Supernatural Science Fiction posted April 23, 2011 Chapters:  ...4 5 -6- 7... 

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The team attempts the mission in stormy weather.

A chapter in the book Weapon

Very Early Monday Morning

by SeLF

After midnight, a blustery wind pushed cumulonimbus clouds into position directly overhead. They were accompanied by low, but insistent, bass thunder. The chilly air, whipping around us as Henry and I climbed into the pickup, was heavy with the scent of imminent rain.

In the next few hours, Mother Nature could make things very interesting for all of us, especially me. An unexpected bonus from the flashover, which only Henry knew about because of our practise sessions, was a substantial increase in my overall strength. Tonight, however, I wondered if my literally stunning electromagnetic abilities might turn me into a walking lightning rod.

From the surveillance van, Garth informed us the workers were locked into the small, one storey, fenced building at the back of the "Green Homes" property at 12:20 a.m. Within twenty minutes, we glided to a stop next to the van. Just ten minutes later, Matt and Adam appeared with the bus. The thunder's rolling rumble obscured the engine's sound.

I hadn't seen any lightning, yet.

With the exception of Constable Kelly, all of us were dressed in black or charcoal grey pants and hoodies with Kevlar vests underneath, dark knit caps, light gloves for warmth, and quiet-soled running shoes. We were accessoried by micro-coms and earpieces, night goggles for the guys, and backpacks with flashlights, water bottles, children's electrolyte replacement drinks, packets of antiseptic wipes and bandages, and our favourite restraining device, duct tape.

Upon seeing the five of us crowded into the van, Mickie observed sardonically, "Together, you make an unnerving fashion statement.

"If this goes well, a police van takes the guards to the detachment for booking, a patrol car escorts Matt and the bus passengers to the school gym, and we secure the property so forensics can gather evidence. If it doesn't, I call for immediate backup."

"Right now," said Garth, "the armed guards are together in what is probably the break room. We think they're playing cards. From a window, they have a direct line of sight to the workers' quarters. That window is on the extreme left hand side of the building as you face the main entrance."

He grinned and added, "Try to avoid walking past it."

We were ready. I caught Garth's eye. He gave an almost imperceptible nod as we left.

Henry and I moved against blustery wind gusts along the outside of the fence just out of sight of the security cams to reach the power pole with the transformer box at the back corner of the property. Between the rush of the wind and increasing low rolls of thunder, we didn't have to worry about moving silently. Matt and Adam had returned to the bus.

"Matt, can you hear me?"

"No problem, Henry. But if we get electrical activity, we'll have some buzzing on the coms."

Just then, there was a loud rumble of thunder directly overhead. A snap-burst of static stung my eardrums, triggering some tinnitus. The snap-crackle quickly subsided to a low hiss of white noise.

"Henry, did you hear that?"

"Yeah, but it's all clear now."

Not for me it wasn't. One of the few downsides of hyper-sensitive hearing.

Because of my proximity to the transformer, the thrumming, vibrating sensation began in my limbs. I gestured at Henry to move several feet away from me, the pole, and the fence. He also removed his night goggles. I took long, slow, deep breaths. Due to the increasing buildup of ion charges in the air, I felt warm and tingly all over. When I attained a state of calm, I nodded at Henry.

"Mickie, are the guards still in the break area?" he asked.

"The four of them are seated at the table."

That was my cue to light up; Mickie would be looking at thermo-imaging of the guards, not at us. I removed the glove from my right hand, focused carefully, and tried to create ball lightning in my palm. Not so easy to do in a windstorm. Because I had to throw vertically rather than horizontally, I lost the first one. It bounced around on the ground, causing the micro-coms to hiss and crackle as it disintegrated. A few of the lights along the security fencing flickered briefly.

"You two okay?" Mickie asked.

"Fine," answered Henry. "There was a bit of forked lightning beyond the back fence. Are the men still seated, or are they moving to check out what happened?"

