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Bailing Out First National (IC)


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28 Nov 2009, 1:35 pm

If pressed on the issue, one of Fulcrum's favorite activities was flying. Just flying for the sure joy of it. Feeling the wind whipping through her air and cool of evening on her skin. Plus it served the dual purpose of surveying the city for problems. Which meant that this fine evening, she was diving and barrel rolling while looking across the rooftops of downtown. Everything seemed quiet enough. Until a little something came over the scanner.

All units be advised: 211 in progress at First National Bank. Suspects dressed in stripped suits and masks. Considered armed and dangerous.

"First National?" Fulcrum hovered in mid air and looked around, "Where the heck is First National?"

As if answering her question, a shot rang out directly below her. Glass shattered outward from the bank's window. Four men in pin-stripped suits reminiscent of '30s gangsters stormed from the stone-fronted entrance, waving around futuristic weapons. Each wore a different color, blue, red, green or gray, and a mask portraying a movie mafioso. The quartet raced for a SUV, three of them leaping inside with sacks of money. Mr. Gray stopped at the driver's door, firing his rifle at an approaching patrol car.

The shot sounded like the pop of a normal rifle, but the blue bolt of energy sure was something else. The police cruiser flipped onto its side, the front tire and wheel well blasted to bits. The man laughed, hopped inside and fired it up.

Fulcrum scowled and dived straight down toward the getaway vehicle.

"Come on, lets go!"

"No problem." Mr. Gray chuckled, his voice full of confidence. He hit the gas...and the car didn't move. Instead the back end lifted into the air.

"Hello, boys."

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"Its a super!" Blue and Green leaned out the back windows, "And she's a big one!"

"Shoot her you idiots!" growled Mr. Gray. A touch screen popped up from the console and the masked robber tapped in commands. His two buddies looked at each other hesitantly. Soon two chromed 'blaster' weapons sounded simultaneously. One blue bolt went wide, blasting a light pole, but the second found its mark against Fulcrum's shoulder. As the hero reeled back, the SUV shuddered amid a high-pitched charging noise.

Then it was off! Only a Tron-like streak remained as the getaway car zoomed into the distance, zipping around obstacles like they were standing still. One perfect 90 degree turn and they were gone. Fulcrum blinked and looked down at the bumper in her hands.


Stretching her shoulder, Fulcrum smirked and took off after the crooks. The chase was on through the narrow streets of downtown!

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The sci-fied four door zoomed through the city streets. Weaving through congestion, reckless driving became the least of their problems. Running lights, jumping the curb, nearly running down pedestrians, causing wrecks, these guys seemed willing to do anything to escape. Just how far became quickly apparent.

Fulcrum had one distinct advantage over the villains: flight. While they still had a maze to navigate, the hero simply flew above the stampede. Still the sheer speed of the vehicle kept it just ahead of her despite the obstacles. She threw everything she had into her flying, and looked ahead for any open streets. An open stretch of road would be a problem. Descending on her unsuspecting victim, Fulcrum went with an upper cut against the SUV's roof.

Off the roof came with a satisfying crunch. Glass and metal shards sprayed over the gangsters and tingled onto the streets. Blue and Green sat there slack jawed. Mr. Gray looked just a little nervous. Maybe it was the sweat beading on his forehead. Red though had everything covered. Instead of firing at Fulcrum, he turned the gun on the car beside them. Squealing tires signaled big trouble.

The car veered out of control toward a bus stop full of pedestrians!

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Lashawn Kevanport read his text message and smiled. Brianna always had a way of cheering him up. Today he had a lovely surprise for her. For maybe the hundredth time, he pulled out the ring case and gazed at the gray velvet. He bit his lip as doubt crept into his head once more. Then he nodded to himself and pocketed the box. A late lunch today and their lives would be changed forever.

The sun darkened overhead. Lashawn looked up to the sight of a car's undercarriage hurtling toward him. In that moment everything was silent. The car fell in slow motion. He didn't even say goodbye to Brianna. He swore he could hear Granny Kevanport's voice calling to him. He felt at peace.

The car didn't crush him. A streak of blue and gold flashed out of nowhere. The thousand pound bullet flew over his head, and he couldn't help but watch its mad flight. By the time his wits returned to him, the woman responsible for saving five lives was gone.

"Was...was that Centurion?"

Lashawn grinned and shook his head, "No, but does it matter?"

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Gathering some distance, the high-tech gangsters breathed a sigh of relief. Soon the giant disappeared among the cars and traffic lights. Over the roar of wind, Mr. Gray yelled to Red, "Great thinking, Ty! Those supers are always saps for crap like that!"

Red just shrugged, a hateful smirk on his face and laughed. Soon Mr. Gray started up, and finally the more cautious members, Green and Blue joined in the villainous laughter. They made a good go of the classic evil cackle too. Red picked up a bag that had come untied, pulled out a stack of 100 dollar bills and kissed it. Dancing in his seat was the only way to describe the gray-suited man.

Their moods changed rapidly as did their luck. First, a bolt of electricity arced across the car's frame. Secondly, before they could respond, the car nearly rolled as they swerved around a bus in an intersection. Mr. Gray just barely corrected as two tires left pavement, but still scrapped his side against a delivery truck at the stop. The console screen lit up with flashing yellow and red lights.

"Ah no! The inertial dampeners are overheating! We'll have to shut it down soon! How far are we from the bridge?"

