I didn’t catch Brice after work yesterday. Despite how I respond to him, I don’t have any personal issues with him – I’m sure he’s a great guy. However, since he’s been a part of the Urban 30, he’s been somewhat distracted, almost in conflict with himself. Dispatch says I’m always too hard on the new guys. But I see it simply as acceptable expectations. This business can be life-threatening, and honestly I’m not sure Brice wants to save any of us if we would need it. I saw a similar trait in Ean, but after some time, I learned it was his nature to be so disconnected. While I know Ean may not rush to the scene, if a friend’s life is in trouble, he’s there. So the question is will Brice be there.
Instead of taking Brice’s call (why did Dispatch give him my personal cell number?), I went to see an old associate. Not long ago, I tried the whole vigilante side of the hero business. I busted up lots of bad guys, but I was going down a road that held less regard for the rules of engagement. I’d break in on the bad guys, and before handing them over to the authorities, I generally kept part of the “loot” to myself. Of course my rent was paid in advance and my car was always detailed, but I eventually learned I was being no better than the bad guys. I was a bully to them, but I was disregarding a lot of things that was right. No one knows that phase of my life. The costume and identity that went with it is locked away.
Even though I didn’t wear that costume any more, I needed it tonight. Clad in my throwback persona, I headed to a darker part of the city. I needed to speak with a guy named Bitter – a name not just fitting to his personality. This guy used to know all the top villains, but they all seem to take off to fame without him. As a result, Bitter isn’t too excited about the good guys or the bad guys.
I found him in his usual alley. He was leaning against the brick wall when a bird crapped on his shoulder. Bitter plucked the air and a rapid wave of frost encased the bird in a block of ice.
“You know I hear its good luck for a bird to crap on your shoulder.” I walked toward him cautiously. He was the one guy I never busted. I bent the rules for him, but he bent some rules for me.
“Then I’ll let it free once I prove that theory correct.” He didn’t smile. “I haven’t seen you in a long while. I thought perhaps someone had finally buried you alive.”
“You’ve always been so warm to the heart.” I smirked.
“Our partnership has been inactive for over a year. What makes you think I won’t be the one to put you to death, slowly?” He meant his words.
“I think you will remember that I can play just as dirty. So let’s skip the pleasantries and get to it.” I meant mine. “I need to know about this…” I presented the small totem of Terra. “..I have 3 more just like it of other heroes. What’s going on?”
Bitter was silent for a few moments. Then, I saw something that I had never witness in the years of knowing him. He smiled. His eyes glazed over, and he was as happy as a youngster at Christmas when he unwrapped his first toy gun.
“Your friends have been marked. Stay away from them. Their fates have been set into motion. You don’t want to share it.” His teeth were silver; he smiled so hard.
As Bitter stepped back, a wall of ice formed – separating me from him. He had nothing more to say. When ever he made such an exit, he was done talking.
I came straight home. Something wanted Terra, but why? And how do I tell Terra that she may be in danger? Maybe she doesn't need to know just yet - she may lose her cool. For now, I think maybe I should have a talk with Dispatch.