered, “Red?”
“Where the hell have you been?!” Red shouted. “You go black and then the Wire heats up about explosions and gunfire at the Morifasi Building! Tell me you didn't get the client killed!”
Jon leaned against the car, held the phone away from him and crushed it in his hand. “I'm goin' back ta' Tahiti.”
Across the street, amidst the spectators, a woman in a red pantsuit held a phone to her ear and walked away. “Good Day, Doctor,” she said. “I trust you've received the information?”
“Guten Tag, Arianna,” said the elderly voice of a man with a heavy German accent. “I am very impressed with your work as of late. You even used an outside source to run some of the tests for me.”
“It was no problem. I've met his type a thousand times; stroke his ego, promise him he can have whatever he wants and he'll do whatever you say.”
“Excellent. With his help, we have almost twenty viable subjects with varying psychokinetic abilities to explore. My experiment is sure to succeed this time.”
“Glad to be of service, Dr. Adrise.”
Re: On The Job
Posted: August 6th, 2014, 12:46 am
THE SHOCK JOB
“You've got ta' be kiddin' me,” Jon said into his phone, as he sat in the lounge area of a radio station. “Ya want me ta' protect a damned disc-jockey? Another babysittin' job?”
“This isn't just any disc-jockey,” Red said. “Scott “the Shock-Man” Reed, is a huge advocate for Psionics. He's helped breakdown some of the stereotypes and even managed to raise some money, now and then.”
“And lemme' guess: Some folks ain't too happy 'bout that.”
“He's receives at least twenty death threats a day and his Manager is worried someone plans on making good the next couple days.”
“He said one of the threats was too well written to be just another kook.”
“Well written? Yer jokin', right?”
“Hey, he's hiring us and that's all we need.”
“All you need, maybe,” Jon said. “What was the threat?”
“It reads: “Dear Mr. Reed, I am sorry to inform you that your endeavors to further the cause of the genetic filth you favor has gone on far enough. Therefore, we have decided your continued support must be dealt with in such a manner others will reconsider giving aid to these flawed freaks of nature. Between the days of April the second and fifth, your life will be taken from you in a manner quite suitable to our needs. I bid you good day. Sincerely, Ian Samuel Redford.”
“Redford? Why's that name sound familiar?”
“The name came up on three occasions dating back five years. A car bombing that killed Senator Billings and another bomb that blew up a clinic in Jersey; killing twelve people. The last one on record is the assassination of an Arabian Prince who was visiting the States; again, death by bomb.”
“That's a bit random, for an assassin.”
“Not if you consider the Senator and Prince were open supporters for Psionic rights. And that clinic in Jersey? One of the few to help Psionic patients, when most hospitals refused to even let them in the building.”
“So Redford's just a bigot who likes bombs,” Jon said. “That's just great.”
“You've survived explosions before.”
“Doesn't mean I like them.”
A door opened and a man wearing tight white pants and thigh high black boots walked out. He wore a vest of red fur and had a single glove to match. With him was a man in a gray suit and square glasses.
Jon looked at him for a while, as the men talked. “I've told ya how much I hate ya, right?”
“I guess you met the client?”
“Seriously... with every fiber if my bein'.”
Jon hung up, as the the men came over to him. “You must be Scott Reed,” he said and offered his hand.
The man in the suit took his hand and said, “That's me.”
Jon's eyes went wide, as he looked to the oddly dressed man. “Then who the hell're you?”
“I'm Crimson Metal,” the man stated. “From Hell Hounds of Purgatory.”
Jon just stared blankly.
“Sure thing,” Jon said. “I bet ya sing yer'self some nice ballads and such.”
“Whatever man,” Crimson said, as he clicked his tongue and pointed his fingers at Scott. “Thanks for the time, man. See ya at the show next week.”
“Sure thing,” he said and waved, before he gave Jon his full attention. “I know what you must think; this dull looking guy is the shock-jock everyone loves to hate.”
“I'll admit, yer not exactly what I'd call... well... ya know?”
“Yeah. The Shock-Man is something my Manager came up with. Everyone thinks I am my manager and since no one has ever seen me in person as the Shock-Man, I can walk freely, without getting mobbed by fans or shot at by the crazies; at least I thought not.”
“Life's a bitch, ain't it?” Jon said. “Now, we need to go over some of the do's and dont's of trying to keep ya alive these next couple days...”
“Things have been quiet enough,” Jon told Red, as he sat in a chair with cracked leather, in the unsanitary motel room he rented as a safe house two days ago. “He's in the next room, getting some Z's. He's a bit of a bother though.'
“He won't stop askin' me questions. How did I get into this business? How old was I when I held my first gun? When did I first learn I was Psionic?”
“Sounds like he's just bored,” Red said. “It can't be all bad though, if you're comfortable enough to tell him your a Psionic.”
Jon froze in his seat. “I thought you told him.”
“What? Why would I tell him? I never let anyone know about your powers up front.”
Jon's eyes moved to the door of the bedroom, as he grabbed the gun hidden behind him and slowly stood. “Red, is it true, no one's ever laid eyes on Reed before?”
“He is a bit of a recluse, but he's made the occasional appearance before.”
“And what does he look like?” Jon asked, as he aimed at the door.
“What the hell's wrong with you? You've been shacked up with him for days now.”
“Just tell me, dammit.”
“Now, ya old bastard,” Jon said, in a forced whisper.
“He's a fat man with a bad comb-over.”
“crap,” he said, as he noticed the door was ajar; he could see the empty bed in the other room. “I think I just found Redford.”
He didn't wait for Red to respond, as he dropped the phone and kicked the door in. He swung his gun back and forth, but found no trace of Redford. On the corner of the bed, he noticed a crumpled piece of plastic. He turned it over with his gun and found the eyeless face of the fake Scott Reed.
There was a noise behind him, as a distorted metallic voice asked, “Shocked?”
Jon whipped his gun around, but his wrist was caught by a gloved hand. He found himself grasped by a man wearing a metal mask with a yellow visor over the eyes. He was dressed in a black form-fitted suit with what appeared to be strands of silver along his body; resembling a circuit board.
Jon was about to yank his hand away, when a sudden and powerful electric shock raced through his body. The man let him fall to his knees, as he smacked the gun away with little effort.
“I have to tell you, I didn't think you'd be this stupid,” the man said. “It never occurred to you to check and see what Scott Reed looked like? For God's sake, get a computer.”
“Ian Redford, I take it?” Jon asked, as he leaned against the edge of the bed for support.
“If you wanna call me that, sure,” he said, as he stepped onto the bed to the other side of the room. “I can't say I like the name myself.”
“Don't tell me it's one of those “name passed down” bullshit.”
“Bingo,” Redford said, as he pointed a finger at him. “You get a prize.”
A chaotic stream of electricity stretched from his fingertip and struck Jon in the chest; making his body shake violently. When the electrocution stopped, Jon fell onto his back and gasped for air.
“I have to say, I'm giddy as hell, I don't have to spend another minute in this filthy room with you; you damn freak.”
“I'm gonna kick yer ass, ya piece o' crap,” Jon stated, as he rose to his knees again. “Then yer gonna tell me what the hell this is all about.”
“I'll tell you right now,” he said, as he jumped on the bed and softly bounced on the balls of his feet. “I just wanted to see how good you are, for myself.”
“Buzz around the office is you're pretty bad ass. After spending these last two days with you, I gotta say: you're the most boring person I've ever met. I think I'd have a better conversation with a deaf mute.”
“Sorry I can't be as entertainin' as Bozo the Clown for ya,” Jon said, as he used the bed to get to his feet.
“See, now you're being funny at least,” Redford said and pointed both fingers at him. “Maybe a couple jolts will shake that stick out of your ass.”
Jon ducked, before Redford could shoot, and planted his shoulder into the bed frame. “Let's see ya find this funny, ya little crap,” he grunted, as he lifted the bed and pushed it against the wall. He quickly ran to his gun and swiped it off the floor. When he turned back to fire, Redford was already free and close enough to give Jon an electrified kick to the groin. He managed to stay on his feet, with wobbly legs, but dropped his gun.
“Sweet move, old man,” Redford stated and proceeded to deliver Jon several precise kicks to his midsection and finally his face; knocking him back, where he tumbled against a window. “Mine are better though.”
Jon grinned, as he thought, “That's right, dickhead; keep knockin' me around.”
“Something funny?” Redford asked, as he thrust his foot into Jon's chest; forcing the window to crack.
“I just had me a thought, is all,” Jon answered. “Yer gonna look damn silly, once I smash that mask inta' yer face.”
Redford's stance became rigid and still. “You think you can take me?”
“A little girl with a tiara can take ya.”
“Shut your mouth, old man!” Redford yelled and charged with another kick.
Jon ducked to the side and let Redford kick through the window. “Have an oops, did we?” Jon asked, as he cocked his hand back. He infused his fist with a small amount of energy and slamming it into Redford's gut, sending him across the room and through a closet door.
“Ya done with yer yappin'?” Jon asked, as he grabbed a piece of broken glass and headed for Redford. “Now, if ya don't mind, I think I'll be shovin' this up yer-”
A large arc of electricity erupted from the closet and struck the ceiling; bringing it crashing down atop Jon; covering him in rubble.
