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.”

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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!”

Special Delivery – Malcolm (Part 1)

Malcolm Forsyth entered the elevator and pressed the seventh floor button. The elevator stopped a minute later on the selected floor.

Swinging his arms in a circular motion, Malcolm made his way to his workstation. Logging in and waiting for his displays to show his assignments, Malcolm fitted his elbow pads and adjusted the wrist straps on his gloves.

A dark purple smear appeared in the air past his workstation and a dark-skinned person walked from it. The horns and tail grabbed Malcolm’s attention first.

“You’re the new guy.” Malcolm dashed around his workstation and extended his hand. “I’m Malcolm Forsyth.”

“Oh. I am Raphael Collins.” Raphael shook the proffered hand. “Nice to meet you.”

“I see you are a teleporter.” Malcolm watched as the dark purple smear disappeared. “What is your distance, if I might ask?”

“Oh, yes.” Raphael’s tail twitched back and forth. “I do not really know. I have not had to go too far. Maybe two-hundred kilometers.”

“Wow!” Malcolm’s brows shot up and he leaned forward. “I’m a speedster, so I’m limited to the ground.”

“Really?” Raphael shifted his stance, and he looked at Malcolm. “How fast can you travel? I have heard Karl can hit one fifty. I know that to be fast.”

Malcolm smiled. “Yeah, Karl is fast. If I push it and get in an aerodynamic position, I get just shy of two hundred, but that is on a straight away.”

BEEP! BEEP!

Malcolm and Raphael looked at their wrist panels.

“It is not mine.” Raphael held up his arm.

“Yup. It’s me.” Malcolm waved his arm, then went back to his workstation.

Vanguard’s vitals on the screen reached the warning stage. Malcolm tapped a few buttons on his keyboard and found the location.

“The docks, that’s about sixty miles. I gotta go.” Malcolm tapped the transfer button on his monitor, sending all notifications to his wrist panel.

Raphael waved as he walked away. “Be safe out there.”

Malcolm dashed for the elevator, the doors opened and waiting. “Ground floor.” The doors slammed shut, causing a ringing sound to bounce for a few seconds. He held his nose and breathed out of it, forcing his ears to pop, and then the doors clanged open.

Putting on his helmet and pulling down his goggles, Malcolm pressed his gloves tighter onto his hands.

After a quick final check of his gear, Malcolm approached the deployment pad on the ground floor.

“EMT Forsyth set to retrieve Vanguard.” A few minor adjustments caused lights to flash and a siren to sound.

The deploy light splashed green over the pad.

Malcolm gripped the wheels of his chair and thrust forward jumping him to fifty miles an hour and down the road.

Special Delivery – Casey

Casey stood up and adjusted her desk to match with a touch of a button. Once the desk stopped moving, she stretched her back then her sides. “I should have learned by now that a double shift is hard.”

A beep sounded on her monitors. “Thank you!” She reached for the mouse and clicked the on break button. Her screens blanked, and she left her work station.

Walking down the hall, she found a vacant office, walked in, shut the door, and turned on the light. A grimace dashed across her face as she sat on a nearby chair. Casey adjusted her right uniform leg and then detached her leg. A quick inspection showed nothing was out of place, so she wiped it out and put it back in place.

She repeated the same process for her left arm. This took longer since she had to do it one handed.

Once everything was back in place, she went to the break room and munched on her snack of fresh fruit and a class of juice. The display panel on her uniform beeped and displayed a one minute countdown. “Yeah, back to the grind.” Casey hefted to her feet and walked back to her workstation.

“See ya, Karl.” She waved to the speedster on her way out.

At her works station, Casey logged in and checked the time left. There was another four hours to go until her second shift was over. Hopefully the rest of this shift goes like the first part. Quiet.

Match is off mission.

The message flashed across her screen, covering Match’s vital stats. She now had three clients to monitor for the remainder of the time.

Kevlar is on mission.

This message appeared and Kevlar’s vital stats took over the spot where Match’s were.

“Whoa! Kevlar!”

