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Pieces of Eight:

The Calling

 

Suggested Pre-Readings:

Falling Sky: A Simple Discovery

A Simple Ending by Anthony Harte

Shades of Crey by Anthony Harte

Stormy Knight Errant by Anthony Harte

Collusions of Grandeur by Anthony Harte

Bound No More by Sean McDonald

At the Seams by D. Heikes

The Skulls Strike Back by T.W.

Not the Hero by Anthony Harte

Of Pain and Hate by D. Heikes

A Stitch in Time by Mike Valcarcel

From the Ashes by D. Heikes

& other Pieces of Eight

 

 

City of Heroes/City of Villains

Flash Fan Fiction By

Anthony Harte

The feeling began near the end of the conference. It started like all foreboding sensations standing the hair up at the back of the neck. Gentle and subtle at first it went unnoticed. He first thought it was a breeze from one of the underground ventilation shafts blowing on him. Glancing annoyingly up, he could not locate the dreadful vent. Attempting to ignore the irritation, he focused on the very important issue at hand. Secrecy was an utmost for his organization before they were to go public again. The streets of Paragon City would herald a new age and heroes would tremble at the mention of them. The sensation persisted and he swore someone was blowing on the back of his neck. Not realizing it was a calling, the battle of wills began.

The meeting ended and he had no recollection of the contents of the discussion. The annoyance was that irritating. He only nodded when everyone else nodded, smiled when everyone smiled, and generally looked enraptured. Great care in secrecy and security had been observed, but the persistent tingling grew into an emotion. Panicked gripped him threatening to shake him into submission. The walls closed in and he knew he was late for one of the most important events in his life. That was odd considering he was where he thought was the most important place to be.

Slipping into the crowd as they filed out Cedric faded into the shadows and slinked to one of the escape tunnels. Knowing he should have made sure nobody had seen him, he ascended the darkened corridor to the surface. The walls closed in on him further and he found it hard to breath. He cursed the metal taps in his boots realizing if someone witnessed his breach of security he would be reprimanded severely. Cedric quickened his pace hearing the rushing water of the sewers. It would be another hundred yards before he really became worried.

The emotion grew into desire. He had to make it to the surface. On the edge of his senses, he felt his destination like a GPS system imbedded in his brain. Cedric was only minutes from entering the outside world in uniform, an unforgivable sin during these times. His men would kill him for sure.

“Turn around Cedric, you are about to die,” he ordered whispering to himself.

His brain intended too feeling the need for self-preservation, but the body continued. With utmost concentration, did he pause and turn around. Five steps back toward his headquarters found him retching up his packaged dinner. Resisting the urge beckoning to him made him nauseas. He delayed his exit only a minute longer spitting the bad taste from his mouth. The desire became a rhythmic pounding in his ears; it oddly felt like being alone the first time with his love. His pulse quickened and he found himself running. Cedric had to get to what was calling him. He needed it.

“No,” he yelled running faster. His black uniform silhouetting against the dim shadows revealed him in the darkness. Too much light was available for him too completely disappear in the sewers. If someone truly witnessed his crime, following him would be easy. Reaching a corroded metallic ladder, he climbed up without once looking back. The closer to the surface he got the more the desire sounded like softly spoken words just below a whisper.

Cedric burst out into the warm humid air of Atlas Park from the manhole in an alley. The moon was full and shone on him from high above exposing him to his many enemies. His black uniform shone with brilliance reflecting the light of the war walls, that light becoming a beacon for his enemies. Trying to convince the whisper he was leaving a promising career he began pleading openly, almost crying. Cedric had no desire to return to the Zig, nor end up in on a slab listed as John Doe. Officially, he did not exist; his previous escape from the Zig the last time conveniently listed him as dead. His organization would assure that was the case now.

He had enough sense remaining to keep to the alleyways and along the war walls. In his mind’s eye, he could see his men at their lockers wondering where he was. A couple would enquire of his whereabouts, but none knowing his location would surely look for him. His mysterious disappearance would trigger the alarm and they would disappear further into obscurity. During the day, they would hunt him down in secret in an effort to end his betrayal.

The voice grew into a murmur and he knew his location took him to the center of Atlas Park. He knew heroes would still be hanging out there this time of night for some had nothing better to do. During his tenure, he had killed some of them, but now they would find him and everything he worked for would be lost. Exposed once more his organization would be hunted down and finally destroyed. The history books would be re-written as though they never existed.

Almost making out words in the whisper the voice grew louder. It vibrated along his spine and it almost seem to offer encouragement. He had to get to where he was headed, wherever that may lie. At first, the voice had no sex associated with it, but it was definitely male now. Seeing the statue of Atlas rising in the middle of the city zone forced him to run. He had to cross streets now and he headed north, feeling his destination exactly now. It was on the other side of the park and with a little luck, he would make it. Running past hidden gang members of Skulls and Hellions lurking silently in the alleyways he pushed on.

Cedric stood before the government building. The light street traffic and a strangely lower hero presence delivered him safely to this location. He walked calmly up to the building, still unable to make out exact words to the voice. This building was not as prominent as the other ones in the center, but it still held governmental offices. Slowly he walked to entrance. His brow under his helmet became soaked in sweat. In one last attempt, he tried to force his legs to stop.

They did not.

Resigning himself to his fate, he entered the building. Becoming strangely mentally drained the internal conflict with the voice was now over. The words were clearly repeating a code number and over. Entering the elevator in the well-lit empty lobby and stabbing the button to the third floor with his black gloved finger he braced himself for an ambush. He got off on the third floor and headed for the new location of the Onami Strike Force.

Nacht Unteroffizier Cedric Spencer entered the code on the keypad and the door clicked open. Entering the temporary headquarters, he walked by a sleeping member hunched over the front desk. Obviously, the hero was taking a break from arduous activities. Still in the reception room, he stopped before a glass cabinet that contained a katana. It looked recently unpacked and shone brightly from cleaning liquids.

Your crimes shall be redeemed,” the sword said sitting quietly in its holder beneath the glass.

“Never… I will fight you,” Cedric implored his voice no more than a whisper.

You are but the first,” the sword responded sharply its edge forged from selfless sacrifice.

Cedric fell to his knees, his crimes being revealed mentally to him from a new skewed perspective. At last realizing the great gift the katana was bestowing upon him, he lost consciousness. Gently lifting the glass case, he fell into his own hellish nightmare of his own creation. The grip of the carefully wrapped blade felt familiar and comfortable. Occam’s Blade smiled from behind the guise of the Fifth Columnist. Once again, he would walk the streets of Paragon City, avenging those who needed it and redeeming those who required it.

Shadow Pain awoke to a noise and drew her blade. Knowing someone was present, she opened her senses to the surroundings. Not satisfied with her conflicting feeling she walked about the small confines of her base until the demands of sleep came a calling. She had grown weary of beating up on Nemesis and following dead end leads, but would continue nonetheless in the morning. Whether by hidden intent or simple overlooking the item, she failed to notice the missing katana behind security glass.

Occam’s Blade watched silently over the weary heroine, his new body’s molecules accelerated beyond normal movement rendering him invisible.

“Rest fully Shadow  Pain-san; tonight I shall finish the hunt of Nemesis for you.”






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