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GranspearZX

Highway Robbery (IC)

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GM

"Well, this is one hell of a way to start the day..."

Sgt. Jason Taylor adjusted his mirrored shades as an ambulance sped past him, headed further north on State Route 6 into the city. It was a pretty unfortunate 3-car accident--one slamming on its brakes, and two rear-end collisions. It was a wonder that no one was seriously injured, and Sgt. Taylor was certainly grateful for that. What bothered him more was what made the lead car slam on its brakes to begin with--an armored car driving into the city, turned over on its right side with a thin plume of smoke still rising from its hood. It was the main reason there were still paramedics treating people on the scene.

It was recent enough that Taylor hadn't started questioning witnesses yet, and judging from the looks of the armored truck, he was pretty certain the news wouldn't be anything good.

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Supercape was just about to head off to the Lab to play with his toys...

ahem...

...engage in some important research with the high energy particle collider in the basement...

when he picked up the police radio transmission about the car crash, he cursed a little, and fought off a little temptation to ignore it. But it was on his way, and duty calls.

He gathered up his enormous cape, and swooped down to the site of the crash, landing on the roadside. He noted that an armoured truck was involved, which instantly made him a little suspicious as to the cause and intent of the crash.

He spotted what he hoped was the officer in charge and strode up to him.

"Good morning, officer" he said, saluting. "What seems to be the trouble here? can I be of assistance?"

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GM

Sgt. Taylor wasn't terribly surprised to see Supercape show up. He'd been hoping someone would, as a quick assessment of the situation made him realize how much more out of his league he really was. "Actually, you just might... Sgt. Jason Taylor, FCPD." He stuck his hand out to shake Supercape's, unable to help but look a little bit relieved. "Got most of the injured out of here already. Nothing too bad; they were just a little shaken. The guards for that truck, though..."

The officer walked towards the armored car, where the paramedics were still treating some of the guards. Two of them had multiple burn marks on their upper bodies. The armored truck itself had blown both back tires, and the steel of the back door was riddled with holes where the door itself seemed like it had been torn off; it was nowhere to be seen.

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"Hold on..." said Supercape, half to himself, as he examined the wreckage of the armoured car.

"This blast, there are traces of radiation here. Not dangerous levels, officer, at least, providing you don't spend your evening wrapped up under a blanket with the debris... and look at the burn marks. High energy signature, I believe. This is not conventional weaponry, or even explosives. It's not even a dirty bomb. "

He looked too at the rear car, with a neat hole punched in it. "A similar radiation spectrum here too. Something very unusual happened here, officer. Tell me, do we know what, or more importantly, who, was taken?"

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GM

"Other than the money? I thought everyone was accounted for, but..." Sgt. Taylor reached into his back pocket for a notepad. "Ah, here we go. Harold Winters was the man taken in the ambulance; he's the owner of that car and the only one missing. Probably on his way to Southside General as we speak."

The officer paused for a few moments in thought, regarding the scene and victims again. Something suddenly didn't smell quite right, and it wasn't from the radiation. At least, he hoped not.

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"Well at least they took the money, officer" replied Supercape "yes, I know that sounds bad. But imagine how bad it would have sounded if they hadn't have taken the money..."

Supercape was still not convinced that this was a regular smash and grab. Armoured car robbers tended not to leave radiation trials, even in Freedom City. Who was this? It wasn't Hiroshima Shadow, not his particular signature of radiation (unless something had changed).

"Harold Winters. The man in the car. Why him? if they just wanted the armoured car, why bother with a neat hole in the car. Something odd here, don't you think? or am I just being suspicious?"

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GM

"All I know is that he works for some local pharmaceutical company..." Sgt. Taylor motioned towards the car. "Found a pen with the company name on it in the glove compartment. Might be a couple of other things in there that might help, but I doubt it... still. I'm gonna see if I can get that ambulance stopped."

Sgt. Taylor started to head back to his car, when the radio started to crackle to life, reporting an ambulance causing a near accident on the Mona-Glenn Bridge. "...if that's our ambulance... that's way past Southside General."

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GM

"Officer, I fear I must depart..." said Supercape, gathering his cape around him.

"Mona-Glenn Brigde, my destination! I shall listen in on the airwaves for any new information."

There was no time to fly. Instead, he closed his eyes to concentrate. The process was not easy, but neither was it taxing. To Supercape the entire omniverse was one that existed in a fluctuating M-Brane, one that could be bent and pinned around on itself. All it needed was subtle nudges, entangling events between here and there

Within a few second, time and space around him had started to wobble and distort.

A few second more, and he was gone, as the two points entangled, and he reappeared, slightly disorientated as always, above Mone-Glenn Bridge, his cape-flapping mid-air.

Listening in to the emergency airwaves, he swept off to what he hoped would be the direction of the ambulance...