Redford stumbled from the closet and used the door frame to keep from falling. “Dirty trick, asshole,” he said, as he held his limp left arm and walked over to the pile of debris. “I'm gonna fry your brain, until it oozes out your ears.”
When he reached down, Jon whipped his hand from underneath, with the shard of glass, and cut Redford along his forearm. With his other hand, he reached out, gripped Redford's sleeve from the cut and ripped it off his arm. Jon then jumped from the rubble and tackled him to the floor.
“Whatcha' gonna do now?” Jon asked, as he got to his feet. He grabbed the stunned Redford by his ankle and started to drag him to the window. “I sure hope ya know how ta' fly, 'cause I'm gonna-”
A shot of electricity jolted Jon from behind, as he let go and fumbled forward. He looked back in time to see Redford roll backwards to his feet; electricity sparking between his fingers. “What the bloody hell?”
Redford curled his fingers, as mini-arcs of electricity formed a sphere in his hand. "Nice try, but the suit just helps me narrow my arcs. I can still fry you, until your heart explodes."
“Shut up!” he screamed and launched the crackling ball of light at him.
Jon dropped to the floor like a rock, as it went out of the window and exploded in a blinding blast.
“I'm nothing like you!” Redford yelled, as he sprinted at Jon and kneed him in the chest; actually raising him to unsteady feet. “I have purpose,” he spat, as he began a flurry of erratic punches and kicks. “I'm going to kill every last one of you; purge you abominations from the Earth. You—and every freak-lover—are going to die screaming, as I send you all to hell.”
“Yer insane,” Jon managed to get out, as he kept his arms up and endured the pummeling. “Yer just like us.”
“Go to hell!!” he screeched and pulled his fist back, as electricity surged between his knuckles.
There we go, Jon thought. Get mad.
Redford threw his punch, as Jon squatted low and let the attack swish! completely over his head. “Hope ya packed yer bags,” he said, as he charged his fist with his own kinetic energy. “'cause yer goin' for a trip.”
Jon struck Redford in the the stomach with an uppercut and used the momentum to lift him off his feet, over his head and launched him toward the window, where he crashed through the remaining glass. Jon then fell to his knee and breathed deep. “Jesus Christ,” he exhaled, as he held his chest. “I dunno what hurt more: getting' fried or that terrible one-liner.”
He got up from the floor, walked to the window and looked outside. “Of course,” he said with a tired breath, as he saw nothing but broken glass on the sidewalk below. “Would it kill these bastards ta' just be dead for once?”
Hours later, several blocks from the motel, a black four door sedan turned into an alley to a dumpster at the end. Behind it, a bloody Redford sat against a dirty brick wall, as he held his broken arm.
One of the sedan's back doors opened and a woman in a red pantsuit stepped out. “I wish I could say I told you so, but it seems redundant at this point.”
“Funny, Ari,” he said, as he fought to stand himself up against the dumpster. “How much trouble am I in?”
“Well, Redford's not too happy you highjacked his alias, but it works to his benefit.”
“He figured you'd mess up—said you were too undisciplined to win. He then went on to say after you messed up, people would think you were him and that would help him with his next job; no one would be expecting someone so “childish and foolish.”
“I almost had him, Ari. He just got lucky.”
“When I told you about the Morifasi test, I didn't think you'd be so stupid as to go looking for a fight. If Adrise found out, you'd end up on his table.”
“I just don't get why this jackass is so interesting,” he said, as he limped to the car. “He's just another freak like all the rest.”
“Dr. Adrise doesn't think so and neither do I,” she said and let him stumble onto the backseat. “Psionics with kinetic abilities are extremely rare and Jon MacDagget is one of the few who knows how to use it to fight... but you already know that.”
“Just shut up,” he said, as he slid over and let her get in. “Next time, he's a dead man.”
“Now knock it off,” she stated, as she closed the door and signaled the driver to go. “You will leave him alone and focus on your training. Redford's right; you're too inexperienced against someone as skilled as Cleric. Besides, you'll be out of commission for quite a while and don't think the “home office” is going to be happy about that.”
He waved her off, as he looked out the window.
She sighed and settled into her seat. “You're more trouble than you're worth, Tesla. Make sure you don't make the higher ups too angry. They may have given you a place in this world to use your powers for good, but make no mistake... become a thorn in their side and you will be as much an enemy as those within the Consortium.”
“Whatever,” he said. “Just get me patched up, so I can get back to training.”
“It's just like the Morifasi gig,” Jon said into his cellphone, as he sat in his car, outside of a hospital. “He sought me out.”
“I can't believe I dropped the ball on this one,” Red said. “He didn't ask for you specifically; you were just the luck of the draw.”
“Well lucky me. What the hell is goin' on, Red? Since when do the bad guys hire me ta' fall inta' their traps? It makes no sense. I'm sittin' here, singed up like an overcooked Thanksgivin' turkey.”
“I don't know. There's nothing new on the wire and none of my other guys are having any trouble out of the ordinary. Some one seems to have a hard on for you, specifically. Maybe you should check with your friends at the campus; they may know something.”
“Nah, I don't wanna get Joe n' them caught up in my bullshit. If there's a bullseye on my back, I'd prefer ta' keep it there.”
“Suit yourself. What do you want me to do?”
“Just find me another job,” Jon answered, as he pulled out a cigarette and lit up.
“Are you sure about that?”
“Yeah. If someone wants me dead, then they're welcome ta' try. I'd rather get this over with sooner then later.”
“What if the next job is another trap?”
“Then I'll do what I always do,” he said and exhaled smoke through his nostrils; savoring that brief burning sensation. “Kick their feckin' arses.”
Re: On The Job
Posted: August 21st, 2014, 12:08 pm
The Water Dragon Job
Jon stared at the luxury liner from the dock, as his stomach twisted in a knot. “A boat,” he said, as he inhaled hot smoke into his lungs from the cigarette in the corner of his mouth. “Just had ta' be a bloody boat.”
When Red had called that morning to offer Jon a new job by the docks, he had assumed he would be trolling warehouses or shore dives. The Job: Find a local thug who's been terrorizing the local businesses; no name, just a description—scary. There was another item of information; they hung out at The Roaming Queen. He had expected a seaside motel or restaurant.
“I'm missin' my show, for this?”
“You here to help?” a voice asked from behind.
Jon turned to find an old Asian man with a long white beard and wearing an apron over worn clothing. “Aye,” he answered, as he looked back to the ship. “Now, are ya sure big n' scary is in there?”
“Yes. He is a monster of man. He hurt many people, innocent. He even kill local fisherman, but no police do nothing. I believe he has them in—how you say—his pockets.”
“Close enough,” Jon said, as he cracked his knuckles. “What kinda muscle does he have with him?”
“No muscle. Just him. Alone.”
Jon looked at the old man, puzzled. “How the hell does one man do so much damage?”
“Like I say; he is monster. He is Shuilong—Water Dragon.”
“Water Dragon... why Water Dragon?”
“He move like the water, but his power like the dragon. They say he stay near water, always near water. He stay in ship, because of love of water.”
“Well that saves me from huntin' him down,” Jon said and walked toward the ship. The long and narrow ramp leading to the main deck wobbled and strained under his weight, as he looked down at the water and felt a chill run down his spine. Ever since he had discovered it was difficult to swim because of his denser bone mass, he had developed a mild case of hydrophobia.
“Thank Christ,” he exclaimed, once he reached the top. He surveyed the deck and found what looked like a smaller version of an amusement park; with a mini roller coaster and Ferris wheel, as well as a high chute with a large empty pool at the bottom. “Just a wee bit excessive for my tastes.”
He walked to the edge of the pool and looked at the moss covered rain water below. “Are ya ready ta' play then?!” he called out, as he walked away. “I'd like ta' get this whole thing done with, so I can get back to watchin' some telly.”
There was a long silence; only the creaking of the ship's slight sway and the seagulls screeching overhead were heard. Jon was tempted to call it quits, when he heard a whistle from above. Atop the chute, man in a long white hooded coat looked down at him.
“Guess I found my “Shuilong,” he thought, as the figure leaped from the chute. As it dropped through the air, Jon saw it was a shirtless man wearing only a pair of baggy white pants tied off at the knees and cloth wrapping around his feet. When he landed into a crouch, Jon noticed there was hardly a thud from the impact.
“Pretty light on yer feet,” Jon said, as he pulled out his guns. “I can already tell yer not one ta' go quietly.”
The man was quiet, as he remained crouched.
“Okay, maybe ya are. The thing is, Shuilong, Ya been harassin' these poor folk for long enough; time fer ya ta' be headin' off. Or I break yer face in.”
Jon felt an all-too familiar tension in the air that seemed to emanate from Shuilong: Murderous intent. For but a moment, Jon felt a twinge of fear, causing him to raise his guns. “Make yer choice. Leaver or die.”
“I warned ya,” Jon said, as he shot the deck at the his feet. However, Shuilong remained motionless. “Why ya little s**t,” Jon said and fired two more warning shots; both of them ignored. Jon gritted his teeth and aimed for his leg. The instant he pulled the trigger, he tucked his leg into a kneel and let the bullet pass him.
