Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of his friends being left speechless. The two of them were looking at his hideout flabbergasted, their
jaws practically on the floor. He was enjoying this way too much.
“Well? Are you going to come in?”, he asked. The two of them stepped in and he followed, closing the heavy door behind them.
After finishing with his base, he had reworked the actual storage space. It was laid out in soft light green carpet, the walls painted to show a green field with flowers, topped by a clear blue sky that continued onto the ceiling. With that, the room looked much bigger than it was – which hid that it was smaller than it should be, due to the heavy reinforcements he had put up around it. There was a subtle air conditioner at work, keeping the room comfortably warm and the air from going stale.
The side to the right of the entrance had a large – really large – flat-screen TV with a surround sound system that had two speakers in every corner of the room (one on the ground, one on the ceiling) and an additional one in between every corner. In the center of the room stood a table surrounded by a couch forming a half-circle opening towards the television. Behind it, to both sides of the speaker, stood several shelves filled with those parts of his comic and book collection that did not fit into his home any longer. Finally, opposite the side of the entrance, there stood a small kitchen with a refrigerator, an ice box and a cupboard filled with foodstuff that did not need to be kept cool.
“Basil, where did you get the money for this?!”, Tim asked, his voice as incredulous as his facial expression.
“Worked for it. A lot. Plus some help from my sister.” None of which was a lie.
“Wow. And you’ve got this all for yourself?”, Aimi asked. “Quite so. Well, mates, let’s sit down!”
* * *
The rest of the evening went as could be expected. Basil bragged, Tim joked and Aimi laughed – which had been the point of bringing them here. To raise Aimi’s mood.
At the end, Basil gave each of them a key to the hideout, together with instructions to tell no one about it.
Once they were gone, he cleaned up (not that there was much needed) and spent a few minutes idly switching through various tv stations.
After that, he switched everything off and pushed a button-combination on his watch that made the kitchenette slide back into the wall, revealing an elongated, slightly depressed platform. Once he stepped onto it, it moved downward and the kitchenette slid back in place.
The elevator brought him down into his actual lair, where he immediately went about reviewing the Snow Queen’s portfolio.
The supervillain was an anomaly. Most metahumans who actually put on costumes entered the world of ‘super-crime’, which revolved mostly around high-profile crimes that usually ended with big battles against superheroes and the villains being either arrested or escaping. They were usually commissioned by non-powered criminals that needed a distraction for the superheroes or were done by individuals who simply got a kick out of the whole thing (his sister fit into both categories).
Snow Queen just dealt with drugs. And used them herself. She had no real nemesis among superheroes because she had avoided fighting any hero above the C-list – and killed anyone from the C-list or below that had crossed her. Her powers allowed her to manifest and manipulate a snow-like powder. It was not actual snow, but it certainly looked like such. She could generate it across her entire body and then direct its movements. The powder was ice-cold and had an additional dampening effect on the senses of anyone who got into contact with it. It could not be melted or frozen further, though great heat made if fade into nothingness. One of her favourite moves was to choke someone to death with it, though she could also compact it and move it at high enough speeds to break bones.
All in all, she was quite a bit above his weight. In fact, in a direct confrontation, the best he could hope for was for his suit to make him immune to her attacks and allow him to flee.
On the other hand, he could not let her kill Aimi’s father. He did not want her to have to leave. Basil Blake took care of his friends.
He waited until nightfall.
* * *
Putting on the armor took a few minutes – while he had assembled a rig that allowed him to get it off in 7.74 seconds, he had found it much more difficult to create an equivalent that would help him put it on.
After checking once more that every piece of equipment was present and operational, he made his way to the tunnel that exited closest to the harbor – one that ended in the eastern city park. He had not been able to dig a tunnel to the harbor itself, as the entire harbor basically stood on stilts.
And since his motorbike was not yet ready, he would have to run. Which was not necessarily a bad thing, but still. It would have been nice to debut on a raven-themed motorcycle.
Basil walked along the unlit tunnel – there was no need to turn the lights on. He could only go straight ahead. When he reached the end, he spoke the password and the exit opened just as he put on his helmet, sealed the suit and pullet his hood over his head.
* * *
Brennus exited into the Lennston East City Park, the entrance to the tunnel closing behind him and being hidden behind especially thick shrubbery.
He took a moment to look around, taking in both the sight of the park and the sky at night, and checking all the readings his sensors were giving him. The city park was large and surprisingly dark considering it stood in a metropolis the size of New York. And the sky was quite beautiful tonight, with giant towers made of heavy clouds, the moon and the stars shining through holes in the cloud cover. A good night for my first run.
After a few minutes of standing around, seemingly doing nothing, he started moving. The strength enhancement his armor provided allowed him to move far faster than he could normally, even with his long legs. In fact, he had had to adopt a new way of walking and running for when he used his armor’s enhancements – a kind of long gait, since he was essentially jumping in between steps.
That way, he reached the end of the park. Looking towards the harbor, he let his instruments gauge the distance he needed to jump in order to cross the street and get on top of the next building on the other side.
Taking a running start, he leapt off the sidewalk and sailed through the air, his jump taking him over the street and onto the roof of the opposing two-story building. It was, as most of the buildings in the city, barely a decade old. However, being a part of the harbor, where a lot of metahuman battles (and some of the most destructive) took place, and where people tended to build rather cheaply to begin with, it had already started deteriorating. Because of that and the weight of his armor, Brennus landed on both feet only to promptly break through the ceiling and fall into the building.
He crashed into, and through, several old, dusty crates. Though they were all empty.
Dammit. I didn’t account for the weight of my armor.
Despite the deep drop, he had barely felt anything, so when he stood up, he only needed to dust himself off a bit.
Well, lucky me that these crates were empty. Wouldn’t want to make my debut through property damage.
With that, he looked up, scanning the ceiling to find a safe route off the building. When he had found one, he prepared himself to jump up onto the roof and-
Wait a minute. Those crates were empty. And, if I remember right-
He inspected the shattered crates. Yes, they were nailed shut and sealed!
He looked around, scanning the other crates inside the warehouse. They were all empty. As well as nailed shut and sealed.
Why would someone nail and seal empty crates? I wish I had time to investigate further, this smells fishy.
But, alas, he did not have the time. So he marked the warehouse on his map for a later visit and jumped out.
Back up on the roof, he ran to the edge of the warehouse and jumped onto the edge of the next – the edges were the most likely parts to hold the considerable weight of his armor.
After a few more jumps, he stood pretty much in the middle of the harbor. Since he had neither the time, nor the patience to search for the meeting place by himself, he instead sent a signal that called the two ravenbots he had already completed to him. Having prepared them earlier, he instructed them to begin searching the harbor for larger gatherings of people in general and to scan for Aimi’s father, Danny, and the Snow Queen.
While the two robots went on their way, Brennus sat down onto an air vent sticking out of the ceiling of the building he was standing on top of. He spent the next minute adjusting a program of his so that it would collect all available information on that strange warehouse.
Afterwards, he continued working on the designs for his motorcycle – ravencycle? – which were giving him quite the headache. Designing a vehicle that was both efficient and fit his theme was far more difficult than one thought. His pride did not allow him to go the way of the Nightwraith, using a simple modified motorcycle with theme-additions that wasted tons of energy due to lacking an aerodynamic design, among other things. Oh no. That thing might look awesome beyond words, but it insulted his design ethics beyond belief. He could see the inefficiency just from the few official photographs of the Nightcycle.
In between stewing on the lack of design ethics of major superheroes and working on his own motorbike, a small window appeared on his HUD. One of the ravens had found Danny Dannington.