Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks Trade Etherback Volume 2 (collecting 5-8)
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 14 20:55:42 PDT 2006
Michael King, Mary Jones and Frank Lopez: crime scene
investigators. John Phelps, Mark Johnston and Tom
Jackson: police officers. Jack Greenspan, Edward
Bailey and Samuel Leonard: medical examiners. Alan
Russell and Leroy Laurel: lawyers. These are the men
and women who are truly our last line of defense. But
what about the capes whose cases they have to
investigate? Should they be considered a help or a
IT'S A MAD, MAD WORLD
"That was a great party!"
"You know, I should get a taxi."
"Hell, no! My place is right around the corner."
"That's right, Tiger. You've hit the jackpot!"
"Ew! There's some drunk lying in the street."
"I don't think this guy's drunk. I think he's
"Yeah. I think that's his blood. And, besides,
he's got an arrow in his head."
"We'd better call 911."
"Yeah. Then we'll have to wait for the police to
get here. Shit!"
"I'm Detective John Phelps. What time did you
discover the body?"
"Around one o'clock."
"What were you doing when you found the body?"
"We were on our way home from a party."
"You live together?"
"No. I was going to her place."
"Okay. That's all for now, but we may need to ask
you more questions later."
"We already gave our names, addresses and phone
numbers to Officers Johnston and Jackson. Can we go
"Have you had a chance to examine the body?"
Detective Michael King asked.
Doctor Jack Greenspan nodded. "I've completed my
preliminary examination, yes."
"What have you got for me?"
Jack Greenspan waved his left hand in the general
direction of the body on the slab in front of him.
"Edward Alexander Goodhead. Male. Caucasion. 46.
Cause of death: an arrow to the head."
"You're sure?" Michael joked.
"Do you still have the arrow here?"
"Of course. It's over here. It's no ordinary
"Most arrows are made of wood. This arrow is made
of metal. At sufficient velocity, it would have been
able to penatrate a kevlar jacket."
"So it's a trick arrow."
"I would imagine that an expert archer could fire
this arrow from a great distance and still be able to
confidently take out his target."
"Michael King. We meet again."
"This isn't a social call, Super Soldier."
"No, of course not. My time is valuable too. Let's
get right to it then. Why are you here?"
"I take it you've heard of Edward Alexander
"Goodhead? Yes. He leads the Brotherhood of
"He did. He was found dead last night. He was
"How did he die?"
"An arrow to the head."
"Really? Well, there's nobody here who uses arrows
"The Archer did."
"That was before my time. Extreme Force Six wasn't
even affiliated with the government when he was a
member of the group."
"But somebody is using his arrows. Do you know who
that might be?"
"I think if you want to know then you should ask
somebody who knew the Archer personally. One of his
old teammates perhaps."
"Alright. One more question."
"Goodhead was your enemy. Did you ever wish he were
"I don't kill people. And I don't use arrows."
"Goodhead was a villain, Mr. King. A lot of people
would have wanted to him to just go away. Personally,
I would have wanted him to face trial. Don't forget,
we found the body of the Archer in one of his
"So you're saying he might have been killed for
"I think that might be the case."
"Thank you. I appreciate your help."
"I'm glad to see our relationship has improved."
The Super Soldier stood up from behind his desk. He
and Michael shook hands.
"If you have any more questions, let me know and
I'll make time for you."
"We appreciate you coming down here on such short
notice," Detective John Phelps said.
"Not at all," Gary Alda, the former Mr. Quick, said.
"You said on the phone that it has to do with the
"Actually, it has to do with the murder of Edward
Alexander Goodhead. He was killed by a metal arrow
that fatally struck his head."
"Do you have any idea who could be using the
Archer's old arrows?" John asked.
"As a matter of fact, I do. The Archer had a
sidekick back in the day, known as Arrow Boy."
"Do you know who Arrow Boy was?"
"I can't be sure but I suspect that Arrow Boy was
Chris' nephew Harry Roy."
"Do you know where we can find Harry Roy?"
Gary Alda shook his head. "No. But there's a
chance he might have kept in touch with some of the
other sidekicks. They had their own team for a while,
although they disbanded pretty soon after we did."
"I know you did it, Harry. I know you killed
"He deserved to die! He killed the Archer!"
"I know. But you can't go around killing people. I
think you need to turn yourself in."
"You're not Moon Boy anymore?"
"I never really wanted to be Moon Boy," Greggory
explained. "Besides, the costume doesn't fit me
"You could become the new Night Man."
"Maybe you, me, Sal and Bonnie, we can form the old
team. What would we call ourselves? Electric Force?
"Harry, you're not listening to me. You need to
turn yourself in."
"Harry, you killed someone."
"He deserved to die!"
"Okay. Tell you what. You come with me tomorrow
morning to the police station and tell them what you
did and why. Maybe they'll give you a medal."
"You think so?"
"Because that's just what our team needs, some
"I'm Harry Roy. I'm the new Archer!"
"Alright," John Phelps said. "Mark, read him his
"Mr. Roy, you're under arrest for the murder of
Edward Alexander Goodhead. You have the right to
reamin silent. If you give up the right to remain
silent, anything you say can and will be used against
you in a court of law. You have the right to an
attorney. If you can not afford an attorney, one will
be appointed to you by the court to act in your
defense. Do you understand these rights?"
"Greggory said you'd be giving me a medal."
"Oh boy," John said.
"I want to thank you for bringing Mr. Roy in for
us," Detective Michael King said.
"Yeah," Greggory said.
"Have you ever considered a career in law
"I don't think so," Greggory said with a laugh. "I
had enough of getting shot at when I was Moon Boy. I
prefer a job where I don't get shot at."
"You know, I don't think Harry is all there, you
know. It isn't just that he doesn't realize what he
did was wrong: he doesn't seem to have accepted the
fact that he's been arrested."
"I know. We're going to have to take that into
"Alan? Do you have a few minutes?"
"Sure, Mary. What is it?"
"We arrested Harry Roy this morning for the murder
of Edward Goodhead but he doesn't seem to understand
what he's done. We were thinking he might not be
mentally fit to stand trial."
Alan nodded. "Alright. Go see Doctor Samuel
Leonard. Maybe you can set up an appointment with him
and he can question your suspect to determine his
fitness to stand trial."
"Alright. I'll do that. Thanks."
"I'm Suri Das."
"This is difficult to explain."
"I can see the future."
Suri Das sat down in the chair in front of Detective
Phelps' desk. "Tomorrow, a woman will be killed. She
will be on her way home from work and she will be
attacked by a man who barely knows her. An
acquantance. He will seize the opportunity. He will
seize _her_. She will fight him but he will force her
down. He will rape her. And then, to stop her from
telling anybody, he will kill her."
"I see. And you saw this where? In your crystal
"I'm telling you the truth. Please. You must
listen to me. A woman's life is at risk."
"Okay. Do you have the name of the victim?"
"Do you know where this happens?"
"He will take her into a dark alley."
"Could you be more specific?"
"I'm sorry. No."
"How about the attacker? Do you have anything on
John Phelps sighed. "Okay. If you can think of
anything else, please give us a call and one of our
officers will talk to you."
"Please. A woman's life is at stake!"
"I know. We'll do our best to catch this guy. I
"Thanks for your help."
"You let that guy into my office?"
"He said it was urgent."
"Naomi, please, you need to screen people before you
let them into my office. Quite frannkly I've seen
enough nuts already today. Okay?"
"Good morning, Mr. Roy."
"They told me you wanted to speak to me?"
Doctor Samuel Leonard nodded. "Yes. Sit down."
"I'm the Archer."
"Are you now?"
"Yes. The original Archer trained me. I was Arrow
Lad back then. Then I was a member of Electric Youth.
Now, I'm the new Archer."
"Because the old Archer died?"
"How did that make you feel?"
Harry Roy shrugged his shoulders. "After he left
Extreme Force Six, he went solo for a while. I went
to school full time. But I was proud. Very proud."
"Do you miss him?"
"How do you think he died?"
"They killed him."
