Shadow of a Flame
by Myths n' Wraiths
Victor threw off his baseball cap, revealing an unkempt main of brick
red hair, and cast away his concealing jacket, displaying himself
for the mountain of a mutant he was. All around him police officers
were bursting out of cars and vans, charging for the warehouse with
their assault rifles and stun rods at the ready.
In one effortless
leap Victor cleared the hundred yards that lay between him and the
warehouse and collided with the back door with all the force of a
SCUD missile. The wooden entry shattered like glass under his blow
and he charged into the cluttered chasm of a building.
scoped the entire room, picking out just over a dozen mobs scattered
amongst the many shelves, tables, boxes and containers that crowded
every corner of the massive building and there in the middle of it
all was the target. The file that had been compiled on this particular
Blood Hound boss showed that the man had accrued quite a few aliases
over the years but was currently known as Capillary.
“This is the
Paragon City Police.” Victor yelled in his deep booming voice. All
around him the heads of over a dozen panicking gang members snapped
up in his direction. “We have a warrant to search and detain everyone
on the premise. You have the right…” Victor never got the chance to
finish his statement because suddenly there was at least one weapon
for every Blood Hounds member present, and they were all pointed at
Victor. …to get the living crap beat out of you. Victor thought to
himself as he let his considerable powers loose and veiled his body
in a layer of protective energy so intense that it ignited the air
around his body.
“Take him down!” Victor heard Capillary’s voice shout
out to the gang and in one united response a hail of gun fire was
sent flying in his direction.
Despite his considerable resistance
to pain and injury Victor had no intention of allowing himself to
be a sitting target for these common thugs. Thinking fast and moving
even faster, Victor picked a minion toward the center of the room
and lept over to confront him. Now in a location that would both draw
the attention of the gang away from the other police officers that
were streaming into the building and positioned so that the mobs would
be less likely to use their guns on him, for fear of hitting each
other, Victor brought his full strength to bear on the criminals.
One powerful blow from Victor’s energy enveloped hand and a minion
collapsed unconscious at his feet.
A quick glance toward the entrance
showed Victor that the police teams had already entered the building
and were fanning out quickly to surround the gang members and apprehend
them. Wanting to subdue the mobs and end the confrontation before
his fellow officers got involved, Victor picked Capillary out of the
gang and squared off against the much smaller villain, hoping that
if he could subdue their leader the rest of the gang would follow
Before he could close the distance between himself and his quarry
however, another of the lower level minions slipped in close enough
to Victor to bring a wooden bat down across his jaw with enough force
to splinter the weapon into pieces. The minion’s attack did little
more than to distract the giant mutant, who responded in like manner
by throwing a hook that caught the minion in his side and sent him
flying across the room to a crash into a pile of boxes almost twenty
Once again Victor turned his attention to the Blood Hounds
leader, who was desperately trying to organize his minions against
their attacker. The mutant waded through the small horde that separated
him and his target, allowing the flames that where radiating from
his body to force the minions out of his way. A few of Capillary’s
more loyal subordinates stood fast, attempting to guard their hierarch
from the oncoming assault. Victor swept them aside as easily as if
he were pushing open a curtain and placed himself menacingly in front
of the Blood Hound boss.
Victor could pick out a look of fear a mile
away. As a mutant people had been afraid of him for as long as he
could remember, whether he gave them reason to or not; but the level
of terror that the gang leader was displaying caught Victor off guard.
He knew from years on the police force that these gang bosses did
not get where they were by shrinking from a fight so when the Capillary
turned to run from Victor’s presence in terror the powerful mutant
was as much surprised as he was amused.
“How did you find me you damn
monster? Get away from me!” Capillary shouted when he discerned Victor’s
face through the crimson flames that enveloped the mutant’s presence.
As Capillary turned to flee from his assailant a blazing fist snatched
him up by the front of his jacket and yanked him into Victor’s other
fist, which incidentally was heading in the opposite direction of
Capillary’s face. The old physics law about how two objects are not
able to occupy the same space at the same time proved true once again
and Capillary was knocked out cold.
