Chapter 43: Summons

Phil gritted his teeth in pain. He’d spent enough money on punching bags, and he told Jack he’d be hitting punching mitts today. Of course, he hadn’t considered just how much Jack’s punches would hurt, even through the mitts.

No that he couldn’t take it, Phil had been hit by guys just as strong back home. But Jack hadn’t held back at all, and the mitts had been turned half way to mush under the force.

The worst part was the lack of conversation. Not that Jack was much of a talker, but at least he would respond to Phil’s barbs. Today, he was grinding his teeth so hard it was a wonder he could breathe.

The door to the gym opened. Jack’s fist paused just before hitting the glove.

Phil looked at the man standing in the door way. His posture was ridiculously straight; his suit was perfectly symmetrical down to the knot on his tie.  Even in the semi darkness of the gym he had on a pair of dark sunglasses.

“Government. I’ll get rid of ‘im.”

“Don’t bother. I know this one.”

“He one of your old mates? Looks like he couldn’t get a joke if it knocked him on his ass.”

“His name’s Craig. He was our go between the last few months. You might want to sit this one out.”

Phil grunted and plopped down on the bench.

Jack strode forward, slowly taking off the punching gloves. “Is there any reason I shouldn’t take your head off?”

The man, to his credit, didn’t flinch. “Now, now, Mr. White. You have had some months to track me down, if I was the one you wanted. You are well aware that the incident had nothing to do with me; I had no reason to wish you or yours harm. You also know that I am the only one who can help you find the man you seek.

“And since I am the only reason you weren’t hunted down after your disappearance, I believe I am due at least some respect.”

Jack grunted. “So why now? Did you lose track of the big bad mob boss? Or did you think you could handle it with an empty deck?”

The agent reached up and slowly took off his sunglasses. His eyes beneath them were an electric blue. “I assure you, even without you Cards, my deck is more than full. However, you are currently in a very unique position which makes you ideal for a task such as this one.”

“And what’s that?”

“You’re already dead.”

Jack sighed. “Well, it’s not the first time. Did I at least get a decent funeral?”

The agent nodded. “I swear your father almost shed a tear.”

“Even stones crack sometimes. So how can this dead man help you?”

“You can get Milton Plask and you can bring him to me. Of course, the normal rules apply.”

“No backup, no rescue. I know the drill. Just tell me where I’m going so I can get the bastard.”

“You’ll be briefed en route. Pack for warm weather.”

The agent didn’t wait for a response. He turned and walked away.

“You really goin’ with this bullshit? You should get the hell outta dodge; Let me call Will, he can get one of them rich guys to help you.”

“Not happening, Phil. Stiff might be a prick, but he’s the only chance I have of getting to Plask.” Jack tossed his gloves into a bag and slung it across his shoulder.

“Kid, you’re not an agent anymore. You’re a hero now, you can’t just go around running after this punk cause you think you got a free pass. Well let me tell you, heroes don’t get to call it quits just cause shit like this happens.”

Jack looked over his shoulder. “Then tell Will I quit. The others can have the cake without me.”

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Rose groaned when she stood up from her desk. She had been forced to work late again, and her back had long since decided it liked its new shape.

She’d already sent everyone else home. None of them could do anything until she went over these reports, and they could finish up tomorrow as long as it was ready.

Barry had stayed longer than most, but she had forced him out after the third time he passed out on the floor. He promised coffee in the morning, and donuts, but she wouldn’t have anything to do until they finished their work again in the afternoon other than “supervise” people who hadn’t eased up on their work for the last month. She might actually be able to get some sleep in the morning.

She checked the time. At this point she might as well sleep in the office, but she needed a change of clothes and at least a couple hours in a real bed.

No one would be looking up anyway.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

The stride had been the hardest part to figure out. She could use lengthen her legs with a rubber tree spring and use it to jump rooftop to rooftop with no issue, but it wasn’t any faster than walking if she had to reset after every jump.

Coordinating her muscles with her powers had taken all of her concentration at first, but over a few weeks it had grown easier and easier.

But even with this, she had been losing more and more time. She had cut back patrols to two nights a week, and she still hadn’t had a full night’s rest in a month.

A part of her knew it should get easier, that this project would be the biggest one her department would get all year. But there was always another project, and they weren’t getting any smaller.

Maybe she could be sick tomorrow? She still had a few sick days left, and she hadn’t actually been sick in years.

She finally reached her building and swung her way down to her apartment. She should probably check the mail, but there shouldn’t be anything that couldn’t wait until morning.

She fell on top of the covers and instantly fell asleep.

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