A new short story featuring the fledgling superheros: The Byonix!
Humans are evolving. People born with a split in their genetic code, SGCs for short, are gifted with fantastic and sometimes terrible powers. The Byonix is a special task force assigned to gather these burgeoning SGCs to either train them or contain them. These are their stories.
Byonix – Tag
“The game is tag,” came Streak’s voice over the team comm system as she blurred into the streak of light common when she was moving too fast to see. “I get a five minute head start to run anywhere in the world. You need to track me and then catch me. Good luck team.”
The rest of the team made their way into the jet that would help to make up the distance from Streak’s head start. Scarlet and Shoque secure their motorcycles near the rear exit ramps while Hydrofire and Razorwing prepped the jet for takeoff. Mendez and Psyfire started the computer tracking systems to try and get a bead on Streak’s location. Foxx strapped himself in followed by Scarlet and Shoque. Just as the five minutes Streak requested for her head start ran out the jet fired its propulsers and climbed into the air.
“Alright people, I need a location,” Darren said.
“She’s disabled her tracker, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less,” said Mendez, “and at her top speed Streak could be anywhere.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Darren responded.
“I’m combing through police reports for anything that sounds like the after effects of a speedster,” Psyfire chimed in. She was covered in the flame that was the signature of her power telepathic powers. “I’m also scanning for her unique brain signature but I have a hard enough time reading her when she’s not trying to evade us.”
“That gives me an idea,” Hydrofire said from the cockpit. He flipped up the panel on his forearm exposing the mini computer he had added to his uniform and his fingers moved in a flurry. “Try this Mendez. Streak gives off a unique bioelectric frequency when she runs.”
“I’ve got it,” Mendez confirmed. “She’s not going top speed. I think we can catch up. Sending you coordinates now.”
“Got ’em” Razorwing confirmed and the jet banked to the left.
Since Razorwing had the most experience of the team he was second in command. On these training exercises however, he tended to let the team make decisions on their own. This allowed him to do what he loved: fly. He was the team’s main pilot, having built most of the equipment they used, including this jet. But he also had metallic wings of his own. No matter how he did it, he loved to be in the air.
“Okay guys we’re coming up on her location,” Razorwing announced and engaged the autopilot. “Foxx, you’re in the air with me. Evan, I mean Hydrofire, you’re taking over control of the jet.” Razorwing moved to the rear of the jet then turned back to face the front, “Also, we’re workshopping a new codename when we get back.”
“What’s wrong with my codename?” Evan asked moving into Razorwing’s seat. His tone was incredulous but this wasn’t the first time the team objected to his codename.
“Have you said it out loud?” Scarlet said dryly and everyone chuckled.
“Yuk yuk yuk. At least I made an effort,” Evan said feigning offense. He flicked a switch and the rear hatch started to open. “You and Mendez didn’t even try to come up with a codename.”
“Leave me out of this,” Mendez said never turning from the tracking computer. “Razorwing, Foxx, you’re over the target. Go, go, go.”
Razorwing and Foxx dropped out of the hatch, picking up speed as they fell. The heads up display in their armor overlaid a map with Streak’s updated location. Razorwing opened his wings. The sudden catch of air pulled him backward but a barrel roll to his right put him back on course behind Foxx. Foxx’s own energy manipulation had kicked in and the green glow propelled him forward.
The two weaved a path in and around the tall buildings of the downtown metropolis. The moon lit the sky and lights twinkled like stars from the windows they passed. Under other circumstances the view could have been beautiful. Instead the lights blurred into a minor distraction at their current speeds. After a moment the marker signaling Streak’s position in relation to their own aligned.
“I’m coming up on the target,” Foxx reported. “I’m getting a visual. I don’t know whether to be disappointed or relieved that she’s not moving her top speed.”
“Look out!!” Razorwing shouted seconds too late. Just as Foxx was closing in on Streak, having moved lower to the ground, a bus bench came flying up to meet him. Foxx was hit dead on, the impact sent him careening into a high rise. “Dammit! Foxx is out. I’m going after him to make sure he’s okay. Scarlet and Shoque, you’re up.”
“Roger that,” Evan, Scarlet and Shoque all said at the same time. The jet dropped into a dive coming up just above street level. The rear bay ramp was lowered and scraped the street creating sparks about the same time two motorcycles sped out of the jet. Evan pulled the jet up into the sky again as Scarlet spun her bike around in an impressive display of skill to give chase after Streak. Shoque duplicated the maneuver pulling up alongside his teammate. Underneath her face shield Scarlet smiled in appreciation.
“How long you been riding?” she asked.
“Since before I could walk. Try to keep up.” Shoque revved his throttle and shot ahead.
