Thursday, April 17th. 120 Hours.
I wasted no time inside, immediately taking off a full speed through the building, obliterating any obstacle before me, I sent wires ahead of me threading them into the gaps in the doors and tearing it open with a flex of my power. My lack of regard for the contents of the rooms made it appear as if a cyclone had hit it and I could only assume it was going to get worse from there. I sprinted out the now opened door and past the service counters.
I dragged myself around the next corner and skidded to a stop in front of the gated off section of the bank that we had assume would lead down to the vault. I sent countless wires forward before ripping the entire security gate off with and tossing it across the room. I dragged myself forward down the stone stairs and the thick wooden door that Gaston had told me about came into view, I left the ornately carved door on the floor in half a hundred pieces.
The basement of the bank was a simply but rather large room, inch thick iron bars spanned the width of the entire room, from the ceiling all the way down to the floor. Behind the bars I could see that the room quickly narrowed into a very long hallway and right at the end of that hallway was a massive slab of metal with a perfectly circular indentation.
An loud alarm had started the moment I had passed through into the room with the counters and it was getting progressively louder the closer I got to the vault. I dug wires into the seating of the bars, before quickly tearing them out of the floor. I tossed them across the room before dashing through the gap I had made and sprinted down the hallway. I came to a stop right before the vault door, and it found that it was strangely intimidating in person. How had they even gotten such a massive thing down here in the first place?
The alarms were pretty much deafening me while I was this close to the door, obviously they had done this to try and scare off anyone who managed to get this far, but all it was doing was pissing me off, bastards.
I turned on my heel and started ripping into the left side of the hallway with my power, sending concrete scattering everywhere. I had a second set of wires clearing the debris as I went, shoving it all into the hallway and out of the way. When I was about five meters deep into the wall I spun to the right and begun digging in that direction. Within seconds I could see the far edge of the massive vault slab just peeking through the destroyed concrete, I had barely managed to clear it.
I quickly wedged as many wires as I could between the slab of metal and the much weaker concrete wall. I flexed my telekinetic might and the two walls parted like the red sea. The rubble fell to the ground and I stepped over it to get inside, the interior walls of the vault were lined with golden rectangular indentations. Trays that would roll outwards that were packed deep into the walls, there was multiple isles of the trays each running through the middle of the room in large blocks.
I stuffed my hands into the pockets of my coat and pulled out the tightly wrapped canvas bags that we had prepared earlier. Once they were full each back would be comparable in size to that of a medium sized fridge. I tossed them onto the ground in front of me before raising my hands into the air like an orchestral conductor.
I filled the room with thousands of minuscule wires, and they slipped into the gaps of every single tray in the room, wedging themselves deep inside. I paused for a moment before clapping my hands together and ripped every single tray in the room open at once. I touched a finger to my earpiece to reopen the connection to Gaston, taking a moment to keep him updated on my progress as I used my wires to fill the bags with money.
I used wires to hold the bags aloft, and then a separate set to dump the contents of each tray into the bags one after another in a continuous but highly efficient chain. It did not take long to run out of space in the bags.
"I've got the money, I'm on my way out," I said evenly, feeling like a total badass.
Barely five minutes since had passed since I first entered the bank, and I left the same way I had come in, only with the five now massive bags floating behind me. They were large enough that I had to widen several doorways in order to fit them through easily. On the radio, Gaston was busy singing me praises and I soaked them up like a sponge. The alarm continued its unending racket as I made my way up the stairs, quickly passing by the service counters once more.
At this point, Gaston had started saying 'Who's a good boy? Is it you? Is it?' and I was starting to get pissed off.
"I'm not a fucking dog, asshole," I said thoroughly annoyed, before stepping into the room with the hole I had made into the alleyway.
Laserdream was standing in the middle of the hole, with her hands on her hips.
"Laserdream, thank god you are here." I started bullshitting immediately. "I was just about to call you."
Gaston repeats the name 'Laserdream' over the connection, sounding horrified.
"Uh-huh." Laserdream says, trying not to smile. "Really?"
I nod seriously, forcing myself to relax as I gave her a once over. Oh god, send help.
"This crazy dude blew up the bank!" I continued, trying to gauge her reaction to this piece of shocking news but she merely raises an eyebrow. "I’ve managed to lock him inside the vault, but I don't think it will hold for long."
