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Brian Sutter stuffed the remains of News Flash’s uniform in the large capacity black garbage bag. Tossed aside like so many lives, he swore to never wear it again. If his plans were successful, he would not be alive after tonight anyway. The Circle of Thorns was about to receive their last headline. He cursed himself for the drunken stupor that he rained down on the apartment and his belongings. If he had cast the spell he planned to use in Oranbega, he would have easily destroyed this apartment killing even more innocents. Further proof to Brian that he was not the hero he pretended to be. He ignored the countless saved lives and good he did since he joined Onami Strike Force.
the trash bag in the kitchen near the refuse chute he decided to order Chinese
again, something about eating
two-day-old leftover macaroni and cheese out of the garbage can held no appeal
to him. Even convicts where given a last meal. Brian made his way back into his
large living room, or what had remained of it. He upturned the couch and dining
room table, and recovered most of his photo storage boxes and tried to organize
them back into their proper place. Truth be known only ten percent of his
pictures were ever published and he had hundreds of stories he never submitted.
He had more contacts and knew more things about the villains and heroes of
Brian attempted to vacuum the remnants of his crystal coffee table he somehow fell through. He did not remember what he did to fall through it, but being skilled in the ancient art of magic; a simple spell healed his wounds. It worked great on hangovers too. If only he could wave a wand and correct his mistakes in the past. He stopped his attempt at vacuuming realizing no one would notice in this condemned apartment. Grabbing the phone, he ordered his last dinner. He would have paid double to have them deliver a bottle of whiskey, but instead paid triple. He hung up realizing his answering machine was still missing under some scattered newspaper clippings and rogue photos. He fished it out and noticed he had a message.
“Hello,” a familiar accented voiced said after clicking the button. “Mr. Sutter, this is Serge at Icon. The uniform you specially ordered is complete. I am quite proud of it as it came together quite nice. I will be sending it out this later this afternoon.”
There was a knock at the door.
Brian paused a moment wondering whom would be knocking at his door. He did not remember buzzing anyone up, maybe his delivery had arrived. He quickly walked over to the door and opened it.
Dumbfounded, Brian stood silent for a moment. Still fighting the lingering effects of alcohol, he deduced why Protector Norman was here. He also remembered he hated the metallic mystic helmet the Rogue Isle Protectors wore. Two points jutting from the end of the helmet to the left and right of the wearer’s lips looked like spider fangs and it plain freaked him out. To hide the creepy feeling the helmet made he just rolled his eyes and walked into his condemned kitchen leaving the door open, “You’re late.”
no smart ass remark?”
money is starting to get tight.” The fact
delivery guy ran into my fist on the way up here,”
Brian hurried over to him, grabbed the box and garment bag, and slung them over his couch. “Geez, you didn’t hurt him did you.”
"He only had a slight nose bleed," the Protector responded.
"He'll probably call Longbow or the cops at the very least," Brian said glancing at the dirty floor and shaking his head. Being a reporter, he got to know some really unruly types. This particular Rogue Isle Protector was no different. Actually when he was first contacted by him a couple years ago he became a bit worried. He was sure the Protector could easily have killed him if provoked.
"Damn it, why must you continue to bother the citizens of this city," Brian said flicking the chest plate with his finger and pausing puzzled at the hardness. "What the hell is that, life getting tough for yah?"
through the fuzziness coating his mind. Staring at the Protector sitting on his
couch with his cape neatly arranged in his guest’s arm he internally summoned
his magical energy.
"Nice try," the Protector said recognizing the concentrated look on Brian’s face and flicked his red chromed mystical helmet. "I hope you’re constipated, because you will still find my thoughts well protected behind this from all forms of mind reading. Arachnos goes to the greatest lengths to protect its secrets.”
Brian released his energies letting their power subside back into the ether. "Please tell me you're here for business and not your unpleasant comments," he demanded.
The ex-hero stepped forward recognizing the significance of the cylinder and reached for the item.
Brian reached into his left vest pocket, removed a thick blank manila envelope, and tossed it to the Rogue Isle Protector.
to cost you more,"
"What? That was our agreed upon price," Brian complained.
"Just information, I am background checking for some… projects of mine."
Brian glared at
the Protector debating whether he should just put him to sleep or go along with
the request. Knowing the helmet
"All right, what do you want?" Brian asked bringing up the search window for his database.
The Protector moved from the couch and strolled over to the table. "What do you have on a Christopher Wentworth or a Michael Wallis?”
“Michael Wallis…” Brian said pausing opened mouth. “Voltech?”
“I am not telling
you anything about any Onami members.”
“Then I will ask, why him?” Brian questioned looking squarely through the Protectors helmet where he thought the eyes were.
“He has some rage issues, yes, but a promising candidate. Arachnos could offer him his own private lab with unlimited funds.”
“He won’t join your gang,” Brian responded banging the other name into his keyboard.
With the other
name entered into his laptop the hard drive whirred in searching,
Brian looked over to the nosy Rogue Isle Protector. “The USS Clinton? Everyone was killed in that assault. The ship was left to drift the high seas until the Coast Guard arrived.”
“Correct. Word has
it that it was revenge on an illegal assault the
“I wouldn’t suppose you were there, were you?”
Brian focused on the results of his database search not wanting to go where the conversation was headed. He quickly sent an e-mail to himself reminding him of the new information. When his belongings passed to the Onami Strike Force by order of his last will and testament the information could be then acted upon.
exclaimed when pictures of
“The official story is Chris Wentworth was found after the uprising was put down. He was almost killed considering the whole right of his head was crushed in.”
“The Skulls did,”
Brian responded wondering if an inquisitive look could be made out from
underneath the Protectors helmet. “Unofficially, Chris led the uprising even
forging a pact with the Circle of Thorns. They get to keep control of inside of
Brian just smiled interlocking his hands behind his head.
“Seems like a rogue, free thinking man got mixed up in the Bone Club. He saw beyond his position and took control. That would explain why he is cutting a swath threw Skulls, Hellions, and Family members on the Rogue Isles currently. Brian you’re a credit to the Press.”
“What?” Brian said seeing the smile and becoming uneasy.
good my friend,”
Brian unscrewed the heat resistant container and removed an old cloth scroll. He held it gently cradling it like a newborn; his immediate future plans lay before him. After millions of dollars he was finally able to end his quest of vengeance. He unfurled the fabric, which was surprisingly very resilient. He could smell the musty age and breathed deeply letting its ancient wisdom penetrate his soul.
“I acquired that
last night myself. Took out thee minor Circle demons in my raid.”
“I am not sure,”
Brian glanced back at the textured map and smiled insanely. He ran over to the couch and tore into the box. “Hat, boots, belt, and gloves, good it is all here. You need to go now.”
“Just wait a minute…” the Protector said as Brian brought his hand up and sent forth a bright white eldritch flash.