Enemies 9-II

Did You Know That.

Cape down, hood up, that’s the way I like to-

Nah, not going there. It’d be puerile, and gross.

And you thought I didn’t have standards.

The building was somewhere between 10 and 15 stories tall, each one rows of storage lockers. The ground level was the exception, with an abandoned lobby that looked like it was built 30 years ago and had been untouched ever since. The entrance was fairly clear, but as we progressed further in, dust began accumulating on everything in a thick layer, from the cheap plywood tables to the rotting wooden chairs, which were the ugliest shade of puce I’d ever seen (seriously, it was horrible). Each footstep kicked up thick, billowing clouds of particles, and those of us without facial coverings began sneezing and coughing as it blew into their faces. It was just Foresight, actually, which made it more satisfying, and I smirked behind my face scarf.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what was up with he and I. Did I sleep with his girl? Did he sleep with mine? Were we jilted ex-lovers, who now saw each other with a mix of loathing and lust?

Sadly (not really), it’s none of those. It’s not even anything interesting. Actually, I kinda wish it was the second one, because I’m pretty sure Edith tears the heads of her lovers after they’re finished, like a praying mantis. That would've been hilarious.

No, no it wouldn’t, that’d be murder and the thought of them, or anyone, going at it was gross enough without the addition of blood and viscera. But a man can dream, right? 

(No, no I can't. Just nightmares).

No, the simple truth of the matter is that when we first met, I was in a bad place. Angry at the world in general, twitchy and standoffish. So with Sanjay being the kind of person who picks at people as naturally as he breathes, we didn’t exactly hit it off, and the entire relationship just deteriorated from there. I’d like to think that if we met for the first time as we are now, we might be able to get along, but I guess we'll never know.

Oh! And he’s also kinda racist. So, probably not.

We stopped in the center of the lobby, Foresight still sniffling and covering his face with one arm. Judging by the undisturbed layers of dust, if people had come in here, they hadn’t done it through this entrance. A thought hit me. “There weren’t any external fire exits, were there?”

“No,” Tide answered. “Why?”

“Because it means that this is the only way up to the storage lockers, and no-one's come through here in a long time.” I spun around, taking in the scene. “Foresight, search around. Try and find anything out of the ordinary.”

He didn’t even bother glaring at me, just closed his eyes and stood there for a few seconds. It was hard to make out, but there was the slightest blue glow emanating from him.

He opened his eyes, and shook his head. “Nothing.”

I frowned. “You sure? No… strange alcoves or something”

“No. Thing. Nothing.”

“Hmm. Tide?”

She nodded, understanding what I meant, and bent down, one hand resting flat on the ground. There was a brief pause, and then-

You know when you drop a stone into still water, and you get that perfectly circular outwards ripple? Take that, but remove the stone and replace ‘water' with ‘literally anything non-living', and you have Tide’s power.  Although, how she did what she was doing now, sensing the makeup and structure of a surface by sending a ripple through it, still escaped me. It was probably one of those odd little things that help the power work, like how I could sometimes see the momentum of objects around me. I couldn’t always get mine to work, though, whereas hers was probably one of the most valuable tools in her toolbox. That, and creating meters-high walls of fast-moving concrete and tarmac. That was pretty useful too.

The tiniest of ripples spread out from around her hand, running underneath my feet like a bump in a travelator, and creating a smaller ring of dust trailing behind it. It disappeared once it hit the edge of the floor, but I could see it continuing out of sight around corners, bouncing off the walls. She straightened up, the ring of dust settling. “There’s something odd back there, through that door,” she said, pointing at one of the doors to the side of the entranceway, where the dust was light. “Something in the floor.”

I turned and looked at Foresight. “No thing, huh?”

He stalked off towards the door without replying, and I chuckled and followed.

“D’ya think we could convince him to get his head out of his ass for long enough to pull the stick out?” Ricochet joked from beside me. She’d slung her rifle over her back, and was carrying two automatic pistols loosely in her hands.

“Theoretically, I think so, but I don’t see any heavy machinery around here, so it’s a bit of a moot point.”

We shared a bit of a chuckle as Foresight flipped us off, extending his hand behind him without looking back.

Tide took the lead as we approached the door, with Ribbon bringing up the rear. We found ourselves moving down a cramped, dark corridor, at the end of which was-

“The bathrooms?”

Tide shrugged, and pushed the door open. “I didn’t make the place.”

At the very least, they were clean. About as disused as the rest of the building, actually, but this time there was a clear track through the dust, leading into one of the stalls.

“Bingo,” I muttered. We crowded around the stall, and I pushed open the door. Inside, there was a toilet. I looked at Tide, and she nodded. “This is definitely it,” she confirmed.

“Well, unless there’s a secret passage down the bend, I don’t-” 

"The toilet lifts up," Foresight interrupted. “There’s a crack around it."

I leant down to inspect it, and sure enough, there was. Stepping back, I gestured at it. "Ribbon, if you would?"

She grunted, and twin coils of fabric snaked down from her arms, slipping into the tiny gap, and pulling upwards. With a groan, not only did the toilet lift up, but the section of wall behind it folded back too, revealing a set of stairs descending downwards.

Ricochet whistled. "Damn. If that ain't the most supervillain-y thing I've ever seen, I'll eat a boot."

"I'll hold you to that," I replied absently. The stairs disappeared into darkness, rather ominously. "Okay, there's no way in hell we're walking down there unprepared. Foresight, recon."

There was some unintelligible grumbling from behind me, but the glow appeared again. His power confused me, honestly. I'd seen him use it in a way that appeared to imply enhanced reflexes or precognition, but then he could also scout large rooms in seconds, or pick out tiny details on someone's clothing.

"It's a lab of some kind," he spoke, voice oddly measured, as if he was timing each syllable. "It's too dark to make out much, but there are lots of benches, and computers and that sort of thing. It looks... like it's been abandoned, for at least a few-" His voice cut out for a second. "There are people here. Light up ahead. They're rifling through drawers, looking for something."

"How many?" I asked, tense. This could be bad. If they were anything like Mr. Meat Tornado power-wise, we were pretty much fucked. This was a recon team: our only heavy hitters were Tide and Ribbon, and neither of them did great in enclosed spaces. 

"Four," he said, sounding mildly irritated for some reason. "One that I can't make out, a man in navy combat gear, a man with a metal mask, and a woman in a green cloak."