The Crime Fighters in:
And Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them
Too much power
Scott sniffed the air as they approached another intersection. He sniffed at a spot on the floor, then continued to the right. "Go this way."
Richard was lagging behind, so the dog waited for him to catch up. "He know where going," Scott said, once Richard had joined him.
"What makes you say that?"
"Didn't stop. Go straight. He knows we are follow. . ."
"He may be trying to lead us into another trap, like that pit we fell into."
"If we fall in pit, I turn into cat. Cat land on feet."
Richard laughed. "I wonder if you can turn into anything. Like, a rock, for instance."
Scott did so, shifting into a lump of stone. Then he returned to himself, suddenly. "Bad!" He shouted. "Couldn't see!" He shuddered. "Scared. . ."
"Well, of course you couldn't see if you were stone. . ." He paused for a second, as a thought struck him. "But then. . . how were you able to think, to notice that. . .?"
Richard looked down at the dog. He gestured for him to continue, and Scott did, following Silver Bolt's trail through the passageways. "Well, at any rate, you seem to be able to control your body, right down to its elements."
"The basic building blocks that make up matter. Everything that is physical. The ancients thought they were Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. . ."
Scott studied him as his voice trailed off. "What?"
"The four elements were associated with the tomb of the Crime Fighters. And the four powers supposedly were, too. Robert was called the 'Bearer of Water'."
"He not water."
"No, apparently it's not literal. There must be another meaning." He looked at the mists rising from his body. "This stuff is green, like the leaves of a tree. The hieroglyphics said something about 'breath of the Earth'. Like a dragon's breath. . ."
"But who knows what it meant." He sighed. "Maybe I should have tried to translate more of the heiroglyphs. If they didn't talk in such flowery language all the time. . ."
"So the whole world is made up of only four things?"
"No. There aren't just four elements, there are lots. But those elements, combined in different ways, make up everything that exists."
Scott nodded. "I should find out about these things. Read, like you did with wall."
"I can teach you. You'll probably pick it up fast, you sure picked up how to talk fast."
They had continued to walk while talking, and had come to a doorway. Scott sniffed as he approached it. "He go inside."
"Is he still there?"
The dog shook his shaggy head. He sniffed around the doorway for a moment, following another trail further down the passage. "He go in, go out."
"So what was in here that interested him so much?" Richard wondered. He put his hand up against the doorway as he looked inside. It was a simple, square room, although the four corners were blocked off by large metal doors, just as in the Power Chamber. In the center of the room, as if forgotten, sat a black backpack.
"Careful," Scott warned, as Richard stepped forward to look at the pack.
"I know. It's obviously a trap. But what does he plan to do? Do the walls close in on us?" He looked around at the room.
"Not like. Danger."
"We have our powers, remember? I don't think Stan realizes just how powerful we are. We were able to fly out of that pit, probably we can deal with this trap just as easily."
Hesitantly, the dog stepped into the room. Richard edged over to the pack. As he was about to lean down and pick it up, however, there was a clang from behind them. Richard turned to see a metal door drop down to block their escape.
"Bad!" Scott yelled. He apparently meant the pack, and Richard turned just in time to see a yellow cloud of smoke billow from it. The gas quickly filled the room, making both Richard and the dog cough.
"It's gas!" Richard yelled. He was starting to feel dizzy. He tried waving his arms, but that just made it worse. Somehow seizing on a thought, Richard extended his hands, and tried to force the gas away with his mists. But it was too late. The room was spinning around him, and he collapsed onto the stone floor, unconscious.
Outside of the tomb, Silver Bolt was enjoying his display of power. He tried making one of the cars explode near him, just so he could deflect the flames with his force field.
"Wonderful, isn't it, Robert? You really should try this. It is a fantastic feeling! I can't even begin to describe it!"
Robert crouched behind the wreckage of another police car. Michelle huddled next to him. She looked pale, but she wasn't shivering, and she hadn't cried out, even when Silver Bolt threw the car at them. She's a tough girl, Robert thought.
"You're afraid, aren't you? Afraid of these powers!" Silver Bolt laughed. "Isn't that right, Robert?"
Robert remained silent. "You're afraid of what it makes you. Afraid it makes you a freak, a monster. . . even. . . a criminal?" He laughed again. "You see what I'm capable of, don't you? It makes you wonder what you're capable of. . ."
"I'm nothing like you," Robert said.
"Aren't you?" Silver Bolt paused a moment. "Your father was a cop. 'The Soldiers of Law and Order. His father will be struck down by evil. . .'"
Michelle was looking at him. He wouldn't meet her eyes. "You leave my father out of this!"
"I thought so. You want to be a cop, just like your old man. Not a costumed vigilante, a being so powerful that normal men will be like ants to you. You know what they're going to do to you, don't you? You know how they'll hate you and fear you. . ."
"You been watchin' too much bad TV, Silver Bolt!" Robert countered. "An' readin' too many comic books!"
"The reality is likely to be even worse," Silver Bolt answered. "I came from the other side, Robert. A Mob family. The cops can't be trusted. I've seen it, I know. You're living in a dream world. They'll hunt you down, they'll have to. You've got too much power for them NOT to."
"They'll never know. I don't plan on lettin' 'em know."
"But I know. And as long as you have those powers, however dormant, you are a threat to me."
"Look, I don't wanna have anything to do with. . ."
"Give me the power, Robert! Give me the power that you have! It's the only way you will leave here alive!"
Robert shook his head. "Forget it! You've got one of 'em, that's enough! Why can't you just leave me an' Richard alone!"
Silver Bolt extended an arm. There didn't seem to be any physical sign of his electrical power, but Michelle started to drift upward, into the air. Robert grabbed her and tried to pull her back down, but she was caught as if by an invisible hand. Michelle screamed, as she was pulled away from Robert's hand.
"You may be afraid, of your power," Silver Bolt said. "But you're still not going to turn it over to me. You're still not going to turn it over to a criminal. Isn't that right. . ."
"Put her down!!!"
"You know what you have to do, Robert. There's no other way. I'm not leaving here without all four of the powers. I'll take you down, I'll take your friend down, I'll even take the dog down. You either do it the easy way, or you do it the hard way. . ."
"Robert!!!" Michelle shouted. The field intensified around her, and she screamed in pain, her body spasming as the lightning shot through her.
Robert stood, his fists clenched, the rage building up inside him. "She can't take much more of this. . ." Silver Bolt warned, as Michelle screamed again. The field was growing so intense that the blue energy could be seen leaping from his fingers to her body, as she writhed in the air.
Several of the police officers had regained their feet, and began to fire again. Silver Bolt just gestured with his other arm, and they were blasted back. Then they were picked up as well, struggling against the field of blue sparks, as it held them pinned in the air.
There was an explosion of sound and light, and then a streak of blue shot out of the flash. "Is this what you want?!!!" Robert yelled, smashing his fist into the villain's face. He had moved so fast that Silver Bolt had no time to dodge. He flew several yards across the sand, crashing into the wreckage of one of the cars. Michelle and the policemen dropped to the ground as his concentration was broken.
Robert was rocketing towards him again, like a missile, his feet not even touching the ground. Silver Bolt barely managed to put up his arms to protect himself, and Robert slammed into a field of electricity. He fell backwards, rolling back onto his feet, and then tried to dart around to come at him from behind.
"You're fast," Silver Bolt commented. "You've got a lot more control over your power than I expected." He sidestepped the attack, then brought both hands down on Robert's back, channelling a massive shock into his body as well. Robert turned, however, and caught the blow with his forearm. There was a crash of sound as the energy struck, but Robert seemed unharmed.
Robert stepped back. Silver Bolt crouched into a martial arts stance. "You shoulda left me alone, Stan," Robert told him. "If all you wanted was fer me to use my powers. . . well, I'm just gonna have to show ya how stupid an idea that was. . ."
Silver Bolt cast an eye down at his belt, as a pager like device began to beep. "I just wanted to make sure, Robert. . . I learned what I came to learn, here. That signal means that your two friends have been caught in a trap, back in the pyramid. So if you'll excuse me, I have to tend to them. If you want to save them. . . well, I don't have to tell you that."
"If you think I'm gonna let you leave here. . ."
The red haired villain smiled. "You don't have any choice."
There was a crack of thunder, as if lightning had struck, and then suddenly Silver Bolt was engulfed in a bright flash of energy. The lightning sprang upward, shooting off towards the pyramid in the distance. By the time Robert could even move, it was long gone.
"What th'. . ."
Michelle limped up beside him. She looked stunned. "Robert. . ."
"I've gotta go help the guys." He said. "You get outta here. Get those cops and get the hell outta here."
"Robert. . ." She ran a hand along his chin. "You. . . you don't even look the same. . ."
He stared at her a moment, then turned and walked over to the pit. The tent had been blown aside in the battle, like all of the tents had been, and so there was nothing there now but the hole in the ground. Robert looked down into it, for a second or two, and then simply jumped down into it, disappearing into the darkness.
"Robert. . ." Michelle said, "Be careful."
