The Adventures of Johnny Riker #4: Part of the Team

Mainlan, 30th precinct

It was dusk. Rey was sitting by his desk and was writing something down on his paper. He was solely focused on what he was writing. He had his hand under his chin and his elbow on the table as he wrote. One could easily see that he was not enjoying writing what he was writing. He took a break and sighed. It was very boring to keep doing this, but he had no choice, as it was part of the job. He looked around and saw that it was a very serious work environment. People were walking around with paperwork in their hands. There were many phone calls as well, and many of Shell City’s finest were busy that day.

Duncan was across the desk from Rey. He was also writing something down and was almost done. One could easily spot that due to the more enthusiastic expression he had. He was writing considerably quickly as well. Once he was done, he put the pen down and stood up. He then went to the captain’s office.

Lane sat on the desk, next to Rey. Rey finished writing and put his pen down. He then looked at her and saw that she was happy to be there. He sat back on his chair and exhaled. He looked at her and waited for her to speak. She sensed that, and saw that there was no point in keeping herself from saying it.

“You done with that report?” she asked. She asked that with clear intentions of having some sort of conversation. He sensed that. There was time for it, as he had a look at his watch before replying to her question.

“I think so. I didn’t really do much this time,” he replied. She smiled after he said that and bowed her head for a moment, trying to hide her smile. She looked at him once more.

“Modest as ever, I see. It’s a good thing,” she said.

“I don’t think an arrest that involved eight cops should highlight only one,” Rey said. He said it with professional courtesy with a hint of arrogance that one has when they are trying to get away with something that is meant to be a secret or a technicality.

“You really think so? I mean, you did most of the work,” she said.

“No. We all did. The captain is gonna freak about it if he gets the idea that I did anything more than what I wrote,” Rey explained. Lane understood what he meant by that. She nodded once and looked around before saying what she really had to say to that.

“It’s not just the captain you’re worried about is it?” she asked. He gave her an odd look before wanting to go on with this conversation. What was she getting at? Why was she trying to get information out of him like this? Was it really just part of the conversation or was she trying to get somewhere.

“Whatever else you’re going to bring up, Lane, it’s not what you think,” he said.

“I’m guessing your source of information is out of the question here, isn’t it?” she asked. He looked at her and tilted his head. She smiled at him once more. He smiled at her as well, and they looked at each other for a while, in silence.

“Hey, Riker,” Sergeant David Frost said, going there. He was an extremely muscular man, very intimidating with his strong presence. He was almost the same age as Rey, and looked to be very battle-hardened. His hair was dark brown, but one could see that it was beginning to lose its color and beginning to lighten up. It was low-cut hair as well. He was in uniform and was walking hastily towards Rey’s desk. The others in the precinct could not help but look at him as he went to Rey.

“Oh, here we go,” Rey said in a low tone. Lane’s smile faded away when she heard the voice. She knew to whom it belonged. David went to them, with his physically imposing movements and stance. Lane could feel that he was invading a lot of space, even though he kept a reasonable distance from her.

“What makes you think you can contact my snitch for your cases?” David asked. He was fuming. It was as if he were a raging monster that was let out of the cage and would do serious damage if left untamed in the wild.

“I was doing police work, Frost. Snitches make it easier for these things to go smoothly,” Rey said. He was calm and almost laid back. That was not the attitudinal response that David was going to tolerate at all.

“It’s Sergeant Frost, Officer Riker. I outrank you, and you will address me with respect,” David demanded. Lane could feel the awkward tension that there was here. Everyone in the precinct could notice the awkward tension there and started to pay more attention to what was going on.

“My apologies, Sergeant Frost. I was only doing my job,” Rey said. He was trying to hold in his hostile tone. This was not one of those times where he could punch or shoot his way out of trouble to save himself and everyone would look at him as a hero.

“Your job, Officer Riker, is to patrol the streets, and let us Sergeants handle the bigger jobs like the one you just undertook,” David said. Lane rolled her eyes and wanted to reply to that. Rey saw that and managed to calm her down with a certain look he gave her.

“I thought as policemen, we could do whatever it takes to protect and serve,” Rey said, “that is our job description, isn’t it?” He said so with a hint of arrogance that David was taking as disrespect. He took a deep breath in then out and tried to relax himself a bit. He was more than clearly losing his patience.

“You ‘thought’? You ‘thought’? Riker, that was my snitch. I was working with him, and we were gonna handle that cast on our own. We didn’t need the ‘hero cop’ around. We didn’t need your assistance,” David said.

“I don’t get what you’re so mad about. We caught the bad guys. Wasn’t that the whole point of all of this?” Rey asked. He was actually more confused than angry about this. Was he not helpful in handling the case? Was the whole point not to catch them?

“You’re so ignorant, Riker. You don’t see beyond yourself. Always wanting to do the right thing. I guess since you have a really nice track record and all, you think you can just go do whatever you want. We have badges too, Riker,” David said.

“And I used mine to do a job you were taking too long to. You know how far those drugs were gonna go if we didn’t get them today?” Rey asked, finally losing his temper. He even stood up as he said that, and his tone was a bit higher than usual. That was when everyone looked at them.

“Always a comeback with you, huh, Riker? Maybe you want to go out back and we can discuss this in a much more private area,” David said. Rey wanted to accept that, but then looked at Lane, who was right behind David. He realized that this was not worth it. He looked around and saw that the people were watching them.

“That would be nice, Sergeant, but I don’t need to discuss anything outside. We can discuss it right here, in front of everyone,” Rey said. He said that with such defiance that it really challenged David to refuse. He looked at everyone around and shook his head.

“Oh, you’re good, Riker. You’re very political. Just remember that in here, you may play the leader, but out there, you’re the same as everyone else. Anything can happen,” David said. He said that in a low tone that was directed at Rey in a very specific way. Rey understood it all too well.

“I hope that’s not a threat, Sergeant,” Rey said. David smiled when he heard that. It was a very sinister smile. Lane looked at him and was beginning to feel scared for Rey. She saw that he was unusually confident for a man of his size talking to a man of David’s size.

“What’s going on here?” Duncan asked, going there. He got to his table and put some papers on it before looking at David.

“Nothing, Detective Mack. Nothing. I was just having a nice conversation with your partner. How did the captain take the drug bust?” David asked.

“Wasn’t particularly thrilled about it, but he was happy we managed to get it done. He said that he wanted to wait a little longer before going after them the way we did, but that we made the right call,” Duncan said.

“Good job, detective. You should be promoted for your efforts. I’ll have a talk with the captain, see if that’s possible in the near future,” David said. He said it with sarcasm that could only be sensed if one were to look for it. He then took a step towards Riker and went to his ear. “You better watch yourself, Riker, or I’m gonna have your head,” he whispered. He then took a step back and smiled at Rey before walking away, towards the captain’s office.

Five policemen walked towards them. They were standing the closest to Rey and David when they were having their slight altercation and bitter exchange of words. Rey looked at them.

“He didn’t say anything stupid, did he?” Duncan asked. Rey brushed it all off as he calmed down. He sat on his chair once more. The five policemen went to him. The first was Thomas Berg. He was a Caucasian man who had muscular build, but not the type that body builders have. He was an average muscular man with very dark brown hair and a thick mustache. He looked to be in his mid to late thirties.

The second was Brett Whelan, who was slightly slimmer than Thomas but still muscular. He was an African American man with short hair. He looked to be the youngest one there. He was approximately thirty years old at the time. He had no facial hair whatsoever.

The third one was Michelle Pollini. She was a Caucasian woman who was very tall, slim, but had very strong build. She stood with a lot of authority and confidence, and she was just as attractive as she was fierce by the looks of it. Her hair was long, black and curly. It reached her upper back, and she had blue eyes.

The fourth was Sherry Keiser. She was a mixed race woman of Caucasian and African American heritage. Her hair was also long and curly. She was the bulkiest of the three women there. She was very strong, and seemed to be in her early thirties.

The fifth was Philip Corrado. He was a Caucasian who was very tall and slim. He had long, blonde hair and black eyes. He was among the young ones as well. He was approximately the same age as Brett. He was the most unsure-looking one there.

“Don’t worry about him, Riker. If he tries anything stupid, you know we have your back,” Brett said.

“Douchebags like him don’t deserve their positions. They use them to bully everyone else into submission. And they never do their jobs anyway,” Sherry said.

“Who the hell told him about that anyway?” Lane asked.

“The snitch. He is a snitch after all,” Philip said.

“Look. Regardless of what he says, we all did it. If he picks a fight with you, he picks a fight with us,” Michelle said. The others agreed with her and almost all nodded their heads. She had an Italian accent as she spoke English.

“Look, there’s no need for any of this attention, okay? You guys don’t have to worry about me. I’ll be fine,” Rey said.

“Yeah, well, we’re just looking out for you, partner,” Duncan said. He said that with an assuring tone that warmed everyone around him. By this time, everyone else in the precinct got back to what they were doing before David got there.

“Yeah. You are part of the team,” Philip said. He sat on the table, in between Lane and Rey. He gave Rey a friendly look and even smiled at him. Rey gave him a fake smile that he really tried hard with then looked at the others around him.

“I’m not part of any team. I just do my work with people who have the same goals as I do,” he said.

“You gotta love his modesty. Rey. That’s what a team is: a group of people who work together to achieve the same goal. What else is there to it?” Thomas asked.

“Oh, just leave him. He’s always been a stubborn-ass. He’s never gonna want to rub it in,” Sherry said. The others laughed with her, including Duncan, who then looked at Rey to see if he did laugh. Rey only let out a forced scoff.

“You should try laughing too, partner. It helps get the tension away from the moment,” Duncan said. Rey scoffed once more then looked at Duncan. He then turned to make sure he would look at everyone else around him.

“There’s no tension anywhere,” he said. Most of them sighed silently. They bowed their heads and remained silent for a bit. The silent was not so uncomfortable, only because it did not last very long. Somebody there always had something to say.

“So, you wanna grab a beer with us?” Sherry asked, breaking the silence. She was always the one to keep the flow of conversations going. Even if she had to say the most random thing she could think of, she would, as long as it meant that there was no silence.

“A beer? What are you on a-,”

“Riker, captain wants to see you,” Statham called out, interrupting Rey. He seemed to be coming from the captain’s office himself. He went to his desk after saying that, and sat on his chair. It was peculiar because all his things were already packed, meaning that he was ready to go. Everyone looked at Rey, who was once again the focus of all the attention. He sighed then stood up and picked up the papers that he was writing on.

“I wonder what it is this time,” Duncan said. Lane sighed when she saw Rey standing. She was beginning to worry about him. It was not a good sign, given the moment he just had with David, especially because David went to the office himself.

“Must’ve been David. That bastard,” Philip said. Rey paid no mind to what had just been said. He knew that if he engaged with any negative thoughts, he would certainly end up causing a scene which would get him fired on the spot. It was better to just go in there with a clear head.

He opened the door to the captain’s office and saw David standing before the captain. Rey sighed then walked towards the desk the captain sat by. By the looks of it, the story had already been told to eh captain, so there was no point in trying to look innocent.

“Riker. Yes. I was going to see you in a few minutes, but now I heard something that concerned me,” Russo said. Rey almost rolled his eyes, but knew that if he did, Russo would see it, which would lead to an unnecessary lecture about that.

“Yes, cap,” Rey said. He stopped before the desk, next to David. They looked at each other before Rey abandoned the unnecessary glare-off and looked at the captain, ready to listen to what he had to say to him.

“This case you just cracked. I hear you interfered with Sergeant Frost’s investigation into the matter,” Russo said. Rey knew it. Everyone knew it once they heard that he had been called to the office. It could only have been that.

“I did what I thought was right, captain. The drugs were to be spread today. We had to act fast,” Rey said. He was determined to defend himself against this accusation which seemed to be trying to make him look like the bad guy.

“Sergeant Frost neglected to give me that information,” Russo said. He looked at David, who began to have an unsure look in his face. He also thought of what he had to say about that. He had to think of a quick comeback to that statement which would make him still look like the victim.

“It’s a lie. The drugs weren’t going to be spread today. The Hoodsies were waiting for things to quiet down in Base District before they could do anything with the drugs,” David finally ended up saying. He sounded very defensive when he said that.

“That information is incorrect,” Rey asserted. He was calm and did not even look at David as he said it. He said that with a straight face and monotone voice which showed that he was very serious about the matter and knew what he was talking about.

“My snitch-,”

“Told me something different. He told me the drugs were to be spread today. If we didn’t go after them today, it would’ve been too late,” Rey said, interrupting David. He was beginning to shift the blame towards David, the same man who got this all started.

Russo was beginning to feel a bit edgy with all of this happening. “Riker, I understand you like to take matters into your hands when the going gets tough, but didn’t you think that Sergeant Frost deserved a call before you could take over his case?” he asked.

“I didn’t think there was enough time for that,” Rey said. His monotone voice and stern facial expression diminished, as he had to make himself humbler while talking to the man who could have him fired from the job he seemed to be excelling in.

“You didn’t think that there was time for it? But you could mobilize seven other officers to bring them down?” Russo asked. He also began to find this a bit strange. It was not like Rey to be this arrogant. He knew that he could be irrational with his decisions at times, but this was beyond anything he had done before.

“I did what I thought was right,” Rey explained. He was not as loud and outspoken as before anymore, beginning to feel like he did make a mistake when making the call. He started to reconsider his position. Perhaps it would have been better to notify the sergeant before acting.

“See, captain? Self-righteous. He doesn’t care about what anyone else does but himself,” David said. He was still on the offensive. He wanted to make sure that Rey would be chastised for this. He could not let him get away with this atrocity.

“That is not true. If it were, I wouldn’t have joined the force,” Rey said, sounding justified in his actions for the first time in a few moments. He finally found the point to dwell on, and this made him more confident in the position he stood in.

David would not let it end there. He had to make sure that Rey would suffer for this, no matter how justified he sounded when he spoke. “You’re a glory hog. You want to make the newspaper all the time. Every time there’s something big, he wants the glory for himself,” he said.

“I don’t think you’re getting the point here, Sergeant,” Rey said. At this point, he felt like he should have just taken the conversation outside with him, and ended this a long time ago. Whoever would win outside would have the bragging rights, which seemed to be the most important thing at the time.

David still did not want to see what Rey was trying to get to when he spoke like this. He was blinded by the anger that was consuming him concerning this case. It was not something he took lightly at all. “Oh, yeah? What is it?” he asked.

Contrary to David, Rey did not care about anything but getting the job done. That was the core essence of the job to him. As long as one stops bad things from taking place, nothing else matters. “The point is, the job is done. There’s nothing more to it than that,” he said.

“Oh, is that so? You think that that’s all there is to it? So, you got them all, arrested them all, huh? That’s good. Now that you’ve caught them, how can we track the kingpin down? How are we gonna find out who he is? You think you’re gonna make them talk after you catch them in the act?” David asked.

“It’s been done before,” Rey said. He did not want to overstep his boundaries, because they were in an office, and although Rey has taken down many foes before, David might still be a little hardened from his time at war.

“Things aren’t like the good ol’ days, officer Riker. Things have changed. Crime is rising in Shell City. We managed to contain it for the past ten years after that corruption ring scandal, and managed to push crime to Base District. We had firm control over what goes on here, but not anymore. These crooks are getting smarter. They’re becoming loyal. The Hoodsies have become more influential in the underworld,” David said.

“And you know this because of your snitch?” Rey asked. That question raised an eyebrow on Russo. David felt like he was backed into a corner with that one, and he might as well have been, but, as usual, he had a quick response to that.

“I know this because I do investigative work. I don’t just rush into action like you and your partner. You two haven’t been doing any investigative work. You’re just getting paid for nothing,” David said. This was the point in which Russo had to intervene. The argument had gone on long enough without him saying something, yet he was the one in charge there.

“That’s enough, Sergeant Frost. Enough. Riker, I applaud your efforts to clean up the city on your own, but you can’t do it all. You have to let others do what they are assigned to do. That’s what maintains order around here. Imagine everyone just did whatever they wanted. We wouldn’t really have a productive force, would we?” Russo asked.

“I suppose. Tell me one thing, Frost. When were you planning on making a move?” Russo asked. He sounded fair in his speech. He interlocked his fingers and put his hands on the desk then looked at David, waiting for his answer to the question.

“Once I tracked their kingpin down, so I could make a move on all of them,” David said, still sounding defensive. He had not seen that the captain was giving him a chance to explain himself well. He spoke as if the captain were against him.

“Do you have any leads?” Rey asked, finally looking at David. He had not looked at him for a long time in the conversation, fearing that would impulsively punch him due to the anger that was building up within him.

“They’re useless now. You took down all the middle men that I was gonna use to find the kingpin,” David said. It was unbelievable to Rey. Rey almost shook his head, but then found that it would have been disrespectful, so he avoided doing it.

“So, you have leads, I suppose,” he asked. He sounded professional as he asked that. He did not want to sound harsh or offensive any longer. It was better to build a positive environment from there, rather than a negative, bitter one.

“I did. Not anymore,” David replied, slowly turning to Rey and glaring at him. Rey stopped looking at him and looked ahead. He sighed then bowed his head, not seeing an end to this any time soon.

Russo could see that Rey was out of things to say, and wondered what the final message was, regaring all of this questioning which seemed to be happening randomly. “Sorry, officer, what are you getting at here?” Russo asked.

“I’m trying to understand what it is that Sergeant David Frost was planning. I don’t really understand it,” Rey said. One could easily sense that Rey was not completely honest with what he was saying there, that he was actually trying to say that David is not making sense in a more offensive way.

David seemed to understand the tone all too well. He did not play into the trap. He simply acted as if the statement was a normal one. “It’s pointless now to explain it anyway. I’m just going to leave things as they are, and try to work a different angle around it,” he said.

“Why don’t we release one of them, and use that one to track down the kingpin?” Russo suggested. To him, this was the only way that he could resolve this matter without creating enmity between the two colleagues.

“Sir, is that legal? They were all found at the scene,” Rey said. This actually outraged him. He had to hide it well in order not to divert the subject of the conversation. To him, this was something that should never even have been thought of.

“As long as they haven’t been tried or convicted, or have any evidence against them, they are free to go. It’s a loophole that not many can use efficiently,” Russo said. He sounded like one of those overconfident, stuck up lawyers when they want their clients released from custody.

“But, sir, the arrest has been made. They were all found at the scene. They are all wearing Hoodsie uniform,” Rey argued. Rey clearly did not understand what Russo was getting at here, and the captain was not going to keep this going at this rate.

“Don’t make this any more difficult than it has to be, Riker. If you had only contacted Frost beforehand, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Russo said. He spoke with a raised, more aggressive tone than before.

“Captain-,”

“That is all, officer. One of them will be released. Only one of them. The rest will be kept here,” Russo said, interrupting Rey. That was the final decision. There was no overturning it. Rey could only agree with him.

“Yes, captain,” Rey said. He did not like the idea, but just had to go along with it because it was the only way that he could leave the office and not have to look at the sergeant longer. He was itching to get out of there.

“Thank you, captain,” David said. He then walked out of the office. Rey put the papers he was holding on Russo’s desk before following David. He was behind him and was walking slowly, disappointed with what had just happened.

“Riker,” Russo called out. Rey stopped walking when he was by the door and turned back at the captain. He was called back in. He exhaled then closed the door and went to stand before the captain’s desk once more.

What could it be now? Was he the only one that would be called to the office like this? Why would it always have to be him to stay behind after one of these sessions? He felt like asking all of these questions to the captain. “Yes, captain,” he said.

“I also heard that you took officer Blake Lane with you,” Russo said. That was a troublesome matter. This was something he knew he was very guilty of, and there was no explaining it in any meaningful way.

“Yes, sir,” he said. There was no way around it. He had to tell the truth, because, clearly, news travels fast in the precinct. It was a pretty small precinct anyway, and things were often very boring. It must have been the hobby of some of the people there to gossip.

“You do know that she’s not meant to be working, don’t you?” Russo asked. The questions kept coming. At this point, Rey wondered why Russo did not just get to yelling at him instead of building up the lecture.

“Yes, sir,” Rey said. Every time he said that, the lecture drew closer, and he knew he would have to defend himself pretty soon. He felt like he was becoming more of a lawyer in the force rather than a policeman.

“So, why did you take her with you?” Russo asked. He sounded like a father, trying to get an explanation from his son after he did something bad and got caught.

“It was short notice, sir. I had to take people I trust with me. She was on that list,” Rey said.

“You got her out of her home so that you could do somebody else’s job? Riker, I don’t like the attitude you’re having these days. You cannot expect me not to take action with this. You didn’t break any laws, so I can’t sanction you, but this is about the unspoken rules. You do not take up somebody else’s case,” Russo said, “and you do not bring people on leave into this.”

“Sir, officer Lane is a grown woman. I believe that she can make decisions on her own,” Rey said.

“Of course she can. But not when it comes to you, I suppose. I’ve been hearing interesting stories about you and Ms. Lane. Whatever it is you have going on with her, it should not be affecting her life choices the way it is now. So, I’m giving you a warning, since this is the first time you’ve done something like this. Do this again, and I tell you, you will pay,” Russo said, “comprende?”

“Si,” Rey said.

“Ah, so you learned a bit of Spanish, I see,” Russo said. He laughed a bit with joy. He felt like he had passed on a legacy to someone. It was special to him because he was so far away from home that he felt like there were not any Spanish speakers left around him.

“Yes, cap,” Rey said. He smiled a bit, but really wanted to go, as he was not in a very good mood at the time to carry on a conversation. It had been a long day.

“Good. Now, go. I need to read through all of your reports before I can get back to my social life,” Russo said.

“Yes, sir,” Rey said.

“And how goes your investigation with Duncan? The one I told you to keep to yourselves?” Russo asked.

“It’s a work in progress, sir. We don’t have any leads. The only Hoodsies we’ve spotted lately are the ones we arrested today. It’s like they’ve gone underground and only come to the surface when they’re up to something,” Rey said.

“I see. I see. Dig deeper. They might be the only clue we have,” Russo said.

“Yes, sir,” Rey said.

“That’ll be all, officer, Riker,” Russo said. Rey nodded then walked away from the desk, towards the door. He opened it and walked out, expecting to be called in again for some odd reason that he could not come up with yet in his mind. When he saw that there was nothing else to be said, even by the captain himself, who was already having a look at the reports he was given, he walked away after closing the door behind him.

He got to his desk, where all his former company still was. They had all been discussing something after he left, and the conversation had them speaking in low voices. They all looked at him once he got there, and stopped talking. He sighed. He looked at Sherry.

“A beer wouldn’t be a bad idea,” he said. He smiled at them. Sherry smiled at him as well, and the others celebrated this momentous occasion. They all parted ways so that they could get their things in order, and Lane was the last to leave. She smiled at him before walking away. Duncan was looking at them. When she left, Rey felt that Duncan was still looking at them.

“What is it?” Rey asked. He was curious as to what his partner would have to say about that. It was not something sensible, most likely. He was in a good mood, and things that came out of his mouth when he was in such a mood were never sensible.

“You know, it’s been a while since you’ve had a beer with us. You sure you can still handle one?” Duncan asked. Alas, something he said did not make him want to stop talking for a week. Rey scoffed at the question then looked at Duncan.

“I’ll be fine,” Rey replied. Duncan nodded. He got his things together and looked at Rey once more before scoffing. He could not hold it in. He just had to say it. “Be careful not to black out, or Lane will have to carry you home herself. I ain’t driving you,” Duncan said. Rey rolled his eyes, as he finally heard the jab that he was waiting for. They left the desk together and walked towards the door.

“Shut up,” Rey said. Of course, he was joking with that said. He could not take it seriously, due to the good mood that everyone was in. He was not about to ruin it by being defensive. It was all just good, clean fun that they were having.

Thunder rumbled in the skies as the night grew darker, with heavy clouds filling the night sky. The rain that poured down from the heavens was heavy, and no one could be found in the streets at the time. The hour grew late, and more sinister forces were at work around the city, as it was night: the perfect time to commit the most heinous of crimes. It seemed to be a time of rain in the year, as the streets, even when the weather was clear, had something about them that showed that they had not been dry for a long time.

Base District was not so busy in the streets. There were many homeless people in the streets, though, and they were seeking a place to stay dry in. One of the people was very desperate. He was an old man whose face was covered up by facial hair. His clothes were ragged and looked like they had not been taken off for years. The man’s skin tone was not even in its natural state anymore, due to all the dirt that covered it. Everywhere he looked, he could not find a spot. He searched, street after street. He found a good spot in an alley. He did not even reach his destination, as he was shot in the chest. The gunshot echoed throughout the street and sounded like thunder. The people of Base District could not get that sound confused with anything else. Everyone there knew what it was, and nobody dared to go see the corpse, or to go see what was going on. The homeless man fell to the ground and died there. Thunder rumbled in the sky a few seconds after he died.

In the building across the road, on the second floor, was a man looking out the window, having pushed his curtain aside. He was looking at the alley that the homeless man was running towards. He clicked his tongue continuously as he shook his head. He closed the curtain then turned around to look at his companions. He was in a living room, by the looks of it. His companions were all seated on different couches which were red in colour. There were four of them, and they each sat on a different couch. Each couch faced the small glass table which was in the center of the living room.

The man by the curtain was a tall, mixed race man with black hair and no facial hair. He had a very light skin tone and had an athletic build. He had an ‘A’ tattoo on his forehead. He was known as A.

“That’s the third gunshot in ten minutes,” B said. He was an African-American and was sitting on one of the couches. He had a muscular build and was the second tallest of the group. He was bald as well. He had a very ghetto accent. One could tell that he really did grow up in the streets.

“They don’t call it Base District for nothing,” E said. E was the only female in the room. She was a Caucasian and wore glasses. She had a very tough-looking facial expression. She wore all black and had a small black spot slightly above her upper lip, towards the left. She was reading a magazine and did not seem to care at all about what was happening.

“Hey, when’s the rain gonna stop? I gotta go get a drink from the bar,” C said after a moment of silence. He was sitting on the couch which faced D. B and E were facing each other. He was another African-American. He was short and had a full head of hair. He was not muscular and did not have an athletic build. He liked wearing baggy clothes, though.

“Ask mother nature. We’re not gonna tell you,” E said. She spoke without a care in the world. Her foot waved around as she read her book. She had her left foot on her right knee as she read. It was a very captivating book, by the looks of it.

“Why don’t you just go like this? There’s nothing wrong with you getting wet,” D said. D was extremely muscular, very tall and Caucasian. He had a very deep voice which was in fact very menacing. He had blonde hair and blue eyes. The most striking thing about his appearance, though, was a scar running across his left cheek which required eight stitches which were still clearly visible and present. The stitches were recent, and it could be noted that they had been on for less than twenty-four hours. Still, D did not show any discomfort when speaking. He spoke casually, as though they were not even there.

“Didn’t you send F there anyway?” B asked. The question posed no intimidation and the speaker had no intention of being offensive or proving that C was an idiot for asking the question. He was genuinely inquiring.

“He’s taking too long. It’s just across the street anyway,” C said. He was becoming very impatient but managed to contain himself very well. Nobody noticed that he was very impatient at the time and was about to explode.

“You want to go get yourself killed? Okay. Fine by me. Just tell us who gets your cut,” E said. That comment was completely unnecessary by his count. He did not want to hear something like that said to him. He was not in the mood to joke around.

“Your concern is very much appreciated. Hell, since you care so much about me, you can do me a favour after I die, and go to hell,” C said. He almost started yelling at her but managed to contain himself again, fearing what would happen if he lashed out and everyone would be against him. It was better to trade words rather than blows.

“As long as you lead the way, since you’re going first,” E said without even the slightest hesitation. She flicked over a page and continued to read. She did not even look at him at all when she spoke. She just remained uninterested. He lost his patience and was breathing hard. He wanted to start yelling at her and issuing out death threats.

“Don’t lose your cool over a drink, C. F is coming,” A said. It seemed that he was the one who saw right through the whole thing. He did not yell at him or talk to him aggressively, or even say something controversial or irritating. All he did was assure him.

“Yeah, he better be. Or I might shoot somebody out first,” C said. He calmed down at this point and sat back on the chair. He looked cross and looked around for something to distract him as he waited, as he was focused on random things around the room before he started speaking.

“Relax. Nobody is going to get shot here,” D said. C then felt the need to explain what he just said. His aggressive, somewhat intimidating look dissolved into a more humble look. What else could he do if he wanted to get a friendly response?

Not sounding defensive, he stood his ground and made his stance clear, just so there were not any hard feelings at the end of the day, or the conversation. “That was a metaphor. I wasn’t actually going to shoot anybody,” C said.

“Good. I would hate for you to be part of my trophy collection,” D said. He did not sound so friendly when he said that. He really meant what he was talking about. C looked at him in shock at what he had just heard, not the way it was said.

“Your what?” C asked. Just after he asked that, there was a knock on the door, to which his back was turned. Everyone looked at the door and waited for the next person to say something. For just a second, it was quiet.

“Come in,” A said. Just then, F opened the door and walked in. He closed the door behind him and was holding a six-pack of beers. He was a young, mixed race man. He was the youngest of the group. He had a very light skin tone and had braces on. He brought the beers to the table and set them down on it.

“You took your time. C was getting impatient,” A said. He eyeballed C as he said that and had a smirk on his face as well, meant to tease C for his impatience. C paid no mind to it. His beer was there, and that was all that mattered to him.

“They were killing some guy there. They said he cheated at pool. Couldn’t open the door to leave until they were done. Base District rules,” F said. He sounded very innocent as he said this. It seemed that he was an innocent soul trapped in a world of crime.

“Truly barbaric people,” A said. He shook his head as he said this. He even bowed his head for a second, not believing the atrocious behavior that the people of Base District were demonstrating. It was not something that he was particularly fond of.

“Don’t act like you never did the same type of stuff when you were working for the mob,” B said. He sat back on his couch after speaking and put his right arm over it to make himself more comfortable as he sat. The tone was a bit aggressive and implied something.

“That’s why I retired. Couldn’t live a life of senseless violence anymore. Anyone causes the slightest problem, you gotta take them out. No matter how insignificant it is, you always have to kill them. I killed forty-six people. Half of them delayed payments. They only delayed. Not that they didn’t pay,” A said.

“We’re sure your story with the mob is very sad, long and interesting, but we are here because you said you have a business proposal for us,” D said. He was not there to entertain anybody’s story. He was there solely for what he was called for, and wanted to get it done as soon as possible.

“Yes, of course,” A said. As he said that, everyone made themselves comfortable on the couches they sat on. F sat next to C. E put her magazine on the table and finally began to show interest in what was being talked about. This was what she had been waiting for.

“I’ve come up with a business proposal that could be very beneficial and is very risky. Sources indicate that a British ambassador and his family are in Shell City on vacation. The proposal was that we take his daughter in and hold her ransom,” A said.

“Kidnapping?” C asked. He sounded concerned over the whole matter. This was entirely new to him. It was out of his league, something that he was completely not familiar with. Such things frighten everyone, and he was no exception.

“Yes. Kidnapping,” A replied. He was straight to the point. He did not want to beat around the bush or ask any rhetorical questions before getting to the point, as some of the people there did not have that much time to spare.

“Sounds doable. You should know kidnapping a foreign ambassador’s kid is a very big deal. It’ll attract a lot of attention,” B said. The others all grumbled, agreeing to what B had just said. A did not give up, though. He wanted to see this plan through to the end.

“Listen. Are you forgetting who we are? Where we are? Where we’re from? This is Base District, and we are all Base District. The media can talk all they want. The cops will know who did it, and that’s why they won’t do anything about it,” A said. The others stayed quiet and thought about it. A could not believe that they actually had time to think about it. He thought that it was a pretty cut and dry case. Nobody else from Base District would think about it. As long as they knew they were representing, it would be alright. The case was different for this group for some reason. They had a hard time accepting it.

“I don’t know. Mainland cops are getting ballsy these days. I heard there was an arrest made on Razor’s boys,” C said. He was still unsure about the whole ordeal. It was not just the novelty of the whole thing, but the conditions that were set up around them.

“Not to mention Ink when he tried pulling off that heist,” E added. She sounded very professional when she said this, and for the first time, looked to be engaging with what was going on around her, unlike before.

“This is different. We’re not causing a scene like a heist. No cop is gonna find us. I have the hideout and everything set up. All we need is a plan,” A said. He gave off his assuring smile after he said this, just to sell the idea to them.

“This is actually very risky, A. Not many people pull that off these days,” F said. Still the innocent one, still the one who would rather stay out of trouble. This was not a world for him. He was small and looked very vulnerable.

“Please. Look at our economic status right now. We break our backs doing all the dirty work and crime bosses are the ones who get all the recognition, fame and money. Don’t you think you deserve more than what you have?” A asked.

“True. But we can’t do this. What if we get caught?” C asked. A sensed that he was up for the idea, but was not entirely sure of what he could do to make sure that he would have everyone’s backing on this. It was a very bold move for them, after all, and success could grant them lots of money, but failure would be very unpleasant.

“We won’t. That’s a promise. We’ll make millions off of just one person, and you’ll get the recognition you deserve,” A explained. At this point, he had regained his confidence in his ability to convince them to go through with this. Even his voice projection was better at this point, and he felt like he was getting through to them. He wanted to smile but restrained himself, waiting for the positive response he sensed he would get from the group. The others looked at each other in silence, trying to decide if they were going to go through with this.

“So, what do you say?” he asked. They all looked at him and he felt like he had his answer.

Bayview High School, the next day

The skies were clear over the area in which the school was located. It looked as though it had been recently cleared, as many parts of the school were wet. There were many puddles in the outside facilities, especially the outdoor basketball court. That did not stop the students from walking around comfortably whenever the bell rang.

Kurt closed his locker hastily and picked up his bag from the floor.  He looked around and saw the people walking around, as it was lunch break. He was with his friend: Hamlin Dempsey. Hamlin was a Caucasian and was an inch shorter than Kurt. He had long, flowing blond hair that could be blown by the wind. His eyes were black in colour. By his stance, one could see that he was part of the football team.

“Hey, you seen the new cheerleaders lately?” Hamlin asked. He was very enthusiastic about them, by the sounds of it. It was almost as if he followed their every move just to make sure that was up to date with the current events involving them.

“There are no new cheerleaders, dude. They’re not the same ones as last term’s,” Kurt said. He was not enthusiastic about the topic at all, as the cheerleader thing was not very captivating to him. He was more into other things in life.

“Really? Why do they look so much better now?” Hamlin asked. He smiled when he asked that. He even slightly closed his eyes and had a devious look of intention in his face. Kurt did not mind it. He noticed it and chose to avoid acknowledging it due to its little relevance in his life.

