Title: A Dark Speedster: 74X-2D89
Chapter Nine: Chicago
Word Count: 3,168
Summary: Wally West doesn't have a great family life much to contrary belief. All his mother wants is for a normal family. His father blames him for everything wrong. In all honestly, though, he's dealing with. However, sometimes it's just too much. This night is father is hitting harder than ever and Wally is actually afraid. He runs to his friend's city but getting in contact with the bird is harder than normal. For there Everything goes down hill. A few days later, Wally wakes up in a hospital.
Recap: Robin had figured out Wally's message and now the Team and him are heading to Chicago to find something anything about Wally's disappearance. Robin notified Batman before heading off and maybe Barry overheard. King has given 74X and his team a job to capture Mark Shaw as he's in dealings with 'bad men'.
Private Eye Detective Services, Mark Shaw's Office
Robin admits it helps knowing Wally; otherwise it might have taken longer to understand the redhead's letter. Wally had mentioned Philly cheese steaks, smog, and the phrase 'I know a guy' in a paragraph which sounded ridiculous in context to the rest of the letter. It told Robin that Wally was trying to tell him something that he couldn't come out and just say…for some reason. Robin hadn't figured out that part.
The rest, though, he had figured out. The place Wally wanted Robin to check out was by a restaurant and a factory given the cheese steak and smog. That alone wasn't enough. There are a ton of both in Chicago, but the real selling point was the phrase 'I know a guy'. It was a phrase from one of the two boy's games. Once, when Robin had visited Wally the guy had a few other friends over and the group had started a one-shot role-playing campaign. Wally had played a private eye and anytime he passed a knowledge test he would reason it out with the fact that his character had an informant or as Wally put it, "I know a guy."
It was the only private investigator agency near both a restaurant famous for Philly cheese steaks and a factory with heavy smog population.
They landed just as the dusk began. An orange haze surrounded the area making the black shadows of the alleys seem darker and the silver metalwork of Private Eye Detective Services seems copper.
"Seriously? They couldn't come up with a better name?" Artemis cracked as they walked down deserted street towards the three story building. It was the tallest building on the block and the only one that still seem to be running its business this late in the day meaning that the four parked cars on the street most likely belonged to those in the building.
Megan giggled lightly at Artemis' joke then dropped her smile obvious guilt on her face. She shouldn't be smiling with their friend missing. It wasn't the first time guilt had stopped Megan's smile or Zatanna's laughter or Robin's jokes. Kaldur didn't miss the trend and was beginning to worry how the Team would cope if they didn't find Kid Flash.
They short of the building. Robin took point, no one questioned, "Zatanna can you detect if there's any magic inside?"
"Gnidliub taht ni Cigam Yna Ereht Si?" Zatanna chanted the words, her hands outstretch towards the agency. They glowed a light white before fading. She looked towards Robin, "There is, but I can't tell if it's from a person or amulet or something else."
"At least we're not going in totally blind." Robin turned back towards the building. "Megan, you and I are going in first. Scout it out. Artemis get yourself to the top of that building, you'll be able to see through the front window and watch our backs. Conner, Kaldur and Zatanna will stay here. You guys will only come in if we signal you or if it's been twenty minutes. Alright?" The group nodded their agreement before breaking.
Megan followed Robin to the rooftop; she went invisible as he opened the air ventilation shaft. Shifting through the ceiling, Megan followed Robin through the air ducts. They moved down into the building. The top floor was quiet and bare; it was obvious the floor was unrented. Robin dropped down from the air vent as Megan become visible.
"Do you hear that?" Robin thought to Megan through their mental link, who nodded. There was a commotion coming from below. Talking that was close to yelling along with some kind of pounding that could be filing cabinets being closed roughly or fists. "Let's move down." Robin says, disappearing into the shadows in front of Megan.
