“I’ve never failed before.” Fixit continued to stare blankly while
Arachnos’s Hand frantically attempted to douse the rising flames in
“Snap out of it! What kind of hero are you anyway?”
Arachnos’s Hand turned his attention to Fixit when he decided it was
obviously futile to fight the flames. “Look, you’re not well known
enough to be worth more dead than alive to me right now. I may need
you to get out of here.”
Fixit realized how hot it had been getting
in the small room. Against his nature, and his better judgment, Arachnos’s
Hand grabbed the stunned hero, pulled him from the burning room, and
eventually led him from the complex entirely. Giving him a good right
hook across the face, Arachnos’s Hand finally got through to Fixit.
“What the hell?” Fixit’s somber mood was suddenly dashed.
last a day here in the rouges.” Arachnos’s Hand spat at the hero.
“This place is founded on trials by fire. If every person who didn’t
make it the first time just gave up, there would be no Rogue Isles.
Now cowboy up and get with the program. Your precious mission isn’t
all lost, it just got more complicated.”
“What on earth are you talking
about?” Fixit grunted. A villain was lecturing him, and was actually
right to do so. This knowledge didn’t help his disposition.
can’t have that technology,” Arachnos’s Hand caught the hero in his
stare, “I don’t want anyone to. You now work for me. I want you to
retrieve the good Doctor Munroe, and his technology. Moreover, I don’t
want you to apprehend Emplate.”
“I’m sure as hell not letting him
“I didn’t say to let him loose either.” Arachnos’s Hand
looked knowingly at the hero in front of him.
“We’ll see,” Was Fixit’s
“Good, the first thing we’ll need to do is get you
more appropriately attired for accompanying me.”
“What?” Fixit was
really beginning to hate this arrogant man.
“Well, despite his abilities,
I would recommend body armor.” Maggie, Arachnos’s Hand’s personal
stylist, spoke softly and smoothly. “What did you say your call name
“I didn’t.” Fixit practically spat at her.
he fussy?” Maggie eyed Arachnos’s Hand. “I don’t outfit strangers,
you know this Arach. I recommend an attitude adjustment.” She scolded.
“Again, what is your call name?”
Fixit looked at Arachnos’s Hand,
glaring, he said,
“Wreckit.” he could practically hear the villain
“Ah, simple, bold, I like it.” Maggie bought into the lie.
“We shall outfit you to match. Think swat team meets construction
crew.” She dove into her closet, lined with fabrics of all textures
and colors. Pulling out black Kevlar body armor, black cargo pants,
a pair of goggles and a head covering mask, Maggie returned to Fixit
and demanded he change immediately.
“Ok, I can understand body armor,
but goggles?” Fixit felt ridiculous.
“Here,” Maggie grabbed at the
side of his goggles. “Night vision. Very handy in those dark places.
Besides, you need to hide your face don’t you?”
“I’ve never worn pants
so tight.” Fixit complained.
“Suffer for fashion.” Arachnos’s Hand
chimed in. “It’s great, put it on my tab Mag.” He turned back to Fixit,
“Let’s go, we’ve got plenty of work ahead of us.”
“Arach,” Fixit asked,
“That a familiar way to say your name?”
“Only my friends call me familiar.”
Arachnos’s Hand responded.
“Whatever you say, ARACH” Fixit grinned.
“Let’s get this over with.” Arachnos’s Hand sighed.
Hours later, after
having visited nearly every one of Arachnos’s Hand’s informants the
two men were no closer to finding the wayward Emplate. Fixit had to
admit, the costume he had acquired worked wonders for getting him
around the Isles unnoticed. Fixit had done something he wasn’t sure
any hero had ever accomplished, he had walked around in broad daylight
on the rouge isles without being attacked or accosted. He was even
beginning to accept the idea of keeping the suit, body armor may not
be such a bad thing.
Arachnos’s Hand and Fixit were beginning to lose
hope when the villain’s communicator came to life.
you told me to keep an eye out for ARACH?” A voice crackled over the
comm. device. The informant was a corrupt RIPD officer who liked to
be called butch if Fixit remembered correctly.
“Can I get set up to
meet this man as a buyer?” Arachnos’s Hand requested.
“Done and Done
Arach, you meet in two hours. Roof of an abandoned warehouse on the
edge of town here.” Butch gave the exact address of the building.
“Good,” the villain replied smoothly. “You didn’t tell him it was
me asking did you?”
“No, of course not; he actually came to me. I
told him I could probably dig up an interested buyer. He told me where
“Thank you Butch.” Arachnos’s Hand practically cooed as
he hung up. “Here,” turning to Fixit, he handed him a small comm.
device. “It’s an open channel, you can’t turn it off and you can’t
hear my response. It will allow me to hear what goes on between you
and Emplate so I can assess the situation then act accordingly.”
don’t like this arrangement at all.” Fixit told him plainly. “I’ll
wear it, but if I tell you to do something, you’d better do it. And
one more thing,” He caught the villain with an intense gaze, “I need
Fixit had learned his lesson, he wasn’t about to go into
another dangerous situation with only a backstabbing villain behind
The time for the meting came quickly. Arachnos’s Hand hid within
the building while Fixit, in disguise, approached Emplate. Timing
had been planned precisely. Although Fixit would be able to approach
without difficulty, if he wasn’t discovered once he was close, his
voice would give him away.
