Volume 13, Prelude: On The Move

“So you said there were two masked people? And both of them wearing the exact same mask, like in this picture?” a SIU investigator pulled up the photo on his phone screen.

“Correct, sir. I’m a surveyor for the Crossroads and they sent me out to the outskirts. I was setting up my equipment and noticed that person in the picture walking around. It looked to me like she was scouting out the place,” the witness answered, wincing as he moved his right shoulder.

“You get injured by her too?” the SIU officer adjusted his recorder, moving it closer to the Crossroads surveyor.

“Well, she didn’t touch me, but the ground started shaking. I fell and hit my arm pretty good against the ground. Some of my equipment ended up falling on me too,” he revealed.

“That’s tough. Thanks for your time. I’ll be in contact if we need anything else,” the SIU officer concluded, wrapping up his talk with the man five minutes later.

He provided his contact information to the Crossroads surveyor and departed. He flicked switches inside his patrol car, hearing an incoming distress call. The SIU officer inspected the map, noticing it was close to him. He turned on his siren, rushing over to the location. When the man arrived, a group of Crossroads police officers stood outside a warehouse. They prevented a large crowd of workers from getting near the building.

“Hey, what’s going on?” the SIU officer flashed his badge, making his way to the front.

“Sir, a worker accused of stealing company information has barricaded himself inside. They claim to have rigged explosives on each floor, each one attached to servers and data banks. Everyone evacuated when they made their announcement but now they refused to come out. They’re threatening to blow up the entire place,” the police officer explained.

“Has the special operations force been requested yet?” he adjusted his earpiece.

“They’re arriving in five minutes. One of your officers is already inside, negotiating with the suspect,” the police officer replied.

“What’s their name?” the SIU officer sent in an update to headquarters and browsed the patrol list.

“Started with a R, if I remember. What was it again? Rav, Riv….,” the police officer responded, struggling with recalling the name.

“Rev. He wore a motorcycle helmet and dressed in riding gear too, right?” the SIU personnel checked the incoming message from headquarters.

 “Oh, that’s the one! Kind of a weirdo, if you don’t mind me saying,” the police officer commented, motioning for a worker to step back.

“No, you’re kind of right. Is it okay if head in and check in on him?” the SIU officer pointed at the warehouse entrance.

“If the suspect lets you in, sure. We’re all waiting for your man to confirm if it’s safe or not,” the police officer explained.

“I have an alternate way in. Just give me your okay since you guys are technically in charge here,” the SIU officer said, strapping on a watch.
“You can do whatever you want. The Special Investigations Unit is way above my pay grade,” the police officer said.

The SIU investigator nodded, tapping his watch display. A wave appeared on the top, along with an input box at the bottom. He pulled out a notepad from his back pocket and flipped through it. Inputting a number from one of the pages, the SIU man instantly teleported from his current location to Rev’s.

“Man, you weren’t even worth my time,” Rev hooked his taser back onto his belt.

The senior detective subdued the suspect in two minutes, handcuffing him to an office desk. An alert appeared on his watch and then a fellow SIU officer appeared next to him.

“Richards, didn’t think you were the one who was going to show up,” Rev said, tapping his watch.

“Did you knock out the suspect? You know that’s a violation,” Officer Richards observed.

“Hell no. He was like this when I cuffed him. Probably took something before all of this. Check him,” Rev disputed, pointing at the suspect.

Officer Richards scanned the man’s body with a wand, noticing traces of a banned drug in his system. He showed Rev the results and looked around the room. His main concern was the explosives set up throughout the building. There must be clues somewhere to stop them.

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“Richards, here’s the location of the explosives. I’m gonna take care of our new friend that’s showing up here!” Rev tossed the SIU investigator a ring of flash cards.

Officer Richards saw blueprints and red marks on each card. A glimmer appeared in the center of the room. A masked orc burst out from it, snarling at both men. He referred to the flash cards and dashed off. Rev could handle himself. His job was to take care of the explosives.

The orc swung his large axe down at the SIU detective, leaving a large dent in the floor. His weapon became stuck and the orc roared in anger. Rev ran up the axe handle, headbutting the orc in his mask area. The orc let go of his axe and punched Rev in the stomach.

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“Rev, are you there?” Captain Maka’s voice came in through his embedded communicator within the man’s helmet.

“Ugh… not doing so good right now. You need something, boss?” Rev coughed.

“Richards told me he’s disarming all the explosives. What’s your status?” Captain Maka asked.

“Fighting a big, nasty orc. I want to say it’s from Za’ard, but might be from another dimension. He’s wearing a super fancy mask. Looks like the one that the pretty lady you met wore,” Rev replied.

Rev removed a pair of bracelets from his jacket, strapping it onto both wrists. He rolled away from the orc’s downward punch and twisted his newly equipped accessories. The SIU detective yanked the orc’s weapon out from the ground. He aimed for the orc’s chest, but struck his upper shoulder instead.

“An orc? It’s not too strange to see them around in the Crossroads. Any distinguishing features you can tell me about?” Captain Maka accessed the SIU database.

“Hang on, boss! I’m in a bit of trouble currently,” Rev responded, reaching for his gun.

