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A note from Gogglesbear

Sorry this took so long. Having some troubles due to the pandemic.

 

Buzzer

 

"This is bullshit."

"Stop complaining."

"We've been at this all night! Can't we at least stop for coffee?" whined Buzzer.

"The agreement was until noon today. Until then, we're not wasting a single minute. Not until we've cleared this nest out for good," asserted the hero, a gadget user who went by the utterly pretentious name of Dark Gauntlet. Likely because the name Gauntlet and most of its variations had already been taken.

"Oh come on," continued Buzzer, unwilling to let the hero have the last word, "A few minutes either way won't swing anything."

"Then you wouldn't mind staying a bit longer to make sure we get these last strays?"

"Fuck that! I'm done with this service shit the moment the clock strikes twelve."

"Tch, and then what? You'll just go back to shoveling Hellion's shit instead. At least you're doing some good here."

"Don't know what you're talking about Gloomy Glove. I was held hostage and forced to work by Trebla."

"Pfft, please, tell me another Joy Buzzer."

"Your face!"

 

Dark Gauntlet just grunted in disgust and turned back to the front of the van, unwilling to carry on the juvenile back and forth.

 

Likely cause that's the best he's got. Joy Buzzer? Really? What a putz.

 

Buzzer nodded his head in satisfaction at 'winning' the argument, then settled back into his seat to continue scanning for vamps. Dark Gauntlet and the other two federal agents in the van with him had been carting Buzzer around for almost two weeks, using his power to ferret out the damn bloodsuckers, and Buzzer was just about done with this crap, prompting him to constantly drag the cape and agents into pointless arguments in his irritation. True, the work wasn't all that hard, since he didn't have to kill the things himself, and if he hadn't gotten caught he probably would have still wound up hunting vamps for Hellion anyways, so it wasn't exactly a waste of his time. Couldn't have vamp rumors around the Red Zone after all, scared the tourists.

 

But the difference is, I get paid when I do it for Hellion.

 

Buzzer's demeanor soured once again at the thought he wasn't being paid, but he dutifully went back to scanning for any vampire~y sounding sounds, if only so that the C's couldn't try to claim he hadn't lived up to his side of the bargain and try to hold up his release. He focused his attention outward, trying to pick through the many, many sounds produced by a bustling sector, separating extraneous sounds from anything that sounded promising.

 

Easier said than done though. It was very much a mask in a madhouse situation. They blended right in.

 

E12 was of course packed. It was the main thoroughfare into E13 (and therefore the Red Zone) for most of the city, and had managed to set up a reputation as the 'safe guardhouse' to the Red Zone's wilder infamy. All bullshit of course. It was just as dangerous as any of the outer sectors, but with its restrained architecture, powerful hero team, and the former Espada having driven most mutants away, the sector attracted many a tourist to stay a night in its stately hotels and commute to the Red Zone in the morning (or evening more likely). An endless parade of tourists and transportation.

 

All of which made it rather difficult for Buzzer to identify the telltale sounds of a vampire. Was that person in the alley silent because they were smoking a cigarette on their break? Or was it because they were a vampire and couldn't speak? Were those two accelerated heartbeats in a private room a couple getting down? Or was it a victim enduring the vampire's latest feeding? You couldn't always distinguish a vampire from a human by sound alone; the sound of their heartbeats were too similar. A fact that Buzzer had always found distinctly creepy.

 

Come on. Just where did they get to?

 

They'd found three nests over the past two weeks. Kinda high for a single sector, but one of the nests had been a fresh offshoot, so luckily it seemed they had caught the vamps as they were building up to scatter and disperse. Only problem was that his cape babysitter had let two of the vamps get away from the nest they hit last night. With every minute that passed, and every beam of sunlight that filtered out over the rooftops of E12, it was more and more likely that the two runaway vamps would go to ground for the day, which would make finding them nearly impossible. It was a vain hope, but if he could find these last two stragglers before that happened, maybe the cape would let him leave early, and not waste half of Buzzer's day trying to find more nests that likely didn't exist.