She looked at the headshot that occupied a small square next to the new vitals display. “I would love to meet you, but not on the job.” Since she was a super powered EMT, meeting her idol on the job would entail something going wrong.

Casey picked up her scanning routine. She also plotted the location of each of her active clients. Two were nearby, twenty miles. If she traveled her maximum capable speed she would get there in two, possibly three, minutes. Kevlar wasn’t so close. At her maximum capable speed, she could be there in under ten minutes. Hmmm…Better keep an eye on him, just in case.

Casey checked her prosthetics and found them secure. She also checked for her bag to carry them, in case she needed to go faster. The bag was used to carry her prosthetics if she needed to crest mach two. Her manufactured limbs were able to handle mach one. Her maximum speed reached mach three. The limbs would break down at mach two. If she had to go full out, she would put them both in the bag and fly.

Casey trained to accomplish removal and reattachment of her limbs. She knew to put her leg on first, and she could walk, or run, and put on her arm. So far she used her bag once in the past two years of working as an EMT. This was a good thing in her book.

Klink is off mission.

The vitals with a robot head and a female human face disappeared. Casey let out a breath. Only three to watch for the next hour and a half.
She noticed that Kevlar’s heart rate was up and so was his adrenaline levels. They were consistent as the next several seconds went by. Casey tapped on the map screen and checked Kevlar’s current location. He was closer, but just by a mile or three. She leaned in closer to watch pulse rate. If it went up, or dropped rapidly, she would have to deploy. She clutched her bag and licked her lips. “Com’on Kevlar!” Her teeth ground together and her lips whitened as the thin green line crossed the screen.

BEEP! Decker is off mission.

Casey jerked back with a gasp. Now she only had two clients. Neither being a gold member, but that didn’t matter to Casey. One was Kevlar. New to the scene three years ago, and on his way up the ladder. Casey had all of Kevlar’s clippings and some video on her computer at home.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

“Shit!” Kevlar’s heart rate spiked along with other vitals.

Casey snatched her bag and dashed to the launch area. “EMT First Class Casey LeClair departing for possible pickup of Kevlar. Location, northern Chicago. ETA, seven minutes. Using bag.” She shouldered through the double doors and outside.

Casey’s prosthetic arm slid into the bag. She shifted her weight to her left leg and detached her other leg. Launching into the air she sealed the bag and slung it over her back.

Cleared for maximum speed.

This message appeared on her wrist display. She nodded, fisted both hands, and took off with a sonic boom.

Casey cleared the county line and then a great spanse of land. She glanced at the map on her wrist panel. Her dot, blue, was getting closer to the red dot. The ETA adjusted as she flew. Currently, she was listed as five minutes. Just a few more seconds.

Casey angled towards the buildings as they crested the horizon. She slowed, picking out a landing spot. As she approached the ground, Casey fished out her leg. When she landed, she fastened the three clips and adjusted her uniform to hide the seam. Walking a few paces, she glanced at her wrist panel. The blinking dot was on the second floor of the building across the way.

Casey took to the air again, keeping her speed slow, and she fastened her arm in place. She covered the seam and connections as she hovered into the open window.

Casey’s wrist panel zoomed into a map of the building she entered. Kevalar’s vitals displayed off to the side. They changed for the worse on her journey here.

As she moved to where the map indicated, she followed protocol and activated her forcefield, then her belt light.  “Kevlar. I am EMT LeClair. If you can safely signal me, let me know where you are located.” She waited.

Nothing.

Her blue dot was on top of the red dot on her map. This was an office building situated over a parking garage. The floor she was on looked to be a cube farm. Her map took her to a wall that would be a major walk way. Casey landed and looked around, then found it. There was a dent in the wall, and a hole in the floor. In the hole lay a man-shaped shadow.

“Kevlar, are you conscious?” Casey knelt down. The hole was deep enough that she had to lean in to check for a pulse. She found one and noted that Kevlar was warm to the touch.

The hole was not big enough for her to get in and pull him out. Casey searched her rescue belt and found a carabiner and retrieval cord. Next she tied the carabiner, then fastened it though Kevlar’s utility belt. She planted her feet, gripped the cord, and pulled.