"One stood to look out the window, while the other three remained seated. Okay. . . he just sat down again."

The clock was running. I sharpened my concentration, lit up carefully, and focused on the box for a moment. Inside my light cocoon, there was complete calm and silence. This might be my only chance.

Everything happened as though in slow motion. Each voluntary muscle movement was fluid and easy, my balance absolutely sound. I created a second lightning ball, effortlessly tossed it straight up, and hit my target.

The transformer was obliterated in the thunderous explosion. Sparks flew off the control panel at the back of the factory. The entire site plunged into darkness.

I took a moment to power down and put on my glove. Once the ringing tinnitus subsided and I could hear my surroundings again, I heard Matt talking over a background of white noise.

"We've got the bus at the main gate. Adam left it propped open. I'll park at the entrance to the workers' quarters. We'll join you at the factory."

"Copy that," said Henry as he led me by the arm.

He blocked his mic. "That was truly impressive. Are you okay? Can you hear me? Can you continue?"

I nodded several times.

He let go of my arm and I walked around a bit to make sure my legs, which had balanced me so wonderfully just a moment ago, wouldn't buckle. Even though I felt prickly, tingly heat all over, my legs and balance quickly recovered. I was fine. Better than fine; I felt charged up. Pun intended. For the moment, though, I was content to follow Henry back around the fence and through the gate to the front of the factory. It gave me enough time to get clear mentally.

"There's movement inside the factory, and inside the workers' building." Mickie's voice crackled over the com. "I hope there won't be full blown panic in the latter. The guards are trying to get to the door. You'll get there before them, because they're stumbling about in total darkness."

"Mickie and Garth," said Henry, "we'll take care of these four guards first. Once we have them secured, 'Tas will deal with the padlock, and all four of us will get the workers on the bus.

"Which means, team, we have to work fast and smart, and take advantage of the elements of surprise and darkness. First, get the guns away from them."

Two of us stood on each side of the doorway, Matt and I on the hinged side, and Henry and Adam on the opening side.

"Only two are coming your way," Garth said. "The other two are trying to get to the back entrance. They've got flashlights; be careful with your night goggles."

"Copy that," whispered Henry. "Adam and I will go."

They both looked at Matt and me. We gave them a thumbs up.

"We'll help you guys when we've finished here," Matt quipped.

Adam and Henry disappeared around the side of the building. I heard stumbling steps approaching from inside. I moved to the side of the door that opened.

"They'll emerge any moment now," I stated calmly as I moved closer to the door handle. "One for each of us."

The door cracked opened several inches. I grabbed the edge and yanked it wide open. The guy holding onto the inside handle stumbled out and fell to his knees. I jumped onto his back, arms around his neck, wrapped my legs around his waist, and hung on with all my strength.

The man almost pitched forward onto his head when I jumped him. He landed heavily, which gave me a few seconds to tighten my grip with my legs. That's when I realized I had his left arm pinned to his body with my left leg. I could feel the belt holster for the gun under my right. He was very strong and, using his right hand, he pushed himself to his feet. Staggering around off balance, he fought to get a hold of me. Every time he reached for my right arm or my head, I gave him sharp, solid kicks to his groin with my heels. This pained and infuriated him, but his angry cries were stifled by my left arm wrapped around his neck. I held my left wrist with my right hand to secure my grip on him. He pounded so hard with his fist on my right quadriceps, I developed a nasty charley horse. The excruciating cramp only increased my determination to take him down.

My focus was interrupted by sharp pain exploding along my spine when he bodyslammed me into the wall of the building. Again. And again.

I wrangled in my wavering concentration as he whirled around, trying to set me up for one more hit. He gave me just enough time to pull off my glove. I lit up and zapped him with my right hand a few inches below his right clavicle.