"Who killed him?"
"The Brotherhood of Masters. His body was found at
one of their old hideouts. They had hung him up. Put
him on display."
"They had to be the ones who killed him. So the
Archer had to have gotten too close to them. And he
didn't have back up. That was his mistake. That's
why I am hoping that Moon Boy, Amazing Girl, Quick Kid
and me can all get back together again. I don't know
what we'll call ourselves though. We can't call
ourselves Electric Youth anymore. Electric Company?
No, that's a TV show. Remember? It was a kid's show
"You do understand that you are under arrest, don't
you? That you killed somebody?"
"Oh, sure, but that's just a formality."
"Okay. You understand that you can't just go around
killing people, don't you?"
"Exactly. So I have to wait for this to be worked
"Sure. You see, the man I killed was Edward
Goodhead. He was a very bad man. He deserved to die.
As soon as they determine that then I'll be able to
go back out there."
"I see. So, is this the sort of thing you'll do?
Harry Roy smiled. "I protect the innocent. I
protect the innocent from people like Edward Goodhead.
People are safer now. Because of me."
Samuel Leonard sighed. "Alan, I'm sorry, but he's
just not fit to stand trial. He just doesn't
understand that what he's done was wrong."
"He doesn't know that it is wrong to kill people?"
Alan Russell asked incredulously.
"He's got a saviour complex. He thinks it is up to
him to save the world."
"They all have saviour complexes. These capes, I
mean. They all swoop down and save people."
"Yes, but most of them understand that killing is
wrong. He doesn't."
"Okay. So what do we do?"
"We're going to have to keep him under observation.
We'll tell him it is 'training'."
"What if he tries to escape?"
"He won't. He's very eager to please."
"He might get tired of being kept in custody."
"He doesn't even seem to understand that he _is_ in
custody. When he realizes that, we'll be making
"Are you sure it's not an act?"
"If it is an act," Sam argued, "it's a very good
"I got here as soon as I could," Detective Michael
King said. "What do we have here?"
"Tara O'Connel. Female. Caucasion. Twenty-four,"
Detective John Phelps said. "Looks like she was raped
and then killed. Left for dead here in this alley."
"I didn't bring my sexual assualt kit," Michael
"That's okay. Mary's coming." John sighed.
"Michael, there's something else."
"I had somebody in my office yesterday. The guy's
name was Das. He said he could see into the future."
"Michael, he described this murder. Pretty much in
"Yeah. I can't help but think that if I had
listened to him that this girl would still be alive."
"You know, it could just be that he was the killer.
That he was describing what he was going to do."
John nodded. "I know. I sent Johnston and Jackson
to round him up."
"I'm Officer Mark Johnston and this is Officer Tom
Jackson. We're from the Pepperton police department."
"We found a dead girl this evening. Exactly as you
"Do you mind coming down to the station, answering a
"Of course. I just need to get dressed."
"If you don't mind me asking," Officer Jackson said,
"where were you this evening?"
"I've been here all this evening."
"Are you sure?"
Suri Das looked confused. "Surely, you're not
"Of course not," Officer Johnston said. "It's just
standard procedure to ask that sort of question."
"I see. Well, I'm ready."
"Fine. You just follow Officer Jackson to the car
outside and we'll take you to the station."
"I told you," Suri Das said. "You didn't listen and
now that girl is dead."
"Yeah, well, you didn't give us a lot to work with,"
Detective John Phelps said, "but maybe you can help us
find the killer."
"This is Frank Lopez. He's a sketch artist. Do you
think you could describe to him the man you saw in
your vision? Then we will know what he looked like."
"We appreciate you taking the time to come here at
speak to us."
"Not at all. It is my civic duty!"
District Attorney Alan Russell was indignant. "Am I
to understand that two days ago you had a man come in
here and say there was going to be a rape and murder
the next day, that you brought him in after the rape
and murder actually happened and then you just let him
"Actually, no," John said. "I had Mary take a
sample of his DNA. Then Frank did a sketch of the man
who he said commited the murder. This morning, Edward
compared his DNA with the traces of DNA that the
killer left behind. It wasn't a match: he's not the
killer. So I sent Johnston and Jackson out to look
for the man Frank drew."
"That's a wild goose chase!" Alan complained. "How
can you arrest someone on the basis of what a self
proclaimed psychic says? How I am supposed to use
that in court?"
"You might not have to. The officers in question
have already brought somebody in. Michael is
questioning him right now. He could be our guy, in
which case we should have him based on the DNA
evidence found on the victim."
"Do you understand why you are here?"
"They said I'm being accused of rape. Who says I
"Not just rape. Murder. The girl is dead."
"It doesn't bother you that a girl was raped and
"It's nothing to do with me. I didn't know her."
"The girl. Whoever she was."
"She lived in your neighbourhood."
Jack Willey shrugged his shoulders. "Doesn't mean I
Michael King showed him a photograph. "This is her.
You sure you've never seen her around."
"Please look at the photograph."
"Okay." He looked at the photograph. "I don't know
"I just said I was sure, didn't I?"
"Okay. You know, we found traces of DNA left behind
from the killer. Hair samples. Skin samples."
"So if we match your DNA to the killer's DNA then
we'll be able to prove in court that you were the
"But I don't have to give you my DNA, do I?"
"Wouldn't you want to be cleared. If you're
innocent, I mean?"
"Hey, man, you have nothing on me! I didn't even
know the girl! I've already told you that? Can I go
Jack Willey got up and headed towards the door.
"Yeah? What now?"
"You left a strand of hair on your chair."
"Really? Tell you what. You can keep it. Ha."
"That's our DNA sample. You just told me I could
"Now... hold on."
"When the DNA from this hair matches the DNA we
found on the victim then we'll have you for rape and
"Wait. Wait just a minute."
"Care to change your story, Mr. Willey?"
"He confessed," Michael said with a big smile.
"Really?" John asked. "How did you do it?"
"I used the old 'You left some hair on your chair'
trick. It works every time."
"I love it!"
"So we don't have any real evidence then?" Alan
"With Willey having confessed, you can ask Judge
Matthews to order him to give us a DNA sample. Don't
worry. You'll be able to buold a case."
"Okay. Because I can't use psychic testimony in
Alan sighed. "Michael, be honest, you're a man of
science. You don't honestly believe that a man can
see into the future, do you?"
"As a man of science, I shouldn't believe that a man
can fly either. But I know Extreme does. As a man of
science, I figure there must be a rational
explanation. I just don't know what it is."
"What do you expect me to do if the defense asks why
we went after Willey?"
"Just tell them that we got 'a tip'. You don't have
to be more specific than that."
"Are you suggesting that we hide the fact that a
psychic helped with this case?"
"I think it would be for the best if you didn't
mention it, yes. It's up to you, really. It's all a
matter of what you think te jury is willing to
"Okay. So, that being the case, are you going to
want to use psychics in the future? I mean, it could
be embarrassing for the department."
"More embarrassing than if people knew that I had
been told about the murder the afternoon before and
didn't act on it?" John asked.
"You just assumed the guy was crazy," Alan said.
"But you don't think he's crazy now, do you Alan?"
"I don't know."
"Exactly. So if he comes back and tells us there is
going to be another murder then we will have to take
"I guess so."
"Because we can't take chances either way."
"Not that he gave us much to go on," John pointed
out. "I don't think we could have prevented this
"No," Michael said. "It would be nice though. It
would be nice if we could prevent crimes for a change
instead of just investigating them after they've
"But you do prevent crimes," Alan argued. "Every
time we put one of these bastards away we prevent them
from doing the same thing to somebody else."
"That's assuming we get a conviction every time."
Alan smiled. "You give me hard evidence I can use
and I'll give you those convictions."
Michael nodded. "Deal!"
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
"Come on. Take a shot."
Larry Thomas looked at the net. He then looked at
the ball again.
"What are you waiting for? Take a shot!"
Larry swung his stick like it was a golf club. He
hit the ball and it went wide of the net and ended up
going over the wall.
"Larry! What the fuck are you doing?"
"I took a shot."