“Puberty, dude. Puberty,” Kurt said. He started walking away from that area and Hamlin followed him. They walked closely together and looked on as different social groups walked past them. They saw a group of nerds together, holding calculators and comparing answers that they had found to their random sums.

They then walked past a group of goths. These ones made Hamlin and Kurt even turn around to keep looking at them. They wore all black and had piercings in all sorts of strange body parts. Their hairstyles were also bizarre and things that upstanding citizens who would not want to be stared at in the streets would not try.

“I’ll never understand goths,” Hamlin said. He looked at them with a certain type of disgust that had a mix of doubt in it. There was just something really odd or off about cheerleaders to him. He did not dislike them. He only found them to be strange due to their lifestyle.

“Best thing to do is just ignore it,” Kurt said. He was not into that topic as well. He was just walking, with his mind set on different things. He was not going to entertain conversations regarding remedial things around the school.

They then came across the most dangerous people in the school: the cheerleaders. They were the ones on the top of the school’s social pyramid. They were the ones who would set the school’s standards. They were the ones who deserved VIP treatment, simply because they were better-looking than everyone else who was there. Everyone looked at the small group of cheerleaders as they walked down the hall, as if they were models. They did not speak to anyone and they made no eye contact at all. Everyone stopped what they were doing, just so they could get a look at the most attractive girls they would see in their teenage lives. They walked like models and were esteemed like princesses. The one in the center was Maryse Aniston. She was amazingly attractive. She had long, blond hair that reached her upper back. Her eyes were black. She was a very fit girl and wore her cheerleading outfit, which consisted of a crop top and a short skirt. The skirt was blue in colour while the crop top was white.

The one to her right was Shelby Simon. She had light brown hair and was Caucasian, just with a tanned skin tone. Her eyes were black in colour. A very gorgeous girl, she looked to be more sympathetic than Maryse, but still had a facial expression of a girl who estimates herself more than she should.

The one who walked to Maryse’s left was Ariana Peltz. She had dark, red hair and brown eyes. She was the shortest of the three, but arguably the most attractive of the group. She had a smile on her face, but not a friendly one. It seemed to be more of a devious smile than a friendly one. All three of them wore their cheerleader outfits as they walked down the hallway.

Kurt and Hamlin were silent as they watched them walk by. Kurt had a blank facial expression, as he did not seem to be impressed at all by what he saw. He continued looking ahead when they walked past him. Hamlin, on the other hand, was more than impressed. He was standing at Kurt’s left and was closer to the trio than Kurt. He wanted to stop them so that he could talk to them, but resisted the very strong temptation to do so. The scene finally ended when they were too far gone for Hamlin to be able to see them. Once he realized that, he looked at Kurt once more.

“It’s so insane, the way they can just stop the show like that,” Hamlin said. He saw what he wanted to see this whole time. Kurt was indifferent about it, the same thing as everything else Hamlin brought up in their conversation.

“They’re alright. Not really all that impressive, though,” Kurt said. He had no expression as he spoke. It was just a straight face throughout his walk in the hallway.

“Oh, sure. You’re the one to talk, huh? Where’s yours?” Hamlin asked. Kurt smiled and looked down before scoffing at the question. He did not answer it, seeing it as something that he could overlook. Hamlin himself was satisfied with himself. He saw that he managed to shut Kurt up for once. He smiled happily and turned his head back just to be sure that they were out of his line of sight. Kurt saw that and sighed. He almost slapped himself but saw that this case was not worth such.

“Dude, you’re a football player. Act like one. They’re supposed to be pining after you, not the other way around,” he said to his friend. That was the one thing he managed to say with an actual expression and tone other than monotone.

Hamlin turned to Kurt and saw how relaxed he was with his long, black hair that covered his eyes. He had his very own swag which worked for him very well. They got to the door which led them to the gym and entered it. Some people were chatting. Some were playing basketball. There were also some cheerleaders there who were practicing some moves. They paid no attention to that, as Hamlin felt he was compelled not to look. They made their way into the locker room, where they split up and went to their own lockers.

“You know, Kurt, I think this year we’ve actually got a chance at winning this,” Hamlin said. He was very excited about it. This was something that interested Kurt at last. He shared that enthusiasm with his friend.

“Yeah. With Riker as captain, we’ve got a decent chance. That guy’s a football maniac. All he ever does is watch and play football,” Kurt said. He was very descriptive about it. He even had hand gestures to indicate how serious that case was.

Hamlin was left dumbfounded by that statement. He knew of two Rikers in the school. Which one could Kurt be referring to? “Who? Johnny? He always seemed like the kind of guy who doesn’t really do much in life,” he said.

“No. The other one. His brother,” Kurt said.

That clarified matters for Hamlin. He opened his mouth and nodded slowly, accepting the information which was given to him. “Oh, right. Reynold. Yeah, he’s good. Hope he brings about new leadership techniques,” Hamlin said.

“Yeah, me too. Can’t be taken down like we were last year,” Kurt said. As they talked, they changed their shoes and tops, just so they would not get them dirty when they would get to play around a little bit. The locker room, aside from the duo, was otherwise empty. It was a clean place and the lockers were all arranged in rows which faced each other. The floor was red in colour.

“Who do you wish to play this season?” Hamlin asked. He could see that the conversation was flowing with Kurt better than before. He had a very happy look in his face.

“Anyone, really. I’m gonna train to face the toughest team out there,” Kurt replied.

“Yeah. Not a bad idea. So I’m guessing Reynold has the toughest drills in store for us if he thinks the same way you do,” Hamlin stated. Kurt closed his locker and scoffed. He still had his hand against the locker. He scoffed sarcastically, seeing that Hamlin still had no idea just how important that rhetorical question was. He knew that the toughest training regimen he had ever experienced was the one he tried to emulate from Reynold. He only tried it for ten minutes before giving up and never daring to think about it again. To think that Reynold could do it casually showed that he was a force to be reckoned with. He had a military grade training regimen. Only the strongest of the strong, the toughest of the tough could pull through the regimen. That only meant that if one is to remain on the team, then they were fit enough to join the army, or even the marines.

“Think we can get anything done?” Kurt asked, trying not to think about it.

“Today, I think it’s better if we just introduce the new guy to the regimen, test him out a little,” Hamlin said. Kurt laughed at that. He left his locker and sat on a bench as he waited for Hamlin to be done with what he was doing. He sat there for a few seconds before Hamlin finished up and closed his locker, prompting Kurt to stand up.

“You’ve got nice welcome packages, huh?” Kurt asked. He asked it casually but deep down inside, he was reluctant about it. This new guy they were inducting was close to him, and he would hate to make him quit without having done anything real for the team or even on the team.

“Dude, we always mess with the new guys. Remember what we did to Felix?” Hamlin asked. Kurt remembered all too well what they did to Felix. It was a very funny, yet, unconventional thing to do.

“Yeah. We made him push a dummy through the whole field twice,” he said. He even laughed a little after saying that. It was something that he was particularly proud of. Messing with newbies is a time-honored tradition that never would grow old.

“That one was my favourite. He didn’t come to school for two weeks,” Hamlin said. He also laughed. They shared a laugh together for a few moments and then exhaled, relaxing. It was time to speak something new.

“What did they make you do?” Kurt asked. He was genuinely curious about it. He was not there when they were initiating Hamlin. He wanted to know, as everyone got something different and it was always something truly extreme.

“Fifty finger push-ups,” was Hamlin’s reply. He said it solemnly. It was a painful memory to bring up. He even nodded a little bit after saying that. Kurt gave him an estranged look. Was it too little? Too much? Or was it just so out of this world that he could not say anything about it?

“Only fifty?” he asked. Hamlin looked at him and started to wonder what Kurt could have gone through which was more painful and excruciating than doing fifty finger push-ups. Even doing one was a problem for the average person.

“How many did you get?” Hamlin questioned. He was ready to hear what Kurt had to say that would make his work look like it was a walk in the park. He doubted that that was possible, but had to hear what he had to say about it anyway.

“A hundred and fifty upside-down press-ups,” Kurt said. Hamlin was shocked and did not hide the facial expression that showed that. He even felt sorry for Kurt for having gone through that. It was a turnaround from what he was feeling before.

“Yeah. They got you good,” Hamlin said. He nodded, seeing that his work really was little compared to what Kurt went through. It was not right, the way they were treated. That did not mean that they would not do it to anybody else.

“You have no idea,” Kurt said. They laughed together once more. This was something they could both enjoy talking about, as they both loved football and sharing football stories. It was a jock thing. Not many would get it if they were not part of them.

“You wanna try something cool with the new guy, or you wanna let the others take care of it?” Hamlin asked.

“Depends on how rough it’s gonna be,” Kurt said. They both started making their way towards the door that led to the field. They walked close to each other and were getting amped up for their friendly game. They were so ready for it that veins appeared on their arms because of the adrenaline.

The other guys were all lined up next to each other in the field, and were waiting for something to happen. There was a handful of them. The first one was Vaughan Bush. He was a Caucasian of average height. He had black hair and black eyes. He seemed to be very distracted at the moment, as he was cluelessly looking around.

The second one was Errol Franklin. He was the ‘pretty boy’ type of guy. He had braces on his teeth and a tanned skin tone. He was pretty short, as compared to all the other members of the squad, but it did not deter his confidence and enthusiasm. He was very happy to be there with his low-cut hair.

The third guy was James. He stood there happily and was very excited about the whole ordeal. Of course, he did a good job at hiding his excitement. He had a very arrogant smile across his face as he looked at the guys around him. He was nodding his head slowly as he looked around.

Next to James, was none other than Johnny. He was getting himself ready for this game. He practiced throwing a few punches as he hopped around like a boxer getting ready for a fight. He was even swinging from side to side, like he was dodging punches.

The fifth guy was Felix Phileas: Felicia’s overgrown, muscle-bound cousin. He stood with a very blank, serious facial expression. It was like he was a drone, waiting to be activated and set for a certain task. He was so focused that the slightest provoking would cause a very big reaction.

Next to him was Oliver, who was already on the football team, by the looks of it. He was wearing the gear that was necessary. He awaited his time to play so that he could show his skills off to everyone there.

After Oliver, there was Hamlin, who was next to Kurt. Both stood still as they waited for something to happen. It was not football practice, but Reynold felt like he had to say a few things before they could start playing. He paced in front of them as if he were their General in the army.

“Good that you guys could come play today. Now, I know that not all of you are part of the team, so I’m just gonna leave the instructions clear and simple: every man for himself. You gotta reach the field goal on the opposite side that the guy you snatched it from was trying to get to,” Reynold said.

“Wait…what?” Johnny asked. He was really confused as to what was just said to him. He had even taken some time to try to interpret what had just been said to him before he asked what was meant. Oliver looked at him and smiled a devious smile before shaking his head slowly. None of those actions were sincere actions. They were just meant to subtly justify what he would say next.

“Message got lost in transmission, did it? Or maybe it was just too complicated for you,” Oliver said. He spoke without turning to Johnny. Johnny heard the voice of his rival and was disgusted. He also did not look at Oliver before speaking.

“Your face looks like the inside of a baboon’s nose,” Johnny said. James controlled his laughter. It almost burst out but he kept it in. He kept under control, but not before bending over as he tried to keep it in.

“You’re so ugly that your reflection wears a blindfold when you look in the mirror,” Oliver said. Reynold stopped pacing so that he could listen to what those two were saying to each other. Everyone else rolled their eyes, seeing that what they did not want to happen ended up happening.

Johnny was not going to let Oliver get away with that one. He started a war which Johnny was far more quiklike a burnt tyre that was raped by a sloth,” he said.

“You’re dumber than a post,” Oliver stated. His response was immediate and very fast. He did not have to think about it. It made it seem like he was just describing Johnny truthfully, rather than trying to insult him.

“You call me stupid when you walk around with a hairstyle that makes your head look like it was molested by a squirrel and a mole rat, thinking that it looks good?” Oliver asked. Everyone was caught off-guard with that one. Though they were tired of these two and their antics, they had to admit that that was the best insult to come out of either one’s mouth that day.

“Enough! We ain’t got all lunch break,” Reynold said, getting tired of hearing them get at each other. He held the ball up high above his head and the other guys went their separate ways, except for James, who was confused as to what that meant exactly. Reynold lowered the ball, still in his hand. He added some kinetic energy to the grip then threw the ball into the air. James understood what that meant and went after the ball, the same as the others were. They all ran in the ball’s direction, intent on catching it. Johnny jumped first. The others followed suit. Johnny managed to reach a height higher than the rest of them: almost two meters. He caught the ball in mid-air and held it tight. Before he could land on the ground, he was tackled from the side by Reynold, who even ended up on top of Johnny when they landed on the ground. Johnny had let go of the ball by the time they got to the ground.

Errol quickly got the ball and wrapped it in his right arm. He started running as fast as he could towards one side of the field while some of the others followed, not too far behind. Errol ran and yelled continuously as he got closer to his destination. He could see it getting closer and closer. He smiled happily. That was before Hamlin caught up to him. He was right behind Errol. He leaped forward and wrapped his arms around Errol’s legs. Errol fell to the ground and dropped the ball. The ball rolled and almost reached the touchline. Hamlin hastily stood up and jumped over Errol to get the ball. He started running in the opposite direction he formerly ran at, towards the other touchline. He could see all the other players rushing towards him. He dodged Oliver by moving to his right. Oliver fell to the ground. Hamlin continued to run. Felix almost tackled him. Hamlin barely dodged Felix and continued to run. Felix fell to the ground. James screamed as he ran towards Hamlin. Hamlin found that odd and questioned his behavior. James fell right in front of Hamlin, not giving him a chance to dodge the attack.

Hamlin tripped over James’ downed self. He fell to the ground, but not before Reynold snatched the ball from him. Reynold ran towards the opposite touchline very quickly. Johnny decided to take charge. He ran as fast as he could, which was way faster than the rest of the guys there. He was behind them all. He passed by each one of them, and they were all left speechless as they watched him go. He was catching up to Reynold. The others even gave up running, as they saw that he was going too fast and it would be pointless to try to catch up with him. It did not take Reynold long to get to the intended touchline. He was happy that no one was tailing him, apparently. He could not have been more wrong about his predicament.

He smiled happily and leaped forward. He stretched out his right hand, which was the hand that held the football, just as Johnny leaped. Amazingly, Johnny, who was behind Reynold when he made the leap, surpassed his brother in mid-air and snatched the ball from him before throwing it away, towards the other guys who were there. Both Johnny and Reynold fell to the ground and grunted. Reynold landed on his torso while Johnny landed on his back. As Reynold got himself up, he looked at Johnny with an estranged facial expression. Nothing amazed him as much as his brother did. He did all sorts of weird things that just defied explanation. Even asking himself what he had just seen and trying to make sense of it just seemed to mess his thought process up.

Johnny stood up quickly and looked at the other players as they went towards the opposite side. Johnny sighed and looked at Reynold, who was feeling a little discouraged after seeing what he just saw. It seemed like Johnny had absolutely no idea what he had just done, as he just acted naturally. He looked at Reynold with a smirk on his face then ran after the other players. Reynold stopped star-gazing and got his mind back in the game. He then ran after the others as well.

“You’ll never catch me alive!” James shouted happily. He had the ball in his hand and was running very quickly. He looked back every two seconds to check how close the others were to him. He lost hope every time he did look back. Hamlin dove and knocked James down from behind. James held on to the ball as he fell and landed on the ball, which was against his chest. Errol screamed as he jumped, intent on starting a dogpile on James. James instinctively rolled aside so far and fast that Errol ended up just throwing himself at the ground. James quickly stood up and accidentally dropped the ball. He took a couple of big steps forward before realizing it then looked back.

Felix picked the ball up and started running in the opposite direction of the one James was running in. Felix ran with determination and fierce seriousness. His feet moved quickly and his steps were very big. Oliver was running towards him but did not know what he was moving towards. The funny part was that he was running straight towards Felix. When he realized it, it was too late. He gasped and nearly screamed before being rammed by the colossal player. He flew three meters back and landed on his back. He tried to get up but could not.

“Alright,” he said, breathing hard, “take a deep breath.” He grunted and tried to get himself up, but to no avail. He stopped trying and just remained in one position. “Alright. Just stay down. Take five. Yay.”

Felix was still running. He could see the post that was his destination, and he could see that there were two people in his way that he had to get past. Reynold and Johnny were running quickly towards him with Reynold in front. Johnny was right behind Reynold. He was using him as a shield in case the same thing as what happened to Oliver would happen to him. He did not want that to happen to him at all. He cared about himself too much to allow it.

“Out of the way, Riker!” Felix shouted. He wrapped the ball in his arms tightly as he spoke. He shouted with so much conviction that it was clear that he was going to trample him if necessary. Johnny was beginning to have second thoughts about it but continued running, intent on keeping up with Reynold.

“Fat chance, Phileas!” Reynold shouted back. He even smiled right after shouting that. He seemed to be very confident about his ability to stop Felix from getting to the post. His smiling could be construed as a meaning of assurance due to having a plan.

They got closer and closer every second. No one showed any sign of wanting to turn the other way. It was as if two trucks were going to run into each other. Johnny looked at the ball in Felix’s arm and visualized it as the only important thing at the moment. He was not going to let anything take away his focus. Reynold and Felix growled as they closed in on each other. Reynold prepared himself both mentally and physically for the impact. At the last moment, Felix span clockwise, evading Reynold completely. Johnny took the chance to literally snatch the ball from Felix and run off. He did that before Felix was done spinning past Reynold. He was halfway done. He stopped moving and looked at Johnny with an estranged facial expression. He could not believe what had just happened. He opened his mouth in awe and stood still. He just did not know what to make of this.

Johnny ran as quickly as he could. It was not due to determination. He was actually scared of Felix catching up to him all of a sudden. He did not want to be taken down by the football team’s muscle. He ran quickly then looked back for a second and saw Reynold running after him. Johnny looked forward once more, and before he knew it, Errol rammed him. Johnny fell to the ground on his back and the ball was taken from him. Errol laughed happily as he ran towards Reynold.

Reynold was ever so determined to get the ball back. He worked out a play before getting to Errol. He calculated all of his moves as if he were a robot. He got to Errol and clearly swiped the ball from him before Errol could react or even notice that the ball was out of his hands. Errol stopped and looked back at Reynold as Felix ran past him.

Hamlin dove towards Reynold and grabbed the ball. He rolled on the ground, forward, then continued running towards the post. He did not get far. Felix rammed him so hard that he grunted out loud and the ball went high into the air. Hamlin fell to the ground. Felix caught the ball after jumping. He landed on the ground and had already accelerated. He ran so quickly that the downed players felt wind blowing them when he ran past them.

James was clearing grass off his clothes and looked at it as he did so. He then looked at Felix and became very frightened. James knelt and covered his face. Felix was running too fast and was too focused on the touchline to even notice or slow down in time. He did manage to notice, but was too late. He ran into James and ended up uncontrollably flipping over him and falling to the ground. James took the opportunity to quickly stand up and run towards the post on the other side of the field. Johnny ran towards him and snatched the ball and pushed James aside. James flew back and fell to the ground. Johnny was home free. He knew he won, so he took it slow. His way of taking it slow was fast, compared to average people. Eventually, he got to the touchline and celebrated. He started running around in that area…

 

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #3: Heist V

“I’m coming in now,” the person said. Just then, Hans walked into the bank from the front door. He looked around and felt like he was really important. Nobody was looking at him, though. He smiled nervously then pushed his glasses back up, as they were slipping off. Johnny could feel a weird and awkward aura. He looked back and saw that it was coming from Hans, who was clad in his grey suit and had his dark brown briefcase in his right hand and his cell phone in his other hand. He put the cellphone in his pocket as he got closer to the Rikers. Johnny found this man to be truly odd and made no effort to hide his displeasure in seeing him.

“Hans, thank you for coming on such short notice on your day off,” Christine said to him when he got to them. He stood next to Johnny. Johnny looked at him from head to toe, trying to see just how this man fitted into society. He could see that Hans was an outcast in his youth, and somehow never ended up letting go of what happened to him back then. He was a geek. He was a pure geek.

“No problem, Riker. Always wanted to meet one of the soldiers anyway,” Hans said. Christine laughed gently. Johnny could not tell if she was laughing at what he just said or if she was laughing at him. It would be hard not to laugh at him.

“Johnny, this is Hans. Hans, this is my son, Johnny,” she said. Hans gave Johnny a friendly smile. Johnny looked at him and wondered just what was up with him. Hans stretched his hand out for a handshake. Johnny looked at the hand then shook it, showing hesitance and doubt.

“He’s going to help you solve those equations on that paper,” she said.

“What?” Johnny asked. He was so disappointed with the news that he closed his eyes and leaned his head back. He did not want to do any math on a Saturday morning. This was the time for him to relax, not do what he hated most.

“Come on. Math is fun. It’s actually the simplest unit of them all. Math doesn’t have a language. It’s a universal thing. Come on. It’ll be fun,” Hans said. Johnny wanted to respond very rudely but then saw the look in his mother’s face when she realized what he wanted to do. She knew him all too well. He stopped himself from uttering a single word and simply grumbled. Hans seemed to be oblivious to what was going on. He turned around after signaling Johnny to come with him with a hand gesture. He then started walking. Johnny looked at Christine and pleaded with her silently. She angrily pointed at Hans’ direction. Johnny sighed and followed suit.

They made their way to the first floor where Hans led Johnny into an office which was previously locked. He had the key necessary to open the door. After they got in, they made their way to the seats. There were two seats, with one on either side of the desk. The office was still unoccupied, by the looks of it, as there was no evidence of a previous presence there. It was of moderate size, enough for a banker to feel comfortable. They sat on the seats and Hans opened a drawer and took out several sheets of paper which he ended up putting on the desk.

“Right. Straight to business. Oh, this is my future office, by the way, so, feel comfortable,” Hans said before smiling.

“That doesn’t make you any less of a loser,” Johnny whispered.

“So, did your mother give you a series of equations?” Hans asked. Johnny looked at the piece of paper in his hands. He then looked up at Hans and debated with himself whether he really should go through with this. A big part of him was telling him not to, that he should just find a way to disappear from there. The small, innocent part inside him was telling him that this could help him out. He decided to listen to the small part instead of the big one and showed Hans the paper. Hans looked at it and smiled.

“Well, we should be done with these under an hour or two, depending on how quickly you pick up,” Hans stated.

“An hour or two?” Johnny asked in shock. He nearly slapped himself due to the disappointment of finding out that he would have to wait for so long. He even jumped back on the chair and groaned. Hans saw all of this and remained indifferent. In fact, he even wanted to encourage Johnny, to show him that it was not that bad.

“It’ll be fun. Trust me. The sooner we start, the sooner we’ll finish,” Hans said.

“Whatever,” groaned Johnny.

Outside the bank

Two black Hummers stopped on the pavement that faced the bank. One Hummer was parked behind the other one. From the front Hummer, Pulitzer, Tender and Lighty emerged and went towards the bank. They were wearing black outfits and had large bags with them. They had ski masks which were folded above their faces. They all walked with style and grace as they got to the entrance. Lighty opened the door for them and they all went in.

Ink was sitting and looking at the time on his cell phone. He was so focused on it that he did not realize that his companions had entered the bank. He only noticed when he saw that everyone was looking at them. He then stood up and went to stand behind the man Christine was talking to. She did not care about the men who had just gotten into the bank. She only cared about getting the job done.

“Now, as you may know, algebra is mostly known for its extensive use of letters. These letters are also known as…?” Hans asked Johnny.

“Constants?” Johnny asked.

“Correct. See? You’re getting it. Now, these constants could be virtually any number, and we have methods of finding out just what these constants are,” Hans said, “now, in simultaneous equations, for example, let’s use one of the ones on your paper. Looks like your test was full of these. In simultaneous equations…”

Pulitzer, Tender and Lighty sat on a couch and watched Ink, who was still standing behind the man who was talking to Christine. Ink was impatient. He looked at the time on his phone and grunted.

“We usually work out just one equation at a time, but I’m gonna teach you to work out two equations at the same time. It makes you seem smarter and could convince the teacher to give you some extra points next time,” Hans said.

“Our tests are multiple choice, dude,” Johnny said with a bored tone.

Scarman was in one of the Hummers outside the building. He was the driver of the car which was behind the other one. He looked at a patrol car which passed the Hummer. The two policemen inside looked at Scarman as he looked at them menacingly. He then looked in front after the policemen turned away after driving past his car.

“Have you noticed how math mostly requires you to find ‘x’? Kind of funny, you ought to think math has a hard time letting go,” Johnny said.

“Pay attention to the equation,” Hans said.

Ink finally had had enough of the slow man. He pulled out a Swiss army knife and stabbed the man in the back. The man grunted and stood as if he had been stung and paralyzed. Ink then stabbed the man in the side of the neck. The man fell to the ground. Christine was hyperventilating. She could not even scream out of fear. Other people there saw what was happening. They started panicking.

Pulitzer, Tender and Lighty pulled out assault rifles from the big bags. They then started shooting randomly. The people started running around. The tellers took cover using their posts.

“Shut up!” Ink shouted. Everyone did as he said. Christine was still standing and was breathing hard. Ink looked at her and saw that she would be the one he could use to get what he wanted. He smiled at her.

“Did you hear something downstairs?” Hans asked.

“Nope,” Johnny said.

“Hmm. Must be my imagination. Now, where were we?” Hans asked.

Ink took a step towards Christine, who gasped and took a step back. Her eyes went red and watery, as she was crying but working hard to keep it in. Ink then punched the glass in between them. The glass broke and he grabber her by the shirt and pulled her towards him.

“You are going to be of some use to me,” Ink said. She shook her head slowly and was breathing hard as she tried to hold in her fearful cries. He pulled her over the structure of her post to his side. She fell to the ground and he quickly picked her up. Some of the glass had scraped her on various parts of her body. He held her up and looked into her eyes.

“Where’s your manager?” he asked.

“I-I don’t know,” she struggled to say.

“Anybody in here know where the manager is? Anyone who actually is the manager? Please tell me so I don’t have to kill this innocent woman!” Ink exclaimed.

“I’m the manager,” a short, plump, Caucasian man said. He had reddish hair and wore a brown suit and dark brown shoes. He seemed to come out of nowhere. He had come from the elevator. Apparently, he had just gotten there from home. His name was Doyle Douglas.

“Awh, and I was itching to kill someone,” Ink whispered. Doyle walked towards Ink and Christine with authority. He had no fear in his face. He was ready to stand his ground there.

“Let her go. I’m here,” Doyle said. Ink pushed Christine aside. Christine gasped and bumped her head against the structure of her post as she fell. Ink walked slowly towards the manager. He wanted to instill as much fear in him as he possibly could. Doyle was not convinced by this. He patiently waited for Ink to get to him.

“You are going to open your safe and fill all of these bags with the money there or we are going to have our way with you and everyone else in here and take your money in the end,” Ink said.

“Who do you think you are?” Doyle asked defiantly.

“It doesn’t matter who I am. What matters is what I represent,” Ink said.

“And what’s that?” Doyle asked.

“Base District! All of you must know that it’s Base District behind all of this! Remember, you short, fat man. I think I’ve talked enough. Take me to the safe right now or we’re gonna turn everyone here into Swiss cheese!” Ink yelled.

Doyle found Ink’s sudden change in tone pretty scary. He swallowed saliva heavily as he lost his courage. There was nothing he could say or do in defiance. He had to protect the lives of all his customers. He looked around and saw that everybody in there was on the floor. Everyone was fearing for their lives.

Doyle had no choice but to accept. He nodded slowly as he shivered in fear. He then guided Ink away from that area. The others were watching all of this. They were aiming their guns at whoever made any sort of movement.

“Tender, you and Lighty go check the other floors for the janitors who could be lurking around. There are no office laborers in today,” Ink said.

Having heard that, Tender and Ligthy nodded synchronously. They both made their way to the elevator and entered it. The stairs were very discouraging. They seemed like a lot of unnecessary exercise when placed next to an elevator. Not even the janitors used the stairs. They preferred the elevators because it made it easier for them to get their equipment around.

“You know, now that you explained this stuff, it doesn’t really look that hard,” Johnny said to Hans. Hans smiled and nodded proudly. He even made a gesture with his hands. Johnny was writing on the paper, working on the equations he had been given. He was very focused and looked like he was understanding everything on that piece of paper.

Doyle led Ink to the vault. There were two guards standing by it. They were armed and wore body armour. Ink was walking behind Doyle with his hands crossed. They were going down a flight of stairs and the guards heard the footsteps. Ink was very relaxed. Even when he saw the guards, his facial expression had not changed at all. Deep down inside, he was actually happy. He thought that he would not get at least some action.

Before one of the guards could speak, as he was obviously going to, judging by his body movement, Ink threw his Swiss army knife into the guard’s forehead. Doyle and the other guard gasped. Doyle quickly got himself out of the way. The remaining guard raised his shotgun so that he could aim it at Ink. Ink quickly lunged at him and knocked the gun aside. The guard still held it, though, but was too slow to react. Ink punched the guard in the neck twice before slamming his palm into the guard’s face. The guard grunted and fell back towards the vault. He bumped into the vault. Ink quickly struck him in the head and he fell to the ground, unconscious. Ink picked up the shotgun and shot the unconscious guard.

Doyle was watching the whole thing and was shivering in fear. Either he did a bad job at hiding it or he was showing it deliberately. Ink aimed the shotgun at him. Ink covered his face with his forearm, thinking that it would make a difference.

“Open this vault now, or I’ll blow your head all over and open it myself,” Ink said. Doyle took no time to do as he was told. He stood up from where he was cowering and went to the vault. He managed to get through the retinal-scanner, the handprint scanner ad the fingerprint scanner. All that was left was the access-code, which he dialed in with reluctance and fear. The vault then opened towards the inside. Doyle did not go inside. He waited outside. Ink then went into the vault and looked around. He saw the manhole that his companions made the day prior. It was sealed. He then turned to the manager and smiled a very sinister smile.

Outside the bank, Scarman was still inside the Hummer and was waiting patiently for the others. He heard a strange noise coming from around him. It was a noise that everyone knew. He looked at the rearview mirror and saw a whole squad of police cars that were headed towards the bank.

“Damn,” Scarman said. He picked up the walkie-talkie and communicated through it. He spoke with a well-hidden fear and worry as he saw another squad of cars coming from ahead. “Ink, somebody activated the silent alarm. Cops are on their way.”

“Keep them busy. What did you bring that extra car for? Aren’t there expendables there?” Ink asked.

“Just make it quick,” Scarman said after a moment of silence.

All the people in the bank were on the floor on their bellies with their heads down. Pulitzer was watching all of them with his weapon ready to fire. He looked around at everyone there and saw that nobody was out of place. Of course, he missed Christine, who was hiding at her post, as there was an emergency button there. All the posts had emergency buttons. Christine’s was easy to reach because it was at one end of the conjoined posts. She remained well-hidden, as she could not come out without being spotted. This time, they would kill her because it would be too obvious that she was the one who alerted the authorities.

“Form a blockade,” the police captain ordered. There were barricades set up outside the bank and around the front side. Many policemen were there and were ready with their pistols aiming at the bank door. A policeman was walking towards the Hummers to tell the drivers to find another parking space.

Before he could get to them, the back door of the Hummer that Scarman was in opened and a goon had a rocket launcher that held two missiles at a time. He dropped to the ground and launched the missiles, which flew and struck the cars that were barricading one side. The cars exploded, killing and injuring many policemen.

A goon from the other Hummer did the same to the cars barricading the other side. The same thing happened there. Scarman immediately accelerated and started hitting the cars which were burned and destroyed, killing any survivors. The other Hummer did the same to the cars on the other side. The two goons stood up and started looking around. The Hummers started hitting the cars that were on fire, and were setting them up as barricades again. Five goons ran out of each car with assault rifles and stood by each side of the barricades, getting ready for the gunfight that would ensue.

“Hey. I think I got it. I got it. I actually got it,” Johnny said excitedly.

“Great. That’s wonderful. You just have to keep practicing and you’ll master it,” Hans said. Johnny then looked at Hans in an arrogant way. He could not find any way of telling him that this was all just for him to be ready for an assignment he was planning on asking his teacher for, not so that he could learn it and keep it in his mind the whole time.

“Right,” he said.

Just after saying that, they heard an explosion which seemed to come from outside. They felt the office shake. The pen that Johnny had set down moved a bit. Johnny and Hans looked at each other with curious faces. They then looked at the door behind Johnny. It was not long after that they heard another explosion. The office shook again, and the pen rolled off the table.

“What is going on out there?” Hans asked.

“I don’t know,” replied Johnny. He stood from the chair he was sitting on and walked casually to the door. He twisted the knob and opened it. He took a step into the hallway before pausing abruptly when he saw Tender and Lighty there, who glared at him. They were an office apart from each other, and the two criminals had just finished checking one. They immediately started shooting at Johnny with everything they had. Johnny quickly hurled himself back into the office and shut the door with his feet.

Tender and Lighty got to the door and started shooting it, hoping that they would end up shooting Johnny like that. Johnny screamed in fear as the bullets rushed past him as he tried to move away from the danger area.

“What in Sam Hill?” Hans asked. He was very scared as well, and curious. He stood up and tried to see if Johnny was safe. He really had to stretch himself to see if Johnny was okay due to the chair obstructing his view.  Johnny managed to roll aside and remained against the wall as he breathed hard in fear. Before Hans could take cover after seeing that Johnny was safe, the gangsters kicked down what was left of the door and shot Hans, who collapsed.

“No!” Johnny shouted. He teleported and appeared standing before Lighty. He punched Lighty in the face. He elbowed Tender in the face. Tender grunted. Johnny kicked Lighty in the belly. Lighty bent over and grunted. Tender swung his gun at Johnny. Johnny ducked. Tender kicked Johnny as Johnny tried to teleport. Johnny did manage to teleport. He appeared by the table and rolled over it backwards due to the impact of the kick.

The two gangsters immediately started shooting the desk, hoping to hit Johnny. Johnny laid on the ground, with his knees by his chest and his hands on his head. Bullets rushed past him after going through the desk. He could not get himself to teleport out of there. He did not have a good enough amount of concentration.

The gangsters stopped shooting. They started walking towards the desk, just to go see what was left of Johnny. Johnny appeared on the table, standing. He teleported and reappeared in the air in a drop kick position. He drop kicked both the gangsters at the same time. The gangsters did not fall. They only took a few steps back. Johnny landed on the ground and was grunting.

