“He’s headed our way! Hurry!” Ariel said with bated breath, holding a large tablet in her hand. The air grew colder by the second.
“Don’t worry, we have contingencies in place,” Colt assured. The decryption was easy enough, but the data transfer was taking too long.
“Contingencies will only slow them down for so long, they’re super-heroes!”
“I know!” He let out a short chuckle. “Besides, I wouldn’t call ‘em that.”
“Whatever. Just do it quick. He’s almost here.”
He continued to stare at the screen in front of him. Four percent left... Every second felt like an hour. Around the two trespassers, rows upon rows of servers whirred and beeped constantly.
The room grew colder. Their hands began to tremble, their teeth began to chatter. Frost began surrounding the screen.
“He’s here!” Ariel whispered, but Colt didn’t heed her warning.
“Only two percent left, Ariel, we almost have it!”
“He’ll kill us if he sees us!”
“And he’ll stop the transfer if he sees this!” He pointed to the screen. “Then Quiver’s death would be in vain!”
“Goddamnit Colt, you’re not thinking this through-”
Suddenly the door burst open, and a super-hero stormed in.
Ice Head’s blue eyes stared at the two intruders through his eye mask. Ignoring the fact that his face was made of ice, he looked about the same age as them; somewhere in his twenties. His yellow and black super-suit was almost covered entirely with frost.
“Finally found you," he said, his voice seething with anger. “You little thieves!”
He immediately raised his hand to freeze the two, but Ariel acted quicker. She pressed a detonator and an incendiary charge lit up from behind him. Large flames engulfed half the room and sparks came out of the servers behind him. The heat from the flames began melting the super-hero’s skin as he buckled down in pain.
“Is the transfer going?” She asked Colt loudly.
“Give it a few more seconds, and... Done!” He rubbed off small ice crystals from the server and pulled out the pendrive.
Ice Head tried to reach for a button on his left arm to counteract the heat, but Colt quickly took out a large revolver and shot his right hand off. It exploded into hundreds of white shards as he screamed in pain.
“Oh no you don’t, my icy friend,” Colt said, then turned to his partner. “Do it.”
She used her tablet to overheat the servers. The fans whirred loudly, and the ice around the room began to melt.
“Idiots!” He yelled. “Two humans are no match for a legion of super-heroes! You think you can just waltz right out of this spaceship?!”
“More like teleport out of this spaceship,” Ariel said. With the ship’s teleportation system hacked, all she needed to do was to push another button to get out; but before she could, the super-hero charged at her. Blue, shimmering lights appeared around the three, and suddenly their surroundings began to warp around them. Ariel and Colt forgot to close their eyes during the teleportation; and when they finally appeared in a narrow, brightly lit alley in London, they had a splitting headache.
Ice Head, having teleported through the spaceship a million times by now, hadn’t made this mistake. He laughed as he saw the two holding their heads in agony.
He grabbed Colt by the throat and raised him along the side of a wall with his left hand.
“What? No ice puns?” Colt said with a strained voice, trying to free himself. “Even with the headache, I can think of a few.”
Suddenly his head exploded into large shards of ice in front of Colt, revealing the smoking barrel of a gun behind it. The cold, headless body dropped on the ground, and Colt coughed while rubbing his throat.
“That will only keep him down for so long,” Ariel said while handing over the gun to Colt. “Damn it, this is exactly what we were afraid of! They won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the evidence!”
“They don’t know we’re leading them into a trap,” He replied while rubbing off ice from his suit. “We need to get close enough to the Doom Tower and we’re safe.”
“That’s a long way from here, Colt!”
“Well, what other choice do we have?” He took out a pair of blue spectacles and put them in front of his eyes, then looked around for something. After spotting it, he quickly took them off and rushed towards it, at one end of the alley. He knocked on its side and its invisibility panels slowly became disabled, revealing a large grey vehicle. It was about the size of a car, but had no wheels; it hovered above the ground. The thrusters behind it roared into life and glowed blue. The dashboard inside lit up.
“I can’t drive this thing with the headache,” He said to Ariel. “But I know you can.”
They both quickly hopped inside; Ariel behind the wheels and Colt in the passenger’s seat behind her. She controlled the dashboard and drove the vehicle out of the alley, into the road with confused bystanders staring at them. It flew above the other cars and bikes, its speed slowly accelerating.
“Don’t worry,” Colt said while she steered the hovering vehicle through streets. “At this rate, we’ll get the evidence to the super-villains in no time-”
A loud booming sound from behind caught their attention. High up in the sky, between the clouds, a very large grey spaceship appeared. It was the size of a tall building with an almost cylindrical design, and reflected the golden sunlight as it floated in the air. A long pillar of blue light came out of the ship and dropped on the ground in the distance, through which five super-heroes landed on the ground.
“Bloody hell, they’re here,” Colt said, gaping at the spaceship. Suddenly he fell back into his seat as Ariel sped up the vehicle. Her short black hair fluttered due to the rushing wind.
