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Revolution Island. Fire crews remained hard at work, hosing down the still-smoking parts of the structure. A news crew had arrived a little while ago, just one cameraman with a reporter.
    "I'm standing here in front of the smoldering wreckage that was once Revolution headquarters," she began when the cameraman okayed the shot. "It was functionally destroyed earlier today in one of the many attacks that the criminal organization known as the Wuxia has been making on the city of Boston. There is no immediate news as to the safety of any civilians that might have been staying with the Revolution during the time that the building was attacked, though we have heard that no members of the Revolution were injured during the attack. It certainly looks as if the war zone that Boston has become over the last twenty-four hours has extended out to this small island in the harbor.
    "While we had all hoped that the Revolution would be able to use this as a command center for retaliating against these criminals, it seems as if from other reports we've been getting, they've been doing just fine from wherever they're operating from now. That location is still not known to the press," she added. "I'm talking with Fire Captain Hendricks right now. Captain Hendricks," she turned to him, "how badly do you feel that the structure was damaged during this attack?"
    Captain Hendricks shook his head grimly. "Well, there were several large containers of highly explosive fuel that were thrown at the building and ignited, as well as some that were simply left there. The force of the explosion and shrapnel destroyed several of the walls; the fire spread through the majority of it. While the physical construction of the northern half of the building is still intact, and we aren't afraid of it collapsing at this time, I have to say all told that the building is probably a total loss."
    The reporter nodded sympathetically. "Aren't you somewhat curious about the fact that the Revolution has been operating for roughly the last year in what is to the naked eye a small and fairly dingy facility?"
    "My men were somewhat curious about that," he agreed. "We had been expecting a far more high-tech interior hidden behind this, but it certainly looked like from everything that we've seen, that the only real amenity they had for themselves in there was a pool table."
    "So not exactly the rich, high on the hog living that one would come to expect for a team of their stature?"
    "No, it certainly seems as if they've been using a remarkably minimal amount of the budget that they were allotted. Of course, while I don't want to make any particular comments about their private lives and materials," he went on, "as near as we can tell, all of their personal belongings are a total loss."
    "Have you spoken with any members of the Revolution today?" she inquired.
    "Yes. They were here briefly, in order to explore the wreckage of the building and pick up what personal belongings remained, although sad to say that there wasn't very much for them to get."
    "Did they seem disheartened?"
    "They seemed angry more than anything else," he judged. "Which I can certainly understand, and from what you've been telling us, they seem to be taking that anger out in places."
    "I suppose that's understandable...."
    "Well, I'd certainly be pissed as hell, ma'am," he retorted.
    "Were there any fatalities in the building?"
    "No, to the best of our knowledge the only loss of life was Needle's pet cat, Newton."
    "Thank you very much for your time, Captain. For WAMT, this is Darcy Jones reporting from Revolution Island," she closed the segment.
    At the studio, a clerk scrambled to find a file photo of Newton to put up in the corner of the screen. Missing, presumed dead; 1985-1987?
    "Thank you very much for that report, Darcy," Simon Weed said at the studio desk where he and Holly had been discussing the day's developments. "Well, it certainly seems as if hard times are hitting our superhero team in Boston just as much as they are hitting the city itself. We are continuing to provide you with twenty-four hour coverage of the events of the day, starting with what we hope was a rather obscure incident early this morning, where members of the Revolution were able to capture the wanted theme villain Roy McCoy." His picture flashed up, with a silver mallard perched on his shoulder. "Mr. McCoy is in the hospital under guard at the moment.
    "Once again, for those of you just tuning in, there have been explosions and uncontrolled fires throughout large parts of the city of Boston during the course of the day, some of which are now under control, some of which are still burning freely. Over the last few hours, the Revolution has been launching a series of attacks against people and places in Chinatown, presumably in order to locate and arrest the members of the criminal superteam known as the Wuxia. The Revolution captured this group several months ago, and they just recently escaped from jail and began launching a series of attacks against police institutions in Chinatown, then had a brief fight with the Revolution, and since then have been attacking various other locations and installations throughout Boston. So, Holly," he turned to his colleague, "what's your take on the situation so far?"
