A week had passed and Jacqueline had promised not to speak or have anything to deal with the iron clad boy. The days were quiet as daily routine covered awkward moments as conversation would at times weave into trying to understand what happened that night; but Kendrick would always steer the topic away. Jacqueline had simply finished to report with the information she had left, and a half butted report it turned out to be due to the lack of first hand information. She wasn’t sure of what to do or how to take in the situation with their relationship at first, but it was now becoming a thorn in Jacqueline’s side.
The air circulation turned on in the study room she was typing up a report in and shifted her bangs over her eyes. She skillfully blew them over to one side without even flicking her neck. She had tried over and over to figure out what had happened that night. What had gone wrong, and more importantly what was going through Kendrick’s head. The more she thought, the more she didn’t understand.
The scene had not pan out well the night of the rooftop incident. After the iron clad boy had leaped away, Kendrick had quietly gathered the pieces of the broken camera and took Jacqueline by the hand back home. There wasn’t a word spoken until they got to their apartment doors, and even then it was just a simple good night. Kendrick didn’t even look Jacqueline in the eyes until a few days after.
Oddly enough, the week simply went by without much thought, and Jacqueline was starting to get irritated as Kendrick lived his life ignoring what had obviously happened. He had failed to confront the issue.
The study room door opened revealing Kendrick with a seemingly proud look on his face; as fate would dictate, in that same moment, a simple email was delivered into Jacqueline’s email. Kendrick placed a newspaper wrapped package in between her and her laptop, just as Jacqueline had clicked to open the strange, anonymous email. The package blocked the view of her screen as Jacqueline was a bit confused as she was trying to figure out if she had forgotten if today was a special day.
Kendrick nodded and motioned Jacqueline to open the package. She gave Kendrick a puzzled look as her hands moved quickly to tear off the newspaper wrapping to reveal a box. She opened the box and stood to get a better view of what was inside. Her eyes widened, not because of the contents inside the box, but the words she saw on the screen of her laptop.
“You are cordially invited to Richards Conglomerate Annual Ball by Solomon Richards.”
Kendrick started to explain the details of how had fixed the broken DSLR and had to order in special parts in order to do so and how he knew how important the camera was to a journalist, but Jacqueline didn’t care. This was crazy. Jacqueline moved the box with the DSLR aside without even looking at the contents and turned laptop screen towards Kendrick. Kendricks face instantly changed from self contentment to disagreement. He shook his head and crossed his arms.
“CHECK YOUR EMAIL RIGHT NOW! MAYBE YOU GOT ONE TOO!” Jacqueline was obviously ecstatic, but Kendrick didn’t like what he saw.
Before Kendrick knew what had happened he was driving a carefully, pampered princess to the ball. Jacqueline was always resourceful in minimizing spending on her wardrobe and maximizing her value. She wore a pouffy lime green dress she found at a local thrift store that had pouffy sleeves to match. She held her hair in a neat bun, and her jewelry matched her crystal studded dress.
“This shouldn’t be overdoing it,” Jacqueline thought to herself. She looked on ahead at Kendrick’s butler outfit. She thought she was quite the genius being able to find a cheap butler outfit from a local party and costume store for cheap, she even found an awesome top hat for him to wear for kicks. It wasn’t as if he was going to step out of the car for long periods of time anyways. Soon enough, the car came to a stop in front of Richards Tower.
The building standing a stout 144 stories tall belittled the rest of the surrounding skyscape as flood lamps, strobe lights, and a million other different lighting and decorations nearly lit the entire sky from night to day.
“Wow, this guy really knows how to party,” Jacqueline muttered under her breath.
Kendrick looked back and asked, “You ready Jacqueline?”
Jacqueline nodded in response and swallowed the lump in her throat from the nervousness. She double checked her clutch to see if her journalism pad, pen, and other simple necessities were still in place. Business first she thought.
She breathed in one last time, and patted Kendrick on the shoulder as she left, “I’ll stick to the plan, I shouldn’t be more than an hour, and I’ll call you once I’m done. Thank you boyfriend.”
Kendrick simply grunted in response and drove the car away to find the parking lot. He wasn’t very amused at being the butler. He tried to be as supportive as a boyfriend could, but he was still irked by not receiving an invitation.
Jacqueline made her way past the dazzling lights into the doors and handed over her carefully printed invitation to the receptionist. They smiled and pointed her toward the elevator. In the movies, Jacqueline remembered some business parties would happen in the lobbies, perhaps this one was a bit more like Die Hard she thought. Hopefully there won’t be any terrorists to ruin this party, but secretly she thought it would be exciting to journal the events into the Megapolis Collegiate Post as an eye witness.
As the elevators zipped up one hundred floors in a matter of seconds Jacqueline had to nearly hold her stomach from losing her lunch. She breathed one last breath as the elevator doors opened.
“Here we go…” She took out her journalism pad to make sure she went straight to work.
The sight of the room was incredible. She was expecting an elevator lobby, however the whole room was a makeshift conference room with a ceiling at least three stories high. Red and Gold seemed as if they were the prominent theme as large silk streamers flowed from the rooftops. Roses and Yellow flowers Jacqueline couldn’t recognize strewn across the room in large vases. Food, servers, and socializing… Everywhere! There was even a small band decked out in all gold, with gold instruments to match, playing near what looked as if a dance floor. She wasn’t sure where to start, as the whole place was difficult to take in. She took a few steps in and bumped into the Mayor of Megapolis.
“Excuse me young lady,” The fat, jolly mayor replied cordially.