Jon was frazzled for a moment, but collected himself quick. “Yer a quick one, ain't ya,” he said and readied himself. “Lets see just how quick ya really are?”
He fired a barrage of bullets—all intended to maim his target—but the Shuilong ducked, hopped and weaved around them with little effort, until both guns were spent. It was then Jon managed to catch a glimpse of Shuilong's mouth and saw it curl into a wicked grin.
Shuilong closed the gap between him and Jon within seconds, as he threw a punch.
Go ahead, he thought, Yer in for quite the surprise.
Before the attack landed, he extended his middle and pointer finger and struck Jon in the shoulder.
“What the hell?” Jon asked; utterly confused. “Look, lad, if yer tryin' to screw with me I hafta tell ya-”
A powerful force slammed him in his shoulder and made him stumble backward; almost knocking him off his feet. He managed to steady himself, as Shuilong jabbed his fingers into Jon's other shoulder. There was another pause, before he was pushed back again.
“Jesus Christ,” Jon shouted, before Shuilong jabbed him in the chest with both hands. He had enough time to grumble, “Shite,” as he was thrust back against the deck and bounced off his shoulders, before ending up face down. “Bloody hell,” he grunted, as he held his chest.
Shuilong stood over him and shook his head. “Not... worthy,” he said and tapped his foot against Jon's side; launching him several feet across the deck, onto his back.
Jon coughed harshly and felt something on his lip. He dabbed his mouth with his hand and his eyes widened, when he saw drops of blood on his fingertips. “No way,” he said. “No one's ever made me bleed in my entire life.”
He heard footsteps and looked to see Shuilong walking away. “Hold on, ya bastard,” he hollered, as he rolled onto his stomach and pushed himself to his feet. “Ya can be runnin off just yet,” he said and spat a glob of blood. “This just got interestin'.”
Shuilong paused for a moment and then sped at Jon, whom proceeded to throw miss after miss. As he threw a weak punch, Shuilong flicked him in the wrist; knocking his hand back and opening his guard. He jabbed Jon several times in the gut and chest; each attack followed by a delayed and powerful blow.
Jon was huddled over and coughed up more blood, as he held his hands up in defense. "Not good, Jonny-boy," he thought, as he tried to right himself. "He's given ya plenty o' stored ammo to lay on him. Now all ya got ta' do is get just one hit in.”
Jon suddenly jumped high and raised his hands over his head, as he dumped a large amount of energy in them. When Shuilong moved easily to the side, Jon could not help but smile. There's yer mistake, asshole.
He brought his fists crashing down on the deck; blasting an eruption of wood into the air, as the skin around his knuckles cracked open. Shuilong's footing was knocked off balance and he faltered. Jon seized the opportunity and launched at him, as he charged his fist again, before striking him across the face; sending Shuilong twirling into the air and slamming onto the deck, just before the chute.
Jon landed on his side and held his bloody hand; the wound of the already broken flesh more severe. “Kiss my ass, lad,” he laughed and rolled onto his back, as he watched the seagulls against the blue sky. “Oh my God. Now that was a helluva fight.”
A slow metallic creak pulled his attention back to the chute, as it began to fall toward him. “Holy crap,” he exclaimed, as he rolled and rolled out of the way, before it smashed the deck right next to him; kicking up debris. Against the blue sky, along with the seagulls, Shuilong came falling down with his feet together and aimed in Jon's direction. Jon rolled again, as Shuilong landed gently beside him.
“Oh, you bastard,” Jon said, before Shuilong kicked him against his side again; sending him all the way across the deck to the open railing. He slid under the railing, but managed to grab hold of it, before he fell into the water below. He struggled to pull himself to his feet, on the other side of the rail, when he realized Shuilong was standing in front of him on the opposite side. He placed his finger against Jon's chest and pushed softly.
Jon energized his bleeding hands and held tight, as the force from Shuilong ran through him. He kept his finger against Jon's chest and started to push more, as Jon fought to hold on. He could see Shuilong's smile, as a stream of blood seeped from the corner of his mouth.
“You... are... worthy,” he said said and continued his assault.
“Worthy of what, ya son-of-a-bitch?!” Jon yelled, as the power blasting through him felt like a hurricane trying to throw him from the ship.
Shuilong's lips opened into a toothy smile. He withdrew his finger and instantly shoved his closed fist into Jon's face.
Jon felt the attack blow through his head like a gale force wind; deafening the world around him, as his hands slipped and everything became weightless. He saw the sky again, through his dim vision, as the gulls became smaller and smaller, until he felt something hit his back and then everything turned blurry and cold.
Jon shot up from a cot inside an rusty metal shack; the smell of sea water and fish in the air. He was undressed, save for his damp jeans, and his hands covered with gauze. “What the-?” he asked, as he looked around. His clothes hung on a wire line, high above a small fire in the center.
“You finally awake,” a voice said, as the old Asian man from before walked in. “Was afraid you die in shed—very bad luck.”
“Thanks for the concern,” Jon said, as he held the back of his head. “I feel like a truck ran over my head. What happened?”
“You bring miracle, that what happen.”
“My clock's been rung pretty good, old fella. Think ya can explain it ta' me?”
“It was Shuilong—he bring you here. He say you live and he go.”
“Go? Go where?” Jon asked, as he got off the cot, yanked his clothes off the line and ran outside to find The Roaming Queen was gone. “God Dammit!”
“I no understand why you angry for,” the old man said, as he followed. “Shuilong gone and you still breathing—soon be paid too. Think you be much happier.”
“Oh, I'm bloody peachy,” he half-grunted. He took a look at his chest and discovered he was covered in bruises. "It just pisses me off, when someone like that gets away.”
“Someone like who?”
Jon stilled for a moment and then chuckled. “Someone worthy I guess,” he answered and turned to the old man. “Ya have a boat I can borrow?”
Re: On The Job
Posted: April 21st, 2015, 1:53 am
THE JADE EXPRESS JOB
Jon sat at the end of an near-empty passenger-car of an old fashioned steam-engine train, as he held a newspaper in front of him; a small hole cut through it. His eyes focused on several Asian men on the other end, as they laughed and carried-on. They wore nice suits and sported slick combed-back hair; stereotypical gangster look. The only question was which organization—Triad, Yakuza, or some syndicate.
“Seven,” he said under his breath. “That's just this car. What the hell happened ta' one or two?”
EARLIER THAT DAY
“The Jade what?” Jon asked, as he sat in a diner with his cellphone to his ear.
“The Jade Tiger,” Red answered. “It was stolen two weeks ago from some billionaire; considers himself a “collector of antiquities.”
“Sounds like a prat.”
“Be that as it may, said prat is willing to pay us quite well for it.”
“'N what does he consider “quite well?”
“According to him, 70 grand.”
Jon's eyes widened. “Sounds quite well indeed.”
Jon sighed, as his eyes narrowed. “For an Information Broker, ya really suck at yer Job, Red,” he said and set the newspaper down. “It was supposed ta' be a couple fellas per car.”
As he watched, he noticed their gaze would glance in way every so often. “Takes one ta' know one,” he said and stood. The men continued their jovial conversation, but he knew their full attention was on him; he had spied on people the same way countless times before.
Two of them got up, as one said, “We're going to the bathroom real quick. Be back in a minute.”
They walked toward him and when they passed, the other whispered, “You have five minutes to jump off this train.”
Jon couldn't help himself, when a light, “Heh,” escaped his lips. It was almost cute; simple foot soldiers pretending to be made men. They were the watchmen; to warn the others on the train of anyone suspicious and Jon definitely fit the bill.
He walked passed the rest and couldn't help himself again, as he winked at them. “That's right, kids,” he thought. “follow the strange man.”
He heard them get out of their seats, as he opened the door of the car. The wind was near deafening, as he grabbed the set of rungs beside him and climbed to the top of the train. “I've always wanted ta' do this,” he said, as he walked to the middle of the roof. The gusting wind buffeted him with such force, his body naturally began to absorb the kinetic energy. Thankfully, the extra weight of his bones helped him stay grounded.
When the men finally joined him, they fought to keep their footing and stay balanced.
“What's wrong boys?” he asked over the howling wind. “Trouble standin'?”
The first of them charged with a wild swing, but lost his footing and stumbled over the side. The others looked on, as his body crashed into the trees like a rag doll.
“I dunno, lads. Maybe ya should rethink this.”
The next man pulled a knife from under his coat.
Jon smirked. “Tried ta' warn ya.”
Several similarly dressed men were gathered in the second-to-last car, as they spoke Chinese amongst themselves. One of them stood apart from the rest and raised his hand.
“Listen up!” he ordered, as they complied. “We were told who to expect, from our contact. Now that he's made his move, we will put our plan into action. Alert the others in the forward cars to take the engine. Everyone else: get to your positions and help the others in the remaining cars. No doubt, he will be headed this way.”
“He is just one man,”one stated.
“He won't last 10 seconds,” said another.
“Don't forget who this is!” the man shouted. “This one man survived an exploding building. I will not have our hard work ruined, because you decided to underestimate the one person on this train who can take us all out in minutes.”
“If he's so dangerous, what are we supposed to do?”
The man scoffed and said, “Your roles are simple . . .”
