Doc Tesseract

The adventures of Greg Silverman, retail industry employee, prospective college student and superhero.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Stakeout

Well, it certainly is shocking when a guy kills himself in front of you. Here's hoping I don't see that again soon... though I probably will.

So, last night, we all show up on top of City Hall at 8:30. I'm the last to arrive, after porting in at 8:29.

"Nice to see you, Doc," says Zulfikar. "Thought you were lost in traffic."

"Funny. So, where are we going?"

"The terrorists will be meeting in a Starbucks on Shawnee. The 2nd floor of the building next to it is for rent. I've got it for the night, so we'll stay there until we're sure the terrorists have all met to talk shop. Then, we wait for the crucial information, and once we get it, we move in and arrest them. You have the Citadel memorized, right?"

"Yup."

"Good. Here's where we'll be staying." He hands me a photo. "Can you take us there?"

It's pretty bland; walls painted gray, no furniture, a few large, plate-glass windows. I picture it quickly, then open the portal. We all leap through, and one thhhWONK later, we're in Zulfikar's loft.

Judy's the first to act. "I'll sit by the windows and try to pick up a bead," she says. She heads off, leaving Punch, Zulfikar, and I to put together battle plans.

"You're sure no one will spot her?" asks Punch.

"Only one of these men has psionic powers," Zulfikar replies, "and he's an illusion caster. Judy's safe."

"So," I ask, "what happens when we make the terrorists?"

"You two fans of the melodramatic?"

"Oh, hell yes," says Punch.

"How do you feel about leaping out of the window?"

"You can pay for that?"

"I've got the money. You just worry about putting on a display that will make them shit themselves."

After the plan comes together, we talk secret identities. Turns out Zulfikar's a DJ in private life; he spins at a club in Soho called Obsidian. "Come by some time, and I'll get you in the VIP room for free." Superheroing has quite a few untold perks.

A few minutes later, Judy says, "They're here." We all get ready as Judy starts probing about.

"Okay, his name's Omar Talin... they don't know where he's staying in Philly, only that he's flying in tonight... he's got... purging powers, whatever those are... the attack's gonna be on Thursday... got it! He's hitting the Liberty Bell!"

"Let's go," says Zulfikar.

And with that, Punch starts running towards the windows, then leaps through them, does an aerial somersault, and lands on the ground on his feet. I run to where the window used to be and create a portal to the street, which Judy, Zulfikar, and I charge through.

Down on the street, patrons at the Starbucks are quickly dispersing-- except for three guys. Two of them are Arabic, and one of them looks African. Before they can react, I hit one of the Arabic guys with a beam that takes him to the Citadel.

Next thing I know, I'm not on Shawneee St. fighting terrorists anymore. I'm in the middle of a battlefield, surrounded by falling bombs and gunfire. Okay, Greg, I keep telling myself, it's only an illusion. It can't hurt you. Then comes the scary thought. Wait... if this is all I see, how do I know one of the guys isn't attacking me right now? And with that, I hit the ground, panicked. Hey, what would you do if you didn't know where the attack that could end your life would come from?

Fortunately enough, the illusion soon fades; once I'm back on Shawnee St., I see that Zulfikar has coldcocked the African guy, and he's holding up the other Arabic guy by the collar.

"What's Talin going to do?" Zulfikar yells to the guy.

"You won't know until it's too late," the guy says.

And then he bursts into flames.

Zulfikar quickly drops the guy and jumps back. The guy's fallen to the ground, and he's laughing. But with every laugh, there are the sounds of a man in pain. G-d, the guy didn't burst into flames, he set himself on fire! The flames quickly grow hotter, until finally, there's just fire and ash.

Needless to say, we're all pretty shaken. "I think we should all head home," says Zulfikar. "We've seen enough for tonight."

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