Bossa Nova Baddies: Part 2.5“Yeah, this. Is gaudy. You guys all get your gear at the same place? Black and Uninspired!?””And very deadly! SCATTER!”
The two heroes dove out of the way as another burst of green energy incinerated the ground where they were just seconds previous. As they regained their balance, the Gargoyle jumped down from the balcony, landing with a boom like a cannon blast and cracking the tiles beneath its ponderous legs.”Big and scary is nothing new to me!”
Voyager sounded off defiantly, lobbing a PsiBlast to get the mechanical monster’s attention. ”Show me your worst, ugly!”
The PsiBlast impacted an inch before hitting the machine proper, turning green and dissipating on an invisible barrier with a static crackle. The Gargoyle took aim with a single energy attack, and Voyager threw up a PsiBarrier to-”Wha….what?”
A feeling of intense emptiness washed over her as she tumbled backwards, muting her senses to the outside world as she tried to get her bearings again. She remembered the green energy blast connecting, that sudden draining feeling...and her PsiBarrier shattering like a glass plate. ”My...my PsiBarrier! Nothing ever shattered it like that before…
“It seems the gem does work, then,” the Gargoyle mused, taking aim again. “This will be easier than expected.”“That does not bode well.”
Hound Dog said as he readied another attack a blast powerful enough to cause a severe crackling sound as the lighting charged the air around him. “Hope you like music.”
Hound Dog said as he took out a CD and launched it from his arm using the length to give it more speed. One of his signature moves creating a railgun capable of exceeding mach speeds. “Lighting doesn’t work so let’s see you stop a mach 1 greatest hits of Bieber.”
Before Gargoyle could respond a disk collided with his armor sending shrapnel and bits of his own protective suit flying. If he wasn’t angry before he was more furious now; turning with his eyes on fire he contained a burning madness inside that he was about to unleash. “I finally get to test this thing out and you scuff it! If you were any smaller of a pest I’d have trouble finding ways to mount your ass on my wall.”“WHooa whooa, hold on there ass bandit. I like my butt right where it is.”
Still a little dizzy from the other attack, Voyager moved to dodge another blast from the Gargoyle’s arm cannon, keeping her away as he trained his sights on what was clearly a more dangerous foe. Looking around the room, her sight drifted to the overhead balcony the machine had emerged from. Unlike the first floor, it had been nearly filled with construction equipment on the side where the machine was now facing them. Her mind working furiously, she saw the floor was sagged slightly where the Gargoyle had leapt from. If it got a little more damage, then maybe…
“Pathetic!” the Gargoyle spat at Voyager as he effortlessly dodged a cutting PsiBeam. “Even when your weapons are useless you are unable to aim them!””I don’t know...I think I hit exactly where I wanted…”
There was a crunching sound as the support beam she cut through gave way, showering the mecha with old equipment. Swearing violently as the flotsam bounced off the armor, a heavy steel beam caught the arm of the machine, prying aside the plating to reveal a pulsing electrical tube, sparking slightly as the machine flailed around.
Taking this chance to turn the tables around Hound Dog unleashed a direct attack against the electrical systems of the suit as he reached for the exposed wires, blood dripping from his arm in a slow but steady stream. “Let’s see what you got in there.”
Short Circuiting the arm cannon as sparks flew and the thing looked about ready to explode. Gargoyle knowing he needed to free himself jettisoned the damaged cannon in a bid to loose his arm from the weight it was now under. Creating enough space he ripped his trapped arm free and grabbed Hound Dog by the throat throwing him into the floor at his feet as he stepped onto his back inching his foot deeper into him.
His other working cannon aimed to Hound Dog’s back he prepared. “How about you feel the burn, for a change?” The gem on his back channeled energy to the cannon mounted on his arm and spewed out a green lighting burning away at Hound Dog’s clothes as an electrical fire washed over his burning leather jacket slowly revealing his charred back from overuse of his own powers. “Haha! I’d never expect you to look like a overcooked hot dog I should have brought mustard to rub into those wounds of yours!””NOOOOO!”
With a Psi-infused burst of energy, Voyager did the one thing she could think to do in this situation and went for a flying tackle, knocking the machine off of Hound Dog and wrapping around its neck, desperately battering the head of the great metal beast with a flurry of punches. Her Psi Barriers not working meant she was essentially using her bare fists against hardened steel, but she kept going, ignoring the pain in her hands until one of the wings swung down and caught her beneath the chin, knocking her to the ground.
“Pathetic….inhuman...beast!” the Gargoyle spat, sounding slightly disoriented. Voyager got to her feet in an instant but the Gargoyle had charged forward, swiping at her with its good arm, infusing it with a blast of green energy. Voyager could do nothing as she slammed into the thick glass overlooking the city. Tasting blood in her mouth, she tried to move again but the metal grip closed around her neck again, choking her.