I realized about mid-way through my tale that Laserdream was actually floating an inch off the ground. Over the radio, Gaston had started to sound like he was on the verge of having a panic attack, it was getting distracting.
"What about those bags?" Laserdream prodded, glancing over my shoulder and back again. I follow her gaze slowly to look at the five giant bags bulging with money.
"I was going to move the money to the other bank, for obvious reasons." I said easily, before slapping one of the bags like it was the roof of a used car. "I couldn't let the crazy dude in the vault steal it all, you know?" I winked at her before realising that she couldn’t see it through my mask.
Fuck it, I was committed at this point, there was no time for shame.
"Totally." Laserdream said amused, "What did you say your name was again?" I most definitely hadn’t given it to her, I thought but didn’t say out loud.
I was distantly aware of a noise coming from the front of the bank, but we both pretended we hadn’t heard it. I actually found myself a little bit annoyed that she hadn’t recognized me on sight, but I suppose fame would come eventually, I would just have to leave a lasting impression on her.
"I'm Aegis, from the Brockton Bay Wards," I tell her confidently and she looks absolutely stunned by my audacity. "I fight crime with my pals, Triumph, and Vista."
What the fuck am I saying? I thought mortified, and Gaston immediately echoed my thoughts through the earpiece.
"I could have sworn that I was Aegis." A third voice says from directly behind me.
I chance a look over my shoulder to find Aegis floating in the middle of the room with his arms crossed. I could just see Vista's head peeking around the door behind him, standing in the room with the counters. I turned back around just in time for Triumph to step out of the alleyway and through the hole in the wall, stopping next to Laserdream, they share a nod in greeting.
Gaston is just yelling nonsense at this point. I take in a deep breath to centre myself before turning to face Triumph, I look him straight in the eyes.
"Triumph, thank god you are here." I say relieved before taking a step towards him. "I found Laserdream trying to rob the bank, you three take her down and I'll get the money somewhere safe."
I try to step around him but his hand clamps down on my shoulder like a vice. That is some strength he has going for him and he does not even look like he is straining yet. I let out a sigh before lowering the bags to the ground behind me.
"Fine, I'll help you take her down," I tell him resignedly. "Be careful though, I've heard she's violent." Laserdream is looking at me like she just can’t even.
With the countless tiny wires I have all over the room I can feel Aegis silently making his way closer to me from behind. For some strange reason I don’t think they are buying it.
"I'm going to have to ask you to come with us." Triumph says evenly, his hand didn’t match his tone as he was still trying to grind my shoulder to dust, I think my lack of reaction to it was making him try even harder and it was really starting to hurt.
I had covered myself in a casing of wire armour the second I had spotted Laserdream. They were hidden beneath my clothes, and I was holding them just above my skin but counteracting the force of his grip without tipping him off was quickly becoming impossible. He was at most seconds away from noticing that something strange was going on so I would have to act soon.
I nod at him in agreement, holding my hands together like I was willing to be cuffed.
"You'll never take me alive, Copper!" I said, filling the room with thin metal rods.
Triumph reacted instantly, letting out a booming shout and suddenly, I was back in the front room. It took me a moment to regain my bearings, and I could feel Aegis tearing his way through my metal forest. Somebody else was wiping entire sections of the wire at a time, and my best guess was that it must have been Laserdream. The moneybags fortunately had been dragged along with me and I realised that I was laying on the ground next to Vista.
"Hey Vista." I groaned, not bothering to get up.
Vista looked down at me in shock, the fight had started so suddenly that she hadn't even reacted properly yet. I quickly wrapped her in hundreds of wires before she could recover and gently stuck her to the wall.
"Hey!" Vista yelled in surprise, struggling in her metal cocoon.
Pleasantries addressed, I started sliding at great speed across the bank floor, pulling myself along with wires, the moneybags zipped along behind me. I covered my head with my arms, briefly reinforcing them with more wire before smashing through the window. The glass at the front of the bank exploded outwards as I crashed through and then suddenly, I was back outside.
Glorious freedom, did you miss me Brockton Bay?
A crimson flash of light lanced out of the bank and then slapped into the wall just beside my head detonating with a blast of kinetic energy, showering me with debris. I yelped and immediately began taking evasive action, I rocketed into the air away from the bank trying to get high enough to get a good view of the area. I made sure to start spreading wires out behind me, far down the street in preparation for my escape.
