The rusted door locked cracked with a loud pop from Scimitar’s pry bar-shaped hands and Nightmare forced the door to swing open with a telekinetic push. They finally had access to the rooftop from the building service stairs.
“Archangel,” said Scimitar to his EComm, “we’re on the roof and moving south.” He looked up as the sound gunfire increased and echoed throughout the neighborhood. There was definitely more than one shooter.
Scimitar waited for a moment but the EComm was silent.
“Archangel…Alaina, do you copy?”
“Solid’s down,” replied Net as the gunfire popped loudly through his microphone. “We’re trying to reach him but the shooter has us pinned. Things might go dark soon.”
Scimitar walked to the edge of building and looked down. He could see the shooter, green lines of tracer rounds creating a path from the smoking Stryker to the rooftop of a building down the street. As he turned around, Scimitar noticed two men walking towards them.
“This is South Side territory now,” said the first man, his sun tanned arms covered in tattoos, “You gotta pay a fee to be up here. Empty your pockets or we get rough with your girl.”
“Is he joking?” Nightmare asked Scimitar unable to determine his motive.
“You’re making a mistake,” Scimitar warned. “and I don’t have time to deal with you. Get lost and I won’t take you in.”
“Hey, Johnny,” the other man said leaning over, “look at those fancy bracelets. I think these guys are JTF.”
Johnny smiled. “Is that true? You a JTF pig? You don’t look like that pretty-boy Justice so you must be a nobody. Let’s see what you got,” he said moving to a boxer stance.
“Listen, ” Scimitar said as Johnny walked closer, “I don’t want to hurt a mundane…”
Scimitar felt the punch from Johnny and slid across the rock roof.
“Too bad for you then,” Johnny replied as he continued the assault.
The other man charged Nightmare.
“They’re on E-stims!” Scimitar yelled.
Johnny punched again as Scimitar’s left arm reformed. The powerful punch struck the newly-formed shield, the sound loudly vibrating across the roof. Scimitar dropped a heavy hammer shaped fist down on Johnny forcing him to a knee.
“You do have some fight in you,” Johnny said panting, “but you are still going to die.”
Johnny exploded up, slamming his shoulder hard against Scimitar’s shield and knocking him backwards, the loose rocks providing no traction as he fell and slid to the edge of the roof. Johnny did not hesitate and followed, kicking Scimitar in the head several times with a joyful grin as blood trickled down the side of his lip.
“You JTF cops aren’t so tough,” Johnny boasted as he slammed Scimitar’s head on the rock-covered floor. “Let’s see if you can fly.”
Scimitar tried to push him off but the E-stim tank was too strong. He felt his bleeding body pulled off the hot rocks and helplessly dangle over the edge of the building. As Scimitar shifted his arms again, Johnny dropped him.
* * *
“No!” Nightmare screamed as she watched Scimitar disappear from her view.
She dropped the South Side Crew gang banger that attacked her immediately with an unpleasant night terror vision. He thrashed on the ground as invisible horrors tore at his flesh. When Johnny turned around smiling after dropping Scimitar, she knew she was in trouble. She could only keep one down at a time with her powers.
“Well, that was fun, “ said Johnny with a evil grin baring yellow-stained teeth, “but I think you will provide a lot more entertainment sweetheart.”
“Stay away for me,” Nightmare warned. She hoped that Johnny’s friend would be slow to recover when she released him to stop the huge man approaching her.
“I promise it won’t hurt much,” Johhny continued. “Maybe if you are really good, I’ll even let you go.”
“Fuck you,” Nightmare screamed as she focused on Johnny, giving him visions of the activities he planned for her. Let him think about hurting her as his imaginary rapist used him in the worst possible ways.
But Johnny did not collapse. He only smiled before he backhanded her, knocking her down to one knee. The other South Side Crew member shook his head to clear the cobwebs and stood up. A fierce scowl replaced the look of fear on his face.
“Donte, you good?” He looked up at Johnny and nodded. “You think I don’t know what you are! Neural inhibitor, you dumb bitch,” Johnny said tapping the base of his head. “And for that, we’re going to cut you open when we’re tired of screwing you.”
“I don’t think so,” Nightmare said as the two men surrounded her.
“You don’t have a choice, “ Johnny responded stepping forward and clutching his fist.
“But I do. My friend is right behind you and he’s going to kill you.”
“Bullshit..,” Johnny began as he turned around. He caught a quick glimpse of Scimitar’s bloody and angry face when the sword penetrated his chest. He roared in pain and tried to spin around when the second blade slashed at his neck. Johnny’s head toppled off it’s shoulders a moment before the rest of the body slid off the sword and collapsed, blood and internals flowing free over the roof rocks.
“Oh, shit,” Donte said as Nightmare looked at him.
She forced the mental image deep in his consciousness. He would feel everything.
“Get ‘em off me,” Donte screamed as he focused on an unseen threat, “Get ‘em off!” He swatted at the air several times before his fingers dug into his own skin and pulled away his own flesh. He continued to scream as he fled and plummeted off the edge of the building.
“Never thought I would use them for climbing a building,” Scimitar laughed as his wiggled his fingers. Nightmare barely glanced at him before looking down.
“Lady…uh, Alaina, whatever you are calling yourself, are you there?” Nightmare screamed pushing her Ecomm.
“What’s going on?” Scimitar asked with a confused look. Nightmare shook her head to tell him to be quiet. Scimitar knew that gesture well from Trauma.
When no one responded, Nightmare pushed her Ecomm again. “Dammit, Alaina, someone, anyone, answer the call!”
Suddenly, breaker boxes started popping around the neighborhood and the lights went out. Nightmare could feel the tension rising a as the darkness surrounded them.
“Net just killed the power. Amy, what is going on?” Scimitar demanded grabbing her arm.
Nightmare looked up at the recruit with urgency burning in her eyes.
“It’s a trap, Scimitar. The building roof with the shooter is rigged to explode!”
“What?” he asked as he ran to the edge looking down.
“They were thinking about it when they saw us. It was supposed to be for Justice, but Alaina is their target now.”
A bright ball of electricity exploded and lightning zapped through the air on the street below. Nightmare and Scmitar looked at each other. Alaina was about to attack the shooter.
“How hard can you push me off the building?” Scimitar asked.