In the northeast quadrant of Thargonos sits the City Headquarters for Defense and Statistics. The top floor is technically my office now. But that doesn’t make much sense. An Upholder has no need for an office he doesn’t even know how to use. Let those who need it use it. My office is the streets.
The building is beautiful, and I can see it glimmering before the setting sun. In fact, from my position I can see at least a portion of most any building in Thargonos. Here on the Government Building I am at home. Not because I enjoy the height. Not because the frequent wind blowing through my hair is the best, but because of the silence. It’s quiet, and in times like this I need a place to think.
No matter how hard culture tries to accept a ghost, they really can’t. Not until he’s ready to be accepted. And that’s what makes it hard for me. I’m part of an organization that no longer really exists, but because I’m still alive it does.
And then I brought down the worst villain in history. So they elevated me to one of the highest positions… but it didn’t help.
Someone whose job it is to fight for the city needs everything other than an elevated throne. I grew up in the streets… I lived the streets. I knew how to fight for my people.
After my adversary killed me, it was being accepted that helped me take him down… The villain of my past. It was those friends who I had to cut a cord between who helped me. It was getting to know who was around me… who they were as people.
That’s why I like sitting up here. Because it’s distant. People aren’t always calling my name. They’re not trying to get my good side in a snap shot. They don’t even know I’m watching. I can study them, learn where they need help, and slip down to fill a hole. Expanding in a void. A void that I spy from my position.
My legs hang down over the edge of the building, threatening to pull me down several hundred feet into the bustling traffic below. It’s an interesting sensation, being right on the edge of death, but death in a neutral way. Death in a way that doesn’t really try to suck you down. Death that just wants you to take a single careless step. It’s not really trying to kill you… just seduce you.
Something flashes a mile away. I can see red and blue light flickering off the windows of buildings. Pushing the button on my earpiece, I hear the call of need. So I take one last look at the building that is my new badge… The City Headquarters for Defense and Statistics… and take in a deep breath. It represents what I’m here for, even if I never set foot in it.
“Okay Kel… Orion Ten has a job to do. Answer the call.” My own voice is strange… but it helps. Talking to myself helps.
Putting one hand on the building edge, I push myself up. A gust of wind blows from the south… coming from the sea which is barely visible. The last light of day, in orange and yellow, shines down on my armor. Little carbon plates held together with kevlar weave. Beautiful rays light up the metal strips on my escrima as it hangs on my leg. It’s time.
I close my eyes, and feel the wind.
Taking in one last breath, I crouch down and wait for a gust of wind… There’s a void for me to fill…
It starts in my quads… The extension. Then my arches push off engaging the calves, which supply enough power to leap over a semi truck. And it’s plenty of power to throw me off the edge of this building.
Flying through the air is majestic. The breeze is lovely. But I’m not just flying, I’m falling. And there’s only one way to slow that down enough. Splatting is not an option here.
I turn my head toward the direction of the flickering lights, and set a destination through watering eyes. A wry smile plays over my lips as I think about an advantage of falling with style. The hair stays out of my eyes. It’s almost… relaxing.
I shake my head. Focus… this is life and death. So I bite my lip, and look down at the ground which speeds toward me.
Mortality dawns on me, and my heart beat picks up.
I throw a hand out toward the closest building to my right. It’s barely close enough to make a difference. Blue arcs of energy fly out, catching onto the metal frame of the building. At first they only dance on it… until I catch another glimpse of the approaching ground, and the thump in my chest beats harder. I push my mind further, and a single arc catches.
My momentum keeps going, but the lightning anchors in the metal building, and I’m jerked into a swing. My jaw relaxes and relief runs through my body as I release the pulse. The blue light flickers back into my fingers and I’m flying over the street, toward an equally shiny building, with many glass windows. Better land this one right Kel…
I reach forward with my hands, and a blue flash emits. This time it’s fast, sudden, as I no longer have the falling time I had higher up.
A web of electricity catches me only inches in front of the glass panes, and I start sliding down the building side, held in place by my own electro-magnetic fields. Placing both hands in front, on the windows that slides up past my face, I push off, flipping over and putting my arms out wide. The graceful back flip.
My feet land on the ground, and I’m in a crouch. Lifting my head I stand up, looking down the street.
At street level the flickering lights are more distant, but now I can hear the sound of the blaring megaphone as an officer calls out instructions to his men. My breath tightens when I shouts come… urgent shouts. No one has their back… that’s on me.
But one thing stands between myself, and those in need. The busy streets.
Cars drive bumper to bumper. The sidewalks are full of walking people, who now part around where I’m standing. They look at me in awe as I stand there, having just landed out of a majestic back-flip. But now they’re in the way. Time is not the only thing against me.
A fan reaches out to give me a fist bump. But no… that can’t happen.
My legs react, pushing off the ground, and my body twists as I leap over them, into the street between two cars. The ball of my foot lands on the ground followed by my heel, and I go down into a crouch, springing up, over and around vehicles.
Some supers can fly, others are fast. They have supreme mobility. Right now that would invaluable. But isn’t that how we all feel when in need?