"I'm not getting that. You go get it."
Larry climbed over the wall. "Um, Mike."
"There's a kid here."
"I think he's dead."
"It looks like the victim was killed on this side of
the wall and thrown over to the other side," Detective
Michael King said.
"How can you tell?" Detective John Phelps asked.
"I can't," Michael admitted, "but the victim appears
to be badly beaten up. I don't think this is the work
of one person. It may be gang related, in which case
the victim may have just been minding his own business
and have been randomly attacked by kids looking to
vent some steam."
"Kids? You think kids did this?"
"We'll see what Jack says after he's done a full
Jack Greenspan gestured at the body laid out on the
slab in front of him. "Andrew Stuetz. Male.
Caucasion. Seventeen. Cause of death is blunt force
trauma, specifically a blow to the head. It looks to
me like the boy was hit with iron bars."
"Consistent with more than one attacker?"
"Definitely. There's also evidence that he was
kicked after he was down."
"In your experience, do gang members carry iron bars
around with them?"
"Gangs prefer to use knives and guns. This seems to
be more the work of an angry mob."
Michael cringed. "What could a seventeen year old
boy do to get people so angry at him?"
"Mr. G? Is there something I can do for you?"
"I'm here on official business."
"I figured that," Michael quipped.
"A video CD was sent to Extreme Force Headquarters.
We made a copy and sent you the original. We thought
you could find some evidence on it. You know,
fingerprints and stuff."
"What's on the CD?"
Mr. G grimaced. "It's from the Brotherhood of
Masters. They're trying to taunt us. They made a
video of themselves in which they're part of this mock
reality show in which the object is to, as they put
it, 'find a new front man for their group'. You know,
because Edward Goodhead was killed a few weeks ago."
"On the tape, Madame Scarlet introduces the other
members of the Brotherhood of Masters, namely Don
Navarro, General Lee, Cockroach and the Crimson Cape.
She then introduces three other supers who we hadn't
heard of before, Mr. Evil, Ape Man and Snake, and she
refers to them as the final three, as if this were the
final episode in some reality series and everybody
else had been eliminated.
"Anyway, the Don Navarro then starts criticizing Mr.
Evil, saying that he's really lame, that he claims to
be evil and that he wants to lead the Brotherhood of
Masters whereas in reality he's just a nerd seeking
acceptance. He then tells him that he's out. Don
Navarro then uses his ability to produce and throw
fire balls and starts throwing them at Mr. Evil until
he's engulfed in flames and burning to death.
Everybody else was laughing."
"My God. And this was real?"
"It didn't look like special effects. Then Madame
Scarlet had Snake and Ape Man, the final two, stand
together. General Lee picked up his microphone and
started to say what a tough decision it was to choose
between them but then he told Ape Man that they
finally decided that they didn't want to be bossed
around by somebody who wasn't even human. Cockroach
then pulled out a gun and Ape Man was then riddled
with bullets. This lead to a standing ovation in
which Snake was declared the new leader of the
"That's just sick."
"We'll have to examine the footage thoroughly.
There might be some clues as to where this all took
place, some way to identify the two victims and...?"
Michael waved his hand as his voice trailed off.
Mr. G nodded. "Yeah. We figured you would want to
do that. Thanks."
Just then, Michael's cell phone rang. "Excuse me.
>>Michael? It's Jack.<<
"What is it, Jack?"
>>On a hunch, I've been examining Andrew Stuetz's
internal organs. You'd better take a look at this.<<
"I'll be right there." He spoke to Mr. G again.
"I'm sorry about this."
"Don't sweat it. We know you guys are busy. Just
get back to us when you've got something."
"Look at this."
"What am I looking at?"
"Well, for starters, his heart is unusually large.
As is his diaphram."
"So this boy would have been capable of remarkable
athleticism, with the right training."
"But he doesn't look like an athlete."
"No. I think these were natural gifts."
"In what sense?"
"Michael, I think this boy was some kind of mutant."
"A mutant?" Detective John Phelps asked
incredulously. "What could he do? Shoot beams from
"We don't know if he had any powers at all. Jack is
going by his examination of the victim's internal
"Then what does this have to do with the case? I
mean, if they couldn't tell he was a mutant...?
Surely if they beat him up because he was a mutant
then wouldn't they have had to have known he was, in
fact, a mutant?"
"Good point. I sent Mary don't to talk to people at
his school. It's the only lead we have."
John mused for a moment. "Maybe he wasn't a
"What do you mean?"
"Maybe his internal organs are different because
he's half alien."
"You know, maybe he's ET's love child or something."
"John, alien DNA would not be compatable with our
own. It wouldn't be possible for an alien to breed
with a human being."
"Not even through genetic engineering? I mean,
maybe he's a clone whose DNA was artificially
Michael shook his head. "John, you've been watching
way too much TV."
"Excuse me, Miss Jackson?"
"My name is Mary Jones. I'm from the Pepperton
"This is about Andrew?"
"How can I help?"
"Was there anything unusual about Andrew?"
"What do you mean?"
"Was there anything he could do that other the other
"Well, yes, of course. He was a very bright
"Is that all?"
"Yes." Miss Jackson frowned. "You don't think he
was killed because he was a good student, do you? I
mean, you always hope that you'll have good students
but some of the other students might have been a bit
"Could you give me the names of some of those
"I don't know. They couldn't have been
"Can you think of any other reason why anybody would
have wanted to kill Andrew?"
"Then this is the only lead we have. Please. This
isn't going to be a witchhunt. If you name students
and they turn out to be innocent then they'll be
eliminated as suspects."
>>I'm sorry, Ape Man, you're the next to go.<<
>>That means Snake is the new front man for the
Brotherhood of Masters!<<
>>Snake! You're our man!<<
Officer Thomas Jackson shook his head. "Why are we
watching this over and over again?"
"Because Phelps asked us to," Officer Mark Johnston
explained, "and he's our Captain so we do what he
"But what's the point?"
"We need to watch it over and over again in case we
see something we missed the first time."
"We don't know. That's why we have to look at
everything: we don't know what might be important."
"This is police work?"
"It's a very important part of police work, yes,"
Mark explained. "Police work isn't just about driving
around in a patrol car looking for trouble: it's about
examining evidence and looking for clues."
"If you say so."
>>And now, once again, the Brotherhood of Masters is
"What is it?"
Mark hit rewind and played the scene again.
>>And now, once again, the Brotherhood of Masters is
Mark hit pause. "There! See?"
"In the mirror! You can see the face of the camera
"Oh yeah! So what now?"
"So now we'll have to get this guy's picture printed
out and then maybe we can run a match with known
criminals, maybe people who have worked with the
Brotherhood in the past."
"What have you got for me?" Michael asked.
"Mark and Tom found an image of the cameraman who
shot the video reflected in a mirror," Edward Bailey
"Did they?" Michael said, sounding impressed. "Any
idea who the cameraman was?"
"Yeah. I ran a comparison of his picture with
pictures from our criminal database. His name is Gary
Rand. He's worked with the Brotherhood before. I
gave them his last known address."
"Excellent!" Michael said. "What about the Stuetz
case? Any luck?"
Edward shook his head. "To tell you the truth, I
don't know what I'm supposed to be looking for. I
mean, there's no such thing as a 'mutant gene'."
"You mean like in the movies?"
"Exactly. Mutations are random things and we're
talking tens of thousands of genes. It's like looking
for a needle in a haystack. If I only knew what it
was he was supposed to be able to do I might know what
I was looking for."
Michael nodded. "Yeah. Sorry about that. Mary is
still questioning people at his school. I'll let you
know what she turns up."
"I'm sorry, Mike."
"Don't worry about it."
"Are you Gary Rand?"
"I'm Officer Mark Johnston and this is Officer Tom
Jackson," Mark said, showing the man his badge.
"We're police officers."
"Yeah? So? I still don't know why you're here."
Tom showed him his picture. "We pulled this picture
of you off of the video you shot for the Brotherhood
of Masters. The video in which two people were
"Hey... look... um..."
