Chapter 14

Please Note: Chapters have been posted in their unedited form and do not fully reflect the final work.

Chapter 14

The entrance was a mangled mess. I’d blown all the glass out of the entryway and the doors were almost completely off their hinges. The firing had stopped as both Timmy and not-Timmy were either somewhere in the wreckage of the entryway or blown further into the mall. The concussive force of the blast was pretty substantial as I’d put a lot of my anger into it.

The interesting thing about my energy casting ability is that the energy is mostly concussive in nature with a small heat signature. However the more I concentrate or refine the discharge the hotter I can make the beam. It requires a lot of focus to do it though so generally speaking I'm more smashy than melty.

I floated over to the entrance and scanned it for any hostiles, fortunately, there wasn’t anyone in the immediate vicinity, but I could hear yelling from deeper into the mall so I probably didn’t have much time to hang about. I was about to move into the mall when I noticed an arm sticking out from the wreckage of a soft drink vending machine and went over to check it out. I discovered the owner of the arm was Timmy who had ended up buried underneath the wrecked vending machine and chunks of ceiling and glass.

I landed and got a good grip on the vending machine throwing it off of him before checking to see if he was still breathing, which fortunately he was. While I wasn’t thinking much about Timmy and not-Timmy’s well-being when I blew up the entrance, I wasn’t trained to kill unless it was unavoidable for the safety of others. As angry as I was, murdering Timmy in retribution wasn’t something I wanted to live with. Still, that didn’t mean I couldn’t shake him until he rattled, so I picked him up off of the floor by the front of his tactical vest and growled at him, “Where are the hostages?”

He stared at me with glassy eyes and I could tell he was struggling to focus. Probably concussed. Channeling some energy into my other hand I held it up near his face and yelled, “Hostages! Where!” 

Timmy weakly pointed further into the mall and struggled out the words “Food court.”

“Thanks Timmy,” I said and smacked him upside the head knocking him back out, before tossing him outside the entrance where the police could get him. Time to go find Christina and Ember and see if I could find the bastard responsible for all this and put my foot on his neck.

“Star, do you copy?” came Fox’s voice into my ear just as was about to start into the mall. 

“Star Copies.”

“What was that explosion?” Fox asked.

“I deemed that there was no good faith and blew the entrance. I’m entering the mall.”

“Roger that. I don’t have a full idea of how many hostiles there are but plan on heavy resistance. Military trained, probably a mercenary group. Here’s the play, you go in hard and fast with whatever force is necessary to disable any resistance. I have overwatch on the food court and hostages. Something still doesn’t smell right with all of this but the ball is in play now. Watch the second level, there are gunmen up there. Clear your wing of the mall and move toward the center and the food court. I’ll support you or you’ll support me depending on how they react,” Fox immediately pivoted with a plan based on my actions.

I answered back with a simple, “Acknowledged.” 

“Star…Dani…this is not the mission I would have hoped for your first action, but remember your training. You know what to do to save those people but stay true to who you are and don’t let your anger make you something you are not. I believe in you. Fox out.”

Well damn, wasn't expecting that. I closed my eyes for a second and pinched the bridge of my nose and exhaled trying to center myself but it wouldn’t come. I’d bled off some of the anger in blowing up the entrance but I kept seeing the girl's face as she died thanks to these bastards and it kept bubbling back. My friends were trapped in here with these bastards and if they were willing to shoot an innocent girl in the back anyone could be next. With that in mind, I took off deeper into the mall. 

Debris from the entrance had made it to the main concourse and I noticed there was also a trail of blood leading from the blown out entrance into the concourse before disappearing. I stopped for a second to get my bearings and I could see a bunch of seating and an open kids play area in front of me, while to my right was the entrance to a clothing store that had its shutter down. 

I dismissed the store as a threat vector and moved into the main concourse but right as I approached the play area pain exploded up my side as I was raked by gunfire from somewhere off to my left. It knocked the wind out of me and I dove behind a turtle-shaped play structure to get away from it. I felt my side for damage but even though it hurt like hell the bullets hadn’t broken the skin. I’d already tanked a bunch of shots from Timmy and not-Timmy so I was already feeling pretty beat up so this was adding bruises to bruises at this point.. At least my uniform was doing its job mitigating the damage, but it already had a few holes in it from where the fabric had been overloaded. Without my cape to use as an extra layer of protection it was only a matter of time before something did real damage. 

