Task Force: Retribution
Electrobolt’s office was an austere
place, every item in it had a specific position, to center the energies
of the room on the red maple desk. Not one to leave anything lying
around, the room presented a picture perfect image of tidiness and
organisation. Compared with some offices in the Apocalypse’s HQ, especially
Cavalier’s, Electrobolt set the example for all to follow. Sitting
behind his desk, reviewing headlines from the various newspapers that
had covered the Kings Row Massacre
, and having read the recent internal
reports concerning these events, he sighed heavily and looked at the
man sitting across his desk.
“You’ve put me in a difficult situation,
Sitting straight, uniform in place and hair groomed, Cavalier
remained silent, awaiting further comments from his superior, also
Chief of Staff for the Super Group.
“Newspapers have been feeding
themselves into a frenzy about your desertion from the battle line,
some calling you a coward, others a deserter. Then here, we have a
report that because of you, Hormesis left us and since then has refused
flat out to return until you personally apologize for your conduct.
Recruits have lost confidence in you, our members feel you need a
vacation. Do you realize what kind of day this has been for me so
far?” Electrobolt was annoyed at having to give a talk down to one
the most prestigious icon of Apocalypse, but such were the demands
of his job. He handed out promotions for Apocalypse, he reviewed all
the dossiers, and on his council, Apocalypse relied.
“I have no excuse
for my conduct, Bolt.” Replied flatly the famous scrapper. “If anything,
given the circumstances and how the events piled up against me, all
I can say is that I lost it.”
“Loosing it, it happens to all of us,
at one time or another. But people in our position cannot afford to
do so.” Electrobolt slammed the newspaper on the desk, and got up
to walk to the window, to look at Steel Canyon. “But it still doesn’t
change the fact that I can’t just let it go. Our public image, our
prestige, suffered because of it, and the Super Group has to react
“You want my resignation?” Asked Cavalier, standing
up at attention, ready to speak the words that would end his relation
with Apocalypse once and for all.
“No, unless that is, you refuse
the decision I am about to render.”
“I will abide by the decision.”
Spoke solemnly Cavalier, letting a breath of relief out at the same
“So be it.” Electrobolt turned to face Cavalier and said: “Attention.”
The squared jaw scrapper stiffened himself like a soldier, arms to
the side, eyes staring straight ahead.
“Cavalier, it is my judgement,
which will be reported to the leadership, that you are no longer fit
to occupy the rank and duties of Leader of Apocalypse.” The scrapper’s
eyes squinted as he heard the words. Electrobolt was well known for
his sense of humour, but he also had a reputation for being ruthless
when defending the interests of the Super Group. “Therefore, and effective
immediately, you are suspended from duty.”
“Oh bloody hell, why don’t
you just fire me?” Replied the Cavalier, anger showing in his reply.
“I am not done.” Went on Electrobolt, and Cavalier gulped.
up to this date has been an example for others to follow, and I will
not see it end this way. I am demoting to the rank of Captain, on
probation might I add. If I so much as hear that you stepped out of
line, even the sliver of an inch, I am going to send you back to the
Academy as a recruit so fast, that you will believe in time travel.”
A moment of silence passed then : “Do you accept my decision?”
yes sir.” Replied the scrapper, still at attention.
you are dismissed. Assemble your team as you see fit, submit your
roster to X-ecutioner once you are ready.” Electrobolt saluted then
turned around to face the city once more, thinking to himself that
he hated his job at times. Cavalier made a crisp salute and then left
the room, a smile began to make its way across his lips. He walked
to his office, happy to find it as it should be, like a tornado had
passed through it twice. Sitting down, he flicked the computer screen
on, and called up the mission reports and status.
He scrolled down
the list, searching and looking for a suitable duty. Apocalypse had
made him a Captain once more, but his mindset was such, that he would
return to his leadership position soon enough. Eyeing the LCD screen,
he found what he was looking for, and registered his name on the task.
Bringing up another screen, he called up the entire roster for the
Super Group, and searched it thoroughly, then his eyes stopped on
a name and grew wide.
Bringing up another page, he reviewed the rules
and regulations concerning team rosters and their selections. Specifically,
the captain’s privileges in such matters, and then smiled like a three
years old seeing his first horse in a field. He picked up the phone
and called X-ecutioner’s office, but there was no answer. He dialled
up central dispatch and asked where X was, to be answered that the
tanker was in the building, in the holding blocks. Wasting no time,
he took the elevator, and headed down there. Once in the corridor
for the interrogation rooms, only one red light was on, and Cavalier
headed for that door to open it, saying :
“X, I need… Oh god, I’m
The naked, slim figure of Cymbaline disappeared behind
the interrogation table, while X-ecutioner stood stark naked to face
“God dammit man, haven’t you ever heard of knocking?” He yelled
at Cavalier, not even attempting to hide himself from sight. Cymbaline’s
eyes were seen just above the table line, she looked straight at Cavalier.
“Hi!” She simply said to the famous scrapper.
