- Prologue –
Metropolis was known as the 'City of the Future' for many good reasons. One of them was the fact it held the most technologically advanced building in the world in the form of its central media station; the Daily Planet. The towering skyscraper that was the Daily Planet was world famous as being the best news service in all forms of new-reporting media; newspaper, television, radio. You name it; there is probably a form of the Daily Planet to go along with it. However, the Daily Planet isn't where all the action happened in Metropolis, it was just the largest.
One of the many other wonders of the 'City of the Future' was the Metropolis Central Bank. The bank, commonly shortened to MCB, was built only recently, and was the accumulation of masses of state-of-the-art defence technology. The idea was the brain child of Dr Erik Huntington, the foremost mind of the century. He had the idea that the banks of Metropolis, which were many, should pool their resources and their clients into one central banking system for the whole city.
Of course, the banks themselves fought the idea, but Dr Huntington was too well renowned to fight against; as well as extremely rich. So it was done, and Dr Huntington used his various connections to gain the best defence system in the world to make it impossible for anyone to steal anything.
Metropolis' pseudonym as the 'City of the Future' was not entirely positive however, as crime ran rampant in the city, showing a grim future to the rest of the world. With a police force running out of manpower and becoming increasingly ineffective, the minds of Metropolis worked ever harder to give the city technology as a means to escape the crime. The MCB was just one example of how technology was fighting against crime more effectively then the police force ever could.
"Yes, perhaps this will do."
The figure was stood on the far side of the street, across the busy road from the massive building that constituted the Metropolis Central Bank. It was mid-afternoon and yet everything was still busy; cars drove from point to point and people bustled along the sidewalk in an attempt to reach their destination without trouble. The figure was causing a little bit of a stir since he seemed to be the only individual not moving; also, he was dressed peculiarly which made people avoid him even more.
Despite the hot weather, the sun was clear in the sky, the man was wearing a heavy woollen overcoat that hung to his knees. Under which he wore a zip-up hoody, black jeans and heavy military style boots. Although that in itself wasn't necessarily strange, the reason most people were avoiding him was the fact that he had his hood drawn over his head and a pair of mirrored sunglasses hiding his eyes from view. As well as that, he was wearing a pair of leather gloves; he kept fiddling with them as if he was unused to wearing them in such weather.
The figure crossed his arms and tipped his head to the side as he looked up at the massive pillars which lined the front of the MCB, leading in to a mirrored glass front and a pair of fair sized doors in the centre. The MCB was a mix of ancient and modern architecture, giving it a bizarre, yet pleasing to the eye, look. Although unseen behind his glasses, the man was scanning the building intently, looking over every inch until he straightened his neck and dropped his hands to his side.
With a shrug of his shoulder he stepped forward, dropping off the curb, right into the path of an oncoming car. The driver slammed on the brakes and the vehicle swerved slightly to the harsh force, screeching to a stop inches from the man's knee. The angry driver scrambled out of his vehicle and shouted at the figure about being an idiot, but was ignored as the figure continued to cross the road. The driver thought for a second about following the individual, but decided he had more important things to do, so he got back into his car and accelerated off.
The figure caused two more cars to screech to a halt, resulting in more obscenities, before he stepped up onto the opposite curb and headed towards the glass doors that would give him entrance to the building.
The MCB building was built so that anyone entering through the front entrance would have to pass through a small corridor, which housed metal detectors and two well-trained guards, before being able to access the main commerce room. The black clad figure pushed his way through the set of glass doors to entire the transitional area and walked slowly towards the guards and the detector he would have to walk through.
Almost immediately the guards perked up at the sight of the hooded man, with dark glasses hiding his eyes, and as trained moved together to intercept his movement. One guard hung back a step with his hand resting on the butt of a pistol that was holstered on his hip, while the other stepped forward and raised a hand to indicate that the man should stop. The hooded figure complied and came to a halt, his gloved hands held loosely at his sides.
"Come on now, you don't think you're going to come in like that do you?" The front guard said, friendly and commanding at the same time. "You'll have to drop the hood and remove the glasses before I can let you in."
The black clad figure simply inclined his head to the right and stared at the guard until he spoke again. "If you don't want to, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
"Make me." The man spoke, his voice was quiet but commanding; a much higher level of command then the guard had had in his.