The gangsters regained stability and set their guns. Johnny knew what that meant. He stopped grunting and quickly stood up and shoulder-barged Lighty through the wall into the floor of the hallway. Johnny was on top of Lighty. Johnny punched Lighty in the face. Lighty became dazed after the punch. Tender kicked Johnny in the left side of his head from the back. Johnny got off Lighty and fell to the ground after grunting. He stood upnimmediately and got punched twice in the tummy before being punched in the face. Johnny grabbed Tender’s right fist before it could impact on his face. Johnny went for a kick to Tender’s gut just as Tender did to Johnny. Both of them fell to the ground. Johnny rolled backwards and stood up while Tender kicked up.

They looked at each other for just a split second though it felt like a long standoff. They did not even give each other time to blink before they lunged at each other. Tender yelled angrily as he lunged at Johnny.

“Geronimo!” Johnny yelled as he lunged at Tender.

Doyle was doing all of the work as he filled the bags with unmarked bills. Ink was supervising this. He was aiming the shotgun at Doyle, who was sweating from all the work. He was even beginning to breathe hard. He paused a little bit so that he could wipe off sweat from his forehead. There were two bags filled to capacity out of five.

“Did I tell you you can stop?” Ink asked.

“I’m sorry, I was just taking a-,” Ink shot the ceiling, shutting Doyle up. Doyle hastily continued doing as he was told. He was very scared of Ink at the time. He could not even look at him, for fear of looking straight up the barres of the shotgun which could very well end his life.

Police cars were rushing to the scene. They were going there hastily and were making a lot of noise with their sirens. They always came in large numbers. This new wave as well. It was a squad of large police cars that were going to confront the criminals.

One of the goons with the rocket launchers looked at the cars with their assault rifles. Some of the cars lost their hoods. Other cars were run off the road into different building or even other cars as the drivers died. There was a big mess of squad cars there. The few remaining ones made their way towards the blockade. These were coming from the left side of the bank. The goon with the rocket launcher and his job. The two missiles guided themselves into two different police cars, which ended up exploding. That disoriented the other police cars and sent them out of their way.

It was a chaotic scene. The whole place was becoming a war zone. It was not safe for anyone to be walking around or to be inside the buildings in the vicinity.

Tender punched Johnny in the face using his right fist. Johnny grunted then swung his own at Tender. Tender ducked and got behind Johnny. He elbowed Johnny in the back of his head then kicked him the back. Johnny quickly turned around and was angry. Tender punched him in the face once more. Johnny then held Tender’s arm and backhand slapped Tender in the face twice. Tender kicked Johnny in the tummy. Johnny bent down. Tender grabbed the back of Johnny’s head and smashed his face into a wall so hard that the whole broke but not all the way.

“That’s more like it,” Tender said. Johnny turned around and growled angrily. His growl sounded so natural and animalistic. Tender was confused. Johnny struck Tender in the face using his forehead. Tender grunted and put his hands over the struck area. Johnny then shoulder-barged Tender into the wall. He lifted Tender over his shoulders then threw him to the ground. Tender rolled over to get some distance between himself and Johnny. He looked at Johnny with an estranged facial expression, wondering what kind of teenager he was.

The Hummers were done setting up the barricades and so they stopped in good positions for the shooters to be able to reload their weapons when necessary. Ramone was driving for the shooters to be able to reload their weapons when necessary. Ramone was driving the other Hummer. He seemed to be having a decent amount of fun as he did this.

Ink and Doyle got to the lobby of the bank with the bags in their hands. Doyle was breathing hard and he set the bags down so hard that it sounded like he dropped them. Ink glared at him. He was standing behind Doyle. Doyle was breathing hard but was relaxing. He did not know that he had just made a grave mistake. Ink shot him, killing him. The people there all gasped and were scared. Ink heard Christine’s gasp and looked at her post.

“Where’s the lady that was there?” Ink asked.

“I told everyone to stay down,” Pulitzer said.

“You didn’t answer my question,” Ink said. He walked hastily to Christine’s post. He went to the teller’s side and saw that she was crawling away. He smiled and then scoffed before shaking his head. He shot the ceiling and everyone there gasped. Christine stopped crawling, sensing that it was a warning to her. She turned around to look at him and was scared.

“Come here. I’m not done with you,” he said.

“Johnny used a lot of power and kicked Tender in the groin very hard. Tender groaned and even jumped due to the impact. Johnny then punched Tender in the belly. Tender grunted. Johnny punched him in the face. Tender spat out blood. He then punched Johnny in the left ribs. Johnny grunted. He punched Johnny in the right ribs. Johnny grunted again. Tender punched Johnny in the belly then uppercut him. He kicked him in the side of the face. Johnny was disoriented and went to a wall for support. Tender kicked his back. Johnny grunted and felt a lot of pain. Tender did it again. He then proceeded to punch Johnny in the back several times, as if it were a punching bag. He even did it in style.

Johnny teleported and appeared on the floor behind Tender and kicked his legs, leading him to fall. Johnny teleported and appeared in a falling back state as Tender fell back. Tender fell to the ground and Johnny landed on him with his elbow. Tender was out for the count. Johnny stood up slowly as he grunted. He was free to express and languish in all the pain he was feeling, which was a lot, especially with the punches he got to the back. He started walking towards the elevator, barely able to get his and off his back.

“Take all this stuff outside. Put it in the cars. Scarman and the others aren’t gonna be able to keep the cops away forever,” Ink said to Pulitzer. He was holding Christine. He had her right arm in his left hand and the shotgun in his right hand. He was smiling happily.

“What the hell are you planning on doing?” Pulitzer asked.

“I’m gonna take some time to get to know my new girlfriend. Call up Tender and Lighty too,” Ink said. Pulitzer did as he was told, while he found odd the fascination Ink had with Christine. Pulitzer pulled out the walkie-talkie. He looked at Ink and Christine closely before speaking.

“Tender. Lighty. We gotta go. Forget whoever is up there. We got what we wanted. Let’s go,” Pulitzer said into the walkie-talkie. He waited for some time for a response but did not get one. He looked around as he waited. Everyone was still down. Nobody dared to look up at them. “Tender. Lighty. Come in. Come on, quit fooling around.”

“Maybe something happened,” Ink said. Pulitzer nodded. He knew what that meant. He turned around to face the elevator and heard the ‘ding’ sound just before it opened, revealing Johnny, who punched Lighty out of it. Lighty fell on the lobby’s floor. Johnny was breathing hard and had a bruise on his forehead. He was looking down at Lighty then looked up at Pulitzer, who aimed his gun at him. Johnny opened his eyes widely and started pressing on the button to close the elevator hastily. The doors were closing too slowly. Just as Pulitzer pulled the trigger. Johnny appeared behind him and pushed him into the elevator really hard. Pulitzer practically flew into the elevator. The doors closed right after he went in. Johnny turned around as he smiled. His smile then died out when he saw Christine in the situation she was in.

“Who are you supposed to be?” Ink asked.

“I…uh…Johnny Riker,” Johnny said.

“Well, Johnny, you mind letting me get my job done here? It took quite a lot of time to plan this,” Ink said.

“Yeah, sure. Do whatever you want. Just let the lady go,” Johnny said.

“And why should I do that?” Ink asked.

“Well, she’s my mom,” Johnny replied. Ink was surprised. He then looked at the name tag on Christine’s blouse then looked at Johnny and remembered his name. It actually all made sense. It all added up. He scoffed happily.

“You never told me you had a kid. This just makes our relationship a bit more complicated,” Ink said to Christine. He held her even more tightly than before. Johnny wanted to react to that but restrained himself. There were so many different ways he could get his mother killed by doing that.

“You gonna let her go or what?” Johnny asked.

“No. I need a hostage. Can’t get out of here without one. You know what it is,” Ink said.

“Look. I’m not telling you to turn yourself in or anything like that. You can take your money and go. Heck, take any of these people hostage. I don’t care about them. Just give me back my mom,” Johnny said. Ink laughed at what Johnny had just said. Johnny stood in a confused state. He did not know why Ink was laughing. He did not crack a joke or say anything sarcastic. It seemed that Ink, like everyone else in Johnny’s life, did not believe the pure truth.

“You’re a clever one. So, the moment I let go of her, you shoot me down with some hidden weapon?” Ink asked. Johnny slapped himself in the face and rubbed his face in his palm. He could not believe that this was happening.

“Of all the…dude, you’ve been watching too many action movies. I’m not some kind of highly trained super spy,” Johnny said.

“Then explain what happened to my friend there. You want me to think that an average fifteen year old did that to him?” Ink asked. Johnny looked down at Lighty and saw that he was still unconscious on the ground. It even looked like he was dead. Johnny saw that there was no chance of him convincing Ink after seeing that. He looked at Ink.

“Would you believe me if I told you I have special powers?” Johnny asked. Ink looked at him with an estranged facial expression. He then looked at Christine and saw that she was very scared for her son. He could practically feel her pulse as a lot of blood was being pumped through her veins.

“I’m not giving you what you want, kid,” Ink said, “no matter what stupid excuse you come up with.”

“God! I can’t believe you people! What’s wrong with you? I’m not a special agent!” Johnny yelled. He was so frustrated. Nobody ever believed him, no matter what he tried to do or say. He was out of words. He was up for a fight by then. He wanted to take his frustrations out on someone by beating them to a mushy pulp.

“Fine. Get down, then,” Ink said.

“You gonna release my mom?” Johnny asked.

“No,” Ink said. He said it so plainly that it even shocked Johnny. Any other normal person would have felt chills go up their spine after hearing that. Johnny was a different case. It only annoyed him further. He knew then that Ink was not planning on releasing Christine. Johnny sighed angrily and looked down, deciding how best to attack Ink without hurting Christine. That job was made easy, as Ink pushed Christine into a pillar so hard that it knocked her out. Johnny was shocked and was breathing hard. He looked at Ink with an angry face. Ink was happy to see this. His hands were twitching and so was his left eye.

“Yeah, that’s right. I’ve been itching to kill someone with good reason,” Ink said.

Johnny ran towards him and yelled angrily. He knocked Ink down and they both fell to the floor.  Ink kicked up and Johnny was getting himself up the traditional way. Ink kicked Johnny’s hand. Johnny fell to the floor on his face. Ink tried to stomp on his head. Johnny rolled aside and Ink stomped on the floor instead. Johnny was laying on his back. He tried to kick Ink in the tummy. Ink held Johnny’s leg then stomped on his tummy three times. He lifted Johnny by the leg and smashed him through a glass table, face first. Ink let go of Johnny’s leg and smiled happily at what he had just done. He was so proud of himself, having beat up a teenage boy who clearly did not know how to fight and depended on luck.

Johnny rolled on the smashed glass and some of it had cut him. He had small cuts on parts of his face and neck. They were not big cuts or even deep cuts. His shirt was mostly intact. The glass had managed to do some minimal damage.

“Still awake, aren’t we?” Ink asked. He kicked Johnny in the tummy twice. Johnny held Ink’s foot on the third kick. Ink struggled to get it free but could not. He struggled with Johnny. Johnny pulled Ink down to the floor. When Ink fell, Johnny let go of his foot. Johnny grabbed a handful of glass and smacked Ink in the face with it. Ink grunted before groaning in pain. Johnny stood up and was partly disoriented. He pulled himself together and looked down at Ink, who was standing up slowly and angrily. Ink stood up and glared at Johnny. Before he could see just how angry Ink was, Johnny punched him in the face using his left fist. Ink did not react. Johnny launched his right fist to throw another punch. Ink kicked Johnny. Johnny jumped back and bumped into a teller’s post. Ink punched Johnny in the face using his left fist so hard that a loud sound was heard. Johnny almost fell to the ground. He kept his balance then punched Ink in the face using his left fist, followed by his right fist. Ink kicked Johnny in the gut using his right foot. Johnny bent down in pain. Ink held Johnny’s head and intended to twist his neck, breaking it. He spun Johnny’s head and Johnny spun in the same direction, and landed on his feet, avoiding the catastrophe. Johnny kicked Ink’s heel, making him fall on his back.

Johnny went on top of Ink and punched him in the face so many times. Ink felt pain as this happened. He felt an unusual amount of pain. Johnny grabbed Ink’s head and pulled it up, just so he could strike Ink in the face with his own. After that, the back of Ink’s head bounced off the floor. Johnny stood up and held Ink by the hair and made him stand up. Still holding the hair, Johnny threw Ink into a post. Ink bounced off the post and fell to the ground. Johnny looked at the large pile of hair in his hand.

“Cool. Some Die Hard stuff,” Johnny said.

Ink stood up and shoulder-barged Johnny. He made Johnny bump into the pillar. Johnny grunted. Ink did it again and Johnny grunted. He did it yet again. Johnny elbowed Ink in the back before he could do it again. Ink grunted then stood up straight. He kicked Johnny in the left knee. Johnny groaned and bent down. He held his knee in pain. Ink kicked Johnny in the side of the face. Johnny fell to the ground and grunted. He got himself partly up and coughed.

“Stay down! What is wrong with you?” Ink asked furiously. He stomped on Johnny’s head hard. Johnny grunted. He got himself partially up again. Ink grunted and picked him up by the shirt. Ink punched Johnny in the chest twice. Johnny did not block the punches. Ink kicked him, and he fell back on the couches then to the floor. He groaned as he rolled on the floor. He then got to the floor again.

“You have some serious issues, boy. You should really learn to stay down. Not that it matters anymore. You’re going to die here and now,” Ink said. He started laughing. Johnny hated the laughter of Ink, especially because he was laughing at him. Johnny clenched his fists angrily then sprung up surprisingly fast. Ink stopped laughing and was shocked.

Johnny uppercut Ink. Ink flew backwards and smashed into a post, breaking the glass on it. Johnny went to him and picked him up from there. The people who were on the floor stood up and ran to a corner by the entrance, watching their only hope-a fifteen year old-fight this criminal. Johnny put Ink against the pilled and punched him in the tummy twice before punching him in the face. Johnny grabbed Ink once again and pushed him into a post once more. Johnny growled then grabbed Ink and threw him into the pillar. Ink bounced off the pillar. He fell to the ground on his belly. Johnny went to him and wanted to dish out more damage. Ink quickly stood up, ignoring the pain soaring through his body. He swung his right fist at Johnny. Johnny dodged it. Johnny punched Ink in the face. Blood flew from Ink’s mouth. Johnny punched Ink in the face once more.

Ink then quickly jabbed Johnny’s neck. Johnny grunted. Ink kicked him in the belly. Johnny took a few steps back. Ink then kicked Johnny in the form of an uppercut and flipped backwards. Johnny grunted. Blood emerged from his mouth after that. Ink kicked Johnny in the left side of his face. Johnny used the post to support himself after suffering the kick. Ink kicked him in the right side of the face. Johnny grunted.

Ink went for a punch with his right fist. Johnny went for one with his left fist. They punched each other’s fists. Ink withdrew his fist and felt pain. He looked at Johnny with an estranged facia expression.

Johnny punched Ink in the face. He was not done fighting. Ink was losing his nerve. He did not know what he could do about this boy. He was taking a beating that a grown man would succumb to. Here he was, still fighting like he had not taken any blow at all. It was almost as if he actually enjoyed this.

Ink kicked Johnny in the tummy using the tip of his shoe. Johnny bent down in pain after grunting. He put his hands on his tummy. Ink then punched him in the face several times. Johnny decided to block his face. Ink then started punching him in the tummy. He punched him there four times. Johnny got irritated with this. He yelled angrily and lifted Ink. He then smashed him through the post next to him, smashing it and destroying it, breaking it apart. Johnny sighed in relief, relaxing himself, seeing that Ink was not getting up from that. He put his hands on his waist as he looked down at Ink, who was conscious, but not enough to make any clear movements. Johnny saw that it was over. He could relax at last. He was breathing hard. He turned to look at the elevator and was shot in the left shoulder. He grunted and fell to the floor on his back as the crowd gasped.

“Why is it always the left shoulder?” Johnny asked.

It was Lighty who had shot him. He was very angry at Johnny. He was holding a shotgun. He walked towards Johnny and aimed the shotgun at him when he got to him. He re-set the gun and got ready to shoot.

“Wait, can’t we talk about this?” Johnny asked. Lighty did not reply to that. He pulled the trigger. Johnny quickly disappeared before the bullets were dispersed. Lughty gasped, wondering what just happened. He wondered if the blast from the shotgun had destroyed him Johnny’s whole body. He looked at the gun then looked around cautiously. He walked slowly away from his position. He made sudden turns at crucial moments. He walked towards the stairs with his back turned to them.

“Gotcha!” Johnny shouted from behind Lighty. Lighty quickly turned around, as he was startled. Johnny held the gun then struck Lighty in the face using his forehead. Lighty let go of the shotgun and took a few steps back.

Johnny held the shotgun like a bat and hit Lighty the face, using it as a weapon. Johnny had no restraint. He hit him with the strength he could muster at that time. Lighty fell to the ground and was unconscious.

“Snap. Should’ve shot him. That would have been so much cooler,” Johnny said. He aimed the shotgun at Lighty, intent on shooting him. He then considered so many cool things he could say before doing it, but then decided not to. He lowered the gun and walked away from there. He put his right hand over his shoulder, trying to sooth the pain he was feeling. He grunted as he tried to move his left arm. He ran to where Christine was. She was already conscious and was sitting while leaning against a couch. He knelt before her.

“Mom. Mom, are you okay?” he asked. She had a small bruise above her left eyebrow. Other than that, there were no visible injuries. He took good look at her before she was able to say something. Whatever it was that she was going to say, it was a word of panic.

“Johnny!” she shouted. She mustered a lot of strength and pushed Johnny aside. Ink was going to stab Johnny in the back, had she not done so. He ended up stabbing her in the leg. She grunted. He was holding a large piece of sharp wood. Johnny saw what Ink just did. He stood up and lunged at Ink, who was scarred on so many parts of his body. Johnny kneed Ink in the tummy as Ink stood up. Ink tried to stab Johnny in the face. Johnny ducked and ended up switching sides with Ink. Johnny was facing the side of the entrance while Ink was facing the side of the posts.

Ink swung the piece of wood at Johnny twice. Johnny dodged both swings then punched Ink in the face. Ink tried to stab Johnny in the face again. Johnny held Ink’s forearm then kicked him in the belly. Ink rolled over the couches and fell to the floor on their other side. Johnny teleported and appeared before Ink. Ink kicked Johnny in the tummy using his left foot. Johnny bent down. Ink kicked Johnny in the chin in the form of an uppercut using his right foot. He did all this while on the floor. After doing this, he stood up. He elbowed Johnny in the face twice in a row.

Johnny hit Ink in the face using his right forehand. Ink became disoriented. Johnny then hit Ink in the face using his left forehand, both times in the form of a backhand slap. Ink backed away and was reaching the door. Johnny punched him using his right fist. He then punched him using his left fist. Johnny then kicked him in the lower chest. Ink flew back and bounced off the bulletproof glass. Johnny then ran and shoulder-barged him through the glass and they rolled down the stairs together until they reached the pavement with Ink on top, bleeding all over his face.

Johnny was also bleeding on many parts of his face. Ink still had the wooden piece with him. He was very furious. He growled and grinded his teeth together. He raised the wooden piece, intent on stabbing Johnny in the face. Johnny held Ink’s forearms, stopping him from killing him. They struggled together, with Ink so desperate to end the teenager’s life. Johnny was just trying to live. He could see the blood of Christine stained on it. He did not want that thing piercing his body. Johnny then teleported, along with Ink. They appeared at a height of one floor above the ground. Johnny then disappeared, leaving Ink to fall on his own. He screamed helplessly and stopped once his body hit the ground of the pavement. He was unconscious or maybe even dead. Johnny did not care. As long as he would not bother him anymore, it was okay with him.

Johnny was standing on the road, close to where Ink fell. He was breathing hard, trying to relax himself, not noticing the police helicopter hovering over the area. He looked around and saw that the place was still barricaded by the gangsters who were still fighting off the police. He looked up at the helicopter.

One of the goons with the rocket launcher fired at the helicopter. One of the missiles hit the tail beam while the other one hit the cockpit. The helicopter fell towards the road. Johnny looked at the pilots and saw that they were really dead. Their bodies were burned almost completely after the explosion. The helicopter fell to the road in the protected area. Johnny covered his face using his left forearm to protect himself from any object that could fly into him. He stopped protecting himself and watched in awe as the massacre continued.

“Awesome,” he said to himself. He then looked up at the bank and ran up the stairs. He made his way into the bank and went to search for Christine, not caring about the other people there. He found Christine right where she was before he left with Ink.

“Mom,” he said.

“Oh, Johnny,” she said. They hugged each other tightly. He made sure that he hugged her as tightly as she hugged him, just so that they could be on the same page. She was so happy to see him that she even gasped while hugging him, and tears streamed from her red eyes. They stopped hugging each other and looked at one another.

“Where’s Hans? Is he okay?” she asked. Johnny shook his head and closed his eyes. She knew what that meant. She could not believe it. She started to cry out loud. Johnny felt sorry for Hans. He may have been a loser, but he still did manage to teach Johnny something important.

“Oh, my God. If only I didn’t call him. He could’ve still been around,” she said. Johnny only watched her cry. He did not know what he could say about it. He was not good at comforting people when they were in this state. He was sad for her, but just did not know how to make her feel better. He stood up slowly and looked at the glass wall which surrounded the entrance.

The gangsters were all shooting at the police cars which were getting to the area. They were holding their own pretty well. They worked together well and managed their weapons proficiently. The only problem was that they did not have enough ammo to keep this up forever, and they were running short.

Scarman noticed this. He got out of the car and walked towards the bank. He looked to his left and saw a huge S.W.A.T. truck headed there. He opened his eyes widely and jumped from the road to the pavement. The truck smashed through the barricades, squishing three of the five gangsters guarding it. The remaining two gangsters shot the truck’s engine as much as they could. The S.W.A.T. agents were prepared for such. They did not care about leaving them alive. They shot the gangsters dead without sustaining casualties, as they were wearing body armour which protected them from the flying bullets.

Scarman saw all of that happen. He quickly stood up and ran up the stairs towards the bank. The S.W.A.T. agents saw him doing so and shot at him so much that he ended up stopping halfway up the stairs. He raised his hands and turned around, having surrendered. He was very angry but could not do anything about it.

“Get that guy, cuff him,” the captain said. The S.W.A.T. agents did as they were told. Two of them ran up the stairs and got to Scarman. They held him and brought him down the stairs. They took him to their truck and hand-cuffed him with his hands behind his back. They left him in the truck and closed the door.

“What about the dead-looking guy over there?” an agent asked the captain.

“Call the paramedics. There’s bound to be more in tat state inside that building. Get in there, search and rescue,” the captain ordered.

Johnny looked at the entrance and saw that the people who were covering there were all running out the door. He wondered what was happening, but brushed it off so he could take the opportunity to take some of the money in the bags left there. He looked at the bags and smiled. He ran to them and knelt by them. He opened one and searched through all the money inside it. He scoffed so happily. He held the money in his hands and looked at the size of his pockets. Of course, that would not be necessary because he could just teleport away from there. He thought of that too late, as he looked up at the camera and saw that it was pointed at him. He put the money back in the bag, but the S.W.A.T. agents had already seen him there.

“Freeze!” a S.W.A.T. agent shouted. The whole squad entered the building. Most of them went up the stairs while three of them went to Johnny, who almost froze in place. He stood up slowly and raised his hands. He turned around to look at them. They were all aiming their guns at him.

“Get down on the ground,” the agent said.

“Wait. I don’t think you quite understand what’s going on here. I’m not-,”

“I said, get down now!” the agent yelled, interrupting Johnny’s explanation. Johnny could not take him seriously. He walked towards the agent and wanted to talk to him. The agent knocked Johnny down with his gun.

Outside

Johnny was being led down the stairs in hand cuffs and had a disappointed facial expression. There were paramedic vans there. A paramedic was tending to Christine. She was sitting on a stretcher and was refusing to lie down. The stretcher was just outside the paramedic van. In the midst of her denial, she saw that Johnny was being led down the stairs by the S.W.A.T. agents.

“Hey! That’s my son! Hey!” she shouted. She grunted as she struggled to get off the stretcher. She made her way to Johnny and the agents. They did not stop when she got to them, and she was confused as to what was going on and why they were taking Johnny away in handcuffs.

“What the hell is going on?” Christine asked.

“Ma’am, this boy was caught with the money bags during an attempted armed robbery,” the captain said, turning to her.

“So, what, you think he was working with them?” she asked.

“No doubt about it, ma’am,” was the captain’s reply. She was so shocked at how easy it was for him to answer that way. She looked at Johnny and saw that he was not in the mood for talking. She then looked at the captain again. By this time, they had all stopped walking.

“That’s ridiculous. He’s my son. If anything, you should be rewarding him. He saved us,” she said. The captain looked at the other agents. They all started laughing. They did not take her seriously. The captain then looked at Christine once more.

“This is a fifteen year old boy. You want me to believe that he took out armed robbers and left one in a coma?” the captain asked.

“In a coma?” Johnny asked.

“We found a guy in the elevator on the top floor. You must really pack a punch if you’re capable of doing that to a guy,” the captain said.

“Look, buddy, I didn’t steal any money. I’m not one of those guys. Just ask anybody,” Johnny said.

“Captain, you are making a grave mistake. This won’t look good in the media,” Christine said.

“What? Arresting a teenager?” the captain asked.

“Do you know who he is? He’s Rey Riker’s son,” she said.

“The hero cop?” an agent to Johnny’s left asked.

“You meant the son who was trying to save Shane Thompson? This is the hero cop’s son?” the captain asked.

“Now, imagine the captain of a S.W.A.T. team arresting the hero cop’s son, only to find out that he’s completely innocent? Not many people will look over the fact that you could be jealous,” Christine said.

“I’ll get over it,” the captain said.

“Release that boy, captain. He’s done nothing wrong. He saved us,” a man said, going there with a large group of people who were in the bank. All of the people with him spoke in approval. They all wanted the S.W.A.T. team to release Johnny. The captain had no choice. He looked at the others in the team and nodded his head once. The handcuffs were opened and Johnny felt relieved as he was able to move his hands again.

“Jerk,” he called the captain. He hugged Christine and she smiled happily. She wrapped her arms around him as well. The people there started clapping their hands. Johnny enjoyed this. He just loved all the attention he was getting. He smiled happily as he looked at the S.W.A.T. team. They were standing still and watching this.

“It could’ve been you if you were me,” Johnny said. He let go of his mother and she let him go. He then started laughing at the S.W.A.T. team, who were just wondering what he was so happy about. He even pointed at them and started laughing. The S.W.A.T. agents looked at each other confusedly. He was just laughing at them so hard. The clapping slowed down as more people began to wonder what was going on with him. Eventually, they all stopped clapping. Christine noticed this and put her hand on his chest.

“Alright, Johnny. You can stop now. It’s alright. Stop. Let’s go fix that wound on your shoulder,” she said. She managed to get him away from there. The people there just looked at him and watched him go away with Christine.

The press was there and they were trying to push through the barricades so that they could ask some questions. Luckily, there were policemen there to stop them from doing so. Rey was pushing through the press and was struggling to get in front of them. He eventually did manage to get to the barricade. The policeman there stopped him from moving forward. Rey angrily showed him his police badge. The policeman let him through.

“Wise guy,” Rey said angrily. He looked around and saw that firefighters had just finished putting out the fire that had engulfed the helicopter. He saw two body bags on the ground next to the helicopter. He continued moving past the various paramedic vans in the area, looking for his wife and son.

“Christie! Johnny!” he called out. He looked around for them desperately. He saw them by a van. Johnny was seated on a stretcher and she was lying down. He quickly ran to where they were. He got to them and Christine sat up when she saw him. They hugged and he exhaled happily when he felt that she was almost completely okay.

“Thank God you’re okay,” Rey said.

“Typical of the cops to show up late,” Johnny said. Rey stopped hugging Christine and looked at Johnny. He saw that blood was trickling down his arm from his shoulder. He walked over to the stretcher his son was on.

“You got yourself shot again,” Rey said, “you should be getting used to morphine now,” Rey said.

“Not that it works, but, yeah, I am,” Johnny said.

“You did a good job today,” Rey said.

“You heard?” Johnny asked.

“Heard what?” Rey asked. Johnny just stopped talking for a while and looked at Rey in the eyes. Would it be a wise move to tell him exactly what happened right there, right in front of everyone, or at home or in private? Would it really matter where he did it? It would not make a difference if everyone there knew what had happened, because they would relay the information in the news anyway. What would be the most convenient thing to do at the time, given the consequences? Johnny did not even try to think of the answer to that question. He just acted.

“About the whole fight scene in the bank,” he said.

“I just know it happened. You don’t even have to tell me. We all know how much you enjoy fighting,” Rey said. Johnny looked at Rey with an awed facial expression. He even opened his mouth in shock. His curiosity pointed towards him questioning why everyone would insist on that assertation, even Rey.

“But,-huh-why does everyone say that I love to fight? I hate fighting. It hurts,” Johnny said. Rey did not believe a single word Johnny said regarding the subject, and it clearly showed by the way he looked at him. He even scoffed at Johnny after hearing him say that.

“Looks like there’s a lot you don’t know about yourself yet,” Rey said.

“Really? Like what? Tell me. Dad, come one,” Johnny insisted.

“Oh, you’ll find out sometime,” Rey said.

“Alright. Whatever. I saved the day today. I should really be proud of myself for this,” Johnny said.

“Johnny, you’re gonna see one day that being the front-page hero isn’t the reward,” Rey said.

“It is for me, daddy-o. That, money, fame, babes and recognition. Everyone is gonna learn to expect the ultimate coolness from Mr. Riker. Well, Johnny Riker,” Johnny said. Rey sighed and shook his head.  He could not help but laugh at what Johnny had just said. He walked away from the van and headed towards the other vans by which the S.W.A.T. agents were standing.

Yes, this was the day that the bank nearly was robbed, but was saved, particularly because Johnny Riker was there, but mostly because the S.W.A.T. team arrived to handle the situation. Though he did do most of the work on his own, he had to accept that S.W.AT. had contributed as much as him if not more. Nothing infuriated him more than having to share the glory with other people, especially people who would end up antagonizing him afterwards. The rest of the day was pretty much a waste for Johnny. He had to go to the hospital, then had to go to the police station and explain what happened. There was only one good part about the aftermath of all of this. He got to talk in front of a camera again. This time, he did not have to lie about anything. He told the story as it was, only omitting the part in which he used his teleportation powers to help himself get an advantage over the bank robbers.

Many of the people who were present in the bank were also interviewed by reporters. They all talked about what happened that day. Fortunately for Rey, no one seemed to mention Johnny’s ability to teleport himself. This was either because they did not see or because they were willing to keep a secret, even though they were not asked to. Many of the people were asked, “how does a fifteen year old save you from bank robbers?” They did not know how they could answer. One said, “Luck.” Another said, “maybe he’s a super spy who just looks young.” Another one said, “he was hand-picked by God to be our savior at the time.” The first two were men. The first one was African American. The second one was Caucasian. The third one was a very enthusiastic African-American woman.

Either way, they all expressed gratitude towards Johnny for having saved their lives. All the top stories that weekend were about Johnny. This was exactly what he wanted from the beginning, and he was finally getting it.

“It’s not over yet,” Jared said to Johnny. He was in the Shellheads clubhouse with Johnny and James. They were seated by a table which was near a pool table. All three of them had a drink each. James had root beer, as usual. Jared had a glass of beer. Johnny had a soft drink in his cup.

“Where did that come from?” Johnny asked.

“Come on, dude. The story’s over. There’s nothing more to tell,” James said.

“Why do you have to be such an enemy of progress? Just because Johnny wants to grow up and you can’t, doesn’t mean you should stop him,” Jared said.

“Growing up? You mean suicide,” James said.

“No. That’s marriage,” Johnny said.

“What do you think dating leads to?” James asked.

“What do you think random hook-ups lead to?” Jared asked.

“Oh, please,” James mumbled. He crossed his arms and sat back. He looked around for the waiter but did not happen to see one in his time of need. He looked at the bartender and pointed at his cup of root beer before raising it. The bartender understood what he meant.

“Look, man, I have no doubt this is another one of her tests. She’s just trying to see how far you’ll go,” Jared said.

“She’s indirectly telling you to show her that you’re ready for a committed relationship,” James said.

“Exactly. Look at James finally pitching in,” Jared said.

“I don’t like seeing a guy go off-course with a girl, alright? It just hurts to see a guy not understand girls the way Johnny doesn’t,” James explained.

“You think I don’t understand girls?” Johnny asked.

“You don’t have her yet because you don’t understand her. She says that she’s never dated anyone before-which I believe as much as I do in Santa Clause, but that’s not relevant. That would mean she’s still in that phase where she thinks her first boyfriend will be her husband. You just have to show her that you are willing to go that far, and be labelled as a heartbreaker when your relationship reaches its inevitable end,” James explained. Johnny laughed in disbelief. He even leaned back on his chair. Jared clicked his tongue and shook his head.

“See, you had me right up till that last part. I don’t think you should look that far ahead in a relationship,” Johnny said. He looked at Jared. Jared nodded in approval. James took a big sip of his root beer, finishing it. The waiter brought a bottle of root beer to the table and opened it. James proceeded to pouring it into his cup. Immediately after pouring it, he started drinking it.

“Look, man, look at it however you want. Just know that that is how it’s going to end,” James said.

“You’re gonna have to explain your story one day,” Johnny said.

“No story with this dry guy. I can tell you about my first adventure with a girl, though,” James said.

“Yeah, we’d actually like to hear about that. Maybe she’s the one who opened your eyes to this bleak reality,” Jared said. James took some time to think about it. He stared with a blank facial expression into the distance, almost as if he were remembering something. He stayed still for some time. Johnny and Jared looked at him and tried to see if everything was alright with him.

“Hey, you alright?” Jared asked. There was no answer. James was frozen in place. Johnny and Jared looked in the direction that James was looking at and saw that there was nothing there. They then looked at him again.

“Earth to James. You there?” Johnny asked. Jared looked at Johnny. He then looked at James, who was to his right. Johnny was seated to his left. It was a small square table made of wood. Jared then snapped his fingers and James nearly gasped. He did snap back to reality.

“So, as I was saying, the weather today, nice, isn’t it?” James asked. Jared scoffed then looked at Johnny. Johnny laughed a little bit. James was confused. He wanted to know just what was going on.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“Nothing, dude, nothing,” Johnny said.

“Hey, I never asked you. How’s you get those cuts?” James asked. Johnny’s mood changed. He looked at Jared and could clearly see that he was also curious about the same thing. He exhaled in disbelief and shook his head.

“You guys need to watch the news more often,” he said.

“Why? What’s on there?” James asked.

