The Revengers: Operation Pimp Daddy – Takedown!

Glasgow_cathedralHello again superheroes! Operation Pimp Daddy continues, and we are in the thick of things now. Last time, our heroes Judgement, Panacea and Captain Smackdown were approaching St. John’s Cathedral with the intent of ambushing the notorious Pimp William “Billy Bob” Holstein. Unfortunately, things went a little awry as a certain someone (Father Michael) changed the game by confronting the target a bit too early. Gun fire resulted, and our heroes were forced to storm the church to assess the situation. Here’s what happened…

*               *               *

They ran up the steps. Each footfall was like an eternity as the noise coming from within reached a crescendo. In no time at all, the doors slammed open and people ran in all directions. Smackdown, Panacea and Judgement were forced to duck and cover as they were nearly trampled by all the people coming their way.

Men, women, children, and the elderly. Scarcely anyone didn’t cross their path. Inside, the sound of gun fire continued, three more shots ringing out.

“Captain!” screamed Judgement. His skin began to crawl with gold webbing as the fear and panic fed his powers. His hair similarly grew out, white and straw-like. Emerged in a sea of panic, he drew strength to himself, but the fact that he could press forward and attack was also driving him mad.

“Hang on!” Smackdown replied. At the moment, the hail of human bodies, flailing arms and screams were an impenetrable wall; but at the moment, they had no choice but to weather it and wait. Forcing them aside would cause untold harm, and they already had an uncertain number of gunshot victims toiling inside.

“I can fly in!” Panacea yelled, pointing to one of the stainglass windows that loomed above them. Smackdown spotted the panel that was opened and just large enough to admit her. Though at the moment, breaking through one entirely seemed tolerable. 

“Do it!” he yelled, raising his weapon. Summoning all the power she could to herself, she shot up from the steps and positioned herself on the window ledge. Looking ahead, Smackdown noted that the crowd was also beginning to thin out somewhat. Inside, he could see some traces of a white fur coat and the glint on a silver gun. It looked like they finally had a line on their target.

Smackdown lowered his weapon and called to Judgement. “Judgement! Can you see him? Do you have a line on him?”

Judgment looked on ahead, his eyes widening with grim pleasure. “I got him!”

“Good! You take him, I’ll get his body guards!”

At once, the three of them moved. Judgement leapt forward, propelled by the power of his own telekinesis. Smackdown rushed through the last of the stragglers and quickly assessed the scene.

True to form, Billy Bob was standing there in the middle of the Nave, his gun raised and his body draped in the hideous white fur coat he was known to carry. To either side, two thugs were standing, their own weapons poised and at the ready. Before them was the body of Father Michael, blood streaming from his chest from two fresh wounds.

He could feel a terrible sinking sense forming inside him, threatening to consume him. All at once it came flashing back – a broken body, a bleeding wound, a light beaming down to mark the pale face of a poor young man left for dead…

It didn’t last. In the thick of it, Judgement had sprung into action and drew their fire. Six bullets came from Bob’s men and stopped dead in front of the beastly man’s face. His eyes narrowing, all six projectiles turned into hot lead and dissipated before him. He growled and hurled a psychic wave at them, turning the force that had propelled the bullets at him back at his attackers.

“Feel my wrath!” he bellowed, sending hot lead and energy into their faces.

Billy Bob was knocked flat on his back, his two escorts thrown clear and landing several meters beyond. All screamed from the searing pain of hot lead in their faces, but Billy seemed to have taken the worst of it. He lay moaning while the other two slowly pulled themselves to their feet.

Overhead, Panacea sailed down and landed in the center between the pews, kneeling to place her hand on Father Michael. The old man groaned under her touch, and his body jerked as healing energy flowed into him.

Smackdown gave his head a strong shake. The sudden flurry managed to snap him back to the present and he raised his weapon. The situation was far from resolved, at the moment, his colleagues were handling everything between them. Attempting to resolve that, he spotted the two thugs who at that moment were busy getting to their feet. Their guns were long lost, but both had thought to bring backup weapons for the occasion and were in the process of arming them. One produced a knife while the other fetched a set of brass knuckled from their belt buckle. Raising his weapon, Smackdown charged up his tazer rifle and fired two shots.

