The leader in armor laughed as he lowered his rifle..
“And there you are, the teleporter Michael Larson, callsign…” The leader stopped suddenly and looked to one of his lieutenants.
“No callsign? I like a man who can buck a trend. Hello, Michael. I’m Black Knight. Welcome to my new kingdom. You like what I’ve done with the place?” he said as he swung his arms and the rifle around in a circle. “It could use a little more bloodshed, I know, but we’re getting to it.”
Michael continued to approach, his face smeared with dirt, debris, and blood, his blood-red eyes burning brightly.
“Did you kill him?” he asked slowly.
Black Knight looked around at his men as some pointed mockingly at Michael, obliviousness to his surroundings.
“I’ve killed a lot of people, Michael. You’ll have to be a little more specific,” the leader replied in a mocking tone.
“Jason McCloud, did you kill him?” Michael responded without turning his head as the Southside crew maneuvered around him.
“Cortex’s dead?” Archangel asked as she tried to worm from under the boot of the man stepping on her. “Where is he, Michael? Where’s Scott?”
Black Knight tapped heel kicked Archangel as he looked down. “You be quiet. Can’t you see that Michael and I are talking? Kids these days. No manners whatsoever. Now let’s see, Jason McCloud…Cortex. Ah yes, your mentalist. I heard he was quite talented. We could have used him on the crew.”
Michael growled as he became impatient. The dead demanded vengeance.
“But alas, I’m afraid some associates of mine removed him from the equation. Sorry, Michael,” Black Knight said with the emotion of a kid who stepped on an ant.
“Who killed him?” Michael said as he clenched his fists. He would destroy this place and everyone in it for Jason.
“So single minded and focused for a young man. No concern for your very lovely teammate we captured.” Black Knight jumped in excitement. “I know, you can watch us blow her brains out. Would you like that, Michael?”
His eyes glowed brighter as the rage and hate burned through his blood. “Who killed Jason McCloud?”
“Michael?” Archangel asked with gag pulling on her mouth. “Go get help before they kill you!”
Black Knight grabbed his chest plate in a mock heart-attack. “You don’t even care about the girl, do you? You only want to find your friend’s killer. Well, guess what, Michael? Life is full of disappointment and you are starting to bore me. Gentlemen, hold him so he get a front-row seat to firefly’s execution, and then his own.”
As two men charged him, Michael created two portals in front of them. When they disappeared, the portals quickly collapsed.
“Cute trick, Michael,” said Black Knight to a naughty child. “Where are my men?” Michael grinned and remained silent. Black Knight raised his rifle and pointed it at him when he did not respond. “I said, where are my fucking men?”
Screams suddenly filled the air before two blurs roared straight down and slammed into the concrete, blood and innards erupting and bones cracking from the quickly deceased, and bouncing, bodies. Several Southsiders stepped away from Michael.
“You’re clever, asshole, but you’re still dead,” Black Knight said as pulled the trigger.
Michael could see the rounds as they erupted in a pillar of fire from the muzzle. He side-stepped the first dozen rounds before charging the group. As he closed in, two portals appeared under the Southsiders in front of him, the criminals suddenly without anything beneath them. They screamed as they were swallowed up and reappeared a quarter-mile above the fight.
Another Southsider, a speedster, quickly rushed in and attacked from the side with a wild haymaker. As the punch landed to the chest, the speedsters hand shattered. Michael glanced briefly at him before increasing the mass of his hand and punching through the speedster’s chest, snapping his spinal cord in half. The dead speedster’s head flopped to the side as the body slid off Michael’s arm, blood covering him from hand to shoulder.
“Get him! Kill him!” shouted Black Knight. He swung the rifle at Archangel, lining up again for his killing blow.
Michael charged as the Black Knight fired. He slowed time and formed a portal on the end of the barrel, connecting it to portal facing the Southsider next to him. The round exploded out of the sister portal and hit the man stepping on Archangel, ripping away flesh and cartilage before destroying the muscles in the trachea and exiting the rear of the man’s neck. The hapless man dropped to his knees, holding his neck in futility before collapsing dead next to the net.
As the Black Knight looked up, Michael stood next to him, his hand forcing the rifle away from Archangel.
“You’re dead, Michael” Black Knight stated like a kid talking to an ant. “You and that drunk mother of yours, everyone you love is going to die.”
“Who killed Jason McCloud?” Michael screamed at Black Knight’s helmet, ignoring his threats.
* * *
A black cloud slithered up on the street, hidden by the shadows and carnage. He dodged two more Southsiders as they impacted the ground. Their employer either lied or was mistaken about the young Enhanced they were supposed to protect. He was dangerous, not just to the JTF and mundanes, but everyone. His ability to control his portals was supposedly limited, but someone removed the barriers. Michael Larson was a weapon and he only had a single purpose. He had to be eliminated, no matter the repercussions from his employer.
“We killed him,” Dagger said as he reformed and swung his remaining dagger, the other one lost in the fight with Justice.
As Michael turned around to see the dagger point penetrate his chest, a sword blade appeared and blocked it, sparks showering him as the blades made contact.
“What the?” said Dagger confused. How could someone have blocked his blade? He followed down the sword and knew exactly who had saved Michael.
“Hello, Dagger,” the man with the sword said. He wore a dark hood covering his face and his cloak flapped in the wind. “I hear you’ve been looking for me.”
“Maze,” he shot back. “About time you showed up to the party, but you were always one to let others do your dirty work.”
* * *
Michael turned around to see a cloaked man holding a sword. The man with the knife had called him Maze. He knew that name. What was he doing in Los Angeles?
“See you soon, Michael,” Black Knight said smiling before he faded and dematerialized. He was not a mundane like his gang, but a teleporter. Michael spun around looking for the gang leader before settling his eyes on Maze.
“Go find him, son. I’ll take care of this piece of trash,” Maze said nodding at Dagger as the assassin stepped back. He wanted to resist, to kill Dagger himself, but experience told him that Maze would not hesitate or show mercy. Jason would have his revenge. He glanced at both men before looking up. He’d get his answers from Maze or Dagger after he hunted down Black Knight.
Michael Larson launched himself skywards.