It was the first time I had attempted to neutralize someone while literally being wrapped around him. Warm and tingly doesn't even begin to describe the sensation. I feared I might spontaneously combust. The good news was he collapsed, face down. I gasped for breath as I rolled off him. Well, almost. My right leg was pinned under him. With the discomfort from the mother of all charley horses exacerbated by the weight of his body, plus the feedback from the lightup, my mood was foul by the time I disentangled myself and remembered to relieve him of the gun and silencer. What I really wanted to do was pulverize him. Instead, I checked to make sure he still had a pulse. My effort hadn't killed him, or me. Because I was trembling so violently with pain and fatigue, I used a whole roll of duct tape to secure him.

As the pain and heat subsided a little, I became aware of chatter on the mini-coms between Mickie, and Adam and Henry, who had their work cut out for them because the other two guards were out of the building. However, the armed opponents hadn't grasped, yet, what was really happening; our guys still had the advantage of surprise for a few more minutes.

Where was Matt?

I scanned the darkness and heard shuffling movement and ragged breathing behind me. Before I could turn, a powerful, searing punch of agony went through the lower middle of my already aching back. It flattened me. I couldn't breathe for several, long seconds because the wind was knocked out of me. While fighting for air, I manged to roll onto my left side and saw Matt with one of the bad guys, fighting for possession of a gun. The guy had pulled the trigger in the struggle, hitting me dead on in the back.

Thank heaven for Kevlar vests.

And thank heaven for big, blasts of adrenalin. Crawling on my stomach, I approached Matt and his adversary who were now on the ground. When they rolled sideways, I clambered onto the bad guy, which surprised the daylights out of him. It gave Matt a few seconds to land a haymaker on his jaw, which rendered him almost senseless. I had enough juice left to zap him so Matt could tape him up.

While he did, I caught my breath and painfully staggered to my feet. I realized Mickie was calling us on the com. Matt gestured at me to respond to her before he headed for the back of the factory.

"Mickie, I'm going to break the padlock and start getting the workers into the bus. Matt and I have neutralized two of the four guards. He is on his way to check on Adam and Henry somewhere on the far side of the building.

"We can't see back there. We heard sounds of struggling but couldn't get responses from them. Garth is on the property and backup is on its way."

"Send it to the back of the main building."

"Copy that."

I saw Garth jogging towards me in the dark. I took him with me to the gate at the workers' building and zapped the lock. I was getting close to running on empty, but the chain fell away easily. The destroyed lock was very hot. I folded the end of my sleeve around my still shaking right hand to lift it out of position on the gate. Garth already had his flashlight out. I gave him mine, too.

It started to rain. First, it was those big, plump, ice-cold drops that splatter against you almost like tiny water balloons. Then it got serious and started to pour. Torrentially.

"Get the men on the bus," I said to Garth. "I'm going around back to help."

"Be careful."

"You, too."

I rounded the corner just in time to see Adam deliver a quick, solid, effective punch to one of the two remaining guards. His face and hoodie were bloody from a cut above his left eye.

"It looks worse than it is", he said before I could ask. After handing him my backup roll of duct tape and getting the pack of bandages out of his backpack for him, I moved on through the driving rain. The ground was turning to mud.

Henry and the other guy were farther along the fence, locked in hand-to-hand combat. The guard had the gun in his right hand. I stood there for a moment trying to figure a way in, when the three of us were blinded by the sudden brightness of a high beam flashlight held by one of our RCMP reinforcements, led by Matt. Startled, Henry and his opponent jumped apart. The man reflexively raised the gun and fired two quick shots straight at Henry before a second Mountie shot him. He dropped the weapon as he sank to his knees.

In dismay and fear, I shambled over to Henry. He was sucking air like crazy and temporarily speechless, but he was breathing. I let out a strangled cry of relief and pulled his hoodie up to examine his vest. Two bullets were stuck in the Kevlar in the region over his heart. When I pulled up his cotton undershirt, the torture-burn scar shaped like a multi-pointed star was bright red and almost glowing from the powerful impact. I placed my hand gently over the scar.

"Henry, please say something, anything."

"We. . . got them. . . didn't we?" he gasped.

