Ryan dashed across the lab as the beam left the gun, and it became a race to see who could make it to Jordan first. Ryan dove at Jordan and managed to knock him out of the ray’s trajectory. The two of them crashed to the ground and the beam collided with a chair that was sitting in its path and the chair burst into flames. Ryan looked at the burning chair and then back at Jordan and growled, “You idiot! That could have been you! What were you thinking?”
Jordan struggled to push Ryan off of him and growled back, “This city needs a hero, and if you won’t do it, than I’m going to have to. Get off of me; I need to mix up another batch of that formula and try again.”
Ryan stared at Jordan in disbelief for a second before he punched him in the face. Blood trickled from Jordan’s nose as he stared at Ryan in shock. Ryan shook his head and said, “You have to give up on this superhero thing. It’s done. If you keep on like this you’re just going to kill yourself and rob the world of one of the greatest minds it has ever known.”
Jordan sighed and said, “Get off of me, I have to put that fire out before it sets the alarm off.”
Ryan helped Jordan up to his feet and smiled. “Guess what happened after the game today? A scout from the Botay Boars said that if I play well next week, I’m pretty much guaranteed to be drafted by them. Who knows what other teams might compete over me?”
Jordan pulled the fire extinguisher off of the wall and sprayed the fire. He replied sarcastically, “That’s just great, Ryan. Maybe the gangs will leave the football stadiums alone and you’ll actually get to play in them someday.” The chair continued to smoke once the fire was out, and Jordan hung the fire extinguisher back up on the wall. “If that’s all you wanted to tell me, I have some calculations to go over.”
Ryan sighed, “Jordan, won’t you please give this up?”
Jordan was about to reply when there was a knock at the door. Both of the boys turned their heads to see Lieutenant Jacob standing in the doorway. “Is this a bad time?”
Jordan spared Ryan a glance and shook his head. “Not at all, what can I do for you today, Lieutenant Jacob?”
Lieutenant Jacob entered the room and spared the smoldering chair a glance and shrugged. “I just stopped by to check how those new uniforms you were designing for us were coming along. With all the craziness going on in the city, we’d like to have our officers protected as best as we can.”
Jordan nodded his head. “I’ve been a bit distracted lately, but I do have most of them done. I can have the last five done for you by Monday though. Are things really as bad in the city as the news it making them look?” Jordan shot Ryan a quick glare before turning his attention back onto Lieutenant Jacob.
Lieutenant Jacob shook his head. “Keep this between us, but we haven’t allowed the news to fully report the situation. If people knew just how bad things really were, everyone would panic. Who knows how much damage the city would sustain if that happened. I’ve never been a fan of that Super Morpher guy, but I have to admit that he did do more good than I gave him credit for. Heck, I might even become a fan of his if he would just come back and clean up this mess he left the city in.”
Jordan nodded his head. “I agree. I wish he would stop being a coward and come back; the city needs a hero to protect it.”
Ryan flinched as if he had been slapped in the face, but before he could respond a distorted voice was projected from Lieutenant Jacob’s radio. “Greetings to all in Leforn City. I’m sure that many of you have noticed the rise in crime over the past week. This is a result of the Super Morpher’s cowardly disappearance. It is in the city’s best interest if he were to return, so here is his ultimatum: either appear on the front steps of city hall before noon on Monday, or all the gangs in the city will attack. I promise you that if the Super Morpher does not show up as directed, this city will be destroyed and its population reduced to nothing. I urge you therefore to encourage the Super Morpher to return if you know who he is. Don’t disappoint us, hero.”
Lieutenant Jacob’s eyes opened wide and he stared at his radio in shock. “Is this guy for real? Jordan, I’m going to need the uniforms that you have ready right away, and if you can get the rest to us as soon as you can, we’d appreciate it. We’re going to have to call in the Zimmdaran guard in case the Super Morpher is a no show.”
Jordan jumped from his seat and grabbed two cardboard boxes from a different table. “Of course, I’ll do my best to get the uniforms to you Monday morning at the latest.”
Lieutenant Jacob took the boxes from Jordan and hurried toward the door. Ryan watched him leave, and once he was sure that he wouldn’t overhear, Ryan hesitantly said, “I guess I have no choice now; it’s time for the Super Morpher to return.”