“OK Ariel, here’s the plan, we hold them off long enough to-”
“There’s no holding them off, Colt,” She shouted. “When are you going to stop pretending everything’s OK, that everything will turn out fine? We’re two normal humans, being chased by five super-heroes! They’re going to kill us! Do you realise that?”
The sky suddenly got very cloudy, snuffing out the sunlight reflecting on their flying car. Thunder rumbled up above. Typhoon was closing in on them.
“Look, I get it, I’m sorry,” He said, and took a deep breath. “I guess I do have trouble accepting the situation, taking it seriously. But you’re abandoning all hope.” He leaned closer to her. “We have to believe we can get this evidence to Doom Tower. For our sake, for the world’s sake. They need to know what criminals are hiding behind those masks.”
Ariel looked back at him. In the distance, the giant super-hero Cobalt got closer and closer, ground cracking beneath his every step, the bystanders cheering loudly.
“We can do this, Ariel. We will do this.”
She held his hand. Behind him, Cobalt was sprinting furiously, his metal skin and blank white eyes drenched in blue from the lightning above.
She took a deep breath and nodded. “You’re right. We will.”
He smiled. “I know I’m right. Now let’s show these super-maniacs they’re gonna get what’s coming to ‘em.”
He loaded a special green bullet into his revolver and quickly turned around. Aiming at the metal monster chasing towards them, he shot a bullet that exploded into a green cloud. Cobalt tumbled into the ground and laid flat, his metal skin corroding away.
“What the hell was that?” Ariel asked while staring into her rear view mirror.
“Oh, I borrowed a few things from the ‘super-villains’.”
“Couldn’t help myself.” He put a bag of weapons on the seat next to Ariel. “Pick your poison.”
Suddenly large bolts of lightning hit the ground around them. In panic, the vehicle steered out of control for a few moments, until it regained balance.
“Typhoon found us!” Colt shuffled through the bag, desperately searching for something that could help fend off the goddess of storm.
With another bolt of lightning, she appeared floating behind them. Typhoon wore golden and silver armour, and didn’t have a mask. Her eyes glowed blue and sparks of electricity appeared around her fingers. Strong wind surrounded her like a small tornado, picking up small chunks of debris from nearby.
“Stop your vehicle immediately!” She commanded loudly.
“Or what?” Colt snapped back. “You’ll kill us, like those innocents in Ren city four years ago?”
Her rage was quickly replaced with shock.
“Yeah. Covered it up pretty well, but I found out anyway. And the whole world will find out soon enough!”
Colt’s distraction worked; while they were talking, Ariel was slowly raising the altitude of their hover-car. When it was at the same level as the goddess, she disabled the car entirely, and Typhoon flew straight towards it. When she was right behind the rear afterburners, Ariel diverted all power to them. Large orange flames shot out of the back of the hover-car, throwing Typhoon back.
This manoeuvre cost Ariel control of the vehicle as it zoomed straight ahead with immense speed. Cars and bikes rushed below them as blurs. They were heading straight into a building.
“Oh, come now, I can’t die like this!” Colt exclaimed as the car rushed quickly towards certain death.
“Shut up!” Ariel commanded, quickly turning off all engines. The afterburners stopped and she abruptly steered the vehicle ninety degrees to the right, then immediately turned the engines on again. The hover-car shot through the streets parallel to the building they were about to crash into.
“Nice driving!” He complimented.
“Thanks. Let’s just hope we can get to the invisible Tower in one piece.”
“We’ve already taken down three super-heroes-”
“Slowed them down,” She corrected. “Ice Head’s... Well, head, will regenerate. Typhoon’s probably back on her feet already. And we don’t know how long Cobalt’s gonna stay down. There are four more superheroes still onto us. Gravinox alone can easily destroy us once he finds our location.”
“You always were a party pooper, Ariel.”
She glared at him.
“But yeah, I agree. We’re almost to the Tower. Let’s hope Gravinox doesn’t-”
Suddenly the hover-car began to shut down. The lights on the dashboard disappeared, the thrusters turned off, and the car slowly sank towards the ground, into the traffic.
“What’s happening?” Colt asked, alarmed.
“The systems are being hacked,” Ariel said, quickly pushing buttons to no avail. “Nothing’s work-”
Something large from the left crashed into their car, tossing it towards other vehicles. It skid and tumbled diagonally across the road, hitting cars and buses until smashed into the corner of a nearby building, where it finally stopped upside down.
Every part of Colt’s body hurt as he lay on the glass window of the inverted vehicle. Especially his forehead.
He slowly reached for his forehead, then looked at his fingers. They were covered in red. His vision was starting to get fuzzy. He then quickly checked for the pendrive in the pocket of his trench coat. It was still safe.
As Ariel tried to reach for a manual switch, pain flared up in her left hand; it was definitely broken. She took out a small piece of porcelain from her right pocket, then smashed it into the window. It immediately broke, and the two fell down on the ground.
The car around them was suddenly lifted in the air by Gravinox, wearing a dark red suit and a long holographic cape with a helmet. Altering the car’s gravity, he easily held it with one hand and tossed it aside. Above Gravinox, Titanium was floating in the air in her advanced red and silver metal suit. The Bug, wearing his green and black super-suit with a silver helmet, stood next to Ice Head. Magician stood between Gravinox and Typhoon holding her staff, in a formal black suit with a mask that covered half her face.