Sudden shouts of, “Police, freeze!”
and, “Drop your weapons and get down on the ground!” were sounding
off all around the warehouse now that the rest of the police force
had moved close enough to engage the mobs. The various Blood Hound
minions capitulated in turn, having seen the fate of their leader.
Within a matter of moments the police officers had cuffed all the
gang members and were ushering them out of the building. Victor stood
menacingly in the middle of the vast room, watching over the minions
as they were escorted out of the building. Despite the fact that he
had ceased exuding the flow of energy that gave birth to the flames
that guarded him, his presence alone was enough to discourage any
further acts of resistance from the apprehended thugs.
No sooner had
the last thug been hauled out of the warehouse than Saundra and the
rest of her team filed in. Saundra spotted Victor immediately and
started picking her way toward him, her slender and elegant form sliding
gingerly through the mess of crushed boxes and toppled shelves. Showing
her usual efficiency as a leader she started passing instructions
to the detectives that followed her, sending the half dozen men in
different directions to begin the long and tedious process of sifting
through the entire warehouse and labeling everything that might be
used as evidence against the newly reformed gang. A grin of excitement
spread across her lips as she approached the stern faced mutant.
did it again.” She said as she slapped Victor on his chest, the percussion
of which closely resembled that of smacking marble. “Eighteen heavily
armed suspects apprehended and not a single police injury.”
a days work Boss." Victor replied as his brutal persona softened to
a casual demeanor. "How long do you think it will take to get this
place sorted out and cleaned up?" He said, changing the subject. While
Victor was far from timid, he was also not a glory hound. He liked
to hear his boss say, "Job well done," as much as the next guy but
he had learned long ago to avoid too much attention, whether it be
good or bad.
It had taken Saundra time to get used to Victor's sense
of self-denial when it came to getting praise for his work but over
the years she had grown accustomed to his unusual methods. "Depends
on how much of this stuff in here is actual contraband and how much
of it is legitimate supplies. I have the crew giving the place a quick
look over to see if there is anything we can find that might help
the DA get the judge to deny the gang members bail. Judging by how
ready they were to defend this place I am guessing there has got to
be something pretty valuable to them mixed in with all this mess."
"Hey Saundra," One of the detectives shouted across the room. "We
got something here." Victor glanced in the direction the voice had
come from to see a couple of the detectives digging excitedly through
a set of filing cabinets.
“Ask and ye shall receive.” Victor quoted
to his superior with a slight grin forming on his lips. Saundra shot
him a quick smile than nodded her head in the direction of the filing
cabinets as if to ask Victor to come along. “Nah,” He responded. “You
go ahead. I am going to take a look around outside. A bust like this
is sure to draw some attention.” Victor was counting on the fact that
news of this arrest would travel quickly and that some of the less
intelligent local low-lifes would let their curiosity overwhelm their
natural tendency to avoid police and come to see for themselves what
had happened. Picking out overly curious gang members from among the
naturally inquisitive populous could give an officer some insight
as to which gangs were operating in the immediate area and in what
“Alright Big V. Danny picked up your jacket and hat for
you. He’s probably got them over in the van if you want to get them.”
Saundra said as she strolled away.
Victor began making his way to
the buildings exit as he reflected on his recent actions. Every aspect
of the operation began playing back through his mind and he carefully
dissected each moment as he prepared himself for the arduous task
of filing the necessary paperwork that came with an arrest of this
size. Over all Victor was satisfied with the entire operation. It
had been done quickly, professionally and without any casualties and
that was really all that he was concerned with. He left the nagging
questions like, “What did the gangs business in this warehouse consist
of?” and, “What was their major goal?” up to the team of detectives
that Saundra always had tailing her; all that concerned him was that
every one went home safe… except for the bad guys.
One thing did nag
at the back of Victor’s thoughts though; the way that Capillary acted
when he saw him. It was as if the gang leader knew him from somewhere
in his not so distant past. Victor supposed that it was possible they
had had a run in recently; he was after all responsible for well over
a hundred gang related arrests. Still it was not like him to forget
something of that nature especially since he had looked heavily into
Capillary’s history before the operation began.
