Jack met Mitchell and his men on the way out of the alley. Several of them pointed their rifles at him until Mitchell ordered them to lower their weapons. Jack walked up to him. “What happened? I told you to call for back up if the situation went south.”
He pointed back toward the alley, “Got thrown into a wall and lost the earpiece. You guys got a way to find that thing right?”
Mitchell let out a groan and waved a man foreword, “Fuller grab a scanner and find that thing before somebody else does.” He nodded and went off. “So what happened? We heard the explosion and came running.”
“He smelled the bull on me and went monster.”
“Funny, you don’t spell like bull.”
“Cute,” Jack started scratching were the web was attached to his forearm. “I thought I got all this crap off.”
“Is that webbing?”
“Yeah, the guy turned into a spider and shot it out of his mouth.” Jack headed back toward the street. Maybe one of those World Inc. eggheads had something to remove the rest of it.
“Could have been worse,” Mitchell said, “he could have shot it out of his butt.”
Jack stopped in his tracks and looked at him, “You just had to give me that image didn’t you?”
“Hey you’re the one who lost my earpiece,” Mitchell told him. Then he smiled, “Come on, the coffee is on me.”
A few blocks away the blond haired man was having a heated discussion over his cell phone. “I am not seeing things. He was taken out by a metal insect. I’m telling you Anderson had that thing created. Who else could have? I am going to tear that thing apart. What do you mean leave it alone? You didn’t just see… but… it’s dangerous. Alright I’ll leave it alone until I’m told otherwise.” He ended the conversation.
He pounded the guardrail. Didn’t that fool realize how stupid that decision was? He would have to head back and discuss this matter face to face. Before he left he turned back into his original form. The blue fur covering his body moving in the wind he steadied himself. The monkey looked into the sky and howled.
Anderson stood there staring a hole into Allen. He forced the file he had into Allen’s hand. He waited until the man finished reading the file. He gained no satisfaction as Allen’s eyes went wide. “I don’t understand how this happened.”
“You don’t understand,” Anderson mocked. “Humans heard the ceremony! There is report after report of people hearing a mysterious howl through out the building. Questions are being asked.”
“Mitchell assured me the room was sound proof.”
“And you never thought to check?”
“I will deal with Mitchell!”, he told him. In his rage he grabbed him by the throat and forced him to his knees, “Because I respected your Father I let you have this position. And I also looked the other way on your other activities. Another mistake like this and I will look at them a little closer. Am I being clear?”
“Understood,” he sputtered
“Good.” He released Allen’s neck and the man gasped for air. Anderson walked away and straightened his suit. “Send Haily in here on your way out. We have matters to discuss.”
“Yes sir,” Allen replied giving him a look.
Anderson took the few moments he had to get his emotions under control. There was no need for any human to see him in such a state. Haily walked through the door and he gave her a small warm smile, “I’m glad you could see me.”
“It’s not a problem sir.” He offered her a seat on the couch. She sat on one end so he took the other. “I’m assuming this is about Jack.”
“He’s a rather strong willed individual. I wanted to make sure you’re comfortable in your position as his mission operator.”
“I handled people more stubborn than Jack before. He’s not going to be a problem.”
“Good. If I may voice another concern, how do you think he’ll react when he finds out you’ll be giving him orders?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. In the few times we talked today I tried to be open and build a little trust. I’ll guess we’ll find out when it happens.”
“I guess so.” He stood and walk to the window. “What’s your opinion of him? Based on these talks.”
“Like you said, he’s strong willed. It’s a bit early but I don’t think he’s the following type. He’s also very unhappy about his current situation.”
“Well I don’t think anyone can fault him for that.”
“No we can’t. But there might be something that could improve his mood slightly.” Anderson gave her his full attention. “His Mother thinks he’s dead. It might help if he could call her, let her know he’s still alive.”
“Hmm. Given the nature of his current situation that could be difficult.”
“I know sir.”
“But if it helps his moral it can’t be too much of a negative. I’ll have someone look for her. At the very least we can arrange a phone call.”
“He’ll be glad to hear it.”
“But let’s hold off in telling him for now. A lot can happen in six months. I mean there’s no need in getting his hopes up and then have things turn out differently.”