One by one, the men screamed as the tazer needles from his weapon struck them in the chests and delivered several thousand volts directly into their nervous systems. They fell to the floor, arms flailing and every muscle spasming uncontrollably. In the center, sprawled across the floor, Billy Bob looked up from a pool of his own blood, his nose broken from the blast Judgement had given him. No sooner did he taken a knee that Judgement grabbed him again, raising him off the ground with another wave of psychic energy.

Suspended above the floor, Billy Bob struggled but could do nothing to free himself from the grip. And all his efforts only made it worse, Judgement extending another invisible hand to clamp him tightly. A small, guttural cry escaped his lips as the pressure closed around him and threatening to break his ribs.

Smackdown gave his head a shake to right himself and nodded to Judgement. “You got him?” he asked.

Judgement hummed an affirmative.

“Good. We need him alive. But if he moves… punish him.”

“With pleasure,” Judgement said with a smile.

“How is he?” he said, nodding to Father Michael next. Kneeling next to him, Panacea looked up and shook her head.

“He took two to the stomach. He’s alive, but bleeding internally.”

“Can you save him?”

“Of course, it’s just going to take some time.”

Smackdown eyed Billy Bob, still hanging in the center of the room, and nodded. There were no sirens in the distance, but that would change presently. He knew they didn’t need to get the good father up and walking again, just healthy enough for the paramedics to bring him the rest of the way back. Alas, he knew Panacea wouldn’t go for that. Nothing short of his full recovery would satisfy her right now. He knew how she felt…

He knelt down by Panacea and looked the father in the eyes. The old man looked mighty stunned and disheveled, and just the slightest bit guilty too.

“Father?” he said. “Can you hear me?”

The old man looked to him and nodded.

“You took a serious hit there, but you should be fine. Our dear friend here does good work.”

He looked to her, his eyes becoming mystified and taking on a distant quality. “What is she?”

Smackdown looked at Panacea, who smiled modestly back at him. Under the circumstances, it was clear the father might interpret this as something of a divine intervention. It seemed cruel to dispel that notion. Still, the Captain concluded that honesty would be appropriate.

“She’s… special, Father. Its probably best not to speculate too much on the issue.”

That didn’t dispel the look from his eyes. He still looked entirely awestruck, like he was staring at the divine itself. In time, he began to laugh to himself, his body retaining more of its natural color.

“He’s almost there,” she said, noting the sirens in the distance. “Just a little bit longer.”

“A little bit longer is all we have…” The sirens were getting closer. Smackdown looked to the doors and wondered just how much they had before police and SWAT would be parking out there, proceeding into the church to and opening fire on anyone who looked the slightest bit threatening.

He eyed Judgement next, who at the moment looked anything but innocuous. One look at him would cause any peace officer to open fire, and he knew how that would turn out. The last thing they needed was some police officers ending up in the emergency room. Enough had gone wrong with this op already…

Smackdown looked back to the Father and noted his lively appearance. The wounds in his chest had begun to close and the only blood now was what was already staining his robes. He began to moan, another good sign since it meant his nerves were firing on all cylinders.

“Alright, that’s good enough,” he said. “Let’s get a hold of Billy Bob and make -“

He was just about to say make tracks, but a sudden slamming noise ahead of them interrupted him. The loud thud was followed by intense screams of pain and the noise of laughter. Bob was the source of the former, whereas Judgement seemed to be taking great pleasure in it.

“What the hell was that?” Smackdown yelled to Judgement. The big man simply shrugged.

“He moved. I punished him.”

Smackdown grumbled. He ran to Bob’s side and noted that he still had a pulse. But in addition to his broken nose, he now appeared to be sporting a broken arm. He looked back at Judgement again with scorn in his eyes.

“He’ll live…”

Smackdown grumbled. He hated it when colleagues got literal! Grabbing Bob by the scruff of his fur coat, he hoisted the man to his feet and began pulling him to the doors.

“Get him in my car! I got to ask a favor of the Padre here!”

