Forces Gather: Part Five

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Albany, NY

The only reason it takes Red Shift fifteen minutes to get to Albany is because he doesn’t want to break the sound barrier.

It’s not hard for him to run faster than sound—he can run considerably faster if he has to. The problem with breaking the sound barrier is the sonic boom: it’s not a one-time event, it’s a continuous, window-shattering sound that follows you, a sonic wake, and he doesn’t want to attract that kind of attention. Anyway, he doesn’t need to go supersonic: 700 miles an hour is more than sufficient to get to Albany.

Forces Gather: Part Four

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Farraday City

It’s raining in Farraday City. Water courses through the sewers, the sluggish and nearly stagnant waters now rushing like overflowing streams. The water level has risen above the side walkways to the point that water flows over CB’s ankles. He can feel the tug of the current slightly. It’s inconvenient, and it if keeps rising it might get dangerous.

“OK back there?”

Jenny grunts in reply. Her hand tightens on his shoulder for a moment, and CB feels a stab of pain.

“Easy, Jenny. I might need that later.”

Her grip eases slightly, still firm but not uncomfortable. “Sorry, tough guy.”

She still has an edge to her voice, but the barb softens it a little. It’s encouraging.

Forces Gather: Part Three

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Sky Commando Unit

Sergeant Alishia Webb sits in the Sky Commando Unit briefing room and shifts uncomfortably under the enigmatic gaze of the man in the suit and sunglasses sitting across the table.

“Miss Webb—”

Sergeant,” Alishia says firmly.

The man nods once. “My apologies. Sergeant. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.”

Alishia’s gaze drifts over to the man’s left, farther down the table, where the rest of his group—two men and three women—sit listening patiently. Their expressions are professionally blank, betraying nothing. Alishia’s Captain sits across from them, on her side of the table, arms folded. Her expression is professionally neutral. The Captain, among her many other talents, is good at wading through the shark-infested waters of local and federal politics in New York City, so Alishia isn’t surprised to see her poker face.

“There’s no need to thank me,” Alishia says, keeping her voice dry. “When the Captain tells me to do something, I usually do it.”

Usually. Alishia sees the Captain shift slightly out of the corner and her eye, and imagines the right corner of her mouth curling up into an almost-smile.

Forces Gather: Part Two

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Crossfire Safehouse

Street Ronin sighs, rubs his eyes, and leans back in his chair. His computer has been analyzing the files from a USB thumb drive for the last hour, and it’s boring.

He and Red Shift have been in the safehouse Tactical Room for most of the night, trying to piece together all the information they received from their new partners. He’s tired; Red Shift is bored. As far as Street Ronin knows, Red Shift doesn’t sleep.

“You know how TV shows always have computers showing you a search in progress? Like, they have a graphic of a file being put next to a graphic of another file, and then big blocky letters say ‘no match,’ and then it does it again?” Street Ronin reaches for his coffee, sees the mug is empty, and frowns.

“Yep.” Red Shift takes the empty mug and sets down a fresh, full one. “Almost as dumb as the bomb always being disarmed three seconds before it goes off.”

“You’re a saint,” Street Ronin says, grabbing the mug gratefully.

Red Shift snorts. “No saints in this neck of the woods. Except maybe the cop.”

Forces Gather: Part One

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Jacob K. Javits Federal Building

The New York offices of the Federal Bureau of Metahuman Affairs take up four floors of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in the Civic Center district of Manhattan. Peter Raphael Travers’ office is on the 28th floor—the lowest of the four—and it’s small compared to most of the others. Technically he should have moved up to a much larger office in the Department of Homeland Security floors a decade ago, but so much of his work is with the FBMA it didn’t make sense to move him out of his old space. Travers doesn’t mind. Once upon a time, before computers were standard business equipment, the office might have been a little cramped. Now it was more than adequate: large enough for his desk, his chair, two guest chairs, and a file cabinet with an old coffee maker sitting on top of it.

Travers leans back in his chair, sipping his coffee while he stares at the monitor, and frowns as he considers the report on display. It’s going to be a rough week.

His desk phone rings. It’s Sally, the unit receptionist.

“Agent Travers, Agent Henry is here to see you. With… others.” Sally sounds nervous.

Travers raises an eyebrow. “Send him in.”