Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Janitor


A figure sat alone in a dark room. Daylight barely peeped through the blinds illuminating the made bed and the rest of the surprisingly organized bedroom. A stack of opened mail including an unemployment check neatly sat in a try on the desk with a computer monitor.

The muscular shape in a dark t-shirt and worn jeans sat reclining in a chair playing the latest multiplayer game online versus opponents from all over the world. His hands twitched rapidly on the controller as one opponent after another was vanquished in a blaze of digital mayhem. Moments after defeating his latest foe a low rumble seemed to shake the room and the building it was attached to. A keening bellow echoed outside.

He used a handy remote to turn on a small TV next to the larger monitor he was playing games on. Immediately the twenty four hour news channel came on.

“This is Susan Kim Chanel Six Action News.” Standing in a light drizzle an attractive Asian woman in jeans and an oversized kaki colored jacket was giving a news report from a trashed street.  Rubble lay everywhere in the background, a pall of smoke obscured anything further away than about twenty feet. “We are here in the wake of one of the creatures as it rampages through down town Seattle destroying everything in its path. The Coast Guard and the MCTF have officially confirmed that they are class four not class five Mega-fauna, small comfort to the citizens of our beleaguered city.  The Emerald City Defenders have managed to halt one near here in the center of town but as of this moment two others are unopposed in their drive. We can only hope that a miracle can happen and our heroes discover some way to halt their destructive rampage.” In the background a building was seen to partially collapse in a billowing cloud of dust and debris.

With a low groan he stretched, scratched his scalp and clicked off the TV.  He toggled his gaming headset; “Sorry guys I just got an emergency call.  I have to go to work.” A series of cursing, references to sexual acts with his mother and name calling filled the chat channel. “You clowns have fun. The Janitor signing off.”

It was the work of moments for him to get his equipment together. Heavy black combat boots, a set of military grade web gear with pouches and various odd looking devices clipped to it, and a Seahawks baseball cap to keep the rain off.

Moving at an exaggeratedly normal pace the man who called himself The Janitor walked out of his bedroom, through the common area of his shared apartment and out the front door, locking it securely behind him. A trip down the stairwell brought him to the slick streets, just in time to hear another keening bellow echo from the direction of the waterfront. Still traveling at an exaggeratedly normal pace he started his walk down the mostly empty streets in that direction.

A walk of a couple of blocks brought him to the center of an empty parking lot. He crouched, gathered his power and began to Move.

In less time than it took to blink an eye he was a mile up and hovering in the air getting a bird’s eye view of the whole city. A quick pan found all the major events. The Emerald Defenders and what looked like a giant robot tangling with one of the squid-like crab creatures in the heart of downtown. Storm Patrol on rescue duty, pulling people out of collapsed and partially demolished buildings near the waterfront and getting them to waiting paramedics. And various MCTF and local police attempting to do their utmost to make sure the areas in the greatest danger are evacuated.

A second quick scan revealed the positions of all the creatures not being dealt with in various places throughout the city. One was in industrial area near the southern part of the city but the other one was making a beeline toward the highly populated residential Queen Anne area.

“Hmmm, not good. That is a highly populated area. I’ll have to start there.”

With a small thunderclap he was on his way.

A rush of air and scattered rain signaled his arrival at the first of the squid crabs. From his vantage point at “head” level the creature looked every inch of its four story height. Its spined, sickly olive green carapace, with cream borders and highlights, was slick with rain mixed ooze and slime. Its four sucker covered armored tentacles propelled it rapidly down the street and through everything that stood in the way of the rampage. The squid crab gave a keening bellow and menaced the flying man in front of it with its two oversized grasping pincers and various other flailing tentacles.

The street was clear as everyone in the area either hid indoors or had fled before the creature got to this point. “Time to do this.” The Janitor muttered to himself. “Hopefully I can keep my power level down to a reasonable level this time.”

He held his hands out to his sides and made a pair of fists that pulsed with white crackling energy. And with hardly a twitch he flew toward the crab-topus, fists raised, to deliver his opening salvo.  Thunder crackled and the smell of ozone filled the air as he took his first couple of jabs at the creature. His energy charged fists made dents and cracks in the front carapace. Its bellowed reverberating cry sounded again in pain as the force of the punches staggered it back, causing tentacles to flail about to keep balance.

Not giving it a chance to regain its momentum he charged in again giving it nearly a dozen sharp fast punches in rapid order. Pushing it down the street with loud wet splintering sounds as the front carapace cracked under the repeated jackhammer blows from his mighty fists, ichor and ooze leaking from the fragmented rents.

But even a mindless creature can get a lucky hit in occasionally. A flailing tentacle caught The Janitor under his ribs and flung him down the block to crash into the front of an apartment complex. A shower of brick and glass joined the rain in falling to the sidewalk below as the fearsome flyer’s body bounced off the building and landed in the street below.

The Janitor stood up shaking off the blow. “OK, I got careless.” He said picking up his fallen baseball cap and slapping it on his leg to clean the broken glass off of it before putting it back on his head.  “It packs a wallop. I might need to up the power level a bit.” He looked at the nearby buildings noticing the occasional face peering out of a window or partially opened front door as people looked out into the street below at the fight that was developing in front of them. “Damn it. I think I accidentally used too much to resist that blow. It is already starting to take effect. I gotta go fast and hard before it kicks in fully.”

