Sympathy 1 - III



In Need of Some Restraint

I blew out a stream of air through my nose. “Well, shit. I knew everything was going too well. How quick can you get your fat ass over there?”

“Pretty damn quick. And I’ll have you know my ass is fabulous.”

Flatline clicked his fingers. “Move now, flirt later. I’m guessing you’ll want me to watch over this rabble?”

I didn't bother to correct him on the flirting bit. “No, you’re too useful to leave here. Foresight, you’re playing watchman.” I looked at Flatline. “They’ll all be out for an hour, right?” He nodded. His power gave him the ability to nullify electricity at touch range, and because it extended to bio-electricity, he could completely shut down a lot of bodily functions with a tap. Needless to say, we were all very glad he was on our side. “Right. In that case, there shouldn’t be any problems. If we’re not done in 55 minutes, get the hell out of dodge." Foresight nodded his assent. "In the meantime, see if there’s any valuables around here.”

He smirked, and began to walk past me, but I stuck out an arm and stopped him in his tracks. He turned and glared at me, and I matched it with one of my own.

“And Foresight? No scrounging around for ID. Not now, not ever. If I find out you’ve violated that, you’re gone. No strikes, no warnings, nothing. We clear?”

“…yeah, we’re clear.” He strode past, and I heard him mutter under his breath “Clear as fucking mud.”

I sighed internally. Not an ideal resolution, but it’d have to do. Hell, for all I knew, his power could let him figure out the Cabal’s civilian identities on his own. Not much if I could do about it if he was, but it was a disconcerting thought all the same. This wasn’t quite the unwritten rule, but it came in a close second. There were exceptions, but most of the nebulous ‘us’ didn’t go after civilian identities, or attempt to discover them, with the assumption that others would do the same; quid pro quo, in a way. Of course, some less-scrupulous supers still attempted to collect that information as leverage, but in doing so they risked bringing the ire of everyone involved in the agreement down on their heads. Others, like our group’s eminent idiot, simply seemed to do it simply because, for whatever reason, they could.

I’d deal with it later. Or, hopefully, Void would. I gestured to Flatline and Vortex, and they came over to me. “You two, take the car. Put some of the emergency plates on, get there as quick as you can.”

“What about you?” Vortex asked.

“I’m gonna try and get there over the roofs. Now, go!” 

We all moved out through the door, Vortex and Flatline heading down, and me going towards the stairway that led to the roof. Thankfully, it was a square spiral, and my power made the climb much easier. I burst out onto the roof, took a second to orient myself in the direction of the park and to let my eyes adjust to the darkness, and then ran straight ahead, vaulted over the railing and threw myself off the roof.

The wind rushed through my hair, blowing back my hood and I took a second to savor the feeling of freefall. There was nothing quite like doing something insanely dangerous with the absolute certainty that you’ll come out the other side. I fell, calculating, waiting, and once I was halfway between the building and the next, I used my power – on myself. Suddenly, my fall turned into an upwards arc, sending me flying up to the next rooftop.

The beautiful thing about it was that there was no jarring or whiplash; one moment I was moving in one direction, the next I had shifted directions 90 degrees, smooth as cream. I sailed gracefully over the cusp of the next roof, and crashed far less so straight through a table of drinks. As bottles and cups flew around me, the ground rushing up towards my face, I bounced myself back forward in a miniature version of my roof-hopping move, keeping most of my momentum. Barging through a group of confused-looking students, I slapped a drink out of the hands of a pretty young woman who couldn’t have been older than seventeen.

“It’s Monday evening, sweetheart,” I called out over my shoulder as I barreled for the edge. “Time to start reconsidering your life choices.”

As I fell again to the backdrop of an appropriately shocked collective gasp, I grinned to myself. Let their inebriated minds try to figure that out.

Ramsay Park wasn't a 'take your kids for a play' kind of place. When the city had been built, someone had evidently thought it'd be good to have a nice little bit of greenery bridging the residential area and the financial one, something to split up the monotony of concrete and metal while also serving as a remnant of the national park that had used to be here.