74X stood back against the wall of the room, ready to stop Mr. Shaw if he decided to run. He had wanted to be more involved, but SR3 had made it clear that he was in charge and that 74X would stay by the door. The redhead hadn't been training with King to just lean against a wall, though. He was itching to try out the new moves he had been practicing.
XYZ stood at SR3's side with 96P looming behind Mark keeping him in the chair with fear and a little bit of magic. Magic. That word was wrong. It caused a lot of tension between 74X and 96P. In fact, the only thing the two agreed upon was that the only reason to fight was for the greater good. That was it. 96P thought 74X didn't respect SR3 enough as a leader and 74X was positive that the big luge needed to lighten up.
To 74X's left JQK was going through the private eye's filing cabinets. She had already tossed the table the man used as a desk much to Mark's dismay.
"Can't 96P just 'sense' any magic items?" 74X asks the girl closest to him.
"If he could, I wouldn't be tossing the place." She shot back as she pulled out one of the draws completely. It crashed down to the floor, Mark visibly flinched. JQK noticed, stopped and went over to the thrown draw where she started to go through the wreckage more closely.
SR3 stepped in between JQK and Mark, blocking their view from each other, "Something wrong, Shaw?"
The PI frowned, "Other than some kids holding me hostage and wrecking my office? No, I'm good." The sarcasm did not go over well with SR3. He started to move closer when XZY grabbed at his arm.
When he turned to her she said, "There are others in the building."
"Not just the front desk waking up?"
"No. Others." The young girl stated.
SR3 turned back to Mark, "Did you call them?" The same time JQK pulled a stone band from the cabinet draw, "Found something." Mark's attention was drawn to JQK, as he ignored SR3's question.
74X pushed away from the wall. "Should we check it out?"
SR3 shook his head, "No, we need to go. 96P take Shaw." He ordered, "Let's move."
The second room Robin and Megan entered had a man and woman passed out and tied up in the corner behind a desk. There were three doors in the room one leading to the stairs to the first floor; the second one was the one they came through and the last one opened up into a hallway with three office spaces.
"They're alive. Just…just asleep." Megan told Robin, "Someone put them to sleep." Robin nodded, understanding what that meant. They weren't unconscious which meant whoever was here had was telepathic.
"Signal the others, Megan. If they have a telepath they might already know we're here. I'm gonna scout out ahead."
"Be careful." Is all Megan could say back before the bird disappeared again.
Robin crept into the hallway only to stop dead. The hallway was not empty as it had been a moment before. Instead five young men and women in ski masks stood in the hallway. The taller girl had a katana strapped to her back and a boy that could give Superboy a run for size had thrown a man over his shoulders. The man had his hands bound and hung limp as if he too was asleep like his coworkers. They had just exited out of the last office.
There was a single second where they studied each other before the tallest of the masked men turned and punched a large hole in the wall at the end of the hall without any effort. He then called out a string of letters and numbers causing three of others to move through the hole leaving him and a second young man standing in the hallway with Robin.
They were stalling him. So the others could get away. Too bad for them, Robin thought. The others on his team wouldn't let those criminals just walk off. Especially, if these people might have ties to Wally. Robin certainly didn't believe this was coincidences.
Artemis saw the group of three jump from the second floor. One of them must have done something as their fall was slowed. It just made aiming that much easier. Her string snapped taught as the arrow crossed the street. It pierced the shirt of the smallest of the three, pinning the girl to the fence lining the alley way.
The shot had caught more than just the three attention's as Superboy pointed out the shot to Kaldur. Having just gotten a message from Megan, Kaldur sent Superboy and Zatanna towards Artemis' shot as he went inside the building to find Megan and Robin.
"Robin!" Megan shouts as the young hero comes crashing back into the entry room of the second room. A masked man followed him through the wall, yelling out as he rammed his fist down onto the concussed boy.
Robin was alert enough to slide out of from the blow and back up to his feet. "I'm fine, Megan. Take the other one."
