003: Part 16

by CM Towns

   Kid Victory had a couple lumps, a black eye and a busted lip. That plus some bruised ribs, tired legs, and a general sick feeling in his gut. He was cuffed from behind with a machine gun aimed at his head. Mr. Monster sat beside Kid Victory wearing metal manacles encasing his entire hands and forearms. At the far end of the truck Araminta and Reina Titán were squeezed tight into what appeared to be specially designed sleep chambers. It was the only way that Mr. Ash would be able to keep either girl as a prisoner.
   Kid Victory could understand how Araminta got picked up but Reina was too good. She must have been caught off guard with one of the missiles they had been firing. Whatever enchanted gem they used must have been very effective. Clever tactic. Kid Victory was mildly impressed. Cektic bragged that he took care of Huntsman but Kid Victory doubted that he killed him. As for the others, Kid Victory was confident that Red Sprite and SubHuman got in touch with the Professor and were now tracking him. Still-Kid Victory knew it was up to himself to get them out just in case the others would not make it in time. Sure they got rid of his utility belt, guns, clubs and visor but that just made things a little more challenging.

   Mr. Monster must have picked up on Kid Victory’s confidence because he dialed back the swearing, name calling, and threats. He decided to sit straight up and put on an amused look. They both knew that Mr. Ash made a serious mistake in taking them alive. So did Warren Reese, who was hurt. The skirmish earlier between the two lead Monster to slam Reese hard into the street-possibly breaking or cracking a few ribs. Reese stared the two over. He was angry knowing he was out of his league since getting out of prison.
   Kid Victory knew Reese and Cektic wanted them dead so why were they alive? He could only hazard a guess about the girls, maybe even himself. Ash wanted to be present for Kid Victory’s demise and seeing as he preferred to be hands off, Ash needed his men to bring Victory to him. That left him wondering about Mr. Monster. He thought over the situation, the reasons why, all while keeping an ear out for the conversation between his enemies. Kid Victory could tell the tussle with Huntsman went more for Cektic. He did not detect any sort of bruising or slowed reflexes on the alien as a result of the struggle. Once he got Reina Titán up she’d take care of him.
   The ride to the bad guys lair was a tiring affair. First part of the ride was rocky, getting past the debris and the police barricades. After that they stopped, split apart and were moved into other vehicles with their heads covered. That ride seemed to just keep the feds off their tails until they moved them all into a large freight truck. The ride was roughly twenty to thirty minutes from there, after which they arrived at their intended location. They once more had their heads covered and were lead on foot down stairs, into an elevator, and from there through a long hall hall. Kid Victory started having a familiar sense about his whereabouts. That familiarity started at the elevator and continued as he walked through the hall and heard the various sounds and smells. The sounds of their steps, whooshing of doors and the smell of metal and dust.
   Kid Victory could tell they were splitting them up as someone was directing that Mr. Monster be watched along with the chambers. Kid Victory was lead further for another four to six minutes until his hood was taken off and he was standing on the other side of a desk from Mr. Ash. One of Ash’s men to his left and Warren Reese just a couple feet behind him.
   “Hello there Johnny,” Kid Victory mocked.
   “Hello hero. You look the worst for wear,” Mr. Ash replied.
   “This will heal, you’ll always look ugly.”
   “Says the kid with plain tights. This? Tailor made. Fashion and class right here,” he shot back.
   “You’re the kinda class that’s gets dropped time and time again,” Kid Victory fired back.
   Ash hit the table and got up with a laugh. “You are a gas, Blacky Dynamo,” he started as he walked around the desk and up to Kid Victory and continued, “Where’s the brown kid? He got wise and drop off the map? I hope no one offed him cause I was looking into doing that myself.”
   “Kid Marvel is busy with more important things. By the way-nice hide out. Englehart right? The tunnels? I’ve been here before,” he said.
   “You’re too clever for your own good,” Mr. Ash responded with a pat on the shoulder.
   “Can we stop with this bullshit and put a bullet in his head already,” Reese suggested.
   Ash nodded, walked over to his desk and grabbed his magnum revolver. “He’s right.”
   “That’s it?” Kid Victory asked. He looked from Ash to the guard, then to Reese and back at Ash.