Jon held the remaining man teetering on the edge of the train; holding him by his jacket. “Look, Lad: While I've always wanted ta' tussle on top of a speedin' train, this wind's doin' hell on my hair. So when I ask ya which car yer holdin' the Jade what'cha call-it, know I won't waste my time askin' again.”
“The-the last car at the rear,” he answered.
“Jesus,” Jon exhaled, as he rolled his eyes. “How bloody cliché are ya?”
“We were just following instructions.”
“Then follow these: tuck 'n roll,” he said and let go. “Car at the rear. Is it also guarded by a fat Chinese fella who tosses his hat at folks? Nah, maybe a mute giant with a sledgehammer. They prolly didn't even think I would just walk on top of-”
A fierce impact slammed into his shoulder, followed by the distant crack of a gunshot. He stumbled on the heels of his feet toward the edge, when another shot whizzed passed his head. “Ta' hell with this,” he said, as he whipped around and allowed himself to drop; energizing his fist on the way.
In the car below, seven Triad were spread-out—guns and knives in anxious hands—when an arm burst through the ceiling and clung to it. Those with guns opened fire, as the others stood ready. Soon, their guns were spent and the arm suddenly retracted.
“Shuaxin!” one of them shouted and they grasped for their clips.
The ceiling caved-in, as Jon came crashing down. The lights went out and flashes of gunfire soon lit the car; as well as bursts of red. When some of the lights came back on, Jon stood over the bodies of most of the Triads, as two remained; knives in hand.
“Lemme ask ya somethin' fellas,” he said, through harried breath. “Do ya really wanna frak with me right now . . . do ya think ya can?”
One of them let go a shriek of bravado, before he charged.
“Always one,” he said and waited. Once the man was in range, Jon held his arms out at his sides and let him stab his chest; the blade breaking at the base. He winked at the poor confused man, before rearing his head back and slamming it into his face.
Once the man was down—his face nearly smashed-in—Jon looked at the last one and walked toward him. “I don't do this often, but I have a bit a ways ta' go, 'fore I reach the jade thingy. So lets make ya a deal. Drop the knife, sit yer arse down 'n stay there, 'til the rides over. Ya can do whatever ya like then, but if ya get in my way or try ta' stab me in the back—which we both saw did yer friend alotta good—I'll knock ya through the floor 'n let yer carcass drag under the train. We have an understandin'?”
The man dropped the knife, sat down and faced forward.
“That's a good Lad,” he said and patted him on the shoulder.
45 MINUTES LATER
Jon stood between train cars, as he caught his breath. “Good God; didn't know ya could buy thugs in bulk.” He walked into the second to last car; where a tall muscular man in black slacks and a white button shirt stood. Jon sighed and asked, “Yer not gonna pull a sledgehammer out yer arse, are ya?”
The man shook his head and brought his hands and and curled them into fists and said, “Wo bu xuyao wuqi da di gou xihuan ni.”
Jon blinked a few times and said, “I don't know what ya just said, but I'm sure it wasn't nice.”
Both men walked up to each other in haste and let their fists fly. The man's moves were quick and precise for someone his size. Even Jon's boxing skills were put to the test, as he punches were batted away and the ones he could land,the man took them with ease.
“No way this fella's normal,” Jon thought, as he took hit to the chest. “Either he's like me, or I been lettin' myself go.”
Jon managed to land a blow into the man's solar plexus and then across his face; forcing him to stumble backward.
Jon went for the opening, but found his arm grasped and suddenly used to lift him off his feet and tossed to the other side of the car. He laid there for a moment and caught his breath. He looked over to see the man using one of the seats to stand himself up, as he too was winded.
“I gotta know, Lad,” Jon said, as he stood himself up and sat in one of the seats. “You a Psionic, like me?”
He shook his head and, in broken English, said, “I am Shaolin.”
“No shite? Heard ya fellas were badasses, but didn't think ya could dish it out like that. Also didn't think a Monk would hang around with a bunch o' criminal types.”
“I am not Monk,” he said, with a grin. “Watch kung-fu movies as child.”
“Well ain't that a hoot,” Jon said and stood. “Then let's finish this little action sequence, shall we?”
Jon knelt low and grabbed the frames of the seats beside him, as the man ran at him. The veins in his arms glowed a sharp red, as he infused energy into his muscles and ripped them from the floor. He threw one, forcing the man to duck behind a seat. When he stood up, Jon was there; using the other seat like a club, in mid swing.
“Goupi,” the man managed, before he was knocked through the window and crashed onto the rock covered ground.
“Shame really,” Jon said, as he lobbed the chair out. “Kinda liked 'im.”
He rolled his shoulders, as he pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit up. “Gonna talk ta Red about makin' that jackass pay 3.5 mil,” he said aloud and continued to the door. “God knows I feckin' earned it.”
He crossed the junction to the last car and entered without a care. What he found drained his strength, as his cigarette fell from his lip. Sitting in the center of the car, on a wooden stool, was a fortune cat with its arm swinging back and forth.
“What the frak is this?!” he scream, as he walked up to it and smashed it with his fist.
“A safeguard,” a static-filled voice sounded. “We couldn't very well have the Cleric steal our Jade Tiger, could we?”
Jon scanned the room and saw a wireless camera strapped to the corner of the car. “What the hell is this?”
“Did you really think we would place such a valuable object in the very rear of a train?”
Jon shrugged his shoulders. “Aye, I did think it was a little too predictable. But then why the small army blockin' my path?”
“Cannon fodder. Something to keep you distracted,while we finished moving everything into place.”
There was a sudden jarring, as Jon kept his footing. “Now what?”
“That would be end-game. Have a good day and better luck next time.”
“Dammit,” Jon grunted, as he exited the car and climbed to the top. Every car, save for the first two, had been disconnected and moving away quickly. “Sons o' bitches,” he cursed and started a mad dash across the train top. He increased the strength in his legs, to give him longer bounds and faster push. The forward cars were getting farther away, before he came close the the end.
“Aw shite, this is gonna hurt,” he said and gritted his teeth. He put a large amount of energy into his last step and kicked off the end; a boom like a shotgun blast sounding off behind him. As he flew through the air, he could feel the lacerations in his leg sting more from the hard wind pushing against him. He kept his arms pinned back to give less resistance and tried to keep his eyes from shutting, as he eyed his potential landing site. “Oh damn!” he yelled over the wind, when he discovered he was lined up with the last car's door.
He brought his arms and knees in, before him crashed through the door in a terrible ruckus. He cracked across the floor and came to a stop; mid-car. “Oh feckin' hell,” he groaned, as he fought to get to his feet. Blood ran down his leg and it threatened to buckle. “Think I might'a overdone it,” he said and became aware of his surroundings: amid a score of Triad.
“Hey, Lads,” he said and forced a smile. “Don't suppose ya wanna do an old man a favor 'n just handover the Jade thingy?”
In a flash, a flurry of punches and kicks.
“Well this is familiar,” he said and let them beat him; though he couldn't ignore the blows to his leg. “Think ya could ease up a bit?” he asked. “I got a bit of a headache.”
The trouncing continued for a few brief moments more, before they stopped and backed away.
“Are we done then?” he groaned and got to his feet. He looked at his clothes and wiped the front of his coat. “I don't think my stitchin' can take anymore.”
One of them made a move toward him, when Jon shot his arm out and gripped him by the throat. “Look, I'm getting' just a wee bit sick o' bein' knocked about by a bunch o' gangbangers in fancy suits,” he stated; his voice stern and his gaze focused. “No doubt, ya know what I did ta' yer friends 'n ya see me still standin' here, don't ya? Now I want ya ta' ask yer'selves a question . . . do ya wanna end up like them or ya wanna get the feck outta my way?”
They stood there, still and silent, as one by one, they parted and made a path for him.
“There ya go,” he said and pushed the man to his friends. He walked passed them—making sure to hide his limp—and made his way to the final car. Once inside, he found himself among luxurious furniture, extravagant paintings and even a stuffed polar bear. Sitting on a sofa, with three men in white suits behind him, was a man dressed in black.
Jon found himself chuckling, before he said, “Someone watches way too many movies. A goddamn polar bear; really?”
“Believe me, I had the same thought,” the man said. “Whoever designed this train needs to have his eyes carved out; perhaps then he will do a better job next time.”
“Good ta' see we can agree on somethin',” he said and eyed the three men. “You 'n yers gonna gimme a hard time as well?”
“I was considering it,” he said, with a thin smile. “But I've been watching you rip through my men like tissue paper. I didn't think you would be as “brutal” as I was told.”
“Told?” Jon asked, as he gritted his teeth and furrowed his brow. “This another goddamn test?! Morifasi set this up? Redford?”
“I assure you, this is no test and I've never heard of a Redford. And I don't know if you heard, but Devlin Morifasi was killed in an explosion almost a year ago, but you already know that.”
“Then who told ya 'bout me?”
“Our employer called me last minute and told me that the Cleric from Chicago's Cavetti Family was going to try and take the Jade Tiger from us. Then he asked me to set up a couple cameras to keep track of you; make sure you stayed inside the train and made your way to the back.”
“'N now what?” Jon asked. “Ya had a change o' heart?”