Victor was about to
pass the whole thing off as nothing more than an unusual coincidence
when Saundra’s voice pulled him away from his personal thoughts and
back to his present. “Victor, get over here quick!” Victor had spent
many years working with Saundra and the tone in which she called to
him was one he only heard on the rarest and worst of occasions. It
was not an order that she spoke to him but a plea, a call filled with
both confusion and fear.
Moving on an instinctive reaction Victor
spun around and leapt across the cluttered warehouse to land next
to Saundra. The police inspector had a shocked and confused look on
her face as she handed Victor a manila folder packed full of papers.
“These guys have a file an inch thick on you Victor. Your address,
your history, your family, your abilities, it’s all in there.” Saundra
spoke in a concerned hushed tone. “Some of those files are even police
records. Things that no one but myself and the district director have
“That’s impossible.” Victor responded incredulously but
when he opened the file to see exact duplicates of his original police
testing and records the sickening realization of just how possible
it was began to sink in.
“That’s not all. There are blueprints of
almost every major building in Kings Row in these file cabinets and
some papers referring to an Operation Blood Drive but it’s all in
Suddenly Victor’s face went blank as a sickening feeling of
dread sunk into his stomach and an overwhelming sense of desperation
flooded his mind. Confusion set in for a moment as he tried to justify
the sudden sense of panic but then he realised it was not his own
thoughts that were cuasing him to feel this way but somone elses.
He heard a call for help echo in his thoughts and he knew instantly
that something was horribly wrong.
“It’s my wife. I have to go.” The
shell shocked mutant said bluntly as he turned to leave.
Victor? Where are you going?” Saundra shouted after the retreating
mutant, who had already cleared the distance between her and the exit.
“Sage is in trouble.” Victor responded just before his large frame
disappeared through the door to the warehouse.
In Victors mind rang
out a plea and a cry unlike anything that could be described. Across
a great distance the pain and the sorrow of another person was being
shouted into his very soul and he knew without a doubt that the pain
and sorrow were his wife's. He had felt her use her ability to manipulate
and broadcast emotions before, but never in this way; it was like
a beacon, a guiding light that drew him in a direction that he quickly
realized, with a note of dread, led to his home.
to stave off a wave of panic as he exited the warehouse and in one
incredible leap cleared over two city blocks. Hundreds of nightmares
flashed threw his mind as he leapt from one building top to another.
Doubts and confusion flooded his thoughts. He was so deep in his own
fears that when the building he had just jumped clear of bloomed into
a massive fiery explosion he almost leapt away without noticing.
raced out of the warehouse just in time to see Victor clear a building
top two blocks away. Without missing a beat she ran over to a van
about a dozen yards away that was sporting a soft drink advertisement
on the side and tore open the back door. Inside the rather inconspicuous
van a decidedly conspicuous young man sat surrounded by computers
and communications equipment.
“Danny!” Saundra yelled as she gingerly
climbed into the van. Her dramatic entrance nearly startled the young
technician out of his chair. “Give me your head set I need to speak
“I thought Victor was inside with you, what is going
on?” Danny said in surprise. He quickly removed his hands free communications
set and passed it to Saundra, fearing that if he let her get within
grasping reach she would snatch it off his head anyway.
“I don’t know,”
Saundra replied curtly as she held the set up to her ears and spoke
quickly into the set. “Bid V, Big V, come in.” Static was the only
reply that she received.
“Wow, He still has his com piece and tracking
node but he is already out of signal range and heading north east
at an awesome rate of speed.” Danny said pointing to a tracking screen
that showed a flashing red dot moving across a topographical view
of the city. “Saundra what’s going on?”
Saundra glared at the tracking
screen for almost a full minute before turning her attention back
to Danny. “I want you to call Victor’s home and see if you get an
answer. If you can’t get through send a squad by to…” Before Saundra
could finish passing out her orders the van was rocked by a sudden
and powerful shockwave followed a second later by the deafening boom
of a massive explosion. Computer consoles toppled off their shelves
all around Saundra and Danny and crashed at their feet.
f…” Danny began to scream franticly.
