The Negative Man: City of Chaos (Chapter 20)

The Negative Man Cover

Chapter 20 –

Early Monday Morning; gl-O-bal Labs

 

“We’re robbing you?” I tried not to insult him.

Spades put his good arm on my shoulder. “Think of this as a two front plan.  First, this break in will lead the morning news, giving the public more reason to fear us.  And second, it’ll give poor Owen Walker sympathy which will lead to a boost in sales!  It’s a win-win.”

I felt weird being in the lobby of a place we were about to rob with the CEO of said company leading the charge. No one else was here, as Spades had made the security schedule specifically with this job in mind.  When the three of us still weren’t moving, he shooed us away.  “Go on now, go steal stuff.  And smash up some offices while you’re at it.  I don’t use my insurance nearly enough.”

So without further prodding, Hearts took to the lead and Cubs and I followed him. We got on the elevator and went up three floors to the accounting department.  As we stepped on the elevator, “Accounting keeps the checks for purchases in the safe at the end of the hall.  I figure the two of you can crack it while I go make a mess on the other side.  Call me if you need anything.”  With that, Hearts lumbered off with destruction in his eyes.

Clubs and I walked down the hall towards the safe. “Can’t say this is exactly how I saw myself getting into gl-O-bal, am I right Phil?”

He rolled his eyes behind his black mask. “I’ve learned not to question Spades, either as the crime boss or as a technical genius.  I might be the one who can organically hack into systems, but his vision is out of this world.”

A loud crashing sound told us Hearts had found his first target. “Yeah, the Mercury Five is an amazing piece of tech.  If Wonderton and R&D,” I looked directly at him, “doesn’t come up with something close, Wonder-Tech might be in trouble.”

“I have some ideas, but Legal keeps telling me they’re too insane. I mean, how are we to show the public progress if we don’t push the boundaries?”

I wonder if these were the plans Heather had told me about earlier. I wanted to ask him, but we reached the safe.  It was an electronic combination lock, probably something pretty easy to hack if you had powers like Clubs did.  He wasted no time putting his hand on the lock and closing his eyes.  I heard a few soft clicks and then a louder pop.  The safe door cracked open.

Removing his hand, “That was pretty easy.”

I pushed the door all the way open. Not only were the cashier’s checks and the rarely used traveler’s checks, but there was physical cash sitting there too.  “Holy shit… this is a ton of money.”

Clubs put his hands in the safe and started grabbing everything. “Come on Jericho!  Isn’t it time you got yourself a new car?”

I grabbed some money, not nearly as much as Clubs did, before we returned to the office area. Hearts had done quite a number to it.  “This was quite enjoyable.  You two ready to head down to R&D?  I’m sure you’ll love all the tech down there.”

We stepped back on the elevator and went down this time. We passed the ground floor and went three more levels down to B3.  When the doors opened, “Hot damn.”

I stepped off the elevator in total disbelief. The stuff just lying around here was amazing.  Clubs ran over to the nearest workstation and picked up something that looked like a camera.  “My God, is this a digital distortion camera?”

“That it is. Spades came up with it in the hopes to catch a picture of The Negative Man.”  Hearts puffed his chest out like it was his idea.  “Hopefully it’ll do the opposite of what a regular camera does and we’ll know who he is.”

A camera to capture The Negative Man’s identity? Who would be dumb enough to try that?  “Something tells me he wouldn’t like that.”

“Diamonds my young friend,” great he considered me a friend. “If we got a chance to talk to him, I know he’d support our cause and maybe even join it.”

I wasn’t so sure, knowing what I did of him, but I kept my thoughts private. Instead, I walked over to another table and picked up a very futuristic looking gun.  Seeing the cryo-chamber in it, “This is a freeze gun!”

“Wrong, it is an elemental gun.” Hearts joined me at my table and pulled open a drawer.  Inside were various chambers that looked like the cryo one in the gun currently.  “You can replace the chamber with whatever element you wish to use.  Red is the heat wave chamber, white is the wind cannon, and so forth.”

I set it back down. A little voice in my mind told me that Spades wouldn’t want me running off with that.  Clubs was having a field day though, liberating the tables with all sorts of stuff.  To make it not look too suspicious, I picked up a Mercury Alpha tablet and a few sets of wireless headphones.

There were plenty of other gadgets I had an interest in. The sheer amount of drones they were working on was insane.  Some were small enough to fit in your pocket, while others were obviously being designed for military use.  Again, the gl-O-bal R&D department was amazing.

As we made our way back to the elevator, the building’s alarm went off. “That’s our signal to go!”  Hearts hit the button for ground floor and we rocketed back up.

Spades was waiting for us in the lobby. “Perfect timing gentlemen.  I say we make ourselves scarce before anyone shows up.”

We left and quickly made our way around back to the van. Police cars showed up just as we got out of view.  As Hearts went to unlock the door, a shadow jumped down from the rooftop beside us.

“Didn’t learn your lesson the first time Spades. I guess I’ll have to break your other arm.”

Standing there like a lone sentinel in the night was The Dark Lion. Maybe I’d actually gotten through to him on the phone call.  I couldn’t blow my cover, so I took a step towards him.  “It’s four against one moron.  We already know what you can do.”

His gloved hand with the long nails flashed in the light. “I killed one Diamonds already; I can add a second to my collection.”

Spades stepped in the middle of us. “There is no need for violence this fine evening, is there John?”

I could see him bristle at being addressed by his real name. “Tell me why I shouldn’t finish the job?  I’m quivering with excitement for whatever bullshit you’re about to tell me.”

Spades didn’t say anything. Instead he pulled off his mask, revealing his public face, that of Owen Walker.  “We’ve done nothing wrong here tonight.  You can’t steal what’s already yours.”

The Dark Lion followed suit. He pushed back his cowl and took off his infrared goggles.  No longer was this about hiding their faces, no both men wanted to show their hatred for the other.  “Owen Walker, you dirty piece of shit.  Had I known it was you from the beginning, you wouldn’t be alive for this conversation.”

“Big words coming from a man who couldn’t even defeat his arch nemesis. Speaking of,” he pulled out his phone and brought up a tabloid headline, “it seems The Negative Man is actually being hailed as the city’s savior, not you.”

Spades was really playing with fire. John’s eyes were ready to explode from his head.  “I don’t care what anyone says; one day they’ll see just what a coward and a piece of shit The Negative Man truly is.  As for you,” with catlike reflexes he reached for Owen.  But, having learned his lesson the first time, John’s hand passed through Owen’s body.  He was already intangible.

Hearts roared forward and slammed his force field into John. The shock from the invisible blow caught him unprepared and he had to leap back to avoid any more damage.  He didn’t stop until he made it all the way back to the rooftop.  With one last evil glare at us, The Dark Lion vanished into the early morning.

Spades was completely amused. “Oh John Wonderton, when will you learn that you can’t beat me.  You’ll never beat me.”

I got the feeling the real reason John left the scene was because I was there. If a full-fledged fight had broken out, I wouldn’t have had many choices in defending myself.  As he pointed out before, Jericho Staley wasn’t the super.  He was just the sidekick.

-Jeremy

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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 www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (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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One Response to The Negative Man: City of Chaos (Chapter 20)

  1. Pingback: The Negative Man: City of Chaos – Easy reference to all the chapters | 5 Good Minutes

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