Ted Snyder looked at his watch and grinned to himself, his lips peeling away from his white teeth like a shark. He pulled his sleeve back down over his wrist, not giving a second glance to his hands; hands that always gave others pause. They were covered and wax-like scar tissue, the result of flames that had laced up both his arms when he was younger, more careless. He used his scarred hands to adjust the lapels on his expensive suit and took a deep breath. He looked back around the packed courtroom. Almost everyone there was focused on the lanky, rather average looking man for whom this court was supposed to be deciding the fate of. Ted Snyder, better known as the criminal Blastwave, had been responsible for a series of reprehensible deaths over the years from his explosives...his children. For them to live, others had to die, consumed in the violence of their birth. Two years ago he had been captured by one of the city's so-called heroines and left to languish in Tartarus prison. During that time he had put this all together. Masterminded it right under their noses. Idiots. Ted snorted and let out a barking chuckle that took some in the court off guard. In a few more moments either he'd be a free man...scratch that, a free RICH man, or the city would have hundreds of deaths on their hands. Lives snuffed out by expanding gas waves causing pulmonary injuries due to tearing of alveolae within the lung, pulmonary bleeding & edema, and injury to the gastrointestinal organs. Or by the resulting shrapnel...or by thermal burns...or the force of a human body suddenly thrown into a stationary object. It didn't matter to him at all how his children killed them. They would be dead and those deaths would be on the heads of the city. Ted looked down at his watch again, impatiently. It was almost time. He made his way back over to the cell-phone laying on the table for the defense and picked it up, dialing the first number on the call log.
"I thought I made myself perfectly clear!" Blastwave snarled into the phone almost immediately, using his other hand to smooth his thinning hair. "I want a helicopter up here in the next six minutes with my thirty million dollars! If I don't hear a fucking helicopter in at least five, I give the word to detonate two buildings, stuffed to the gills with sheeple! Children, dead children! Do you understand me? Six fucking minutes!"
Without waiting for a response Ted tossed the phone across the room hard, smashing it a few inches above where the bewildered judge was sitting. He adjusted his suit again. A few feet away from him, his lawyer cleared his throat and tried once again to plead with his client.
"Ted...please...don't do this."
Snyder crossed over to the middle-aged man and stuck a scarred finger in his face. "I've spent the last few years doing this! It's already done! Now keep your fucking mouth shut!"
The be-speckled man cringed and his mouth snapped shut. Snyder stared into his eyes. Dead eyes, just like all the other miserable excuses for human beings he found himself surrounded by. Like looking into a deer's eyes. Scared and useless. The sheer banality in them made his sick to his stomach.
"Do you really think you can get away with this?" the Judge asked incredulously.
"Damn right I do." Ted yelled, snapping his attention to the man in the black robes. "And you'd all better hope that I do or there is going to be devastation on a scale this city has never seen!"
Just then the distinctive whir of rotor-blades could be heard outside. The helicopter was finally here! Ted smiled wide. He knew they couldn't risk calling his bluff, not with the innocent children of Angel Falls to think about. He strode confidently over to one the nearby bailiffs and relieved the man of both his cell-phone and his sidearm with sadistic glee. Snyder slapped the man on both his cheeks with mock-playfulness before making his way quickly to the elevator. He was feeling ecstatic, better than he had in the last two years! Soon he would be sitting on a beach somewhere in a non-extradition country, earning 20% interest off his millions of dollars' worth of investments, far from Angel Falls. The ride up the elevator was the longest one he could ever remember. He had to remind himself to breath several times and giggled to himself at his good fortune. When he was safely on the helicopter, his money secured and he was miles away he would contact his partner to detonate the bombs anyway. It would buy him time to further his escape as the heroes of the city helped with rescue efforts and saving the burning, char-broiled innocents. Besides, what good was a bomb if it never got a chance to fulfill its purpose and truly live?
As the elevator doors opened onto the top floor hallway, Blastwave quickly made his way to the end of the hall and up a small flight of stairs before opening the door to the roof. The bright sunlight streaked inwards, stabbing at his eyes for a moment. As he stepped blinking out into the sun, a pair of hands grabbed him roughly and slammed him up against the side of the entrance. Ted gasped as all the air was suddenly ripped from his lungs. Standing directly in front of him, gripping him by the throat was Jane Smith. His eyes bulged from their sockets as she clamped down hard, swinging him over the side of the building. His expensive shoes kicked feebly as she held him a good two feet from the gravel-topped roof. He could see his helicopter, the one that was supposed to take him to freedom, the one that was full of his money hovering only a few yards away.
