It was a quiet and warm evening in Manhattan. Not a real Manhattan mind you, but the Manhattan made from our pulp fantasies. The kind of city with dark alleyways and sewer grates spewing steam. On every street corner was a rough unshaven character waiting to collect his graft and have his shot at the big time. Above the filth and moral degeneracy of the street level stood the skyscrapers. These glass phalluses were populated by their owners, suits of great wealth and even greater willpower. Some honest, some crooked, but all capable of immense cunning. But even standing above the money men and their towers were the rooftop dwellers, the human flys, and the eagles of the night. Yes, the superheroes. These primary colored pugilists roamed above the city leaping from rooftop to rooftop like Apollo darting across the sky in his chariot. You see, they were the beacons of hope for a city rife with crime. Even the scrappiest roughneck on the docks looked up to Captain Vigilance (even while taking one on the jaw from him).
However, our story isn’t about those superhuman adonises. Our tale concerns those on the periphery. Heroes who haven’t reached the rooftops and people who haven’t even reached the slimy gutters of the dankest alleyway.
So, as we return to our quiet spring night, we need to emphasize that usually in the Manhattan of our fantasizes, it never is quiet. And indeed it didn’t take long for that quiet to be shattered by the sounds of breaking glass. The glass you see, was a window of one of those gleaming steel towers. It was a owned by a recently sucessful startup company called Enertech.
At this point, this is where our heroes enter the scene. Gravitell, The Searcher, and Professor Paranormal were all wandering through the labyrinthian streets for reasons of their own. These heroes were not the new American gods in tights, like Captain Vigilance, but merely a step up from your average slub, but each possessed an above average sense of morality.
Looking down the alley from which the sound of broken glass pierced the night, The Searcher was able to perceive the tail end of a child slipping into the newly created entrance into the building. After quickly forming an alliance between each other, the three heroes followed the child into the building. While the child was too quick for the heroes to keep within their eyesight, The Searcher was able to use his tracking ability to follow him through the darkened offices of Enertech. The child was quick enough to avoid both the heroes and the building’s security. Unfortunately, our protagonists did not possess the same elusiveness. As this modern age Artful Dodger was slipping out the backdoor of the building, a security guard spotted our heroes and blamed THEM for breaking into the building.
The officebreaker shot out into the street as drivers slammed on their brakes and fishtailed their cars trying not to hit him. In his hands was his prize, a six foot long energy weapon. Not to be deterred by the shouts of, “Stop! Stop,” by the security guard, Gravitell, Professor Paranormal, andThe Searcher leapt out into the boulevard. Professor Paranormal and Gravitell slid across the hood of a stopped taxicab and climbed up the back and over the roof of a Camry trapped in the traffic jam.
From the top of a parked car, Gravitell could be seen to have furrowed his brow from using his telekinetic powers. Suddenly, the child criminal became alarmed that he was no longer moving forward, but was instead floating into the air. In his panic, he dropped the energy weapon down on to the pavement.
Meanwhile, the security guard, not being in the best physical condition became alarmed of the possibility of losing his quarry, our three heroes. As his last resort, he drew his weapon, a .38 revolver, and pointed it at The Searcher. Feeling newly empowered, he screamed, “Freeze!” The Searcher, not wanting to escalate the situation anymore readily complied and surrendered himself to the guard. “You too,” the guard yelled to Gravitell, distracting the mutant hero enough for him to lose his hold on the child perpetrator. Gravitell reluctantly allowed himself to be handcuffed while the child took off down the street in a mad-dash away from the heroes.
Professor Paranormal who also complied with the guards request to “Freeze” could be seen to be visibly torn. His eyes darted back and forth between the guard’s gun and the fleeing child. Finally, deciding to take his chances, he disobeyed the security guard and took off after the now distant child. The guard uttered a deflated, “You were supposed to stop,” as Professor Paranormal vanished from view. Gravitell now saw that the guard was more bark than bite, quickly broke his handcuffs and followed Professor Paranormal out of sight.
The Searcher, who knew he wasn’t as physically hardy as either Gravitell or Professor Paranormal didn’t want to chance getting shot. With the sound of police sirens drawing closer and the shaking of the guard’s gun-hand becoming more pronounced., The Searcher decided to convince the guard using the language of the street, money. Offering the guard a sum of money, the resolve of the guard to catch the perpetrators of the break-in quickly vanished. With that, The Searcher was back on the chase.
“Not yet,”The Searcher said and led his friends down off the platform and across the tracks using his tracking ability. When they reached the other side of all the tracks, the heroes came to an electrical maintenance closet. The Searcher swung the door open quickly to find the child cowering in the corner from them. “Gotcha!”
“Don’t hurt me,” the child cried. “I’m trying to help my parents. There are people underground. They are trying to kill us. They’re trying to kill everyone in Undertown!”