“There’s nowhere for you criminals to go,” Gravinox said in a calm voice. “Things will be a lot less painful for you if you just hand us the pendrive now.”
“Screw you, murderer,” Ariel replied.
“We’re not giving you anything,” Colt added.
Gravinox sighed. “Very well.”
He walked closer to the two lying on the ground, but suddenly stopped as something knocked Titanium out of the sky. He immediately turned to the left, but before he could react, someone flew into him like a blur and lifted him into the air out of sight. It was Immortal, leader of the super-villains; she was the only one who could match Gravinox in strength.
The super-heroes quickly forgot about the two thieves and scattered to prepare for battle. The Bug ran up the nearby building and pounced at someone far away, but was knocked by an invisible force. A nearby civilian behind Typhoon suddenly grabbed her and managed to hurl her into a nearby wrecked car. He slowly morphed into his true form; a purple alien with a green cape and armour. It was Saturnum, an alien who could shape-shift. Ice Head was melted by a flood of flames as Inferno got the drop on him from above, her red hair waving as she fell towards him and crushed him with her red glowing hands. Magician’s shadow suddenly materialised into the vampire known as Silhouette, and kicked her away.
Amidst the chaos, Colt and Ariel slowly got up to their feet. Ariel quickly grabbed a small white sphere from the bag of weapons Colt had stolen and both began running away. Large chunks of debris fell all over the place as the super-powered beings battled it out.
A sharp sudden noise made them turn left as they saw Titanium flying towards them, but Ariel quickly armed and hurled the white sphere towards the superhero. It opened a portal and Titanium flew straight threw it out of sight.
“We need to get to Doom Tower,” Colt said, holding his head while running.
“First we need to get out of here,” Ariel replied. “A superhero battle is the last thing I wanna be in the middle of.”
In the distance up above, Gravinox and Immortal shot towards each other with frightening speeds. Their clash created a massive shockwave that shattered windows, crushed nearby cars and threw the two thieves back; but instead of landing in the middle of the road, they were suddenly standing in an alley, with red lightning all around them that slowly faded away.
“It’s alright, Colt,” another voice said. “You’re alright.”
They both quickly regained their senses and saw Blaze standing in front of them; the super-villain speedster, wearing a dark red costume.
“Took you long enough,” Ariel said. “Especially with your super-speed.”
“We needed the element of surprise, my friend,” he said. “We used to work with them; they know our strategies.”
“Immortal told us,” Colt said. “Just get this bloody pendrive into your Tower so we can finish all this.” He held it in front of him, but he shook his head.
“I’m afraid I can’t.”
“Why the hell not?” Ariel said with a frown, holding her left hand. “You could do it in like two seconds-”
“Immortal activated Protocol-O. That means no super can enter the Tower. So unless you two are hiding some shocking abilities you haven’t disclosed, only you can do this.”
Ariel cursed in frustration while Colt laughed sarcastically. “That’s bloody rich. What if we’d died? Did you think of that?”
“Then one of us would have to get depowered. Needless to say, we’re happy you two are alive.” He looked around at the mayhem. “We don’t have time to argue. I’ll get you to the entrance, you plug the pendrive in. Once you’re inside, Gravinox will know, so you’ll have to hurry. We’ll try to hold them off.”
Before Ariel could finish, the two were suddenly seemingly in the middle of the road, again with red lightning around them, and Blaze was out of sight.
“Well, we clearly don’t have a choice,” she said, taking out his spectacles. “You ready?”
“I’m ready,” Colt nodded while taking out the spectacles with his bloody hands. “Let’s do this.”
He put on the spectacles and the invisible Tower was now visible right in front of him. Quickly putting in the password, he entered the tower.
The thieves rushed up the stairs. Through the windows, they could see the actual bad guys trying to break through, while the ‘villains’ tried their best to distract them. The computer sat right in front, waiting for the truth to be revealed. Right before they could get to it, Gravinox suddenly crashed through and skid across the floor. The moment he entered, dense green lasers attacked him, melting his armour down.
“Get to the computer,” Colt quickly said while tossing the pendrive to his partner. “I’ll distract him.”
“He’ll kill you!”
“I got this! Just go! Don’t look back!”
Colt took out his now red revolver and started firing rounds into the super-hero, stopping him from destroying the computer. Ariel quickly hurried through the lasers. She could hear Gravinox attacking Colt behind her, but she walked ahead anyway.
From behind, an energy beam hit her left shoulder, almost causing her to fall. She could feel the wound burn through her skin, warm blood spreading around her arm; but she kept going. Before another energy beam could hit her, she put the pendrive in.
The Tower turned pitch-black. Another energy beam hit her in the back, and she dropped on the ground. Throughout the city, the video of the evidence was being broadcasted on every device, every screen.
Colt and Ariel looked at each other, both lying on the ground covered in blood, and closed their eyes... Not knowing what comes next, but knowing that they've won.