- Issue #85 – The Ballad of Bad Lass
- Issue #86 – Those Not Forgotten
- Issue #87 – Descendants… In Space
- Issue #88 – Tome of Battle
- Issue #89 – All That Glitters
- Issue #90 – Just Us Sidekicks
- Issue #91 – Rock and Roll Lifestyle
- Descendants Special #8 – The Heart of Rock ‘N Roll
- Issue #92 – Homage
- Issue #93 – Day of Recovery
- Issue #94 – The Knight, The Witch and the Gadgeteer (FaerieQuest Part 1)
- Issue #95 – Into The Woods (FaerieQuest Part 2)
Just Us Sidekicks (Part 5)
A lunging kick made short work of the main door of the IT building and Troy stormed through them into the lobby. He had his palmtop out, checking the security feeds as he went. Aside from new alarms from where he’d broken in, there were no new alerts, but he knew whoever broke in earlier was still there.
And if they disabled the communications block, he’d go from having all the time in the world to doing all the time in the world.
He reached the elevator and hit the call button while bringing up the camera feeds from inside the communications hub. The room appeared clear, but he knew that if he were going up there to restore the campus’s internet and cell service, he’d most certainly spoof the camera to make it look empty as well.
The elevator arrived and he stepped in, pressing the button for the eighth floor. On the ride up, he checked the hall cameras too, finding all the halls leading to the hub empty as well.
Something didn’t smell right to him. Stowing his palmtop, he stepped out cautiously when the doors opened on the eighth floor. There was no one around at the first T intersection. “Hmm… I’m not going to rule out them being smarter than me, but I’m stronger and faster now.” He raised his voice, “Come on out, whoever you are! I’ll find you eventually anyway.”
Not that he’d expected one, but it didn’t hurt to try. Moving as quickly as he could while still being observant, he started down the now-familiar corridors to the communications hub. It was actually starting to bother him that nothing seemed out of place b the time he reached the last hallway and the door with its clear-walled surrounding became visible.
But then he heard it: muffled voices coming from inside the server room. More than one voice from the sound of it and at least one was female.
Troy flashed back to all the girls in his computer science courses. Could one of them be counter-hacking him? The possibility was becoming increasingly likely. As he reached the door, he grabbed the security box, intent on ripping it off with main strength, but hesitated.
He liked most of his classmates. Really, he only actually hated Mike. If he barged through that door, there would be a confrontation—and he was armed and lethally strong. That hadn’t occurred to him while attacking Mike and his friends, but now in the quiet of the hallway, it was starting to settle in that he could have killed someone—that he might have to do to secure his future.
That was the thing though, wasn’t it? His future. Did he even have much of one if he didn’t follow through? If he just stopped right there, ran back to the dorm and hid the Hack and Slash costume forever, what would happen to him?
His scholarship would run out in three weeks, he’d never get his foot in the door with any serious computer firm, and then he’d end up wearing kinetic arm and leg bands to make ends meet, applying for the Universal Minimum Wage and maybe doing small, non-steady jobs just to have more money than was necessary just to barely stay alive. He’d never be able to use his hacking talent legally again, that was for damn sure. All his skill, talent and learning would just go to waste.
Or maybe he could beg and plead his way back onto the baseball team. Get the scholarship back, then throw out his back or arm or tear an ACL before he was 25. No way he’d be able to afford cybernetic replacements. IF he was lucky, it’d happen after he had the credits to graduate—so he could go into the job of his choice in a wheelchair.
His expression hardened. Orb Weaver was right. No one was going to help him. He needed to take what he wanted. Because he really did have a talent above others and deserved better than what the common man got.
And if the little people got hurt or died, it wasn’t all that big a loss.
Metal squealed under his fingers as, with a mighty grunt, he tore the security box asunder and shoved the door inward hard enough that the internal locking bolts snapped.
