"In youth you'd lay
Awake at night and scheme
Of all the things that you would change
But it was just a dream"
–Warriors, Imagine Dragons
Don't Get Me Started
I need to make these words as clear as possible. Heaven knows we have enough vague prophecies to leave future generations confused about.
The broom closet was probably not the best place to teleport in.
Someone had shoved a janitor's cart back here. When Kyle Porter materialized out of the ethereal whitewash of the quantum medium, he landed on the front lip of the cart. The sudden weight shoved it forward into the back wall, dropping Kyle roughly against the door. Right into his gunshot shoulder.
Growling in pain, Kyle tried in vain to find his footing. He thought he may have blacked out briefly, the pain suddenly duller than he remembered. In an act of desperation, he fiddled with the knob. The door lurched open under his weight against it, sending Kyle tumbling to the floor. His wounded shoulder hit the tile floor and this time he did black out.
Couldn't have been for more than a few seconds. No one spotted him lying back here, sprawled out and bleeding all over the floor. The acute pain brought him back to his senses. Getting his good arm under him, Kyle weakly climbed back to his feet. He shoved the door closed again, a nurse rounding the corner. She swore at the sight of Kyle.
"What happened!" She raced over to help him. "How did you get back here?"
The pain and blood loss was starting to make Kyle delirious. He thought he may have slurred out a few words of explanation. Usually he had better sense to teleport in at the parking lot, stumbling in to the clinic through the front doors. This was the rougher side of the city; someone was always wandered in with a stabbing or gunshot wound. That was why he had chosen the clinic—location, location, location.
The docs were less likely to question a bullet hole in the first place.
The nurse was soon joined by a couple of others and probably one of the docs. Kyle faded in and out through the whole ordeal. One moment, they were easing him onto a moving bed; the next, he was in the clinic's little ER, under their cheap scanner.
Another nurse—a gal with short brunette hair—was a chatter box. "Was it Mather's people? Or that Skull Crusher crew down on south side? Who the hell thinks up these names! And what is a white guy like you doing in those parts of town after hours?"
Kyle smiled to himself, lucidity washing in and out. They'd have a cop here soon enough to take a statement. Kyle already had his bogus story—three thugs tried to take his wallet; he refused and was running down the street when they shot at him from behind. All it took was one lucky shot. The cop would process the statement; probably send a patrol to that general area of town to shake down a few suspicious figures. Hell, maybe one of them with an existent record would go to prison.
Now if they didn't do the forensic work, no one would know that he had been shot at point-blank range.
Damn it, Raquel. We could have ended this. Now I'm in here wasting time while you're trying to save the world by yourself.
Kyle should have seen it coming. The girl was as stubborn as everyone else in her family tree. Determined and committed to her cause to the end. The moment she had pulled a gun on him, he should have teleported out of there to regroup. Instead, he had lingered, thinking he could somehow convince her otherwise. Or at the least find himself in her good graces long enough to help that ridiculous plan of hers.
Nope. He had waited for her to put a bullet through his shoulder and send him limping back to Real Space. And for what? So that he could assemble a backup team to come help her? Well shit. Who the hell was he going to assemble?
The docs finished with the scanner and moved him over to a regeneration kit. A clean through and through shot. They had already given him a hypo full of painkillers. Now an hour or so under the regenerator to encourage tissue regrowth and he'd be ready to take a statement. While the pain meds went to work on his system, the hyper clarity of pain began to melt. In its place, la-la land filled his mind with delusions of grandeur.
So Raquel had sent him back to Real Space for help. The Epochal Guard was probably already on the hunt for him; there was no help there. The Time Gang members were all but sequestered away in self-imposed exile. Under a clearer mindset, Kyle would have considered actually turning himself in with the Guard and appealing—in vain—for help. Then he would have run back to Cadence anyway, because at least he was better than nothing.
But Raquel needed a real team if she wanted to retake Cadence and stop Emperor Hakim. She had this notion of a revolution to save a world of slaves. Kyle couldn't shake the fear that the Emperor was brewing another Time War. This was bigger than Cadence; this was all of reality and the connected worlds like Cadence.
The world had faced a Time War once before. Well, it was time for the help of the same heroes that had saved it the first go around. It was time for the Seminary Gang to rise anew.
Kyle grinned to himself. He was going to be the one to do it.
Glancing over to his side, Kyle watched a few of the extraneous nurses wander out into the hall. Now that his condition was stabilized, the drama of carting in another gang violence victim had ended. Though there was one gal lingering outside his door. Leaning against the back wall, arms folded; face shadowed from the dim lighting and the fact that it was night out. Though there was something familiar about the way she wore her copper hair…
Ah shit. That was Allie, wasn't it? Had she tracked him here alone, or was the Epochal Guard wise to his little scheme with this clinic?
She turned, walking back in the direction of the clinic front room. So Allie thought Kyle was too drugged to make a clean getaway, huh? Sent in by their superiors to bring him home. If he actually carried a Remote on his person, she would have confiscated it by now. But neither of them needed Remotes.
Kyle started putting together his escape plan. It would need a distraction to keep the docs from noticing his flashy departure. That wouldn't be too difficult.
The real tragedy tonight was the fact Kyle now needed to find a new clinic. Somewhere to treat his occasional battle wounds inconspicuously. Such a waste. He had hoped to milk this place for a little while longer.