Over the next few days, I could feel the tension building up among the team. Kickback had scaled down the training to keep us in shape for the coming fight which left us a lot of time. Kenzie and I were sticking together like glue. We weren’t the only one; Stan and Chuan who normally stayed professional looking in public got in on the PDAs.
Once I came out of the shower, Kickback approached me.
“Alright Paige, I know it’s a bit sudden, but I got a patrol scheduled for you today. I think you could use more field experience.”
“Alright ma’am. I’ll get ready and meet you in the garage?”
“Actually, today you’ll be pairing with Hekatonkheires, he volunteered to be your chaperone. Get dressed and go find him downstairs, he should be waiting for you in the Guardian’s ready room.”
“Yes Ma’am!” I said giving her a salute. She gave me a nod and I hurried downstairs.
I put my costume on by myself. The armor itself was simple, I just had to put it on and zip it. -- Although it was starting to feel a little tight, I made a mental note to mention it to Kickback. -- Then came the belt and boots. Putting on the masks was the worst; the domino mask underneath had to be sprayed with a special adhesive that only stuck to skin and had to be put on right before it dried while the larger exterior mask had to be awkwardly strapped to my face. At least the hoodie was easy to put on.
Once that was done, I made my way underground into the garage and to the rest of the complex, following the green colored dots on the ground toward the guardian’s break room. Unlike the young guardians who had a dormitory, the guardians only had emergency accommodations at the headquarter.
I knocked and someone yelled for me to get in. The inside wasn’t as great or huge as the young guardian’s lounge but it wasn’t meant to be actual living space. The room was divided into two; half was a small living room with a pair of couches and a tv while the back held a miniature kitchen.
The room only had two people in it; Artillery whom I’d met ages ago in court and the unfortunately named Gunk whom I’d see in action on my first night. The two of them were in partial costume, having removed their headgear and tactical gear, having left them on the coffee table. The two of them were laying on one of the couch, cuddled up and watching a movie together.
“Oh hello Paige.” Artillery said getting up and coming my way. “It’s been a while.”
“Please, call me Sarah.” She said and then nodded back to the couch. “My wife Angelina, have you met her?”
“She was in charge of guarding my hospital room, but we never really spoke to each other. Is Hekatonkheire here? I’m supposed to meet him for patrol.”
“Oh yeah, Simon’s in the back changing, let me warn you; he has a habit of running late for things, but he’s nice.”
As I waited for Hekatonkheire to finish, I sat down with them, partially unbuckling my mask to stuff a few handful of popcorn in my mouth.
After about five minutes, Hekatonkheires came out of the changing room, maskless and I got my first good look at him. He was obviously of east asian descent, but I couldn’t tell the specifics. His features were rather sharp with a strong jaw and even without his hands decalled armor, I could tell he would have a decent level of bulk to his body.
“Hey Paige, it’s been a while!” He said, coming forward and spontaneously hugging me. I let myself get squashed against his armor and he let me go after a moment. “Oh, sorry. I tend to get physical.” He then said, taking a step back.
“Well, I got to say, you’re looking a heck of a lot better than when I found you.”
“Lots of things have changed since then.”
“I can see that. Ready to get to work?”
We left the break room and went back into the garage, Hekatonkheire heading for one of the parked bike.
“Do we have to use the motorcycle?”
“Kickback scared you good with her driving?”
“Just a little…” I said.
“I know how you feel, I used to be terrified of those thing. But rest assured; I’m a more prudent and patient driver than she is.”
I mumbled a prayer and got behind him, wrapping my arms around his big chest. We spent a few hours cruising through the town, responding to whatever calls came our way; a bar fight spilling out into the street, a grocery store holdup and got to escort a few very irascible patrons. Most of which cooperated once they saw the costumes.
Simon and I were taking a break and sharing a twelve inches cheese steak sandwich when dispatch called us directly.
“G-354, This is dispatch, we have 217 with divergent ability in progress. Please respond.”
“Dispatch, this is G-354, go ahead.”
“Suspect is attempting to enter building at the corner of Karluk and 12th and has made threats to occupants. Caucasian male with a green sweater with offensive ability.”
“I’m en route.”
Simon explained that a 217 was assault with intent to murder and we got onto the bike and he brought us to the place, which wasn’t far. We parked around the corner and Simon gave me a foam launcher, saying something about it being Kickback’s orders.
It wasn’t hard to find which building was the right one; long spears of metal stuck out of the walls, a nearby patrol cruiser had been equally impaled and there were some sort of barricades made out of the same spikes surrounding the place. In front of which was the suspect; screaming his lungs out incomprehensibly at whoever was in the building.
“Blaster alpha, shaper alpha.” I said to Hekatonkheire.
Hekatonkheire pointed toward the cop car. “I can see an officer down. You go investigate, I’ll handle the suspect.”
