of a Flame
by Myths n’ Wraiths
"I don't get it Saundra,
if they were trying to cut off our communications why would they blow
up the phone company? The long range radios in the cruisers can still
reach dispatch. It seems like a lot of work just to cut out our cell
phones." Charlie Baker, the director of the SWAT team, spoke in a
gravelly voice after Saundra had briefed him and the rest of the detectives
on what she believed was going on. He was an older man who had the
look and moves of a seasoned warrior. He possessed a mind of tactics
and maneuvers but when it came to investigations he graciously and
wisely left things to the younger sharper minds.
"Because, while we
may be able to talk with each other we have still been blinded to
what’s going on the city. Without the land lines and the cell phones
the residents of Kings Row can’t call in to report any disturbances
and that allows the gangs to move freely around the city without us
knowing it." Saundra replied in a quick professional tone to the older
veteran. "We took these addresses off of some blue prints that we
found inside the warehouse. These are all major businesses or public
service buildings and the blueprints for that phone company building
was at the top of the pile. I believe that the Blood Hounds are going
to try and either take over or take out the rest of these buildings
next and if they do we are going to be looking at wide spread chaos
and rioting. Our goal is to get to each of these places and secure
them against any possible assault." Saundra spoke hurriedly as she
handed a torn strip of paper with an address scribbled on it to each
of the detectives. "Now everyone grab some back up and beet feat over
to these locations. I want an initial situation report sent out Danny,
our tech support, and status reports every half hour."
practically broke into a run as they split up and began calling any
and every officer within earshot to follow them on their mission.
"You’re with me Charlie." Saundra said as she popped the trunk to
a nearby patrol car and exposed a veritable arsenal. From its contents
she pulled a pistol belt, laden with two hand guns and half a dozen
other utilities and slung it around her waist, quickly adjusting it
to fit her slender hips. Next she retrieved an assault rifle that
would have made Rambo drool with desire and locked a magazine into
its well. Last but not least she stripped off her button down blouse,
still modestly covered by a form fitting undershirt, and replaced
it with a set of Individual Ballistic Armor. "Our target is a bank
two blocks over, we can reach it by foot in less than five minutes
if we move quickly."
Charlie smiled in admiration as he watched Saundra
transform from a clinically, analytical investigator to a decked out
soldier, ready for the harshest combat. She might not have the experience
but she definitely has the guts. He thought to himself wryly.
have my guys stock up on first aid kits and ammo; if you’re right
then we are probably going to need plenty of both." Charlie said as
he began checking his own weapon and inventorying the supply of ammo
and equipment that he had strapped to his body in a dozen different
pouches and pockets. "Give me two minutes with my boys and we'll be
ready for anything." The old veteran said and then turned to go speak
to his team.
Despite her desperate feeling of urgency, Saundra did
not begrudge Charlie his two minutes. He had seen enough action to
last a man two lifetimes during his career and when he said he would
be ready for anything Saundra knew he was not exaggerating.
later, almost to the second, Charlie and a dozen of his SWAT members
were assembled and ready to move. Their faces were as cheerful as
a death squad’s and they had all the equipment to match.
SWAT team took the back alleys of Paragon in order to cut down on
travel time and draw less attention as they made their way to the
First City Bank building. Saundra urged them on at just less than
an all out sprint and she noticed with a degree of disappointment
that their pace was taking more of a toll on her than it was the disciplined
shooters that she was now traveling with. She had always prided herself
on staying in excellent physical shape and under regular circumstances
could have made the run across two city blocks without even breaking
a sweat. At the moment however, between her weapons, pistol belt and
body armor, she had almost fifty pounds of equipment strapped to her.
To the 200lbs men around her the fifty pounds of gear seemed at best
a slight annoyance but on her 118lbs frame the extra fifty pounds
was a draining burden.
Still Saundra kept increasing her pace as they
approached their destination. She had no hard evidence to prove that
the explosion at the phone company was not an isolated incident or
that the Blood Hounds would be hitting this bank but every ounce of
her intuition told her that this was far bigger than a disgruntled
telephone customer expressing his displeasure. All of her fears gained
credit when, just as her team arrived at the rear of the bank, an
eruption of automatic gun fire could be heard emanating from the inside
its heavy brick walls.
“Damn,” Charlie said as he brought his team
to a halt near the back entrance of the bank.
