In The Beginning

Patrol Report, recorded by whisper-mike. 2100 hours, March 22. Foundry City, Grid 81, Rodham Area. Working as Starlight.

Every few weeks, I sweep Rodham block – Foundry City’s Crime Alley – and clear it out like a new broom. This could be tricky. Rodham block and I have a long-standing feud, ever since I trapped the city’s foremost mob boss on a crime scene… and called the cops. And the Rodham block does not like to lose. I’ll have to be on my guard. Have to hope Daniel isn’t working on the block – running him in after a day like today would be more than I could handle.

Mother’s latest boyfriend called. Left a message: Mother wants the bracelet back, the one she gave me when my powers began to manifest. No ‘sends her love’. No ‘sorry’. Just ‘give it back’. So it is with bitterness on one shoulder and dread on the other that I set out. Inauspicious.

Tonight is no different to any other: there is the street ablaze with neon light, and I stalk down the sky like a celestial cat, above it all, only going down to the level of the streets when my duty demands it. A fitting metaphor for my life. As usual, tonight there are the pathetic streetwalkers, who need help more than they deserve arrest. I’ll cuff the panderers to railings without one instant’s hesitation, but I work on the basis that the girls’ lives are hard enough already. I don’t carry handcuffs. I summon them out of thin air and order them to remain extant until the police arrive.

Oh, lovely. A robbery in the next street. Like my name, in a twinkle of shimmering silver-lined cape, I cross the rooftops and drop to the pavement, my boots making barely a silken whisper as I land. How I do love to be silent. Until the dirty little pawnshop that is the crime scene is crisply hedged by walls of crystallized air, I barely breathe. But when that is done, I permit myself to cough demurely.

“Gentlemen. Shall we call this a warning, or have we met before?”

One of them pulls a gun, and I sigh. My working clothes are bulletproof in all vital points, just in case I have to be thinking about something else when I get shot at. However, in this case, I find it simpler to liquefy the revolver the robber points at me, and watch the gunmetal drip down the storm drain, safely out of the way. I don’t bother to liquefy, sublime, or otherwise remove the stockings the robbers have pulled over their heads: I’ve been long enough in the business that now, to me, a mask is sacred. You don’t touch someone else’s mask. Ever.

It’s a ratty little hole of a pawnshop, but it’s someone’s livelihood, I guess. More of a typical Rodham block livelihood than I’d thought, I realize as one of the thieves hurls a ring tray at my head, and sparkling diamonds fly through the air, along with a dozen little plastic packets of white crystals. Meth. Again.  Every night, I see the effects of drugs on society, on individuals, and I have come to hate drugs. I don’t kill; that’s not the way the community does things, but if I did, the pushers would be the first to the morgue.

I’m about to decide that the pawnbroker can look after his own rotten drug-riddled store, when something about one of the robbers strikes a chord in the back of my memory.

“Daniel!” I scream at him. “Damn you, can’t you just stay out of my way?” It’s just so difficult running into him night after night. My evening has barely started, and suddenly it all gets much worse.

There’s another metahuman somewhere about. I can’t see him, but I can hear him breathing just beside me. And he breathes so loudly I could aim with one of my throwing stars and hit him at ten paces. By the height at which the breathing stands, I even think I know who it is.

“Go home, Gypsy,” I sigh. “You’ve got a cold, they can hear you on Olympus.”

No reply, but the parcels of meth collect themselves tidily into a pile by the store wall. To my disgust, I can even see fingerprints appearing on the plastic. Glancing down at my own highly serviceable black tactical gloves, I reach a decision.

“Daniel, go away. Daniel’s friends, stay.” I order the air to form a box around them. “And invisibility over by the wall, you can reappear, stat. I wasn’t given notice of anyone else working on my beat tonight, I want to know who you are.” He doesn’t, of course, just slopes off, leaving damp Converse sole prints on the sidewalk. Small feet. Short stride: a girl or a kid, but either way just an amateur.

By now Daniel is gone, and I watch him pass under the only unbroken streetlamp in the block, and out of sight. Then the unthinkable happens.

Sarpedon lets me down.

I know I’ve been fading for a few months now, but that’s always just made it harder to do the changes; it hasn’t dissolved one before I was ready. Now I’ve got two armed robbers in a fast-melting containment, and I never carry a gun at work. If I push the panic signal, I can get a couple of the community’s fliers down in half an hour, but that will be too late, and the signal’s meant to be saved for Big Bad situations – supervillains.

I’m definitely getting onto Rhadamanthus after this: Sarpedon’s brother, the patron of justice. Considering what I want the powers for, he might even give them to me without laying the obligatory balancing curse. Greek demigods don’t like to give people stuff. You have to be real specific what you ask for.

Not that that alters the current situation. And then I see the girl. She’s standing on the other side of the street, vivid red hair flaming in the dark, smile like a magnesium flare.

“Can I help?” she calls to me.

“How?”

Crossing the street, she moves her hands strangely, and a jet of flame dances over the sidewalk. “I’ll hold the perps for you. They won’t go anywhere.”

I’m hotlined to the Foundry City Police Department, and the squad car arrives in a few minutes. The weird girl only has to scorch the cement a little to convince the robbers to stay put.

“I’m… Phoenix King,” she tells me eagerly once the police are gone.