He turned and faced the crab-topus as it flailed around in pain, its multiple eyes trying to zero in on the cause of its misery. As if sensing his attention the four storie creature’s eye stalks seemed to focus on The Janitor with startling intensity. It gave a keening bellow and charged down the street, its claws snapping and rending the air and its tentacles reaching forward as if to grab him and crush him in their grasp.

With a glower under his cap The Janitor took a wide stance and held his arms out to his sides in a guard position fists clenched. Suddenly he tensed and his whole body erupted in the same white crackling energy that just his fists were covered in before. Rain evaporated feet before it even got near him with a hiss. The strong smell of ozone and the warbling sounds of a cosmic energy filled the air. He darted forward with the sound of a long sonic boom as air rushed in to fill the void he left behind as he charged forward.

Unfortunately the secondary effect that he feared proved to be nearly as fast as his attack. All up and down the block doors and windows opened as people began to leave their homes and walk into what they thought was a safe combat free street. They looked up and down the street as if looking for the creature that had menaced them mere moments before and surprisingly not finding it. The Janitors dissuasion field was in effect, overpowering everyone’s senses causing them to completely overlook and ignore the hero and monster fighting before them.

With a crash The Janitor threw a bolo punch at the fragmented ichor leaking carapace smashing through and into the chest cavity causing it to rupture in a fountain of horrible green goo and guts. It splashed the street around it as twitched a few times and slammed backwards limply, all its tentacles and limbs completely slack.

The Janitor continued his rapid movement grabbing a few bystanders who were oblivious to the danger of the falling husk and flying them to safety.  If they were surprised to suddenly be fifty feet away from where they were moments before they didn’t show it. The beast’s dying crash echoed up and down the rainy streets. Yet no one glanced in that direction, the dissuasion field effecting them that strongly.

With a quick scan to see if anyone else was in danger, and seeing that they weren’t, The Janitor powered down and flew up again to see the progress of the other mega-fauna. Right now in Downtown it looked like the giant robot was soloing the creature and doing a decent job of it. While the third one was wreaking havoc in a random path that took it closer and closer to Century Link and Safeco Fields.

“No, no, no, no, no, no.” He adjusted his dirty rain soaked Seahawks hat. “This is not gonna happen. The Hawks are going to the playoffs this year. Their stadium is not going to get trashed if I can help it!”

With another thunderclap he was on his way to clean up another mess.

 

Five very tiring minutes later The Janitor sat of the top of a dismembered crab-topus catching his breath. Piles of rubble and craters littered the street and parking lots. His beloved stadium was untouched though. He gingerly touched a tear in his shirt and the red gash along his side and hissed. “This one put up a better fight than the first one.  I’d say it was almost a Class Five. I haven’t been scratched like this in a long time.”

He closed his eyes and leaned his head back to let the rain fall against it. He felt safe doing it as everyone nearby was ignoring the giant pile of seafood quietly steaming in the rain and the battered hero sitting on top, thanks to the dissuasion field that made his life a living hell. With him powering up so high it is going to take weeks for the city to realize that the roads were in such poor shape. And it is surely going to take his roommate a few days to even realize that he existed again.

The Janitor stood up with a sigh and brushed most of the dirt and guts off of his pants ready to assist the Defenders or just go home if they had everything under control.

With a questioning expression on his face he quirked his head facing the heart of downtown and the site of the last remaining creature in the city. A surprisingly loud music was heard over the distant rumble of the fight.

“Is that AC/DC?”

--------------------------------------------------

“Doctor Pandemonium!”

With a frown a thin balding man with yellow eye coverings and a buttoned to the chin mid calf length white leather lab coat looked up from a holographic monitor and pivoted on his heels to the speaker. His long fingers interlaced behind his back in a thoughtful position.

“Yes Technician Merakov? I hope this interruption is important enough to justify me halting my viewing of the dimensional interface window.”

The grey clothed technician swallowed audibly. “Yes sir. I think it is.” He held out a tablet computer “We got a high Class A pulse on the Power Detection Array. Higher than any we have been able to record before. Possibly in the Beta or Gamma range.”

“Interesting, please continue.”

“Yes sir. As per standing procedure when a major event was known about in advance the array was broadly focused on the area. This time it happened to be Seattle. Reports were that it was due to get hit with multiple class four or five Mega-fauna.”

Even the evil doctor winced at that. “Multiple? How many actually made it to the city? One is usually more than enough to level an unprepared metropolis. Three should mean that the city is nothing more than cooling rubble.”

“Three made it in sir. The city survived with non-catastrophic damage. They were all taken care of in under an hour by the local heroes and defense forces. It was during that hour we picked up the pulse. It was not the usual flare up and burn out of a supercharging Class B. It was like a switch was thrown and just as quickly turned off without any build and fade up time of the standard burnout. “

He gestured at the graphs and charts on the tablet that the not do good doctor was holding. Two contrasting charts were displayed. The first graph showed a jagged progression upwards then a highpoint and a jagged decent than abruptly dropped off half way down. The second graph showed a near vertical line, a level plateau, another sharp upward line and another plateau. This graph went up and down several times before abruptly dropping off to nothing.

“I’d venture to say it was supremely controlled and limited. And the level generated at the height of the graph is twenty percent higher than anything on record. It was like nothing we have been yet able to record before sir.”

“Interesting. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Please allocate a permanent ten percent to monitor that area. If this happens again we must know.”

“Yes sir. I will make sure it is done sir.”

“And Senior Technician Merakov, initiative is rewarded here. Not many men would have had the courage to interrupt me. You showed good insight into what is important. Keep that up and do not let me down.”

“Yes sir, I won’t sir. Thank you sir.”

 

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