Part Sixteen: Weakness
Darkness settled onto Seeker City and the dark seemed to be more shady then normal tonight. It was unusually silent, like all the wrong in the city had decided to stay inside for the night. It was very unusual for a Thursday night in this mysterious and sinister place.
It wasn’t right and Batmaster knew this. She was perched on the railing of the roof of a very tall skyscraper in the north of city, watching the cars zoom below her on the nearby road, which, unlike the rest of the city, was active. Bats was unnerved, just gazing at it with curious eyes before she heard the whistling of wind and rapid footsteps. It only took her a single blink of her eyes before she heard the familiar voice of her partner, Frosty.
“Good evening, Batmaster,” Frosty greeted, her tone slightly cheerier than normal, if that was even possible. This heroine was a lovely live-wire of a larrikin most of the time and was barely down or dull, even when dealing with the hardened criminals of Seeker.
Batmaster said nothing at first but just kept looking out over the city, watching it with her keen eyes. She knew why her partner was happy. The ice speedster thought the scum of the city were finally learning their lesson, finally listening to the stories and rumours about the supernatural heroes dealing with their kind, beating them again and again until they were too scared to re-emerge into the dark city when the sun fell below the horizon.
Frosty sighed and moved closer to Batmaster, feeling the brave super woman’s wings touch her shoulders while doing so. She might be quiet, but even she had something to say every now and again, and being this silent only meant she was brooding on something, something major.
“It’s too quiet, isn’t it?” Frosty mumbled, glancing up at Batmaster to see her answer, though she already had an inkling of what it might be. Her icy-blue eyes met Batmaster’s strikingly gold ones and she knew the answer.
The speedster let out another sigh as Batmaster finally spoke with that oddly soft voice of hers. “Something has happened.”
“What?” Frosty demanded in return to that statement.
Batmaster looked down, watching the empty street below. “I have no idea,” she admitted but a small smile crept across her lips. “But I bet that you want to find out.”
Frosty let out a rambunctious laugh. “You bet right! C’mon, let’s move out!”
And with those words, Frosty jumped off the building edge and created a delicate slide of ice down the skyscraper, before she hit leapt off the crumbling platform to run top speed down the road. As she ran down the quiet main road, a pillar of smoke began to ascend into the sky, a tinge of orange rising through it and colouring the dark sky an unusual pinkish-grey.
“Well, I think it’s fair to say that’s not right,” Frosty chirped into the hidden mouthpiece connected to one on her teeth. She knew Batmaster would agree with her. It seemed that as soon as her and her pal jumped into the scene, things were getting drastic in Seeker City.
‘Indeed,” was Batmaster’s smooth remark through the ear piece. “Get there as swiftly as you can and I will rendezvous with you at some point. I’m out.”
Static followed this statement and it didn’t take Frosty long to realise that Batmaster had ditched the communication device. Figures, the frustrated heroine grumbled to herself but she soon pushed the thought to the back of her mind as she urged her body to work harder and faster. Wasn’t the first time Batmaster had deliberately taken the device out and it wouldn’t’ be the last.
She headed off the main road before heading down a few side streets and then barrelling down a steep hill that curved around to head back into the direction Frosty was intending to go, the road linking to the highway out of Seeker. And off it was a dirt road, covered with brambles, thorns and trees that always seemed to never ever regain their leaves.
And down here was the despicable place known as Seeker City Jail. A tall and dank place, it had the stone work of early Seeker still set into it, though upgrades had replaced parts of it, here and there, making it look awkward and mismatched. It took the appearance of a mini-castle, complete with a tall iron grate making up the front entranceway. A tall bard-wired yard was set to the right, connected to the jail, with a few gardens and a greenhouse littering the small space. The drive-way was cemented and had a horse statue overlooking a round fountain in the centre. The remains of a protest stopping the cutting of the jobs from the jail was still here, with several signs and fold-down chairs remained on the grass. The hilly land surrounding it echoed the wicked vibe the jail threw out, being dead, lifeless and still as a rotting corpse. The whole place was fenced off with an electric fence, but the wide metal gate was hanging open now and hanging off its hinges, like something big had busted through it.