Jordan smiled excitedly and pulled open one of the drawers on his desk and grabbed something. He eagerly ran across the room and thrust the object into Ryan’s hands. “I was hoping to hear you say that. Go ahead, put it back on.”
Ryan looked down at what Jordan had given him and saw the watch that would give him his suit. Ryan gave Jordan a weak smile and pushed the watch back into Jordan’s hands. “I was hoping that you would make me a new uniform. I want this one to have a white handprint in the middle of the chest, and your new utility belt that you had made for me.”
Jordan accepted the watch back and nodded his head slowly. “Sure, I can make those changes for you, but why do you want the handprint added?”
Ryan looked down at the palm of his hand. “I can turn into whatever I touch with the palm of my hand, so that’s the source of my powers. I want to turn that into a symbol that will represent me and give the people hope whenever they see it.”
Jordan smiled and nodded his head. “I should be able to have that done by tomorrow morning if I pull an all nighter.”
Ryan nodded his head. “That’s fine, I have some things I need to take care of before I go to city hall anyway. I’ll bring you by some coffee later.”
Ryan walked down the hall of the school toward the coaches office, and waved at the other students that called out their congratulations on the game and how excited they were to see him back on the team. He was about to go from the beloved football player to the most hated kid in his school. He wished that he had never given up being the Super Morpher in the first place. At least back then people were just upset with him for quitting the team.
He wondered if he could put off telling his parents about him quitting again for a couple of weeks. That was a conversation that he wasn’t looking forward to having. His dad would probably disown him or drag him home or something, and he could already feel his mother’s guilt trip coming. There had to be some benefit for him choosing the hero’s life over the football star’s, right?
Ryan took a deep breath and knocked on the door to his coach’s office. “Come in!”
Ryan pushed the door open and stepped inside. The coach looked up and smiled at Ryan. “There’s my star player! What can I do for you?”
Ryan cleared his throat and looked away from the coach’s desk. “I just wanted to thank you for give me another opportunity to join the team. Unfortunately something has come up and I’m going to have to quit again.”
The coach stared at Ryan in shock for a moment, his mouth working soundlessly. After a few moment’s he started laughing. “Good one, Ryan. You really had me going there for a second. What did you really want to talk about?”
Ryan shrank under his coaches stare. “I’m sorry, but that was what I needed to talk to you about.”
The coach shook his head. “Do you have any idea how much this team struggles when you aren’t there, or how unheard of it was that I let you rejoin the team, or have your starting position back? You aren’t quitting this team again, son. No, you’ll be at practice Monday afternoon if one of the assistant coaches has to drag you there. Do you understand me?”
Ryan stood up straight and stared the coach down. “Do you think this is an easy choice for me to make? Do you think I would be quitting this game I love to play, or throwing away my chance to play in the pros if it wasn’t for an important reason? I am quitting this team, and there isn’t anything you can do to stop me.”
The coach looked at Ryan shocked, and finally said, “At least tell me why you’re quitting. Maybe I can help.”
Ryan shook his head. “It’s a personal matter, and you couldn’t help me even if it wasn’t. Good bye, coach, good luck on the rest of the season.” Ryan turned and walked out of the office.
Ryan stood in the hallway of Becky’s apartment building and nervously knocked on the door. This was going to be harder to do than quitting the football team was. He wished he could put this off for a while yet, but he knew that in order for him to have a chance of getting Kari to agree to be his girlfriend, he was going to have to end it sooner or later. What better time to wipe his slate clean and start over than when he was resurrecting the Super Morpher? He just hoped that Becky wouldn’t cry. He wasn’t sure if he could say no if she cried.
Samantha pulled the door open and saw Ryan standing in the hallway. She glared at him and said, “You haven’t been around much lately. Come to kick me out?”
Ryan shook his head. “No, I just need to talk to Becky, I promise that I won’t be here long.”
Samantha looked at Ryan suspiciously and opened the door completely to allow him inside. “She’s in her bedroom.”
Ryan walked into the apartment and looked hesitantly at Becky’s bedroom door. He walked across the carpet and knocked on Becky’s door. Becky’s voice was muffled by the door when she called out, “Who is it?”
