Chapter 14 Rescue

Liam was distraught. He drove straight to the police station, but they were less than helpful. They insisted on breath testing him and then calling him a taxi home. Liam eventually complied under threat of being locked up. It would do no one any good if he got himself detained.

He raged to the taxi driver all the way home, but had the feeling that his laments fell on deaf ear. When he got home, he dialled John's number.

Sorry, this mobile is switched off or not in range. Please try aga-

Liam scrolled through his contact list until he reached the first of his and John's shared acquaintances.

Ted. Oh lucky Ted.

The first call rang out. So did the second. On the third, Ted picked up.

"Do you know what time it is?" he asked hoarsely.

"Ted! Ted! John has been kidnapped and the police sent me home in a taxi which I had to pay for myself!"

Liam pressed his ear to the phone for Ted's response, but all his got was the doot-doot-doot of the hang-up tone.

Liam redialled.

And again.

And again.

Sorry, this mobile is switched off or no-

Liam let out a muted whinge of frustration and gripped his phone with both hands as though choking it.

It rang.

"Hello?" Liam answered.

It was Ted and he sounded more away now.

"John's been kidnapped?"

"Yes! Oh, thank god someone who is listening to me!"

"To be honest, Liam, it sounds as though you're off your face. Have you been drinking?"

"Yes, I have been drinking," Liam admitted. "But for the sake of friendship, will you hear me out?"

"Will you level up Totnot in our next game?"

"Yes. Done," Liam said impatiently before launching off into the details of the night. He told Ted everything that he had told the police, and more, because Ted knew John and would probably be less annoyed by the erroneous details.

At the end of his ten minute spiel, Liam listened hard again and thought he heard snoring noises, but must have been mistaken, because Ted gave him a co-herent reply.

"Ok, I may be able to track where he is, but no promises, Liam," Ted said. "I'll call you back if there's anything to report. Can you get some sleep? If John is really in trouble, you want to be rested and in a good frame of mind to help, right?"

"Right, right," Liam paced as he spoke. "You're right." He paused as a thought struck. "Oh, I should also tell you, John and his maybe-girlfriend were researching some new threat to the criminal organizations. He's organizing some sort of retaliation that involves all the mob bosses. Do you think that was why he was taken?"

Liam did not expect Ted to have an opinion or knowledge on the matter, but he had to put it out there. He had to hear himself say it for it to be real.

"What? Say that again?"

Liam repeated himself and added more thorough details about what he had heard. He could not remember the name of the organization, but he remembered it was spider themed.

Then it hit him.

"Oh glory. I know where John was taken to!" Liam said. "If all this is connected, he's at the construction site for the new Gallery of Modern Arts!"

"Liam, listen to me," Ted said sternly. "I know you. I know what you are thinking. Under no circumstances are you to go there tonight, you hear me?"

"But John could be in trouble! People could be hurting him!"

"And you will be nothing but dead if you charge in there. I have intel about these guys. You will not be able to save John. They will not hesitate to kill you."

"Thanks Ted, I knew it was helpful to talk it out with someone. Thank you for listening to me ramble on."

"Liam, wait, damn it!"

But Liam had already hung up. He ignored his phone when it rang again immediately – he had more important things to do.

Liam lived alone on a two storey house. The ground floor had a kitchen, a toilet, a spare bedroom which Liam used as an office, and a lounge room which he used to meet clients if no other location could be found. Everything in this level was neat. Not Ted neat, but neat nonetheless. There were three more rooms upstairs, one with an ensuite that Liam used as his bedroom.

One whole bedroom had been turned into a closet, even though Liam did already have a closet in his bedroom. The clothes and accessories in this extra room were not your typical street clothes. They were all the costume that he had made or bought and wore over the years. There were prop weapons, armour, furry suits, skirts, wigs, and capes. There were boots and shields. Superhero and villain costumes hung side by side.

The other bedroom was filled with movie and game memorabilia, but that was of no consequence tonight. Or was it? Liam remembered that he had laboured for half a year before being able to afford a replica sci-fi gun that actually fired lasers. After that one test shot, it had been proudly mounted, encase in glass and displayed on a shelf in this room next to a limited edition Boba Fett figurine signed on the base by Jeremy Bulloch.

