Teamwork 4.17: Malcolm

 

I’d seen the bright yellow awning for Mighty Mike’s Mexican Metropolis when I’d first returned to Bluejay City three months ago. Back then, I’d just been pissed off that it had taken the place of a great bar I’d frequented when I originally woke up here.

As it turned out though, Carter’s sister loved the place and had recommended it to Eve. We’d been meaning to hang out for awhile, and since she said she’d pay, I wasn’t going to turn down her offer.

I didn’t have any directions, but I was pretty sure I was almost there. A month ago I could have gotten there in no time flat, but driving my motorcycle with only one arm was still something I was getting used to.

Bro, Lillian said from my jacket pocket, sounding somewhat scared. I’ve been telling you for weeks that you shouldn’t be driving a motorcycle with only one arm. You’re going to get us both killed.

“Lillian, I’ve been riding this bike literally for as long as I can remember. That bastard Smog took away of part of my family. I’ll be damned if he’s gonna take away, again, literally, the only thing I own.”

I probably sounded angry at her, which was far from my intention. If I did, it was only because despite my hunting him for weeks, I’d come up with jack shit.

Fine. But how about in the future, you take one of the other girls with you when you ride this deathtrap, ok?

That was fair. With my line of work, my sisters were in constant danger. The last thing they needed was me making them uncomfortable on a calm day.

Staring down at her, I nodded.

Eyes on the road, damn it!

A few wrong turns later, I arrived at the restaurant, which was actually really close to Carter’s old apartment. I’d felt a little guilty about wrecking that place at first, but considering he’d been living at a fucking mansion, the guilt had all but faded away.

After trying something with my bike I’d been meaning to, I parked my bike on the side of the street, walked into the Metropolis, and saw Eve, who signaled me with her hand to come over.

“You know I’ve been here for 20 minutes, right?” Eve asked as she got up and gave me a hug.

“Sorry,” I said, wrapping my arm around her. “Had some trouble finding the place.”

You spent ten minutes doing donuts in a shopping center parking lot!

“I’d never done it with one arm before,” I quickly mumbled, soft enough that Eve couldn’t hear me.

Eve was great, but Carter was still the only one who knew the truth about my sisters. He’d been pretty accepting though, so maybe I should tell Eve and Raina sometime.

Both of us sitting down, Eve started the conversation.

“So, anyway, how have you been? It feels like even though we live together, we never actually see each other.”

Picking up one of the two disposable menus on the table, I gave my response.

“Yeah, I guess. But hey, you’ve been busy. How is being Raina’s dad’s new PA anyway? He just as stuck up and rude as our favorite rich bitch?”

Oh look, they have shrimp fajitas. Zelda was just telling me about the time you and her took out a rapist who could transform into a human-shrimp hybrid. Wish I could have been there.

I gave Lillian acknowledgment by tapping her handle through my jacket. Hopefully she’d stay pretty quiet or else things could be as awkward for me as the first time I met Eve.

I had mentioned to Lillian that none of my friends knew about her and the others, right?

“Believe it or not, he’s actually pretty nice,” Eve said. “Bossy and demanding yes, but hey, he does run the biggest company in the world. And even if he were like Raina, the pay would so make it worth it.”

“Well, good for you,” I said smiling.

“Thanks,” she responded. “Shay’s not a big fan of the job though. She’s pretty much convinced that Mr. Davenport is plotting something.”

“Really?” I asked, wondering if Shay might be right and if I needed to put a bullet through someone’s head.

“Yeah,” she said, sipping on a beer. “Something about him wanting to take over the world by getting rid of people with powers. I dunno the details, I was drunk when she was telling me.”

For now, I just nodded. Carter was always talking about how amazing and smart his sister was, so maybe she really was onto something. This was something I’d look into personally.

“Well we’ll see, won’t we?” I asked rhetorically. “Anyway, I’ve been pretty busy too. Ya know, training Carter and…”

“Don’t you mean hunting down Smog?” Eve asked, interrupting me.

“Uh, what?”

“Don’t worry, Liv and I haven’t told the others.”

Resting my arm down on the table, I asked, “How did you two know?”

Eve giggled.

“We do hang out still,” Eve said. “Carter’s been complaining a lot about how you’re barely ever around, and when you are, it’s just to play TF2. He really wants his first training session already. As for how we know what you’ve really been up to, you sometimes talk really loudly when you’re talking to yourself in your room, and we can’t help but over hear,” she finished, chugging down the rest of her beer.

I sighed.

“I know I’m way out of my league in a fight against Smog, I’m not stupid. Raina proved that he can be hurt by anti-Demigod metal if you can catch him off guard.”