Emplate waited on the appointed rooftop,
near the termination of an elevator shaft. As Fixit approached, he
couldn’t help but feel there was something wrong with this whole caper.
“I thought you might come.” Emplate snarled. “I brought some insurance.”
Dragging the haggard scientist out from behind the elevator terminal,
he continued. “But I think we can still make a deal.”
move. He seemed to be thinking to himself, his head lowered slightly.
After several silent moments reminiscent of an old western showdown,
Fixit raised his head.
“Ok, I’ll make a deal.” Fixit spoke as he approached
the villain. “The city wants their scientist and his research back;
they didn’t say they weren’t willing to pay for it.”
hero.” Emplate’s voice scraped from his throat. “I don’t want you
to think you can get close enough to start a fight.
Fixit calmed his voice, timing was everything. A muffled tune rang
out, emanating from Fixit’s armored chest. “I’m sorry,” Fixit started,
reaching for his phone, “didn’t realize it was still on.” Pulling
his phone from his pocket, he deactivated the ring tone. One moment
it was a harmless cell phone, the next it was a deadly missile aimed
straight for Emplate’s head.
“Now!” Fixit shouted before the phone
had even reached its target. It struck Emplate square in the forehead
and shattered from the impact. Stunned, the villain did his best to
back pedal away from his assailant, abandoning Dr. Munroe and the
device. Fixit pressed his advantage and closed on Emplate.
Arachnos’s Hand had been waiting for a sign to enter the fray. He
had heard what he had assumed was Emplate's voice, but the receiver
hadn’t picked up enough to hear what had been said.
Fixit’s voice broke quietly into his comm. link, “I have arranged
for Emplate to take the fall for everything, you will be untouched
for the crimes committed in the last few days. However, I need you
to get Dr. Munroe out of here. The device is an experimental jetpack,
I think. I will distract Emplate, but you need to get up here and
take the scientist and the jetpack back to an entrance to Paragon.
You double cross me and every one of your contacts I met today will
begin to work for me and we will find you. Choose your actions wisely.”
“Well damn,” Arachnos’s Hand said to himself, “this is all so unexpected.”
“Count twenty seconds,” the voice returned over the link, “I need
you to dial this number when you reach that count.” Arachnos’s Hand
committed the number to memory; it appeared to him there was very
little choice but to play along, for the time being.
on his enemy was halted abruptly when a blast of gravitational force
struck him, sending him careening into a brick chimney and crashing
to the ground. Not one to hesitate, he flung himself back into the
fray with a spring born of mutant muscle mixed with desperation. Approaching
his foe, Fixit could feel himself getting heavier with each footfall.
Within moments, he was rooted in place.
“I have one more surprise
for you.” Emplate rasped, pulling a small device from his boot, grinning.
“It’s a detonator.” Fixit ceased his struggles, his attention now
fully turned to his foe. “The whole building is wired to explode should
I so desire.” His mind raced, he needed another missile weapon. Shy
of taking off a boot and hurling it, he couldn’t find anything he
could use to catch Emplate off guard. Fortunately, someone else did
it for him. A lashing vine struck Emplate’s hand just a thunderous
roar erupted from where Dr. Munroe had been.
A man in black leather
and a red velvet lined cape stood strapped to the scientist’s device;
in his arms he held fast Dr. Munroe. Light caused by the flaring thrusters
reflected in clouds of smoke and exhaust. Within a heartbeat the two
were gone, leaving Emplate to wonder how, and Fixit to hope Arachnos’s
Hand would act according to his directions.
Fixit took full advantage
of the opening left by Arachnos’s Hand and slammed into Emplate with
a desperate fury. Fists, feet, knees and elbows assaulted the flustered
villain with no apparent end. Blood poured from wounds, but still
he fought to regain his concentration. A strike broke his left leg
at the thigh, just above the knee and he dropped to the ground.
the fight over, Fixit reached for his police transponder, figuring
to send the villain back to the Zig, where he belonged. As soon as
he let up his assault, he was blown off his feet by a blast of gravity
so strong, it sent him off the roof, through the wall of a neighboring
Reaching deep within himself, searching for a reserve of
strength, Emplate painfully dragged his broken leg and battered form
across the roof of the warehouse. He struggled to focus with what
was left of his one eye as it filled with fluid and swelled shut.
Reaching out with a mangled hand, he found what he had searched for,
the detonator. Pulling it close to his body, he waited for the inevitable
return of the hero.
Fixit dug his way free of debris and rubble cause
by the imploding wall. Groaning at the pain in his back, where he
had hit the wall, he breathed a sigh of relief, knowing how much more
it would have hurt without the armor he wore.