 

*eeEEee*

 

Buzzer heard the whine and latched onto the sound. It had come from only two blocks away. He held his breath and listened closely, hoping it wasn't just an old air conditioner or something.

 

*eeeeeEEEEeeeee*

 

"Got one. North of us, about a block and a half."

"You sure?"

"Would I have said something if I wasn't? North. Let's go!"

 

The driver grumbled but changed lanes, then turned the van north. Buzzer guided them to an area full of identical looking apartment buildings, boring and drab like most of the sector. Telling the central agents to shut up for a moment (they hadn't said anything), he then narrowed the location down to somewhere between two buildings on their left. He had the driver pull into the alley between the buildings.

 

"Alley looks empty to me Buzzer," said Dark Gauntlet.

"It wasn't in the alley, it was up in one of the buildings."

"Shit. Did it attack a civilian?"

"That's what I'm trying to find out. Make yourself useful and check for broken windows or something."

 

The hero went to do just that, slamming the door to the van as he exited and causing Buzzer to curse at the unexpected *bang*. For the millionth time he wished his power had presented in a different way; he didn't have super hearing, he manipulated the soundwaves so they reached him, and it was rather easy to blow out his own eardrums if he wasn't careful, something he'd already done several times over the years. Practically a bad trigger if you thought about it.

 

Thank God for HH health insurance, jeez.

 

The hero saw no signs of a forced entry on either building, so they were forced to wait as Buzzer scanned the area, waiting for the tell-tale whine of a vampire.

 

...*eeEEee*

 

"Ha, got her. Left side, third floor, sixth window from the right."

The hero approached that section of the building, "I don't see any forced entry Buzzer. You sure?"

"Yes I'm sure, I'm a professional. Unlike some people I know."

The cape scoffed, "I just don't want to interrupt another couple Buzzer."

"That only happened once!" and it was hilarious!

 

Dark Gauntlet shot a grappling hook from his glove that latched a few floors above the target window. Then he scaled the building, the mechanical systems in his gloves and the hero's own training making quick work of the vertical distance. Buzzer had to admit, for a B-list hero Dark Gauntlet could move when he needed to, and his combat skills were rather impressive. Vampire nests tended to have around three to five vamps per, and Dark Gauntlet had taken out all the ones they'd found by himself, making the extra agent waiting in the van with the bolter redundant (although Buzzer suspected the agent's true purpose was probably to keep an intimidating eye on him). He was the kind of hero that minions hated. Not enough of a threat for the villain you're working for to stop their oh so important plans and help, but skilled enough that even an above average crowd of mooks would be going home with broken bones and hospital bills.

 

Dark Gauntlet reached the window in question, and hesitantly leaned in to look in case Buzzer was being a little shit again. This time though it seemed Buzzer was on the money.

 

"I see it. Confirming no armband. Going in."

 

The hero flexed his legs and kicked off from the building, arching out over a dozen feet away from the wall before reaching the end of his swing and reversing course. He hit the window feet first, gizmos in his boots shattering the glass away from him and into the room. Then the fight was on, Dark Gauntlet attacking the surprised vampire in a flurry of punches, kicks, stun batons, and whatever else was stored among the hero's gadgets. The vampire reacted quickly, counter-attacking with claws, strength, and of course attempting to bite the arrogant human prey that dared attack it, a high-pitched whine streaming forth from it the entire time and setting Buzzer's teeth on edge. An epic fight that would have fit into any action movie with ease.

 

Or at least, that's what it all sounded like to Buzzer. There was far too much noise for Buzzer to make out exactly how things were going, especially with the droning whine the vampire was producing. He contented himself with imagining the clawed fists that were no doubt punching the daylights out of the rugged hero. Maybe they'd get into a desperate scuffle that would wind up with the vampire biting his ass or something. Heh.

 

But unfortunately, Buzzer had to put that humorous fantasy on hold, as he could hear the second whine that was picking up in another room of the apartment. The door to that room had been closed, making him think the corresponding heartbeat was in an apartment next door. Perfect echolocation his power was not.

 

"Heads up, sounds like the other one is here. Coming at you from somewhere in the rooms to the left of the entry point."

"You couldn't mention that sooner!?"

"Bite me, I can't tell them apart from people unless they use their wings."

"Maybe I'll let them bite you!"

 

The second vamp joined the fray, and the discordant noise they put out drowned out Buzzer's ability to listen, the whine giving him a headache.

 

Ugh. I could have had eye lasers or something, but noooooo.

 

*eeeeeeeEEEEEEE*

 

What?

 

Buzzer leaned forward in his seat, concentrating hard. The apartment was a mess of noise, but that whine had come from a different floor altogether.

 

"Ah, bad news, looks like we might have a third vamp."

"What!?"

"Er, four actually. No wait, five."

"Buzzer stop fucking around! How man- Oof," Dark Gauntlet's words got cut off by a punch to his gut.

"I'm not! Looks like we found a fourth nest. They must have, uh..."

 

*eeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*

 

What the hell?

 

Across the entire face of the apartment building, heartbeats he had thought to be the apartments' occupants were suddenly being paired with the droning whine of vampire wings. Even the other two agents in the van could hear it now; it was practically rattling the windows. This wasn't just a nest, the building was completely and utterly infested.

 

And the building behind them was beginning to buzz as well.

 

"Hey Gloomy Glove? Time to go buddy."

"Almost, got, it..." there was a small *bang*, and a single heartbeat ended, along with its associated whine, "...Did you just call me buddy?"

 

The increasing drone of the surrounding vampires cut out for a single moment, then doubled in its previous intensity, quickly followed by the tinkling of breaking glass.

 

"Get out of there!"

 

Dark Gauntlet to his credit didn't question him or waste time, disengaging from the second vampire and leaping out the same window he entered, grabbing the still hanging grapple line to slow his fall. Then the cable snapped, cut by a vampire that had emerged from a higher floor. His gizmo infused boots took the brunt of the fall, allowing him to transfer the momentum into a roll, and he was up and sprinting for the van in seconds. After a brief look over his shoulder to see what had Buzzer so worked up, he immediately began screaming into his com for backup. The two central agents in the van were likewise quick on the uptake, the one with the gun sticking it out a window to cover Dark Guantlet's retreat, the one driving already hitting the gas to intercept the hero's path and get them out sooner.

 

The next few seconds were a blur of activity. Dark gauntlet lept for the open door of the van and just managed to grab hold of the doorframe. The agent with the bolter began firing off rounds, three vampires landed on the roof, and the driver floored the pedal, lurching the van towards the mouth of the alley. Buzzer concentrated on using his power to keep the overwhelming buzzing whine from making their ears bleed...

 

*BAM*

 

...and then something big hit the side of the van, rolling it end-over-end.

 

When it finally came to a stop, Buzzer threw up. On one hand, his helmet detected the bile and automatically unlocked the mouth panel to let it out. On the other hand, he was suspended nearly upside down, and the vomit just splashed back and leaked under his faceplate anyways.

 

"Agh! Pfft, pfft, pfft... eew."

 

He oriented himself, then undid his seatbelt buckle to get down, forgetting he was still handcuffed to the side panel. It wrenched his arm and slammed him against the side of the van.

 

"Agh, goddamn it! Gloomy Gl- Dark Gauntlet! Get this thing off of me!"

"One second."

"We don't have a second!"

 

Buzzer spun in place, suspended by the handcuff. His feet just barely reached the 'floor', but he was having trouble standing due to his dizziness and the uneven footing. When he finally got turned around to view the central agents, what greeted him was a grim sight. The driver had been buckled in, but the agent with the bolter had gotten tossed like a peanut in a tin can. His neck was snapped, and Dark Gauntlet was pulling the bolter out from under the man's corpse one-handed, his own left arm limp at his side.

