Monday, February 4, 2013

Aldakes Gets A New Minion

You heard about that, did you? Yeah, Aldakes got himself a new minion - excuse me, "bodyguard". Not the first... won't be the last, either. And I can't feel too bad for this one; kid brought it on himself. Seriously, if it hadn't been this, it would have been something else. Hell, working for Aldakes might even keep him out of trouble.

...Because I saw it, of course. How do you think I found out about it?

Okay, fine. You buy the next round, and I'll tell you all about it.

It's nine a.m. on a Monday morning, two-three weeks ago. We're just past rush hour, but it's still pretty busy. I'm just hanging around, checking my lines and keeping an eye on things. What? Hey, if you can't fly and you want to move around on the rooftops, you need a system. And if your system relies on tech, you have to maintain it. I had just finished making sure that one of my backup routes was nice and tight when I looked over the side and saw Aldakes. You know what he looks like, right? Withered face, purple robes with gold embroidery - you can't miss him. And, of course, he's walking up the steps to Pyramid Bank, just like anyone else.

So, yeah, I saw him down there. Problem is, I wasn't the only one who saw him down there.

As I'm watching, no joke, this guy drops down in front of Aldakes and plucks him right off the sidewalk. I can't see much of the new guy, but what I see looks like a full-body black outfit under a long black cloak.

They get about three hundred feet up, just below the level of my rooftop, before Aldakes lets him have it. No idea what "it" was - magic's not my thing - but the two of them kind of lurch, and then they drop like a rock. They land back on the sidewalk, and for a moment all I can see is black cloak and purple robes, like a bruise on the pavement. At this point, I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should get down there, so I warm up a few of my surprises.

They get to their feet at about the same time, but the guy in black moves first. It looks like a solid punch, right to the mid-section, and Aldakes goes flying. Smashes right through a light pole, bounces off a stone building, and smashes into some poor civilian's automobile. Should be dead, but he's been dead for a couple of thousand years, so I guess he's used to it, right? Anyway, he stands back up, and the guy in black comes flying at him again... only this time, something happens before he can connect. Smashes him right down into the street, and leaves a fist-shaped crater thirty feet across. Destroys another half-dozen cars, too. I can actually feel the building I'm standing on sway from the impact. There aren't that many people on the street, but the ones that are out there are running and screaming.

So I fire off a tranquilizer at the guy in black. He doesn't even notice; I don't think it even broke the skin. He comes out of that crater like the angel of death, faceless in a black mask, cloak like black wings behind him, just hanging in the air.

Aldakes is saying something. He has his hands out, palms down - I can't hear it, but it looks like he's telling the guy to be reasonable. I've got the sonic out, but that's enough to keep me from using it. I don't want to zap the guy if Aldakes can get him calmed down. Might set him off again.

Whatever Aldakes is saying, it doesn't work. The guy throws himself forward again.

This time, he gets struck by lightning. Repeatedly. For about a minute and a half.

At this point, the street is clear. A dozen or so car alarms are going off, and smoke is curling up from the street lights and the power lines, but there's not a civilian in sight. The ones that didn't run away fast enough are sort of stunned and staggering, and frankly if I hadn't been wearing my suit I'd have been blind and deaf as well. But everyone, everyone is giving this battle a good, wide berth.

The guy in black is lying on the pavement. He's twitching, but he's still sort of half-heartedly reaching for Aldakes. I figure this is the time to intervene, so I bathe him with the sonic - and sure enough, down he goes.

By the time I get down to the street, there are two fire trucks, an ambulance, and a half-dozen patrol cars. Some officers are setting up a barricade, one is questioning Aldakes, and Captain Amazing is questioning the guy in black. I let myself be seen, and approach slowly. No need to get everyone excited.

I get there just in time to hear the kid protesting: "But he's a supervillain! He was going into the bank! I just stopped him from..." He sounds young, real young.

I cut him off by asking Captain Amazing, "What do we have here?"

The Captain opens his mouth, closes it again. He looks at the kid, he looks at me. Finally he says, "Got a seventeen year old rookie who decided to make a name for himself. Shouldn't even be out in costume by himself - he's still working under a trial license. How much did you see?"

I shrugged. "All of it. Pretty much, anyway."

The officer in charge - Wieczorik, you know him? Well, he perks up at this, and says: "Aldakes is saying the young man tried to kidnap him, possibly to hold him for ransom. That fit what you saw?"

I take a deep breath. The kid's going to lose his license. Not that he shouldn't, for something like this, but he's not going to understand it, either. I can't help feeling a little sorry for him. But I say, "Yeah. And unless the lightning fried something critical, that's what the cameras'll show, too. Aldakes was on his way to work when this guy flew down and tried to carry him away. Aldakes defended himself, tried to talk the kid down, and then defended himself again."

At this point the kid yells, "But he's a supervillain! Look at-"

"Kid," I say, and amazingly he shuts up. "Aldakes is the President of Pyramid Bank. He's on the board of directors for at least three other banks here in the city, plus the art museum. That building he was walking into? He wasn't going to rob it. He owns it. He was on his way to work."

I can't see the kid's expression; he's still got his mask on. But I can't miss it when he lunges at me, or when Captain Amazing catches him by the arm and hauls him back.

"Easy, there," says Captain Amazing. "We'll get him. One of these days, he'll slip up, and we'll get him. But right now, everything he does - no matter how horrible - is completely legal. That isn't something you can solve by hitting people." The kid is still struggling, not that it does him any good. "Right now, you can still come back from this. You'll probably lose your license, but you can apply again in a couple of years - but only if you calm down. Everybody makes mistakes, even me. That's why you're supposed to be working with a more experienced hero. Even if she isn't as powerful as you are."

The kid snapped his head around. Even without seeing his face, I knew there was a sullen glare under that mask. "She can't even..." He trailed off, maybe because of the way Captain Amazing was looking at him.

It sounded like good advice to me, but I guess the kid didn't take it. And I guess he didn't know what else to do, either. Because as of last week, he's working for Aldakes. Word at the precinct is that Aldakes refused to press charges, so maybe they made a deal. And if I'm hearing right, the kid's signing bonus is just enough to cover what he owes for property damage. So there you go; that's how it happened.

1 comment:

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