Issue #34: Back to School

This entry is part 11 of 14 in the series The Descendants Vol 3: A Bright, Bright Summer

The 2076 Koshiki Motors of America Timber Wolf was one of those cars that was made for the racetrack. Built on over a hundred years of the highest end technology in over a dozen fields from material fabrication to suspension to safety systems, it was capable of achieving speeds that handily qualify it among one of the fastest street legal vehicles in the world.

The royal blue Timber Wolf that rolled into the parking lot of a certain Mayfield high school was destined never to taste the speed and stress it was built for. Like the 2025 Scimitar coup that bore the vanity plates ALL4ME before it, it was bound for a different duty; being a very big, very expensive toy for one Lilly Goldenmeyer.

“Everyone is going to be so jealous.” Alice Rankin, Lily’s current right hand girl, a tall, dark, hazel-eyed cheerleader type squealed with excitement from the passenger seat.

“I know, right?” Lily couldn’t resist a malicious smile at all the envy she was about to perpetrate on everyone else in the school. Senior year was just another year in her reign. “It took daddy almost all summer to find one that had everything.

“I wish my parents would by me a nice car like this.” Callie Krieger, a short haired blond, was unable to keep her gaze from traveling from one installed amenity to another. She didn’t know what most of them were called, but she knew she was loving the massaging seat.

“Well that’s because your parents are poor, honey.” Lily’s mock sympathy dripped from her lips. “But you’re pretty and you’re good on the cheer squad, so you’ll grow out of that.” She and Alice both laughed. After some hesitation, so did the fourth passenger, Kim Wayne, a short brunette that wasn’t exactly Lily’s favorite person in the first place and didn’t feel she was in any position to rock the boat.

Lily was still laughing when she pulled the Timber Wolf into a parking place. A tan, completely unadorned compact pulled in beside her almost instantly.

“Ew.” Lilly grimaced. “That’s just rude, parking that thing next to my baby.” The driver got out of the compact and a predatory gleam came to her eye. “Of course. It’s Kaine. Only someone who’d date Tinkerbell would obviously be that lacking in taste. Girls.” She issued an unspoken order and hit the switch to put the top down.

Warrick looked up from retrieving his book bag from the trunk to see half the cheer squad leering at him and sighed. The day before, he’d been king of the hill, tromping around the Liedecker Institute followed by his personal fan club. Today, not so much.

“What is that?” Lily demanded, sitting up on the headrest of her seat and gesturing at his car.

“A car, Lily.” Warrick shouldered his backpack. “My car. The one I earned working all summer.”

“They have jobs that pay that little?” Callie was more than happy to spread the pain to anyone that wasn’t her. Neither she, nor any of the others noticed the approaching whine or the reaction from those other students in the parking lot.

“My god, it’s so ugly.” Alice said as if even looking at the little compact was causing her pain.

“It gets the job done.” Warrick shrugged and closed the trunk.

“Don’t give me that crap, Kaine.” Lily spat. “Even you can’t be so stupid as to not care about what people are going to think of you. And they will if they see you showing up to school in that junker every day.”

Callie started to say something, but Kim tapped her on the shoulder and pointed up.

“Oh.” Warrick said. “Well that’s good; I wasn’t planning on riding to school in this every day.” He pointed in the direction of the approaching whine. “I was thinking of riding in that.”

Lily turned to see the vehicle lowering itself from the sky, directly into the parking space on the other side of her.

Its body was the sleek make of the American Motor Cars G-9 Justice police custom, but it lacked the lights, and vehicle disablement pod of a Justice. It was also painted cherry red. For a brief moment, Lily was rendered speechless.

“Ohmigod, that is so awesome!” Kim gushed at the sight of it up close.

“Whose do you think it is?” Alice tried to sound nonplussed. “Jonas, maybe?”

“Jonas’s parents wouldn’t spend that much money on a car.” Lily snarled.

“Fliers are expensive. No one but you and him have that much money.” Alice said, “If not one of you, then who?”

“A new kid?” Lily tried.

“We have to get to know this person.” Said Callie. The car touched down and the lift panels receded into the fenders.

“We have to get a ride in it.” Kim added.

The door opened and Tina Carlyle stepped out. The entire parking lot could hear something snap in Lily’s mind. “Son of a bitch!”

“Now you see why I wanted to drive my own car in today?” Warrick greeted his girlfriend with a kiss on the cheek. “It’s more fun this way.”

“Ohmigod, Tink—I mean Tina. Tina. You’d rather be called Tina, right?” Kim stammered, “Where did you get that car from? It’s so cool!”

Tink shrugged. “Built it.”

That set Lily off completely. “You built that thing? Out of spare parts?” She looked at her lackeys for support. “That is not a cool car; that is a flying junk heap! She probably didn’t pay a nickel for it!”

The other three glanced at each other. “C-can we ride in it sometime?” Callie asked.

Lily let loose a wordless scream of rage before ordering, “Get out of my car! All of you!”

“Sure, sometime after school.” Tink flashed a huge, fake smile to Lily. “Even you, Lily.”

Warrick and Tink ignored Lily’s renewed tantrum as they headed for the school. “Wow, what a baby.” Tink said. “It’s going to be fun having Lily’s toadies sucking up to me for a couple days before they remember they hate me. I wonder what she’ll do when she sees what Jun won by spending half her museum money on raffle tickets at the Koshiki Superstore opening.”

There was another distant whine and Warrick sat down on the stairs leading into the school, looking to the east. Tink sat down beside him. “I don’t know, but I really wish we had popcorn.”

“We can when we watch it again.” Tink grinned. “Cyn’s with Kareem and Melissa in her Humvee across the street, taping it.”

