Issue #11: We Will Be Villians

This entry is part 13 of 15 in the series The Descendants Vol 1: Welcome to Freeland House

Part 4

Facsimile and Shine crashed down atop the utility truck Launch had caused to crash earlier, badly denting its roof. Shine managed to land on top of Facsimile and was quick to leap to her feet, balancing on the truck’s cab.

Facsimile wasn’t down for long. The few injuries she hadn’t prevented in the fall healed within seconds and she lashed out with a low kick which Shine easily leapt over. Not giving her foe any time to counter, she buffeted her with her wings and threw a few quick punches.

Shine dodged all of the blows as if Facsimile were moving in slow motion. That was a benefit of her altered physiology; her skin absorbed UV radiation and used it to augment her reflexes. On a cloudless summer day, they almost bordered on precognition. “You’re slow.” She snapped at Facsimile. “Unless you mean to be hitting air.” To punctuate her point, she slashed the golden prelate across the chest with her metal claws.

Re-assimilating her wings into her body, Facsimile struck a fighting stance she’d only just recently learned from Alexis. Her wounds were already closed. “So I can’t hit you and you can’t hurt me.” She added the mass from the wings to her muscles, which made her appear more tone in the process. “This could go on a long time.”

“At least until you get tired.” Shine confirmed. “They you’re mine.”

“Or, I can do something you can’t dodge.” Facsimile pointed out.

“Like what?” Shine snorted.

“This!” the heroine took a step and slipped between the cab and body of the truck. Flexing her enhanced muscles, she used the body as leverage to kick the cab free of the bolts securing it. Metal sheered and the truck cab rolled forward, throwing Shine to the sidewalk.

Rolling with the fall, Shine came up in the three point stance, only to have to dance to the side as shards of blasted brick fell from above. “Check your fire, Launch!” She shouted up at her overzealous teammate. She didn’t hear his response over the sudden ringing in her ears. The force of the impact knocked her into the already broken window of a clothing store.

“Can’t dodge what you can’t see.” Facsimile noted, wielding the dented no parking sign she’d just used to smack Shine up side the head.

***

Alloy ducked behind a vent for cover as pulses of energy from Launch’s wrist mounted blasters rained down on the roof. Manriki had also taken cover behind a tangle of pipes.

“Your partner is nuts!” Alloy shouted over the sound of cracking roofing material. “He’s going to hit you too!”

“I don’t expect that he cares.” Manriki shrugged. His orihalcite chain unraveled at his command to attack the besieged hero. Isp and Osp easily deflected the incoming attack, which tore into the vent Alloy was using for cover.

“Guess he won’t mind if I take you out of the game before he has a chance to.” Alloy focused on the pipes Manriki was hiding behind and they came to life. Bands of the metal looped around the chain wielder, locking his arms and legs in place. “Gotcha! One down, one to… hey, the shooting stopped…”

“Right you are tin can.” Launch’s voice said. Alloy looked out over his cover to see that the green and purple clad villain had landed in the center of the roof. “With Manriki out of play, I figure I can score some points with the big bosses by taking you out all personal like.”

“That’s not going to be easy.” Alloy retorted. Isp snaked out and shaped itself into a spike, which it planted firmly into the roof. Before Launch could question what was happening, the tentacle flexed and hauled Alloy airborne, throwing him like a giant, metal missile.

Launch took a knee, letting his attacker pass overhead. “Nice. Didn’t know you could do that.” He admitted, turning to face Alloy. “Of course, it’s fair, considering you didn’t know I could do this!” An explosion of force blossomed up around him as he lifted off, blowing both his quarry and his ally off the roof.

***

“Now for the finishing blow.” Facsimile balanced on the window shelf of the store she had knocked Shine into, sign held high. ”Sweet dreams, sister.”

“I’m getting the feeling that I’m being ignored.” Facsimile didn’t have time to look for the source of the rumbling voice before a beefy hand clamped down on her shoulder and span her around. War-torn sneered at her as he wrested the sign out of her hands. “Maybe this will show you some civility.” With that, he caught her by the arm and flung her across the street.

The gilded girl collided with a parked car, landing amid a shower of safety glass. “Strong guy, huh?” she queried, getting to her feet. “I bet you’re tough too. Sucker punches aren’t going to do much, are they?” War-torn nodded. “Good.” She snarled. A stiletto of horn sprouted from just behind the wrist of each of her arms.

“That’s not going to help you either, you dumb little git.” War-torn started to lumber forward. Behind him, Shine climbed out of the window, having just regained her senses. Their death glares at Facsimile were interrupted by the roar of sound that usually accompanied Launch’s devastating take-off.

