Spacer Aside 220a
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    Phoenix Talon prepared his first group of students for their "field trip." They were all in civilian clothes, and he made the three leave their boards behind.
    "But sensei, walking sucks!" one protested.
    "You've gotta learn to crawl before you can walk."
    "But we're walking now."
    "It's a fuckin' metaphor." Despite all the training and the videos, the kids tended to possess a frustrating literal-mindedness. That sorted out, he led them through the Boston streets, pointing out things they should look for when they were out on patrol....
    "You mean, like those three guys with guns running out of that building?" one of the Blood Boards asked, pointing.
    "That'll do, let's go!" he barked. There were three young men emerging from the corner pawnshop. They wore leather jackets with snarling cats on the back.
    Phoenix Talon, naturally, arrived on the scene first, doing a flip over the top of a Jeep and landing in their midst. In a series of lightning-fast strikes he disarmed the men, then stood back to let the Blood Boards practice their newfound skills.
    "Get 'em," he directed.
    The Alley Cats looked around and saw two guys running at them.
    "Let's get out of here!"
    The third Board was blocking their retreat. "Hold it right there!" he informed them sternly.
    "Knock him over!"
    The Blood Board, realizing that he could not fight off all three, went on the offensive and tackled two of them, earning a pummeling in the process. The third Alley Cat made a break for it, pursued by one of the other Boards, while the remaining trainee kicked a downed Cat in the head.
    The running one was going to get away unless Phoenix Talon intervened; he closed the gap easily and popped a flash in his eyes. The Alley Cat screamed and was nailed from behind by the Blood Board, who smacked his head into the street right smartly. When they returned to the street, the other two Cats had been thoroughly subdued. Sirens filled the air.
    "Bravo, bring him back over here," he called.
    "You can stand up now, they don't have their guns any more," a Blood Board explained to the crouched pawnshop owner.
    "You—you stopped them?!"
    "Um... yeah. Yeah we did." He grinned.
    "That was very brave of you, young man."
    "Well, y'know... yeah! We kicked ass!" His chest inflated with newfound pride.
    "Bobby, get the guns. Be careful, pick 'em up like I showed you to preserve the fingerprints," Phoenix Talon directed. Then he introduced the boys to the pawnshop owner.
    "And who are you?"
    "Phoenix Talon of the Revolution. We're patrolling incognito," he explained.
    "I suppose it could be you," the man said doubtfully. "You're not wearing your mask."
    "All right, what's going on here?" An officer strolled over to take charge of the scene.
    Phoenix Talon introduced himself, showed his ID. "These three youths, I was with my boys, we were on patrol. We saw them leaving this pawnshop with firearms at a high rate of speed and that sack over there, so we took appropriate action."
    The cop made a note, looked around at the scene. "Looks like you've got everything under control. Just think, Mike, a couple more weeks they're not going to need cops at all."
    "Ah, don't give him grief," his partner advised laconically. "You did good work."
    "Not me, it's my boys here," Talon demurred. He introduced them to the cops.
    "Oh, I remember you," Mike remarked to Bobby, who scuffed the ground in embarrassment.
    "Hi, officer."
    "And you, too. We got the memo from Lieutenant Reilly, 'bout all of us being on the same side." His skepticism was plain.
    "Didn't we hold this pawn shop up once?" one Board whispered to another.
    "Shut up," was the hissed reply. "You know what we should do, sensei? Get little decals that say 'protected by the Blood Boards' to give to all the people that we've helped, they'll be able to put it in their window, and then people'll know."
    "Y'know, that's not a bad idea," Talon reflected. "Rico, you're busted up pretty bad. Why don't I take you back to the Revolution base." They had a pretty good first-aid setup there, and it would show the kids they were trusted.
    This idea was enthusiastically received.
    "Ya'll did very well this afternoon," he told them after a brief lecture on basic first aid.
    "Nice pool table, man," Rico remarked, having more than recovered his poise.
    "Yeah, but we gotta get out of here."
    "What, can't we have a full tour?"

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson