The Game

Changing the Rules

Part 2

“Whoa Fix, slow down. You need to tell me what’s going on if I am going to be able help you. Lindsay’s voice betrayed little of the concern she felt; she had seen this man impaled and surrounded by men who wanted to kill him and he barely broke a sweat, what could get him so riled up?

“The Portal Corporation Lindsay, what can you tell me about it? Who runs it?” Fixit stalked down the street while talking to his reporter. He made no attempt to hide or mask the urgency in his voice.

“Portal Corp.? It’s run by a panel of investors; there isn’t one single controlling power.”

“Ok,” he paused, “who made the portals? Where is he?” Fixit decided to try another avenue of questions. “Answer this riddle for me, ‘He made the portals’.”

“You really don’t know?” Lindsay asked.

“Look it’s been a long time since I was in a history class, and I don’t think this would have been in it even if I had been awake. The portals haven’t been around long enough. Indulge me.

“Here goes,” Lindsay drew a deep breath, “The actual idea of the portals was dreamed up by a team of unethical scientists experimenting on superadine addicts back in the seventies. When they were discovered, by Freedom Phalanx, one technician for the team, Brian Webb took particular interest in their research. You with me so far?” Lindsay paused for another breath.

“Keep goin’.” Fixit replied; Lindsay could hear him lighting a cigar on the other end.

“Statesman, you know him right?” She teased, “Statesman deemed the scientific evidence of a small percent of addicts being able to break through a dimensional barrier, off limits, due to its unethical nature of discovery. This didn’t sit well with Mr. Webb. He believed that though the methods were unethical and the scientific theory was poor, it was possible to glean great good from this discovery.

An argument broke out between hero and technician and Webb left the Phalanx. He was already crafting teleporting technology that he sold patents on in order to fund the construction of a dimensional gate. It took him about four years, but he got it right.

Once his technology was perfected, he proved his science to the world, taking reporters, and dignitaries on a trip into a parallel Paragon.” Lindsay’s voice became wistful at this point in her narrative.

“What a trip that would’a been huh?” Fixit let her know he was still listening.

“No kidding. Well, in eighty-eight, Brian Webb made a trip to a parallel universe where the Axis had conquered the States. In fact, our boy Statesman, in this reality was known as Reichsman. This super Nazi took Webb prisoner and tortured him to death. The Phalanx was close on his heels, but came too late and the battle with Reichsman and his cadre spilled into our Paragon. Eventually, the good guys won and Reichsman is still being kept in some undisclosed location.” Lindsay finished her history lesson with a pronounced sigh.

“So he’s dead.” Fixit said, stunned.

“I’m pretty sure I didn’t leave that part out.” Came Lindsay’s exasperated reply. “What’s this all about anyway? You think Portal Corporation is behind the gamester?”

“Well, for a minute there, I thought it was the Gamester. Evidently I was acting on false information. I’ll call you back.” Without waiting for a reply, Fixit hung up the phone, and stormed back towards the hospital.

Medik and Red Sniper arrived at Sussex Academy to find quite a scene. It seemed the children here were not only hero stock, but sons and daughters of senators, CEO’s and America’s elite. There were police, heroes, S.W.A.T., private investigators and any other expensive means of finding missing children belonging to the upper two percent of the country’s income bracket.

“What does Fixit possibly think we can do here?” Medik mused out loud. His thoughts were interrupted however by the sight of a beautiful, tall redhead; wearing a superhero getup none the less. She was arguing with a man in a suit as Medik and Red Sniper approached her.

“All I’m saying is that it’s you superheroes that put my Dana in this situation to begin with.” The man spoke in accusatory tones toward the beautiful heroine. “If you capes weren’t around, how much trouble would there possibly be? You ever hear of escalation? You get super powers, they find a way to top it. I’ve even heard rumors that there are children of superheroes here at the Academy! No wonder my Dana is in danger!” As the man’s excitement escalated, so too did the gorgeous heroine’s. When the man finished this last sentence, large, sharp claws erupted from her gloved hands and she practically roared at the man. Medik jumped in before things got ugly.

“Ah, Clawful, there you are. I’ve been looking all over for you.” Both the man and the woman turned to him with a questioning glare. Medik grabbed her by the arm and whispered as he pulled her away, “Come with me.” Red Sniper stepped in close to the angry business man and looked him up and down.

“Looking out for your own?” the man dragged up enough courage to taunt the mysterious man with the large rifle. Red Sniper simply got closer to the man. Not tall, but well muscled and broad shouldered, the Red Sniper was a man few would antagonize. So close he got the man that his cycloptic visor nearly brushed the man’s face.

“Watch it.” Came a muffled voice from behind the mask and hypermesh. The man stopped in his tracks, seeming to consider if he wanted to push a man with a large gun any further. The decision was taken out of his hands when the red hero turned and left, following his friend.

“I think you have me mistaken for someone else, I’m not Clawful.” Shaking her arm free of the tall lean man guiding her around the outer wall of the academy, the red haired heroine turned on Medik.

“I guessed as much, but I had to call you something; it looked like things were about to get bad, and it would look better for you if someone you knew broke it up.”

“I hate people like that.” She pouted beautifully. “I’m Solanum by the way.” She extended a hand, claws sheathed.

“Medik.” He took her slender, but unbelievably strong hand in his. “This is Red Sniper,” he said, pointing to the man with the firearm coming around the corner after them. She looked at the two, much the same way Fixit had earlier that day, noting a sense of disorganization about the pair. Medik could tell she was thinking much the same thing that Fixit had been talking about recently. Maybe they should consider team colors at the very least. “Look, I’ll be honest. The two of us are pretty much part time here. We heard about the students going missing and came to help, but we’re way out of our league information wise. Can you fill us in on what’s happening?”

