18 September 2076

Scout sat at the recently set up poker table in the main sitting room, accompanied by Charles, McCree, Heavy, Demo and Dell. Dell was in the process of dealing the cards as McCree puffed on his cigar and Charles reached for the bottle of bourbon that lay in the middle of the table, pouring it into a glass. Demo's hand was clasped around a half-empty bottle of scrumpy and Heavy eyed Dell off warily, watching every card as it fell onto the table. Finally, all the cards were dealt and Dell picked up his own hand, the rest of the group following suit. Scout examined his own hand, consisting of a two of spades, a three of clubs, a four of diamonds, a five of clubs and a six of hearts.

"Well boys, place your bets." Dell said, adjusting his goggles.

"I'll open with twenty quid." Charles said, pulling a twenty pound note from his pocket and tossing it in front of him.

"Yeah, this ain't a great hand at all... I fold." McCree said, sighing as he tossed down his cards.

"Hmph. Cowboy man has no resolve." Heavy said derisively.

"Mighta lost it on account of that beating you and Scout handed out." He replied, smiling softly.

"Pah, you could have resisted, if you had not been coward. I raise to fifty." Heavy said, putting fifty pounds onto the table in front of him.

"I bet fifty." Demo said, placing the money on the table.

"I call." Scout said, placing fifty pounds onto the table.

"I call." Dell said, his face completely deadpan as he put forward a note of his own. All eyes turned to Charles as he pondered. Eventually, he shrugged.

"Alright, I'll raise it." He said, adding more money to the table.

"I raise too." Heavy said, adding another fifty pounds to the table.

"I'm out, lads." Demo said, scowling and putting down his hand. "Bloody useless hand..."

"Why'd you bet in the first place if you didn't think you could win? Call." Scout asked, tossing down yet more. The table was beginning to contain quite a large sum of money indeed.

"To see if the rest of ye gobshites had crap hands before I gave up." He replied, swigging from his bottle of scrumpy.

"I'm gonna raise the bet to two hundred." Dell said, placing down the appropriate amount of money.

"I fold." Charles said.

"Dude, you're rich, you can afford the risk." Scout said, chuckling.

"Can does not mean should." Charles responded. All eyes then fell to Heavy, who hesitated.

"I call." He finally said, uneasily placing down more money.

"I'm gonna fold." Scout said, placing down his hand. He did not have the confidence to risk anymore of his cash, not with the hand he had been dealt.

"Well well, Heavy." Dell said, his facial expression unchanging. "Just you and me. I think I might possibly... Raise." He said, throwing down another two hundred pounds. Heavy's eyes widened as he stared at the large stack of money.

"I..." He said, hesitating. "I..."

"Yes?" Dell asked innocently. Heavy gritted his teeth and placed his cards down on the table.

"I fold." He said, defeated.

"Who's got no resolve now?" Dell asked, grinning as he collected his winnings. As he gathered all the notes into a pile and began counting them, he looked at Heavy. "What was your hand, by the way?"

"I had full house." Heavy replied. Dell nearly choked with laughter as the rest of the group looked at one-another in confusion.

"Pal, you folded with a full house? I had a three of a kind." He said. Heavy's facial expression rapidly changed to a mixture of confusion and anger.

"Why would engineer bet so much on three of a kind?" He demanded.

"It worked, didn't it? And now I am 800 pounds richer. Hey, Charles, how much is that in US dollars?" Dell asked.

"Fucked if I know." Charles replied, sipping at his bourbon. Heavy scowled and stood.

"This is not fair. You were bluffing!" He growled.

"Point of the game, Heavy." Dell replied, tucking the money into his overalls. "You should see Spy when he plays, that man can bluff his way to winning a grand with a High Card." Heavy snarled and grabbed Dell by the scruff of his neck.

"Hey, hey, easy there, pal!" Scout said, standing and placing a hand on Heavy's shoulder. As Heavy raised a fist, the sound of a man clearing his throat pierced the air.

"Gentlemen." Came a deep voice. They all looked at the doorway to see Spy approaching. Heavy released Dell and sat down, scowling. "I see you are making the most of your free time. Charles, I've been looking through the dossiers you gave us on the criminals."

"And?" Charles asked, frowning as he looked at Spy.

"I cross-referenced some of the information there with a list of all locations robbed by these 'Hackney Steel Men' in the last few weeks." Spy explained. Charles' eyes widened.

