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Friday Mid Afternoon, June 3rd

 

Starbase Coffee

 

Southside

 

A blend of pleasant coffee aroma swirled in the air. It was hot outside, and a pervasive kind of dustiness filled the air, a precipitation of pollution and sweat. Nobody was feeling very energetic, despite the caffeine. And at this time of afternoon it was never that busy. And today it seemed positively quiet. A trickle of the tired, a line of lethargic. 

 

Jack Longwheel ordered his coffee. It was full of cream and milk, and Jack Longwheel did not mind. He had given up trying to control his ever expanding waistline years ago. 

 

Jack Longwheel was a hack. He covered gossip and covered corruption. Neither of these topics had earned him many friends. It had earned him money, and a lot of fines. Most recently, he had been nearly broken by publishing accusations on Neutron Industries unclean energy. Accusations that were, all agreed, probably true, but unproven. 

 

He was a regular, Jack. A cynical man in his fifties who knew too much but like a dog with a red rag, couldn't quite let go. He knew "Buffy" stein. Every friday, like clockwork, about this hour. 

 

"The regular, ma'am. And a one way ticket to Hell on the side please..." he sighed. 

 

"God the things I hear...." he mumbled under his breath. "I'd Jack your Job in and sail to Hawaii, if I was you. Don't want to be stuck in Freedom City this weekend!" he said. He wiped his brow. Rotund as he was, Jack Longwheel did not normal have cold anxious sweat. 

 

He did today. 

Edited by Supercape

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Buffy turned to the glistening array of coffee machines behind her, hands reaching for cups and levers with practiced, almost unconscious ease. "Regular coming up. I think we're fresh out of tickets to Hell, but we might have a few tickets to Purgatory in the back." Her usual banter was audibly halfhearted - today, the heat was getting to her just as much as everyone else. The idea of sailing - or, more likely, running - to Hawaii was a tempting one, but the way these things went, she would be attacked by some kind of huge sea monster the moment she arrived.

 

Either way, for once in her life she wasn't looking forward to getting off work today. Because that meant going out on patrol, and that meant stuffing herself into the tights and putting on the wig, neither of which had exactly been designed with hot-weather environments in mind. If she thought she was hot now, she should wait until she was leaping around the rooftops in a body stocking. Maybe I can do a short patrol today. Just a quick lap or two around the city, then straight home to air conditioning and Netflix. After all, what were the odds of there being anything that would require her attention?

 

"Good advice there. I think I'll cancel my weekend plans and go on a little impromptu Hawaiian vacation instead," she said as she placed Jack's usual in front of him. She studied his face briefly, noting his profuse sweat, of which there seemed to be a lot even given the temperature. "You all right there, big guy? You look a little..." she didn't want to say like a beached whale, that would be rude, "stressed."

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GM

 

Jack gave a sardonic and short laugh. 

 

"Stressed. Yeah. You could say that" he said, slowly and faintly. "High blood pressure, diabetes, fat, fifty. Hell, my heart would have probably given out anyway" he laughed, without any real mirth. 

 

"Look kid, you are nice. Served up my coffee with a smile for, how long?" he asked, not waiting for an answer. 

 

"You know what I do? Jack Longwheel, freelance reporter and slanderer. Thing is, I found out you can slander someone even if its true" he said, bitterly, and sighed. 

 

"SO much for doing the right thing. Shoulda learned my lesson. Trouble is, a hear too much..." he said, evasively, looking around the coffe shop and spying no spies. 

 

"You done me good. Strong coffee. Dont give me an ear bashing. Look like a good kid. If you want to hear some mad end of the world warnings, then take a break, and get yourself a coffee. Ill be over there, deciding whether to blow it all in Las Vegas for the weekend, or whether to get shot dead trying to stop it..." he said, almost apologetically. 

 

"But thanks for the coffee, any how" he said. 

 

In all the time Buffy had known Jack Longwheel come for coffee, he had always been polite, friendly. This was out of character. He never flirted with the waitresses, always tipped well, and was well liked. 

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End of the world? Buffy blinked, slightly taken aback. That wasn't something you expected to hear about working in a coffee shop. Especially from this guy, who had always been one of the good customers rather than one of the jackass customers. A feeling of vague resignation was beginning to worm its way into her gut - this is going to be one of those things, isn't it - but she refused to give in to it just yet. Maybe the guy was just really wasted, right? This hardly required her special attention.

