Previously on Blessed Inversion SWAT…
With the aid of the Inhibitors, Doctor Khonshu, Black Ice, and his son Jetstream, SWAT-Spider stops Pheromaster’s plan to invade the Nucleus. Now while Raja plans a major shift in business practice and Doctor Khonshu is laying the groundwork for the Khonshu Squadron, Steven and Gabriel take the former Inhibitor, Wendell on a tour of Silver Plains…
-RajTEK Head of Security. Recovering
-Steven’s son. Self-sufficient rookie hero
-Former Inhibitor. Mute
At first, I was a little worried about how Gabe & Wendell would get along. But Gabe is really into pointing out the landmarks. I don’t want Wendell to get overwhelmed so I stop in a parking garage and we head into Blue Ribbon Mall. It was a fairly large 4 story mall a few blocks away from Gunma Inc. It was the main, or at least the largest, attraction on the long strip of stores and restaurants.
“This mall is pretty cool. The movie theater is on the top floor and there’s a really cool game store on the second floor.” Gabriel explains somewhat excitedly. The sentiment seemed genuine enough. “Hey, could I get a new game as a reward for helping out?” *
“Maybe before we leave, first off we need to stop at Tella’s on the third floor.” I didn’t want to just shoot down giving Gabe a proper reward but there were other things I needed to focus on. Like making sure Wendell had more than one half-assed outfit. I had no idea when I’d be able to head to the Cell to get any of his things and I didn’t want him staying indoors all the time. “If you see anything you like Gabe tell me.”
“But I don’t need any clothes.” he says.
“Trust me, you’ll want some spares.” I insist knowing how tough vigilantism can be on the wardrobe. It did give me an idea I’d need to ask Raja and Doc K about. I have no idea what type of clothes Wendell likes so I just let him roam. Gabe followed alongside me and tried to help however he could. I still wasn’t at 100% and without Guardian Aranea it was still tough to move. Wendell, on the other hand, didn’t seem to need any help. If I didn’t know better I’d think he came here before. Wendell knew exactly what type of clothes he wanted to get and the sizes he needed. I expected him to go for sports gear but he didn’t have flashy tastes. Just simple solid colors and standard jeans. “What’s wrong?” I asked when he stops to check the prices on what he grabbed. I could see him finally realize he didn’t have money for anything. “Don’t worry about it, I’ll pay for it.” I try to assure him but he still seemed concerned. “You’re a Kessler now. This means we look out for each other.” he hesitates but begins to continue browsing. “Mind keeping an eye on him? I’m gonna get a seat.” I ask Gabe while motioning to the sitting area outside one of the fitting rooms.
“Oh, okay.” he does as I ask.
I go to sit down, lean my head against the wall, and close my eyes. I know I should be watching them but I’m sure they’ll be fine a few minutes. The bright side of Inversion kids is they can take care of most things without needing me. I open my eyes and half expect to see Haze there. “I’m starting to get more paranoid…” I thought to myself. “So there’s Wendell’s clothes, a game for Gabe, groceries, that parking ticket…” I feel a slight pain in my chest. “The hospital bill and rent…Wendell needs school too…Gonna have to look that up tonight. I need to tell Elle about this too…This is gonna be a rough patch.” I rub my face and stand back up. It takes me a few minutes to find Gabe and Wendell again. I don’t know how but they finished with clothes and made it into the sneaker section. “I guess he would need shoes too…” I thought briefly sighing to myself. “Almost done?” Wendell nods to me. “You find anything Gabe?”
“Nope.” he shakes his head.
“Okay, let’s go then.” I take the lead and get on the nearest line. My danger sense goes off right before I get the bill. This time I’m not ignoring the warning. I pay the bill and get us out of Tella’s.
“Soooooo, can we stop by the game store now?” Gabe makes sure to remind me.
“Not now Gabe.” I pull us off to the side for some privacy. “I didn’t want to have to bring up something like this but my Danger Sense went off back in the store. It’s calmed down but last time I ignored it I…it wasn’t pleasant.” *
“What do we do dad?” Gabe asks concerned.
“Get Wendell home. I’m going to make sure whatever’s about to happen, doesn’t.”
I regret what I just said immediately as a golden beam explodes from within Tella’s. The entrance is leveled and several people are knocked over the banister for the third floor. Guardian Aranea acts instinctively and phases through the floor beneath me, keeping its presence hidden, and shooting webs at the civilians. When the webs land they form a parachute to help get them to the ground in one piece. It’s too late for the people inside the store, but at least I can deal with bringing in the one responsible. I recall Guardian Aranea and form my suit under my clothes. I can feel my body feel closer to normal again and run back into Tella’s. Throwing my shirt aside and discarding my pants and shoes with a quick flip. My eyes scan the store for anyone in need. The survivors already began their evacuation which left me with Inversion takedown. I follow my Danger Sense to the epicenter of the explosion. The changing room where a woman made of pure golden energy floated in the air. Her jet black hair that flowed to her back was the only thing not made of energy. If she wasn’t largely featureless and made of energy, I’d guess she was a supermodel.
“Did you do this?” I ask the woman. I don’t want to assume she’s a criminal. I’m not being shot at within 5 seconds of meeting her so we’re on the right track.
“I did.” she responds calmly. Not a good sign. “It’s so beautiful don’t you think?” she continues while admiring her left arm. She exhales and begins running her hands over her body. Also not a good sign. I think I know where this is going… “This feeling it’s so…so…”
“You’re not in the right state of mind. You need to-”
“You’re like me aren’t you?” she interrupts me and floats in front of me. Examining my helmet.
