Enemies 9-IV

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To My Enemies

Everyone loves a good entrance. That one was going in the book; it had the dramatic cape flare and everything (which is like 90% of why I wear the damned thing. Capes are a hard look to pull off; there was a big trend towards them in contemporary fashion before I was born, but it petered out pretty quick once people realized it was mostly just a pain in the ass.) I don’t actually have a book, that would be weird, but I’d definitely treasure the memory.

Everyone else had spread out around the room, covering different entrances, while I slipped through the doorway while no-one was watching and hid behind a support pillar. I’d originally proposed a straight ambush, going in guns blazing, but Tide had pointed out we couldn’t get any information out of them that way, and Foresight’s reconnaissance had showed that they definitely knew more than us (only in the literal sense. Green Cloak was giving a far different impression than the one I’d gotten from Wisp; less childishly sadistic and more just childish). Combined with the obviously high-security measures that had previously been in place, and Foresight’s limited light manipulation, and we had a new plan.
He’d created the warning message in front of Green Cloak's eyes, close and small enough that the others couldn’t make it out, and when she’d attempted to move, Ricochet shot her with a shock round, the lack of a traditional firing noise on her rifle disguising its nature. Tide and Ribbon were waiting in the wings if things went wrong, ready to pounce on Metalface and Combat Gear. In that contingency, I had Blur.

“Fascinating,” I said calmly, surveying the three remaining Prowlers. “All references to this location should have been eliminated, and yet… here you are.” I was ad-libbing, bits of guesswork mixed in with the tidbits Meat Tornado had dropped. “You were tipped off, weren’t you.”

They stared at me, saying nothing, and I stared right back. Foresight had been right: it was genuinely hard to look at Blur. It was like trying to grab a bar of soap, just slipping out every time. I did manage to get the impression of blonde hair and a small frame, though.

I let the silence hang for a few seconds, then did the menacing smile again. “I see you haven’t quite grasped the situation here. Let me clarify.” I raised a hand, then clenched it into a fist. There were three more snap-hiss sounds, and a blurry ring appeared around each of them, dark grey and flickering. They all flinched, but stopped themselves before touching the ring itself. Which is good, because it would have spoiled the whole thing.

I let the rings be for a few seconds, then flicked my hand, and they disappeared with sharp cracks. “Let us,” I said icily, “consider that the first and only warning. Now. Who informed you of this site.”
If you’re wondering how I did that, don’t worry. You’ll find out soon enough.

The blurry woman licked her lips nervously, and no, I don’t know how I could tell. “There was a man,” she said, calm with fear sneaking in around the edges. “Appeared out of nowhere, a few months ago, middle of the night. He told us about… this. About you. We ignored him, but he left us a string of locations. Every one of them was one of these places, abandoned.”

“Will you shut up!” Combat Gear snapped at her. “You’re just going to give away everything!”

“Yes,” she shot back, “I am! Because, hey, I don’t want to die!”

I affected a chuckle. “A smart decision. You may yet live.” Yeah, I was really hamming it up. So sue me, I watched a lot of movies as a kid. Also as a teenager. And also last week. I don't have a problem, you have a problem. "Please, continue."

"We... followed them, but the last one was in Green Bay, down south. That one had information about..." she swallowed "the... information, that it was in New Chicago." I cursed internally. Of course, she knew what it was, and I couldn't ask, because that would give me away. Dammit dammit dammit. "And after we'd been here a few days-"

"We know about the school," I snapped. "It was hardly subtle." Again, nothing concrete, but I got the impression of rolled eyes.

"Right. Well, um, the lab in Green Bay said that it had been taken by the Cabal, but when we got here, the Tower had them, so we assumed that they had it, so the school. Obviously that didn't work, but the man appeared again, telling us about here, and now..." she trailed off nervously. 

Well, that was summarily useless. Don't get me wrong, I'd just conned a bad guy into revealing their previous plans, which was pretty great, but I'd outmaneuvered myself by posing at the one person who wouldn't need to be told the information we wanted from them. Well done, me. Thanks me, I try very hard. I'm sure you do, me. 

So basically, I had no idea where to go from there. Did I continue playing the part and try and eke the information out? Did I abandon the role and try and force it out? Did I freak the fuck out because it was becoming increasingly clear that we'd somehow stumbled into some weird-as-shit conspiracy way over our heads? It's not the last one, I was saving that for later. There was going to be crying, and possibly screaming, and lots of praying interspersed with swearing and possibly more screaming. 

I decided to delay for now. "Irritating. This clearly represents a paradigm shift," I said, as if to myself, one hand on my chin. "You four are obviously cats paws, but for whom? It doesn't fit any of the patterns." They were giving me confused looks as I pretended to ponder. I clicked my fingers. "Speak truthfully, for it may be the difference between life and death. How much do you know?"

She hesitated. "About...?"

"You know very well." Or I hoped they did. 

"...only what we were able to scrounge and what he told us. Basically just-"

"No." The man in the metal mask had stepped forward, his voice a low rumble. "No more. I know you."

I arched an eyebrow at him. "I highly doubt that."

He continued, unfazed. "You are not one of them. You... you are a hero." 

Ah. 

Well, shit. 

The game was up, it seemed, so I dropped the mannerisms. "Well, I wouldn't put it quite like that. Those guys are kinda shitbirds."

I think the blurry woman may have gawped at that. Probably the complete one-eighty. I should go into acting. 

The masked man growled, but I held up my hand. "Hey, I may have been lying about some stuff, but I can't lie spinning rings of death into existence." He growled again. "Wow, you're coherent. Good stuff, buddy. Seriously, there's no reason this has to end in violence. I think if we all just sat down and-" I snorted, losing composure. "Nah, I'm just fucking with you. Outliers, take 'em down."

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