"Other one?" Megan questioned the same time a brick from the building collided with her stomach. "Omf!" She exhaled as her concentration broke causing her to fall to the short distance to the ground.
Expanding her hands, Megan created a shield just in time for a second and then third brick. "Heads up, babe." The hair on Megan's neck stood up as the voice came from behind her. The Voice. That Voice. Megan turned around to see a slim young man dressed in a black shirt, BDU pants, gloves and a ski mask just like the other man. The difference was the boy fight Robin had light eyes the man behind her…his eyes…
By the time her mind made the connections, the fourth brick connected with her head and her eyes shut tight.
"Where did they go?" The Flash shouts across the room, "You said they had a lead. Where are they?"
"I said they might have a lead." Batman responds. He's tracking Robin and the Team's monitors through the computer.
Hal Jordon, the Green Lantern, stepped up to his friend. He had stop by to see how his friend was doing to walk into a screaming match, well Barry was screaming. "Barry, you need to calm down. Batman is checking into things now. Let's make sure it's a real lead before you go speeding off." The airman went on, placing a hand on Barry's arm. "What makes you think the kids found something out when you haven't anyway?" Hal realized as soon as the words were out of his mouth that he said something wrong.
Beneath the cowl, Barry's brows furrowed and he threw off Hal's hand. "First off, Hal, don't tell me to be calm. My nephew is missing in case you've forgotten cause I sure as hell as not. Second, any lead is real lead at this point. So far whatever Robin and the Team have found out is the only sort of clue that I've got to find my boy. And finally, have you forgotten that those kids infiltrated Cadmus, rehabilitated Superboy, exposed the Light, and you know saved the world just as many times as you or I have." Flash turns back to Batman who's given the speedster his full attention. "Now tell me where they are."
Artemis has to admit, telepathes were not her favorite targets. The one down on the street below her especially. The short girl kept changing the trajectory of her arrows. It was worse than practicing with Megan.
Her bow string hummed as she fired another arrow. The girl raised her hand and waved, the arrow passed to the girl's right. Artemis smiled as the boomerang arrow arched behind the girl. The arrow went wide, only grazing the girl. It was enough, it seem to piss the child off.
The girl called out to the other female on her team and then pointed at the building under Artemis' feet. Instantly, Artemis knew she needed to get down. Three minutes, she thought, it will take at least three minutes for the enemy to get to the building then pull out and arm an explosive device.
It would have been three minutes. If the girl had to pull out and arm some sort of device, but she didn't. Instead, she simply ran up to the building, removed her glove and touched the wall. It exploded inward.
Some voice in her head is telling her that she shouldn't judge people by their appearance. Another voice is telling that one to shut up and to figure out how to break the large boy's barrier. Zatanna could feel the sweat appearing on her forehead as she concentrated.
As soon as Artemis' arrow had shot out across the street, the kid had dropped the man he was carrier and pulled up a barrier around himself and the man. Superboy had tried to break it with his fists but it didn't budge and then the older girl had pulled out a sword and taken Superboy's attention away from the barrier leaving Zatanna to try and crack the shield while Artemis distracted the smaller girl.
"Woleb Esopxe, Htaeneb Lennut." Zatanna's eyes glowed white as the spell took effect. Her hands raised fell as the ground pulled out beneath the kidnapper.
The same time the barrier and the ground fell away, there was an explosion behind Zatanna. Debris and dust covered the area as the building Artemis had been stationed fell. "Artemis!" Zatanna yells as she races towards the rubble. "Superboy, the barrier is down. I'll cover Artemis." The magician calls out as she spots the clone running to Artemis' aide as well.
Superboy stops and looks back towards the barrier to find a pit and the boy climbing out of it with the man still bound. He hesitated just a second more to make sure Zatanna had actually made it to the rubble before running back to the pit.
Zatanna doesn't find Artemis first. The two enemies did. The smaller one has her hand on Artemis' head as the other one slipped on her glove.