 

She scrubbed at a stubborn spot on the counter for a moment, before sighing. Who was she kidding? Wasted or sober, she was pretty sure capes weren't allowed to walk away from anyone who claimed to know about the end times. Erik would tear up her Interceptors membership card. Actually, she didn't think they had membership cards. He would give her one just so he could tear it up, and that would be even worse.

 

She prodded one of her fellow baristas. "Paul? I'm going on break for a second. Cover for me, will you?" She poured herself a quick espresso - everyone always told her that if there was one thing she needed more of, it was caffeine - and followed Jack.

 

"Okay. I'll bite," she said, dropping into the seat across from him. "Let's hear your mad end of the world warnings, Jack."

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GM

 

Now that he had a bite, Jack looked somewhat embarrassed. 

 

"Look...Buffy...I'm sorry for that rant over there" he said, playing with his coffee in his hands. 

 

"You ever heard of Neutron Industries? Bunch 'o Jackasses, they make a business out of nuclear and experimental energies. And like any good coorperation, they are after money not safety. Some hero called Bonfire knocked out a reactor of theirs a month back. Guy deserves a medal, if you ask me, but he got roasted. They have good lawyers" he complained. "Guys sued the hell out of me last year. For stuff I said that I know is true but cant prove it..."

 

"But, even though they have the morals of a leech, they do know there stuff. I caught whisper..." again, he looked embarrassed, even fearful. 

 

"...Caught whisper that they have picked up something even they are scared of" he said, nervously, undoing his tie with sweaty palms. "And given they play dice with nuclear fallout, that's gotta be serious, right?"

 

He mopped his brow again. 

 

"And worse, if I know them, they are going to exploit it. Sure, they are worried now, but if they see an angle, they will take it. I don't know whats worse, to be honest. Everything looks horrible right now"

 

"They have picked up some dimensional anomalies over the last forty eight hours. A moving anomaly. They don't know what to make of it other than it looks bad. Real bad. Sent out men to try and track it down. Two men fried so far. I mean, literally, fried. Like, not breathing fried..." he gasped, on the verge of a panic attack. 

 

"Jesus, if they knew I knew...hell, if they knew I was talking to you..." he gasped, aware that his rambling may have put Buffy in danger. 

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Ah, crap, Buffy thought. "Ah, crap," she said. Her misgivings had officially been upgraded to fully-blown unease. If it kept up like this, it might go all the way up to apprehension. "Okay, uh, first thing, breathe." She reached over to pat him awkwardly on the shoulder, unsure of what to do with a guy who looked like he was about to have a heart attack. "Deep breaths. Calm down. Drink your coffee. Or don't."

 

Even as she spoke, she could feel her thoughts drifting towards the blue-and-silver tights wadded up in the bottom of her book bag. "A dimensional anomaly? What kind of dimensional anomaly?" She realized as she asked it that she probably wouldn't understand the answer even if it was given to her, and changed avenues of inquiry. "So it's killed people, and they're going to try to exploit it?" Neutron Industries. Need to look them up and find out who to punch...She made an effort to reassure him. "Whatever it is, I'm sure the city's heroes will be able to deal with it. Er, hypothetically." Or maybe just one hero.

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GM

 

"Yeah, breathe, breathe...." said the sweating hack. He brought out some medicine and stuck it under his tongue. 

 

"GTN. For angina..." he said, rubbing his chest. "Jesus my cardiologist will kill me..." he laughed. 

 

He gave a cynical laugh straight after. "What I am saying? Like I'm gonna see my cardiologist again. Unless I move to Siberia this weekend...." he moaned. 

 

A few more deep breaths and he started to relax. Relatively relax. 

 

"Phew...this is enough to get me back on the valium..."

 

A few more breaths, and he was nearly back to normal. 

 

"I don't know what anomaly it is. I'm not sure they do. And they have some proper scientists working with them. Me, I didn't study quantum physics much in high school. Thing is, nobody would believe me. I'm disgraced. I got a motive to slander Neutron Industries again. Nobody would give me the time of day if I came up with something like that" he said, solidly. 

 

"Best guess is, something from another dimension. Sucking up other dimensions. Or other anomalies. Or something like that. Sort of like a black hole, except sucking up dimensions rather than space. Look, I don't know. I write corruption stories. Or papparazi scandal when I'm short of cash. I know law and journalism. Not theoretical physics. Get that short asshat Doctor Warp for that. Jesus, that guy is fatter than me..." he wheezed. 