“Something like that,” he said and reached into his breast pocket. “As much as I hate to refund the money we were paid, I would rather come out of this with my body intact; as I'm sure what's left of my men do as well.”
He pulled something out and tossed it to Jon.
His left eye twitched, as he looked at what he held. A crudely carved piece of jade with a scarce resemblance of an animal of some sort, the size of a chess piece. “Don't tell me...”
“I was just as disappointed. All this fuss over a piece of crap—I don't care who finds it valuable.”
“That's somethin' else we agree on,” he said and slipped the piece into his coat. He then began to tap his fingers against his leg and rock on his heels. “So... uh...”
The man gestured to one of the open chairs. “We have another two hours, before the next stop; I assume that's where you were supposed to meet your contact?”
“Aye,” Jon answered and sat down. “Yers?”
“Two more stops away. Needless to say, we have time to spare.”
“Okay... so what do we do now?”
“Let's start with introductions,” he answered, with a broad smile. “My name is Liu Gen Qiang. And yours?”
2 HOURS LATER
Jon walked out of the terminal, into the night air, as passersby gave him a wide berth; given his battered appearance and disgruntled expression. His steps were quick, as no doubt the station would be calling the police, after Qiang and the rest of his boys went on their way, without explaining what happened to the rest of the cars.
It was strange; talking with someone who had tried to kill him. “Actually a pretty decent fella,” Jon said aloud, as he left the station behind and ventured down the road to the client's meeting place; a local diner.
It was a short walk, when he came upon the one story building with neon lights above spelling: Flappy's Jacks.
“Cute,” he said and eventually entered. Inside was the usual setup of booth and stools at the bar. The walls were a painful white and the floors a terrible red and white checker pattern. He took a booth on the end, as the waitress and cook kept their eyes on him. He reached into his coat and procured the Jade tiger, along with a pack of cigarettes.
He placed the piece on the table, as he lit up.
When someone sat across from him, he barely looked up, as he enjoyed the light burn in his throat. “I hope ya brought the money with ya,” he said. “'Cause I gotta tell ya, I don't feel like waitin' fer a transfer, after what I went through ta' get this... pebble.
“Too damn bad,” a young male voice stated.
Jon looked up to see a young 20-something with spiked platinum blonde hair and a cocky grin. “My boss isn't the type to hand of money in envelopes.”
“Little young ta' be a pick-up man.”
“Little old to be playing with trains, aren't you?”
“Clever,” Jon said and pushed the piece across the table. “Then pass a message along ta' yer boss. After the shite I just been through, he can tack on an extra 10 grand.”
The young man scoffed. “I'll let him know, but don't hold your breath,” he said, as he took the piece and stood up.
He pulled a couple dollars out of his pocket and dropped them on the table. “Here. Buy yourself a hamburger. You look like you could use something to eat.”
Jon glared, as the man walked away. “I feckin' hate kids,” he said and reached for his cellphone; hoping it still worked. “Now... time ta' chew Red out.”
“You should've let me kill him, Ari,” the young blond haired man spoke into a cellphone.
“That's not your job, Tesla,” she said. “Just bring the Jade Tiger back to the lab.”
“I don't get what the Doctor wants with this thing,” he said, as he held it up against the moon and examined it.
“Looks like a crappy piece of jewelry.”
“The Doctor knows what he's doing. If he says he needs it, than it's important to his work.”
“That's not for you to know, just yet,” she answered. “We need to keep any results we find a secret, until we unveil them to the higher-ups.”
“Whatever,” he said and stuffed the piece in his pocket. “I should be back by tomorrow morning.”
“We'll see you then,” Arianna said and hung up. She stood in a pristine white room, with steel trays and an array of medical instruments. Across from her was an elderly man in a lab-coat; huddled over several monitors on a console.
“Tesla retrieved the Tiger. He'll be here by morning.”
“Sehr gut zu horen,” he said, as he typed on a keyboard; moving through varies people on the screens. Some moved about their daily lives, while others were held in cells or in labs. He paused on one of a woman strapped to a gurney with electrodes on her shaved head. Her facial features were prominently feline and a tail protruded from under her gown. “I trust we also have our newly acquired data?”
“We do, Dr. Adrise,” she answered, as she walked over and pressed a couple keys. The screens lit up with scenes from the fighting on the train. “We planted hundreds of cameras within the cars' frames and thanks to our satellites, we even have some footage atop the train.”
“Fascinating,” Dr. Adrise said, as he watched a screen of Jon leaping to the other car. “So the subject is able to focus his built-up energy into propelling himself great distances. Most intriguing.”
“We've also received new reconnaissance on the Pyrokinetic and the Shape Shifter. We can acquire the Shape Shifter whenever we like. As for the other . . .”
“It cannot be helped, but thankfully there are more subjects to find,” he said, as three people appeared on the screen; one a young woman, another a middle aged man and the last a young boy in a baseball uniform. “There are always more subjects.”
Re: On The Job
Posted: October 13th, 2015, 6:12 am
THE HALLOWEEN II JOB
“Well ain't this familiar,” Jon said, as he sat on the stairs of the Town Hall, in the little town of Peach Tree, across from the statue of the Town's founder—Jeremiah Peach—on Halloween night. When Red had told him about the job, he found it comical. A Biker calling himself the Night Rider had threatened to raze the town, if the man who “killed his brother” didn't show himself this night.
It had been a few years, since the last time Jon was there. He was hired to take out a biker gang and it's leader; the Headless Horseman. By the time he was finished, most of the gang were dead or injured and the Horseman was left a crispy mess under his own motor cycle.
His head raised, when the distant sound of a roaring engine echoed in the distance. Expecting a small army, only a single light shone down the street leading to the Town Hall. In a moment, a single motorcycle was parked on the sidewalk and a tall muscular short haired man in leather pants and vest walk toward him.
Jon stubbed out his cigarette and stood. “Come on yer own, did ya; Mister Night Rider? Thought all o' ya wanted vengeance.”
“Bunch of chickenshits,” he said, calmly. “Told them I was gonna kill you and they all but pissed themselves.”
“Guess they have good memories.”
“Yeah. They wouldn't stop going on and on about how much of a monster you were.”
“Well that's pretty harsh.”
“It doesn't matter; 'cause I'm gonna hurt you bad.”
“Hurtin' me be the easy part,” Jon said and smirked. “It's killin' me yer gonna have trouble with.”
Night Rider sprang, grabbed Jon by the shirt and started punching him, as they fell onto the steps. The beating went on for a couple minutes, before he stepped back and looked at his hardly-fazed opponent.
Jon could feel the warmth in his face, but knew the only thing left by the punches were some minor redness where they landed. “Amazin', ain't it?” Jon asked, as he stood again; rubbing his jaw. “Please, don't think yer'self weak or nothin'. Those jabs sting just fine. It's just that--”
Jon lunged and landed a powerful punch into Night Rider's stomach; sending him crashing into the ground and tumbling before his motorcycle.
“It won't do ya no good,” Jon finished, as he walked closer. “Yer brother found out the hard way, 'fore I sent 'im screamin' on his way ta' hell.”
Night Rider reached into a satchel on his motorcycle, pulled out a gun and started firing.
“Dammit,”" Jon said, as he held a hand over his face. “I just got this shirt.”
When he heard the click, Jon lowered his hand and looked at Night Rider's bewildered face. “He was wearin' a mask at the time," he said. "But I can imagine that was the look on 'is face, when shootin' me in the back o' the head didn't work. Perhaps I'll have a clue what he looked like, when i dropped his bike on 'im, after I crush ya with yers.”
Night Rider smiled and broke into laughter.
Jon stopped his approach. There be somethin' wrong 'ere, he thought and asked. “'N what be so funny now?”
“He told me this would happen,” he answered, as he reached into his satchel again. “I thought he was talking a bunch of crap, but I guess the old man was right.”
“What? What old man?”
“Doesn't matter,” he stated, as he withdrew an injection gun and held it to his neck. “Let's see what this crap does.”
He pulled the trigger and, in a flash, the contents in the gun shot into his blood. In seconds, he began to writhe on the ground, as he gritted his teeth so hard they chipped. He rolled over and used his cycle to get up, as his bones cracked and the muscles of his torso bulged and rippled.
“The feckin' hell?” Jon asked aloud, as he looked on.
Night Rider's upper body grew in mass and height, as his legs grew more muscular and remained the same length. He reared his gigantic form and released a mighty roar that tore through the town. His clothing had ripped away; leaving the tattered remain of his pants. When he turned, he showed his fierce form and his engrossed face. His entire body was covered with straining veins and abnormal bulges.
“Christ, man!” Jon exclaimed. “What the hell've ya done ta' yer'self?!”
The Night Rider/beast didn't respond, as he tossed his motorcycle with such force, Jon had just enough time to bring up his arms, before he was smashed into the steps; the cycle continuing up the stairs and through the Town Hall doors.
“Jesus,” he grunted, as he sat himself up, amid bits of debris of scattered parts. He tried to reach into his coat for a gun, but a massive hand gripped him by the throat and shoulder and lifted him, like he were a doll. He was slammed into the ground, over and over.
