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Time Out of Mind

Part 2



            “I had no idea you were a rider.”  Fixit took his hot dog from the vendor and joined his companion on the bench nearby.

            “If Flora knew I was riding without my helmet, she’d be pretty upset,” Jon replied, “but the way I see it, as Nightbringer I can handle multiple gangs trying to kill me in various ways; I don’t think that a motorcycle is much of a liability.”

            “You won’t find me arguing with you there.”  The bandana wearing hero replied.  “You and Flora ever think about having kids?”  He asked, his mind wandering off to his earlier encounter with Bianca.

            “What married couple doesn’t,” Nightbringer replied, “why do you ask?”  Fixit stuffed the rest of his hot dog into his mouth and chewed for a few long seconds, using the delay to choose his wording.  Spending just a few moments with this man, he could understand why the Nameless turned to him for leadership and support.  There was something about Jon that was just easy to trust and open up to.

            “I got a woman pregnant.”  Fixit spat out plainly.  The tattooed hero looked up from his hot dog as the cigar toting scrapper continued.  “I don’t think she was even a girlfriend or anything, it was kind of a casual thing… man that sounds bad.”

            “So, are you getting married now or what?”  Jon tried to figure out what the man sitting next to him wanted from him.

            “I don’t think she would want to marry anybody, almost certainly not me.  I’m no Casanova, hell I have grease under my fingernails and I shave with a beard trimmer.”

            “Some girls like that Fix, she did let you into her bed after all.”

            “My big concern is more that if I have a kid out there, I’d like to have something to do with it.  But I don’t think she really wants that.  I’m guessing she chose me because she couldn’t see me wanting anything to with a family.”  Fixit took out two cigars, lit one and offered the other to the hero sitting next to him.

            “Riding without a helmet is one thing, but I don’t heal like you regens do.  No thanks.” Jon declined.  Fixit gave him a sideways stare.  “Besides, Flora would be able to smell that thing on me, she hates smoking.”  Nightbringer finish his hot dog and turned back towards his chopper.  “I’d probably better get back to the house.  Thanks for the ride, call me if you ever want to let ‘er rip.”  With that he stood up and headed back towards his motorcycle.

            “You ever think about getting some good, custom paint on that thing?  Flat black was never popular.”  John Fix nodded towards the custom built hard tail.  “I could get a pretty good set up; maybe even match the tattoos on your arms.”

            Nightbringer seemed to stiffen a little at the idea.

            “I’ll think about it.”  He said in a non-committal tone.  “Hey, have you talked to her yet?”  The tattooed hero fired up his motorcycle and was gone before Fixit could even respond.  Just then, his phone rang.


*   *   *


            Red Sniper Leaned over the man he had just put down.

“You’re damn lucky I’m not allowed to kill,” he whispered to his fallen foe, bending over to find out just who was waving a sword at him.

            “Hmm…”  Much to Red Snipers surprise, the man had no pockets in his pants.  He had no ID, no wallet, no phone, if he was a hero, he carried no teleporter.  All the gun waving hero could find was a small pouch on the stranger’s belt with a few coins in it.  Very old coins by the look of them; though they showed no discernable wear.  Red Sniper began to think that his instincts about this man may have been correct.  He was never fond of the police to begin with, and he figured that maybe his teammates could help him out on this one.  Red Sniper hefted the unconscious man over his shoulder and carried him in the direction of Fixit Auto body, in Kings Row.


            When Red Sniper arrived at the shop, he was surprised to see a beautiful woman with blonde hair and violet eyes.  She wore skimpy, revealing clothing and enchanting perfume.  The woman eyed him up and down, looking at his burden inquisitively.

            “Fixit here?”  Red Sniper spat out, growing weary of his load.

            “I’m afraid he left several minutes ago, but if I can help you with anything?”  She looked seductively at the gunman.  Curiosity of what the man looked like beneath his mask preceded a quick scan of his mind.  To her surprise, she could not locate a single picture of what his face looked like within the man’s head. 

            “Anything wrong?”  The masked hero asked the beautiful woman, seeing the bewildered look crossing her face.  Immediately, at his words, she recovered.

            “No, I’m afraid I have to leave.  Please be a dear and give your friend this number.  I’m sure he has it already, but, just in case.”  She handed Red Sniper a folded piece of paper and turned to leave.  He had wanted to say something, but his brain failed him, so he contented himself to watch her lithe form walk away.

