Hey guys. Yesterday’s edition of the blogged was scrapped at the last minute. As many of you know, I live in Orlando and on the one year anniversary of the Pulse Shooting, it just didn’t feel right to put up a story chapter. I wrote about my feelings last year. This year, I chose to remember that awful day in silence for the victims.
Okay, on to the story…
Saturday Evening; Crosby Airfield
It seemed I was too late to see the exchange being done for the plutonium core, but good old Valiant was still here. He was counting stacks of money out of a black suitcase, all the while laughing to himself. He was a cartoon, a disgrace to all of us who’d been supervillains.
I slid my mask back on and slowly made my way over to where he was. He seemed like a real jackass, however, as I learned with DL, you can never underestimate a foe. There may’ve been backup or the real person or persons behind this could’ve been lurking. Plus, I didn’t know how his power worked; I probably should’ve asked Hilda before I killed her. Oops.
My fears were for naught. I was right within arm’s distance of his back and no traps had been laid. My worries beginning to vanish, I grabbed his shoulder and spun him around. There was nothing quite like seeing a man go from his highest high to his lowest low in a matter of a second or two.
Instant recognition formed, just like it had with Hilda. “You’re…”
“The Negative Man, ding ding ding, we have a winner.”
His quivering and groveling continued. “But, you’re dead! We all saw the fight with The Dark Lion!”
“Much like you, I’m a man of great illusion.” His face annoyed me, so I gave him just a taste of my power, blasting him back just a few feet. Nothing lethal, yet. “There’s no way around it, you’re going to die tonight, just like Hilda died a few hours ago.”
Oh man, he was a crier. I couldn’t understand a single word he was saying as he began blubbering all over the place. Couldn’t he at least die with some dignity? “Shut up.” He did. “This is how this is going to play out – you’re going to tell me how you stole an entire box truck and then you’re going to tell me who you sold it to.”
“If I do that, do I get to live?”
Was he trying to bargain with me? “No you don’t get to live, but your death will be instantaneous and not a long, drawn out painful process.”
Psychology has taught me that given the choice between prolonged pain and an instant, painless ending, most choose the second option. Valiant was no different. “What we did was only an illusion. The truck was still there, just invisible, as were we.”
“How did you two do that?”
“Hilda, she was the super. Her power was to make any object invisible as long as it was in her line of sight or she was touching it.” He swallowed hard. “We had an inside man, the guy in the back. Once everyone left, he drove the truck here and we awaited orders to meet the buyer.”
So everyone the green, environmental terrorists who proclaimed they wanted to save the planet had a price. “Who bought the core?”
“I don’t know. They never said their names and they were masks. I didn’t ask questions, not for half a million.”
I probably wouldn’t have either. The money though, that could probably be traced. “Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to write a nice long suicide note about how terrible you feel. You also need to tell the world you killed Hilda.”
“I’d never do that!” His face turned green, like he was going to vomit.
“I wasn’t under the impression this was a choice.” I buried another blast of energy into his chest; this time with a little more oomph behind it. “Remember those two options? You’re exceedingly close to option one.”
He pulled out his cell phone and opened his memo app. He went to work, typing as fast as he could. When he was finished, he handed it over to me. I gave it a quick read. “Well, that doesn’t sound too pathetic. Choice one it is.” I supercharged my hand and placed it right on his forehead. Besides the initial spike, he never felt a thing, his brains scrambled.
I left everything right where I found it and walked on out of the airfield.
It was later that evening when my phone rang again. It was DL. I answered with excitement, “Did you find something?” I knew the answer to that one!
“They’re dead,” he said with a lot of bitterness. “Valiant killed himself and Hilda. He left a damn suicide note on his phone.”
I had to pull the receiver away from my phone to chuckle a bit. DL was still ranting about how the lead dried up and there wasn’t anything else to do. “The only thing besides his dead body left behind was the cash someone paid him for the core.”
“We might be able to trace the cash, if it’s real, by the serial numbers.”
That glimmer of hope immediately turned the conversation around. “Can you do that?”
“Yeah it’s not –” A beeping noise interrupted me. It wasn’t on my end, so it must’ve been Wonderton’s phone.
It was. “I have a call coming in from a restricted line; hang on.” Son of a bitch! He actually put me on hold. Probably for a telemarketer, too.
A few seconds turned into minutes and I was this close to hanging up on him when the line clicked back over. “I need you at my office first thing in the morning.”
“That was a call from a two star general named Dave Whisant. He wants to talk to me about finding his misplaced plutonium reactor.”
Tomorrow I’ll have a special announcement before the chapter, so stay tuned for that. Until then, I hope everyone is doing okay today.
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