"What did you find?" He asked.

"This." Spy replied, stepping forward and slapping the dossier onto the table. From it slipped a map of London, with numerous red X's marked on it. Several lines were drawn connecting them to one single spot in East London. "Every single place hit by these gangsters within six miles of Hackney has not been more than a ten minute drive from this place. As for the rest of their targets, there is no pattern."

"So you're suggesting that they came from there?" Charles asked.

"The dossier says that they're based somewhere close to that area of Hackney. It's more than what we've had to go on so far." Spy replied.

"So, uh, what's the place circled here?" Scout asked, squinting at the map.

"A bar. Well, a street with a bar on it, but I'm going to check the bar." Spy replied. "Apparently it's quite a shady establishment."

"Hold on, I didn't say you could go and check it out. We don't know a damn thing about what we're dealing with here." Charles said.

"Gangsters, bar, possibly two dangerous Australian criminals. I'll expect the worst and plan accordingly." Spy said. Charles frowned, before sighing.

"Fine, go and find out what you can. But if there happen to be a large group of angry gangsters waiting for you, I'd rather you didn't get yourself killed and just left." Charles instructed.

"Of course. This mission is purely intelligence gathering. I will need a car." Spy replied.

"Speak to Kingsley, he'll sort you out." Charles said.

"Try not to screw the hot one who pretended to be on our side, Medic will be pissed if you get shot in the lungs again." Scout said.

"Go to hell." Spy replied.

"Remember, Spy, whichever car Kinglsey gives you, not a scratch. They're very expensive." Charles warned.

"Of course." Spy said, smiling. He nodded curtly to the group before turning on his heel and striding purposefully from the room.

Outside the Irish Omnic pub stood a tall man dressed in a black jumper and trousers, smoking a cigarette under a damaged streetlight that stood next to the alley lying beside the pub. The light flickered on and off randomly and there were no sounds but the distant hum of traffic permeating the chilly night air. The man scratched his stubble coated chin as he took a drag, looking around. Down the street, the sound of a car caught his attention, the rather expensive looking scarlet vehicle turning a corner and pulling up not far from him. The driver was a petite blonde woman in a blue dress and as she exited the vehicle, the man smirked and stepped forward.

"Evening, sweetheart. What brings you to this part of town?" He called in a distinctly cockney accent.

"I heard this was a nice place to get a drink." She said.

"If you like dangerous men, it is." He replied.

"Oh? What kind of dangerous are we talking here?" She replied, a sly grin on her face as she stepped closer.

"Oh, just the kind involved in gangs and crime, is all. Pretty dangerous." He said. She stepped closer, now less than half a meter away from him.

"I happen to like bad boys, the kind involved in that. You know any?" She asked. He grinned.

"I'll let you in on a secret, sweetheart. I'm one of 'em. The Hackney Steel Men, that's who I belong to. We're pretty big right now, robbing all sorts of high security places." He said, stepping forward himself.

"Is that so? What's your name, handsome?" She asked.

"It's Tom, love. Tom Sheperd. Now how's about we step inside, get ourselves a bit of privacy?" He asked. She smiled, stepping closer, their bodies almost touching.

"Good idea..." She said, before punching him savagely in the throat. He gagged, his cigarette falling from his mouth as he staggered backwards, clutching at his throat. She kicked him in the ankle and his knees buckled. He clumsily attempted to fight back, but she easily caught his back-handed slap in her arm and twisted it behind her back, causing him to cry out softly in pain. She looked him dead in the eye and as he looked at her, terrified, red smoke collected around her. Her facial features rippled and a moment later, Tom found himself staring into the eyes of an identical copy of himself.

"Honestly, you have to be the dumbest cunt in the world to have fallen for that." The copy said in a voice that was completely indistinguishable from his own, pulling a knife from his pocket and driving it into Tom's heart. He let go of the dying man and Tom fell to the ground, plucking feebly at the blade while blood seeped from it. A moment later, Tom was dragged into the alley and tucked away behind a large collection of rubbish bins. The copy pulled the knife from Tom's body, wiped it clean on his sleeve and slipped it into his pocket before turning and striding out of the alley.

Tracer stood anxiously in the living room, waiting. She wore a pair of grey jeans and a white t-shirt and across the room from her, Charles sat reading a newspaper. He glanced up at her.

"Anxious for Spy?" He asked wearily. She shook her head.

