By Josef Koelbl III
Hellions don’t belong
in Talos Island.
That was just one of the rules, unwritten as they
were, that governed the criminal element in Paragon City. Hellions
had Atlas, Galaxy and Perez Park. The Warriors ruled Talos.
the Tsoo maintained a presence on the docks, ran them actually. The
Circle of Thorns had the outer islands. And the Freakshow could be
seen here and there, mostly just to finalize some deal. But for all
intents and purposes, the Warriors ruled Talos Island.
Hellions broke the rules. They had struck in Atlas and buildings still
burned there. They were running wild in Perez Park, burning, attacking,
destroying anything in their path. Not enough today. Not enough. Something
had set the Hellions off, removed the shackles that had bound them
and turned them loose, screaming to the sky with voices of flame.
The Warrior boss exited the gateway from Dark Astoria, glad to be
in the fogless light once more. He hated dealing with the Banished
Pantheon. Their shamans were too unstable to be trusted. But business
was business and even an Elite boss like himself had superiors to
"Hyde!" his lieutenant exclaimed, eyes wide as he looked
at the two skyscrapers ahead. "Are those…"
Hyde followed the man’s
pointing finger and his brow furrowed in confusion. At least fifteen
Hellions had run through the doors of one of the buildings. "Hellions?"
he looked at his crew, eyebrows raised in question. "What are they
doing here? They know not to…"
He was cut off by a large explosion
in the distance. In Talos Island proper, beyond the train station,
Hyde could see fire lighting up the sky. Five tall buildings had gone
up simultaneously. The Warrior boss stared at the fires in the distance.
Then his gaze fixed on the building the Hellions had entered.
he whispered, sharp and short, practically spitting the word out.
He frowned and looked over his shoulder. "C’mon," and Hyde and his
men walked deliberately to the tall structure.
Tropic stepped off
the train in Talos mere seconds after the blast. He rushed out onto
the platform, his eyes drawn to the buildings burning like candles
in the center of the city. Already the sirens of the emergency response
teams were heralding the arrival of fire and police personnel and
several heroes in the vicinity were making their way to the site.
"What the hell is going on?" a woman’s soft voice asked from behind
The fiery hero turned calmly and looked up at the hovering
figure. "I think the Hellions are branching out." He smiled crookedly
at the girl.
Ms. Moxie slowly floated to the ground and absently pushed
a raven hued lock of hair from her face. Her thick black hair fell
to her shoulders, her ruby red lips standing out in stark contrast.
A powerful tanker, she was almost as tall as he and she waited expectantly
for him to continue.
Tropic’s eyes were fixed on her, looking her
over from head to toe. She wore a one-piece catsuit looking type uniform,
cut open like a keyhole to below her navel and held together with
a simple silver belt buckle between her large breasts. He raised his
eyebrow. "New suit?" he asked with pursed lips.
"Yes," she preened,
arching her back and turning slightly to each side, modeling her new
clothes. "Like it?"
"It’s…hard to take your eyes off it," he grinned.
The red-skinned blaster continued to stare at the silver clasp. "What?
Does that buckle have magnetic taunting properties?"
One corner of
her lips curled up in a smile. "No…hey, eyes up here!" She watched
with a bemused expression as he literally tore his gaze from her chest.
"Hellions?" she reminded him.
"Yes…Hellions," he smiled and began
to tell her what was happening. He told her about the fight in Atlas
Park alongside PhoenixHawk and his team. He told her about his super
group patrolling other areas of the city. "I just got off the train,"
he said looking at the blazing buildings. "The explosion must have
He was cut off in mid-sentence by another hearty boom,
this time near Dark Astoria from the sound of it. Tropic and Ms. Moxie
spun around, their eyes glued to the fire erupting from the middle
of the huge skyscraper. They looked at each other and wordlessly took
to the air, heading towards the flame.
They landed moments later near
the blazing structure. Fire blazed out from windows at about the twentieth
floor. The two heroes saw that fire teams were already there, beginning
to work at containing the crowd and the flames.
Tropic and Moxie searched
through the chaos until they found the fire captain. Tropic called
out to him as they approached. "What can we do, chief?"
turned at the sound of the hard, raspy voice. He stared for a moment
and then an expression of recognition flashed across his face. "Tropic,
isn’t it?" he said extending his hand. "Saw you on the news the other
day," the captain said as he pumped the heroes hand vigorously. He
turned towards Ms. Moxie, his eyes meeting hers momentarily and then
almost immediately pulled to the buckle on her chest.
his head and held his hand to his lips, fighting to stifle his laughter.
Ms. Moxie sighed loudly and said, "Chief…CHIEF!" The man finally looked
up. "What can we do?"
