Portal – Chapter 23

From the last announcement, Justice knew only Lady Justice and Larson were still in the simulator with him. Since Solid Copy had imitated Lady Justice in the BIT, Justice guessed the real Lady Justice was likely outside near the EUT. As he walked out, he saw that Turbulence and Net were both down. His girl was good. He wanted her to wait here as he went looking for Larson. The two strongest would battle for team leader and solidify Team Justice dominance. First though, he had to go squash a bug.

He never saw the lightning coming. Justice first felt the heat of the bolt and felt his body fly backwards through the wooden side of the BIT. He could smell the ozone hanging over him when he stopped and regained his balance. He knew Lady Justice was gifted but that power was extraordinary. No wonder his parents had wanted her as his partner. Damn, that hurt.

Lady Justice hovered in the middle of the EUT, watching the hole that Justice had just made. She knew he was physically stronger but if she could keep him at range, her lightning would equalize the match up. He looked  distracted when she spotted him and charged up. She hoped her initial attack would be enough to take him while she steadied and readied for the counterattack that never came.

Justice might be cocky and sure of himself but he was not stupid. Lady Justice was obviously waiting to engage him in the open but he wanted Larson first. She could wait out there until he finished. He knew Larson had eliminated Cortex, thanks to the loudspeaker before the music started playing, so he was somewhere nearby. He was going to find him. For the first time in his life, Justice backed off from the fight in front of him to go find the fight he wanted.

Lady Justice waited for a few minutes before floating down to look in the room. It was not like Justice to slip away. He was obviously after Larson and wanted to be the one that eliminated him. That was fine with her but she wanted to make sure it did not go too far. Recruit Larson and Justice were alike, proud and combative, but Justice was a Cat 3, if not a 4 already. From his Reveal date, Recruit Larson would be a Cat 1. He was going to get hurt. She carefully entered the room and began to follow Justice’s search path for Recruit Larson, glancing briefly at Trauma, Solid Copy and Scimitar as they were making their way outside. She noticed streaks of dried tears on Trauma’s cheeks as Scimitar helped her up. What did Scott do to her?

Justice looked around the new room, crates scattered all over the place. This room appeared to be a mockup of a shipping office. He saw the slightest movement in the middle of the wooden crates on the far wall. Everyone else had been eliminated and Lady Justice was behind him. He had finally found that prick Larson and it was time to pay the piper. He would not permanently hurt him, but just remind him of real power. An overnight stay at the infirmary would be adequate. He could always claim he did not see him because Lady Justice was not far behind.

Justice looked again. It was not a large gap, barely enough for Larson to keep a lookout in the room and hide like a cowardly bitch. Larson had just noticed his hiding spot was blown and ran down the hallway behind him trying to hide in another room. Larson was stupid to think the crates could block him. Even if they were steel, they could not stop him.

Justice charged up and exploded forward. On its own, his speed rating would be Category 2 but his Tank abilities were nearly equal to his dad. He would be so much more than the great Judge, when all this training was over and he joined a real unit.

As Justice splintered the crates that Recruit Larson had hidden behind,  he realized a millisecond before hard impact that there was no hallway in front of him, it was a reinforced wall, different from the thinner wooden walls of the BIT. With his speed and strength powered up for a rough body check on Larson, Justice destroyed a large section of the wall, red brick, and then hit open air. By the time he stopped, he was thirty feet outside the Hinkle training facility under a cloudy and warm evening sky. Justice slowly turned around, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Recruit Jurgens,” echoed the loudspeaker over the JTF campus with an angry Agent Prescott’s voice, “you have left the training area and have been eliminated. You have also destroyed a wall in my training building. Congratulations.”

In the room that Justice just opened to the outside, Michael emerged from the side hallway, dispelling the second portal that was grey with swirling black lines. Justice’s charge had destroyed the first portal in the stack of crates, something Michael thought would happen. When he had previously attempted to push an object through larger than the portal, the portal always vanished.

The room was filled with splintered wood, bricks, concrete and the warm, humid outside air. If Justice really had hit him with that charge, he would have been on his way to a hospital bed.

Michael already felt wobbly when Lady Justice arrived, hovering out of reach. She saw Recruit Larson still inside the destroyed training room and Scott outside the building on the grass. She was not sure how, but Recruit Larson had eliminated Scott. He would hold this grudge personally, he was too much like his mother. From the tone of the voice on the speaker, Scott had probably just earned a spot at the back of the line.

Michael looked up and smiled at the bald-headed beauty floating near the ceiling of the room. He created a portal in front of himself and another in back. He reached in and grabbed his own life disk and pulled it off.

“Princess has been eliminated.”

“Here you go Alaina. Congrats, Team Leader,” Michael said as he tossed her his life disk. She was more confused than angry at Recruit Larson for using her name instead of her callsign.

Michael knew Alaina would not be as gullible as Justice. He also would be in no condition to fight anyone after making a portal that size. The dynamic duo, Agent Prescott and Agent Edwards, were likely waiting for a debriefing, but they would have to wait. He had to take a nap first.

Alaina watched Recruit Larson collapse to the ground.