"No, um, it's the... Thing you said I could do." She replied. Comprehension dawned across his face.

"Right, yes. Why do you look so nervous, anyway? It's not as if she's a stranger to you." Charles said. She smiled nervously.

"No, it's just I haven't seen her in a while." She said. He chuckled.

"Well, I imagine you won't want me around to get in the way. I'll be in my bedroom if you need me." He said, rising to his feet with some difficulty and grabbing his cane. He limped out of the room, the newspaper under his arm. Tracer stood there in silence for some ten minutes, before Scout entered the room.

"Hey there, sweetheart. What's up?" He asked. The side of her mouth twitched and she looked at him in silence for a few moments.

"Not much." She said, looking away.

"Right. So, uh, I was wonderin', if you wanted to maybe have a drink? Hang out?" He asked.

"If you mean that date, I thought we'd established it was off the table." She replied, a hint of irritation in her tone. He raised his hands defensively.

"You said we'd delay it. And I'm just asking to hang out." Scout said innocently, though a glance downward on his part tipped her off to his true intentions. Before she could say anything, the doorbell rang.

"I should get that." She said, striding off hastily. She walked into the entrance hall and to the door, pulling it open. Behind it stood a fair skinned redhead with freckles, dressed in a green skirt and red jumper that was angled in such a manner that exposed her right shoulder.

"Emily!" She cried, grinning and throwing her arms around her. Emily smiled and returned the embrace.

"Hey, Lena, it's been a while." Emily replied.

"Hey, who's this?" Came the voice of Scout. Tracer broke off her embrace and turned to look at him, her cheeks reddening slightly.

"This is Emily." Tracer explained. He frowned.

"She's like, a cousin, or a friend, or..." He said trailing off.

"She's my girlfriend, Scout." Tracer replied.

"Girlfriend as in your friend who you ironically call girlfriend, or-"

"We're dating." She cut him off. His face was afire with a mix of emotions, from confusion to anger to confusion again to pathos and then to a mix of them all.

"Wait, you're a lesbian?" He asked.

"Yes, we are." Emily interjected, anger evident in her tone.

"Well, I wouldn't necessarily use that word specifically..." Tracer said helplessly.

"Then what word would you use?" Emily asked, turning to her.

"I don't know, maybe... Um... Anyway, Scout, I don't think my love life is really your business." She said, attempting to regain control of the situation.

"But you totally agreed to that date!" He objected.

"You did what?" Emily said furiously.

"I did not! Charles didn't even ask my permission or let me respond! And I told you no later!"

"You said just a delay because of all the shit that had happened!" He replied.

"Oh my god, can't you take a hint? What the hell did you think that meant?" Tracer asked, impatience and anger starting to assert themselves in her demeanour.

"Exactly what it freaking sounded like!" Scout responded. "What am I, a freaking mind reader? Christ, if you weren't available you should have just told me!" He said, scowling as he turned on his heel and stormed off. The sound of his feet stamping up the stairs could be heard even after he had faded from sight and Tracer stood in silence with Emily for a full minute before Emily broke that silence.

"Now that you've explained me to him, you explain him to me." She said sternly, turning to Tracer and folding her arms over her chest.

"He's a colleague. One of the ones from the time-travel thing I was telling you about." Tracer explained. Emily raised an eyebrow.

"And he was under the impression you had agreed to a date... Because?" Emily asked.

"Because before they'd joined up with us he was hitting on me and Charles promised him a date in exchange for information. He didn't give me a choice." Tracer said. "But I told Scout that I wasn't interested!" She added hastily.

"And how come you didn't tell me about any of this?" Emily said.

"Because I thought I'd dealt with it. I'm sorry I didn't say anything, Em." She said. Emily sighed and uncrossed her arms, placing her hands on her hips.

"I forgive you." She said. Tracer's eyes lit up and she opened her mouth to speak, but Emily raised a finger to stop her. "But you're gonna have to show me one hell of a time to make it up to me."

"I'll do my best." Tracer said, smiling. There was a moment of uncomfortable silence before Emily moved forward and kissed her. They held the kiss for several seconds before Emily broke off and smiled.

"It has been way too long. You need to spend a little less time saving the world and some more time back home, huh?" She said.

"Duty calls, love. But I do get time off." Tracer replied. Emily smirked.

"How lucky." She said in a low, snide tone. "Let's go and sit down, have a drink."

