Part 17

by CM Towns

   Mr. Monster breathed in the fresh air around him. He smiled, looking up into the darkening sky and then around his lush surroundings. A beautiful green backdrop couple with a couple benches and lights of the lamps. Mr. Monster looked to his teammates, Red Sprite and Kid Victory who were engaged in conversation. His eyes turned to Reina Titán who kept looking around, waiting for their company. The team were at a popular park in Virginia awaiting a clandestine rendezvous of sorts. Their teammates-Araminta, SubHuman, and Huntsman waited aboard the Tuskegee-1 in case they were needed but it was doubtful they would be called upon.
   Mr. Monster walked over and hugged Reina. She returned the gesture as he started rocking side to side.
   “You want to head back down to Mexico?” he asked her. It had been four days since the group split into three and went about shutting down locations being used by the Daga Cartel. When they had gotten back together to exchange information, the news of Daga’s twisted torture games with extra-terrestrials bothered Reina so much that she skipped school twice to go to Mexico and administer more pain on the Cartel. Red Sprite urged Reina to stop-not wanting her to go down by herself. Kid Victory eventually order Reina Titán to stop. With the intel they had gathered and shared allowing federal agents on both sides of the border to better monitor the Cartel better, Reina causing chaos would hamper that progress in surveillance.
   Reina Titán, holding her man close answered, “I want bad people to get whats coming to them.”