I nodded several times. "We did. Let me help you sit up a little so you can breathe more easily."

I got behind him so his upper body leaned against my chest. I pulled his hood over his head in an attempt to shelter his face from the downpour, and wrapped my arms around him, my right hand resting over the scar-star.

There was forked lightning now, and I fought to control my fear. What if I did attract it like a lightning rod? Henry and I were curled up on the ground. I took in long, slow breaths, sent a silent, desperate appeal to the unseen, benevolent entity of my NDE, and shielded him as best I could.

From this position, we witnessed a surreal scene. In the lightning flashes and the moving, powerful beams of the Mounties' flashlights cutting through the darkness, and relentless, blowing rain, we watched Garth and Matt assist the labourers onto the bus. They wore only sleeveless T-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops, and were easily startled by the claps of thunder and brilliant flashes of lightning. They shivered from the cold wind, rain, and fear. Matt would have the heat on in the bus. They would find safety and sanctuary at the school gym.

Adam helped the RCMP get the four trussed up guards into the police van.

The Mountie who saved Henry's life called for two ambulances, one for the wounded gunman, and one for Henry. I rode with him to the hospital and stayed with him while they checked him out. An X-Ray revealed two cracked ribs because of the bullet impacts. While he was hooked up to an ECG, and we waited for him to be cleared to leave, I sat by his bedside holding his hand. Because of the machine, I didn't dare try to pass along some light energy. I doubted I had any left, anyway.

I was so exhausted I was numb, which reduced my perception of pain. I felt and looked like a train wreck because I was soaking wet, cold, badly bruised, and covered in mud. So were my valiant companions.

Adam was brought into emergency, as well, to get ten stitches for the cut over his eye. Matt could receive first aid attention, if he needed it, for any cuts and abrasions at the school gym from a St. John Ambulance First Aid Attendant.
If necessary, emeregency volunteers would take any injured or ill victims to the hospital.

Garth drove the tech van, and Adam the pickup, back to the motel. Matt left the bus in the rented parking spot, and drove his grey van back to his unit. Henry and I got a ride from the hospital with Mickie in her unmarked car. She told us Constable Owen Mahaffey had fired the shot that saved his life. Henry said he would thank him in person after the dust settled.

We showered together to remove the mud, crud, and blood. Then we had a warm bubble bath to wind down. Henry was alarmed when he saw the extent of the black-and-blue bruising on my back and right thigh.

"Jeeze, 'Tas, what happened? You should have been examined back at emergency!"

I told him how I bagged a bad guy and that I, too, was a walking testament to the effectiveness of a Kevlar vest.

While gently towelling off each other, we thoughtfully looked at the reflections of our battered bodies in the large bathroom mirror over the sink. What a sorry sight. Henry, with his wheelspoke-like scars on his back and the starburst scar on his chest with its new, bright red and blue bruising. And me, with plenty of black and blue bruising to complement the deep maroon fern-fractals of my Lichtenberg flower. Both of us had survived horrific, life-threatening experiences, and been left with permanent, tattoo-like mementos. Henry called us the trauma twins.

"Don't worry," I said, "most of the bruising will be gone in the next day or two because I gave you some healing hand therapy in the rain, and my body recovers quickly now. Speaking of which, I'm going to down the kids' electrolyte drinks and some water before retiring. I'll be voraciously hungry by morning"

"'Tas, it already is morning. It's after seven. I'll take you, the guys, and any members of our extended team who can make it, out for Monday night supper. Tomorrow, we will deal with the after-effects of this morning. But right now, all I want to do is fall asleep right next to you. Seriously."


quadriceps: long, thigh muscle on anterior of leg
clavicle: collar bone
NDE: Near Death Experience -- See "Prologue: Limbo" and
"Chapter One: Transmogrification Begins" of "Thaumaturge" for clarification, if needed. :D )

Thank you very much, no 1 nikon, for allowing me to show Lightning Ball for this chapter.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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