Spy pushed the door of the Irish Omnic pub open, walking in. He looked around, seeing several dozen men sitting around in it. Behind the bar itself stood an Omnic in a bartender outfit, wiping a glass clean.

"Hey, Tom, hope you had a good smoke, can I get anything for ya?" The Omnic called. It spoke with a thick Irish accent and Spy frowned for a moment, but then shook his head.

"I'm fine for now, thanks." He replied. At one table, two men sat, both looking at Spy.

"Come over here, Tom!" One of them yelled. Spy walked over to them and sat down.

"Pretty good couple of weeks, eh?" The first of the two men said. He was clean shaven and bald, with green eyes and tan skin.

"Yeah, ain't that the truth. Taking orders from a couple of loonies what come from the other side of the bloody planet. You know, I had a couple friends who were in the group that went to Tilbury. They'd still be alive right now, but those Aussie twats insisted on getting their bloody briefcase, whatever the hell was in it." The second said. He had long, shaggy black hair and was dark skinned, with brown eyes.

"Ah, lighten up, Jacob. We've been doing a lot of decent, normal jobs as well and they've helped 'em go along smoothly. Anyway, I heard from Jim that old Iron Arm is planning something big. Something for the Victory Day parade."

"Oh?" Spy interjected. "How big are we talking here?"

"I don't know any details, but from what I hear, if it goes smoothly then we'll all be very rich men indeed." He replied.

"Sounds interesting. Tell me, where is Jim? I'd like to know what we need to be doing." Spy said.

"He'd probably be talking with the boss." Jacob said, draining a glass of beer and inclining his head for a door at the far end of the bar. By the door stood a tall, burly man in a black vest, black suit pants and a white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

"Might as well wait for him to be done if you really want to talk, Tom. Iron Arm doesn't like interruptions, Al over there won't let you in." The other man said.

"Fair enough." Spy replied. He sat in silence for several minutes as the other two talked, thinking of a course of action. Eventually, he excused himself to go to the bathroom, cloaking when he was out of sight and moving back into the main room, standing stock still for several minutes and watching the door intently. After a little while, one man sitting at the bar stood up.

"Well, lads, it's been a pleasure, but the boss is calling." The man said to two men sitting with him, waving a phone around. He slipped it into his pocket and began walking for the door that Al stood by. Seizing the opportunity, Spy rushed over to him, shadowing his movements as he reached the door.

"Evening, Al. Boss wants to see me." The man said. Al looked at him cynically, an eyebrow raised.

"Show me the proof." Al replied. The man sighed and rolled up his sleeve to reveal a silver tattoo of a clenched fist on his left arm.

"Do we have to do this every time?" The man asked.

"Yes. Now go through." Al replied, opening the door. The man stepped through and Spy followed, staying within a foot of his quarry as the door shut behind him and they descended a staircase. Spy stopped walking for a moment as he heard voices ahead, allowing the man in front to move into the room at the base of the stairs before he slipped inside.

Scout sat at the table in the cellar, halfway through his second bottle of tequila as he muttered angrily about bullshit lesbians who couldn't just tell the fucking truth from the start and other such tirades as they came into his mind. His attention was momentarily drawn away from his misery by footsteps echoing down the stairs.

"Howdy. Mind if I join you?" Came the deep voice of McCree.

"Sure, why the fuck not?" Scout said irritably. McCree pulled out a chair next to Scout and sat, taking one of the many bottles assembled and pouring from it into a glass.

"You seem like you've had a rough night. Bitter about the poker game?" McCree asked.

"Naw, I'm used to losing to Engie. Just..." He said, trailing off as mistrust filled him. "What's it to you, why I'm pissed, anyway?" McCree sighed, sipping from his glass.

"Scout, I'm gonna level with you right now, I do not want to keep being your worst enemy if we're gonna keep working together." He said. "Now, I know you and your pals are pissed off somethin' fierce about me killing your buddies, but we're all on the same side now."

"Why'd you kill them, anyway?" Scout said, momentarily distracted from his previous sorrows.

"Scout, I was staring down an alley at them, they were standing over Tracer about to kill her and I had about half a whole god damn second to think of what to do before they were gonna start shootin' at me. When you're up against people you've been told are working with Talon and you find yourself in that situation, you try and go for a peaceful resolution." McCree replied as he drank. Scout remained silent for several seconds as he digested this. Now that he thought about it, he supposed McCree had a point.