 

"Hell, what am I doing? Blubbing my guts to you. I'm sure they have a tail on me..." he said, looking out of the coffee shop window suspiciously. 

 

 

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Buffy couldn't help but glance out of the window as he did, scanning the streets for...what, guys in trench coats and fedoras, staring at them and snapping pictures? Well, the good news was that she didn't see any. "Calm down," she said again, looking back at Jack and raising a placating hand. "You said they don't know you know, so why would they be following you?"

 

Her coffee lay on the table, forgotten. She leaned forward across the table, lowering her voice, acutely aware that they weren't alone in the shop. "Okay, look, I mean...what needs to happen? Theoretically? If...somebody," was she being as transparent as she felt she was? "was going to try to stop whatever this is, what would they have to do?" Who would they have to hit, and how hard? "The dimensional thing's gotta go back where it came from, right?"

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GM

 

Jack patted his jacket pocket. 

 

"Damn. No cigarrettes. And I gave up two years ago. Sheesh. Id kill for one now. Even if they kill me" he mumbled. A certain shifty look dropped over his face. 

 

" How to stop em? Good question. I been thinking that over myself the last few hours. Damn good question"

 

He settled for his coffee. 

 

"Well I don't know Karate or Judo. Fired a gun once. All I could think of was trying to find what they were tracking before they did. Huh, like I stand a chance. All I knew is that it circling around this area" he said, pressing his temples and squeezing his eyes. 

 

"Like, this very street. Could be right below us. Feel anything spooky? Do ya?" he asked, like a man clutching at straws. "No? Well, damnit, neither do I. Don't know if I would feel anything anyway. Maybe the sugar cubes would levitate or something" he said, forlorn. "And even if I found it, what would I do? Invite it to an all exclusive interview?" he asked, a trace of laughter with a trace of hysteria. 

 

"So, your guess is a good as mine" he said, distracted, looking over her shoulder. 

 

"Recognise that van?" he asked, indicating the street. 

 

Over the road, a black van, armoured, with the words "GAS MAN", was parked. 

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Buffy turned sharply, whipping her head around to look over her shoulder at the van Jack indicated. She squinted at it, trying to remember if she had seen it before or not, but one consequence of using super-speed to get everywhere was that you didn't pay much attention to cars. "I'm not sure," she said. "Should I?" She could feel she was on edge. You didn't see a lot of armored cars around. And you certainly didn't see a lot of them stopped within very convenient surveilling-distance from a Starbase.

 

Being overcautious could hurt. So could be undercautious. Better safe than sorry. Especially when the fate of the world is apparently concerned. "You think it's following you," she said, only half a question. She was already rising from her seat. "There's a back exit, past the restrooms. If you think they're tailing you, then...I mean, we're not supposed to let customers use it. But if we're talking about the fate of the world..." She had a feeling her break might end up being a little longer than she intended. Sorry, Paul.

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GM

 

"Yeah, sounds good" said a worried Jack. He finished his coffee in one big gulp. 

 

"I mean, I don't know where I'll run too...but I'd rather not have some goddam spook on my ass" he conceded. 

 

"You know..." he paused, genuinely touched..."I've been a pariah the last year, after I got sued. Its nice to have someone hear me. Give me half a chance, even if I might be a crazy" he smiled. 

 

"Show me out...I appreciate it..."

 

Even as Buffy and Jake took a few steps, a man leaped out of the van, not too casual. 

 

He was a big man, well built, wearing heavy clothes, a trenchcoat (Despite the weather), and a beanie. He had a grizzled look, a few scars, and a set jaw. It was easy to imagine a gun, or two, or more, under that big jacket. 

 

He was holding a coffee, but was still swiftly walking to the coffee shop. 

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Buffy's instincts were screaming at her. That guy already has a coffee. Why's he coming in here? She looked at him for a moment more. Also, he's obviously an armed thug. There was no good reason for somebody to wear a trench coat in this weather. Especially a guy with a mug like that.

 

She couldn't confront him here, not in front of her coworkers. She had an identity to protect, and single-handedly taking out a man twice her size was the kind of thing that led to a lot of awkward questions. Which meant they needed to get out of there, stat. Buffy's hand shot out and gripped Jack's wrist with far more strength than a skinny barista had any right to be able to muster. "We're going," she said. "Now."

 

She was already on her feet - half-leading, half-dragging Jack with her, heading for the back exit. She wasn't sure if the man had already seen him or not, but if he hadn't, they might still have a chance to sneak out of here unnoticed. If not...well, hopefully she could at least get somewhere a little less conspicuous before breaking out the pugilism.