“That’s lousy. Work on it,” I snap back. “And stay off the streets at night, kid, this is a bad neighborhood.”

Another voice whispers out of the darkness, and it is some few seconds before I notice that it is whispering inside my head. “Why did you let the first one go?” it enquires mildly.

If it can talk to my mind, I assume the voice can listen too. Because I did not need to detain him, I think as loudly as I can, effectively drowning out the real reason. I’ve worked with telepaths in the past, but most have the manners to ask permission before listening to other metas’ mindwaves.

“I have to carry on with my patrol,” I inform the human flamethrower coolly. “I’d prefer it if you didn’t tag along.” She does anyway, following doggedly although the powers glitch resolves itself and I stalk along the sky again. The invisible girl wanders along beneath me, leaving occasional footprints – appalling fieldcraft – and the telepath keeps popping up with questions I really don’t want to answer. Oh, and somebody’s twisted the time-scheme of the whole block, slowed it down in some areas, sped it up in others.

It’s going to be a very long night.

Advertisements

40 thoughts on “In The Beginning

    • coruscantbookshelf March 15, 2015 / 5:33 AM

      I thought everyone had had their say… I can take it away again if you like.

      Like

      • sarahtps March 16, 2015 / 7:19 PM

        I think it’s fine. It is Monday, after all. We’ve all had time to look at it.

        Like

      • proverbs31teen March 16, 2015 / 7:29 PM

        Oh, those comments are from when she first put it up on accident on Saturday. 😛

        Like

  1. proverbs31teen March 16, 2015 / 7:30 PM

    [in character]
    *sigh* Oh, Starlight. You honestly think I’m dumb enough to leave footprints on accident? I only leave footprints on purpose. Oh, I can’t wait until I can tell my part of the story.

    Like

      • proverbs31teen March 17, 2015 / 7:04 AM

        Ha! Inexperienced! Wait until Maxwell hears that one.

        Like

      • coruscantbookshelf March 17, 2015 / 11:57 AM

        I have worked with superspeeders, talking gorillas, a shapeshifting human zoo, and a merman. I have fought a living bomb, the Corrosive Man, and the Duke of Death. Do you seriously think I will be worried by your threatening to tell your werewolf brother that I said you were inexperienced?

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 17, 2015 / 6:37 PM

        Oh, that’s not what I meant. I meant that he would probably pass out from laughter if I told him.

        Like

      • erinkenobi2893 March 18, 2015 / 1:13 AM

        Please, let’s not threaten each other. There are more productive, sensible ways of settling our differences.

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 19, 2015 / 1:44 AM

        *facepalm* I am not threatening! You don’t want to see me threaten.

        Like

      • erinkenobi2893 March 19, 2015 / 2:36 AM

        For a moment there, I thought you were going to say ‘I don’t threaten.’ 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 19, 2015 / 2:49 AM

        Oh, I do threaten. And blackmail. And torture people. I have made people go insane. Literally. The mental institution reprimanded me for sending too many people their way.

        Like

      • erinkenobi2893 March 19, 2015 / 7:25 AM

        You’re going to need to cut back on the tormenting of normal humans, Saxon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 19, 2015 / 9:10 AM

        *hands on hips* I can’t help it if they can’t take it, can I?

        Like

      • proverbs31teen March 19, 2015 / 6:42 PM

        Um, not you, that’s for sure. You are far, far from normal, Star.

        Like

      • proverbs31teen March 20, 2015 / 7:11 AM

        *sticks tongue out* Ha, so it does annoy you!

        Like

      • proverbs31teen March 20, 2015 / 12:05 AM

        They’re so weak. I normally only go too far with bad guys. That’s a plus, right?

        Like

      • proverbs31teen March 20, 2015 / 2:14 AM

        Hey, that murderer deserved every bit of it.

        Like

      • erinkenobi2893 March 20, 2015 / 8:32 AM

        He probably did, but that doesn’t give you the right to overhaul him either.

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 20, 2015 / 8:33 AM

        So maybe sometimes I go over the top…

        Like

      • proverbs31teen March 20, 2015 / 8:43 AM

        Grant needs to work on that, with all of his protectiveness. And when he finds out that Rebecca and I BOTH have powers, and that we’re working with a group of superheroes… that’s not going to go over well.

        Like

      • erinkenobi2893 March 20, 2015 / 8:44 AM

        I wasn’t the one who suggested missions. I just thought we needed to be there for each other… I’m just scared that one of these days I won’t be there for Audrey when she needs me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 20, 2015 / 8:47 AM

        Ah, she can take care of herself. I can always be there if needed, thanks to teleportation. All you have to do is telepathically message me.

        Like

      • erinkenobi2893 March 20, 2015 / 8:51 AM

        What if she’s in trouble and I don’t even know about it? What if I’m unconscious or in a coma or overwhelmed?

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 20, 2015 / 6:36 PM

        Well, she’s pretty capable. And if she gets captured or something we’ll find out about it eventually.

        Like

      • proverbs31teen March 20, 2015 / 7:24 AM

        We should have coms or something. I’ll have to talk to Audrey about that.

        Like

  2. writefury March 17, 2015 / 10:07 AM

    So, do you guys have a pre-planned story outline, or is this just a wing-it-and-see-what-happens sorta thing?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s