"If you could go back and change what happened..." Scout asked

"I don't know. But I'd like to think that if I knew you guys would end up joining us, I'd have just shot out their knees instead." He replied. Scout chuckled and swigged from his bottle of tequila.

"Yeah, that probably wouldn't have stopped Soldier." He said, fond memories filling his mind. Soldier was completely insane and sometimes terrifying to work with, but he was also hilarious and lovable in his own manic sort of way. One particular incident came to mind, from back when they all thought that they were riddled with tumours from use of the teleporter, after Spy had presented them all with a bucket. Scout laughed.

"Well, it's in the past, now. So, what was it pissing you off before?" McCree asked. Scout paused as the fond memories were pushed aside, to be replaced with the events of the past half hour. He scowled.

"Tracer. I just found out the hard way that she's a lesbian." Scout said, his voice oozing with malice.

"Oh, that. You didn't know?" McCree asked. Scout squinted at him.

"You did know?" He responded. McCree nodded.

"She mentioned it after you and Heavy beat me up." He said. Scout winced a bit.

"Sorry about that." He said. McCree waved a hand dismissively.

"It's all good. She mentioned having a girlfriend when I tried to taking advantage of my injuries to flirt." He said, chuckling. Scout scowled.

"She wasn't that up-front with me..." He muttered angrily. McCree shrugged.

"Maybe she figured you wouldn't take it well." He replied. "I mean, getting drunk and cussing her out ain't my idea of acceptin' reality with grace."

"Oh, so you're taking her side?" Scout snarled, staring at McCree with fury. He raised his hands defensively.

"I ain't taking any sides. All I'm saying is that there are some things in life we can't help and the best thing to do is accept it and move on." He explained. Scout grimaced as McCree spoke, looking away.

"She should've told me from the start." He said, continuing to drink.

"The start when you and her were enemies? Or the start after that where you'd been promised a date by her boss without even asking her about it ahead of time?" McCree pressed.

"Man, for somebody who ain't taking sides, you sure as hell seem to be on her side." Scout said bitterly as he finished his bottle. He reached for another, but McCree's cybernetic hand blocked him.

"You've had enough." He warned.

"Man, I am an adult and I will decide when I have had enough." Scout said indignantly. McCree looked at him cynically.

"You didn't get much discipline when you were a kid, did you?" He asked.

"None, actually. What's it to you?" Scout asked.

"Well, you're getting it now. Go to bed or I'll whip your ass." McCree said as he finished his own drink. Scout looked at him and opened his mouth to speak, but McCree held up a hand to stop him. "I don't want to hear it. Go sleep and think about what I've said. We'll talk more when you're sober."

"Asshole..." Scout muttered as he reluctantly stood up and stumbled for the staircase. As he walked, the familiar sound of a lighter igniting met his ears and he glanced back to see McCree with a large cigar in his mouth. McCree looked back at him.

"Get." He said sternly and Scout narrowed his eyes, continuing to walk.

"Last count put our earnings up at just under 'alf a bar, boss." Came the voice of one of the gangsters. Spy hid behind a collection of barrels of some sort as he listened to the conversation, peeking through the gaps to look at the figures before him. One was the man he had followed in, who had been identified as Garth by another man, who had been called Jim by Garth. The third man was a tall, muscle-bound man whose left arm was entirely cybernetic, no doubt contributing to the name Iron Arm.

"Just pocket change to what's coming next." Iron Arm said, his voice a low, rumbling growl.

"The lads don't seem to think so. Most of 'em seem to think that they've made a tidy little profit and don't want to risk it all on something you won't even tell 'em about." Jim said. Iron Arm scowled.

"You think I give a fuck what they want? I'm the motherfucking boss here, those ungrateful cunts do as I say or else." He snarled. Jim held up his hands.

"Come on, boss. Be reasonable. They've been sticking their necks out a lot the last few weeks on account of your new mates." He explained.

"And you said it yourself, they've made a tidy fucking profit. I don't see the bloody problem." Iron Arm replied.

"They need a break, is all. Just a couple weeks off to enjoy themselves before-"

"Don't you give me that shit, Jim. The Victory Day parade is the only opportunity like this we're ever going to fucking get and if those lazy twats don't want to take part, I'll kill 'em myself." Iron Arm snapped.

