Six Seekers Over the City: A Trouble Team Adventure

Fiction Friday A Cityscape Maybe

The golden form of Exemplar shot toward the sky, pursued by a half dozen Seeker Missiles. The night breeze smeared the exhaust plumes of the missiles and blended them with his gleaming contrail that twisted and looped toward the hills that ringed the city.

Gecko the Great would have been struck by the beauty if he weren’t so focused on not being flung into a deep ravine from the roof of the Trouble Truck. Bee Sharp had the VW Microbus blasting down the narrow dirt trail as fast as she dared and the only things that kept it from disaster were her astonishingly-good driving skills and her expansive vocabulary of curse words. The sharp clap of an explosion caused Gecko to look back. Examplar had somehow gotten a couple of the missiles to run into each other, but he was still outnumbered four to one. Against regular missiles, those were bad odds; against Seekers, he was in real trouble. Gecko detached his hand from the roof and banged on it with his fist. “Come on, Bee! Get us there!”

She stuck her head out the window, her frizzy hair blown straight back. “Shut up, lizard boy! You want to die now or later when I stab you in the throat?” He would have answered except that the Trouble Truck jerked hard around a turn. The tires hissed and popped over the hardpan. Gecko flattened himself against the roof and said a quick prayer.

Above them, Exemplar led the missiles on a roundabout path away from the city. He dared not get too far ahead of them, although he could have. If he did, the missiles would go into free flight and hit anything, including something occupied by innocent people. Though The Controllers were officially law enforcement, they seemed not to care much about protecting life or property. Their remit was to kill or detain anyone who exhibited even a hint of a metahuman ability by any means necessary. If they occasionally hurt a bystander, well, they had pockets plenty deep enough to pay generous death benefits and national media willing to give them the softest of treatments. Gecko has never seen six Seeker missiles in flight before. The Controllers wanted Exemplar dead.

“Get ready,” she shouted over the whine of the over-stressed motor. He got up on all fours and shouted back “Yeah! Yeah! Go, Baby!” just as she jammed on the brakes. The van screamed and skidded, launching him into a somersault that might have broken bones if he hadn’t been Gecko the Great. He landed on his feet, already in a dead run toward an oddly-colored boulder. He yanked on a tree branch that was in reality a handle attached to a chain and the boulder swung up with a loud creak. Bee Sharp was close behind him, having brought the Trouble Truck to a halt so abrupt she’d have to replace the brake pads before they took it out again. She ran into the opening and, after 15 seconds or so, came out with a blunt grey tube that she rested on her shoulder and pointed to the sky.

Gecko moved from behind her. “Will that work?” he asked, his eyes on the ballet in the skies, closer to them by the second. She shot him a withering side-eye. “Silly white boy,” she said and toggled a switch. A small rocket chunked out of the tube then streaked toward Exemplar and the remaining missiles.

For a moment, Gecko thought the little rocket was going to hit Exemplar right on the nose. He should have known better. At the very last second, the golden-clad hero darted straight up in a turn no man-made object could hope to make. The rocket struck one of the missiles right on its nose instead. It detonated and the shrapnel from the explosion set off the second Seeker then the third. The explosions nearly deafened them both and caused them, just for a moment, to lose sight of the last Seeker. Bee caught sight of it exiting the cloud of debris and leaped behind a nearby boulder and shouted “DOWN!” Gecko dove the other way, grabbed the trunk of a nearby tree, and held on for dear life.

The Seeker, bereft of a live target, found the only source of heat it could — the Trouble Truck. It struck the back of the van, severed the entire back end, then detonated. The flash and explosion disoriented Gecko for a moment. He opened his eyes to see the front axle bound past him and clang against the hillside. Debris whirred past, thudded into nearby trees, and took chunks off of rocks. Exemplar landed in front of the remains of the van, now a smoking crater, and ran for where Bee Sharp had taken refuge.

She came around the boulder yelling. “Do not doubt my skills! DO NOT DOUBT,” and hugged Exemplar so hard he actually rocked back. Gecko the Great detached himself from the tree trunk, and winced at a couple of metal fragments embedded in the wood barely an inch from his shoulder. Exemplar smiled at him over Bee’s embrace and said, in his warm baritone, “Never for a second, Bee. Never in my life.”

“Six Seekers. Six! Are you freaking kidding me?” Gecko shook his head. “They wanted you obliterated. You…or anything.”

Bee Sharp let got of the hug and answered before Exemplar could speak. “They’re rattled, Geck. My Pop says there’s a new guy in charge and we’re at the top of the Mission Statement.”

Exemplar looked back over his shoulder at the city at night. A few spotlights stabbed into the sky from the highest buildings, but he couldn’t see any pursuit. For now. “Well, fine. So…what now?”

Bee smiled. “Make more trouble. We’re the Trouble Team, aren’t we? But we have to be smarter now or they’re going to hurt other people just trying to get us. Oh, and obviously we need a new Trouble Truck.” She motioned toward the still-smoking wreckage.

“Damn,” Gecko said, with more than a trace of sadness. “My Frampton tape was in there!”

I knew when I wrote about them not quite a year ago that I’d come back to the Trouble Team, the plucky trio of superheroes fighting against a bureaucracy desperate to bring them to conformity. I like these guys, even though I’ve not quite figured out where and when they belong. Perhaps the 80s, somewhere out west? I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t matter.

This is my attempt to write an action scene. I hadn’t intended on going quite as long as I did, but apparently this is where my writer brain wanted to take me and, as I haven’t written a story in almost a month, the writer brain felt a bit pent up. I guess. So I followed along and wrote what I saw. In this case, I saw the end of the Trouble Truck. Whether this is the first Trouble Truck or one of many I’ve yet to determine. My writer brain doesn’t often divulge the deep back-story of the tales it shows me. Stupid writer brain.

Today’s story is also quite a bit longer than the challenge actually allows. Of course, since I set up the challenge, I also get to break it on occasion, but only in a good cause. Perhaps you’ll agree that turning a rather placid cityscape into a rollicking action scene with missiles and a VW microbus is a good cause.  If not, you can still jump in with a story of your own. Just head over, check out the prompt and see what you can do there in 100 words!