A Call to Action
Calvin Ball took being told to follow in stride (ha) quickly falling in step behind the Director’s secretary as she made her way across the hall to pick up another one of the outlying capes. She was curiously examining the older cape with the tilt of her head as they spoke, this “Coil” woman had a great plant witch theme going on and mentally the young heroine was taking notes on how to improve her own costume. The interesting appearance was only second to the fact that she had apparently been invited by the director for a one on one talk, she wanted to ask what it took to get that sort of meeting but judging by that response Coil might not have known.
Not being directly addressed CB’s eyes began to wander around the room, just catching onto the sudden shift in tone from a morning press conference to a sudden flurry of action from the news crew and the sudden straight backs of those who had been slumped in early morning fatigue. “What is..” Calvin Ball went to ask, only to be cut off by Samantha saying that there was a situation that had come up! Holy crap, was something interesting about to happen!? Without a moment of hesitation, the young cape began adjusting her gear, tightening her Junior Guard vest and positioning her shoulder pads so that they were both in the proper action ready position. Rocking on her heels she waited until Samatha had found her next target, an easily startled seeming man wearing a harness with his costume. A few words were shared and the group was on the move again.
As they gathered around the Director CB felt herself fall into attention, chin up, chest out, shoulders back, and stomach in. Though with her height she barely came up to most of the adult’s shoulders. Her gaze shifted quickly between Matthew and Dart so fast that even standing still she was making herself dizzy. A chance to prove themselves. Actual cape careers! This is it, I help with this and people are going to know I’m useful. We can’t screw this up. Already it was “we” in her head, easily slotting herself in as one of this new squad like she had done so many times before.
Coil nervously eyed her fellow capes. Most of them were rather small, with Calvin Ball being almost tiny. Their size and collective choices in uniform had suggested that this group was a bit young and green behind the ears.
“So. Briefings?” Coil was starting to get cranky. She didn’t like not knowing things, and the various guards had been ridiculously disappointing when it came to informing her of anything. By now she was left to hope that Dart knew more than her.
In contrast, Werelight couldn’t help but feel a thrill of anticipation. This might be it. Up to this point, Samekh and the Junior Guard had consistently failed to live up to his hopes, failed to give him the opportunity to be everything a hero was supposed to be. He’d struggled to help people in the months between his trigger event and his arrival on this Earth, as the challenges he’d faced as an independent cape far outstripped his own ability to handle them, but even with a team at his back now, Werelight had accomplished more good than in the Junior Guard. It was, to say the least, frustrating.
But now? Now, things were looking up. As Sandra had said, this was his chance to not only do something useful, but also to prove himself to his teammates and superiors. His power moved beneath his skin in response, millimeters from emerging yet fully under control, as it usually was when Werelight was anticipating a fight.
But he’d have to be careful. Messing up now might prove disastrous, both to his future career and to anyone endangered by the present threat. He’d have to watch his power extremely carefully, making sure it didn’t take any liberties with the instructions he gave it as it was so often prone to doing. Of course, there was always the possibility that Dart would turn out to be like the rest of the Guard—unwilling to give him a chance. If that did prove to be the case, though...maybe he’d be able to find a way to make a difference anyway.
While the Junior guard was moved over, Dart separated herself from the group somewhat. She put in her earpiece, and clicked the button on top with her nail. A small sound was made, and immediately someone began talking to her. "Dart, you're going to be in charge of the squad Bravo Four. All orders will be given under that callsign. You're going to have to choose a second in command for this mission, as long as you decide before arrival it doesn't matter when or how you decide." As that command finished, Coil asked her a question. She was still slightly annoyed from earlier, so she raised her pointer finger in the universal sign of "give me a second."
"The situation is as follows: At zero-six-three hundred hours a report was given by an agent working under the First Guard. A helicopter was dispatched, with Delta squad onboard to respond to the possible threat. At zero-six-fifty-eight hundred hours the pilot turned onto west fifth street and was stopped by a Shaker using metal wire. The First Guard soldiers that were already in the area shifted over to take down the Shaker, though communication has stopped when they were about fifty yards from her." The situation was spelled out with perfect enunciation by the voice in Dart's earpiece. It was almost calming. Almost.
