Special Delivery – Anders

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.

“That’s odd.”

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.”

Out of Work

“So Andrew, what do you think? Is this a place where you could prosper?” Howard Davis sat across from Andrew. Howard placed the resume in the manilla folder with the other paperwork and closed it.

“Mr. Davis, I would love to work here.” Andrew’s face flushed, his eyes sparkled and all his teeth showed in his smile.

“Good to hear.” Howard stood. “This was your third of three interviews and there was one other candidate. I have to consult with the rest of the team and the background check should be finished shortly.” Howard extended his hand.

Andrew swallowed hard and his eyes darted left then right. Taking the proffered hand, Andrew pumped it with a solid grip twice. “Thank you. I expect to hear from you soon. Tomorrow, I hope.”

“That is a high possibility,” Howard said.

Howard escorted Andrew out of the office and to the receptionist.

Andrew returned his visitor badge and entered his time out on the sheet. He smiled, waved, then left the office.

In the car, Andrew sat still for a few seconds. “YES!” He dragged the smile to it’s widest and pulled both fists up in tight fists. “I can stop being a lackey. Finally. That two years I did, I finished my masters degree and now I have regular job.”

Andrew started the car and drove home. He patted his jacket pocket at random intervals. The hard cased ring box, and it’s contents, were the last vestiges of the money he kept in the box at the back of his closet. After purchasing the car he was driving and fixing up his house, there wasn’t much left, but he knew what he wanted.

Arriving at his house, Andrew saw the message light blink. Opening a beer he tapped the voicemail button.

“Andy! It’s Roy. Job. Call me.”

“Yeah, Roy. I’ll get right on that.” Andrew pulled three heavy swallows from his beer and walked through his house. The smell of new paint and construction lingered from two months ago. He nodded as he looked at the pictures, furniture, and other decorations he put up.

Andrew finished his beer, burped, then snatched the phone from it’s cradle. A quick press of the buttons and he placed the phone to his ear. “Roy, it’s Andy.”

“Good. You’re the first to call me back.” Roy paused a few seconds. “Wreck is setting up preliminaries. He has a major gig in four months. The preliminaries are…well, preliminaries. You know what that means.”

Andrew sighed. “Yeah, Roy. I do.”

“Are you up?”

“No. I have a new line.”

“Oh, really? Big time?”

“No. Steady.”

“Steady? What the hell does that mean?” The speaker emitted Roy’s voice at a higher volume.

“Steady. Regular. Normal.” Andrew punctuated each word. “I’m out. Out of all of it. I did my time, I’m done.”

“You have got to be kidding me?” Roy’s voice carried the laugh he was famous for.

“Nope.”

“You’ll get bored. When you do, call me.”

“Fine. Thanks for understanding.”

“Yeah. Good luck, man. Honestly.” The line went silent.

Andrew put the phone back in the cradle. “Honestly? From a thief? I don’t think so, Roy.”

***

The next morning, Andrew went to the gym. This was a habit he developed in prison. He enjoyed how he felt with the physical exercise and just kept at it.

Nine-thirty his phone rang. On the second ring, he saw the name, Ianthe Chemical.

Snatching the phone and pressing the talk button, Andrew answered in a clear voice. “Hello? Andrew Samson speaking.”

“Andrew. This is Howard Davis. I have good news.”

***

Andrew tossed the phone to his sofa.

“YES!” He jumped and slapped both palms on the ceiling. “About time!” He skipped about his house and continued to celebrate.

Calmness covered him and he set about to organize for his first day. He set up a clothes hanger with a button-down shirt, put a grey suit next to it and laid a navy tie over it. He checked his shoes and touched up the polish.

“Now, I have to find something to do for the next four days.”

***

Saturday afternoon and Andrew picked up his phone. He called his long-term girlfriend. “Soon, it won’t be girlfriend.”

“Hello handsome!” A woman’s lilting voice sounded over the phone.

“Wendy! Lunch. One o’clock. I’ll pick you up.”

“Andy? Wow! Sure. I’ll be ready.”

“Excellent. I’ll be there.”

“I love you.”

“I know. Cause I love you, too.” He hung up.

“Now to get ready.” Andrew darted to his room.

***

Andrew mowed his lawn, cleaned his car, and showered. He checked and rechecked the ring box. Before leaving to pick up Wendy, Andrew called the restaurant to check on his reservations. They were for one o’clock and everything was ready.

