|A Felony of Birds|
|Stormcastle: And Other Fun Games With Cards And Dice|
by Edward Sullivan
Please be advised: Class 5 threat in downtown. Subject identified: Kodiak. Alpha Prime and Dynamite Girl have been neutralized. The Shield has used Plan Omega and has failed; she is no longer viable. Please prepare for the deployment of The Template.
It was Agent Tucker's first day assigned to the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs. He was replacing a retiring agent whose assignment seemed to be some sort of babysitting project. He was reporting to the Senior Agent in Charge of the section, who also seemed to be the only other agent in the section. He reached the door to the office just as the loud speaker declared the alert about a Class 5 threat. He was just reaching for the doorknob when the door burst open. A human avalanche came through in a black suit. He was almost knocked down. The blur spoke to him.
"You must be Tucker. I'm Finch. Let's go; time is a factor. The Template isn't good with waiting and he is being loaded now."
The young agent followed. "Did that announcement say Class 5? There's no such thing! Alpha Prime is a Class 4 Archangel and Dynamite Girl is a Class 4 Blaster; they don't get neutralized. One more thing, what is Plan Omega?"
"Keep up! Kodiak is the only Class 5 to ever appear. He is stronger and more damage resistant than anyone. He beat Alpha senseless and shrugged off Dynamite's full blasts. He then threw her into the suburbs. She might live. The Shield covered Kodiak in her strongest field while we exploded a tactical nuke inside with him. The strain put her into a coma. Kodiak was unharmed except for the loss of all of his body hair. Now he is angry and looks like a nine hundred pound naked mole rat. You and I are bringing The Template to the fight as the last resort."
"What is The Template?"
"Not what, who."
"Another hero. Won't the Class 5 just smash him?"
Finch snickered, "Unlikely."
"So we have a Class 5 then? Why didn't we just deploy him and why doesn't anyone know about him? I never heard of a hero called The Template. What's his deal?"
"We call him The Template. He calls himself Tim. He isn't a hero. He is hyperkinetic, meaning his brain connects in every way to every part of his body quicker than anything in existence. He is also mathematically in tune with Chaos Theory. He can see every possible outcome of every possible scenario within his five senses with one hundred percent accuracy. The classification system is moot in his case. He is the most powerful being in existence. The nature of his abilities also makes him agoraphobic and a pacifist. He isolates himself because he can see every outcome of everything he does right down to stepping on a bug. You and I are assigned to him. This means we sit around until something happens which makes him actually agree to leave his bunker. Then we drive his isolated transport to the scene and try to keep everyone and everything away from him so he doesn't freak out."
"The most powerful being alive is a shut-in?"
"Yup, sure is!"
"That doesn't seem very powerful to me."
They had just arrived at what looked like an armored car in the parking garage. The back section was completely isolated from the driver's compartment. Finch climbed in the driver's seat and started it. Tucker climbed into the passenger seat still waiting for a response.
"Power is a very relative thing as you will soon see."
Finch put the truck in gear and started out of the garage. He pressed a button on the dash and spoke, "You ok back there, Tim?"
The response was barely audible, "I think so. I think I may throw up. Please drive carefully. Don't hit the bugs. Obey all the speed limits please. Oh dear. . ." This was followed by retching sounds and vomiting.
Finch released the button. "It was like this the other two times he went out. Poor guy."
"Two times? How long you been doing this assignment?"
"I have been with Tim since he came to us. It has been almost fifteen years now."
"He has been out twice in fifteen years?"
"That's right. Here we are. Ground Zero. There is Kodiak just finishing up pummeling Captain Courage. I am just going to turn the back of the van towards the battle." He did a three point turn so the back was towards the villain.
Kodiak was huge, hairless and angry. He saw the truck and started towards it. Finch turned towards Tucker. "So, you go open the back doors, stand back so you don't creep out Tim and watch the action."
"Seriously? That thing is coming right for us!"
"Trust me. Just open the door for Tim and back off so he can lean out a bit."
Tucker exited the cab and went around to the back. Kodiak was getting close. He only had to come another hundred yards or so. He opened the cargo area and stepped back. A slight man about thirty, who was dressed in flannel pajamas, leaned just barely out of the back. He had vomit on the front of his pajama shirt. He threw one ball bearing to the left and one to the right. The first ricocheted twice and then popped into Kodiak's mouth. The second ricocheted three times and landed under his foot and he fell on his back. The little man went back in, closing the door behind him. Tucker watched as what he thought was the most powerful villain on earth asphyxiated in five minutes. He walked around to the cab and got in. He spoke to Finch but continued to look forward.
"What happens if Tim ever decides to go astray?"
Finch looked serious for a second. "Well then I suppose we all die, kiddo!"
Great take on superheroes and what constitutes true power. It's like pool, it's just geometry. Love it!
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