“That’s just the problem, no one knows yet. The rest of my team, The Nameless, are down at City Hall speaking with their department heads. You can come in with us, I’ve got four others somewhere around here, but I don’t know what we’ll find.”

“I’m guessing you know about the diamond heist?” Medik suggested.

“I do.” She nodded.

“We’ll head down that way.” He gestured back toward the city, “here’s our number, call us if you need help. Give me yours, when we find something, we’ll call you.”

“We are most likely going that way anyway once we’re done here.” Solanum stated flatly.

“That’s fine, I would too if I were in your situation. But if I find something before you get there, I’ll let you know.” With that said, Medik began to turn to leave.

“How do you know what my situation is?” Solanum asked.

“This isn’t on the news yet. Only heroes with an inside lead are here, and you’re pretty upset to let a guy like that one get to you. I think you may have a personal stake in this.” Leaving the beautiful read head behind while what appeared to be her group caught up with her, Medik and Red Sniper headed back the way they had come.

“I’ll give you credit, you can still get a good lookin’ girls number.” Red Sniper joked through his mask as they left.

“I was serious.” Medik said with no humor in his voice. “We’re heading to Van Briesbock’s. If we find anything, we may need these guys to help us out.”

Fixit charged back into the hospital, his walk was a brisk pace that many would have to run to keep up with. Nurses, orderlies and doctors all decided that the health hazard caused by one cigar was far less than the wrath of this man. He marched straight back to the room with the two guards and Emplate. When he burst into the room, the two guards were laughing about some joke or another, their laughter halted abruptly when they saw the look on Fixit’s face.

Knowing full well that the guards were no the real enemy, he didn’t mind lashing out at a convenient one. With lightening speed he threw a forward thrust, catching the first guard in the chest, knocking him back several feet into a wall, where he stayed. Without missing a beat, Fixit leapt into the air, spun around and caught the other guard in the jaw with his right foot. Landing, he shifted his weight back onto his right foot and sent a powerful kick from his left leg. The guard flew over Emplate’s bed and landed at the base of the wall on the opposite end of the room from his partner.

Fixit turned his attention on the man in the bed. Emplate was well awake at this point and could tell the hero was in a foul mood.

“You lied to me.” Fixit stood over Emplate, fuming.

“No,” Emplate managed to mutter.

“You told me the Gamester was the Portal Corporation, or the man who made it.” Fixit caught the villain in a vicious stare.

“Not the Gamester, but he knows who is.” Emplate was practically flinching in his gauze prison of casts and bandages.

“Brian Webb is dead, he died in nineteen eighty-eight.” Fixit spat the information at his foe, taunting him to rebuke it.

“Ours is.” Emplate whispered. “But this is the man who invented the portals to other worlds.” The rasping of Emplate’s voice was never pleasant to Fixit’s ears, but with the damage done to his body, it had become even worse and when the man tried to talk rather than whisper; his vocals screeched like fingers on a chalk board.

Fixit felt foolish for having not realized this for himself, and could hear this twisted remnant of a man laughing in his head as he asked one more question.

“Where do I find him?”

“He’s listed.” Emplate chuckled.

Fixit left the building as quickly as he came. He knew there would be percussions for attacking the guards, but he would worry about that later; for now he just needed to get far enough away so he could get a message to Medik and Red Sniper.

“Medik, I have an address. I need you to meet me there.” Fixit spoke into the line when he got an answer.

“Where and when,” came the reply, “I have something for you too. The security footage from the diamond exchange; I don’t doubt that there was mind control used here.”

“Just meet me in half and hour.” Fixit cut the communication short. Quickly he dialed his contact at the paragon times.

“Lindsay, can you send a picture to my phone?” Fixit asked.

“I could that, what do you need?” Lindsay replied.

“I need Brian Webb, and if possible, a simulation of what he might look like today.” Fixit felt hurried, things were happening so fast.

“The simulation may take time, but I can do that. Is that all?” Lindsay was beginning to think that this might pay off in a wild story, and maybe she was helping to figure out what was going on.

“Get it to me as soon as possible.” Fixit closed the line.

The three heroes met outside an average enough looking home. Inside, supposedly, was the abode of a dimension hopping inventor; possibly a mad one at that.

“Are you sure we shouldn’t call first?” Medik offered, “I hear crazy people like to run around in the buff.”

“Very funny, let’s go.” Red Sniper was chomping at the bit for some action after spending half the day chasing leads.

The three entered the house cautiously. Fixit went in first with Red Sniper directly behind. Medik was three paces behind him. The men cleared the rooms of the small house, but could find nothing that would condemn the man to being an accessory to the crazy acts around the city. The name, ‘Brian Webb’ did appear on the mail, and he did fit the likeness of the original scientist from the eighties. There was a rumbling noise, and Fixit grabbed at his phone to receive a message.

“Ok guys, what do ya think?” He held his phone screen next to a picture of the man owning the house they had entered. It was a near perfect match. Everyone agreed. Fixit opened his phone.

“Lindsay, it’s me again. This story is getting weird, and I need you to get word out for me. If you know anyone who has contacts amongst heroes, or has a way of getting a mass message out to ‘em. We’ve got a solid lead here.”

“Hey, Fixit,” Medik asked from the next room, “Who do you think the kid is?” He held up a picture of a boy that had been in the room he just left.

“Oh shit, this guy has a son.” Red Sniper spat everyone’s suspicion.
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