Johnny sighed tiresomely. Of all the people, he expected his friends to know what happened. He had been waiting all day for them to bring it up just so that he could rub the success in their faces. This was quite the buzzkill. It was very discouraging. Nevertheless, he liked the fact that he would get to explain his awesome story to his friends. This was all happening the day after the robbery would have taken place.

Base District

Razor’s mansion, that night

The television was broadcasting the aftermath of the bank robbery. They showed the body bags being loaded into vans. This was all in the news. It then showed Ramone and Scarman being pushed into a truck. The image was paused, showing Scarman looking at the camera.

Razor was the one who had paused it. He sighed and made his way to his big, round table. He sat by it in his huge, red robe. All of the bosses he usually had over were seated on the table and were silently watching him. The television was an eighty inch plasma screen. It was in the same room as the table.

“See what your little stunt did? I knew it was mistake,” Drakov said.

“The mistake was your birth, Drakov. Shut your mouth if you know what’s good for your well-being,” Razor said.

“Don’t let your emotions get ahead of you this time,” Roarke said. All the bosses there were very serious about the matter. Razor was also serious about the matter, but even his courage would be rendered pointless in the scenario that he stood up to all of them.

“This little operation of yours cost a lot of money. Money that could have been used to improve your business,” Frisky said.

“My business is my business, and it’s going well. I don’t need you to tell me what I can and can’t do with the profit,” Razor said.

“The profit you make is for your own use, but do not waste resources we could use for other things. We have a cycle. You deal with transportation, I deal with weapons, Frisky deals with all of the merchandise that goes around, and Shorty deals with man power and laundering of money. It is done deal for all of us. If you waste my weapons and cars that we could use, along with men that Shorty supplies, what is left for customers who have objectives?” Drakov asked.

“You’re the boss here, so I will say it with the utmost respect: you’re letting your emotions get in the way. The two cops that came here? That was once. We didn’t need all of this trouble. Ink exposed us all under your instructions, and now he got caught,” Roarke said.

“We are supposed to be the most feared people in the city. They’re all forgetting that. Somebody needs to put them back in their place,” Razor said.

“They already are in their place. You don’t see them come here looking for trouble. We still own this District,” Frisky said.

“They’re already afraid of us. We don’t have to make much of an effort to enforce that, you know. It’s done, Razor. One more hiccup like this, and we’re gonna have to find someone else,” Shorty said. Razor glared at Shorty. Shorty did not care about the look he was given by the much larger man. Shorty stood up straight from the chair and so did the others. They all made their way out the door and Razor remained in his seat, thinking about what had just been said to him. He took his cellphone out of his pocket and dialed a number. He put the phone by his right ear and waited for the person to pick up their phone.

Stockley

Statham was in his living room, sitting on his couch while watching television with the lights off. He was watching a horror movie, judging by the sounds of all the screams that could be heard from the television. He was very focused on the movie and did not want to get his eyes off it. He was not even looking when he searched for the bowl of popcorn on the couch. Before he could reach it, he heard his phone ringing in the kitchen. He sighed then picked up the remote and paused the movie. He stood from the chair and went to the kitchen. He found the cellphone on the table. Before answering it, he looked at the screen to see who was calling. He then answered the call.

“Razor, you haven’t called in a while. I actually thought you were done providing transport,” Statham said.

“I need your help with something different this time,” Razor said.

“What is it?” Statham asked.

“I need you to get Scarman and Ramone out,” Razor said.

“That’s not an easy task. They’re not at the precinct. They’re going to court. Can’t rely on technicalities for these guys,” Statham replied.

“Damn it. Isn’t there a way?” Razor asked.

“I’ve got a friend who I think might be able to help. I’ll talk to him. Just so you know, undoing the hero cop’s arrest cost a penny or two, and so does setting you up with the guy,” Statham said.

“Do it. I’ll pay the money,” Razor said.

“Yeah. I know you will,” Statham said. After he said that, the line died. Statham put the phone away and sighed. He then made his way back to the living room so that he could continue to watch the movie.

Razor put the phone away as well. He was furious. He stood from the table and made his way to the balcony with a glass of wine in his right hand. From the balcony’s view, it could be seen that he was on the first floor. He looked at his vast yard which was well taken-care of. He dropped his glass then turned around and went back inside.

Ramone and Scarman were in a real prison, not one at a local station. They even had prison uniforms and walked slowly in the narrow hallways. The guards opened a shared cell, which was where Scarman was put. Ramone was led to a completely different cell. He entered it and went to sit on a bench with an angry facial expression. He watched the cell door close, knowing that it meant that his life as a free man was over.

 

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[The next upload will be on Tuesday, 3rd April, entitled: The Adventures of Johnny Riker #4: Part of the Team]

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The Advetures of Johnny Riker #3: Heist IV

“Well, unlike you, I don’t plan on sticking my tongue in every girl’s mouth like some horny freak. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when you lose your virginity. You’re gonna be like a dog, having sex in all sorts of places, unable to stop. Even if people throw stones at you, you’ll just keep doing it,” Jared said.

“Weak,” James said. Johnny heard these two brothers argue for too long. They were always like this, from the first day they met. Johnny found it funny at first, but it did get on his nerves at times. It looked like all they could say to each other was something negative or hurtful. Sometimes, he would enjoy that just to lighten up his mood, but this time, it was not working. He just wanted them to be quiet and listen to what he had to say.

“You know, guys, someday, someone is gonna get real tired of your arguments,” Johnny said. He was one of those people that he was referring to. It was getting really old, and that was not a good thing, as these two would never cease their activity.

“Arguments? All I do is tell him the truth. He takes the truth as an insult. Kinda shows you what he really thinks of himself, huh,” James asked. He really wanted to keep things going with his brother. This trade was not going to end like this.

“Shut up before you embarrass me, you salamander,” Jared said. He was also getting tired of having to do this all the time with his brother. It was not something that he was particularly proud of, as he rarely ever wanted to involve himself in these things.

“Doofus,” James countered. He said it quickly. He did not give it a second’s thought. It was as if it was on his mind for quite some time and he wanted the perfect excuse to be able to say it to Jared, and the right time had come for it.

“Lack-wit,” Jared retaliated. That was something that also came out automatically. Jared said it in a way that showed that it was not the first time. It seemed to be something he would often call James, especially in moments like this.

“Guys!” Johnny exclaimed, stopping James from saying something back. The twins looked at him and wondered what he had to say that was so important. They could not wait for him to speak so that they could get back to insulting each other.

“Do you guys think that I need a new haircut?” Johnny asked. James and Jared looked at each other with bored facial expressions. It seemed to be something that they had been talking about for a long time behind Johnny’s back. Either that or they just simultaneously thought that that question had a very obvious answer.

“Yeah, actually, you kinda do,” James said.

“A new look is always something welcome in high school, especially if you enjoy the spotlight so much,” Jared said.

“Plus, that hairstyle is tacky. You’ve had it ever since we first met back in reception class,” James said. Jared wanted to add to that but then he ended up halting. He waited before he could say something else, as he had to change his opinion, seeing as James said something that was completely unexpected, yet, surprisingly, still on-topic.

“Wait, wasn’t it kindergarten?” Jared asked.

“Kindergarten was that other guy. The guy that looks like Johnny,” James said.

“Oh, yeah. And we thought he followed to reception class, but then it turned out to be someone entirely different,” Jared said. He said so with a big smile, finally remembering the whole story. Johnny looked at them both, one at a time as each of them spoke. He found it odd that they had never actually told him this story. He sat there, waiting for them to elaborate on this person that looked like him.

“Oh, yeah, good times,” James said. He spoke as if he had just finished laughing. He even wiped an invisible tear off his left eye as he scoffed just once. After he scoffed, Jared laughed just a little bit. James could not help it. He also laughed along with his brother. Talking about this just seemed to bring back so many good memories of their early childhood. Meanwhile, Johnny was just sitting there and watching them as they laughed, still waiting to be included in the story. Nothing happened and they just laughed. Johnny’s anxiety was exhausted and even his fake smile disappeared.

“Luckily, we never got to experience his presence all the way through high school,” James said as they stopped laughing.

“Why is that lucky?” Johnny asked. He finally spoke, having given up on waiting to be told the funny story of his look-alike. Both the twins stopped laughing and decided to tell him the ‘good’ story of his look-alike.

“He was so possessive with everything that interested him,” Jared said.

“He had some serious attachment issues,” James said.

“And, frankly, that guy used to freak me out. He wouldn’t talk much. It looked like he just knew how to say people’s names. He’d never say anything else,” Jared said.

“Except for when he’d talk to teachers. If he’d want to play with a toy, you’d have to give it to him. If you didn’t-,”

“What? He’d cry?” Johnny asked, interrupting James’ explanation.

“Nope. You’d cry. And he’d get sent to the corner,” Jared said.

“Yeah. Good old Kelvin or Calvin or whatever his name was. I don’t know what happened to him afterwards,” James said.

“I think they got him transferred. They couldn’t stick with him if he kept beating everybody up,” Jared said.

“Yeah. Seems like the logical choice. If the kid is trouble, send it packing, even if it’s your own,” James said.

“Some father you’re gonna be,” Jared said.

“I’m gonna be a great father. I’m gonna have a dozen baby mamas and I won’t have to pay for child support because I’ll be keeping all of them,” James said.

“You do know that women are cared about more than men, right? You’re not getting any of them, especially if your baby mamas cry about it,” Johnny said.

“Not only that. How are you gonna afford to sustain kids from twelve different mothers? Don’t forget that you stand a chance of getting twins,” Jared stated.

“I told you I’ll be rich,” James said. Jared slapped himself square in the face and kept his palm stamped on it. He even closed his eyes and shook his head slowly. He actually thought that they would have a meaningful conversation, but then, he forgot who he was talking to.

“How is it that you’re gonna make money again?” Johnny asked.

“Now, if I tell you, you might use the technique before me and end up rich. I’ll use it, and if it works for me, I’ll tell you how to get it done, alright?” James asked.

“Oh, please. Sounds like you have no idea what your life plan is,” Jared said.

“I’m telling you. Someday, I’ll remind you of all these conversations we have. You are gonna owe me when I prove you wrong,” James affirmed. Jared laughed at his brother. It was all he could actually do. He could not take James’ promises seriously enough. He actually had not even remotely considered that possibility, because, in his eyes, it was not possible. There was no way James could end up rich by legal means in his eyes.

James was silent and was just looking at Jared. He did not have harsh enough or convincing enough words for his brother. He sat and had no facial expression at all as his twin laughed at him for believing in what he said. He looked down at his food then looked at Jared, who was busy laughing at him. James then looked at his food again before looking up at Jared. He noticed that Johnny was looking at him and could not read his intentions. That did not stop him. Jared stopped laughing and barely had time to gasp as all the food from James’ tray was forcefully splattered on his face when James pressed his tray into it.

Johnny quickly stood up and was worried. He stood up very quickly but he felt as though he was not quick enough. Everyone in the cafeteria noticed what had just happened and in less than a second, food was being thrown all over the place as epic punk rock music played in the background. It was an epic scene. The cafeteria turned into a war zone in seconds. So many people were running around, covered in food. A boy ran around with his head shoved into a turkey. A girl ran around screaming as her hair was on fire. A group of nerds had a water hose and they held it together. They switched it on and splashed mayonnaise all over the place, all over everyone in the cafeteria.

James smiled at all the carnage. He stood from his bench and so did Jared. Jared was unfortunate, as a plate of pie was thrown into his tummy. Another one was thrown into his back. He grunted as if he were being shot. Another plate was thrown into his face. Another plate hit him on the top of his head, coming from the ceiling. He started begging for mercy.

James enjoyed that. He knelt and looked under the table to see what Johnny was doing. Johnny was not there. James wondered just how Johnny got away unseen. He did not care, though. He stood up straight and enjoyed the view. The nerds with the hose were splashing mayonnaise mixed with ketchup onto a group of cheerleaders who were backed into a corner and screaming. James climbed onto the table and removed a cup cake from his belt buckle. He threw it randomly and it exploded where it landed, spreading cream all over.

“This is America!” he shouted. He yelled triumphantly and was looking battle damaged, covered in all sorts of food stains. He pulled out a sandwich bazooka from under the table and started shooting randomly. Food was being splattered everywhere.

Of course, the whole scenario was taking place in his very active imagination. He had not even picked up the tray to press it into Jared’s face. The whole food fight was a fabric of his imagination. He was staring at his tray of food as Jared laughed. The music he heard was coming from a cellphone not too far away from their table. James was very relaxed about the whole ordeal, still in his own world.

“You gonna eat your food or what?” Johnny asked. James snapped back to reality and looked at Johnny. He then looked at Jared, who was done laughing at him. Before he could answer that question, however, the bell rang.

“Oh, what? I didn’t even get to eat anything,” Jared said. They all stood from the table, the same as everyone else in the cafeteria.

“That just goes to show you: never have a conversation before eating,” Johnny said.

“That’s not the lesson learned here,” James said. The trio walked away from the table and made their way towards the cafeteria’s exit. There were many students ahead of them and behind them. A few others continued eating, completely ignoring the sound of the bell.

“I’m sorry. What is the lesson here?” Johnny asked.

“Don’t listen to your stories when they involve that cheerleader,” James said.

“Dude, get over it,” Johnny said.

“It’s like you have a crush on him,” Jared suggested.

“I don’t have a crush on any man. I only have crushes on women that I haven’t hooked up with yet: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Amber Heard, Nicola Peltz,” James said.

“What the heck are you talking about?” Johnny asked.

“This guy goes on and on with nonsense like that all the time. Best thing to do is just let him say what he has to say,” Jared said.

“One day, Jared. One day,” James stated. Jared did not want to continue talking about the matter of the women James wanted to hook up with. He just wanted something entirely different. He even had the perfect subject in mind, and could not find a better opportunity to bring it up.

“Yeah. Sure, James. One day. Let’s just see how you did on the math test today,” he said.

“Oh, crud. The math test is gonna be returned today,” James said. He no longer had that positive vibe. He was no longer confident in his tone. Both Jared and Johnny could see that. James was actually unsure about his results. Jared felt like he did a good job. He looked at Johnny and saw that he still had a positive, confident vibe. By this time, they had left the cafeteria.

“You don’t look worried at all,” Jared said.

“Oh, no, not at all. I’m getting my C+,” Johnny replied with the utmost confidence.

The paper was dropped onto his desk and it even made a ‘splat’ sound. Johnny was leaning back on his chair, looking as relaxed as ever. He was so confident and cocky in appearance. The teacher left James’ paper with him. James immediately looked at the paper and nearly screamed due to excitement. He exhaled and rolled his eyes before sitting back and relaxing. He saw Johnny looking at him with a lazy smile.

“So, how’d you do?” he asked his friend.

“You know it. I [picks up paper] got my C [looks at paper] D-?” Johnny asked himself. All of the chill and relaxation he had disappeared, and he began to panic. He sat up straight and got a good look at the paper, reading every single question and answer he had. “No, no, no, no, this can’t be right. This cannot be right,” he said to himself. Just then, he remembered all the times he could have been studying but did not. He was always out and about with either James or Kurt but never with Jared studying, even though Jared always called him for that. He began to sweat, just thinking about the hard work he would have to put in just to get a C in his final grade. That was the least of his problems. He had not yet encountered the real problem at hand.

“Hey, man, you alright? You look like you just read a death threat,” James said.

“This isn’t a threat. It’s a promise,” Johnny said. He had very much considered the repercussions of getting such a grade in maths. He did not like this unit at all, and it was frustrating because it was compulsory. Now he had a real problem to think about. Getting a C was no longer an option for him. He had to learn to pass as well as he could, not just learn how to pass with minimal effort.

Uptown, Shell City

Uptown was where the city’s elite lived. It was where the richest of the rich had chosen to settle. As such, all the buildings there were of class and looked brand new due to the good care they were in. The cars parked in the streets were mostly imported cars. There were expensive hotels there, as well as many foreign, classy restaurants.

The most expensive private schools were there as well. A middle-class worker would feel very uncomfortable in the Uptown area. This was the target area for Ramone’s gang. They were in their van and were on their way to a bank which was situated somewhere near the center of Uptown. Scarman was driving the van with Ramone in the passenger’s seat.

“Tell me: what’s the name of this bank again?” Ink asked.

“Uptown Central. What, you got a friend that works there?” Ramone asked.

“No. I just wanted to make sure we dig in the right direction,” Ink said. He was in the back, along with his companions. They were all looking at a map of the city which Ink was holding.

“You better have. We’re not tolerating any bullshit from you,” Ramone said.

“You mean ‘he’ is not tolerating any. You’re running his errand, the same as us hired guns. The only difference is that we accept that we’re hired guns, and you’re ashamed of it,” Ink said. Ramone was becoming more and more irritated by the sound of Ink’s voice. He really wanted to kill him. Every message his brain sent through his nerves was telling him to pull out his gun and shoot Ink in the head. He just did not have the patience for this anymore.

Scarman was silent and observant.  He could see how angry Ramone was, but could not do anything about it. He looked at Ramone for a second before looking at Ink and the others in the back. He saw that they were getting ready. He then looked at the road ahead and saw that they were about to arrive at their destination. He parked the van by a flight of stairs leading to a subway station.

“You’ve got half an hour this time. We’re not waiting any longer,” Scarman said.

“Have you tried emptying a safe in half an hour, leaving out marked bills? It ain’t easy,” Ink said.

“Boss’ orders,” Scarman concluded.

Ink did not say anything in response to that. He got himself ready, along with his companions. They opened the back door, and all went out. They closed the back door and went down the flight of stairs.

Uptown Central Bank

It was a thirty floor building.  It was a dwarf, compared to all the other buildings there. Nonetheless, it was beautifully designed. It was black and had a few parts which were red. It was built of glass, which was most definitely bulletproof glass. There were many customers present, as well as staff members. Two guards stood, guarding the front door, which was made of glass as well. The guards had shotguns with them and were in uniform. The bank tellers were very busy with their clients that day, while other clients had to rest on couches as they waited for their turns to be attended.

Christine was one of the tellers there. She was in her black suit which included a skirt. It could be seen that she was very polite towards her clients, as she spoke so gently with them and understood everything they had to say. She was talking to an elderly woman.

“So, you’re saying you want to deposit two thousand dollars to your son’s account?” she asked.

“Yes,” the lady said.

“Okay. Just present us with the account number and the rest will be handled for you. Do you have the account number with you?” Christine asked.

“Yes,” the woman said. Christine waited patiently as the woman searched through her bag. She took out a piece of paper which had the account number on it. She slid it over to Christine, under the glass in between their faces. Christine looked down at the paper. She picked it up and read the account number.

“Okay. Please leave your money with me. I will do the rest,” she told the woman. The woman searched again in her bag. She took out a large role of hundred-dollar bills in a rubber band. She slid it under the glass to give it to Christine. Christine smiled when she saw the money. “Wait here a moment,” she told the woman. She then went away. The woman stood there and waited for Christine. She was a rather short woman, and she had a green scarf over her head with big reading glasses. She was an Indian woman. She seemed to be in her eighties. She waited patiently for Christine to come back. It was only a moment before she really did come back.

“The money has been deposited in the account,” Christine said with a smile.

“Is that all that needs to be done?” the woman asked.

“Yes, that’s all,” Christine replied.

“Thank you so much,” the woman said.

“Thank you for using Uptown Central,” Christine said. The woman felt like she had helped. She turned around so that she could walk away. Christine watched her go away and was smiling at her.

“Riker, you wanna take that coffee break now?” a fellow employee asked. It was a man who was working next to her. He was standing to her right. He was slightly older than her and wore glasses. He was bald in the center of his head. He was almost as tall as her and had an average build for a man his age. He had no facial hair at all and was Caucasian. His name was Hans.

“Yeah, sure,” was her reply. She left her post, as she was ready for that. Hans could not leave his post yet, as another customer got to him before he could follow her away from there to get the coffee. He even gasped when he saw the customer. He then apologized and smiled nervously before he began speaking.

Officer Lane was in the neighbourhood as well. She was running after a perp. The perp was very scared of her. He was breathing hard as he ran and even wanted to scream when he saw that she was catching up. He was running as fast as he could and so was she, but was actually faster than him. The only problem was the people that were in the way. Both she and the perp were running while watching out for people. Though there were few pedestrians due to it being an elite area, that only made the job a little easier. The few people that did walk had large dogs with them. One of them barked at the perp. He gasped but continued running.

“Perp’s running down Jefferson Avenue, towards Jersey Road,” Lane said through the walkie-talkie. She was not out of breath. It was the running that interfered with her speech. The perp got to the road she was referring to, and a police car struck him. His body rolled onto the hood before going down to the road. The car stopped as soon as it hit him. Lane quickly ran to the perp as the driver stepped out of the car. She grabbed the perp and slammed his face against the hood.

“Ow! Ow! Ow! I didn’t do anything, man, jeez,” the perp said.

“Don’t call me ‘man’. I’m a woman, you asshole,” she said. She raised his head before slamming it against the hood again. She then handcuffed him. The driver got to them and looked at what was going on with his hands on his hips. His name was officer Terri.

“Looks like you got him good,” Terri said.

“You-you ran me over with your car! Is that even legal?” the perp asked.

“Relax, perp. Let’s be the ones asking the questions here,” Terri said. He had a very heavy southern accent. His voice was deep and loud. He was also a man who was in top physical shape, though aged.

“I’m not telling you anything, ‘cause I don’t know anything,” the perp said. Terri smiled at what the perp had just said. He looked at Lane, and she had a very serious look in her face. She was just focused on holding him down. He struggled but could not get loose. She got him good.

“Is that so? Then why were you running away from us? If you’re so innocent, there’s no reason to run. No reason at all,” Terri said.

“Tell us who the mole is so we can go home,” Lane commanded. Terri looked at her and was surprised. He had a brief look of terror when he heard her voice. She had a very threatening, very authoritative tone when she spoke. He did a good job at changing his facial expression right away. He then looked at the perp once more.

“I’m not telling you anything. This guy’s bad news. He’s trouble. I’m not ratting him out to anyone,” the perp said.

“So, Russo was right. There really is a dirtbag among us,” Terri said.

“Talk to us now, or so help me, I’m gonna take your arm home with me as a trophy, probably test my need weed-Wacker on it,” she said. She applied some pressure to his arm to the point that cracking sounds were heard from his joints. He grunted in pain and could not withstand the pressure.

“What are you, some kind of psycho?” the perp asked. She applied more pressure and he groaned in pain once again. He was even unable to speak due to the pain he felt.

“I’m your worst nightmare,” she replied.

“Look, it’s really simple. Just give us a name so we can go home,” Terri said.

“I don’t know the guy’s name, alright? All I know is that he’s got a good position on the force,” the perp said.

“Why the hell does he work with amateurs like you? [Slams hood.] Speak!” Terri exclaimed.

“He needs small-timers too. He trying to gain control over the activities that go on everywhere,” the perp answered.

“By activities, you mean crime,” she said.

“That’s all I know. Please, let me go. He can’t know you caught me. Please,” the perp said.

“I don’t know if we can let you go,” Terri said.

“We chased you all the way from downtown. Do you know how far that is?” she asked.

“I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. Please,” the perp said. Terri and Lane were thinking together about this. They had formulated a plan, even though they did not communicate with each other. Before they could speak, however, there was a call to all the units.

“Calling all available units. Uptown Central Bank is being robber. We’ll need every available unit on the force right there or on their way right now,” a cop said through the walkie-talkie. As that message was being relayed, they saw a black van speed down Jefferson Avenue. They both knew that it could not be a coincidence and spared no time in entering the car with the perp in their custody.

“Hey! Hey! Didn’t you hear what I said? He’ll kill me! I can’t be seen with you!” the perp said.

Uptown Central Bank

The robbers had done the same thing there. They had dug their way into the vault. Each one of them jumped out of the hole they had dug. Ink looked around and inhaled that good smell of money. Pulitzer was looking around at the cameras placed there.

“We should really consider getting rid of the cameras. Some of these guards actually keep their eyes on the footage,” Pulitzer said.

“You can work on that if you want,” Ink said. The other two brought the bags there. They dropped the bags on the floor and opened them so that they could be filled with tht money there. There was a valuable-looking vase on a table by the corner of the square vault. Ink approached this table and looked at the vase. He examined it closely and was intrigued by it. The others were already getting ready to empty the deposits. When he realized what was going on, he turned to them to warn them, but it was already too late. The second that they touched one of the deposits, the alarm started blaring. They all became startled and looked around, trying to see if maybe it was just a ruse.

“No wonder they call it the most secure bank,” Pulitzer said.

“We need to get outta here now,” a goon said.

“Way ahead of you,” the other goon said, jumping into the hole they had dug. Ink and Pulitzer looked at each other, deciding what the best course of action could be. The remaining goon jumped into the hole. None of the money had been taken and none of the bags had been picked up. They heard noise coming from the door and realized that they had been delayed. Ink and Pulitzer jumped into the hole just as the doors opened and the S.W.A.T. agents rushed in with their weapons locked and loaded. They were enough to crowd the vault and looked around. Some went to the hole and looked into it.

“They went down this hole. After them!” an agent exclaimed.

Christine and Hans were taking their coffee break together. They were outside the bank and were standing while drinking coffee. They stood facing each other.

“You know, you wouldn’t believe the crazy stories I’ve been hearing from some of these customers I tend to. One actually came to me claiming that he didn’t know the bank takes some of his money once a month,” Hans said as he laughed.

“What did he think? The bank gets money with magic?” she asked.

“Oh. You should have seen his reaction when I told him how that happens. Priceless,” he said as he continued laughing.

“I see what you did there,” she said. She laughed along with him. They both shared the joy of laughter in their conversation. It would be short-lived, though, as the alarm was suddenly triggered and all open doors closed and locked themselves automatically before the pair could even turn to look at what was happening.

“What’s going on?” Hans asked as they approached the main doors.

“I don’t know. I think we’re being robbed,” Christine said.

Right after she said that, a S.W.A.T. truck stopped in front of the bank and the agents all rushed out of it, ready for action. The captain got to the door and pressed his palm against it before it opened, allowing himself and his team in.

“We’re being robbed,” she said.

“Yeah,” he said.

Scarman was driving as fast as he could. He was driving so fast that it even had Ramone worried. Ramone, who was always up for these kinds of misadventures, was very scared of what could happen at the end of the day.

“I actually remember Razor talking about one vault. Why did he have to change his mind all of a sudden?” Scarman asked.

“It’s all about respect, and that only comes when you show what you’re capable of. Keep driving. We’re gonna have to show Ink what happens when you mess up,” Ramone said.

“Shit,” Scarman said as he stopped near the bank. Ramone wanted to ask what was happening, but then saw why Scarman remarked that word. They could see the S.W.A.T. truck there. Scarman stopped the van not too far away from the van. He stopped it near a flight of stairs that led to a subway station, not too far away from the truck, but still had a view of it. People at both points could communicate by shouting at each other.

“Ink, if you can hear us, we’re at the first station from the bank,” Scarman said through the walkie-talkie.

“We were gonna come out of there anyway. Keep the engine running,” Ink replied. Scarman heard what Ink said and did not respond. He nodded and put the walkie-talkie down. He happened to look at the rearview mirror and he saw Lane and Terri’s car pull over behind the van.

“Damn,” he said to himself.

The car stopped behind them and the two cops stepped out of it. They both walked towards the ban and were ready for a hostile response. Both walked with one hand ready to grab the gun and shoot. Lane walked along the road while Terri walked along the pavement. They got to the windows of both the driver and the passenger.

“So, my friends, you mind telling me why you were racing down the street a few seconds ago?” Terri asked. He was standing by Scarman’s window, and was not at all intimidated by the driver’s unusually large physique. Scarman even tried to be as intimidating as possible. He held the steering wheel tight to the point that his hands shook and veins appeared on them.

“We were in a hurry,” Scarman said.

“In a hurry? But you’re just sitting here. Looks like you’re waiting for something,” Terri said.

“We have a couple of friends inside the bank. We’re just waiting for them to come out,” Ramone said.

“Oh. So why are you waiting for them all the way here?” Lane asked. Scarman and Ramone had no answer to that. They remained silent and looked at each other, trying to figure out what they could do to get away from these two cops in time for Ink and the others to get there. Fortunately for them, Terri was shot in the right shoulder. He grunted and Lane gasped. She quickly pulled her gun out of her buckle and shot the tyre next to her foot. She then ran towards the back of the truck and saw Ink and his friends running towards the van, all of them armed.

Ink was in front, followed by the two goons. Pulitzer was behind all of them. Lane shot a goon in the right knee. The goon grunted. Ink aimed his machine pistol at Lane while still running. He shot at her. She quickly took cover and made a run for it. Ramone opened the door and had his gun in his hand. He aimed it at her and she stopped running. Ramone did not give her time to breathe. He shot her in the left shoulder. She fell to the ground and groaned in pain. Before he could finish her off, he heard several different kinds of guns firing.

The S.W.A.T. was there. They were firing heavily at the van. There were many bullet holes on the van. The agents approached the van every second. Ink and his company fired back from the holes with their machine pistols. The S.W.A.T. agents did not stop firing at the van. They continued approaching it at a normal pace and were still firing at it.

“Take off, goddamnit!” Ink yelled desperately.

“Ramone!” Pulitzer yelled. Ramone had his gun pointed at officer Lane, who was on the floor and panting. She was looking at the gun that was aimed at her and was calculating how she could get herself out of this predicament.

Ramone heard Pulitzer call out his name and regained his mind. He looked at the inside of the van and entered it. Scarman wasted no time. He accelerated before Ramone could even close the door. Lane quickly rolled aside so that the back tyre could not squash her. The criminals managed to get away from there, with no clear indication that the tyre Lane shot was affected.

“Officers down,” a S.W.A.T. agent said.

“They got away,” the captain said.

That night in Base District

The van stopped just outside the mansion, where Razor awaited with a pistol in his hand. He was very furious. Scarman stopped the van by him and got out of the vehicle. Ramone got out of the vehicle as well.

“So, that’s how you do things now, huh? Get yourselves exposed? Start a firefight with S.W.A.T. agents?” Razor asked.

As he spoke, Ink and the others got out from the back of the van. Ink had not been shot at all. Pulitzer was safe as well. The only one of the four who ended up shot was the one Lane shot in the knee. All four of them walked towards Razor. Razor saw them and became even more furious. He shot the injured goon in the head, killing him instantly.

“This isn’t what I told you to do, Ink,” Razor said.

“Hey, why’d you kill him? Men are expensive nowadays,” Ink said as he walked towards Razor.

“You want me to kill you instead, huh? Is that what you want?” Razor asked.

He was still holding up his gun. Ink could see that Razor was ready to shoot him if he tested his patience. He looked at the gun and saw that it was loaded. He then looked at Razor and did not say a thing.

“You made the first headline today. You were supposed to get out of there unseen. That would have been a far better message. Now, everyone is gonna start having a backbone,” Razor said. He walked away from Ink and waved his arms around like a mad man. He was very stressed over the matter.

“If you would at least give us a chance to talk-,” Razor immediately turned around and shot the goon in the head. Ramone witnessed all of this. He was dead silent. He watched the lifeless body fall to the ground. He knew that there, there was no chance of survival at all. It was instant death. He somehow felt that if he said anything, he would suffer the same fate. He stayed quiet in fear disguised as respect.

“I managed to get Tender and Lighty out today. You’re taking them with you tomorrow and you pull a real heist, seeing as how you love attention. All of you! Got it?” Razor asked. Nobody else had anything to say. They looked at each other and waited for someone to say something. Nobody had the courage to say anything, in fear of being shot in the head for it. Razor did not even wait for an answer. He stormed up the stairs and into his mansion, leaving everyone there wondering just where they would be allowed to sleep.

The Riker household

“What? You failed your math test? A D-?” Christine asked. She was very mad about it. The whole family was in the living room. The television was broadcasting the news channel, which was talked about the failed robbery. She was standing in front of Johnny, who was sitting in the couch and was speechless. She was intentionally blocking his view of the television.

“Well, mom, it really isn’t that bad,” he said.

“Not that bad? How do you get a D- when you’re an A student?” she asked.

“It’s like a shift in the economy, mom. One day it’s the best, the next day it’s second best,” Johnny said.

“Oh, don’t try and justify yourself, young man. To think that I actually forgot how lazy you are when it comes to maths. I actually believed you were finally on track with it,” she said.

“I am on track with it,” Johnny defended.

“Then what is this? What’s this D-? You think this is a joke?” she asked.

“It’s not a joke, mom. I just think you’re overreacting-,”

“So now I’m overreacting, is it?” she asked him, interrupting him. He sighed and leaned back on the couch he was on. He even wiped his face and shook his head slowly. He was not in the mood for this. He just wanted it to be over quickly.

“You may not take maths seriously, but this unit will ruin your life if you carry on like this. I, as you mother, will not let this happen. Your father-Rey, are you even listening?” she asked.

“I’m actually trying to listen to the news, darling,” Rey said, “you’re blocking my view and your conversation with Johnny is too darn loud.”

“He is your son, Rey. Don’t you care about his future?” she asked. Rey stopped focusing on the television and looked at her. He was sitting to Johnny’s left. He actually had no words for that.

“Now, Christie, we all care about Johnny’s future here. We’re a family. It’s what we do. We care about each other,” Rey said.

“Then why aren’t you saying anything?” she asked.

“What do you want me to say, Christie? I can’t yell at him for failing a math test. It’s done. It won’t change anything,” Rey said.

“Oh, Mr. Riker, what an inspiration you are,” she said sarcastically.

“Young man, tomorrow, you’re coming with me to work, and you will do all the accounting work,” she said.

“Accounting work? Isn’t that post-graduate stuff?” Johnny asked.

“That’s not my problem,” she said.

“Dad, say something,” Johnny pleaded.

“Honey, maybe going to work tomorrow isn’t a good idea. You should probably wait until these bank robbers are apprehended,” Rey suggested.

“You have no say in this at all, Mr. My decision is final. Tomorrow, you’re coming to work with me, and you’re going to do all the accountants’ work. Understood?” she asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Johnny murmured. He was angry and clearly showed it with his facial expression. He had even crossed his arms at that point. He was not even looking at her when he answered. He was looking elsewhere.

“What was that?” she asked.

“I said yes, ma’am!” he exclaimed angrily, shocking everyone there. Even Reynold looked at Johnny and wondered where all of that came from. Rey was briefly scared of Johnny when he saw and practically felt his son’s anger flaring the way it did. Christine lost all her authority when Johnny raised his voice at her. She was almost petrified by the sound of his voice. It really did frighten her. Her eyes widened and her index finger, which was pointed at him, bent a little bit. She still could not believe what had just happened. Rey was trying to deny what just happened in his head. He believed that it happened, but did not want to, and tried his best to fool himself into thinking that it did not.

