Mako's Message: Boy is this over due. So much to do, so little time, not enough focus. Anyway, I'm sure you've been waiting for this long enough so let's just get on with the story.


It keeps running through my head. I can't stop seeing it.

Just before I tucked my head to crash through the window, I see him standing there. He was leaning against the wall, with his arms across his chest a looking at the floor. His sword leaned against the wall next to him, He looked bored.

After we were through the windows I looked up to see his sword snapping up into his hand. He caught and drew it in one smooth motion, grinning at us. Everyone else has a moment of panic, in some cases more than a moment, but not this guy. It's like he was waiting for us to show up, and now that we have we've made his night.

Col. Stars and Dr. Gravity kick in the door then, yelling, "Hoo aah!" and "Booyakasha!"

Everyone else in the apartment turns their attention to the rest of Justice Forever storming in through the door. Everyone except this guy. He's steady as a rock, eyes fixed on us.

Hit Girl rushes him, the attack is quick and vicious, but the guy manages to easily block or evade every strike. Another man in the room pulls a gun and points it at me for a second before turning it on Hit Girl.

He'd have been better off shooting at me. It wouldn't have mattered. I was moving as soon as I saw him go for the gun and had him disarmed before his finger found the trigger. If he'd taken a shot at me he might have least gotten the trigger pulled though.

I break his arm and drop the magazine out of the gun then toss it aside.

Shred Ranger rushes past, charging our man in black, but his attack misses. The man in black bends backwards like he's limboing and turns it into a flip, his feet lashing out and pushing Hit Girl and Shred Ranger back.

He lands in a deep crouch, sword in one hand, sheath in the other. I strike. He blocks and at the same time stops Shred Ranger's attack and moves clear out of the way of Hit Girl's thrust. She leaps back, pulls a handful of knives and lets them fly. He hits the floor like he was magnetized but doesn't leave his feet. He's so low to the floor he reminds me of spider-man.

I kick at him but he rolls aside blocking Hit Girl and Shred Ranger's next attacks as he comes back to his feet.

If we weren't at least hitting something solid I'd think we were fighting a ghost.

He doesn't move much, just enough to not get hit. He never let us get between him and the door to the next room though. But what really bothers me is that he never actually attacked us. There were times when I knew one of us was open, but he ignored them in favor of staying on the defensive.

It bothers me because we had so much trouble with him not attacking us, that I'd hate to know how hard it would have been if he had.

There's a banging on the other side of the wall and someone yells, "Let's go! We're clear!" and he makes his one offensive move of the night.

He leaps into the air and does a double spin kick, followed with the sword and then the sheathe. We all jump out of the way and he bolts through the door into the next room. He doesn't climb out the window, he just dives through it. When we reach the window we see him kneeling on the roof of a van as it speeds away, and he gives us a little salute before they turn out of the alley.

Mindy is pissed and lets out a scream of rage and tries to launch herself out the window. They're gone though, there's no way she could catch up to them on foot at this point and she doesn't have a vehicle. I pull her back and we head into main room of the apartment, where we have five guys tied up. No drugs and no money though. She kicks one of the guys who managed to sit up in the ribs and storms off swearing.

And then it starts over again. Like I'm searching for some detail that will help.

All it does is make me hope none of us ever face that guy alone.

I'm so distracted I don't even notice Todd getting up and getting a drink until Angela starts talking, "So come on, you've got to let me join you guys! It'll be awesome."

It's probably because of what happened the other night, and how I can't stop going over it, and the fact that she's been begging for weeks to join us, but I can't help snapping at her, "No! It wouldn't be awesome! It'd be dangerous! What part of that aren't you getting!? Every person at this table has almost died out there! Some of us more than once!" I say, gesturing at Mindy and Marty.

Angela looks at me then says, "Okay, first, it can't be that bad or you two wouldn't still be doing this."

Obviously she doesn't realize Mindy and I are insane.

"Second, I'd be with you guys! You could watch my back and help me out. Isn't that the point of working on a team? Third, if you train me I'll be able to be one of the best superheroes in the city."

I see Mindy's lips twitch. Obviously Angela knows flattery will get her everywhere.

"Fourth, even if I just watch a door, isn't another person on the team a help when you do do those big Justice Forever busts? And speaking of Justice Forever, fifth, I don't think working in a soup kitchen or handing out blankets to the homeless is that dangerous."

Touche'.

"It's not the homeless and the hungry we're worried about Angela," Mindy said, "It's the Motherfucker. And the other crime families. And everyone out there who is just going to want to kill you because you're on the street in a costume. Trust me. The streets are no place for you."

"There are lots of people who aren't you and Dave. I mean, Dr. Gravity and The Gentleman aren't anybody special. They're just guys, aren't they?"

I said, "Yeah, they were. But they survived the Times Square Massacre. They've seen how bad it is out there first hand and lived to tell about it. That's better than ninety percent of the people there that day. It was a fucking bloodbath. I had to get a new suit my old one was so blood stained. And not all of it was other people's. We're not letting you walk into that."

"But it's not like that anymore!"

"Yes it is! The Shred Ranger-"

"Biker Knight."

"-almost lost a leg the last time we got into a fight with The Motherfucker.. It is dangerous out there and none of us want to see you get hurt."

"Why don't you think I can do this? What's so special about you two?"

It was a good question. And I honestly felt the only answer was "we're luckier than most people." I didn't say that of course.

Mindy answered her, "What makes us special? I was trained for this since I was five. I wear kevlar down to my panties. I could kill everyone in this store in less than a minute without a weapon. And Dave? Dave's x-rays make him look fucking wolverine. At least half the bones in his body have steel reinforcement. The accident that broke all those bones in the first place also scarred the hell out of his nerves so he doesn't even feel half of what happens to him. And he's been trained by me for months before The Motherfucker climbed out from under his rock."

"So train me!" she' nearly screams. It's getting hard to keep our voices down.

"Fine" I say, "You want to go out and be a hero? Put a costume together and I'll take you out-"

"What?!"

"-and if you still want to be a hero once you see what it's really like out there, I'll train you."

"You will?"

"Excuse me? YOU'LL train her? I think you mean I'LL train her."

"You will?!"

"Oh dammit," Mindy says and sinks her head into her hands.

"What'd I miss?" Todd says as he sits back down with his drink.

"Oh, nothing much," Mindy says to him, then glares at me, "Just an old argument."

"Oh. Okay."

Crap.