I didn’t question his orders; instead running toward the officer. Thankfully the suspect was too busy to notice me.
I crouched down by the officer, Mendez was written on his tag. He had a spear running through his leg, which had prevented him from bleeding out, the cut on his chest worried me a lot more. I quickly checked his vitals; he was breathing raggedly, but alive nonetheless.
“This is Young Guardian Shell; I have an officer down.” I declared on the comm, giving them our location before taking out the medkit from my belt. I took out the medical foam, ripped them officer’s shirt and applied it like Dr. Park had taught me to.
I looked around and found the other officer; he hadn’t been as lucky as officer Mendez; impaled through the chest by three spears. I reported his situation before turning my attention to the battle.
Hekatonkheire was one of those people with a really odd power; He could create hand shaped force field thingies. Although he could have a lot of them, he couldn’t move more than two at a time.
Mr. Impaler, I decided to call him, was a straightforward power; He created metal spikes which he could control telekinetically. At least until he let go of them I guess; he hadn’t used any of the ones littering the battlefield.
Seeing an opportunity I took a shot at him; spraying him with foam from my launcher but he was faster than I anticipated; summoning a wall of spears to block the foam before chucking it aside. He summoned another one and launched it toward me.
Reflex kicked in and I threw myself aside, hurting my left wrist in the fall.
Mr. Impaler wasn’t done with me. He threw his hand back and a spear formed, he swung his hand forward and the spear followed. I didn’t get the time to react; still being on the ground. I froze as the spear was about to hit me.
But it didn’t.
It stopped a few feet away from my chest; held on by one of Hekatonkheire’s hands. He diverted the spear and it hit the ground away from me.
“Shell; get cover!”
I got up and looked around; There wasn’t anything I could use, the police car wasn’t resistant enough. So instead I improvised; emptying the foam launcher’s tank in a line on the ground parallel to Mr. Impaler’s location; the foam rapidly expanding into an improvised cover which I hoped would protect me.
I took a moment to gather my thoughts. Before peeking out of cover.
I could see Hekatonkheires fighting him; the two were quite matched. Hekatonkheire had a strong barrier protecting him, while Mr. Impaler destroyed any of his opponent’s attempt at hitting him.
I had to think of something quick. I couldn’t do anything at a distance and I couldn’t approach without becoming a shishkebab.
I fumbled around my belt. My tazer and pepper spray had yet to be returned, which left me with very little options. I hit the flares and a terrible, terrible idea came to mind.
I took out the pair of flares from my belt and removed them from the protective casing. They were long tubes that shot when you pulled the ring underneath.
I watched as Mr. Impaler threw another volley at Hekatonkheire to act. I got up, aimed and pulled the two rings. A pair of bring white flares shot at him, one of them hitting him.
A few spears were thrown my way but missed as I zigzagged across the terrain. Blinded by the glare of the flares, he couldn’t aim worth a damn.
I grabbed onto his arms, trying to wrestle him. Although he was stronger than I was, he couldn’t seem to throw anymore of his spears. Still, that left us at a stalemate.
Which I knew how to break...
I took a swing back and then swung my whole body forward, smashing my head into his. My head began ringing with the impact and everything went dark. Still, I felt Mr. Impaler become limp and collapsing to the ground.
I removed my mask and saw the cracks in the heads up display.
Mr. Impaler awoke after a few seconds from his concussion induce blackout, telling me I hadn’t just made him brain dead, and I stomped on his hand. He cried out in pain and tried to swing his arm to summon one of his spears but Hekatonkheire’s ghost hands pinned his other arms down.
Hekatonkheire came forward and took out a small gun-like instrument from his belt before applying it to Mr. Impaler’s neck. It gave an audible ‘tssk’ before he removed it. After a few seconds, Impaler started drifting out.
“That would be nice to have long ranged.”
“Short of perfect accuracy, that wouldn’t work. Tranq darts can take twenty minutes to work. This little gadget delivers a spray absorbed by the skin, if you place it over a major artery it’s a lot faster.”
I nodded. It made sense.
Hekatonkheire put a hand on my shoulder.
“You did well, especially for a trainee. You didn’t panic, you thought quickly and figured out how to neutralize the suspect. I’ll make sure to give Kickback a commendation. Keep at it and you could have your sentence pardoned early.”
“Alright, that’s enough for tonight, want me to drop you home after you get changed?” He asked once the regular cops arrived.
“Shouldn’t we be filing the arrest reports?”
“KB’s got you doing that too?”
“Yeah. That’s not normal?”
“No, normally we keep the young guardians away from the paperwork, I usually just do it at home; I don’t have a lot going on there anyway.” He said with a shrug. “And hey, I’m sure you’ve got more interesting things to do with your freetime.”
He patted my hair and I got onto the bike, driving to the headquarter before going home.