 

The gun finally came loose, and Dark Gauntlet immediately pointed it at Buzzer and shot the handcuff chain to snap it-

 

"JESUS!"

 

-before turning to the driver and helping the dazed man out of his upside-down seat.

 

"I'll cover you two," said Dark Gauntlet once the man was upright, "We'll aim to get inside somewhere and barricade ourselves. Reinforcements are coming."

 

The door to the van was already ajar, and Dark Gauntlet led the way with the bolter while the driver and Buzzer stumbled out after him. Right away Dark Gauntlet started snapping off rounds at the vampires that were swarming after them. Buzzer sprinted past him towards the nearest building that didn't sound like an angry beehive, not sparing a single glance over his shoulder, and already using his power to probe the area around him to try and plan his escape. This wasn't his first rodeo, a lifetime of working as a minion meant he'd had to run through more than one chaotic mess with his head down.

 

Let's see, all the angry vampires are behind me, and the big thing that hit us was... you've got to be kidding me.

 

"Really!? You let a truck hit us? Learn to drive a getaway van, asshole! There's like no traffic this early and you hit the one damn truck on the road?!"

"Not exactly... the time... for this!" said the agent, gasping.

 

Needs to enhance his cardio routine too.

 

The two of them ran across said nearly empty street to another apartment building. Luckily one of the residents was just coming out of the main entrance, and the two nearly barreled into the man.

 

"Move it or lose it!" yelled Buzzer.

 

The man recoiled in shock. Either he recognized the HH uniform, or perhaps he was finally noticing the vampire swarm.

 

"Central agent! Get inside!" said the agent, following Buzzer in.

 

The three of them scrambled into the antechamber of the building, only Buzzer and the agent stopping to look back out the door at the hero. Dark Gauntlet had held the leading edge of the swarm back nicely; a bolter with a full clip went a long way.

 

But he'd gone back for the truck driver.

 

He wasn't going to make it.

 

They waited with the door open of course, but Dark Gauntlet and the man he tried to save were swarmed by dozens of vampires before they got even halfway across the street.

 

Damn heroes. Every time.

 

They closed the door, and retreated further into the building.

 

 


 

Tofu

 

"Any news on the Buzzer situation?" asked Pebbles as we returned to the van.

"Yes," replied Richard, putting his phone away, "but it's bad news unfortunately, they don't have him. The hero he was assigned to sent in a request for backup right before they went missing earlier this morning. They haven't released all the details yet, but the current understanding is they uncovered a larger than average vampire nest. That's what triggered the lockdown."

"...Shit. How long ago was this?"

"Around five a.m," answered Richard.

 

Pebbles fell silent, then leaned against the van with his arms crossed. One of his hands eventually came up to tap at his helmet. Another 'thinking pose'.

 

"That's over five hours ago," continued Richard.

"..."

"The odds he's alive are-"

"Shut up. You said they said he's missing. Missing. If there ain't no body then there's no proof he's dead."

"And the proof he's alive?"

"Vamps take people alive all the time."

"During Odd Summer?"

"Shut up. I'm thinking."

 

Richard sighed in exasperation, but fell silent.

 

Pebbles tapped at his helmet a bit more, but finally said, "Fuck it. I'm going to go look for him."

"During a lockdown?"

"Yup."

"Without a cowl to legitimize this little activity?"

"I'm off the clock! Look, if you wanna hole up somewhere fine, but I'm not leaving Buzzer for dead. If you've got a problem with that you can fucking sue me."

"I don't have a problem Pebbles, I'm just your legal representative and thus am obligated to point out the obvious. Need to cover my ass when Ms. Baker asks where you are."

 

Pebbles flinched, the reminder of the 'talking to' he'd likely get from Sandra stealing most of the energy from his demeanor. I sympathized.

 

Pebbles sighed, "Yeah, I'm not exactly in her good books right now. Look, we'll head to the nearest lockdown shelter so you guys can hunker down, but afterwards I'm taking the van and doing a loop of the sector. Buzzer will have his mask set to open broadcast if he's alive, so there's a chance, and if a hero stops me or something all the better, they can fucking help me look."