“Damnit,” He softly
swore to himself. He knew Emplate was more dangerous than that. Regaining
his bearings, he took a flying leap back towards the roof, hoping
Emplate was still there so he could finish beating the insolence from
In a single bound he regained the rooftop. Catching his breath
at the sight waiting for him there, Fixit swore out loud. Emplate
lay, broken, in a growing pool of his own blood. Teeth were missing,
his face was brutalized, hands broken, his left leg was shattered,
bone protruding from the wound. There was a terrible sound emanating
from the mass that had once been Emplate; it gurgled and screeched.
“Are you laughing?” Fixit asked the broken shell of a man, stunned.
Emplate was unable to give any kind of verbal answer, instead he held
up the detonator. If he was going to go, he would take his enemy with
him. His eye nearly swollen shut, all he could see with his blurry
vision was Fixit getting smaller and smaller as he blew away.
gathered the strength in his extraordinary legs and pushed off with
all his might at the sight of the detonator. His leap sent him hundreds
of yards into the air, aided by the heat from the blast. It wasn’t
until he reached the pinnacle of his leap that he realized he would
come down just as fast. As he fell back towards the burning warehouse,
it seemed he was picking up even more speed.
Barely able to hold onto
consciousness, Emplate wasn’t sure at first if really was Fixit that
had re-entered his sight. He reached out with his powers more from
instinct and habit than anything. It wasn’t until Fixit completely
encompassed his field of vision that Emplate realized his mistake;
he was directly under the hero.
Fixit hit the ground with a sickening
crunch. His bones, and those belonging to the villain beneath him,
were crushed. Managing to roll off the man beneath him, Fixit was
astounded to realize that he was still alive!
“I wish you had died.”
He croaked to the pulverized man. “Now I gotta find my own way home.”
Reaching into the deep pockets of his pants, he removed the emergency
hospital transceiver. Fixit may not have been a model hero in every
sense of the word, but he was not about to let a man die on his watch;
even if that man was a villain. Strapping it to what was left of his
foe; he activated it, watching Emplate disappear in a cool blue light.
The building around him was burning; losing structural integrity with
every second. Glass exploded, filling his unprotected skin with shards,
biting like blood frenzied sharks.
“Shit.” He complained loudly to
the burning building. Attempting to rise, he found his right side
unwilling to move. Dragging his half-useless body over glass, rubble
and embers, he made the door. Exiting into a back alley, he slithered
off in search of a payphone.
“You’re always there when I really need
you aren’t you?” He slurred into the phone when Medik answered. Delirious
and somewhat giggly from loss of blood, Fixit found his situation
“Where are you?” Medik could tell by his voice that
Fixit was seriously injured.
“I’m right here.” He stammered; giving
what seemed to be a perfectly reasonable answer to a ridiculous question.
“Activate your signal, I’ll find you that way.”
“Nope, no good, I
can’t activ’t… avact… turn on my signal. I broke it.”
“Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
“What’s the address
where you are? Can you see a street sign?” Medik sighed as his frustration
“No, no street sign, there’s a big burning warehouse. It blew
“That crap on the news is you?” Medik called out incredulously,
“I should have known. How in the hell did you get that far into the
“Sshhh,” Fixit berated, “I’m in disguise.” He chuckled
into the phone. “Do you have a dime for the next three minutes?”
I’m on my way. Stay put.” Medik hung up and raced out immediately
to rescue his imperiled friend. Running at speeds exceeding ninety
miles per hour, he wasted no time with costumes or capes. Medik was
running to rescue a friend.
“And Medik,” Fixit’s tone became far more
serious as he spoke to the dead air, “hurry, if they find me like
this I’m a dead man.”
Medik almost didn’t recognize Fixit between
the disguise and the damage that had been done to him. The phone was
hanging by the cord from the booth; Fixit lay in his own blood. He
was still clinging to consciousness, leaning on the phone booth to
keep upright. A mangled cigar hung from his lower lip, smoldering.
“My hero,” he coughed up at Medik.
“I still say those things are bad
for you.” Medik responded, gingerly placing his hands on his friend,
the radiation in his blood creating warm waves of energy which renewed
the life flowing in Fixit’s body.
“Don’t you start with me,” Came
Fixit’s gruff reply.
“Though Doctor Munroe says he never caught the
name of the mysterious hero who saved him, he confirmed that the citizen
of the Rouge Isles who brought him to the war walls of Sirens Call
yesterday evening on the heels of a devastating explosion in Port
Oakes was, in fact, a villain from that same area.”
Fixit hit the
power button on the television.
“Damnit,” he looked over his shoulder
at Medik on the couch, eying his friend menacingly. “Now the news
is doing it. Did you know that a villain told me I wasn’t well known
enough to be worth killing?”
“Yeah,” Medik scratched the back of his
neck, “you did, three times.”
“Well, I’m just sayin’ we need to get
out more, make ourselves known. We are heroes after all.” Fixit stuck
a cigar in his mouth as he finished his sentence.
“Smoke that outside
man.” Medik warned his friend.