Mark waved him off. "Look, we're not interested in
you. We're interested in the Brotherhood of Masters."
"If you get anywhere near them, they'll kill you."
"We know that. But that doesn't mean they won't
ever pay for their crimes."
Gary Rand shook his head. "If I talk to you and
they find out..."
Mark shrugged his shoulders. "We could bring you to
the station. Then they'd know you talked to us."
"Just tell us where you shot the video."
Detective John Phelps sighed deeply. "You boys and
four others are accused of being the ones who killed
Andrew Stuetz. Why don't you help us out and tell us
"I'm not saying anything without a lawyer," the
elder of the two boys said.
"Is that how you feel, Matt?"
"Andrew had it coming!"
"Matt... shut up!" the other boy said. John could
tell right there and then that this was a boy capable
"They need to know! He was a mutie!"
"A mutie?" John asked.
"Yeah. A mutant."
"He could move things with his mind."
"What sort of things?"
"I don't know. Things. All sorts of things. We
know because we saw him showing off to some of the
girls, showing them what he could do and trying to
make it look cool."
"And that's why you killed him?"
"Hey! Who says we killed anybody?" the other boy
John shook his head. "I thought you said you
weren't going to say anything?"
"So shut up already!" He faced Matt. "You were
"You know muties. They can read your minds."
"Sure. And that's how he got high grades. He must
have been reading the teacher's mind. Or maybe he was
taking answers from other students. You know, like
"You don't know that."
"Sure I do. That's what they do."
"Okay," John said. "That's enough. We'll wait for
your lawyers to get here."
"My lawyer is going to clear me," the elder boy
said. "You'll see!"
John laughed. "For somebody who's supposed to be
exercising his right to remain silent, you sure as
hell talk a lot!"
Detective Michael King shone an ultraviolet light
onto the floor of the abandoned warehouse where Gary
Rand ahd admitted to shooting the video one week ago.
He was wearing a visor to protect his eyes: the visor
absorbed ultraviolet light and re-emitted it as blue
so he could see if any of the ultraviolet light was
reflecting off the floor. This was how he was able to
detect trace amounts of blood, because this particular
frequency of ultraviolet light reflected off of
hemoglobin. He saw what appeared to be bright blue
patches all over the floor.
"This is the place he said. There was a lot of
blood here." He turned off the light and lifted the
visor. "You wouldn't know it. It's been cleaned up."
He looked around the room. "You wouldn't know this
was a crime scene."
"So what now?" Mary asked.
"Now we tell the Extreme Force Six what we've
"I'm afraid so. This isn't our job anymore. The
Brotherhood are a group of supers. It's up to the
Extreme Force Six to deal with them. Not us."
"You think so?"
"I know so. Did you see that CD?"
"Don Navarro burned a man to death with fire coming
out of his bare hands." He shook his head. "I don't
want anybody in the department going near that guy."
"So we're completely dependent upon the Extreme
Force Six in this case?"
"I'm afraid so."
"I spoke to all the suspects," John explained to
District Attorney Alan Russell. "All but one are
under eighteen. They'd have to be tried separately in
Alan shook his head. "We're not going to try the
"We're going to offer them immunity from prosecution
in exchange for testifying against Smith. He's the
oldest. The jury will believe us if we claim he was
the one who ordered the others around, even if we
can't prove that he was one of the one's who actually
John nodded. "Yeah. During questioning, he got
angry with one of the other accused and told him to
"Had you already told Smith he had the right to
Alan smiled. "Then we have evidence that he
considered himself to be the group leader. We'll
claim in court that he told the others that they
should kill Stuetz."
John nodded in approval. "That sounds like a good
idea. This Smith: he's cold. We need to out him away
for a long time."
"Cold like the Brotherhood?"
John cringed. "Did you see that video they sent the
Extreme Force Six?"
"They killed two people just to show off what they
could do." John shuddered. "That was _really_ cold."
"As a police officer, you don't get used to things
John shook his head. "No, you don't. You never do.
I guess that's what separates us from them."
"If two straight lines intersect then the opposite
angles are equal. Now, if a straight line intersects
two paralell lines, notice that we now have four equal
Carmine Perez turned away from the board to face
the class. She looked around to see who was paying
attention and noticed Peter Farrell with his head on
his desk, apparently asleep.
"Peter? Could you point out which four angles are
equal? Peter? Peter, this is rude."
Peter Farrell didn't respond. He didn't even move.
"Peter? Peter, this isn't funny. Peter, I want you
to sit up straight this instant."
Then she noticed blood dripping from his ear. "Oh
"Any idea as to cause of death?"
Doctor Jack Greenspan shrugged his shoulders. He
was a man of science: he knew that there was an
explanation for everything. But with thei case he was
stumped. "I've performed a full autopsy. Near as I
can tell, this boy just died."
"That can't be," Detective Michael King said.
"Teenaged boys don't just die. There has to be a
Jack nodded repeatedly. "I know. But until we find
a cause of death, we can't officially label this as a
Micahel sighed. "And until we can show that he was
murdered, we can't charge anyone for it."
"Alright. See what you can do... but not at the
expense of other cases. If we can't get to the bottom
of this case then we'll just have to consider it
Jack nodded. "Understood."
"Hey! Moon Boy!"
Greggory Dickenson cringed. "Please don't call me
Moon Boy. Just call me Greggory."
Harry Roy shrugged his shoulders. "Okay."
"So... how are they treating you?"
Harry bit his lip. "I'm a bit confused."
Harry gestured at his fellow patients. "All these
people. They don't look like people training to
become supers," he said. "For that matter, my own
'training', for now, seems to be limited to my
sessions with Doctor Leonard. And all we seem to do
"What do you talk about?"
"My life. Mostly my childhood." He snickered.
"Personally, I think it's a waste of time. I'm ready
to go back out there and fight injustice."
Greggory smiled weakly. His old friend and former
teammate couldn't accept the fact that he'd been
placed here at Raftpork Assylum under Doctor Leonard's
observation after said doctor had declared him unfit
to stand trial for the murder of Edward Alexander
Goodhead. "So how are things otherwise?"
"Fine. I guess.
"Good." Greggory wasn't sure what else to say.
"Look... um... I'm sorry I haven't been round before."
"Oh no no no," Harry said. "Don't worry about it."
Greggory nodded. "Well... I tell you what... I'll
come back tomorrow, okay?" Greggory didn't feel
comfortable leaving without saying when he'd be back.
"Sure. If you're not too busy."
"Hey," Greggory said. "Old friends stick together!"
"Detective King, Sir?"
Michael looked up at the police officer standing on
the other side of his desk. "Yes, Tom?"
"I've been thinking about the Farrell case, Sir."
"I understand there's no evidence of foul play."
"But teenages boys... that don't just die like
"I know. We've been thinking the same thing."
"Anyway, it occurs to me that the past couple of
months I've been working here I've seen some pretty
bizarre things. You know, people who claim to be able
to see the future, bad guys who shoot fire from their
hands, stuff like that."
"So I was thinking, maybe instead of looking for a
natural explanation for what happened to the Farrell
boy, we should be looking for a supernatural
"You mean like ghosts, vampires, werewolves, stuff
"I know it sounds ridiculous, Sir, but if a kid dies
even though nobody touched him, it doesn't mean nobody
did anything to him. If you see what I mean."
"It was just a thought."
"I know. And I appreciate the thought."
"Yes. You see, the way I've been trained, I only
look at evidence I can actually see and hold in my
hand, stuff I can bring to court."
"But I appreciate the fact that you're able to think
outside the box. In fact, I think you might be on to
Michael nodded. "I'll have Mary go to the school
tomorrow morning and ask around. If we can establish
a pattern of unexplained phenomena at the school then
we would then have a reason to follow your theory."
"That would be great, Sir!"
"But Tom, in the end, I still need something I can
see, hold and take to court. Otherwise, we'd never be
able to build a case."
"I know. I just thought if we didn't have any other
leads then that would be the way to go."
"Are you familiar with the Adventures of Sherlock
Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?"
