Chicago Geek Guy

Comics, Cosplay, LARPs, RPGs, Fiction, and more... all from Chicago

Tag: Chance

Reprisal

In January of 2014, I was invited to join a rather elite super-group, The Protectors of the World. I came into the group, mid story. Unlike my most previous experience, the leader of PotW, Pallas, went out of her way to include Chance, The Harrier, in the ongoing tale, and made excellent use of his abilities as a detective. After pushing a suspect a little too far, Pallas asked me to come up with come up with a response that would test Chance’s resolve and commitment. This is what I came up with.

This doesn’t tell the whole story. Some parts occurred during real time role-play. I’m hoping there’s enough to convey the gist.

Hurt, fear, and anger welled in his stomach, pushed up his throat, and out past his teeth. Chance felt the rough gravel through his palms and knees where he heaved by the roadside. Winter’s bitter wind ripped through his silk shirt and jacket. He thought he was through when his body spit out another glob of bile on the Michigan highway.

He hadn’t even made it back to Millennium City. The car had been on its way from a small, private, airport when the call came in. Senator Channing hadn’t wasted any time in bombing a vulnerable spot in Chance’s life, Kori’s. Chance had stopped listening to his phone after Paz told him about the death. The face of Incul Adomo hovered before his closed eyes. Incul had a quick wit and a quicker smile. A smile now darkened.

Chance ordered his driver to pull over. He barely made it out of the car before he threw up.

“¡Jefe!” his phone yelled at him. “¡Jefe!” Chance picked himself off all fours, then struggled to seat himself, back against the tire of a black Mercedes. His mouth tasted bitter. “I’m here, Paz,” he told the phone. “How many others hurt?”

“Thirteen at last count,” Paz replied. “Things are still very chaotic here. MCPD is on site and some engineers. They want to check for other explosives and make sure the building is safe.”

He had traveled to Texas to get information and provoke a response. One dead and almost a score more injured twisted and curled Chance’s stomach again. He swallowed down another dollop of vomit. He had brought this on his people.

“Give them everything they need, Paz. Call Eddie. As a superhero, I want SCIU involved.”

“Claro.”

“Has anyone talked to Incul’s parents?”

“No lo sé” Paz answered. “Chance, we need you here.”

Chance stood, accepting help from his driver. “I’m going to find the Adomo’s first. Call everyone in. We’re going to need as much help as we can muster to keep things calm in the neighborhood and find the people who did this.”

He knew who did this. He knew who killed, injured, and threatened the people that put their faith in Harrier. That catalog of ten powerful men had just become a hit list.

——

She found him kneeling amidst hovering words and lists, photos and diagrams. Her husband’s eyes looked red rimmed; his face unshaven. Kori crossed to him silently and wrapped her arms around him from behind. A deep sigh of relief filled his right ear.

Chance closed his eyes and took a deep breath of her. Kori moved, setting in front of him, a hand on his cheek. She kissed him deeply before embracing him.

“I am so sorry,” she whispered to him. “I love you.”

The space of a few heartbeats passed before Chance spoke. “How many more, Kori? How many more will die? I look at this list of names….” She took a deep breath as he paused. “We could have them killed. Couldn’t we? Isn’t that how…” He turned his head away, unable to look at her.

Kori exhaled slowly before leaning in to kiss his cheek. The flesh tasted tear stained salty. “I can’t count how many have lost their lives in my past and in my family’s history. Nor can I count the tears.” His eyes found hers as she continued. “We make choices and hope for a better way.” Chance could see the love in her violet orbs. “But we can’t anticipate all of the tragedies.”

She reached out to touch his chest and rest her palm there. “These are important people, judges, businessmen, scientists. They’ll be well insulated by lawyers, plausible deniability,” he explained.

“Everyone has a weakness.”

“Wouldn’t it just be easier if they were dead?” he asked

“For some, yes. For others,” she cautioned and pressed on his heart, gently, “not so easy.”

“When I first met you, I saw what I wanted to be,” she told her husband. “And I strive for that every day.”

“You don’t murder.” She shook her head. “You’re not a villain. And the ability to stay the course even after enduring the pain of all these deaths is what makes you a hero.”

