BI SWAT #13: Seeing Red

Blessed Inversion SWAT Emblem

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. When Steven plans to return to ordinary life, he finds himself out of a job as Raja fires him. The strain of their past actions weighing heavily on him. But now that he’s on his own, Steven returns to using his old methods for dealing with crime…

Steven Kessler/SWAT-Spider

-Vigilante

Gabriel Kessler/Jetstream

-Superhero-in-training

Wendell Hoffman/Titan

-Former Inhibitor

Doctor Khonshu/Kreon Galanis
-Genius Inversion

The next day I go to pick up Gabe from school as normal. The rain from the night before kept on raging. If I didn’t already get Forecast arrested I’d blame him for the random torrential rain. Bringing an umbrella was pointless. It wouldn’t last five minutes against the wind. Wendell and I arrived early and waited for class to end. I haven’t told him or Gabe about losing my job. I intend to keep it that way as long as I can. I still have money saved up so we aren’t immediately screwed. Could go back to being SWAT or a cop again. Not like I can make things worse with Elle. How did things get damn difficult?

“Hey, dad. Hey, Wend.” Gabe greets as he enters sits in the back of the car, breaking my train of thought. I can’t help but notice his book bag is soaked but he’s somehow dry. He’s been practicing vibrating his body fast enough to phase through things. Most he can do now is dry off instantly. Not much but he’s making progress.

“Hey Gabe, how was school?”

“Weird, we did safety drills.”

“Safety drills?” I ask as I begin driving.

“Yeah, cause of all the recent attacks. I heard some of the teachers talking about one from last night.”

“Last night?”

“Yeah, some guys working at Hilton’s got murdered.” he answered way too frankly for my liking. Even Wendell seemed a little surprised by it.

Something wasn’t right about this. I may have attacked those guards last night but they shouldn’t have died. Even if they did, I made sure they were hidden. I needed to know more. “Murdered? You’re sure you heard that?”

“Uh huh.” Gabe nodded. “I mean I’m pretty sure. I wasn’t spying or anything.”

“You hear anything on the news about this?” I glance at Wendell who shakes his head no. “What else did you hear Gabe?”

“Um…” Gabe pauses briefly to think. Even if his could move at super speed his thoughts weren’t always up to par. “They were talking about the news and how the police found them in the lobby and how dangerous the city is now. I wasn’t worried though. We’re superheroes so we’re gonna stop em!”

“Slow down kid. You still haven’t finished your training yet.”

“Ugh, but I already helped you out before…”

“Yeah, and I’m very proud of you for it. But that was because I had no other options. Till you’re done training you’re not going in the field or getting a costume.” I put my foot down and glance at him in the rearview mirror. He wasn’t good at hiding his downturned eyebrows and frown. I could tell he wanted to say something but wasn’t willing to. He doesn’t like it, but it was for his own protection.

“Fine…” Gabe replied lowly. “You’re gonna find them though right?”

“I’ll do what I can.” I’m not entirely lying to him. I may have done what I needed to last night but someone else came after me. This means one of two things that could’ve happened. Option 1; someone came after me, killed those guards, and planted them out in the open. Option 2 is they called the police on themselves to make the story public. Both would mean they wanted the person responsible to find out. They want to know they found out what I did like a challenge. “Good.” I thought to myself. If they want to call me out then I’ll play along. After I make a call that is…In about 20 minutes we finally reach home and I park. “Hey, head on inside. I have a call to make.”

“Okay.” Gabe nods as Wendell follows close behind. I wait for them to get inside before pulling out my cell phone and placing a call.

“Kessler, I was wondering how long till I got this call.” Doctor Khonshu replied in his usual dismissive tone.

“I don’t care, just answer me with a yes or no. Was what Raja said true?”

“Yes.” he replied bluntly.

“Will you help repair the Khonshu Band if it gets damaged?

“No.” he sighs. “But-”

“Are you going to get in my way?”

“That depends. What are you going to do?”

“What I have to.”

“No, I don’t think I’ll get in your way then.”

