The Light That Failed Pt 25

From the Story Arc: A Fine And Private Place

Previous Story in the Arc: The Light That Failed Pt 24 by Red Saviour (Tuesday, October 11, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: The Light That Failed Pt 26 by Victoria Victrix (Tuesday, October 11, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005)

The lobby of Woodbridge Arms fit right in with the upper crust of Founder’s Falls. Modelled on a British colonial outpost, the combination of elegant wood and Indian themes gave guests the sense that the were getting their money’s worth. And many of them came from out of town, to sightsee Paragon City’s most unique attraction: superheroes.

Today, the tourists in the lobby would get quite a bit more.

Heralded by panicked doormen, Red Saviour walked into the lobby, head held high, more regal than any business tycoon in a three piece suit. Behind her, a man in a menacing black uniform and red goggles; a small Chinese woman with a sheathed sword; and a cowgirl leading a majestic horse.

The horse snorted and pawed at the Persian rug at their feet. The sound attracted the attention of anyone who hadn’t seen the group’s entrance.

Red Saviour strolled up to the front desk. Crey owned two hotels in town with special accomodations for metahumans; one, in Steel Canyon, she'd sent Bella to live in when her radiation had first started to leak. The other, more expensive, was right here in Founder's Falls. It was time to see if she guessed correctly.

The manager, a woman in a green vest, gaped at her.

“Hello, comrade. John Lang, please. I believe he is a guest here at this hotel.”

The manager stood stock still. Around her, employees scrambled into the back room. Calls to security were made, audible in the lobby. The tall Russian woman didn’t blink.

“John Lang. Is working for your boss, Crey.” She tapped the computer monitor. “Look him up, him and his blue girlfriend.”

“Belladonna Aura?” The woman said.

“Oh, you wouldn’t last for minute in Moscow interrogation room.” She leaned across and seized the woman’s collar. “I will nyet ask again. Tell me room number of John Lang and your Belladonna Aura, or you will find security to be entirely too slow.”

The woman’s eyes went wide as plates. She typed at a sunken keyboard. “Room…room 2010.”

“Spasibo.” Red Saviour let her go and turned to her comrades. “Twentieth floor. Is luxury suite. Comrade Crisis has done well for himself.”

A clatter of combat boots sent the tourists running for cover. Dozens of Crey patrol guards and agents spilled into the room. In their midst, she spotted blue and yellow Crey Protectors, menacing red Juggernauts and a Cryo Tank. Quite a security force for a mere hotel.

Oksana drew her six-guns, taking aim. Fei Li drew her sword, calm and deadly as a snake waiting to strike. Agn assumed a crouching defensive position straight out of Systema’s handbook.

Red Saviour folded her arms.

“Am waiting for Kid Crisis and his blue devushka. You.” She pointed at the Cryo Tank. “You seem important. Bring them to me.”

The guards cocked their rifles. The energy guns carried by the armored Crey began to power up. Behind the counter, the manager sobbed.

“You’re trespassing,” the Tank responded, his voice tinny through speakers in his helmet. “Leave at once.”

“But of course. I leave with blue girl in hand. Is nyet need for bloodshed.” The smile she offered him was nothing less than predatory. “So… you enjoy your job?”

“Enough, Nat,” a voice called from the back of the lobby. The guards parted to allow Kid Crisis and Belladonna Aura to step through. Both wore expensive Crey suits, as if going to a meet and greet for executives.

“Commissar Saviour to you, treacherous dog,” she said. “Shall I ruin another one of your suits?”

“Very funny… Commissar. You have no right to be here.”

Red Saviour studied the blue girl holding his hand. It was shocking to see a perfect facsimile of Bella, smiling with a malice the true Bella could never muster. Natalya began to doubt her faith in Kid Crisis and his little intrigue. Had he turned traitor for real?

“I make it my right. Bella is dying, comrade. The true Bella.” The blue girl before her stuck a blue tongue out at her. “Is nyet need for pulling out your hair over it,” she said slowly. “Just give me DNA sample of your new girlfriend, and we leave.”

Kid Crisis laughed in her face. “You’re joking, right? Even if I could believe you about Bella, I don’t think it’s my call. Right, baby?”

The Bella clone smirked at Red Saviour. Without the good heart inside, her beauty seemed that of a mannequin. “I’m not in the mood today. Come back next week.”

Red Saviour dug in her belt, producing a vial, to a chorus of bullets locking into their chambers. She held up the vial for all the Crey to see. “I can fill this with hair, or blood. Who wants to choose?”

“Nat… Commissar. Please.” Kid Crisis stepped forward. “We don’t have to fight. You’re outgunned and outnumbered. I know why you’re here, and it’s very noble. I’ll talk to my higher ups and see what I can work out.”

“Too bad about your Bella going ‘bella-up,’” the blue girl said with venomous satisfaction. “Maybe when she kicks, I can work part-time for CCCP. I hear you have a soup kitchen. I make a mean borscht.”

Mystical energy sprang into life around Red Saviour’s fist. She gritted her teeth, fury building up in her. Before she could move, a dozen rifles aimed point blank at her head. The CCCP comrades poised to strike, ready to take as many Crey down with them as they could. Jade Emperor’s Whisper snaked out of its sheath.

“Past' zabej, padla jebanaja,” Red Saviour hissed. “I might have to close my eyes to do it, but I will crush your head in my hands before you speak of Bella that way again.”

“Commissar, don’t.” Kid Crisis tried to sound commanding, but the words came out as a plea. “You can’t win here.”

A pregnant silence fell over the lobby, punctuated by the shifting of firearms in sweaty hands.

Suddenly, Red Saviour slid the vial over the barrel of one of the guns, a gesture weirdly reminiscent of hippie protestors in the 1960s. “For once, you’re right, svinya.” She turned to her comrades. “We are done here.”

Oksana patted Thunderbolt’s cheek and shushed him. Agn hesitated, unsure what Red Saviour meant.

“Davay, we are leaving. Let Kid Crisis have his little toy.”

The CCCP filed out, contemptuous of the Crey display of power. When the doors closed, the entire congregation of security guards breathed a sigh of relief.

“Back to your stations, people,” Kid Crisis announced. The guards filtered out of the room. Belladonna gave him a curious look and squeezed his hand. He pulled his hand away, thinking furiously.

The guard whose rifle had been capped with the sample vial handed him the vial and saluted. “Evidence, sir.”

“Yeah. Evidence.” He turned the vial over in his hands. “Dismissed, Sergeant.”