"YOU?" Ted stammered.
"One chance." Jane snarled, "Who's your partner and where is he?"
Blastwave laughed a throaty, gurgling sound. "Fuck you! You had the chance to kill me and failed. Kill me now and those bombs go off and all those deaths will be on your head, bitch!"
"Who said anything about killing you?" Jane sneered, grabbing a hold of one of his scarred, nimble hands with her own gloved one. "These are the tools you use to make those nasty explosives aren't they? Delicate work I can imagine. Years of precision and experience."
Without another word, Jane crushed his hand into a pulp. His bones shattered like exploding florescent bulbs, ground down into fragments. Blood ran hot through her fingers as she continued to crush the offending appendage until it was nothing more than a piece of useless flesh and splintered shards of bone. Ted howled in pain and madness, thrashing around violently as she continued to hold him up with one super-powered hand. The veins in his neck throbbed under her grip as he spat at her, his face an angry, red patchwork of incredible pain and fury.
"Now..." Jane began again slowly, "Tell me who your partner is and where I can find him? As of right now you can still jerk yourself off you piece of shit." Prodigy drove her point home by taking a firm grip on his other flailing hand. "I don't get an answer from you in the next couple of seconds, you lose this hand too...and then I move to more sensitive areas."
"Alright, alright...please..."Ted stammered to the amazonian blonde, his eyes full of fear and rage combined, "His name is Andrew Metesky...he's my protege...he's waiting for my call soon..."
"Where?" Jane leaned in, her breath smelling like mint. The grip on his remaining hand suddenly tightened uncomfortably.
Ted groaned and shuddered in pain before nodding in resignation. "He's waiting at 934 North 25th Street, apartment 217! I'm supposed to call him when I'm safely aboard so he can deactivate the explosives!"
"Or word from you to set them off, right?" Jane smirked amusedly. "I think I speak for the entire city when I say we're all tired of this bullshit Ted. So on behalf of Angel Falls..."
Blastwave felt his other hand suddenly crushed like a spent soda can. He screamed now, his head thrown back against the wall as she continued to reduce his fingers to jelly.
"Go fuck yourself." she said in a delicate voice, her Southern accent making her sound more like Scarlet O'Hara declining a cup of tea. She dropped the wailing man back to the rooftop, looking down on him in disgust. Without another word, she reached into his pocket and retrieved the stolen cell-phone. She couldn't have him somehow using his lips to call this other bomber. Time was going to be crucial now anyway. Jane rolled the half-conscious and bleeding man back into the doorway and shut it tightly. She glanced over at the police helicopter still hovering nearby. A thumbs up from the pilot told her she still had time to get to that address without AFPD interference, in case the partner was listening in on the police channels, and provided a lurking news chopper hadn't somehow managed to broadcast that encounter. She had been as quick and silent as possible lying in wait up there, despite the media circus on the streets below, so she hoped her luck would continue to hold true as she activated her harness and launched herself upwards and into the sky.
Backblast had taken his finger on and then off the red plastic button at least three times as he watched the series of monitors and televisions all around him. Something was definitely going on down there, but he wasn't sure at all what it was. First, the building hadn't completely collapsed. The explosives had gone off without a hitch, but for some reason the lower floors had held up. Whether due to the structure of the building or one of the explosives being faulty he couldn't say. The police, fire and rescue and news had all arrived, like clockwork, scurrying around like ants. No capes. Ted had to be running the show down there since he hadn't seen spandex one zipping around since the explosion. The deadline however was counting down rapidly and he still hadn't heard word one from his mentor. The man was an asshole, but he was always punctual. Andrew took a deep breath and steadied himself, listening to it hiss through his black helmet like he was Darth Vader. He ran his gloved finger across the top of the button again, reveling in the sense of power it gave him. He figured Ted was going to want to detonate the bombs anyway which suited him just fine. It would cement him as Ted's replacement in this city and show everyone that he meant business. The money Ted promised him would go a long way towards setting up his operations as well.