Wendy jerked the door opened. Her outfit was perfect and her hair defied gravity.

“You look amazing, Wendy.” Andrew reached for her hand.

“Where are we going?” Wendy closed her door as Andrew pulled her along.

“You’ll see.” He winked at her as she sat in the passenger side. He patted the ring box again and drove off.

The restaurant was a fifteen-minute drive and Andrew couldn’t keep the smile from his face. This smile was contagious and Wendy followed suit.

Pulling into the parking lot, Wendy gasped, “Andy! How did you? What is this?” She slowly exited the car, Andrew holding her hand as she wobbled to her feet.

“I got this.”

The couple walked in to the restaurant. “Yes, Andrew Samson. Reservation at one.”

The Matre’d jerked to a stiffer position. “Ah, yes, Mr. Samson. Right this way.” He led the way to a place off the side of the main dining room. A small table with a setting for two.

Andrew held the chair for Wendy, who sat.

“Enjoy.” The Matre’d walked off.

“Andrew, this is unexpected.” Wendy glanced around, her eyes wide, her mouth open, and her cheeks flushed. “What is going on?”

“Simple,” Andrew said, sitting down. “I have a job.”

Wendy looked at Andrew. The smile vanished and her eyes narrowed. “A job?” The words were slow and deliberate. She cocked her head to one side.

“Yes, Wendy,” Andrew answered. He snapped his napkin out and laid it in his lap. “A job. A nine-to-five, honest to God, real job.”

Wendy’s eyes flashed open and her mouth followed suit. The smile crept back on her face and she inhaled, covering her mouth with her fingers.

“That’s right, Wendy. I start on Monday. I will be a Lab Technician at Ianthe Chemical.” Andrew picked up his class of water and sipped it.

“Andy! Thats…thats…thats…Oh. My. God.”

“I know,” Andrew cracked a smile and held back from laughing out loud. “I wanted to celebrate and break the news to you. I will spend the very last bit of my special money on this, so I wanted to go out with a bang.”

“And what a bang it is.” Wendy kept looking at Andrew. Even when the server showed up with plates of food instead of menus. She caught herself three bites into her dish when she realized what was happening.

“I know you and ordered ahead of time.” Andrew winked at her. “Plus, it adds to the surprise.”

The heat from Wendy’s face could be felt across the table.

***

A few minutes of eating passed, and the server came and removed the plates. Another server came behind the first and deposited a bottle of champagne and two fluted glasses.

“What is this?” Wendy stared wide eyed at Andrew.

“I think you know what this is.” Andrew pulled the ring box out of his pocket but kept it out of sight. “We have been together for several years. You have stood by me through the worst times, and now I want you there for the best times.”

Andrew slid from his chair and knelt beside Wendy. Presenting the ring box, he pulled the lid open. The ring was elegant, with a tasteful setting that bordered on the size of a thumbnail.

“Wendy, will you marry me?”

Wendy gasped and covered her face with both hands. The wait staff and the few patrons within three tables of the proposal stopped what they were doing. Andrew’s ear rang with silence as he stared at the gently sobbing woman in front of him.

“Yes!”

Wendy gripped her left hand with her right in an attempt to keep it from shaking. Andrew placed the ring on Wendy’s finger, kissed it, then kissed her.

The waitstaff and patrons of the restaurant applauded loudly. A few even cheered.

Andrew stood and waved, his face beaming.

***

On the drive home, Wendy asked, “This job at Ianthe Chemical, did they do a background check on you? You have a record.”

“I held nothing back,” Andrew answered. “It never came up on the interview. The application had the block, and I filled it in.”

“Wow!” Wendy stared at the engagement ring.

“I see this as a good omen, and I want it to work.” Andrew drove the route home. “The salary is better than I had hoped. There is a minimal commute, and they have amazing benefits.”

“You really have done your homework on this.” Wendy gazed at Andrew as he drove them to his house.

“Yes. I told you I wanted to go legit and have a regular life. No more henchmen or villain work for me.”

“Good.” Wendy smiled. “I don’t think I could take six months, let alone another two years.”

***

Sunday was a pleasant day for Andrew. He had made room in his house for Wendy and they both casually moved some of her stuff in. The discussed how to arrange the furniture and what kind of cooking equipment they would need, then the topic of kids was broached.

