Anders Brady switched from his large gorilla form to his human appearance. Once in the locker room, he stripped his uniform off and covered himself with a towel. After grabbing his shower kit, he picked up his bottle of body wash. The feel and heft of the bottle was off, and he looked at it. A very different label read Homer’s flea & tick shampoo.
“Hilarious. Just so funny,” Anders said while rolling his eyes. Shaking his head, he tossed the bottle into the nearby garbage can, then reached for the real body wash.
Twenty-five minutes later, Anders walked out of the locker room.
Amanda Charles waved him over. With a heavy sigh, Anders detoured in her direction. “Good job on the Fisticuffs call, earlier. He said you were fast and thorough.”
A corner of Anders mouth twitched. “Yeah, well, I am a professional.”
Amanda cocked a hip, lowered her clipboard, and tilted her head. “Look. You know-”
“Drop it,” Anders held up a hand. “I get it. My report needs to be filed and my shift isn’t complete.” Without waiting for a response, he turned on his heels and headed to his workstation.
Anders took several deep breaths before sitting down.
Logging in, his monitor flashed three names. Boulder, Xanx, and Damsel. Each name associated with a series of vitals, all within normal range. Following his normal routine he checked their locations and plotted potential paths to them.
While munching on his lunch, Anders read his email then filed his report for the Fisticuffs call. Checking on the vitals, he saw Boulder’s change, but not enough to warrant him paying a visit. Xanx’s vitals changed and stayed at the new level for over ten minutes, then lowered to normal.
Damsel’s vitals spiked. At the first beep, Anders had the map up and plotted the route. On the second beep, he switched over to his wrist panel and headed for the flyer’s launch area. At the long steady tone Anders called out, “EMT First Class Anders Brady responding to Damsel call.”
The tingle started in his gut then spread out. Hair sprouted over his body and his uniform stretched to fit his adjusted form. Anders’ arms became the size of tree trunks, his legs doubled that of his arms, and his face morphed to that of a large gorilla. He planted his two shovel sized hands on the pavement and pushed off.
With two loping strides, Anders leaped the distance to the next building. With this motion he cleared the four lane road fifteen stories below. His hands gripped the bar placed there for him and spun around it once before launching over to another building. Bounding off the side of the third building, Anders cleared a block and kept going.
Through his ape-like movements, Anders cleared the distance to Damsel’s last known location in a few minutes. A glance at his wrist panel showed the next building over to be his target. The next vault put him two floors below the roof of the building. His toes gripped the window ledge and his legs pushed him higher. Thick-fingered hands curled around the edge of the roof, then pulled him up to stand on it.
Anders’ head swiveled until he found the set of double doors leading to the maintenance area. A sudden yank, and the doors went wide. Lunging in, he bounded to the next landing. His wrist panel showed he needed to travel seven floors down to Damsel’s location.
Anders also noted that her vitals were declining. “This isn’t good,” his voice rumbled low in his throat. He gripped the hand rail and vaulted to the next landing. Next, he repeated this process until he was level with the blue dot that represented Damsel.
The door opened with an easy push and Anders went into the hallway. His wrist panel didn’t show a map of the building, but it showed how far away Damsel was. Dashing down the hallway, Anders approached an intersection. He turned to the right while checking his wrist panel. The blue dot moved closer as he strode the length of the hallway.
Several people darted for open doors or side halls as Anders stormed through. More than one called out “EMT coming through, clear the way!” Anders picked up the pace after hearing this.
Eventually, Anders stood next to the dot on his wrist panel. He found himself in a dead-end of a hall. He turned around, didn’t see a door.
His wrist panel beeped, and he saw that Damsel’s vitals indicated she was asleep. “Or passed out,” he muttered. Anders placed a hand on a wall. Moving his fingers over the surface, he squinted as he slid his thick fingers over the dull grey paint.
An audible click sounded and a black line formed on the wall. A panel receded, then slid into the wall.
A man wearing a dark costume with various colored lines stood in the secret doorway. Six palm-sized flying devices wreathed his head. “What the..?”
“Out of the way,” Anders’ simian features growled. “I’m an EMT sent to get Damsel and take her to a hospital.” One of Anders tree trunk arms pushed the costumed man aside. He squeezed his bulk into the tiny walk way and advanced into a room the size of two closets.
Damsel slumped forward. The only thing keeping her in the seat were her hands tied behind it.
“Damsel,” Anders said with a loud stern voice. “I’m your EMT. I need to transport you.”
A groan exited her rosebud shaped lips and her eyes fluttered open, then closed again.
“You aren’t going anywhere,” the nasal sounding voice said. Anders looked at the costumed man from before. “Damsel, and now you are my prisoner.”
The man flicked a hand. The small flying devices converged on Anders’ location. One sent an orange beam at Anders’ head.
“Owww!” Anders clutched his cheek. “I’m an EMT doing my job. She’s in critical condition and needs medical attention.” The sausage like finger extended at the blond haired hero.
“Possibly,” the costumed man said. “But I’m not letting her or you go. You’ll tell the Society. Then I’ll have to shut down my entire operation.” The man spread his hands wide. “I’ve worked too hard to get here, and no one is going to stop me.” The costumed man’s teeth clench and his nostrils flared as he pointed at Anders. “Put that monkey down!”
The machines encircling Anders zoomed in, each one letting out a beam.
Anders moved as best as the constricting room allowed. Several beams hit him, causing pain and making him flinch.
“Control. This is EMT Anders-”
“We’re aware EMT. Help is on the way,” the panicked voice over the earbud cut Anders’ words off.
Anders swatted at the small machines. His large flat hand batted two, making a hole for him to step through. In a single motion, he scooped Damsel, chair and all, and shouldered towards the door.
