“Sir, this is central dispatch, we received a priority alpha message from Portal Corporation.” The male voice on the comm channel was excited and stressed. Chromium Man thought to himself that he didn’t need anymore more bad news today. The Ghost army was gathering itself for another assault on the barricade, and the people here were on the breaking point, tensed and tired, they had been fighting for so many hours now. A priority Alpha signal in the city, meant that an arch-villain was roaming the streets free, and it was up to Apocalypse to control the situation. But given the current events, he would be hard pressed to dispatch anyone over there.



“Do we have an identity on the threat?” He asked while walking towards the blaster line, positioned at the back, where he would take his place in the firing solution that Electrobolt had ordered. Granted he was the leader, but much like Cavalier, he wouldn’t just stand by and hand out orders, he would do his share of the fighting.



“Voyager.” Replied the dispatch.



“Say again?” He stopped dead in his tracks, now there’s a name he hadn’t heard in a while, not since the dimensional wars. He selected the private channel, to continue the conversation.



“Voyager sir, the security detectors over at Portal Corporation clearly identified him as he passed through, we have video footage also. Should I patch it through?”



“Yes, and send another hero all-call signal, we’re gonna need help. Warn the city authorities about the situation, and make sure they understand this has to be contained discreetly, we don’t want every John Rambo who thinks he can take down an arch-villain roaming the streets looking for a target.” Just great, bad enough we have to deal with an invasion in Kings Row, now we get a powerful raving lunatic back from the twilight zone. “Keep me updated.”



And he closed the channel, but his eyes were glued to the image that central dispatch had forwarded, that of Thomas Bane walking unchallenged in the corridors of Portal Corporation, clothes tattered and left shoulder bleeding, eyes a fiery red. How had he escaped the dimension, surely General Hammond would've tried to kill him on sight, which more than likely explained why the old controller was injured. He shivered thinking about the military base for a moment, was it still standing?



“Bolt, where you want me?” He asked the leader of the blasters, while looking at the firing line, nodding his head in response to the waves and salutes he got from them.



“Center line, CM. The record holds at fifty-seven hits in a row, held by your truly.” And Electrobolt flourished a bow as he said that last, smiling ruefully at Chromium Man.



“I told you, I got here late…” He replied with a chuckle in his voice. Five hundred yards away, the Ghost army was making noise, the same racket it made right before an attack. Everyone at the barricade took their positions, looking ahead at the oncoming onslaught, some saying silent prayers.



Xanthion and the scrappers were holding position to the left, hugging the wall and waiting. When the fighting would begin, they would sneak out and head north, then head straight east into the zone. Once in there, they were free to do what it took to get the mission done, no questions asked. Xanthion felt elated at the prospect of being let loose, and looking at his team, he saw on some faces the very same emotion. Although some of them showed clear signs of doubts as to what they were about to do, they all understood the importance of what they were attempting.



“Xanthion, why did you pick only scrappers for this one?” Asked Comatoast of the FRONT, looking around at the others scrappers who were making ready.



“Because, I want killers at my side.” Simply replied Xanthion. “Anything else would be, uncivilized.” And he flashed his feral smile to the team.



“But what if we find survivors in there, what are we gonna do about them?” Comatoast felt uncomfortable looking at Xanthion now, something about him was not right, more of a predator than a hero he thought to himself.



“We tell them to come here, where we’re going isn’t a place for them. They’ll have better luck staying put or trying to make it here.” Replied Xanthion whose eyes were suddenly attracted to Shadow-Step, he had just slapped a hand to his forehead, like a man who just now remembered something important. “What’s up Shadow?”



“O-Lan, I left O-Lan out there.” Replied the dark scrapper.



Xanthion slowly stood up and came to stand in front of Shadow-Step: “You know where O-Lan is?”



“Yes, we were both the guests of a secret organization, hidden beneath an old factory in the Gish, they called themselves the Hunters of Apocalypse. They’re the ones that broke me out of jail yesterday, and O-Lan happened to be captured by its leader.” Shadow-Step looked away from Xanthion’s penetrating gaze, he would tell him everything, that is, everything but the balls busting kick she had given him. “They’re holding her in a cage, but the base has been abandoned.”



“Hunters of Apocalypse… Interesting name, but I never heard of them. Would you be able to take us to her?”



“Yes, the factory is on the corner of fifth avenue and seventh street, we can get in by the sewers.” Replied Shadow-Step, who had suddenly realized that she would more than likely attempt to arrest him again. He shook his head in disbelief, their fates were truly intertwined together, try as hard as he wants, she’s always in the picture.



“Boys and girls, our mission just got an update, we are now a rescue team.” Xanthion replied that last as the first volleys left the barricade towards the Ghost army, the fighting had begun anew. “Let’s move!” They ran silently away from the battle, leaving behind the safety of the barricade, and headed north into Kings Row. Each of them looking around, searching the shadows for the enemy, the sounds of the battle slowly faded away, only the occasional flash from an explosion lit the sky now and then. The quietness surrounding them was oppressing, every foot step they made seemed to be making too much noise, even their breaths were beginning to sound too loud. In a district where all power was down, all cars were out of order, even rats tried to keep quiet.



Reaching the coordinates, they turned towards the east, all of them running from shadow to shadow, moving as a unit. Xanthion looked forward to the fighting ahead, his inner being was found wanting for blood and gore, found needing for inhibited violence. That the others had misgiving about it was secondary, the fact of the matter remained that the enemy had proven itself ruthless and merciless, and it was now their turn to repay it in kind.

TO PART 8 >
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