The Negative Man: City of Chaos (Chapter 21)

The last chapter this week.  This stuff is getting good huh?  The Negative Man will return next week…

The Negative Man Cover

Chapter 21 –

Friday Evening; Undisclosed Location

 

I pulled up to The Aces hideout, expecting to see everyone yet, only Spades was waiting for me. And he wasn’t wearing his mask.  I parked the car and got out.  “Everything okay boss?”

When not wearing his black Spades mask, Owen Walker looked like the nicest guy in the world. He offered a friendly handshake and an explanation.  “Tonight’s task just requires the two of us.  You see, I think I’ve designed a weapon to help us with our vigilante problem.”

“A weapon?”

He started walking briskly towards the warehouse. “It is a thing of beauty.”

I kept pace with him, like following a giddy kid through the aisles of a toy store. We passed through the portion of the hideout that acted as the parking garage and armory and went straight to the main computer room.  Inside, all the screens were lit up showing various parts of Pacific Station.  However, Walker didn’t even look up at them.  He beelined straight to a case on the ground and picked it up.

Popping open the latches, “I figured as a follow techno lover, you’d appreciate this more than the other two.” The top opened and inside was the elemental gun and its chambers.  “Saw this the other night at the raid on gl-O-bal did you?”

That I did. “Hearts told me that you can change the chamber in it, making it a sort of elemental weapon.”

He slid down what I assumed was the engaging mechanism and the gun began to hum. The blue cryo chamber lit up and the liquid inside began rolling, almost like the ocean.  “I’d stand back if I were you Jericho.”

I did as he asked and where I’d been standing just seconds earlier, he fired the concentrated blue beam into the concrete floor. The air in the room immediately dropped by a lot, but only for a few seconds.  As soon as the gun disengaged and the blue laser was gone, the temperature returned to normal.  But that was the least concerning part of this.  The spot of concrete that had been hit by the cryo-gun was a frozen solid disk of ice.  Not just any ice, “Is that dry ice?”

“You have a keen eye Jericho. As much as I’d love to tell you have I came to form this particular compound, I’m afraid that knowledge will stay locked away in here.”  He tapped on the side of his head.  “However, the reason you’re here is I need help perfecting the weapon itself.”

From that demonstration, I thought it worked perfectly fine. “What’s wrong with it?”  He handed the gun over to me.  Immediately I picked up on what the problem was.  “It’s overheating isn’t it?”

“What you’re feeling is only a slight display of it. Use it for any more than five seconds and the gun becomes scolding hot.  Obviously, to use it against The Dark Lion, I need it to be running at optimum capacity.”

I looked around the room. “Do you have a tool box or anything I can use?”

Spades left and returned shortly after, rolling in a giant metal tool box. “I think you’ll find I have everything one would ever need in this box.”

I opened the first set of drawers, finding a complete set of the top of the line Red Wolf tools. “Holy shit, this must’ve cost an arm and a leg.”

“No cost is unnecessary when you want to create the best. So tell me,” he gestured to the gun, “what are you thinking?”

I picked up a Philips head screwdriver. “I first want to see the wiring for the gun from the power cell.  That will tell me if the problem is in the power supply itself or in the physical wires.”

As I took off the cover, “I checked and rechecked both. I find it hard to imagine that either would be the problem.”

When the last screw fell into my hands, I popped the plate off and began inspecting the wiring. From the first glance, everything appeared to be normal and wired correctly.  I followed the path back to the power cell, which also appeared to be stable.  Then an idea hit me.  “The energy coming off the power cell must be pretty extraordinary, right?”

“To be able to get the concentrated blast needed to perform, no matter the element, we had to use the most concentrated supply we could muster.”

I looked back at the wiring. “You don’t have enough wires funneling the energy.  Basically you’re trying to push ten pounds of crap down a five pound bag.  You’re overloading the wiring and the circuits on the other end.  By my calculations,” I looked over the open compartment again, “I think you need to double the wire capacity and adjacent circuits.  That would do the trick.”

As he conferred with what I said, a huge realization just hit me. I just helped The Dark Lion’s enemy perfect a weapon that could in theory kill him.  Walker was over the moon happy.  “How could I be so dumb?  Of course, in the interest of keeping the weapon light and streamlined, I overlooked the most obvious solution!  Well done Jericho.”

I handed him the gun back and he returned it to the metal briefcase. “How long will it take you to rebuild that?”

“Hopefully we don’t have to rebuild it from scratch, but if we do, possibly a month.” He started rubbing his hands together.  “Just think, this could be the measure we need to get rid of The Dark Lion once and for all.”

I saw the speed at which the energy from the gun shot out. Just by a quick calculation in my head, DL wouldn’t be able to avoid very many blasts before one hit him.  And being hit by a concentrated blast of any of those elements would be deadly.

Out of nowhere, “Jericho, what would it take to pry you away from Wonder-Tech and come work with me at gl-O-bal? If I had you running the R&D department, I bet the elemental gun would be ready in half the time.  Plus, who knows what other wondrous gadgets we’d invent together.”

Words failed me. “Are you offering me a job?”

“Not formally, that’ll happen on Monday morning when I call you. Thank about it though, would you?”  Again, he patted my shoulder.  “It’ll be an offer that’s very hard to refuse.”

That last line stuck with me from the second I left The Aces base all the way back to my home. It was bad enough living two separate lives, but the one I never meant to continue kept inching its way further and further into my real one.  Plus there was also the problem with the elemental gun.  Just because I was pissed at The Dark Lion and showed it over the past week, I didn’t want him to be killed by Spades.

What I needed was clarification. Was there a way to get The Dark Lion to confront his biggest problem, The Negative Man?  I didn’t know, but it was the only way to get the city back the hero it needed.  The Aces were still the first and foremost threat.  As bad as it sounded, what The Negative Man was doing wasn’t that big of a threat to the city.  The lives of two shouldn’t mean more than an entire population.

I fell asleep on my couch with all these thoughts running through my mind. I was awoken by my phone ringing beside me.  Groggily, I looked down at it and saw the display said eleven thirty in the morning.  The caller ID flashed John Wonderton.  It was his office phone.  “Hello?”

“Jericho, I know it’s Saturday and we haven’t talked much lately, but I need you here.”

Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, “It was a long night. How important is this?”

“When I got here this morning, I received an email from an encrypted account. I opened it using you’re secure server and there was a video clip on it.”

Apparently cutting to the chase still wasn’t his strong point. “What was on the video?”

“It was The Negative Man. He gave me instructions on how to reach him today at noon and I’m going to need your help to set up the connection.”

Hmph, well look at that. It seemed wishes really did come true.  “I’ll be there in fifteen.”

-Jeremy

Visit the Two Dudes’ website at http://ucfgk04.wix.com/twodudesbrewsbooks

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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 21)

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

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