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                Just Another Nights Work
                         By Brian L. Smith
    Fire Ant stared at the seven Trolls from behind a stack of boxes. He was waiting for the right time to act. He was waiting for the right time to strike.
    Fire Ant shook his head, but smiled from under his helmet anyway. If these guys are as easy as the first five I took out on the way in, this will be a cinch, he thought.

    It was the same in every zone of the city, vile men and creatures taking advantage of the helpless and small. Fire Ant, himself, was barely over three feet tall. This was thanks to Terra Volta and the constant leaks and emergency shutdowns experienced in the eighties. Fire Ant was stricken with S.G.S.- Stunted Growth Syndrome. He stopped growing at age four but developed normal in every other way. And, he was blessed with a keen mind. With his mind Fire Ant was born, he built his battle suit to help fight for people that just couldn’t stand up for themselves.

    One of those people was sixty feet from him now. Officer David Wincott had been leaving his precinct in The Hollows when he was nabbed by a dozen Trolls and taken to an old, crumbling building in the southwest region of the zone. He was bound and gagged, sitting in a chair silent and brave.

    The trolls were arguing amongst themselves, what’s new, vying for their personal form of execution to be used on the veteran police officer.
    “Burn him.” Said one.

    “Smash him with rocks.” Shouted the next.

    The largest Troll pulled out a knife and walked past the rest saying, “ I’ll take care of him. Your gonna scream for hours, cop…”

    Fire Ant pushed down the stack of boxes and told his battle suit to hover. The cerebral links from man to suit sent the message and it was received. Fire Ant rose quickly, stopping three feet below the tall ceiling. He had his eyes on the largest troll as he lifted.

    Every villain in the room turned to the noise and every expression said the same thing: What was that… panic!

    They did! Trolls ran in every direction. Fire Ant took out three in that many second with several quick blasts.

    Down to four, he counted to himself.

    The largest Troll, with the knife, regained his senses and began to run at Wincott. A terrible howl left his mouth and bounced around the large room.

    Fire Ant ordered a ring of fire to appear around the troll. Plasma shot from his hands and encircled the large man-beast. The ring erupted in scorching flames. The troll stopped in his tracks, still holding the knife.

    Fire Ant turned to his left and, raising his arms, caused a shower of fire to drop on the other three trolls still running in panic. This was his own creation, it was weightless plasma that floated on the air, as it cooled each outer shell gained mass and fall to the ground, still lava hot, looking like rain but burning fresh and hair. The effects were dramatic and devastating. Trolls ran around in blind pain, bumping into each other and screaming the whole while, soon to drop.

    Fire Ant turned back to the large troll before the others had fallen, just in time too!

    Insane from pain and anger, the large troll pulled his arm back to throw the knife at Officer Wincott.

    Only one chance, thought Fire Ant as the knife left the troll’s hand.

    Fire Ant didn’t have time to turn on his targeting computer and take the shot so he just fired.

    As the fire bolt left his hand Fire Ant was struck on his left side, a troll that had not yet gone down from the raining fire stood next to him smoldering and screaming as he swung at the red armored hero. 

    Did I hit the knife? Fire Ant asked himself as he turned and sent a flurry of plasma at the swinging troll? He fell at once.

    Turning back to David Wincott Fire Ant saw two things. The first sight was that of a smoldering knife handle sticking out of the officer’s chest. But, there was no time to think any more of that scene because the next thing Fire Ant saw was the large troll had escaped the flame circle. He was now racing towards Fire Ant, his eyes were full of pain and rage as he charged the small hero.

    For a second Fire Ant was glad that he wore a helmet because the charging troll would have seen the panic that was in the hero’s wide eyes. Fire Ant was so small and this “guy” was so big. It took him back to younger years and all of the hatful, mean people that pick on him. This was the real reason for the birth Fire Ant, revenge. 

    Then the panic was gone, replaced by anger, and Fire Ant jumped into action. Maybe there is still time for Wincott he thought.

    Four plasma balls hit the troll square on and he fell as smoke rose from his body.

    Fire Ant turned and flew to the officer’s side. By the time he was half way there he saw the knife was only in Wincott’s shoulder and Wincott was breathing shallow but steady.

    “It was headed for my chest and at the last second your fire ball hit it and saved my life.” Wincott told Fire Ant before he lost consciousness. Fire Ant noticed the officer was bleeding badly. He must get Wincott to a hospital now!

    After a quick exit, Fire Ant flew the officer to the hospital in Atlas Park and waited for some news.

    Later, the doctor told Fire Ant that the wound was not serious in any way. Although, Wincott did lose a lot of blood and would not have made it if he had gotten there ten minutes later. The good officer would be back on the beat in a few weeks.

    Fire Ant left the sleeping cop in his room and headed back out into the dark streets of Paragon City. The hunger of revenge was pulling at him. Its boundless need always did. 

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