"Sherlock Holmes was to have said 'When all possible
explanations have been excluded, the impossible
explanation, no matter how seemingly unlikely, must be
"I'd forgotten my Doyle, Mr. Jackson. I thank you
for reminding me."
"You're welcome, Sir!"
"I'm Mary Jones from the Pepperton Police."
"Yes. I'm here about the death of Peter Farrell."
"Yes, of course. What can I do for you?"
"I know this is going to sound like a strange
question, but have there ever been any other weird,
unexplained occurances at this school?"
"I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean. This is the
first time anybody has died."
"Anything you can think of, Ma'am."
"I don't know."
Mary looked around the classroom. "You were
teaching class when Peter died?"
"So you were using the board?"
"So you don't really know what might have happened
"No. I suppose not. Are you saying Peter was
Mary sighed. "Something happened to cause that boy
to die. With your permission, I'd like to talk to
"Somewhere private. No more than two at a time.
Would it be possible for us to use the teacher's
lounge? I need somewhere private yet comfortable. I
don't want students to feel threatened."
"Yes. Yes, of course."
"Do you mind showing me where the teacher's lounge
is? Then you can send the students two at a time once
they all get here."
"Please sit down."
"What are your names."
"Im Cherry and this is Bobbie."
"Alright. So, Cherry, Bobbie, in your opinion, is
this a school where strange things happen?"
"Well, like, what do you mean?"
"I mean a boy died yesterday. Just like that.
Doesn't that seem strange to you?"
Cherry shrugged her shoulders.
"Was he a friend of yours?"
"But he was a classmate, right?"
"Aren't you the least bit concerned that a student
died in your class?"
"Not really. I mean, these things happen, right?
People die. What's the big deal?"
Mary sat there for a moment with her mouth hung
"So, is that it? Can we go back to class now?"
"They did it, Mike. I don't know how but they did
Detective Michael King nodded. "Based on what?"
"They were the only students who didn't show any
remorse for Peter's death."
"We need more than that, Mary. Don't forget that
the most common reaction anybody has to being accused
of a crime is shock and denial. Everyone says they
didn't do it, including those who did. So the fact
that all the other students expressed remorse doesn't
mean that none of them are guilty."
"It's more than that, Mike. There was something
frightening about these two girls."
"From what you've told me, it could just be that
they hadn't yet come to terms with what had happened."
"Maybe." She sighed. "Maybe you're right."
"But I tell you what: you go back there tomorrow and
you ask around again. You ask the whole school,
anybody who you can find. And you ask about those two
"Are you sure?"
"Absolutely. It's the only lead we've got and right
now I'm feeling a bit desperate."
"Hey!" Harry looked up. "Wait... who are you?"
A man in a beige suit and short blonde hair stood
before Harry. "My name is Luke Ross. I'm here to
take you out of here."
"They are lying to you, Harry. This is not a
training facility: this is an assylum. It's Raftpork
"That can't be."
"They think you're crazy, Harry. They think you
were crazy when you killed Goodhead. But I know
you're not crazy. That's why I'm taking you out of
"But Doctor Leonard..."
"Don't worry about him. I've done all your
paperwork. You're free to go."
"I don't know."
"I thought you wanted to be a hero, Harry. I
thought you wanted to be out there fighting injustice.
Why would you want to stay here?"
"Then come on. I can help you become the hero
you've always wanted to be."
"Absolutely. I've got a whole team of supers
working with me. And they're just waiting for you to
Luke smiled. "What do you say?"
"Sure," he said with a big smile. "This is the best
news I've heard all month!"
"Just follow me then."
Harry followed him outside and into an awaiting car.
"So where are the other supers?"
"Patience," Luke said. "I'm going to set you up at
the hotel tonight. You wait for me tomorrow around
two o'clock and I'll take you to our base of
operations. Does that sound good?"
"It sounds great!"
"Yes, Luke said with a smile. "It will be."
"Excuse me, do you girls mind talking to me for a
moment? I'm Mary Jones from the Pepperton Police."
"Sure," one of the girls said.
"Do any of you girls know Cherry and Bobbie?"
"Oh," they all said.
"Is something wrong?"
"We don't like talking about them," another one of
the girls explained.
"Well, it's just that if they don't like you then
bad things start to happen to you."
"Your hair might fall out or you might suddenly
start getting fat. Stuff like that."
"And you think Cherry and Bobbie might be
"How is that possible?"
"They're witches!" one of the girls blurted out.
"They have to be. I mean, what else could they be?
How else could they do these things?"
"Do you think they had something to do with Peter
The girls just looked at each other uncomfortably.
"I see. I understand. Thank you for talking to
"That's what they said."
Michael sighed and shook his head. "I'm afraid then
this is a dead end."
"There's no way Alan would take this to trial. Can
you imagine the headlines? 'Pepperton Witchhunt
begins.' 'Girls put on trial for practicing
"So are you telling me to just drop this?"
"Look. Suppose it's true. Suppose these girls are
capable of killing someone without even touching them.
Then you'd be putting yourself at an unacceptable
"It's our job, Mike!"
"No it isn't. This is a job for supers." Mike
nodded. "Right. I'm going to put in a call right
away to The Super Soldier. Maybe he knows somebody
who can handle this sort of thing, some master of the
mystic arts, somebody who's secretly working for the
government. You never know. If such a person
existed, do you think he'd tell us?"
"I'm sorry, Mary, but I think this is the way to go.
It's just like with the Brotherhood of Masters:
facing supervillains is not our job. That's their
"I feel so useless."
"Don't. You did a good job. I mean, you're
probably right about those girls. But we'd never be
able to prove it in court. And then where would we
"You're right." She nodded.
"I usually am."
"I know," she said, laughing.
"Are you ready?" Luke asked.
"Absolutely," Harry said. Luke had dropped him off
at the hotel the night before but Harry had somehow
managed to retrieve his Archer costume and all of his
"This is the place," Luke said.
"It looks like an abandoned warehouse."
"Of course. This is the abandoned warehouse
district. It's all abandoned warehouses as far as the
eye can see."
"So do you want to meet the guys?"
"Here they are."
"What's wrong? Don Navarro? Cockroach? General
Lee? Madame Scarlet? The Crimson Cape? This is the
Brotherhood of Masters!"
"What do you mean?"
"Goodhead had them under mind control. You freed
them. Now they are free to go with their better
"You've got to be kidding me!"
"Not at all. You see, having been freed from
Goodhead's control they have come to see the light, so
to speak. So the Brotherhood of Masters are no more!
Harry Roy, Archer, I bring you... the
"The Lighteningbolts? Now I know you're shitting
me. Are people supposed to believe that the
Brotherhood of Masters have reformed and that they are
going to be heroes?"
"They will if you join us."
"But you told me they thought I was crazy."
"Oh, sure, Samuel Leonard thought you were crazy.
But what about your adoring fans?"
"I have fans?"
"Sure! Well, the original Archer, your mentor had
fans. But you were his sidekick. So, yeah, you have
"Okay. But maybe they didn't like the fact that I
"But it was necessary. And look at the good you
did! Now the Lighteningbolts, free from his control,
can fight injustice together! And isn't that what you
want? To be part of a team again fighting injustice?"
"I suppose so. But how are you supposed to fight
injustice when the Extreme Force Six are going to want
to put you all in jail?""
Luke nodded. "Ah, yes, that is a problem. But
don't worry because we have a plan."
"What kind of plan?"
"We have a mission for you."
"For all of us, actually. You see, we know of this
man, a very bad man. He used to work with the
Brotherhood, you see, but Goodhead didn't have to
control him: what he did he did of his own free will.
And he's still at large. We need you to help us bring
Harry nodded. "Just tell me what you want me to
"That's what I was hoping you'd say," Luke said with
4:49 pm (the same day)
Say what you will about the abandoned warehouse
district, it's a cheap place to live: you can find a
nice spacious place all to yourself and not have to
worry about paying rent to anybody. After all, the
place is abandoned.
