“Bahahahaha!” Mighty Slammer screechingly cackles.
I have her cornered, as well as Ohata King who she captured for reasons unknown. These two unrelated, but connected mysteries have now converged once more, and I have absolutely no idea why.
I also have no idea why she’s laughing so hard.
“You look great in that yukata,” she says.
“You looked better in your prison uniform,” I say.
“Eh, I like this Cybermancer gear better. Gray is the new orange, they say.”
“You gonna explain why you have the leader of the Japanese mafia with you?”
She looks confused. “I thought he was just the leader in Atlanta, not the whole thing.”
“I was just simplifying. Answer my question.”
“That was the reason they freed me, that’s all,” she says. “They wanted me to make a big public display, then capture and maim this guy here and humiliate his whole organization. A bunch of chaos and whatnot. You know how I like chaos.”
“Who the hell is ‘they?’” I ask.
She scoffs. “You’d like to know, wouldn’t you?”
“I’m so confused that I might honestly just let you go if you tell me what’s actually going on here, because my curiosity is completely overpowering my sense of justice right now.”
“Really? You swear, no fights or anything?”
“I… swear it.” The words have a tough time coming out of my mouth, but they successfully do. “I won’t fight you, as long as you tell me what’s going on. You’re maiming Ohata King, so that’s enough for me.”
“Well then, I gotta say, I’ve been doing a really great side gig lately. Raiding old Cybermancer stash houses and secret warehouse caches and all that. Getting all the best hidden tech and blueprints for all sorts of awesome criminal tech. Some of this stuff is so cool they won’t have consumer versions of it for another ten years! You’ve gotta see it to believe it.”
“Yeah, I fought Moonslash back in the spring,” I say. “He was in a whole ‘nother league.” Then it hits me just what she has been saying this whole time. “Wait, I thought you were destroying restaurants! What’s with this Cybermancer thing?”
“Oh, the restaurants? That’s just my hobby!” Mighty Slammer exclaims. Just then, Ohata King makes a push to get away from her and run away, and she just bumps him in the head like an abusive schoolteacher from the 60s. “They let me destroy the restaurants I hate to test out the tech, and to cover up for my real job.”
“And you’re planting EMP devices in these restaurants because…?”
She stares at me blankly for a few seconds before she realizes what I am saying. “Oh, that! Yes, I understand now. You must have talked to my cousin Phil. He ran guns for King, and ran gold for me. He’s sort of a dumbass, and he blabs way too much about secrets to anyone who will listen, so I had to lie to him a little bit. He’s a little gullible, you know? I told him all about that big, fake EMP plan so he wouldn’t know I was spying on his deals with the Japanese mafia.”
“That was a pretty terrible lie. It barely covered anything up. Not to mention you’re blabbing it all to me right now.”
“Yeah but I kinda like you, that’s why.”
“What’s my name?” I ask.
“Spider-Man! Bahaha, just kidding. It’s Morgan. You’re the one who defeated Athena Supreme last year. I learned that from my boss.”
“Your boss must be extremely well-connected, then.”
“Yep. He’s—wait, I’m not supposed to tell you that. He specifically told me not to tell you.”
“So what you mean is, whatever you tell me is going to be untrue, just like everything Phil told me?”
“I don’t get what you mean.”
“Yeah, I’m sure you don’t…”
“I can assure you, my boss is totally accurate and honest with me, because I’m an extremely intelligent person. My psychiatrist called me a very stable genius.”
“But you’re too scared to tell me about him?”
“Not scared. Just smart.”
I smirk. “A lot of loyalty for a hired gun.”
“I am NOT a hired gun. I’m the main ringleader behind this whole Cybermancer raid thing! The big baddie! And now I’m the big baddie behind beating up this thug guy here!” She punches Ohata King in the nose and it starts gushing out blood. He screams.
“Sounds like you’re a goon.”
“Am not!” she shouts.
“Am too!” She blinks a few times. “Wait, what?” Then she grumbles something and says, “Okay, you know what? Alright. Promise you won’t tell anyone.”
“I promise… nothing.” I said that last word with a much lower voice so maybe she didn’t hear me through the rain.
“There’s a guy named Skypath. He hired me out, gave me all my cool armor, and basically’s let me run loose. He even pays me in gold! I love money, so I love Skypath.”
“Uh, okay. I was kind of hoping you were going to say someone who I actually recognized, like Chief Baranowsky or something. This is honestly as disappointing as the Dial-Up Demon case.”
Suddenly, Ohata King speaks. “You knew the whole time about my plan,” he says to Mighty Slammer, still grasping his broken nose. “You led me to this point because you knew my arrogance would end me here.”
“I didn’t think that hard about it.” She shrugs. “I just took you for a low-life, and low-lifes pretty much have a set way of doing things.”
“Well said,” I add.
And then Kusata, gun drawn, appears with several other Eastern Union agents by his side. They finally caught up to us, which means they must have finished off the rest of all the King’s men. Mighty Slammer does not seem particularly impressed by them.
“On the order of the Bonin government,” Kusata says to Ohata King, “you are under arrest.”
His eyes bulge open.
The realization that his own trusted advisor has been working against him this entire time sets in. You can literally see the heartbreak setting in as his face droops down.
“All I wanted to do was strike fear in the hearts of Atlanta,” he says. “I wanted to have power and fear on my side. Now I have nothing, because I never had anything.”
“Save it for the jury.”
Mighty Slammer sneers at them. “I’m not handing him over to you,” she says. “He’s mine, and at the end of this I’m handing him over to my boss.” She looks at me, clearly remembering my promise to let her go at the end of this. It sort of breaks the spirit of things if dudes on my side don’t let her go, doesn’t it?
Lamar shows up, his yukata torn up as if he just got done with an absolutely bare knuckle brawl. That puts Mighty Slammer even further on edge.
She’s deciding what do to, how to react, when—
Suddenly, a beam of electric light goes across Mighty Slammer’s back, flashing through the rain.
She falls over, shrieking in pain, before another beam of light stabs down into her shoulder.
Finally, I get a clear look at the assailant—
“Avast, villain! You have been vanquished.”
The Crusader, pulling the sword out of Mighty Slammer’s shoulder and standing back up in a heroic position.
He looks at everyone around him as if he just did one of the coolest, most noble things ever done in the history of Atlanta.
“The Mighty Slammer has been defeated, and the city has been saved by the Crusader once more. No EMP attacks for today, young miss.”
He did not save the city, let me just get that out there.
Because in his celebratory posing, he forgot one extremely important thing: Ohata King. He ran away in the confusion.
That guy’s already ten yards away, sprinting yet again as far away from us as he can get.
A police helicopter with its floodlight on zooms over the alley, and I realize that we have just started the beginning of YET ANOTHER chase.