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GM

 

"What tha..." gasped Jack, as he got pulled along. Panic rising, he looked behind him. 

 

The large man was picking up pace, accelerating to something between a run and a walk. His coffee was thrown to one side. 

 

"Ackgh...." came a gurgling noise from Jack. He was not a coward, in the sense that he had a reputation (of sorts) for digging where it was not entirely safe to dig. But a six foot two man with thick arms and a determined jaw was a different sort of palpable, in the moment threat. 

 

"What da..." said a wide eyed Paul, as Buffy half threw Jack out the back entrance. 

 

They half collapsed through a small corridor, then the fire door, into a back alley. A rat scuttled away. Bins overflowed with black bags full of left over pastries and stained plastic cups. 

 

The large man marched through the coffee shop, looking for business. His business, was, it seemed, encapsulated in the way he cracked his large knuckles. 

 

"What da...?" said Paul again, meeting the eyes of the man for a moment. 

 

"Go make some damn coffee and stay outta my way..." said the man, giving Paul a look that withered any trace of courage. He looked at the back entrance, and broke into a run. 

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Buffy cursed under her breath at the sounds coming from within the coffee shop. So much for doing this the quiet-and-easy way. Her mind was racing - the rooftops called to her tantalizingly. She could grab Longwheel and be halfway across the city in the space of a hearbeat if she wanted - but this guy, whoever he was, would still be here, and from the look of him, he wasn't the type who was likely to give up easily. If he didn't find Longwheel here, he might start asking some questions of the staff. Violently. Asking Paul to cover for her was one thing - leaving him behind with some thug was another.

 

That meant it was time to take a more proactive approach. With one hand, she shoved Longwheel behind her, ripping off her Starbase apron with the other. With a single violent motion, she tore a wide strip off it, and tied it quickly around the lower half of her face. It wasn't much of a disguise, but it was all she had at the moment. There are capes who don't even wear masks, so this should be plenty, right?

 

Moving as quickly and quietly as she could, she threw herself against the dirty brick wall beside the back exit, so she would be concealed by the door when it opened. With a glance at Longwheel, she placed one finger to her lips. "It might get pretty violent here in a second," she hissed. "Just let me take care of it."

Edited by R. Bluefish

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GM

 

"Oh my heart!" complained a pale Jack, leaning against a wall. "What will kill me first, my angina, or that man shooting me?" he asked in a moment of splendidly black humour. 

 

The rats, eating stale half-eaten pastries, appeared to have some primitive sense of impending violence. As if the alley was a sinking ship, they scuttled away, leaving their decomposing treasure, 

 

The backdoor exploded open, thanks to a heavy boot applied in a forceful manner. The man was strong, not just big. The door actually splintered and cracked. 

 

Up close, this "Gas Man" was grizzled. He had salt and pepper hair, and salt and pepper stubble. A scar or two, neither subtle nor disfiguring, crossed his granite face. He was not holding a weapon, but could easily be carrying one under his coat. 

 

Spying Jack, who had gone white, but not Buffy, he reached inside his jacket for a grenade...

 

"I can't actually assault you, but I can accidentally drop this registered knockout gas grenade..." he said, with a surprising tone of politeness for all his force. 

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Echo was out from behind the door in an eyeblink. "I can't actually beat the crap out of you, but I can...nah, I'm just going to beat the crap out of you." She realized that the moment her improvised mask had touched her face, she had shifted into her usual wisecracking persona. Maybe I should put a kibosh on that for the time being.

 

She lashed out, her fists instantly transforming into a flicker of hyper-accelerated movement. As she struck, her foot hit the scrap of tossed apron she had aside and slid. She slipped, her attack ruined, and clawed at the wall to remain upright. "Gah!" Good. Good one, Stein. If only Erik could see you now.

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GM

 

"Jesus! If its not some fire-freak, its some whizz wonder!" gasped the Gas Man, backing off. 

 

From shocked fingers, his grenade slipped his hands. 

 

Tap tap, it clattered off a bin and hit the ground. 

 

Whoosh wen the smoke. A rather pleasing sound, followed by a rather unpleasant putrid green fuzz in the air. It did not obscure the vision, although everything did look rather green. And it clambered up the nostril. 

 

Didn't smell to bad, actually. 

 

Everything might well feel rather splendid. And one's eyes might just feel rather tired. One might be inclined to just rest your eyelids for a moment. One might be inclined to slump to floor quite asleep. 