“So sorry guys, didn’t
mean to, didn’t know that, you see I just wanted to…” He blurted out,
while backing out of the room and closing the door. “God, I wish I
was blind at times.” He muttered while trying to forget what he had
“What do you want?” Asked in a strong voice X-ecutioner
from the other side of the door.
“I just want to verify something
with you X.” Replied the scrapper.
“What?” Spoke X with some degree
of anger in the voice.
“Are Apocalypse Captains permitted and allowed
to choose any active members for their missions, or is there a review
of it by a Leader?”
“Captains have free choice, they just need to
submit the roster for review to my office, now get the hell out of
here will ya?”
“Thanks X, and sorry for this, no one will know.” Replied
the scrapper as walked away, a plan had formed in his head, which
would redefine some rules for Apocalypse in the future. But for now,
he knew that according to rules and regulations, he would get away
with it, and repay an old debt to a dear friend.
Entering a side office
of the basement, Cavalier grabbed the phone and called Icon, hoping
that he would reach Serge. While waiting for the tailor to answer,
the Apocalypse HQ’s siren resounded, a call to all heroes had been
emitted. That meant someone in the Super Group was in grave in danger
and in need of immediate assistance.
“All captains, report with your
teams on the roof, this is not a drill. All Captains report with your
teams on the roof, this is not a drill.”
“Hello?” Spoke a male’s voice,
French accent strong over the phone.
“Serge, this is Cavalier, how
“Quite fine my friend. Have you ripped your suit again,
I keep telling you the pants were made too tight, but who listens
to me?” Replied the tailor.
“No, it’s not that this time. I have a
special, rush order, and I’m hoping you can help me.” Spoke quickly
the famous scrapper, remembering all too well the pants incident
last year at the City Hall’s ball.
“Yes, what is it?”
“I need masks,
full face mask, four of them, primary color will be black, secondary
white. Nothing fancy, but I need them within the hour. Can you supply?”
“Sacrebleu Cavalier, you don’t call me for stupid masks, what do you
think I am, an employee. I, monsieur, am the
tailor to the super heroic
community of Paragon, if you need face masks, call the Steel Canyon
store and talk with one of my dressers. Bordel de merde!” (French
for What the fuck
) And with that, the phone was slammed down hard
on its receptacle on the other end. Cavalier looked at his receptor,
and almost wished he could teleport through the phone line, and squeeze
Serge French’s neck in his hands. Dialling the Steel Canyon store
number, he placed the order and was told the mask were in stock and
waiting to be picked up. He called central dispatch and requested
a recruit to complete the errand soon after.
Getting back on the elevator,
he watched the numbers go up to his office floor. The emergency call
was just what he needed to get away with his plan unnoticed. Once
behind his desk, he printed out a form for team roster approval and
filled it out, writing down each name carefully:
He signed it, and sealed it in an envelope,
which he brought to the front desk, making sure the secretary there
would forward the thing to X-ecutioner’s office in the morning. Turning
around, a young recruit stood at attention in front of him, holding
a box from Icon in his hands.
“Sir, I was told to bring this directly
to you, sir!” Spoke Velguard sharply. Although he was dwarfed by the
squared jaw scrapper, his sleek stature hid well the razor sharp reflexes
and fierce strength of the boy.
“Thank you recruit, you are dismissed.”
Replied Cavalier with a salute, which Velguard returned crisply before
he turned around and left the building, to return to the Academy in
Talos. Cavalier headed straight for the elevators, and punched the
basements again. The doors opened, and he was confronted by X-ecutioner,
face sweaty, but dressed, and Cymbaline, hair in a mess, but smiling.
“… at it for seven hours, we’ll resume later.” She finished as the
doors were opening, and then: “Oh, Cavalier.” She giggled while wrapping
her arms around X’s huge right arm.
“Guys, sorry about earlier, I
swear I won’t tell a soul.” Spoke the squared jaw scrapper, as he
stepped out of the elevator, feeling the awkwardness of the moment.
“Shouldn’t you be on the roof, directing operations?” Asked X-ecutioner
to the scrapper.
“I was demoted today, thought you knew, I’m once
more a Captain.” X stayed silent a second, then said:
your question from earlier then, come by the office tomorrow, I have
a few recruits you might want to consider for your team.”
that, I submitted my roster already to your office. I hope you will
approve when you read it. As soon as I am done here, I’m taking them
out for patrol duty in Crey’s Foleys. I want to make sure we can all
work together before we go into heavy fights and dangers.”
work out the kinks first. All right, I’m sure the team will be fine,
especially with you in the lead.” X-ecutioner stalled a second, then
said with a certain degree of apology in the voice: “It will feel
strange to give you orders man, and I hope you won’t hold it against
X-ecutioner and Cymbaline, who had been attempting to put her
hair back into a modicum of style, succeeding only in seeing one of
her strand falling flat across her face to cover her left eye, both
stepped on the elevator. The doors closed.
“It will feel strange to
become a wanted man, and I hope you won’t hold it against me
the squared jaw scrapper as he turned around and walked for the cells.