Streak lead them on a hearty chase through the downtown streets complete with twists and lane changes and sudden turns. Fortunately this late at night where weren’t too many cars on the road. Shoque may have been a good rider, but his reflexes where still only human. All he needed was one mistake. Scarlet shook her head taking a sudden left.
“Scarlet you’re off target,” said Mendez through the comms.
“I’m going to try and head her off up ahead. Shoque, be ready for any surprises.”
“Roger that,” Mendez said.
Scarlet opened her throttle all the way. The bike responded pulling forward and Scarlet’s supernatural reflexes were the only thing keeping her upright and avoiding the cars moving slow enough to seem parked. She continued east for three blocks before turning right to head south. If she was lucky she would intersect with Streak who should have been occupied evading Shoque.
To his credit Shoque was doing a good job of avoiding the obstacles Streak kept putting between him and her. Streak ran past a falafel vendor and the slipstream of air that followed her knocked him into the street. In a move that surely would have impressed Scarlet had she seen it, Shoque slowed his bike just enough to push the vendor back onto the sidewalk and continued after Streak. She’d gained some distance so Shoque opened the throttle to catch up.
Mendez kept the map updated with the team’s positions. Scarlet should have been just up ahead. Intersecting in five, four, three, two, one. She appeared as if from thin air but it wasn’t surprise enough. Streak merely jumped over the motorcycle and her momentum did the rest. Shoque swerved to avoid hitting Scarlet but lost control of his bike and fell into a skid. Scarlet had also turned but managed to keep her bike upright. She spun the bike around again pulling up to Shoque.
“Can you ride?” she asked.
“Armor took the brunt of things,” he answered turning away from his downed bike.
“Hop on. Hopefully the others aren’t far ahead.”
“She’s too fast,” said Mendez having watched Streak jump effortlessly over Scarlet touch down to the ground and change directions on a dime.
“She runs fast but she thinks just like any other person,” Psyfire said. “We don’t have to outrun her. We just need to out think her.”
“You got something in mind?” Evan asked.
“I do. Razorwing, Foxx, what’s your status?”
“Winded and a little pissed off,” came Foxx’s reply. “She threw a bench at me!”
“Scarlet, Shoque you still in this race?”
“Hell yeah, Streak owes me a new bike,” said Shoque.
“Then let’s try to end this. I have an idea but we all need to work together.”
“Roger that,” the team said in unison.
That was close. Streak thought as soon as her feet touched ground again. She had only just avoided Scarlet. When Streak noticed her veer off, she hadn’t expected her to catch up so quickly. Instincts kicked in while Streak examined all the possible outcomes. Shoque would be mad about his bike, but he’d live. She was proud of them both having been able to shake every obstacle she put between them. Still she wasn’t about to make things too easy.
Internal sensors blared in her head and a shot of energy tore a hole in the street in front of her. Streak sidestepped it then hopped to avoid another explosion from one of Razorwing’s explosive feathers. Well these two would make things interesting again. Streak zigzagged from one side of the street to the other avoiding the blasts from both. In a split-second decision Streak picked up a trash can and lobbed it at the two. Foxx refused to be caught by the same trick twice. He met the trash can with a burst of energy that incinerated it. Well good for you, Streak thought.
A bolt of electricity flew over Streak’s head. She turned back toward the direction it had come from and ran straight past Scarlet and Shoque. The latter twisted around firing two steady streams of electricity from his hands and one of them connected. The pain was blinding, literally blanking the sensors her bionic body used to see. Her vision cleared a second later but it was too late.
Mendez stood about a block and a half from where Streak was headed. In slow motion, she saw the tall woman crack her knuckles then punch the ground. The shockwave reverberated through the ground breaking up the street which caused Streak to lose her footing. Streak stumbled for two steps. In the third she’d regained her footing and turned away from Mendez. Or at least she should have.
Looking down Streak saw her feet weren’t touching the ground. The telekinetic force that had lifted her from the ground tightened around her body holding her in place. The jet lowered itself into view and Streak saw Psyfire holding onto one of the hydraulic lifts for the rear ramp. Her black flame burned bright around her body, a visual indication of the effort she was putting into keeping Streak in place.
Streak looked at her team. Razorwing hovered with his arms folded. Foxx hovered near him with a ball of energy ready in his hand. Scarlet watched her with both hands on the handlebars ready to move at a second’s notice while Shoque’s hand’s crackled with electricity. Mendez cracked her knuckles again. The only person whose face she couldn’t see was Evan’s but she knew he’d be smiling. Not only had they caught Shiro, they’d mastered the superhero group pose. And nothing was more important to Evan than looking good as a superhero. Slowly Streak raised her hands in the air in surrender.
“Okay, you got me,” she said. Her face shield raised so they could see her expression: sardonic smile, one eyebrow raised. “How about we make it two out of three?”