Good 17-I

A Weapon In My Hand.

Something wet and squishy slapped me across the face, and I recoiled. “What the actual-” Something distinctly less wet and squishy followed it, striking me right across the cheekbone and sending me tumbling to the ground. “-fuck!”

I hit the ground and rolled, banging up against a trash can and the wall behind it. The stinging in my cheek and jaw was quickly blossoming into full-blown pain, and if that ringing was any indicator… yep, I’d have a hell of a headache after this. Plus, whatever the hell that squishy thing was had gotten all over my face, and my goggles. I reached up and wiped at it with the back of my hand, but it just sort of smeared. Using one hand to push myself to me feet, I held the other up to my nose, sniffed, and-

“Did you fucking peel a banana and throw it at me?!”

The man ahead of me only cackled in response, one arm buried in the dumpster as he rustled around for more projectiles. He was scrawny, almost to the point of malnourishment, and bald, with jagged red tattoos stretching back across his scalp. His clothes were ragged, faded, baggy and torn, and although he laughed, there was something… missing in his eyes.

The Disciples of Shiva aren't nice people. Yeah, duh, they're criminals, but even in that subgroup they're pretty low on the whole morality hierarchy. See, their inspiration and namesake, the big S, is a nutjob who destroyed an entire country and now just sits there, babbling to himself and occasionally tearing up the landscape when he has a fit. So, if the Disciples see that as the pinnacle of a powered person, the example by which the standard is set…

Yeah. I don't know if they only recruit crazy people with powers, or if they… induce it, somehow, but the few I've encountered have been distinctly not right in the head. And this guy was no exception.

I'd been on patrol, in the industrial district, doing my level best to keep a low profile. Evidently, it hadn't worked, because I'd been stalking along the alleyway behind a factory when, well, banana to the face. Evidently, our little TV appearance had caught the attention of the Disciples.

My theory was confirmed when another man stepped out from behind the dumpster, also bearing the tattoos on his shaven scalp. His ran from red all the way to green, and I raised an eyebrow, surprised. More colors indicated higher status in the cult/gang, and I rarely saw above orange or yellow. He'd be the handler, then.

He smiled grimly when he saw me. He was missing a tooth, the left, uh, sharp one. Whatever they're called. “Outlier. Tell us where it is hidden, and this need not be lethal.”

I made another pass with my hand, clearing up my vision a little more, and flicking it to the side. “Well, you cut straight to the chase, don't you? Here, let me reciprocate.” I pointed at him. “Fuck off, or I'll make that gap a matching set,” shifted the finger to point at the madman, “and shove a fuckin banana so far up his ass he'll be able to digest it.”

The goon sneered at me. “You'll regret that.”

“Buddy, even if you won, I wouldn't regret it.” I gestured at them both. “Bring it, asswipes.” He began reaching for something on his belt, and I shot him with a stun round. “Psych!”

He convulsed, gagging as he dropped to the ground, and I laughed. “Never gets- oof!” Something solid had hit me in the chest, and I staggered back at the unexpected impact. My first instinct was that the other Disciple had hit me, but he was still hanging out of the dumpster a few yards away. Had he thrown something? No, there was nothing on the ground. How did-

Another blow, this time to my side. I was half-expecting it, though, so I managed to negate it a little by rolling with it. Still hurt, though. I immediately snapped my gaze back to the madman, and sure enough, there was a slight flicker around his free hand, just for a brief moment. He was still swinging it back forth, quite enthusiastically, too. Was that his power? Some kind of force transference?

He dropped down to the ground suddenly, the trash arm emerging with a grasp on a small esky. He reared back to throw it at me, still with the creepy grin, and I balanced on the balls of my feet, ready to dodge. His arm flew forward, and I ducked to the left, but there was immediately an impact on my left leg, knocking it out from underneath me and sending me tumbling. I landed awkwardly, on top of something hard, and as I rolled away, it revealed itself to be the esky. Somehow, he'd managed to throw it at my leg without crossing the intervening space at all and while clearly aiming elsewhere.
I rolled onto my feet again as he cackled maniacally at me. Okay, this was getting old real quick. So far he'd gotten multiple hits on me, and I hadn't even gotten close to him, let alone landed a blow. Good thing I had a gun. I whipped it up, sighted at him and squeezed the trigger.

And just as I did, a finger come out of nowhere and poked me in the wrist, throwing off my aim and sending the shot sparking off the wall. “Are you,” I said flatly, “fucking kidding me.” He laughed again.

Fuck it. I snatched up the esky and hurled it at him. He stepped to the side, dodging it easily, and I saw his hand flicker at the wrist as he flicked it outwards, then disappear. I flipped a mental coin and got lucky: I danced to the left as the fist came in out of thin air on my right, narrowly missing me. His grin faltered a little, and he jabbed it forward as soon as it reappeared on his wrist. If I was right… I took a quick step back, and it whiffed through the air in front of me.

Gotcha. He couldn't adjust the direction, it looked like; it was just a straight displacement. I grinned right back at him, and charged forward. His face didn't change, but he took a step back, and snapped both hands out to the sides. As soon as I saw him doing it, though, I immediately stopped running for just a second, skipping forward on momentum for that moment and breaking up the flow of my pace. Sure enough, his blows appeared slightly ahead of me, and I ran straight through him.

Before he could even fully retract from that attempt, I was on him. I juked to the right, into the side of the dumpster, and used one leg to spring myself up into the air for a spin kick, that was, quite frankly, really damn sick. And just as I did, I saw the other Disciple, looking distinctly not stunned, sitting up, with both fists pointed at me.

Things get a little blurry and bouncy and hurt-y after that point. I groaned as my senses began returning to me, and realised I was lying on my back. I was surrounded by… trees? Very short trees? With cloth covers and yep, those are people.

I grinned, pained, up at the upside-down face of a young man above me. “Hey there.”

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