Nobody and the Spider (6)

Hot Pursuit

 

Previously

“I feel so out of place,” James said as he followed Mallory up the steps to the convention center. “I don’t even have a costume.”

“Really? I think the helmet and the jacket look very 90’s-street-hero in style,” said Mallory.

“Seriously?” James asked, grinning at the idea.

“Told ya,” said Evan.

“Or… oh! Like an 80’s techno biker hero. All you’d need are some lines on your helmet or, like, cool retro future gadgets or something? You even have the corporate logo to go with your cyberpunk aesthetic,” Mallory offered.

“You have a gift, my dear,” said James.

The line to get into Hero Fest was insanely long and, naturally, security was out in force. Anytime superhumans gathered anywhere, it meant more risk and more problems. The security teams for Cosmo wore uniforms that resembled white sci-fi space suits from the 50’s with a modern eye for aesthetics and functionality.

One guard was patrolling the area in a hoverpack, keeping an eagle eye view. Two more were walking the lines with sniffer dogs. Evan noticed the dogs were hyperbreeds, because they would point out exactly where contraband was hidden with their paws and nod when their handler talked to them.

More security teams occupied long tables, waving scanner wands and checking bags and purses. James got the impression he was in line for airport security. He was suddenly nostalgic for the days before the War on Terror, when flying the skies or going to sporting events or doing anything in a big public venue wasn’t so much of a goddamn nightmare.

“Sorry for dragging you into this. I hope this is okay,” Evan said to James.

“Are you goddamn serious right now? This is Hero Fest! Why wouldn’t it be okay?” James asked. Evan scratched his head, a nervous tick, and then laughed.

“Sorry. It’s just… well I don’t want to make you feel like you’re imposing or that I’m making you do this or anything,” he said.

“You need to relax, dude,” James said, putting a friendly hand on Evan’s shoulder. “Trust me, there are a lot worse ways I could be spending my day.”

=

Bell knelt beside an old pick-up truck. He absolutely sucked at hiding, but somehow he’d managed not to get caught by grandma the assassin. His lucky streak wouldn’t last forever and he knew it. If he could get outside he might be able to shake her but it was a big risk. It was also a big risk to stay put. It all depended on what she would do next. Would she keep searching until she found him, or would she think he made a run for it and head outside? He didn’t know what to do and the only person who could help him wasn’t picking up the damn phone! He tried calling one more time.

=

Evan felt his phone buzz. He went to reach for it but before he could pull it out of his pocket, Mallory whirled around, slapping their faces with her tail feathers.

“Oop! Sorry about that,” she said. “I, uh, totally forgot to ask if you guys were okay with going through a security check. They can be pretty strict about what goes in.”

“Uh yeah, it’s no problem. I don’t have anything illicit on me,” James said with a wink. Mallory gave Evan a more meaningful look than she meant to. He thought for a minute, which made James worry. “Um, Evan? You’re good, right?”

“Yeah. All good,” Evan replied.

“Oh good. Good,” Mallory said. James wasn’t sure what to make of that exchange.

=

Voice mail again. Bell wondered if the parking garage was messing with the signal. He decided he had to move. He had to take a chance and run. He stood up as slowly as he could. She wasn’t on this level anymore as far as he could tell. He moved toward the edge of the structure where the stairs and elevators would be located.

His plan to navigate past the cars by staying near the wall was immediately dashed by the terrible parking habits of Jet City drivers. He considered crawling under the cars until he got fed up and decided to make a run for it. His breezy jog turned into a full sprint in the opposite direction when he saw her car heading right for him. He heard her car’s engine rev, her tires screech and not a small number of parked cars get sideswiped as she chased him down. His fear of getting shot was now overtaken by the fear of getting run over or pasted against a wall.

He remembered seeing his life flash before his eyes. He remembered all the regrets and missed opportunities. Friends, family, colleagues. What happened next he would only remember in bits and pieces. All he knew was that he prayed for a hero and three showed up.

A white windowless van peeled around the corner and charged right for him. If he hadn’t moved out of its way, he would have been pancaked between the two vehicles. Instead he jumped and watched as his would-be killer’s car smashed into the van head on. Neither were going fast enough to do much damage, but her car was clearly made of stronger stuff as it barely had a dent in it. The van was more banged up, but it was bigger and keeping her car at bay.

The van’s driver was a brunette woman wearing some sort of blue costume. She was cursing and then much to Bell’s surprise, she pulled out two pistols and started lighting up the assassin’s car. The door to the van slid open to reveal two more costumed folks. They beckoned Bell inside and he didn’t think twice about leaping in with them.