“You probably right.” She got up off the coach, “Well I better get ready for tomorrow. It’s going to be interesting to see his reaction to the rest of this stuff.”
“You’ll be able to handle it,” he assured her. After she left he went back to the window and smiled to himself. Davidson just became a little easier to manipulate.
Jack slowly woke up but it felt like he could fall back asleep at any moment. He felt dead tired a couple of hours after that second fight. He was able to hold it off until he got some dinner. Then he went back to the room he was using and fell into the bed. Jack forced himself off the bed and went into the bathroom to splash some cold water on his face.
He walked back into the room and saw Rachel by the door. She was dressed a bit more causally then she was yesterday. “Morning.”
“Good afternoon,” she told him.
“Afternoon? What time is it?”
“Oy,” Jack rubbed his eyes. “Last I checked it was about eight thirty last night.”
“Two transformation in one day, after you woke up after six months I might add. I wouldn’t have been surprised if you were still sleeping.”
“Is this gonna happen every time I take out one of those Drakans for you guys?”
“Well until your body gets used to it. The nutrient bath kept your muscles from going limp, apparently it does nothing for your stamina.”
“As long as I keep it to one kill a day,” he said a little bitterly.
“Let’s try not to think about that unless we have to. Come on, you can use the showers in the gym to clean up. And Mr. Anderson had his shopper pick up some clothing for you.”
“He has a personal shopper? Got to be nice having that kind of cash.”
“I’m sure it is.” She walked off with him following “You should be glad to know I talked him out of what he wanted to buy.”
“Let me guess, business casual.”
“Yeah, fortunately Mr. Anderson talked him into seeing things my way. I hope you don’t mind, I took a few guesses based on what you were wearing when we found you.”
“It’s cool, as long as it covers me up.” The reached the gym after a few minutes. Rachel told him she meet him in the cafeteria. Something about explaining the rest of the situation to him. Great there was more.
The shower felt better than he would have expected. He spent a few minutes under the spray trying to figure everything out. It made his head hurt just thinking about it. And there was still more to add to it. Food, he would think better after some food. Mom always said the brain worked better after a meal. Jack turned off the shower and dried off. He looked around until he found the bags the shopper left for him.
There were still some fancy and high class items in the bag. That shopper was determined to get his taste across no matter what. Luckily there were a few plain items he could wear. Sneakers, blue jeans and a plain black T-shirt, that would do for now. He also found a jean jacket with a sweatshirt hood built into the collar. That would hide the scars on his arm. Jack looked himself over in a mirror, he looked normal enough. Now if he only felt normal.
Rachel led Jack down the hall. He was starting to get a little more relax now. Of course he kept eyeing everybody they past. Rachel caught herself doing it a couple of times. She had seen that janitor around before and never expected anything. And if one Drakan was in here, could there be another?
Before she could show him anything else he needed a security I.D. first. Going to the cafeteria and the gym were one thing, and Mr. Anderson worked a few strings to get him into the meeting yesterday. What he was going to see next, she doubted even the boss would let that slide. Although Rachel was surprised at how quiet Jack was during the procedure. After filling out a questionnaire and taking the I.D.’s photo he spent most of the time skimming old magazines. Outside of the occasional comment like, “Britney Spears got married? Damn,” he didn’t say a word.
After that was over with she took him to the heart of the Drakan operation. The guard looked over their I.D.s and let them through. Jack stood there in the doorway and let out a low whistle. Heather Williams stood in a center of a circle of computers. A map of the city and the surrounding area covered one wall. Various people were either sitting at a computer or moving across the room. Hardly anybody seemed to notice them. Jack walked toward a row of monitors showing various parts of the city outside. “Kind of impressive isn’t it?”, she asked him.
“A bit. Do they watch the entire building from here?”
“No, there’s a separate security room for that. Mr. Anderson wanted it that way.”
“Again, it must be nice to have that kind of cash.”
“It is,” Anderson snuck up behind them. “But it’s simpler to keep security and Drakan monitoring separate. It would be hard to explain why we have so many cameras outside in the city.”
“Hello again Mr. Davidson,” Heather came up and shook his hand. “It’s a pleasure to see you in more pleasant conditions.”