Triumph came sprinting from around the side of the bank before jumping over the railing and skidding to a stop on the road. His shout had been powerful enough to smash me through a wall, and he also had some kind of super strength judging by the death grip he had on me earlier. He was moving faster then a normal human, so he was probably leveraging that same strength to enhance his agility. I didn't think he was too much of a threat to me on his own, as I was pretty sure I could stay out of the range of his shout and slap him around from a distance with wires.
Aegis on the other hand was more of a problem, as he rocketed straight out the same window I had come from, flying directly at me. He appeared to be a pretty straightforward cape, from what I knew of him. He was fast, strong and was known to continually get back up and continue fighting despite grievous injuries, a standard flying Brute. I reeled myself backwards with my wires, flying up the street away from the guy. I wasn't sure if this was his top speed, but I am able to comfortably maintain the distance between us.
Sorry Aegis, it just wasn't meant to be.
"It's not you, it's me!" I shouted at him and I could see him grimace at the comment.
Triumph was trying valiantly to keep up with us, but he was getting left behind. I could feel the wires keeping Vista trapped suddenly snap under an external force of some kind before Laserdream came blasting out of the bank at about three times the speed of an Aegis.
Holy fuck she was fast.
Laserdream would definitely reach me in a couple of seconds if stayed out in the open. I saw Vista step out of the bank and then suddenly she was next to Triumph. The distance between them vanishing in an instant, before it snapped back a second after she had stepped over some invisible line. It looked weird as heck, and I watched as she repeated the feat once again, my precious distance was suddenly gone. Yikes.
I needed to keep them all in view, I didn't want any sneak attacks taking me down, keeping them all in front of me seemed like a decent safety measure.
Laserdream sent out some more red beams to test me, all of them angled upwards into the sky to avoid any more impacts with the buildings around us and I was managing to weave out of the way with relative ease. I accidently figured out a better solution a moment later, when I held one of the bags up in front of me the next time, she raised her hand to fire.
Laserdream hesitated to take the shot before she lowered her hand, I moved the bag out of the way and she almost went for another shot, but I jiggled the bag in her way again. She stopped shooting at me with an annoyed look on her face I had found her kryptonite, she couldn't just destroy the money after all. At this point, we all seemed to be at a stalemate, but I had a cunning idea.
"Money really is the great equalizer!" I called down to her, and soon Laserdream was grimacing as well.
Tough crowd, huh?
I yanked myself sideways in between two buildings and out of the heroes view, it was time to see just how well Laserdream could corner. I stayed low to the ground and took the next alleyway to the right, heading straight back around towards the bank. The old double back manoeuvre, it was the oldest trick in the book, and it worked every time.
Laserdream didn't even slow down as she came around the first corner, a crimson bubble sprang up just as she was about to hit the wall of the nearest building and she bounced off it with a small spray of debris, but somehow managed to maintain her full speed.
Jesus Christ, I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to outrun her like this, I was going to need to slow her down somehow. I weaved back and forth down the alleyways and streets on a serpentine-like route back towards the bank, hopefully, the other slower capes lost us along the way.
Laserdream remained hot on my tail, not falling behind at all I would much rather be hot on hers, but beggars couldn't be choosers I suppose. I started setting up wires behind me to give her some distractions, I kept the wires big and meaty, each as thick as a pencil and I made them so obvious that there was no way she would accidentally clothesline herself. I wasn’t trying to kill her after all, just slow her down a bit. The wires stretched from building to building covering a lot of the alleyway, you could practically call them cables at this point, it made more sense given their size.
At first, Laserdream was using her glowing red bubble shield to plough straight through them, but it started to crack after a couple of hits before finally shattering. She was stuck with only two options, either start shooting blasts at me again to clear the wires risking the money or slow down to avoid them entirely. I made the decision for her by jingling the money at her as a reminder and she frowned again before starting to slow down.
I grinned back at her, Checkmate.
I dove around the next corner in glee and Aegis smashed straight into me. It's a head-on collision and he hits me like Truck-kun, but there was no Isekai adventure at the end of this tunnel, only pain.
We tumbled through the air in a tangle of wires, limbs, and testosterone. Aegis got off two good whacks at me during the grapple before kicking me forcibly downwards. I was flung uncontrollably down towards the ground, holding my chest where the hits had landed. I barely managed to catch myself before I went splat on the pavement and I quickly found Aegis coming straight down at me.
