Story Four: Protocol 12
"Come on, dude! Leave me alone!" a local scumbag begged as I chased him down the streets on the west side.
I was catching up to him, getting faster and faster. The scared man bolted down the street, making his way toward the nearest ally, hoping to lose me, but we both knew that wasn't going to happen. The man threw a trash can to the ground to make sure it rolled in my path. I hopped over it before I could let it trip me. But I was too late, I found myself falling. Damn it! This wasn't over yet. I quickly reached for my pocket, grabbing the devise I needed. I had one shot before the scumbag turned the corner and was gone for good. I aimed for his legs and pulled the trigger.
A rope was released from the nozzle of the weapon and wrapped around the man's legs, tripping him. The second his body smacked on the pavement, I shot up from the ground and ran over to him. He scrambled out of the binds of the rope, but he was already in my clutches before escape could even cross his mind. I threw him against the wall and punched his ugly face twice. Blood began to leak from his now busted nose, but I wasn't finished with him yet. I pulled him close and slammed his back against the wall once more, knocking the wind out of the criminal.
"Please, let me go," he pleaded.
"Do you know why I'm here?" I asked fiercely. He quivered under my grasp.
"Y-yes," he stuttered.
"So talk," I commanded.
"I can't. I don't have the answers you want," he said. I set my fist back, causing the man to flinch.
"Don't lie to me. Where's Doctor Hate? Tell me or you'll spend the rest of your life breathing through a tube," I threatened.
"I can't. The Alliance will kill me," he said. I kneed him in the testicles. Sure it was out of line, but I needed my answers.
"I'll kill you if you don't spill," I threatened again. The man took in a deep breath.
"Okay, okay," he cried, "I'll tell you."
I shook him. "Spill it."
That's when the bullet when through the side of his head.
I dove behind the closest dumpster, awaiting another shot to strike me dead. But nothing happened. I peeked my head around the filthy dumpster like an idiot. Nobody was around. It was a sniper. I stood up and checked the corpse.
Fuck. I was so close. I was too close. The Alliance, a group formed by Doctor Hate, spied on me every night. Making sure I would never find Doctor Hate. Why hadn't they killed me yet? I wasn't so sure myself. My best bet was Doctor Hate ordered them not to. This game was to fun to end so quickly. I had decided to call it a night and walked to where I left my ride.
It was almost a year since Stevie's death, and nothing was ever the same. Over the past eleven months, crime seemed to never sleep. And when crime doesn't sleep, neither do the heroes who try to stop it. The whole team was exhausted, myself included. The crime in Havenbrook was getting worse, especially with the Alliance forming. Stopping crime didn't feel the same without Stevie. After she died, we could never recover her body from the rubble of the explosion. We still bought a grave for her and had a small funeral late at night. It was the worst night of my life.
After the explosion, the police recovered four bodies; none of them were Stevie's. It was one of the things that made me hopeful. For a while, I believed she was still alive, but she never came back. And after eleven months, my hope died along with her. Crime watch grew worse every night, there were too many people to fight. For the past few months, I'd been going alone, and I made Jerry and Jesse go together. Going alone was something I was starting to like. It was the time to myself that I needed.
Of course, my teammates didn't find it a good idea to be alone. But I didn't listen to them. One day, I was going to find Doctor Hate and stop him from creating a new time machine. With Stevie's powers finally in his possession, who knew what he was planning now? Only God knows what he'll do with time travel. And in order to stop him, I had to get one of his Alliance members to squeal. I know a squealer when I see one, and that man was one of them. I should've known a sniper was following us. Ordered to shoot the squealer. I would find the answers one way or another, just not that night.
I pulled into the garage and parked my motorcycle against the wall. Then I made my way to the front entrance, walked up to the book case and opened the entrance to Home Base. The elevator ride took me underground of the Dark Heroes' secret base. The one place I loved more than the mansion itself. I entered the lab and spotted my old partner, Jerry, who was working on his latest invention. He dropped his screwdriver and waved at me.
"Hey, any luck tonight?" he asked. I shook my head.
"I was so close to finding Hate, so close," I said.
"What happened?" A voice asked behind me. I turned around to find the now eighteen-year-old Jesse, who had just exited the gymnasium.
"I found a member of the Alliance, but he was dead before he could tell me shit," I said.
"How?" Jerry said.
"Sniper," I muttered in response. I made my way over to the computer desk and plopped myself down, groaning.
"Dark, maybe you should take a break from searching. Looking for the Alliance is wearing you out," Jerry suggested.
"I can't take a break. Doctor Hate cannot build that time machine. Just imagine what he'll do," I said.
"I'm aware of what he'll do, but that'll take years until he finishes. Trust me, it takes a lot of time to build a machine like that," Jerry said. Maybe he had a point. Maybe I was wearing myself out on something that was a while away. Still, it didn't mean I had to take a break. But for now, I was considering it. I finally stood up.
"Maybe you're right. I'm going to bed," I said, making my way toward the elevator.
I made my way upstairs and down the hall, where my bedroom was. I did my best to ignore the door across the hall. Stevie's room. Temptation had me, I looked over anyways. I walked up to her door and touched it sadly. My fingers slowly slid down the wooden door until they came across the door knob. After a couple seconds, I found myself opening the door and walking in.
I hadn't been in her room since she passed. We left it the way she had it last. Clothes scattered on the floor, the covers sprawled over the bed, and the pictures she had of the team on her walls. I walked over to them. One picture was one of the two of us. We stood side beside, one person's arm wrapped around the other's shoulder. She was smiling, but for me, you wouldn't be able to tell. A second picture was of her and Jesse, goofing off during crime watch. I wasn't mad, though. It actually brought a smile to my face. And the third picture was the four of us standing side by side, each in a dorky, yet super pose.
You don't know how badly you're missed.