Portal – Chapter 84

“Why don’t we go back to your place and continue the party there?” Justice suggested to the girls that wore T-shirts with Team Justice emblazoned on them.

His EComm flashed red with a priority call.

“Ah, dammit,” Justice said with a curled lip. He finally lost those losers as they searched for Cortex’s little girlfriend. At least she had good taste, Larson repulsed him too. More than ever, that freak belonged in jail with the other criminals.

“This is Justice,,” he said answering the EComm.

“Recruit Jurgens, this is Preacher,” said the caller.

Why would Preacher call me?” Justice thought.

“What can I do for you, Preacher?” Justice asked with a suspicious scowl on his face. The old man was interrupting his game. The girls were huddled together tapping away on their cellphones but he knew they would stay there for long.

“I have an assignment for you, Justice,” replied Preacher. “I tasked myself as a liaison between the JTF and the community looking for any leads about Agent Russell’s attacker.”

“That’s all fine and good, Preacher, but we are a little busy here. The celebration is not over yet. My fans expect me to be here.”

“Yes, yes. I know,” Preacher said with real remorse in his voice. “I’m sorry to interrupt your time, Justice, but this is important.”

“Why are you giving me this assignment and not Lieutenant Caldwell?” He wanted to get back to his fans, especially the females. The type of assignment given to recruits were usually boring or busy-work, not something worth his time. Preacher was not in his chain-of-command and should be talking to the Bravo company commander.

“Because I just received a phone call from a long time friend. His daughter just came home screaming that she just saw the person that attacked Russell. He’s afraid for her.”

“And you are sending me, why?”

“You are the only speedster in the group and can get to her the fastest.”

“Call Metro. They can go pick her up,” Justice said. There was something Preacher was not telling him.

“Justice, listen, the girl is unregistered. In her condition, she is likely to fight anyone that tries to restrain her. That’s why her father called me.”

“You’re a sneaky little devil, Preacher,” Justice said teasingly.

“If her information is correct, the level two alert will be canceled, your team can return to normal training, and Michael Larson will be removed from active duty before something irreparable happens to him.”

Justice smiled. “What’s the address?” he asked ignoring the two mundane agents chatting away with his new Team Justice. He had a much bigger goal to accomplish this evening.

* * *

Cortex stepped out the car in front of Amira’s building.

“Thanks again for the ride, Frank,” Cortex said waving to the driver, an elderly man wearing a fedora and thick glasses. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Cortex did not know Frank until he stopped at the light outside of Military Park on his way home from work. He knew he would be jailed for it, if caught, but he impressed on Frank that they were old friends from the University where he worked nearby. His new long-time friend immediately offered to give Cortex a ride home. While he regretted using his powers like this, especially after the banishment from his own family, he knew Amira was in serious danger and he needed to reach her. She had used her powers openly in front of the JTF and mundanes. If someone recognized her, she would spend at least several years in Leavenworth.

He walked quickly to the main door of the building, scanning the resident board. Many of the names were written in Arabic but he found the Sadeeq name on the second floor written in English. He hoped it was the same family.

As he climbed the stairs, Cortex noted all the noises echoed and funneled down the concrete stairwell. Someone in the building was having a huge fight, dishes and glassware were shattering, in addition to screaming. On a normal night, he would intervene and call Metro, but now, he had a girl to save. When he neared the door, the noises became silent.

“Amira! Amira! It’s Jason,” Cortex said loudly as he banged on the heavy reinforced door. “Amira! I need to talk to you.”

Nobody answered. He was certain she went home. She broadcasted it clearly when she ran off.

“Amira, I’m coming inside,” he said testing the door knob. It was unlocked. No one ever left their door unlocked.

The door swiveled in to a living room littered with shattered glass and destroyed furniture. Someone left bloody hand prints smeared across the walls. Whatever happened here was violent. Cortex cautiously stepped in and raised his telekinetic shield and scanned the apartment with his telepathy.

“Hello?,” Cortex shouted as he stepped on glass shards. “It’s the JTF. Is anybody here?”

Only silence greeted him. The smell of Mediterranean food was strong in the apartment, someone was very recently cooking. Cortex turned the corner to the small kitchen. He noticed the two bodies on the linoleum floor in a pool of blood.

Cortex kneeled down to the first body. He recognized him immediately, it was Faruq Sadeeq, Amira’s father. He had met the middle-aged man the night the recruits had their celebration dinner at his restaurant. His eyes were open, staring at death with the a look of horror on his face and his shirt stained with many bright red blotches of blood.

The other body faced away from him but Cortex knew it was Amira, her long hair matted in blood. She had a large welt on the side of her head that was swelling and turning various shades of purple. As he kneeled down in front of her, he scanned her for any signs of life. She was unconscious, but breathing. The blood on the floor was not from her. He dropped his shield to cradle her head softly.

“Amira?” Cortex said holding her close to him. “Wake up, please.”

Amira squirmed and groaned before her eyes opened slowly.

“Jason?” she said confused. “What are…”

“I have to get you to the hospital,” he replied. “You’re injured.”

Amira’s eyes froze when she saw her father’s lifeless body next to her. “Papa! Papa!” she screamed.

Cortex tried to comfort her with gentle rocking. He had no words that would be good enough. He stopped when he felt Amira push away from him.

“Jason! Run! They’re still here!”

The front door slammed shut.