"Alright squad listen up." Dart said, her voice pitched lower than normal to grab their attention. "We've got a Shaker who is manipulating what seems to be metal wire. The Shaker took a helicopter out of the air, so they’re a serious threat. Come with me,” her tone made it very much an order and not a suggestion, ”We're gonna try to get to the roof to be transported by helicopter. I should get more information on the way." As she finished, she took note of her own expression. Dart was almost scowling, but that didn't quite match her mood. She was feeling frustrated at the Director for his shitty patrol routes, and wanted to talk to him. This distraction was all too sudden, it hadn’t quite changed her mood.
Calvin Ball took a moment to flick on her own earbud when she saw Dart do it, listening intently to what she was saying while also doing her best to seem as professional as possible. Helicopter down, pilot hostage, public sight also seemed to be very on the situation. Nodding along she silently began to bargain with her power, body automatically falling in step behind Dart barely a foot behind her elbow as she did. “Alright, today is the day, we need good powers that are not going to get anyone blown up, killed, or cause massive destruction to everyone around us. Got it?” she mentally begged her power. Of course there was no response from the passenger, she had never heard of anyone getting a response if she were being honest with herself, but it was something to do as the sound of heavy boots made their way upward to the waiting helicopter. Then two things crossed her mind and she piped up.
“Do we know the range of the shaker? If we arrive in another helicopter they might just grab us out of the air like they nabbed the last one.”
She also wanted to ask what everyone did so that maybe they could form a sort of gameplan. Or at the very least they wouldn’t be stepping on one another’s toes. But she had already spoken out of turn, maybe it would be better to just ride out the reaction to that without sticking her hand further into possible danger. She hoped that there wasn’t going to be a very long silent treatment because as they approached the roof there was the thunderous sound of the helicopter rotors even from inside. There wasn’t going to be much talking once they were inside.
Dart took the steps two at a time, and listened to further intel. Again she was interrupted, this time by Calvin, but it was near the end of her briefing. ”Effective range is at least three hundred yards, or nine hundred feet. They used a lot of resources in getting the first helicopter out of the air, and we’re taking a black hawk. They won’t be able to take us out of the air.” Dart responded as they took the steps to the top floor. That range was honestly terrifying, but there had to be a catch right? What did that much range cost Spindle? Dart tried to turn it over in her head, that question. The other thing that was bothering her was how nonsensical the demand was. The First Guard wouldn’t just turn over its belly to be killed.
Dart’s description of the Shaker’s capabilities replaced a fair portion of Werelight’s enthusiasm with apprehension. A cape powerful enough to stop a helicopter in its tracks, with a range of over a quarter mile? Werelight had only encountered a handful of exceptionally strong capes before, and unless there was some aspect to her power that he was missing, this Shaker would easily count as one of them.
“What do you mean by resources?” Werelight asked Dart. “Does she have a limited amount of material to draw from?
“And by the way, are you familiar with how my powers work? I know I’ve met you before, briefly, but I don’t think we’ve worked together at all.”
"She’s controlling metal wires, but she hasn't generated any more yet. The villain has a lot of wires, but they are rather close to her, relatively speaking. I've seen your power, a month ago I think. All of you can give me a rundown on the helicopter. Also, everyone, put your communicator in and activate it ASAP." As Dart finished speaking they crested the top floor. Dart knew the Final Guard squad would be arriving soon, owing to 4Sight. She quickly pushed open the door, causing wind to rush in and spiral down the stairway. The Black Hawk had the illusion of barely touching the helipad, dust sweeping out and off the helipad and blanketing the air around them. It was a steely gray, with the insignia of the First Guard on the back half of the vehicle, currently covered by the door-which was already slid ajar.
There were seven seats visible from this side, small plastic things that seemed supremely uncomfortable. Two were facing them directly, with three facing towards the pilot's cabin at a 90 degree angle from the first two. Two more were flush against the wall of the pilot's cabin on either side of an entrance to the actual cabin, and an assumed two on the other side of the helicopter to remain symmetrical. There were two Leather straps laying near flush against their sides, with half circular metal buckles centered along the strap. Dart jogged quickly to the vehicle, taking the seat closest to the door against the pilot's cabin. As her squad members climbed into the helicopter she would hand out aviation headsets and instruct them on buckling themselves in. Once they were all in, the pilot immediately lifted off and Dart had one final instruction.
”Don’t fuck this up. We’re a team, and you follow my orders. I’d rather none of you die today.”