Ryan cleared his throat and responded, “It’s Ryan, Becky.”
Ryan heard pounding on the other side of the door moments later and the door flew open to reveal a smiling Becky. “Ryan! I’m so glad to see you! Great job in the game today!”
Ryan weakly returned her smile. “Hi, Becky. I need to talk to you about something.” He glanced over at Samantha who was glaring at him. “Can we talk inside of your room for a little bit?”
Becky smiled and backed up to let Ryan in and closed the door behind him. “What is it that you wanted to talk about, Ryry?” She smiled deviously at him, “Or was that just a ploy to get us alone for a bit?”
Ryan sat down on Becky’s bed and sighed. “There is no easy way to say this, but I think that we should see other people.”
Becky looked at Ryan in shock and tears formed in her eyes. “You’re breaking up with me? But why?”
Ryan looked away from her and swallowed hard. “Things were just moving too fast between us.”
Tears ran down Becky’s cheek and she said, “We can slow down if you want. You don’t have to move in with me, I just thought it would be nice for you to be around more. Please don’t do this, Ryan! I’ll do anything you want, just don’t break up with me!”
Tears formed in Ryan’s eyes. “I’m really sorry, Becky. You deserve a better guy than me, someone that will have more time to spend with you. I should go.”
Ryan got off of the bed and Becky reached out and grabbed his hand. “Ryan, please don’t go. We can work this out. I’ve been too clingy, I can change! Please, don’t leave me.”
Ryan pulled his hand free and opened the door. “I’m sorry, Becky, it’s over.” Becky fell to the floor sobbing as she watched Ryan walk out of the apartment.
Samantha rushed over to Becky’s side and embraced her. “Don’t worry, Becky, it’ll be alright. We’ll make him pay for thinking he can leave you like that.”
Saul opened the door to Spider’s office and allowed a woman to walk into the room. He followed her in and cleared his throat. “Spider, Miss Bolle is here to see you, as you requested.”
The Spider turned his chair so that he was facing Lori and smiled. “Ah, nice to see you again, my dear. Have you been having much success in the mercenary business of late?”
Lori returned the smile and strode across the room. “I have been quite busy, seems that there is always someone who would like someone else out of their way.” She sat down in a chair facing the Spider and rested her right leg over her left as she lounged back. “You didn’t ask me here to talk about my business, so get to the point. My time is very valuable.”
Saul rushed forward and glared at Lori. “Have some care when you speak, this is the Spider you are talking to!”
Spider raised his hand. “It’s fine, Saul. As you may have heard, a new hero has appeared in my city and has been interrupting my business.”
Lori gave Spider a sly smile. “Ah, yes, the Super Morpher. He seems to have some interesting abilities. Killing him would prove to be quite the thrill.”
The Spider shook his head. “Kill him? Why ever would I want him dead? Men with talents like his are extremely valuable.”
Lori rose up from her chair and sighed. “I’m an assassin, not a recruiter. If you want to hire him perhaps you should try talking to him yourself.”
The Spider frowned. “Please be seated, Miss Bolle. I haven’t gotten to the reason why I requested your services.” Lori sat back down hesitantly. “Being a woman of particular talents, I feel that you would be best suited to discover his identity for me.”
An intrigued look came over Lori’s face. “Espionage, that would be a new use for my powers. And how do you suggest I go about discovering his identity?”
The Spider’s frown turned to a smile and the touched the tips of his fingers together. “You can go unnoticed when you want, to be unseen in the middle of a crowd. I want you to follow him and see who he is under his mask. Even if all you can get is a picture of his face my men will be able to track him down.”
Lori smiled and nodded her head. “I see, once you know who he is you can threaten his loved ones.”
The Spider nodded his head. “Exactly. Once I know how to best hurt him, he will have no choice but do everything I say. Just like Saul here; he knows that if he even thinks of disobeying me it will cost a member of his family their life. You can’t buy loyalty this strong, but you sure can blackmail someone for it!” Saul stiffened and his hands formed into fists and he started breathing heavily, but he didn’t move from where he was standing.
Lori laughed, “Oh, you are a devious one. I’ll do this for you, but it is going to cost you. Just because it’s not an assassination doesn’t mean that it’s free.”
