SSBHM/~FFA, Action, Adventure, Magic - competing super-thieves find out they have more in common tham loot Author's Noter: Episode 2 of my series. Again, there isn't much in the way of WG material, just 'normal' stories with BHM/FFA characters. Kinesiology and the Cat An action adventure of the Phoenix Heart saga by the Victim firstname.lastname@example.org (For the previous story in this series, click here) Prologue "This is some kind of joke, right? Their point man is some 400 pound nutcase that thinks he's Batman or James Bond or something." Keith complained, adjusting the Bluetooth headset on his ear. He continued to strip down one of the pair of Colt 1911's he carried. "They've made some impressive grabs before and took down a lot of opposition in the process. They are just a bit – unorthodox," General Lane responded. "I'm a professional. I take my job seriously, you know that." "Yes, I do. As a professional you expect to get paid well for doing that job. I'm paying you, and so are they. The money shouldn't be an issue." "I suppose not, but I have a reputation to uphold. Running with this lot isn't going to help." "If we find the girl and what she is looking for, you won't have to worry about your rep. We'll even let you be the one that does in the Phoenix Heart." "Do you really think the blade can kill that thing?" "It has struck down gods before, nothing can oppose us with it in our hands." Chapter 1 - Smash and Grab Arthur Tremaine reached up and pressed a button on the side of his tactical helmet. His recent crew cut had reduced the perspiration considerably, saving power to run the cooling jacket that kept his almost 400lb body cool under high exertion in his armor. A laser traced a display on the inside of his helmet visor. "I'm in, show me the package," he said into the mic. "Pinging it now." Keith replied, looking down over his console in the back of the SUV. He pushed the button that triggered a radio pulse that matched the resonant frequency of a RFID tag their inside contact had planted on the package. A computer display showed the location of the target relative to the transmitter. "It's on the move," he added. Arthur was startled by an alarm bell that began to sound within the building. "Guys, that wasn't me..." "We hacked into the work schedule yesterday, nobody was supposed to be working on it now!" Keith explained. "It's heading for the roof." "I think we might have some competition tonight. I'm going to have to chase it down. Give me some options Rick." Arthur asked, reaching behind his back to unlimber the spring steel and aircraft cable mechanisms of his suit which allowed him to store and redirect power from different parts of his body. Two gigantic curved steel blades sprang into position from behind his legs, making it appear as though Arthur was standing on two large letter "C"s. He launched his six foot four body down the hall, chasing the blip that appeared on his helmet visor display. "You and the package are heading for the northeast corner. I'll go around the building. Keith can search for their support and figure out their exit strategy. Your’s is a go for either a roof drop or any door on the north side." Rick advised. He had already started the engine and began to race around the corner. He avoided two cars and a scooter. He was in position on the north side of the building in mere seconds. "Arthur was right, you are a good driver." Keith commented, trying to hold onto the console in back. He turned his attention to the monitors. "Security feed shows they are on their way down to you. I count six. You're screwed." Keith added. I HAVE TO KEEP THIS CLOWN ALIVE UNTIL THE GIRL SHOWS UP. He thought. "Six? This is going to be a butt kicking, I gotta watch this!" Rick said, turning on his dash monitor. "Blast, forgot the popcorn." He joked. "He's going to get his fat ass wiped all over the place by those guys. We need to get him out of there! Good grief, this is the most crackpot job I've ever been on. Professionals don't operate like this." Keith exasperated. Rick tried to flip his boom mic on, but realized the switch was stuck again. One more thing for Phil to fix. "You got incoming, six of them." Rick advised. "I heard. That's not all I heard. I think our new recruit needs his physics lesson for today." Arthur joked. He neared the end of the hall, still running at a breakneck pace. He reached back his right thumb to operate a lever on the side of the lexan cuff that prevented his wrist from overextending. A steel hook snapped into place. He buried the hook in the corner of the wall as he ran past, whipping him around the corner with little loss of momentum. He hit the lever again and the hook went slack and released. "Check your security camera monitor." Rick gestured toward Keith. "Damn, he's fast, I'll give him that much." Keith admitted. "It's the suit. All that momentum gets redirected wherever he wants it. He could come to almost a dead stop right now and throw one of those guys twenty feet. A smaller person couldn't wear that much stuff, it would slow him down more than anything." Rick explained as they both watched Arthur bound down the hall. "He's closing on the package. Whoever has it isn't moving too slowly either. Here comes the security too. They don't look too worried." Keith observed. "That's the other thing. Nobody takes him seriously