“Smog isn’t human, Malcolm. It’s not like you can just snipe him down with a single bullet.”

“That’s why I’m not currently trying to kill him. Right now, I’m just trying to get a sample of his DNA. The rest of my plan can play out from there.”

“And I’m all ears to hear about it, but first, lets order. I’m starving.”

“Alright,” I said, getting kind of excited about sharing my bad ass plan to murder that son of a bitch.

We got up and went over to the register. Eve had decided to get two vegetarian burritos, while I’d settled on a chicken quesedilla. We both wanted more beer.

While we were waiting for someone to come and take our order, Eve asked, “So has Raina mentioned to you anything about her city wide takeover?”

“Just the gist of it,” I answered. “Her and her Queen’s guard are starting up a crime family to help protect and provide for the poor and powerless, taking out all other crime in the city, and are trying to make Bluejay a better place. I’m down with it.”

Eve smiled.

“Clearly someone didn’t hear about the stunt she pulled a couple weeks ago.”

“What stunt?”

*

Okay, so essentially, Raina, Carter, Liv, all of us, we got together and put all the problems we had out on the table. First off, there was the big one, the fact that despite being super heroes, you, Carter, and Raina were all being hunted down by the police. Then there was the issue of just how exactly Raina was going to take over the city in a morally agreeable way. You know how moral those Myers are. And lastly, there was the fact that the police were still looking for a serial killer who unbeknownst to them was Smog, and if they ever found him, the cops wouldn’t stand a chance.

Unsurprisingly, it was my girl who came up with a plan which would solve all of these issues.

There was also something separate going on between Liv and Raina, but they settled that on their own.

Anyway, we all agreed that Olivia’s plan was sound, so we went through with it.

So here’s how it went.

Shay and Joey, who in case you didn’t hear, quit the force, went to go see Captain Troyan and take him out for coffee. Nothing about that seemed strange since Joey had pretty much known Troyan since he was a kid. And at first, the three were just chatting normally.

“You really should have made me a detective, Captain. I mean do you know how annoying I was complaining to my friends about that all the time?”

“You’re right, Myers. I should really be less of a stuck up douchebag.”

*

“Hold on,” I said, raising a finger as Eve handed the cashier our menus with the items we wanted circled. “Are you fucking with me, or did they actually talk like this?”

“What do you think?” she asked coyly, clearly insinuating that I’d just asked a stupid question.

“Continue.”

*

So the three were on their way to a diner when out of nowhere, Queen appeared and aimed a gun at them.

At least, that’s what the Captain saw.

In reality, Raina hadn’t shown up yet. However, thanks to Raina’s lieutenant, Elphaba, we were able to make the Captain see whatever we wanted him to.

Now yes, Elphaba’s power only works for 10 seconds at a time, but Shay and Joey kept distracting him, making him look away, when necessary.

“Sir, stay back, I’ll take her on,” Shay said, standing in between the Captain and the spot where Elphaba had our fake Queen standing.

“Sir, if you’re going to fight, let me pull that stick out of your ass first,” Joey added.

So we had the hallucination taunt them, and Carter insisted that we used the dialogue he wrote.

“Mwahaha!” the hallucination shouted. “I, the beautiful and diabolical Queen have tired of you puny cops hunting me down. And so, I’ve come to slaughter you all, just like I’ve been doing to people all over this city.”

As silly as Carter made her come off, the idea that Queen was the serial killer was firmly planted in the Captain’s head.

Speaking of Carter, he then showed up right on cue as Lightning Bee.

“Stand back citizens! This is a job for the most adorably stupid man alive!”

Now the Captain has never liked Lightning Bee, so what we did was make it look like the hallucination was kicking his ass, when in reality, Carter was just throwing himself around the street. The important part though was that we kept making the Captain think that Queen was going to kill him, but before she could, Lightning Bee would come in and save him.

By this point, we’d done all we could to salvage Carter’s rep and end the police’s manhunt, so it was time to begin Raina’s takeover plan, and have her make her heroic debut.

“You know now that I think about it, dressing like a 1920’s mobster is kind of lame.”

I’m completely positive she didn’t say that, but I would have. Seriously, I do not get that girl’s taste in fashion.

Anyway, she jumped off the roof of a convenience store and appeared in front of Shay and the others.

“Who are you?” we had the hallucination say.

Raina pulled out that fancy lipstick tube you two built and unleashed her sword.

“The name’s Fencer,” she answered. “Prepare to be foiled.”

*

“What did Carter have to do to get her to say that?” I asked, knowing that only he would have thought that that sounded good unironically.