“Likewise,” then he mumbled, “I think.”
“Yes, my VP can be rather aggravating at times, of course you already found that out,” Anderson clapped Jack on the back. “But he’s good at what he does so I keep him around.” He looked at them. “So, Mr. Davidson, why don’t you tell me about what you know about the Drakans so far.”
“Well,” Jack began, “they can look like humans. Theyâ€™ve been around for a long, long time. Apparently they can smell Drakan blood on you after you kill one. Oh, and they come in two colors.”
“Three colors actually,” Rachel told him.
“Blue, red and green,” Heather explained. “Blue is the most common and green seems to be the rarest. We think their society is run on a class system based on those colors. With the rarer color being in charge.”
“So green’s like royalty and blue are the common folks,” Jack said. Heather nodded, “So what’s red?”
“More than likely the enforcers, or knights if you prefer,” Anderson spoke up. “Keepers of the laws that had worked for centuries. Until a band of anarchist rebels rose up and tried to demand a change in
the status quo.” Anderson stopped when he realized they were looking at him. “I’m just assuming that is the case. There hadn’t been a problem with the Drakans until a few years ago.”
“Right,” Jack said looking at him funny. “So how long have you guys known about these things?”
“About twenty years,” Heather answered. “We’ve been able to identify most of the rebels in the city.”
“Most of them? Is that why one was posing as a janitor under you nose?”
“Actually we already knew he was a Drakan,” Anderson said.
Rachel was shocked, “We did?”
“It’s great being in the loop ain’t it?”, Jack teased. She just shot him a look.
“We were assuming he was one of the peaceful one. We were keeping an eye on him, but there was no need in pointing him out,” Heather explained.
“Until we caught him in a sector he wasn’t authorized to enter,” Anderson added. “He was caught on video breaking into a cabinet and photographing files. Security thinks he was copying files based on the Fusion system. Unfortunately the situation during the confrontation made it difficult to know for sure.”
“In other words the film went boom when he did,” Jack said. Anderson didn’t deny it. “Oops.”
“You didn’t know, “Heather said.”Neither did Mitchell.”
“I only told him to use force if the Drakan became hostile. Which it did.” Anderson walked over to the map and tapped a small part of it. “Fortunately you were there to help out with the situation. And I’m sad to say I may need you to do so again,”
“I told you I don’t blow up things on command.”
“I’m not asking you to,” Anderson said calmly. “I have a scout team checking out an alleged Drakan safe house. The one you encountered late yesterday afternoon was seen exiting the building in question. A simple look around is all it is. But I would like for them to have some kind of back up. Since Mitchell and his team are on a special assignment I was hoping you would step in.”
Jack looked like he was mulling it over. “All I do is sit outside and wait?” Anderson nodded. “Ok I’ll do it then.”
“Excellent, I’ll have someone let them know.”
“Come on,” Rachel pulled him by the arm, “I’ll show you what you’ll be driving to get there.”
The doors of the elevator opened at the garage level. Jack followed Rachel down the ramp. Looking down the side he saw a section that was taped off, where he fought the bull he guessed. “So you’re suppose to tag along on these assignments?”, he asked her.
“I’m you mission operator. My job is to make sure you get your assignments and complete every objective they give you.”
“And to make sure I come back like a good little bug.” Before she could answer he added, “And if you’re supposed to tag along where were you yesterday when I was taking on arachna-man?”
“Mr. Anderson had Mitchell go with you, I wasn’t needed.”
“Have you ever done this before?”
“Well no,â€ she admitted, â€œthis is technically my first time out as an operator.”
“Great.” They were met by a man in a white lab coat. Jack could see he was wearing a shirt with an all too familiar Japanese character. He figured he just meet the man responsible for his weapon. “Just a guess, Tim?”
“How did…,” he began, “never mind. Man I can’t tell you how glad I am to meet you. I mean you would not believe how excited the Fusion team got over the live data. Nobody thought two transformations in one day was possible. But you also used the charge kick twice too.”
“Charge kick,” he said to Rachel, “figures.”
“My little nickname for it,” Tim said proudly. “Your ride’s over here. It’s a….”