Andrew wanted two, Wendy wanted more. They agreed on three.

***

Monday morning came and Andrew woke to his alarm. He moved with practiced quiet as he departed for the gym. An hour later, he came home and got ready for work.

Wendy packed his lunch and ate breakfast with him.

A peck on the cheek and Andrew left for work.

Howard Davis greeted him in the lobby and handed him his work id card. Andrew filled out the HR forms and was directed to his workspace.

Around ten-thirty, while he was reviewing the research for his newly assigned project, Howard came in.

“Andy. It’s good to see you fitting in.” Howard checked on a few of the benches and talked to the other lab techs that were working.

“How is that bio-bond spray coming along, Davis?”

Andrew looked up. An older man walked in. His bearing was that of an experienced manager, and his build was solid. The suit he wore was tailored and displayed not only style, but strength.

The dark classes and the facial hair looked familiar to Andrew.

“Mr. Henderson.” Howard moved over to the new man. “Yes, the project is coming along nicely. We are experiencing some issues with the deployment device, it doesn’t hold more than two doses.”

“Perhaps a replaceable cartridge, then.” Mr. Henderson extended his arm and flexed his fist down. He moved his arm back and forth in front of him. “Like a handgun. Press a button and the spent one is ejected and I can slap in a new one.”

After hearing the man talk, seeing him move, and a good look at this face, Andrew recognized him. Dr. Graves. The arch-villain and nemesis to the super hero group, Shining Vengeance.

“That sounds like a great idea. I’ll get R&D on that ASAP.” Howard pounded on the table.

“You do that. I have other projects to check on.” Mr. Henderson whirled and left in the same hurried fashion he arrived.

“Excuse me, Mr. Davis?” Andrew stood and walked towards Howard. “Isn’t that Dr. Graves, the super villain?”

“Andrew, you, of all people, should know the value of code names. That was Mr. Henderson. He is one of our benefactors and board members.”

“But this is a respectable business. How can we make devices that someone like Mr. Henderson would use?”

“Andrew, Ianthe Chemical is a legitimate business. We make many things that the common person uses and buys.” Howard shifted to face Andrew squarely. “We also make other things that other people use and they pay us too. In fact they pay us more. Is this going to be a problem?”

Special Deliver – Malcolm (Final)

Part 1 & Part 2

“Mom ain’t here now, is she?” Malcolm stared up at the man.

“That’s not funny and you know it.” Green clad man’s chest moved in and out as he breathed. “I did what I could.”

“Which was lacking, as always.” Malcolm sneered as he slid his hands back on his arm rests.

“Just like when we were kids. You had to be the best.”

“Didn’t have to be, just was.” Malcolm leaned forward. “I worked at it. It wasn’t easy.”

“Well, ladeedah. Poor little crippled man had a hard life.”

“You put me in this chair when you did what you did.”

The green costumed man cleared the distance between them in half an eye-blink.

A blur of green punches rained down on Malcolm, as he met each one with an arm. His other hand moving to unbuckle him from the seat. The opening was but a thought, but Malcolm took it and nailed a punch to green costume’s mid section. Green clad man doubled over and staggered back several  paces.

Malcolm yanked on his arm rests. The devices extended with one end encircling his forearms, and a grip in each hand. Malcolm poked at the ground as he tottered a few steps.

“Well now,” the green man said. “You aren’t relegated strictly to that chair.”

“Never have been,” Malcolm replied. “You would know this if you hung around.” Malcolm shifted so that he had one crutch forward and one back. He splayed his legs, as best as he could.

“Do they work?” The green man pointed at Malcolm’s legs.

“I can move them, but not walk on them.” Malcolm looked at the green man in the goggles. “Everything else still functions. Thanks for not taking that from me.”

“I take it the gymnastics helped with the moving?” The green man looked at the ground around both of them and hunched his shoulders.

“You bet. In more ways then one.”

“Good.” The green man dashed to get around Malcolm.

Malcolm manipulated to intercede.

The green man juked the other direction, but Malcolm cut him off.

“I gotta get Vanguard Malcolm.”

“I gotta get Vanguard out of here Mitchell.”

“Don’t make me do this.”

“Like before? Did I make you do that, too?”