An officer’s voice rings out in my ear calling for backup. No, repeating the call for backup. I can hear the desperation in his voice, and jump a pickup truck. By the time my eyes can see the alley-way, and the officer cars surrounding, the megaphone is no longer blaring.
A van slows down in my way, and I leap over it, bringing cheers from the sidewalks. But as amazing as my acrobatics down the road, over people, and around cars is, it’s not worth it. Lives are on the line, and I’m getting slowed down.
A furrow forms above my brows, and a camera flashes to my left. No one’s standing in my way anymore, but with each landing a camera clicks. It captures my pose in action. It’s unbelievable. Their naivety!
My feet land in a clear space where I can run several paces before having to jump again, and I do, gathering everything for this final leap before the clear zone… Where people aren’t walking, where they’re not allowed to go because of the crime radius.
I push off, and soar over the ground. People gape as I land forty feet farther than normal, after a thirty foot accent. Blue lighting flashes when I land softening the impact. My legs are pushing off from the landing crouch, and I’m sprinting. The asphalt under my feet doesn’t give at all, allowing optimum purchase.
My boots skid on the ground as I come to a stop in front of the alley, having ducked beneath the yellow tape, and around several cars. The men in uniform are silent, all listening into their radios when I burst in, running slowly.
I pause mid stride. They all turn to look at me. Each is facing my direction, with his back to an object that won’t be penetrated by metal flying at high rates. Their faces are white, and they grip pistols with chalk knuckles. One is even having to keep his leg from shaking, by constant change from relaxed to tense.
Two officers lay on the ground in the middle of the alley… both have been shot in the head. One has a megaphone in his lifeless hand.
My eyes flick up to where the alley ends at a concrete wall. In the wall sits a doorway. In the doorway a hard metal door swings slightly on silent hinges.
It’s a storehouse, and the light inside is erie green.
I take a step forward.
One of the men takes in a sharp breath. He holds it watching my head, as if waiting for a speeding bullet to find its mark. But nothing happens, so I take another step. The air is strangely quiet, but still nothing happens.
My legs want to move forward, they’re buzzing, but my mind is slowing down, thinking for itself, not being led by the body. My senses are picking up every possible thing… The sounds of officer cars running in the street behind me, the sound of those officers shaking where they stand, shifting back and forth. I can even hear the silence that surrounds this part of town as people are guided around it.
They called on me to clean this up… they called me before any other supers. Keldon… don’t you dare let them down again. But remember… this time no one has your back.
I take another step forward, and thirty feet ahead I hear a trigger pull. The muzzle flash is hidden, but from inside the warehouse and bullet comes streaking for my head. And there… is the bullet, appearing from thin air, moving in a spiral motion. I have time to wonder where it came from, before I realize it’s still coming for my head.
The small piece of titanium is speeding faster than I remembered it would, and it grazes my jaw. Blood sprays into my eye, and that’s enough. Blue flickers in my eyes, and my turned head jerks back around after getting out of the bullet’s way, but my hand is reached out behind me, holding the metal, crumpled in my fist.
My jaw sets and I look back into the greenish glow of the warehouse. No… He won’t kill any more of these men.
Another shot fires and I duck. Glass shatters in the window behind me, as the bullet goes right over my head. The air tightens, and I look straight ahead, ignoring the bounces of light that make up my vision. No… look for the magnetic fields.
My irses tighten all the way, pulling the pupils smaller than pinholes. Blackness ensues… but in that blackness is a tug. I can feel the presence of everyone around me, my stronger electric field is stronger than any they have, it pulls on them.
The beat of each one’s heart is distinct, some beat with a steady rhythm, pumping blood quickly. These ones are in fear, wondering what to do next, waiting for the next bullet to fire. But straight ahead, I feel a pull that is different. It’s weaker.
The gun fires again, my body is no longer there…
Watching a master acrobat is interesting. What they do looks so easy. And that’s how it looks now as I, The Static Touch, move in, dodging bullets. My eyes were vacant, but glowing with strange blue light. My movements are based not on sight, but feeling. I’m like a fish in water, with the whole ocean moving at my will.
My feet briefly find the side wall to the alley, and I push off, doing a sideflip, and landing on the ground. My pace is constant, moving forward. The bullets are fast, but none find their marks. Glass shatters and metal dents.
Once more I run to the alley wall, and leap forward, feeling my feet land firmly against solid brick. Electricity forms a bond that gives me stability. The stability to allow a shift of weight, bending of knees, and launching off.
One full rotation in the air, and my feet land solidly on the ground, knees bent in a crouch.
My glimmering eyes open, my calves push off.
I’m rolling forward in past the warehouse doorway, throwing my feet forward. They make contact with something… hopefully someone’s chest. As my legs extend, I let the flow of electric arcs release, and feel a transfer of energy.
A man’s grunt makes its way into the air, and a figure cloaked in black flys off his feet, slamming against a pile of security boxes. For a moment he’s visible to my eyes so I’m up and striding forward, closing the distance between my unsafety and his rifle… a long weapon with a silencer.
