disoriented and annoyed, Bear Cat woke up in a garbage dumpster in
the eastern section of Brickstown, near the marker for the Chasm.
With uncertain steps, he walked to the brick and mortar wall that
separated the building from the street. There, he leaned heavily on
it, trying to gain some sense of balance, and to regain some sense
of direction. A purple and white straight body truck was parked on
the other side of the entrance, and he could see the huge pipeline
system of the city running under a boulevard.
to himself, as he stepped away from the wall and started walking for
the sidewalk. A huge graffiti across the street caught his attention,
with its bright colors and lost meaning, he recalled that the train
station was west. Until he felt truly functional, he wouldn’t attempt
to use his travel powers. Still feeling confused and angry, Bear Cat
relived the last few hours of his life in his mind’s eye. What a fool
he had been to have taken on this base by himself, while an entire
group of people working with him, could’ve helped. But, he was prideful
and determined, and once again, it would cost him.
He was their leader,
and as such, he was entitled to certain liberties. After the recent
events, he couldn’t help but wonder how things would’ve gone if he
had brought along more people, instead of sending them left and right
on different errands, to make sure most of them never met. Granted
they were good people, and also borderline criminals with a mean streak,
but if he could assemble them under a single goal, they would be a
force to reckon with. When this whole business is over, he would give
this thought more time. Looking both ways, he started to cross the
street, when the sound of a telephone ring caught his attention. Looking
down on his utility belt, he recalled the last conversation with Marcus
Wepp. Reaching for the small cellular phone, he brought it up to his
ear and pressed the receive button.
“Mr. Bunny, just a
reminder, in case you have forgotten. You have seven days to bring
me to the Mark IV armor from Winter Industries. Do not bother calling
in the police or the heroes, or Turbo Starr is dead. Do you understand
my request?” Marcus Wepp’s voice was all business, and a bit arrogant
also, the voice of a man holding all the cards, for now.
“Do you understand
my request?” Wepp repeated as Bear Cat was trying very hard to stay
polite as a mother and her kid were walking by.
“Yes.” He then closed
the phone, and threw it away on the street, in anger and resentment
from being powerless against Wepp. It landed a few meters away, and
slid to a still on the slope that led up to the next district. Grunting,
he walked towards the east, towards the sewers, where he knew his
way around perfectly. He was wondering how many Hunters he would be
able to gather, if he called on them. Probably nine or ten, no more.
The others were just a bunch of independent operators, hunting preys
as they saw fit, rarely taking on a super group contract, unless it
met their agendas.
“Tommy, leave it alone, it’s just a cell phone.”
He heard a voice echo in the street. Turning around, he saw a young
man, probably about sixteen, looking at another teenage boy, bent
down where he had thrown Wepp’s phone.
“But it’s ringing bro, and
besides, it’s one of them new internet phones with wireless and digital
cameras. I can hide it in my room, and record Jessica and me doing
it, man.” The other replied as he was inspecting the telephone from
all angles, cleaning it with careful hands. Tommy wasn't sure if he
would put the video of him and Jessie humping away on his website,
but he knew for sure he wanted to record her for future viewings.
Maybe invite some of the guys over and brag about it for hours.
phone is mine kid.” Spoke Bear Cat from the sidewalk. “Give it up,
I have to answer that.”
The one holding the phone looked at Bear Cat,
and chuckled a bit. Aside from the smell that was emanating from him,
and the way he dressed, the huge man didn’t seem to be aware that
a banana peel was stuck to his shoulder. Taking a few steps towards
the west, the teenage boy, the one called Tommy, shook his head negatively
and started to run.
“Dumb plan kid.” Yelled Bear Cat as he followed
suit. Catching up to him would be a formality. But then again, sometimes
things just didn’t work out the way you planned. As he activated his
super speed and started to run after Tommy, Bear Cat, instead, started
to eat pavement. After the fourth step, he felt something trip him
down, and he ended scrapping across the pavement for a few meters,
before inertia and resistance finally gave up their struggle. Knees,
chin and elbows raw, he looked behind at the other teenage boy.
Tommy, run!” He yelled at his friend, as he ran also, directly for
Bear Cat, which he kicked in the face, before going on. Outraged,
Bear Cat started to get up and professed a few choice words aloud.
The two teenage boys were running up the sidewalk slope, heedless
of traffic and people, they were trying to get away. The horn of a
truck made him turn around as brakes screeched behind him.
the street, you bum, what do you think sidewalks are for?” Yelled
a heavy black man, who was leaning outside the driver’s window of
a green semi.
“Up yours.” Replied Bear Cat as he sped towards the
thieves. Reaching the one that kicked him was a formality, and none
of them had realized yet that he was super powered. He grabbed him
by the shirt collar, and then carried him under his arm as he went
on to catch up to Tommy, the horny one who tried to escape while the
phone rang on, giving away his position and direction.
through the gate of the Paragon fuel treatment facility, passing in
front the guard’s house without stopping, not paying attention to
the screaming man requesting a permit for entrance. He then jumped
over the fence and resumed his run across the street, making a car
stop a few inches before hitting him square in the legs. Bear Cat
followed, keeping his distance for now, fearing the worst for this
kid. He did need the cell phone back, and cursed his short temper
for throwing it away in the first place, but he would not get him
killed over it.
