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Threat Level: N/A
Destructiveness: N/A
Killability: N/A
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Might: F
Survivability: E
Recovery: D
Mobility: F
Spark: D
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Powers: Enhanced Sight and Hearing, Sonic Blasts, Durable Arms, Metabolic Regeneration
Classification: Projector/Stalker

After putting sufficient distance between himself and the collapsing house, Danny caught his breath. Sweat covered him from brow to the base of his spine, and his breathing was erratic. After his first experience in the field, he understood why his uncle wanted him to spend a week training. It wasn’t nearly enough. Things would be easier once he got in costume and didn’t have to worry about hiding all of his powers. Even then, he didn’t like his chances against two experienced supers.

“Open ThreatLevel App,” Danny whispered. He went to the app’s mapping section when it opened and placed a pin on the derelict house. “Report Freaks sighting at pinned location. Roach and Mindpunch might still be trapped in the building. Alert local heroes.”

Report submitted.
Druid and Fenrir en route.
Move at least 1000m away from the sight.

The alley had low foot traffic and lacked the main road’s lighting, too. Since Roach and Mindpunch were still too close, and the two other members of the Freaks were unaccounted for, Danny let the eye in his strap out. It stayed close to Danny’s chest, sticking to his shadow. As Danny pedalled, it scanned his surroundings. With one eye watching his back and the other his periphery, he had no blind spots.

Civilian Alert!
The villain Malfunction has engaged a civilian super within 100m of your current location.
Evacuate the area as soon as possible.
Turn left at the current junction.

Danny braked as he reached the junction and swiped the notification away. Once again, he found himself torn between self-preservation and doing the right thing. He guessed the civilian super in question was the speedster. He disliked her as a person and doubted his conscience would protest if he skipped out on helping her.

This situation is both of our faults.

The speedster attacked Danny after he taunted her. After years of researching supers, he knew that her kind were quick to anger. They let go of their rage swiftly, too. If he had stayed cool and feigned an apology, the situation wouldn’t have taken a violent turn.

After some thought, Danny hopped off his bike and rolled it behind a dumpster. He released the eyeball in his backpack before unpacking the food it contained. As expected, most of the contents were crushed and it was unlikely he’d make it to the delivery. Kaka would understand, and their delivery service had a villain attack clause. It ensured the restaurant could delete negative reviews regarding delivery time or food temperature if there was evidence of villain activity along the route. Danny intended to avail the clause.

Escaping Roach and Mindpunch had left Danny injured. If he intended to help the Speedster, he needed to be in fighting shape. Eating the curry mains would be too messy. So he tucked into the starters instead. The lamb kebabs and chicken samosas were still warm, and Danny bit into them hungrily. A comforting warmth spread through his body as soon as he swallowed the first mouthful. He felt the familiar itch around the wounds, and expected Metabolic Regeneration to fix him up in the coming minutes. Danny hoped its effects would persist for a while, keeping him refreshed as he helped the speedster.

The ThreatLevel App highlighted the general area of the conflict, but didn’t pinpoint it. In the early days, it had shown the exact location of fights, and curious locals or eager photographers had rushed to the scene. They’d gotten themselves hurt or killed. As a result, Danny had to rely on his new senses to find the fight. Thanks to his hands’ sensitivity to vibration, he found it in no time.

I can’t go in there looking like this.

He froze before turning the corner. Using his powers in his current outfit would be as good as outing himself. Even if the Freaks didn’t see his face, the speedster would recognise him. Then Kaka and the restaurant would be in danger.

After thinking it over for a couple of minutes, he turned his jacket inside out and pulled up the hood. For when it got too windy, Danny wore a stretchable band around his neck. He pulled it up to his nose, leaving only his eyes and forehead exposed. Danny hoped the lighting would keep his skin colour hidden. He took five seconds for deep breathing, before sneaking towards the fight.

“Get the fuck away from me, you glitchy dildo!” Danny heard the speedster’s shrill voice long before reaching the scene of the fight. He guessed her meta gene supercharged her entire body, making her vocal cords vibrate at frequencies higher than that of an average person. “It wasn’t my fault! The fucking powerless from Calcutta Tandoor, he pushed me into you.”

Do I really want to help her?