“Fuck you.”

Mitchell kicked at Malcolm. Malcolm intercepted with a crutch. Mitchell adjusted his target and swept both crutches out.

Malcolm dove for the ground, and rolled with the impact and erected himself with his crutches again.

“You’ve gotten faster,” Mitchell said. “Impressive.”

“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Malcolm tottered forward and splayed his legs.

Mitchell sent out a punch that was nothing more than a blur.

Malcolm windmilled a leg, deflecting the punch. His other leg followed and clipped Mitchell on the side of the head. A quick flick of his crutch and Malcolm tagged Mitchell in the lower leg. Mitchell attempted a counter, but was blocked by Malcolm’s other crutch. Malcolm followed through with three more hits, two with legs and one with a crutch.

“Shit!” Mitchell staggered back, spitting blood from his mouth. “What the hell was that?”

“Thomas Flair.” Malcolm winked and smirked. “I did warn you.”

Mitchell darted forward, leading with his head.

Malcolm planted both crutches and swung both feet up.

The crack of the connection resonated in the warehouse.

Malcolm continued with his flip, pulling one crutch around with him. Mitchell went over backwards as well, completing three revolutions and landed on his face.

Malcolm leaned down and checked on his brother. He found a pulse and rolled the man over. Mitchell had a fat lip and a broken nose.

“Sorry, bro. But, duty calls.”

Malcolm moved back to his wheelchair and put his crutches back to the armrests.

A quick check on Vanguard showed he was still in the same condition. Malcolm turned for the stairs he used to get to the second floor. A few slow pumps and he was moving steady.

“Not so fast, Malcolm.”

Dam it! I forgot about the metabolism.

Malcolm turned to see Mitchell get to his feet.

“I can’t out fight you, but I can make it so you can’t get out.” Mitchell tossed a small device past Malcolm. It bounced once, then exploded. The stairs disappeared in the blink of an eye.

“Dam it, Mitchell!” Malcolm turned again and put more into his wheels. Heading for a wall, Malcolm pushed one of the side levers down five clicks and the other side to one click. Malcolm put three more pumps into his wheels, gaining speed quickly. He then slammed the release for the skids. Both hit the floor at the same time. Instead of launching directly into the air, the wheelchair canted as it left the floor. Malcolm leaned, adding to the torque to turn his wheelchair sideways, and pumped the wheels.

Both tires bit into the wall and Malcolm careened into an arc towards the first floor.

“That is impressive, Malcolm.” Mitchell kept his voice so that only he could hear. “You always did think faster than anyone I knew.”

Malcolm slammed his back into the seat, causing it to lurch to the floor and horizontal. A steady flow of arm circles  and Malcolm pushed for the opening he made earlier.

The wheelchair flew over the dock and towards the gap.

The thap-thaps were the only noise that gave Mitchell’s location away.

“I told you Malcolm, I need to get Vanguard.” Mitchell’s legs and arms were a green blur as he ran beside Malcolm.

“And I told you Mitchell, I am taking him to a hospital.” Malcolm moved a hand to grab something in the seat area.

“You are going to have to stop me, Mac.”

“I know, Mitch.” Malcolm pumped his wheels and leaned forward. “I am sorry, but this is going to hurt. A lot.”

Malcolm pushed the levers on both sides of his chair to the fullest, twelve clicks. He then slammed both hands on the release buttons. The wheelchair launched into the air. Malcolm twisted and flung his left hand out. The device he had zoomed towards Mitchell.

The device expanded into two small spheres with a thin cable connecting them. It entwined first one leg then the other. Mitchell legs stopped moving, his arms shot out behind him, and his torso crashed into the dock. The force was enough that Mitchell bounced, first over the gap, then again, and finally slid to a stop.

Malcolm’s wheelchair slammed into the ground and bounced a few times, but didn’t overturn.

“Note to self, never do that again with a patient on board.” Malcolm turned to check on his passenger. Aside from some jostling, Vanguard was still stable.

The journey to the hospital wasn’t far. Malcolm skidded to a stop in the ambulance area where attendants and doctors scrambled to get Vanguard into the ER.

***

Malcolm rolled into the deployment pad. A few technicians checked in on him and he let them know he did not need assistance.

In the elevator, Malcolm pressed the seven button and rode it in silence. At his desk, Malcolm filled out his report, leaving the interaction with Mitchell out of it.

