Interlude: The Gray Lion I – A Chance Encounter

Lynx

Looking around the apartment, it was cramped, but had large windows, and room enough for one person. As a first place, I could do worse, I thought. The curtains were a nice yellow, though the floor was covered in a hideous green carpet. It had utilities, and a small kitchen. It would do for me, until I could afford something better.

I walked out of the apartment, shaking hands with the real estate agent. He held the signed contract behind his back, as if afraid I would try and take it and rip it up. I smiled warmly at him, happy to have arranged where I was going to live after moving out of my mom’s house. I was going to move to Broadripple, the city near the suburb where I lived, and I was dreading it as much as it excited me. Here, I could fight more crime, help more people. I could live, independent, finally an adult.

I walked out of the apartment building, into the noisy, bustling city, and began the walk back to the train station. Suddenly, to my front and right, I heard a gunshot. Looking around, I saw an alleyway, and stepped into it, removing my shoes and putting them in my backpack as I shifted. In half form, I leapt up the alleyway walls, digging in with my claws until I was on the roof, running directly towards the origin of the sound. Leaping over the gaps between rooftops, I saw it, a jewellery store with a body outside, being dragged in by a masked man.
I dropped down silently, landing on the man’s shoulders, driving him to the floor and knocking him unconscious, twisting as I fell to face the door. Inside were a few rich looking people huddled on the floor, and two armed men. One saw me, and as he shouted to his friend, I leapt on him, trapping his gun between us and roaring in his face. He trembled as I threw him to the floor, only to stagger backwards as the tiny explosion of noise signalled my wound. The remaining robber had managed to shoot me, and I snarled, tackling him to the ground. I slammed his head against the floor, hard, and picked him up, dumping him on the conscious robber, who seemed paralyzed by fear. Stepping out, I grabbed the third robber, dragging him into the store as I heard the alarm get set off. I dropped him on the pile, before turning to face the store owner.

“Hey. I’m going to wait until the police get here, make sure they get into custody alright.” I said, as I chucked their weapons behind the counter. “Did they hurt any of the customers, do anything else?”

“No… No, they didn’t. They just came in here, shouting. One of my customers… The… The woman outside. She ran… The tall one… He just, shot her, no warning. Is she ok?” The portly gentleman asked, worry staining his face with perspiration.

“I’m sorry, no. The gunshot was what I heard, what led me here. Do you need any help getting the merchandise back on the shelves?” I said, gesturing to smashed cases.

The man smiled. “Thank you, you’re too kind.” He said, as he sat down on the counter, running his hands through his thinning hair. I stepped away, picking up scattered jewels and piling them on the counter next to the man. As I moved around the store, I check on the customers for any wounds, but don’t see anything. I picked up this gold ring, and took it over to the growing pile, when I felt a breeze against my fur, and heard a soft breath behind me. Next thing I knew, I was taking a strong right hook to the jaw.

“Metahuman!” I snarl, sweeping my right foot round low as I ducked and turned towards my attacker, intent on taking down the robbers rear guard.

Ravus Decem

Thinker Prime’s final words seemed to echo in my head as I left the museum.

Why don’t you take a break from Boston, go down to a different city for a change?

He was right, of course. Boston, and it’s surrounding towns, held too many bad memories. Still, visiting museums in Broadripple, Connecticut, wasn’t exactly what I called ‘fun’. Even so, it was a nice day. A bit chilly for June, but my lightweight jacket kept me comfortable.

I strolled down the street, enjoying the sights and sounds. It had been almost a month and a half since my powers came out, but I still wasn’t used to being colorblind. To distract myself, I stopped at a food truck and bought a taco.

I’d almost forgotten what real food tastes like. That garbage in the SVRA training facility doesn’t hold a candle to this.

After wolfing it down, I threw away the paper wrapper and turned the corner to walk to the park. I heard a loud boom from behind me. I whirled around, recognizing a gunshot from the training. I sprinted down the block, concentrating on where the shot came from. That’s when I heard a loud roar coming from a couple blocks over.

Holy shit, that wasn’t a gunshot.

Hearing another gunshot, I ran into an alley, and crouched behind a dumpster. I pulled out the plain grey mask I always have to carry, just for these situations.  

Too bad I don’t have the rest of my gear.

I left the alley at a sprint, entering a street with screaming people running away from a store. As I neared, I noticed it was a jewelry store. In the front entrance lay a still body, with a blood stain next to it. Inside the store were several frightened looking civilians, and a pile of three more bodies. What caught my attention though, was the beast.

Standing there with jewelry in his hand was a tall, lean, leonine man covered in tawny fur, with grey stripes. He had a mane stretching down to his vaguely dorky backpack. Immediately, I Moved.

Appearing to the side and slightly behind the villain, I lashed out with my fist, connecting solidly. Quicker than I’d anticipated, the freak spun around, lashing out with his foot.

Should’ve Looked first, I thought as I fell to the ground.

