The Guardian's First Ascent
"All clear in these back offices, Bob. I'm going into the right hall and the break rooms."
"Alright, Larry, thanks," Bob replied.
Bob glanced at another one of the small monitors, and then brought each feed into the larger center view right in front of him. He could see the other guards scanning the halls, but nothing was amiss. So far so good, then.
"Huh," he blinked.
The screens foggy for just a second, but they cleared quickly. He tapped the screen.
"Ugh. I hate technology. This crap never works the way it's supposed to," he muttered.
He leaned back in his chair and began filling out the hourly chart, giving everything the 'clear'. When he was done, he put it back in its file and turned his eyes back to the monitors.
"Oh man, this is going to be boring next several hours. Oh well, at least I don't have to walk all over the whole damn place," he thought.
He leaned back and looked up at the ceiling. A slight crackle at his eye piece brought him upright.
"Hello," he said into the mouthpiece.
No answer. He looked at the monitors and fed everything through the larger screen again. Everything seemed fine. No one was acting like they were alarmed by anything, so it must have just been static. The door into the security room opened to his left. He glanced over and saw a tall broad shoulders fellow named Alex come in.
"Hey, Alex, get finished you first rounds already?"
"Oh, yeah. Everything's great. How do things look from the bird's eye view?"
"Nominal and boring, just the way we like it," Bob looked back them.
"Good, good," Alex said, stepping up behind Bob.
"Oh, yeah, there was bit of static over the earphones. Was that you trying to…" Bob never got to finish.
Alex took out his club and smacked Bob on the head with it. His eyes rolled up in his head as he grunted and slammed into the desk before falling onto the floor. Alex raised his own mouthpiece to his lips and spoke into a closed frequency.
"Congratulations, Mouse, your masking program worked great. He never saw a thing," Alex said.
"Switching back to live feed," Mouse's voice crackled over the line.
When it did, Alex saw the real story of tonight's activities within the bank walls. The guards had all been either knocked unconscious or otherwise been incapacitated. They were all tied up in the locker room. Alex's eyes scanned the feed and saw eight of his black mask, clothe, and Kevlar clad cohorts searched the back offices. Four more searched the break room. Another six worked on opening the vault, and last dozen were clearing out the front. The back exit into the alley hung with a man watching.
"You sure you intercepted the silent alarm to the cops," Alex asked.
"No problem, I'm done up here," Mouse replied.
"Okay, I'll be right out. Just make sure no one sees you leave the roof."
"Over," Mouse said.
Alex handcuffed Bob to the door and left the monitoring room. He took the right hall past the break rooms. He glanced in and the four were helping themselves to some of the fresh coffee meant for his "coworkers". He went straight to the back where he opened the door in. The eight men were already packing up. A few looked up at him and nodded in acknowledgement. Alex's wide, rounded jaw curled up into a smirk as he nodded back.
"You guys almost done? I'm getting' nervous back here," the man at the back door called.
"Oh, calm now," one of the others replied. "The cops aren't coming. We'll be out in two minutes.
Speaking of which…"
He held up his mouthpiece.
"Yo, Hardcore, are you almost done in the front?"
"Sliming through the locks right now, we'll be heading back in a bit."
"Alright. Hey, buddy, we'll be out of here in just a sec," he called to the watcher.
"Hey, shouldn't Mouse be down here by now," Alex asked.
"Hey, you see him…coming…"
They turned and saw the lookout lying unconscious at the door. They swore and pulled their handheld guns. They hadn't been intending to actually kill anyone, preferring to just take the money without any unnecessary losses. However, now an uninvited third party just made its entrance.
Several black balls bounced and rolled into the rear office. When they slowed, they burst and smoke filled the room. The men started coughing and trying to wave the smoke screen away. Now they couldn't even see a few feet in front of them.
"Hey, what the he-Rrhk!"
The man grunted and the other heard him fall to the ground. Then they could hear the rest of them falling rapidly and their vision was still at zero. It was all happening in just a matter of seconds.
