Part 10

by CM Towns

   The team was strapped into their seats, all on one side of the SPECIFIED FLYING VEHICLE, or SFV or FLIER. It was the plane that they took from Teiwaz soldiers after their collision back in Kirby City. The Flier had three parts. Obviously there was the cockpit for the pilots. There was the middle portion which was the transport area. This section had two rows of seven seats on each wall, a restroom, an above hatchway and two parallel bars connected to the roof to assist in moving around. Above each seat was a small storage area that stored the parachutes. The final area was a cargo section and had the main entrance/exit point. All in all the vehicle was the size of a small apartment complex.
   Araminta was seated next to Jessie-powered up as Reina Titán-then there was Reed in his civies, Frank in an all black get up with a bandana and goggles around his neck, followed by Elijah at the end in tight blue pleather pants and white sleeveless pleather top with a blue monster insignia in the center.
   “I don’t know about this,” Elijah said.
   “I think it makes you look distinguished,” Frank said.
   “Thank you but I was speaking on the job,” he replied.

   The two discussed the mission while Araminta considered the outfit she wore; an all black ensemble that they whipped up for her. It was rather dull and unappealing but probably more practical than Red Sprite or Elijah’s gear. Except Elijah could heal wounds and was faster and more agile than she was. Red Sprite was certified dangerous so she could wear an outfit with no protective padding and styled with a cute skirt. Araminta was a little envious of that fact.
   The mission popped up suddenly before Araminta could visit the nearby city-which was at least a 30-45 minute drive away form their base according to Jessie. While they were getting ready Sally and Elijah hit up on a list of warehouses, factories, and docks. Several of the locations had little write up for a federal inspection of the premises. That bothered Sally. What further made her suspicious was the tidbit about the owners moving. Elijah tried to back track information on the companies that rented out the warehouses but was directed to foreign websites with questionable information and services. Shipping, antiques, and electronics seemed too broad. That’s why they were in flight-to look over one of the warehouse.
   The door to the cockpit opened and Kid Victory walked out. “Reed, get prepped,” he said and Reed unstrapped himself and walked carefully to the cargo area.
   “This is boring! I thought we were going to hit some Teiwaz,” Frank said.
   “Yeah, Franks right. I want to kick some Nazi ass,” Elijah chimed in with agreement.
   “A good scrap would indeed make us all feel very happy,” Frank continued.
   “Stop conceptualizing. Let’s beat the bad guys up, go back to HQ and have a merry laugh about it. Shotgun on the way back!” Reina Titán added with her hand shooting up at the the prospect of riding shotgun.
   “I want to shoot some Nazi scum with electro-powers! First Person Shooter style! BAM! Head shots all around!” Frank said aiming an invisible rifle.
   Kid Victory replied, “Everyone be quiet or I’m turning this Flier around and NOBODY will be beating up Nazi’s!”
   “AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW,” the group replied with the exception of Araminta.
   “Codenames from now on,” Kid Victory said.
   “You got one yet Beastly?” Reina asked leaning out and smiling his way.
   “Mister Monster. How is that?” Elijah replied.
   “Not as cute as Beastly,” she answered back.
   “Araminta-we’re just gonna use your name as your codename for now. Okay?” Kid Victory asked and she nodded. He then continued with- “We’re now in operation mode so you will need to refer to use under our codenames. Red Sprite, SubHuman, Reina, Huntsman, Mr. Monster, and myself-Kid Victory. Now, I have a question… Anyway you can transport the team down fifty feet?”
   “I… Um-It would be best if I knew the distance visually before attempting,” she said. Her head jerked to see Huntsman enter. Reed was a couple inches taller now since powered up as a robot-like kid. Patriarch purple body with a persimmon orange alien face, upper arms, and the sides of his abdomen down to part of the thigh. He had a purple helmet with three horns. Huntsman had incredible strength and the boosters on the bottom of his boots and the ones that popped out from his scapulas allowed him to fly. His right forearm opened and slid down to form a high powered laser cannon. Araminta turned her attention back to Kid Victory who was considering another approach down.
   “I’m going to hand over the control of the ship to Professor. We’ll descend part way and drop onto the top of a warehouse near our target,” he explained.
   The others unstrapped and headed toward the back. Red Sprite joined them a moment later as Kid Victory spoke into a microphone hooked to his visors headset. The cargo hatch opened and Reina explained how they would head down. “Huntsman is gonna carry you Araminta. Princess lift style,” she said.
