And the finale for this week…
Massacre and I were on the third floor. We picked this floor as it’s seldom used due to it being the place where the projectors and microfiche are kept. It was the perfect place, besides Wonder-Tech Tower, to go to discuss this. “How did The Aces discover your identity?”
It was a rhetorical question, as we both knew he couldn’t respond. “That’s the million dollar question. Once we figure that out, we’ll have a starting point.”
Time wasn’t on our side. I hooked his phone up to my tablet and hoped my tracer program could give us a clue on the phone that called him. No surprise, the phone came back as a burner with no GPS locator or sim card to hack into. “No dice PJ. Whoever Spades is, he knows what he’s doing. My encryption program ain’t going to cut it.”
He took his phone back, his face turning a pale white color. “I either betray my best friend or let them kill my family. I feel like I could vomit.”
I took out my phone. “I’m going to call John. We aren’t making any decisions until he’s in the loop, got it?”
“We can’t involve…”
“Listen carefully, we all knew being in this business could end disastrously. I know you and DL risk your lives every night to put scum away and I sit behind a computer. I also know exactly how the both of you think and react.”
He didn’t say anything, just sat there as I continued to lecture him. “You are about to get your family and run. Do you think you can run far enough away from The Aces?” He shook his head no. “And are you willing to leave John behind and face the fallout of that action?”
“No, I’m not.”
I dialed DL’s number. “Then just sit there and shut up.”
Massacre could rip me in half or crush all the bones in my body, so my stern tone wasn’t without risk. He took it like a man and sat down at one of the desks, creaking under his weight. With that settled, it was time to see how DL would take all of this.
“Jericho, what’s with the early morning call?”
I was a bit surprised he answered. I thought maybe he slept late on the weekends, preparing for a busy weekend rush of crime. “I have a few questions about quantum mechanics. Can you come down to the library and help me pick out a few books that would be worthwhile?”
Quantum mechanics was code for shit was about to hit the fan. “Yeah, I was just finishing up a light breakfast. Give me a little bit to get ready and I’ll meet you on the third floor.”
Thank God DL understands the urgency. If anyone hacked into the call, they would just assume we were two nerds trying to study on a Saturday. By keeping the sense of urgency to nil, no one would be able to assume anything from it. Hopefully it was all just inconsequential and no one would ever deduce John Wonderton and The Dark Lion was the same person. I respected the cape and the mission of getting Pacific Station under control too much.
I let Massacre stew in silence. It’s not that I don’t like PJ Douglas, but in the world of heroes and vigilantes, he’s more a liability than anything. When you have no powers, you have to trust the people you associate with to protect your life at all costs. The Dark Lion I did. Massacre, well let’s just say it made me uneasy. If it wasn’t for his close relationship to The Dark Lion, he’d probably be down with the minor players chasing down jaywalkers.
Fifteen minutes went by before DL showed up. The third floor was still abandoned, except for me and Massacre. DL pulled up a chair and leaned in. “How bad are we looking?”
“Spades called Massacre. He either wants him to give you up or he’ll kill his family.”
Massacre handed DL the phone and he listened to the message. By this time Massacre was barely hanging on. “I don’t know what to do John.”
DL was pissed. “Someone outed you. Damnit!” He threw the phone against the wall. Fortunately the case on it was one of Wonder-Tech’s best and the phone survived its trip into a wall. “The Aces are getting too organized and ahead of the game!”
I went over and got the phone, handing it back to Massacre. “They used a burn phone, I already attempted to trace it or even break in to it.”
“PJ, you need to call the number back and tell them you’ll play ball. But you’ll only pass this information on in person. Get them to set up a meeting. We’ll take the fight right to these bastards!”
We were all thrown off when my phone started ringing. I pulled it out of my pocket and didn’t recognize the number. “Do you think they’re on to me?”
“Answer it, see what happens.”
I did as DL suggested. “Hello?”
“Jericho, it’s Jenkins, how are you doing?”
DL’s eyes perked up and I kept talking. “Not too bad, just enjoying some quiet time at the library.”
“I pegged you as a book junkie. Well if you’re not too busy later, I’d be up for getting that beer you suggested.”
I pulled the phone away and mouthed ‘what should I say?’
DL gave me a thumbs up. “Yeah, I can do that. I don’t have anything going on today.”
“Excellent, come on down to Pierside, we’ll throw back a pint or two and complain about Wonderton.”
I gave what hoped to be a sincere laugh. “That I can handle. The guy is a ball buster for sure.”
“Awesome man, I’ll catch you later tonight.” He hung up.
DL pounded his right hand into his left palm. “The timing couldn’t be better! With you meeting Clubs tonight and Massacre setting up a meeting with Spades, we might finally get these sons of bitches!”
I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would be with this plan, but I was already committed to the cause. “Do we have a plan if things go south on my end?”
“Jenkins isn’t a threat, at least physically. I’d hope you’d be able to take him if it came to that.”
Good old DL and his faith in me. “Well I’ll be taking my gun with me. I’m not meeting up with a known criminal mastermind, one who potentially has a super power too, and not be armed.” I owned a pistol I bought from a gun show a few years back when The Aces first came on scene.
DL hated the fact I had a gun and a permit to carry it. “Just be careful with that thing. A gun will escalate a situation very quickly.”
“I know how to use it.”
Massacre was still sulking in his chair. “When do you want me to call Spades?”
“Tonight.” DL looked over at me. “While Jericho is keeping Clubs busy, that’s when we’ll strike. Hopefully we can handle him by himself or something,.”
“Great, I’m just the freaking diversion!”
Putting a hand on my shoulder, “Who knows, you might be the one to break an Ace first. Either way, consider this our first frontal assault in the war against The Aces. If all goes well, maybe by the end of the night all three will be in body bags.”
Giving one last glance at the sad state Massacre was in, my excitement level wasn’t all that high. “At least keep your phones with you at all times in case I need to get in contact.”
“Don’t worry Jericho, I won’t let anything happen to those closest to me.” He looked at both me and then over at PJ.
I tried to smile, but the full gravity of the situation started to sink in with me. In just a few short hours I’d be in an uncontrolled setting with a madman, a murder. I needed to get home and calm myself or it might be me who ruins the plan. I couldn’t afford any lapse with Clubs, especially considering the secrets I had to keep.
*Hopefully next week we are back on schedule. Thanks for understanding and being awesome readers!
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