until it is too late. Watch this." Rick pointed to the monitor that displayed Arthur's helmet camera view. "Just hold it right there big guy," one of the guards said, drawing his baton. He was soon joined by a second guard. Both men lunged at Arthur's ankles with their batons, hoping for a quick takedown. Arthur didn't want to lose much speed in dealing with these guys. He came down hard on his blades, bending them to their limit. He thrust upward with his arms and legs to add to the stored energy in the spring steel blades. He somersaulted over the heads of the two men, barely clearing the ceiling. As Arthur sailed over their heads, he reached down and grabbed a uniform collar in each hand. The men were thrown backwards as Arthur landed. Facing the backs of the two men, Arthur rolled onto his back and used the momentum to bring them down onto the ends of his blades. As he rolled onto his shoulders, he planted his arms and shoved outward with his legs. The men were propelled off the spring steel blades and through the acoustical tiles of the ceiling. Arthur righted himself and turned toward the entrance to the stairwell at the end of the hall. Behind him, one of the men had fallen back down through another section of ceiling. The other one came back down through the hole, tangled in a length of wire suspending a section of duct that had come down with him. Neither man could do more than moan. Keith sat slack jawed at Arthur's display of sheer power. "Man, that was brutal." "Usually we're in and out before anyone can catch him. He hasn't got a chance to play in a while." Rick commented. "Play? What's he like when he's serious?" "Serious? I've never really seen him get serious. We got weapons and all, but he rarely uses them." Some men were quite serious. They also carried weapons and were just looking for an excuse to use them. Three such men burst out of the very doorway Arthur was heading for. Two lay prone and opened fire with 9mm semiautomatics. The other one stood behind them and fired as well. Multiple rounds ripped into Arthur's chest armor. The cracking of ceramic plates could be heard underneath the upper layers of kevlar. As Arthur's body moved, plates above the failed areas shifted down into place to reinforce the weakened armor. Two rounds struck his helmet. The laser display went blank. One round lodged itself in the lexan joint on his left elbow, but it did not seize up the joint. Arthur felt the dull thuds in his chest as the rounds hit. He also felt the two jarring blows to the head as his laser display failed. If he was going to catch up with the package, he had to deal with this threat quickly as well. He held both arms outward and fired a grapple from each. The tips lodged themselves right above the corners of the doorframe. Arthur pulled against the grapple cables and leaped forward. He flew over the two prone men and knocked the third one through the doorway and onto the stairway landing. Arthur released his grapple cables and swung a roundhouse to the back of the door, slamming it shut and jamming the cables in between the door and the frame. This would buy him a few seconds from the two guards in the hall. The guard on the stairway landing quickly recovered and righted himself. He holstered his weapon and drew a short combat knife with a guarded grip. He flipped the knife over and held it upside down with the back of the blade up against his forearm. He squared off against Arthur and assumed a fighting stance. Keith and Rick were watching through Arthur's helmet camera and their tap of the stairwell security monitor. "That guy is a pro, this isn't going to be pretty." Keith commented. DRAT, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO FIND THE GIRL NOW. Keith thought. "I don’t want to lose too much time here, I'm hitting the juice!" Arthur snapped. He reached back and pulled a cord on the front of his armor. Pumps whirred to life, circulating fluids into the cooling mesh in contact with Arthur's skin. He jumped into the air a few inches and the running blades retracted to their holding positions. He would not need them for the next two minutes. Adrenaline heightened his reflexes. Pure adenosine triphosphate flooded his muscle tissue, supplying energy directly to the muscle fibers. Oxygen and carbon dioxide cycling were accelerated in his blood. Byproducts of anaerobic metabolism were siphoned from his muscles, before lactic acid buildup could begin to make them cramp. For two minutes Arthur Tremaine's body operated on a level never meant by nature. The guard on the stairwell landing took an inquisitive swipe at Arthur with the knife. Arthur leaned back slightly to avoid the attack. The guard snapped a quick forward kick, trying to get Arthur to lose his balance and fall backwards against the railing on the stairwell. Arthur felt the kick land on his belly, but before his attacker could apply enough force to shove him backwards, Arthur's arms flew down at blinding speed and grabbed the guard's leg. Arthur threw his arms up into the air, upheaving the guard into the air and up against the door. Arthur was quite sure the man's hip joint had overextended severely. He really wanted to stay and have a proper fight, but wasting time wasn't his style, especially while on the juice. "Juice? What was that about?" Keith asked. "It's his ace in the hole. I