While I didn’t get a good look it seemed like the gunfire came from the vicinity of a sunglasses kiosk. I was considering what to do next after catching my breath when more gunfire tore through the turtle play structure almost hitting me. Time to go I thought, and as soon as there was a pause I shot straight up into the air and blasted the kiosk. It came apart in a bang throwing debris and bits of sunglasses everywhere. Turns out the hostile wasn’t actually in the kiosk but next to it behind a support pillar. I heard them exclaim as the blast knocked them sprawling. 

I swooped down as fast as could and ripped the gun out of their hands breaking it at the stock before grabbing them by the collar. The man had a gash in his leg and was covered in dust. It was then I realized that I was holding not-Timmy and snarled at him, “You son of a bitch. You killed that poor girl!”

His only response was to spit on me. With a scream, I hurled him across the mall where he slammed into the security gate of the clothing store making a person sized dent that he slowly slid out of. I went to the play structure and ripped a metal support free before approaching not-Timmy. Seeing the man was still breathing but unconscious I let all of the awful things I wanted to do to him play out in my mind before reaching down and driving the support into the floor. I then bent it over his leg pinning him to the floor. 

“Screw you, you piece of crap,” I said to the unconscious man before flying up to the second floor to find the gunman Fox had mentioned. Strategically they needed to be dealt with as they could do a lot of damage with the high ground to anyone attempting to enter the mall. 

Trying to maintain some semblance of my training I located one of the support pillars and flew over to it to use as cover so that I could maybe locate the bad guys without being shot for once. It turned out I made the right decision because two men were moving quickly toward my location on the upper level to my right. It was inevitable that the gunfire would attract some attention if the whole blowing up of the entrance thing wasn’t enough. I peered around the pillar while hovering high enough that I shouldn’t immediately be visible.

The soldiers were definitely pros as they covered each other advancing and sweeping their field of view to always see in front and behind them as they went. Since there were concourses on each side of the mall’s upper level it meant the middle was open to the ceiling. This meant that I had to be careful to not expose myself to someone on the other catwalk approaching from my blind spot while staying out of sight of the soldiers below me. They approached the area above where I had engaged not-Timmy, and I mentally decided they would be designated Frick and Frack. 

“Shit,” I heard Frack exclaim. “I knew we shouldn’t have pulled back after that explosion.” 

The other man who I had dubbed Frick nodded before pointing toward the clothing store. “Frick, is that Derrick? Jesus, he looks like a bug who hit a windshield. “Look at the size of the dent in the rollup door,” he said while visibly tightening his grip on this weapon.

No, you’re Frick. He’s Frack I thought with a glimmer of my usual humor. These idiots can’t even keep their nicknames straight.

 Get sharp, that Supernormal is in here somewhere, and get on the radio and let the boss know,” Frick said bringing his gun back up and scanning the area with renewed urgency. 

“Boss, we got a problem,” Frack said into the mic at his throat while looking around warily. “The Supernormal has entered the building. Derrick is down, no idea about Tony but he was at the door when it blew up. Roger that, we’ll make our way back.

Boss wants us to collapse back to the food court. The chopper is en-route and the guys on the roof aren’t answering either.”

Tony huh? I guess Timmy wasn’t too far off after all. I ducked back behind the pillar and peeked around the side I had my back to just to make sure nobody was sneaking up on me from behind. I closed my eyes and took a cleansing breath in yet another effort to center myself. I was a little more successful this time but I still needed a plan. I checked on Frick and Frack and they were slowly retreating back toward the center of the mall. A bunch of different ideas of how to approach the situation flew through my mind but Captain Williams always stressed that overcomplicating a plan was a fast way to lose an engagement. 

I made up my mind and decided a simple misdirect and good old fashioned speed would do the trick. Leaning out to see where Frick and Frack were on the concourse, I lined up a shot on the opposite concourse ahead of them to hopefully draw their attention away from me. Ducking back behind the pillar I started charging up for the discharge. The neon pink and blues of my energy ability started to swirl around my hands, and I worked to concentrate the energy a little more than usual since I was trying for a very tight and controlled beam. After a few seconds of concentrating, I leaned out the opposite side of the pillar in an effort to hide the light show I was creating and released the beam at an unsuspecting trash can. Fortunately for the trash can I missed, but I hit the glass window of a Hot Topic that only had security bars which exploded the window and threw overpriced pop culture collectibles all over the concourse. 