            Within the headquarters of his group, Red Sniper tied his captive to one of the chairs in the large room.  He wandered around shortly, having spent very little time here.  Medik and Fixit did most of the decorating, and it reeked of eastern influence and martial arts.  He patted the pockets of his flack jacket, seemingly looking for something.  Almost immediately, he forgot what he had been searching for and instead tapped the activator of his comm. link.  When Medik didn’t answer, Red Sniper began to pace the room.  Soon, however, he had gotten in touch with Fixit.  After he agreed to return to the shop as quickly as possible, Red Sniper voiced his concern about Medik not answering.

            “Medik’s been that way ever since he got married.  He’ll call back eventually.”  Fixit explained.  The body man’s words seemed to calm his friend’s concerns for now, and soon Red Sniper was waiting for him, hoping he would arrive before the prisoner awakened.

            The gun toting hero paced the room impatiently.  Red Sniper had always patrolled with someone else to avoid exactly this situation.  Shooting bad guys was one thing, but dealing with these circumstances always put him ill at ease, made him feel stretched.  Time passed and his mind raced faster and faster.  What was taking so long?  What would he do if no one showed up?  How long could he keep the stranger tied up if he awoke?  The more questions Red Sniper faced, the harder it seemed to be to find and answer, or even keep a clear recollection of the events thus far. By the time Fixit did show up, Red Sniper was frantically pacing the room, holding his head in both hands.

            “So, what’ve we got?”  Fixit hoped he would be able to calm his friend down.  He had seen his high strung ally this way once before, it had taken Medik’s special gifts to ease his mind then.

            Red Sniper’s reply started with the guards he had spoken with just outside of Astoria.  The farther he got into his telling, the faster his speech became and the more agitated his state.  His words quickly became too rapid to be comprehensible, and the volume of his voice soon reached manic.  Unable to understand his friend, Fixit approached him, asking him to calm down, as he remembered Medik doing once before.

            Even more enraged at his companion’s lack of understanding, Red Sniper decided to make it as plain as he could to him.

            “This man killed a guy and we’re next!”  The shout took Fixit by surprise.  Stepping back, the leather clad hero took new stock of the situation.  Trying to keep any fear out of his eyes, he stepped closer to his teammate and placed a hand on his shoulder.

            “C’mon Red, This guy is tied up, unconscious and his sword is on the other side of the room.”  Fixit pointed to the blade in the corner.  “Let’s wake this guy up and see what’s going on here huh?”

            A veteran of many fights and many tense situations, Fixit had several outcomes in mind for what would happen next.  What actually happened, he had not anticipated.

            “You’re in league!”  Red Sniper shouted from behind his mask; at the same time producing his assault rifle and driving the butt of the gun against his ally’s jaw. 

Before Fixit even had time to hit the floor, his friend was running towards the door.  Peeling his body from the floor, he began giving chase to his troubled friend.

“Well shit.”  Fixit spat out loud, remembering the man tied to a chair in the base.  Heading back to the prisoner, he produced his phone and made a call.  When Medik did not answer; he left a terse message, demanding a return call.

The swordsman awoke to a shocking blast of cold water.  Standing over him was a man wearing strange attire.

“Name’s Fixit,” the man wearing blue jeans, a black leather jacket with a red insignia and a yellow bandana spoke.  Protruding from his mouth was a smoldering cigar; smoke billowed forth, into the swordsman’s face, making him cough.

“I have not been in this strange place long, but the hospitality here is lacking my friend.”  The stranger hissed at his captor in his strange accent.

“I’m called Fixit,” the hero looked directly into the strangers eyes, “you?”

“Darr, the Brinkman.”

“Alright Darr,” Fixit pulled up a chair and straddled it, folding his arms over the backrest.  “Where’re you from?”

“I hail from the north lands of Hibernia.  More recently, I was in the mountains near the Blood Wood, but from the look of things I am very far from home.”

“I would say so,” Fixit released another puff of pungent smoke, this time aiming it away from the man in from of him.  “Can you tell me how it was that you were killing people in the streets?”  At this accusation, Darr became quite perturbed.