“Nothing much,” she answered. “He just has to change his costume whenever Raina can come up with and design a better one.”

“Ah. I’m guessing Raina has a new costume as well.”

“Yeah. This one actually looks pretty cool though. It’s a pink fencing uniform with knee high gold boots, gloves, and mask.”

*

So Fencer proclaimed that it was time for Queen’s spree of murders to come to an end, and with one swift motion, stuck her sword through Queen’s “heart.”

Exposure and Mass, with ski masks on, then showed up and made it look like they carried off Queen’s body.

Now prior to all of this starting, Liv had called the media about the presence of a new hero, and timed it just right so that they’d show up at this moment.

With their part done, Shay and Joey ran off as news personnel came running towards Fencer and Lightning Bee, who’d gotten up and was standing next to her.

Now this next part I was able to see on TV so I can tell you what Raina and Carter actually said, give or take a few words.

“Hello there people of Bluejay City. I am your newest hero, Fencer. My goal is to protect the people of this city, and stop crime at any cost. In the case of the super villain known as Queen, that meant putting her down. Monsters like her don’t belong in this world. To all criminals, I am fair, as any hero should be, and so long as you do not commit murder, your lives are safe. However, I am still a super hero, and all criminals shall be stopped and punished. Of course, I would be nothing without the man who inspired me to be a hero, who has been undercover, pretending to work with Queen, your hero, Lightning Bee!”

Carter gave a dopey pose, putting his closed fists on his hips and wearing a big smile. At the same time though, all of the news personnel applauded the two. Once the applause had seized, Carter spoke.

“The two of us aren’t alone in our mission to defend this city either. Rounding out our trio is the one-armed defender, Decker.”

*

“Seriously?” I asked, witnessing one of the chefs cook a chicken by radiating heat from his gloved hand. “That’s the best alias they could come up with?”

“You do tend to punch people a lot,” Eve said. “I think it fits.”

“Whatever,” I said, not really caring about whatever stupid codename they gave me. “So was that it?”

“Almost,” Eve answered. “Things were all going according to plan. Raina and Carter were just going to chat with the Captain on camera, hopefully getting his approval, and then they would get out of there.”

I sighed.

“How did Carter fuck it up?”

Eve smirked.

“Actually, it was Raina who went off script. See, after Carter mentioned you, she took off her mask and revealed her identity.”

“Wow,” I said, genuinely shocked. “Is she sure that’s a good idea?”

“Pretty sure. Raina loves being worshiped, but more than that, being a publicly known superhero will serve as a great cover while she’s secretly organizing her takeover.”

I nodded.

Raina was a smart kid, if also one who desperately needed to talk to a therapist. I had faith in her judgment.

“So what about Carter? Did he reveal himself as well?”

“Nope,” Eve said our food was placed down on a tray in front of us. “Raina’s family is protected by over a dozen security personnel. Carter’s parents? Not so much. He may hate his dad as much as I hate mine, but he still doesn’t want him or his mom to die.”

Eve pulled out her wallet and handed the cashier fourteen bucks as I brought the tray over to our table.

“You know you’ve never told me why you hate your dad so much,” I said sitting down. I mean yeah, he was a shitty super hero, but if you really think about it, so were most of the old heroes.”

Eve didn’t smirk or giggle at that. No, she looked…nervous. It was a look I never really saw on her and it didn’t look right.

Unsurprisingly, she changed the subject.

“Hey, so we’ve got our food. Why don’t you tell me about your plan to kill Smog?”

Bro, she’s playing you. Pursue the topic.

\I honestly thought Lillian had fallen asleep.

“Sure,” I said hesitantly. “Just, uh…”

I covered my mouth with my hand and whispered something to Lillian.

“Are you…” Eve started.

“Coughing? Yeah. Sorry.”

“Oh, OK,” she said calmly. “I was just gonna ask if you were talking to your gun.”

“What?!” I shouted, taken aback. “No, that’s…”

“Or would you prefer I refer to it as your sister?”

That got me worried and angry.

I slammed my hand down on the table, shaking it.

Leaning in close to Eve, I said, “There is no way you could have learned about that, even if you had the best hearing in the world. And Carter’s too honest. He wouldn’t have told you. So what’s up?!”

For an instant, Eve looked sad, another expression I hadn’t seen on her before. However, her smirk quickly returned as she leaned in towards me. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought she was going to kiss me.

“I didn’t have to learn anything. I hear your sisters just like you do. That’s Lillian in your jacket right? The new recruit? I’m sure she’s pretty cool.”

“Um.”

“Honestly Malcolm, we can all hear them. For real. It’s just everyone kind of feels awkward talking to a gun.”