"Wolf! Trang! Frakes! Ro-grrk!"
Alex could hear his co-conspirers falling all throughout the room through the denseness of the smoke.
"Screw this," he uttered.
He turned tail and ran towards the front.
"Hey, Alex, what gives," one of the guys in the break room asked as he raced by.
The man stepped out into the hall just in time to see Alex go through the door into the front of the bank. Out of the corners of his eyes, he saw something come up next to him. He turned just in time to see a small slim figure about five and a half feet high, dressed in all black head to toe. The clothes were somewhat form fitting, and covered every inch of skin. He didn't get to make out anything too specific, though. The figure was already pivoting on their left foot, twisting their body around to bring the right foot up in a side kick by the time he spotted it.
He tried to raise his hands to defend himself, but it was too late. The kick caught him on the side of his face and slammed his head into the doorframe. He was out instantly. The other three men drew their guns, but the person's arm whipped out, throwing three objects through the air at them. They struck the men's guns, knocking them out of their hands.
The figure rushed in, running low with their arms spread far back. The first man whipped out a knife and slashed at their attacker, but the assailant dropped down with both hands on the floor. In a single fluid motion, the left leg came up and the back of their boot smashed the man's nose. The robber screamed as he fell back onto his rear on the hard floor, holding his broken nose in both hands.
The other man swiped with a fist through the air when the figure flipped upright again, but the person brought their arm up and blocked the attack. The other man left standing came in the side. Their attacker dropped and swept their legs, slamming both men onto the hard floor. The person in black stood again and looked around satisfied that everyone was down. Everyone save for that one guy with the broken nose.
He cowered flat against the wall, inching for the window. One arm was stretched out towards the window while his other covered his nose with a cloth. He now had a good look at their thwarter. He could tell it was some kind of old-fashioned black ninja outfit. The figure wore boots that came up just below the knees made of some kind of flexible but protective material that allowed for movement. They wore tight pants and a typical robe-style karate shirt that was tied at the waist with a simple belt. Their assailant had another dark shirt on underneath that went all up over their neck. The figure wore guards at every joint and gloves.
Lastly, their face was hidden by an overlapping mask that covered everything except for the eyes, and the face covering was augmented by some kind of plain metal mask covering the lower half of the face. The rounded curves of it came along the top of the cheeks and over the nose. It mask was a single piece of plain, flat metal with small round holes cut into it. It looked like the holes had some kind of screen just underneath, almost like a gas mask. It fit perfectly around the person's face coming to a dull point at the middle in front.
The person's eyes were covered in some kind of goggles or visor that went over the exposed part of the mask. The glass, at least the outside, was black, so the eyes weren't visible. They glasses, they fit over the person's covered nose. The top rim was flat with the lower part curving up to a point at the straps holding it to the person's face.
He could make out the shape of breasts in the chest area. So their uninvited company was a woman.
"Who…" the would be bank robber asked.
She didn't answer, and instead rushed in. The man braced for another blow, and instead only heard a single "click". He opened his eyes and found that he had been handcuffed by his free hand one a pipe on the ceiling.
He looked back down and the woman was gone.
"Hey, what was that," someone asked.
The robbers that had just cracked the vault combination suddenly heard the groaning sound of metal on metal. They spun around just in time to see the vault door close on them, trapping them inside.
"Alright, men, that little rat will come through here any second now," a said a large man.
Unlike the others, he wore a plain white T-shirt and jeans. He was a tall, muscular man with a buzzed dark hair. His most distinguishing feature was that he was coated in black ooze. He was known as Hardcore, a local petty criminal that had been blessed with a super power. He smirked confidently. He looked to Alex, who stood next to him. On either side, the other seven men stood lined up with their guns ready aimed at the back doors.
"Good thing you warned us, Alex. Looks like we'll be able to salvage this operation after all. We'll have to settle for less than we originally wanted," Hardcore said.
"No prob, man. Just…"
They were interrupted by the sound of something smashing through the front windows of the bank, behind them. The alarm blared at ear-ringing volume.