“Metahumans,” the Gargoyle said derisively, lifting Voyager off the ground. “Trying to lord over us. Trying to enslave our sons and daughters. Trying to play GOD!” He punctuated the last word by slamming Voyager into the glass, sending cracks across the great surface. The half-alien felt something in her chest snap as she was lifted away and slammed into it again, spreading the cracks further.
“You are not GODS!” the Gargoyle roared, slamming Voyager into the glass at the end of every sentence. “You are WEAK! You are FILTH! You are INHUMAN! You are INFERIOR!” Feeling nothing but agony, Voyager hung their helplessly as the Gargoyle drew back the fist holding her.
And with a tremendous shattering, the Gargoyle pitched Voyager through the glass windows, where she hung in the air for just a second before plunging towards the ground and vanishing from sight.
Still Hound Dog pulled himself up, his back not quite as agile as it should be; likely something broke but he didn’t have time to worry about his own pain or the lack of feeling thereof.“Voyager! Voy!”
With another body slam from Gargoyle Hound Dog was pinned against the wall arms held up by the mechanical menace. “Oh, little close there pal, hadn’t even had our first date.”
“You taint this Earth and our PEOPLE! It’s about time you too were REMOVED!”
Coughing Hound Dog replied. “You know I can’t feel anything right. Or has the fact that I haven’t screamed yet after all you’ve done not sparked any remaining brain cells to fire off. These powers, that you call filth. They gave this cripple the ability to walk again. And with them I’ll fry your ass.”
As Hound Dog began to charge up he could hear his arms cracking as the weight of the machine pressed firmly against the wall as he eyed the window that Voyager was tossed out of. “I got something for you.”
“Another feeble attempt to shock me!?” ”Something like that…”
No. It couldn’t be. The Gargoyle turned his machine around in disbelief.
It was Voyager. Floating gracefully in the air outside of the window. Surrounded by a purple aura that shimmered and danced like a purple flame, she raised her hands up, revealing the shattered remains of the inhibitors she wore on her wrists.”I’m...surprised too,”
Voyager admitted as she drifted ethereally back into the room. ”I never tried to use my powers to fly before.”
The Gargoyle bellowed furiously as he swung around to aim his cannon at her, and as the energy charged up, Hound Dog found his eyes drawn to the path the electricity powering the machine took. He saw how it all connected to a well-protected knot on the back, a knot that the unusual green energy flowed from, a knot with a big glowing target in the shape of a gemstone connecting it to the inner workings of the machine. “Know the best way to deal with a Gordian Knot? You cut through it!”
His hand erupted into a pure fist of electricity as he jammed it into Gargoyle’s back and pushed a coin he held between his fingers. With that the coin sliced it’s way through the inner workings of the armor and sliced right through the gemstone in the back. “All yours, kid.”
“No….NO….!” the Gargoyle cried, his anger turning to panic as the machine began to shudder involuntarily. Hound Dog slid to the ground as the machine released its grip and stumbled forward, only to collapse under the weight of one leg as the hydraulics shorted out. One of the wings collapsed like a broken limb under its own weight as the tubes running across the chest began to leak jets of pressurized steam. The man inside the machine could be heard swearing at the barely functional controls as the metal plating bent and cracked under the pressure of so many delicate bits flying out of control. A geyser of steam erupted from the wounded arm, popping the whole limb off like a cork in a wine bottle. In a last act of defiance, the deformed metal beast raised a shaky arm to point its last weapon at Voyager.
“Mutant scum!” the Gargole bellowed, his volume not enough to match the rising whine of the motor inside beginning to overload. “You deformed...inhuman...what do you think you are!?!””Me?”
Voyager asked, clenching her fists in preparation for the final blow. ”Well...I’m not human, if that’s what you mean. And I’m not a monster either. I’ve never hurt anyone because they were different then I was. Even when people like you gave me a reason to be afraid, I’m still not going to. That’s what monsters do.”
Voyager leaned forward, energy flowing around her, as the wretched machine’s weapon drew on whatever power it had left for a last stand.”I am not a monster. I fight monsters, monsters who hurt people. Monsters like you. Because that’s what heroes do.”
“...FILTHY MUTANT!””I am not a mutant!”
With a burst of blinding speed, Voyager launched into the air directly at the mechanical monster, the weapon firing one last shot off to the side before finally cooking off and sending an energy feedback ripping through the unstable machine.”I AM VOYAGER!!!”