Even though my tastes ran more toward comic book collectibles rather than anime, as a connoisseur of a pop culture collectible or two, I winced at the damage. I always remembered how shocked the guys were in high school when I wanted to discuss the latest blockbuster comic book movie or show. Heck, I owned my fair share of waifus in the popular ship-girl game on my phone. 

I shook my head, come on ADHD brain focus, and launched myself at Frick and Frack. Frick was running down the concourse trying to get to the walkway that bridged the gap between the two concourses, or maybe it was Frack. I dunno, not important. What was important was that the other bad guy not running was taking up a covering position and starting to sweep the area so he had to go first. I flew in fast in a shallow downward trajectory that allowed me to come in from his blind side and grab him by his tactical vest. I grunted a bit with the added weight but continued forward regaining momentum toward Frick who hadn’t registered my approach. I caught up to Frick right as he got to the walkway and threw Frack into him causing both of them to end up in a heap. Not caring who was who I fired an energy discharge into them and sent them sprawling. I made sure they were both out of action and removed their weapons before bending a piece of railing around them to pin them in place. I realized that twice now I would have benefitted from having something like zip ties to restrain people, and made a mental note to ask if we could incorporate them into my uniform somehow. 

Taking a moment to get my bearings I realized that I was about halfway to the food court. If there would be resistance it would be there but I needed a better vantage point so I flew up to the ceiling to see if there were any more guards in the vicinity. It looked clear but they also knew which way I was coming from and there were plenty of places to hide in cover. Looking up at the skylight I made the snap decision to see if I could change the playing field a bit and blew a hole in the glass. Hoping I didn’t make too much noise and didn’t give away what was doing I slipped out the hole to the roof. Oh well, I wasn’t exactly being stealthy anyway. 

Once I cleared the skylight I looked around immediately to see if there were any hostiles on the roof I needed to be concerned about. I didn’t see anyone so I flew up a little higher and away from the skylight so I wouldn’t be seen easily from inside and proceeded to move toward the opposite end of the mall. I planned to reenter the mall from the skylight and hopefully come in fast and take them by surprise from the opposite direction. 

“Star, is that you? We’ve got movement on the roof that looks like flying,” came Deputy Garcia’s voice in my earpiece. 

“Affirmative overwatch. Interior is hot. Actively engaged. Continue to monitor but do not engage. Star out,” I replied quickly as I came up to the opposite end of the mall. I had been a bit distracted replying to Garcia when I came upon the bodies of two men laid out behind an HVAC unit. I looked away quickly but they looked like they’d been taken out with a brutal efficiency. Realistically I knew what my mentor was capable of and certainly of his reputation, but seeing his handiwork in person was another reminder of just what a dangerous individual he was. Hurrying past the bodies I made it to the section of skylight I was looking for uncontested. Of course, now I knew why that was. 

Looking into the skylight I could see a hostile patrolling the walkway. I leaned back out of sight to decide how I was going to get in there as the breeze blew my hair around my face. I hadn’t even noticed that I’d lost my hair tie somewhere along the line. A couple of different ideas bounced around in my head, but again, sometimes a straight line is the best plan. Making my decision I jumped up and levitated up above the skylight and the position of the hostile. I took a moment to again appreciate what a criminally nice day it was before I stopped defying gravity and let myself drop feet first through the skylight. 

I crashed straight down with a crash and spray of glass and sped toward the concourse floor. I used my ability to fly to arrest my fall a few feet above the floor and then launched myself into a maneuver that looked like someone making a “C” around the hostile that had ducked away from the glass. I took advantage of that distraction and backhanded them into the wall watching as they slid down the wall and didn’t move. They had dropped their gun when I hit them so I took a second to step on in and deform it enough that it would be useless. A quick check said they were still alive so it was time to move on. Scanning the area I didn’t see anyone else up on the concourse but there would be a least one hostile at the entrance on this wing. 

