The alleyway was dark. Sonia, wearing a leather jacket to protect against the cold (and make herself look more intimidating) fingered Mittens’ skull inside her pocket. She looked over at Ms. Jacqueline C. Mize, who was dressed in her spiky metal best. “One of those guys had better show soon,” she said. Sonia nodded in agreement. “I mean, I can understand Mr. Mysterious not showing up on time, but Adam? It’s not like he’s got anything better to do.”
“I resent that,” said a voice from over Sonia’s shoulder. She turned around to see Adam. “So when’s this guy gonna show up?” he asked.
“Don’t know,” said Ms. Jacqueline C. Mize. She checked her watch. “He said 9 P.M. over the phone. It’s 8:59 now… wait, no, now it’s 9 right on the dot.”
There was a cough from one end of the alley. Everybody turned to see a tall man in a trenchcoat and hat silhouetted against the light from the street. “I am here,” he said, in a deep, cold voice. “Identify yourselves.”
“I’m Ms. Jacqueline C. Mize,” said Ms. Jacqueline C. Mize.
“Sonia here. No last name until I trust you.”
“Adam Timios here. I guess you know my last name already.”
The man stepped closer. “I know all of you. Three? This will be hard. But not impossible.” He took off his trenchcoat and dropped it to the dirty ground. Then he took off his hat. Sonia cautiously took some wires out of her pocket and started to concentrate on the space between her and the man.
“My name is…” he paused, cocking his head slightly. He dropped his hat to the ground. “Not important.” He raised his arms, and bullets fired out of them like they were machine guns.
Sonia thought of the air becoming a wall, of all those little invisible wires bound densely together. The bullets hit the wall and stopped. “Drat,” said the man, and he charged forward in some kind of berserk football tackle. The wires broke, but Adam was at the ready with a gust of wind to knock the man off his feet and onto his back. But he was quick to get up.
“You reality deviants are a nuisance.” He stood up and shot a grenade out of his elbow at the fleeing trio. Jacqueline stopped, pivoted, and caught it, throwing it back at the man with startling reflexes. He dodged, and it exploded just behind him in the alley.
Everybody scrambled out into the street. Down by the industrial district, nobody was there to see them except for the streetlamps. Jacqueline, looking around for a weapon, found a chain-link fence and ripped out a post with surprising strength. Adam was preparing a fireball when the man jumped out and fired off a few more clips, full auto. Another wall on Sonia’s part rendered them ineffective, and Jacqueline moved in for a whack. The post wrapped around his head like it was made of solid steel, which Sonia imagined probably wasn’t far off. The fireball, so impressive in execution, did nothing either. The man just took it straight to the chest, and knocked Jacqueline back with a swing of his arm.
A general sense of “well, shit” came over the party. Jacqueline was down and probably out, and fireballs were no good. Muffins whispered to Sonia, “Hey, dumbass, you’re good with wires, right?”
Sonia was a bit busy dodging fast and powerful blows. “Yeah, so?”
“So what I’m saying is, this guy’s a cyborg.”
“SO?” Sonia was more than a little annoyed.
“CYBORG MEANS HE RUNS ON WIRES. Stupid b-“
“Shut the hell up, Muffins. I get you.” She focused her senses and, yes, he did have a lot of wires inside him. She could hear the power running from them. She took out a length of wire from her pocket, and imagined it as though it was a part of him. Then she snapped it in two. He stopped moving.
“Did you do that?” asked Adam.
“By the way,” said Sonia, going over to tend to Jacqueline, “if a mysterious stranger ever offers you info ever again…”
“Yeah. I get it.”