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Writing Prompt #16: The one that got away


CrystalDragon
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Credits to @Nagoth for the topic suggestion.

You remember the one that got away, the one that you let go? Why did you do it?

 

For my dragon, it was a matter of understanding where that criminal was coming from and desiring a change in how the justice system worked. The zig only can handle so many criminals, and some truly do want to change if only given a hand to make it possible. So, she let their crimes slide, and did the unexpected, she offered them a legitimate job, a place within her super group, and provided for them a regular stipend to help them afford a home of their own to get off the streets and provide for themselves a stable income doing what they enjoyed the most, studying. Of course, the person was under aged, and often getting in trouble with the Vanguard, but with some gentle urgings and nudging in the right direction along the way, they are growing up happy, healthy, and cared for, where if they were sent to the zig for their crimes, they would have ended up back in the streets.

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Prof. Altair received a grim assignment. The PPD had found the Resistance cell that was responsible for a deadly series of bombings in the Imperial City and had them under siege in a warehouse. They were too much of a threat to Praetoria and had to be wiped out.

 

Breaking the siege wasn't too much effort. Prof. Altair froze the back door, kicked it down, and charged in. The first fighter he saw had no time to react before he was encased in ice. The second frantically fired at him until he rushed her and froze her where she stood. He advanced through the warehouse continuing his unhappy work until he had the last remaining fighter backed into a corner. Seeing she couldn't win the fight, the fighter dropped her gun and removed her helmet.

 

Prof. Altair looked at the fighter's face and felt sick. She was one of his former students! He even remembered her being particularly motivated during his physics classes. She once came to his office after the end of a term and they worked for hours on a complicated problem without reaching a solution. When he had been drafted into the Powers Division, she came forward on his last day of teaching to help unfurl a banner that said, "We'll miss you, Hector!"

 

The official report on the incident said that Prof. Altair left no survivors, but that was a lie.

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((The Lady Cobra felt she had several reasons to let this killer go.))

Sometimes, on nights like these, Emily wished she could just stay home like a normal person, with a good poetry book, a nice cup of peppermint tea, and a steaming bathtub waiting to lure her in with its olfactory sirens song composed from a mix of exotic salts and bath oils.

Instead, here she was walking abandoned and worn-down streets and pavements, treacherous with layers of snow and hidden patches of ice, and in temperatures more becoming for a day of really bad weather at the North Pole.

Emily hadn’t seen the crime scene photos herself, but she knew that Detective Carson had been on some pretty horrific cases in his time, and still there was no doubt this one had him riled up rather badly. He had called for help from the Lady Cobra for decoy operations before, but this was the first one where he had warned her and actually pleaded with her to be very, very careful.

The Berserker had been profiled as most likely a misogynist alpha male with a severe vindictive, manipulative, and paranoid personality disorder, probably married or otherwise living with a partner, and with a high likelihood of domestic violence and/or psychological abuse prevalent in that relation. Emily had squirmed in her seat as Carson briefed her about the Unsub – many of these characteristics struck home more than a little too close for comfort thinking back on her own miserable marriage to William. Her ex-husband probably wasn’t the Berserker, but they seemed to share an alarming proportion of deviant personality traits.

The Berserker was also thought to be of immense physical and combative power, having literally beaten all the four victims to his tally beyond the point of human recognition. Or so Carson had told her. It made Emily lament the fact that she was wearing a tight dress that could hinder her movements and heeled pumps that were very far from ideal on the slippery winter surfaces, but victimology was quite consistent when it came to the poor women’s’ clothing. Perhaps it was a required part of his trigger, who knew, but in any event it was a sacrifice of increased exposure and vulnerability that Emily had no option but to make.

This was the third night in a row that the Lady Cobra was walking this potentially deadly route, and it was beginning to look as if it might also be the third night of nothing except the threat of hypothermia happening at all. She was so cold now, she could barely will her arms and legs to move, and all she could think of was that hot bathtub waiting at the end of her journey. Half an hour more and she was going to call it a night.

Passing a mostly broken and overturned fence that had once surrounded an abandoned factory building, Emily finally came across a section of pavement that was nice and clean from snow. But as she stepped onto it, her foot slipped, and she realized with horror that it was one huge patch of pure black ice, offering no grip at all even under the best of circumstances, let alone for someone in heeled pumps.

The blitz attack came from behind and with a force unlike anything she had ever felt before. Emily was knocked helplessly to the ground and slid across the ice, struggling for recovery and grip as the assailant came at her again, a heavy, metal coated boot stomping down on her back and a knuckleduster fist slamming into the arm, she was just able to raise to parry.

Somehow, Emily came to her feet and went at him with all she had. Knees, elbows, the palm of her hands. He was stronger, much stronger than her, but the Lady Cobra was fast like few, and was actually driving him back. And then she slipped on the damn ice again. She realized now of course that it had been a trap, a veritable slide of black ice prepared by the Berserker to render his victim even further vulnerable and defenseless.