Presumably, somewhere along the way the plans had been eaten by a dog, or replaced with a Greenpeace pamphlet about the Amazon, because Ramsay Park gave new meaning to the term urban jungle. A thick wedge of evergreen foliage surrounded by a border of manicured lawn, both coated in frost, it looked more like a video game arena than a real place. 

The Cabal's away team had used it as their retreat from whatever job they'd been pulling, using the dense forestation to lose any pursuers they might've had. Jess, Freefall, had obviously realized that, and had waited until they'd been about to clear the edge to make her move. A large, donut-shaped crater lay at the border, maybe six feet deep at its lowest and three times that in radius.  Around the edges, turf had been thrown violently away by the impact, and two trees that had been close enough had shattered and splintered, trunks collapsed backwards and leaning against the other trees. Oddly enough, there seemed to be bits of concrete scattered through the debris; maybe there had been a bench there?

At the center, on the untouched plateau, a shimmery, tan forcefield stretched out, completely encompassing the flat piece of ground, and inside it stood four of the five Cabalists. The low light made them a little hard to make out, but it looked like that along with the guy with the crab-esque armor, who was evidently the forcefield's creator, there was a lean female figure with swarming, scale-like hair who I recognized as Medusa, as well as the guy with the eye patterns that Ricochet had mentioned and an unconscious figure in black combat gear who practically bristled with weapons; presumably Thunderdome. Apparently her power sent those it affected back to their original positions, which was interesting, and something I should have already realized when Lis had come back.

The fifth Cabalist, though, wasn't inside the forcefield. He was in the crater, whaling on Ribbon, who was only barely staying on her feet. Strongarm had probably one of the grossest powers I'd ever seen, shifting his ridiculous amounts of muscle mass around beneath too-loose skin to make himself stronger and tougher. Right now, his arms looked like they belonged on an ape, and he was using them to swing blows strong enough that they were leaving dents in the frozen ground. Judging by the torn bits of cloth surrounding them and Ribbon's outfit, he was strong enough to break right through her enhanced fabric, which was no mean feat; I'd seen the stuff stop a sniper round. It looked like she was trying to use the scraps she had left of her normally-flowing costume to tie him up, but it didn't seem to be working too well. She was on the back foot, barely avoiding the pulverizing blows, and it kind of made me wonder why they were bothering to keep the forcefield up.

And then I noticed that the forcefield wasn't a regular dome; instead, it extended outwards at two points, forming doughy 'claws'. Doughy claws that encircled the limp forms of Stonewall and Tide.

Right. Less gawking, more doing.

I flicked on the radio as I jumped off my vantage point towards the battle. “Freefall, report!” I hadn’t wanted to call earlier in case I distracted her at an important moment, but what the hell at this point. There were a few seconds of nerve-wracking silence, but as I shifted my fall into an arc low over the ground, her voice burst into life over the line, the sound of rushing wind in the background.

Not good. Stonewall’s down, Tide too. Doubt Ribbon’s going to last much longer.”

I swore as I landed, running as soon as I hit the ground, bending into the landing to mitigate the impact. 

“Freefall, I don’t want to be an ass, but how the fuck did you let this happen?! You’ve got three of our heaviest hitters including yourself, and Ribbon’s no slouch either.”

Her voice grew terser, but she remained professional. “Forcefield one. Ricochet took out Thunderdome, he surrounded them all, shut me down. Strongarm got to Tide, and crab guy's forcefield is immune to Stonewall's.

I digested that information, tucking it away in my mind as I grew closer to the crater. “How far out are you?”

Few minutes. Went higher than normal, figured enough energy could break the shield.

“Not a bad idea, but I’ve got a better one. Aim for the edge of the crater, and let me know when you’re close. In the meantime, I’ll try and keep these goons busy until Vortex and Flatline arrive and we can start turning this around.”

Roger that. Good luck… boss.” The call cut off, leaving me alone against four supervillains.

I grinned.

Time to have some fun.