Previously on Blessed Inversion SWAT…
Having escaped death at the hands of his former student, the Inhibitor Mentalist, Steven Kessler returns home. While he has yet to return to his job at security for RajTEK, he keeps his nights busy as SWAT-Spider…
A week has passed since I’ve returned to Silver Plains and I still haven’t been called back into work by RajTEK. I didn’t care too much, it gave me more time to work my night job. Doctor Khonshu still wasn’t fully onboard for helping me again. Letting him disassemble the VTOL I came in got him to change his tune more or less. For once, I woke up early and was able to cook an actual breakfast. I’m not househusband material but I can at least cook for my boy.
“Time to get up Gabe.” I knock on his bedroom door. It takes him a minute but he comes out. He wasn’t a morning person. Like father like son. “Breakfast is done, kid.”
“Okay…” he groans and lumbers to the kitchen. The sight of waffles is enough to make Gabriel’s mood lift.
“Don’t take too long, you still have school.”
“I know.” he answers before starting to eat.
I sit down with him and listen to the television. It was pretty small and was just there to keep us distracted. First thing on is the news and it was more of the same. Weekly weather report, Inhibitors heralded as a success, a local crime, and whatever the latest music craze was. “Least I didn’t miss anything in Sweden.” Gabriel was too busy stuffing his face to notice anything I said. I get a call on my cell phone and decide to pick it up. It was the first I’d gotten since returning. I’d tell more people but I can’t have the Inhibitors figuring out I’m alive quite yet.
“Hey Steve, guess what?” Raja says over the phone.
“Something blew up?” That’s usually the case when I get a call at home.
“Not this time.”
“Something is about to blow up?”
“Figuratively yes. I need you to come in. I have a meeting about some potential partnerships.”
“Who’s going to be there?”
“You, me, and the heads of Acel-Corp and Gunma Inc.”
“About an hour.”
“I’ll be over.”
“You’re a lifesaver.” Raja hangs up.
“Work?” Gabriel asks me.
“Yeah, have to stand in on a meeting. Pretty boring. I can drop you off at school first if you’d like.”
“That’s okay.” he yawns. “I was gonna meet friends on the way.”
“Okay, stay safe and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” he stares at me blankly. We both know there isn’t much I wouldn’t do. “Yeah, I noticed after I said it.”
I get dressed but wait for Gabriel to leave first so I can wave him off. It doesn’t take me long to get to RajTEK. I meet Raja at the front door and we immediately go to a meeting room on the second floor. Always figured meeting rooms would be higher up but for some reason Raja chose near ground level. We were the last to arrive. Rowena Gunma arrived first. She was a short black haired woman wearing a simple yellow dress. They focused on genetics and weren’t especially a threat to us. The other was Jason McKellen the current head of Acel-Corp. He had sleeked back black hair and wore a red double-breasted suit. He had a shady look about him and the moment our eyes met I didn’t like him. They were also a tech company but nothing worth bragging about. Not anymore anyway.
“Sorry we’re late, I had to take care of a few things.” Raja explains as he sits down. “Thanks for coming.”
“Thank you for having us.” Rowena replies. Jason remains quiet before speaking.
“Let’s get down to business Eishner. I think your company is overstepping its bounds.”
“I have no problem that you’re an Inversion or that you employ them. But the fact you’re employing them is putting you into monopoly territory. How are any of us supposed to compete with you?” he didn’t even try to hide his bitterness.
“Okay…how does that have to do with anything?”
“I’m just letting you know where I stand before I go into any business deals with you. I’m just being careful about working with companies on the verge of committing a felony and can’t even keep people from stealing from them.”
“Look, if all you’re gonna do is insult me and be a dick then you can leave now.”
“It was a nice chat Mr. Eishner.” Jason adjusts his tie before standing and leaving. My eyes don’t stop following him until the door’s closed.
“What about you Ms. Gunma?”
“I’m still willing to do a partnership. I’m sure with your technology and my scientists we can do great things.”
“Thank you. I really think with our companies working together we can figure out where Inversions came from.”
“I look forward to that. I’ll have my R&D contact you and we’ll go from there.”
“Okay, pleasure doing business.” Raja shakes Rowena’s hand before she leaves. “God I hate McKellen. He’s such a douche! Like why would he even accept the offer for a partnership if he was just gonna come here and shit all over us?”
“Deep breaths Raja.”
“Okay okay.” he rubs his forehead in annoyance. “What do you think?”
“I think Gunma is fine. But Acel-Corp will be getting a visit tonight.”
“Serves him right.” Raja normally didn’t enjoy when I’d have to investigate a rival. Today was an exception.
“Needed me for anything else?” I ask. I still needed time to look into the Inhibitors more and figure out why Mentalist betrayed me.