Emily struggled to get up, but the ice was merciless. Again the metal boot trampled her and this time she wasn’t sure she could shake the devastating impact  off. Her fingers searched the ground for the back-up alerting panic button device she had dropped when she first lost her footing, but it was nowhere to be found and this time she didn’t manage to parry the thundering blow from his fist.

Her head snapped to the side, she tasted blood, and her eyes wouldn’t focus. There was nothing she could do when the Berserker came at her again.

The three gunshots came in rapid succession. At first the dazed Emily thought that the alarm must have been triggered when she dropped it anyway, but then her blurred vision cleared just a little bit and she saw the diminutive form of the shooter. A woman, petite, strawberry blonde hair, alabaster skin, bruised and swollen lips and cheekbone. Emily still struggled against the ice and her injuries to get up.

The Berserker’s head was blown away execution style. The woman had saved Emily’s life but killed the Berserker in cold blood.

“He wouldn’t have stopped,” she said in a barely audible voice.

“Was he…was he your husband?” Emily’s own voice was strained and even fainter than the shooter’s.

The woman didn’t answer, just turned her back to Emily and the fallen assailant and started walking slowly away.

Maybe Emily could have gotten up and gone after her, maybe she couldn’t. But her fingers had found the lost panic device on the ground next to her. Emily closed her eyes. It was probably best to wait five more minutes before triggering the alarm. In her probably concussed state, all she would  be able to tell her back-up crew and Carson with any certainty was that the shooter had been above average height and weight and most definitely male.

 

Cobrasnow2a.jpg

Edited by White Cobra
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Sadly, if there's one thing my guys don't tend to do, it's "let someone get away." It's mostly a mentality thing: like Crys was mentioning, some do legitimately want to change and the Zig can only hold so many at any given time. Especially with the amount of times villain groups take a spin at the place to try and bust out new recruits and a flawed justice system. So most often, Raphael Firestar and Firebane will take them in in a different way. Not into their homes or anything, just finding a different sort of punishment for their crimes. Since they do have to be punished somehow, provided they actually did do something illegal. And if they prove they aren't interested in reforming or being part of society legally... The resources are needed elsewhere. If they can help bring down an even bigger bunch, their turn can wait a while.

 

Ra-Akhnaten wouldn't let anyone go unless it wasn't part of his plan in some way and/or had a way to track them down later. He's got bigger things to do than worry about making sure every single person who crosses paths with him ends up in a particular way.

 

Now, Carmilla? She's of a similar sort of mentality as the guys mentioned above when it comes to criminals, heroes, etc. But when it comes to potential converts for the Carnival... She has let a few go. Each for a "good reason", such as her coven having enough for the moment, their having a loving family, clearly going through enough with their normal life... Once or twice [maybe a few times more than she'd admit], because they looked like an old girlfriend of hers. Other times, that hasn't stopped her but... Well, you know. While she has turned a few who were going through a rough time in life, such as bullies, abusive families, etc., she always gave those more of a choice once they got even: they can stay with her, be turned back if she can find a way to undo the process safely, or pass on. She's just sad that those that passed on chose to since she would have tried to care for them too.

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  • 4 months later

The Outcast girls of Girls Gone Rogue Isles think of THEMSELVES as the ones that got away. That hero that busted in on Frostfire's hideout got them arrested, yes, but none of them had ended up with a sentence that exceeded three months. 

 

Quickfrost remembers with satisfaction how MAD the hero had looked during the court proceedings as it was declared that mere prescence wasn't enough to convict her of even a fraction of what the hero claimed was going on. She remembers seeing the same hero the day she was let out of the zig and gave them a little wave as she lit up her first cigarette in a while. She knows she's courting danger going into the more white collar crime with I&E after, but she loves knowing it's killing the hero inside that they can't prove anything.

 

Blazed didn't taunt the hero so much. She's more afraid of things going south for her since she's only on parole, the judge deemed her higher risk because of her fire problems, and she doesn't want to deal with too much scrutiny. But she knows she's seen the hero watching her. She sticks to other heroes now when she leaves Pocket D - defense in friendship - and has stopped scouting for locations for acquisitions for Quickfrost's 'Imports and Exports' business entirely. She works in the warehouse only and hopes there won't be another raid. 

There's 9 other Outcast girls gone rogue isles and they've all reported the hero doing stalking. 

 

"I'm not sure if they even have time to 'fight crime' anymore," says Chronic Burnout. "Christ, how pathetic is that."
 

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I am @Chrono-Bot! SGs: Girls Gone Rogue Isles, The Helping Hands, The Orange Bagels, Paragon's Perfectly Normal Heroes. Server: Everlasting! See my characters, now with photos, below!

 

https://forums.homecomingservers.com/topic/33049-chrono-bots-characters/

 

I'm not NOT here to make friends.

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