 

And so it was with Mr Jack Longweel, Esq, who was dribbling slightly, snoring severely, and quite gone to dreamland. 

 

The Gasman didn't seem affected in the slightest...

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Echo paused in mid-recovery, as the grenade hit the ground and the strange green gas began dribbling forth. Before she could even process what was happening, she had already gotten a good lungful. Well, that can't be good. She sniffed. Didn't smell half bad, actually. Was that...pine? "What is that?" she said. "An air freshener grenade? You're going to have to do better than..." she placed one hand to her forehead. Was she feeling a little dizzy? "Oh, shi..."

 

Her legs buckled under her and her knees hit the ground, hard enough to rattle her teeth. All of the energy seemed to have been drained from her in an instant. Her bones felt like they had been filled with lead. She dropped to all fours, the hard concrete painful against her palms, suddenly using all of her much-vaunted strength purely in an attempt to not pass out on the spot.

 

With what felt like Herculean effort, she managed to turn her head to look at Jack. Crap. He was out like a light. Apparently not everybody had her constitution. Actually, apparently not even she had the constitution she thought she had. She reached out one hand weakly towards him, aware all the while of the man in the coat, standing there unaffected.

 

She needed to get him talking, and keep him talking. If she could stall him, even just for a few moments, she might be able to recover enough of her strength to grab Jack and escape. Hopefully the man wouldn't be able to guess quite how fast she was. "Hey," she gasped. "Capone. I'm going to have to ask you to leave. I don't know how may bean burritos you had for lunch, but if you keep cracking those off you're going to chase away all our customers." Seriously, Stein? A fart joke? She was spending so much energy just staying awake, she was having trouble coming up with appropriate jibes.

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GM

 

The Gas Man paused to consider for one moment. 

 

On the one hand, I don't wanna tussle with a cape. On the other hand, I wanna get paid, and this gal looks like she got hit by the gas...

 

Slowly, he drew out a large automatic pistol. Very serviceable. A little worn. Like it had seen action. He looked like he enjoyed the fact it was big. 

 

"Listen, chick" he started, a slight southern drawl to his deep voice. "No need to get ants in ya pants about this one. Mr Sleepyhead over there, he just might be getting in the way of people who don't want anything in their way. He just needs to sleep for a day or two, keep his big goddamn mouth shut for a while. Nice and easy..." he explained. 

 

"For his own good, the ways I see it. He got taken to da cleaners last year for opening his big mouth. This way, he gets to rest his eyes, keep his house and savings, and everybody happy, ya see?" he said, rather cautiously. 

 

For all his rather crude diplomacy, the gun was still out. Not quite pointed at her, but still out. 

 

 

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"Sure, sure," wheezed Echo. "Everybody happy. Everybody very happy." She put up a hand, palm out, as if to shield herself from the bullet that she was pretty sure was coming any second now. "But let's talk about this, okay? We're adults, we're reasonable people. We don't need to shoot or gas anybody. Well, okay, it's too late to not gas anybody, but it's never too late to not shoot somebody." As she spoke, she was acutely conscious of the fact that she wasn't wearing her mask, and that the strip of apron made a poor substitute.

 

"That guy there, he's not hurting anybody. He's not a threat to your employers. Not that I know who your employers are," she added hastily. Her eyes flicked up surreptitiously to the rooftop above. Yeah. I can make that leap. "He just came in here for a coffee and a chat. He's not planning to make trouble. Getting, uh, taken to da cleaners last month wised him up - he's learned his lesson." She edged - well, crawled feebly - an inch or two closer to Jack's unconscious form. "So really, all of this is just one big misunderstanding, see?" She wasn't sure if he would buy it or not, but look at the guy - how bright could he be?

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"Maybe he did play smart and just drink coffee" said the Gas Man, keeping his gun levelled on the masked woman. 

 

"But maybe not. It don't actually bother me, muchwise. I get paid to make sure he doesn't open his mouth. That means letting him sleep off the next few days. Maybe he has learned his lesson"

 

He almost smiled. "Again, don't matter to me. I get paid if he is smart, I get paid if he is dumb. And anyways..."

 

He grabbed Jack by the Collar. The Gas Man looked in good shape, enough to carry Jack. 

 

"...got the reputation to think of, honey". He was not without caution, still wary of a masked woman with super powers. 

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Echo felt her muscles tense in preparation for her spring. "Well, you can't say fairer than that. Gotta respect a hired goon with integrity." She subtly angled her body in readiness. "And it's nice that you get paid either way. Which do you make more money off, smart people or dumb people?"