Chance swallowed as Kori moved her face closer to his. “My hero,” she whispered, “and a hero to your children.” He embraced her, held her tightly against him.

“We’ll take care of the families,” she told him, “and the services for them

“I love you, Kori. I… ” Chance choked on the confession, “I wanted them all, that whole list, just even for a moment, dead. Judges, Senators, all of them. They used their children as lab rats. Put chips in their brains to control them.”

Kori breathed a sigh of some relief. “It’s not who you are.” Chance’s body shuddered for a moment in her arms. “There are other ways to deal with them.”

“I need some help.”

“Anything,” she answered with a nod. “After the bombing I contacted a specialist that I’ve used in the past, along with Kei, and others at the castle.”

“I need a system hacked. A company called Cyberchane. It’s way beyond what I can do.”

“The specialist can handle it,” Kori explained. Kei has been infiltrating the MCPD for about a year now in several departments, and Gen can handle the UNTIL end of things.” Her eyes hardened. “Please don’t ask any questions about this specialist. He’s known as Raven and I used to work with him on past operations.”

“I won’t,” Chance assures her with a shake of his head. “He’ll be contacting you when he’s ready,” Kori said and then kissed him. “He owes me a favor for something I did for him. A huge favor, And he’s on our payroll.”

“I’ve had security increased in all of our major branch offices,” she continued, “the castle, and here in Millennium City as well.”

“Thank you,” Chance said to her. “You are my hero.

“Of course,” Kori replied, her lips turning into a smirk. “I’m your wife.”

——

The initial meeting went quickly, a few words spoken over a hastily devoured breakfast. The results came to Chance in the form of a flash drive and a note to his wife. “We’re even,” it read. The analysis took more time for Harrier to plow through than it took Raven and his team to steal.

Control. It was all about control.

Initially started as a method to provide battlefield telemetry, the DoD scrapped Project Apotheosis as too invasive. From the data Chance had gathered, if looked like Cyberchane decided to press on, anyway.

The tiny chips could allow remote control of a body, like a marionette on strings. The chips went into four children of the group, including Alex Harper and Justin Channing.

Chance reviewed the error logs on the implanted devices

20131227-13:56 Device activation, Alex Harper<br>

20140119-13;04 Device Failure: Justin Channing<br>

20140119-14:56 Device Failure: Robert Mann<br>

20140119-19:03 Device Failure: Marcus Gate<br>

20140125-17:53 Device Failure: Alex Harper

Apparently, failure equaled death. Their perfect brains, Chance supposed. Their perfect brains couldn’t abide by an attempt at foreign control. Only Alex has survived, a roll of the dice.

Sloughing through the financial data brought a slow smiled to his lips. A thin trail of dollars and cents traced from Cyberchane’s 56 employees right back to partial owner, Senator Oliver Channing. Obtained illegally, Chance knew he couldn’t take this to a Federal Assistant DA, but Chance had other ideas.

After making a secure copy of all the information, he dialed the offices of the Millennium City Horizon. “Susan,” he asked. “How would you like to bring down a political dynasty?”

“What do I have?” He chuckled. “Illegal experimentation, casual disregard for human life, all from the great state of Texas.”

Pictures hovered around him, faces staring to the unseen recesses of his living room. Chance turned as he heard Nora’s boots on the hardwood floor. “You’ve broken me,” he told her. “Kori and I chatted yesterday. Futuremax will be installing the holo-emitters in my BSP office, next week.”

The raven-haired young woman grinned. “Athena be praised,” she chuckled. “What are we looking at?” Chance spread his hands, a mage wielding technical magic. “These are pictures taken at the scene of the bombing.” He looked around as if trying to absorb all the details of the hundreds of images. “Everyone in the barrio came out. Those that didn’t help the injured took snapshots, just like they were supposed to” He flicked a few fingers. White circles appeared over a common face in the crowd. “That’s our bomber. Look how he’s moving away in time as everyone else is either moving closer or watching at a distance. He’s getting away.”

Nora opened the folder in her hands. “That is our bomber, Chance. The FBI got a partial print off the detonator.” She turned the folder to show Chance a picture. “You’re looking at Lawrence Shelby. He’s got a healthy list of priors. Bombing is his thing.”