“No, you’re good.”
For the last week I was thinking about that traitor but now I could finally make something of it. I went up to Raja and Doctor Khonshu’s lab to see if I could use one of their computers. She claimed to be taking orders but from where? I had a few possibilities but I needed a proper list. The first option would be Sasha Boone, director of the Inhibitors. I didn’t learn much about her while there and searching online gave me nothing. It was like she didn’t exist before the Inhibitors. None of the other staff was high enough on the totem pole to give orders to Mentalist like that. They all had ties to outside companies like Gunma Inc. and Acel-Corp but none of them knew I was SWAT-Spider…Unless it was an inside job…but that’d just leave Raja or Doctor Khonshu…I’ve been working with them as SWAT-Spider for awhile and they’d have plenty of opportunities to let me die. Only other guesses left would be someone in the UN or NATO but that’d be a waste of their time and effort. If they wanted the Inhibitors to fail they’d take out more than just me.
“If all you’re going to do is scowl at my computer and mash the keyboard like a caveman then get your own.” Doctor Khonshu complains.
“Sorry, doc.” I apologize. “We’re friends right?”
“Please, we’re barely acquaintances. We’re co-workers who happen to also do nighttime vigilantism.”
“Close enough. Did anyone seem happy I was gone or unhappy that I came back?”
“You do know I stay in my lab all the time right?” he clearly didn’t enjoy this conversation.
“You are always a wealth of knowledge doc you know that?”
“Why thank you. I do try my best to be the best.” he gloats oblivious to my insult.
“I’m at a dead end.” I think to myself. “Short of doing actual interrogations I doubt I’ll find anything out yet.”
I gave up my search and the rest of the day passed normally. I left early and picked up Gabriel from school. He went to Silver Plains Middle School, which was at worse very average. But it was conveniently located. I could tell when he got in the car something was on his mind.
“Hey Gabe, how was school?” I start off simple.
“Okay, I guess.” he responds blandly. His mind miles away.
“I have to work the night shift. I can stay for dinner but I’ll have to head out after. Might not be back before you head to bed.”
“Okay.” he says looking out the window.
“How’s Michael? Did you see him today?” I try to change subjects.
“He’s fine.” I glance at him in the rearview mirror. “Hey, dad?”
“You’re not gonna leave again right?”
“Only if work calls me in. I’ll always be there otherwise.” I try to reassure him.
“Is something wrong Gabe?”
“No…well…You love me right?”
“Even if you found out a secret about me? That I wasn’t like everyone else?”
I have an idea what he means but I don’t try to force it out of him. He’ll tell me when he’s ready. “No matter what I’ll always love you. Even if others don’t.”
“Thanks, I was just wondering.” his mood and expression went back to his normally upbeat default.
The rest of the drive home went smoothly. I ordered his favorite pizza to try and cheer him up before heading out. I put on the Khonshu Band and move my car out back. Changing out of my uniform and summoning my costume. I take the usual route, gliding from building to building. My target was Acel-Corps Silver Plains branch. It was Friday which made it convenient. The staff, if any, would be light and I could leave Gabe at home to his television. Wasn’t hard getting to the building, it was the tallest and gaudiest thing here. But climbing up it would take some time no matter the method I used.
“You there, doc?”
“Sadly, what less than legal activity are you up to tonight?” I couldn’t tell if he legitimately didn’t like me or was just a dick by nature.
“This time it’s for the boss.”
“Oh? He didn’t tell me.”
“He doesn’t tell you a lot of things. Right now you just need to know I’m about to search around Acel-Corp. Something he said at the meeting bothered me. He knew we’ve been having theft issues.”
“We’re a big company. This is par for the course.” he counters.
“True, but it was the delivery. He said it like a threat. Call me paranoid but I think it’s worth looking into.”
“If you say so. Just don’t get caught.”
“I never do.” I whisper as I get onto the roof. It was largely empty aside from the massive Acel-Corp logo. It’s neon lights shone down on me through the darkness. My danger sense warns me of something I could already see. I wasn’t alone. There was a woman in all black wearing a ski mask as well. “And who might you be?”
“Doesn’t matter.” her accent was strong. Russian, I think. “I’m just here to bring you in one way or another.
“That so?” I stand up straight. No need to stay low when I’ve already been discovered.
“Boss wants you taken out and what the boss wants…” she extends her arms to the side as they burst into flames. The boss gets!” her arms swing forward and launch a stream of flames at me. It was easy to jump to the side and dodge it. Much to her surprise and annoyance.
“Boss huh? After I take you out I’ll be sure to pay them a visit.” I’m beginning to regret being a vigilante. I forgot just how many people want me dead. Whatever, I’ll take them all down one after another. Starting with her.