***

Across town, Chaos perched on a roof, downing an energy drink he’d bought with him between sweeps with the universal alarm scanner. Laurel had rigged rigged it up for their prelate activities out of parts of old handheld computers and radios.

This was his first solo patrol. While Facsimile and Codex frequently did private runs because they approached patrolling with the same attitude other people approached their jobs with, he’d always shared his exploits with Darkness or took scout duty with the others.

He was getting bored.

Not that he was hoping for calamity and mayhem to occur, but he wasn’t the kind of person who could carry on an inner monologue to keep himself diverted and listening to music was a no-no with the scanner to listen out for. Even a gargoyle to talk to would have been better than flying silently from rooftop to rooftop.

Of course, Mayfield was too modern to have many if any gargoyles loitering around the rooftops in any event.

Snapping the top closed on his drink, he put it back in his hip pouch and lifted off into the air again. Maybe taking in the scenery would keep him from going stir crazy.

No sooner was he sailing over the city than the scanner indicated that an alarm in the city attention. He patched it into his visor.

The heads up display showed him a three dimensional wire frame mock-up of the city immediately around him and was ready to draw more as he moved. The data readout showed that the alarm was an officer in distress call near the Haven Road subway station. The report was tagged as a possibly superhuman.

Chaos grimaced as he cannoned in the direction of the call, leaving a gale in his wake. It figured that his first solo patrol wouldn’t turn up something easy like a bank robbery or a mugging. No, it had to be a full on powers vs. powers battle.

He just hoped he could make a good showing of it and help the officer in trouble.

***

Officer Carl Brown wasn’t a rookie. He’d been on the force six years, paired with his partner Louie Franco for three. None of his experienced had prepared him for what he was watching unfold at the moment.

The patrol car he and Louie had been in was now a twisted mess of steel. Half the cars on the street had suffered the same fate, as had the facade of the subway station, now bent and shattered.

The perpetrator still hadn’t stopped laughing and mocking the screaming throngs of people trying to escape. If it wasn’t for the power he wielded, he would have looked ridiculous; dressed in a neon yellow biker helmet, white winter jacket, ski pants, gloves and boots.

But when he moved his hands, the metal he pointed at obeyed like it did Alloy. And unlike the Descendant’s own armored prelate, this man was not bending his powers to the good of the city. In fact, he didn’t even seem to be bending it for personal gain either; only for wreaking large scale havoc.

“I told them they’d be sorry if they kicked me out again!” He laughed. “Now they’re sorry and you’re sorry too!” He picked out a random bystander, a middle aged man who was running beside his wife, and gestured. There was a surging sound and part of a ruined car wrapped his arm, pulling him into the air.

“Clancy!” The man’s wife screamed.

“Oh, I don’t want to break up a pair.” Their tormentor laughed, “Here, you can join him!” There was another surging sound and the woman was also lifted into the air. He laughed long and hard at their predicament. “That’s science, bitches! He said it’d give me real power and it did. Check me out!”

“I’d rather knock you out.” Chaos dropped from above like a hawk on a field mouse.

“Too bad, cause you ain’t gonna.” The helmeted criminal gestured and the ground around him erupted with suddenly animated pipes that writhed like silvery tentacles and reached out for Chaos, spraying cold water into the summer heat.

His vertical charge checked, Chaos backpedaled and corkscrewed out of the way of the attacking appendages. Announcing himself hadn’t been smart, no matter how well it seemed to work for Cyn or Warrick.

“Look what we got here.” A sneer was evident in the villain’s tone. “Looks like I only rate a second rate Descendant. Guess I got to prove myself on your ass before I get to fight Darkness or Alloy.”

Chaos raised an eyebrow behind his visor. Darkness he could understand. She was very publicly the leader. But surely it was clear that he outranked Alloy, right? Maybe he should keep an eye on that stupid PrelateWatch website like the kids did.

“What can you even do to me?” the criminal taunted. “I got metal, you got what? Air?”

It was Chaos’s turn to sneer. Two bit baddies never did their homework besides watching them on TV. “Sure. Air.” He said, focusing on the water quickly mixing with the concrete powdered by the sudden eruption of the pipes. “But not just air.”

Increasing the ambient pressure of the slurry of pulverized concrete and then quickly reducing it to nil caused it to explode in a geyser of muck, which Chaos then pushed into his opponent’s face with the wind. He resisted the urge to shout ‘here’s mud in your eye!’

With the rampaging criminal blinded, he launched himself forward for a finishing blow to the bread basket. Except instead of a satisfying ‘whuff’ or air leaving the other man’s lungs, there was a crack and the sound of frying circuitry, followed by the smell of burning rubber.

The criminal screamed painfully inside his helmet and danced back, clawing for the zipper of his jacket. He settled for simply tearing it open. Beneath was a jungle of wires and painted circuits layered on top of a wetsuit. The carefully constructed array was broken, frayed and burning.

Still mewling in pain, the former marauding ne’er-do-well tore off the wetsuit as well, followed by the gloves, which hit the ground with the telltale clank of clothing concealing high end electronics. The helmet was next, revealing a mop of brown hair and a face that couldn’t have been more than twenty.

“Shit, man!” the now shirtless villain said, staring at Chaos. “What? You trying to kill me or something? I’m going to—“

“You’re going to what?” Chaos asked, gesturing to the now inanimate pillar of twisted pipes and the ruined suit. He held up a heavy fist for emphasis.

“I’m- I’m” Was the sputter response.

“You’re going to jail.” Chaos cut him off. “But first, you’re going to tell me what the hell I just broke.”

Series Navigation<< Issue #33: The Liedecker Institute: Freshman ClassIssue #35: Demonology >>

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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One Comment

  1. I don’t like the idea of such a nice guy under Liedecker’s influence… Eek.

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