“Why are we stopping
Charlie? We have to get in there and get these guys before they cause
any more trouble.” Saundra spoke sharply but in a hushed tone despite
the fact there was no danger of anyone hearing her besides the old
SWAT officer and his team.
“Because, unless today is some kind of
national holiday that I don't know about there is going to be people
inside that building and they all just became hostages. We run in
there with guns blazing and some innocent people are going…” Charlie
did not have a chance to finish his statement before a mob a terrified
people came bursting out of the front door of the bank, scattering
in every direction and running as if their very lives depended on
it. “Well that’s odd.” The seasoned officer said in an almost comically
confused tone. “Why would they let all of their hostages run away?”
Saundra pondered this turn of events briefly before speaking triumphantly.
“Because with the phone lines down they know that no one can report
the robbery. And they think that we are all going to be over at the
Phone center bomb site. My guess is they figured that the hostages
would slow them down.”
“Well what ever the reason they just made our
job a whole lot easier.” Charlie said as he pulled a large folded
piece of paper out of his pocket and motioned for his team to gather
around him. Saundra recognized the paper instantly as one of the blueprints
that they had found inside the warehouse.
When he said he would be
ready for anything, he meant it. Saundra thought to herself as Charlie
began to lay out a plan to retake the bank.
“Sage,” Victor pleaded
as he cradled his wife’s face in his hands. “I need you to calm down.
I need you to try and tell me who took our boys.” To his surprise
the face that he was looking at was no longer filled with fear. In
an instant Sage’s demeanor had changed so drastically that Victor
barely recognized his wife. Her face was twisted with rage, her eyes
ablaze with psychic energy and her body trembled with adrenaline.
She griped Victor’s shoulders so hard that her nails broke on his
“I- don’t know.” Her voice quaked with anger as she spoke.
“But I know where they took them.” With that she released Victor’s
shoulders and placed her hands on his temples.
In one gut wrenching
instant Victor could see the world through his wife’s mind. Horrible
visions of monstrous figures bursting into their home flooded over
him. Victor felt a helpless fear run through him as he saw the monsters
rushing forward with their massive arms outstretched and reaching
for him. It was the kind of fear he had not felt since he was a child
and it was then that he realized that these were his sons’ memories;
these were his sons’ fears. The visions were as brief as they were
terrible but in their absence he could see a draw in the mental noise
around him. Even though his children’s fears had been cut short somehow
they had been so profound and had traumatized their minds so much
that even in their unconscious state their thoughts left a psychic
wake. A path that could be seen and followed as easily as one follows
Then, as quickly as it all had appeared to him, the visions
vanished and Victor was staring at his wife once again. Sage’s face
was one that Victor had seen many times before but never on her. It
was a face devoid of mercy or hesitation; it was the face of a killer.
“God help whoever took them.” She said through clenched teeth and
with that she was on her feet and out the door.
“All teams enter on
my mark.” Charlie’s voice came impassively across the radio. To Saundra,
as she stood motionless outside the front door of the bank, seconds
seemed to tick by as slowly as days. She took long slow breaths to
still her nerves and gripped her assault rifle until her knuckles
turned white, so that it would not slip in her sweaty grip. She stood
at the rear of a column of six other SWAT officers. The front man
was armed with a large Kevlar shield and a hand gun but everyone behind
him was carrying more fire power than an entire World War I platoon.
Saundra had been through the drills for this type of quick entry before.
The front man would breach the door and toss in a Flash-Bang, a non-lethal
grenade that would stun anyone inside the main lobby of the bank,
and then barge in and provide physical cover for the rest of his team.
The rest of the SWAT officers would follow the “shield” in and engage
any mobs in their designated line of fire with as much force as was
necessary to subdue them… at least that was how it was supposed to
work. Saundra was no soldier but she had enough experience to know
that when the bullets start to fly the best laid plans crumble and
the harshest training is nothing but an afterthought.
snapped, yanking Saundra away from thoughts and throwing her into
action. It was if that one simple word held the power to accelerate
time itself; before she knew what was happening, the sudden ‘POP’
of the Flash-Bang detonating inside the lobby hit her ears and Saundra
has swept forward and through the front door of the bank. She was
instantly disoriented when the gunfire that erupted inside the lobby
echoed off of the marble walls and gave the impression that the shots
were coming from every direction at once. Panic gripped at her heart
and it took every ounce of her discipline to focus and acquire enemy
targets through the fog of confusion and fear that was filling her
sight and mind.