Johnny did not calm down straight away. He looked at Christine right in the eyes and could see her fear. That did not bother him at all. In fact, he even stood from the couch and went up the stairs to his room. They all heard the door slam shut. It was so hard the house itself shook.

Not long after, Johnny emerged from the kitchen with a glass of milk in his right hand. He went up the stairs once more. This time, they did not hear the door slam shut. They did not even hear it open.

“Did he just raise his voice at me?” Christine asked, finally gaining some mobility. Reynold went back to watching television, as if nothing had just happened. He was not interested in what was going on around him with his family. He got his mind as far away from there as possible and wanted to keep it solely focused on the television.

Rey exhaled and raised both his eyebrows. He remained silent for some time, trying to find the best way to break it down to her without instigating or implying anything he did not want to. He looked at Reynold and saw that even though he was right there, he was actually very far from there.

“You know what, Christie, just let it go. It’s a teenager thing,” he said.

“I’ve never seen Reynold react like that before,” she said.

“You’ve never seen Johnny react like that before. This is the only time you’ve seen that,” he said. Christine was speechless. She gasped before stuttering so many times, just trying to figure out exactly what was going on with Rey. He was so passive regarding the matter, and just accepted everything the way it was, almost as if he had been mentally prepared for such a thing for a long time.

“I can’t believe how okay you are with this,” she said.

“I’m not okay with it. I’m just…[exhales]…I’ll go talk to him after he cools down,” Rey said. Christine relaxed a bit. She was trying realy hard to get back to normal. She then went to the kitchen and came back with a glass of water. She was drinking from the cup of water hastily. She sat next to Rey and continued to drink from the cup until she finished it without stopping.

“I just think you’re stressed because of today with the robbery and all,” Rey said.

“I’m not stressed. I’m just worried about our boy’s future,” she replied.

“It’s just one test, Christie. He has a whole year to improve. You don’t have to worry about it,” Rey said. She did not reply. She stayed quiet and watched what was being broadcast on the television. Rey wanted to continue talking to her, but saw that it would not make much of a difference then. He decided to save it for another time, seeing as how he was fiercely focused on the news broadcast.

Later

Johnny was doing sit-ups with his legs under his bed. It looked like he had been doing it for hours, because he was sweating and breathing hard. Even with that, he was moving at a normal pace, as if he had just started. He heard a knock on the door but ignored it and continued with the sit-ups. He did not want to see anyone at that time. He went on and on then heard another knock on the door. He stopped with that sit-ups and sighed.

“Come in,” he said.

The door opened slightly with a small white flag poked into the room from the hallway. It was spun twice before the door was opened further, revealing Rey, who did so, uncertain of what would happen if he got too comfortable. Johnny was just looking at him. He stood up and faced the door. Rey entered the room and closed the door behind him.

“I come in peace. Don’t cut me down,” Rey said. Johnny looked down, feeling embarrassed. He smiled then scoffed before shaking his head. He then sat on his bed. Rey went to sit on the bed as well, next to Johnny and close to the pillow. Rey did not say anything at first. He just fiddled with the small white flag for a while as Johnny watched curiously.

“You know, they gave me this in my job before I was a cop. They told me that it could be used if you want to surrender. Of course, in my field of work, we weren’t allowed to surrender to the enemy under any circumstance. It was an in-joke we had. [Chuckles alone awkwardly.] Wasn’t very funny, though. We just-uh-yeah, well…” Rey said. He was very uncomfortable with this whole situation. He was not scared. All of this was actually very awkward to him. In all his years as a father, he never imagined himself having to talk to his children about this. Johnny was silent. He was waiting to hear what Rey was actually there to say.

“You know, in all these years we’ve known each other, I’ve actually never really had a profound conversation with you. Sure, we’ve had our laughs, our jokes, we get along well, heck, we even saved Shane Thompson together, but we’ve never had a heartfelt conversation, you know,” Rey said.

“I don’t really see the need for a heartfelt conversation,” Johnny said.

“Yeah. You don’t. Neither do I. But psychologists recommend this for improving parent-children relationships or something. Thing is, we have to work on our relationship, and you have to build one up with your mom. You need to start seeing how the real world works. Don’t take this thing tomorrow as punishment. Take it as a chance for bonding. You mom has a lot of interesting stories, you know,” Rey said.

“You want me to go with her too?” Johnny asked. Rey could sense the reluctance surging through Johnny, but he had to take a stand as a parent. Not all of his decisions had to be mutually agreed. He nodded confidently.

“Go with your mother tomorrow just to see how things work there,” Rey said.

“I’m not interested in banking,” Johnny insisted.

“Yeah. You’ve kind of made that clear a while ago. What are you interested in?” Rey asked. Johnny did not even have to think about his answer. It was like it was pre-programmed to come out if somebody asked him that same question.

“Anything that pays well,” he said.

“Banking pays well,” Rey said.

“Yeah, but it’s not really something I’d do. It’s got math in it and I’m just really tired of math,” Johnny explained.

“So all that stuff you told your mother last night about your grades was a lie?” Rey asked. Johnny felt even more ashamed of himself. He shrugged his shoulders as slowly and cluelessly as he could, as there was no answer that he could give that he was comfortable with.

“I hate math. [Stands up.] I just really don’t mind a job that’s fun that pays a lot. Just that everything revolves around maths for some reason,” Johnny said.

“Be a teacher, a tour guide, anything that guarantees you money at the end of the day,” Rey instructed.

“I could be an actor or a singer. I made this really cool song up. It could be a hit if people listen to it,” Johnny said. He seemed to cheer up when he spoke. He smiled for the first time in hours. Rey did not feel any remorse when he cut the fuse short with an unexpected remark.

“Nothing related to the entertainment world. No acting, no singing, no stunting, no directing, screenplaying, producing or anything of the sort. Don’t even think about becoming a comedian,” Rey said.

“You took out all the good options. And my jokes aren’t that bad,” Johnny said.

“Comedians’ jokes aren’t funny. They just know how to make them funny,” Rey said, “but that’s beside the point. The point is, you should have at least the feintest idea of what you’re gonna do with your life. That’s something to think about.” Johnny nodded slowly, having understood what his father had said to him. He accepted the information and instructions he was given. He was still very reluctant when it came to going to the bank with his mother. He was not looking forward to doing all the work that she said he would have to.

“Just try to see what it’s like to work at the bank. If you don’t like it, we’ll leave you alone to decide what direction to follow. Just be sure it secures your future,” Rey said. He stood up from the bed, having said what he had planned to. He hoped that he had gotten the message through to his son, but knew that he could not do much more. He walked towards the door slowly as he looked around to see what was in the room. He got to the door and opened it.

“You should go shower after this. Smells like a gym in here,” Rey said. He went out of the room and into the hallways before closing the door. He sighed in relief, having completed his task. The house was silent, as everyone was in their room except for himself. He walked to his bedroom, which was at the end of the hallway, close to the stairs which led down to the living room. He was careful to tread silently so as not to wake anyone up. When he got to the door, he opened it and entered his room, only to find Christine already wrapped up in the sheets. He went to lie beside her and removed all of his clothes until he was only in his boxers. He put the clothes on the floor and covered himself up.

“I talked to him,” he said.

“Hmm,” she said. Her voice sounded almost hoarse, as she had been asleep for a few moments before he woke her up. She did not sound interested in what he had to say.

“He’ll be going with you tomorrow,” he said. As he said this, he made himself comfortable and slightly repositioned himself. He laid on his back and was looking at the ceiling as he talked to her.

“That was never a doubt,” she affirmed. She said so with such low energy that it surprised him that she even spoke at all. What surprised him more was her response. He even turned his head to look at her.

“I actually think that you’re blowing this out of proportion, Christie,” he said. She sighed in disgust. That comment is what finally brought her back to life. She even turned around so that she could face him as she talked to him.

“What? Just what am I blowing out of proportion?” she asked.

“This whole idea of taking him to the bank. It’s dangerous these days, Christie. I don’t think exposing him to these kinds of threats is good for him,” he stated.

“Nothing is going to happen. Everything will go the way it always does. We don’t have to worry about his safety because he is going to be safe. We are all going to be safe,” she said.

“That’s not a guarantee,” he insisted. He spoke to her with a gentle voice and she talked to him with hostility. She did not care or want to hear what he had to say about these things. She had already made up her mind. She wanted to educate Johnny the only way she saw how. Nothing would stop her from doing this.

“Guarantee? What guarantee do you want? That is the most secure bank in Shell City. One of the most secure banks in the state. They failed to rob it today,” she said.

“That just means that they’ll try again some other time,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean they’ll do it tomorrow. What are they trying to prove?” she asked.

“They robbed two banks yesterday. Today they came after your bank. Don’t you see? Your sarcastic question actually has an answer. They’re trying to prove that they can. They will try again,” he said.

“And they’ll fail again, like they did today,” she said. He grunted, having had enough of the conversation. He turned so that she would face his back and made himself comfortable. He exhaled and tried to calm himself down and get some sleeping done. She found that to be very rude but decided not to talk about it. She also grunted and turned back to her original position from before Rey woke her from her moment’s rest. Things were very fired up. She was so angry that she found it hard to stop herself from breathing hard. It was actually something quite unbelievable, the way he took this whole situation. It was like he was not interested, like he did not care, according to her. She saw this as an opportunity to actually try to help Johnny in his struggle of choosing what he wanted to do in life, but she saw that she was the only one who actually thought that way. She felt like it was a burden that they should both share as parents, but that he was ignoring. Not wanting to continue talking about the same thing over and over again, she decided to keep her opinions to herself.

The next day

Reynold was standing outside the bathroom, shirtless and with a towel around his waist. He was looking very impatient as he waited there for Johnny to come out. He could hear the shower running when he pressed his ear against the door. He sighed disappointedly. He wanted to enter the bathroom so bad. He knocked on the door very hard.

“Come on, man. You’ve been in there fore half an hour already! I’ve got football practice in a few minutes! I’m already late as it is!” Reynold shouted. Just then, the shower stopped, and he heard that. He finally began to have hope, and started to regain that long lost patience. He got himself ready to enter the bathroom, but noticed that the doors were not opening for him. He did not hear any activity going on in the bathroom. Nothing was happening at all. He pressed his ear harder against the door but could not hear anything still.

Johnny opened his bedroom’s door and walked into the hallway. He looked at Reynold with a curious facial expression. Reynold saw him coming from his room after hearing the door close. He nearly gasped in shock but kept it together. It seemed that he should have been used to that.

“Hey, who you talking to?” Johnny asked. He was fully clothed and was dry. He walked comfortably and curiously towards Reynold. Reynold stopped pressing his ear against the door and looked at Johnny. He examined his brother very well as he tried to figure out just how he used to do that. In fact, that was the only question anybody would ask in that situation. It was the question that he just had to ask.

“How do you do that?” Reynold asked.

“Do what?” Johnny asked cluelessly. Reynold did not know how he could even begin to describe the sequence of things going on in his mind. He looked at the bathroom door then looked at Johnny’s bedroom door.

“You were in the bathroom. How’d you appear in your room?” he asked. Johnny looked back at his door when he stood before Reynold. He laughed a little then looked at the bathroom door.

“Oh, that. I’m a teleporter,” Johnny said. Reynold was awestruck by that response. He had an immediate answer which he wanted to give out but then stopped himself and thought about it. He rationalized that all the weird things that happen with Johnny had that very simple explanation: he is a teleporter. It seemed so believable, yet far-fetched. He did what anyone else would do in his place.

“Get out of town. You probably went to your room when I went to get my towel,” Reynold said. Johnny then had a blank facial expression. If he were a cartoon character, it would have been a moment in which his mouth would disappear and his eyes would remain at a constant size as he silently stared at his brother. He had no words at all to describe what he was thinking after not being believed when he told the pure truth. This was actually a very valuable lesson to him.

“You know what, let’s just go with that. I gotta get going. See you later,” Johnny said. He just spoke so suddenly and out of nowhere. It was obvious that he was not really willing to explain anything at the time. He walked past Reynold, who became even more puzzled due to Johnny’s reaction to his denial. Reynold turned around to look at his brother as he walked away wondering just what was up with him. He then tried to forget that whole scenario and opened the door to the bathroom. He entered it and felt so relieved when he was there that he even closed his eyes and inhaled with a big smile. It was only then that an important question popped up in his head: how did the showers stop running if no one was there to do it? He opened his eyes widely and looked around curiously.

Johnny got to the stairs and saw that Christine was seated in the living room, already dressed for work and waiting for him. He was wearing the usual clothes: a white t-shirt with black, horizontal stripes all over it and black jeans with white shoes that had black sections in the front and back. The shoes were clearly sports shoes. When he saw that she was too distracted by the television she was watching, he teleported and appeared in the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and took a carton of milk from it. He opened it and drank from it directly. He drank from the two liter carton until only half of it was filled. He then put the carton back in the fridge after wiping his mouth. He took a slice of ham from a packet and went to search for bread. He found sliced bread. He took two slices and put the ham in between them. He started eating the bread as he made his way to the living room.

Christine saw him emerge from the kitchen with the bread in his hand. He saw that she looked directly at him. He stopped chewing the bread in his mouth and stopped walking. She stood up and took her handbag.

“Come. Don’t just stand there. Let’s go,” she said.

It was still early on in the morning, so that was not much traffic in the city. The drive from Stockley was quite calm and steady. There were no accidents, no incidents, no traffic jams, nothing at all. Christine and Johnny barely spoke to each other the whole way. That is, until they stopped by a traffic light, which was taking its time to turn green.

“So…uhm…are you excited about today?” she asked. He looked at her with an awkward facial expression then looked at the road ahead once again. Of all the questions she could ask him, she had to pick the one question that had a very obvious answer. In her defense, there was not much she could ask him. They had a very open relationship. She knew a lot about him, but he did not know much about her. It was not going to be this day in which he would actually end up finding out about her, as it could be seen that some of the emotions he felt the night prior were still present, including his reluctance.

“Not really,” was his reply. It was brief and in a low tone. It was still audible enough for her to hear clearly. After speaking, he looked out his window and avoided all eye contact with her. She looked at him and noticed that he was really not in the mood for small-talk with her. She then looked at the traffic light and saw that it had just turned green. She accelerated before the cars behind her blew their horns.

“Wouldn’t you want to spend some quality time with your mother?” she asked.

“Quality time isn’t time to be spent doing other people’s work,” he said. She looked at him once again and felt bad. She wanted to reach out to him so that she could say something to him, but could not do so because she was driving. She remained silent and just slightly bit her lips.

Uptown Central Bank

There was a parking space for employees behind the bank building, and that was where Christine went to park her car. The parking space was four floors high. She parked her car there and got ready to get herself out of the car. Johnny sighed tiresomely then opened the door to leave the car. He left the car and so did she. Both closed their doors at the same time and started walking towards the elevator door as Christine electronically locked the car. They went into the elevator and did not say a word to each other about anything. They did not even look at each other and just stood next to each other as the elevator doors closed.

The doors opened on the ground floor, which was where Christine worked. She smiled at all the co-workers who greeted her as she made her way to her post with Johnny in tow. He had a bored facial expression and walked with no motivation at all. He had both his hands in his pocket and was clearly upset. He walked past a couch on which a man was sitting and was tinkering with his cellphone. This man was none other than Ink. He looked up at Johnny as he walked past him. He then looked at his cell phone again and shook his head.

Christine got to her post and Johnny stood on the client side. He looked at her menacingly as he waited for her to tell him what to do. She only fiddled with her handbag for a while and did not mind him at all. He stood there like a customer who was being ignored. He even looked around to see if anybody was watching so that he could maybe just rip her head off. She took a piece of paper from her handbag and gave it to him.

“Just hold on to that for a while,” she told him. He looked at the paper and saw that there was a series of equations which would normally be found in an algebra exam. He read them and tried to make sense of them but could not. He then looked at her and wondered just why she was doing this with him.

“I don’t get it. What am I supposed to do with this?” he asked her.

“Hold on to it,” she said. He sighed impatiently then looked around once more. There were a lot of people there who were busy with all sorts of things. Some people did look at him occasionally, and that stopped him from causing a scene right there. That was not the kind of attention he would have liked.

Christine got her cell phone from her handbag. She then dialed a number and put the phone by her hear. She waited a few seconds before the person picked up.

“Yeah. I’m already with him. Where are you?” she asked.

 

[Please like ‘Renegade Books’ on Facebook for more updates on when the new parts will be uploaded.]

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #3: Heist III

Upon hearing the end of the speech, something began to make sense to him. It took him a couple of seconds to finally come up with the right conclusion. “Wait…even the seniors know about this?” he asked.

“I told you she’s dangerous,” Kurt said. He said this while sitting back on the chair. He had that ‘I told you so’ look in his face and sure sounded a lot like he wanted to actually say that out loud.

“Hell, your chances with the girls in school have lowered drastically. Dude, I told you not to pursue a relationship,” James said.

“Hey, leave him alone. He really likes this girl. Just let him do what he wants,” Jared said.

“Well, yeah, we should. Olay, back to the point: you need to get that testosterone out of your brain and eyes and back where it belongs if you wanna join the team. We need guys who can concentrate on the field, not guys who lose their minds watching a bunch of girls performing acrobatics,” Reynold said. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #3: Heist II

The 30th Precinct

Rey walked into the precinct and was astounded with the level of activity taking place there. There was a lot of paperwork being worked on and the officers were moving up and down. There was so much happening in the precinct. It was like an ant farm, the way people were just moving up and about. He felt like a child lost in an amusement park, as he had no idea where to go or where to start talking to people. There was one thing that was on his mind, though, and it was something that would not leave until he acted upon it. He could not avoid the very obvious question he was about to ask. He just had to. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #3: Heist

Downtown Shell City

20:00 Hours

There were many people walking around that area that night. It was a casual evening. Nothing major was going on. No interesting stories had gone on for a while then, as nothing really happened in the city the past few days. This left the people around carefree, not expecting anything to happen. After all, they were all assured that the city’s finest could get the job done due to the heroic act of Rey Riker when he was saving Shane Thompson: one of the richest people in the world, who just so happened to reside in this highly regarded city. The citizens were all happy, going about their business, all over the place.

Outside Shell City Bank, which was located in Downtown, Mainlan, it was the same situation. It was situated in between two buildings, which were not so tall, but not too short. They could not be short, because they were part of the skyscraper jungle that existed in the city. The bank was painted white on the outside and had pillars which were styled in ancient Greek fashions. There were four of them on the outside of the building. The door of the bank was brown in colour and could be accessed only after someone climbed the flight of stairs to get to it. It was a two-floor building. The two guards who stood, guarding it, right outside the door, had shotguns with them that were ready to fire at anyone who would try anything funny with them. Continue reading

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Karl, The Mercenary I

#1 – Mr. Karl Meets Stranger!

 

Once upon a time-uh-that’s how they start stories right? So, mine begins at this pub around 9pm, sitting in the counter and taking a sip of the finest and shitiest Vodka of Jello neighborhood. Right. We can start from there. I was savoring my drink, and this man in a black suit and sunglasses is looking at me. Who the fuck wears sunglasses in a pub? So, with no fear for his life he sat there by my side, still looking at me, asks me if I’m the famous Deserted Soldier. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #2: Fight Club V

The cage door opened and the announcer went into the ring. He was disheartened deep down but hid it from the audience. He was a short, plump, Caucasian man. He was followed by the cleaners. The cleaners were there to pick Rhett up.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Pitbull wins it!” the announcer shouted on the microphone. The crowds cheered even louder for Johnny. He was happy to be the center of attention again. He really enjoyed the crowds chanting his alias.

Ivan was silent. Ramone was also silent. They both looked at each other and shook hands, understanding that they had both lost a lot of money betting against the winner. They both started to walk away in the same direction as the other high-ranking criminals took their seats.

“We should follow these clean-up guys,” Rey said.

“Yeah,” Duncan said. They both stood up and followed the cleaners as they dragged Rhett outside. The cleaners threw Rhett out of the warehouse, and he landed next to the fighter from the previous match, who was still unconscious. Romany was not far behind the two policemen.

Johnny was smiling as the people cheered for him. He was so happy that he decided to unmask himself. He did so and revealed his face to everyone there. He raised his hands and yelled triumphantly.

“I’m rich! I’m rich! I’m so loaded!” James shouted excitedly as he looked at the betting results. He stood from the stool he was sitting on and started running around happily. Everyone else in the area glared at him. It seemed that nobody in that area had bet on Johnny except for James. He had just taken all of their money for himself. Nobody was happy about this. He was cheering as he ran around.

Outside

Rey and Duncan went to where Rhett’s unconscious body was. He regained consciousness and was struggling to get himself to stand up. Rhett groaned and slightly raised his head, trying to see where he was. Everything was a blur to him. He could hear a continuous hiss and was still trying to figure out what had happened to him and where he was.

“Rhett Reye,” Rey said. Rhett did not recognize the voice at all. He always imagined it would be Romany’s voice he would hear first after regaining consciousness. This was not the case, apparently, as the voice was definitely not his friend’s.

“Yeah,” he said. He was starting to regain his sight, but could not see the person he was talking to, as he was lying on his belly and the policemen were coming from behind him.

“You need to come with us,” Duncan said. He and Rey helped each other as they lifted Rhett off the ground and held him up, with his arms over his shoulders. He was still pretty dizzy and was shaking his head, trying to rid himself of that sensation.

“Who the hell are you?” he asked.

“SCPD. We’re here on behalf of your uncle, you little runaway,” Rey said.

“My uncle?” Rhett asked. He was shocked. He could not recall having an uncle who would send policemen for him. His confused facial expression had Rey and Duncan confused as well. They looked at each other and could see in each other’s faces that they had a real problem.

Johnny was smiling happily as he put his shirt on, which he had left under a chair. The pants and shoes were not there. His smile waned upon discovering that, but he then shrugged his shoulders, not caring, as he knew that he had just won far more than enough money to have them replaced. James went to him and had four brief cases of money in his hands. He was so excited that he was shaking with an extremely weird smile.

“Dude, I love you, man. I love you so much,” James said.

“I’m glad you can make so much money out of my suffering,” Johnny said sarcastically.

“Hey. You actually enjoy fighting. Don’t try to argue with that. You enjoy fighting and I enjoy making money out of it,” James said, “It’s a win-win thing.”

“Speaking of that, let’s go meet up with Ivan outside,” Johnny said.

“Come on,” James said. Johnny then led the way to the doorway they entered from. There were many people who were still entering the place. James looked around to see if people were watching him. He had already grown fond of the money he had, and would hate for anyone to take it from him without his consent. Johnny was not worried at all. He was completely comfortable in this situation. They got to the bouncers by the passage way. The bouncers stopped them.

“Hey. Exit’s the other side,” the closest one said.

The duo sighed then turned around. They started walking to the door that they could see on the other side. It was the door that Rhett had been thrown out from. Johnny did not seem to realize that and neither did James.

Ivan and Ramone were by Ramone’s car, which was right outside the warehouse. It was a black SUV. One of the back doors was opened for Ramone to enter.

“It was decent fight. Pity the boy did not pick up win,” Ivan said, “We have lost incredible amount of money.” Ramone lighted a cigarette and put it in his mouth before he started smoking it. He inhaled as Ivan spoke to him then exhaled when he was done speaking.

“Yeah. Pity. Can’t have someone lose me that much money after promising so much. Gonna have to take care of him,” Ramone said.

“What you have in mind?” Ivan asked. Ramone whistled. The four men in his car stepped out of the car and stood before Ramone and Ivan. One of them was the man that Rhett had beaten up in the bar: Scarman. They all stood ready to receive orders given by their boss.

I want you to go and kill that kid I told you about. He should be right outside the place, got his ass whooped unconscious, probably into a coma. I don’t want any witnesses,” Ramone said.

“Yes, sir,” Scarman said. The others that were with him were Fidget, Lighty and Tender. Those were, of course, their pseudonyms. They all nodded and started walking towards where Rhett was. They pulled their guns out and walked with them in the open. They were not afraid to be seen with weapons. To them, it was like walking around with a chocolate bar. It was evidently normal for them to do so.

“Yeah, your uncle. He’s a Captain. Captain Russo, you heard of him?” Rey asked Rhett.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Rhett asked. Rey and Duncan looked at each other. They were walking while holding Rhett up. They stopped walking as they began to wonder just what was wrong with this situation. Who else could they be talking to rather than the Captain’s nephew? It could only be him. Why could he not know who his uncle was, even though he is a police Captain? That would be a pretty well-known person in the family.

Romany burst out the door in a hurry, looking for his friend. He looked at Rhett and saw the predicament he was in. Feeling an overwhelmingly high impulse, he ran towards the two policemen and tackled Rey to the ground from behind. All of them fell to the ground. Duncan quickly reached for his gun. He pulled it out and pulled the trigger four ties, intent on shooting Romany. Nothing happened. No bullets launched from the gun. He then remembered that he was stripped of his ammo. He then decided to act without his weapon. He lunged at Romany to punch him. Rhett took the opportunity to stand up and try to run. Rey grabbed Rhett’s foot and make him fall again. Rhett stood up and tried to kick Rey in the face with his loose foot. Rey held it in his other hand and they stayed on the ground as they struggled.

“Who the hell do you think you are? Who?” Duncan asked Romany.

“I’m not talking,” Romany said. Duncan punched Romany in the face. Romany grunted. The back of his head bounced off the ground. Duncan did not ask for anything before tightening his grip on Romany’s neck and slamming his head into the ground again. Romany felt a lot of pain from that. He grunted again. He could not even struggle against Duncan because the grip on his neck was dangerously tight.

“You don’t wanna talk? Fine. We’ll just bring you in for attempted murder and assaulting a police officer,” Duncan said.

“Y-you’re cops?” Romany asked.

The quartet that was sent to kill Rhett was getting ready. They all set their guns when they saw Rhett up ahead, struggling with Rey. Scarman was in front of the others. He was most determined to get the job done. He wanted to kill Rhett most of all. He walked quickly as compared to the others. He could not stand the sight of him and wanted to eradicate him.

“Yeah. And you just pissed us off,” Duncan said. He was dead serious about that. He was very angry at Romany for having made the situation difficult. He tightened his grip and Romany began to struggle for his life.

“Wait. Wait. Wait. I thought you were hired guns,” he said. His voice was hoarse. Duncan had a hard time understanding what he said. He did understand it in the end, though.

“Hired guns? What for?”  he asked.

“Rhett’s in danger. They’re after him. They’re gonna kill him,” Romany explained.

“Who?” Duncan asked.

“Let’s take care of this guy and go. I got some good hones waiting on me to lay the pipe,” Fidget said. The quartet aimed their guns at Rhett, who ended up noticing that. He opened his eyes widely and was shocked. He saw Scarman there and came to think that he was there for vengeance.

Rey saw the quartet approaching them with guns at the ready. He let go of Rhett. Rhett stood up quickly and so did Rey. They could not get themselves to move. They could only wait for what would happen next. Duncan looked up and saw what was happening. He let go of Romany and slowly stood up. Romany stood up as well. They all looked at the people holding up guns and aiming them at them, intent on killing them.

“Come on. Let’s get on with it,” Fidget said. They all aimed their pistols at the four people standing before them, who were clueless as to what was going on and why it was so. Rhett understood right away. He rushed towards them and they started shooting at him and the others. Some of the bullets hit Rhett in the torso. He blocked his face using his forearms. The bullets did not penetrate his skin. The rest of the group ran towards a safe place, which was within the warehouse.

James and Johnny opened the door and went outside. Several shots were fired at them. James blocked the ones meant for his face using the briefcases as Johnny gasped. They reacted quickly to the situation. Johnny pulled James back into the warehouse and closed the door before Rey and the others could get to it.

“What the heck is that all about?” James asked. He was breathing very hard and so was Johnny. They stayed against the door in order to keep the shooters out. They could still hear shooting outside, but would not open the door under any circumstances. It all came as a shock to them.

“Do you think they’re after your money?” Johnny asked.

“I hope not. I don’t wanna have to refuse,” James said.

Rhett got to the killers, who were all focused on shooting him. They were just wasting bullets. None of the bullets pierced his skin. They bounced off him and fell to the ground. He got to Scarman and punched the gun off his hand. Scarman swung at Rhett with his left arm. Rhett ducked, dodging that attack. He kicked Fidget, who stood next to Scarman on his left. Fidget grunted. Rhett back-hand punched Scarman, using his left fist. He then punched Fidget in the face. Fidget dropped his gun. Tender put his gun away and tried to punch Rhett. He was next to Fidget on his left. Rhett blocked the punch then punched Tender in the chest. Tender grunted. Fidget turned Rhett around then punched him in the face. Rhett turned around to face Tender. Tender punched Rhett in the neck. Rhett grunted. He kicked Tender in the tummy. Fidget grabbed Rhett by the hair and pulled him.

“Hey!” Romany shouted angrily. He ran towards the killers, followed by Rey and Duncan. Romany ran towards Lighty, who had run out of bullets. He ducked, dodging Scarman’s fist, which was as big as his face. Romany rushed past Scarman and attacked Lighty. He grabbed Lighty and pushed him back with his left hand as he continuously punched him in the tummy using his right fist. Lighty kicked Rhett in the side of his left knee. Romany grunted. Lighty punched him in the left ribs. Romany grunted again.

Rey and Duncan stood before Scarman. They noticed just how big he was. Scarman was not there for jokes. He was there for business. He was breathing hard as he glared at them. Rey was the first to strike. He punched Scarman in the chest. His fist bounced off the chest. He looked at Duncan. Duncan then kicked Scarman in the belly. Duncan made Scarman react slightly, but it was a good enough reaction for him to actually be sure that he did something that actually hurt. Scarman swung his right arm at Rey and Duncan. Rey ducked, dodging it, and slipped past Scarman. He got to Fidget. He turned Fidget around. Fidget was ready to fight. He immediately punched Rey in the face. Rey grunted. He ducked, dodging the second punch. He kicked Fidget in the tummy. He then kicked Fidget’s foot, making him fall to the ground. Rey then kicked Fidget in the face, knocking him out.

Duncan ducked, dodging a swing from Scarman. He punched Scarman twice in the chest. Scarman kneed him in the tummy. Duncan blocked a swing by Scarman. Duncan then proceeded to punching Scarman in the face. Scarman only became angrier. He growled. Scarman tried two wild, violent swings, which Duncan barely dodged. He was beginning to get scared of the huge man. After dodging the two punches, he uppercut Scarman. Scarman growled even louder and more fiercely than he did before. He struck Duncan in the face using his own. Duncan grunted and put his hand on his nose, which was bleeding. The pain was real. That strike might had actually broken his nose, as he could not take his hands off it. Scarman went for a quick jab. Duncan reacted quickly. He ducked then spun anti-clockwise and tried to kick Scarman. Scarman held his leg and threw Duncan to the ground. Duncan grunted when he landed. He got his hands away from his face to focus on the other parts of his body which were in pain.

Rhett jabbed his fist into Tender’s face. He did those twice more, switching fists each time. He then punched Tender in the face once then three times in the chest area. Tender went for a punch and Rhett punched Tender’s fist. Tender withdrew his fist and grunted. He looked at Rhett with a confused facial expression. Rhett did not give him time to ask himself questions. Rhett kicked Tender in the face then the belly. Tender grunted and became disoriented after the first kick. He bent down after the second kick. Rhett then roundhouse kicked Tender. Tender fell to the ground and was not going to get up any time soon.

Romany was struggling with Lighty. He was holding Lighty back by wrapping his arm around Lighty’s neck from behind. Lighty was putting up a fight but could not escape the grip. He was grunting as he waved his arms around, trying to set himself free. Romany was determined to keep him there. Rhett got to them. He was sweating all over his torso and back. He looked at Lighty angrily. He then punched Lighty in the corner of the mouth, knocking him out. Romany let go of him and he fell to the ground.

“Let’s go,” Rhett said.

“What about the cops? You just gonna leave them like this?” Romany asked.

“They keep talking about an uncle I have who works with them. These guys must be hired guns,” Rhett said. Romany did not believe that Rhett truly meant what he had just said. In any case, he let Rhett do what he wanted. They were already in enough trouble as it was. Perhaps it would be best if they really did just abandon the two policemen. It would not be a felony to do so, as they were not even under arrest. Upon reflecting on all of that, Romany nodded slowly, in approval of the course of action that Rhett had just suggested. They started running towards the person who had ordered this attack.

“Rhett!” Rey shouted. He was punched by Scarman in the face. Rey fell to the ground and was in pain. Scarman tried to stomp on him but he dodged it by rolling over. Scarman tried again and the same thing happened. Rey rolled backwards and ended up standing in a kneeling position and was looking at Scarman. His back cracked a little and he grunted. Scarman ran towards him. Rey lunged at him as well. Scarman caught him in mid-air and threw him to the steel fence, which was just a meter away. Rey bounced off it and fell to the ground. He could not get up.

Scarman looked at Rhett then ran after him. He was determined to get the deed done. This was not just business. It was actually something very personal. Scarman was not going to let Rhett escape without so much as a crippling injury.

“Maybe it’s safe to come out now,” James said.

“Let’s check it out,” Johnny suggested. James opened the door slightly. He and Johnny took a small peek inside. They saw how silent it was and saw that there were only two people there who seemed to be barely conscious. Johnny and James then looked at each other and smiled. They saw that they were home-free.

“Looks like the coast is clear. Come on, let’s move before these guys get up,” James said.

“And before Ivan gets away with my money,” Johnny said. They both ran out the door as quickly as they could. James was struggling to hold the briefcases which were full of money. They ran past Duncan, who did not recognize them at all. They did not recognize him as well. They did not even look at him, much less Rey, who was in a seated position against the fence. He was looking down, feeling weary and tired.

“Look who’s coming to die,” Ramone said to Ivan. They were still standing by the car. Rhett and Romany were running there. They then noticed Ramone aiming a pistol at them. They stopped and raised their hands. Rhett was ready to fight. His surrender was only meant to get him closer to Ramone so that he could kill him.

Scarman got to them. He held them both. He held Rhett by the hair and Romany by the shirt, from behind. He raised them both from the ground and walked with them until he got to Ramone. He then dropped them. Rhett had felt a lot of pain, as Scarman’s huge hands had a really firm grip on a large portion of his hair, and he had pulled it up in order to lift him.

“I told you to kill him. Why the hell are you bringing him to me?” Ramone asked.

“Maybe he thought it best to bring the boy here to see who would be his killer,” Ivan said. Ramone smiled with a bit of satisfaction and almost scoffed. He then looked at Scarman, who was silent and still. Ramone looked into Scarman’s eyes and saw that intent in him. He could sense the bloodlust that Scarman had, and could not help but allow him to do what he wanted.