The Spider laughed and shook his head. “I didn’t expect you to do it for free, my dear. Saul, show her the briefcase.” Saul walked over to the side of the Spider’s desk and set it down in front of Lori. He opened it up to reveal stacks of hundred dollar bills. “Ten thousand dollars if you can find out the Super Morphers identity for me.”
Lori looked at the money for a few moments and pushed the lid closed on the brief case. “This will do for a down payment. I’ll expect three times as much once the job is completed.”
Saul lifted his hand as if he was going to slap Lori. “Who do you think you are dealing with?”
The Spider held up his hand, “Relax, Saul. The Wraith has the ability to hide herself completely from every sense, people with skills like that don’t come cheap. I accept your proposal, Miss Bole. Now here is what I would like you to do…”
Ryan stood on a roof looking at city hall in his new uniform on Monday. The giant clock that was over the steps of city hall read eleven forty-five. He had sat there staring at the clock for the last half an hour, thinking about what going up those steps would mean. Ryan knew that once he went up those steps, there was no turning back. His life as a football player would be gone forever, and he would only be the Super Morpher. Ryan took a deep breath, and jumped off of the roof to the sidewalk below.
People turned and stared at Ryan as he walked across the street. Excited whispers followed him and Ryan waved to the people he walked past. He walked up to the top step, turned and faced the crowd of people that were gathering below and said, “The Super Morpher has returned.”
The distorted voice said over the speakers hanging from poles across the city, cell phones, and radios, even the radio in Ryan’s suit, “Excellent. I knew that you wouldn’t let me down. There is a limo parked in front of city hall. Get into it or I will order for the attack on the city to begin at once.”
Ryan’s hands formed into a fist and Jordan’s voice came over the radio. “Don’t do it, Ryan. You know it’s got to be a trap, don’t you?”
Ryan whispered back, “I don’t have much of a choice. Even I can’t protect every part of the city at once.” Ryan started down the steps and the crowd parted to let him through. There was a man in a black suit with sunglasses standing next to the limo and he pulled the door open for Ryan. Ryan hesitantly got into the limo and the man closed the door behind him before getting into the driver’s seat. The limo pulled away from the curb and drove into the city.
Two other men dressed the same as the driver sat across from Ryan with their arms crossed. Ryan looked out the window, cleared his throat and asked, “Where are you taking me?”
One of the men answered, “You’ll see soon enough. Our boss wants to have a little chat with you.”
Ryan narrowed his eyes and leaned back into the seat. He kept looking out the window to figure out where they were, and he was surprised to see they were entering the business district of the city. The limo finally stopped in front of an eighty story building with a sign that read “Zimmdara Accounting Experts.” The driver got out and opened the door for Ryan and said, “You get out here.” Ryan slowly started to get out of the limo, and was shoved by one of the other men inside.
Ryan stumbled out and turned to see the two big men get out of the car behind him. One of them walked past Ryan and said, “Please, follow me.” Ryan started walking after the man, but kept looking over his shoulder to check on the other man following him. They led him into an elevator and pushed a button to take Ryan up to the top floor. The elevator ride seemed to take forever and Ryan started to wonder how much it would hurt if he fell down the elevator shaft in case he needed to escape. He desperately hoped he wouldn’t have to find out.
The doors to the elevator finally opened to reveal a hallway covered in a lush red carpet. One of the men walked past Ryan and started down the hallway, and Ryan followed him. The man led Ryan to room at the end of the hallway and opened the door. He indicated that Ryan should enter. Ryan entered into a room with one chair and a table in it. A microphone sat on the table and one wall of the room seemed to be made completely out of mirrors. One of the men said, “Have a seat.” Ryan sat down in the chair and the two men stood behind the chair.
Ryan looked around the room and said, “I’m here, what happens next?”
A distorted voice came out of speakers mounted in the corner near the ceiling. “Thank you for coming today, Super Morpher.”
Ryan snorted. “You would have attacked the city if I hadn’t; I didn’t have much of a choice.”
“Yes, I am sorry for that, but I have a rather important business proposition to discuss with you. You see, you have been causing some problems for me with some of my associates business dealings.”
A confused look came over Ryan’s face. “Business dealings? What are you talking about? I haven’t interfered with any business; I’ve just been fighting the crime in this city.”
The voice replied, “That is the very business I’m speaking of. The criminals in this city work for me, and I can’t have you saving the day anymore. That’s why I would like you to come and work for me.”
Ryan gasped. “I could never do anything like that! I protect the city and its people, I won’t hurt them.”
The distorted voice laughed. “I didn’t expect you to rob banks; no, I knew that a hero like yourself couldn’t be convinced to attack the city that you protect. No, I want you to continue protecting people, me specifically. I will pay you a great deal to be my personal body guard.”
“I can’t just step aside and let this city fall prey to whatever schemes you have for it! I will fight against you, and I will do whatever it takes to bring you and your criminal empire down.”
The voice sighed before continuing. “I was afraid that you would say something like that. Have you already forgotten that I am holding the city hostage? One word from me and the entire city will be destroyed. I know that this is a lot to take in all at once. I’ll tell you what, you go home, think about it, and come back to meet with me again in five days. Give me your answer then. My limo will be waiting for you down below and will take you anywhere you would like to go.”
Ryan stood up out of his chair. “No thanks, I can get home on my own just fine.” The two men in black suits followed Ryan out of the room.
The Spider sat back in his chair and sighed. This hero would have to be difficult, wouldn’t he? He pushed a button next to the microphone on his right and he said, “Wraith, there has been a change of plans. The Super Morpher is going to leave by foot. Get out of the car and follow him. When he takes his mask off I want you to get me a picture of his face!”
Ryan walked out of the front doors of the Zimmdaran Accounting Experts building and shook his head. He knew that whoever this guy was, he had Ryan in a position where he was going to have to do exactly what he wanted. Unless Jordan could come up with some plan to help him not work for this guy and prevent the city from being destroyed. Ryan turned his head to see if any of the guys in suits were watching him, and he saw the two that had escorted him in the limo watching him still. He thought he saw something dressed all in black out of the corner of his eye, but when he turned to look at it, there was nothing there. Ryan scratched his head in confusion, and decided that he should just get out of here while he still could.
Ryan ran across the street and jumped up onto the ladder of a fire escape. He pulled himself up and made his way onto the roof and started his trek across town. He would get a few blocks away and change back into his street clothes. He could go to the library after that and meet with Kari to do some bible study prep. Ryan sighed, it wasn’t exactly his idea of a good time, but at least he would be with Kari. He jumped from the roof he was on to the one of the building next to it and turned to look back at the Zimmdaran Accounting Experts building. Whoever it was that was trying to manipulate him into abandoning the city again could be watching him from one of the windows on the top floor. Ryan shuddered and started running again. He would have to get very far away from that building before he was comfortable with changing out of his uniform.
He made his way toward a tall building not far away. Once Ryan made it to the other side of that building he could change back comfortably knowing that the building would be blocking the view of the other. Ryan made it to the roof of the building he was aiming for and crouched down behind a tall air vent he reached for his watch to change back, but he paused. He felt like someone was watching him. He stood up and looked around the rooftop, but he couldn’t find anyone else there with him. He still couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being watched, so he decided that he would go a little further before changing back.
Ryan ran across the roof and jumped the twenty foot gap to the roof on the other side of the street. Ryan dropped down into a roll once his feet hit the other side and he continued to make his way across town, zig zagging from roof to roof and jumping over three more streets. He stopped and checked his surroundings and felt relaxed. Not only was the Zimmdaran Accounting experts building too far away for him to be anything more than a dot even in the most advanced binoculars, he no longer felt like he was being watched. He breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Jordan, did you hear everything that was going on during that meeting?”
Jordan’s voice replied, “Yeah, I heard. What are you going to do, Ryan?”
Ryan sighed. “I don’t know. I can’t go work for that man, but I can’t let him destroy the city either. I was kind of hoping that you would have some sort of plan for how to get out of this situation.”
Jordan paused a moment and said, “You could try working with the police; if you combined efforts with them you might be able to prevent too much damage from being done to the city.”
Ryan shook his head. “I don’t completely trust the police not to arrest me on sight just yet. Do you have any other ideas?”
Jordan sighed. “No, but I’ll keep working on thinking of a way to get you out of this. Are you heading back to the lab?”
“No, I’m meeting Kari in the library to prep for her bible study.”
“Okay, I’ll see you back in the dorm later tonight then.”
Ryan grinned. “Going to try getting some sleep for a change? What’s the big occasion?”
Jordan grutned, “It’s a Monday, everyone knows you should try and get between ten and twelve hours of sleep on a Monday. Go have fun with Kari.”
Ryan chuckled and pressed the button on the side of his watch to change back into his street clothes. He made his way down to the street and got onto a bus heading back toward campus.
Lori dropped down to her knees and pulled her black mask off of her face, her breath came in quick deep gasps as she watched Ryan land on a rooftop on the other side of the street. There was no way that she would be able to make that jump, so unless he changed back on that roof she had failed in her mission. She had thought that she was in good shape before, but after trying to chase the Super Morpher across rooftops, she had a whole new meaning for the phrase, “in shape.” She had been certain that he was about to take his uniform off on the roof he paused on, but it was as if he knew she was watching him. That shouldn’t have been possible. She shook her head, there wasn’t anything to do now except to report back to Spider and let him know that he could keep the rest of his money.
Lori climbed down to the street below and made her way back to the Zimmdaran Accounting Experts building. She wasn’t used to failure, when she was paid to do the job it was guaranteed to be done. If Spider had just let her kill him like she wanted to, she was certain she wouldn’t have failed. She decided that in the future she wouldn’t take on any jobs that weren’t assassination attempts, no matter how big of a price tag the job came with.
She made her way up the elevator and into Spider’s office, where he sat behind his desk enjoying a glass of scotch. Saul was standing to the side waiting to be given an order, and Lori allowed their senses to notice her. Saul gasped and reached under his jacket, but Spider rested a hand on his arm. He smiled at Lori and said, “I trust that you have a photo for me?”
Lori shook her head. “He managed to get away from me by jumping over some streets. There was no way I could follow him, so I guess you get to keep your money.”
Lori turned to leave the office, but the Spider called after her, “Wraith, please wait just a moment. I would hate for this incident to blemish your perfect record, so I’m willing to give you another chance. I want you to stick around the city and try to follow the Super Morpher again. I’ll have some of my gangs cause disturbances to lure him out, and you can follow him from there.”
Lori bit her lip and said hesitantly, “If I stay on to work longer, that will affect my final bill for you.”
Spider sat back in his chair and smiled. “Of course, but we will discuss a price once you have managed to discover his identity for me.”
Saul lifted his hand up to his ear and said, “You have? Excellent, my employer will want that name right away. Very good, thank you.” Saul turned to look at Spider. “Our people discovered that a young college student named Jordan Godard has recently produced a formula that can make fabric invincible. He goes to school here at Leforn University.”
Spider nodded his head approvingly. “Good, he may be able to lead us to the Super Morpher. Have some of my men go and pick Mr. Godard up for me; I wish to ask him a few questions.”
Lori turned and started walking out of the room, but Spider cleared his throat. “I don’t recall excusing you, Miss Bolle. Where do you think you are off to?”
Lori paused and said, “Forgive me for taking my leave, but it seemed that you and Saul had other business to discuss, and I don’t get paid unless I discover who the Super Morpher is. I was going out to begin my search for him.”
Spider slowly nodded his head. “Very good, I expect to have a name from you very soon.”
Lori made her way from the room and smiled to herself. Saul should be careful what he said in front of others. If Lori could make it to Jordan before Spider’s men did, she could get a name out of him without having to track the Super Morpher down. If he didn’t know anything, or refused to talk, she could always sell him to the Spider for more than he was going to pay for the Super Morpher’s identity. Lori was not a woman you wanted to cross, she knew how to turn any situation to her advantage. Now if only she could beat Spider’s men to Jordan.
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more stories like it, check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page for updates on the stories here: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see my review of what happened previously in Beast Blades, as well as a sneak peek at what will happen in the next chapter. Then come back on Monday when I will post part of one the next chapter of Beast Blades, and check out my newly published book, The Kids on the Case.