The EMT board was concerned about her prosthetics and this was the reason. They did not add to her strength, in fact they took away from it. She couldn’t use both legs or both her arms to their fullest. She only had one of each of real limbs.

Wrapping the durable cord around her left arm, Casey planted both of her feet and pulled. Kevlar’s body budged. The movement was small, but for Casey it was a full step with her feet. A grunt followed by a baby step and Kevlar’s body was out of the hole.

As the Hero’s body rolled on the floor, it tugged the rope. The force yanked Casey forward, and she felt her left arm slip from it’s connection.
Casey scrambled to fix her dislocated prosthetic and heard a moan from Kevlar.

“Kevlar, I am your EMT and I am going to get you out of here.”
One of Kevlar’s eyes fluttered then popped open. The other was black and a trickle of white fluid flowed from it.

“Thank you.” Blood rolled down his chin, and he grabbed her left arm and pulled himself up.

The added weight, along with the disconnection, pulled Casey’s arm from her shoulder.

“Wait!” She fumbled for the prosthetic arm with her real one.

Kevlar fell back, holding the arm in his hands. “What the hell…?”
Kevlar looked at the arm, then up at Casey, then back to the arm. “They sent a cripple?”

Casey lurched forward, reaching for her limb. “I am a fully qualified super powered EMT. Not crippled.”

“You got a fake arm.” Kevlar looked at the woman tugging at the arm in his hands. “You can’t even carry me.”

“I am capable of carrying you any distance that is required.” Casey snatched the arm back from Kevlar’s dark gloves.

“What ever.”

The man looked around. “Did you see anyone when you came in here?”

“No!” Casey seated the arm in place and fastened it in place. “Not even when I pulled you from that hole.”

Kevlar looked at the hole. It was narrow and perhaps four feet deep. He pursed his lips and cocked an eyebrow. “Impressive,” he muttered.
“Good.” Kevlar stood. “Without that nullifier around, my abilities are back on. My healing will help me out in a few minutes. So, sweetie, you can go back to the half-way house and save your abilities for small kids and raising money for those in need.”

“Fine with me, you arrogant jerk!” Casey turned away and took several steps.

“I see that Kevlar’s personality is winning more friends.”
“Shit. He’s back,” Kevlar spat. “Get out of here. You can’t do anything in your condition.”

“My condition…?” Casey spun around to face the Hero. Her lips tight, face red, and eyes narrowed to thin slits.

Seeing the small man wearing dark sunglasses gave her pause. Looking at Kevlar, she spotted him clutching his abdomen and bent over. She didn’t hear any contact, just his voice.

“I turned his abilities off again.” The short blond man said. “You may call me Unplugg. That is what I do. I unplug powers. Right now, Kevlar’s powers are off. No more invulnerability and no more healing. His strength is mostly his, but it is augmented by his powers. So that is off too.”

“But, he’ll die.” Casey’s eyes were wide as she slid a small step back. “I can get him out of here, but I need to use my powers to do it.”

“I know.” Unplugg shrugged. “I turned them off and all of your other powers too.” He walked towards the woman. “You see, I don’t like super powers, even though I have them. Most people misuse their abilities or worse, don’t use them at all.” He reached for Casey’s shoulder. “My power let’s me even the playing field. Even your strength is slightly augmented by your abilities. Your health, everything.”

Casey did notice her arm felt heavier. The pain at both stumps also intensified. The doctors said that her powers would help her, she just assumed that she could hover or fly instead of walk places.

“You are no match for me.” Unplugg indicated Kevlar. “You see, if I can take out someone like Kevlar, you are no match…”

The fist connected with Unplugg at full power. His chin touched his shoulder, there was blood in his mouth, a tooth missing, and he was seeing stars. He blinked several times, held his hands out, and staggered around.

Kevlar was on the ground holding his body, but his head looked up. “Whoa!”