This was the place where the smoke billowed from. Frosty saw the fire before she smelled the smoke, catching sight of one of the towers on fire. Alarms bellowed, spotlights swirled around the place as police-man and guards barked orders and tried to restore calm to whatever situation was at hand. Captain Evans was at the centre of it, speaking to a group of S.W.A.T troops, armoured in dark-coloured riot gear. She sped past as fast as she could, but not before catching a few of his words.
“The situation is getting drastic, these prisoners are highly dangerous and have weapons from an unknown source… Shoot to kill permissions are granted. Just get in there and contain it as soon as the third squad arrives.”
This doesn’t sound good, Frosty though as she raced inside the entranceway, finding it unguarded and empty. The sounds of screaming, catcalling and yelling became louder as she slowed to a stop and approached a set of metal doors. And then, the flapping of wings hit her ears and her partner, Batmaster, landed beside her.
“Took your time,” Frosty said dryly, noting the change of Batmaster’s appearance. Instead of the usual attire she usually donned, she had changed into a navy-blue shirt with a fancy bat head emblazed in red on the chest. More padding could be seen underneath, peeking out from her sleeves. Her elbow pads were spiked and she had a second belt wrapped around her upper body like a sash, throwing knives and stars aligning along it. Her belt was now bronze in colour and had smaller cylinder compartments lining it and a radio on one side. Her usual footwear, black and white sneakers, had been replaced with thick spiked boots, which looked like they could crush a man’s hand if she stepped on them. Oh yes, Batmaster was ready for a fight.
“I needed to know what we were running into,” she shrugged, fiddling with one of her thick gloves. “I hacked the police radio and realised they were all heading here so I decided to take the necessary precautions and suit up.”
“You know about the riot? And the weapons?” Frosty questioned as they headed down a surprisingly bright corridor. The noise seemed to be coming from another set of doors, streaked red with the blood of two dead guards. Frosty winced a little at it, she was not used to seeing this much mayhem and death on a daily basis.
However Batmaster did not flinch one bit, but removed them from sight without too much effort, barely a flicker of empathy on her face. “Of course,” she replied quietly to Frosty’s question.
Frosty fixed Batmaster with a worried look. She had been trained to fight, so she wasn’t worried about that, but against hardened criminals who would probably rather eat her then speak to her… It plagued her mind like as a rabid thought, filling every inch of her brain with pure dread.
Batmaster put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly; as if she was trying to tell her everything would be okay with simply a touch. “I don’t know what will happen once I get these doors open,” she began in a low voice, concern lacing every word. “But when they do and if there happens to be thugs there, run through and find somewhere to be safe. Take down as many as you can without hurting yourself. I shall find you when I am done.”
“And what exactly are you doing, Bats?” Frosty asked, cocking an eyebrow up. Batmaster didn’t answer straight away but lifted her hands up and cracked both her knuckles, before making a determined huff sort of noise. And then the ice speedster knew what Batmaster was going to do.
The door was forced open by Batmaster, by jamming a loose iron bar between them and pushing until the sliding doors stayed open, assisted by Frosty with some ice holding them back. The duo stepped through them delicately, walking into another small hallway with dim light filtering in from the end. They pushed themselves forward, briskly edging forward, until they reached the end.
They were in a brick courtyard, with a huge skylight overhead, so they could see the cloudy night sky. Large lights where everywhere, illuminating the area like it was day. There were some benches arranged like a small grandstand to the right, underneath a shady tree placed on a grassy area. Basketball hoops were nearby and smaller benches littered the place, and two picnic tables set on another grassy area. There were several thick metal doors, presumably leading up to the guards’ balcony upstairs.
As the duo entered, they could see dozens of criminals in the area. Some were sitting at the tables or benches, while others stood or leaned against walls. Their dull green prison uniforms were ripped and torn, their ID number on their chest gone. Some faces were sullen and disinterested. Others were glaring and had murder in their eyes. Some of these criminals had been put away by the duo themselves. Many of them simply hung the hand guns they held loosely from one finger, acting as if it was just a toy, not a dangerous weapon.
Frosty ignored them and sped to the centre of the courtyard, jumping up onto the bench there to stare around the courtyard. “What’s the deal, boys?” she called out, watching as Batmaster flew above her head to perch on the top level of the balcony edge to watch her. Yes, this wasn’t part of the plan, but when did their plans follow on exactly anyway?