Something had to be wrong here. There’s no way everyone could have just been ignoring my sisters. Of course, that always was what I guess I had to have been thinking. Otherwise, I would have been sure from the start that the people I now called friends we really racist bastards.

A lot of things didn’t make sense come to think of it.

Carter talking to Lillian after I introduced them. Apparently everyone could her them too. So why hadn’t any of the fuckers I’d murdered in the last 14 years been able to hear any of my sisters? Why would Eve be lying? What was I thinking right now? Why? Why? Where is Max? I have to stop him! Why?!

“I need a peach,” I said calmly.

“Holy shit, Malcolm. I was about to call 911!” Eve shouted.

“What? Why?”

“You were just frozen, still for about a minute.”

I put my hands over my face and took a deep breath.

Maybe Raina wasn’t the only one who need therapy.

“Eve,” I said, oddly relaxed now.

“Yeah,” she said, putting her hand atop mine.

“What aren’t you telling me?”

Eve bit her lip.

“I’m not mad at all that you’ve been trying to keep secrets from me for as long as we’ve known each other. Please just be okay with the idea that I have my own secrets.”

She gave a smile that I couldn’t resist.

“Okay,” I said. “That’s fair. And, I’m sorry I got all worked up. Not sure what got into me.”

“It’s okay,” Eve said, still giving the best smile I’d ever seen. “Now come on.” She claped her hands a couple times. “What’s your plan?”

“Alright,” I said, unwrapping my quesedilla. “So right now, I’m trying to track him down. Once I do, I’m going to get him to go into his smoke form, and steal a sample of his DNA. From there, I’m going to work day and night until I can reverse engineer a bullet capable of killing him.” I gave my own smile to match hers. “Then I’ll be able to snipe him down.”

Eve gripped my hand again.

“Malcolm, that’s a really stupid plan.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because if you go to fight him alone, he’s going to kill you. No doubt about it.”

“I know I can’t win, but I can make a getaway.”

“No you can’!”

“And why’s that?!”

“Because…” she sighed. “Look, I know you’re mad about what happened to Hope. It makes sense that you’d want vengeance. But if you fight Smog again, you will die.”

She was right. I knew she was right, and it pissed me off.

“Besides, there’s a witch or something out there who actually can hurt Smog apparently. Just leave it to her. Please.” She tightened her grip. “I care about you.”

I hate it when I’m wrong.

But you know what, things were getting really grim here, and I’d come to this place to have fun with my best friend. It was time to lighten the mood.

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA,” I laughed. It was part real because how odd and also melodramatic things were getting was kind of funny. “Okay, I won’t go after Smog alone. I promise.”

“Good,” Eve said. “Now lets cut the serious talk, and chow down!”

I picked up my quesedilla.

Your life is a sham.

I could have sworn I heard Lillian say something, But that was impossible. She’d fallen asleep for real. I could hear her snoring.

Trying to push all the weirdness going on out of my head, I bit into my quesedilla.

“OhmyGod,” Eve said rapidly, spitting out the contents of her burrito. “Beer. Need beer.”

I swallowed.

“Is yours not any good?” I asked. “Cause this quesedilla is delicious.”

“You’re kidding,” she said, slamming down her beer. “This may be the worst burrito I’ve ever had.”

“Well,” I said, taking another glorious bite. “Can I have your burritos then?”

“Sure, but I’m gonna need more than one beer to wash down that taste.”

Getting her drift, I slid over my beer to her.

Bite after bite, this food was incredible. Carter’s sister sure had good taste in food.

Eve just continued to watch me gobble down food until she thought of something to say.

“Hey, you mentioned wanting one right after you unfroze before. You wanna head over to a fruit stand and get some peaches after this?”

“Yeah!” I said with my mouth full. I swallowed. “Sounds greaat.”

“Cool,” she said.

There was another brief silence, but again, Eve broke it.

“Oh, I almost forgot.”

“Hm?”

“Fencer isn’t the only heroine who has started protecting the city.”

“Really now?” I asked. “Who else?”

Eve stretched her arms.

“Panda.”

*

Bang’s Notes:

  • KILL SMOG!
  • Investigate Andrew Davenport.
  • Formally introduce sisters to everyone to test Eve’s statement.
  • Meet Shay Myers.
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One Response to Teamwork 4.17: Malcolm

  1. unclepulky says:

    At last, what will likely be the longest arc in all of Jolt has come to a close. I’m really not sure what you will all think of this chapter, but I can only hope you enjoy it. If you did so, please remember to follow Jolt, and to vote for it on topwebfiction.com

    Have a great week!

    Like

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