"Sleep her, XYZ." The taller girl suggests as she registers Zatanna's presence. "I'll take this one." She redraws her sword.
Kaldur pulled himself up in the hallway through the newly made hole in the wall. To his right there was wrecked office and in front of him is a room in the process of being wrecked. A strong boy is tackling Robin just as the other enemy knocks Megan out. Kaldur propels himself towards the larger of the two enemies freeing Robin up from the fight.
The masked man, pushes Kaldur off him. "74X, let's get out of here." The other boy moves and then it's only Kaldur, Robin and an unconscious Megan in the room.
Kaldur rushes over to Megan pushing what he just saw to the back of his mind. It could be anything, he reminded himself, don't jump to conclusions. Robin pushes himself to his feet. His head ringing.
"She's fine. We can leave her here for now. Let's help the others." Kaldur's orders.
"Alright, yeah. Lets." The bird agrees as the two travel outside.
In ten minutes the small street in Chicago has turned bad.
Along with the building across the street, the girl had brought down another one story store and blown a hole in the street alongside the pit that Zatanna had made earlier. The only good thing to note about that was that it seems the blasts were getting smaller. The girl had to charge before exploding.
Between Zatanna and the enemy's magic several cars had gone up in smoke and mirrors leaving scorch marks up and down the pavement. They were still battling it out, as the large brute had taken it upon his shoulders to protect the telepath who had set herself up on top of a building with the man they had kidnapped.
"Have you made contact with King?" JQK asks her leader as she stands back to back with him. The large kid with an S on his shirt that goes by Superboy, the kid with an R on his tights and the dark skinned boy with gills surrounding them.
SR3 nods, "Yes. Sent 74X. Our ride out should be here soon."
Superboy charges them. "I hope he's fast enough." She comments as she ducks back behind SR3 as he counters the hit. JQK sidesteps the two only to get a whip to her face. Granted the whip was made of water, but it was also charged so just to be clear it hurt. Blood tickled down her cheek as she went after the other two boys.
74X had dropped SR3 on the pavement only to be given new orders. It was upsetting to be running from the fight but at least this time 74X understood. He was the fastest and needed to signal their extraction. They needed to get Mark Shaw back to King so that could figure out who Mark was working for so that they could stop the bad guys. So that they could make people safe because the superheroes of this world seem to have it all confused.
It was clear that these kids thought they were the good guys but they didn't know what was happening.
King had given them instructions on what to do if they encountered the so called good guys. Fight. He said. They were either corrupt or stubborn. Evil had crept into some of their hearts, taking more than they should and letting the bad guys go unpunished, while others were too prideful to listen. They didn't want to know who was really at their sides and because they overlook the obvious they are just as at fault as the others.
So fight the team did. They fought so that they could fix what the heroes ignored.
74X had gotten himself up to the top of Mark Shaw's building where he had pulled several small devices out of his pants pockets. Gingerly he started to put the pieces of the signaling device together. Just a few turns and then he just has to set it there and now all he has to do is press in his full identification series.
Suddenly the long black tube lights up, signaling King to pick them up.
He made sure it was stable and running before running to return to the fight after all he had tricks to test out.
A/N: Will Megan and Artemis wake up in time to help with the fight? What did Megan notice before she was knocked out? What did Kaldur push to the back of his mind? What is Barry going to do? Will he show up in time to help? If he does will he notice Wally? Will the others recognize him?
I didn't mean to cut this into two chapters but my mother is ill and had to be taken to the hospital last night. She's going to be okay - but she won't be released until tomorrow so I'll be up at the hospital until then. I decided to stop by the house to grab her a few things and figured I'd get some of this chapter posted since you guys have waited so patiently. I'm going to take some time with her but then I'll get the rest of this section up within the next week since I have most of it written already. I'm really sorry about this guys, please bare with me.
Thank you guys for all the reviews, alerts, and favorites!