"Not far! If we can hit the bridge, we won't have to worry about the things. I thought they said this thing was rated for hours!"

"It is, but the dampeners aren't made for city traffic. I told you not to plan this thing during the lunch rush!"

Red just glared at him.

Meanwhile, Fulcrum was far from out of the game. Up into the sky she flew above the buildings of downtown Freedom City. The car was difficult to track, or would have been, if not for the exaggerated tail left in its wake. Seeing them heading for the Pramas Bridge caused her to frown. Even with the traffic, Pramas had a wide sidewalk...

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"She is a real beauty, Captain," commented Officer Stanton nonchalantly. Sitting in the passenger seat, Stanton watched the afternoon sunlight gleam off the polished STAR Squad truck. He stretched his arms and put them behind his head, "Comfortable seats too. Must have cost the department a fortune, considering all the high-tech goodies you requisitioned."

"Don't even think about putting your boots up there," the Captain in question pre-empted to his subordinate. As Stanton settled back reluctantly, Bill "Bulldog" Maddicks smirked, beamed with pride at his new baby and looked up at the red light. As far as he was concerned, the signals downtown seemed to last ages, and the annoyance thereof was evidenced by his expression. He past the time enjoying the new car smell and rubbing off a smudge on the windshield.

Officer Stanton opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, a green SUV zoomed through the intersection. Obviously this was something strange, judging the speed, strange streak-like aura tailing it and the fact that the roof was missing. Strange too was it's exaggerated swerving, like the driver was about to roll the thing.

"Holy...!" was all the junior officer managed. The big SUV clipped the big truck and pushed it a good two feet sideways. Plastic crunched and metal dented as the fleeing vehicle scraped itself along the front. Stanton glanced slack jawed at the SUV and leaned out the broken passenger window to the smashed bumper, fender and headlight.

Bulldog Maddicks sat at the wheel, his body frozen in place and staring blankly ahead. He blinked a couple of times and the toothpick dropped out of his mouth. Without missing a beat, he spoke calmly, "Call in that we are joining the pursuit."

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Despite the wind, lines of sweat dripped down Mr. Gray's face. Red, Blue and Green sat rigidly still, too frightened of the car's escalating malfunction to move. Arcs of electricity buzzed through the car and erupted against passing objects. A neon sign took a hit, scattering glass over a storefront. A red light turned permanently green as the red and yellow sprayed sparks. The console, once full of yellow and red alarms, turned solidly red. The display read, "Inertial Dampeners Critical Overheat: Emergency shutdown in 0:34."

One last harrowing turn and freedom was in sight. Pramas Bridge was indeed congested, but as confirming Fulcrum's fears, the sidewalks looked like the gangsters' intended target. The car shook and swayed with every motion but soon targeted the curb. Only a few more feet...

"I don't think so," yelled Fulcrum as she dove from above. Leveling off just above the sidewalk's pedestrians, she charged forward, fists before her, toward the giveaway car, "Wanna play 'Chicken'?"

No, they did not. Over three terrified screams, Red managed to yell, "Leftyouidiot!" before jerking the wheel. The car turned as directed at first and promptly went berserk. The thing cornered around on itself in a beautiful, green square and touched its own trail. Lightning shot in all directions, the car disappeared into a spinning whirl and righted itself only to ramp off the side of the bridge.

Even Fulcrum was surprised this time. Banking sharply, she circled around to see the SUV launch itself off the bridge and down onto the docks. Somehow, be it skill, circumstance or miracle, the car not only survived but kept zooming along.

"Now that is a good car." Off she went, following their trail among cargo crates and longshoremen.

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"Alright, sweety, a little more to the left. That's great," said Leslie. Focusing the camera, she snapped several photos of the model. Brandon had that posh-bored look she wanted, but she knew he really was bored. Modeling jeans for some no-name company wasn't making him (or her) rich. Still the gig was a pay check and padded out the commercial portfolio. At least the ad department was picking up their lunch tabs.

She sighed as she reviewed the photos. The new, digital camera wasn't working out the way she wanted. The light was fading out the image way more than she wanted. Pulling out the manual, she flipped to the index, "May as well take five, Brandon. This will take a few minutes. This new camera still isn't working right."

Brandon just nodded and sat down on a pier support, bottle of water in hand. He stared off down the lane at the innumerable boxes and the huge ships offloading them. From their view at the east end, the Waterfront looked like an endless, multi-colored maze. Brandon thought it reminded him of an ant hill. Men and loaders criss-crossed in a chaotic dance. All pursuing a common goal.

He squinted. Something strange was happening. People were scattering off the main lane of traffic. Even the forklifts veered off wildly like something big was coming. He blinked when a smashed up SUV zipped out of chaos, narrowly avoiding a pallet. Even stranger was the bolts of electricity spraying sparks all over the docks. And that thing was moving fast. Moving fast toward him!

"Les, watch out!" he yelled. Normally he wasn't a courageous man, but without thinking he leapt from the post and tackled the photographer. All Leslie could get out was, "...finally. Hey, Bran..."

The SUV missed them by inches, but not only because of his heroics. Shaking violently, it accelerated for the on-ramp in the distance. They still should have been clipped. Instead a giant, caped superwoman lifted the vehicle over her head. Jogging along under her burden, she dug in her heels to slow down. Aimed away from the ramp, the SUV crashed head long into a concrete divider and crumpled.

All Leslie could think of doing was snap picture after picture.

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