There was no lack of targets inside the large and
elegantly decorated lobby of the First City Bank. Over a dozen Blood
Hound gang members were scattered around the room, all of them clasping
at their eyes in agony, an obvious sign that the Flash-Bang had done
its job. Many of them however were spraying automatic fire blindly
around the room in a panic, which only served to draw fire from their
own comrades who also in a blind panic mistook the allies’ shots as
that of their attackers.
Saundra found herself shouting orders to
“get down” and “drop your weapons” in unison with the SWAT members
around her as she made her way toward the center of the room. Swallowing
her emotions and reservations she raised her weapon and let loose
a quick burst on a gang member before he was able to blindly rake
her and her team with gun fire; the man crumpled under the automatic
fire and his weapon fell silent in his lifeless hand. The rest of
her team followed her example quickly taking out any of the gang member
foolish enough to fire their weapons.
A few brief and bloody seconds
later the room fell relatively quite as all of the Blood Hound’s that
were foolish enough to fire their weapons were either cut down by
the gunfire of their own gang members or that of Saundra’s devastatingly
accurate SWAT team. Those gang members who had had the presence of
mind to take cover during the brutal fire fight now began to stumble
to their feet as the affects of the Flash-Bang wore off and their
blurred vision began to clear.
Saundra noticed one such man only a
few yards away and letting out a challenging yell charged the dazed
thug. She dove into the man, driving the butt off her weapon into
his stomach with all the weight and force of her body behind it. The
man doubled over, convulsing in pain as he was thrown back down to
the ground. Saundra mercilessly kicked the man over on to his aching
stomach and forcing his hands behind his back, slammed a pair of cuffs
around his wrists.
By the time Saundra was done securing the disabled
thug and had looked around for any other targets, the rest of her
team had already subdued the remaining mobs that were scattered around
the lobby. With a sigh of relief Saundra keyed her radio. “Lobby clear.”
Her voice was quacking with adrenaline as she spoke.
she got back from Charlie was as steady and casual as ever. "Offices
and Vault clear.” The fact that he could remain so calm when faced
with traumas that obviously unsettled her almost made Saundra feel
embarrassed. The feeling did not last long though. With a quick glance
around the room she counted fourteen villains that her and her team
had subdued or eliminated and she knew that she had nothing to be
The depths of Paragon's sewer system spread out
below the surface of the great city like an intricate organ. Massive
tunnels and pipes span the breadth of the city many times over and
reach nearly a quarter mile deep. Through the years it has grown along
with the city, with newer more efficient systems and passages put
down over the older ones that have fallen into disrepair.
our own bodies, when an organ is no longer used it begins to decay
and becomes a breeding house for diseases and filth. For years the
most rejected of Paragon have found their refuge in the old sewer
lines, where they can operate in their own evil ways beneath the view
and care of the populous.
There in the sewers, where a set of massive
tunnels led into a cavernous room, stood a man with a fine dark suit
and trimmed appearance who looked completely out of place amid the
reek of aged filth. He had a large build and despite his sharp dress
his face was so hard and impassive that even if he had been neck deep
in waste he did not look as if it would faze him anymore than it did
to be standing next to it.
Scattered around the large room, wandering
aimlessly about, were dozens of grotesque forms in the shape of men,
though on the surface they looked more like human quilts. All there
pieces and parts were sewn together in what seemed a haphazard way
and in many cases, where the seams of there limbs were connected,
organs protruded and dangled out. I quick glance at any one of them
would show that despite the masses of muscle that were fused all over
their bodies the creatures had little control of their internal workings.
Body fluids seeped from every one of their many unnatural orifices.
They were in every way disgusting.
Still not all of the other people,
if you could call them people, in the room looked quite so undead.
A pail withered figure of a man dressed in a blood stained medical
robe entered the cavern from one of the many connecting passages followed
by a slim figure, wrapped in black tattered clothes from head to toe
and his face covered by a respirator mask.
"Are the children ready?"
The well dressed man asked without turning to look at the two people
that were approaching him. His voice was a slow deep growl that seemed
to echo quietly off the walls despite the fact that he spoke in a
"It will be a few moments until the preparations are
complete Bloodlust. The operation you have requested requires a great
deal of time..." The spindly man in the doctor’s garb said in shallow
voice before he was cut off.