"Boss, the parade is three days off. If you kill everybody before then, you won't be able to find replacements in time." Garth pointed out. Iron Arm wheeled around to face the other man, baring his teeth.

"If that's the case, I'll do it without them. They can take part and share in the profits, or they can fucking die. I don't need them." He hissed.

"If that's your attitude, I doubt they'll keep following you for much longer. Especially not if you keep sending us out on random jobs for your Aussie mates when nobody gets paid and those Overwatch cunts just kill our men. The lads are sick of-" Jim said. Suddenly, a steel hand was clasped around his throat and Iron Arm's head turned slowly to look at him as he coughed and sputtered.

"You want to say anymore?" He asked. There was no reply, only the sounds of Jim choking. Iron Arm's grip tightened as he stepped closer, his eyes inches from Jim's. "You've been mouthing off at me for too fucking long, you disloyal twat. I won't fucking have it." He snarled. Jim's face began to turn purple and after several long, uncomfortable seconds, Iron Arm let go. Jim's lifeless body hit the ground and Garth stared in horror.

"What the fuck?" He said, his voice rising in pitch and volume.

"Get out of my fucking sight, or you're next." Iron Arm said. Garth turned and ran, tripping as he reached the stairs and smashing his face against them. He only lay stunned for a moment, though, scrambling to get away as fast as possible. A moment later, the sounds of chatter outside flooded down into the room before being cut off by a door slamming. Iron Arm turned away and walked for a table on the far side of the room, a large chart lying upon it as he leaned over and examined it. Spy's hand slipped into his suit jacket, but he stopped the next moment.

"I know you're hiding there. You might as well come out." Iron Arm growled. Spy's heart skipped a beat, but after a moment he stepped out of hiding, dropping his disguise and staring at the gangster before him. "Who sent you? Coppers? One of the other gangs?"

"Overwatch." Spy replied. Iron Arm straightened his back and turned to face Spy.

"Meddling fuckers. That robbery on the docks would have gone much smoother if you lot hadn't turned up." He said.

"Well, I'm afraid that's what we do. Tell me, what's this plan of yours for the parade?" Spy asked. Iron Arm's mouth twitched.

"Ah, you won't be leaving this room alive, what the hell? Victory Day parade is in three days time. The King himself is going to be taking part and he's going to stop off in King's Row to pay tribute to some cunt of an Omnic monk who got shot there. While he's doing that, we're gonna grab him and hold him to ransom."

"I see. And how do you plan on bypassing all of the security that will be there?" Spy asked.

"Now that, I'm not going to say. I've entertained you enough. Any last words?" Iron Arm said, stepping forward. His cybernetic arm hummed with energy and he experimentally punched the palm of his organic hand, sending sparks flying.

"Last words? No. You see, there is one thing you failed to take into consideration before revealing to me what you plan on doing." Spy said.

"And what would that be?" Iron Arm said.

"This." Spy said, activating his cloak and shimmering into a red silhouette before vanishing from sight entirely. Immediately, he sprinted for the stairs, running up them two at a time. He threw the door open as the pounding sounds of feet followed him.

"Stop him!" Iron Arm roared. Spy grabbed Al and hurled him down the stairs before flipping a table with several drunk men playing poker around it, catching one of their glasses as it went flying and hurling it into the face of a man across the room. His cloak shimmered and faded.

"Bar fight!" Somebody yelled excitedly and in a heartbeat, the pub descended into chaos. Yells and cries of pain filled the air and all around, Spy could see somebody throwing a punch at somebody. One of the men at the table he had flipped tackled him to the ground and punched him in the face twice before Spy rammed his fist into the man's crotch with all his might. The man howled like a shot dog and rolled off, clutching his groin and whimpering feebly as Spy staggered to his feet. He cast his gaze back to the door he had come form and saw Iron Arm standing before him, his face afire with fury.

Spy picked up a table and threw it at him, cloaking as it left his hands. Iron Arm punched the table with his cybernetic fist, electricity coursing through his arm and causing the table to shatter into hundreds of pieces before he barreled through the room to where Spy had just been. But Spy was no longer there, ducking and weaving through the chaos of the bar, occasionally tripping people and pushing them into one-another but never performing any action so strenuous as to lower his cloak while he made for the front door. Finally, he reached it and threw it open, running for the scarlet vehicle he had used to come to this place. He fumbled in his pocket for the key and jammed it into the door, twisting it frantically as his cloak flickered and faded away.