   “What?” Huntsman asked in an echoey voice. Reina instructed how to lift Araminta with an arm under the legs and one around the waist, while she held on around his neck. Huntsman did as instructed and Araminta had a sudden case of vertigo sink in as she looked at the open cargo door.
   “You run, stay vertical, descend. Do not straighten out horizontal. Got it?” Reina Titán asked before she shoved him forward. Huntsmans stumbled and he leaped out and Araminta let out a scream.
   “Hope the bad guys didn’t hear that?” Reina joked. “I’ll get the boys in one scoop and come back for my partner.”
   “How are you going to get us all in one scoop?” Monster asked.
   “Easy, you’re the tallest so you stand-” she positioned him. “SubHuman give him a back hug.” SubHuman hooked his waist and Reina said, “Awwwwwwwwwwwww. Kid Victory do the same.”
   Victory was hesitant but did as Reina instructed. From there they heard a clicking noise of cellphone camera.
   “Thanks, Sprite,” Reina said before gripping Monster, lifting the three up into a firemans carry lift. Reina Titán leaped out and landed on the roof of the warehouse a moment later. She dropped them before hopping up and retrieving Red Sprite.
   “I was not a fan of that,” Kid Victory said.
   “I think it brought us men closer together,” joked SubHuman as he slipped on his goggles and put up the bandana over his mouth.
   “On the off chance this happens again I am refusing to be bottom,” Monster said and Reina started laughing.
   Araminta was hiding her smile while Huntsman could care less. He just wanted to shoot something.
   “Quiet,” Kid Victory said surveying the scene. It was nighttime and most the warehouses were empty except one. The entire area took up a few blocks, about a third the size of a small airport. It was fenced all around with only two points of entry. He counted about half a dozen warehouses total. Victory turned around noting the apartments and nearby strip mall or place business’. “Here’s the plan,” he continued.
   “Plan? It’s one of several warehouse that was investigated and cleared. The workers moved out almost right after. It could either be booby trapped or it could just be an empty warehouse possibly with no sinister past activities,” Titán said.
   “This warehouse was in those files you got. That means someone in the FBI or CIA was interested. If its a trap we’ll know that we’re targets. If they left something behind it could be clues to their ultimate goals,” Mr. Monster said.
   “Their goals are taking control of the world. All the abductions, experiments, weapons manufacturing, movement of resources, and placement of operatives is all just steps to that larger plan. This-,” she motioned-“this is a waste of time. We’re chasing phantom leads,” Reina Titán replied.
   “Still needs looking into,” Kid Victory said.
   “You know I can just walk in and take a look around, figure this all out easy,” Reina Titán suggested.
   “If it’s a trap they won’t spring it on you. You are practically immortal,” Red Sprite reminded her.
   “That’s not true. I just refuse to stay dead,” Reina mused but Red Sprite gave her a stern look prompting Reina to apologize.
   “Unless we send someone they think they can take out they won’t spring any possible trap,” Kid Victory said.
   “We could just-you know-skip it. It’s not like we know they’re in there hiding like Jessie-I mean Reina suggested,” Araminta said. She voiced similar concerns back at the base and wondered why she was so easily convinced to come along for the mission. Araminta knew the answer-cute boys, strong women, and peer pressure.
   “I have an idea but it’s not a strong one,” Kid Victory said.
   “We can tweak it,” Red Sprite said.
   “Reina goes in with Beastly and Araminta. Any trouble, her and Beastly-I’m sorry-her and Mr. Monster can make a jump back. Reina should be fine,” Kid Victory suggested.
   “Thanks for the vote of confidence, B-List,” Reina said.
   “It is a good idea however I believe we need to ask Araminta if she would be okay with this course of action,” Red Sprite said.
   Araminta saw the eyes turn to her. Her head was screaming no but she went against her better judgment. “I guess-Um-It would be okay.”
   “We watch and give assistance as needed,” Kid Victory added.
   With that Reina Titán, Mr. Monster and Araminta made their way to the warehouse. Reina smashed open the front door with Monster and Araminta keeping a few feet behind. The warehouse was empty. No metal scaffolds, boxes, crates-nothing but a clear open space with a few office rooms.
   “You think those workers heard your knocking?” asked Monster.
   “If they did they probably won’t come looking,” Reina said.
   “How do we-you know-detect?” Araminta asked.
