Portal – Chapter 29

Dart was cradling his white helmet, almost like a baby, which Michael nicknamed Bug Head. The helmet was elongated along the front and back with a small antennae sticking out. Although it was white, Dart’s helmet was spotless. If he smashed any insects like a car windshield on the way in from Dallas, he cleaned them off sometime after landing. He was very proud of his gear.

“The visor is retractable,” Dart said to his audience, the recruits and the dynamic-duo inside one of the many classrooms. “When up, it provides better field of view when you were hovering or performing a search and rescue. However, when you are flying long distances, at aircraft altitudes, at night, or at high speeds, you want the visor down. The head’s up display will provide you with airspeed, GPS, radar images ground stations, and infra-red capability. When you are flying in a thunderstorm, the last thing you want to do is slam into a jetliner at 300 knots.”

Michael looked around. The class was actually captivated by Dart’s speech, even Justice was quiet and paying attention. He would know about the Bug Head since Judge had one, although he did not use it very often. Not much will stop Judge, even a 747.

Lady Justice was the first to speak since Dart began lecturing 15 minutes ago.

“What is the antennae for, radio?” she asked.

“Much more than that, Lady Justice. The helmet can broadcast and receive on HF, VHF, and UHF, with your airport frequencies already keyed in, but it also can link to mobile and sat phones. Since you will likely be the one spotting for your heavy hitters, you need to be in contact with HQ, no matter where you are. The antennae and entire helmet is protected by Harris fiber so you’re not likely to lose communications during a fight.”

One of the biggest technological breakthroughs for Harris Industries over the last few years was Harris fiber, a composite carbon fiber using strands of a proprietary alloy to provide the strongest available armor ever created. All JTF Enhanced suits were constructed of Harris and carbon fiber, as well as the soft suits for the mundane agents in Harris armor. It provided a light weight armor that immediately became rigid when struck. Kinetic energy could be distributed throughout the entire suit, stopping even the most powerful armor penetrating rounds without injury to the wearer. This made JTF Enhanced agents much harder to take down than their criminal counterparts. Mundane agents were sealed in hard armor to protect them against environmental elements that did not affect Enhanced.

Michael still thought the Bug Head was ugly but the capabilities were impressive. Like the other ground-based Enhanced, he would be issued an EComm, a wrist band with a short range transmitter and wireless capabilities.

“The helmet does have an oxygen add-on…” Dart stopped and glanced over at Net, who chortled a little too loudly.

Agent Edwards was the first of the dynamic-duo to get up.

“Recruit Shipley, what the hell is so damn funny?” he yelled.

Net looked around obviously unaware that his laugh was heard by the entire room.

“Ummm…the entire Indianapolis staff,” he answered, slowly, “just got an email from the FAA.”

Agent Edwards did not have a placated look on his face, still waiting for Net’s explanation before he took him outside and ran him until he vomited.

“Ah, so you are Firewall’s son,” Dart said, as he remembered these were the offspring of some of the most powerful Enhanced of their type. “I’m sorry about your Dad. I worked with him a few times before…you know.”

Net squirmed at his desk as Dart mentioned his dad.

“What did they say?” Dart finished, switching topics.

Net’s face went blank for a moment, showing no emotion, almost dead-like. Michael recognized it as Net’s power face, when he used his ability to search wireless networks to connect to various servers.

“It looks like Dallas just got a copy too. They are really pissed off by the high speed pass over the near north side earlier today by a visiting Enhanced. They did not clear any supersonic flying, especially within the city limits.”

Michael looked up at Dart, the overconfidence and bravado replaced with red-faced embarrassment. The FAA and JTF always had a strenuous relationship. Although it was rare now, back in the 70s and 80s, a Flyer would occasionally have a mid-air collision with an airplane or helicopter.

During the Catalina Invasion, military and civilian aircraft were attacked by Enhanced that had taken over the island off the coast of California, declaring it a new kingdom. If not for Atomic Power, a new hero at that time, the super-villains would have succeeded. The military was hesitant to use non-conventional weapons on Catalina, due to its proximity to Los Angeles. By the time the island was liberated by Atomic Power, most of the city of Avalon was in flames from Enhanced combat. The cries for government oversight soon followed.

“Ah yes, you see, Flyers have to file a flight plan like everyone else and technically, I was supposed to maintain subsonic speeds on approach. The Dallas staff had a bet with Indianapolis that I could get here in less than 1 hour. I thought I was running late so I… compensated.”

“Oops,” said Michael as the rest of the class laughed.

“Don’t you two think you can do something like that while under my tender loving care,” interrupted Agent Edwards pointing at Turbulence and Lady Justice, “or you will be walking like the rest of us for the remainder of your short stay here.”

“Affirmative, Agent Edwards,” Turbulence and Lady Justice said synchronously.

“But no harm done. Just a few rattled windows,” Dart laughed lightly, joining the recruits in the humor.

“And few hundred calls to Metro PD,” Net added, trying to be helpful.

“Now, as I was saying, the oxygen add-on is needed for high altitude intercepts, like once when I had to save a hijacked airliner…”


Across the city, a man sitting at a computer watched the screen, studying the pattern of behavior of the Metro PD. Even a few JTF assets were mulling around the streets, unaware that one of their own caused the ruckus. It was rare to know when a city-wide event might occur with hundreds of panic-stricken residents calling for help. The man studied and calculated probabilities. He was going to need them soon.