His eyes flicker open and he blinks quickly. Time slows down for seconds as I initiate a kick to end this fight. Lighting extends down my leg, pushing its way toward the opponent.
My foot is inches away from slamming into the man’s face when he disappears once more, along with his rife. The energy charged kick makes impact on one of the security boxes, sending cracks through the hard composite material, as the box itself slides back, hitting the wall.
I whip my foot in the direction I saw the man move just as he’s turning invisible. But once more I’m met with nothing, seeing nothing. So I close my eyes.
The butt of a rifle cracks against my jaw, right where the bullet skimmed me. My head whips around, and I turn it back barely preceding the fist that wishes to catch my attacker. But again I miss, and this time the weapon slams into my spine. Hard.
Something cracks and I can’t tell what, until a rifle butt clatters to the ground.
The air tightens to my left, and though my back feels like fire, the enemy made a mistake. He backed off after breaking his rifle, and now I know where he is.
Something clicks and a voice like paper speaks in echos. The sounds bounce all over the room… and with my eyes closed it’s like another dimension.
“You had your chance to run.”
The words finally make their way to my brain, and I drop as fast as I can. It’s just what he was waiting for.
The gun fires three times. The first goes high, the second punches through my shoulder, and the third penetrates right into my knee. Bone splinters pushing its way through my muscles and tendons. So my muscles do the safest thing they know and collapse completely. I try to resist as the floor draws closer, but only pain ensues. I hit the hard concrete floor and my head bounces once, with a thump.
Stars and circles of light fly through my vision. The lightning in my bones is racing. Racing to repair, to uphold, to keep me alive.
With my ear to the floor, I can feel the soft vibrations of my enemy’s footsteps. I feel the very slight shockwave as his foot hits the floor next to my head. The gun in his hand clicks once, and I hear what sounds like an exchange of magazines. The slide racks and I sense the barrel pointing down at my head.
My good arm is the one farther from him, the floor won’t conduct my electricity, and he pulls the trigger once.
The bullet rips through my left pectoral, shattering the ribs in little shards, stopping just in front of my lung. It’s painful, but I’m already in too much pain to care… somehow my body has shut off the pain receptors, letting my mind think in clarity for these last moments. My eyes open to stare up at a green lit ceiling.
The hero has been defeated… by a man he can’t see. A man he tried to stop for killing two officers…two men who tried to stop him from breaking into a warehouse of… simple energy cells.
Something slides into place in my cerebral processes. My good arm slowly inches to the right where I’m sure one of the cases sits, just as the next trigger pull happens.
My mind goes blank, but somehow pulls one little message through. My fingers are touching the hard composite shell of a cell case. It’s completely bulletproof and supposedly able to withstand the energy impact of a speed train. And my only hope is if I can conjure enough lighting to make it explode.
I take in a shuddering breath and feel the discomfort of every shard of bone that’s shoved through my body. I can even feel the exact placement of each metal piece that was fired from the gun. The gun that fires again.
Breath shoots out of my body upon the impact of the fifth bullet that day to touch my body. The breath is not voluntary, nor does it come my throat and mouth. It’s spewing through a hole in my lung. And I begin gasping for air, my two lungs convulsing. My knecks spasms, twisting as I groan in agony. For even lighting can suffocate.
Words flood my mind, anger that no one was there to have my back. Convulsing on the floor with no help to come, I can do nothing but feel every last ounce of life being sucked from my frail mortal body.
The man who stands over me decides I’ve had enough, and I hear him holster the pistol. His footsteps are loud in my ears. The energy coursing through my body is doing everything it can to keep my from dying, and a tear slips from my eyes, because I want to tell it to stop, to let me slip away into eternal darkness. But it won’t listen to my pleadings.
To my left a single box is lifted off the ground. It’s bottom is six inches from the ground when three pops sound in the air. The box falls to the ground, and blood droplets drip from an invisible form. Three more shots sound and a figure wrapped in black clothing falls to the ground, never to stand again.
A single officer charges into the room, handgun drawn. He sees me on the floor and rushes over, dropping to a knee, just as I convulse one last time. His face is covered in sweat, and his hands are shaking when he holsters his gun, but he looks me in the eyes and says:
“I may have pissed in my pants… but I got your back.”
Tears begin to flow from the officer’s eyes as he watched a smile form on my lips. He looks around frantically… and reaches over ripping a shred off the dead man’s clothes. This he pushes down on the wound in my chest and presses with every ounce of weight.
It burns like magma from hell, but then something magnificent happens. The pain jolts my body awake. Lighting flares and pulls the cloth down into the wound, tightening it over the hole, stopping any air from being able to escape. The energy expands my lungs, pulling air in, and I breathe at last.
A wave of tiredness hits me, and my eyes want to close, but a hand slaps my face, and my eyes flicker back open. Men in uniforms are now bustling around the warehouse as the man over me screams in my face, telling me to stay awake. His hands are pushing down on one my many wounds, and I smile.
Keldon Dek– I, am not alone. Someone has my back… someone is watching out for me.