The devices targeted Anders expansive back as he squeezed into the three-step corridor. Their random bursts sent a steady stream of pain into his body, making him wince.
Anders pushed through the hall, then out the concealed door. The jam, plaster, and two potted plants crumbled as he muscled into the hallway.
The whir of the devices increased. The nasally sounding voice screamed behind Anders, “No! You’re not getting away. Theta-Epsilon!”
Several devices detached from wall, out of offices, and various other places. They converged behind and over Anders, making a dark machine-cloud. The machines morphed and merged into four basketball-sized devices.
Anders made a turn by bouncing off a corner and planting a hand on the floor. Two green beams pelted the walls, leaving softball-sized holes in their wake.
The machines made the turn, keeping close on Anders backside. Another shot a beam. Anders shifted, and the beam went over his shoulder. The window in front of him exploded.
“Control, this is Anders,” Anders shouted. “I’m transporting hero Damsel. My location will be the outside of the building I am presently located.”
The voice in the earbud responded. “Understood, EMT. Be safe.”
Anders paused at the open window and turned to face the machines. He reached an arm out the window and pulled himself out and up.
“NO!” The costumed man chasing Anders screamed. “Don’t let them get away!”
The devices zoomed after Anders.
Climbing the outside of the building was difficult. Anders managed to keep Damsel in the crook of his arm and rested her head in his palm. Using his free hand and both feet, he worked his way to the top of the building.
The devices zoomed around Anders. He couldn’t swat them away, instead he moved to the sides as best as he could. On more than one occasion, his handhold was shot out before he could take it. When this happened, he leaped to the side and repositioned.
Clearing the last floor, Anders reached the roof ledge. A blast rocketed through him and he bellowed at the top of his lungs. Damsel squirmed in his hand and her eyes flew open.
“Where am I,” she screamed. “Who are you? What are you doing?”
“I’m EMT Anders from Special Delivery,” Anders puffed out. “I’m trying to take you to a hospital.”
“What happened to Technix,” Damsel asked her head looking around. “Oh my God!” She pointed to one of the basketball-sized devices careening towards them.
Anders turned in a smooth fashion, jumped into the air, and volleyball spiked the device into the roof. It broke into several parts, each one sparking and two igniting on fire.
The maintenance doors burst open and Technix ran through. He extended a hand and the three remaining flying items merged into one larger item.
Anders’ eyes went wide, and he sucked in air. His uniform was torn and there were scorch marks. He spun his head around, looking for an escape route.
“We need to go,” Damsel shouted. “He’s going to kill us.”
“No shit, lady,” Anders growled.
Anders’ eyes went wide, and he grunted. Using both legs and his free hand, he bolted across the open space of the roof in a simian trot. “Hang on. I found one.”
Damsel rolled her head over and saw the tiny gap between the two buildings across the way. “You can’t be serious.”
“Unless you know something I don’t,” Anders retorted.
The large flying device shot out several electronic blasts in rapid succession. Each blast bit into the roof, scattering debris. More than once, a few blasts were close enough to singe Anders’ fur.
Damsel sat up as best as she could, grunting with pain. She pulled a device from her belt and tossed it over Anders’ shoulder. The arc the handheld device traveled carried it in front of Technix. Biting into the roof, the device erupted and spewed gelatinous fluid. Technix stepped back, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from getting covered. In the next second the fluid hardened, encasing Technix’s arms, one leg, and the front of his torso.
Anders planted both feet on the ledge, feeling his toes curl over the corner of the building. Compressing both legs, he leaned into the open air. He caught a glimpse of the traffic below. Six lanes of morning commute traffic. Gravity pulled on his heavy frame and he went past the point of no return. Extending his free hand, he pushed his legs straight.
Anders and his patient took to the air. Bestial roars coming from both mouths. The power of the jump carried them past one lane, then the next. Damsel’s hair fluttered behind her as the wind blew by. Spit flew from Anders’ open mouth.
With the third lane cleared, the duo also descended four floors of the building.
Anders’ body extended to it’s fullest when they cleared lanes four and five.
Halfway over six, Damsel saw what Anders aimed for. A cross bar set between the buildings. At the moment they were several stories above it, but they were falling faster.
The cement of the sidewalk and faces of the pedestrians blinked into focus. Damsel felt her ears pop.
Several people screamed and pointed up.
The sudden jerk forced Damsel flat on the furry arm of Anders.
Anders released the bar at the apex of his swing and pushed off a building. “Made it!”
Damsel stared at Anders. Her lips moved, but nothing came out. The fingers of one hand twined into his fur.
Bouncing off several more buildings and a few acrobatic turns, and Anders landed at the emergency room entrance. He placed Damsel on the gurney and smiled. “One Damsel in distress, rescued. I can check that one off the bucket list.”
Damsel blushed as she waved. The people in white coats wheeled her off.
Anders turned to leave. Two black boots and a fluttering cape caught his eye, and he waited.
“Are you Anders Brady?” The voice came from the well muscled form wearing the cape and midnight blue costume. Paladin landed.
“Uh..Yeah,” Anders said, his face flashing fear, happiness, confusion, and several more emotions.
“I’m here to give you this,” Paladin held out a gold plastic card. The laser hologram emblem of the Society on one side sparkled.
“Whoa!” Anders wide eyes turned back towards Paladin. “What is this for?”
“It’s an access key,” Paladin answered. “I’m pretty sure you know to what building.”
“Yeah,” Anders answered, running a large hand over his monkey head.
“Be there tomorrow at eight. Orientation for new highers begin at 8:30.” Paladin hovered then flew away.