I lashed out at Aegis, wrapping him in so many wires that he wasn't even visible anymore, he just looked like a giant ball of metal yarn. He immediately started to tear through them, so I started doubling the thickness to compensate, and he started to struggle with breaking them as I weaved them together.
I lifted the whole construct upwards and quickly attached hundreds of cables from the ball to the walls of the alleyway. It was a complete mess of metal by the time I had finished, the ball had grown to the size of a small room. I could still feel him slowly breaking his way free, the guy really was unstoppable, but it would take him all night at the rate he was going at it. I could hear him yelling something from within the cocoon, but the words were too muffled to work out what he was saying.
I saw a flash of red out of the corner of my eye, incoming. I reeled myself up and away as Laserdream speared a trio of blasts between me and the shouting cocoon. She was trying to herd me away from the other hero and when I was far enough away, she immediately turned and started to blast him free.
I made good use of the time by doing my best to get the fuck out of there. When Laserdream had finally managed to dig Aegis out, I was long gone.
It took some effort to stealthily make my way back to the house with the giant bags, but I managed it and Gaston had just about pulled himself together when I arrived. Gaston expressed how amazed he was that I had managed to get away from them, even more so that I had managed to keep a hold of the money. I was just amazed that the bruise on my chest was as small as it was, thank god for my wire armour. Aegis hit stupidly hard, but I guess he could only cover so much surface area at once.
We contacted Coil when we got our bearings, using a portion of our newly acquired money to pay for both his services and to grease the wheels a bit with our potential cape hires. Coil seemed happy enough with the bonus that Gaston added on top.
It was an incredible feeling to pull off something like what we had done today, and it honestly wasn’t even the money. I would do it all again just for the experience, swinging around the city, matching wits against people and fighting other capes, tossing out witty one-liners. I don’t think I’ve had so much adrenaline pumping through my veins since the day I triggered.
This was a much more pleasant rush, and a whole lot less tragedy.
So here I was, laying in my bed and not able to sleep, it really wasn’t that surprising after the day I'd had. It had been like a rollercoaster, exciting and terrifying at the same time it was almost as if I had taken a caffeine shot straight to the heart. All the noise, adrenaline and fighting, now I was just supposed to lay down and sleep? It just wasn’t likely, at least not with all the thoughts running through my head.
Wasn't it funny, that today was probably the most time I had ever spent with kids my own age? What did that say about me, I wondered, when it had only happened because they wanted to capture me?
Kids my age that were outside of school, obviously. Being stuck in a room for eight hours a day only made me resent my peers, there wasn’t anything wrong with them, they hadn’t done anything to me, I just couldn't connect with them. I felt like I had connected more with the Wards and Laserdream in those five minutes we had spent fighting each other, then I had in two years at Arcadia.
How messed up was that?
I laughed at the thought, robbing a bank to save the city. How silly was it that we were doing all of this to save Brockton Bay, but if we pulled it off like we wanted too, nobody would ever know?
Well, nobody except me, Gaston and String Theory. What would happen when we stopped her? Would String Theory just accept her ignoble defeat and go live happily ever after with Gaston? Would she be able to forgive the man for his part in her undoing? Would she turn over a new leaf and become a hero of justice?
I couldn't see it happening, but then again, I had never seen the two of them interact with each other, it was possible that they had the kind of relationship that would allow for something like that to happen. It was worth noting that I still hadn’t even seen String Theory at all, I had no idea what she was like, maybe it would work out like that after all?
I wondered what she was like, what type of person could captivate a man as strange as Gaston? What type of person could instil such a drive in him? I wondered why he would go so far for her, I wasn't delusional, the guy obviously wasn't stopping her so that he could save the city, that was just a side benefit for him. Gaston was saving String Theory from the consequence of her own actions, so that he could selfishly stay next to her. Gaston wanted to stop her, so she didn't doom herself to the birdcage, he wanted to stop her from flying too close to the sun.
Well, the moon in this case.
I was going to help Gaston save her, even if she would hate us for it.
I’m a fantasy author from Australia, and if I were to describe my work in a single sentence it would be; Realism contained within an unrealistic backdrop. I aim to put out high-quality, original, long-form written content that will entertain, and engage you. Expect dark themes, characters making costly mistakes, and unreliable narrators.
My standard process starts by releasing draft chapters to my Patreon, and then to everybody else online. Once the story is completed, I convert it into a more conventional eBook. I also routinely go back and revise, edit and enhance my older work as I improve as a writer.
I now have a website that has links to all of my original works to date.