That was immediately followed by a Doppler scream that made everyone involved look up. An armored figure was streaking downward from the roof toward the street, proceeded by what looked, from a distance, like a pair of silver streamers. As they watched, the ‘streamers’ looped themselves into twin circles around the falling form, making a pair of flimsy looking wire wheels. The wheels hit the ground and rolled, coming to a stop against the side of a building at which point, they deposited their charge on his feet.

Alloy shook his head to clear the disorientation of his landing. “Nice save, boys.” He complemented the tentacles, who gave happy nods in response. He didn’t have time to continue the conversation, as he caught sight of War-torn and Shine squaring off against Facsimile. “Who the hell are you guys? And why are you after us?” He shouted.

“Our bosses want you.” Shine said casually, crouching in a ready position.

“Personally, I’m fine with tearing down a couple of nobodies that think its okay to go fight crime because there’s nothing good on TV.” War-torn added.

“Don’t start that again.” Launch came to hover over his allies, wrist blasters extended.

“What?” Facsimile snapped, irately. “Are you serious? Are you really that stupid? First, has anyone in the history of ever risked their lives for the good of others purely because they were freaking bored?!” She held up a finger to count off the many things wrong with War-torn’s sentiment. “Second, do you even know who we are and what we do? Check the name, you brick head. We’re Life Savers, Inc, not Crime Fighters, Inc. The only time we fight anything is when lunatics like you threaten a bunch of people.” She ground her teeth in frustration. “And this is your big justification for kidnapping prelates and smashing people’s shit? What is wrong with you?!”

“Uh, Fax, I think the crazy and twisted bastards train left the moment they named their dog things ‘inugami’. But that’s beside the point. If these guys are after us, we can’t let them separate us. We need to get to Zero.”

Facsimile glared at the assembled villains. “You’re right. Mind carrying me? I had to eat my wings for the muscle power.” Inside his helmet, Alloy blinked at her odd phrasing, but extended his hand to her.

“And just how do you expect to get past the three of us?” Shine queried.

“Simple.” Alloy said. “If you guys were too dumb to attack while Fax here was venting. You’re definitely too dumb to deal with this—“He seized control of the much abused truck cab that was lying idle behind Shine with his power. A tendril of liquid metal formed out of the door and lashed around Launch’s feet, dragging him down to the ground.

The villainous flier cried out at suddenly being grounded. “You son of a—you can’t keep me on the ground, I can just…”

“Launch, don’t!” Shine shouted, but it was too late. Launch activated his power, only to find that the tendril around his legs, enhanced by Alloy’s power kept him tethered to the ground and well within the radius of his explosive burst. All three Redeemers were thrown violently off their feet.

“Swank.” Facsimile noted as Alloy had the tentacles swing them away. “That worked so well.”

***

Wolf knelt behind an abandoned car on Cray Street as bullets ricocheted around him. It had been swiftly evacuated in the minutes before the local authorities had thrown up their cordon around the ten blocks immediately surrounding the initial altercation. Apparently, the police had used Cray as a fallback point once it became apparent that they were useless against the Redeemers.

Now that he was alone however, it seemed that they were feeling a bit braver. Snarling his frustration, he scanned the area. He didn’t have time for this. He needed to find the prelate girl before she disappeared… or worse.

There was a roar and a humanoid shape was thrown off the roof above him. His enhanced vision recognized it immediately; Manriki and he was bound. Heeding his duty to the team, Wolf ignored the flying lead directed at him and leapt from cover toward his falling teammate. He easily cleared fifteen feet as he tackled the sociopath out of the air and into the cover of a vendor’s cart.

“Son of a bitch, I’m going to strangle Launch.” Manriki groaned.

Ignoring him, Wolf drew on his slightly augmented strength to pull the piping from around his confederate’s arms. “Come on. You can help me hunt down that Zero girl. She’s around her somewhere.” He sat up just in time to catch a bullet that bounced off the wall behind him in his arm.

Pain lanced through him, tinting the world red in his vision. The projectile had connected with the part of the anatomy commonly referred to as the ‘funny bone’, though anyone that ever suffered damage to it knew that the bad pun only added insult to the incredible pain.

The blue lights on his inhibitors flickered and dropped to a lower level – thirty-five percent. Wolf’s body rippled as the dense biological matter in his bone and marrow transformed into sinewy muscle and a copious ruff of grey fur. His combat boots split to reveal clawed feet, while his gloves did likewise for his hands.

Manriki tried to become invisible to the sight of the amalgam of man and wolf that stood before him. He’d only ever seen Wolf drop his inhibitor to fifty percent and that was gruesome enough, but now, he could see the bone and muscle twitch as it forced itself into a new form.