“Wait,” he interrupted, “let me guess… a motorcycle.”
Tim eyes went wide and he pointed two fingers at him, “Dude, your a fan too?”
Jack mimicked the gesture, “No, I’m not.”
“Jack behave yourself,” Rachel told him. “Where is the KR-1000?”
“KR!?” Jack looked up,” You’re just rolling up there ain’t you?”
“The bike’s over here.” Tim led them to a black and grey motorcycle. It looked normal enough, but if Tim had anything to say about it. “Here she is. We based the design on the Ninja, but it’s a lot more powerful.”
“It doesn’t transform or anything, does it?”, Jack asked a little apprehensive
“No, I got out voted on that.” Jack was never so glad of anything in his life. “But you do have two lasers that pop out on both side of the headlight when you need it to.”
“Good to know.” Jack grabbed the helmet and got on the bike. Turning on the ignition he jumped on the kick start. The bike roared to life, he could get used to this. He revved it a few times and looked at Rachel, “Get on.”
“I was going to take my car.”
“The faster I get there the faster I get this over with.”
“Alright, I’ll navigate.” He handed her the helmet and she got on behind him. Jack revved it a few more times and headed out.
Twenty minutes, and several broken speed limits, later they arrived at the meeting point. Jack was grinning way before they got there. First time he was alone he was definitely going to push the limits on this baby. Judging by the death grip around his waist Rachel had a different opinion about the trip. Cutting the engine he said, “You can open you eyes now.”
She let go and took off the helmet, “You’re a mad man you know that?”
He grinned, “That’s what they all say.” Looking around he wondered, “So where this scout team?”
“You probably beat them here.” Gunshots started ringing in an old building across the street. “They went in early?”
“Knew I should have went faster.” Jack got off the bike and ran to the open door. Inside was an open space were the scout team was fighting a blue elephant. It’s one whole tusk was covered in a red liquid at the tip. Jack saw a man on the ground trying to cover a hole in his shoulder with his hand. Wasting no time he raised his left arm across his chest to make the belt materialize and he moved his arm to the left. Raising his right arm to his face he shouted, “Henshin!”, and slammed his right hand on top of the belt. In moments he was in the black body suit and blue armor.
“Get an ambulance,” he told Rachel before going after the beast. One of the scout team members went flying as one of the elephants huge arms bashed into him. Jack got behind him throwing a couple of quick kidney punches. The elephant swung an arm he was able to duck and got a shot into it’s gut. He aimed a kick at it’s head but it moved. He ended up cracking the broken tuck even more. The elephant screamed in pain and started swinging widely. Jack got hit with a glancing blow that still knocked him back a few feet.
He quickly got to his feet and went after the elephant again. Using his speed advantage he got in close, nailed a punch or kick and got out of range. The elephant swung an arm again and Jack rolled out of the way getting behind the elephant. Waiting for it to turn around Jack unleashed a sidekick with all the power the Fusion system gave him. The elephant barely budged. Underneath the helmet his eyes went wide, “Ah crap.” The elephant knocked his leg down and kicked him in the stomach. As the breath left his body Jack was hit with an uppercut that made him see stars as he flipped over in the air. Landing hard on the ground he tried to get up. His limbs were refusing to work. He needed time to get the cobwebs out of his head. Time he didn’t have as he felt the elephant come closer.
What was Jack doing just lying there on the floor? Oh god, could he be hurt? Rachel looked around and found one of the scout teams gun on the floor. She picked it up, aimed it at the elephant and fired. The bullet didn’t have much of an affect but it turned around anyway. It started to come at her. She kept firing and emptied the clip. Rachel looked around but didn’t see another weapon that was close enough. She started backing up as the elephant continued it’s approach. “Come on Jack where are you?”, she muttered.
Almost on cue Jack was flipping over the elephant. He forced his right foot back into it’s chest on the way down. Jack landed between them as the elephant staggered backwards. He shielded her as it exploded. Then he fell to his knees and hit the top of the belt. He returned to normal and stayed were he was. Rachel knelt down beside him, “Are you alight?”
He looked right at her. His eyes seemed clear and focused. He didn’t slur a word as he said, “I want tomorrow off.”