Jacqueline cringed as she realized the stature of the man, and bowed away. She realized she was in the company of people way out of her league. None the less, she pushed on to find her subject. Black suits, stunning dresses, alcoholic beverages, and more diamonds than a single mine in Africa could produce. Her crystal studs and jewelry looked paltry, not to mention her lime green dress made her a sore thumb in the sea of red and gold. None the less she continued to make her way through the crowd.
She was careful not to bump into some A list celebrity, or the mayor of Megapolis again, but maneuvering around these crowds looking for Solomon Richards made her thirsty and tired. Nearly twenty minutes into it one of the servers came to her rescue.
“Something to drink miss?”
“Yes, please!” She took a glass of red liquid from the server’s plate and took it down. It had a bitter and hard taste.
“You know that’s red wine…” A voice intruded
Jacqueline spun around and nearly yelped. She was shocked at how much her subject looked like a boyfriend. She nearly thought that Kendrick had come to find her.
“Careful, you are going to spill that on my carpet. I do not believe you know how much this carpet cost me.” Solomon shook his head and pried the half full glass of wine out of her hands returning it to the server’s plate. He continued, “as well as throwing me in jail if the chief of police finds out that I’m serving alcohol to a minor, whom is stand twenty feet from here.” Solomon pointed out a skinny man about six foot four in a clean cut tuxedo, with a look of an ostrich.
Jacqueline’s eyes became wide with embarrassment.
“Shall we dance young lady?” Solomon took her by the side and proceeded to maneuver through the crowd so skillfully making his way to the center of the dance floor with ease. Almost at cue the music changed to a slow paced beat, perhaps with a bit of a creepy undertone, a waltz perhaps? Jacqueline wasn’t much with music. The dance floor followed the flow of the music weaving, enter twining itself, locking itself into a sea of carefully orchestrated dancers.
Solomon Richards spoke in a whisper and held her close. “I love the dress your wearing, it made it easier to find you.”
Jacqueline realized how close she was to Solomon, and nearly jumped out of his arms. He was so fast, he moved with so much confidence, with a hint of arrogance. She snapped back at him going straight to business, “How about we begin with introductions?”
Jacqueline blinked as she stared at him, then looked away from his face. They were so close.
He whispered into her ear, “my party, my invitation, I say… you start.”
“Jacqueline, Jacqueline Narcisa”
“Well, I believe you know me, I own this place.” Solomon grinned as his sharp eyes glimmered looking at Jacqueline. They continued to sway and move as the music continued, striding to the left at times, and to the right in balance.
He moved, confidently with a hint of arrogance in his step. His personality much different from Kendrick’s. Yet, their similarity in stature, even skin color, to distinction was uncanny, at least at first glance. The only blatant feature that separated these two had to be the eyes. Kendrick’s eyes was much softer, when the doppleganger looking directly at her was much more sharper.
She broke the silence, “Solomon, I have a few questions.”
He smiled and replied in a cool whisper, “you are amazing, unrelenting. what are you anyways? You do know that curiosity killed the cat.”
“Then why did you invite me if you knew I was going to ask questions?”
“Maybe I wanted to kill the cat?”, He looked straight at her in a menacing glare. This was the first time in the night that Jacqueline was a tad bit scared. Suddenly, Solomon broke out into laughter turning a few heads.
“Give it a rest, Reporter girl can’t take a joke? Is it all facts with you?” He loosened his grip on her sides a bit reassuring he wasn’t going to hurt her.
Jacqueline shook her heads and smashed down on his foot with her heals. Solomon’s face cringed as he looked at Jacqueline in a confused, pained state.
“Don’t mess with me like that again.”
Solomon groaned, “Spicy… I would have never thought that you would have a bit of an attitude problem.”
“And you have a bit of an arrogant problem.” Jacqueline shot back.
“Ouch, call me arrogant when I own the place…” He kicked out the pain from his foot. “I like that.”
“Excuse me?” Jacqueline was caught off guard again.
“Let’s cut to the chase. This past week I was thinking about the little endeavor we had. I think I like you.”
“What the hell..?”
He cut her off, “I was a bit irritated about the situation that we were in, and I thought you may be just another fan girl or some crazed woman, but just by the past few minutes I’m beginning to change my mind.”
“Are you cra-”
Solomon interrupted, “I’ll make you a deal. You be my girlfriend for… let’s say a month? And I’ll let you in on everything that I’m doing, the “Big Picture”, but it has to be on my rules and my terms. What you say? Isn’t that a win, win situation for both of us?”
Jacqueline couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Her eyebrows furled as she wasn’t sure how to react. She heard a whirring noise that came from Solomon’s watch from her right ear, as he brushed her hair over her ear.
“Oops, that’s strange, but I have an appointment that I must have forgotten about. I would love to hear your answer after you think about it, I will contact you soon for your answer.” He detached himself from her and stepped away. Jacqueline caught a glimpse of his glowing watch as he walked away, and stood stunned again.
The boy loved to make a good getaway, and before she knew it he was gone. She made her way near the edge of the party and found herself a seat. She jotted down a few notes including the strange watch, and the details of the conversation. Boyfriend, One month, Watch, the Big Picture, and what else was there. She shook her head, all this that happened that evening was a bit exhausting and going to look for the boy would be even more challenging. Perhaps the spoiled brat would show himself later in the night looking for her response. Jacqueline had no idea of what to say.
A loud shrieking bell pierced the softly playing music. The band that had been playing halted their symphony and everyone looked around in confusion. The tall, ostrich- like police chief took control speaking in a scratchy, rusty voice over the bells.
“Fire alarm! Everyone stay calm. It is MOST LIKELY an accident and not the real deal. To be safe, let’s all slowly make our way to the exits, and we shall all be fine!”