I jumped down and found the entryway and flew down it to find two gunmen looking out at the parking lot. One in the breezeway and one just outside of it. I stayed in flight and grabbed the hostile holding the position outside of the breezeway and smashed them through the glass breezeway door before throwing them into the hostile guarding the door. The one I’d smashed through the door bounced off the other hostile and lay there dazed, but the man who was guarding the outer door had managed to roll with the blow a bit. Even though he had dropped his rifle in the impact, he had enough wherewithal to pull a pistol from somewhere and get a couple of shots off. I saw the draw motion and was moving as he came around but wasn’t fast enough and took a round in my left arm just above the elbow and a shot to the midriff just below my ribs. Exactly where I didn’t have any protection. 

With my right hand, I blessed him with an energy discharge as I spun with the impact. Pain blossomed in my arm and left side and I went down to one knee clutching my side and arm. I managed to keep my head enough to remember to make sure he was down and through watering eyes, I put another discharge into him to make sure they stayed down. Breathing heavily I struggled to my feet with a small cry and stumbled into the mall before leaning on a wall to try and catch my breath. My arm had gone partially numb but fire continued to radiate from my side. Putting my back to the wall I took a moment to just breathe while looking up at the ceiling. I knew I needed to check my wounds and make sure nothing was seriously wrong but I honestly was afraid of what I would see.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for self pity so gritting my teeth and wincing I brought my arm up to where I could see it. Again the uniform held and while it hurt there was only a small mark on the black fabric where the round had hit. My arm was going to be sore but feeling was already coming back to it. My side on the other hand continued to radiate fire, and worse, it felt wet. I sucked in a breath and looked down at my side and what greeted me was a bloody hole, which accounted for why my side felt wet. With a shaking hand, I went to put pressure on the wound and nearly puked from the pain. It had felt like something was stuck in the hole and it hurt like hell. With tears streaming I grit my teeth and stuck a finger into the wound and felt a hard lump. Curling my finger further into the wound before I lost my nerve or passed out I dug in and popped out a lump of metal which hit the floor with a thunk. 

I stayed bent over at the waist taking deep breaths with my eyes closed for a minute before finally wiping the tears from my eyes and straightening up. My side already felt exponentially better having dug out what I assumed was the bullet. Sure, I’d been banged up plenty of times, but since my abilities started manifesting and my durability had gone further and further into the Supernormal range it had been rare to be injured beyond a bruise. STAR had tested my physical durability multiple times, but they had never gone so far as to shoot me at close range with regular ammo. Fortunately, my enhanced metabolism was already clotting the wound and the bleeding had mostly stopped. It didn’t seem like the wound was super deep and I wasn’t going to stop anyway, but damn, I really was starting to feel like a punching bag. 

My reflection caught my eye in a store window and to say I looked like a mess would be an understatement. My hair was all over the place, and my face and uniform were covered in blood from the girl. On top of that, I had tears and blemishes all over my uniform and now a bloody wound with accompanying blood stains. Helluva debut, was all I could think before getting my mind back on task. With wince a floated off the ground and took off toward the center of the mall. 

As I flew I decided flying high hadn’t really worked so I stayed low and came in hot avoiding kiosks and other assorted obstacles. There was one hostile between me and the food court and they never had time to react. I buried my right fist into their gut as I flew and felt something give before heaving them over and into a storefront. I didn’t pause to check this time and just kept going and burst into the food on a mission. Locating a hostile immediately let loose with an energy discharge blasting them back and out of the immediate area. I had dialed up the intensity of my blasts not willing to take chances and hoping that their tactical armor would blunt it enough that I wasn’t outright killing anyone. 

Moving evasively I looked for my next target and found them when gunshots ripped past where I had been a second ago. There were two hostiles spaced apart that looked like they were guarding the hostages who were grouped at one end of the food court. I wouldn’t be able to get them both and was worried about the hostages so I pulled a trick I’d used during my training session. I charged up my powers and clapped my hands together resulting in a resounding CRACK and a blinding flash of the light. It temporarily blinded the two guards giving me a chance to blast the one furthest from me off his feet while flying to the other and backhanding them hard enough to knock them out.


I heard my name and looked behind me to see Christina staring at me wide-eyed from where she sat on the floor with Ember next to her. They looked like they were ok if a bit disheveled. Christina looked like she might have been crying at one point and Ember just looked like she wanted to kick somebody's ass. Ember’s red hair was half in and half out of the ponytail it started in and I don’t think her captors understood how lucky they were that looks couldn’t kill. I was just about to reply when two gunshots rang out causing me to whip around in time to see a hostile pitch over the railing of the closest elevated walkway. 