“Good.” I hang up and head inside. That’s one issue down. Now for the next. When I open the door to our apartment Gabe is already doing his homework in the living room. Wendell sat watching TV a few feet away. “Hey Wend, mind helping me out?” Wendell nods and approaches me. I reach into my pocket, grab my wallet, and pull out some money. “I’m going to be out late tonight. I’ll need you to watch Gabe for me. He’s already doing his homework so that’s not a problem.” I hand him the money. “This should be enough to order whatever. Sorry, it’s sudden.” Wendell signs to me that it’s okay. “Thanks, Wends watching you for the night kid. I’ll be back in the morning.”

“Okay, dad. ” Gabe gets up and gives me a hug. “Be careful okay?”

“Always am.”

Having Wendell around is turning out to be more useful than I thought it’d be. I made sure Gabe could take care of himself if anything ever happened to me but it puts me at ease knowing Wendell can watch him. I drive back downtown and head to Hiltons so I can investigate. As expected it’s still open. And there are at least a dozen police officers on top of the regular security. I head downstairs to the basement level and security is even tighter. Some cops and detectives keep an even closer eye on the back area than normal. I fake browsing the bedding. Nobody bothers to question the guy in a short-sleeved white shirt, grey sweatpants, and sneakers. They probably think I’m just buying stuff for my wife or girlfriend last minute. My Danger Sense isn’t triggering so they’re on the level. But that still leaves me with questions that need answering. But they’ll wait, I’m still not at 100% and without my suit on it’s still hard to move and breath at times. I return to my car and drive several blocks away to a parking complex. It was usually crowded which made it convenient to blend in. I lean the driver’s seat back, close my eyes, and get a quick nap.

When I wake up, it’s already pitch black. I check the time and it’s already 10:39PM. I was out for about three hours and I’m still sore. But I’ll feel better soon. I look around and don’t see anyone nearby. Using the opening, I go to my trunk and pull out a duffel bag. Inside was my old SWAT Gear. I take off my clothes so I’m just wearing the top and bottom of my SWAT Gear before summoning Guardian Aranea. If anything happens to my gear I can still quickly and easily switch back to my normal mode. Next, I walk over to the northeast most corner of the first floor. Most people wouldn’t dream of touching the wall to a dirty parking complex. Lucky for me, I’m not most people. I grab the wall and use my enhanced strength to remove the fake walling I placed years ago. Until yesterday it was empty, but now I have it as my private stash of weapons I…appropriated from those gun runners. The new EL-426 Songbird Assault Rifle, latest tech on the market. Instead of the long precision based nozzle, the Songbird had a more rectangular shape. It’s barrel was square and flat almost to the point it could be mistaken for a shotgun. Overall, it looked like it belonged in a sci-fi movie. There were too many for me to take for myself so I only kept a few and destroyed the rest.

“Let’s see if you’re worth whatever those guys paid.” I grab two of the Songbirds and strap one to each side of my waist. Putting 4 extra clips of ammo in my pouches. I return to my car and reach under the driver’s seat. I didn’t tell anyone about it but I kept my old Custom Handgun from SWAT. On the outside, it looked like a modified Beretta but on the inside, she packed the power of a Magnum. “Long time no see Nightingale.” I do a final check on my gear and holster Nightingale.

It takes me about 45 minutes before I reach my destination. The side of an office building opposite a 30-floor hotel. The hotel itself is legitimate but it has a bad habit of housing some high ranked gangsters. The good news was the rain still didn’t let up so they wouldn’t see me coming. My webs are waterproof so I could glide right in through the window. I reach into one of my waist pouches and pull out a small handheld monocular. Not the best for long distances but it’d give me a rough idea. “There you are…” Right on cue, I find my target. Richard Kent, leader of the Italian Gangster. In the old days, they had fought for the top of the food chain. But now thanks to Inversions, they’re just a shell of their former selves. Just barely keeping afloat by working Biohazards day-to-day operations. “23rd floor and 6th room from the right.” I climb up higher for about 30 seconds just to be safe. I summon Araneas Legs and use them to launch myself into the air. Spawning webs between my arms and legs like a wingsuit. “3…2…1…” I countdown as I got closer. My Danger Sense acting as a guide for my timing. When I get close enough I hold my arms forward and create a web shield. Layer after layer of web overlaying the last to act like a battering ram. Shattering the window with ease and letting me roll in. Using the momentum to draw both Songbirds as I stop in a crouch. Guardian Aranea modifying them to be part of my suit.