People started to mutter, but his presence seemed to put them all to rest. Jacqueline thought to herself, walking down one hundred flights didn’t seem very entertaining, and the night had been exhausting. She had no choice but to leave. Inside, she was a bit happy the spoiled brat might have his big, expensive building burn down, then her heart skipped a beat.
“DIE HARD!”, she exploded, and had to clasp her hands around her mouth in order to control herself.
The calm crowd in exodus looked back at the sudden outburst by the small girl in the lime green dress.
Her thought raced at the chance to be in a great heist, or some terrorist scheme. Even if it was a small chance. Why would the fire alarm go off while there were celebrity A listers, the mayor of Megapolis, ALL THESE FAMOUS PEOPLE THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING BREWING! She swiftly turned around and ran to the opposite direction. She pressed the button for the elevator and the elevator door immediately opened. She hopped inside looking for adventure.
Solomon dashed down the hallway loosening his tie as the bells shrieked. Note to self, he thought; change the fire alarm bells to something a bit more soothing. But no time for jokes he thought, his mind raced, swelling with thoughts. He wasn’t really a genius, but rather a fast thinker. One of the passive alarms had gone off and upper story windows had been broken into, thus the silent alarm was triggered. It could have been a pigeon, or anything, but the fact that multiple windows had been breached would mean that it had to be intentional. He wasn’t the brightest in the bunch but his fast thinking was enough to set him at the front of the pact, and at the moment his legs were moving as fast as he was thinking.
He slammed through the double doors yelling out his voice signature to unlock the doors. His office was quiet. Thank the Lord all mighty. That meant that his armor he had stored the night before would still be intact. He pushed a button on his desk as an armor rose slowly out of one of the panels of marble flooring. He breathed a sigh of relief.
“Sir, I believe there are intruders on the 107th floor of the tower.” Kenzington’s voice boomed over the phone speakers in the room.
“Thank you for the silent alarm Kenzington,” Solomon sighed, “but was it really worth it to stop mah paa- – -… Oh my goodness.”
As Solomon looked onto the security camera feeds on the 107th floor he saw glass strewn across the grown, broken window, and the image left him speechless.
“Kenzington, can you monitor these… things and direct uplink their locations to my head unit. I also want a parallel feed of where my guests are and a damage report when possible. Wait, scratch that, just the feeds and isolate and lock down the floors for me.”
“Yes, sir… and the feeds?”
“Yeah, both of them!” Solomon hastened to done his suit of armor. He was shaking. He barely couldn’t coordinate his armor as the images of the security feed continued to dance around his mind. He couldn’t believe what he saw. He dashed out of the room at frightening speeds breaking the marble ground as he sped out of the room.
“Kenzington, I’m on the 144th floor right? What’s the fastest way down to the 107th?”
“I would say the stairs sir.”
“Wrong answer!”, Kenzington dashed straight down the hall and crashed through the window of the 144th floor of his building. He could hear Kenzington mutter something to himself as he screamed in excitement of the freefall. As a counter at the top left of his visor ticked off the flights he had dropped he activated his boots to boost him into the broken window. He tumbled in scraping the flooring off the ground.
“Boom Kenzington. I am a genius when it comes to thinking fast.”
“and a dunce when it comes to money management, sir…”, Kenzington muttered as he thought of all the repair work that he would have to coordinate after this fiasco.
“Oh your too harsh, but I still love you Kenzington. Remind me to double your pay.” Solomon began to stride through the hallway looking for his first opponent.
“I do not get paid sir, all of my work is done because, may I remind you of my debt to your family.”
“Yeah Kenzington, I remember. That’s why I love you so much.” Solomon’s grinned a grin that could probably be seen through his transparent visor.
Solomon reached the end of the hallway standing at a fork. “Kenzington, left or right? and why aren’t streams up yet?”, at that moment three small images flickered at the top of his visor. The security feeds of his enemies, the feeds of his guests, and… the feed of his current love interest he had invited.
“Wow Kenzington, you are good. I like the extra care on the feeds so I can make sure my girl gets out safe and sound.”
Kenzington’s voice cackled on the radio, “No sir, a girl has wandered into your vicinity and was locked in when I locked down the 107th floor. Last time I checked she may have been in the process of being attacked by our unwelcomed guests…”
At that moment, on the right side of the forked hallway, he saw Jacqueline screaming, running away from her assailants clutching her journalism notepad. Solomon was impressed by her persistence. Fear and tears swirled together in her eyes as she shrieked at the top of her lungs.
“ZOMBIESSS!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH! HELP SOLOMON!”
Zombies Solomon thought as he was still shaking. Not so much because he was scared, but more so at the thought of being able to fight them with the suit. He grinned at the thought of being able to save his damsel in distress. Perhaps the night wasn’t going to be a complete disaster.
Solomon scanned the zombies to identify the lifeforms as humans, but every scan came up negative. It was time for some action, but he needed to remove the girl from the picture if he wanted to get down and dirty. He lurched forward and boosted into the hallway and swiped Jacqueline into his arm. He flipped over one zombie, still holding Jacqueline in her arms. Her dress was flailing and hair amuck, but he noticed out of the corner of his eyes she was still clenching her journalism pad as if her life was in it, this girl was incredible. He side swept another, and had to boost his way onto the ceiling to run through the rest.
Zombies were probably not the best term, but the closest term for them. Most closely resembled in feature, with the wild eyes and decomposing skin. The look of a human being that had not taken a shower in years. They even sounded like zombies, with the grunting and moaning, perhaps hungry for human flesh. Yet the defining factor was that, they were quick. The zombies in the movie weren’t this quick. At least the movies Solomon had seen.