The Chief shook his head as if trying to clear
it. "Yes…right…ok." His gaze began to drift again to Moxie’s chest.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw the frown forming on the heroine’s
face. He caught himself and turned to Tropic, figuring it to be the
safest course of action. He gathered himself and spoke again. "Right…well…we
got a real burner here," he gestured at the blazing skyscraper. "We
got fire all over the city and we’re spread pretty thin. The bad news
is our tall ladders and the equipment we use for these HBE’s are already
involved at other sites."
"HBE’s?" Tropic asked.
Ms. Moxie smiled
as she answered. "High Building Episodes."
Tropic raised an eyebrow.
She simply shrugged.
"Yeah," the Chief continued. "That’s the bad
news. The worse news is one of the businesses up there had a child
care facility for their employees." He looked at the heroes, frowning,
a very worried look on his face. "And some of the kids are unaccounted
"Kids?" a voice exclaimed from behind them.
Tropic turned and
stared at the Warrior, he could tell it was one of the gang’s elite
bosses. The fiery hero’s eyes flared brightly as he regarded the gang
leader. Tropic looked calmly at the fireman. "What floor is it on…the
The Chief looked up at the building. Thick smoke was
pouring from high windows and tongues of flame could be seen licking
their way up the walls of the structure. The firemen gripped the hoses
tightly, spraying water and foam, but without the high equipment it
was a losing battle.
"16th floor," he said as he stared at the building.
"But it’s almost certain that no one…HEY! YOU! STOP!…Don’t go in…!"
The two heroes followed the Chief’s gaze and Tropic saw the Warrior,
the Hewer Elite that had been listening to them, rush up the steps
and into the smoke filled building.
Tropic’s jaw dropped slightly
and he turned to Ms. Moxie whispering, "Damn."
The two heroes knew
where the Warrior boss was heading: the 16th floor, the child care
center. Tropic and Ms. Moxie looked at each other. "Damn fool," the
fireman was muttering. "He won’t make it."
Moxie shot straight up
into the sky, about twenty yards away from the side of the building.
She could feel the heat radiating from its walls as she rose higher,
trying to count the floors, looking for a way in to save whatever
children might be left inside…of retrieve their bodies.
shuddered at the thought and willed herself faster. Suddenly, as she
passed what she calculated was the 12th floor, she heard a loud, tight
clattering. She felt the hard sting as the machine gun rounds pounded
against her. Her powers made her impervious to the shells but they
still hurt and she hung suspended in the air, trying to cover up as
best she could, her body jerking spasmodically under the lead rain.
Tropic was only a few floors behind her when he saw the Hellions unloading
their weapons at Ms. Moxie. He flew up passing her twitching form,
his hands full of fire. The fiery hero shot a huge ball of flame through
the window and into the gunners. Their weapons practically melted
in their hands and they fell back into the hallway.
he asked his friend.
Ms. Moxie hovered in front of him and looked
herself over. Her face deepened in color and her eyes widened in anger.
Her outfit was ruined. Riddled with bullet holes, ripped and torn,
it was now no more than a rag. She looked briefly at Tropic then turned
her attention to the building and the Hellions inside. She hissed
through teeth clenched with rage, "This…was… NEW!" She crashed through
the wall. It exploded inward and Tropic watched through the huge hole
as the enraged tanker tossed Hellions about like rag dolls.
sighed and, knowing the Hellions didn’t stand a chance, flew quickly
upward until he reached the floor he hoped the children could be found.
Tropic arced out then crashed through a window, landing in an office.
Smoke billowed out the shattered window and it was hot and getting
Tropic was a creation of fire but even he had his limits.
Knowing he had to find those children he rushed out the office’s open
doorway. "KIDS!" he cried, "WHERE ARE YOU?!" He strained to hear through
the conflagration but the only sound was the loud crackle of flame
and the groans of the dying building. "WARRIOR! ANSWER ME!" he screamed,
trying, hoping to find them all but becoming more fearful by the second
that this day would end in tragedy.
He moved as quickly as possible
down the floor’s corridor, stopping at every door, checking every
room. A beam crashed down from the ceiling, landing directly behind
him. Tropic gritted his teeth and moved faster, searching for the
children…or what was left of them. "KIDS!" he cried out again. "WARRIOR!"
The fiery hero entered a large reception area. Flames were already
licking at it’s walls as he moved. To each side a staircase loomed,
leading to a second floor within the floor. He went right, up the
stairs, calling out again. "KIDS! PLEASE! ANSWER ME!…please!"
ran across the balcony, frantically looking into the smoky abandoned
offices when suddenly he heard a tiny cough. He turned in the sound’s
direction but only silence remained. Eyes wild with fire and fear,
the hero ran towards the cough’s origin. Ahead, a closed door blocked
his path. Tropic never slowed. He put his shoulder down and crashed
through the threshold.
The blaster hurriedly looked around the room
and smiled with relief. There in a corner of the small office three
very young and frightened children were huddled about one very relieved
Warrior. The gang boss sighed. "Took you long enough."