“What the fuck!?” Kent cries as he jumps and runs to the opposite side of the room. His one-room looked like three rooms merged together.

It was him and three guards. “Looks like I came unprepared.” I thought for a second. Taking aim with each Songbird I take out the two guards to my left and right before they can even draw their guns. Each shot the Songbirds made sounded like a Lyrebirds call on fast forward. If it shot lasers I wouldn’t be surprised. If I weren’t as strong as I was my forearms would be broken just from the 16 shots across each I fired. Kent dives for cover inside a walk-in closet as the final guard draws his pistol. I lean forward and use Aranea’s top right leg to stab him through the chest. Quick and painless, which meant my target was all that was left. “Hmm?” I spoke too soon as my Danger Sense picks up again. More guards run in with guns ready. I don’t even bother properly aiming and just unload the rest of my ammo into them. Messy but quick and effective. I don’t know how many other people heard me so it was my best option.

“Oh god oh god oh god.” Kent whimpered to himself as he tried to hide behind his clothes in the closet. It didn’t help when I just grab him through the wall and pull him out on the other side.

“Hello, Kent.” I greet him with my mask mandibles clicking menacingly.

“Please! I didn’t do anything I swear! I just-” I cut him off and throw him aside into one of the lounge chairs. “Oh god…” he tries to crawl away but there’s nowhere he can go. “I don’t wanna die. I didn’t do anything wrong…” I use my foot to roll him onto his back and stand on his chest. “W-w-wait! This is your first time seeing me! You’re supposed to give us a chance fir-”

“No more second chances.” I take aim without hesitation.

“P-please.” I can see the terror in his face as he wets himself. I almost feel bad.

“You want to live through the night then follow my instructions perfectly. Got that?”

“Of course! I’ll do anything!” he nods furiously.

“Good.” I release my grip on the Songbirds and the move up to my back through my costume. “You guys have been quiet lately. Too quiet, why is that?”

“Biohazard wants us to go back to working under the radar. Doesn’t want us to get…well…you or those other new guys attention.” he spills his guts without a second thought.

“This applies to everyone?”

“Yeah, he had a sit down with all the gang leaders about it. Except for Empress but she doesn’t listen to anyone. Even got a buncha cops in on it too.”

“Shit…they’re coordinating again and even got dirty cops on their side…This got more complicated fast…” I thought to myself. “Congratulations Kent, you just became my new best friend.” I remove my foot and help him to his feet. “From now on you work for me.” I dust him off casually. “Do they have Psychic beyond Haze, Kent?”

“I-I don’t think so sir.”

“Good. Biohazard is going to wonder what happened here. He’s going to think whoever stole his gun shipment came out and attacked you. You’re going to tell him just that. Whoever they were broke in, killed all your guards, and left. That this was just a test run.”

“But what if he asks for a name? What if he thinks I’m just playing him?”

I didn’t think this far ahead in my plan. I was going to just take everyone out in my path but now that I’m letting him live I need to wing it. I haven’t been attacked so Haze seemingly held up his end of our deal. But if I out myself RajTEK will… “Wait, if Haze erased my identity then that means he doesn’t know I was working with RajTEK…” the realization hits me and my next course of action becomes all too easy to make. “Tell them it was the Silver Sentinels.”

“Silver Sentinels? But didn’t you take them down already? What if-”

I grip both his shoulders and look him in the eyes. “Trust me Kent, he’ll believe you.” With this, step one of my plan was complete. Now to move onto step two, keep up my attacks on two fronts so they never suspect I’m playing two roles at once. “One last thing Kent.”

“What is it, boss?”

“How much money do you have?”

Recommended Reading

COMING SOON

Next Issue

Blessed Inversion SWAT Chapter 14- Downward Spiral

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