Mick's Rejects

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 4 part 14

Mick stepped over the guards and began to press his palms on various points of the cave wall. A section yielded to his touch resulting in a panel of rock revolving to one side. Metres within a dark alcove, awaited another set of steel doors with an encoded panel beside them. Above the number pad, a slitted screen read locked. 

“I’ve got this,” said Glen.

His atomic fleas swarmed from his beard and streamed into the code box panelling. Beeps varying in pitch followed, then the screen read unlocked. 

“We’re in,” said Glen.

The doors slid open with a click.

“Bomb!” Glen shouted.

Nick had already taken the initiative, shoving everyone back. The explosion reverberated throughout the tunnels as Nick arched his back with a scream. He fell face forward, shuddering a moment, then relaxed. Blood began to flow and pool around him.

Ears still ringing, Mick staggered forward two steps and leant over. He checked for vital signs and attempted to stem Nick’s open wounds with his hands. Only then did he notice he had lost most of the use of his right arm and suffered superficial burns over the limb.

The others too, had similar wounds; none of them life threatening.

“Work together! Do something for him!” Mick cried.

Pat extended his arm, streaming ink, fast becoming tightly wrapped bandages over the wounds. Ryan knelt beside their fallen brother and placed his hand on Nick’s back. He prayed briefly, then sang. Moments later, the blood ceased to flow. Nick began to stir. Ryan removed his hand, revealing exposed flesh within the bomb blasted laceration. It had healed without blemish.

Nick got to his feet and studied the others with a puzzled expression.

“What happened to you?” he asked.

“We were all in a bomb blast,” said Glen. “We almost lost you.”

“Me and Jordan aren’t so bad,” said Pat. “We’ll move ahead; give the rest of you a chance to heal.”

Mick sighed. “There’s no point. Shotgun’s crew know we’re here. Seeing as they didn’t press their attack. I’d say they’re gone.”

Ryan went to place his healing hands on Mick.

“Do the others first. I’m the leader. It’s my job to see you all survive, so it’ll be me that falls first, or else I’ve failed us. Unless life threatening, I want you to always heal yourself first.”

“But you’re the worse off.”

“What did I tell you?”

Ryan held his stare for a moment, then relented with a nod, placing his hands on Pat in prayer.

Mick moved through the doors with Nick, Jordan and Glen closely behind. They entered a large lounge area and a glass partition, walling off a gym and separate open space; possibly meant for training. Eerily quiet in the abandoned interior, the only movement seen existed in the changing of scenes on the video monitors. All the exterior ones exhibited soldiers waiting in place to attack at Mick’s prompting.

“They must’ve left via an emergency exit,” he said.

“We’ve lost them then. Crims like these always have at least a dozen safe houses.”

“Check the computers for locations.”

“They would have wiped all the data.”

“Check them anyway. We might have surprised them before they had a chance to do it.”

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 4 part 13

Mick led the way into the mine entrance and down the lift. His team crowded into the rusted contraption. It looked like it hadn’t been serviced in years, although Politically Correct assured them it was still serviceable. With a jolt, it descended at an incredible rate like a ride at a theme park.

“Be ready for guards at the bottom,” warned Mick. “I want them out of action quickly and quietly.”

Brakes initiated, slowing their descent. Two guards looked up in surprise. Tufts of hair shot out from Glen, cupping the back of their heads and colliding them together. They both dropped onto their backs without a sound as the lift door opened.

“Good, keep that up,” whispered Mick, then pointed ahead. “A few hundred metres down that tunnel we come to a bend. There’s two guards watching a concealed entrance to Shotgun’s hideout. Between here and the entrance, we’re bound to meet more, so do whatever is you do best.”

He held up his pinkie. The others hooked their’s together in the Sensational Six salute.

“Right, let’s go,” said Mick.

They ventured down the tunnel, stopping and flattening themselves against the wall, completely obscured in shadow. Not a hundred metres from them, two guards idly chatted.