Richard groaned as he came to. He still felt a little dizzy, and his vision was blurry, but it quickly cleared. He was in one of the corners of the little room, behind some sort of bars. They were yellow, covered in some sort of flaky paint, and the corner behind him was also painted, as well.
"Are you. . . all right?" Scott was in an adjacent corner, behind wooden bars. Again, the corner behind him was panelled with wood. And Scott's paws were manacled together, with shackles that were clearly adjustable all the way down to the size of his small feet.
"I'm fine. What about you?"
"Can't get out. Wood won't break. Hard. And this," he indicated the shackles, "change size as I make feet big or small."
"That makes sense. How else do you chain someone who can change their shape at will? I guess the shackles are to keep you from turning into a snake and slipping out between the bars."
"Have to be big snake. Or long and skinny. . . Can't get big or small, remember?"
"Well, I'm sure I can get out of this pretty easily." Richard brought his hands up and created a ball of mist, which he directed at the bars. But as it struck them, it dissipated harmlessly.
"Whoa. It didn't work."
"I have trouble change. Slow. Still feel funny from gas."
"Yeah. . . that's probably it. I don't feel quite myself, either. I guess I'll just wait and see if my head clears."
There was a moment of silence, and then Richard suddenly spoke up again. "Nice try, Stan. You've got a bug planted in your backpack, don't you?"
Stan's backpack was still sitting in the middle of the floor. His voice came from it. "You're very observant, my friend. I was hoping you'd give me your name. But, since you know that I am listening in, maybe you'll introduce yourself."
"Jade Dragon," Richard said. "And he's. . ."
"Element Dog," the collie said.
"Excellent, excellent," the voice sounded amused, as if at some private joke. "Very well, you may call me Silver Bolt."
"Stan Smith is just an alias, of course." Richard grinned. "But we will find out who you really are. I'm sure that Interpol can help us track down a hit man with your M.O."
"You are a resourceful man, Mister Jade Dragon," Silver Bolt said. "But first you have to get out of there."
"Your gas won't effect us forever, Silver Bolt. Eventually I'll be able to break out of here."
Silver Bolt laughed, again as if at some joke. "Of course. For now, though, you might just want to sit tight and wait for your friend. I. . . talked him into coming back."
"I figured he would, anyway," Jade Dragon said. He waited for a response, but the speaker had gone silent.
"Pretty funny, huh, Silver Bolt? As powerful as we are, done in by a simple gas bomb? Well, if we can be taken down that easily, so can you. No one's invulnerable."
"Your friend is," Silver Bolt commented. "Or pretty close to it, anyway. But you don't know that yet, do you?"
The human and the wolf looked at each other. "What's your game?" Jade Dragon asked. "Are you planning on capturing all of us, and forcing us to give up our powers? Surely it can't be that easy."
"Actually, it's just that easy. You don't even have to be conscious."
"But it makes it easier, doesn't it? Otherwise you'd just kill us."
There was silence from the radio again. "Or maybe you can't kill us. How do you kill someone who can heal his body instantly, just by willing it?" He looked at Element Dog.
"Ah, yes, the dog. He's gained a lot from a power meant for one of the human race. I wonder how smart he is?"
"Smarter than you," Element Dog commented.
"He has a sense of humor, too."
"I wouldn't underestimate him," Jade Dragon said with a smile. "He's picking up things a lot faster than I would. I don't know whether it's knowledge he had before but couldn't understand, or he's using his power to make himself smarter, but he's come a long way in just a few hours."
The wolf creature wagged his tail at the compliments. "He is remarkable," Silver Bolt agreed. "But what a coincidence that he got that particular power. I wonder what would have happened had he gotten your power?"
"Or yours," Jade Dragon countered. "Who was supposed to get your power? Michelle's dad? Or one of the other two men you murdered in cold blood."
"Now, now, let's not resort to namecalling. It's so undignified."
The silence returned. Element Dog shifted in his cage, apparently trying to get comfortable. He tried to chew on the cuffs for a moment, but made a face and settled down on the floor.
"Are you doing any better?" Jade Dragon said, leaning closer to the dog's cage and lowering his voice. "Can you change now?"
The dog shook his head. "Bad change," He said. He shifted shape into a bird, but his feet remained unchanged. He returned to dog form. "Feet itch," he said.
"It must be the way they are bound. Maybe. . . cutting off the circulation effects your powers."
"I'll explain later. For now, sit tight. You know who will be along soon."
"Rude man," Element Dog said, in a somewhat disgusted voice. "When he come back. . . resort to namecalling."
Jade Dragon laughed. "Actually, I'll probably have a few choice words for him myself."
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