Solomon flicked open his visor open and looked down as he continued to sprint down the hallway. “Well, this isn’t anything new. Remember when I saved you the first time?”
Jacqueline simply shook her head. Solomon was grinning a lot that day and the same grin was plastered on his face. “Just think about it.” He smirked.
He broke into a faster run as he saw the open window.
He leaped out the window into the open air. He had never gone into a free fall with another human being in his arms and wasn’t sure how this one was going to end up. Always thinking as he was in the motions and never thinking before, he decided to burst his booster into a controlled burn as he neared decent. Still, it was a bit bumpy landing. He set her on her feet, flicked open his visors and blew her a kiss.
“That makes TWO times I’ve saved you! If that doesn’t seal the deal, I don’t know what will. Think about it!”
Jacqueline was too dizzy to know how to respond. The wind was knocked out of her and she struggled to stand up. Kendrick whom had been standing nearby with the parked car ran to catch her just as she was fainting. The armored boy was running toward the building to restart his fight.
“Kenzington, what’s the fastest way up to the 107th floor?”
“The elevators I presume sir.”
“Negative, I think running and power boosting up the side of the tower would be faster.”
His speaker cackled once again, “you never fail to surprise me young master.”
With that Solomon began to boost and leap and stride, running up the side of the building. He was running so fast, and so high that He saw the clouds approach him, and before he knew it, he had arrived at the broken window and leapt in. The zombies were right where he left them, in a sort of organized chaos, just as zombies should be.
He boosted forward and leapt up and tried to smash his boot into one of their heads, but only nicked its temple. As his hand passed neared his face he went for the neck trying to slam the zombie down to the ground, instead his head ripped from his neck leaving its torso smashing into the ground. Solomon was throughly disgusted. Even though these things weren’t real human beings, they still looked as if they were humans. He tossed the head to the side to realize that there was no blood. These bodies may literally be corpses. He activated a thermal scan taking note of current body temperature.
What the hell is going on? There were three more zombies in front of him, hopefully they were the only zombies left for him to dismantle. In a horrifying maneuver one jumped onto the ceiling and started to claw his way over, simultaneously the other two leaped on the walls and began to claw their way over at terrifying speeds.
Solomon bent low to bring his center of gravity down. He breathed in. He began to concentrate and the suit of armor began to glow. Closing his eyes he felt his enemy approach him, he heard their groaning, he knew right where they were. He gathered and gathered moving the energy through his body and into his right hand, he felt it pulse, he waited for to come, and opened his eyes.
He grinned, they were right in front of him, he sent the energy he had piled up into his fist straight into the three zombies. The energy burst from his hands sending forth what looked like a ray of light smashed into them as if a car had slammed into them at high speeds. Ohhhh, batman had nothing on him! Shooting energy beams through his hands. He did a little victory twiddle as he activated his voice com again.
“Uhhhh, Kezington, do you think we can get some research done on what the heck these things are… and I think we’re going to have to do a little damage control about the fire alarms going off. It’s going to be a loooooong night.”
“Yes sir, I’ll send a heli-rotor to bring in our intruders and I will begin the research immediately.”
“Thanks Kenzington, and can you send in a freshly pressed suit? I’m just going to do the press release right now, If it’s possible.”
“Already done sir, and the press should be available as you make your way down.”
“You the best Kenzington.”
“I’m glad I can be of service.”
“I’ll be home by midnight. I’ll help you with the research once I get there.”
Solomon made his way to the broken window and shook his head. He had no idea where these zombies had come from, or what their objective was. If they wanted to crash the party and were after the guests it would have been easier to land on the 100th floor and not the 107th. If the objective was to simply ruin the party, one could have done that in a much more, simpler manner. This, was different. The suit then? But no one knew about the suit except the girl, unless she leaked it. No, judging by her personality this wasn’t possible. 107th floor was for Research and Development, would that possibly be it? But what could zombies possibly do to steal research?
It had to be something different, the Richards family had always had enemies, big and small, in many different places. He just hoped this wasn’t something he couldn’t deal with, but he already had a bad feeling that it probably did.
He opened his visor to take in some fresh air and stared into the night skyline.
“Oh boy, does something wicked this way come? Or has it come already…?” He looked down at the head of the first zombie he decapitated, the lifeless zombie head looked as if it were smiling at Solomon, mocking him.
“Cheh… Wipe that smile off your face.”
He kicked the head backwards.
Kendrick couldn’t believe his ears as his girlfriend continued to drone on and on about some boy clad in a suit of armor saving his ditz of a girlfriend in the middle of the night. Either she was making up a bunch of garbage like the articles she wrote as a student journalist, or she may actually be telling the truth this time.
“You gonna eat your sandwich, or you gonna keep talking gibberish?”
Without even noticing Kendrick had said anything she kept droning on and on about how she was captured by some mob leader named Yamamoto. She thought that her life was over, but couldn’t believe the things she was hearing as she opened up some mental journalism pad to make sure she took note of all the evil mob stuff that they would do.
Kendrick reached over and took Jacqueline’s sandwich off her plate and started to munch on her roast beef and avocado delight. He didn’t like it when she went off about her journalism projects or assignments. She obsessed over every journalism project she did and wanted her to just shut up and live in the moment at times, he had begun to have a certain penchant of hatred toward these moments. Kendrick wanted her to not record anything or wait for something to be recorded, which was exactly the reason why they had gotten into a fight the day before.