He slid into the seat and thrust the key into the ignition. As he shut the door, Iron Arm emerged from the bar, his face red. Spy's eyes widened and he slammed his foot on the accelerator. As he sped down the street, the car shuddered violently from an impact and a glance into the rearview mirror revealed that Iron Arm had jumped onto the back, clutching the rear windscreen wiper with one hand and drawing back his cybernetic fist with the other. Spy spun the steering wheel violently, sending the car screeching in a circle as Iron Arm's fist collided with the rear window of the car. It shattered and the shockwave momentarily deafened Spy, disorienting him as the rear windscreen wiper snapped and sent Iron Arm crashing to the ground.

The car continued spinning until the side crashed into a street lamp, buckling the passenger door and shattering the window. Spy sat still for several seconds as his senses returned, a loud ringing in his ears drawing his ire as his vision cleared. When he could make sense of anything, he glanced into the rearview mirror again and his heartbeat accelerated rapidly when he saw Iron Arm staggering to his feet. Hastily Spy slammed his foot back onto the accelerator and the car took off down the street. As he turned a corner and sped off, he relaxed slightly, slowing down to within the rather generous speed limit of the area.

As he drove down the roads of London, drawing several strange looks from various pedestrians he passed, he spared as much of his attention as he could to examine the damage to the vehicle. He also noticed that his suit was torn in many places and he had received numerous small cuts from the shattered glass. Then, he noticed he wasn't wearing a seatbelt and he buckled it up with one hand, before the final words Charles had said to him before he left echoed in his ears.

"Not a scratch." Charles had said. As Spy looked at the extensive damage around him, at the large black vehicle that had just started tailgating him, he could not help but start to laugh. The laughter immediately ceased when the black car rammed into his own car's rear. He clutched the steering wheel tightly with both hands as he sped up, his eyes wide as he looked at the mirror to see that Iron Arm was in the driver's seat of the car that had just rammed him.

"Fuck!" Spy yelled as he was rammed a second time, his car veering massively off-course and onto the wrong side of the road. He nearly crashed into a speeding white car as it drove past him, the driver frantically honking his horn and veering off-course to avoid collision. Spy might have normally apologised for such an act, but now his only focus was on survival as he drove as fast as the damaged car could travel. He glanced behind and saw the enormous black car had not stopped in its pursuit and so Spy kept on driving, moving back onto the correct side of the road.

Ahead of him, he could see a bridge and there was surprisingly little traffic, so he made straight for it, always keeping one eye on the larger vehicle behind him. Unconsciously, Spy's left hand moved from the steering wheel to undo his seatbelt. He did not know why, but his gut told him it was the right thing to do and so he did it, despite all logic and rationality screaming the contrary. He ran a red light, nearly crashing into another vehicle but narrowly missing, before arriving on the bridge as the sound of sirens in the distance met his ears. As he drove across it, his car shook violently again; Iron Arm had caught up. He cursed and once more veered onto the wrong side of the road, into the path of an oncoming truck.

His eyes widened and his heart seemed to be trying to burst from his chest as a torrent of four letter words escaped his mouth and he desperately tried to steer out of its path. He managed to drive most of his car out of its path, but the rear of his car was still in its way and the truck hit it dead-on. The car spun violently, Spy losing all control of the steering and being unable to assess the damage as he was spun back into the path of Iron Arm's car. His car slowed to a halt just on the edge of the bridge and Spy looked on in horror, desperately slamming his foot onto the accelerator as the black car sped towards him. Time seemed to slow down as Spy realised that his car would not move anymore and he stared in abject horror as the other car hit his with full force, sending him flying over the edge of the bridge and racing for the icy water below.

Author's Note: I am back! I apologise profusely for the cliffhanger I just ended the chapter on, but I am an asshole like that so it's what you're getting! I'll try and avoid leaving it unresolved for too long, but my motivation for writing waxes and wanes, so who knows when the next chapter is out. What I can promise is that it will most likely be another long one like this and I can also promise that it will be action packed.

Anyway, shameless self-promotion aside, I hope you all enjoyed the chapter. It took me several weeks to write this one, because hey, it turns out I am not that good at writing scenes that are completely free of both comedy and action. But I got there in the end, so be sure to leave a review, I'd love to know what you all think. As always, questions will be answered in detail and honesty unless it's getting into the realm of major spoilers for later chapters, so be sure to ask away if anything is unclear.