“You can kill them both. I wouldn’t want to get my hands dirty,” Ramone said.

“With pleasure,” Scarman said. Rhett saw this as the perfect opportunity to strike. He was standing right in front of Ramone. He then looked at Romany, who was very scared of what was about to happen. He did not know that Rhett had actually planned for all of this to happen, or at least improvised a plan of some sort. Rhett quickly punched Ramone in the chest very hard. Ramone choked and started coughing. Rhett back-hand punched Ivan in the face. Ivan turned around in pain. Scarman elbowed Rhett in the top of his head. Rhett grunted and went down on his knees.

James and Johnny got to the scene. They saw Ivan pulling out a knife in order to stab Rhett. They did not see Rhett and Romany, as Scarman was obstructing their view. They approached the scene slowly.

“Ivan,” Johnny called out. Ivan stopped his approach and everyone stopped what they were doing. Rhett recognized that voice and could not believe it. He became angry upon hearing the voice of the one fighter who beat him. He stood up as everyone turned to look at the duo.

Johnny and James had absolutely no idea about what was actually going on. James, though, was feeling uneasy about something. He was very cautious about the gathering. He walked slowly, as compared to Johnny, who was walking casually. He was actually very comfortable there, which was something that could not be said about James. James even held the briefcases tightly, just so he could be sure that nobody would take them from him.

“Ivan” Johnny said, stopping before Ivan. Ivan did not put the knife away. Ramone did not hide his gun. Scarman, Rhett and Romany were just looking at the duo. The first thing Johnny noticed was the knife in Ivan’s hand. He paid no mind to it and proceeded to talking to Ivan as if there was nothing wrong with the scenario.

“Hey, you just left. Thought you were gonna stick around to congratulate me at least,” he stated.

“You lost me a lot of money, Mr. Riker,” Ivan said. Johnny’s happy facial expression died out, along with his very enthusiastic smile. He looked at James, who just pressed his briefcases against his chest.

“How-what? How did I lose you a lot of money? I won,” Johnny said.

“Exactly my point, Mr. Riker. You won, and you lost me a fortune,” Ivan said. It took Johnny some time to put it together but he eventually did on his own. He looked at everyone else, as they were all silent and were looking at him and Ivan.

“You bet against me,” he said.

“Precisely,” was Ivan’s reply. Johnny had a lot of questions to process. There was too much outrage for him to even think about it all. This was all very messed up.

“Why would you hire me if you just wanted me to lose for you?” he asked.

“I had to guarantee myself a loser. You were perfect. Unfortunately, you ended up being a natural-born fighter, like I sensed,” Ivan said. Johnny did not listen to anything Ivan said. He was more focused on one thing, which was just about the most important thing to him.

“So, I don’t get any money? I fought that guy and won, but I don’t get any money?” Johnny asked.

“Better to walk away with victory, other than not walk away,” Ivan said. His tone had turned into one of intimidation. It was not that friendly businessman tone that he had had the whole time. It did not get through to Johnny. He did not care what tone Ivan spoke to him with.

“I don’t want to hear any old sayings. All I want is my money. I didn’t tell you to bet against me,” Johnny said. Ramone laughed at Johnny, who was really losing his patience. He laughed in a very underrating way. He even shook his head slowly as he laughed. James was the scared one. He looked at the people around him and was starting to shiver a little bit, because he felt that they all wanted that money. He felt like the most vulnerable person there. He noticed the gun in Ramone’s hand and gasped silently. He did not want to give himself away as some sort of coward.

“I don’t think you have any idea who you’re getting yourself involved with, kid. Why don’t you just walk away from here before we introduce you to Base District, seeing as you’re not familiar with how things work here,” Ramone said.

“Hey. I didn’t talk to you, and I most certainly did not even look at you, so stay out of this. This is between me and Ivan,” Johnny said. James opened his eyes widely. He could not believe what Johnny was saying and to whom he was saying it. James was too scared to say anything. He lightly shoved Johnny’s arm, in an attempt to get Johnny to look at Ramone’s gun. Johnny shrugged James away.

“This kid’s got balls. Listen, you wanna die here tonight?” Ramone asked.

“Are you asking yourself that question? ‘Cause I can answer it for you,” Johnny remarked. Rhett rolled his eyes to look at Johnny while Romany turned his eyes to look at Johnny. They could not believe that someone in their right mind would actually be saying things like this. James could not believe it as well. He always knew that Johnny loved to fight, but not like this. These were people who would not hesitate to have them killed, yet Johnny showed absolutely no fear or hesitation.

Ramone laughed in a low tone then pointed his gun at Johnny’s face. Johnny inhaled deeply before exhaling. James’ heartrate was rising. He was building up a lot of adrenaline. Johnny did not move. He was petrified. James saw that Ramone was about to pull the trigger and decided to act. He had to do something to help save his best friend from trouble. James quickly lifted the briefcases. Rhett elbowed Scarman in the face. Scarman grunted. Scarman did not feel the pain he felt in the afternoon. This hit was softer in comparison to the others. Scarman hand-chopped Rhett in the side of the neck, knocking him unconscious. Romany turned around hastily and attempted to punch Scarman in the face. Scarman blocked the punch by holding Romany’s fist. He put his other hand at the back of Romany’s head and pulled it. He drove Romany’s fist into his own face, knocking him unconscious. Scarman then threw him aside.

“Put the fighter in the car. We’ll take him somewhere silent,” Ramone said. Johnny had Ivan against the car and was furious. Ivan was as calm as ever. Johnny was holding him down with his left hand. He had raised his right fist and wanted to punch him.

“I want my money. You wanna die, old man? Huh? You wanna die on American soil? Think you’re gonna be buried here too?” Johnny asked. Before he could punch Ivan, his fist was grabbed from behind and he was carried by the fist. It was Igor who was doing this. Igor effortlessly threw Johnny away. Johnny gasped in mid-air. He then fell to the ground on his back.

“Finish him, Igor,” Ivan said, “This Pitbull is of no use to its master.”

“Come on. Let’s go,” Ramone said. Scarman lifted Rhett’s unconscious body and threw it into the trunk like it was nothing. He did not care how the body was positioned after the throw. He did not even look at it. He closed the trunk and went to the driver’s seat in the front. Ramone and Ivan entered the car and sat on the back seats. Johnny and James were backing away from Igor as he walked towards him and smiled a sadistic smile. The duo was shivering in fear as they backed away. Igor was breathing hard as he smiled. He was very anxious to get his hands on the teenager.

“You sure you don’t want to negotiate first?” Johnny asked.

“He doesn’t look like he wants to negotiate,” James said. His voice was very thin, as he did not know who he could show any sort of confidence in this situation. Johnny was not feeling as amped as he usually would be. He did not want to pick a fight with someone like Igor.

Igor yelled happily as he punched James square in the face. James did not see that hit coming. He fell to the ground on his back. Johnny worriedly looked at James. Nothing would be more useful to him than his power of teleportation. Unfortunately, he could not concentrate well enough to completely disappear from where he was and get to a safe place. He still had not fully mastered his power of teleportation. He realized that there was only one way out of this situation: he had to fight.

He regained his fists in an amateurish way to, ready to fight as best he could. He started moving his fists in random circular patterns. He looked at Igor’s face and saw him smiling. That did not do a good job at keeping Johnny’s belief in himself. In fact, this made him lose even more motivation than before.

Igor punched Johnny in the side of the head, which was completely unprotected. Johnny clenched his fists so hard that they cracked. He jabbed at Igor’s face twice. Igor did not even react, due to the hits. He punched Johnny in the same spot again. Johnny grew annoyed. He punched Igor in the tummy. Igor grunted and took a step back. Johnny went for a punch which would have hit Igor in the chest. Igor dodged it then held Johnny and lifted him, with Johnny’s arm still stretched out, and threw him into a car. Johnny bounced off the car and fell to the ground on his belly. Johnny clenched his left fist so hard that it cracked. He then stood up and ran towards Igor. Igor laughed at Johnny and prepared himself for an attack. Johnny jumped and struck Igor in the face using his own. Igor grunted and took a few steps back. Johnny barely landed on his feet then looked at Igor, who was glaring at Johnny. Igor was not playing around anymore.

He tried to punch Johnny using his right fist. Johnny ducked, dodging it. Igor tried punching him using his left fist. Johnny ducked, dodging it. Igor swung his right fist at Johnny. Johnny blocked his face using his left arm. The impact from the hit, which was blocked, sent Johnny flying to his right for half a meter before bouncing off a car. He landed on his feet. Igor went for a punch towards Johnny’s belly. Johnny blocked the punch using both his forearms. That block got his feet off the ground for a second. Igor raised his extremely long leg and attempted to stomp on Johnny’s chest, who was still standing. Johnny blocked his chest using his forearms and fell to the ground. Igor rushed towards him and reached out to grab him. Johnny teleported and appeared standing. Igor gasped. Johnny quickly punched Igor in the nose. Igor grunted and backed away. Johnny teleported then appeared in a drop-kicking position. He managed to drop-kick Igor. Igor still remained standing. Johnny teleported and appeared on the ground. He tripped Igor by swinging his leg. Igor fell to the ground. James quickly stood up and went to where Igor was downed. He kicked Igor in the groin several times before stomping on it. He did not want to stop and seemed to be enjoying himself as he did so. Igor was in so much pain that he could not block any of the attacks made towards him. James was too fast and precise. He hit the groin a total of thirty two times before stopping and breathing hard as he recovered from the activity.

“That’s…what you get…you filthy gangster,” James said. He sounded out of breath. He put his hands on his knees. Johnny looked at James and noticed just how out of shape he was. James took time from his hard breathing to look at Johnny and say, “Not a word.”

Johnny did not say anything. He looked at where Ramone’s car was and saw that it was gone, along with Ivan. He became angry and saw that there was only one thing he could do. He looked at James and did not hide his angry facial expression. James was not on the same page as Johnny. He had no idea what was about to happen.

“James, you stay here. I’m gonna go get Ivan,” Johnny said.

“Are you crazy? You’re not making me wait here on my own with all these lunatics around me,” James said.

“Fine. Get a bus. Go home. We’ll meet up either tomorrow or in school,” Johnny said, He gave James no time to respond and started running. Johnny’s acceleration was so fierce that it shocked James into silence. He did not say a single word and just watched Johnny run in the direction that the car supposedly went in.

“That boy is quite rebellious. He would make good employee,” Ivan stated. He sat in the car and was next to Ramone. Scarman was driving at a moderate speed. He did not drive in haste, as he was not worried about witnesses nor the boy. He was relaxed and had a serious facial expression.

“He’s too insubordinate. Should’ve let Scarman take a shot at him,” Ramone said.

“Insubordination is only a hair out of place. You can comb your hair out of place, same as teaching young boy to be subordinate,” Ivan stated.

Johnny ran extremely fast. His steps were instantaneous and barely made a sound upon impact with the ground. He ran on the road, which was not so busy/ There were cars on it, and barely any pedestrians on the pavements. Johnny would not care if there were any pedestrians anyway. He ran after the car quickly and was catching up with it. He could see the tail-lights up ahead by several meters.

Scarman looked at the rearview mirror and saw that someone was catching up with the car. He could not see who it was exactly. He could only see a dark figure getting closer and closer to the car.

“Come on, slow down, you worthless piece of tin foil. I want my money,” Johnny said.

Rey stood up slowly and shook his head. He was still pretty shaken by the hit he had suffered. It seemed that it was no longer a time which he could pick a fight with just about anyone. It was just not like his glory days anymore. He took a few steps to get to Duncan, who was also getting up slowly. He grunted as he put his hand on his forehead. He could not recall what had just happened.

“Are you okay?” Rey asked. He exhaled after that. He was still in quite a bit of pain and felt like he just had to relieve it somehow. Exhaling was the only way he saw fit to do that. It was like a natural pain-remover.

“I’ll live,” Duncan replied, “The kid?”

He looked around the area and saw that no one was there. There was no sign of any commotion in the area. He then rationalized that they were alone there. “They must’ve taken him,” he said.

“We take these guys in, ask them where their boss likes to execute people. At least we’ll be able to find the kid’s body tomorrow,” Rey said. He said this as he picked Lighty from the ground and started to drag him towards a parked car. Duncan first only watched him do so, not believing what he had just heard. He then went to pick Tender up and started dragging him towards the car as well.

“I’m sorry. Did I just hear you suggesting we don’t get the job done on purpose?” Duncan asked.

“Calm down. I was only joking. I know where to go. I grew up here, remember?” Rey asked. Duncan was relieved to hear that. He did not want to fight about whether they should do their jobs or not. He saw it fit to get the job done, no matter what. That was what they were hired for. Rey got to the car and elbowed the window by the driver’s seat. The alarm started blaring. It was very loud. Duncan was about to panic. He did not want to be caught in this type of situation. Rey opened the door of the car, entered the car and hot-wired it. The alarm stopped blaring.

“Are you crazy? You can’t steal a car here,” Duncan said. He kept his voice down, but really wanted to exclaim that. It was an unbelievable sight to him.

“Actually, I can. This is Base District,” Rey said. He opened a back door and stuffed Lighty in. Duncan did the same to Tender. The two policemen got into the front doors. The criminals were not going to go anywhere. They were regaining consciousness and were beginning to wonder where they were. Rey noticed that. He then handcuffed them to each other while Duncan hand cuffed them to the seats they sat behind. Lighty was hand cuffed to the driver’s seat, which was Rey’s. Tender was hand cuffed to the passenger’s seat, which was Duncan’s.

“We should our ammo back. I’m not leaving it in the warehouse,” Duncan said.

“You got that right. I’ll go get that last guy there,” Rey said.

“What about the car? You can’t leave these guys here alone,” Duncan said.

“Don’t worry. I won’t be gone long,” Rey said. Of course, he did not have to worry about being gone too long. They would have to struggle to un-cuff themselves before they could get away.

Johnny was very close to the car at this point. He was close enough to be able to leap from where he was to the roof of the car, given he just added a boost using his extraordinary leaping ability. He was not tired and could not feel the effects of the running. He just ran as fast as he could and faster.

Scarman looked at the rearview mirror again and recognized the person running after the car. He did not warn the passengers before he put the pedal to the metal. The car went faster. Johnny was only a few feet away from the car before it accelerated. He growled angrily and ran even faster, trying to keep up with the car.

“What’s going on?” Ramone asked.

“Sorry, sir. It’s just…that kid is after us,” Scarman said. Ramone almost gasped. He kept his cool and turned around to see, as well as Ivan. They both saw Johnny, persisting after the car. He was barefoot and in shorts, yet he was running on a dirty road which did not lack broken glass which either came from broken bottles on the pavements or even the roads themselves.

“Some kid you picked up,” Ramone said.

“Okay. We kill him. Such a waste of good fighter,” Ivan said. Ramone lowered the window next to him and had his pistol in his hand. He aimed at Johnny as half of his body was outside. He shot at Johnny twice. One of the bullets barely missed him and he gasped. He did not take the hint and simply continued running. He was not going to give up. He ran even faster, getting closer to the car.

Ramone scoffed in disbelief. He had never met anyone like Johnny before. He even grew to regret wanting to kill him, but still stood by his decision. He aimed at Johnny properly. He smile with a satisfaction and was about to pull the trigger.

Scarman immediately turned the car to the other lane, dodging a large hole on the road. Ramone ended up pulling the trigger, shooting a corner shop’s window. Johnny continued running after the car. He was not going to give up. He got to the hole then continued running after the car. He was not going to give up. He got to the hole then jumped really hard towards the car. The car’s roof window opened up and Ivan popped out of it with a machine gun. He started shooting at Johnny, who was airborne and about to land on the car. Every bullet went to waste, as none of them hit Johnny. He landed on the roof of the car as Ivan went inside. Johnny held on to the edge of the gap left by the open roof window. He held on tightly to the car and tried to get himself in through the window.

Scarman saw that Johnny was on top of the car and was going to do something about it. He turned the car to the lane it was in before the hole on the road. He did it so violently and suddenly that Johnny ended up partly letting go of the car and sliding over to the side of the car. He slid to the side in which Ramone was and was hanging right outside Ramone’s window. Ramone aimed his pistol at Johnny then shot at him. Johnny let go of the car just before Ramone pulled the trigger. The bullet scraped his right shoulder. Johnny fell to the road and rolled on it uncontrollably as the car sped away. Johnny stood on his left knee in a kneeling position and was looking at the car. He decided to try his luck. He closed his eyes and concentrated.

He ended up appearing right in front of the car and opened his eyes. He did not have time to react before the car rammed him. His body went onto the hood then rolled onto the roof before falling to the road once again, behind the car. Scarman knew who he had hit, and continued driving. He would not give himself time to boast over having run over a fifteen-year-old later.

Johnny was not hurt. He grunted as he helped himself up slowly. He was afraid that something might have been broken. None of his fears were confirmed. He was unharmed, except for the graze left from the gunshot on his right shoulder. He looked at it and saw that the little blood visible had already dried up. He then looked at the car once again. He was determined to catch up to it. Nothing would hinder him from getting what he wanted. The car turned left on a corner not too far ahead from where Johnny was. Johnny looked at the top of the two floor building by which the car turned. He then appeared on the roof of the building and started running. He had to keep up with the car until he could find a way of stopping it from moving around so much.

He focused even harder and ended up appearing on the roof of the building across the road from the one he was on prior. He looked down at the car and saw it turn right at the corner of the building he was on. He did not need to do anything other than turn right by the corner of the roof. He stayed by the edge of the roof so that he could keep an eye on the car. There was a dark area under a network of highways visible. The car turned left to go in that direction. There were no buildings on either side of the car. There were only blocks of grass and pavements. The car ventured into the dark area and was parked under an overpass. Everyone left the car, except for Rhett, who was still in the trunk. Scarman went to open the trunk.

Johnny appeared standing on one of the grass blocks. He then crouched, as he could be hidden by the bushes which were bordered by steel fencing. He walked slowly towards the car in his crouching position.

Scarman opened the trunk and pulled Rhett out of it. He did not keep his hands on Rhett. He just pulled him to the point that he fell to the ground. Rhett grunted and tried to pick himself. He did not get a chance to, as Scarman kicked him in the tummy. He felt all of the pain of the kick. His tummy was wet due to the spilt alcohol in the trunk. Many parts of his body were wet, including the left side of his face. He saw that he was in real trouble.

“Come on. Get up. Get up, punk, get up,” Scarman said. Rhett was angry and scared at the same time. He could not do anything with his anger except let it be overcome by his fear. The effects that the lotion had on him wore off. He was wet on many parts of his body. He tried to get up and show a little backbone, but was kicked in the chest and fell.

“Get up! Get your ass up!” Scarman shouted. He raised his fist, ready to punch Rhett in the face. Ramone showed up and raised his right hand, stopping Scarman from proceeding. Ramone then grasped his suit by the chest area and walked towards the two. He looked at Scarman, who began to regain his composure. He then looked at Rhett, who was on the floor and was breathing heavily.

“Well, well, well. You’re a good fighter, Reye. You just weren’t good enough, now, were you?” Ramone asked. Rhett did not say anything. He only cared about getting himself up on his feet and doing whatever it took to get out of the situation alive. He stood up slowly and cautiously, expecting Scarman to hit him, which he did not. Rhett used the car for support as he stood up.

“So, you want to kill me because you bet on me and lost?” Rhett asked.

“Exactly,” Ramone said. He sounded so justified as he said that. He had a cocky look in his face, with his fancy suit and stylish haircut. He looked at Scarman and then at Ivan.

“How does that work?” Rhett asked. He was coughing, trying to get in some good oxygen into his lungs. He could not bear the physical torture he was going through.

“You’ve been quite a talented fighter. I put up a lot of money on you and you lost it tonight. What do you want me to do? Hire you and make you pay me back?” Ramone asked.

“That would’ve been better,” Rhett replied. Johnny was watching all of this from the shadows. He could clearly see that it was his former opponent who was in trouble. He did not care about him. He was looking for Ivan. Ivan was all he wanted there.

“That’s not how I work. I do this to keep amateurs like you away from the ring,” Ramone said. At this point, he had his gun pointed at Rhett. Rhett was too scared to move. He knew that the bullet fired from the gun would most likely pierce his skin. He kept his eyes on the gun, blocking out everything happening around him.

“You won’t find anyone better than me. I rule these streets,” Rhett said. Ramone looked at Scarman and they started laughing. Rhett could not feel anything other than fear due to the gun aimed at him. He had to put up with Ramone and Scarman laughing at him. Though it was not a loud, ongoing laugh, it was still very offensive to Rhett.

“You just got your ass handed to you so hard you bounced off the ceiling,” Ramone said.

“That was a lucky shot,” Rhett murmured. In his mind, that had not happened. It could not have happened. He pictured an entirely different scenario. He did not see himself as an inferior fighter as compared to Johnny.

“This place is where we like to kill people who are more trouble than they’re worth. See, you’re trash, and you’re not worth all that money I lost,” Ramone said.

“Hey, what is taking long? Kill him and let’s go. I have wife at home,” Ivan said. He appeared out of nowhere and was looking impatient. He had a very serious facial expression and the machine gun was still in his hands.

“Shut up, you old hag. I didn’t tell you to leave your ride somewhere else. Now, let me do this in my own pace,” Ramone said. He had lost his patience with Ivan. When he spoke, he still looked at Rhett and kept a very close eye on him with his gun still pointed at him. Rhett was not safe at all. He could not find a way out of this.

“Fine. Do what you want. But don’t come to me when you want to stash the body,” Ivan said.

“Asshole,” Ramone murmured. Just then, Johnny popped out of his hiding place. Everyone looked at him. Ramone aimed his pistol at Johnny, who raised his hands upon seeing that. Scarman got to Rhett before he could try to make a run for it. He grabbed Rhett by the neck and lifted him up, off the ground.

“Just who the hell are you? What the hell do you want?” Ramone asked angrily.

“I’m Johnny Riker, Pitbull, if you saw me fight. I actually don’t have a problem with you. I want my prize money from him,” Johnny said.

“What the hell are you doing here then?” Ramone asked.

Ivan saw who it was and was shocked more than he was angry. There was a lot of concern in his face. He could not believe what he was seeing. “Hey. Where’s Igor?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Johnny said. Ivan was irritated by that response. He raised the machine gun and aimed it at Johnny. Johnny took a step back and raised his hands higher, expecting to be shot any second.

“Hey. That’s the guy I ran over a couple of minutes ago,” Scarman stated. He also recognized Johnny. He gave him an odd look when he saw that it really was him. He was in disbelief as well.

“Alright, just what the hell are you?” ‘Cause you are not normal,” Ramone said. He even aimed the gun at Johnny, who was unfazed by that. Rhett relaxed a little. He quickly took a step towards Ramone, intent on lunging at him, but then Ramone aimed the gun at him once more.

“He’s drug addict. Let’s waste him,” Ivan said. He was breathing hard. He was worried about what this little hooligan could have done to Igor. Igor was not one to just let his target walk away. Only a severe injury would take him down enough for him to let someone go.

“Put that gun down, You’re not wasting anybody,” Ramone said. He was growing tired of Ivan’s antics and wanted to get his execution done.

“You are the one to give orders. Just because you have bodyguard here to protect you from real bosses,” Ivan said. He was also becoming irritated at Ramone’s lack of respect for him. That was no way of talking to him.

“Ivan!” Ramone yelled. Everyone there was startled. Ramone shouted with a deep and threatening voice that would even scare those who could see it coming. The people around Ramone remained silent and looked at him. They waited for him to speak, which was what he ended up doing.

“We’ll have time for this later,” Ramone concluded.

“Hey, listen, can I just get my money from this guy?” Johnny asked.

“Get down and put your hands on your head. Killing you will just be extra work for nothing. Teenagers. They think they’re so invincible,” Ramone said. Johnny knew that there was no way that he could talk himself out of this situation. He saw that certain death was waiting for him. That did not make him scared, though. He was only more determined to get this done. He looked at Ivan, who was still aiming his gun at him. Johnny then teleported and appeared behind Ivan and wrapped his right arm around Ivan’s neck. Ivan took long to react and pulled his gun’s trigger, shooting nothing but the ground.

Rhett used the momentary distraction to escape Scarman’s grip. Scarman was distracted as he watched the scene. Rhett punched Scarman’s neck. Scarman grunted and put his hand on his neck as he choked. Rhett kneed him in the belly then uppercut him. Ramone reacted quickly and shot Rhett in the left thigh. Rhett grunted and knelt. Ivan’s random shooting ended up having made Ramone take cover.

Scarman grabbed Rhett by the neck and lifted him. He slammed him against the hood of the car then hit him in the belly. Rhett grunted in pain. Scarman then pulled Rhett off the hood and threw him to the ground.

Ivan’s bullets finished. Johnny let go of Ivan. Ivan turned around and hit Johnny in the face using his gun. Johnny kneed Ivan in the belly. Johnny then uppercut Ivan. Ivan fell to the ground. Johnny smiled at this. He was happy to have brought down an old man. He was then shot in the left shoulder by Ramone, who had his pistol in his hand. Johnny fell to the ground due to the force behind the shot.

“God, that hurts,” Johnny said.

Rhett was trying to crawl away from Scarman, who would not stop going after him. Scarman stomped on his back once. Rhett grunted and fell to the ground. He continued to try and crawl away from the situation. Scarman kicked him in the tummy. Rhett grunted and rolled over halfway with his right arm stretched out. He managed to grab hold of a rock the size of a tennis ball and he used it to strike Scarman in the left knee. Scarman grunted and knelt. Rhett used as much strength as he could muster and struck Scarman in the face using the rock in his hand after standing up. Scarman fell to the ground and the rock was broken in half. Rhett looked at Johnny and Ramone, who were several meters away from him. Rhett threw the rock at Ramone and it hit him in the back of the head. Rhett ran towards Ramone and yelled. He jumped at Ramone and knocked him down.

Johnny stood up and looked at what was happening. He watched Rhett and Ramone wrestle on the ground. He felt like he should get involved. It was a deep seated gut feeling, but he did not want to. He then decided to listen to his instincts and run away from the situation. He had already seen enough. He turned around and decided to run away.

His plan would have gone awry, as he could hear police car sirens which were growing louder every second. Everyone else stopped what they were doing. Rhett and Ramone stopped wrestling on the ground. Rhett actually froze in place, trying to figure out why there were police sirens in a place like Base District. Ramone did not care about it. He quickly stood up and ran into the car, the same as Scarman and Ivan.

Johnny watched Ivan get into the car. Ivan was bleeding from his mouth. He looked at Johnny and captured his visible facial features and body build before entering the car. The police sirens were very loud at this point and Johnny could hear the car moving closer to that area. Johnny teleported as Scarman drove away with Ivan and Ramone in the car. Rhett was the only one there. He saw that he had nowhere to go and was in no shape to do so if he tried to. He decided to surrender.

The police car got there and stopped. It was the car that Rey and Duncan had stolen. It was a policeman’s car, by the looks of it. There a removable police light on the roof. The passengers had gotten to see a glimpse of the SUV driving away. Duncan and Rey opened their respective sides’ doors to leave the car. They left the car and went to where Rhett was. The criminals in the car were still hand-cuffed to each other. Lighty was in the middle seat, and his right hand was cuffed to Tender’s while his left hand was cuffed to Fidget’s.

“You’re not so difficult to find, are you?” Rey asked.

“That’s because I’m not trying to hide. How’d you know I was here?” Rhett asked.

“The criminal mind isn’t as complex as people say it is, Mr. Reye. Criminals are just like law-abiding citizens when it comes to tradition. This is where all the trash of the underworld is left for us cops to find,” Rey said. Rhett nodded, agreeing with what Rey had just said. They could not argue about anything, as Rhett was thankful that they showed up when they did. He did have his doubts, though.

“So, what happens now? You gonna take me in?” Rhett asked.

“First, we should get your leg fixed. Then we’re gonna take you in,” Duncan said. Rhett had no choice. He bowed his head and stretched out his arms in order for them to be hand-cuffed. Rey and Duncan were confused. They expected Rhett to put up more of a fight. His peaceful surrender was accepted, nonetheless.

“It’s okay. You don’t have to do that. We used all the cuffs we had,” Rey said.

“You gonna trust me enough to let me in your car un-cuffed?” Rhett asked. Duncan chuckled and so did Rey. They did not see what the whole fuss was about. Duncan went to Rhett and patted him in the back three times. He then gently pulled Rhett towards the car as they opened the back door.

“These guys tried to kill us earlier. I know they weren’t after me or my partner. They were after you. So, if you want, you can kill us on the way to the station and hope your friends don’t take advantage of the situation,” Rey said. Duncan and Rhett got to the car. Rhett had been limping on his way to the car. The pain he felt was unbearable. He could even feel that the bullet was sinking deeper into his flesh. He would not show that he was feeling pain, but he was. Rhett entered the car and sat next to Fidget. Rey closed the door as Duncan went to the driver’s seat. Rey then proceeded to the passenger’s seat in the front. Duncan started the engine and drove away.

Johnny appeared outside the warehouse, where he had left James. He did not see James anywhere after looking around for him. There was no sign of him in that area. He then saw that James followed through with his own plan and went home on his own. Johnny shrugged his shoulders and teleported.

He appeared in Malin, in James’ street. He walked for a few minutes on James’ house’s block and saw no sign of his friend. Even if James did board a bus, it was still too early for him to be back. Johnny saw an elderly couple walking together with a dog on a leash. The man smiled at Johnny. Johnny waved at the man and smiled. The couple was across the street from where Johnny was. After waving at the man, he teleported and appeared in his room. Just as he appeared, he heard a knock on his door.

He was not ready to answer the door. He looked around for any clothes that he could have left lying around, but to no avail. His room was tidy. He went to his closet and opened it. He took one of the shirts inside it hastily. He then heard another knock on the door. He ignored it and removed the shirt he was wearing. He then put on the shirt he had picked out of the closet. After putting it on, he went to the door and opened it. Reynold was already about to go down the stairs when Johnny saw him.

“Hey,” Johnny called out. Reynold stopped in his tracks and turned to look at Johnny. He was very surprised to see him. He was so surprised that it almost seemed that he was afraid.

“Oh. So you really are back,” Reynold said.

“Back? What are you talking about? I never left,” Johnny said. Reynold chuckled in a very lighthearted, sarcastic manner. It seemed that Johnny had no idea what was actually going on. Reynold decided not to give away any surprises.

“Good one. I hope you obviously know that we didn’t decide to go check on you just now,” Reynold said. Johnny remained silent. He did not know what to make of the situation. He was still as puzzled as he could ever be. He walked towards the stairs and Reynold descended to the living room. Johnny descended as well. As his curiosity and fear increased, so did the distance between each step. He began to consider all the consequences he could suffer from Rey. The distance between the steps grew bigger in his mind and he almost tripped on one. This did not hinder his movement down the stairs, which seemed to be automatic. He could not stop himself from going down the stairs. He got to the living room and saw Christine seated on the couch facing the television. She had her arms crossed and was very angry. Johnny could see it in her facial expression as he froze in place. It was as if her look froze him solid.

“Sit,” she said. Her voice came out so suddenly and briefly. He had no choice but to do as he was told. He sat on the couch which Reynold would usually sit on. Reynold was sitting on the couch and was watching a football game as usual. He had no intention of partaking in the conversation between his mother and brother.

“Where were you tonight, Jonathan?” she asked.

He had to think carefully about how he would answer the question. He was not in trouble yet. He could still talk himself out of it. He just had to be careful with what he said, and the answer he would give to this question was the base of it all. “I was in my room,” he said.

“Were you?” she asked. Johnny looked at Reynold and saw that he was not paying any attention at all to what was being said. He was solely focused on the football game that he had put on. He then looked at Christine and did not think through what answer he was gonna give her.

“Yes,” he replied. He said it with false confidence which was not so transparent.

“Yes?” she asked. He confirmed his answer, though his doubt was clearly visible and noticeable. She picked up on it and pretended not to. She planned on using that against him. He cleared his throat silently and slightly bowed his head. He then looked at her again.

“And why didn’t you answer when I called you?” she asked. Knowing all the tricks necessary when lying, Johnny did not hesitate before answering the question. HE spoke confidently and showed that he was puzzled as to why she was asking him that.

“I was sleeping,” was his reply.

“You weren’t in your room. So, where were you sleeping?” she asked.

“I went to the bathroom at some point. That’s probably when you went to check my room,” he said. He spoke with assertiveness that would probably get himself out of trouble in court. His answers were so precise and he did not stutter or hesitate when giving them. They were straight to the point and were not given the same way as excuses would be given in lies.

“Oh. I see. And you went to the bathroom right after I called you out and checked your room?” she asked.

“I was in the bathroom, then. I didn’t hear you,” he said.

“But you weren’t in the bathroom right after that,” she said, “because I used it.” He was backed into a corner. He had nothing else to say to her to get himself out of trouble. Every possible answer he could have given her to every doubt she would point out was used up. There was nothing to do but surrender. He looked down in shame. He was ashamed of himself for not being able to lie his way out of running away from home.

“Jonathan Riker, I can’t believe you have the courage to look at me in the eyes and lie. Look at me,” she said. He did as he was told. She was very upset with him and he could see that. He did not know what else he could do or say. He just had to listen to what she had to say to him and hope it would end with that.

“Your father and I raised you and we both taught you that lying is forbidden in this house. Lying is wrong. It is bad. Lying will get you nothing but trouble. Do you understand, young man?” she asked.

“Yes, mom,” he said.

“I am very disappointed in you, Johnny. You’ve done many things before that I overlooked, but sneaking out at night is unacceptable,” she lectured.

“I’m sorry, mom,” he recited. Whether he knew it or not, it seemed to have an odd effect on Christine. She was actually running out of things to say to him angrily. His agreements and apologies softened her up.

“You’re grounded. Two weeks for sneaking out. Two weeks for lying to me,” she said. He was shocked to hear that. It was not the grounding. It was more about the amount of tie he would be grounded for. He made no effort at all to hide that shocked facial expression from her.

“That’s a month,” he said.

“You’re lucky I’m in a good mood, young man. Just wait until your father hears of this,” she said. He sighed then bowed his head before sitting back in a disappointed way. She remained unmoved. She did not care about what he thought at this point. She had perfectly good reasons for what she was doing.

Little Leicester, Shell City

Little Leicester was a neighborhood in Shell City. It was a residential area and was near the center of the city. The residences were of middle class conditions. There were many tall buildings in that area. It was a very busy area of Shell City, as it was not as dangerous as the other areas. There was a substantial amount of people walking around there in the streets, and a fair amount of traffic. The streets were very clean and clearly illuminated as the district had a low number of criminals due to the high number of policemen who lived in that area. Little Leicester also happened to be where Captain Russo resided. He was waiting outside the building he lived in and was in civilian clothes. He looked at his watch.