“Cover your ears,” cautioned Ryan.

The group did so as he sang in sweet strains almost under his breath. Neither of the guards could hear him. Moments later, they yawned and dipped their heads. They attempted to shake the sleep from their tired minds, eventually yielding to weariness.

“I’ve got to sit down for a minute,” said one of the guards.

“So have I.”

They sat down against the wall and lowered their heads. Seconds later, Ryan gestured for the group to remove their hands from their ears. Mick overheard the deep breathing of men resigned to slumber.

“Nick,” Mick said, nodding aside.

Brick strayed over to the two sleeping men and gave them both a gentle tap on the tops of their heads.

“Camera,” Mick whispered hoarsely.

A wall mounted camera began to angle back toward them. Nick hurriedly picked a man up in each hand and ran out of its line of view.

“Okay, let’s go,” said Mick.

They crept to where the tunnel curved and hugged the wall to spy around the bend. Two guards stood by a section of wall of no particular interest.

“That must be the entrance,” whispered Mick. “I want two of you to down them simultaneously and silently.”

“I can do that,” said Pat.

“Both of them?”

Ink streamed from his sleeve, becoming a crossbow in his waiting hands, complete with twin loaded darts.

“Trust me,” he said.

He took aim at the guards when Mick placed his hand on the crossbow, lowering the weapon.

He pointed. “There’s still the camera.”

A wall mounted camera angled slowly over the bend, overlooking the two guards.

“I could do it if I had a shiroken,” said Jordan.

“Pat,” said Mick.

The Samoan threw a blob of ink into Jordan’s palm, instantly reforming itself into a throwing star. Jordan and Pat took aim on their respective targets and fired. Camera lens shattered and the guards fell.

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 4 part 13

Not having the need to eat or sleep Shotgun would have remained permanently on monitor duty. He still had to hone his skills in the training room. In a way, he had become immortal, but immortality had it’s miseries too. Life passed as a sleepless tedium and repetition. Often he’d have to come up with distractions to while away the time.

Something occurred to him. Didn’t Javelin say “he’d hacked into government files?”

He keyed in different searches until he found a folder entitled The Sensational Six. Clicking on the folder, gave him a list of names. The first name on the list revealed, Brick. A detailed table of information exhibited itself beside a 3 dimensional image of the hero. Shotgun read the information.

In turn, he read about Captain Pedantic, Weird Beard, Sonic Songster, and Tat; ingesting every snippet of information for use in the field. Although the methods by which they gained their powers varied, they all claimed to have gotten them from God. Shotgun could only assume the government wouldn’t divulge the source in case of hackers.

His reading became of particular interest when he encountered the file of Mr Magnificent. As the leader of the Sensational Six, this one caused him some concern. The file stated his real name as Mick Dawson, a failed magician, and illusionist. Homeless and a general underachiever, introverted and unable to form lasting relationships. The file went on about his lack of prospects. It even used the word “loser.”

Shotgun grinned. Misdirection. 

The government had obviously falsified the file to hide Mr Magnificent’s past. It had a conclusive paragraph, almost written as an afterthought.

Mr Magnificent has an exceptional mind and displays a resourceful capacity in times of duress. 

The file seemed to keep his powers a mystery and “reading between the lines,” he knew Mr Magnificent was haled as a remarkable leader. From what Shotgun understood, the Sensational Six hadn’t met before they encountered his crew. Only one course of action became apparent to him.

Best to get them out of the way now before they learn to work efficiently as a group. 

When Javelin returns from his meal, he’ll order him to begin tracking down the Sensational Six. Then they’ll make a quick and decisive strike on the group.

His attention reverted back to the monitors. Dusk had settled on the surface. One of the monitors revealed Mr Magnificent striking a guard from behind with the butt of his rifle. Weird Beard broke from cover. A tuft of hair extended from his scalp and lashed out in the form of a roughly fashioned oversized fist. It struck the second guard, rendering him unconscious. Mr Magnificent and Weird Beard ran out of view of the monitor in the direction of the mine entrance.