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GM

In moments, Supercape traveled the six-mile distance between where the 'accident' had occurred, leaving Sgt. Taylor a bit bewildered by the sudden exit. "...right. I'll just stay here then." He took a deep breath and looked up as other officers helped direct traffic around the wrecks. This would certainly be a long day...

...and even longer for the ambulance speeding across the bridge; When Supercape appeared on the north side of the bridge, he could see the ambulance, veering to the left and headed for the exit leading down into the Fens.

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Supercape flew down to the ambulance, but not too close... yet.

Again, he reached out to connect to points in time and space, and folded them together, creating a link through which energy could flow, a quantum hole he called it. A hole he could peek through. Not with his eyes, of course, but with his remarkable brain that was sensitive to the tiniest fluctuations in electromagnetic and other esoteric energy fluctuations.

By creating a hole into the ambulance, he could scan what was going on inside, like a radar system. But more importantly, he wanted to know if there was any trace of the mysterious radiation he had detected on the armoured car...

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GM

There were seven bodies inside the ambulance--two in the front, five in the back. The ambulance didn't seem to take notice just yet, and as it approached the underpass, there was a loud series of engine roars... With no police pursuit yet in sight, the ambulance was joined by a fair number of motorcycles. There were at least 12, flanking the ambulance as it sped into a notoriously shady part of the Fens down by the riverfront warehouses.

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The Fens eh? Not so good...

Supercape was not exactly an expert on Freedom City geography and sociology, but this looked liked it was going from bad to worse. And it was time to stop this. It was, he conceded, possible (although unlikely) that this was all legitimate, but that probability was evaporating every minute. The time had come to ACT!

With a determined speech!

Supercape erected a quantum field around himself for protection, then flew on ahead of the Ambulance, and alighted in front of it, making sure his Cape was fully expanded and fully visible.

"Halt, citizens!" he called out as he stood in front of the Ambulance. "I have reason to believe that proper medical care and appropriate legal process must be ensured for the passengers of your vehicle!" he proclaimed, loudly and with due gesticulation.

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GM

"Aw, crap, it's a cape!"

"It's the Cape!"

Both the motorcycle entourage and the ambulance slammed on their brakes. The insignia on the bikers' jackets identified them as Motor City Maulers--not even from Freedom City, but an outlaw biker club from Detroit. Several had weapons--chains, pipes, and a few even had large sledgehammers as their namesakes suggested. Nobody had drawn a weapon... yet. In the distance, however, the howl of sirens could be heard. Not that it was an out-of-place sound in the Fens, but it made many of the bikers nervous.

The back door of the ambulance flying open, though, made them more nervous.

The thumping sound of a news helicopter swooping in on the area joined the distant sirens as a man stepped around the ambulance, red and black eyes fixed on Supercape. The bikers looked between him and the caped hero, uncertain as to what was about to happen. When he spoke, it was with a distinctly South American accent.

"You are in my way," he said flatly, as if Supercape were simply a speed bump on the road of life. "Move. Or be moved."

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Supercape gulped slightly.

Still, this was what being a hero was all about.

"Of course, good citizen..." he started, bowing slightly and fluttering his cape.

"...it appears you are in need of prompt medical assistance, and I would be more than happy to aid and facilitate your speedy arrival at an appropriate medical facility, which, forgive my ignorance on local geography, I was not entirely clear you where headed for. Please pardon my mistake..."

He coughed slightly, making sure his quantum force field was still fully erect.

"So, I would be delighted to assist, by transporting your injured or otherwise ill patient directly to hospital myself. I can be there in a matter of moments..."

Supercape started walking towards the ambulance back doors as confidently as he could. Whilst it would appear that he had taken his eyes off the man and the bikers, his extraordinary radar sense was a keen as ever, and kept watch over his shoulder as he did so...

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GM

"...you are persistent."

His voice conveyed a notable amount of amusement. He raised his right hand, pointing his finger like a gun. There a was a distinct, red glow at his thick fingertip--and then, a loud *crack* like a gunshot, leaving a crater at Supercape's feet, barring him from moving further forward.

"Persistence is an annoying trait." He started to turn back towards the ambulance, waving his right hand; the bikers' eyes were all on him as he gestured. "Do what I pay you for."

Weapons drawn, the group started to surround the caped hero...

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"Oh my" commentated Supercape, as the thugs surrounded him.

"This isn't cricket, chaps, best calm down, I'm sure we can resolve this peacefu..."

He looked at their faces, and sighed.

"Maybe not" he concluded, as his mind picked out a handy molecule in their midst and shifted it.

E=MC2

And with the destruction of the molecule, a massive burst of energy fired up and exploded in their midst, with the force of a hand grenade. He could have made it more powerful, but as he wasn't in the business of city - wrecking. The force was still enough to crack the road and smash some bikes. And enough, he hoped, to knock out those thugs.