“You got alias’ and last knowns?”

“Indeed, I do.” Chance turned to grab his jacket. A wave of a hand dissolved the floating collection. “Let’s go do this the old fashion way. On our feet.”

——-

Chance plopped down into the uncomfortable chair. People hustled and moved around them, some dragging luggage along behind. The detective fiddled with the newspaper in his lap than turned to look at the man sitting next to him. “Morocco, huh?” Chance said. “Nice choice. You’re got plenty of money stashed and it doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US. Well done.”

“I’m sorry,” the other man told him, confusion adding wrinkles to his face. “Do I know you?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure you do,” Chance said. “I certainly know you, Lawrence.” The detective bit back a smile as he watched the color drain from the other man’s face. Chance reached out to place the newspaper on Lawrence’s lap. The headline read, “Corruption at Cyberchane. Charges Expected.”

“Stupid boss,” Chance mused. “Got caught before the heat died down and suddenly you have to risk using a known alias to get out of town in a hurry.” Chance patted his thighs. “You thought we wouldn’t notice. We noticed.” Lawrence shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

“I figure this is going to go down in two ways,” Chance told him. “You’re going to sit there then nod at me, once. I’m going to give the agents with me the high sign and they are going to come over and arrest you. No muss. No fuss.”

“Or,” Chance sighed, “You think you can get the drop on my with that handgun you smuggled past the security checkpoint and I get to shock you before you even make it to your feet. Then, I signal the cops and they come over and arrest your drooling, unconscious body.” A wide smile spread out over his face. “What’s it going to be?”

Lawrence swallowed then nodded, once. Chance raised a hand and waved. A small group of plain clothed agents descended on them. “Thank you, Larry,” Chance quipped. “Please do try to have a nice day…. In prison.”

Morality

In 2012, I participated forum RP that I used to explore the varying moralities of two very different characters, a witch and a superhero. It wasn’t exactly what the original author intended, but she liked the read.

Siobhan’s Story

The quiet girl clung to her kilt. Siobhan turned slowly, her sword at the ready. No other demons appeared. No more tentacles threatened to snake out from the darkness. The witch’s eyes settled on the huddled, whimpering form in the corner. “Don’t kill me,” he whispered. “Please don’t kill me.”

Siobhan knelt and faced the little girl. Her senses reached out. Her magics could heal the broken parts of this body. The fragmented emotions would take more time. Calloused fingers wiped away the dirt and tears from the innocent face. “Yer safe now, lass.”

Her attention turned once more to the man in the corner. A minor practitioner, he had decided to turn his skills to terror and power in ways Siobhan once believed un-imaginable. After her long lifetime, the witch could now easily envision the dark places a young, male imagination longs to visit. She turned back to her young charge, removing the remaining smudge from the little girl’s face. Dim, dark eyes stared into Shiv’s. “Stay ‘ere, lass. Will ‘ave ye hame soon.”

At one time, she would have called the police. She would have accepted mortal justice and hoped this man would seek redemption. That was lifetimes ago.

The witch rose, sheathing her sword, and walked towards the cowering figure. “Please don’t kill me,” he muttered again, his eyes widening as she neared. “I didn’t know…. I didn’t know.” Her knee touched the ground as she knelt by him. “Ye will knoo,” she hissed.

The mixture of dirt and tears on her thumb glowed briefly as Siobhan breathed across it. Harsh, whispered syllables called upon ancient powers. She reached out to press the grime into his forehead. “Ah curse thee. Ye will knoo the terror that girl has known. Ye will know the ripping, the blood, the pain. Ye will knoo these things for as long as she knew them.” The witch gathered her breath and exhaled in his face. “Ye will never knoo magic, again. An fer yer lifetime, ye will ponder and regret what ye ‘ad, what ye did, an what ye lost.”

Gentle as a lover, Siobhan leaned forward to place a tender kiss on his blacked, dirt and tear stained forehead. “Ah curse ye.”