"Then why are you here and not finishing
your preparations Doctor?" Bloodlust interjected and his dark eyes
flashed red as he shot a glance at the frailer man. The Doctor could
not tell whether his client, Bloodlust, was particularly angry with
him or not considering that he had seen no other form of emotion displayed
by the man since their transactions had begun nearly a month ago.
Despite the uneasy feeling he got whenever he was in the grim mans
presence the doctor was not prone to intimidation.
"I have some doubt
as to whether you will be able to live up to your end of the bargain.
I have begun to receive reports that your gang’s efforts to riot the
city are as yet unsuccessful. The police have somehow managed to intercept
or delay all of your mobs before they could complete their assignments.
On top of that there are rumors that someone has entered the sewers
and has taken out some of my minions near the Kings Row entrance.
The terms of our agreement were very clear Bloodlust and..."
worry good doctor. I have far more resources at my disposal than one
simple neighborhood gang. If all the Blood Hounds did was give the
police in Kings Row a bad day then they did more than their worth.
As for the intruder in the tunnels I am confident that it is unrelated.
If your lieutenant followed his instructions then there is no way
that the children could have been traced here." With those words Bloodlust
turned his gaze on the thin figure in dark rags that had followed
the Doctor in. "Did you administer the sedative as I instructed Patient
Patient 4's body tensed visibly as he stepped forward to speak.
"There was no need for any sedative. Both the children were knocked
unconscious when we apprehended them. They left no sign to follow
and gave us no trouble."
A sudden pressure filled the air and though
Bloodlust's facial expression did not falter from its constant passive
aggressive state it was apparent to the Doctor that his lieutenant
had made a grievous error. "The sedative my simple fool," Bloodlust
began to speak with a voice so pervasive that it seemed to emanate
from within your ears. "Was not so that the children would be easier
to manage. If I had thought that you would have trouble with that
then I would have sent a babysitter along with you. Its purpose was
to reduce their mental activity so that their mother would not be
able to follow their mental wake." Bloodlust fixed Patient 4 with
a long withering stair and as he did so his eyes faded from a deep
brown to an almost radiant red.
“My good Doctor it would seem that
your lieutenant has managed to lead one of the most powerful psychics
in the world right to your door step, not to mention her husband.”
“And whatever police backup they may have mustered.” The Doctor interjected
in an irate tone as he turned to his lieutenant. “Patient 4 if you
value what life you have left you had better gather as many minions
as possible and head to the Kings Row entrance.” By now the Doctor’s
normally pale complexion had brightened to a disturbing shade of red
and he had put himself directly in Patient 4’s cloaked face. “I will
not have my operation interrupted by these two mutants.”
did not wait to be given any further mercy or judgment. Spinning on
his heals he ran off towards one of the larger sewer tunnels, calling
to the undead figures in the room as he went. The zombie like forms
that had been meandering aimlessly around all started at Patient 4’s
call and filled with a sudden urgency began to follow him with all
the speed and grace of an elephant that has three broken legs.
is a most unfortunate turn of events.” The Doctor mused as his face
slowly returned to its unnatural deathly color. “I shall have to redouble
my efforts to ensure that the operation is done quickly.”
be no operation,” Bloodlust countered. “Until I have dealt with the
“You?” The Doctor asked looking at Bloodlust in confusion.
“Make no mistake my good Doctor, you have just sent Patient 4 to his
death. Believe me when I say it is so because if I were not certain
of it I would have killed him myself for his ineptitude. Even without
any police back up, which I seriously doubt they have, the children’s
parents will be more than a match for your minions.” As Bloodlust
spoke he stared penetratingly down the tunnel that Patient 4 had just
left through as if he could search its depths and everything it contained
just by seeing its entrance.
“I know this Victor person has quite
a reputation as a warrior but if you think that he can stand up to
all of my forces than you underestimate me Bloodlust.” The Doctor
said as he shot Bloodlust a prideful glare.
“It is not Victor that
will be the ruin of your lieutenant, Doctor. It is his wife.”
wife?” The doctor said doubtingly. “She is a psychiatrist and field
coordinator. She has no combat experience in her records.”
before this day is done.” Bloodlust replied coldly.