"Ah don't be dull you golem," said Zaps, poking his head out of the van, "If you're having a party I'm coming."

"Ha. Yeah, I should probably bring the human bug zapper shouldn't I."

 

Richard rolled his eyes at the exchange, but added, "I'll stay here at the station. It's safe as any shelter, and if the situation changes I'll let you know."

"Thanks. I'll drop the rookies off at a shelter and then be on my way. Unless you two want to hole up in the police station?" Pebbles asked, turning to us.

"Uh, not really..." answered Mikey.

"I'm not coming?" I asked, somewhat surprised.

"No, I'd rather Sandra not rip my head off for repeating the same mistake twice. Senior members only I'm afraid."

"I see. I'll stick with Mikey then." The police donuts were likely stale anyways.

"Alright then. Now scoot over kid," he directed at Mikey, "First thing to know 'bout rolling with Pebbles: I drive."

 


 

"Zaps, I insist you maintain a work appropriate personal distance!"

"I'm not even touching you dude!"

"You're getting sparks on me!"

"It's just static! Chill your beans!"

"...Is that an insult?" Cold beans were not tasty.

"Cut it out back there!" yelled Pebbles from the driver's seat, "Zaps! Cut that spark shit out! Tofu! Your suit is insulated, stop being a baby!"

"I don't like shocks..." Especially not while my skeleton was made of a conductive material. I'd discovered that flexible chitin was surprisingly good at conducting electricity, which was both good and bad. On one hand, if I was lucky, electricity would just flow right through from the point of contact to the nearest contact with a 'ground'. On the other hand, if I was unlucky, the electricity could spark to all of my inner organs and fry most of them. Considering that a maintained current along my skeleton would also disrupt my micro units' ability to receive the signal from my core, the 'being fried' probability rose rapidly as the micro units embedded in my skeleton slowly self-destructed due to a degraded core signal. Testing with some of Nicole's batteries led me to believe I had around five to six-and-a-half seconds to remove myself from any electrical source before catastrophic system failure occurred. To make matters worse, while my core was originally highly shielded from electrical mishap, it was likely my ad hoc brain surgery to escape the lab had compromised that security feature. I was, of course, unwilling to test this possibility and risk damaging myself when a single bad jolt could theoretically fry parts of my core permanently. I'd put in my own shielding, but electricity was finicky when it came to organic parts.

Which was why I was swiftly losing patience with Zaps and his cavalier attitude towards electricity.

 

Pebbles sighed and turned back to Mikey, who was on his phone.

 

"Any word on Buzzer?"

"Er, Rattleback says he's not getting a ping from Buzzer's mask, but he's not sure if it's because of interference or being out of range or, um, other reasons..."

Pebbles snorted in response.

"He, uh, also says he can't get anyone to us with the lockdown."

"Eh, I didn't expect him to."

"And he said to tell you that you, um, quote, 'need to get your ass to a shelter,' unquote. He told me specifically to phrase it that way."

"Bah, I'm already taking you rookies to the shelter. You'd think they didn't trust me or something. As if I didn't have two decades of minion work under my belt; I know how to keep my head on my shoulders."

"Damn Pebbles," said Zaps, "Didn't know you were such a fossil."

"I'm only thirty-five you prick!" responded Pebbles. Zaps just laughed in response, so Pebbles briefly swerved the van to slap Zaps' head into the side of the vehicle.

"Pebbles, I thought HH was only established fifteen years ago?" I questioned.

"I did some minion work before I joined up. HH isn't the only gig in town you know, even if it is the best. Got my first job working with a guy named Hexidec. Bit of a shitshow, but it was decent money, and I've been henching ever since."

"That's a pretty impressive career length though," said Mikey, after the van stopped swerving, "Um, got any advice for getting through Odd Summer?"

