At the Gate

Disclaimer: City of Hero's and settings belongs to ncsoft and Cryptic Studios. NGHT STKR is mine

Author's note: I'm hoping to get this one published in the City of Heroes comic book. Also wanted to prove I could right a short story.

NGHT STKR was standing outside the entrance to the Boomtown section of Paragon City. He was stocky and a little below average height. His uniform was a gray, with a vest of high tech armor and metallic leggings. His mask was a three quarter face affair, also gray with a backward swept ridge running the length of his forehead.

He had been contacted by a group of heroes that wanted to do a sweep of Boomtown, or as it use to be known Baumtown, until the Rikiti invasion of Paragon City. In its former guise it had been one of the more upscale parts of the city, now it was a haven for gang bangers and some of the stranger denizens of the city. Which was why he was interested in getting in there.

The Security Chief for the Steel Canyon District had asked him to see if he could reduce the Clockwork, those almost cute but oh so dangerous robots, population of the area by a bit. Unfortunately Boomtown was not a place where someone with his experience and equipment could go alone and expect to accomplish much before he ended up mangled.

So he was waiting here for the group that contacted him to show up, they were already over twenty minutes late and from the sound of things when he called to find out where they were it sounded like it would be awhile more.

The entrance to Boomtown was on a street that followed the north wall of the Steel Canyon district. High walls of thick concrete and even higher force fences that were to help the defenders when Paragon City was attacked, something that happened with depressing regularity, separated the districts of Paragon City.

NGHT STKR heard a young womans voice calling for help. He started jogging in the direction it was coming from and found himself looking through the fence that was across the street from the entrance. About twenty feet below he saw an unfortunately all too common sight in Paragon City. A Gang Banger was having some fun with one of the citizens by stealing her purse, but rather than a snatch and grab he was playing with her. NGHT STKR snarled at the antics of the Hellion.

The Hellions were one of the main street gangs in Paragon City. It was believed they were involved in black magic that gave their more senior members abilities that allowed them to compete with the super powered champions of the city on an almost even basis. And this unfortunately was a lieutenant of the gang.

NGHT STKR was in a quandary, he wanted to help the young lady, but if he engaged the gangbanger he was going to end up in the hospital. He was formidable in his old haunts of the Kings Row section of the city. And he could hold his own in either Perez Park or the Hollows. But this area had a higher quality of villain and he knew he would be outclassed. He could take a shot at the ganger and hopefully pull him off the girl, but he didn't want to move away from the area because he just knew that when he did, that was when his erstwhile teammates would show up. Plus if he did nothing would be stopping the Hellion from going back after the girl, and he would probably be more apt to hurt her because he would be ticked. Turning around he looked at the entrance and thought, "Maybe I can duck through into Boomtown the entrance is usually clear of trouble and the gangs normally didn't follow you across borders……." His eyes fell on the two police drones that kept their unceasing vigilance along either side of the entranceway.

A police drone was a robotic device that the Paragon PD had in all too few a number, which if truth be told NGHT STKR was just as happy for as they would make him redundant and all the heroes that fought the good fight in the city if they had the things in sufficient quantities. So they usually stuck them around key area's like hazard area entrances. The drones were equipped with an anti-grav system so they just floated at their assigned post. The main part of them appeared to be a roller bar off of a squad car. They were armed with a cannon about where it's chin would be if it was remotely human looking. They were programmed to automatically engage criminal targets that strayed into the area they were set to guard.

STKR smiled, he pulled his rifle off of his back and selected the sniper rifle option. Settling the stock against his shoulder he took careful aim at the Hellion below. As he squeezed the trigger some sixth sense must have warned his target because he jerked his head away and the bullet spranged off of the concrete behind him.

He looked around and instantly spotted the gray clad hero standing atop the wall on the other side of the street, "You're dead," He shouted up at the hero who answered by lining up another shot. The Hellion Lieutenant took off at a jog and managed to dodge two more shots till he reached a spot where the raising street lowered the wall enough so he could jump the fence. NGHT STKR began moving back toward the Boomtown entrance while firing off a burst from his weapon.

The Hellion was so pissed that he never noticed where exactly he was so intent was he to get at this pipsqueak hero that it came as a complete surprise when the Police Drone on the right side of the entrance turned and shot him. When the beam struck him he froze and vanished.

NGHT STKR smiled to himself, okay he wouldn't get credit for that one, but hey the innocent got away, that's what mattered.

Five minutes later and still no team STKR noticed down the street a group of Hellions appeared to be meeting with a couple of Tsoo. It was never a good thing when gangs got together and coordinated things. STKR looked at the police drone and smiled. Unlimbering his assault rifle he started down the street. He hoped that the Police Drone was fully loaded.