He finished her sandwich and got up to pay for the meal since he had eaten both sandwiches, as his girlfriend still hadn’t finished her story. He walked up to the register and paid for both meals. She hadn’t noticed that Kendrick had finished her sandwich and he had to pick up her bag and pick her up out of her chair to stop her from continuing her obsessive frenzy. He placed the bag on her and pushed her into a walking motion.
“Okay, that’s enough.”
“Okay, that’s enough of what?” Jacqueline looked back and blinked her eyes at Kendrick unsure of why he was so angry.
“Look, why don’t you write the stuff you say down, and maybe I’ll just read it on my free time. Can’t we talk about other stuff while we’re together?”
“But Kendrick! Aren’t you listening!? I almost died yesterday!”
“I don’t know what to believe that comes out of your mouth anymore.”
“Are you calling me a liar?”
“No, but I’d be a liar if I said you didn’t have class right now. Here you go.” He placed her cell phone that she had left on the table into her hand. “Call me after class if your ready to talk about anything else that makes sense.”
She just didn’t get it. “Okay, see you in a few hours!”
Jacqueline began to traverse up the stairs towards her class. She tied up her hair with a hair tie she had wrapped around her wrist and tightened her shoulder straps of her bag. She couldn’t wait to write down the adventures that she had the night before. Jacqueline was sure her journalism project would blow away all the other students in class.
She stood five feet seven. Slightly tall, with long hair tied into a neat ponytail. She wore a plaid skirt and a plain white dress shirt. A neat skinny black tie added accent to her outfit, as well as the cute green frog bag she had picked out for her last birthday Kendrick had bought for her as a present. To a degree she had a slightly child-like flare to her outfit. Cute was what she loved to aim for.
She checked her matching green frog watch and it finally clicked that she was late for class! She dashed through hallway to find her class at the end of the hallway. Jacqueline took a deep breath to stop panting, adjusted her outfit, and slightly cracked the door open to find the teacher had just set up to begin class. Ninja Journalism skills would have to be used to get to the nearest desk. She carefully opened the door, scuttled passed the first few desk, spun around past the backpack on the ground and quietly plopped herself into the seat and recomposed herself.
Jacqueline took out of her librarian- like, horn rimmed, large framed, black glasses from her backpack and brushed her bangs aside to softly place the glasses on her nose. She had picked these glasses with much detest from Kendrick. He said that the glasses were far too large for her face, old fashioned, and most of all stupid looking. Regardless, she liked the glasses and reasoned with him saying that she would only wear them for class, and since they didn’t have class together, he would eventually give in. Thinking about it now, Kendrick hadn’t liked anything that Jacqueline had picked out for her birthday.
Journalism became much of a passion for Jacqueline as she entered college. As she had entered college as an art major, she had a knack for drawing, sculpting, and was a natural using any artistic medium. However, taking an intro to journalism as a breadth requirement her second quarter of freshmen year completely rocked her world. So much so that she completely stopped pursuing art and decided to take up journalism as a life long passion. No matter how boring the teachers were, to Jacqueline, it didn’t matter. Journalism in itself, to her was beautiful.
Outside the building where Jacqueline had entered a few hours before, Kendrick was waiting for the call to come. He had finished lab a bit early as usual and was waiting for Jacqueline in front of her class as usual. He took a sip of his Americano and looked around the barren campus on the Wednesday afternoon. The air was still slightly moist from the rain that had come during the night. He put the drink down and stretched his hands toward the sky feeling a little tired. Programming all night had taken a toll on his body. Always the procrastinator, Kendrick couldn’t deny he was the worst of them all. Perhaps if there was a competition, he would be called the King of the Lazy People. Contrary to his girlfriend, Kendrick wasn’t too motivated to study. He liked computer science, or anything that hummed, buzzed, or whirred, which may have been the only deciding factor in finishing his programming assignments. But, to him none of it mattered. He knew going into the work place none of this studying would probably help him. He’d just have to relearn everything, as the company would want him to do something completely different.
Perhaps, even to Kendrick, his relationship with Jacqueline was something of a mystery. Being in a relationship with her really changed his personality. Relationships really weren’t something he was ready for, or even something that he was looking for. Almost in chance, nearly in chance, perhaps the only thing he could attribute it to was destiny? Or was it just random chance that they were together. The one part of his life he couldn’t figure out or grasp had to be Jacqueline.
His phone in his pocket rang a simple tune as he reached in to pick up.
She spoke in a whisper; “I’m in the media library doing some research, meet me here!”
Kendrick heard the click on the other end as he was a little annoyed by his girlfriend’s actions as of late. Journalism had completely taken over her life.
He grabbed his side bag, coffee, and walked up the stairs that his girlfriend had walked up a few hours before and made his way to the media library.
The library was on the third level of the odd shaped building, and he climbed another flight of stairs. He clicked his ID card into the turn stalls and it beeped allowing him to walk into the library. Shortly after walking through the hallway he reached the large expanse circulation. The librarian at the circulation desk signaled for Kendrick to throw away his cup of joe due to the “no food or drinks” policy, so he took a long, scalding swig and dropped it into the trash can.
The library was a freezer. He zipped up his hoodie and proceeded maneuvering around the stacks of books and study areas. The media library, wasn’t it’s own library, but rather the whole left wing of the library. A big film reel statue denoted that he would be entering, as well as a vibrantly framed hallway display of newspaper articles, art works, photographs, and other prominent media snippets from alumni. The Megapolis Private University prided itself in only two categories, media related majors, and technology related majors. Everything else in between could be considered scrap metal, under funded, and understaffed.
He walked past stacks of books, more statues, rows and rows of computers, and came to the corner of the library where Jacqueline loved to study. He placed his belongings on the wide desk and sat in a seat adjacent to his girlfriend. She didn’t even look up.