“Head in the game Star!” Fox’s voice rang out as he came into my field of view. He was moving to grab cover by a pillar and putting himself between the hostages and the last wing of the mall. “The leader has a hostage and he is retreating. The hostage is a kid your age who I believe is a Supernormal. This was an abduction and stalling action to allow their evac helicopter to get here. Hold this area, and evacuate the hostages if possible. I’m going after their leader.” 

“Roger,” I replied and looked around to make sure that I wasn’t missing any hostiles. Fox took off without making any noise and I lost sight of him almost immediately. 

“Dani, what’s going on? Why are you here dressed like that…and are you ok?” Christina said still clearly having trouble processing. 

I moved over to where she and Ember sat keeping my head on a swivel for any hostiles that we missed. “Stop using my name, please. I’ll tell you everything once this is over and fine is a relative term at this point. I’ll be fine once I get you two out of here. For now, keep your heads down and be ready.”

I could feel her scowl without even looking but I didn’t have time for her to be mad at me. Taking a deep breath I raised my voice to be heard across the food court, “Everyone! My name is Star and I’m a First Responder with the Supernormal Tactics and Response Team. It’s my job to make sure we get you out of here. I need everyone to be ready to move. Once I update the Police outside what the plan is we’re going to start moving.” 

I adjusted my wrist panel to make sure I had the Police frequency and then touched my earbud to begin transmitting, “Star to overwatch. Hostages are in custody but not secure. Fox is in pursuit of the Terrorist Leader.” I took a look around and figured the Urban Outfitters store nearest to our position would do to move the hostages through, “ I will be attempting to extract the hostages through the back of the Urban Outfitters store. Please be prepared to receive us, Star out.”

“Roger that, Star. We’ll be ready,” came Deputy Garcia’s voice through the earpiece. 

“Alright everyone we’re moving. I want everyone up and ready to move to the Urban Outfitters store. I’m going to open it and then get in position to cover you as all move as fast as you can into the store. Head to the back of the store and wait. We don’t know what’s in the service corridors so I will make sure those are clear before we proceed to exit the mall. Help each other. If you need assistance or mobility issues make them known. We’ll need to rely on each other to get out of here. Nod if you understand.”

I got nods all around and more than a few nervous looks. Christina was somewhere between worry and outright glaring at me. If I knew Christina like I thought I knew her, my keeping secrets from her would have pushed being a hostage to the background. If there was one thing she hated, it was being lied to. Christina valued emotional vulnerability and did not react well when that was one-sided. Thankfully Ember was there keeping her grounded from whatever thoughts were racing through her head. I caught Ember’s eye and nodded to her before turning my attention to the task at hand which was breaking into the camping store. 

I looked around making sure that we were still clear and flew the short distance to the storefront. Like the rest of the stores, its security gate was down but that wasn’t going to be an issue for me. I reached down and pulled until the lock snapped with relative ease and pulled the door up just high enough for everyone to pass under. After getting the door I flew up so that I would be in a position above everyone so that I could see down the approaches from the food court and concourse. 

Looking over at my group of people I raised my voice, “Ok everyone, let’s move!” 

They all began moving into the store which took longer than I would have liked but wasn’t unexpected considering the large number of people. The store was packed but we had enough room and wouldn’t be staying long hopefully. I pulled the security gate back down and hoped nobody would notice that it didn’t sit perfectly. If we were lucky Fox and I had taken out all of the hostiles. I floated up and over the crowd toward the back of the store and after a little shuffling of bodies slipped into the back room and made my way to the door that led into the service corridors. This was the tricky part, if there were any hostiles left they could easily have slipped into these corridors. 

Just as I was getting ready to open the door I bumped into a woman who was holding a child close to her. She was strikingly beautiful with porcelain skin and crystal blue eyes wearing a nifty black leather jacket with white straps and red piping accents topped off with a baseball hat which was covering a mane of white hair. 

“My apologies,” I said to the woman with a nod before speaking to the boy whose dark skin was in complete contrast to her. He looked to be probably about seven or eight years old in a grey t-shirt and blue jeans. His brown eyes were huge as he tried to take in everything that was going on. 