Before he knew it, Jon was tossed into the air. Everything around him spun, as his mind reeled; trying to think of something. He felt a hard grip on his leg and looked in time to see Night Rider's insane smile, before he started spinning like a top, with Jon on the end.
Christ, I feel like pukin', his mind managed, just as he caught a glimpse of Jeremiah Peach's statue coming in close. He brought his arms over his head, as he was bashed into part of the concrete base and in one more swing, he was tossed through the rest and landed on the other side; planted into a small crater-like hole.
Not good, not good, Jon thought as he tried to push himself up and felt a sharp pain he had never felt before race down his left arm. He looked to see it dangle limp at his side. “Feckin' shite,” he said, as he saw Night Rider stomp his way through the rubble; stepping on the head of the bronze statue flat.
“Where jokes?!” Night Rider yelled, in a thick booming voice. “No funny no more, is you?!”
Jon didn't answer, as he drew two .45's from his coat and fired into the monster, but to no avail. The bullets flattened against the stone-like skin and fell to the ground. “Now I know how the other side feels,” he said, as he charged his legs with the abundant amount of stored energy, as well as his right arm. “Guess I need a Hail Mary pass on this one.”
Jon leapt high above Night Rider and reared his hand back; ready to unleash a powerful—and undoubtedly painful—punch. To his dismay, his opponent also jumped into the air and, with remarkable speed, swatted Jon like a fly and through the side of the Town Hall building.
Inside, Jon found himself laying atop the remains of the motorcycle, in an aisle between several pews. “Looks more like a church ta' me,” he coughed hard and found his lips wet with blood. “This just keeps getting' better 'n better,” he said, as he wiped his mouth and noticed an odd yet familiar smell. On the sleeve of his coat was gasoline, that also covered the carpeted.
“Well 'ello,” he said, as he looked about him. On the other side of one of the pews was a large diorama of Jesus' return; with Jesus standing over a reaching Mary. “Oh, I'm definitely goin' ta' hell fer this.”
Night Rider walked up the stairs and through the front entrance. He saw the man he came to kill laid out in front of his motorcycle. “No fight left?” he asked, as he reached down and grabbed the back of his coat. He pulled back and found, not his target, but the statue of a woman in colorful robes.
“'Ey, dickhead,” a voice called.
He looked over and saw the silhouette of Cleric, as a lit Zippo lighter flew passed his head. He roared, defiantly, as the explosion engulfed him in scorching flames and launched him back out onto the Town Hall steps.
Jon stepped out of the building, with a lit cigarette in his mouth and coat in hand, and looked at the burning mass that laid motionless. “Guess luck wins out in this'n,” he said and began to walk away, until he heard a groan. “No feckin' way.”
Night Rider rose from the ground and patted out the flames; all the while a deranged smile on his face. He roared once more, as he took a step to charge.
Night Rider's leg broke at the knee, as he fell to the ground. He reached out to break his fall and his forearm broke at the wrist. “What?!” he screeched, as he other arm began to shrink and shrivel. “Why?!”
“Not gonna wait ta' find out,” Jon stated, as he charged up again, dropped his coat and lunged. With a wide swing, he connected to the side of Night Rider's face; just before it exploded. “What the-?!” Jon said, as he stumbled forward from the momentum and landed hard on the ground. He looked over and watched, as what remained of they body continued to shrink and tighten to the point squealed, like tanning rawhide, until it froze into a huddled and unnatural pose.
“Christ in Heaven,” Jon uttered, as he pushed himself up; minding his dislocated shoulder. He started to walk toward the dried-looking husk, when he fell to his knees and coughed up more blood. His vision blurred and his head spun.
“Come on,” he said aloud, as he reached for his phone in his back pocket; praying it did not break. “Ya didn't just go through all that shite ta' die here n' now.”
Darkness encompassed him, as he felt the phone in his hand, and his fingers dialing. Before he fell unconscious, he heard the ringing on the other end, soon followed by, “Jon?”
In his laboratory, Dr. Erik von Adrise looked on, as a monitor on his desk showed him an unconscious Cleric and the remains of his opponent. Beside him, Arianna stood and rested a hand on his shoulder.
“I'm sorry Doctor,” she said.
“It is okay, my dear,” he said and patted her hand. “It vas actually quite impressive, considering zhe subject. Und least now ve know genome set L-322 is ultimately incompatible with zhe recessive Psi-Gene. J-78 und 79 are our best options, over all.”
A harsh buzz came from the desk's intercom. “Dr. Krauss,” a woman spoke. “Mr. White is here to see you, again. Do you want me to send him away?”
Erik sighed. “Now zhis, Arianna, is vhat truly vexes me,” he said and pressed a button. “It's okay, Janice. Send him up.”
“How many visits does this make, this month?” Arianna asked.
“Zhis would be his fifth,” he answered, as he took a seat and rubbed his brow. “Even my father never had zhis tight a leash, when he had an overseer from zhe SS.”
“I wish the higher ups would leave you to work in peace,” she said. “How do they expect results, if they're constantly interrupting us?”
“People vith power love to lord it over zhose beneath them,” he answered and chuckled. “So nothing's changed much.”
There was a quick knock at the door, before a man dressed in a black suit and hat entered. “Dr. Adrise,” he greeted, as he looked at Arianna and grinned. “Now Doctor; you know we don't allow pets on company property.”
Both ignored his comment, as Erik asked, “Vhat is it zhis time? Am I “over budget” again? Or perhaps your superiors are questioning my methods again?”
“Easy there, Doc,” he said, as he set his hat on the desk. “They're your superiors too and yes, they're curious as to what all this nonsense is supposed to accomplish. I gotta say, I'm kind of curious myself.”
“Last I recall, your superiors have benefited greatly from my research.”
“That is not what they have issues with,” he said, as he glanced at Arianna again. “You're supposed to be finding ways to kill these things that won't cost us countless bodies against just one of them; not make them jump through hoops—however entertaining it may be.”
Erik sighed again and shook his head slowly. He looked to Arianna and nodded. “I think it's time ve had a serious discussion, Mr. Vhite,” he said, as she left the lab. “When my father decided to vork for zhe Fuhrer, he vas tasked with finding a vay to harness zhe power of his test subjects, to further to help win zhe war; even zhough those very subjects vould be next, as part of his Final Solution.”
“And that is why we reached out to you; as a sort of “courtesy,” for your father's work.”
Erik grinned, as he looked at the floor and nodded his head. “My father's vork,” he said and turned his head to Mr. White. “My father vas a brilliant man indeed... but even he couldn't see zhe truth.”
“Okay, I'll bite. What is “the truth?”
“Zhat no matter how much you vish otherwise, you und your superiors vill never be able to eradicate Psionics completely.”
Mr White furrowed his brow, as he stiffened his stance. “Just what are you saying?”
“It could never occur to people, such as yourself, zhat zhere is a reason Psionics exist.”
“What reason could that possibly be?”
“Evolution, Mr. Vhite,” he answered, as Arianna returned with a folder in hand. “Zhe reason you vill never vin your little “war” is because Mother Nature vill not allow it... but zhere is a path even she did not consider.”
Arianna set the folder in the desk and gestured for Mr. White to look.
“What's this?” he asked, as he opened it. Inside were various photos of Psionics and a file on genetics and DNA coding. A paper on the bottom had “Project Protean” written on it and had a picture of a young boy and girl. “None of this makes any sense. What is this crap?”
“Zhe future, my oblivious friend,” he answered. “Through my research, I have discovered a recessive gene vithin zhe Human genome zhat unlocks zhe “activation” of an individuals Psychokinetic capabilities.”
“Wait a minute... you mean we can cut them off at the source? Make it so Psionics can be born Human? Good God Doctor, this is amazing. Why didn't you share this with us earlier?”
“Because I don't plan on cutting anything off “at zhe source,” he answered and winked at Arianna. “It is my intent to create zhe ultimate Psionic specimen; to ring in a whole new generation of hyper-advance beings, zhe likes of vhich has never been dreamed.”
Mr. White looked at him with befuddled eyes. “Wha- what are you talking about? These things have to be wiped off the face of the Earth.”
Arianna stepped behind him and kicked his inner knee. Once he was off balance, she grabbed his wrist and wrenched his arm behind him, as she slammed him onto the desk and held him there.
“What the hell is this?!” he shouted. “Are you insane?!”
“Just keep quiet,” Arianna said, as she applied more pressure.
Erik sat at his desk, collected the folder and skimmed through it. “Did you know scientists theorize zhat as Man evolved, he vas constantly at odds vith his predecessors; those who vere afraid of zhese “new und improved” versions of zhemselves. Every time He climb zhe evolutionary ladder, Man had to fight zhose before him, as zhey tried to pull him down.”
“I don't know what you're trying to say?!”
“It's quite simple. Psychokinetic affinity isn't some aberration or one of “God's mistakes,” but just zhe next step in evolution. Und just as history has proven, again und again, zhe previous generation is fighting those newly superior to zhem. To put it in zhe most simple of terms... you are scared of being replaced. So you lash out; just like zhe lesser being you are.”
“Bullshit!” Mr. White spat, as Arianna pressed harder.
“I vould try to explain it to you further, but I have only so much life left und I have better things to do vith zhat time. Und, unfortunately, we cannot afford to let you report to your superiors of my true intentions.”