"A troublemaker eh?" the guard said and stepped forward again, placing a hand on the man's shoulder. "Let's go shall we?" he smiled politely and moved to push the man backwards. Before he knew it, however, his vision was blurred and he felt like he had been thrown into a blender.
The guard was thrown sideways with enough force that he spun uncontrollably before smashing into the glass wall, bursting straight through it, and crashing into the floor where he slid to a stop, unconscious. In an instant, the second guard drew his weapon and levelled it on the man's head; except the man was no longer stood where he had been, he was within touching distance.
With a small smile on his lips, the man placed a hand on the guard's chest and with a small shove; he too was sent flying back with immense force. The guard smashed through the second set of glass doors, and skimmed across the floor before slamming into one of the tellers' desks. The black clad figure then walked calmly into the room as the occupants all cowered to the ground. He looked around as a grin slid onto his face again before raising his arms.
"Leave the room now please, I wouldn't want to harm any innocent civilians." His voice once again emanating with command.
Immediately all the people in the main area rushed towards the door, keeping as wide a berth from the figure as they could, and rushed out onto the street. The tellers and employees, who were behind the main desk, all rushed to the back of the room and exited through doors leading further into the building. As they did, one of them pressed a button on the wall and red lights started to flash throughout the room.
The black clad figure stood still and watched with interest as tiles slid out of view from the roof and machine guns dropped out, swivelling around to point at him. Four of these weapons dropped out, surrounding the figure completely before an automated voice came up on hidden speakers.
"Criminals, you have broken the law and will now be detained until the proper authorities come and collect you. Drop your weapons and lie face down on the floor with your hands on the backs of your heads. The floors have pressure pads so we will know if you have complied. You have five seconds." A click sounded, indicating the speakers had switched off, and five seconds passed without a sound.
Immediately on the five second mark, the four weapons open fired and sprayed the figure with rounds. The high calibre rounds slammed into his body, but the figure didn't move an inch. However, the guns didn't stop as the continued firing under a command which apparently was never coming. The figure shrugged to himself and with a blur of his arm, the four machine guns blew up in a ball of flame, bits of metal dropping to the floor in the process.
As the figure started to step forward, four small spikes rose out from the corners of the tile he was stood on. With a spark of electricity, the floor tile became electrified and an insane voltage of electricity passed into the figures body; with no effect. He completely ignored the electric as he walked towards the tellers' desk, each tile lighting up with electricity as he stepped on it, until metal grating dropped down to block the area behind the tellers' desk. As well as that, red lasers passed across the grating in small squares, leaving no space to put a finger through.
A smile crept onto the man's lips as he placed his hands into the high-heat weaponry and ripped the metal grating to pieces. He then grabbed the devices that were emitting the lasers and pulled them free, allowing him access to behind the desk. The figure gingerly hopped up onto the desk and down to the other side, looking around before staring at the ground.
"Figures." He muttered to himself before raising his fist and slamming it into the ground.
Immediately a spider web of cracks ran away from his fist, creating a somewhat circle in the ground before the floor gave way under the attack and collapsed downwards, giving the man access to a lower floor. He jumped down immediately and came face to face with a massive vault door. Without so much as a light pause for thought, he dug his fingers into the metal and with sharp tug, pulled the door free of its holdings; giving him access to the vaults contents.
Pausing for the first time, he cocked his head to the side and seemed to be listening to something before he gazed up at the roof and stared intently in the direction of the front of the building.
"Interesting." He said before grabbing one of the money bags.
"Code Red! Code Red! Code Red!"
The control room was in chaos as red lights flashed and a siren blared in the background. As personnel rushed around, moving to pre-organised positions in reaction to the alert, one person in particular didn't seem rushed at all. He strolled through the doors to enter the room and glided through the rush until he was stood directly behind the man who had initiated the alert in the first place.
"Is it him?" he asked, leaning over to look at the data on the computer screen.
"Unconfirmed Director, but I'm pretty sure. See here?" the technician said, pointing to a line of text on the screen. "Whoever it is hasn't used anything flashy, but the fact he can bounce bullets of his chest is a good indicator it's him."
The Director smiled and pulled back his cuff to check the time. "You've got two minutes, get the team loaded into the chopper and get them there before he leaves."
"Which team, Sir?"
"Both, and send the leads to me, I need to talk to them before they leave."
