The dust choked the air on the street as the building continued to crumble and fall apart.
“Michael, are you there? Michael? Net do you have his EComm?”
Net shook his head, dust clouds puffing off him. “Not a thing, sorry. The signal went weird just before the explosion. You think he’s okay?”
Archangel looked down before Net could see the tears fall down her cheek. “I don’t know.”
“Recruit!” shouted Agent Thorton as he coughed his way across the street. “Archangel! Your incompetence has gone too far! You will listen to me…”
Archangel scowled and looked at the shorter mundane agent. Her hair floated up as the electricity flowed through her body.
“Agent Thorton, I’m sure you have something very interesting to say, but I’m a little busy at the moment. I’m sure the Director needs his phone answered or his coffee brough to him back at headquarters.” Archangel knew she would face serious discipline for that remark but did not care.
“You will remember your chain of command, recruit,” Thorton demanded. “I am the senior agent on scene and you will take orders from me. Do you understand?”
Archangel looked over her shoulders as the shouting started. The criminals trying to find them were getting closer. Trauma was making her away through the wounded and needed to be protected until everyone that could be saved was stabilized. They could not afford to retreat.
“And what are you orders, sir?” Archangel said mockingly and a stare that would burn a hole through solid steel. “They are going to overrun us if we stay out in the open.”
“Exactly, which is why I’m calling for a strategic withdrawal.”
“What? We are not retreating!”
“Yes, we are,” he said emphatically. “You will carry me back to the other Stryker and we will link up with Bravo company and the other JTF agents.”
“Recruits,” said Nightmare’s voice over the EComm, “you need to get out of there right now. Something big just popped up in that building they just blew up. I have never felt anything like it.”
Archangel froze. No, no, no, she thought. Not now.
“Recruit!” shouted Thorton, “Did you hear me? We are retreating back to the second Stryker now.”
“Agent Thorton, help Trauma and move the wounded out before you go hide. We’re Enhanced and we have a job to do.” She did not give him a chance to respond as she flew up in the air, the visibility poor but starting to clear.
“There’s one,” someone in the dust yelled as streams of fire and earth flew from the cloud. The E-stims might grant the mundanes powers, but not the experience to use them. They were way off on the aim but they were getting closer.
She returned the favor and slammed the area with lightning bolts, sending one attacker sliding backwards on the pavement. His partners ignored the convulsions and vomiting as they stepped over him in a dash for cover. The fire and earth attacks ceased for the moment.
* * *
“Go help him,” Trauma yelled as lightning lit up the sky above them. “Get the guy in the street back there.” He followed her fingered to a figure lying prone in the street, the same man he slammed on his brakes to avoid crushing.
Thorton crouched down as he moved, occasionally looking up as thunderous booms echoed between the buildings. When they got back to base, he was going to have a serious discussion with Agents Prescott and Edwards. Their recruits, especially Archangel, were insubordinate and disrespected to their superior officers. He looked forward to many sweaty days of training for the redheaded Enhanced woman.
When he reached the victim, he noticed the long white hair matted with blood and the torn black tactical gear with leather boots barely hanging on his body. Around his waist was a belt was an empty sheath. He was likely a street vigilante that tried to take on more than he could handle. As Thorton rolled him over, the white-haired victim grabbed his wrists.
“Did you hear it?” Cloak asked with blood oozing from wounds all over his face. “Did you feel his power?”
Thorton pulled the hands off him with a hard tug and pulled the screaming victim to his feet. The guy was an Enhanced but he was seriously hurt. He had to move quickly before the wounds healed. It did not matter, injured or not, Gil Thorton would be a hero after tonight, the man who single-handedly captured an Enhanced criminal. There is no way they could deny him a combat team then.
“You could not, could you?” Cloak continued to mumble as they walked to the nearest building. It would do no good to hold the guy if his arriving friends found them.
“And what didn’t I hear?” he asked as he closed the door.
Cloak smiled. “That was the sound of our destruction unless you stop him, Agent Thorton. But maybe we can help each other.”
Thorton shuffled his feet nervously as he considered the offer. Something spooked the Enhanced criminal, perhaps there was a bigger prize waiting for him.. “What did you have in mind?”
“You forget you saw me and I’ll give you the name of the Enhanced you’ve been looking for.”
“Keep talking,” Thorton said eagerly.
Cloak focused on Amira’s stolen memory. “His mind is nothing ”
Agent Thorton stood jumped as the memory started. He did not move as each moment was replayed for him in graphic detail. When it finished a few moments later, he could only think of one thing.