Paradox – Chapter 28

“We don’t know who the pilots are,” Scimitar said walking through the wreckage of a smoking helicopter.

The remains of two charred mundane bodies were outside of the vehicle wreckage. After he discovered the cockpit and found the dead pilots, Justice ripped out the seats and dropped the still smoking bodies away from the burning wreckage to preserve evidence. Director Thorton gave the bodies only a cursory glance before entering the wreckage. His Harris armor would protect him from the heat and smoke so he did not worry about the danger now that Justice had pulled the fuel tanks away from the fire.

“We would if we had someone with the power to directly link to the Internet to check with every database in the country.” Scimitar, Solid Copy, and Director Thorton looked back at Justice as he continued to sift through the wreckage.

“We have to be sure Net did not help Michael…” Scimitar offered.

“Justice,” Thornton interrupted, “now that his scene is secure, make yourself useful and find Trauma. Let her know Secretary Lehrer and I want an update on the four bodies found on the road. You’re dismissed.”

Justice noticed Wei, now in his original Chinese body, rather than the Justice twin, staring at him and shaking his head.

“Yes, sir,” Justice replied before he zipped away at super speed.

“Please continue, Scimitar,” Secretary Lehrer said over the Ecomm device.

“The one in the back was an Enhanced known as Nighthawk.” The body was burned badly and mangled, the left arm bent at a weird angle and trapped under the body. The lower left leg was missing. “She’s a known Enhanced mercenary, works for whoever has the money, and the reason the radars didn’t pick up the helicopters. She can manipulate various types of waves including radar and infrared, very useful when you want to hide a vehicle from drones and satellites.”

“At least until the helicopter she was in crashed,” Thorton said as he laughed. He glanced down at Nighthawk’s dead body before continuing his inspection of the crime scene.

Scimitar followed the new permanent Director. “Yes, sir. When she died, the other helicopter became visible which is why they panicked and fled.”

Thorton looked up from the body to Scimitar. “What makes you think they panicked and didn’t just leave after picking up the prisoner?”

“Anyone who can hire two helicopters to retrieve one fugitive and bold enough to do it on American soil would be a professional. This is sloppiness. They left the wreckage, the bodies, the armor, all easily identifiable clues. Something went very wrong and one of the helos crashed or was forced down. With the damage to the foliage and spent shell casings, Michael was not a willing participant and fought back. We don’t know if the other aircraft succeeded.”

A strong rush of wind marked the return of Justice. The well-muscled blond teenage heart-throb to teenage girls around the world was not breathing hard when he suddenly stopped in front of Director Thorton.

“I thought I asked you retrieve Trauma for us, Justice,” Thorton said annoyed.

Justice nodded. “I did, sir, but, she asked for you and Scimitar to join her at the other crime scene. She’s discovered something that you might want to see.”

“Very well, let’s go see our little medic,” Thorton said tossing a piece of burnt wreckage on the ground.

* * *

“I hope this is important, Trauma,” Director Thorton said holding his helmet as he stepped on the road, “Secretary Lehrer and I are very busy and we’ve wasted enough time here. He need to find the prisoner.”

Trauma adjusted her glasses as she stood up, dirt and grime covered her cheeks and fingertips. Four dead bodies surrounded her, some cut in half, others swimming in their own blood.

“We’ve determined that whatever killed these men was sharp, like really, really sharp. I need to run some test with Preacher back at Butler, but the wounds look similar to the weapon that killed Cortex.”

“Could the Assassin’s Guild be looking for revenge?” asked Scimitar as he stared at the bodies. Justice shrugged his shoulders as Thorton bent over and examined one of the bodies that was not in two pieces.

“That’s possible, Scimitar,” Lehrer said over the speakerphone, but we’ll need to compare the wounds to all known Enhanced weapons. Director Thorton, make this a top-priority.” The mundane Director just nodded.

“That’s not why I asked you here, Mister Secretary, I…” Trauma continued as Thorton’s phone buzzed.

“Excuse me, Daniel, it’s my private line,” Thorton said as he walked away with the phone pressed to his ear. “I’m a little busy right now…Yes, we’re looking into it now…You do?”

“Please continue, Trauma,” Lehrer suggested.

“Yes, sir. While studying the bodies, I also located pieces of safety glass and what I believe to be parts of a radiator on the road.” Trauma pointed to an area to her left. “We also found spent shell casings all over the road near the bodies. Those men did not die without damaging some type of vehicle. Since the vehicle is no longer here, I have to assume that whoever killed these men used it to leave the scene.”

“And we know the car is leaking radiator fluid, so we have our bread trail,” Justice said. “It will take time, but I can follow the leaks. I just need the drone.”

The speakerphone on Scimitar’s Ecomm crackled with activity. “Do it, Justice,” Lehrer ordered. “Bring in Michael and I’ll make sure you get the assignment of your choice.”

The sound of approaching footsteps got the group’s attention.

“No need, sir,” Thorton said tapping his phone and putting it back in his pocket. “I know exactly where Michael and his rescuer are currently located.”