"S%!$," Hardcore yelled, surprised and angered.
They all spun and spotted the unwelcome guest. She was crouching low on the floor. They opened fire and she just ducked behind a pillar in time. Hardcore growled. The black ooze covering him sloughed onto the tile floor at his feet and rolled over the ground quickly. Strands of it shot up in tendrils, lashing out at the pillar. Chunks of plaster scattered everywhere and the entire thing came crashing down, but the attack came up empty. She was gone.
"Whoa, calm down, man," one of the goons shouted. "You'll bring the whole ceil…"
A glob of slime shot out from Hardcore's hand and slammed the man through the glass of a teller station.
"Well, that's not very nice," a voice from above said.
They looked up and saw her clinging to a corner of the ceiling using some kind of hooks she held with her feet also braced the walls. They raised their guns to open fire again. To their surprise, she simply pushed off the wall right at them. She fell towards them with headfirst. She brought one arm up in front of her and slashed it back again. They could hear the sudden rushing over air and suddenly they were all hit with what could only be described as a powerful blast of wild.
Everyone except for Hardcore was swept back over table and into wall or cabinet. Then she flipped herself around coming done feet first while still manipulating the air around her. Hardcore lowered his arms when the last of the air died down just in time to see her boots smack right into his chest. As he fell back, she pushed off and flipped through the air again, and landed on her feet. She landed upright and her arms wide above her head.
"Tada," she cried.
Hardcore grunted painfully as he slammed into the floor. He hadn't been expecting that and had lowered his guard. He glared up at her as she went back down into a fighting stance. He rose to his feet with the help of his slime and lashed out at her again. She dodged, flipped, and somersaulted away from each whip from the tendrils. Then they all came at her at once. She jumped back and into the air, breathing in and then out heavily. She whipped both arms out with her fingers wide apart. Ten waves of fire flashed out in front of her, driving away the muck.
Air blew up underneath her, keeping her suspended. Hardcore punched out at the air, and unleashed a volley of black junks of slime. She spun around where she was, bringing both hands together. With one rigid and strained motion shove-like motion, a section of the floor lifted up in front of her. It absorbed the hale intended her.
Then the slab of concrete flew right at him. Hardcore summoned up every ounce of strength his goo allowed him and intercepted incoming object. He managed to shove it off course through the wall behind him.
By this time, some of his men had picked themselves up off the floor and trained their weapons on her again. They fired and she kicked out a sweeping kic. A concentrated wall of fire and air formed in front of her. The bullets it and exploded prematurely and the splintering bits were blown away by the dense air pressure.
She flew across the room and landed next to the water fountain. With a fluid and smooth motion with her arms, the fountain shook and the nozzle broke off. Water gushed out, which she formed it into a chunk of ice. They flew through the air and bombarded Hardcore and the others. The recovered men either collapsed onto the ground in a new circle of unconsciousness or her took cover behind the teller desks.
The ice chunks bounced harmlessly off Hardcore's body. He roared in frustration. The black ooze surrounding him sloughed out in a twenty foot radius, making anyone nearby slip and fall.
"Ack! Pull back some, man," Alex said, clinging to a desk to avoid slipping and hitting his head on the floor.
"SHUT UP," Hardcore bellowed.
A sizable tendril slammed Alex against the wall while Hardcore slid across the floor with blinding speed. The unknown woman managed to stay to upright, but struggled to maintain balance on the slippery floor. Hardcore zipped forward, straight arming her across the chest. This knocked her onto the ground.
He started to turn around again to crush her under a huge fist of the ooze, but then found he couldn't. He shivered. Why was he so cold, too? He looked down at himself and the floor. Both him and his ooze had been frozen solid. He glared at her through the corner of his eye as she leapt to her feet.
A guttural growl pierced the air as the ice around him cracked and he broke free. She drop kicked him, which made him stumble, and then she twirled around to let him have a back hook kick. This time he caught it and used the slime he secreted to spin around, swinging her around. She cried out, the whole thing happened so fast that her body snapped around painfully. She then flung her into a pair of potted plants. She let out a painfully grunt upon impact.