 

Without warning, she lunged, her fingers snaring the collar of Longwheel's jacket. She pulled with all her might, already pushing off with her legs to send herself into a leap. What she hadn't counted on was her sheer level of unnatural exhaustion. Her muscles moved like they were in slow-motion, and felt like jelly. Her fingers slipped off weakly, unable to free Longwheel from the man's grip, and she fell back hard. The hard concrete slammed into her back, knocking the wind out of her, and a low groan escaped her lips. Well, that was embarrassing.

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GM

 

The Gas Man gave a laugh. It was a slightly, every so slightly, nervous laugh. He didn't like fighting superheroes, especially since he got whupped recently by Bonfire. 

 

"Get yourself a gas mask next time, honey" he muttered. 

 

He hefted Jack over his shoulder, and kept his gun out. 

 

"And eff why eye, I don't much care if the people I work for are smart or dumb. A jobs a job. Pays better than the Marines, I can tell ya" he said, confidently. 

 

He started walking down the alley, leaving Echo behind, and Jack snoozing on his shoulder. He was, for all his goon like persona, not a complete fool. His gun saw out and he was alert for any sudden tricks. That said, his victory in the tug of war had notched up his confidence a little. 

 

"I got plenty more grenades I can accidentally drop. Do yourself a favour, and leave this one to me. I'll do you a deal. You let me take jabber mouth for a weekend of rest, maybe I'll forget client confidentiality. Maybe I might just accidentally let something slip out when you ask me a question. Deal?"

 

Not a complete fool. And one who clearly liked to bargain. 

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Echo's mind sped over the options in a second, as she lay there on the dirty cement of the alley. What's his angle? Apparently he was a man who liked to make deals - and liked to play both sides when he could. She didn't really have the luxury of turning down his offer right now - it was now painfully obvious that she was in no shape for a fight. She could get up, try to rescue Jack by force again, and inevitably lose and get her ass kicked, or she could just play along and try to find another way to save the guy.

 

"Fine," she said quietly, pushing herself up on one elbow. "Deal."

 

But what to ask? It had to be something he would know, first off. A paid thug like him probably wasn't told too much by design. And if she asked something too obvious, like "where are you taking him?" then he probably wouldn't answer - he obviously wasn't as stupid as he looked. And if he was planning on driving that armored van, he'd be easy to tail. It was pretty safe to say he worked for Neutron Industries, so there wasn't much point in asking that. So what?

 

She made eye contact with the man. "The...thing he told me about. The thing that your bosses want." There wasn't much point in keeping that particular card hidden - he knew she knew. And he probably didn't know much about it, but at this stage, any information was better than no information. "What is it?"

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GM

 

For a moment, the Gas Man scratched his grey stubble and considered. Not too long. Jack was fat. 

 

"I don't surely know" he said, honestly. "Thing, is I don't think they surely know either. Or, leastways, can't quite believe their eyes". He shook his head. 

 

"You know, they are a few cans short of a six pack, I'll tell you that, for free honey" he said, almost laughing. He hefted Jack again, and, in a show of good faith, holstered his gun. 

 

"Well, I can't officially say anything 'bout nuthin. But a deal's a deal. So, I might just say something like Radioactive. Zombie. Sewers. Which wouldn't be saying nuthin about anythin', if ya get my drift"

 

He laughed properly. 

 

"Yeah, sounds crazy. But that might be what certain people have been saying, least ways, the team that certain people might have sent after a certain thing" he said, almost confusing himself. "And yeah, you can best believe that certain people didn't believe a goddamn word of what other people said". 

 

He scratched his stubble again. 

 

"I'm not sure that made a whole lotta sense. What I might hypotheticals be saying, is the team they sent after the anomaly. Only one came back. In hospital now, gabbling about some zombie in the sewers that caused all the strange readings....Guess you might wanta call Freedom City Sewer Maintenance..."

 

Feeling the strain of Jack, He used both arms to heft him again. 

 

"I'm off ta find Mr Gabbymouth a bed for the weekend. Deals a deal" he said, resolute. 

 

"If you ever need Gassin' ya know who ta call..." he said, giving a salute. 

 

"I may have dropped something..." he finished, walking off. 

 

Indeed he had. A printed business card. 

 

For all your hardcore bounty hunting and security needs

Whatever the job

You got the cash

I got the gas

 

Call GAS - MAN 0770770770

 

 

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