Judgement moved forward to take hold of the pimp’s broken body. Smackdown pulled him back and shook his head.

“No, not you. Panacea, get him squared in the back of my car. See what you can do about his injuries too. I want him alive and well for his interrogation.”

“You got it, Captain.” She looked at Judgement and smirked, who growled in return. Grabbing Bob around the waist, she quickly lifted herself into the air and sailed for the front doors. Judgement followed, making it to the door with a few, powerful strides.

Alone, Smackdown knelt by the Father and helped him sit up. The sirens were getting mighty close now, their klaxons echoing off the faces of every building nearby. He had barely a moment to spare, but certain considerations had to be given, and warnings issued. The good Father had risked his life for them, had placed the mission in jeopardy, and was still needed for one final task. There was hardly time to discuss all that, but the last item was indispensible…

“Okay, Father. Here’s how it is. Any moment now, police and special weapons teams are going to come through that door. When they do, they are bound to have plenty of questions for you. I think, under the circumstances, it would be best if we got our story straight.”

“Our story?” he said, smiling. “Our story begins with me confronting a group of thugs, then goes on to have me getting shot, then being rescued by bunch of men and women in strange outfits wielding all kinds of strange powers.” He frowned and gave his head a shake. “What could I possibly tell them that could account for all that, and still sound believable?”

Smackdown cleared his throat. The Father was feeling better and his mind was clear. Perhaps it was a mistake to heal him so thoroughly. The semi-conscious were always so much easier to deal with!

“Father, if you tell them what happened here-“

“They’ll what? Come looking for you? Start scouring the city looking for people for masked people in capes?”

Smackdown considered that a moment and shrugged. “Well, I-“

The Father raised his hand to interrupt. “I shall tell them what happened, my son. I shall tell them that a man of ill-repute was in my church, that I made the mistake of confronting him, and when he decided to shoot me, heavenly avengers came down from on high and saved my life. They dispatched his thugs and then carried him away to issue judgement.” He raised his hands in a questing gesture. “What else can I say?”

Smackdown wanted to disagree, wanted to argue the point, citing the need for secrecy and security. He and his colleagues were agreed, until they had made their presence felt in the underworld, until they had instilled suitable fear in the city’s drug lords, crime barons and corrupt officials, it was best to remain a secret. An enemy who did not know who was hunting them or what they wanted was far more unstable than one who did. Alas, there was no time. The nearest siren sounded mere blocks away.

“Father, I-“

“My son, I am a warden of the church. I believe in angels, in miracles, the immortality of the soul. At least twice a week, I serve parishioners what I tell them is the flesh and blood of a man who has been dead for two thousand years. Do you honestly think I would tell policemen anything other than the truth of what happened here tonight, or that they, in their infinite cynicism would believe me?”

Smackdown had to concede that much. Already, he could imagine the furious speculation that would be going on tomorrow in all corners of the city, and how that mystique could play into their hands. But again, time was factor…

“Fine! Tell them what you must. But next time we come asking for your help, please leave the heavy lifting to us.”

“Evil must be confronted in all its forms,” the Father said unapologetically.

“Yes, but next time it could be someone else who absorbs the bullet. You think about that next time you confront an evil man.”

The Father looked ready to respond, but Smackdown didn’t stay to hear him. Running for the backdoor, he cleared it just in time to see Judgment waving to him from the passenger seat.

“Let’s go! They’re practically on top of us!” he yelled. Outside the car, Panacea released her hold on Bob’s arm and gave him a thumbs up.

“He okay to transport?” Smackdown asked as he jumped across the hood and into the driver’s seat.

“He’ll live. He’ll be might ornery when he wakes up though.”

“That’s okay. I got me one hell of a mood adjuster.” Smackdown nodded to Judgement, who smiled in turn. Even Panacea smiled.

“See you at the house?”

Smackdown nodded. “Race you there!”

Panacea jumped straight into the air and flew off with the sound of a sonic boom. Smackdown slammed the gas petal and aimed them for the nearest side street, leaving the lot outside of the church mere seconds before the first patrol car pulled up…

*               *               *

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!

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