   “You’re not going to have me plead and beg for my life? You’re not gonna threaten to hurt my friends as I watch? I mean-c’mon man… I pretty much ruined you. This fool over here I definitely ruined and even if he got back into the game now he’d just be another common criminal. Someone I knock around for practice,” Kid Victory said.
   Reese turned him around and punched him in the gut. “Say that again.”
   Kid Victory coughed, stood up straight, looked Reese in the eyes and beamed with, “You use to be tough but I’ve gone onto bigger fish. You shouldn’t even be in this fight. The Knight’s got enchanted weapons, Chris Zealous is a gunmaster, Cektic is a powerful alien and Johnny Ash here is far more dangerous than you could ever hope to be. You should be like this guard-standing your ground and keeping your mouth shut.”
   Reese grabbed Kid Victory and Ash objected while seated atop his desk. He said to Reese, “You got to have a sense of humor about these things. Believe me, it helps in this biz.”
   Reese let him go and Kid Victory turned back around to Mr. Ash and asked, “Who are you trying to impress, Johnny?”
   “You think I’m trying to impress someone?”
   “You could have launched this attack at a moments notice yet you make it known when you want to throw down. Why? So I can gather my forces? But you get the upper hand and instead of offing us you pull us down in this piece of villain real estate. Why?” questioned Kid Victory.
   “The monsters got a price on his head straight from the Teiwaz. Reina-that’s a trophy right there. There are buyers for your magical girl. You? I just wanted to look you in the eyes before I pulled the trigger,” he explained.
   “You’re lying. You came after us not to make some money selling us up the river, or to torture us, but to get your rep back. Why is your reputation so important?” inquired Kid Victory. Ash didn’t answer and Kid Victory continued, “Warren, you signed up with the wrong people. Ash is not going to kill us. He’s not going to kill my men.”
   “You think I won’t?” Ash inquired.
   Kid Victory looked back at Warren and said, “If I was you, I’d shoot me now because the longer I’m allowed to live the more likely it is you’ll be back in jail dinner tomorrow.”
   “Shut up,” Reese said.
   “Take that advice,” Ash said in agreement.
   “Why? Because you’re going to kill me? That’s the joke. If you’re gonna shoot me-do it. If not lock me up so I can work out my master escape plan because believe me I’ve been here before,” Kid Victory challenged showing that he had undone the handcuffs to Mr. Ash’s surprise.
   “Never handcuff a vigilante’s hands behind him,” he then advised.
   Reese grabbed Victory by the shoulder, spun him around, threw a punch that Kid Victory dodged with a side step, laying a elbow to the throat of the incoming guard. A switch in Victory’s right boot and a small blade popped out. Kid Victory caught Warren Reese in the calf with the blade and pushed him into Mr. Ash while grabbing the laser gun from the back of Reese’s pants. Fired, missing Ash but he turned in time to nail the guard in the leg.
   Kid Victory ran out of Ash’s den into a larger room where Ash’s men were. Kid Victory had no time to assess the layout of the room but had a rough idea of it-large space probably furnished with chairs, sofas, tables and a TV. Kid Victory fired off shots, purposely missing unless he had to tag someone and if he did it was in the shoulder or leg-nonlethal blasts. Out into the corridor and Kid Victory’s mind worked out the map. The way to his immediate left would head upward and that’s not where he needed to be. Straight and there would be bunkers to his left and right. Based on the steps between the split with Mr. Monster and the sound of the doors he knew it would take a one to two minute sprint and the door would be on his left. Kid Victory moved quick, firing behind and in front of him as the alarms were going off. He hoped Monster was making his own escape plans.
   Victory saw Cektic running his way with some of Ash’s men following. Victory smirked, waited and swung around the alien as he went for a grab. Kid Victory hopped over the tail which slammed into the room behind him. He saw a trio Ash’s men piling out, aiming their laser guns. Mr. Monster smashed one man in the back of the head as the others fired. Kid Victory timed his dive as to allow the attempted shots to hit Cektic. Cektic shouted at them, turned away from Kid Victory to Mr. Monster who was goading him on as he backed up. The alien launched at Mr. Monster who ducked under and so Cektic plowed into the containment chambers.
   He got up and stared the two heroes down and shouted, “I AM GOING TO KILL YOU BOTH.”
   Kid Victory and Mr. Monster pointed and Cektic turned. Reina Titán brushed off the debris, spat at the ground, flew up with her hands around Cektic’s neck and forced him through the ceiling, several fete on concrete and into the street above.
   “Okay, time to settle this,” Kid Victory said to Monster who nodded in agreement.