   “Investigating has always been my weakest strength as a hero but I think we just take a look around for any left over security or a missed trap door,” Reina said as she clicked her earpiece and slipped it on. “Warehouse looks clear of anything but cobwebs, taking a better look around.”
   “Why didn’t we get a bluetooth,” Araminta said to Monster who had squatted down, feeling the cement and sniffing the air.
   “Your portals short circuit electronics. Also, the team refers to them as comlinks since they only dial into the teams frequency,” Monster answered.
   “Usually if they’re on,” she responded. Araminta watched as he stalked liked a predator. Her eyes moved back to where Reina Titán was standing only to see her missing. She turned around quick, looked in every direction until she saw her walking the ceiling.
   “Not seeing any security systems unless their using flies!” she yelled.
   “Flies?” Araminta asked Mr. Monster.
   “Camera’s the size of bugs,” he replied. “I don’t hear any buzzing!” he shouted back to Reina. Monster’s eyes landed on a spot on the ground. He moved to it quick and signaled for Araminta. “See this?”
   “It’s the ground.”
   “Not quite kitten.” Monster called out to Reina who swooped down and squatted beside him. Araminta watched the two study the floor.
   “Looks like they paved the ground but missed a spot. Barely noticeable. Good work Beastly,” she said with a pat on his head. Reina Titán motioned for them to step back before she threw her right fist into the ground smashing through into a hidden stairwell.
   “Look at this,” Reina said self satisfied. Araminta was looking down at the stairs, mind racing with dangers.
   “This happen often?” she asked.
   “Villains like warehouses. Abandoned factories second. Hangers are nice spots. If they have good money, much more lavish or interesting locales. So yeah, kinda-”
   “Shhhh,” Monster interrupted before his eyes widen, registering the noise he was hearing. It was a ticking. The hidden stairwell must have had a motion detector installed, by smashing it open it register intruders and turned on a bomb. “Time Bomb.”
   “GO!” Reina shouted.
   Outside, Kid Victory shouted after what he heard in the earpiece. There was an explosion. The warehouse doors and windows blasted out and the blaze was quickly starting to spread. For a split second Kid Victory was worried but Araminta and Mr. Monster dropped out of one of her gates. Kid Victory checked on them as the others circled.
   “We’re okay,” Mr. Monster said.
   Their attention was turned at several popping sounds and wailing noises. Circular ports in the ground were blasted open and dark green robots flew out. They were at elast six feet tall, had a thick skeletal look with Teiwaz logos on their chests. They had rounded heads with glass plated faces and sported jetpacks.
   Huntsman smirked, shouted in an alien echo of boyish glee, “KILLER ROBOTS!” Huntsman flew out and tackled a pair of incoming enemy robots. He smashed one with his tackle but missed a pair with his sloppy shooting.
   Kid Victory called out directions. “Red Sprite, follow Huntsman. Earpiece in.” She nodded, turned, ran and boosted herself off the roof with small bursts of fire from each palm. Victory saw a pair of Fliers with Teiwaz soldiers dropping to the ground. “Araminta, portal down to the ground with these two and you guys wait for me,” he instructed taking SubHuman’s headset.
   They followed directions and Victory called in to the Professor, made a quick update and instructed her to watch the ship.
   Reina Titán landed next to Kid Victory, her costume smoking, and said, “I braved down the stairwell. If there was anything down there it went up in the blaze.
   Kid Victory nodded then gave her orders. “Two Fliers, take them out. Rip them apart. Check the bins built into the ground where our robots popped up from. Get us something good if you can,” he directed and she nodded.
   Kid Victory ran to the edge of the warehouse, a nice flip, landed on the ground and tumbled. He pulled his stun gun, popped the battery and replaced it with a different one.
   “Two teams,” he started as he tossed SubHuman back his earpiece and threw one at Mr. Monster. “You two go south. Monster use your senses so you can get the drop on them. If they have too much firepower retreat quick. Araminta, you’re with me. Watch my back with your shielding. Got that?” She nodded and he yelled, “GO!”
   The two turned and ran with Araminta watching them go off. She turned to Kid Victory and felt like her legs were stone. Then they were silly string, and back to stone with an added chill of fear running up her spine. Araminta hated how easily she caved in on coming along with them. Kid Victory had just given her an order and she nodded yes when in reality Araminta just wanted to pop away.
   Kid Victory smiled and said, “We’re going to move. I’ll direct the actions and trust me-nothing is going to happen to you. Other than the feeling of a job well done after we’re finished here.”