The Director then moved away from the computer screens and headed out of a second exit along the wall. As the door closed behind him, a brown haired woman that didn't even reach his shoulder stepped to his step and followed him down the corridor.
"Sir, I mobilized the teams as soon as the alarm went off; we're ready to go when you command."
"Good, where's Matt?" The Director asked, just as a man with white hair and glasses stepped up to his other side. "Good. Right, we haven't had a hit in a couple of months but this guy is on a whole other level. As in, he's nothing like the others; he's a special case."
"Sir?" Matt questioned.
"I won't go into details now, but be careful with him. If possible bring him in without a fight; as unlikely as that will be. Do you understand?"
"Yes sir." Matt replied before exiting through a door on his left.
"So keep Leon under control?" Joanne asked with a smile.
"If you can." The Director replied before Joanne exited through her own doo and left him on his own. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his mobile phone and quickly typed in a number. The phone rang a couple of times before the person on the other end finally picked up. "We've found him."
"Really?" The voice said slowly.
"We're pretty sure."
"Do not fail me."
"Certainly not, my Lord." The Director replied before hanging up and slipping the phone back into his pocket with a grin.
As soon as the alarm had been activated within the Metropolis Central Bank, the police force had been mobilized. Thanks to that automated response, the police were on scene before the perpetrator had left the building. The Sergeant in charge organised the officers so that they completely surrounded the entrance to the bank, while leaving enough room for the criminal to actually leave the building. As he was setting up, a plain black car pulled up to the cordon and a tall man with glasses stepped out.
Completely ignoring the protests of the nearest officer to him, the man strode across to the Sergeant and flipped a wallet open to reveal an I.D. card. "I would appreciate it if you would call of your officer, Sergeant." The man said in a drawling, bored voice.
With narrowed eyes, the Sergeant waved away the officer and, after giving instructions to his second-in-command, turned his attention to the newcomer. "Let's see that ID again, sir." He said, taking the wallet and holding in his hand to get a clear look at the identification. It showed a picture which matched the owner, and indicated that he belong to a government lab called S.T.A.R.T. "I've never heard of this S.T.A.R.T. lab." He questioned, looking up at the suited individual.
"Most probably not, the important thing is that my clearance is above yours." The man said, taking his wallet back and slipping it into his pocket. "Now, I would ask you to clear your men out of here, but leave your vehicles as they are."
"What are you talking about? We're not going anywhere."
"Trust me Sergeant, you are. If you are not gone within the next ten minutes, I assure you a higher authority then I will be on scene and your life could become quite complicated." The man spoke with such authority that the Sergeant nearly obeyed, but his experience and solid personality stopped him just in time.
"I don't think so, we're staying right here so that these guys don't get away." He said, crossing his arms. "And don't think some strong-arm from the government is going to sway my decision."
"Sergeant, take a look at my ID again; ideally looking in the bottom left corner." The man said while handing his wallet across again.
The Sergeant flipped it open and scanned it again, focusing on the bottom left corner of the card. What he saw there made him fold the ID up and hand it back to the man with a nod, before turning on his heel and striding across to his second-in-command. Before he started issuing instructions though, he turned back to the man with narrowed eyes. "I won't be clearing the area completely. I'll create a cordon on a wider radius, we'll be out of your hair but should you need us, give me a call." He didn't wait for a reply as he issued his instructions.
The tall man wearing glasses looked up to the sky just as two personnel carrying helicopters swung into view from above the building behind him. They settled into a steady hover as the side doors slid open and two ropes dropped from either side. As the man watched, shadowy figures leant out of the doors and clipped themselves onto the ropes before jumping out and sliding down on some kind of vertical zip line device. As soon as their boots touched the ground, they unclipped and walked casually over to the man. Finally, one more person from each helicopter clipped on a fast-roped the ground.
"Matt, Joanne…" the figure said as the pair walked up to him. "…he's all yours, just be careful."
As he finished speaking, the black-clad figure stepped out of the front doors of the bank building; a full money sack slung over his shoulder. He slowly stepped down the steps and into the area the police had left for such purposes.
The newly arrived group dodged between the cars and stepped into the cleared area as well, creating a loose semi-circle around the black clad figure. Matt and Joanne stepped into the front and stood directly in front of the individual with caution.
"Hi, I'm Matt and we are the Risers; care to join us."
His only reply was a grin sliding onto the black-clad figures face.