The orc stomped on the floor multiple times, shaking the ground. The creature’s eyes turned red and he removed the axe from his shoulder. He spun around, swinging the weapon down like a hammer every ten degrees. Rev fired multiple shots but his bullets ricocheted off the axe. The SIU detective switched out his gun for a baton. He flicked the bottom switch and electricity pulsated through it. Dizzy from his rampage, the orc staggered around, releasing his axe again.

“Rev, what’s up with that shaking? I’m seeing cracks in the ceiling!” Officer Richards’ voice came in through another channel.

“Taking care of it right now! Don’t worry! Just keep doing your thing,” Rev assured him, jamming the electrified baton into the orc’s head.

A crack appeared on the orc’s mask. Rev leaped upward, headbutting the orc’s mask again. The orc’s mask finally shattered, revealing a scarred face. The SIU detective plunged his baton into the orc’s stomach, expecting him to fall. Instead, the orc grabbed his baton and flung him into a wall. Rev’s helmet struck the wall hard and he slumped to the floor.

“That didn’t sound good,” Officer Richards commented as he disarmed another explosive.

“I’m fine. This guy’s tougher than I thought. Must be the fault of whoever gave him that mask,” Rev said, standing back up.

The orc, still holding Rev’s baton, cracked it against the SIU detective’s head. Rev, unaffected by the hit, pasted multiple sticky explosives onto the orc’s upper body. He dashed away as they detonated, finally bringing down his opponent. Rev fired five tranquilizer shots, hoping it would be enough. The orc roared one more time before falling asleep. Rev let out a sigh of relief, restraining the orc and shoved him next to the other suspect.  

“Hey, there’s only two-,” Officer Richards informed him before his voice cut off.

Rev reached for his gun again, sensing danger. This was much different than his two previous opponents. A woman, wearing an intricate phantom mask covering the left side of her face, stepped out from a portal. She wore a purple leather coat with ripped dark jeans. The new arrival had her hands in her coat pockets. The woman took slow, deliberate steps toward Rev. He noticed her piercing emerald eyes. It reminded him of the Gatekeeper.

“Rev! Come in! The magic levels have gone crazy over on your side. Give me a status update,” Captain Maka ordered.

“Human woman, looks to be in her early or mid twenties approaching me. She’s wearing a mask covering half her face, looks like the ones in those fancy operas. No hostilities yet, but that’s going to change pretty soon,” Rev reported, waiting for her to make the first move.

“Be careful. If she’s anything like the orange-haired woman, then it’ll be a challenge. I’ll see if I can get backup as soon as possible. Good luck,” Captain Maka said.

Chains appeared, flying towards him. Rev fired shots, but the chains knocked away his projectiles, continuing toward the man. When the chains were centimeters away from the SIU detective, he grabbed them with his gloved hands. The masked woman snapped her fingers and the chains overwhelmed Rev. It cracked his visor and dented the SIU detective’s motorcycle helmet.

Rev reached for his knife, slicing through the chains. Surprise appeared on the woman’s face upon seeing his success at destroying her chains. More chains sprouted up but the SIU detective slashed through them with ease. He arrived at her backside and slapped explosives onto her. Rev rolled away as they detonated. The man anticipated it wouldn’t harm her and prepared for his next attack. The masked woman dashed at him, uninjured by his explosives. She grabbed him by the neck, choking him. Rev tossed a grenade onto the floor. Smoke filled the room and the masked woman collapsed to the ground. The SIU detective escaped her grasp, reaching for his taser. When the smoke cleared, the masked woman vanished. In her place was a masquerade invitation card.

“Boss, she’s gone, but she did leave behind a little present for us,” Rev reported, switching out his current pairs of gloves for standard crime scene ones, before picking up the card.

Half an hour later, the Special Investigations Unit took over the crime scene. Captain Maka lifted up the evidence bag containing the card into the air. It was similar in appearance to the previous one. Rev, his motorcycle helmet off, received a check-up from their medical team.

“You said you would never take that thing off,” Captain Maka commented.

“I didn’t have a choice. That woman could have done some weird magical stuff to it. Needed to make sure everything is all clear. Any leads?” Rev handed his helmet over to a technician.

“Nothing so far. Everything’s been a dead end. It’s really annoying,” Captain Maka answered.

“Looking good, Rev,” Officer Richards joined their conversation.

“Good job with those explosives, Richards,” Captain Maka praised.

“Just doing my job, sir!” Officer Richards saluted.

“No need to be so formal. What’s your thoughts on the woman you faced?” Captain Maka pulled out his notebook.

“A Tess rip-off. She was using chains, but they were easy to cut through. I’m guessing whoever is behind all of this hasn’t perfected her powers yet,” Rev said, removing the bandages from his hands.

“What about her physical moves?” Captain Maka wrote down Rev’s answers.

“She never tried them. Her mask must be unstable, unlike the other ones we’ve seen so far,” Rev speculated, re-wrapping his fingers with new bandages.
Captain Maka noticed a message on his phone. He read through it and sighed. There was movement in the Crossroads again related to the orange-haired woman. She was quite brazen.

“Rev, you’re on assignment. I’ll message you details when you’re on your way there. Richards, follow me,” Captain Maka instructed.

Rev nodded, exiting the building. He whistled and a motorcycle pulled up. Strapping on the helmet in the rear storage, he rode off to his next case.

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