Part 5

by CM Towns

   Inside the training room Erica, Araminta, Eartha and Arturo stood at the ready. None wearing their costumes but in black training uniforms. Erica had a back up water pack strapped on while Araminta had her sword at the ready and Arturo was holding a short staff that had a button that once clicked turned it into a two sectioned staff. A two section staff is a flail weapon with the staff end and a small flail end connected by a chain. Arturo wanted a weapon like Kid Victory’s stun gun but Antoine wanted him to train with this instead. Arturo was not happy with his weapon compared to the others. Kid Victory had two clubs that became a staff, Bravado now had an extending staff he didn’t really use and now SubHuman carried a baseball bat.
   The ladies with weapons at least have blades, he thought.
   “Okay, we’re starting,” Frank said over the PA.
   A part of the wall opened up and robot started marching forward. Araminta took command and said, “Erica, you’re up.”

   Erica raised her hand, summoned a whip of water and tripped the robot. She then created a ball of water, building it large, but the robot fired a blast at Erica’s chest. Erica stumbled before she went down and was drenched her water sphere. She cussed a bit about it.
   Arturo ran forward, zigged and zagged before leaping and catching a back hand for his trouble. The bearded dragon he recently adopted, and brought to was only giving Arturo a higher jump than he would normally be able to do. He would have been better using an ant as a base for his powers because of the strength. Of course scientifically it should be impossible for him as ants strength is in scaling but thankfully magic does not believe in science and shifts conditions to allow him that type of power.
   Eartha took her shot at the robot, using her gravity control powers to toss it across the room and hard into the wall, breaking it.
   “That was weak,” she commented.
   “So my powers don’t have much use against robots with water resistance. Great,” Erica said.
   “At least you can hit them. I got to hope for a bird or hippo,” Arturo said annoyed.
   “C’mon guys. That is what this is all about. Not just using our powers but our fighting techniques and team work,” Araminta said.
   “Oh please, that’s garbage,” Erica snapped.
   “Erica, its just training. No need to get snippy. Besides, from what April said you had fire when you fought the Teiwaz,” Araminta said.
   “Snippy?” Erica responded, ignoring the compliment about her work in France.
   “Got a trio this time,” Frank announced over the system. Three robots walked out from the same entrance way.
   “Okay, Erica, Arturo and myself will be the lead attackers,” Araminta stated.
   “What about me?” Eartha asked.
   “You’ll chip in when you see the right opportunity,” Araminta said before telling Erica, “Keep to your water whips.”
   Erica released the liquid from the hoses and held them in the whip formation, swinging them above head before lashing out. She knocked two back and one to the floor. Arturo hit one enemy in the chest with the long part of the two section staff before using the flail side, swinging that part across the jaw of one robot. Araminta dropped one robot through one of her witches circle portal. The robot reappeared near the top of the training room and as it feel Eartha used her abilities to stop it in the air then hurled it head first into the wall.
   One of the robots started firing and Araminta stepped ahead and shielded the team. Arturo took a big leap over the shield, dropped the large section of the staff into the head of the attacking robot. Araminta moved in, using the sword to cut the head off of the other robot. This left the one robot who Arturo was still wailing on. Eartha pulled him off the ground and threw him into a wall hard.
   “Thats your go to move?” Erica asked.
   “If it works why stop?”
   “That one was good,” Araminta said.
   “It was alright,” Arturo said.
   “Erica need to put more effort into it,” Erica commented.
   “Blah blah blah,” Erica replied.
   “Okay team we got-” Frank stopped and said, “It’s time to meet in the Ops Room.
   “Great, now we get to hear more about our enemies,” Erica commented.
   “Do you ever stop bitching?” Eartha said.
   “Bite me.”
   “I’ll punch you instead hows that?” Eartha snapped back.
   “Stop it the both of you,” Araminta said before calming down and saying, “Let’s go see whats up.”
   The four shuffled out of the room and just a few yards into Ops Room #2. The smaller of the two rooms where Aamil and April were working. Frank came in behind them with Aprils cat, Supreme Overlord, in hand. He let the cat loose on the ground who made its way to April who snatched her up. Everyone took seats at various computer terminals.