“It’s going to be ok buddy. We’re almost out of here. I just need to go out there and make sure it’s safe and then we’ll be able to get you out of here. Can you and your…” I paused looking at the woman to fill in the blank.

“Guardian,” she supplied.

“You and your guardian be brave for me?” to which he nodded slowly. “Ok then, I’m going to check this out and get you out here,” I finished with a wink. 

I slipped out of the door and into the hallway. Fortunately, I didn’t see anyone in the hallway and zipped to the end making sure it was clear. There were some fire doors at the end of the hallway that I closed before retracing my steps and finding an emergency exit door about fifteen yards from the Urban Outfitters store’s back entrance. Perfect, I thought before leaning back with a grimace because my side still hurt, and kicked the door completely free of the door frame. It landed out in the parking lot and I could see the police startle at the noise. I waved at them and realized that this wasn’t the same police line and I was on a different side of the building. 

Touching my earbud I spoke into my mic, “Overwatch, we’re going to begin exiting the building. I’m not sure where I’m at in relation to your position, but I can see the police line where I’m at.”

“Acknowledged Star. You’re…” There was a pause where I imagined Deputy Garcia was asking Davis something. I was proven right a few seconds later when she came back, “Davis says you’re on the opposite side from us. We’ll move to you right way.”

“Acknowledged beginning extraction,” I replied and killed the line. Hopefully, Fox got the sitrep despite dealing with the terrorist leader and his hostage. If I could everyone out of here I could go help him, but that’s getting ahead of myself a bit. I moved back inside to the door and was about to rip it open when I decided that maybe making a bunch of noise wasn’t the best idea after already kicking the other door open. Knocking on the door and announcing myself it cracked open and then opened fully when the occupant at the door saw it was me. 

“Everyone we have a clear path out of here. Once you step through the door you will turn right and about fifteen yards down the hallway there is an emergency exit on your left. It’s already open, so please proceed as fast as you are able in an orderly fashion to the police line. Thank you, and pass this information to those in the back,” I finished feeling more and more washed out as the stress of the day was starting to mix with all the throbbing aches and pains. 

“Thank you miss, you’re a godsend,” said the beautiful white haired woman as she passed me and I waved at her and the boy before shifting my attention to making sure the line stayed moving and that nobody was sneaking up on us while we were vulnerable. Everything went smoothly for the most part and I only had to speak up a couple of times to remind people to maintain order. My friends were in the last group and Christina glared at me as she passed, so I mouthed “Later” to her as she passed by with Ember to keep her moving. 

After the last person entered the hallway I closed the door to the Urban Outfitters store and covered the last of the hostages as they exited. I toggled the radio and announced, “Extraction complete. Exiting the building.”

The hostages were quickly being triaged into groups and as I moved back to the police line I was greeted by Lieutenant Bidwell and Deputy Garica. “Nice work. It looks like everyone got out but good lord you look like shit,” said the Lieutenant.

“I kind of feel like it and not everyone…” I said looking down and remembering the girl that was murdered in front of me. 

“Right, I’m sorry. You did good though whether you think so or not. What’s the status inside? Can we enter?”

Looking up and willing myself to not get emotional and absently holding my hand over the bullet wound I answered, “We never had an exact count of how many hostiles were in the mall and Fox is still in there, but you should be able to enter when I initially went in. Be careful though. I incapacitated everyone I fought but I can’t guarantee they’re still harmless, but I’m pretty sure Fox was a little more permanent in his methods,” I finished with a grimace. 

“I…see,” said the Lieutenant stepping away to give orders. 

I looked around to see if I could find Christina but I couldn’t see her, and didn’t know where she had been triaged to. I was still looking when I felt a touch on my elbow and realized that Deputy Garcia hadn’t left.   

“Are you really okay?” she asked with concern on her face. 

“Yeah, I’m good. Just a little tired.”

“A…little tired?” she looked at me flabbergasted.


“You’re standing there with a thousand-yard stare, covered in blood, and with what looks like a bullet wound that you keep covering like nobody will notice. Are you really ok? Should I get a doctor?” she said forcefully. 

I blinked, and then actually looked at Deputy Garcia. Genuine concern was written all over her face. “No, I’m not even remotely ok,” I said with a sigh, “But I have to be ok until this is done. Once I get back to base I’ll…something…but there are people there that will make sure I’m ok whether I like it or not,” I finished thinking specifically of Doctor Robinson.

