Location: Star City(?), ???-Brick's Kill-Room
Queen's Heir #1.06: Nock, Draw, Aim, Loose.
"For this is what the art of archery means: a profound and far-reaching contest of the archer with himself."
He couldn't remember his name. He'd been trying, but it seemed...unimportant? He thought it started with a 'C' maybe.
Calvin? Corey? Conway?
He knew lots of other things now, though.
There were lots of new smells, for one thing, or maybe a combination of smells. He'd peed himself sometime during the first round. He'd thrown up at some point, but he couldn't remember when. Probably when he'd first figured out that the gross, greasy charred meat smell was from him too. It was all mixed in with the sharp, clean smell the electricity made before it touched him, and no amount of ice water baths could wash it out. He was pretty sure he knew what fear smelled like now too, even though he'd always thought that was just an expression. It smelled bitter, like vinegar, and it came out with his sweat.
More importantly though, now he knew about hate. Not just hate for his torturer, but hate for a world where anyone would be able to do the sort of things that had been done to him. If he ever got out of here, then-
Well, who was he kidding. He was going to die here.
The floodlights dimmed again and a now disgustingly familiar stony hand clamped around the back of his head and forced him to look sideways. As his eyes adjusted to relative darkness, he saw that at some point someone had set up a metal folding-table in the room and laid out a bow and a quiver full of arrows on it, all colored green. His
bow and quiver.Connor. My name is Connor.
The massive mitt tightened its grip and Connor thought he could make out individual pebbles against the back of his scalp."Awww, there it is! I thought this might be a good way to get that little spark of awareness back, but for a minute there I was worried I'd totally lost you! No fun in torturing someone who can't even get what's going on anymore!"
The hand let go of his head, but Connor's gaze stayed pinned to his gear even as Brick stomped back into his field of view, grinning for the cameras and standing between the table and Connor, gesturing between them for the audience at home."Tell you what! I'm getting bored of the same old electro-torture-"
The crime boss dismissively tossed the cattle prod aside "-So I figure I'll beat on you with your own bow 'til it's nothing but splinters and string. Maybe stab you with your own arrows as a finale so you die a human pincushion. How's that sound?"
Before Connor could answer, darkness fell like a sledgehammer and even the camera lights winked out. For the briefest second he was convinced this was some new unannounced torture from Brick, but the metahuman's roaring curses told him otherwise. For the first time since his torment began, the thought of escape bloomed in Connor's mind."Thanks, partner"
The ropes securing him were even more soaked than they'd been at the start. After probably hours of being bound up by them, the young vigilante was sure they were old and crappy all along, something Brick's goons probably had lying around. His arms heaved against the bonds at his wrists, the boy pleading with the universe as his already agony-ridden muscles strained against the cords.
The sounds of ropes snapping had never seemed so sweet. He repeated the process with his legs, frantically reaching down to tug at the ropes and fumble with the knots in the dark to help the process along. Luckily, Brick was even worse at keeping his cool in the dark than Connor and just kept swearing at whatever men were supposed to be watching to get the power back on.
Finally, Connor felt the rest of his bonds slacken enough to slip free of the chair. A handy trick from Master Jensen let him will the feeling and blood flow back into his arms and legs and then he was dashing past the stomping and fumbling noises that were Brick. He almost ran right into the table but his fingertips found it first, and then he was scrabbling to find both bow and quiver in the pitch blackness by memory and touch, eyes squeezed shut to enhance his focus.
He snatched up both, but by then Brick had heard enough to guess what was going on. The metahuman charged the table blindly and with all the silence of an erupting volcano. Connor rolled out of the way as he heard crashing and metallic shrieking, and then the power came back on all at once. The heat and light were painful against his eyelids, but not nearly as badly as during his time in the chair.
Connor opened his eyes and saw Brick still blinded from the initial flash among the flipped and bent remains of the table. No hesitation now, he nocked and loosed three arrows one after the other-
-and watched them bury into Brick's right shoulder, elbow and hand without the big man even noticing. Well, that wasn't really true. He got reminded Connor existed. The man-mountain whirled around roaring and threw a wild haymaker. It connected, but just barely and Connor rolled with the hit, even though knuckles like gravel gashed his cheek. He went tumbling but came up to his feet, swaying. Brick was on him again with another huge punch, but Connor ducked under easily and hit twice with the heel of already bruised palms. It was about as useful as hitting a statue and Brick was already winding up for a third massive punch.