Chance’s Story

“We didn’t have to pick him up here, Mr. Thomas. This is a courtesy to you and your special relationship with the police.” Chance smiled and nodded to slightly shorter narcotics cop. “I understand and appreciate that, Officer Jackson. I know you’re taking a lot of time out of your day to handle this case.”

Chance’s head tilted to look back at the teenaged boy sitting alone at the hardwood dining table of the private dining room in Kori’s wine cellar. “There’s no way we can keep Shon out of the system, Peter?” he asked.

“No, Chance.” The officer shook his head. “The case is too high profile. Between you and me, I think I’m going to give up my season tickets. I don’t think I can watch a team whose players offer up a bunch of kids to avoid jail time.”

“Thanks, Pete.” Chance nodded again. “Let us have a moment while our lawyer gets here. Go ahead upstairs and let us get you some lunch.” The officer started up the narrow stairs before stopping to turn and address Chance. “I think it’s sad, Chance. Teens look up to these guys and all they want is a quick score.” He shook his head and continued up the stairs, leaving Chance and the teenaged boy alone.

“Abaline will be here is a few minutes, Shon,” he said as he walked towards the table. He slid out a chair and sat down next to the boy. Shon kept his head down. His hands fidgeted with the strings of his long apron. The young man arrived for work today expecting to bus the lunch rush, not get himself arrested. Chance didn’t even think about trying to contact Shon’s mother and decided to summon his lawyer right away, instead.

“Jefe? Is my shift being covered?” the young man asked quietly. “I don’t want to anyone to work extra because of…”

Chance waited for the thought to pass before he answered his employee. “It’s OK. Chandra needed some extra hours. She came in.” The boy nodded, his head bobbing slowly. “Jefe?” Shon’s dark brown eyes turned up sluggishly to look into his boss’, “I did it, Jefe. Derek Palmer asked me if I knew where I could get some… incentive. I went out to talk to my brother, came back, and sold Mr. Palmer some cocaine in the men’s toilet.”

The long exhale disguised the sound of Chance’s anger banging against the inside of his forehead. He wanted to yell, to scream at the kid. Tell him in no uncertain terms that if he wanted to fuck up his own life, do it as far away from Kori’s and the people wanted to work towards a better future, as possible. To remind him how crack ruined his mother. Tell this bright future sitting here that some pro-ball player asked him for drugs because of the color of his skin, because he looked like a dumb ass kid. Speak of the risk and temptation Shon’s actions just exposed every one of his co-workers and friends to.

Chance tried to breath out a bit more anger before he finally asked in a calm voice, “Are you going to do it again?” Shon’s head shook back and forth quickly. “No. Jefe. My marks are up. It’s only another year until I graduate high school. I want to go to college.” Tears welled up in those eyes. “I’ll never do it again, Jefe.”

“This is how it’s going to work, Shon.” The restaurateur leaned forward in his chair. “This is nonnegotiable. There is no compromise.”

“You are going to cooperate with our lawyer and the police. If Abaline tells me about a hint of sass, you’re fired. You keep clean and do everything Abaline tells you, you will have a job here. You will have off for every court appearance, every time the MCPD wants to talk to you. This is your first offense. I don’t think it’s likely, but if you have to do any time in juvi,” the boy’s face blanched. “If you have to spend any time in juvi,” Chance continued calmly, “you will still have a job here when you get out, you will not lose your scholarship, and the restaurant will cover the costs of your legal expenses.”

Silence stretched out the moments. “And my expenses can get expensive,” said a voice from the stairs. Chance rose, extending a hand. “Thank you for coming, Abaline.” the young man at the table stood as the professionally dressed woman walked into the room. “Abaline Rose, this is Shon Tuft.” The attorney glared at her young client. “You talk to the cop upstairs?” Chance asked. “Yes,” the woman responded. “I’d like to meet with Shon for a few minutes and then we’re all going down to the station. I think I talked him out of handcuffs.”

“I’ll leave you two alone, then,” Chance said as he began to walk towards the stairs. “Jefe?” said a weak voice behind him. Chance stopped and turned, his foot on the first step leading up. “I’m sorry,” Shon told him. Chance spoke clearly. “I believe you, Shon. And I believe in you.”

© 2019 Chicago Geek Guy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