Freeform Friday

[From the Author] While the past few fridays have focused on a fictional company and a game I might or might not be able to create I feel it high time to get an idea or three down as an actual story. Why? Why not? I designated Fridays as a freeform day so I could do things like this. Originally I was just going to post a segment of stuff I'd already written, but nah. gets kindof confusing when my blog has a story written in blog-format, especially when it comes time to answer 'am I going to make entries as this character?' Instead I'm going to go with that world and just run with it in a more traditional manner.

Night Watch is Lonely Business

Bullets shredded through Max's armor as if it weren't there. Flame scorched clothes and man alike. Acid sprayed over him in a shower of Death and Pain. Were he a normal man any of these elements would have killed him dozensof times over. Were he an ordinary man the sort of force that was being put towards halting his progress deeper into the compound would have been considered a gross waste of resources.

Max, however, is far from ordinary. Even his clothes, riddled full of holes, scorched, and eaten away in places, were far from normal. Even while he was assaulted by Death on all sides he waded through destroying unmanned gun emplacements, twisting pipes to halt the flow of acid, and with only as much exertion as you or i would use to crush a soda can he left guards in unconcious heaps. They lived, but they were in horrindous amounts of pain.

Reenforced doors barely slowed him as he strode into what had been the leader of thisgroup. Anyone who assaulted him ended up on the ground and out of the fight. Max was as relentless and unstoppable as an avalanch. Hate, barely checked by upbringings and ethics.

This place was home to a group of human traffikers catering to the most depraved of black market industries. When he held one of these men, pinned him to the ground with effort spent more holding his temper in check than in actual restrainet, he was torn between doing his job, and letting his control slip for just a moment. Nobody would miss this man. People might even consider it a service.

If not, who would be able to stop him?

Then he remembered Maggie's face. Little girl, maybe eight years old, taken a week before. Jaguar called him in since even though he was tough and smart these people were just tough enough to make him realize he needed help.

"Compound secure!" Max's headset crackled with voices. "Holding area empty." The voice on the other end was crisp and professional, though if there were edges of emotion there none could have blaimed the speaker. "Hiro's checking shipping logs now."

Max picked the man up and glowered at him for several long moments before it became clear his prisoner had already passed out.

"Acknowledged." Max's voice was far less professional sounding when he finally spoke. "I've got a," He pulled the man's wallet loose and looked inside, "Emanuel Lagos. Probably an alias. Found him trying to make a run the basement. You got all the exits covered?"

"Even the hidden harbor three miles out from here. Jag got three of 'em in the boat they had waiting. Anvil ganked two and smashed their truck." Max chuckled to himself at the thought of how that had to have played out. "So that gives us all six."

"Right. Pull out and let the Federale take it from here." Max started back through the field of rubble he had created minutes earlier with his human package tossed over one shoulder. "I want everyone out in Ten. I'll handle the rest."

"Acknowledged," Sour tone there. The radio clicked off.

Twelve hours later everyone else from that morning's 'excursion' to Mexico had been debriefed, gotten back to their shared home/training center/government facility/community otherwise known as Xanadu. Max, on the other hand, was subjected to a far longer debriefing, polygraph, gave a sworn deposition, and only after his story had been checked against other accounts of that evening was he allowed to leave.

The jet that took him back to Xanadu was one of those small corperate numbers meant only for a dozen people at most. During the trip he looked over the personnel changover for Xanadu and frowned before calling Ted (not his real name), their liason and main contact with Metahuman Affairs.

"How was Mexico?" Ted's voice sounded like it belonged to a west coast surfer in his middle years.

What could Max have told him? That he almost lost his temper and broken his mission objective's neck because he felt anyone doing anything to harm children nolonger qualified as human? Instead he laughed, "Saw the sights, got some folksie stuff to decorate with. Picked up a case of Tequila for you and the rest of the Mooks." Then the conversational tone dropped for one less friendly. "What's with denying Stryker's leave request? You know his brother got in a wreck last week right?"

Ted sighed, "I know Max and if it were up to me he'd already be out." Max waited for the other shoe. "We think ogre's trying to lure him out."

Ogre, a name for a group that even experianced hands at finding out about hidden groups wasn't entirely convinced existed. Max winced but said nothing for a long moment. "You're sure it's not Humanist related?"

Ted growled low, "If we thought that lot of skinheads were involved we'd already be kicking in doors. We're getting a whole 'nother vibe off this. Feels too organized and widespread for them. Careful."

"You too." Max and the other full or par-time residents of Xanadu weren't the only ones catching flak from self proclaimed 'defenders of the race.' "Remember Columbus and keep us in the loop this time."

Ted snorted before hanging up.

When he got off the plain at Xanadu's airstrip only a dark skinned dark haired woman was there to greet him. After a quick embrace and a declined offer to carry his bags they walked to her car since his van had gotten blown up a month prior during his initial probes into the human traffikking ring he'd just helped bust.

"I heard about Stryker." The woman sounded bitter. "They're probably right and it's a trap, but it's family."

Max grumbled something noncommital.

The woman took a breath before turning the radio on to fill the silence. Max was visibly tense and he was silent until they got into the densest part of Xanadu, what would normally be referred to as downtown were it a normal town. "I almost killed a man today."

The woman's head shook. "So you're going to sit and angst about almost losing your temper with a group of child molesters now?" She reached over to ruff Max's hair. "Don't beat yourself up too much kid. It's when you're not worried that thigns get funny remember?"

He grunted and changed the subject to something other than work. "How's school?"


"You'll manage."
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