“We’re taking significant fire from the southeast entrance! All units respond!”
I’d hacked into the PSPD’s communications from my post at The Ace Base and cringed. Spades somehow dug up an army of hired hands and was taking it to the police. I didn’t know what spurned this impromptu attack, but earlier today I received a text to be here and run the controls on an op.
Grimes voice broke through again. “Damnit! We’re losing too many officers! We need backup!”
“We’ve got ‘em on the run boys! Keep pressing!” Hearts, of course, was the one running towards the fire. Spades was good with hanging behind and letting the muscle of the group take the fight to the cops.
He reached out with his hand and sent a shockwave of energy towards a row of desks. They flipped up into the air, revealing more cops. Exposed, all they could do is keep firing, but they eventually succumbed under the overwhelming odds.
This was just so barbaric. To use such a crude display of force against human police officers seemed so unnecessary. The police hadn’t been able to do anything to stop The Aces, yet here we were, ransacking the station for fun. It was almost as if Spades felt the need to let Hearts off his leash and succumb to the rage that was always just under the surface. Hearts did a good job at hiding it, but if you looked closely, you could see the disdain always hidden beneath the smile.
“Look chief, backups come!” I looked up to where the police officer was pointing. A group of masked individuals dropped in from the ceiling, halting the gunfire.
The five figures stood up tall, each wearing an animal mask – Elephant, Tiger, Antelope, Rhino, and Crocodile. The Elephant seemed to be the leader as this ragtag posse and stepped up to Hearts. With a campy attempt at a threatening growl, “This ends you pieces of shit.”
Hearts wasn’t about to stand down to these guys, whoever they were. “Just who do you think you idiots are? The City Zoo?”
Tiger tried to jump forward, but his comrades held him back, which may have saved his life. Elephant continued on. “We are a group of supers who are tired of living in the shadows. We’ve come together to help The Dark Lion take out thugs like you.” He jabbed Hearts in the chest, rather hard too.
Spades and Clubs joined Hearts, confronting the new threat. Spades pushed Hearts to the side. “As you can see you’re completely outnumbered. Even with The Dark Lion eliminating my supply of henchmen, I can still find those willing to die for a good cause.”
“What about you? Are the three of you masked punks willing to die too?” Tiger’s voice sounded oddly familiar to me.
Spades didn’t even retort. “Before we eliminate you ‘heroes,’ what do you call yourselves? I’d like to know what the name of my opposition is.”
Rhino, who didn’t come across as the brightest bulb, proudly stated, “We’re the Station Thugs Destroyers!”
Even as he said it, his friends groaned. I couldn’t help but pull away from my comm because I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. Hearts picked up on it too and didn’t bother to hide his amusement at the stupid name. “You’re the STD’s? Oh this is rich…”
“That name isn’t universally agreed upon.” Nothing Elephant could say now would stop this from spreading like wildfire.
Spades and Clubs weren’t nearly as amused as Hearts and each pulled out their assault rifles. “Hearts, if you’re done toying with the newcomers, we have a job to finish.”
All hell broke loose. Hearts sent another wave of energy towards the Animal Brigade (I just couldn’t call them the STD’s), yet they were well prepared. Elephant used the unusual power of limb expansion and blocked the blast with his hands. Tiger’s fingers had three inch claws at the tips and he jumped up and raked Hearts mask with them. Four deep gauges broke up the red on the mask.
Clubs was firing his rifle at Rhino, who charged at him. Each step Rhino took shook the floor, causing Clubs to miss with all his shots as the man rammed him with his shoulder. Clubs fell back at an odd angle into the wall and his mask broke into two, sliding off his face. “I’ve been compromised!”
No one acknowledged him but me. “Find something to cover yourself with!”
Elephant and Tiger continued their double team attack on Hearts, yet Spades was nowhere to be found. Antelope, Crocodile, who both appeared to be women, and a newly reenergized police force began taking down the army of thugs with precision and lethal force. Antelope could jump, really far, and used two daggers to end the thugs’ attacks.
Crocodile had the most unusual ability. Behind her was a tail that extended from her lower back. She used it as a bullwhip, snapping gunman and punks with deadly accuracy.
“Diamonds, this is Spades! Do you have an eye on the situation?”
I engaged the comm quickly. “Yeah, these newcomers aren’t all that powerful, but they’re very skilled and work wonderfully together. I suggest a hasty retreat.”
He swore loudly into my ear. “Damnit I know. I can’t believe we didn’t see these idiots coming! At least The Dark-”
A weird yelping noise cut him off. “You were saying Walker.” The Dark Lion was here.
The comm was snapped out of Spades ear and I lost communication with him. I still couldn’t see him on the cameras, but I could still watch the mayhem in the station. Hearts was getting pounded on by a giant fist. “Hearts, get out of there!”
“I don’t retreat!”
What a stubborn asshole. “Spades is in trouble, The Dark Lion’s here.”
If my words weren’t enough, Spades body flew in through a window and landed on top of Clubs. The Dark Lion was right behind him, landing neatly in the middle of the chaos. “It’s time we put an end to this once and for all.”
Spades stood back up and dusted himself off. “You had a chance you fool! Never give me the upper hand!”
The Dark Lion’s eyes went from Spades to Clubs. “Phil Jenkins… a traitor in my own house.”
Jenkins, without his mask on, looked terrified. “I… it’s not…”
“No Jenkins, don’t be ashamed of your decisions.” Spades just stood there stoically, like he had a secret. “Be proud of your ability to stand here with us, as one of The Aces.”
But it wasn’t the same anymore. Even though he didn’t realize we’d known his identity for weeks, in his mind the cat was now out of the bag. “He’ll kill me, just like he did Diamonds!”
All I could do is watch as Spades reached into Clubs just with his intangible hand. “This will be quick and for the best.” Clubs looked down in horror and then his eyes rolled back in his head. Spades removed his hand and Phil Jenkins dropped to the ground dead.
Spades glove was covered in blood. “With that taken care of, I do feel that we’ve overstayed our welcome. Hearts, if you would…”
The large man blasted a huge projection of energy in both directions. It blew back dead bodies, furniture and put two large holes in the walls. Dust flew up everywhere, clouding my vision from the scene below. The Dark Lion and the Animal Brigade charged the spot blindly, but I knew it was too late.
As the smoke cleared, I was right. The Dark Lion and the rest began helping the officers in the station and that’s when I cut the feed to the computers here. About five minutes later, Spades came over the comm. “We’re in the van returning. I think the city got my message tonight.”
If his message was needless violence and death, than yes I’m sure it did. “Is Jenkins really…”
“A shame, as I really did like him, but he was freaking out and with Wonderton knowing his identity, became a loose end. In fact, it’s time I started cleaning those up as we’re about to go into the final stage of our plan.”
I knew what he was referring to, but Hearts surprisingly didn’t. “What’s the last step boss?”
“That’s need to know.” I heard the brakes slam and the door flew open. There were the sounds of a brief struggle before the door closed one more time. “Sorry about that Jericho, I had one last loose end to cut.”
“Is Hearts dead?”
The van shifted back into drive, followed by a loud thudding sound. “If he wasn’t before, the van just finished the job.” I think he could sense my apprehension growing. “Jenkins and Trelewicz were never going to be in the final plan. But you Jericho, you can help me make this plan flourish!”
He sounded like a lunatic. “How can your new hero stop The Aces if half of them are dead?”
“Half of them aren’t Jericho and that should be enough to finish what we’ve started.” I was worried he was starting to lose his grip. “With your expertise and my execution, I won’t fail!”
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