Electricity is a problem. So is running water. But
Gary Rand found a way to get both set up. He also set
it up so that he received the bills at a post office
box downtown near where he worked. He decided it was
too much trouble trying to get cable TV though. So,
overall, his place was quite comfortable.
And spacious! Gary had set up his sofa and TV (and
DVD player of course - no cable after all) in one
corner of the room and his refrigerator, stove and
table in another corner. The place already had a
bathroom so he set up a shower nearby. The final
corner of the warehouse was where he placed his bed.
It wasn't exactly the most convenient of set ups but
he just liked the idea of using all the space
Gary was watching TV when they arrived: he had
rented a couple of DVDs from the back room of a video
store near where he worked. He was literally caught
with his pants down.
Yes, the author finally decided to go to the trouble
of setting the scene and he actually ended up
providing too much information.
"What do you want?" he asked, as he quickly arranged
"Gary Rand, you are accused of standing idly by
while two people were killed," Luke said.
"What?" he said as he turned off the TV and all.
"That was you guys."
"So you admit it!" he said.
Luke turned to Harry who was, of course, still in
his Archer costume. "Now, Archer, use one of your
arrows. Take him out."
"The man is guilty. Use one of your arrows on him."
"No," John said, "don't."
"You want me to kill him?" Harry asked.
"I want you to strike a blow for justice!"
"But I'm not even sure what he's supposed to have
Luke shook his head. "You need to trust us, Harry.
You can't just make decisions by yourself. You're
part of a team now."
"I don't know. If he's committed a crime then he
should go to jail. He should face trial."
"What about Goodhead? You killed him."
"That was different."
"He killed my mentor, the original Archer."
"So," Luke said, "it's okay then to kill out of
revenge. Is that what you're saying?"
Harry went to grab one of his arrows but General Lee
grabbed his arm. "Looks like we won't be needing you
after all." He took away Harry's arrows. "Which
means you won't be needing these."
"Finish him!" Madame Scarlet said.
But they weren't alone.
"I wouldn't do anything if I were you," somebody
"Extreme!" Don Navarro said. He immediately started
shooting flames at the hero.
With everybody distracted, the Super Soldier
attacked General Lee, forcing him to drop the Archer's
arrows. They engaged in hand to hand combat while the
Archer bent down to pick up all his arrows.
Extreme and the Super Soldier weren't alone either:
Weapon Alpha, Amazing Woman, the Human Spider and Mr.
G, they were all there.
"It's the Extreme Force Six!" the Crimson Cowl
"Fuck this!" Cockroach said. "Let's get out of
"No," Luke said, as he slithered out of his suit to
reveal his Snake costume. "We can take them." He
jumped and wrapped his body around Mr. G, hoping to
squeeze his chest so he couldn't breathe.
"Fair enough!" Cockroach said. He pulled out his
gun and opened fire on Amazing Woman but the bullets
just bounced off of her bracelets.
"You come along quietly, alright?" the Human Spider
said to Madame Scarlet.
"I don't think so!" Madame Scarlet said. She used
her telekinesis on the Human Spider, causing him to
fly back into Amazing Woman.
"What the hell are you doing?" Amazing Woman asked.
"Make yourself useful and go after Cockroach. I'll
handle Madame Scarlet."
"Um... okay!" The Human Spider got up again. "Hey,
Cockroach! It's going to be you and me! Mano a mano!
Insect a... um.. arachnid! (I really need to work on
"That's it!" Cockroach said. "I'm out of here!"
But he found there was somebody standing between him
and the door. "Who are you?"
"I'm Greggory Dickenson."
Greggory punched Cockroach in the face. Cockroach
was going to shoot him but Greggory grabbed his arm
and took away his gun Just like Night Man had taught
him all those years ago.
Meanwhile, Weapon Alpha was having trouble fighting
the Crimson Cape: his claws counldn't cut the cape
itself and he couldn't see under the cape because it
created a dimension of almost total darkness from
which very little light would escape.
"Need any help?" Harry asked rhetorically. He took
a flare arrow and shot it into the dimension under the
cape. The result was not so much a bright flare but
it did provide enough light to enable Weapon Alpha to
see the man under the cape.
"Thanks!" Weapon Alpha said. He then grabbed the
body of the Crimson Cape with one hand and threatened
to disembowel him with the claws from the other hand.
"No!" Harry said. "Don't. Don't kill him!"
"Why the hell not?" Weapon Alpha asked.
"Because heroes don't kill," Harry said.
Weapon Alpha smiled and retracted his claws.
Harry felt momentarily confused.
"I'm so happy to hear you say that!" Extreme said as
he swooped down and grabbed the Crimson Cape's cape
from behind. He tore the cape off of him leaving the
Crimson Cape helpless to defend himself.
Harry looked around. Everyone in the Brotherhood of
Masters / Lighteningbolts was defeated.
"Don Navarro gave me a bit of trouble," Extreme
admitted, "but once I had subdued him, it was just a
matter of me helping out my teammates to ensure
"So fast," Harry said.
"Yeah," Extreme said with a smile. "Don't forget,
I'm faster than Mr. Quick!"
"Well sure," Amazing Woman said with a smile, "now
that he's retired."
"I always was faster!" Extreme insisted.
"Alright," Harry said, "what's going on? How did
you guys find us?"
"That would be my doing," Greggory explained.
"I was on my way to Raftpork Assylum to go see you
when I spotted this guy," Greggory said, referring to
the now unconscious Snake. "Now if there was one
thing I learned from Night Man it was how to spot a
villain. I knew this guy was up to no good. So when
I saw you leave with him, I decided to follow you to
your hotel. Because I wanted to know who he was and I
wasn't sure how helpful asking you would be, seeing as
how you still seemed quite crazy at the time (Maybe it
was the drugs), I asked one of the hotel clerks to
call me if the guy came back to pick you up. I also
stopped by Extreme Force Headquarters, introduced
myself as Greggory Dickenson aka Moon Boy and was
provided with an emergency number that would give me
direct access to the team.
"Fast forward to this afternoon: the hotel clerk
calls me around three o'clock so I stop what I'm doing
and head down to the hotel just in time to see you
leave with this guy. I took a taxi and followed the
two of you to the abandoned warehouse district.
Sensing that this was a bad thing, I called up the
Extreme Force Six and told them you were in trouble
and that they should meet me in the abandoned
warehouse district. By the time they got here, you
had gone over to this warehouse here. Extreme then
used his superhearing to listen in and find out what
"You then waited until the last minute before
intervening," Harry said.
Extreme nodded. "I know. I had to know if you'd
kill this man," he said, referring to Gary Rand. "I
had to know if you were still capable of that despite
all your therapy."
"And if I had killed him?"
"Then it would have been on my conscience too,"
Extreme admitted, "but like I said, I had to know. If
we had burst in a moment sooner and you were captured
as a member of the Brotherhood of Masters then it
would have been all over for you."
"But you failed their test. Which means you passed
mine. As far as I am concerned, you'd be welcome on
the team: we can just call ourselves the Extreme Force
"Or Eight," said the Super Soldier, looking at
Greggory. "It's thanks to Moon Boy here that we were
finally able to capture the Brotherhood of Masters. I
can think of no greater honour to the memory of Night
Man than to welcome him into our ranks."
Greggory cringed. And yet... for a moment there...
he felt tempted to take up the Super Soldier's offer.
He didn't enjoy the training, he certainly didn't
enjoy it when Night Man would get angry with him and
he definitely did not like getting shot. But he liked
being Moon Boy. It was something he was proud of.
But he couldn't tell anybody that. Not after the
"Thanks but... no thanks."
The Super Soldier nodded. "But keep our number.
You know, in case you ever get into trouble. Or in
case you ever change your mind."
"I doubt that," Greggory said with a laugh.
And yet, Greggory wondered if he couldn't just
assume a new identity? Sparrow? Nightbird? Hmm. It
would be something for Greggory to consider if he ever
got tired of his regular nine to five job.
"Good luck. And have a good life."
"Yeah," Greggory said with a smile. "You too."
