Paradox – Chapter 13

“Five minutes, everyone,” Screaming Eagle shouted over the headset for Enhanced riding in both helicopters and the mundane pilots. She barked the orders sharply to remind the others that Herr Metall placed her in charge of the mission due to her power set and command ability. Most of the Enhanced riding in the helicopters had long criminal histories of violence and rarely worked with others, but the money Herr Metall offered for the capture of this Michael Larson was too much for anyone to decline.

Herr Metall must have a powerful psychic on his payroll, Eagle decided, there was no other way he could have assembled this group for this mission ahead of schedule. She watched the news. Michael Larson was supposed to be sitting in a prison cell in Indianapolis, not running around in the woods in Michigan. But somehow Metall got a teleporter passed the JTF security and dropped him off here. All that was left was to bring the fugitive in to meet his new employer.

“How are the radar scans, Nighthawk?” Eagle asked the African-American woman next to her clenching her fists since the helicopters took off from Chicago. Her ability to absorb signals on the electromagnetic spectrum commanded a premium for her services. Like the stealth aircraft the mundanes were so proud of, she would ensure that the FAA, NORAD, and Space Command would never see this undeclared flight over Lake Michigan on the radar screens.

Nighthawk opened her eyes and turned her head to the mission leader. “They are pinging the hell out of us right, but I have it covered. Unless someone physically sees the aircraft, no one will know we were here. I don’t think the pilots would enjoy flying blind if I zapped the visual spectrum.”

“Good, keep it up,” Eagle responded with a nod. “Keep me informed about any new signals in the areas. We don’t need some redneck hunter reporting us.”

“Understood,” Nighthawk said with a thumbs up.

Perhaps when the mission was over, she would ask Nighthawk to team up. Birds of Prey had a nice name to it, sexy and feminine. A cool name was necessary for any team to get the good paying jobs. Even in the Enhanced world, unless your name was Jury, contract brokers paid you less than the men. Most women worked on a mixed team just for that reason. The rest of the mercenaries on the helicopters were egomaniacs, psychos, or just idiots. And some were all three.

“Knock it off, dumbass,” she ordered as a blur jumped seat to seat. The helicopter rocked back and forth slightly. “Hot Rod! Sit still! You are shifting the balance of the helicopter.”

The blur suddenly stopped moving and Eagle could see the flamboyant speedster known as Hot Rod again. The Enhanced was known for stealing anything fast moving. He also claimed to have bedded the wives and girlfriends of several famous athletes and actors. When the cocky redheaded criminal tried to feel her ass before the mission, a transformed finger to talon against his groin made him reconsider. After the mission, she would look up any bounties on him. She might even work for free if one of the rich, angry husbands only wanted a dead body.

“Sorry,” Hot Rod said sitting down, his leg tapping up and down in another blur. “I always get amped up before doing a job.”

“You are not on the ground, genius. Stop shaking the helo.”

”I’m just not the flying type like some,” he said while making the shape of Screaming Eagle’s large white wings with his hands. Unlike most Enhanced that could fly, she had real wings that propelled her in the sky.

“Because flying actually takes more than the small thoughts from between your legs. Now stay put until you are told otherwise.”

“Anything you say, boss lady…boss bird…whatever you want to be called” Hot Rod said rubbing his hands together faster than most could see. “The green is the only thing that matters.”

“Helicopter Two, you guys ready,” Eagle asked cupping the microphone as the helicopter slowed and ignoring Hot Rod.

“Copy, Eagle,” Terrorvolt replied, his sealed, armored suit not requiring a headset.

Terrorvolt was one of those Enhanced evil geniuses who built weapons, vehicles, anything he wanted, that were far ahead of modern technology. Even Eagle was not sure how half of his stuff worked. He could have made a fortune only selling his creations to other Enhanced or a mundane nation willing to ignore the treaties that banned such weapons, but Terrorvolt liked to field test his inventions personally and not on a static range. If he would not use it, he would not sell it, he said.

“The target area is approaching,” the pilot said over the headset everyone but Terrorvolt was wearing. “Everyone not going down by the fast rope needs to get out before we start our descent. Once we unload, we’ll will circle at five hundred feet and use the FLIR, but the trees are going to make it difficult to spot anything for certain down there.”

“I don’t need infrared to see in the dark,” Eagle responded.

“Neither do I,” Terrorvolt interjected.

“Nighthawk will stay on-board to provide the helos with cover,” Eagle ordered. Nighthawk looked up at the woman covered in armored plates and feathers with accusing eyes.

“I never agreed to stay behind,” the dark-skinned woman in black Harris fiber said bitterly. “I will get my full share of the money, Eagle, or our ride will not make it back to Chicago.”

Eagle’s fingers grew longer each doubling in length with the fingernails curling into a razor sharp point. Her nose cracked and extended forward, hooking down to form a flesh colored beak.

“Don’t get your panties in a bunch, Hawk. I told you, if you follow orders and do your job, you get paid.”

“Ah, damn,” Hot Rod said watching the two women, “I was hoping for a cat-fight, uh, bird-fight. Winner gets to take me home.”

“Dream on, asshole,” Nighthawk said as she sat back in the seat.

“About to start the descent. Go, go, go,” the pilot yelled as the side door of the helicopter opened.

As she kicked the ropes out of the helicopter, Screaming Eagle spotted the braking rockets from Terrorvolt’s armor firing as he descended through the tree canopy.

“Alright everyone, time to go make the easiest ten million of our careers,” Screaming Eagle said as she stepped out of the helicopter and spread her wings.