“You are the second person tonight to say that shit to me.” Casey stepped forward and sent an upward shot to Unplugg’s gut. “You didn’t realize one thing.” Casey cocked her industrial strengthened leg back and sent it forward. The toe of her steel alloy foot connected with the shin of Unplugg’s leg. A cracking sound collided with everyone’s ears. Kevlar mustered the strength to flinch. “I am more than my powers! In fact, I am more than human.”

The short man slammed into the thin carpet and hollering.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a job to do.”

She moved over to Kevlar. He still had on the carabiner and cord. She tugged on it until both her and he were near the window she came in.

“Look, dickweed.” She leaned over Kevlar and pointed her prosthetic hand at him. “You have two choices. One, you go with me. Two, you stay here until a replacement arrives. He may be able to do something between now and then, but the choice is entirely on you.”

Kevlar propped himself up on an elbow. “Look lady.” He groaned as he moved. “It ain’t personal. That arm is just creepy.”

“That arm saved your ass.”

Kevlar’s mouth opened, then closed. Opened again, then closed again. “OK, let’s go.”

Casey pulled him to a standing position, then moved to have him grip her over her shoulders. “Hold on. We are going to go fast.”

She launched from the floor and glided through the window.
“Oh, by the way,” she said over her shoulder. “I have a prosthetic leg, too.”

“What?”

Casey blasted forward at sub-mach speeds.

###

Casey entered the office. Several days after her transport of Kevlar. While watching her monitor, a message went across her screen.

My office, please – Danforth

Casey locked her station and walked to Mr. Danforth’s office. The door stood open, so she knocked and leaned in. “You wanted to see me?”

“Casey. Come in. Take a seat.” Mr. Danforth looked up from his computer screen. “Fantastic job with transporting Kevlar.”

“Just doing my job as best I can.” Casey looked at her lap, sighed, then back to Mr. Danforth.

“I know he has a reputation for being an asshat.” Mr. Danforth shifted forward, leaning on his desk. “But that asshat signed up to the gold membership and brought two other heroes with him.”

“What!” Casey leaned forward and her mouth opened. “How many is that?”

“You have your five.” Mr. Danforth stood from his desk, picked up a box, and handed it to Casey. “As per the deal, here is your new arm. It is actually a better model than initially agreed upon. It will handle mach three easily.”

“I…I…I…I don’t know what to say.” Casey stood and reached for the box with trembling arms. The box was lighter than expected, even with the padding and wrapping.

Opening one end, Casey slid the new prosthetic from the container and looked it over. Her real arm darted over and unfastened her current prosthetic and placed it on a table. “Mr. Danforth, thank you for making this happen.”

“It wasn’t just me. You did it.”

Casey snapped the new arm in place. It fit like a glove. Casey began putting it through a simple test as tears ran down her cheeks. Once all the fingers flexed and she made a fist, she looked at Mr. Danforth. “I…I…I’m so happy.”

“Good. Now get back to work.”

“Yes, sir.” She sniffled as she picked up her previous arm, the box her new one came. Casey exited the office, then headed for her desk.

When Casey arrived, there was a bigger box with a letter folded on top of it. The label on the box was identical to the box in her hand. My arrangement was for the arm first.

Casey flipped open the letter.

EMT LeClair,
This letter is to apologize for my behavior. I was unprofessional and mean. It was never my intent to insult you or those that are crippled like you.

Crippled! What the fuck!

I was informed that you were saving for a newer type of fake limb.

Damn it!

Your company said they had the arm covered, so I got the next one. I hope this helps you out.
Your friend, Kevlar.

He ain’t my friend. I would rather lose another limb instead of have him as my…maybe…

With a sigh Casey tossed the letter onto her desk. She peeled the box end open. She pulled the device out. It was another prosthetic, this one a leg.

Like her new arm it was lighter than expected. She inspected it as she fitted it in place of her previous leg. Adjusting her uniform over the seam, she sat down and admired the new limb.

Someone let out a wolf-whistle.

“Nice leg!”

Ronald walked up. “This one has a tattoo.”

“What?” Casey jerked forward and arched around her new knee.

“Yeah.” Ronald pointed. “What is that?”

“The mother fucker wrote his name on it!”