“What? W-what are you going to do?”
“I von't do a thing,” Erik answered, as he stood and walked over to a wall of monitors. “I'll let my “pet” take care of it.”
24 HOURS LATER
Jon's head throbbed, as he awoke in a soft bed, in a white, pristine room. “A Hospital?” he asked aloud.
“You are correct,” a bubbly voice answered.
At the entrance was a woman with unnaturally red hair, dressed in blue and pink scrubs, with a clipboard.
“How'd I get 'ere?” Jon asked, as he tried to get up. A sharp pain shot through his body and he fell back. “Good God, what's wrong with me?”
“You were in a car accident,” she answered, as she read the chart. “Luckily you were on the phone with a friend; though I hope that's not why you crashed.”
“Trust me, when I say it was the other fella,” he said and look under his gown. There was bruising all over his body. “Damn, that's new.”
The nurse just looked at him and said, “You're lucky you're just bruised. Way I hear it, the other guy was burned so bad, his body turned to ashes on his way to the morgue.”
“Burned,” he said aloud, mindlessly. “Sure; that works.”
She shrugged her shoulders at his comment and said, “Still, I guess, even on Halloween, miracles do happen.”
“So do nightmares,” he said, as he looked around. “Did they bring me phone in with me?”
“In the table next to you, top drawer, along with your wallet,” she answered. “I'll let you get to it; no doubt you have some calls to make.”
“Just one,” he said, as he nodded to her, when she left. He punched in the only number he had used for years.
When it picked up, Red's voice asked, “You still alive?”
“Unfortunately,” he answered, as he rubbed his bruises. “But I definitely be worse for ware.”
“What happened? This was supposed to be a cake job. When my guy found you, you looked beat half to death. Now, correct me, if I'm wrong, but aren't supposed to be resilient to that kind of whipping?”
“There be somethin' crazy goin' on, Red. 'N ya ain't gonna believe it, when I tell ya the shite I went through, last night.”
The redheaded Nurse exited the rear of the Hospital and speed-walked to a black Sedan parked near high-hedged bushes. She stopped at the back and waited, until the window lowered. “I got it,” she said, as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a vial of blood. “Now, the money?”
A young man with spiked blond hair looked at her and grinned. “I'm not the “envelope stuffed with bills” kinda guy,” he said. “Once that tube is placed in my hand, you'll find your bank account get 5,000 dollars fatter, every month, for... let's say five years. That sound good?”
“How do I know I can trust you?”
He chuckled and said, “You don't have much choice,” and held up a cellphone. “I recorded you offering a strange man blood, from your Hospital, for money. I think 4,000 a month is better than getting fired and having to look for a new line of work.”
“Wait, what about the 5,000?”
His grin fell away to a stern face. “Do yourself a favor and take the three grand, while you can.”
Out of a panic, she all but thrust the vial to him.
“Smart girl,” he said and took the blood.
She jogged away, as the window went back up... but stopped just before it closed.
“Sorry,” he said, as he pointed a finger at her. “No loose ends. Doc's orders.”
INSIDE THE HOSPITAL
Jon heard a crack like lightning and said, “Hell, sky looks clear fer a storm.”
“Forget about the weather,” Red stated. “We've got bigger problems, if jackasses can turn themselves into juiced-up monsters.”
“I dunno. This was just some street 'roid, but rather somethin'... special. It seemed like this was someone else's idea; like someone talked him inta' callin' me out.”
“Just like the other times.”
“Aye. I'm gettin' a feelin' like someone has it in fer me... 'n I might have an idea.”
“Okay. And where does this idea take you?”
Jon sighed, as he answered, “Back home.”
Re: On The Job
Posted: September 18th, 2016, 12:16 am
THE FAMILY REUNION JOB
Jon stood in the remains of his old apartment, as the sounds of sirens and blasting horns came through the broken window. “Things've definitely changed,” he said, as he looked around. It had been a decent starter home for him, his wife and their baby. Now the door was off the hinges, graffiti plastered the walls and the rancid smell told of more than one kind of squatting that had taken place.
He stepped into what was once his bedroom, as he swept a collection of used needles out of his way, with his foot. Once in the corner of the room, he tapped his toe on the floor, until he heard a hollow thud. He kicked in the floor with his heel and reached inside. He retrieved a long metal case, covered in webbing and dust. On its lid was a silver cross, with gold etched into the edges.
He ran his hand over the case and signed the cross over his chest. “Guess it was only a matter o' time, 'fore I'd need ya again,” he said, as he stood. “Now, let's get ta' work; 'n we got a lot of it.”
In a dimly lit office, with many framed pictures on the wall, a rotund man with slick gray hair sat behind a desk, as he rested his chin on clasped hands. In front of him stood three men, in suits, with darting eyes and trembling hands.
He looked at them and asked, “You want to tell me again, what happened?”
One of the men stepped forward and answered, “We're not sure about what happened, Mr. Cavetti, Sir. When we arrived to pick up the money, we found the courier and his guys... dead.”
Angelo Cavetti—head of the Cavetti Crime Family—leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath. “Just “dead” doesn't work for me. I need to know exactly how they were killed; see if we know who just took a piss in my backyard.”
The man glanced back at the others and cleared his throat. “They, uh... the courier was shot in the head. The others... the others were, uh... crushed.”
Angelo flinched. “Crushed?”
“Yes, Sir. They were banged up like someone took a sledgehammer to them.”
“Sledgehammer,” he scoffed. “More like a very, very, powerful fist.”
“Sir... there's more.”
“Great, more good news. What is it?”
“There was something written on the wall... in blood.”
“Lemme guess. A biblical verse.”
“Yeah, I think so, Sir.”
“What did it say?”
He cleared his throat and answered, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written,” uh... “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
“Jesus Christ,” Angelo stated. “The son of a bitch is back. After all this time—after I warned him—he's back.”
“Sir, you can't mean-”
“Who the hell else you know “crushes” people as his MO?”
The man, and the other two, grew pale. “Why-why now; after all this time?”
“It doesn't matter why,” Angelo answered and slammed his fist on the desk. “You take three more men with you and you go to that bitch's place and graft her head back to her shoulders; you get me?! You show that bastard that Angelo Cavetti doesn't make idle threats.”
The man fidgeted, as he asked, “Sir... are you sure that's wise?”
Angelo glared at him. “The f**k you just say?”
“It's just that... if it is him, then maybe we don't want to, uh... you know... make him angry.”
“Make him angry,” he said, as he opened a drawer of his desk. “You're worried about making him angry?”
“Sir, I'm not trying to say that-”
In a flash, Angelo pulled a cleaver from his desk and flung it into the man's head. “I'm the only man on this Earth you chickenshits should be afraid of making angry!!” he shouted, as the man fell onto the floor; his body twitching. “Now, you two go grab some guys and take your asses over there, this very instant!!”
AN HOUR LATER
Several men—dressed shabbily and with ski masks—walked down the hall of an apartment building. They came to a door and the man in front turned to the others and whispered, “Okay, Boss wants this to look like a robbery gone bad... really bad. No guns; just knock her around a bit and then toss her out the window.”
He stepped away from the door and kicked it in. “Get down, bitch!” he yelled, but there was no one within; just furniture and a plant on the windowsill. They entered and began to rummage.
While they searched, the apartment door across from them opened and a dark figure exited.
“Where is this bitch at?” one of them asked.
From the entrance, a voice said, “I'd watch yer tongue.”
They all looked to see a man dressed like a Priest; collar and all. The biggest thing of note was the metal mask covering his face; a cross, with yellow tinted glass, in the center.
“That's me wife yer talkin' 'bout,” he said, as he held out his arms. “Shall we then?”
While the men went for their hidden guns, a pair of nickel-plated .45's slid from his sleeves into his hands. In a moment, with a couple accurate shots, only two men remained; both dropping their weapons onto the floor and raising their hands in the air.
“Ya fella's must be the smart ones,” he said, as he walked up to them. “Now, I take it ya know who I am?”
“Y-your the Cleric,” one answered.
He chuckled and said, “Boy, never thought I'd actually use that name again, but here we be. Ya know, it wasn't me choice. Bloody ol' Cavetti thought it “suited” me. Damned fool watched too much television, if ya ask me... but I digress.”
He shoved one of his guns against the closest man's forehead and put a bullet through it. He pressed the other gun against the remaining man's temple and cocked the hammer. “Time for you 'n I ta' get serious for a moment 'n have ourselves a chat.”
“What do you want, man? I don't know nothing.”
“I wouldn't sell yer'self short. Yer probably on the brown end o' the totem pole, but I bet yer little ears have picked up some juicy chatter between the ol' man 'n his lieutenants. Or maybe yer eyes have seen somethin' interestin'. How 'bout ya tell me what ya've seen 'n heard... or I'll tear off those ears 'n pluck out them eyes.”
SIX HOURS LATER
Angelo sat at his desk, as he strained to keep his anger at bay. Jon MacDagget's wife was still alive and his men were dead, except the one they found tied up in the bathroom; positioned like a crucifix. Another message had been left for him.
“Even my close friend, in whom I trust, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me,” he repeated aloud the verse the survivor told them. “God damn you, you son of a bitch. If you're gonna come at me, then come at me.”