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GM

The force of the blast caught them all by surprise, and most of the Maulers were too close to do anything but go flying. All but two of them were on the ground in the aftermath, unsure of what exactly happened... Neither of the remaining goons wanted any part of it and scrambled to their fallen bikes, taking off in short order...

The apparent leader of the group emerged from the back of the ambulance, four considerably more capable-looking men with him. Two more emerged from the driver's and passenger's side of the ambulance. He looked around at the rest of the group on the ground, then looked back at one of his subordinates. Easily the largest of the six, he had an unconscious man draped over his broad shoulder as if he didn't weigh anything.

"Don't keep him waiting," he said flatly, looking in Supercape's direction as the rest of the men fled the scene, hostage and all. "Impressive. Stupid, but impressive. You should know... this is not a fight you can win."

To punctuate his point, he threw a small black canister into the air, and it hissed violently before it even hit the ground, filling the area with acrid black smoke.

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GM

The smoke didn't bother Supercape at all. His uncanny senses could easily feel the shape and mass around him.

But clearly the man who had thrown the grenade was not your average biker hoodlum. And it seemed now quite clear that he was not a paramedic either. For some reason, he had kidnapped the man in his arms.

Well, he wasn't going to solve this mystery if he didn't stop the man.

"That won't work on me, old chap!" he replied through the smoke. "I can still see you clear as day...."

And with that, he nudged a few more atoms and bathed the man in hard radiation.

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GM

The subsequent blast shook the ambulance, tipping it onto two wheels as Caliber reeled backward a few steps... and then he stopped.

And laughed.

Tires screeched as the motorcyclists took flight as the sirens grew closer, one of them with the hostage in tow.

"That's strike TWO." Caliber smirked as he raised his hand, motes of red radioactivity swirling around his fingertip and gathering in a single point that was growing by the second. With a simple twitch of his thumb, he fired a volley into the cloud of smoke separating the two men.

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Supercape sidestepped the bolt of radiation easily, his amazing supersenses quite alert to the energy build up and beam of immense power.

Yes indeed, this man was more than your regular thug.

A more immediate concern was the escape of the hostage - whoever he was. He cursed at still being fundamentally in the dark about the whole operation. However, it wouldn't get any clearer if those men made off.

With a furrow of his brow, he bent dimensions and energy once more, and formed a circular fence of quantum crystal around the bicycle. Hopefully that would slow the man down.

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GM

Caliber was anything but amused as his hired help ended up trapped, managing to slam on his brakes before either he or the hostage could be harmed. By now, the sounds of the sirens were loud and one could see the flashing lights in the distance. Caliber narrowed his eyes a little, then he sighed, raising both his malformed hands.

"...perhaps we got off on the wrong foot, hm?" He smiled, his voice hardly matching the enlarged canines and incisors he was sporting. "It's clear we're at a stalemate here. However... I would not count the police quite as fortunate." Caliber's grin grew wider, toothier, downright sinister in its intent. "I will allow you to take the hostage. That IS what you wanted, yes? I would decide quickly... time is not on your side."

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Supercape did of course want both the hostage and some answers. But he had no intention of letting the police run into this man's nuclear arsenal.

"I don't know what you have done with him..." he replied cautiously "...but yes, that's who I came for..."

He raised an eyebrow, studying the man.

"...I don't even know why you took him, to be honest..." he added "perhaps you have some perfectly innocent explanation for that, too?"

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GM

"Innocent? Heh... there's no such thing."

Another smoke bomb was dropped, obscuring Caliber from the eyes of incoming officers. Supercape could still see him, of course, slipping into a nearby manhole before it cleared. In moments, the police had the biker and his hostage surrounded, and were approaching the other ten that Supercape had already rendered unconscious.

The only things left behind by him were two empty smoke grenade canisters and a single card.

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Supercape bent down and picked up the card, turning it over a few times and studying it.

No... he conceded to himself. I have no idea what it represents!

He tucked it away into his costume. He might be able to make some sense of it later at the Lab. He briefly contemplated picking up the smoke cannisters too, but the man's gloves were not going to leave any finger prints on them. If he had been that sloppy, the Police could pick it up.

For now, he concluded, the hostage was the big mystery.

Saluting the Police, he made his way to the captured man, to check up on him. He would probably need medical aid, and a trip to the hospital for a check up at the least. But hopefully he would be able to speak to him.

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GM

"...what the heck happened here?"

The police didn't waste any time in surrounding the bikers; it didn't take long before all of them were arrested and the paramedics--REAL paramedics--were at the scene looking after the hostage. They gave Supercape quite a bit of leeway, considering he had done them a huge favor... possibly more than they actually knew. One of the paramedics looked up at Supercape as he approached, then nodded. "Not sure what he's been drugged with. Probably chloroform or something, but there's no way to be sure... I don't think it's too harmful though; he'll be fine. You're welcome to ride with us to Southside if you want."

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