Paradox – Chapter 29

“If you’re going to stay,” Bill Grayson said as he poured his bourbon bottle and filled a shot glass, “I might tell you more about Detroit. You need to understand what kind of people you will face and why I’m not letting my daughter get involved.”

“Yes, please enlighten everyone on your colossal screw up, oh fearless leader” Maze responded. Michael noticed that Maze did not move very far from the door and refused the offer for a chair by Alaina. Things were already tense enough between the two former Old Guard rivals, but the pacing and casual looks out the window just made it worse.

Bill swirled the ice in his glass. “If you don’t want to hear it, Maze, there’s the door. You’re more than welcome to get the hell out of my family’s life.”

“Not going to happen,” Maze said not looking at Bill, “you’re a part of this now whether you want to believe it or not. Michael needs Alaina and I need Michael. We’ll stick around long enough for you to finish your little tale to the kids, but after that, we three have work to do.”

“We’ll see. Okay,” Bill said as he sat in the chair Michael guessed was his and only his. Magazines and remotes covered the floor lamp next to it and it was the only piece of non leather furniture in the living room. It was an old, brown recliner with several dark stains that obviously had been repaired many times but still never thrown out. It had also been pushed in the corner where the casual observer would not see it due to the orientation of the much newer couch and love seat. “So we were about to make the biggest bust in Enhanced history when all hell broke loose.”

* * *

Detroit – 15 Years Ago

“Herr Metall,” shouted Judge, hovering ten feet off the ground, “you and your companions are all under arrest for numerous crimes. You are outnumbered and outgunned. Surrender now and face justice!” Judge glanced down and noticed King Leo’s body prone, blood pouring from his skull. King Leo was one of the toughest Enhanced in the criminal world.

“Be very careful,” Judge said to Minotaur and The Great Wall without taking his eyes off the criminals, especially Herr Metall, “they are up to something.”

“Ah, Judge,” said Herr Metall as he palmed the green metal cylinder, “welcome to the meeting. You could have used the front door, you know. You didn’t have to destroy my wall.”

“Enough stalling, Metall, it’s over!” Judge yelled. “The war ends tonight.”

“Ja, mein Freund. Dies ist das Ende.” Herr Metall launched the green object in his hand, the metal cylinder crossing the room in the blink of an eye rocketing at the heroes. Judge dodged to the side before realizing he was not the target. The green blur flew under him.

The Judge did not hesitate or wait to see who was hit, instead flying down and ripping the steel table from the concrete floor. As Pit Viper sprayed her poisonous gas, Judge hit her with the makeshift weapon, permanently denting the sheet metal with loud bang. The Enhanced crime boss from Louisiana flew across the room, narrowing missing several others in the room before crashing through the far wall.

Cyclone Alpha grabbed the moisture in the air to create a sphere of water and trapping America’s new favorite Enhanced inside. As the liquid enveloped him, Judge dropped the bent table and sucked in as hard as he could. When the ball of water covered him completely, Judge exhaled as hard as possible, sending a large blast of air rippling through the ball rippling causing an explosive wet shower all over the room. As he dropped to the ground, free from the water, Judge kicked the table over and hurled it at Cyclone Alpha. The water elementalist, unaware as he watched Minotaur trample over someone next him, did not see the incoming projectile before it slammed into his body spun and sent him flying in the air like a rag-doll.

Pit Viper emerged from the cinder block dust shaking her head as she assessed the mass mêlée in front of her. Minotaur was now fighting hand to hand with The Viking and unaware of her presence, the perfect opportunity to takedown the gargantuan hero. As she cocked her head back for a poisonous gas attack, a thin man with long white hair that looked closer to forty than his actual age two decades younger, dropped in from hole in the roof. He emitted powerful pulses of light and heat, blinding Pit Viper. Black Talon, the tank morpher from Seattle, was too close to Photon’s light, his clothes igniting on fire from the heat.

As Black Talon tried to remove his shirt engulfed in flames, more Enhanced heroes poured through the destroyed wall and roof. Several heroes stopped briefly to stare at The Great Wall’s body on the ground near hole in the wall, his head and brain matter splattered on what was left of the front wall.

Valkyrie flew in the hole created by Judge and was instantly attacked by a bleeding Cyclone Alpha. He launched high pressured streams of water at the blond heroine as she swooped in and froze-in-place a shirtless Black Talon. She launched back up to the top of the ceiling when she noticed her arm bleeding from one of Talon’s whips. As Cyclone Alpha started his second waves of attacks, Valkyrie launched her own cold stream. The two powers collided in the middle, the water and cold exploding in a furious dance of Enhanced powers. Cyclone Alpha grunted as he tried to force his much smaller opponent to retreat, but she did not. As she pushed herself closer to the water elementalist, her power surged along her opponents water stream. Cyclone Alpha pushed harder with beads of sweat flowing down his forehead, but the power was too much. The streams of water suddenly failed. Cyclone Alpha screamed briefly before every water molecule in his body froze solid, killing him instantly.

While the Enhanced continued to fight in the meeting room, no one saw Herr Metall slip out the back door.

* * *

“Daddy,” said Alaina breaking the stunned silence in the room. “I didn’t know it was that bad, none of us did. You and Amanda never mentioned that so many people on both sides died in that room. I just always assumed it was the fire afterwards, that’s what the government told everyone.”

“Yeah, well the government has a tendency to lie when they don’t like the facts,” interrupted a new female voice. “And you either go along or go missing.”

Alaina jumped up from her seat next to Michael and squealed at the new visitor’s arrival. “Oh my God, Aunt Amanda!” screamed Alaina wrapping her arms around her aunt.

Michael noticed the family resemblance immediately, both women exceedingly beautiful and fit, but Amanda Grayson with pale blond hair wrapped tightly in a bun unlike Alaina’s fiery red hair running straight down to the middle of her back. They were also powerful elementalists like their father and very dangerous.

“It’s great to see you, my dear,” Amanda said smiling at her niece as she hugged her tightly. She briefly glanced at Michael with an approving nod, then paused longer on Maze before turning her attention to her brother. Her smile instantly faded away.

“What are you doing here, Amanda?” Bill asked not looking up or moving from his chair. “You were told to stay away from us.”

“Don’t worry about me, brother dear, I’m just here for my niece. Unlike you, I care more about family than I do myself.”

“We’re not going to have this conversation again. You were given a court-order to stay away from this residence. I could have you arrested!”

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Amanda said faking a smile at a furious Bill.

“Don’t blame Amanda,” Maze said walking towards the feuding sibling, “I called her when we arrived. But there’s no more time for family pleasantries. The JTF will be here any moment.”