Troy strode to the top of the stairs and had just enough time to find there was no one there before he heard the pop of a gas gun being fired. He started to turn, but something was tangling his legs and he fell to the tiled floor, his jaw striking the ground and making his vision swim for a few seconds.
The sound of the door being demolished was more than enough to cover up the sounds of the door to the office just down the hall opening. JC took the lead stepping out because he was the one holding the grapnel gun. He saw Hack and Slash stomp into the server room and took careful aim with the hand-me-down weapon before launching a line-trailing grapnel into the floor between the villain’s legs.
Just as he hoped, the sound of the gas gun made the man turn and tangle his legs in the line. All JC had to do was pull at the right time, and gravity did the rest, sending the guy right to the ground. “Got him!” he crowed.
By then, Kay was already rushing forward with a fire extinguisher in hand. As Hack and Slash started to shake off his fall, she hit him with a face-full of fire-suppressant gas and charged over his coughing form, stepping on his back as she bolted into the room.
Not even pausing to see if the hit from the extinguisher had any greater effect, she slid down the railing flanking the stairs and into the communications room proper, heading for the main terminal.
This left JC and Meghan with the unenviable task of keeping Hack and Slash away from her and preferably down.
JC did his part by planting a charging soccer kick in the guy’s ribs while Meghan came up behind with the bat.
Her downswing, however, was blocked by a katar and Hack and Slash performed a one-armed push-up to bring his shoulders up into JC’s knees, overbalancing him and causing him to fall into the swirling remnants of the suppressant gas.
As JC lay gagging, Meghan took another swing with her bat, which Hack and Slash dodged by rolling way from this time, then rolled back, turning so his legs caught hers and tripped her down as well.
This finally gave him time to reach down and snap the grapnel line binding his legs, and he stood with a wordless roar of fury. Looking around, he spied Kay at the terminal and charged the stairs. He didn’t get far thanks to a flying tackle from Meghan, who slammed him back against the rear of one of the servers.
Hack and Slash bared his teeth and shoved her back before striking out with one of his katars. The blade bit deep into her arm, slicing through the false flesh covering and plastic housing before becoming embedded in the inner workings. His eyes widened upon seeing that he’d stabbed a prosthetic and he completely missed the look on Meghan’s face.
She ground her teeth. “Do you know what I have to go through to get this fixed? My family isn’t rich; this is hours of insurance forms and getting second guessed by their doctors.” She seethed, twisting her arm to the side until the katar snapped. “I. Am. Having a really bad day right now.” All black hair and fury, she then buried her fist in his gut, grabbed him by the shoulder, then flung him hard against the transparent wall next to the door.
Meghan followed after with a ringing blow to his jaw, but when she took her next swing, Hack and Slash ducked under the blow and gut-punched her, avoiding delivering a fatal blow only by virtue of forgetting that the katar on that arm had been broken off.
As she stumbled back, JC tried to fill the gap, only to be shoved into Meghan, knocking them both down.
Now he had a way clear to Kay, leaping down the stairs prepared to protect his future.
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me. This stupid thing gets hacked by a guy that can’t even make up a decent name for himself, but the password protection is still up?”
Kay glared at the terminal before her. Even though she had no idea what she was supposed to do once she got to the terminal to get communications back up, but she’d kind of assumed she’d be able to do something. Shifting the fire extinguisher to her other hand, she tried typing in ‘communications’.
‘ACCESS DENIED – 2 LOGIN ATTEMPTS REMAINING’ replied the computer in large letters beneath the password form.
‘ACCESS DENIED – 1 LOGIN ATTEMPT REMAINING’
“Okay, those two were probably a stupid idea,” she admitted to herself. Glancing behind, she was just in time to see Hack and Slash push her two friends down and head her way, his remaining katar at the ready.
It took only a split second for her to come up with a plan. Backing up to the terminal, she raised the fire extinguisher and let loose with the last of the suppressant gas. Hack and Slash bulled through it, punching with all his might with the katar.
