Banzai (Psylocke)
Katherine Hana Li spin_kick_snap
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Downtown Los Angeles, Gorgon's Patrol, Saturday Night
Gorgon's bike shot down the street, slipping through intersections and around corners. He tried to cover as much ground as possible each night; the trick was to be seen as many places as possible, but never be moving so fast people thought he wouldn’t stop for something. There was a reason police cars seemed to move at "hanging out" speed a lot.

He'd also learned moving targets are harder to hit. There was a chip in his helmet where someone tried to blow his head off with a rifle. Knocked him off the bike, and that was the night he'd learned his power could drain someone from a block and a half away. Getting shot once was enough, and he didn't have Regenerator on speed-dial the way Banzai did. Hell, he didn't even have Banzai running around to stitch him up again.

Just another night in LA.

He was on Pico when the sedan pulled in behind him. He got a good look at it in his bike's mirrors: an old Caddy with a lot of power, a lot of seating room, and one dumb fuck sitting in the passenger window with a shotgun. Gunning the throttle, he pulled away. They picked up speed. Their car swerved a bit and he could hear them howling and laughing. Drunk or stoned to work up their courage.

A little more speed from the bike. A lot more from the Caddy. They were gaining fast. His timing needed to be pretty good for his next trick to work, but they were so wired he doubted it needed to be perfect.

Gorgon let his speed drop and swung the bike to the left, heading for an alley a bit up ahead. The sedan swerved to cut him off, gunning its engine again, and he clamped hard on the brakes. The bike shrieked to a halt and spun around.

They oversteered and rushed past. The guy in the window fired off a blast from the shotgun while one in the back seat shot a few rounds from a pistol. They were barely aiming and none of them came close.

They slammed into the corner of the building, right where the alley began.

Fifty mile an hour impact with no airbags.

Pulling the bike up, Gorgon let the goggles snap open. Didn’t want to drain too much—-all these idiots had hospital time ahead of them. Especially the shotgunner. He’d been thrown out and made a good-sized dent in a blue mailbox. Checking for a pulse, Gorgon noticed the punk's collarbone and left arm were shattered, but he was still alive, lucky fucker.

The driver moaned as he was dragged out the window. The steering wheel had slammed him pretty hard, fractured some ribs, and his face was cut up a bit from pieces of windshield. He cried and cursed in Spanish until the third time his head hit the trunk of the car. "I don’t know nothing, bro," he spat out. "Leave me alone."

"You don’t know nothing?” Gorgon repeated, denting the hood with his skull again. “You were looking for me, weren’t you?"

"No, man, I swear." He tried to spin and knock the hero's hand away, but he’d already seen Gorgon's eyes. The punk was as strong as a ten-year old and Gorgon had the energy of four people. Gorgon twisted him back and pressed his head against the trunk.

"Any second now I’m gonna get bored hitting your face on this car and we’re gonna move to the sidewalk. You were looking for me?"

"Yeah," he nodded. "Yeah, we were."

"Was it Rodney? He still too chickenshit to fight me again?"

If his life as Gorgon was a comic book, Rodney Casares would be Nick's archenemy. He would’ve been exposed to gamma rays, found an alien artifact, maybe teleported with a housefly or something. Then he’d get a costume, rob a few banks, try to take over the city once or twice. They'd fight a lot, he’d be foiled and get away at the last minute, all that nonsense.

Instead, here in the real world, he was what people thought of as the top enforcer of the South Seventeens. They had some stupid title for him, but Gorgon made a point of not using it. He’d been in court once on murder charges, four or five on assault and battery. Rodney hated Gorgon's guts for draining his little brother while the stupid kid was out trying to earn his way into the gang with some small time robbery and vandalism. Once the brother got out, the two of them came after the hero with a few other boys and he'd taken out all of them. Rodney was tough, but he couldn't fight with his eyes shut. And there wasn't a much better insult in that community than making someone look weak in front of family and friends.

The Seventeen's face shifted at the name and he grinned. "You don’t know?"


"Rodney’s fuckin' out, bro. In the hospital. Maybe even dead already."

"Who was it?"

The driver shook his head. "Weren’t no one, just some crazy bitch. Jumped on him outside the movies Thursday night. She was all biting and shit. Ripped up his neck, chewed off one of his ears. Loco Tommy said she swallowed it."

"What happened to her?"

"What you think happened, man?" A weak hand came up and wiped away the blood pooling in his eyes. "Shot the bitch fuckin’ stone cold. Word is she was so hopped up she took almost twenty rounds."

There'd been a piece on the news a few days ago of a woman with multiple gunshot wounds. Gang related. Gorgon'd never followed up on it until now.

One of the Seventeens in the back of the car groaned and fumbled his door open. Gorgon kicked it shut, slamming his head on the frame. He slumped back in his seat. The idiot on the trunk tried to leap up again, and this time Gorgon let the goggles stay open.

"So who sent you after me?"

He whimpered and his wide-open eyes watered up. Gorgon let the lenses close and shook him.

"Everyone," he whined.


"Everyone’s gunnin' to score on you." He managed a weak smile. "You’re the guy who shamed Rodney. Take you out, that makes someone new top dog now that he’s gone."

Gorgon flipped him over and pulled his wallet. They went through the spiel, the one Gorgon had lifted directly from Battle Group, then pocketed the kid's license and the cash, and then knocked him out against the trunk. Ten minutes later him and his two buddies were zip-tied together in a ring, arms to feet. He finished up by fastening the shotgunner’s unbroken arm to the mailbox and threw down a flare.

People ignored gunfights, screams, and drug deals, but for some reason everyone called the cops when there was a flare burning in the street..

Mysterious Figure
In the sudden burst of light, Gorgon saw something across the street. A woman up on the roof. Watching him. One of the Seventeens moaned and he glanced away, just for a second. She was gone when he looked back.

He was tier three or so, enough that a two-story jump was just possible with a little effort. Taking a running start, he hit the center line of the street, and leaped.

Gorgon landed on the bleached tar paper of the roof. The goggles were open, draining anyone who caught sight of him, but there was no one. He looked behind some air vents and an access door. She’d vanished like some little ninja-stealth adept.

He'd heard about someone like her; Cairax Murrain had mentioned spotting some 'dominatrix-ninja' on his rounds in Venice Beach and even MidKnight had bashfully mumbled something about a 'lovely and talented damsel, most revealingly clothed.' But this was the first time Gorgon had seen her. Maybe she wanted to be a sidekick or something?

His coat flapped in the wind as he dropped back down to street level. No time to play cat and mouse with another hero. If the fucking kid was right and there was a power vacuum in the Seventeens, this part of LA was going to be hell on earth by the end of the week.

[Adapted from Chapter 4, "Seeing the Big Picture" of Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. NFI, NFB, OOC is enjoyed.]