“I do not know how it works in this backwards place, but where I come from a man is allowed to defend his life.”  The swordsman defended himself passionately.  “I was outnumbered six against one!  They carried blades and I was, until I recovered my weapon, unarmed.  I am a warrior with honor, I return kind with kind and their motives were obviously dubious at best.”  His eyes, the same color as the steel he wielded, flashed with anger and indignation.

The conversation was cut short by a ringing phone.  Without even looking to see who was calling, Fixit snatched his phone and answered.

“Give me good news.”

“Jon?”  The sultry voice on the other side of the line inquired.  “It’s me, Psirene.”  Jon Fix slapped one hand on his forehead, with everything that had happened he had forgotten to at least call her and apologize for his reaction.

“Oh, Bianca, look; I’m really sorry for earlier.”

“I know you were surprised, but that’s not why I called.”  She interrupted him.  “I… We’ve run into a situation.  Our hands are full here and we just got a call about a man-monster tearing up a section of town.  He’s gone into hiding for now it seems after making a mess out of a few heroes, but I need someone I can trust to look into it.”

“I’ve got to admit; I’ve got quite a bit on my plate too…”  Fixit looked over at the man still tied to the chair and a plan began to form in his mind.  “Don’t worry about it, Consider it fixed.”  Somehow he knew he had made her smile.

“Thank you”

“I know you’re busy,” the bandana wearing hero interjected before she could hang up, “but I want you to know; we’ll figure this out.”

“We’ll talk later.”  Psirene blurted quickly and hung up before he could respond.  Somewhat disappointed, Fixit put his phone away and untied Darr.

“You ever have to deal with women where you come from?”  He asked.

“Quite often,” came Darr’s grinning reply.  “So you are just going to release me?”

“No, I need your help.  You claim to be a swordsman, and a warrior of honor.  If that’s true, I’m sure you won’t mind helping me out a bit.”

“Why do you need my help?”  Darr queried.

“I only have two teammates.”  Fixit’s reply came simply enough.  “One is unreachable, one ran off on me.”  He finished untying the final knot and released the rope from around his prisoner.  “That leaves you and me.”  Darr stood and stretched his limbs; he had been tied to a chair for some time.  As he stretched, Fixit crossed the room and took his sword from the corner.  “I’m holding on to this until the time is right.”  Again, Darr’s eyes flashed, but the look on Fixit’s face backed him down.

“Here are the rules.”  The hero’s voice was absolute and Darr could tell he would brook no argument.  “We are going to go get you licensed.  This means that you will be able to use this, but not to kill.  You will follow my lead, I’m sure many things are different than what you’re used to.  And know that if you step outta line, sword or no, I will put you away like no one ever has.”  Darr bristled under the insult to his honor, but believed that somehow, this man with no weapons could back up his words.  Agreeing to the terms seemed to be the only way to gain his freedom.

“Welcome to Paragon City,” Fixit opened the doors of the shop and stepped into the small parking lot.  The noises from before that Darr had heard were all around him.  Buildings towered over him and people seemed to be everywhere.  Suddenly, he was very grateful to have a native of this strange place with him.  If nothing else, just to keep him from getting lost forever.


*   *   *

            Running through the city, Red Sniper was noticing things that had somehow always escaped him.  Building burned and ruined beyond repair; muggings in broad daylight, on busy streets, and no one lifting a finger to help.  He kept running, trying to find a place untouched by death, pain, loss or trouble; but everywhere he went he only found more.  He had lost his gun somewhere, he didn’t know where and frankly he didn’t care.  Finally, he decided he wanted to go home.  Swiping his I.D. card at the gates, he entered Astoria, better known as Dark Astoria. 

            “Oh my god,” he whispered to himself.  “How did I miss it?  All this time, how had I missed it?”

            He could see them.  The ghosts of everyone who had been there when it happened wandered the streets.  He could see them, he could hear them, and they could see him.  One woman waved to him as she walked past.  He ran towards his trailer, but the farther he went, the more he saw.  David Hallsworth did not make it to his trailer.  He fell to the earth, clutching his head.  He tore his cycloptic targeting helmet from his head, he drew back the hyper mesh that covered his features.  And he s creamed.  Crying and screaming, he curled up on the cold, dark earth.  He did not see the zombies gathering around him, their eyes glowing with anticipation of the kill.

    TO PART 3 >

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