The screens suddenly became a flurry of activity as plumes of dust and smoke began to belch forth from the store front. Then, a handful of children began pouring out of the crippled building through the haze. Girl scouts it looked like. How the hell had they managed to get out of the building? What was going on down there? Andrew moved from screen to screen, trying to get a better angle and figure out what was happening. The children looked positively unharmed as they were greeted by the police and emergency workers. First the building didn't collapse and now this? Did one of the little girls have some sort of Meta-level powers? Backblast put down the detonator and picked up his cell-phone. Ted had made it very clear to wait for his call, but fuck that. He had to be told something was wrong and he wanted the go-ahead on the other explosives.
The wall suddenly exploded inwards, throwing him violently to the floor along with his monitors and televisions screens. The black-clad man was momentarily stunned, shaking his head as he rolled over onto his back. Standing there in the newly-created hole was a tall, blonde woman, her muscular arms crossed over her chest. Back-lit by the sun, she created a terribly imposing figure and Andrew realized who she was with growing dread. He pulled himself backward, scuttling along the floor like a giant, armored beetle through the broken glass and crushed masonry. He looked away from Prodigy only for a moment to locate where his detonator had landed and he spied it a few feet away. Jane Smith saw it as well and crossed the room faster than he could take a breath, snatching it away from his fumbling hands. Jane carefully tucked the triggering device away before reaching down and lifting up its creator effortlessly with both hands. Andrew struggled futilely, his desperate breaths echoing through his smooth, blast-shielded helmet. Prodigy walked him over to the hole she had created, ripping his mask free with her left hand. The helmet dropped down two stories, bouncing off the roof of a parked Nissan. The man underneath it was barely into his twenties with a mop of red hair and freckles. His eyes were wide with fear and Jane drank it all in deliciously before barking at him.
"The other explosives, where are they!"
Andrew was silent for a long moment, too petrified to speak. His jaw hung open, but no words came out. It was only when Jane let go with one hand that he began to stammer out their locations, his voice cracking and trembling. Jane listened, nodding as he spilled their whereabouts.
"Good, "she responded as he finished, "now the question remains of what to do with you..."
"Please...don't kill me..." he managed to squeak out in a whiny, high-pitched sob. It made Jane sick to her stomach.
"You're lucky I'm turning over a new leaf Sugah." Jan chided him before letting him drop.
Andrew fell like a rock, missing the car and slamming into the asphalt. Both his ankles snapped on impact like bread-sticks. He let out a few low moans, writhing and twisting on the ground like a snake. It was moments like these that really tested her resolve. So badly she had wanted to twist his head around backwards and drop him into the street, saving the city time and money and making sure that this psychopath didn't have the opportunity to suit up again. The justice system here was flawed to the point of being ridiculous, but it was the system all these other tools wanted her to play by and if she was ever going to be accepted she would have to play by those rules...even if it meant letting a slime ball like that off with just some broken legs. She sure as hell wasn't going to rush him off to the hospital though. Jane snapped out her cell phone and dialed 911, requesting a heavy police presence and bomb squad in case he had anything booby-trapped. She placed the detonator down on a nearby table and made her way back to the impromptu exit she had created. The bomber had passed out, probably due to the pain, making him easy pickings for even the AFPD. All and all though, she considered today a good one. Blastwave was permanently out of commission and his apprentice was going away for a long time. On top of that she had proven that she wasn't intimidated by the criminals of this city like all the other capes that backed off the minute innocent lives were being threatened. Even the high and mighty Soviet Superwoman hadn't had the guts to make an appearance. Thoughts like that made Jane smile as she bolted off into the sky.
A massive thanks to my good friend
for this gorgeous image of Prodigy!
Prodigy, Blastwave and the story are my creations. The concept for Blastwave to have a protege named Backblast comes from this incredible R.I.P. story by
R.I.P. Angel Falls - Raging BullConsciousness returned slowly to Gordon Martin, the Guardian known as Raging Bull. He found himself in his normal form under a pile of debris, with his ears ringing. He got angry and his scrawny form enlarged, and he easily dug himself out. He emerged into sunlight masked by smoke. All around him for a block was complete devastation. In addition, his head hurt. He rubbed it and felt something sticky. Pulling his hand away, he saw partially dried blood on it. He thought about how he got there, and his recent memories returned.
Bombs had been going off at important locations all over the city, and every available Guardian had been called in. R
This takes place in