“I found him.”
“Excuse me?” Kendrick raised an eyebrow not understanding.
“The guy from last night.”
Kendrick didn’t like what he was hearing. “What guy…?”
”The guy that saved me. Hold on, just stand up really fast for me Kendrick.”
Kendrick reluctantly obeyed. Jacqueline’s eyes danced from Kendrick to her computer screen. She lifted up her laptop up to Kendrick’s face and shook her head as her eyes continued to dart from screen to Kendrick even faster now. Kendrick started to get annoyed.
“This better be good.”
Her eyes glimmered in the library lights as she twirled her laptop around revealing a side by side picture.
“This. This… right here. Is the reason why I am in Journalism. I am a Journalism Genius.
She began to give herself a fake hug as Kendrick didn’t understand what was happening.
“Jackie… Is this why we are here?”
Jacqueline’s eyes widened; she realized that Kendrick didn’t realize the similarity.
“Look Kendrick! You don’t see the resemblance?! You should have been there! That Jaw line, your hair style, your build, how you both stand! You should hear his voice! You guys even have the same speech pattern as well!”
Kendrick was starting to get irritated.
“Liar.” He began to gather his belongings. “This is ridiculous Jackie… Are you sure you didn’t just go to sleep early yesterday, take a sleeping pill?”
Jacqueline was already frivolously smashing away at her keyboard in a information gathering frenzy. Kendrick shook her shoulder and she looked up, continuing to hammer away at the keyboard. Her giant black glasses slid down her small nose because of the sweat that had formed from her concentration.
“You going to stay here, or we going to go eat dinner?”
“Dinner?” She pursed her lips, her mind slowly started to grasp a hold on Kendrick’s anger. To blow off the boyfriend, or to follow the one lead she had… Oh the humanity. Her eyes stared at Kendricks face unable to make a decision.
The tables had seemed turned in the past month with Jacqueline and Kendrick’s relationship. It had always been Jacqueline complaining to Kendrick about his lazy butt always lying around, uninterested. Still the miracle of Kendrick still being interested in Jacqueline was a contradiction to Kendrick’s personality, which in turn fascinated Kendrick by the attraction towards her.
Going into their third year of college they had decided to get apartments in the same complex across from each other. Rent was cut throat, but since Jacqueline’s family was well off, and Kendrick’s miracle grants and school funding, it would take a huge chunk out of their budget, but nothing to harm them much.
Finals were approaching and Jacqueline’s journalism projects had started to pile up. It was in that past month that she started to get a little radical with her journalism. Taking “The History of Criminalistic Journalism” paired with writing for the Megapolis Collegiate Post (A joint newspaper distributed at the three colleges in Megapolis) didn’t mix too well for Kendrick’s taste. Last night was the first time it seemed she decided to go looking for trouble in the Shady districts of Megapolis. Kendrick didn’t think that she would actually go.
So with the gears in her head finally coming to a conclusion, and her boyfriend staring into her brown eyes with an obviously irritated look on his face she proposed a compromise. She launched two words from her mouth with a great big smile on his face, hoping it would avert the nearly inevitable feud.
Kendrick’s slightly rotated his head in curiosity and decided to give her a chance.
“Okay.” He squinted his eyes at his girlfriend furiously, focused and smashing away at her keyboard.
Jacqueline’s mind raced, her eyes widened. This had to be her ultimate test, no, race for her journalistic skills. She was determined to find some sort of method to communicate with Solomon Richards in five minutes. Email address, Phone number, place of work, home address, whatever she could find. One word was screaming inside her mind. “INTERVIEW.”
Solmon Richards let out a sigh as he reclined at his desk in his office room on the 144th floor of Richards Tower. He was dressed in a clean cut, skinny two button suit; black and red, pin stripes and all.
The room was silent, with only the hum of electronics filling the air. He whispered, “Nothing to do… night come quick.”
For the past two weeks since playing around with the suit of armor, everything else seemed so… dull. Nothing compared to the feeling of running through the night at sixty miles per hour, digging his feet into the pavement, the feeling of destiny between his fingertips. He raised his head as he could see the sky projected above his head. It was only a digital image projection, but it got the trick across to his senses. He breathed in deep and stretched his arms up above. He heard a slight beep, but decided to ignore it. Was it a conference call? Did he forget a prior engagement? He tried to view himself racing through the city line, tumbling through the air, jetting from roof top to roof t-.
He was stopped in mid thought as he heard the beep one more time. He looked at the projected image on his desk to see that there was an urgent email in his personal inbox.
“Rats, what now…?”
Solomon Richards froze. He read the first sentence of the email out loud.
I know who you are. Meet me at the rooftop you abandoned me at, midnight tonight. Or you won’t like what you’ll see in the news tomorrow!
^^V Rooftop Damsel in Distress
“Hell…” Solomon wasn’t sure what to do. He pushed a button to reach his secretary on the opposite side of the wall. “please call off the rest of the meetings for the day, due to illness.”
Day had finally turned to night as Solomon waited a distance from the rendezvous point. This wasn’t exactly how he thought he would be spending the night after the Yamamoto incident. He was early at the scene, and couldn’t help but feel antsy as midnight approached. He hadn’t given it much thought if his identity were to be revealed. Well, perhaps he did care, since he liked to keep a low key. Media and paparazzi had persistently tried and failed to glorify his boring life. They’ve been long gone for a while. This girl, may prove to be a thorn in his side if his identity as the crime fighting knight were to go public. What to do with this… problem. The next few moments would only tell, and he was already getting quite irritated with the situation.