Voyager’s Psionic energy cleaved through the machine like a scalpel picking up the man inside and tearing through the back before the machine erupted in a fireball, sending metal shrapnel flying everywhere and blowing the glass and about half the roof clean off the building. As the smoke and flames cleared, a purple barrier flickered as it finished protecting the three figures underneath it. Dazed by the conflagration, Hound Dog looked to his right to see Voyager kneeling on the chest of a bloody and battered man in a pilot’s suit, his stony features bearing an unnerving resemblance to the late robotic menace. Breathing heavily, the man called the Gargoyle looked at the pair of them before realizing that the half-alien Voyager was pinching the side of his neck.
“Wha...what are you doing?””Uhhh….Vulcan neck pinch,”
Voyager admitted meekly, smiling before drawing her fist back. ”I suppose I am not there yet. Oh well, I am a fast learner!”
And before the Gargoyle could even react he was clocked alongside his head, knocking him out cold.“Ha, Trekkie. Not, ugh, not bad. But I think a few things are broken. Can’t fully tell. I can’t move my legs right now though, thinking they’re pretty spent.”
Hound Dog could feel a difficulty in his breath and he could taste blood on his tongue. “No. Pretty sure my body’s reached its limit. Hard to tell unlike you I don’t feel pain and also unlike you I can’t tell when my ribs are broke. But well I taste blood so that’s not right.””Well...not feeling pain or broken ribs sounds pretty good right about now,”
Voyager said, feeling her chest tenderly. ”Ooof...least I can still walk.”
Limping over to where Hound Dog was lying down, she moved to help him up before noticing the charred skin on his arms. ”Oh dear...that will need a lot of bandaids, I guess…”“Sure, and ice cream. Could go for something coffee flavored. Though that’s a side effect from using my powers, like overheating.””Ooh, my powers can do that too,”
Voyager said, not sure if her lightheadedness or unpleasant nosebleed was the result of the fight or her own powers. ”Ice cream it is then. I like sherbert myself!”
Smiling in spite of the pain, she briefly considered the logistics of bringing both of them downstairs before realizing Hound Dog had nothing on his upper body anymore. Thinking quickly, she ‘borrowed’ the pilot jacket the Gargoyle was using and tucked it around his shoulders before lifting him to his feet and letting him lean on her own shoulders. Grabbing onto the Gargoyle’s foot with her free hand, she began the laborious march towards the back, the Gargoyle’s head bumping along the rough and broken flooring.”I hope that explosion...did not take out the elevators…”
Voyager huffed as she brought the two of them into the lobby again. ”I’ll probably...cry if I have to...take the stairs…””Yeah, a fitness instructor would love this place; all stairs.”
They both laughed weakly. It hurt to laugh. But it was a good kind of hurt.
“I thought I heard thunder earlier, you’re saying that was you guys?””Yes, a giant robot exploded! Took out most of the roof, I think.”
“That’s fucking dope. Man, I miss all the cool stuff…””Does that mean you missed me?”
Jordan grinned up at Voyager to indicate she was joking as the half-alien pushed her wheelchair through the sterile hospital corridors. She could think of doing nothing but smiling back, she was so happy to see her friend again. ”So you’re taking me to see the electric Elvis guy, right?” Jordan asked as she turned a corner. “Hound Dog, that was it. How did you two even meet?””I think he found me, and we just sort of worked together,”
Voyager mused as she counted off room numbers. ”I am sure he would want to know you got out okay...here it is!”
Eying the TV old taped recording of Happy Days played on the screen as the Doctor scolded Hound Dog again. “Everytime I see you, it’s broken bones; infections and burns. I told you this line of work was dangerous but no, don’t listen to your Doctor!”“Yeah, cool your jets Eddie. It worked out, saved the day and stopped some nasty guys along the way.”
“It’s Edward. Look, rest up. And you’ll be out in a few months, maybe less. You always heal up pretty quick.”
“Candygram!” Jordan called out as she was wheeled into the open door by Voyager. “I owe a big-ass chocolate bar to Hound Dog for busting me out!”“Hey hey. We got guests. Hows you twos doing tonight, feeling better now that you ain’t dinged up?”
“Oh yeah we bounce back fast, cause we’re just awesome like that,” Jordan gloated, flexing in her seat.”She is not wrong,”
Voyager said happily. ”I hope you are recovering as well?“Eh, doing alright. Few broken bones is all, and ribs. Nearly punctured a lung doc said I was this close to death.”
Hound Dog paused for a moment as he struggled to lift his arm and make a gesture. “This close.”
“You say that like it’s a good thing. Make the vist quick so he can get some rest.” Edward Winters said as he left the room.“I’d um. Shake your hand but I can’t get up. Names Sinclaire Adams. And I ain’t nothing, but a Hound Dog.”
“Haha, clever,” Jordan said genuinely. “I’m Jordan Fletcher, sadly don’t have a cool nickname yet, but not for lack of trying!””Oh...and I’m Riley,”
Voyager said with a big smile. ”I don’t think I told you yet.”