"HA! There's no secret kid. Keep your head down, eyes open, and your feet moving. All there is to it. Oh, and never join a 'quick cash run' where the cowl's big 'score' is a bank. You'll get pinched for sure, case in point," he pointed at himself, "In fact, best to just avoid bank jobs all around if you can. Oh! And this one's important: never join an established crew on a job where they 'only need one more person.' Especially if they all wear robes; that's a good way to get sacrificed, or fed to their pet monster or whatever. Especially don't work with cowls who use pets. If their giant dog minions or whatever are as well trained as they're supposed to be, what the hell do they need you for? Snacks and chew toys, that's what. Let's see, what else... Oh! Absolutely no clowns!"

 

Pebbles continued to inform us on dos and don'ts of the industry, which both Mikey and I listened to with rapt attention. Zaps chimed in once or twice with his own observations of the job, but I was a bit hesitant to trust them. Humans were on a sliding scale when it came to how reliable they could be, and I was quickly learning just how large that sliding scale actually was. Zaps was at the much lower end of that scale. Pebbles might 'embellish' his stories, but at least there was obviously valuable info contained in them.

 

"What about vampires?" I asked between anecdotes, "Have you ever fought them?"

 

"Oh pfft, all the time. They pop up every Odd Summer. Buzzer is a pro at finding them, so team three gets stuck with pest control sometimes. Nasty things. Not really all that strong, but their bite will drain you in seconds flat, so, you know, don't get bit. Oh, and keep your eyes up, they can't really fly, but they love crawling on the ceiling. Creepy fucks."

 

"And if they bite you, they steal your power," declared Zaps, suddenly.

 

What?

 

"WHAT!?"

"Uh huh, if they drink your blood, they get to use your power."

"Really!?" I turned to Pebbles and Mikey for confirmation.

"Yup," said Pebbles from the front seat, nodding his head, "And if they drain you, they keep it permanently. That's why they come out during Odd Summer, I think. Looking to steal powers from fresh supers like you."

"They can all do this? How is this not a huge problem?"

"Cause they're usually rare. Why do you think they locked down just because of one big nest?"

 

Calculating...

New priority added to queue.

 

...This changed everything. If all the vampires had this ability, then it was possible it was biological in nature. More likely it was a species-wide trigger like with banshees and their paralyzing scream, but there was still a chance. Even if there was a slight, slight risk of being bitten and having Human.exe stolen, the ability to permanently steal other's powers was too valuable to not take that chance, and my experience with killing Sanguine led me to believe I was, or could become, immune to most blood-related abilities anyways. Now I just needed to convince them to take me along when searching for Buzzer. Wasting my time in a shelter when there was a good opportunity to acquire vampire samples would be such a lost opportuni-

 

*Snrk.*

 

Zaps made a weird sound, then started laughing

 

Then Pebbles started laughing. I was a bit confused, I hadn't heard anyone say anything that might constitute a joke.

 

"Oh man, I can't believe you swallowed that," said Zaps finally, "That's like the oldest gag in the book."

"Gag?"

"Vampires can't take your power Tofu. This ain't a movie," said Pebbles chuckling, "We tell that to all the newbie sup's. Didn't think we'd scare you that bad though."

"I wasn't scared."

"Ya right," said Zaps, "You were shaking in your boots. Should have seen the look on your face."

"... But I'm wearing a mask."

 

They both laughed, and even Mikey was trying to suppress a grin. I recognized his facial expression from our time hanging out with Tim. Now I knew what was going on.

 

"Ah. You are 'ribbing' on me."

"No duh. A bit slow on the uptake there aren't cha," said Zaps.

"I have trouble recognizing jokes."

"Go easy on him Zaps, you heard his story," said Pebbles.

"Yeah yeah, that's why I hit him with the softball."

"I would have dodged a softball,' I responded, "Either way, I don't think that was a very good gag Zaps."

"I didn't think so either, but you fell for it pretty handily."

"That's why it's bad. False info is dangerous in a combat situation," and disappointing when it could have been such a large advancement. So disappointing.

"Alright, alright, I woulda' illuminated your lightbulb before anything happened. Here, how about you hit me back with one? You've gotta work on your jabs."