Danny owed her nothing, and she was willing to give him up to save her own hide. He reminded himself that the League would often have to help people they hated.

Disrupt and run.

Before proceeding, Danny sent an eye ahead of him and pressed his hands to the ground. He saw Malfunction fighting the speedster. The villain had the same weapon he’d seen on them a week ago. It fired compressed air pockets, which exploded on contact. If not for Malfunction’s horrid aim, the speedster would’ve likely fallen already. Instead, the blasts of air staggered her as she tried to run.

The speedster had slowed. She swayed whenever she stopped, struggling to stay upright without support. Her eyes appeared unfocused and her breathing erratic. She was on the verge of a crash. Danny hoped she’d come to her senses if she survived and would then invest in boosters.

As Danny split his attention between the eyes and his hands, he sensed a third presence. It moved erratically, disappearing from one position and reappearing at another moments later. Each disappearance started with an explosion and then the presence appeared after one, too. Danny’s senses detected no powerful jumps or landings like what Mindpunch used. It felt like teleportation to him. His instincts told him he’d encountered the presence before, but he struggled to remember when or where.

You can do this.

Malfunction and their unknown companion were busy enough to miss Danny as he approached. Since it was a reasonably dry evening, Danny had worn his light running shoes instead of the heavier waterproofs he did regularly. Neither Malfunction nor the speedster saw him hop the fence into the little playground or dash between bushes. He had no way of confirming if the teleporter spotted him.

Sparks danced off Malfunction’s firearm every time they fired. The weapon trembled in their hands and appeared on the verge of breaking down. Yet Malfunciton continued using it. Their visor remained facing the speedster.

Whenever the speedster tried to flee past the jungle gym or swings, Malfunction cut off her escape. Meanwhile, puffs of smoke appeared in her path as she tried to go around the slide or seesaw. The villains had the speedster trapped and to Danny it looked like they were toying with her.

Danny approached Malfunction with his heart pounding out of his chest. He stayed low, sticking to the evening shadows. The villain stood out like a Christmas tree as likes blinked on their visor and armour. Once close enough, he grabbed the weapon with his left hand and unleashed a sonic blast on their shoulder with his right. The attack blew Malfunction off their feet. She went flying into the nearby bush, leaving the weapon in Danny’s hands.

The sparks coming off the firearm intensified. They singed his sleeve and the electricity arcing off it sent jolts through the limb. Fortunately, his forearm accepted the discomfort without too many complaints. The eye watching Danny’s back spotted a pink crack form in the air. Glowing smoke billowed out of it, and a glowing figure slowly solidified inside of it. Meanwhile, Malfunction’s firearm had started shaking violently in his hands, so he threw the firearm at the smoke and dove towards Malfunction.

An explosion ripped through the playground, bathing Danny’s back in scorching heat. He felt bits of debris bounce off his shoulder blades, but no pain accompanied them, suggesting they had failed to penetrate his jacket. A feminine scream followed seconds later. Danny didn’t think about it as he landed a metre away from malfunction. The villain scrambled away from him, ripping a disk off their chest piece. It sparked and electricity arced off it, just like the firearm. Danny pointed his right palm at his opponent and launched another sonic blast just as Malfunction threw the disk. The force knocked it back towards them and over their shoulder. It exploded, throwing Malfunction to the side.

Danny didn’t wait around to see what became of the Freaks. Instead, he jumped to his feet and ran. The speedster had fled as soon as he disarmed Malfunction. A cloud of glowing purple smoke drifted where he suspected the other super lingered. Danny didn’t know who lingered there, but they were down for the count, too. He hoped neither of them would recover any time soon.

Much to Danny’s relief, no one had stolen his bike or delivery bag. However, the remaining food inside it had disappeared. He doubted whoever took it would connect Kolkata Tandoor to the strange super that had just disabled the Freaks. Danny hoped the four villains still believed he was powerless. He’d tried his hardest to keep the sonic blasts hidden from Roach and Mindpunch. The other two saw an attacker in a different coloured jacket and covered face.

Danny could do nothing but hope as he raced home, ignoring the ThreatLevel app’s alerts. He felt pleased with himself. For the first time in his life, Danny had genuinely helped someone in trouble and not fled after doing the bare minimum.

I’m a super.

 

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J Pal

  • London

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