   “So what do we got?” Frank asked.
   “The Hub and ourselves looked through the information in Wisconsin and matched it to similar attacks on banks, law firms, factories and corporations in Minnesota and Iowa. Except in those cases there was only three individuals and nothing about a superhuman with magnetic abilities or one having control over fire,” Aamil said.
   “Its possible that someone has magics for both ice and fire,” April added.
   “A report in Wisconsin suggested that one of the assailants was hit with a laser blast from an SHRT member. It rocked him and seemingly had no effect. He shot back with a laser blast of his own,” Aamil told them.
   “So we got some ideas of powers and they might be recruiting,” Frank stated.
   “That’s not good,” Araminta said.
   “How many dead or injured total?” Frank asked.
   “If we account for every case and suspected case, a bit over twenty dead. Mostly police but some people caught in the crossfire of their actions,” April said.
   “Have they said anything else?” Eartha questioned.
   “Some second hand comments and camera phone footage mostly. A few official videos. They must have decided that they are ready for the limelight. Still its all simple minded anarchists rhetoric about destroying the system,” Aamil said.
   Frank shook his head. “Anything else? Like how the cops haven’t been able to track them?”
   “No,” Aamil answered.
   “Well-there are a couple reports of weird things happening on a chase. A slight earthquake here or just disappearing into a house. They go in and when the SHRT go in after them their gone with no trace. Once, during a night attack on a retail outlet a mist actually helped give them cover for an escape,” April told them.
   “A fifth member, one who covers their escape routes using magic. Four to attack, one on the outside,” Araminta said.
   “That’s what we think but so far nothing solid,” said April.
   “So whats the plan?” Erica inquired.
   “The plan, as of now, is to expand the search even further. Someone recruited these superhumans,” answered Aamil.
   “You don’t think just met up one day day and decided to do this?” asked Arturo.
   “No. We’re looking for reports in the US or abroad that deal with magnetism, fire and ice, or reflective blasts. Similar patterns of attack maybe,” April said.
   “What about the fourth member?” Eartha asked before continuing, “We got a Magneto, we are assuming our ice person is also our fire person and then we know one hits back after getting shocked. Other than our unconfirmed wizard that leaves one more person on the team.”
   “There was a few bits about a origami ninja stars. It pops up a few times,” Aamil said.
   “I thought my powers sucked. Making paper into a blade. No-thats actually kind of cool I take it back,” Arturo said.
   “Is there any sort of pattern to their attacks. The time between or how they hit their targets?” Frank asked.
   “No. We have an idea of targets but not exactly why. We assume based on history of corruption and scandal but that gives even more targets. No pattern to timing either,” responded Aamil.
   “As for movement, nothing we can discern,” added April.
   “Well, we can write this up and take it to the bosses or do you really think we need more?” Frank asked.
   “I think it would be better to do a little more research and prep work. Training will show them we’re already planning for this in all possible ways,” Aamil said.
   “More research before we go galloping against a bunch of bad guys? I’m all for that idea,” Erica agreed.
   “You just don’t want to get into a fight,” Eartha said to her.
   “Of course I don’t. Why does anyone want to get into a fight?” Erica replied.
   “What do you think Frank?” Araminta asked.
   “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try and dig up some more intel. Plus if we’re going to go forward without our trinity Elijah and Reed should be clued in,” answered Frank.
   “Excellent,” Aamil said.
   “So whose up for some video games?” Frank asked. Arturo was loudly supportive and Araminta wanted to be included.
   “I’ll start dinner,” Eartha said as Erica walked past her.
   “I’ll stay here, work on some other stuff,” Aamil said.
   “You sure?” April asked.
   “Yes. Call me when dinners ready,” he said.
   “Okay,” and April went off to follow her man and the others.
   Aamil watched them go before looking back at the large screen. he took a seat, crackled his knuckles and began typing quickly.