He spotted a crack of light as the rooftop door opened. To his suprise he switched to infrared on his visors to see not just the girl that he had spotted, but a boy around her age walk out of the door. He shook his head. His first plan of action was to see what the girl wanted, and to see if he could remedy the situation without overreacting. Now, his patience was running thin. He ran across the roof top and launched himself toward the couple.
Jacqueline pushed the heavy door and motioned to Kendrick to hurry, midnight was quickly approaching. She was so excited, she could jump out her skin. She took a step out of the rooftop she had just been nearly 24 hours earlier. She could see her breath as the night was clearer but mcuh colder. Jacqueline looked around to see if the boy in the suit of armor was already there, but the rooftop was empty. She looked down at her frog watch and pressed a button to activate it’s neon green glow. Exactly midnight.
At that moment she heard a whirring and in the distance she saw a glow then the same armored knight launch himself off a nearby rooftop. He floated across the sky cape fluttering behind him and what looked like a graceful flight came slamming down onto the roof of the building. She saw him extend his arms onto the ground in order to increase the friction as the boots didn’t provide enough. It was a magnificint sight really, something straight out of a movie… took both Kendrick’s a Jacqueline’s breath away. Jacqueline because the moment had come to finally confront her mystery hero and Kendrick because he finally realized that his girlfriend hadn’t been lieing. Perhaps the shock hit Kendrick far worse as he started to gasp for air clutching his chest.
Solomon Richards didn’t like what he saw. He walked a clean circle around the two, not to intimidate them, but to inspect what he was up against.
“What do you want?”, the two didn’t respond. He repeated his question but there was still no response. He was getting even more irritated, but forgot that he had to either activate his forward speakers for vocal communication or release his visor over his face. He chose to go with vocal communications this time as he was wary of revealing his face for the second time. The suit in itself seemed to have a personality in itself, nearly teasing Solomon when it felt like, listening when it felt.
He vocalized the command, “Activate forward speakers”.
His voice cracked through with a digitized voicebox in his helmet. “What do you want?”
Solomon could see the girl’s eyes light up.
“I’m sorry about threatening to blackmail you, but I wasn’t sure if you would take me seriously if I hadn’t.”
Solmon simply shook his head in disbelief.
“I want an interview!”
Solomon almost reacted in instinct and growled, “idiot…” He was getting even more irritated. “Your wasting your time. Do both of us a favor and forget you just saw me.”
The girl shrank back seemingly scared, but a more determined look appeared in her eyes. “I’m not scared to use leverage!”
With that the boy reached into the girl’s oddly shaped, bright green backpack. Solomon saw the boy take out a large DSLR and he started snapping pictures of himself. At first Solomon was a little confused at their petty attempt, and slowly walked towards the two. His armor clinked as he gaited slowly at the male. The two froze but the DSLR continued to snap away. Solomon pryed the DSLR from the boys hands and tried to pop out the memory chip. However, since he forgot the power levels of his suit, the finger smashed into DSLR cracking the camera in two.
He grew even more irritated at his own forgetfulness. The pieces of the camera clattered to the floor. He played off the mistake as a tough guy act and tried to keep composure. He frantically searched for a tough guy line to scare them.
“Are you kidding me? Don’t contact me again and don’t you dare send any information to the media… Or…” He coolly paused. “I’ll kill you both.”
Before the two realized what had just happened, Solomon was three buildings away. No, make that four.
The night was cold, and the air smelled of salt. Solomon stared out from the ledge of the tallest building overlooking the Bay City. The sparkling lights slowly started to disappear as the fog rolled in to strengthen the scent of salt in the ocean air. From where he stood the city lied in a serene lull. To the eyes, Megapolis slept, so deceiving from the evil that thrived under the cover of darkness.
Honestly, Solomon knew that he was strange odd sight, standing at the ledge of a hundred-story building, scanning the city in an odd Batman-like suit wasn’t something everyone normally does. It had only been two weeks since he’d donned the powered suit his father had left him. A billionaire from a young age, his parents had left him with all the family had owned when they had died. With so much money, and no family or friends, except a servant, to share it with, life had been difficult, as he had grown up. He had never gotten over his families death, the sole survivor of what was thought to be some cataclysmic accident.
A swift breeze whipped across the top of the building signaling that the wind would soon pick up. Standing at the top of the tallest building of the city had its perks. Standing on the top of the tallest building that belonged to you, even better. When his family died, whatever belonged to his family went straight to Solomon Richards. Solomon became the sole owner of Richards Conglomerate and all of its branches. Bruce Wayne, had Wayne Enterprise, Solomon practically held the world in his hands.
Solomon heard a buzz as the radio uplink clicked to hear the familiar voice of his servant, “Sir, our sensors are indicating the storm will reach shore within the hour. I will upload the data to your suit.”
“I can see it from here Kenzington. I’ll probably be returning earlier than usual. Intelligence is harder to come up with when it rains”
“As you say, I’ll have fresh clothes and refreshments prepared.”
“Thanks Kenzington, you the best.”
As the radio connection clicked off, Solomon’s visor swooped into place covering/ protecting his face. He couldn’t get enough of it. The process of thought controlled most of the suit, and not even the latest technology could keep up with some of the things the suit could do. Best of all, it was a perfect fit, light as a feather, and he always had a hell of a fun time running around in it.
A message beeped and projected itself to his visor. With how advanced the suit’s technology was, it was relatively easy to configure and compatible with nearly anything he’d try to streamline with it. He cracked a smile as images and video of the location of Yamamoto, Jin. Solomon’s newest addition to his suit’s functionality was the ability to stream into the local camera network of Megapolis. Since every camera was on a different network, it had been a tedious process to hack into the various network camera feeds, and from there had run the feeds through the government’s face recognition database. All the sleepless nights had paid off with this lead. It was time to meet this thug.