Before he got to the laser gun, he dragged out a box labelled 'Kevlar and Friends' which contained all the bullet proof protective clothing he had accumulated from dressing up as military related characters, especially from a game that somewhat followed the real wars of the world, but had recently begun to diverge from reality in terms of story line. One helmet in particular had the fond memories of one particularly romantic gaming convention attached to it, so he picked it out for the three helmets he could have used. He chose a plain grey vest and matching arm and leg protectors.

Then he took a good hard look at his costumes. He chose the thick leather jacket he had used to portray a comic superhero with a mutated gene that healed quickly. He picked out a pair of dark green boots that he had worn in a couple of costumes, most recently when portraying an arrow shooting, goatee growing, Robin-hood styled vigilante. Liam chose a dark red Hannya mask he had used in cosplay once. It had horns and an expression that could only be described as a mixture of despair and anger.

Then it was a matter of putting things on. Given the weight of some costumes, Liam kept up a semi-intensive weight training technique to keep his body in shape. By the time he put everything on, the costume had a hefty weight to it, but it was nothing that Liam could not handle. Nothing that he could not wear all day at a convention.

Liam removed the laser gun from its casing and fired it into a padded arm chair that had been dumped on him by his sister. He had never liked that chair. The laser was still in full working order and blasted a coin-size hole clean through that smoked and threatened to burst into flames until Liam smothered it with a towel. He changed the battery in the gun for good measure before tuching it in to an inside pocket in his jacket. Then he tucked more weapons away; some more small knives, a set of three shuriken.

Finally, he was ready. Ready to rescue his best friend from sure death. Liam tromped down the stairs. He turned off the house lights and made sure all the windows were closed. He opened his front door-

-to see Captain Serious standing right outside.

Liam stumbled back in surprise.

"Where do you think you're going after Ted told you to stay put?" Captain Serious asked.

Liam scrutinized the figure before him. The hero held some sort of harness with thick straps and jangling karabiners. Up close, Captain Serious looked familiar.

"Zach, is that you?" Liam reached out to grab and shake his friend's shoulder. "That is a wicked costume, man. For a second, you looked like the real thing!"

Zach grabbed Liam's outstretched hand and twisted it to manipulate Liam's body to turn around. As he spun, Zach looped one of the harness straps around his midsection. Before Liam knew what was happening, Zach had secured the harness around his chest and legs.

"I am the real thing, you idiot," Zach said. He began to clip the other components of the harness to himself, strapping Liam to his back. "Ted called me and we both agreed that you were sure to do something stupid. And here you are, dressed up like a fool, ready to perpetrate only god knows what kind of foolishness. So I had to come get you. In the middle of the night."

Liam tried to turn around but the harness prevented him. "What?"

"I'm taking you to Ted's. He can watch you there while we sort out how to save John. Don't poo yourself, I'm taking off."

Zach bent slightly, pulling Liam off balance, but it was necessary for launch. He jumped up, with a grown man strapped to his back, and initially struggled to fly, but managed to get off the ground shakily.

"Oh frack!" Liam exclaimed as the two took off. It was wobbly and slow going until they reached the rooftops, then Zach turned horizontal and began to pick up speed.

"Why are you so heavy?" Zach lamented. His words came out between laboured breaths.

"I did not know I was going to be flown by Captain Serious tonight," Liam called back to be heard above the rushing wind. "I was just going to catch a taxi."

Zach laughed, despite being angry at Liam's brashness. "I doubt you would have found a willing driver at this time of night with what you're wearing."

Liam shrugged.

"And what was your plan once you got there?"

"I was going to maybe storm in, Joan of Arc style, and capture the Bastille."

"That is a dumb idea."

"Well, up until five minutes ago, I was a one man army. I did not know that I could count Captain Serious in! Holy moley, you can really fly! It's not a gimmick!"

"It's the only cool thing I can really do though," Zach shouted back. "All those stories about super strength, bullet dodging and space guns are highly exaggerated."

Liam stroked his imaginary beard. "But we can work with this, I think," he replied. "And don't worry about the space gun! I've got that covered. Tell me more. Who else can help?"

Zach grinned, but Liam could not see it.

"You'll meet them all soon enough."

Author's Note:

This chapter was way too long so I cut it in two. Going back and editing this two years later makes me cringe.