“It seems we won’t have to wait,” Shotgun said.

He almost rose from his seat, then cursed. Organised troops ran through the same area after the duo.

“Another day then,” he said getting up.

***

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 4 part 12

Shotgun wandered by the glass walls of the gym. Grappler rarely used the equipment in the manner designed. He bounded from the bench press bar and skipped from the wall. A somersault followed, where he managed to catch hold of a metal girder holding up the ceiling. Dangling from one of the rafters, he began a routine of chin ups.

A large open adjacent area was set aside for his team to train against each other. Odin and Multibeast sparred using their respective abilities.

Shotgun continued on, stopping by a bank of video monitors. Javelin sat in his chair watching them. Each screen revealed a different point on the surface and the surrounding bushland. Per every video shot, either one or two armed guards stood or walked at their stations.

Shotgun’s face darkened. A guard sat back against one tunnel wall with his head slumped forward. Javelin pressed an intercom switch.

“Guard in tunnel 9b.”

The guard jolted, rapidly getting to his feet.

“This is Javelin. If I catch you asleep at your post again, I’ll come down there myself. Is that clear?”

The guard waved acknowledgement at the camera.

“They’re a necessary evil,” said Shotgun.

“I know,” said Javelin wearily. “All the extra eyes and ears allows us to rest and keep this location a secret. Our plans to dominate this planet will come so much easier as we gather an army.”

Shotgun grinned. “And they come cheaply too. We only have to offer them the crumbs of our conquest, but even the crumbs make them wealthy by earth’s standards.”

“This place might not be a secret for long, sir.”

Javelin always referred to him as “sir,” much to his embarrassment.

“You’re referring to Politically Correct?”

“Sir,” Javelin said curtly. “I’ve hacked government computers. I know where he’s held. If you like, I could slip in there, silence him, and leave without them knowing.”

Shotgun sighed. “There’s no need. Politically Correct is a priest of the Kalungran arts. Among other things, he’s specifically trained to resist torture. And even if he wasn’t, the authorities of this planet have laws against using violent interrogations. So I assure you, Javelin, we’re quite safe. Anyway, you’ve done this all day. Go and eat. I’ll take over for a while.”

Javelin removed his helmet and placed it on a desk by the console. As he left the monitor room, Shotgun seated himself to watch. Not all the guards were on camera at any one time. Patrolling their stations often took them out of view.

Darkness had settled on the bushland around the mine’s entrance. Several cameras had only shots of trees. He waited. Moments later, guards returned into view on some cameras, but not on others. Minutes after, he saw the rest on their respective monitors.

Accounting for them all, he sat back in the chair and rolled his eyes to the wall. The temperature gauge revealed the air conditioning had activated again due to its thermostat. His comrades complained of how humid it was so far below ground. Not that he could tell. Since his accident, he neither experienced heat nor cold anymore. Nor did he suffer the pangs of hunger.

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 4 part 11

“This isn’t working,” said Glen.

“Do you think you can get him to talk?” asked the American.

“Just give me a few minutes and I’ll get everything you need.”

The American gestured for the door. Glen entered as the two men looked up.

“You can go now,” said Glen.

Jordan arose and closed the door after him. A tendril of hair whipped from Glen’s head, tearing the chair out from under Politically Correct. He expected to see the villain drop, suspended by his handcuffs. Instead, he remained leaned forward, unfazed as Glen’s hair receded into normality.

“Criminals like you don’t get to sit down. They call me Weird Beard.”

Politically Correct smiled wryly from the side of his mouth. Without warning, his foot snapped out, turning Glen’s head on impact. Four tufts of hair appeared simultaneously. Two snatched hold of Politically Correct’s ankles, as the other two began clubbing him around the face. His actions halted when the American pounded on the two way mirror.

