Anders Brady walked into the control room. Logging into his workstation, he sat back and watched as his monitors populated with his assignments for the overnight shift. A quick perusal of his email didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary. He enjoyed the overnight shift for this reason. There was rarely any group celebrating anything. The six other workers on the overnight shift with him all had the same disposition, put your head down and get your work done. Make your numbers and the boss was happy.
The four quadrants of Anders’ medical monitor populated and the list of clients appeared center screen. For that evening he had Mechanoid, Fisticuffs, Lilliputian, and one labeled Client 48.
Anders clicked on the name and generic bust that represented Client 48. He read the list of vitals, the allergy to peanuts, and other medical stats. Everything was populated with standard information, like any other client. This one had no picture or name.
“Perhaps a new client and is going through the importing process.”
Anders clicked on the additional information tab. Client 48 was a gold level client and had been such for the past seven years.
“That answers that one, he isn’t new.”
Most of Anders’ teammates were on a different floor, except Charles Zawisk. Anders’ tapped a few controls on his screen and his wrist panel lit up. He walked over to the darkened corner where Charles sat.
“Chuckles, I have an unusual client name.”
“Yeah?” Charles stared at his monitor, the light making him appear haunted and sunken eyed. “Weirder than Octopus-Lad?”
“Probably.” Anders stopped walking and leaned on the low wall. “Mine is called Client 48.”
Charles grunted. “Maybe they’re new and still getting imported.”
“No, I checked,” Anders answered. “He has been a gold client for seven years.”
“Gold you say?” Charles shifted his eyes from the monitor to Anders. “Maybe he paid to keep his name super secret. There have been a few clients that have that privilege.”
“That doesn’t make sense.” Anders shifted to an upright posture. “We are medical professionals and need to know his name. At least his hero name.”
“Wait, that is his hero name?” Charles looked Anders in the face. “That is odd. You win.”
Charles handed a small three inch trophy over to Anders. The shape was of a cup and said weird on the side of it.
“Uh..Thanks.” Anders took the small token. “But that doesn’t help me. Who is it?”
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Charles jerked his head to his monitors. “Not me.”
“Mine.” Anders looked wide eyed at his wrist panel. “And I am about to find out who this guy is.”
“It’s him? Sweet.” Charles chuckled then straightened his face. “I don’t mean sweet, cause he is hurt…Oh you know what I mean.”
Anders smiled back and waved as he moved to the launch pad.
“EMT Two Anders Brady exiting to retrieve Client 48.”
The doors open as he approached and the exterior lights blazed to life as he crested the door. Anders took one step, and his body grew. Arm and leg muscles enlarged. On Anders’ next step his torso grew in proportion to his appendages, and hair began to poke out of his uniform neck, sleeves, and waist band. As his third step completed, Anders’ face morphed into that of a large ape. On his fourth step, Anders jumped.
Anders cleared the street to the next building. He gripped the horizontal bar the EMT company put there for him. A quick spin and Anders launched, clearing three buildings. From there, Anders built up momentum and tracked to where his client was located.
The wrist panel indicated that Client 48 was conscious and still moving, but heavily wounded and would need medical attention.
As he approached closer to his destination, Anders shifted to bounce off one building, then another, and finally on the ground. He followed the map his wrist panel laid out for him and turned into the parking garage.
A quick vault over the booth and Anders craned his head to find his client. The bright red light was probably the best location.
Anders gripped the support structure and veered around the corner. He spotted Rampart and slid to a stop. “Rampart, I am EMT Brady? I am here to retrieve a client. Are you injured?”
Rampart pointed his hand at the direction he fired earlier. “Nope. Murk never laid a hand on me. If he did, you might be picking me up.”
Anders looked at his wrist panel. The red dot blinked and was off to the side, in the direction that Rampart fired.
“No way.” Anders looked in the direction and slowly shook his head.
“What?” Rampart approached Anders and glanced at the wrist panel. “Don’t tell me you’re here to pick up Murk.”
“Well, I don’t know his name. He is listed as Client 48.”
Rampart moved between the downed form and Anders, “I can’t let you go over there. Not until the cops arrive.”
Anders held up his wrist panel. “I have him in critical condition. He will die unless I do something.”
Rampart looked at Anders, then over his shoulder at the lump, then back at Anders. “Fine. You can keep him from dying. But you can’t take him anywhere.”
Anders approached the downed form. A quick glance at his wrist panel confirmed what he suspected. The number four killer in the super community was his Client 48. Anders licked his ape-like lips and reached for a pulse. Murk still had one.
