You thought I forgot about you didn’t you? Don’t lie, you were like, man, Jeremy ain’t giving us our chapters this week. Well, I am, just shrunk down into one, winner-takes-all blog extravaganza. So I apologize, as it has been a rough week. Now, on to the show.
“There was no sign of Hearts after the robbery.”
DL was pissed. He’d seen the robbery happen live and beelined it down to Pacific National. By the time he arrived, Hearts was gone, forcing DL to the streets in the hopes of finding him. Obviously, he wasn’t successful. “He didn’t display any superhuman abilities. It just seemed like a perfectly planned heist.”
A picture of Hearts appeared on the monitor. “Every time he strikes it’s the perfectly planned heist. No Jericho, he’s a super – that much I can assure you.”
Under the picture was a rap sheet listing each of the incidents Hearts was involved in. DL and I never even came close to catching him. “We should focus on Clubs. He’s right here, under our watch, we break him, and we gain access to the rest of The Aces.”
“I appreciate your opinion Jericho, but we also can’t let them run rampant. Massacre is out there right now looking for any sign or clue.”
Massacre – that was like sending an overeager child into a toy store. He’d end up causing more problems than what you expected. “Be careful with your reliance on him.” DL’s eyes took a warning stare. “I know you two are old friends, but even you can’t deny he’s gotten a bit reckless lately.”
Two weeks before we put Diamonds down, Spades sent a bunch of goons out to random ATM’s, breaking into them and getting the cash. Massacre was unleashed and he ended up killing most of the thugs plus destroying six very costly ATM’s. If it wasn’t for the PSPD’s reliance on Team DL and Grimes’ PR for us, we probably would’ve been run out of the city.
DL didn’t argue with that point. “He’s a good hero Jericho, trust me on that. The Aces have just been doing a damn good job at being better villains up until this point. We will stop them, I promise you that.” Storm clouds started building behind his calm façade.
“I hope you’re right. The city’s on the brink of chaos, DL. If these guys keep going, Pacific Station will be in even worse shape than when you know who was running around!”
DL fell back in his chair, looking both angry and tired at the same time. His phone buzzed, a text message from Massacre. He read it and growled in frustration. “He had no luck finding shit.”
I almost slipped and made a childish sarcastic remark about Massacre’s detective skills, but I bit my tongue in time. “No one’s perfect. They’ll slip up and when they do, we’ll be there, err you’ll be there, and put an end to it.”
His head snapped up. “At the heist was there any mention of The Negative Man?”
Here we go again. “No, no mention of him at all. Though Hearts did receive a message at the bank when he broke up my potential murder.”
This was all DL needed to fuel even more conspiracies. “What was Hearts’ motivation was in saving your life is beyond me, but I would bet my entire fortune that the message he received came from The Negative Man.”
“Or Spades, we know he’s the leader of The Aces.”
DL didn’t like it when I got all logical on him. To be honest, his paranoia and obsession with The Negative Man was starting to cloud his judgment. Even before Diamonds mentioned his name, he’d been starting to get weird on me. I wouldn’t deny that he wasn’t out there biding his time, but The Aces were the more immediate and pressing threat to us and the city.
He slammed his fist on the table. “Never forget Jericho! The Negative Man is and will always be the true threat until he’s dead! You just don’t understand everything he’s done to me, to this city…”
Granted, I started working at Wonder-Tech weeks after The Negative Man horrors, but I was still living here. “I know that I wasn’t here, at Wonder-Tech, but I still called Pacific Station home. I know how long his reign of terror lasted, I saw the effects on the city DL.”
“You’re right and I apologize.” That tired look was starting to overcome the angry, defiant DL I was used to. “Being The Dark Lion, it’s taken so much out of me. I never thought all these years after I first put on the cowl that I’d still be needed.”
“What’re you saying? You’re not giving up on us already?”
“Never give up, but my time as a super is coming to an end. But before that happens, The Dark Lion has one last task to accomplish and that’s to kill The Negative Man. With the fall of him, a new generation can take my place.”
The thought of DL calling it a career disturbed my greatly. John Wonderton had proved to be one of the strongest people I’d ever come across in my life. “Get those thoughts out of your head, including The Negative Man. You have a responsibility to the people of Pacific Station to end the threat of The Aces whether you like it or not!”
“I know and you’re right, as always.” He looked at his watch. “Go home Jericho, it’s been a long day for you. We’ll pick this back up when we both don’t feel like shit.”
He was right; it’d been a long day indeed and rest would be most welcome. I got up to leave, giving DL a pat on the back on my way out. I hoped the hero the city needed would find himself in the morning after a decent night’s sleep.
I made it to my car and found my way home. The streets were practically deserted on this Friday night. Once safely in my apartment, I microwaved some pizza and got myself comfortable on the couch. DL’s little breakdown in the office had put a bad taste in my mouth. After all we’d done together to bring this city back from the terror it suffered…
No, if he wanted to retire, that was his personal choice. I came across this lifestyle by coincidence and this could be my way out. I had my own life to think about, my own goals and aspirations that had been put on hold. It’d been so long that I gave thought to the things I’d hoped to do. I wasn’t about to bail on DL, not yet, but if he was willing to give up this life, I wasn’t going to talk him out of it.
I turned on the TV and flipped the channels. The only thing anyone wanted to talk about was the attack of Pacific National today. Giving up and watching, it was weird to see an event I was part of from this vantage point. As the anchors were talking, I noticed the camera zoomed in on Heather in the background. About two seconds later, the camera zoomed back out, causing the screen to go an inverted color scheme of white and black. Only one man ever had that calling card.
The anchors began freaking out. “Julie did you see that?”
“Yes Tom, I did! Could this mean what I think it means?”
“I think it does. The Negative Man, long thought to be dead, has shown up twice in as many days! Folks, please stay tuned to this rapidly developing story!”
No sooner did the anchor Tom spit out those words did my phone light up. Checking the caller ID, DL was already on top of this. Answering, “I swear, I had no idea he was there today!”
“I know you didn’t Jericho. He’s out there, taunting me at every turn. He’s back and it’s time to declare war on him and the villains he operates through.”
This was getting deep, fast. “Declare war? What exactly are you saying?”
His laughter was borderline insane. “Exactly what I said. He’s obviously using The Aces and we can’t find them. Using logic, we go to the lowest common denominator and that’d be the thugs they hire for their jobs. Then we can track.”
The one thing we’d always agreed upon was to leave ordinary humans to the cops. Getting involved with low lives with no powers was taboo. “DL, if you go after them, there’s no telling what the repercussions will be.”
“Repercussions be damned. I know what’s good for this city, even if the people living here don’t!”
I was getting uncomfortable with this. “DL, let’s just think about this…”
“Jericho, we sacrifice the few to save the many.” And with that last declaration, he hung up.
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