She didn’t receive an answer, or even a murmur, so the speedster tried again. “Aren’t you lot meant to be rioting insanely right around about now?” Again, no sound came from the hardened criminals. The only activity was the bored-looking ones glancing up to stare curiously at her. Some recognised her and looks of murder and anger replaced the curiosity.
Frustrated, Frosty leapt down from the bench and gestured to Batmaster, who glided down from her perch to land beside the ice heroine. Spreading her wings around her, Bats began to talk in a hurried whisper. ‘This doesn’t make any sense.”
“Agreed,” replied the worried Frosty. “I don’t understand why they’re not rioting! The police radio said –”
A vicious clang suddenly echoed through the courtyard, like someone had struck metal against metal, cutting off Frosty’s sentence. It came again, echoing from one of the doors on the ground floor. The superhero team froze, curious, and Batmaster assumed a position of standing her ground, wings spread, fangs bared, eyes fixed on the door where the noise was meant to be originating from. Snowflakes flittered around Frosty’s fingers as she prepared an attack.
The door was flung open with enough force to knock it off its hinges, one ruptured and ripped straight down the middle. Batmaster’s eyes widened in shock and Frosty let out a gasp of alarm when the two saw the sight before them.
He looked like a perfectly normal man, around twenty years old, browning hair topped with a bright purple mohawk. He wore a simple white tank top and baggy jeans with trainers covering his feet, but it was his limbs which drew the super heroine’s attention to him. A three-pronged claw instead of a left hand, attached to what seemed to be plated rings running up to his shoulder blade. A control panel with wires was set into his right forearm. More wires could be seen ejecting from the metallic arm and into his skin.
The man stopped a fair few meters away from the super duo, watching them with curious dark eyes, before he clicked his fingers. Two thugs rose from the crowd and approached him, as he whispered in their ears. Their faces went from sheer obedience to shock as he slammed his claw into one of their sides, killing him instantly with blood dripping down from the gaping wound. The other man swung at the young man with a huge right hook, fury etched on his face, before he was floored by a long sweep of the bionic arm, extending much further than a normal human arm could, before the downed inmate was impaled through the chest.
Wide-eyed and speechless, Batmaster couldn’t believed the sight she was seeing right this minute. A kneeling man, half human, half robot, with his claw stabbed through chest of a now dead prisoner. She watched him slowly withdraw the claw out, his arm shrinking back to its normal length.
“Dead.” The single word was uttered out of his mouth with the most carelessness of tone. His voice was young-sounding, like he was barely of his teens, but this was no mere boy. He was a man, a very deadly one at that. The maturity and venomous in his voice was like a hiss of a snake, but much more dangerous.
“Dead, as simple as that,” he continued, eyes sweeping over the trembling crowd of prisoners and the two heroes. “Death comes all too quickly for humans, doesn’t it? The slip of a blade across a throat is enough to doom you all to the grave. The breaking of bones is far too easy, even the reaping of your flesh from your very muscle can kill you. And do not forget the disease, the many diseases which plague your fragile bodies.” He chuckled darkly to himself and walked forward, slowly past the prisoners. Not a sound was heard from them, they were hanging onto his every word like a trained dog awaiting a command from its master.
“And what point do I make with this? Humans are weak. They are weak in mind, body and soul. Very few lack the proper aptitude for the line of work I do.” He stopped by an older man, his lined face wrinkled with scars, his grey hair balding. “Like this man. See the scars running across his old face…” His claw drifted up to trace one crisscrossing his left cheek. “I bet you have killed a man or two, hmm?”
“Aye,” replied the old man, in a distinctive Southern accent. “But not since I was put in ‘ere.”
The first man chuckled darkly. “And how much would you like to?”
The old man gazed at the younger one. “Would be my pleasure, if you were to allow me to.”
Titters and menacing growls ran through the prisoners. The first man gave a menacing smirk at the two heroes, a warning and a threat all rolled into one expression. “Well, by all means then… Kill the superheroes.”
