Megan smiled at how the battle was turning; she had taken out seven of the ten heroes who had attacked the warehouse. She called in her remaining guards and had them surround the crates that the last three had hidden behind. Several other guards collared the still-frozen supers, inhibiting their abilities once they thawed out.
“Come out with your hands up, RedShift. You are hopelessly surrounded, and even more hopelessly out-gunned. Surrender now and we’ll let you live.” She called out to him.
The first row of guards went flying back, having been freed from gravity’s hold on them.
“I guess that’s my answer.” she grumbled. “Take them!” she shouted to her troops.
As the sound of gunfire and shouts echoed throughout the warehouse, Megan suddenly realized that the super from Paragon City had not been accounted for.
JD had managed to avoid capture by hiding. The ice that had started to encapsulate him had shattered when he fell to the floor. When he heard all the guards running around, he ducked under a desk that was in the room, and somehow, the guards had overlooked him. As he ran away from them, he stole a quick glance behind him; the battle had resumed, and although it was just Eric, Mystere, and FrostByte, the powers those three wielded was more than enough to hold off a group of guards, armed or not.
He came to a door, which was unlocked. Opening it revealed a stairwell going down. Without thinking about where it led, he took it, hoping he might find Carlos and Marisol.
Megan was aghast; the tide of battle had turned again, and her troops were being taken out quicker than they could be replaced. She shot her icy arrows in vain, knowing that unless RedShift and the others showed themselves, she would not be able to affect the outcome of this fight. She called a guard to her.
“Bring me the kids.” she ordered.
The guard nodded and went toward the stairwell door, which he found curiously ajar. He wondered what it meant for one second, and then went down the stairs. The kids would be the one bargaining chip against these would-be heroes.
JD found the darkness of the corridor puzzling.
“I guess they can’t afford to light the whole place.” he commented aloud. He kept his hand on the wall so he could have some clue as to where he was going. He let out a sound of surprise as he hit a door handle. He gave it a jiggle; it was locked.
“Who’s there?” came a muffled voice on the other side.
“JD. Who’m I talkin’ to?” he answered.
“Do you have a light?” the voice asked.
“Not really. I can make some electricity, but I don’t think I can light a cigarette with it.”
“I just need some sort of illumination. Hold it to the bottom of the door.”
JD did as the voice requested, the electricity arcing between his fingers gave a cold, blue glow to the corridor.
“Get away from the door, please.” the voice instructed again. As JD did so, a sudden explosion occurred, sending the locked door and its frame smashing into the opposite wall of the hallway. In the darkness, he still couldn’t see who he had just rescued.
“I take it you ain’t Carlito.” he said nonchalantly.
“No. You can call me Prismatic, JD. Thank you for rescuing me. I have no doubt you can tell me what’s going on, but we must leave now.”
“Right.” JD said, and reaching out, he grabbed her hand, startling her, but eagerly taking his hand as he led them out of the dark corridor.
As they made their way back to the ground floor, JD explained who he was and why he had come to Chicago. Prismatic had told him she had been “arrested” by the Family and had been kept in a completely dark room. Her powers only worked when she had a light source available. Once in an illuminated area, JD could see that she indeed chose her codename well; her flesh was transparent, but the texture of muscles and skin cells refracted light, making her skin flash with patches of color; she looked almost like a living opal.
“Wow. You’re pretty.” he commented.
She gave him a look. “Wow. You’re married.”
“I don’t mean that, um, I, uh..” he stammered.
“Look, while you’re tripping over your tongue, JD, my friends could use some help. Shall we?” she said calmly. She had him pegged as a charmer. As he ran up the stairs, she shook her head and smiled.
More guards had surrounded the crates, but it was a meaningless gesture; twin blasts, one of lightning, one of light, ripped through the group, taking out several guards at a time. Unprepared for the attack from behind, the guards began to throw down their weapons in surrender.
Eric stepped out from behind the crates, Mystere and FrostByte behind him. The icy giant looked at the bodies all over.
“JD! Prismatic! He found you!” Eric called out as he ran to the transparent woman. He picked her up and embraced her. “Thank God! I thought for sure you were dead!”
“Might as well have been.”
“Where are the others?” JD asked.
“Outside, where you will be joining them.” came the Huntress’ voice.
Suddenly, more guards came streaming in from the outside; all armed with automatic weapons. The five raised their hands up simultaneously.
Megan had the supers bound and taken to the outside courtyard, where she had gathered as many citizens as she could. This would be the final execution and warning to any who opposed the Family’s rule over Chicago. Already there were the six others who had been taken captive, swooning about from the effects of the inhibitor collars. RedShift and the others were forced onto their knees.
“I thought we could have worked out a truce, RedShift. You join us, you get to use your powers openly.” she started. She put her face inches from his. “Pity it didn’t work out that way. I would have enjoyed having you around.” her salacious grin spoke volumes.
Standing away from the supers were Marisol and her brother. They seemed to be in some kind of stupor. JD wondered if the mind-controlling substance known as Persuasion had made it here. Neither kid seemed aware of what was going on.
As Megan walked to her prizes, she gave the guards the order to aim. The guards raised their guns and targeted the eleven superheroes. But before she could give the order to fire, a brick from the crowd came flying from the group of citizens and struck Megan in the head, knocking her to the ground.
Chaos erupted. The citizens suddenly brandished clubs, knifes, bats, anything they could use as a weapon and began to rush the guards. Suddenly twirling around, the men trained their weapons on the people and started to fire. Several people, hit by bullets, fell to the ground.
Mystere jumped up from her crouched position and flung herself between the people and the armed guards; activating a force field as she did so. Bullets ricocheted in every direction.
Inspired by this turn of event, Eric shifted the gravity field around the guards, causing them to be suddenly pulled to the ground. He was surprised to see Vonda leading the charge.
“Untie the others! We need them!” he ordered.
As she did so, each hero added their strength to the fight; and when the inhibitor collars were removed; the scope of the battle escalated.
Unseen, two guards took Marisol and Carlito away, along with Megan, to a waiting helicopter. The chances were good that if the citizens were rebelling here, they would likely start throughout the city. They would have to consolidate their power if they were going to survive.
The chopper blades started up, and was ascending before anyone knew what was going on.
Everyone stopped to look at it, when FrostByte yelled, “She’s got the kids!”
Eric thought quickly; he quickly reached out with his teleportation ability and grabbed one of the two. Carlito materialized next to him. He tried again to grab Marisol, but the helicopter quickly flew out of range.
“Damn!” he cursed.
That night was a night that the city of Chicago would not forget for some time. Throughout the entire city, citizens and heroes who had gone underground were fighting the crime family, and winning. By morning, the revolution had been complete, and it felt like it.
The mayor, who previously had been a puppet of the Family, declared the day a city holiday, and decreed that superheroes could act openly in the defense of the people, much to the delight of the populace. He honored those who had triggered the revolution in a special ceremony the next day.
When all the hoopla was over, Eric drove JD, Prismatic and Carlito to the airport. He was sorry to see Prismatic leave, but she insisted that the Universe needed her in Paragon City. As for Carlito, Eric figured he would be safer out east. Chances were good that The Huntress would not give up in trying to get him back. The boy was scared, and in shock over his mother’s death, but willingly went with JD, who was surprised to be taking back two others.
“Jon is not gonna like this at all.” he kept mumbling, even in his sleep. Eric smiled slightly; the boy had been a breath of fresh air, and had inadvertently saved the city.
“You haven’t smiled in some time, Eric.” Vonda said suddenly.
“I have a lot to smile about, Vee.” he replied. “By the way, nice throw.” he added.
“I’m surprised it hit.” she quipped back. She looked down at her lap and then over at him. “Just how busy are you going to be with the new City Department of Heroes?” she asked.
He looked over at her with a sly look. “I’m sure I can find some free time.”
Megan looked at her boss, who was furious over the night’s events.
“Gone! All gone!” he screamed.
She regarded him with her icy gaze, her usual look whenever he went on his rampages.
Calming himself down, he looked at her. He could see hatred and vengeance burning in her eyes. He knew she worked better independently, and her desire to get back at that interloper from Paragon City would be her solitary goal until she had achieved it.
“Take the girl and go to Paragon City. I will contact the Don. You will answer to no one but him. When you have killed your target, come back here. You will always have a place here.”
Megan smiled, grateful for her freedom. She turned to the girl, who had chosen the name FireAngel.
“Pack your things.” she said. “We’re going on a little trip.”