The Negative Man: City of Chaos (Chapter 16)

I just realized we are less than one month away from Stormfall hitting the book shelves.  At the current rate, I don’t think I’d get through all the chapters before that happens, so I’m picking up the pace.  From now on, instead of one chapter on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I’ll do two.

I hope you’re enjoying the story so far, so let’s continue…

The Negative Man Cover

Chapter 16 –

Wednesday Evening; Undisclosed Location


Unlike the previous night, this time I wasn’t drugged before being put in the car. Jenkins and Trelewicz came into my apartment like everything was normal.  Jenkins picked up a pizza and Trelewicz had a six pack of beer.  This matched up with what I told Heather that some of the guys were coming over for a ‘get better’ game of poker.  We even had a few slices and a beer before Trelewicz’s got the message from Walker.  “It’s time.”

We left out the back door and Jenkins put a blindfold over my eyes. “Eventually this won’t be necessary, but until we’re sure The Dark Lion doesn’t know you’re one of us, we have to stay protected.”

“I get it. I mean, I do work for the guy as his personal IT lackey.”

A felt a hand slap me on the back, too big to be Jenkins’. “Good man for understanding Staley.  Sit tight and we’ll be there in no time.”

The ride over went pretty quickly, at least faster than what it seemed yesterday. In no time we were back in the warehouse and the blindfold came off.  Spades was standing there, waiting for us.  “Welcome back Diamonds.  I do hope the ride over was no problem?”

“Everything was cool boss. Clubs and Hearts even brought me some pizza and beer.”

He nodded at the other two and they headed off. “Come with me Diamonds, it’s time to get the show on the road.”  We walked back to the central room, the one filled with their entire lot of tech.

As we entered, I noticed the biggest of the monitors was turned on, focused on City Hall.  I hadn’t really been paying attention to the news since the whole DL massacring the gang members, so I didn’t know what was happening.  “Something going down at City Hall tonight?”

“Don’t pay attention to the news do you? Not surprising, based on your generation.”  He went to the closest computer and pulled up the browser.  Going to the Pacific Station website, I saw the morning headline – ‘Police Hosting Charity Ball.’

I read the article, apparently it’d been called together on short notice due to the death of the Deputy Mayor Martinez. All the benefits were going to the city’s restoration fund with a small portion going to Martinez’s family.  “Lots of bigwigs and moneymakers going to be there?”

“Two moneymakers won’t be. John Wonderton turned down his invitation and so did Owen Walker.  Both guys however did send sizable checks to the donation fund, with notes apologizing for their absences.”

I’d been at work most of the day, leaving around three at Heather’s persistence, and not once did I hear DL talk about this charity ball. Did he not assume The Aces would hit this?  I wonder if he even knew and one of his many underlings sent the note and the check.  I knew Wonder-Tech had an account strictly for charitable causes, so it was entirely possible the man John Wonderton didn’t care about this.  We’d see if DL showed up tonight though.

Spades handed me my mask. “Put that on.  Inside each is a communicator linking each member of the team together.  You’re going to be our eyes and ears from here.  Do whatever is necessary to keep the police occupied and make sure we’re always in the clear.  Do it, and do it well, and you’ll be rewarded handsomely.”

It was like déjà vu sitting in the chair. This was going to be no different than what I did for DL.  Maybe that’s why he didn’t say anything about tonight.  If I knew too much, suspicion might get raised.  “Something tells me you won’t have any trouble with traffic tonight.”

He clapped his hands together. “Excellent!  I do love it when I’m graced with good news.”  He started to walk back towards the warehouse.  “For your own safety, I’m going to lock this door.  Its electromagnetic, so it’ll only open with this specially made key.  I doubt the police or The Dark Lion would find this place, but just in case…”  He walked out and closed the door.  A loud pop told me I was locked in.

A voice chirped in my ear; it was Spades. “Diamonds, can you hear me?”

“Loud and clear boss.”

“Clubs online.”

“As is Hearts.”

“Very good gentlemen, let’s go. We have a party to attend.”  The sound of a van turning on filled the comm.  “Diamonds, what’s the best route?”

Our location popped up on the map. Whether by design or they just forgot, I saw where The Aces base was, in the old packaging district on the outside of the city center.  “Go south on Cooper Street.  Go in the backside, using Sandy Beach, as there’s limited police activity there.”

“Very good. Hearts, let go.”

The was radio silence from everyone while they were driving. Doing as I promised, I made sure all the traffic lights fell into a pattern that was very favorable for my new teammates.  What should’ve been a ten to fifteen minute drive ended up only taking eight.

Hearts pulled into the back of City Hall where two regular uni’s were stationed. I was already on it, having broken into the city’s power grid and killed the lights to the back alley.  In the darkness, I couldn’t see what happened, but Trelewicz responded with, “The officers are taken care of.”

“Diamonds, we’re going inside. Switch to the security cameras to follow along.”

I kept one monitor on the outside, focused on where the car was parked. The lights flicked back on bringing the escape vehicle back into view.  The main monitor went inside, to the first camera and The Aces were walking in.  No one was in the hallway, all the way to the next corridor.  “You’re clear all the way in.”  I double clicked on the open link, “Security system is offline.”

“Well done Diamonds. You’re almost making Clubs look bad.”

Spades jab only made Clubs chuckle. “Maybe I’m more cut out for field work.”  Way to sound enthusiastic Jenkins.  Someone might’ve bought it.

The three of them walked slowly down the hall way. Unlike me who was dressed in a pair of jeans and a hoodie, my fellow Aces were dressed in black body armor, each with two guns on them.  One was located on the right hip and the other was an assault rifle strapped to their backs.  The only real way to tell them apart was by their masks.

When they reached the door leading to the next corridor, I switched views. This one must go to the main event area as three cops were walking around.  They were pretty relaxed, as if not a care in the world.  “You have three uni’s on the other side.  They’re pretty relaxed and you should take them with no problem.”

Clubs pulled something out of his one vest pocket. It looked almost like a phone.  “Diamonds, do you see the joystick two consoles over?”

Sure enough, there was one like an old gaming system. “Yeah, what about it?”

On the screen he pointed to the small device in his hand. “This is a crawler, specially programmed to release sleeping gas in a small space.  As soon as I activate it, it’ll be linked remotely to that joystick.  Think you can get it in there?”

“I’m insulted Clubs. I’ve been playing video games for years.”

He tapped his head knowingly and dropped the device. It was active, and like controlling an old RC car, I guided the small creeper right to the perfect spot.  “It’s in position.”

“Wait for it…” Clubs wasn’t moving, but I knew he could insert his mind into pretty much anything with a computer chip.

The creeper blinked twice before emitting a slow stream of gas into the room. It was barely noticeable, in fact the officers didn’t even realize until it was too late.  One by one they began to fall over until all three were down and out.

“Success…” Spades opened the door without a care in the world.  “I think it’s time we introduced ourselves to those V.I.P.’s who are so eager to depart with their money, don’t you all agree?”

I didn’t know what to say, so I just agreed with the rest of them. Each removed the large caliber gun off their back, ready for action.  Hearts seemed to be especially ready to get the show on the road.  Spades pointed to the door with two fingers, my signal to switch views and give a status update.

I reviewed the room. “A few security officers, but not enough to cover how large the ballroom is.  Grimes and a few other important people are there, but they aren’t combat ready.  You’re all clear.”

And with that, The Aces kicked open the door, their assault rifles ready for action.


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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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