“Yeah, we’re both Inversions.” I say not making any sudden movements. I have the Khonshu Band with me but I’d need to get into position to use it first. For now, I leave my arms at my side in a non-aggressive way.
“Heavenly isn’t it?” she whispers slowly floating in a circle around me. “The power…the sensation…” I can feel her wrap her arms around my shoulders loosely. Her head resting on my left shoulder and looking at me with her golden eyes. “What’s your name?”
I tilt my head slightly toward her. I can see Gabe & Wendell looking on from a distance. I motion for them to stay still. I don’t want them spooking her. “SWAT-Spider.”
“Mmm…I like that name.” she lets go of me and floats forward. Slowly rotating so her back is facing the ground. “Strong and authoritative. I need a name now too. Something to fit my rebirth like yours.”
“I wasn’t reborn.” I say flatly.
“But isn’t that what it means to be an Inversion?” she stops in the air and leans forward so she looks like she’s laying down. Her head supported by her hands and her legs bent towards her back playfully. “I mean we all start out as a human. But then we’re chosen by the singularity and reborn.”
“We aren’t chosen. It just happens.” I know it’s a risk being honest but if I support her delusion she’ll dive bomb faster.
“Just happens?” she sits up and crosses her legs. “No…This feels too good to just be random.” her tone doesn’t change but my Danger Sense starts screaming to me.
“I get one shot at this.” I thought to myself. I turn the palms of both my hands towards her while keeping my arms at my side and fire my standard webs from my left palm and taser webs from the right. I’m glad I bought the Khonshu Band with me this time. Her body may be made of energy, but it was still solid. I let both webs do their thing and wrap her up. If I’m lucky the taser webs will knock her out while I figure out something to do with her. “I’m sorry, but you’re too unstable. You need to calm down.”
“Calm down? Ahahahahaha.” she laughs through the webs. Golden light begins to shine through the cracks that had yet to be fully covered.
“Shit.” I close my eyes and brace myself as she explodes with energy. Sending me soaring outside and rolling on the floor. When I open my eyes I’m covered in a boxy blue energy armor construct. Gabe just saved me from another hospital visit. “Thanks for not listening to me kid.”
“Unstable? Calm down?” her voice echoes as she floats out of the store. Energy pulsating from her hands. “You want me to calm down after YOU attack me?!”
“What’s the plan dad?” Gabe puts his goggles on. Our sign to start using codenames.
“Refractive funnel in front of her. Small end towards us JS.” I order.
“Funnel, got it!” he does as I ask.
“I thought we were the same but you’re just…just an Uncle Tom for humans. For that, you’re gonna burn!” she pulls her arms back and thrusts them forward, firing twin streams of energy through the funnel. Unfortunately for us, it was made of regular hard light funnel construct instead of a refractive one. It does nothing to stop the attack and is shattered instantly. But Wendell steps up to the task, turns his skin to metal, and stands between us and the laser. The beam curving around his body as he strained to stand his ground. His shirt burning away like it’s nothing. “You too? Are all Inversions just traitors?” Suddenly, she stops her attack and begins holding her sides. “W-where am I? Why does my body…” she stops to look at herself but just gasps in horror. “What happened to me?!” her hollow eyes widen. I can see the fear on her face. But the look fades when she looks at me. “You know, I think I finally have a name. You can call me…Spectralia…Until next time, SWAT-Spider.” With her message sent, she turned towards the roof and fires a beam at the roof. Creating an exit for her to fly out of.
“I’m sorry dad…That wasn’t what you wanted was it?” Gabriel apologizes. His eyes focused on the floor.
“It’s fine Gabe.” I sighed putting my hand on his shoulder. I know he’s still new so I can’t be mad at him. “Would you mind getting my clothes?”
“Okay.” he replies and in less than a second has my discarded civilian attire.
“Thanks, Gabe.” I say retrieving my clothes before finding a place to hide and put it back on. “Good work Wendell.” I say returning to normal. “Looks like we need to go clothes shopping again.” I joke glancing at his tattered shirt. It gets a slight smile out of him.
“So…who was that?” Gabe asks the question we’re both wondering. I give the best response I can.
“A new Inversion. Remember how you were scared when your powers first manifested?”
“Sometimes when a power first manifests it does things to their minds. It doesn’t just go to their head, it changes it beyond recognition. At the end, it looked like she was getting some sanity back. But until we find her again I can’t tell if it was a one-time thing or not.”
“Should I go look for her? I’m probably fast enough.” Gabe suggests, pulling his goggles over his eyes once more.
“No, you still need training before you’re ready for her. We’ll get to that tomorrow. Wendell, you’re free to join if you’d like.” I turn to him and he gives a nod. “Good, then let’s go home.”
“Wait, but isn’t it dangerous for her to be on the loose?” Gabe brought up a valid concern.
I wasn’t ready for another Inversion to manifest, let alone one so close to us, but at least it wasn’t another gangster. Gabe was too inexperienced to go after her and I wasn’t going to send Wendell flying after her blindly. With my injuries, dealing with her directly isn’t an option. Why can’t anything ever be easy? “I know it sucks, but none of us are ready to deal with her right now. Worst case scenario, we still have Black Ice.”
“Oh cool, we should call him.” he suggests.
I stand there quietly as the realization hits me. I gave Black Ice my number but I didn’t get his. Assuming things would be going smoothly for me and it wouldn’t be needed. I can only say one thing right now. “Shit.”