 

Excess of slang homonyms used.

Calculating...

 

"You... want me to tell you... an insult?"

"Yeah man, do your worst."

"Uh, can we wait until after the lockdown to practice ribbing? I wouldn't want to inadvertently hurt your feelings and lower your combat efficiency more than it already is."

"Perfect! Now you're getting it!"

"...Huh?"

 

I was having trouble tracking Zaps' conversation, but apparently I was better at ribbing than I thought I was, because both Pebbles and Mikey began laughing. That was a relief, since humans operated much better when emotionally stable and relaxed, and I wanted my allies in top form while this lockdown was occurring.

 

The drive to the shelter took longer than it should have considering the short distance, which prompted Pebbles to lean out the window and threaten other drivers, who tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to move out of his way when they saw his mask. However, when we were only a block away, Pebbles quickly ducked back into the safety of the van.

 

"Ah shit," he said, "I don't think she saw me, but keep your heads down."

 

Spying out the front windows, I spotted the telltale purple glow of Magenta. She was flying over our heads, accompanied by another flying super wearing a jarring red and white jumpsuit with a brown leather jacket thrown over it. Babs would not have approved.

 

"Who is that?"

"Uh, I think that's... Aven? Aviator? Something like that. He's from NE13."

"Is he dangerous?"

"Nah, minor telekinetic besides the flying. You're probably gonna see a lot of B-list capes, the heavy duty enforcers don't normally get mobility powers so they take a while to get anywhere. Our favorite gal in purple excluded of course. Kinda surprised Central hasn't snapped her up yet."

"She's on probation," supplied Mikey, "A friend of mine heard about it. She was apparently part of a gang before she triggered."

"Huh, no shit? Always wondered why she was stuck out here in the boonies."

"So how many heroes are going to come?" I asked.

"Anyone nearby who can. Probably just one or two from each nearby sector though. If it's just a bunch of vamps the lockdown's probably just to try and keep them from scattering to the winds. They're a bitch to hunt down if they scatter."

 

"Uh... I think they're heading in the same direction we are," said Mikey, who had been tracking the fliers' progress. Indeed, the two heroes turned down the same street that most of the traffic was heading.


"...Huh."

 

Pebbles didn't say anything more, and didn't stick his head out the window to hurry other drivers. Mikey seemed nervous about the near encounter with heroes and kept surreptitiously scanning the sky while slouching in his seat, and Zaps just tapped a rhythm to some unknown song on his mask with his fingers.

 

Eventually the traffic crawled forward, and we made the turn to the shelter, giving us our first view of the building. It was built to match the surrounding buildings; tall, blocky, and without much decoration, but the windows had metal shutters, and the ground floor was obviously reinforced and looked like it could withstand the rest of the building collapsing on it.

 

Which was a good thing, considering the upper levels were on fire. Police were directing traffic away from the building, from which gouts of smoke and fire were pouring from the windows, which I thought was impressive considering most Fortress City buildings were built to be fireproof. While we watched, a flaming figure crashed out of a window only to be intercepted by Magenta before they hit the ground. If they were lucky, mutavus would activate before they expired. Strangely, two non-flaming figures soon followed out of the same window, only to be intercepted by the red and white dressed hero who arrested their fall with telekinesis, but then lowered them towards other capes waiting on the ground who opened fire. I assumed these were the vampires, but they didn't look at all like the ones from Mikey's movies. In fact, it was rather hard to distinguish them from regular humanoid mutants. Maybe the heroes identified them by the lack of armbands?

 

"Hey Pebbles?"

"...Yes Tofu?"

"I would like more information on vampires now."

 

"...You and me both."

 

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A note from Gogglesbear

Fun fact: Tofu's story was originally going to be set in an urban fantasy setting. He'd go around eating vampires, out-shifting werewolves, and punching fae in their smug faces all with the power of science, but I could never figure out where the story was supposed to go from there, so that idea never happened.


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Gogglesbear

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