    Shapiro looked appropriately serious. "Well, given the gravity of the situation, I don't want to be in a position of stating that I was playing Cassandra earlier. But as several sociologists and political historians have pointed out in the past, the inclusion of a superhero team in an area almost invariably draws in this sort of activity and threat."
    "So you're saying that it's the presence of the Revolution which is causing these problems now?" he inquired with a trace of skepticism.
    "No, that would be entirely too simplistic. What I'm saying is that we have every reason to believe, for example, that the Wuxia had up until recently been operating a very small criminal organization in Chinatown. It was small, quiet, something the police could deal with on a regular basis. It was only when they came in contact with the Revolution that it turned into an overarcing battle that has destroyed large parts of the city."
    "But doesn't that end up turning around to blame the Revolution?" he pressed.
    "No, of course not; I don't want to place any blame in the direction of our law enforcement officers at a time when they are out attempting to defend the people of the city. One does have to remember that, as popular as they are, it is the position of the press to question the activities and motives of those people that are in the public employ, and there have been a lot of activities going on today that one has to take with a certain degree of severity," she pointed out. "The assaults against the individuals in Chinatown that are being made by the Revolution—due to the very broad mandate of their charter, they do not have to follow the standard rules of due process, warrants, all the rest of it that normal police operate with on a day to day basis. And it is those rules that maintain our civil liberties and keep the organizational structure of Boston, of America, intact. I'm not against the Revolution per se, I just feel that they should have far more controls on what they're doing and how they're operating," she explained. "Hopefully, those sorts of controls would prevent circumstances like this from coming into being. There's no reason that just because they're an official variant team that they should have the minimal supervision that they do.
    "Of course," Holly added, "part of that problem with supervision has to do with the corruption that we've been discovering in the budget offices, in areas of the state House and Senate, and in the unfortunate deaths of a couple of the senators who have been set for overseeing the Revolution."
    "So you're blaming the Revolution for those deaths?"
    "No," she sighed. "Don't be foolish, Simon. We know perfectly well who is responsible for those deaths, and it's not the Revolution. There are ordinary criminals involved in those. But again the Revolution's presence is acting as something of a catalyst."
    "Oh. So, how do you feel about the way that things have been going today?"
    "Well, I certainly hope that they succeed in their mission, these obviously dangerous criminals need to be put behind bars. The attacks so far today on a variety of different civilian locations, as well as the murder of the local socialite and member of the Transbialkan nobility Mr. Mort, as well as the disappearance and probable murder of the writer Patricia Hoagland, are certainly reasons that, during the chaos of today, we need to have as much police presence as possible in the city. But again, we need to stress the need for oversight."
    "All right. We're just hearing that we have some more reports from what's going on the field," Simon noted. "We're going to be cutting away right now to Chris Meyers, who is our man on the street in Chinatown, to find out what's going on there. How are things going there in Chinatown right now, Chris?"
    The scene in Chinatown did indeed resemble a war zone. Meyers was crouched behind a pile of rubble in a narrow alley, and the slightly jumpy image suggested that the camera had gotten knocked around a bit.
    "They're remarkably quiet at the moment, Simon," Chris replied. "We did hear from some of our police contacts that the Revolution had finally succeeded in tracking down the exact location of the Wuxia and were planning on moving in, after the assaults that they've been making on a variety of places earlier."
    "Do you know how that assault went?"
    "Apparently, most of it was contained underground. We do know, and we have some footage here if we want to cut to that," the screen split, "that appears to be Needle and a member of the Wuxia having an aerial battle over the city. At the end of the battle, well, the Wuxia member fell and Needle didn't. Apparently he was caught by Scott Silver on the way down, and that would indicate that the battle is more or less over. We are attempting to change positions right now to see if we can't spot the Revolution and perhaps talk to them during the course of this. We are going to move... now." He scrambled for a new position, followed by his weary cameraman.
    "And there's the Revolution right now, looks like they're standing over the body of that Wuxia member that Needle and Scott brought down earlier, and it looks as if they're simply staring into mid-air," he reported, puzzled. "I'm not certain what's going on here, but judging from the tension on their faces, I hesitate to get any closer."

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson