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Chronicles of the Die Force

Chronicles of the Die Force - Issue 3: Save Vs Death

                Black smoke bellowed from the apartment block in Bronze Way as the building was burning. At the entrance, on her knees through exhaustion, surround by advancing Carnies, was Dee Four. Her clothes were torn and tattered from the combat that had exhausted her. Now, on her knees, betrayed by her mentor, her home ablaze, she didn’t have the strength to fight any further.

 “Don’t worry sweetie, we’ll make it quick.” Remarked one of the Carnies as she prepared to strike the back of Dee Four’s neck with a sai.

                Raising the sai into the air briefly she brought it down hard. A glint of light and a clash of metal later and a shining silver katana had stopped the sai just before it pierced Dee Four’s neck.

 “Oh I don’t think so.” Holding the sword was a man with ash black shoulder length hair, his open black jacket blowing in the wind showing a white T-shirt. He flicked the sai away from the Carnies grip before pulling the sword back and tilting it, he then trust the sword upward in the Carnies shoulder making her scream in pain.

 “Now why don’t you girls run along, before the heroes in the building get down here and things get REALLY ugly.” The man yanked the katana from the Carnies shoulder.

                Without saying a word the Carnies leapt into the air and vanished. As the man sheathed his katana several heroes exited the building through various doors and windows carrying or leading civilians out of the burning building. The man knelt down and put his arm on Dee Four’s back.

 “Are you okay?”

 “No.” She replied quietly, tears stealthily running from her eyes. She rose to her feet stepping forward at the same time. Her direction fixed on the entrance of the building.

 “Where are you going?”

 “I have to get something from my apartment.” She replied opening the door, a wave of heat that had already reached the ground floor washing over her.

 “But the fire…”

 “Even if it could hurt me, I wouldn’t care.” Dee Four vanished into the building as the man stood dumbfounded. Soon several airborne heroes equip with fire extinguisher backpack arrived and started to fight the blaze.

                Walking to the emergency stairwell Dee Four stood on the middle of the winding stairs and looked up. Bending her legs she tensed her muscles and leaping upward. After several floors she caught and railing and hopped over it arriving at the floor where her apartment was situated. Opening the fire door she stepped into the burning corridor. She walked through the flame paying no attention to them. They licking and rubbed themselves against her body as she walked but they did nothing to her clothes or her resolve. Arriving at her home she could see the door was left open, swinging on a single hinge. With one hand she tore the door off its remaining hinge and threw it to the flames in the corridor. Accepting the wood door the fire grew around it, burning slightly brighter. The apartment, which was obviously the start of the fire, was unrecognisable. Dee Four looked at it in sadness, the flames reflected in her teary eyes. She walked through the burning apartment to her room. Like the rest of the apartment it was a blaze. She stood watching her life being destroyed in a wave of red and orange.

                Snapping out of her daze Dee Four walked over to her bed and with one hand flipped it over, revealing some fortunately still untouched items. She reached down and picked up and thin white cardboard box, looking relived that it had so far survived the fire. Placing the box under her arm, she walked back through the house grabbing a wooden chair from a mini dining table. She span round and launched the chair at a window. Several heroes, including the person who had saved Dee four from the Carnies looked up as the chair flew from the building followed by Dee Four holding the box.

                The chair smashed apart at it hit the ground. Dee Four struck the floor hard on her feet, but as she rose from a landing position it was obviously the fall had been nothing to her and she was okay. She looked at the box before looking round at the person who had saved her.

 “What’s your name?” She asked.

 Leon.” He replied. Dee Four turn back around.

 “Thank you Leon.” Dee Four then ripped her vest jacket from her body, it was so badly damaged that it was a surprise it had remained on her for so long.

 “You’re welcome.” Dropping the remains of the jacket, Dee Four took a step forward and leapt into the air away from the scene.

                Having rented a motel room until she could find a new apartment the hero known as Dee Four stood in a shower, washing away the dirt and grime her body had amassed during the day. Though the running water was masking her tears, the sound of the shower failed to hide Dee Four’s crying. Her back to the wall she slid down to the bottom of the shower balling herself up as she cried. She was alone, for the first time since taking up the mantle of hero, she was without her mentor. When she finally emerged from the bathroom wrapped in towels she looked at the white box that lay on the bed. The only thing she has saved from the fire, the only thing she had WANTED to be saved. Finally she removed the lid from the box revealing the contents. It was a hero costume. Or to be more accurate, it was Dee Six’s white and red starburst costume.

                This was a special outfit that had cost Dee Four a lot of money. It was made by Serge at Icon. The material was one size fits all. It was super durable and most importantly it was actually slightly armoured. Dee Four had saved up and had this made as a gift to Dee Six to celebrate the day that Dee Six had offered to train Dee Four. Now however it was the only thing she had. Dee Four pulled it from the box, there was only one reason she had saved it.

                That night, standing atop the highest building of Steel Canyon, wearing the former gift, Dee Four looked over the small section of Paragon contained within the war walls. Raising a new pair of sleek sunglasses, these were coloured red and white to match her new outfit, she slid the glasses over her eyes.

 “I guess there’s no more side-kick, no more Die Force. I am Dee Four, hero, and my first mission…” Dee Four paused, she didn’t want to do it but she knew she had to. “My first mission: To take down my mentor… to bring Dee Six to justice, and may whatever gods are up there forgive me.”

 

                Dee Four know she was in a race against time. She knew that the sooner she arrested Dee Six, the less time she would have to commit crimes. She was however, without a lead to the Elvin healer’s location. Because of this she started her search on Peregrine Island in the dirtiest most out of the way bar she could fight. She walked up to the door of the bar. It was more of a speak easy with a password entrance, a place for criminals and thugs to lay low from hero and police patrols. She knocked sternly on the door. Though the door had a metal frame it had two large wooden panels for its centre. A small rectangular panel slid across reveal a set of eyes. The owner of the eyes looked at Dee Four but the lack of light gave away nothing save her silhouette.

 “Password.” Said the bouncer abruptly.

 “Duck.” Replied Dee Four.

 “Wrong, go away.” The bouncer closed the slider shut just before a fist fired through the wood and struck the bouncer hard knocking him unconscious. Wrenching the panel from the door Dee Four was able to look round and undo the lock of the door. She opened it and looked at the bouncer on the floor.

 “I told you to duck.” She remarked before descending a set of stone stairs leading to the bar.

                As she entered the dark pit that was the bar a silence fell over its inhabitants as they all looked at the young heroine.

 “What’s a cape doing here?”

 “I thought they’d have more brains.” Remarked two voices from the back of the bar.

 “I’ve come for information!” Remarked Dee Four loud enough so everyone could here. “I’m looking for someone; they’re working with the Carnies.” A burly man stood up from the table closest to Dee Four.

 “You really expect us to tell anything to a scrawny little wannabe like you?” The man went to push Dee Four back but she grabbed his hand and without moving anything but her arm twisted the man arm around and sent him to his knees.

 “I’ve been having a VERY bad day today, and I’m looking to vent some anger. Give me what I want and I’ll vent it on the Carnies…” Dee Four twisted the arm a little bit more and jerked it downward applying more pressure. “Don’t give me what I want, and I’ll be venting anger on your faces.” The flame falchion grew into Dee Four’s free hand. “Now, what will it be?”

                Instantly several men charged towards her. She kicked away the man at her mercy and made a long swipe with her sword. Three of the men fell, holding freshly made stomach wounds. Kicking another to the floor her sword vanished to allow her to hit another thug with a flame covered punch that knocked him back against the bar.

 “I’m not in the mood to care about what state I leave this place in.” Dee Four remarked angrily. “Now is someone going to tell me what I want to know? Or do I populate the local hospital!” The barman walked out from behind the bar.

 “We don’t get many Carnies here, although there was a few in here this morning boasting about some plot to turn a cape over to their side.”

 “That it?”

 “No, Carnies have a habit of blabbing too much information. They said they were setting up something for the cape to do once they turned her. They said it was in the one of the warehouses in the docks to the east.”

 “See, not so hard is it.” Without another word Dee Four turned and left, leaving the beaten thugs to recover.

 “Why’d you tell her?” Asked one of the injured thugs as he struggled to get to his feet.

 “It makes no difference, they’re not way she alone can take on the Carnival of Shadows.”

                Hopping from rooftop to rooftop Dee Four raced to the warehouse district. It didn’t take her long to find a clue to the correct warehouse. All of them were guarded by Nemesis soldiers apart from one, the door to which was guarded by two Bronze Strongmen. Dee Four attacked from above dropping onto one strong man heavily before launching off him and striking the second with her great sword. The mask of the second rolled along the ground, both guards now lying unconscious on the floor. Dee Four then calmly entered the warehouse.

                This was obviously a Carnie run warehouse circus music assaulted Dee Four’s ears from the PA system. White flames surrounded Dee Four as she raised her flame shield. She had no patience of subtlety today.

 “Sink or swim, do or die!” She remarked as she summoned forth her falchion and ran forward in the warehouse. Walls, crates, steps, even doors. Each was a platform of attack for Dee Four and she ploughed through the patrolling Carnies. Few got off an attack while the one that did were unable to hit the young powerhouse. Finally after mowing through the warehouse she came to a large storeroom. Dropping the unconscious Attendant in her hand, she walked into the large room. It was lavishly decorated with colourful banners and large representations of the masks of power worn by the members of the Carnival of Shadows. It was her she heard it, a laugh that while now much more sinister, was eternally familiar.