Party 7-VI

Never Put Much Stock in Suavity.

“Now, I don’t want to play into clich├ęs here, but I say we just kill him,” Fragment said nonchalantly.

“Honestly, I’m inclined to agree,” Flatline replied. He picked up one of the chunks of metal and tossed it up and down in his palm a few times. “Are you getting the disconnect between that guy and these? I feel like I’m holding a ball bearing, not a small part of a mass-murderer.”

“Have you ever even seen a ball bearing? They’re not even half that size.”

“I was making a joke. You know what a joke is, correct?”

“Enough, you two.” I flicked a hand at them. “Quite apart from the fact that we have no idea how to kill this guy, or if we already have, we’re not murdering someone.”

“And why not?” Fragment asked. “He just killed like, twenty people, and somehow I doubt this was his first rodeo. We would be doing the world some real, proper good by removing him from it, and please keep in mind that I’m saying that.” He looked at Flatline. “Honestly, I’m surprised you’re agreeing with me.”

“It’s amusing that you have us pegged as heroes,” he replied calmly.

“Oh-kay,” I cut it, “he is speaking for himself there. I would definitely consider myself heroic, at a bare minimum, and again, we are not killing him.”

“And again, why not? If you think that just because you’re the ‘good guy’ you don’t kill people, you need to re-evaluate, because that’s not how life works. At all.”

“Oh believe me, I know how life works,” I shot back. “You have no idea who I am or where I come from, but believe me. And it’s not a question of sheer utilitarian morality, because as much as I’d love to debate that with you, it’s not really a question of morality at all.”

He frowned at me. “I fail to see your point.”

I held up a finger. “One. As you said already, and this is the most practical of these arguments, how? For all we know, we could drop all this in a vat of molten metal and he could come out completely unscathed.”

“Please,” he scoffed. “Flesh burns far before metal does.”

“Yes, but flesh also doesn’t explode or pack enough of mass to tear people to shreds while moving at impossibly high speeds inside a meat-storm. We don’t know enough to make an attempt, because hey, we don’t get a do-over."

He frowned. 

"Because then he kills us,” I added.

“We got it, thanks,” Flatline said dryly.

“Two. We’re illegal vigilantes, you’re a supervillain. When the Tower eventually gets their heads out of their asses and stumbles on this,” I waved a hand at the slaughter, “they are gonna go apeshit. And once they bring in all their psychics and precogs and postcogs and whatever, and they find that we murdered a guy, what do you think’ll happen?”

But Flint, you’re saying (sounding suspiciously like Fragment), wouldn’t they see killing that guy as a good thing? After all, he did murder a whole bunch of people? To which I’d reply: ha! No. The Tower probably wouldn’t be too concerned if one of their guys did it, they’ve probably got paperwork for it, but they’d never, ever pass up an opportunity for leverage. It’s the bag thing, but with, you know, purposely extinguishing another human being’s life.

Plus, despite what I was saying to convince Fragment, heroes don’t kill people.

(Guns kill people).

“Alright,” he admitted, “I get your point. But we can’t just leave this here.”

“No we cannot,” I agreed. “I was thinking maybe… hmm.”

“Bury them,” Flatline said nonchalantly. “All over the place.”

We considered it. “That… could work,” Fragment said. “We’d have to dig, though. Not sure how we’d do that. Maybe we could- Ahh!”

He’d looked up to see the trail of glowing white light falling towards, and flinched backwards, tripping over a piece of what I really hope was wood and landing on his ass. Credit to his reflexes, though, because the instant afterwards, a shield of metal had formed around him, a half dome angled towards the light.

The burning comet streaked downwards towards us, growing brighter and brighter until I almost had to look away. Right when it seemed like it was about to hit the ground, though, it vanished, and Jess dropped from thin air about two meters above the ground.

She landed with a heavy thud and the slightly mushy crunch and snap of old wood. As soon as her feet hit the ground, though, she listed to one side, and I noticed she was clutching one hand pretty close to her body. And that there was a pretty significant bloodstain on that area of her jacket.

Flatline and I rushed over to her, leaving Fragment to stare confusedly around the lip of his shield at the complete lack of (additional) destruction. She looked up at us and grimaced. “Get him?”

Straight to the point. I thumbed over my shoulder at the pile of metal. “Got him.”

She bared her teeth in what could approximately be called a grin, but then immediately winced. I couldn’t get a good look at her hand, but there was definitely a non-trivial amount of blood seeping from it.

“Are you okay?” I asked instinctively. Both she and Flatline shot me a look. “Sorry, stupid question.” I didn’t normally carry first-aid supplies, which I probably should, but… “Here,” I said popping off my cape. I laid it down on a tabletop, and tore a few straight strips out of the end. It wouldn’t be clean, but we were in a bar. “Flatline, go see if there’s some rubbing alcohol behind the bar.” He nodded and walked off. “Do you need me to do it, or can you?” I asked Freefall. She obviously couldn’t, but I think she would’ve been annoyed if I hadn’t offered.

She reluctantly held out her hand. The tips of her middle and ring finger had been sliced off, leaving exposed bone and muscle. I think what we’d just been through had desensitized me, though, because I didn’t even wince.

Flatline returned with a half-empty of rubbing alchohol, which I soaked half the bandges in, then quickly wrapped them around her hand, followed by the dry ones. She gnashed her teeth a little as they went over the wounds, but didn’t make a sound.

It was a quick and dirty job, and I said as much, but it’d have to do for now.

“What happened?” I asked as she inspected the bandage.

“Landed, turned around, he was right there. Hands went up on instinct,” she mimicked the gesture and I nodded, “before I teleported again. Fucking fast.”

“That he was,” I agreed. “We were actually just deciding what to do with him.” I paused, wondering if it needed to be said. “Killing him’s out.”

She frowned. “The lake?”

“The lake works,” Fragment said, still behind his shield. “How would we get it there, though?”

“I can go up and drop them,” she replied. “Spread them out.”

“I dunno,” Flatline hazarded, “that seems kind of… torture-y.”

I raised an eyebrow at him “This from the guy who was willing to kill him a few minutes ago?”

“That’s different.”

“I sort of assumed we were working on the assumption he’d get out eventually, to be honest,” I replied. “At least this way, when he does, there won’t be anyone around.”

Fragment’s shield disintegrated into a swarm of shards. “Lake it is, then,” he said as he stood up, bits and pieces of his armor reforming from the swarm. “Now, with that sorted, I’m going to run very far away and have some serious nightmares. Nice meeting you all, and I hope it never happens again, because I’ll probably be stealing something.”

We watched him leave, and Freefall looked at me questioningly. “He helped us stop him. Dunno why, he didn’t seem like most of the thugs from this place. So, can you do the lake drop now?” She nodded. “Fantastic. Let’s do that, and then let’s go home, because I have had enough shit for at least three nights, and if anything else happens, I’ll probably scream.”