But Kay had already thrown herself to the ground behind the cover of the gas. What he ended up punching was the casing on the terminal itself. The katar punched through the plastic case and into the computer’s innards, slicing through wires and entering the power supply.
Electricity surged back up through the blade and into Hack and Slash, leaving him screaming and convulsing for the fraction of a second before the server room’s circuit breakers tripped, plunging the entire room into darkness.
There was the sound of a body hitting the floor amid rapid, shallow breathing, followed by three palmtops beeping as they re-established their connections to the outside world.
Sight returned as security lights came up, bathing the room in dim light. Kay fished her palmtop out of her pocket and slid her finger along the screen until the image of a red button marked ‘PANIC’ appeared, which she pressed without delay. Every member of the Descendants would be notified within moments.
Then she sat up with her back against the terminal. “JC? Meghan? You guys okay?”
“I’m alive.” JC groaned, appearing at the top of the stairs.
“Same,” Meghan added, coming up behind him, “Is he… did that kill him?”
Kay looked at Hack and Slash. “He’s alive, but an ambulance would be a good idea.”
While Meghan whipped out her palmtop to make that call, JC made his way over to where their fallen foe lay and knelt down, hastily pulling off the man’s gloves and throwing them out of reach. “Wanna see who he really was?” he asked the girls.
“Go for it, Scoob.” Kay was really too busy trying to regain her breath to even work up her curiosity.
JC made a face at her, then pulled off the mask. :”Troy Clayton?” He was the only one to say this because he was the only one present that knew the guy. “That’s… not who I expected. Kay, this guy played Deathgate with us some nights. How… jeez.” He cut off with a groan and sat back on his heels.
“Where’s Kay?” Warrick asked a few hours later after Alloy, Facsimile and Vamanos had arrived on campus to aid the police in canvasing the campus for any potential surprises or accomplices left behind by Troy, seeing as he was in no condition to be questioned at the moment.
“She and Meghan decided to head over the Burger Builders to get some food before we settle in for some movies. Where’s Cyn?”
Warrick shrugged and took a seat on his bed. “Headed back to Ollie. She’d just made up some lame excuse to leave, so she’s trying to catch up to him before he heads home.”
Nodding, JC swiveled his seat around to face his roommate. “So did you find out anything about what the hell happened here tonight?”
“Yeah. They found some stuff in his room: pills with instructions that say they’ll give you super-strength and reflexes—and a box with a spider logo on it—and orb weaver spider.”
“Yeah. The EMTs say whatever was in those drugs reacted badly to him being shocked—they don’t know what it’s going to do to him.” He lay down and squeezed his eyes shut. “There’s nothing concrete about what he was doing, but he did hack the admin building so all the doors leading to the billing department’s server were unlocked. Stealing personal information sounds like a good bet—maybe to sell it to the Orb Weaver. The cops did say he stood to lose his scholarship this year. That’s a hell of a motive.
“I also had to go over to the theater and free Mike from where Troy pinned him to the ground with a bumper. I felt a little dirty helping him, I won’t lie.”
JC sighed. “I still can’t believe he’d do such a thing. We weren’t friends or anything but… you think you know a guy…”
“Speaking of: you guys were pretty badass from what I hear. That’s two, bro. One more and you get a costume.”
“Heh. That was mostly Kay. She really managed to put a good plan together. She even outed her sound powers to to Meghan to make sure it happened.”
“Oh yeah, Meghan… she was hanging with you guys why?”
JC made face. “Let’s just say really bad date.” He tipped his head back and studied the ceiling. “Ugh. I ache all over.”
“You’ll get used to it.”
“I think I’ll leave that to you, bro. I’ll stick to being a sidekick. Maybe the handsome mission control.”
Warrick closed his eyes. He still had work to do, but a little nap before heading back to Freeland House wouldn’t hurt. “Glad to have you aboard, JC.”
End Issue #90.