Freeform Friday

Believe what any of you like, but I've had the superhero setting I'm showing off in mind and more or less started months ago. The book it's in just isn't released due to waiting on cover art.

"Talk to me." It was either really late or really early depending on how one viewed pre-dawn hours. Max was seated, relatively, comfortably in a surveillance van while Stryker was perched on a rooftop across from their client's home.

Two tones, similar to those made by telephone keys, were Max's only answer. It seemed to be enough of one though since he tensed, one hand reaching to the handle of the van's rear doors. "We don't know how clued in these guys are, careful out there."

Single tone-chirp before Max eyed the camera feed to their client's home. He saw nothing of Stryker or the men he had spotted. They were there and they were why Max wasn't handling the head-busting portion of this. Stealth wasn't something he was good at. He's as close to indestructible as anyone's seen and inhumanly strong, neither of which lends itself to a stealthy mindset.

Nothing for several minutes then two black-clad men were thrown through the front door. Their arms and legs were bound together behind their backs by a series of cuffs, cords, and more than a little duct tape covering all of it. Even so one of the intruders had their hands free almost before they'd hit ground.

A third... person? All Max saw of Stryker were shadows here and there growing thin, then fat, then thin again before he was on the two men again. Series of sharp cracks slightly louder than you or I snapping our fingers and the intruders went limp. Only then did Max exit the van.

Stryker tore the hood of his suit off revealing a wiry albino Caucasian. White Albino seems somewhat redundant here, but it applied. Max nodded to the man then looked at the two prone bodies. "Houdinies?"

Stryker nodded and held a perfectly normal thumb drive in his left hand before handing it to Max. Without another word both he and the two unconscious intruders seemed to melt into the night.

"Wait. you're telling me he wants to recruit these hoodlums?" Ted's voice was a mix of incredulity and outrage. "These two alone are responsible for millions in losses plus God alone knows what else if rumors are even half-true."

Max grunted as he drove. The job they'd taken wasn't far from Xanadu, not far enough to rate air transport anyway. It gave him time to think, and get yelled at. "Standard procedure for any group we take out. No different then when Fury took most of the Severed Hand crew in. Plus these guys hadn't killed anyone, just grand theft and corporate espionage."

Ted grumbled, "We're getting leaned on heavily to deny."

"Tell the suits to go bark up some other tree. Last I heard government runs things, not business." Old argument that seemed to crop up whenever mooks from any number of the more colorful groups they'd busted was given a chance at intigrating with Xanadu staff.

For several minutes the only sound max heard from Ted's end of the conversation was typing and other bits of background chatter. Then: "No guarantees, but we owe him. Think he'll be able to keep things straight?"

"Hope so." Max smiled, if only inwardly. They owed Stryker something for keeping him away from family, and if he thought the pair they'd just grabbed were redeemable Ted would make sure they got their chance.
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