Duncan’s car stopped in front of him. Both Rey and Duncan were inside the car. Nobody else was inside it. Duncan switched the engine off and both partners stepped out of the car. They went to stand by the Captain.

“Congratulations, Officer Riker and Detective Mack, on a job well done,” Russo said. He was somewhat happy about their return. His tone was pleased but secretive. Rey heard it all too well and gave Russo an odd look.

“Thanks, Captain,” Rey said. Russo did not respond to that. He was more preoccupied with who was in the car. He looked inside the car, past Rey and Duncan, and did not see anyone there. Rey and Duncan found it odd that he was behaving like that. He was very fidgety, especially with his fingers.

“Sir, is there anything wrong?” Duncan asked. He also noticed that Russo’s behavior was off. It was not the usual kind of behavior exhibited by his Captain.

“Oh, nothing. I just thought that you’d have company. Didn’t you find Rhett?” Russo asked. He just had to ask. He could not wait to see the young man.

“We dropped him off at the hospital. He was shot,” Rey said. He said that, trying to test Russo, by the looks of it. He did not get an overwhelmed reaction. Russo remained in his state. He did not freak out over anything which had been said to him.

“We also caught some of his friends who were trying to kill him. We locked them up at the precinct,” Duncan said. He hoped to hear that they did a good job with that. It was something that he was particularly proud of. He was expecting a long lecture on what a good job he did.

“You left him at the hospital alone? He’s a runaway. How do you figure he won’t just run away as soon as he recovers?” Russo asked. That answer shocked Duncan. He did not gasp, as he tried to understand that this was the Captain’s nephew they were talking about.

“He won’t be recovering any time soon. That bullet is in too deep,” Rey said, “We’re here to take you to him.” Russo calmed down after his heart skipped a beat.

“Oh, of course. I have to go see my nephew,” Russo said. Rey and Duncan looked at each other. Russo was very anxious about it. Duncan entered the driver’s seat. Russo entered the back seat. Rey went to the passenger’s seat in the front. When everyone was settled, Duncan started the engine.

Shell City Metropolitan Hospital

It was a rectangular structure located in the Downtown area of Shell City. It was fourteen floors high and was painted beige on the outside. There was a huge parking lot outside the building, where there were hundreds of cars already parked. The stolen car was one of the cars parked there. The policemen were already in the reception area.

“We’re here for Rhett Reye. He was admitted over half an hour ago. We’re the guys that dropped him off. We’re with his uncle,” Rey said to the female receptionist.

“Oh, yes. I remember him. He should be in his room on the third floor, second door to the right,” she said. She smiled at the trio of men. Rey gave her a knowing look which was very brief. Neither Russo nor Duncan noticed that look as they walked away.

They eventually got to the destination. They stood outside the door and Duncan opened the door slowly. Russo was very anxious about it. He could barely contain himself. He prepared himself psychologically. Duncan fully opened the door and they saw that Rhett was missing, to their surprised. They gasped in shock.

“Where the hell did he go? The receptionist told me he wouldn’t get out,” Rey said.

“One of you should have stayed here and kept an eye on him. You trusted him too much,” Russo said.

“People were trying to kill him. I don’t think that he’d be running off when they’re still on the loose,” Duncan said.

“Precisely why he should be on the run,” Russo said.

“Not in the state he’s in. And we told the hospital staff not to let anyone come to see him if they were not accompanied by either of us,” Rey said.

“That’s just a courtesy. That never works,” Russo countered.

“Cut us some slack, Captain. We did what we could,” Duncan said.

“And it wasn’t good enough. You let him run away again,” Russo said. He went into the room and looked around. The bed was messy. It was clear that Rhett had actually been there that night, but he was not there anymore. He sighed in a disappointed way. “It’s alright. We’ll get him next time. You’re off the case,” he concluded.

“Captain, let me apologize-,”

“There’ll be no need to apologize. I should have involved more experienced people. I’ll get through to it next time. You don’t have to apologize. I do,” Russo said. He walked away. Duncan felt bad for him but did not act upon it. After all, he was interrupted when he tried to apologize. He let Russo walk away in disappointment. Rey just watched him go away. He did not feel anything for Russo. When the Captain was out of auditory range, the two partners started talking.

“You sure it was the right thing to do, letting Rhett go like that?” Duncan asked. He was actually very worried about what the Captain would end up thinking of them now that they let Rhett get away. He did not like having to keep these kinds of secrets from his friends.

Rey looked at the Captain to make sure that he was far enough not to hear anything. He then looked at Duncan. “There’s something I didn’t like about this case. Something’s out of place. That kid didn’t have a clue who Russo was, even after we described him to him,” he explained.

Duncan could see that this was one of Rey’s signature moves when making decisions. He sighed then put his hands on his hips before talking. “Well, let’s face it. Your descriptions focus on unnecessary things like his body build and exact height,” he stated.

Rey did not know whether to take that as an insult or as just a simple statement. He decided to take it as the lesser of two evils. “That’s how we put it on wanted posters. How else would you have me describe him,” he asked.

“Tall, old, Latino-looking, dark hair, serious facial expression. That wouldn’t be too hard to recognize,” Duncan said. He said it like it was something simple, something that could be done very easily.

“Whatever,” Rey concluded.

The Riker household

Rey waved at Duncan as he rode away in the taxi. Rey was standing on the porch. He watched the car until it was out of sight. He then turned around to open the door to the living room. He entered the living room. He saw that Christine was sitting there and was watching television on her own. It had been hours since she spoke to Johnny. It was very late at night. Reynold and Johnny had already gone to their rooms. Rey was surprised to see her there. After closing the door behind him, he went to sit next to her.

“Hey. What are you doing up so late?” he asked.

“I was waiting for you,” she said. He made himself comfortable while sitting next to her. He put his arm over her shoulder and looked at her. He could see that she was uneasy. She was not as comfortable as he would have liked her to be. This actually troubled him, and he began to feel a little uneasy himself.

“Is everything alright?” he asked.

“Oh. It’s fine. Everything’s fine. Everything’s alright,” she said. She said so with a fake expression which was more than clear to him. He did not need to be a policeman or a psychologist to see that there was something bothering her.

“Now, honey, for a relationship to work, there has to be trust. And for there to be trust, there must be communication. You have to tell me what’s going on so that we can try to figure things out together,” he said.

“It’s about Johnny,” she said. He did not need to hear anymore. He already knew what it was that she was going to say about him. He had to figure out a way to talk to him and actually get him to listen. He did not even want to sit there and listen to what she had to say. He could practically predict every single word that was going to come out of her mouth. Unfortunately for him, he just had to sit and hear her out. It was for the good of their relationship, as he put it.

Later in Johnny’s room

Johnny was lying in bed and was shirtless. He had a bored facial expression and was looking at a picture of himself standing on the head of the Statue of Liberty when he was twelve years old in his cellphone. The statue’s torch was visible in the background and only he was in the picture. He also had the same hairstyle as he did at that point. He then heard a knock on the door and looked at it. He put his phone away.

“Come in,” he said. Rey opened the door and Johnny noticed the serious facial expression he had. Rey closed the door behind him and went to sit on Johnny’s bed. He looked around the room and saw just how organized it was. The room was very tidy. Nothing was out of place. He then looked at Johnny.

“You gave your mother a huge scare, running off like that,” Rey said.

“I’m sorry. I already told her,” Johnny said.

“Where did you go?” Rey asked. Johnny did not answer him. He remained silent but did not completely turn away from Rey. He looked at the ceiling and used that as a distraction from the conversation. Rey did not say anything about it. He simply sighed, trying to find out just how he could talk to his son.

“You know, when I was your age, I’d sneak out of the house all the time. There was this girl I used to like. She was very pretty. She was just one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen in my life. At that point, I would have done anything to be with her, even sneak out at night. She was attracted to bad boys, you see, and I just so happened to be one of them. Then, one day, while I was on my way to see her, these bikers stopped me. They asked me where I was going. I told them I was going home. They then told me to turn around and go to my own home, and leave the girl alone. Naturally, I felt like I had to stand up to them, because I considered myself invincible. Nobody could lay a hand on a kid from Base District. I told them off, and they did to me what any biker out there would do to a kid from the ghetto. I couldn’t see straight for five hours. From then on, I saw that sneaking out at night can be fun, but it’s too risky. See, these accidents tend to happen when you run away from home,” Rey elaborated.

“That’s a nice story, dad. But, no accident happened with me,” Johnny remarked.

“I suppose that hole in your shoulder is a birthmark I overlooked for all these years. I remember that day with Shane Thompson, but that’s not the same hole. That’s recent. That’s from today,” Rey said. Johnny looked at his shoulder and sighed, feeling caught. No matter what he had tried to do with the hole, blood kept sipping out of it. It was not much blood, as the wound was healing, but it was just enough to be noticed. Being shirtless in his own room betrayed him. It was too late for justifications. Rey knew everything. He had definitely talked to Christine before talking to Johnny.

“You remember that talk we had about becoming a spot light? You should stop your antics now before you actually put yourself in danger. It’s a cruel world out there. These powers you have will get you into trouble if you’re not careful with how you use them,” Rey said.

“Yeah, sure, dad,” Johnny said. He said so coldly. It was as if he was not even listening to Rey, which he actually most probably was not. He was staring at the ceiling throughout the explanation. Rey gave up. He did not see how he could talk to Johnny. He stood up and exhaled. HE stretched his arms and they cracked.

“Glad we could have this talk. Take care of yourself, Johnny,” Rey said. There was a hint of sarcasm in that tone. He went to the door and opened it. He then looked at Johnny and saw that he was completely uninterested in what Rey was doing. He was just staring at the ceiling. Rey walked out of the room and closed the door behind him.

Johnny received a text message. His phone vibrated. He picked it up and saw that the message was from James. He opened it and read it. The message said, ‘Yo, I made it back home. Waited for you and you didn’t show up. Devastated because they stole my hard-earned cash. It was really messed up. We’re going back there, right?’ Johnny smiled sarcastically when he read the question. He shook his head slowly as he thought of the best way he could give a very polite answer.

“No,” he said. He typed the text message and sent it to his friend. He then put his phone away and  relaxed after exhaling. He looked out his window. The view was obstructed by a tree’s branches and numerous leaves. The tree was in the front yard and was as tall as the house itself.

Base District

Scarman and Ramone went up the stairs of a building. The hallways were dark and spooky. The apartment they were going to was directly accessible by the stairs. The stairs led to the apartment that they were headed to. Ramone knocked on the door of the apartment upon reaching it. The door opened and the bouncer who did so granted passage for Ramone. Ramone went into the apartment while Scarman remained behind with the bouncer that greeted him.

There was music playing in the apartment, which was audible from the stairs. Ramone looked around and saw that the place was of high class quality. There were many attractive ladies walking around who wore revealing clothes. Ramone walked past a bathroom that had its door slightly open. Two ladies were kissing each other there. Ramone made his way to the dining room, where there were many people playing poker. There was a group of five men playing poker while seated on a round table. There was a lot of money on the table, as well as many bags of illegal drugs. Ramone sat on the only empty seat by the table.

“Ramone, man, you’re late. What took you so long?” Razor asked. Razor seemed to be the most dangerous one there. He was an African-American and had several gold teeth. He was very muscular and seemed to be monopolizing the space on the table. His voice was deep and very aggressive. It was clear that his upbringing  was rough and based upon survival of the fittest. He had a cigar in his mouth.

“I ran into a little problem,” Ramone said.

“Don’t tell me that you lost us money betting on amateur fighters again,” Frisky said. Frisky was a Caucasian and spoke with a heavy New-Yorker accent. He wore a hat and a suit. He was a tall, slim man who liked to keep his facial hair visible but not to the point that it covered his face completely. It was just there.

“The fighter was promising,” Ramone stated.

“Hell, they’re always promising. You need to stop throwing our money away like you do anything to get it,” Shorty said. He was accurately named. He was a midget and was a Caucasian. His was not as deep as a man his age. He also spoke with a heavy New-Yorker accent. He wore a black suit and had a beverage with him.

“I work my ass off for this money. Don’t go pointing fingers, half-pipe,” Ramone said.

“Hey, hey, hey. Calm down. Let’s not start calling each other names. We still haven’t finished the game,” Drakov said. He was a mixed race man between a Caucasian and an African-American. He was bald and wore a suit as well. He had no facial hair and was muscular. He did not have any distinctive accent.

“What is this problem you ran into?”Roarke asked. He was an African-American. His voice was just as deep and threatening as Razor’s. He was a chubby man and had a goatee. He wore a suit as well.

“That fighter I bet on. He got away,” Ramone replied.

“Maybe it’s a sign for you to stop killing people who lose fights,” Shorty said.

“We already pay a fortune to that friend of yours Ivan to take care of bodies we dump. We don’t have enough to invest on pointless killings,” Roarke stated.

“That fortune is yours. I use my cut for my deals,” Ramone said.

“Indeed,” Drakov said.

“I can’t believe we still condone this. We should kill this guy so that we can have more money to ourselves and invest in something better,” Shorty said. Ramone grew annoyed with that remark. He took the pistol to his right, which was Drakov’s, and pointed it at Shorty after standing up. As soon as he did that, everyone else in the room aimed their weapons at Ramone. All of the ladies, their male companions and even some children there aimed their guns at Ramone. The poker game stopped and everyone was looking at Ramone. Even Shorty was silently staring at him.

“You want to kill me? Is that what you wanna do? Go on. Do it. Do it and they’ll be mopping you out of here in two minutes,” Shorty said. Ramone was furious and was breathing hard. He did not want to let this go. Shorty had been getting under his skin for a long time. It was about time this happened.

“Put the gun down, Ramone,” Drakov said. Ramone did not put the gun down. He wanted to kill Shorty. He was so ready for it. He aimed at the center of Shorty’s forehead. He wanted to make it a bull’s eye.

“What are you waiting for? Do it,” Shorty insisted. Ramone was very tempted to do it. He was ready to pull the trigger. His fingers were twitching by the trigger and he was sweating. This was a deciding moment for him. He had to choose between life and death. If he chooses life, he would let Shorty live, only to have to listen to more of his nonsense. If he chose death, he would shoot Shorty where he stood, resulting in he himself being shot down by everyone who had their weapon drawn.

“Enough!” exclaimed Razor. Everyone seemed to listen to him. His voice was like a loud thunder which struck everyone’s heart. Ramone lowered his pistol. Everyone else put their guns away and continued doing what they were doing before the confrontation.

“Ramone, Shorty, keep this up and both of you will end up under the bridge. I don’t want anyone in here thinking that they’re above anyone else. Right now, we’re discussing business,” Razor said. Ramone calmed himself down and sat on his chair once more. Drakov snatched the gun from Ramone and put it away. Ramone looked at him. Drakov was unmoved by Ramone’s intimidation. He looked at his cards.

“Where are your men, Ramone?” Friskyasked. He asked this professionally. He did not look at Ramone as he spoke, as he was trying to focus on his cards, trying to see if maybe he could deliver a good enough blow to make the others give up in the least.

Ramone looked around before answering. He did not know how to say it without making a big deal out of it. He had already made a bad enough impression of himself as it was. This would make it worse. “They got themselves arrested,” he said.

“Arrested? In Base District? Ha!” Shorty laughed. He could not believe what he had just heard. That was something very ridiculous to him. He thought that it would have to be some kind of joke or a prank. People being arrested in Base District was something so rare it could not even be thought about by even policemen there.

“Which cop has the backbone to do this?” Drakov asked. He was outraged. He was not like Shorty. To him, this was a matter to be taken seriously. He did not even consider the fact that it could be a lie. It really meant a lot to him.

“Apparently, they’re not from Base District. They operate in the mainland,” Ramone explained. He could already feel that guilty shame. He did a good job at hiding it. He was just glad that they were not going on and on about how he brought this about.

“Outsiders. They always come here looking for trouble,” Frisky said. He shook his head after speaking. He then sat back on his chair and made sure his cards were still hidden.

“What’s the point of paying these cops off if they don’t even know to keep their friends away, right?” Shorty asked. He was beginning to take this matter more seriously than before. He saw that he was not being lied to about it.

“That’s not what you should be asking. The question is: are we gonna do something about these cops who think they have jurisdiction here?” Roarke asked. He was straight to the point. He was the vindictive one of the group. He did not care about anything else except the next step.

“Do we have their names? Faces? Addresses?” Drakov asked. He looked at Ramone as he posed the question. Ramone shook his head slowly.

“We shouldn’t worry about them for now. We’ll just have to make a statement to these mainland police guys,” Razor said. He got Roarke’s attention. Roarke had already started glaring at Ramone. He then looked at Razor after he was done speaking.

“What kind of statement?” Frisky questioned. He asked with a professional look in his face. He was secretly trying to get a look at the other’s cards, trying to shift their focus away from the game.

“We need to empty a vault,” Razor replied. He said it so coolly that it would seem like he was joking. Everyone there knew that he was not one to joke about such things. He was very serious about it. He did not show it, but it was something that had really affected him.

“Like the good old days before these ones here surrendered,” Shorty said.

Ramone looked at Razor with a curious facial expression, wondering if he really meant what he had just said. “Just one?” he asked.

“Just one,” replied Razor, “all we have to do is remind them who they’re dealing with.”

In the streets of Shell City

Rhett was looking out for himself. He had a black hoodie and cap on. He looked around, trying to see if anyone was following him. He did not see anything or anyone suspicious. He was on a pavement on which many people were walking that fine evening. He raised his hoodie over his head and started walking away.

 

[Check out the next part of the story, to be uploaded on Tuesday, 21st November, 2017.]

[Please like my Facebook page: Renegade Books, and follow through on the story by clicking on the links I will post there.]

[Oh, and there will be a new character who will be headlining his own title, coming soon.]

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #2: Fight Club IV

“Shut up,” he said.

The bus made its progress to the mainland. It took its time getting there, as there were many bus stops along the way. The duo could not wait to get to their destination. There was no such thing as nervousness for them. There was just anticipation. Johnny was not afraid of what could happen there. He was just waiting to get that money for beating someone up. Yet, they both had to wait for a long time before getting there.

That was not the case for Rey and Duncan. They were already at the rendezvous point, which was none other than Base District, Shell City. They were outside an abandoned warehouse which was very active that night. There was a lot of activity there. There were bouncers by the entrances of the warehouse, and lines of hundreds of people willing to get in. The warehouse was in a sector of the city which had a lot of abandoned warehouses. This one was one of the few to be renovated and used for something. It was a very long building, and had a flat roof and ceiling. It was painted grey. There was a lot of graffiti on the walls of the building. It stretched along a very large chunk of land in that sector. Its yard was also very big, and there were steel fences which bordered it. It seemed to be a very organized event. The entrance had four bouncers, and they all looked ready to seriously injure of even kill anyone who stepped out of line. The taxi that Rey and Duncan had taken there was parked across the road from the warehouse, and even there they could hear the music playing inside the warehouse and people cheering. Both policemen were sitting in the taxi and were looking at the warehouse.

“Only out here, I’ve already spotted a dozen violations. And we only just arrived,” Duncan said. In front of the car, some people were visibly exchanging cocaine for large sums of money. Duncan was looking at the prostitutes who were talking to a group of men. The prostitutes looked to be fourteen-year-olds.

Rey was barely hearing what Duncan said. He heard just enough to know what was being talked about. He was focused on the things he was seeing outside. He saw a boy giving money to another boy. Straight after the money exchanged hands, the receiver pulled out a gun and shot the boy who had given him the money. The people around them did not mind the gunshot and just continued doing what they were doing, as if nothing happened. “That’s why they tell us never to come patrol this area. You’ll go mad seeing all this,” he said.

“We should do something. I know it’s out of our jurisdiction, but we have to stop this,” Duncan said. He was also seeing some bizarre things. He saw a child prostitute holding hands with an elderly man, and they went into the man’s car. He flinched at the sight of that.

“And die in the process? These guys don’t care whether you’re a cop or not. You’ll die, they probably won’t even find your body, and things will resume as they are,” Rey said with a scoff.

Duncan rolled his eyes towards Rey, feeling discouraged to do anything because of what Rey had just said. “The painful truth, huh?” he asked.

“I’m afraid so. Can’t do anything about it,” Rey replied.

“Well, then. Let’s just focus on the mission, then,” Duncan said.

“Yeah. Let’s go,” Rey said. He opened the car door and exited the car. Duncan was shocked at how constantly that was done. He opened his door and exited the car as well. Rey was standing by the driver’s window. He gave him the money he owed. The driver accepted the money and went on his way. Rey then started walking towards the warehouse. Duncan quickly called him, getting his attention. Rey turned around to look at him and went to him.

“You just go in? Just like that?” Duncan asked. He sounded pretty rattled about the whole situation. He even looked around as he asked. He made sure he did not raise his voice. He did not want to draw any attention to himself.

“Well, yeah. Nothing to it,” Rey said. He was so calm about it that it began to bother Duncan. He spoke with such a casualty that it could have worked out well for him if he were a Hollywood actor. He faced such a tense situation with easiness.

“We don’t have a ride back,” Duncan said. He was serious about it. He looked around the area and saw that there were no taxis in the area. Getting back home was something he was really afraid of suffering for. Usually, the focus of the mission remained on getting it done, not what would happen afterwards. This was a trend Duncan did not want to fall into.

“We’ll sort that out when it’s time. The kid probably has a plan to go home. We’ll use that one,” Rey said. Duncan almost gasped at that suggestion. He looked around once more and saw so many gangsters there, so many thieves and so many killers.

“’Probably has a plan to go home’? Did you just hear what you said? Rey, this is Base District. We can’t wing it here. And don’t forget, this kid is part of an illegal fight club. Who knows what else he’s into? He could be a part of one of these gangs,” Duncan said.

“You really need to relax. Look, I grew up in Base District. I know how things here work. Well, kind of. I didn’t know they had all sorts of criminal organizations here. It wasn’t this dangerous,” Rey said.

“Exactly. You don’t know what it’s like here anymore,” Duncan said. Rey wanted to laugh at his partner for being so paranoid. He held it in and tried to keep it professional, so that they could put a stop to this right there and then.

“Would you relax? If you had this kind of doubt before we got here, we could have figured it out,” Rey said, “we’ll just wing it.” Duncan sighed. Whether he was okay with it or not, he had no choice but to go along with what Rey was saying. He was very cautious about the area and put his hands in his pockets as they crossed the road. Rey gave the impression that he was going along with Duncan but then turned around. He took a small, black, round device which was the size of a marble from his pocket. It was flat on one side. He attached it to his wallet and smiled. There were men who were smoking marijuana and they were eyeballing the two policemen. They seemed to like the sight of them. There were three of them. Rey looked at them and smiled. He then followed Duncan.

They got to the crowds of people and pushed through them as they were making noise. Rey and Duncan held their guns tightly, as those were the only possessions they had. Rey and Duncan held their guns tightly, as those were the only possessions they had. Duncan could feel that people had reached into his pocket. He was glad that he did not have anything there. They managed to get past the people and got to the bouncers, who remained still. There was a velvet rope which only opened for certain people at intervals. One bouncer operated it. The other bouncers stood by the entrance, as the velvet rope was two meters away.

“Hey, tiny,” Rey said. The bouncer glared at him in response to that. He had a very intimidating facial expression. It looked like he could not speak at all. It looked like he just acted. Duncan was partly intimidated by him. Rey kept his cool. He knew how to act in such situations.

“What do you want?” the bouncer asked.

“A friend of ours told us to give you the code ninety-twenty-one,” Rey said. The bouncer understood the code and nodded. He gave them passage through the velvet rope and signaled the bouncers by the entrance. One of them took the two policemen aside and guided them to a side entrance, which was, in fact, a private entrance for important people. There were a lot of drug lords, heads of crime families, human trafficking managers, pimps and the like.

Duncan was uneasy. He did not like seeing all of these people and not being able to do anything to them. He just wished that he could do something other than just watch them walk by and pretend he cannot arrest them. There was just so much injustice in the world and all because people feared for their lives. He looked around as he piled up his anger within him. He was even starting to breathe hard.

The bouncer left them by the entrance after talking to his colleague there. The bouncer there took over the role of guide. He was one of two bouncers. He let the policemen cut in line and enter before the other people there, who started to complain out loud. They were outraged at the apparent lack of respect that the bouncers had for them. Once inside, Rey smiled, thinking that he was in the clear. He was stopped by another bouncer, along with Duncan. The bouncer proceeded to strip the policemen of their weapons. He emptied the guns then returned them to the owners. He searched them for any other weapons that they could have had and did not find any. He allowed the policemen to proceed.

The warehouse had been transformed into something else entirely. The port side was full of bars and different gambling establishments. The starboard side was more for the spectators. That did not completely rule the port side as a place for spectators as well. There were hundreds of people inside, and they were all watching the fighters beat each other up. The steel cage ring was located in the center of the warehouse, where everyone could see it. There were many monitors hung up on the corners of the warehouse as well. There was a lot going on. The first four rows of seats, closest to the ring, were reserved for the important people who came from the same entrance that Rey and Duncan had come from. The rest of the places were meant for other people, and only some of them had seats, which is why many people were standing. Waiters walked around with trays. The bars were for everyone, but the waiters were reserved for the important people. The ring was slightly above the ground, and one had to go up three steps to enter the ring, which was pentagonal. Its floor was made of concrete.

“So, this is what organized crime looks like, huh?” Duncan asked. He was looking around and tried hard not to be impressed. It was a very difficult task, because what he saw was nothing short of amazing and remarkable.

“This is actually quite organized. Now, how the hell do we find this Matchmaker kid?” Rey asked. The Matchmaker sprung out and went to them. He came from one of the bars and had a big smile on his face. He was very happy.

“Hey. You made it,” he said to them. He walked very happily and was very enthusiastic about seeing them. He even spread out his arms so that he could hug them, but they did not respond to that. They just looked at him. As he got closer to them, he realized that they were not going to hug them, and so lowered his arms subtly, making it look like he was just fooling around.

“I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” Rey said. He was not enthusiastic at all. He said it in a low, settled tone. There was a big hint of sarcasm in his words.

“You found us a place to sit?” Duncan questioned. The Matchmaker looked at him and hesitated before answering. The sound of Duncan’s voice just made him feel uneasy. He had to think carefully before answering the question.

“Yeah. Just in the third row. One of the best viewpoints in this joint,” the Matchmaker said. After speaking, he laughed with that initial enthusiasm he had. The policemen did not laugh along with him.

“Take us there, then,” Rey said. At this point, his arms were crossed. He could not be more serious than he was at that moment.

“Right this way,” the Matchmaker said. He walked away from the policemen. He walked towards the ring, through a path between the seats or gaps left by the bystanders until he got to a couple of seats on the third row from the ring. Rey and Duncan had followed him there. The Matchmaker made a gesture at the seats which were meant for them. They both sat on their respective seats.

“You did good, kid. Now, scram,” Rey said. He spoke with a lot of emphasis, especially on that last word. The Matchmaker smiled then went away. Rey and Duncan then watched the fight. The fighters were both Caucasian and were wearing shorts only. They fought each other fiercely. Rey and Duncan could hear the hits which were landed and could feel the impact as well.

There were many blows being traded. The crowds chanted for the fighters to keep going at it. There were some mob bosses who were seated there as well, and they were very silent and serious about the whole matter. They must have been the ones who hired the fighters, or they bet on the fighters. Rey looked at them then looked at Duncan, who was actually watching the fighting. “You know. I think that Matchmaker kid is afraid of you,” he said.

“What makes you say that?” Duncan asked. He did not get his eyes off the ring. He only spoke because it would have been rude to ignore the words spoken to him by his partner.

“Just a hunch,” Rey replied. They stayed silent. So much could have been going on in their minds at the time. It was like they were both sharing the exact same thoughts at the moment. That was what it looked like for a while, but then, they could not hold it in much longer. They both laughed synchronously.

“Should’ve asked that kid where you place your bets. You can make a lot of money in a place like this,” Duncan said. He was actually very interested in what he was seeing. The only thing missing for him was popcorn, as he sat with his hands on his laps, and they were actually craving popcorn.

Rey looked at his hands and noticed that. He was with a facial expression of disgust when he saw that, but hid it well. He then sat back and looked at the fighters. “You could lose some as well. These fights are rigged,” Rey said.

“Really? I thought criminals would honor at least this,” Duncan said.

“They don’t honor anything they can manipulate,” Rey said. They stayed quiet after that and paid more attention to the fight. One of the fighters punched the other so hard that the impact thundered and the crowds screamed, “oh!”

Meanwhile, Rhett was with Romany and they were watching the fight from the opposite side, by a series of chairs reserved for the fighters. Rhett was on the last chair of that section, a position which made it possible for him to be next to Romany. Romany was still worried about Rhett. He knew just how ferocious the fighters could be. It would only be by some miracle that Rhett would end up fighting someone easy to beat.

“These fighters aren’t too bad,” Rhett said. He was looking at them jab at each other. He nodded slowly, trying to see their fighting style and how it worked, as he practiced the moves in his mind.

“Rhett, I know that you’re confident about this, but, please, just think about it before you step in that ring,” Romany pleaded. He had a worried look and a worried tone. He did not want Rhett to step in there at all, but did not know what it would take for Rhett to back out of this fight.

“What is there to think about, huh? How come you were never this scared before?” Rhett asked. Romany sighed and looked down. He was withholding information from Rhett and did not want to relay it. He just wanted Rhett to trust him. He did not answer the question, not feeling the need to.

“You gonna answer me?” Rhett asked. He was very impatient with Romany. He did not want to have these kinds of conversations with him, because they always went in circles. When Romany did not respond to him, he shook his head and looked at the ring.

Romany thought about it for a while. He did not answer Rhett immediately, but was intent on doing it. He looked at Rhett after he shook his head. “Look, Rhett, I’ve been hearing a lot about you in the streets,” he said.

“So? I’ve got a reputation. That’s what I’m aiming for,” Rhett said. The conversation was really boring him. He was so agitated at the moment. Every second that passed got him closer to his fight, which he was so eagerly waiting for. He grew more excited by the second.

“You know who Ramone is?” Romany asked. That question snapped Rhett out of it. He regained himself and looked at Romany. He was displeased to hear that name.

“A very famous crime lord. Came all the way from Chicago. He’s the one who offered me a chance to come here. What about him?” Rhett asked. He could already see where this was going. He was just trying to keep it going, hoping that Romany would just give up on it.

“He’s always looking for new talents. Word on the street is he’s killing everyone who loses his money,” Romany said. He was very explicit about that part. He wanted to raise his voice but knew that it was pointless since Rhett could already hear him. He still had the impulses to do so anyway.

“Look, I finally got some recognition. Stop freaking out over it and be happy. I’m not gonna lose his money,” Rhett explained.

“Yeah, you did. And he bet on you tonight. You already know what happens to the people he bets on that end up losing,” Romany said.

“What happens?” Rhett asked. He was barely interested in what Romany was telling him. He was just focused on the fight, trying to learn from the fighters’ mistakes. Romany saw that Rhett was not paying much attention to him, but still chose to speak, hoping that he would come to his senses with the little information he would obtain.

“They’re never seen or heard from again. Ramone bets  fortunes on fighters,” Romany replied.

“So, he’s a sore loser,” Rhett said. Romany became cautious. He did not want anyone to hear what they were talking about, especially if it was about this crime lord. It was something very dangerous to do. Rhett had absolutely no idea what he was getting himself into.

“I wouldn’t say that out loud if I were you,” Romany said. Rhett sighed. He grew annoyed with all of this talk about risks. He looked at Romany and was visibly angry. Romany understood the look. He felt that he had said enough. He remained silent. Rhett became satisfied. He then looked at the ring and continued watching the fight.

“Did you apply the product?” Romany asked.

“Yeah,” responded Rhett. Romany slowly nodded in approval. There was a lot of fear that was very obvious in his slow, doubtful nodding. He could not wait for the evening to come to an end. He did not like to watch Rhett fight, and now the situation was becoming worse for him.

Johnny and James got to the entrance from which all the regular people entered. They were very excited about it. James had some money in his hands and was counting it. It amounted to twenty dollars. He was ready to get some business done inside.

“Man, we can’t wait in this long line of people. We’re supposed to be VIPs or something,” James said.

“Let’s go check the bouncers,” Johnny said. He pushed past the people in the line. He even aggressively shoved some aside when he saw fit. James had his hands in his pockets and was whistling as he followed Johnny closely through the gaps he was making. He felt very comfortable around all of these dangerous-looking people. As he walked, he saw one giving him an odd look. He then simulated a lunge and the person backed away, pushing people behind him. James laughed then continued whistling as he followed Johnny. They got to the bouncers and stood before the one by the velvet rope.

“Excuse me. Ivan sent me here,” Johnny said.

“Ivan who?” the bouncer asked.

“I don’t know. He just said that he’s Ivan. He’s some Russian guy,” Johnny said. The bouncer remained silent. It looked as though he was thinking about it, trying to figure out which Ivan it was. Johnny waited patiently for the bouncer to speak. James looked around as he whistled. Johnny eventually got tired of waiting for a response. He found it very disrespectful, what the bouncer was doing, and this actually was infuriating him. The only thing that kept him calm was the knowledge that if he were to lash out against the bouncer, it would be the end of him.

“You gonna let me in or what? I’ve got a fight coming up,” he said.

“Tell someone who cares,” the bouncer said. Johnny was infuriated by that last statement. He clenched his fists very hard and was ready to lose all self-control. He glared at the bouncer as he tried to figure out where and how to hit him first.

“Is that any way to talk to the Pitbull? Do you have any idea what this guy is capable of?” James asked. The bouncer heard the question and gave his attention to James, ignoring Johnny. Johnny was still furious, though he was calming himself down as James looked to be handling the situation.

“This guy can’t be the Pitbull. Now, get the hell outta here before I shoot you out,” the bouncer said.

“Sh-shoot us out? Hell, where’s your boss? This your first day on the job? Pitbull’s Mexican! He’s always got his mask on. Nobody knows who he is except me,” James said.

“This guy doesn’t even look Mexican,” the bouncer said.

“O-oh my God. I can’t believe you just said that. Pitbull, tell him you’re Mexican,” James said. Johnny did not know how to do it. He had never done something like this and could not have ever imagined finding himself in this situation. He looked at James clueless, just hoping for the best.