It was as if a spell had been lifted off the prisoners, who surged at Batmaster and Frosty like hungry sharks in a vicious feeding frenzy. In a flash, Batmaster yanked Frosty up off the ground and flew up high, out of the inmates reach. The two sides of the prisoners crashed and fists flew at faces, gunshots was firing into the air and at other prisoners and when bullets ran out, they were hurled at soft tender bodies like clubs. Blood was drawn and bruise formed. Bones were snapped and screams of pain and rage echoed around the complex. Overhead, a TV helicopter hovered, documenting everything that was happening, including the shattering of the skylight by a single stray bullet, sending shards of glass raining down on the brawling criminals.
Batmaster flapped her wings hard and pulled them up over her head shielding herself and her partner from the deadly glittering rain falling on and around them. She spiralled up out of the area and the two landed rather roughly on a stone area of the prison, near the shattered skylight.
“What now?” panted Frosty, sweat dripped down her forehead as she wipped at it with the back of a gloved hand.
Batmaster said nothing but ran to the edge of the platform that they had landed on and leapt back into the fray of the brawl, despite Frosty screaming her name. The ice heroine could only watch in disbelief as her partner swooped down like a giant black dragon. A thug raised his gun but he was floored by her powerful swoop, his head thrusted to the ground with a sickening crack that seemed to echo around the enclosure.
It was like something had possessed her. The urge to rid the world of these monsters was surging up in her, like a tidal wave of emotions. She flew, she spun, she struck and she struck hard. Prisoners were knocked aside like rag dolls when she barrelled into them, every single one her movements co-ordinated like some form of maniacal dance. Bones were snapped under her feet, throwing stars were imbedded in bodies, teeth were knocked out as she moved amongst the crowd, searching for her new enemy, the cyborg. Every once in a while, she let out a Sonic Screech, sending the convicts diving for cover from the powerful vocal blast.
But alas, when the SWAT teams finally broke in to assist, she realised she was too late. All that was left of the prisoner riot were a few twitching bodies, many still ones and a gaping hole in the wall. Her partner called for her, a lone voice in a sea of thousands and she ascended, passing her and gesturing back towards the city. The rain started to pour as the two made their escape before more drama could unfold for them there.
Not far from the prison, a lone figure walked along the road, thumb held out as he sought to hitch a ride. His wet form was covered by a hoodie; his bag slung half off his back and a faithful dog by his side, looking as depressed as his master.
Sean Blunt glanced back at the lights in the distance that were illuminating the jail, watching the scene very carefully. His keen eyes saw a dark shape take off into the sky, a white and blue blur following it on the ground, racing at superhuman speeds.
He snorted with disbelief and turned back to his road and kept walking away from Seeker.
Another person was watching this scene, but not at the prison. Tanner was sitting up in bed at 3:30 in the morning watching the urgent news bulletin on TV, an open notebook and pen in her lap. On her shoulder sat a light brown rat with grew legs, a pale pink tail and chocolate brown eyes. This was Ezekial, Tanner’s mental mentor.
Tanner watched as the news camera focused on Batmaster, watching her floor the prisoners with ease before escaping the complex, Frosty following her. The SWAT teams dive in, just as the duo made their escape.
So you know this ‘Frosty’, yes? He asked her mentally, his voice breaking into her quiet thoughts.
Yes, she’s my new sister, like I already told you, Tanner replied mentally, as she scribbled notes in the book. And I think I know who her partner is now.
Alex Perrison. It was a foolish move to introduce your partner to your family, Frosty. Now I know her dirty secret. Tanner sighed and spoke out loud to Ezekial now. “It’s the only logical explanation. They’re always together.”
Well done, Tanner, Ezekial congratulated her. The animal-human hybrid I tasked you with finding has been found. But now a choice is upon you. What shall you do with that information?
Tanner sighed and started at the notes she had been scribbling, including a (bad) sketch of Batmaster. She wasn’t just a superhero, no. She was a living legend, the true embodiment of good in an evil world, with her right-hand girl by her side. Would it be wrong to rob Seeker of their knight? The only good thing that had blessed them since this massive crime wave began? She had found out her secret but now… It was like she was tasked with keeping it safe, a mission she would gladly accept.
“Nothing. I will do nothing. But wait and watch.”