   “Some of them are just punk gangsters. Had nothing to do with abusing those stranded visitors,” Mr. Monster said.
   “I know. It wasn’t like I was breaking bones left and right. I was just looking around. I have self-control,” she said. Mr. Monster kissed her forehead. Reina then asked him, “You feeling better about your fight?”
   “Yes. Better than Black Dynamo. Tiro Certero got to him. Doesn’t want it to show,” replied Monster.
   “No matter how good you are, someone is better,” Reina said.
   “We really need to spend more time together,” Mr. Monster changed subjects.
   “Summer is on the horizon. Expect sleep overs from me,” Reina smiled after she looked up at him.
   “You think your parents will be comfortable with you spending so much time away from home?” he inquired.
   “Who cares?”
   Monster’s ears piqued and he informed the others, “We got guests.”
   Reina let go of Mr. Monster and turned to face the path their visitors were coming from. Kid Victory and Red Sprite stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the two like the first line of assault. From the path walked the one they collectively called the Big Boss-George Blackwell. He wore a heavy dark coat and stood in front of two men. One Red Sprite recognized as Capt. Everett but the other was unknown. Everett was also in a large coat and was visibly carrying a file under his right arm. The tall, large built black man was most likely a guard for the two important individuals. He wore a suit and carried a suitcase.
   “Hello friends,” Blackwell said extending his hand. Greetings to everyone and a big smile for Mr. Monster, “Great to finally meet you son.”
   “Likewise,” Monster said.
   “This is Capt. Everett,” Blackwell introduce.
   “You might remember me from the USS Wasp during time of the second armada,” he said extending his hand.
   “Yes sir, we do,” Red Sprite said.
   “Nice suitcase,” Blackwell said of the cases sitting on the wood table behind them.
   Mr. Monster retrieved it as Kid Victory explained, “Gold bars from Montalvo himself. You said you wanted us to acquire goods and currency. This should help.”
   Monster opened the case and Blackwell nodded, “That’ll be easier to turn into cash than some of the treasure.”
   “Also some of the gems used to power the robots you have seen,” Red Sprite pointed out.
   “You have anything for us?” Kid Victory asked.
   “A few things,” Blackwell snapped his fingers and the large man came over. He brought over his suitcase and put it down before taking the heavy case with gold bars.
   “You have a strong man there,” Reina Titán observed.
   “Yes. Good man too. That suitcase has the comprehensive identities and documents for SubHuman, Araminta, and Huntsman as well as back up IDs and passports for the three. Plus extra identification for you three,” he pointed to Sprite, Victory and Reina.
   “It also includes a few debit cards for your current crew to help access accounts made. All the information is in there,” Blackwell said.
   “What about cash?” Kid Victory asked.
   “Prefer cash to cards?”
   “I do in this business,” he answered.
   “Kid Victory-so suspicious. Always looking at the angles and checking up on all his contacts and resources, right?” smiled Blackwell. Kid Victory did not respond, wondering if Blackwell knew he had been checking up on his activities.
   “Last Friday of each month in LA a few thousand in cash. Location to be determined by the fine ladies here. First and fifteenth of every month, the accounts will be updated a few thousand. Also-I wanted to give you this,” Blackwell handed Red Sprite a paper and she looked at it.
   “What is this address to?” she asked.
   “An organic co-op. Fresh milk, honey, vegetables and fruits. Good for a growing team. I have had a friend talk with them. Just in case,” Blackwell said.
   “When you say fresh milk you mean raw? That is illegal,” Mr. Monster said.
   “A stupid law made my corrupt people in the FDA. These cases get brought to court but thanks to jury nullification the defendants, while guilty, walk free to continue forth. With this becoming more frequent some states have stepped in to allow people to produce and sell raw milk or real organic foods,” Everett explained.
   “I have read about that. Thank you-this would come in handy,” Red Sprite said.
   “I don’t think the Captain is just here to teach us about Jury Nullification. What’s with the file?” Kid Victory asked.
   “Some names you might be interested in,” he said opening it. “I had originally been attempting to get involved with the US’s superhero division but I was passed up. That has not stopped me from keeping an eye on the project.”
   He showed them a photo of a cream white girl who was lightly freckled and had red headed girl. Mr. Monster knew her instantly and remarked, “I remember her from our skirmish with the Teiwaz.”
   “Yes. ERICA WELLMAN. Kidnapped and brainwashed but currently doing much better. Except that her parents want nothing to do with her now. The military was interested in recruiting her but Erica has little interest in being a soldier,” Everett explained.
   “That doesn’t help us any,” Reina Titán.
   “Maybe you can convince her. You stay pretty much autonomous without much oversight from us. Plus we can provide her with a new identity and that might make her more interested in being a soldier,” Everett said.
   “Where is she right now?” Red Sprite requested.
   “Boarding house in Alabama where they send a few of the teens,” he answered.
   “Anyone at this boarding house that would be better?” asked Reina.
   “A few telepaths but they’re powers make it hard for them to be in crowded areas. Plus the constant migraines. A few other powered individuals like a kid who can turn his hands into steel, a kid who can manipulate his vision form x-ray to night vision to more. A few lesser powers but Erica is the stand out,” Everett said before showing another picture. An ebony girl with a nose piercing, chin length hair black hair graced with a red streak and wore an annoyed expression.
   “This is… ?” Kid Victory asked.
   EARTHA P. DAVIS. Effects the gravity around her. Got picked up after a scuffle happened between her friends and some thug types. Removed from her home as a threat, turned down recruitment, ran from boarding house, been flying around her home of Detroit doing her own thing,” Everett detailed.
   “I like her,” Reina said looking at the picture and handing it to Mr. Monster.
   HUNTER MANLY,” Everett said before adding, “I’m not kidding with that name.”
   Red Sprite studied the picture of the brown haired medium toned white teen with the big smile and a snub nose.
   “What does he do?” she questioned.
   “Hard to explain. Claims he can copy movements or skills. They tested him and while he could mimic fighters after studying them-or even replicate a piece of art-the military was split on if they wanted him. They want power. For them anything less than your Araminta or SubHuman is wait listed. I don’t know if they would ever call him up,” Everett said.
   “These are suggestions since we know you’re filling up your ranks with the spider and the speedster,” Blackwell said.
   “We have a few others we have talked to,” Kid Victory hinted.
   “Does that include the four armed alien staying with you?” Blackwell wondered.
   “No. She will more likely just assist in day to day routines,” Red Sprite said.
   “A maid?” Everett commented.
   “How are the others?” asked Reina.
   “They went to the island. Things are fine. They’ll be set up in housing and work will be provided,” Blackwell said.
   “Anything new on the Daga Cartel?” asked Mr. Monster.
   “Other than Reina Titán scaring the crap outta them-nothing to major to report,” Everett said.
   “DEA have put some people undercover in various states. Mexico has closed a few of their drug warehouses and fronts. The robots are being studied. All in all, it’ll take Montalvo at least half a year to gain half the ground he lost in a couple days,” Blackwell answered.
   “What about Tiro Certero?” asked Kid Victory.
   “Behind bars in Texas and already in control of the Latino gangs,” Blackwell replied before inquiring, “Anything else?”
   The four looked to themselves and replied no. Blackwell then said, “I’ll contact Red Sprite about the cash drops. Good luck building you team.”
   Blackwell, Everett and the third man left.
   “Time to go home,” Mr. Monster said.
   “No. Time to recruit,” Kid Victory corrected him.