“Danny shut up and get in touch
with dispatch.” Saundra snapped, instantly organizing her thoughts
and directing her subordinate. “Get a report from them on where that
explosion took place.” She ordered the young and shaken technician
as she turned to jump out of the van.
“Uhm... boss I can’t get in
touch with dispatch.” Danny said picking up a console and pointing
at the blank screen dejectedly.
“Why? It doesn’t look broken.” Saundra
replied eyeing the equipment and the technician dubiously.
Danny said with a confused shrug. “I just don’t have a signal. The
phone line must be down.”
“But our coms don’t run off of land lines.
For us to lose the signal the satellite receivers at the phone center
would have to be…” Saundra’s voice trailed off as a rescent memory
of something she had seen on the blueprints they had found inside
the warehouse returned to her. “Danny, get on the radio and direct
all available personnel in the immediate area to the Paragon Pell
phone center on Richards St. Police, Emergency Medical and Fire Department,
everyone needs to move to that location immediately; that’s where
the explosion took place.”
“Woe, did you guys hear that explosion?”
A patrol officer said as he stuck his head in the back of the van.
Saundra rolled her eyes.
“Yes! Now do me a favor and run inside and
find detective Peterson. He has a bunch of blueprints that we found
in the warehouse.” Saundra directed the patrol officer. “I need the
addresses for the buildings on all of those blueprints and hurry.”
“Yes Mam,” The patrol officer said as he ran off to accomplish his
“Danny, as soon as we get those addresses I want you to send
a squad to each of those locations to check them out. Use our own
people if you can’t get in touch with dispatch.”
“What.” She responded coolly.
“What the heck is going on?”
“Someone just cut this neighborhood’s communications off at the knees
and I have the crazy suspicion that the phone company is not the only
building they are going to hit.”
“Oh boy, this sucks.” Danny muttered.
Victor leapt from what was left of the second story of the decimated
phone company building and landed lightly on the pavement, holding
an unconscious body in each of his arms. The explosion had taken place
on one of the higher levels of the building where there was more equipment
than people; still the destruction was devastating. The building had
once towered ten stories high, now all that was left of the fifth
through tenth floors were the metal and concrete skeletal remains
of what was once the buildings infrastructure and there was not a
single window left intact on the entire block.
Having taken a good
look through what was left of the building Victor was confident that
the remaining floors were stable enough to allow the people that were
still on them to find there own way out. It was hardly in keeping
with his character to leave people that were in need unaided but the
anxiety that was coursing through his mind could not be ignored. Once
he had laid the unconscious victims in a safe place on the street
corner, where he was confidant that rescue workers would find them
quickly, Victor took off toward his home once again.
A hollow pit
of dread formed in Victor’s stomach as his imagination began to run
rampant. In the ten years he had known his wife he had never felt
her use her powers to call him in such a way, to attack his very emotions.
Dreadful scenarios began to run through his mind; everything from
his wife being assaulted to their apartment being attacked, and still
none of these ideas seemed to match the desperation that was resonating
in his mind and heart.
Victor made it to his home in record time as
he pushed his body to the limit, crossing four city blocks with each
tremendous hurdle. He caught sight of his apartment building on the
pinnacle of one of his leaps and guessing the distance perfectly bounded
across another two city blocks to land on the balcony outside his
home. He noticed instantly as he approached the front door had been
busted in and rage mingled instantly with his dread.
yelled as he barged through the entrance and into the living room,
ready for anything. All he found was his wife kneeling on the floor
with her face buried in her hands, sobbing. Victor rushed over to
her and caught her up in his arms, quickly checking from her neck
length sandy brown hair to her slender feet for injury and breathing
a sigh of relief when he saw none.
Sage grabbed her husband in vise
like grip as he pulled her close to him and placed her mouth next
to his ears. When she spoke through her tears her voice was a hoarse
whisper and her tone was seething with rage and dread. “They’re gone
Nathan, our boys are gone.” Victor felt his very soul fall out of
him as she continued. “They took our boys!”