He watched Tommy run under the Abyss Towers overpass,
and let some distance build between them. The other one, still cradled
under his huge arm, was trying to no avail, to squirm free. Pleading
for Bear Cat to let him go, he screamed and kicked. Bu the leader
of the Hunters paid no attention to his request, as he kept his trained
eyes on Tommy’s figure as he ran on. The horny teenage boy looked
over his shoulder from time to time, and kept running like a bat out
of hell, for the train station. Reaching the far wall of the underpass,
Tommy used the cement ledge to run up and jump over the railing, entering
the Crescent district.
Bear Cat knew that the kid was more than likely
going to try and make it to the train station and disappear from there.
Giving up on chasing him directly, he used another route to reach
the Crescent. Once there, after a few seconds of searching, he found
Tommy again, in the distance, still running in the street with the
ringing phone, confronted by heavy traffic. Checking in from time
to time, Bear Cat followed him from the left flank, hiding himself
from view, hoping Tommy would stop running once he realized no one
was chasing him.
“That phone isn’t yours boy, give it up.” Spoke a
man in a black suit, black tie, wearing a headset piece composed of
an ear and microphone part, with a green eye piece. He blocked Tommy's
path on the right sidewalk, preventing him from reaching the train
station, less than four hundred yards away.
Challenged directly in
his path, Tommy stopped dead in his track, looking at the well dressed
man who had taken out a hand pistol. Looking left and right, he decided
to run across the street, towards the Ziggurat prison. Bear Cat, intrigued
at first by the intervention, saw everything that followed happen
in slow motion. Yelling for Tommy to stop running, he dropped his
friend face first in the dirt, and sped towards the teenage thief.
Unaware of the dangers, in his attempt to flee with the prize, Tommy
had put himself directly in the path of an oncoming city bus. The
man in the suit was aiming his hand gun for Tommy’s back, who was
running like a maniac for the other side of the street. Bear Cat appeared
over the fence Tommy was trying to reach, super speed burning under
his feet, looking at the bus driver almost standing on the brakes
of the heavy vehicle, trying to redirect the bus away from the teenage
boy. Seeing the leader of the Hunters appear, Tommy stopped in the
middle of the street, and saw the bus about to hit him, saw the scratches
and rust spots on the front end of the public vehicle.
Bear cat put
himself directly between Tommy and the bus, grabbing the boy in a
hugging grasp, he shielded him from the impact as best he could. At
the same time, he felt the stinging sensation of a bullet entering
his side, through the chest, shattering ribs as it lodged itself in
his left lung. The bus hit Bear Cat in the back, bending itself around
the tanker, and sent him and Tommy flying forward, to land heavily
on the street, dragged across by momentum. Bear Cat had just enough
senses left to twist himself around in mid-flight, to keep Tommy up
top, while his body was racked and dragged for meters.
The bus driver
wasn’t so lucky, and flew out through the windshield, shattering glass
followed his trajectory. He broke his neck and body when an oncoming
car hit him before he landed on the ground, throwing him in the other
direction. The car driver tried to stop it, but he ran over the bus’s
driver body before it came to an alt. Screams and cries of people
from inside the bus were heard, while bystanders stood rooted, looking
at the scene.
“This is a lousy day, of a lousy week, from a lousy
month.” Whispered Bear Cat, as a paralyzing pain was starting to take
over. Tommy struggled free from his grasp, uninjured and safe, he
looked down at Bear Cat. Who had begun to spurt blood from the mouth,
from the lung injury.
“Drop the phone!” Screamed the man in the suit.
“Drop that fucking phone kid, or I will put a bullet in your head.”
Looking around, the Crey Agent was satisfied that the civilians around
were too busy helping the people in the bus, and huddled around the
car that had run over the driver to be truly concerned by what was
going here. Tommy, dazed, afraid and confused, let the phone drop
next to Bear Cat from a shaking hand.
“Get the fuck out of here kid,
and you better hope I never you see you again.” Yelled the man to
Tommy. Looking around, at all the confusion going on, Tommy ran away,
tears blurring his vision, urine staining his blue jeans pants. The
man in the suit came to stand next to Bear Cat, while putting his
pistol away, he leaned next to him.
“You stupid fool, we can follow
you anywhere now.” He reached for the cell phone, and placed it back
on Bear Cat’s belt.
“If you loose it again, Dr. Wepp will make sure
you live to regret it.” The Crey agent was now appraising Bear Cat’s
physical condition, while in the distance, sirens could be heard.
“You’re all banged up big guy, the rescue teams are coming. Remember,
you have one week, and remember, we are watching you.” Spoke the agent
as he got up and walked away from the scene, buttoning his black vest
as he did so.