“That’s enough Weird Beard!” shouted the American. “This is to be a legal interrogation! Either question the prisoner without violence or get out of there!”

Glen looked randomly into the mirror.

“Mick, what do I do?”

“No violence, Glen. We’ve got to do this legally.”

Sneering, Glen worked his lips silently.

“Wait a minute. Can you help me?” he said.

By his tone of voice and the fact that he no longer stared at the mirror, Mick assumed Glen spoke to someone else. His atomic fleas streamed from his beard and hovered as a glowing cloud. They split evenly and streamed under Politically Correct’s armpits. He smiled at first, then began to laugh.

“Now talk,” Glen demanded, withdrawing the fleas.

“Never!”

“Okay then.”

The fleas returned. Politically Correct broke into hysterical laughter. He tugged on his handcuffs and shifted his feet to deal with his uncontrollable mirth. When Glen recalled his fleas, the supervillain slumped, with tears in his eyes.

“So; will you talk now, or do I have to tickle you to death?”

“Weird Beard!” bellowed the American.

“I wasn’t actually going to kill him.” For a moment, Glen fumed, screwing his face. “Oh look, you’re ruining this. Wait a minute! I have another idea.”

The fleas split again and funneled into Politically Correct’s nostrils. He jolted with a shocked expression, then worked his nostrils before sneezing violently.

“Talk!”

Politically Correct sneezed twice. Glen elected not to withdraw his allies.

“You think (Sneeze) have (Sneeze) got the (sneeze) better (sneeze) of me?”

“I can keep this up all day. I’ll make you sneeze within an inch of your life.”

“How (sneeze) fiendish (sneeze) you are. (sneeze) You’re meant (sneeze) to be (sneeze) one (sneeze) of the (sneeze) good (sneeze) guys.”

“Tell me what I want to know! Where’s Shotgun hiding?”

“(sneeze) Alright! (sneeze) I’ll (sneeze) tell (sneeze) you. (sneeze) Just (sneeze) call them (sneeze) off.”

“No! Where is he?”

“Hidden (sneeze) in an a… (sneeze) bandoned mine. (sneeze) I’ll tell (sneeze) you where. (sneeze) Please (sneeze) make them (sneeze) stop.

The fleas returned to Glen’s beard, before facing the two way mirror.

“That’s how you get information,” he said.

***

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 4 part 10

“Well spoken,” said Jordan.

“Are they speaking in some sort of code?” asked the American.

“They are engaging each other as intellectual combatants,” said Mick.

“Ahh, much like a game of chess.”

“Precisely,” said Mick.

In truth, he had no idea of what Jordan and Politically Correct were talking about, but he feared the American might lose faith in Jordan’s ability. A thought entered his mind as he watched superhero and supervillain converse.

Why do people say that “everything’s like a game of chess?” Nothing’s like chess except chess. 

“How is it you look like me?” said Jordan.

“I imagine we come from mirror opposite universes,” said Politically Correct. “That’s why I have PC on my costume, while you have CP on yours. “Already, I know a great deal about your team.”

“How? You were all surprised when we showed up.”

“It’s a matter of simple deduction really. If I come from an opposite universe, then the opposite applies here.”

He looked at a specific spot on the window. Mick moved his head slightly. Politically Correct’s eyes followed. Being a one way mirror, Mick realised the supervillain must have employed some sort of mystical mind’s eye.

“Your leader, Mick is the weak link in your team,” said Politically Correct. “In my world, he has a brilliant tactical mind, is physically powerful, and is the bravest man I’ve ever heard of… so what does that say for your Mick?”

The American cast a wary glance aside.

Mick shrugged. “He’s only trying to undermine your confidence.”

“Of course. That makes sense. Would you like to come to the lunchroom for a coffee?” asked the American.

“I’ll just watch this,” said Mick.

“In my experience, these things go on for hours; even overnight.”

“Okay then. The rest of you monitor everything that goes on.”