Strikes were no good, arrows were no good. Time to switch tactics and get desperate.
As Brick overextended his already telegraphed swing, Connor actually grabbed onto one pillar-like arm, leaped and wrapped himself around it. A flying armbar was supposed to take an enemy down first, but Connor just clung for dear life and used his whole body to try and hyper-extend the one limb to the breaking point.
Something started to tear and pop in Brick's arm in a way Connor felt more than heard, and Brick cried out in real pain to Connor's grim satisfaction. It didn't last though. Brick stumbled and flailed his locked limb, smashing both Connor and his arm into first the ceiling, then two of the floodlights. Pain from impacts, hot wiring and shattered glass finally shook the young vigilante loose and left him half-dazed on the floor while Brick stared down at him, pain and surprise warring on his craggy face as one arm hung limp.
Connor's mind was whirling as he stared at the crime lord and looked frantically around. Brick could be hurt, Connor was sure of it now. His indestructibility was literally skin deep. Somehow, somehow he could be beaten, the answer was here...
Connor stood, slowly, dragging his hands through the fine powder of pulverized concrete and glass shards around him. He ignored the pain and blood from his hands to rise with fists clenched.""C'mon now! Let's see it! Show me what power looks like!"
Connor tried a flying knee to the face again right as he finished his taunt, but once again Brick managed to catch him out of the air one-handed, fingers like stalagmites around the boy's throat. "Hahaha! Just like I said, you're still dumber than the real Green Arrow!"
In another second he would start to crush Connor's windpipe just like before, but this time Connor would die.
Which was why this time, Connor threw two fistfuls of powdered glass right into Brick's eyes.
Brick dropped Connor to the floor, howling and clawing at his eyes with his one good arm, but the boy could tell it was no good. There was no time to waste! While Brick was still screaming and blinded Connor rushed back over to the chair, readied his bow and snatched up his only hope of putting the crime lord down.
The discarded cattle prod.
No nock to fix it to the bow-string, no fletching to stabilize the flight, it probably wasn't even flexible enough to make it around the bow like an arrow should. It was going to be a stupid, million-to-one shot..."I'll kill you! You little bitch, I'll find out who you are! I'll kill everyone you've ever loved! I'll rip you to pieces until they have to bury you in a thimble! You'll-" Tune it out. Breathe. It's all as simple as breathing.
He breathed in and out. Then steadied his hands, weighed and balanced the cattle prod for a moment and picked his target...Nock, draw, aim, loose!*Twang!*
The front prongs of the cattle prod lodged square in the back of Brick's open, screaming mouth.
The crime lord of Star City went from human mountain to human avalanche. He toppled stone-stiff backward onto the floor with a massive crash and just lay there twitching, screams muffled by the metal shaft until the pain took him beyond screaming. He was as helpless as Connor had been minutes before.
Connor walked right up and stood over the man who had made him experience hell. He could just leave Brick like that, if he wanted. Let him fry until the cattle prod ran out of juice. Even for someone as big and tough as Brick, that much electricity for that long might kill him. Why should Connor care? Maybe he should even be glad, ridding the world of a monster like Brick.
Connor sighed, leaned in close to Brick's head and tugged the weapon loose."May this suffering serve to awaken compassion."
Then, Connor noticed the still running cameras. He knew he'd just done the impossible. He knew he'd maybe just been lucky. Most of all he knew the world could be watching and he should say something."Tell all your friends...and spread the word! I'm the Green Arrow...and Star City...is under my protection now! To anyone who doesn't like it, you can come take your best shot! But just know that after you do, I'll take mine and I never miss!"
He was exhausted, hurting, panting and covered in filth but the words came anyway. He was pretty sure Overwatch was sending the cops to pick up Brick at that very moment. After that he was gonna go home, probably cry a little, and sleep forever.
Still, not too bad for his first fight against a real villain, right?