“Fucking go! Drive!” the man in red yelled. The driver cursed again and put the van in reverse.

=

“Got anything sharp or metal in your bag?” the security woman asked.

“Does Black Sabbath count?” James asked before chuckling at his own joke.

“Are you one of the performers?” the security man asked.

“Oh stop,” Mallory said, flattered.

“Gross,” Tina said under her breath.

“Would you mind stepping aside for a minute, please?” the security guard asked, waving a wand over Evan’s body.

“Yes I would mind,” Evan replied.

“If you don’t step aside I’ll have a security officer escort you off the premises.”

“Because I don’t want my Fourth Amendment rights violated?” Evan asked.

“I… what?”

“The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure with some exceptions included for border guards and lawful traffic stops.”

“Okay but…”

“Now while a private entity such as Cosmo or any affiliate of Hero Fest has the right to remove or refuse any person entering their property, they do not have free reign to violate my rights by searching my person.”

“Listen, son. I…”

“This ain’t the hill you wanna die on, sir. Look in my bag. Let a sniffer dog have a go. But don’t fall on the sword just because Cosmo tells you to. If a lawsuit comes your way, you know they’ll drop you quicker than bag of wet shit.”

The guard frowned. “Go ahead,” he said.

“Thank you, sir,” Evan said.

“Damn,” James said after they were through. “I’ve never seen anyone handle security theater like that.”

“I’m just glad he didn’t realize the Fourth Amendment only protects against unreasonable search and seizure from the government,” Evan said with a sly grin before picking up the bag he’d kicked past the guard.

=

After a harrowing minute of maneuvering, shooting, and insane driving which left many vehicles damaged, the van’s driver managed to exit the parking garage, leaving sparks in her wake as the van swerved to stay in the correct lane. The assassin’s car followed close behind.

“She’s not giving up!” the woman in blue said, putting pedal to metal.

“Stubborn old bitch, ain’t she?” the woman dressed in green said, her southern drawl peeking through in places.

“Who is she anyway?” the man dressed in red asked Bell.

“I don’t know!” Bell screeched.

“Easy, buddy. Take a deep breath. You’re safe now,” the man in red said.

“Right. Thanks. Who are you people?”

“We’re new in town, hun. You probably never heard of us,” said the woman in green. “I’m Warden. That’s Hot Brass,” she said, pointing to the man in red. “And that’s Blue Wave,” she said, pointing to the driver.

“Nice to meet all of you. Thanks for saving me,” Bell said. Now that he had a second to breath, he suddenly noticed all the guns and ammo boxes around him. “You guys are heroes, right?” Bell asked.

“That’s right,” Hot Brass said.

“Coming up on our nine,” Blue Wave said.

“Warden, if you would get rid of our pursuer, please?” Hot Brass said.

“Coming right up,” Warden said. She opened a case and grabbed something that looked like a rocket launcher. The side of the van got riddled with bullets and Bell screamed.

“Shit! Do it now!” Blue Wave screamed. Warden put the launcher on her shoulder and nodded to Hot Brass. He opened the van door for her and she fired a bright pulse at the assassin’s car, which made it spin out and stall in the middle of the road.

“Fuck yeah!” Warden cheered.

“Woo! Score one for big guns,” said Hot Brass.

“That was great! I-I don’t know how to thank you all,” said Bell.

Hot Brass smiled. “I’m sure we’ll think of something, Mr. Bell,” he said.

=

“This is it! I’m so excited!” James practically squealed as they approached the entrance to the convention center.

“I’m glad you’re in a better mood,” said Evan.

“Huh?”

“You looked so down before,” Evan said. James hadn’t been thinking about what he’d seen that morning. About dead cops and creepy old ladies with super strength. His face drooped and Evan immediately regretted saying anything. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought it up.”

“It’s fine, Evs. Really. Seeing you again brightened my day.”

“Right,” Evan said.

“I mean it. I thought I was going to miss Hero Fest completely this year and here I am!”

“Don’t forget who’s responsible for all this,” Tina reminded them. Mallory pretended to be offended.

“Thanks, Mal. You’re the best,” Evan said.

“Was that so hard? Come on. Let’s get our Fest on,” Mallory said before leading them inside.

Down the block, in an idling car, a man in a nice grey suit and red tie with a subtle black tie clip shaped like a spider made a phone call to his boss.

“I got eyes on. She’s going in now.”

 

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2 responses to “Nobody and the Spider (6)”

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