“Oh, here you guys are.”
Riley turned around to look at a dark haired girl strut into the room, a mild look of annoyance on her face and a paper bag tucked under her arm. “I went to get some sandwiches and you guys left. Luckily Voyager there was easy to follow.”
“I figured you’d be able to catch up, you’re more clever than I am,” Jordan said with a wink. “Oh Sinclaire, this is my cupcake Jane Sitko.”
“Do you have to call me that?” Jane asked, turning slightly red. ”It is a cute nickname,”
Riley commented. “Calling your gal cupcake, that’s sweet. Say. You seem familiar have we met?”
“Uh, I don’t recall...” Jane said in an offhand tone, not entirely meeting his eyes when he asked the question. “Oh, by the way, the news just dropped that the thugs involved in the Rabbit Motors raid were all Hounds. There’s been a mass arrest and everything.””Does that include the Gargoyle man?”
“Yup, and he even has a name. Wilhelm Krauss.” Jane recited the name with visible distaste. “Some sort of general who got discharged for his crazy conspiratorial views, from what I heard. The guy even sounds like a wannabe Nazi.”“Shame I didn’t bring my hatchet. There’s a lot you can do with a hatchet and a Nazi.”
“I even heard a slew of villains joined in the attack too,” Jane went on, with a pointed look at Voyager. “The police didn’t catch them, but I heard that they all got out safely and relatively unharmed. If they were working with someone else there, I’m sure they would want to know that.” Voyager smiled and winked at Jane, who subtly winked back, which only left Jordan more puzzled.
Outside of the room where Hound Dog rested, the clean halls of the Pacific Point Hospital were flooded with carts as Doctors and Nurses went about their day. Briley had rushed down with Martel in tow to ensure the well being of the two heroes that had saved not only Riley but Jordan as well. Martel was more worried about his charge Riley then his own position as Briley thought he’d be keeping a brisk pace until they found the right room. “Mr. Sinclaire, Mrs. Riley. And Mrs. Jordan and company. I am pleased to see you well, even after your significant injuries Mr. Sinclaire.” “Let’s cut the mr, I ain’t old enough to be using that yet. Just call me Hound Dog as usual.”
“Fair enough.” Briley said in response as she looked to Martel then back to Jordan and the girl besides her. “I suppose this is fine it won’t be some huge secret but after everything Martel has hidden there will be a punishment and demotion from his station.” Martel looked particularly stoney-faced at the announcement as Riley gasped in shock.”Noooo, you cannot punish him!”
Voyager wailed, forcing her way across the room and pulling the doctor into a desperate hug. ”He does a lot of good things and is really smart and other things!”
“That’s...kind of you…” Martel gasped out, nearly being choked by the force of the half-aliens desperate hug.
“Yeah, he only did that stuff because I brought her over,” Jordan mumbled, staring at her own knees. “If you’re gonna fire anyone, you should fire me…”
Briley eyed the room deliberately keeping the tension high. “I am afraid I cannot, while you may have brought Riley to Martel, he hid her from the company and inappropriately used resources not belonging to him. Therefore I am re-assigning him to S.P.A.R.K or the Special Power Applications, Research, and Knowledge division. Where he is to oversee the growth and safety of Riley alongside other heroes who may need specialized technology to function safely. If we are to unite against the Hounds, we will need to ensure they have everything they need to operate to the best of their abilities. S.T.R.I.K.E may be gone, but there will still be others who support Heroes.”
There was a short pause before Riley broke the silence with an excited squeal, hugging Martel even harder.
“I...well, thank you,” Martel gasped, looking rather shell-shocked at the announcement. “I’m honored that you would give me that position, ma’am.”
“They totally thought of the acronym before the name,” Jordan said as an aside to Jane.
“There will be a pay decrease of course, but you’ll have access to technology from every villain and hero we acquire it from. Ways to deal with problematic threats and cutting edge science to understand how powers work. I’ll work you to the bone, but I expect great things Doctor Martel.”
“You’ll...certainly get my best, ma’am…” Martel said, trying to breath in spite of Riley’s vice of a hug.“This is nice and all. But um. I can’t see the TV now. Anyways I will likely need a new jacket once I get out of this bed, something to help with my powers. Mrs. Patton you seem like a nice lady, even after what’s happened you haven’t thrown Riley or her friends under the bus so you have my attention and aid. Well. In a few months that is.””Ooh!”
Riley piped up, letting go of Martel so suddenly that he fell over before she bounced over to Hound Dog’s bedside. ”Does that mean we can still be friends and stuff, fighting bad guys and evil people?”“You’re a sugar rush of a candy striper you know that, but yeah. Guess we’ll be teammates if you need it.”
Riley was so happy she started floating in the air, much to Martel’s surprise.