"Do you mind stepping out of the way so I can take
Frank Lopez was hired by the Pepperton police as a
sketch artist. It was his job to draw pictures of
suspects based on what witnesses described to him.
This was not, however, a full time job and he had been
working in the meantime to get approval to work at
crime scenes gathering evidence. For now, he was just
taking pictures and observing his fellow CSIs at work.
"The victim appears to have been killed by gunshot
wounds: one to the chest and one to the upper torso."
Detective Mary Jones had only been working for the
Pepperton Police for only five years. She was good at
her job, both as an investigator of crime scenes and
as an expert in questioning witnesses. Recently she
began dating Edward Bailey, another member of the
Pepperton police force who worked full time in the
crime lab. With her being a detective, she was
effectively his immediate superior. She hoped that
their dating would not in any way interfere with their
"Can we recover any of the bullets?"
Detective Michael King had also been working for the
Pepperton police for only a few years, having served
previously as an investigator for the marines at the
base in Pepsicola, Florida. He always felt a deep
frustration when faced with bureaucracy and actually
prefered the way civilian police forces were able to
operate in the open without having to keep any secrets
from the general public. Recently, he's encountered
the same sort of bureaucracy when trying to deal with
members of the local government run superteam, the
Extreme Force Six. It took him a while to convince
himself that it was necessary for them to keep secrets
from the general public, such as their individual
identities. Convincing his fellow police officers
turned out to be more difficult.
"The shot to the upper torso was through and through
but the other bullet appears to be still in the
"Alright. Maybe Jack can extract that bullet and we
can use that as evidence. Frank?"
"Could you stop taking pictures and help us find the
"Where do you think it could be?"
Michael tried to reenact the shooting. "If the
victim was standing here -which he would have been to
have fallen back over there- then the bullet should be
stuck in this brick wall. Do you think you could find
the bullet for us?"
"I suppose so."
"Good. When you find it, you'll have to dig it out.
Be careful not to touch it because it could still
have the killer's fingerprints."
"Did anybody here see the man get shot?"
Detective John Phelps had been serving on the
Pepperton police force for fifteen years, having
worked up from the rank of beat cop to eventually be
the head of his local precinct.
"We didn't see anything," a young teenaged boy said.
"We showed up after we heard the gunshot."
"You ran towards the gunshot? Not away?"
Officer Mark Johnston had been working for the
Pepperton police force for only a few years but he was
starting to show that he had good instincts and knew
what questions to ask.
"We knew the guy had already left the scene," his
"And how do you know that?" Phelps asked.
"We saw the guy run away."
"Did he see you?"
"No. I don't think so."
"But did you get a good look at him?"
"It was dark. Not like it is now. It was earlier
in the morning."
"But could you at least describe the shooter?"
"Okay. Where's Frank? Frank!"
"He's over there."
Officer Thomas Jackson had been with the Pepperton
police force only a few months. His first impression
of police work had been that police were expected to
patrol the neighbourhood and stop the bad guys but
over the past few months he has come to understand the
need to look for evidence.
"Frank. Phelps wants you."
"King told me to look for a bullet in this wall."
"Any luck so far?"
"Then it could have just bounced off the wall. It
could be anywhere on the ground here. Look... I'll
look for the bullet, okay?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'm sure. Phelps wants you right now."
"Okay. Here. Take some rubber gloves and an
evidence bag. You use the rubber gloves to pick up
the bullet so as not to contaminate the evidence.
Then you seal the bag."
"Sounds easy enough."
"You wanted to speak to me?"
"Yeah, Frank, I've got two witnesses here who say
they saw the shooter. I want you to get their
descriptions and draw a picture of the shooter."
"I didn't bring my sketchpad."
"So use a notebook and a pencil. Improvise."
Frank smiled. "Okay. Do you have a notebook?"
"Sure," Phelps said. He handed it to him.
"And I've got a pencil," Mark Johnston said.
"And here are the witnesses."
"Alright. What was the shooter wearing?"
"With a collar?"
"Yeah. And he had a hat! He was wearing a hat."
"What kind of hat?"
"A wool hat."
"He musta felt cold."
"I guess so. So what do you remember about his
"Just a moment. Tom? What is it?"
"This is a bullet, right?" Tom Jackson held up the
"Yeah. Was it on the ground?"
"How did you find it so fast?"
"Just lucky I guess."
"You didn't touch it with your bare hands, did you?
"I was wearing the gloves you gave me."
"Okay. Good. Give it to me. I'll give it to King
when I get back to the station."
"Fair enough." Tom handed the evidence bag to Frank
who put it in his pocket.
Frank turned back to the two teenaged boys he was
"So... we were talking about the man's face."
"Did you extract the bullet?"
"Yes, I did."
Jack Greenspan had worked in the coroner's office
for more than twenty-five years. He'd seen it all and
nothing fazed him anymore. To him, doing an autopsy
on a shooting victim was, sadly, routine.
"So where is it?"
"Over there on the table. I already placed it in an
"Great. That means we've recovered both bullets.
If we can find a gun then that should be enough
evidence for a conviction."
"So you found the shooter already?"
"No but we've got a description. It's only a matter
"So what have we got?"
"The two bullets were definitely fired from the same
Edward Bailey had been working in the Pepperton
crime lab for a few years doing just about everything:
examining hair and blood samples, extracting DNA,
running fingerprints through the national database,
sometimes even matching soil samples with the soil
found in different parks in the greater Pepperton
area. His collegues had literally come to expect him
to be able to take evidence and almost magically come
up with the name of a suspect.
"We know that. Anything that we can use to identify
"I did manage to find a partial print on one of the
"But when I ran it through the natiional database I
wasn't able to find a match."
"Whoever it was, he doesn't seem to have a criminal
"It's not your fault. It just seems as though
lately we've been able to come up with a prime suspect
by the end of the day. Now, today, we're at a dead
"Maybe we're just having a bad day."
Michael though for a moment. "We'll have to release
Frank's sketch to the media. Maybe ask a reward for
any information leading to an arrest."
"That sounds like a good idea."
"Is Peter Whitman here?"
"He's out. Can I help?"
"I'm from the Pepperton police."
"Ah, yes, you're Mary Jones."
Wendy Wang, reporter for the Daily World, had an
uncanny ability to always remember names and faces.
She was famous for being the reporter who first
interviewed the superhero Extreme more than twenty
"That's right. We'd like your paper to publish some
information regarding the shooting that took place
today downtown. We have a sketch of the subject based
on the description of some witnesses at the scene.
We're offering a five-hundred dollar reward for anyone
who can provide information leading to an arrest."
"I'll speak to Peter when he gets back."
"We need to talk."
Alan Russell had been Pepperton District Attorney
for more than ten years. He liked having things done
"About what?" Michael asked.
"About Harry Roy."
"What about him?"
"He escaped from Raftpork Assylum."
"Somebody showed up and presented phony release
"Apparently they were forged because Doctor Leonard
hadn't authorized his release. Anyway, now I find out
that Harry Roy is working with the Extreme Force Six
-now called the Extreme Force Seven- as the new
"I want you to go and ask them what's going on.
You've delt with these people before. You have a
history with them. Tell them that Harry Roy either
goes back to Raftpork or he stands trial for the
murder of Edward Goodhead."
"Alright. I'll go see them first thing tomorrow
Edward had been right. It hadn't been a good day.
The guard in front of Extreme Force Headquarters
saluted Detective Michael King when he arrived there.
Michael saluted him back. It was an old habit.
"As you were," he said.
"Detective King. Sit down."
"Do you have any idea why I am here?"
"I think so," the Super Soldier replied.
"It's about Harry Roy."
"So then what I've been told is true."
The Super Soldier nodded. "Harry Roy is under our
"I was told that he was working with you, that you
were now the Extreme Force Seven."
"Both statements are true."
"Detective, Harry Roy is a good man who made
aterrible mistake. We're trying to have him make up
for it by doing some good."
"But he thought he _was_ doing good when he killed
The Super Soldier nodded. "Good point," he
conceeded, "but Harry now knows that what he did was
wrong. He's not going to kill anybody else."