“Jo’, man, ‘sup. ‘Joo’ think I not Mexican? Why you not believe me ‘caybron’? Uno, tre, quarto, ese. Tu madre está chupando mi pendejo ayer. ‘Jo’ hablo Español en los circulos que se parecen a las plazas en la piscine por la puesta de sol,” Johnny said. Basically, that speech means, “yo, man, what’s up? You think I’m not Mexican? Why don’t you believe me, bastard? One, three, four, dude. Your mother is sucking my dickhead yesterday. I speak Spanish in circles that look like squares in the swimming pool by the sunset.” He said this in the most authentic, stereotypical Mexican accent he could come up with there. He even added stereotypical Mexican gangster mannerisms. James only rolled his eyes to look at Johnny. He could not believe what he had just heard, and it was very hard to hide his surprised facial expression. The bouncer was just glaring at Johnny, who apparently had no idea what he had just said. James then looked at the bouncer.

“Well. You heard the man. Let him through before he rips you in half,” James said. The bouncer was little less than convinced. Nevertheless, he decided to let them through, just to test them. He made way for them, past the velvet rope. The duo got to the bouncers by the entrance.

“What do you want?” one of them asked.

“He says he’s a fighter. Calls himself the Pitbull, sent by Ivan,” the bouncer by the ropes said. The other bouncers laughed at first. They were laughing at Johnny, finding it hard to believe that a guy as small as him could actually consider himself a good enough fighter to join this club. Johnny only glared at them. He felt very disrespected. He wanted to teleport them to the top of Mount Everest and just abandon them there, but it would be a waste of energy. That was energy he would have much rather used to fight his opponent.

One of the bouncers in that trio seemed to recognize Johnny. He looked at him closely as he stroked his beardless chin. “Ivan. The Russian. He told me you’d be coming. Hell, I didn’t think you’d be a kid,” he said.

“Hey, he may look like a kid, but he’s a beast. He’s gonna pulverize his opponent so bad that his pain is gonna hospitalize everyone in this warehouse. You ever see a guy get punched in the gut so hard that his eyes fly out? Well, you’re gonna see his nose, tongue and everything fall out,” James said.

“Can you believe this guy? Do you have any idea who comes to fight in these things?” the second bouncer asked. He was laughing at the whole ordeal. He was mostly laughing at the hype that James was bringing up. He sounded like he was doing marketing.

“They won’t last long enough for us to care. Now, where’s the combatants’ locker room?” James asked. One of the bouncers (the same one who guided Rey and Duncan) stepped forward and offered to guide them to the combatants’ entrance. He was ahead of them as he guided them. James and Johnny were unusually silent. They followed the bouncer, ready for any mishap that would take place. Anything could happen there. They heard stories about Base District. It was not a place of wonders. It was among the top ten most dangerous districts in the country.

The bouncer stopped by the entrance and went to talk to the one who would let the duo in. That one nodded then signaled the teens to approach him. James and Johnny then approached him. They intended to walk past him but then he stopped them from doing so. They looked at him and wondered why he was doing this.

“You say you’re the Pitbull, called in by Ivan? Fine. Then, who’s this punk?” the bouncer asked. His voice was deep. He was an African-American man. He looked at James menacingly.

That look did not have an impact on James at all. He was touched by what the bouncer had said about him, not the way he looked at him. “Okay, firstly, I’m not a punk, and that’s surely no way of showing people that you’re a tough guy. That’s just rude. Secondly, I’m his manager,” he said.

“You talk a lot for a small fry. Who the hell needs a manager here?” the bouncer asked. James heard that loud and clear. It was still not enough to make him quit. He persisted with his cause.

“Apparently, you didn’t get the memo: the Pitbull does his own thing. He doesn’t follow suit with anyone. If he wants a manager, he gets a manager, and here I am,” he insisted.

“This little guy needs a manager? What did you do? Did you run away from home or something? [Laughs.] This ain’t the only way you can make money in the streets,” the bouncer said.

“Would you stop wasting my time with all this pointless small talk and let me in so I can go destroy whoever comes my way?” Johnny asked angrily.

“Woah, little man. I was only joking. [Laughs.] Hope you win,” the bouncer said. After he was done speaking, he laughed again. He then let them go past him. They entered the warehouse and saw how fancy and well-organized it was. They were amazed.

“Unbelievable,” Johnny said.

“Dude, America really is the land of opportunity,” James said. They looked at all the wonders there as they approached the searching area where they were abruptly stopped. The bouncers then searched them for any weapon or explosive. They found a butter knife in James right sock. Johnny looked at him and could not believe what he just saw. James felt completely justified.

“What? If I brought a sharper knife, I could’ve gotten cut,” he said.

“You’re an idiot,” Johnny said as he shook his head. The bouncers let them through and then they had access to the whole complex. It was more lively than most of the parties they had attended. There was very loud music playing. James felt comfortable as he stared at the prostitutes, who were looking very attractive in their short, revealing clothing. They were everywhere and were looking for clients.

“Now, how do we find Ivan?” Johnny asked. He asked that question as he stroked his chin while looking at a young, very attractive prostitute. She was smiling at him. He looked at her body in that silver, shining dress that revealed her whole back and her legs. She wore high heels which were black. She also had some jewelry, some very expensive ear rings and a gold necklace which was visible from far. He smiled at her and gave her an impressed look.

“Right behind you Mr. Riker,” Ivan said. He startled Johnny, who gasped and turned around to look at him. Iva was accompanied by a taller, extremely muscular and dangerous-looking man. Johnny looked up at the man, who stood still and had a blank stare. He was Ivan’s body guard. His name was Igor.

“Ivan. These guys at the entrance were giving me trouble,” Johnny said. He was reporting it but not with a victimized facial expression. He was actually upset about it, in an angry way.

“Don’t worry about them. They do that to all newcomers and unfamiliar faces,” Ivan said. He was sounding very charming there. He smiled at Johnny as he spoke. Johnny was neutral about it. He just rolled his eyes, following Ivan’s movements.

“Oh. Right. I’m the new guy,” Johnny said. He said that with a bored facial expression. He was very unenthusiastic about it at that point.

“So, you ready for first fight?” Ivan asked. That question seemed to spark Johnny’s interest and enthusiasm back up, as he sprung to life to answer it.

“Oh, I’m ready. Way more than ready,” Johnny said. He kept his calm while saying this, but was actually very eager to go and fight.

“Good. Good. I’ll have you know that you will make me a very rich man tonight,” Ivan said. He wanted to shake hands with Johnny as he pulled out another one of his smiles. Johnny did not expose his hand for a handshake, as he did not notice Ivan’s.

“Oh, I hope so. That means that I’ll be richer,” Johnny said. He laughed right after he said that. Ivan also laughed, but not as much. Johnny’s laugh died out and he turned to Igor to see if he was laughing. He did not even flinch.  He was just staring at Johnny. Johnny’s laugh died out completely.

“Your match is right after this one. You should be getting ready,” Ivan said. Johnny heard that clearly. He looked at the fighters in the ring and saw how intense the fighting was. So many different kinds of punches and kicks were being seen and heard, at an alarmingly fast pace. This made him scared. Perhaps he did not really have what it takes to do this kind of thing. He looked at a man who was selling masks while walking around then looked at Ivan.

He then looked at the mask guy again and smiled. It seemed that he had an idea. He then turned to look at Ivan. “Don’t worry. I got this,” he said.

“Hey. Where do we place our bets?” James asked.

“Get to the bar. One of the bartenders will take down your name and the amount. You collect your money after the respective fight,” Ivan explained. James smiled. He was happy to hear that. He looked at Johnny and nodded, silently thanking him for this opportunity.

Johnny was seeing the moves being executed in the ring. It just got him to thinking that maybe this was as foolish a move as he thought it would be. He began to have those little seeds of doubt everyone would get in this kind of situation. “Dude, maybe you should go for the small-timers,” he said.

“Nah, man. You’re the Pitbull. You’re gonna win. I’ll risk it,” James said. Johnny shook his head slowly. He was happy to see that James really had confidence in him. James then went to the bar and called the bartender.

“Very impressive, your friend. He has absolutely no notion of what he does or says. Neither do you,” Ivan said. He was confident about the words he had chosen to say. Johnny looked around the place, marveling at the whole event.

“Common thing we have. And just so you know, I know exactly what I say and do,” Johnny said.

“Well, we’ll see how you fare against your opponent tonight,” Ivan said. They looked at the ring and saw the fight in its awesome progression. It was incredible. The fighters had been going at it for such a long time and did not seem to get tired at all. One of the fighters gained dominance and ended up on top of the other, where he delivered five punches before the audience heard something like a bone breaking. The downed fighter was unconscious.

“We have a winner. The finisher wins it for the crowds,” the announcer said on the microphone. The victorious fighter walked out of the ring without even celebrating his hard-earned victory. Cleaners came to pick the unconscious fighter and dragged him out of the ring. They dragged him outside and threw him there as if he were a bag of trash. The cleaners then went back inside.

“Next up, we have Rhett Reye versus the Pitbull! This is an interesting fight, ladies and gents! Place your bets now while the fighters get ready,” the announcer said. Many people went to the bartenders. There was a lot of ruckus there, as James tried to get through the people. He had already placed his bet. He was just making space for the people, and was trying to find space for him to sit which was right there.

“Doesn’t feel like this guy was hiding. He was too easy to find,” Rey said. He was relaxed. It seemed that he had actually enjoyed the fight, as he had a somewhat satisfied look on his face. He nodded slowly before talking.

“Well, let’s hope he’s easy to bring home. I’m not ready to drag an unconscious guy around and surprise him with a family reunion,” Duncan said.

“Unless it’s us that have to beat him unconscious,” Rey concluded.

“Right,” confirmed Duncan. He was solely focused on the fight as well. Right then, he was looking at the announcer, who was still standing in the ring. He was waiting for Rhett to show up.

“Rhett stood from his seat and looked around for his opponent. He did not see anyone approaching the ring and shrugged his shoulders. He then stepped into the ring. Romany wanted to say something to him but did not get the chance to, as Rhett was too focused on fighting. He removed his top and threw it to Romany through the door. He did the same with his shoes. He was topless, barefooted and in shorts.

“Rhett Reye, ladies and gents, as you know him. Will the Pitbull make his way to the ring, please?” the announcer asked. He walked around the ring, owning it as he spoke. He wanted to show that he was very confident in there. He also took the time to search for this supposed Pitbull that was nowhere to be seen. He looked at the seats on which the fighters would sit on, and saw no one there.

“It is time,” Ivan said to Johnny. Johnny looked at the ring once more, and then looked at the guy who was selling the masks. Wearing one did not seem like a bad idea. It would actually be a good idea to hide his identity. The mystery would only make him more popular. He smiled and nodded before calling up the salesman.

Ivan sat on his spot, which was in between different crime lords. All of them wore suits, looking formal. They were all ready to watch the massacre that was about to take place. The crime lord to his right was Ramone. He was very interested in the match. He did not even notice that Ivan sat next to him, or so it would seem. It was a while before he revealed that he knew that Ivan was there.

“Ivan. I hear this Pitbull of yours is quite an animal,” he said. He spoke very professionally. He had a glass of wine with him. He sipped on the wine after talking, waiting for Ivan to respond.

“Oh, yes. Definitely. Though, I don’t think he will be in best form tonight. I had to bet against him, unfortunately, but, not to worry, you will receive your money by the end of the evening,” Ivan said.

Ramone cleared his throat after hearing this, and that coincided with him having just finished his sip of the wine. “Maybe you should’ve called someone else. How do we know you didn’t tell him to take a dive?” he asked.

“Oh, you will know, old comrade. You will know,” Ivan affirmed. He nodded slowly as he said that. He then looked at a waiter and signaled him to get to them. The waiter nodded respectfully and walked towards them, but was a bit distant.

“Six-thousand bucks says the Pitbull’s gonna win,” James said to another bartender. He was very excited about the bet. The bartender gave him a piece of paper and a pen. James got it and wrote on it then returned it to the bartender, along with the pen. He looked at the ring and smiled a very devious smile.

“Pitbull, please come to the ring,” the announcer called out.

Rhett was very impatient about it. He was really jittery. He was jumping and getting his body ready for the fight. He even threw a few jabs, just to get warmed up well enough. He really wanted to fight someone, and was really hoping that it would be right there and then. But, seeing that his opponent was not showing up, it was beginning to bother him. He began to lose hope, and this only made him more furious. The crowds waited for Johnny for some time before losing their patience. Many of them started booing.

“Where’s this fighter of yours?” Ramone asked, “You sure he shouldn’t be called the chicken?”

“He should be here. I met him just now,” Ivan said. He was also confused about the whole thing. He looked around to try and find Johnny, but did not see him anywhere in that warehouse. What could have happened to him?

“This is the last call for the Pitbull. You will be disqualified if you do not show up in the next ten seconds, and all the bets will be annulled,” the announcer said. He wiped sweat off his forehead after saying that. He was also breathing hard, but only Rhett could hear that. Rhett was standing behind the announcer. He raised an eyebrow as he gave the announcer a weird look.

“Come on, Johnny. Where are you?” James asked. He was looking at the ring, anxiously. He was sitting on a stool by one of the bars, and had a good view of the ring. He had his elbows on the bar table, and his back was turned to the bartender. The bartender pulled his sleeve and he turned around. The bartender gave him the drink he had ordered. James thanked the bartender and smiled at him. He began to drink the beverage.

“Well, it might be a shorter night than expected,” Duncan suggested. He sounded glad that that was what it seemed to be. He did not want to be there anymore. What he saw was disturbing enough.

“Hold on! Hold on! I’m right here!” Johnny shouted as he ran towards the ring. He was struggling to put the mask on. It was already on his face, but he was finding it hard to put it in a good enough position. He got to the steps which led into the ring and followed their path until he entered the ring. The announcer left the ring and closed the door.

“Ladies and gents, the famous Pitbull!” the announcer shouted. His voice was greatly amplified by when it came from the speakers, though the sound quality was nearly perfect. Some people cheered, including James, while most people booed him. They disapproved of such a fighter’s physique. Johnny was shirtless and barefoot. He was wearing swim-shorts. It was clear that he was a fifteen year old. Everyone could see it. He had an average body build for someone his age. The size of his upper body had returned to normal, as it had been a very long time since he worked on the push-ups and sit-ups back home.

The reaction he was getting was not what he was expecting at all. It was disheartening to him to know that people were really underestimating him like this. His heart was beginning to beat fast as he looked at his opponent. People were cheering for his opponent and he could hear it all. He heard the crowd chanting ‘Rhett Reye’ over and over. He noticed that Rhett really had that physique that Johnny wanted to show off to the spectators. He also noticed that Rhett was comfortable. He was not intimidated by Johnny at all.

“You? You’re the Pitbull? Is this some kind of joke?” Rhett asked as he approached Johnny.

“The only joke I see here is you,” Johnny said. Rhett stopped approaching Johnny. He was actually touched by that comment. It was not taken as trash-talking. He took it as an insult. Johnny psychologically prepared himself for a fight. He took two steps back and made a stance, ready to fight.

“Fighters, you may begin,” the announcer said. He closed the door and walked away, not caring whether they killed each other or not. He only cared about the money that he would get at the end of the night

“You can quit right now if you want. You don’t have to do this,” Rhett said. He was relaxed as he spoke. He did not even have his guard up. He approached Johnny slowly. Johnny’s heart raced. He thought that it would be easier than this. It was actually not just a simple fight. This was a very important fight, and he could not lose it.

“Not on your life. I can handle you,” Johnny said. He was initially hesitant about his ability to actually win a fight like this. All he had that would hide his shame was his mask. It was colourful, and was covered in yellow in the forehead area of the mask. It covered his whole face, and had gaps for the eyes and the mouth. The rest was covered, along with the back of his head. With the words he spoke, he regained his courage. Adrenaline started to pump in his systems. His fists were ready to make contact with someone else’s face. Rhett just laughed at Johnny. There was no way that he could actually think that he stood a chance like this.

“Is that so?” he asked. He looked at Johnny and stopped himself from laughing. He still wanted to, though, but tried to get as serious as he could to counter this threat that was not really a big issue to him.

“Pretty much,” was Johnny’s reply. He was relaxed about it. He was not agitated or anything. He was trying to get himself to stand like a fighter. The best stance he could pull off was one he ripped off from a video game.

“Look at your stance. I can tell you’ve never been in a real fight in your life,” Rhett said to Johnny. He laughed at him a little bit. This laugh sounded forced, though. It was unusually loud and required a lot of fake movements due to laughter.

“I’ve been in fights that would keep you up all night,” Johnny said, “yeah.”

Rhett did not speak, to respond. He kicked Johnny’s right foot. Johnny fell to the floor, flat on his belly. The kick was very swift and came out of nowhere. Only the most trained professionals would be able to see it coming if they kept a really close eye on the foot.

“Oh!” the crowd shouted synchronously. James did the same. He even flinched, as he could feel the pain. He even had to hiss a little, showing his understanding of what had just happened.

“It’s okay, man! That was only one hit! Get up and ice this guy!” James shouted.

Johnny grunted as he stood up readily. He did not get his eyes off Rhett, feeling that he might go for another attack. He was standing and looking at Rhett as his rage was building up.

“Did you see that?” Rhett asked.

“I wasn’t ready,” Johnny stated.

“Let’s try again,” Rhett said. He raised his fists and made a stance. He then started hopping around in the stance. Johnny decided to do the same thing, seeing as he did not actually know how to fight. They hopped around in circles as they looked into each other’s eyes at arm’s length from each other, waiting for the other to make a move.

“That’s it, man! Mirror his movements! Intimidate him like that!” James shouted. The fight had the spectators’ full attention. The silence there was growing by the second. This was just the beginning of the fight. Rhett then punched Johnny in the face.

“Oh!” the spectators shouted. Johnny lost balance and ended up bumping into the cage, face-first. He held onto the fencing for support. Rhett then kicked him in the back. Johnny bumped into the cage once again and quickly turned around to face Rhett. Rhett punched him in the face again. The force behind that punch made Johnny fall to the floor on his hands and knees. Rhett punched him once more. Johnny ended up in a seated position against the cage. Rhett punched him in the face three times using his left fist.

“Come on, Johnny! You got this!” James shouted. He nearly jumped off his seat as he said that. He regained composure and started to sip on his drink.

Johnny was trying to crawl, as Rhett had stopped hitting him. The spectators were eagerly watching. They had continuously shouted, “oh!” after each hit. Rhett then kicked Johnny in the tummy. Johnny fell to the ground.

“This kid’s done for,” Duncan said.

“He isn’t putting up a good ass-whooping,” Rey said.

“Still wanna keep doing this? Huh?” Rhett asked. He could not see behind the mask, but Johnny was actually getting angrier with every hit. He was breathing hard, not due to being tired or getting beaten up. He was actually very angry. He did not reply to the question that Rhett had posed. He stood up slowly and was breathing harder.

“That’s right! Get up and beat the stuffing out of this guy!” James shouted.

Rhett did not give it time. He punched Johnny in the left ribs then the right ribs. He swung his right fist, hitting Johnny in the face. Johnny bounced off the cage. Rhett kneed him in the tummy. Johnny bent over. Rhett elbowed him in the back but he did not fall or grunt due to pain from the hit. Rhett did it again and the lack of result was still there. Rhett tried a third time and the same thing happened.

Johnny yelled then struck his head against Rhett’s belly. Rhett grunted and jumped backward, gaining some distance between himself and Johnny. Johnny did not give him time to recuperate. He lunged at Rhett quickly and used his head once again to hit Rhett in the tummy. In that position, he managed to push Rhett to the cage wall. Rhett grunted. Johnny raised his head quickly and the back of his head hit Rhett in the chin in the form of an uppercut.

“Oh!” the crowd shouted. Johnny hit Rhett in the face using his forehead. Johnny put his hands on Rhett’s shoulders then kneed him in the tummy four times. Johnny then threw Rhett to the ground. Rhett fell on his tummy. Johnny stopped attacking and began to calm down.

Romany was worried about Rhett. He could never get used to Rhett’s fighting. He watched his dear friend suffer heavy blows and he could not do anything about it at all. It was all a compilation of events which caused a dark time for him. These were images that haunted him at night. Rhett was undefeated, of course, but this streak was going to be broken at some point, and every time he stepped into that ring, Romany would hope with all of his heart that Rhett would come out victorious.

Rhett stood up slowly and Johnny gave him time to do so. Rhett wiped his mouth, thinking that there was blood dripping from it. There was no blood. There were no signs of any hits he had suffered. Johnny found it odd. He lowered his guard and looked at Rhett with an estranged facial expression. Rhett realized that. He smiled at Johnny, as he was happy to see that reaction.

“You should give up now while you still have a chance, ‘cause I ain’t gonna hold back anymore,” Rhett said.

“I didn’t tell you to hold back. And you saying that doesn’t intimidate me at all. Now, come closer so that I can learn some agriculture while I plant my fist in your face,” Johnny said.

Rhett almost smiled at that. He kept it to himself and just scoffed. He then shook his head slowly, almost unnoticeably. “You’re a talker. And you sure can take a punch. I’m gonna enjoy beating you unconscious,” he said.

“You got him on the ropes, man!” James shouted.

Rhett was impatient and so was Johnny. They stared at each other with angry facial expressions then ran towards each other. At arm’s length away from each other, Rhett tried to kick Johnny’s face with his right foot. Johnny blocked it with his left arm. Rhett tried to punch Johnny’s gut using his left fist. Johnny blocked that. Rhett jumped and tried to elbow Johnny’s left shoulder. Johnny caught Rhett’s elbow in his left hand then punched Rhett in the chest. Rhett grunted and took two steps back. Rhett jumped and roundhouse-kicked Johnny. Johnny turned around and went to the cage wall. Rhett ran towards him and jumped, ready to kick him in the back. Johnny moved away and Rhett kicked the cage. Johnny quickly performed an instant, short, zero-g and tripped Rhett by kicking the ankle that was on the floor. Rhett fell to the floor on his back as Johnny quickly stood up.

“Yeah, man! Hand it to him!” James shouted.

“Looks like he’s got a little fight in him,” Duncan said. Rey was not so focused on watching the match as he was on observing the Pitbull’s movements. He found them to be very familiar. He sat forward as he observed the movements.

“Yeah. Sure does,” he said.

Rhett growled angrily and stood up. The crowds were starting to cheer for Johnny and he could feel it. He was becoming more confident in his ability to win this fight. He really could win with all the powers at his disposal. Rhett went for Johnny again. Johnny could see him coming slowly. He could see him moving slowly enough for him to be able to dodge everything he would try.

Rhett went for a punch. Johnny dodged it, as it was meant for his face. Rhett’s fist rushed past the side of Johnny’s face. Rhett then elbowed Johnny in the side of the face. Johnny grunted. Rhett then hit him in the face using his forearm. Johnny moved aside due to the impact. Johnny yelled angrily then ran towards Rhett. Rhett punched him and he fell on his back. Rhett moved aside then backed away from Johnny. Johnny stood up then growled angrily. He ran towards Rhett again. Rhett punched him and he fell to the ground again. Johnny would still not give up. He stood up and glared at Rhett. He ran towards Rhett from the ground up. Rhett jumped and kicked Johnny in the chest with a lot of power behind his foot. Johnny fell to the floor and slid along it until his head bumped into the steel fencing.

“Oh, that’s one to remember,” James said.

Rhett was felling all too confident about this. He walked towards Johnny, who was lying flat on his back. Rhett was disappointed to see that Johnny was still conscious and able to move. He stood up slowly, not because he was hurt. He wanted there to be suspense, as he enjoyed the spectacle. He laughed in a low tone at Rhett, who was shocked, to say the least.

“Wow, this guy can take a beating,” Duncan said. He was very impressed with what he was seeing. He even applauded Johnny. He was smiling happily, as if he were actually happy to be there, watching people beat each other senseless and other people profiting from this.

“This fighter of yours is resilient. What’s his name?” Ramone asked Ivan.

“His name is Pitbull. That is all to it,” Ivan replied. He was happy that Johnny was representing him well. He even smiled because he could see that Ramone had noticed it as well.

Rhett was really losing his patience with Johnny. He walked hastily towards Johnny. Johnny punched Rhett in the face really hard. Even the spectators gasped due to the impact. Rhett was breathing hard. He was not bleeding; he did not have a bruise. There was no sign of impact on his face. Rhett punched Johnny in the face. Johnny bounced off the fencing. Rhett then began punching him many times. He punched Johnny’s ribs over twelve times before Johnny started blocking them.

Johnny could only use his imagination to get out of this one. Rhett continued to throw punches even as they were blocked. Johnny was in a very uncomfortable position. He did not see a way out of the situation, as he could only feel knuckles going against various parts of his body. Johnny then decided to do something idiotic. He left his torso unprotected and Rhett started punching it. Johnny grabbed Rhett’s head then pulled it towards his with a lot of force. Johnny also drove his head towards Rhett’s. The resulting impact from the clash disoriented Rhett for just a second. Johnny grabbed Rhett by the hair then smashed his face into the fencing.

Rhett elbowed Johnny in the tummy. He turned around and threw a punch at Johnny. Johnny ducked and moved aside, dodging it. He punched Rhett in the face. Rhett bounced off the fencing. Johnny lifted Rhett off his feet then slammed him into the floor on his back. The crowd gasped.

“Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about!” James shouted.

That move did not have the effect that everyone expected. Rhett stood up and did not seem hurt at all. Johnny lost his enthusiasm to fight. He did not want to accept it. Nobody in the warehouse accepted it. Some people even started booing Rhett. Rhett looked around himself as they threw plastic water bottles at the ring. None of them got to the ring itself because it was protected by the cage. Johnny exhaled then took a step towards Rhett. Rhett kicked Johnny’s foot and Johnny fell flat on his tummy. Rhett wanted to stomp on his head. Johnny rolled aside, dodging the foot.

Johnny quickly stood up, so as to avoid any similar attacks to that one. Rhett kicked Johnny in the tummy. Johnny grunted. He kicked Rhett in the tummy as well. Rhett grunted and slightly bent over. Johnny pulled Rhett towards him and held his head and wrapped it in his left arm in a way that Rhett could see Johnny’s back and the rest of his body was on the other side of the arm. Johnny fell back, slamming Rhett’s face into the concrete floor.

“Holy Arbuckle! In the concrete!” James shouted.

“That’s it. He’s out,” Rey said.

Johnny laid on his back and was breathing hard. He let go of Rhett, whose body then fell completely to the ground. Johnny then looked at the crowds who were cheering. He was happy about it and stood up as he grunted. To his surprise, he saw Rhett doing the same thing. The crowds stopped cheering and Johnny’s smile died. Rhett stood up with no sign of discomfort at all. There was nothing on his forehead that showed that it was slammed very hard into the concrete.

“Hey! What the hell? This guy’s on drugs!” James shouted.

“What the heck? You should be out for weeks,” Johnny said to Rhett.

“I told you to quit. There’s no way you’re beating me,” Rhett affirmed. Johnny had nothing more to say. He got serious. The fight was about to begin. Rhett tried a kick with his right foot. Johnny held it. Rhett then used his left foot to kick Johnny in the face. Johnny grunted but did not let go of Rhett’s foot. Rhett fell to the floor on his back. Johnny reached down for his other foot. Rhett kicked him in the tummy twice. Johnny grabbed Rhett’s other foot and held it next to his hip, the same as the other foot. He fell back, raising Rhett. He managed to make Rhett smash into the fencing, face-first.

“Oh!” the crowd shouted. Johnny was not done yet. He was still holding Rhett’s feet, and he forced him back down to fall on his back. Rhett’s head bounced off the floor very hard. Rhett felt the pain and could not hide it. Johnny stood up and wanted to go punch Rhett while he was down. Rhett quickly kicked Johnny’s right shin. Johnny grunted and went down on his right knee. Rhett stood up and punched Johnny in the face twice. He then summersaulted backwards and kicked Johnny in the chin in the form of an uppercut. Johnny fell to the floor on his back. He felt that hit.

Rhett got back on his feet. He ran towards Johnny, who was sitting. He kicked Johnny in the face. Johnny laid on his back again. Rhett knelt by him and raised Johnny’s head. He punched Johnny in the face three times. He then elbowed Johnny in the face. Johnny grunted. Rhett then let go of Johnny. Johnny lay on his back again. Rhett stood up and stomped on Johnny’s face really hard. He did it again the same way. Johnny covered his face with his forearms the third time. He then held Rhett’s foot the fourth time. He managed to get his foot to hit Rhett’s groin. He kicked it three times. Rhett felt immense pain, the likes of which he had never felt before. He had not applied the special lotion there, so the pain was real and natural. Johnny could feel that Rhett wanted to withdraw his foot. Johnny kicked Rhett’s groin again, as hard as he could. Rhett bent downwards, more than unable to hide the pain he felt. Johnny then kicked Rhett’s unprotected face. Rhett fell to the floor.

Johnny slowly stood up and was breathing hard. The crowd was staring at him silently. He expected to hear them cheering for him, but that did not happen. Rhett was on the ground and was holding his groin, feeling an unbelievable amount of pain.

This was the part when Romany would begin to worry. He had never seen Rhett fall to the ground in pain in a fight. All the other fighters used to aim for the upper parts of the body. They never aimed for the groin. This was a different fighter. This was Johnny Riker.

Johnny was looking down at Rhett. He did not know what to do with him anymore. He was out of ideas on what he could do to hurt him. Every attack that was not to the groin had no effect on Rhett. Either way, Johnny could not stay the whole fight aiming for the groin. It would become predictable, and Rhett would begin to counter it. It would also be difficult to put on a good show.

“This is actually a pretty interesting fight. I just hate all the pauses they make,” Duncan said to Rey.

“Hell, it’s like a real-life anime,” Rey said.

Rhett’s pain ceased, albeit slowly. He crawled to the fencing and used it for support as he picked himself up. He looked at Johnny and was beginning to worry. What was it about Johnny that was so different? Why could he withstand such impact? Rhett could not pick up the smell of the lotion on Johnny. What factor made him so resistant to pain? This was the most difficult fight he had been in in his life.

He managed to recover and exhaled. He raised his fists and made a fighting stance. Johnny did the same thing. Rhett did not notice that he was beginning to sweat. The sweat was on his temples and slithered to his cheeks. He was not focused on that. He was focused on winning this fight against this pest of an opponent.

He yelled and ran towards Johnny. Johnny got his guard up. Rhett tried to punch him in the face with his right fist. Johnny blocked. He tried again and Johnny blocked it. Rhett then tried with his left fist. Johnny blocked it. Rhett tried to punch Johnny’s left ribs. Johnny blocked it. Rhett swung his left arm, attempting to hit Johnny. Johnny ducked, dodging it. He then stood up straight. Rhett pushed him back. Johnny took a step back then used his foot to boost him as he added strength to his right fist. He punched Rhett in the face. Rhett grunted, feeling pain from the punch. He hid that fact then returned the favor by punching Johnny in the face. He then punched Johnny in the tummy very hard. Johnny ended up spitting saliva from his mouth due to the force behind the blow. The expelled fluids went onto Rhett’s face. Rhett kicked Johnny in the tummy. Johnny took a few steps back before going towards Rhett and throwing punches at his ribs. Rhett suffered two punches but then blocked the other seven as he moved backwards and was pinned against the fencing.

He then punched Johnny in the face. Johnny backed away from him and put his hand over the punched area, which was the top of his right eyebrow. Rhett then kicked Johnny in the face using his right foot. Johnny fell to the ground on his belly. Rhett jumped and attempted to land on Johnny with his elbow. Johnny rolled as ide and Rhett landed on the floor, elbow first. He did not feel any pain at all. Johnny stood up quickly and so did Rhett. Johnny lunged at Rhett then punched Rhett in the belly. Johnny then punched Rhett in the face using his left fist. He then used his right fist and punched him in the face. He used his left fist again. He then used his right fist. He then kicked Rhett in the tummy using his left knee. Rhett bent over slightly. He summersaulted backwards and kicked Johnny in the chin in the form of an uppercut. Johnny backed away a few steps but remained standing. Rhett rushed towards Johnny, who was briefly disoriented. He jumped and launched his fist into Johnny’s nose. Johnny grunted. Rhett span anti-clockwise and kicked Johnny in the face using his left foot.

Johnny lost his temper with that last hit. He growled angrily. Rhett tried another kick to the face using his left foot. Johnny blocked it. Rhett tried the same with his right foot. Johnny blocked it also. Johnny punched Rhett using his left fist. He punched Rhett in the tip of his eyebrow using his right fist. Rhett became disoriented. Johnny saw this as an opportunity. He became angrier still and decided to put an end to this. He clenched his fist and uppercut Rhett so hard that he literally flew into the ceiling, which was almost twenty meters high. The crowds gasped.

“Holy Jesus,” Duncan gasped as he stood from his chair, the same as all the seated spectators.

When Rhett bumped into the ceiling, some pieces from it broke off. Rhett then fell back into the ring, landing on the concrete on his belly. He even bounced off it once. All of the spectators looked at this in shock. Many of them had their mouths wide open, not believing what they had just seen. Romany was one of them. He had never seen Rhett take such a blow. He was not sure if Rhett was even alive after that. He knew that the lotion could help him withstand hard impact, but nothing like this had ever been imagined. The pieces that were broken off the ceiling fell onto Rhett’s back.

The crowd was silent and so was Johnny. Everyone awaited Rhett’s return to his feet, but it did not happen. He remained on the floor. He did not react at all when the pieces fell onto him. Johnny looked at him. He approached him and tried to see if he was heading into a trap. Nothing happened. He knelt by Rhett, whose face was against the floor. Johnny raised Rhett’s arm and felt how lifeless it was. Rhett was either unconscious or dead. Johnny did not know how he could tell. He did not care, anyway. He stood up and looked at the crowds as they stared at him. He did not know what to do then.

James was looking in disbelief. He could shake the feeling that he was hanging out with one of the strongest people he would ever meet. His eyes were wide open and he was standing, along with everyone else at the bar. The whole place was dead silent. Everybody was still. James looked around and saw how silent it was.

“Ye-e-e-e-e-e-e-a-a-a-a-a-h!” his voice echoed throughout the warehouse. His voice was then joined by the rest of the spectators. They all started cheering for Johnny. Well, at least the ones that had not bet against him, which was the vast minority of people. Many of the losers stared at their papers and were disappointed.

 

[Check out the continuation, which will be uploaded on Tuesday, 15th November, 2017]

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #2: Fight Club III

There was a slight halt in shooting, but there was still a lot of commotion. It was most probably due to the adrenaline that covered up the whole apartment in that instant. There were already holes in the walls due to the bullets fired. Rey still felt like he had to get a few words out. “You know, we can have you arrested for shooting at a police officer now,” he said. Continue reading

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