“This ain't the Jon you know, Pop,” a voice said. In the doorway, a slender man with slick jet-black hair, wearing gray suit stood. “This is the “Cleric” you always wanted and trust me: he'll be coming at you soon enough.”
“Not now, Junior,” he said, as he waved him off. “I got enough bullshit to deal with.”
“And whose fault is that? I mean, come on, Pop. You do the man wrong, tell him to leave town or you'll kill his family and somehow expect that to slide forever?”
“It was the best option at the time—he was getting too big for his own good.”
“That's on you too. Last I recall, you were the one who gave him that name. Gave him the clothes. Gave him the fancy case and guns. Gave him that mask. All to “strike fear into your enemies.” All ya did was scare yourself, because—what? Ya thought he was going to knock you off and take over? Or perhaps go off and form his own gang and tear down everything around you? Tell me, Pop. How's that going for ya?”
“Your agitating me, boy. You may be my son, but I ain't above splitting your skull.”
“Yeah, sure thing,” he said, as he turned away. “Call me, when you stop crapping your pants.”
Jon stood before a six story brick building, as a cigarette was perched between his lips. In the late 1800's, it had been a butcher's; owned by Robert and Joseph Cavetti. In the 1920's, after Robert died of pneumonia, it was turned into one of the places to be. Jazz, open forums, gambling, show girls and—what made it so popular—rum-running. Even after prohibition ended, “Cavetti's Carvery” continued to turn a profit. Then Joseph's son took over and things began to change, as the building became home to mafia dealings.
It wasn't long, until the Cavetti Crime Family ran things in Southern Chicago; led by the ruthless Angelo “The Carver” Cavetti.
It was here, Jon had spent most of his youth. While he was living at the orphanage, he would come here to be a part of something close to family. They had his bachelor party on the third floor; a night he had spent hopping out the window for fun. He looked upon it now, with a pinch of fondness and a handful of disdain.
His eyes went to the front door, as Angelo Cavetti Jr stepped into the sunlight. A tension filled the street, as both men stared each other down.
Jon spit out his cigarette and said, “Been a long time, Angie.”
Junior smiled. “You know I always hated that name... Mac.”
“Touche... so, how does this go down? Ya know what I can do.”
“Why do you think I ain't calling for help. What good would it do me?”
“Okay then... what's yer move?”
Junior took a deep breath. “I think I'm gonna head home and catch the game. It's Italy versus Brazil; should be a helluva match.”
“What about dear ol' dad?”
“Pop ain't been right, since he screwed you over,” he answered and walked toward him. “He's been paranoid—afraid you'd be back one day to take over the family. When he found out you were back, he's completely lost it.”
“That ain't me intent.”
“I know,” he said, as he reached out his hand. “It's mine.”
Jon cocked his eyebrow. “The King is dead, eh?” he asked and shook his hand.
“Long live the King.”
Jon let him go and watched after him, until he got in his car and left. He turned his attention back to the building and reached into his coat. “Time ta' end it,” he said, as he retrieved his mask and slipped it on.
30 MINUTES LATER...
Angelo sat behind his desk, as the sounds of gunfire and loud booms worked their way from the first floor, all the way to just outside his office; where the clamor came to an end.
He licked his dry lips and said, “Come on in, Jon. Let's have ourselves a chat.”
The door opened and in stepped the image that haunted his dreams; his own creation, armed with the guns he gave him and, no doubt, with bloodthirsty eyes behind his mask.
“It's been a long time, Jon,” Angelo said, with a tremble in his voice, as he moved his hand under his desk. “So, how many did you kill; how many of your old friends did you put a bullet in?”
“Enough that I'll feel bad fer a while, but I left some alive ta' even out the guilt.”
Angelo scoffed. “Ya know, there was a time you wouldn't have been able to do such a thing.”
“People change, old man. Now, are ya gonna sling that gun or waste this lil' reunion?”
Angelo breathed deep. “As you wish,” he said, as he raised a shotgun and pumped it.
Jon was still, as he said, “Ya know how this game works... sure ya wanna play it?”
“That's okay. I stacked the deck; explosive rounds.”
“Fancy,” he said and opened his arms. “Yer move.”
Angelo wasted no time firing shot after shot into him, as he stood and moved around his desk. With each hit, Jon stumbled backwards. “You're not invincible, Jon,” he barked, as he unloaded another round. “Something has to kill you!”
Jon had been backed into the hall, doubled over, when Angelo's gun clicked. He straightened and exhaled, as he looked at the singed holes in his clothing. “Packed quite a wallop,” he said. “But I've had worse.”
Angelo turned to run back to his office, when a bullet tore through his knee. Even as he fell on the floor, he heard Jon's footsteps.
“I did as ya wanted,” Jon said, as he followed him into the office. “Kept me distance; keepin' me family safe, by lettin' 'em think I abandoned them. All that 'n ya still had ta' screw with me.”
“What the hell are you talkin' about,” he grunted, as he reached a chair.
“Morifasi, Redford, Rider—all of 'em. Who else would dick with me, 'sides you?”
“I don't know none of them names,” he stated, as he lifted himself into the chair and held his knee.
“Don't lie ta' me!” Jon yelled and shot a hole next to Angelo's head. “Yer the only one that makes sense!”
“That's bull and you know it. You killed plenty of people, Jon. Ever stop to think you pissed off the wrong person?”
“No one that's got pockets as deep as yours.”
“Oh, I wouldn't be so sure,” he said through gritted teeth. “Let's not forget what makes you so special. There are plenty of people out there who don't like your kind; people who have friends in high places with deeper pockets than me.”
Jon kept his gun aimed, but was still.
“That's right. Use that noggin of yours. Why would I send anyone after you? I've been worried you'd come back; why would I jeopardize everything by tweaking your knobs?”
“Ya know somethin', old man... ya just might have somethin' there.”
“Of course I do. You and I got some bad blood, but at least-”
“Oh, I wouldn't get 'head o' yerself just yet,” Jon cut him short and stepped closer. “Even if yer tellin' me the truth, ain't no reason ta' let ya live.”
“If ya hadn't sent yer men ta' Susan's, I mighta' let it go.”
“Now listen: I warned you before-”
“Aye, I know, but ya shoulda' realized I'd have thought o' that 'n ya still tried it anyway.”
Angelo grunted, as he eased further into the chair. “I guess I have this coming, huh?”
“Fer quite a while,” Jon said, as he slid the mask atop his head and holstered his gun. “If it means anythin', I ain't happy 'bout this.”
“Ya know what: it kinda does.”
Jon's right hand glowed a deep red, as he said, “This'll be quick.”
“Heh, that's it? No fancy quotes like, “Eye for an eye” or something?”
“That's yer Cleric; I brought him back just fer this occasion. The Cleric 'fore ya is his own man. A man who don't need a mask 'n fancy costume.”
“Still, I'd like to hear something.”
“No worries, old man,” he said, as he raised his hand. “The priest at yer funeral will have plenty ta' say.”
TWO DAYS LATER
Jon stood beside a tree, with his case in his hand, as he watched the funeral of Angelo Cavetti Sr. in the distance. It was not a big turnout, with most of his men dead or in the hospital; only his son and a handful of mooks..
When everyone was finished and gone, he went to the open grave and looked at the coffin below. “Just like I said; he had plenty ta' say.”
He heard steps behind him. “It was a lovely service,” he said, as he turned to face Angelo Jr. “I think he'd of been happy with it.”
“Yeah. Pop always talked about something small. It's like he knew it was coming.”
“He did. Anyone in his line 'o business knows it'll happen one day.”
“And what about me? Am I destined to share his fate?”
“That depends on you,” he said, as he turned back to the coffin. “Ya plannin' on sendin' anyone after me or me family?”
“I think you know the answer to that.”
Jon nodded his head and dropped the case into the grave. “Don't think we'll be seein' each other again.”
“I'm sorry to hear that. I thought you might actually stay, since the old man's gone; try to reconnect with Suzy and all that. Maybe even come back to the Family.”
“Oh, that'd be nice,” he said and returned to Angelo. “But the folks I take care of nowadays are on me own terms. As fer Sue... she don't need me comin' 'round ta' make things hard again. She's moved on 'n I hear Joseph's in a fancy school somewhere. Their lives are fine the way they are; without me.”
“I dunno. Sounds pretty lonely... Mac.”
Jon smile and walked to him. “That's life,” he said, as he extended his hand. “Goodbye, Angie.”
They shook hands and went their separate ways. As he left the cemetery and reached his car, Jon's phone rang. “Hey Red,” he answered.
“I saw you took care of Cavetti,” he said. “So what's the plan from here? Time to retire and live the simple life?”
“Yer the second person ta' ask me that today, but nope; I'm goin' back ta' business as usual. I need ta' thank ya though; settin' up that “sweepstakes” prize ta' Hawaii. I'm sure Sue is enjoyin' herself.”
“Anything to help out my best client. Speaking of which...”
“What's the job?”
“Big Boss type down in Florida; making a fuss and killing a lot of innocent people in the process.”
“Florida, eh? Guess I could use some sun.”
CONTINUED IN RETURN...