I can’t keep doing this Mitch.

Submitting the report, Malcolm went to the break room to eat his lunch. As he finished eating, his cellphone chirped.

Mac,

Thanks for not ratting me out to the cops. I was hired to deal with Vanguard today, it wasn’t personal. I know this is something you don’t understand, or at least condone. I also hope you understand why I am how I am. Living in your shadow and all that.

Thanks again, and I hope to see you on Thanksgiving.

Mitchell.

Malcolm shook his head.

You idiot. There never was a shadow. We are twins. You are the older one by seven minutes. Dumb ass.

Special Delivery – Malcolm (Part 2)

Part 1

Malcolm zigged and zagged around the slower vehicles and through four intersections, gaining speed as he went. His gloves let out wisps of smoke as he made a ninety degree turn and zeroed on the ship yards.

Malcom’s wheelchair shifted to a compressed position as he cleared the first mile, making it easier for him to maneuver and giving him more speed. The security shack at the dock had their traffic arm down, and Malcolm leaned his head to his knees as he zipped under the arm, startling the guard.

It took Malcolm a few turns to line up with the dock where Vanguard was located. A slippery grip and Malcolm’s chair slowed to thirty miles per hour. Squinting in the distance, he made out a section of missing dock. Malcolm pressed the levers on both sides of his chair two clicks, then waited until he was closer.

Just has he saw the leading edge of the gap, he pressed the release on his arm rest. Two skids below his wheelchair catapulted Malcolm into the air and his momentum carried him forward, over the sizable gap.

With a heavy slam, Malcolm and chair landed and kept rolling. A quick stroke of the wheels kept his speed.

Malcolm gritted his teeth and put his chin down an instant before he smashed through the double doors blocking his path.

Malcolm slowed to a stop and checked his wrist panel. “Hmmm…Almost there. On the second floor. Where is that ramp?”

Turning his head Malcolm found something close. He pushed at a good clip and aimed for the stairs. They were a straight run and tight. Tapping a button his an arm rest, Malcolm’s chair adjusted to an upright position. Moving with precision, the EMT pressed the levers again this time, seven clicks, and activated them just inches away from the first stair.

The skids sent Malcolm up and nearly to the top stair. With his arms a red blur, making his spokes a silver platter, Malcolm leaned back and let his tires do the work. They gripped the wooden surface of the steps and kept him moving the last four bumps to the landing.

“Made it!” Malcolm checked his wrist panel and saw the indicator for Vanguard. “Over there.” The speedy EMT rolled to a shape on the ground.

“Vanguard. I am EMT Forsyth and I am here to take you to a medical facility. Are you conscious?” A moan escaped the prone form as it rolled over.

Vanguard had bruises over his lower face, a gash across his chest, and his leg was bent at an odd angle.

Malcolm tapped the button on the side of his helmet. “This is EMT Forsyth. I am at Vanguard’s location. He has abrasion and an open wound along with a possible compound fracture of the leg. Beginning transport.”

Malcolm wheeled closer to the form. He turned around in his chair and opened several straps. He pulled two rigid boards and connected them. Next he unbuckled from his chair and flopped to the ground where he slid the board under his patient.

Malcolm crawled to his wheelchair and pulled three straps from the back and ran them under the board and connected them back to the chair. Squirming back into his seat, Malcolm tapped a button and the straps pulled Vanguard in closer, then vertical. Next Vanguard was attached to the wheelchair and secured in a standing position.

“Well, isn’t that a nice invention Mag Wheels?”

Malcolm’s head jerked in the direction of the voice. He spotted the dark green clad person easily.

“I’m an EMT doing my job. I don’t want trouble.” Malcolm clenched his teeth and gripped his arm rests causing his leather gloves to make a noise.

“Ahhh…Poor Mag Wheels doesn’t want trouble.” The green costumed man stepped closer. His dark goggles stared at Malcolm. “Too bad Mag Wheels. Trouble has found you.” The approaching man cracked his knuckles.

“You ain’t trouble Sprints. Never were, never will be.” Malcolm smirked and made a dismissive noise.

The green wearing man stomped a foot forward, put a deep frown on his face, and thrust a finger at the sitting EMT. “Mom said you aren’t supposed to call me that anymore!”