"Maybe. But the very fact that he knows what he did
was wrong means that it is time for him to face a
judge and a jury. In fact, the DA is insisting that
"Alright. Set a date for trial. We'll see that
he'll be there."
"Judge Matthews has already set the date for trial
to be one week from today."
"There's been enough delay. And one more thing..."
"What's he doing out of Raftpork Assylum in the
first place? Doctor Leonard hadn't authorized his
"It was the Brotherhood of Masters. Somehow they
managed to forge Doctor Leonard's signature on release
"Why would the Brotherhood of Masters release Harry
"When we caught up with them, they were going to
kill him. We rescued him and then he helped us
"You captured the Brotherhood of Masters?"
"Yes. We turned them over to federal authorities
because they're better suited to handling supers than
local authorities like yourselves."
"Are they going to face trial?"
"I imagine so. But in a federal court. Don't
forget that they'd commited crimes all over the
country and not just in your jurisdiction."
"Fair enough. But I'm disappointed that you saw fit
to not inform the local precinct that you were
harbouring Harry Roy, a futigive."
"He was under our custody."
"Then there would have no reason not to inform us."
"I'm sorry," the Super Soldier said, apparently
"Alright," Michael said with a sigh. "I'm going to
go out on a limb here and have Mr. Roy remain in your
custody. I do expect him to show up for his court
>>This is the Super Soldier.<<
"What? How do you have my cell phone number?"
>>You called us, remember? You didn't think a
government run organisation wouldn't have call display
on its phones?<<
"Um... okay... look... whatever you want... I'm
working right now. Can I call you back at 12:00."
"Can I speak to the Super Soldier?"
>>Who is calling?<<
"It's Greggory Dickenson. I'm actually returning
>>Alright. Just a moment.<<
"Yeah. What's this all about?"
>>It's about Harry. He has a trial date coming up
on the morning of October 3rd. We need you to testify
on his behalf.<<
"Me? But I'm working that day. The only reason why
I was there to help before is because I took a week
>>We need you to take off one more day.<<
"Why is my testimony so important?"
>>Because nobody else in the Extreme Force Seven
would be allowed to testify without revealing their
identity. Your identity is publicly known. Plus, you
can testify to the fact that Harry surrendered
willingly to the police. We need that testimony to
convince the jury that he can be trusted.<<
>>We need you to go see his lawyer, Leroy Laurel,
and talk strategy with him. His number is 555-2142.<<
"What's that number again?"
"Yes, is Leroy Laurel there?"
"It's Greggory Dickenson."
>>Ah yes, Mr. Dickenson. Do you have time to come
down to my office this afternoon?<<
"I'm afraid I don't. I'm working."
>>Perhaps when you're finished work.<<
"I don't finish until five o'clock."
>>Could you be down there by five thirty? My office
is at 1245 Lincohn Avenue. That's at the corner of
"That would be difficult. I don't have a car so I'd
have to take the subway."
>>Alright. Tell you what. We'll meet at six
o'clock and I'll take you to a restaurant and we can
talk strategy over dinner.<<
"That would be great. Now, if you don't mind, I
have to go eat lunch right now."
One week later.
"Today we consider the matter of the state versus
Harry Roy aka Arrow Boy aka The Archer with Judge
Harry Matthews presiding."
Everybody stood up as Judge Matthews entered the
court room and sat down. "You may sit down," he said.
"Court is now in session. Mr. Laurel?"
"Yes, your honour?"
"How does your client plead to the charge of first
degree murder in the case of the death of Edward
"Not guilty, your honour."
"It is our claim that Mr. Roy was temporarily insane
when he killed Mr. Goodhead with an arrow shot from
"I see. And I assume you have expert testimony to
back this up?"
"We do, your honour."
"State your name for the record."
"Doctor Samuel Leonard."
"And what is your job?"
"I work for the procecutor's office. I determine
whether or not people are fit to stand trial."
"And did you determine Harry Roy unfit to stand
"What was wrong with him?"
"He had a saviour complex. He thought he was doing
the world a favour by killing Edward Goodhead. Plus,
he had had a psychotic break as a result of learning
that the original Archer, his friend and mentor, had
died, presumably at the hands of the Brotherhood of
Masters of whom Edward Doodhead was their leader."
"So he was motivated by revenge?"
"To him it was more a matter of justice, of setting
things right. He honestly thought he was doing the
right thing and expected everyone to see things the
"I have reexamined Mr. Roy and I find him to be
genuinely sorry for what he did."
"I see. No further questions."
"Yes, your honour?"
"Do you wish to cross examine."
"I do, your honour." Alan Russell got up and
approached the witness. "Doctor Leonard, can you be
sure that Harry Roy will never do anything like that
"No. I can't."
"No further questions, your honour."
"Very well then, Doctor Leonard, you may step down.
Mr. Laurel, do you have any other witnesses?"
"Yes, I do. I call Greggory Dickenson to the
"Mr. Dickenson, how did you know that Harry Roy
killed Edward Goodhead?"
"I just guessed. Edward Goodhead was killed by an
arrow shortly after the funeral of the original
Archer. It wasn't that hard to figure out."
"And so you went to visit Harry Roy?"
"Yeah. I knew where he lived."
"And so you got him to surrender to the
"Sort of. He actually thought he was going to get a
"And when you went to see him at Raftpork Assylum,
how did he seem to you?"
"He was told that he was at a training facility and
that's what he believed."
"So why did he escape?"
"He didn't so much escape as he was told he was
being released. The man who let him out was Snake,
the new leader of the Brotherhood of Masters."
"Why would he go with this man?"
"He didn't know Snake was the leader of the
Brotherhood of Masters. When he found out who they
were and that they wanted him to kill Gary Rand, he
refused to help them and that's when the Extreme Force
Six showed up and captured the Brotherhood of
"Did Harry Roy assist in the capture of the
Brotherhood of Masters?"
"Yes, he did. That's why Extreme offered to accept
Harry into the Extreme Force Six."
"I see. No further questions, your honour."
"Mr. Russell, do you wish to cross examine?"
"I do, your honour." Alan Russell got up and
approached the witness. "Mr. Dickenson, why would the
Brotherhood of Masters have expected Harry to kill
"They claimed that they were now heroes called the
Lighteningbolts. They claimed that they were under
Edward Goodhead's mind control before."
"And Harry Roy believed them?"
"Yes," he said sadly. "Apparently."
"So Harry Roy was considering joining the
Brotherhood of Masters under this new name under the
belief that they were going to be heroes, whatever
"No further questions, your honour."
"You may step down, Mr. Dickenson. Mr. Laurel?"
"Yes, your honour?"
"Do you have any more witnesses?"
"No, your honour. The defense rests."
"Very well, Mr. Russell, do you wish to call any
"No, your honour. We also rest our case."
"Very well then. I now order the jury to deliberate
based on the evidence presented today. Court is
adjorned until you reach a verdict." He slammed down
Greggory walked past the defense area and whispered
to Harry. "I'm sorry," he said.
"Has the jury reached it's verdict?"
"We have, your honour."
"Will you please hand the verdict to the bailiff?"
The jury foreman handed the verdict to the bailiff and
the bailiff brought the verdict to the judge who then
read it. "I see. Will you now read the verdict?"
"We, the jury, find the defendent guilty of first
degree murder in the case of the death of Edward
Judge Matthews nodded sadly. "And that being the
case, I have no choice but to sentence Harry Roy to
five years in prison. He'll be eligible for parole in
no less than two years. It is actually a light
sentence for this sort of crime. Court is adjourned."
He slammed down his gavel.
"I heard that Harry Roy got five years."
Alan Russell nodded. "But he'll probably make
parole after two years. Unless he has another
psychotic break, of course."
"Are you sure we did the right thing?"
"Mike, he committed first degree murder."
Detective Michael King nodded. "You're right."
"Mike, be careful. You spend enough time with these
supers, you start to lose your objectivity. They are
not above the law."
"Above the law? They think they _are_ the law."
Alan Russell smiled and nodded. "Therein lies the
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