Turning on his belt light, Anders saw numerous contusions and some blood on the outside of Murk’s costume. He also noted that Murk’s left arm had a compound fracture. Anders ran his highly skilled though very large hands over other parts of Murk’s body. He felt broken ribs and spotted the blood coming from Murk’s ears.
“This is EMT Brady on location with Client 48. Client is unresponsive and has massive internal injuries that will require medical attention.”
Anders heard the response come back into his earbud, “Understood, EMT. We have telemetry with your readouts. It is advised you transport Client 48 to the ICU at the nearest facility indicated on your map.”
Anders turned his head and looked at Rampart, “I hear you. However, that might not be a possibility. Client 48 is -”
“We understand who Client 48 is. Get your patient to the hospital. NOW!”
Anders’ throat tightened. He looked at his patient, then back at Rampart.
“I said you ain’t takin’ him.” Rampart advanced and raised both glowing hands towards Anders.
Moving with speed not expected from his sized Anders snatched Murk in a scoop grab, tapped a button on his belt making the forcefield snap into place, and bolted through the small opening to the side of Rampart.
Rampart demonstrated his experience by splaying his arms to their fullest, moved to cover the gap and let loose with blasts from both hands.
The bolts from Rampart’s hands pelted Anders’ forcefield. The gap closed and Anders was forced to swat at the hero to keep from getting blasted into a wall.
Rampart was sent sprawling across the pavement colliding into three parked cars, leaving them dented.
Anders took advantage of the made opportunity and galloped down the open ramp with his ward safely tucked like a football in the crook of his arm. Clearing the parking garage, Anders grabbed the large threshold and hoisted himself into a back flip and across the road. Planting both feet on a balcony, he pushed to the roof and somersaulted the distance to the other side.
Rampart, scrambled to his feet, shaking the cobwebs from his head. After two quick steps, he took to the air and exited the parking garage through an opening on this level. Looking around, he saw the hairy form of the EMT clear the balcony and land on the roof across the street. A quick arc of his back sent Rampart in that direction.
After clearing the next building Anders took a quick peek at this wrist panel. The map showed the closest hospital three blocks away. “I just got to get there.” He checked his patient’s readouts and felt a thready pulse. “Hang on Murk.”
The roof he leaped from ricocheted a blast. Jerking his head around, Anders saw Rampart flying for him, both arms extended with ruby red glowing fists at the ends.
Rampart flexed his elbows as he blasted the loping ape.
Anders shifted mid flight and twisted around the blood-red bolt as it sped by.
“This is EMT Brady. I need help. Rampart is firing at me and my patient.”
“Help is on the way. Hold it together.”
“What ever you say.”
Anders snagged a ledge and changed directions.
Rampart let his power build in his hands.
A shadow passed over Anders and descended between Rampart and himself.
“It’s over Frank! Stop.”
Rampart pulled to a hovering stop and let his power dissipate.
“Damn it Dave! Murk is getting away!” Rampart pointed past the hero everyone knew on sight. Paladin hovered in place between Rampart and Anders, arms crossed, cape fluttering and a scowl chiseled on his face.
“I don’t care.” Paladin gave no indication he moved, but he appeared within arms reach of Rampart during that black part of an eye blink. “Murk is next to dying, and you put him there. That’s not why I am here. I am here because you are hindering an EMT from doing his job. Then there is the property damage you caused on your way here, not to mention during your battle. Let it go. Now!”
Anders landed at the ambulance entrance. He was greeted by medical staff with a gurney. After placing his patient on the bed, he turned to leave. A person in a suit with a clipboard out called, “Wait! We need your name.”
“I would rather not.” Anders said as he transformed to his human appearance.
“But it is procedure and required by law.”
A heavy sigh exited Anders mouth. “Anders Brady. EMT for Special Delivery.” The suited individual scribbled the information down. “If that is all.”
The suit nodded and Anders walked away, holding his head low.
Back at the office, Anders walked into the main lobby. Three people were there waiting for him. One he recognized right away, Amanda Charles, the overnight supervisor. “Anders, we need a moment,” Amanda waved him over.
“Fine,” Anders sighed as he walked over.
“I understand that you are not happy at what happened.”
“Understand? I don’t think you do.” Anders visibly restrained his rage.
“I have had to transport some unsavory clients before.”
“Neat. I understand it is part of the job, I get that.”
“Besides, you get the bounty on his head for capture. It is a nice chunk of change.”
“You have no idea who that was do you?”
“Yes I do. Client 48 is Murk. He is a killer and is responsible for numerous murders and other random deaths of normals as well as supers the world over.”
“Nope. I figured you didn’t. He also killed my parents. Strode into their lab and just blasted them because they didn’t move fast enough.” Tears fell from Anders eyes. His whole body trembled with fear, anger, and frustration. “And I had to save him.”