She climbed onto all fours and tried to stand. He rushed her again with both hands raised high above him, ready to slam her back with two fists. Her hand shot out at the last minute and he lifted off the ground by a powerful gust. The secretion of fluids on the floor receded the instant he was in the air. He let out a cry. The air stopped and he screamed before slamming into the floor.
"I thought so," the woman muttered in a hoarse whisper.
She stood up, painfully holding her side.
"You thought what," Hardcore asked.
He got back up and readied another attack. She went into a low stance with her right arm held tightly against her arm side. The palm was turned up and positioned like she was holding something. With one, strong heft as if lifting something heavy, her arm shot up and a pillar of earth came up through the floor underneath Hardcore. It grabbed him by the middle with a massive hand and held his feet up off the floor. He struggled and grunted against the restraint.
The woman put her hands on her hips and looked up at him, seeming very pleased with herself.
"You bitch! You bitch," Hardcore roared. "You…! Mmmmfff!"
Suddenly, his mouth and head were encircled with some kind of vine. He looked to his right. A potted plant next to him had reached out and gagged him, doubtlessly under the control of his unknown captor.
"Your mother should wash that mouth out with soup," she said with a pouting tone.
Sirens could now be heard.
"Oh, look, the cavalry's arrived," she said light-heartedly.
Ah, f*%$ this," she heard one of Hardcore's men swear as he started running out the back.
"Oh, right. I should probably take care of those guys," she muttered, just now remembering them.
The police cars and a S.W.A.T. van pulled out front of the bank and cars blocked off every alley exit. A detective climbed out of his car and ran up to the nearest officer.
"Witnesses say they saw Hardcore on the sign," the detective asked.
"Yes, sir. We've already prepared for him. Right, guys?"
Officers pulled tanks filled with liquid nitrogen out of one vehicle and began strapping them on. They then gripped the nuzzles of the hoses that were attached. Johns took a megaphone in hand and began speaking into it.
"This is the police. Detective Johns speaking. We have the place surrounded. Throw down your weapons, and put your hands in the air."
The S.W.A.T. team filed in around a protective corner. When they saw no one was surrendering or coming out, they got the order to enter.
"Alright, our best vantage point is the fire exit. We're going in through the second floor," the commander spoke to his crew. "Move out!"
While the rest of the force kept up the protective barrier at every entrance, the SWAT entered into the alleyway, armed with automatic rifles for any regular hostiles and liquid nitrogen for Hardcore. They came to the stairwell and ascended it, slowly and carefully.
"Anyone by the windows," the commander asked their sniper through the mouthpiece.
They entered the structure and checked the entire floor. No one. Well, no one except for a skinny young man found bound, gagged, and unconscious on the floor. He was carrying a laptop and several other pieces of electronic equipment.
He was tended by a two squad members while the rest went downstairs. They came down in the back office. They stopped and stared. All the would-be-bank-robbers were already tied back-to-back in a circle in the center of the room.
The two radio crackled.
"Yeah," Johns said into the speaker.
"Detective. Someone has already taken care of all the hostiles," the squad commander's voice said.
"We don't know, but…"
"Hey, boys," a voice called from somewhere overhead.
"Sir? Sir," the squad commander called through the other end.
"Yeah, hold on," Johns replied.
The lights all turned to the woman that thwarted the bank heist. She stood poised atop a street light.
"No need to thank me, and you never will," she said. "These bad guys are courtesy of the one and only, Elemental Garduian. Tell your friends! Seeya!"
She blew them a kiss and was suddenly enveloped in smoke.
"Where'd she go?"
The police barely saw her leap up and over onto a rooftop and into the night.
"Johns," an officer asked.
Johns just sighed.
"Oh, just what we needed. Here's another wannabe vigilante crime fighter in a growing list of freaks. I need a freaking drink!"