The American placed a hand on Mick’s back and led him down the hall.

“Don’t worry about a thing, Mick. We’ll inform you as soon as anything arises.”

Ryan sang in peaceful strains, accompanied by the others as Mick left their presence. He returned at odd times to check on Jordan’s progress. Hours slipped into night. The Sensational Six retired for the evening in their provided flat, except for Nick. Mick decided to leave one of his crew behind to monitor Jordan’s interrogation.

The wall phone in the flat ran in the morning. Mick answered it, receiving an update on the interrogation; no news. It seemed Politically Correct hadn’t broken. Pat relieved Nick and joined the rest of the group to train for the day. Glen received word at the end of the day that Politically Correct hadn’t as yet broken.

Two more days elapsed and Politically Correct still hadn’t cracked. Mick decided to take the Sensational Six down to the interrogation room.

Ryan on monitor duty, stood yawning beside the window with the American.

“… they aren’t all like that,” said Jordan.

“But that’s what a generalisation is, Captain Pedantic; it’s general,” said Politically Correct. “No one who makes a general statement on a given topic is actually stupid enough to believe that every single utter solitary person falls into a specific category.”

“Neither one of them has slept or moved from their seats for days,” said the American. “One of them is using Politically Correct reasoning while the other is using pedantic rationale. Between the two of them, they’re intellectually engaging each other into a standstill.”

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 4 part 9

The Sensational Six spent the afternoon eating lunch, then an army officer directed them to a flat set aside for them. They prayed and briefly talked about their next move. Glen got word on his phone from the American. The agent stated that military intelligence would question Politically Correct and would then brief them on their findings.

With nothing left to do, Mick showered and slept the sleep of exhaustion on one of the beds. He later awoke from Jordan shaking his arm. Mick must have slept hours, as he awoke almost fully rested. A glance at the American beside Jordan informed him the man brought news.

“What did you learn?” Mick asked.

“Nothing; that’s why your crew has to come with me. My car’s waiting outside.”

Mick rolled from the bed and accompanied his team making their way out of the front door. From the landing, Mick noted three black cars with tinted windows at the base of the stairs. The driver of the middle car opened the doors for them. They shifted along the plush bench seats and waited for the driver to move. A half hour elapsed as the car negotiated suburban traffic.

“I know where we’re going,” said Glen aside.

Mick nodded, assuming Glen knew the whereabouts of locations used by the secret service community. The cars veered down a concrete ramp, leading into an underground car park. A uniformed guard appeared from nowhere to open Mick’s door as the car stopped. The guard ushered them over to a door with an encoded lock, and rapidly keyed in numbers. A buzz and click followed, prior to him pushing the door open.

Cameras followed them as they walked behind the American along the hallways where they had to pass through another encoded door. Once through, they encountered a hive of activity. People behind worked behind desks, either with paper work or by computers.

The American bypassed the large room.

“We’re holding him in interview room one,” he said.

At the end of the room they passed a few private offices and entered another door. A corridor displayed barred cells on either side. Halfway down, a closed door had two uniformed guards standing at their posts with automatic rifles. Beside it the Sensational Six could see Politically Correct seated behind a steel table; his hands cuffed to a U bolt in the centre. All gaped as they noted the now maskless face of the prisoner.

“He looks just like Jordan,” said Mick.

Jordan’s doppelganger remained seated fully upright, but with eyes closed.

“Can he see us?” Mick asked.

“No,” said the American. “He’s remained fixed in that position for hours without moving. So far, he hasn’t responded to any questioning at all.”

“He’s in a state of meditation,” said Jordan. “Perhaps I should speak to him.”

“Can he?” Mick asked.

“That’s what you’re here for,” said the American. “Let him through.”

The guards snapped to attention. One of them opened the door and held it for Jordan. He took a seat opposite his evil twin.

“A gorilla has a fearsome jaw,” said Jordan.

Politically Correct opened his eyes. “And yet it does it not eat meat.”

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