Wolf didn’t care about Manriki. He wanted revenge for the (now healed) injury he had just received. “Who did it?!” He roared, lifting and throwing the cart at the dumbstruck police. “I’ll kill you all. You’ll be my meat!” He took a step toward them when a new pain shot up his leg. This pain was new, cold. He turned to see the cloaked and half masked visage of Zero standing at the end of the street. She held several fragile looking daggers of ice between her fingers.

“You’re after me, right?” She asked, as if trying to remind him. “Right.”

Slavering in rage, he readied himself to charge. “Right. Come here.”

“Come get me.” Zero taunted.

Howling in rage, the wolf-man barreled toward the cold based prelate, yellow eyes gleaming with feral determination.

For her part, Zero kicked off the wall next to her and slid sideways with incredible quickness on a sheet of ice that formed a long line down another alley. Wolf overshot her, crashing into a street light that bent and collapsed under his weight, as the prelate skated away down the alley. His prey was rabbiting. The hunt had begun.”

***

Extricating herself from the windshield of the car Launch’s explosion had catapulted her into, Shine glared at her compatriots, who were in similar, if not worse states. “You are a compulsive ignoramus, Launch.” She seethed.

“Yeah.” War-torn taxed his suit to the limit to lift the car that had rolled over him. “You let all their talk get to you.”

Still shaken from being at the epicenter of his own blast, Launch staggered to his feet. “It was a clever trick, but it won’t work twice. Come on; let’s get back on their trail before they get too far.”

“You just wait until we’re out of range before lifting off this time.” Shine huffed as she took off down the alley.

***

“… one of the group, calling themselves the ‘Redeemers’ has apparently transformed into a werewolf like monster and is now chasing Zero down the alley crossing Jameson Street.” The voice of a reporter was saying as shaky helicopter footage showed the great, furry beast careening down an alley. “Whether this creature is in any way related to the monsters reported on in the week before Halloween is anyone’s guess…”

Liedecker muted the television in his office as the door opened and Brill ushered Calvin Singer, AKA ‘Scuff’, AKA Sky Tyrant in. Singer looked much the worse for wear; his cheeks were hollow, bags had formed over his eyes, and his skin looked like he’s tried to scratch it off. Even as he stood there, he scratched his left bicep furiously. A slight crackle of pinkish electricity around the area formed when he did.

“Scuff.” The crime lord said jovially. “So good of you to make the trip from Gear’s warehouse in such good time.” Since his ‘accident’ with “Nightshade”, Scuff had spent most of his time at the mechanic’s workshop, having the hardware the unstable woman had fused to his person examined and occasionally upgraded.

“I was hoping your call meant your people had some sort of breakthrough with the cure.” Scuff said hopefully. The last few months were hell on him. Keeping the mechanical parts of him from sprouting on his body at random took almost all of his concentration and that combined with Liedecker’s threat to withdraw his offer of a cure if he divulged what had happened to him had estranged his family and made his girlfriend leave him. The only escape from the phantom pains he experienced was fully allowing the armor to encase him.

“We’re still working, my boy. And I promise you I’ve got my best science boys studying the things I took from Nightshade’s little lab.” That was true. While he certainly wasn’t wasting more than one or two on working on restoring Scuff, he had committed a hefty division of his think tank to studying Nightshade’s—for lack of a better word—‘magic’.

Scuff hung his head in defeat.

“Right now, it’s time for business.” Liedecker continued. “Do this job for me, and I’ll see what we can do about your itching problem at the very least.”

The afflicted man perked up. Every bit of relief was welcome. “What do I have to do?”

Liedecker picked up his remote and pushed a button. The news story rewound itself to the first images of the Redeemers terrorizing the populace. “Twenty minutes ago, these sumbitches decided to start a little crime wave. I don’t really care about a catspaw here or there, I really don’t.” the master of the underworld shook his head, “except, these ain’t normal freelancers and those shops you see them wrecking? Those shops pay me good protection money to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

“Isn’t protection money paid so you don’t personally trash the place?” Scuff was generally confused.

A steely glare silenced him. “I don’t pay you to ask questions, Singer… but I’ll answer you this one time. I am a business man and those men and women are my customers. Now, I sold them protection and I didn’t specify from whom. Being a man of my word, I cannot in good conscience allow this sort of breech of their confidence to go unpunished.” He nodded to Scuff. “Get me?”

Scuff simply stopped fighting the change. Pink sparks raced over his body as the black Sky Tyrant armor encased him from the Astral Plane. It was different now, transformed both by Morganna’s machinations and by Gear’s tinkering into a bulkier, but far more deadly configuration. “I got you.” Scuff’s voice boomed form the speakers.

End Issue #11

Series Navigation<< Descendants Special #1: Witches, Goblins and SuperheroesIssue #12: Here and Now >>

About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter.

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