“Okay, but if you ever need to talk, I’d be happy to lend an ear,” she said with a smile while touching my good elbow. “You know how to get a hold of me.”

“You’re a good one Garcia," I said to her as she moved off to join the Lieutenant and his group of officers. It was the type of thing Fox would do when he was in mentor mode. Fox! Crap, what was I doing. Quickly activating my radio I spoke into the mic, “Fox do you copy? Can you give us a sitrep?”

“Fox copies. Hostile neutralized and hostage recovered. We’ll be out in a moment. Lieutenant Bidwell I believe there is a helicopter en route, this is a hostile craft,” he responded right away and I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. 

“Fox, we don’t show any craft in our vicinity on radar. Are you sure they mentioned a helo,” Lieutenant Bidwell replied over the radio. 

“Affirmative Lieutenant. They mentioned they had a chopper en route and were close to exfil when Star introduced herself. If it’s not showing up on radar it’s either aborted or cloaked. Neither option is good. With one we lose a lead and with the other, it means this may not be over. For what it’s worth, my money is on cloaked, so stand by.”

As he said the last bit Fox exited the mall marching the terrorist leader in front of him at gunpoint while keeping the hostage shielded behind him. The man looked a little worse for wear as his face was bruised and he had a cut above his eye. When he was about thirty yards from the police line a black helicopter came blasting in to hover above the parking lot. The police all scrambled to take positions while the former hostages started to panic and run from what looked like another threat. 

Fox immediately positioned the young man from the mall behind him and dropped into a firing stance but wasn’t sure who he should be aiming at. The helicopter lowered down to hover a few feet from the ground with its side door open, and up close you could see that it wasn’t a normal black. The color was easiest described as black but it was a weird pearlescent black that caused the light to do weird things when it hit it. 

I noticed two things at that moment. One, I realized that the man Fox was protecting was the Supernormal that I had watched at the Student Union the other day with his girlfriend and my heart broke again. Two was that the white haired woman and the boy from the mall hadn’t run away from the helicopter. The woman was just watching without an expression on her face with her hands on the boy’s shoulders until she noticed that I was looking at her and then she winked. 

Just then a man wearing a black tracksuit and hoodie appeared out of nowhere and grabbed the terrorist leader before disappearing. Fox was quick, but not that quick, and missed his lunge to grab or shoot the man before he disappeared. The man reappeared in front of the white haired woman with the Terrorist Leader who stumbled when he let him go. The woman pushed the boy at the man in the tracksuit who grabbed the boy and disappeared again. As soon as the boy was gone the white haired woman pulled out a pistol and blew the terrorist leader's brains out as the helicopter started to ascend kicking up wind gusts as it did blowing her hat off and whipping her white hair around. 

It all happened in a handful of seconds. Fox to his credit showed how badass he was by snapping shots off almost immediately but even he was too late. The boy was gone and the white haired woman now had six metal-looking shields that appeared out of nowhere floating around her. They intercepted all of Fox’s shots before they could do any damage and her eyes which were blue, were now red. With a growl, Fox emptied his clip at the woman who blocked all his shots as if they were nothing. 

“Who are you?!” the normally even keeled Fox screamed 

“Now, now, Master Sergeant Takahara, all in due time,” she replied with a wisp of smile like everything amused her greatly. 

“Where’s the boy? What are doing with him,” I yelled at her. I had thought she was being protective of him earlier based on her body language but now I realized she was keeping him in line.

She looked at me with those unsettling red eyes for a second before speaking, “Thank you for rescuing us. You’re either going to become a legend or flame out spectacularly.”

Screw this, I thought and launched myself at her as fast as I could and she just ever so calmly shifted out of the way and I shot past her. The downside to overshooting was that I missed but the upside was that I could now flank her. I shot an energy blast at her while at the same time Fox pulled out his backup pistol and fired, but unbelievably her shields flowed and moved around her body blocking both of our shots. Who the hell is this woman? 

“Well that’s enough fun. I’ve got another appointment to get to. It was nice seeing you again Fox. Sly-D, lets go!” with the last part the man in the tracksuit appeared out of nowhere grabbing her and disappearing as the chopper started gaining altitude and began fading from view. 

“What…the…hell…” I said to no one in particular.