Spacer East to West 73
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In which things finally turn around for our heroes... for the moment.



April 26, 1987, continued

I'm pretty sure I've never woken up in worse circumstances, but then I guess that was the point.
     I was chained up. Upside down. With rather heavy weights suspended from my bound body—heavy enough that it hurt, and I had no hope of moving, even assisted by my powers. I was suspended within a metal cage lined with presumably sharp swords, swinging slowly; it seemed my arc was getting longer every time, which couldn't be right, until I finally figured out there was an engine of some sort up there. I spared a moment to give thanks that I am not easily nauseated.
     Off to one side I could see Lucky, suspended headfirst over an ominous pit in the floor from which the sound of clashing gears was faintly audible. She wasn't moving. Her chains looked much less substantial than the ones on me; she could break out, but if one broke, they all would, and then she would fall to whatever grisly death awaited. On my other side a wall of glass or clear plastic defined a cylinder around Promethean's also-bound and motionless form, water trickling in a fast stream down his chains, slowly filling his prison. At this rate it would be fifteen minutes or so before it covered his nose and mouth. I could see acupuncture needles pushed into various points of his body.
     Lucky's chain clanged as it racheted down a couple of links, bringing her nearer the pit.
     Well, I guess I missed a lot I found myself thinking. So they're going to kill us.
I actually felt quite calm, considering the situation. One of those times where there's simply too much else to think about for fear to get in a word edgewise. Actually, it was hard not to be somewhat impressed by the amount of work and planning that had gone into this scenario.
     The razors edged closer. I didn't see any sign of Scott. Maybe he'd gotten away. How much time had passed since the fight? All of us seemed to be in a very large, shadowy room filled with what might well be random junk from what I could see as I turned slowly; lots of large boxes.
     And No-Name, sitting on a metal box off to one side of the room.
     "Ah, good. You're up."
     I cleared my throat; everything seemed to work correctly. "Would this be a good time to ask what you want?"
     "We want you to die," he replied pleasantly. "It's just not enough that it be done in a quick fashion."
     "I don't recall ever meeting you before."
     "They wouldn't need to kill us if they weren't afraid of us."
     Well, Lucky was awake.
     "We're not afraid of you. We merely want to send a message to the powers that you represent. Chinatown is ours, a closed-off society. When they find your corpses, they'll understand that."
     Hans muttered something in German, doubtless unflattering.
     "You know if you want them to leave you alone this is not the best way to go about it," Lucky mumbled; she had a good point, but he didn't seem to care.
     "No, we've never met before," No-Name told me. "Which is ironic because in a certain way you're responsible for us, for which I thank you."
     I sighed. "Is there any way to stop you from enlightening us?" If Lucky could break herself free I might be able to catch her... Hans could fly under his own power if necessary, although I wasn't sure if the water might interfere with his powers. In any case, the last thing I wanted was to spend my last minutes on earth listening to this guy babble on about himself.
     "Well, I had intended for you not to die ignorant, but such is life. In case you're wondering about your other friend, don't worry—he's well taken care of." Could be a bluff, but why bother? I suspected he was telling the truth. "If ignorance is what you request, so be it." He stood up.
     "Don't I get a request?" Lucky put in. "Needle, let him talk. What do you want?"
     "As I said, for Chinatown to be ours. To have all of your forces pulled out. This will certainly get the message across. We've been manipulated by your people for long enough."
     "Who's we?" I wondered.
     "We are the people," Lucky asserted, much to my bemusement.
     "We, the people, in order to form a more perfect union?" No-name, too, looked amused.
    "I'm not the Constitution, but I am a superhero. Why do you want us out of the way?"

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson