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Countdown Part II (Episode 2 of the Countdown Short Stories Series)

posted Oct 3, 2018, 4:13 AM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Katherine Alder, Staff Writer

Posted October 3rd, 2018

Apparently they didn’t have bigger threats to go after. I had managed to lie low for a week after my little unplanned heist, but that wasn’t enough. That morning, I needed to get somethings from the store, and when I opened my door to leave I was face to face with the Mutant Task force.

“Victoria-” the leader started.

I immediately slammed the door in his face. I moved toward the back door checking the window only to find they had security bots guarding the back entrance and the window. I was surrounded. I should have been more careful. I should have known they wouldn’t let another infraction go. I should have run while I had the chance. There is no way to just wait them out; they will just put more security bots on my house until I have to come out, at which point I would be taken into custody and locked in a special jail for “villains” as people were so fond of calling us. I can’t stop time because they have a power dampener set up on my house. I am completely trapped, I may as well turn myself in now rather than drag it out. I might get out of it easier that way, at least get a shorter sentence. That might get them to let their guard down long enough for me to escape. But, if I am going down, I am going down in style. I changed clothes and ate breakfast and wasted time. Let them wait.

I filled a dark blue mug with tea and walked back over to the door. I flung it open, “What can I do for you today.” I startled them with the sudden movement, I smirked at that and sipped my tea.

“Victoria Morozov, the Task Force has been alerted to a bank robbery that suggests your involvement. Such an action would violate the agreement you signed the last time you abused your powers. Because of this they have requested your presence at the Task Force Headquarters. If you do not come willingly we have been authorized to use force, so we suggest that you cooperate.”

Wow, and here I was thinking you were just here to say hello. You know, most people introduce themselves first.” I couldn’t resist playing with them a bit.

“Captain Evans.” He responded tersely.

“What makes you think I was involved? You can’t just blame every robbery on me just because I was in the area.” I needed to see what they knew and form my story around that.

“Multiple witnesses reported seeing a woman matching your description at the bank that day-”

“So? That is not enough evidence to incriminate someone.” I interrupted.

“If you would let me finish. A woman that suddenly appeared as if she had teleported across the room. Sound familiar?”he finished exasperated. “Are you going to come with us or are we going to have to remove you?”

“Alright. Alright. I’ll go. It’s not like you’ve given me any choice.” I had no chance of getting out of this one. They had see my powers and could identify me. I sighed, and finished my tea before setting the cup in the sink and returning to the door. I stepped out and locked it behind me, sticking the key behind a piece of loose trim around the porch.

“Hold out your hands Miss Morozov,” Evans commanded.

“You said if I cooperated, you wouldn’t force me to leave.” I said. The handcuffs they use are mobile power dampeners, and it is not exactly pleasant to have your powers stolen from you.

“And I kept my word. This isn’t force it is insurance. I am not going to let you get away that easily. Your hands Morozov.” He repeated.

I sighed there was no getting out of this, and reluctantly I held my arms out in front of me. He cuffed me and took my watch. The watch was not the source of my power, but it helped me focus my power and amplified it. Without the watch I couldn’t guarantee how long I would stop time for. When I first discovered my power, I stopped time for several hours instead of five minutes like I had intended. The watch was hard to figure out. At first I would just try to focus more on the exact time I wanted but that was still inconsistent at best. I noticed clocks helped and started wearing a watch more often. I always had to reset my watch after I froze time because it kept going. One time I reset it before I started and that allowed me to control the time better.

Captain Evans pressed a button on the cuffs and then put in a code on a remote he carried which caused the handcuffs to light up electric blue in two rings down the center of the metal rings that encircled my wrists. I felt them drain the power out of my body; it felt like they took part of my life with them. Why were these insufferable things ever approved.

“Hey! That watch is my property, and you are borrowing it without permission that makes you a thief too.” I said, but my heart wasn’t really in it anymore. I just wanted to get whatever was happening over with.

“You know exactly why I took it so don’t even try.” he replied, and led me to the police car where his partner was waiting. He opened the back door, and I climbed into the seat, just glad to be sitting down. He shut the door behind me and got in the driver's seat and started the engine. We drove off. I didn’t pay attention to where we were going like I normally would have. Evans and his partner talked to each other, I just ignored them; I didn’t even try to make any clever albeit obnoxious comments. I should have paid attention to both things as there might have been important information that I missed, but in the moment, I didn’t care. All I wanted was to get the life sapping cuffs off.

We arrived at a different destination than I was expecting, Evans said he was taking me to HQ but when we pulled to a stop, we were at the Grand-river Prison the highest security prison in the world built from the ground up to trap people like me. He opened the door and led me into the building. We walked down two flights of stairs to a block of cells. The doorways were all framed with electric blue light. We walked down the hall passing cell after cell, to where another group of people was waiting. Two Task Force guards and two more official looking people were standing at the end of the hall.

“Thank you captain Evans. That will be all.” one of the official looking two said dismissing Evans. He raised his hand in a two finger salute and turned walking back the way we came.

The second official then addressed me, “Now that you have seen where you’ll end up if you don’t agree with our proposition, I think you’ll be more likely to listen to it.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that. You have no proof.” I replied.

“We have enough. We have eye-witness testimony your prints at the scene, and with your record it wouldn’t be hard for people to get people to believe it.’

“What do you want?” I asked.

“This setting is not suitable for this discussion, we will tell you when we get to Headquarters.”

I didn’t bother responding I just followed the guards out of the building to another car. The officials drove off in a Cadillac, while I saw the back of another police car. We drove for another thirty minutes, before coming to an imposing building. It was a huge structure covered in glittering glass windows. It was a center of activity. People were moving in and out there were people behind many of the windows, everyone was busily working away like drones in a beehive. The guards led me up the stairs to the officials’ office. Their names were engraved on a plate on the door. Axel Rodgers and Jordan Schmidt. The windows behind their desks showed a magnificent view of the city.

“What do you want from me?” I asked again.

Jordan pushed her hair behind her ear and answered vaguely, “We have a mission that we need your particular skill set for.”

“Why would I help you? You just threatened to throw me in jail. Which is probably what you will do regardless of whether I help you or not, even if just for the sake of your image. You can’t let criminals go,”  I stated with irritation.

“Don’t be so cynical, we will keep our word. As for what’s in it for you? A clean record. We will let you start over if you help us,” she answered.

“What is the mission about?” I asked. She still hadn’t given me any information on it.

“We need you and a team of other mutants, that we have picked out, to infiltrate an illegal weapons company, figure out who they are selling to, and take back a specific weapon.

“A team? I don’t do group projects. I could probably do it myself faster.” I snapped at her.

“Than we don’t have a deal? Because I’d hate to have wasted the gas coming here to have to turn around and go back to Grand-River.” Axel cut in.

“Fine I’ll do it.”