don't know the particulars, but it supplies oxygen, adrenaline and other things directly to his body, then siphons off the carbon dioxide and other waste." Rick explained the best he could. "The drawback is that he can only keep it up for two minutes, and he completely crashes when he comes down from it. He has two minutes to get to the roof and out." Keith knew that in combat two minutes was an eternity. Two minutes operating at his prime with no fatigue. The blade wasn't the only thing they could wind up getting out of this. Arthur turned to the stairs and raced upwards. It was only four floors to the roof. He still had time to catch up with the package. His limitless supply of stamina allowed him to clear all four flights in less than half a minute. He flung open the door to the roof and stepped out into the night. "My HUD is out, where's the package?" Arthur asked into his helmet mic. "Turn north and straight on from there." Keith advised. Rick glanced at the monitor in front of him. "Not that way, north is to your left." Rick added. He was cleaning the contacts of the microphone switch with a tiny blade that was hidden in his fingernail. He had lost a fingertip in a car door when he was a kid. Phil had installed the blade in the prosthetic fingertip. "He's seems a bit lost." Keith noted. "Yeah, a sense of direction isn't exactly his strong point." Rick replied, retracting the fingertip blade. Keith hadn't noticed him using it. "It's her. The cat burglar, she has the package." Arthur declared. There was no mistaking the tall athletic figure before him. She looked around the rooftop as though surveying the situation. She seemed comfortable in her assessment. "Rooftop. Catsuit. How cliche' can you get?" Arthur commented. He had almost a full minute, he could afford to take a bit of time to play. "At least I don't have a whip." Catherine replied. Arthur knew she hadn't yet faced him when augmented by the juice. He would have an element of surprise if he acted now. He rolled behind an elevated skylight and climbed up on the frame. The girl was just on the other side of the skylight. The package was in a bag slung over her back. Arthur leapt from the back edge of the skylight and over the top. Before he could make any sound by landing, he grabbed the bag and pulled out the package as they both fell to the ground. She recovered almost instantly. He recognized the RFID tag that was attached to the cylinder by their inside contact. He put the cylinder into his own pack and locked down the flaps. "Nanotech. Who are you swiping this for? Isn't this a bit big for your tastes?" He commented. "I like big things, you should know that by now." Catherine said, pacing around Arthur. She ran her fingertips over the back of his suit as she completed a circle around him. "Now give the nice kitty back her toy and let's be friends." "It's going to be a different this time, I've been boning up on your moves." Arthur warned, assuming his fighting stance. "Boning up?" Catherine chirped, "Now THAT sounds like fun!" she added, the outline of a smile appearing on her mask. "Let's see how you dance." They whirled and danced on the rooftop, dodging ducts, antennas, and skylights. Arthur was right. This fight was different. They punched and kicked, grabbed and countered, feinted and double feinted. Neither could gain any definite advantage. Arthur was too fast to be hit by any blow powerful enough to do any damage. Catherine always seemed to know where not to be. Arthur needed another surprise, before his time was up. He appeared to weaken his defensive stance and present an opening for a grab on his left forearm. Catherine latched onto the limb and tried to spin around with enough force to leverage Arthur's weight. This is when Arthur fired the last grapple on his right arm into the short antenna tower directly behind her. He pulled back on the grapple cable and twisted his body with hers, wrapping both of them in the cable. He rolled over, pressing his body down on top of her. His right thumb trained on the grapple release, Arthur held their only means of escape. "A little bold for a second date, don't you think?" Catherine said, squirming about under Arthur. He rolled over onto his back. "Maybe we should get to know each other first." Arthur replied, loosening his left arm from inside the armor that was pinned to his body by the cable. He worked his hand up and toward Catherine's face, attempting to pull up her mask. Meanwhile, he stuck the RFID tag from the cylinder on the inside flap of her pack with his other hand. "Better not. This kitty's got claws." Catherine warned. A high pitched whine and the shearing of steel could be heard as Catherine's arms ripped free of the cable. She stood over Arthur. Frayed strands of woven steel cable fell to the ground. "You can keep the toy this time, kitty's got nicer ones." Catherine mocked, displaying tiny titanium blades on chains that raced along the outlines of her gloves. She ran for the edge of the building and disappeared over the side. Arthur noticed the remaining guard burst from the door at the far end and bark into a radio. Arthur's time was almost up. He slid his arm back down into his armor and attached the last grapple cable on his left arm to the antenna tower. He lowered himself over the edge and made his way to the SUV. They sped off into the night.