Hitting, I Rushed. Standing up in the still world, I got a close look at the monster. Frozen in mid lunge, his face a snarling mass of furs and whiskers.

No time to waste, the ten seconds is almost up. Noise climaxed in my ears and the world started, just before I hit him in the face again. When my fist connected, I Looked-10 seconds. The beast rolls with the punch, spinning around and palming me in the neck. He follows with two quick strikes to the chest, propelling me back with a crunch- and ducked under his outstretched arm. Grabbing his wrist with my hand, I pulled him off balance. Surprised, he fell right into my swiftly rising knee, winded.

“Get out of here!” I yelled to the stunned civilians.

Not wanting to waste the moment, I Moved behind him and Pushed him off balance with telekinesis. I reached down and picked a gun up off the glass covered floor.

“Freeze, asshole. You’re under arrest!” I shouted. He slowly turned around and saw me pointing the gun at him.

“Arrest? Say’s the guy helping these thugs kill people and rob this store?”

“What the hell are you talking about? You’re the robber.”

“Excuse me? I just STOPPED these guys, you idiot.”

“No you didn’t, I stopped you from robbing the store.”

“Seriously? Listen to me, I just came in here, took down three second rate burglars, and disarmed them. Where do you think I got this GUNSHOT WOUND!” he yelled, gesturing at his bloody stomach.

I sagged, and lowered the gun a fraction as the reality of the situation sunk in. “Oh fuck me. Wait, there’s only two guys here!”

“Seriously. You idiot, come in here, guns figuratively blazing, and let the fucking killers that I caught loose on the streets.” he snarled violently, his fists bunching as he stepped towards me.

“Oh fuck!” I yelled, and spun around around, running out the door.

Lynx

“You idiot, you come in here, guns figuratively blazing, and let the fucking killers that I caught loose on the streets.” I snarled violently, my fists bunching as I stepped towards him.

“Oh fuck!” he yelled, and spun around, running out of the door.

I leapt forward, clasping my hand on his shoulder as tried to get out. I let my claws dig in out of frustration, not some twisted sense of malicious glee at getting my hands on the man who sucker punched me.

“Listen, idiot. You teleport, right? How is that useful if you don’t know where he’s running too. Get back, and keep an eye on the unconscious ones. You have some authority, I assume? Trying to arrest me and all that. Good, sort things out with the police while I track our runner. Shouldn’t be too hard, he reeks of fear.” I grinned, letting myself flow into a more bestial state, a large cat, loose on the streets.

He mumbled something suspiciously like “Fucking asshole,” before turning around to inspect the bodies.

I stepped out, padding softly forwards and sniffing the sidewalk, ignorant and uncaring of the looks of fear and concern from passers by. Catching the scent of the robber, I sprinted forward, twisting lithely through the crowds that he barreled through.

The crowd soon began making way for me as I rushed after the fugitive. I caught sight of him, walking away and looking over his shoulder. He saw me too, and began sprinting. I spread my teeth in a leonine smile, snarling as I jumped onto the wall for half a second to get round a particularly obstinate group. And nearly into an annoying, interfering jackass, with a stupid little mask!

“Rrrrrrrowl!” I screeched, trying to talk before remembering myself. I shifted upwards, grabbing his jacket to balance myself as I entered half cat form. I shook him roughly “I told you to stay behind, you insufferable moron!” I yelled, momentarily forgetting the running criminal. And my complete nakedness.

“Down Kitty! Wait, naked Kitty?” He smirked an annoying smile, “What’s up with the, um, backpack but no pants?”

“Well, SOMEONE let my prisoner loose!” I yelled. “The other form is faster. I had to catch up somehow.” I growled, shifting back to all fours as I left the stupid conversation. I resumed the chase with the prisoner, closing the distance fast. All the while I was aware of the breezes caused by the stupid teleporter with his stupid teleporting. I internally seethed over his sucker punch.

Roaring, I let my frustrations loose on the robber, my claws tearing into his back as I drove him into the pavement. I turned as I felt a hand on my shoulder, snarling into the face of the masked boy. Relenting, I moved off the fugitive, letting the other boy support him as we began to walk towards the jewelry store.

 

The next day, I came downstairs early for breakfast, grabbing the paper from the front doormat on my way to the kitchen. On the front page, I saw a snippet of an article about a jewellery store robbery, continued on page 4.

Witnesses report a large, cat-like metahuman defending the store owner and his stock, taking the three robbers down in seconds. Another metahuman got involved, apparently under the impression that the bestial saviour was the criminal. While the two metahumans engaged in a brief scuffle, one of the robbers tried to escape, only to be chased down the street by both metahumans working in concert with one another. Together, they quickly took down the criminal, and returned him to the store, to await the Police for arrest. At this point, the SVRA claimed responsibility for one of the metahumans, naming a new Agent, Ravus Decem. The other, a currently nameless vigilante hero, has been dubbed ‘Lynx’, and has been seen several times outside of Broadripple.

I smiled and closed the paper. Lynx. I like it.