Solomon stepped forward to the edge of the ledge. He spread out his arms and took one last deep breath and jumped. Falling from one hundred stories wasn’t something he had gotten used to yet, but he couldn’t get enough as his adrenaline pumped stronger as his barometer counted down his decent to earth.
For two weeks Solomon had been running around Megapolis at night fighting the creepy bad guys, looking for someone to beat up. Masquerading as some kind of superhero. It must have been an amusing sight as he’d caught a few petty thieves in action, a few robberies here and there, even running into a burning building saving a child. Solomon had just one policy for himself. He would always stay out of sight from the public, never stepping out of the shadows. Publicity wouldn’t mix well with his plans.
Contrary to his actions or policy Solomon wasn’t a crime fighter. He was no super hero. It was a true masquerade, it would be a lie to call him a protector of the weak, the hand of justice. Perhaps the closest thing to him may have been Batman. Solomon’s reason for picking up the suit was full of ulterior motives, perhaps not ultimately for revenge, but rather to find out the truth. Stemming from the death of his family, he knew as a kid the deaths of his family members just didn’t add up. He had obsessed over their deaths, he had nearly driven himself to obsession as the loneliness picked at him, prodded into his soul. Sadly enough, for Solomon, this became the meaning of his existence.
Solomon, the man in a suit of armor continued to streak down to earth. Ten stories from the ground the jets in his boots automatically operated, cushioning his fall. He leveraged his fall to churn the movement into a run and sped through the city at inhuman speeds. Leaping from roof to roof, cutting from alley to alley, Solomon put free runners to shame powering through the city at sixty miles per hour. He could see bits and pieces of the dock through the fog as he grew closer and closer to his destination.
For two weeks he had tested the suits abilities in real life situations; with the armed robberies, combat with the thieves, and the fire, all too easy. Everything was too easy with the suit on, and every test surpassed his expectations. He had projected a month to get fully used to the suits functions, but with such great results and ease of control Solomon decided to set his plans into motions a bit earlier than planned.
Solomon turned into the last alley, which lead to a dead end. He sped up and jumped, scaling a third of the wall. He ran up the rest of the building with ease nearing the edge of his journey. He glided across expanse of the roof and launched himself from the top of the roof just as an enormous cargo boat entered the interior dock. Solomon, hoping to land on the large cargo boat, or even grab the tail end misjudged the power of his step in excitement. He let out a gasp as he realized that he was heading straight into the dark waters of the bay. He flailed his feet forward reactivating his jets, but only activating it for just a split second due to the time lag between boosts. In mid tumble he managed to grab a railing over the side of the ship successfully avoiding an extremely wet situation. Solomon pulled himself on deck as he stowed away among the huge cargo boxes on deck.
It was dark inside the building and he could hear orders being barked and feet shuffling around moving away from the boat. He turned on his infrared on his visor, which gave him a clear view of the inside of the docks. He could see around five to six men moving boxes from the boat off the docks. Something was up, a boat moving in through the cover of darkness and fog. Something was fishy, and fishy was exactly what he was looking for. Fishy would lead him to Yamamoto, who should still be at the docks, and Yamamoto had his fingers in anything relatively fishy. Solomon couldn’t get a good view of the docks from the boxes he was hiding behind and decided to prop himself on top of the boxes to get a better view.
Bingo. From the opposite end of the docks he spotted Yamamoto in his trench coat and fedora. He zoomed up the image to make sure, and it was crystal clear. Oddly enough, out of place, he spotted a young women tied to a chair.
“Was she kidnapped by Yamamoto?” Solomon tried to think.
He zoomed up to her face trying to figure out if it was someone famous or important that he might know of the top of his head, but she was blindfolded obstructing the view of much of her face. His mind raced, the sole reason of being here was for intelligence, and intelligence meant figure out information on Yamamoto. Yamamoto ran the streets with gambling, drugs, and whatever shady dealings made money, his hands would be on it. However, being one of the heads on the streets didn’t mean that Yamamoto was at the top. He had to have a boss, even someone like Yamamoto reported to somebody, and through complicated reasoning, and Yamamoto being Solomon’s only lead, he was stuck in a predicament. Save a random girl, or go through with simply gathering intelligence. Yet, Solomon played with the idea of possibly doing both.
He stood at the top of the boxes thinking, enjoying the wonderful view of the shady dealings of the criminals in progress. His mind began to race trying to calculate a plan to combine gathering intelligence, and saving the girl in the process. Both had their perks, gut instinct was to go save the girl. However, that would ultimately blow his cover as there was no way to smuggle the girl out of the dock without the dirt bags knowing she was gone. On the other hand, if he just gathered intelligence, he wouldn’t be noticed, he could be able to formulate a plan, and possibly figure out who Yamamoto’s boss was and go from there. Save the girl another day? Solomon was unsure.
As he tried to figure out a plan he continued to watch from the top of the boxes. Solomon thought it was so stupid how these creepy criminals always loved to make deals with the lights off, using darkness of night as cover. Perhaps doing bad things in the dark made these criminals feel better, or gave them some reassurance that no one was watching. Solomon laughed inside, knowing he was watching. Bad guys are so stupid, he thought.
In that instant something peculiar happened that startled Solomon knocking himself off the boxes creating a huge ruckus as boxes tumbled over. His visor went completely white then dark. He couldn’t figure out what happened exactly until he popped his visor open, which nearly blinded his true sight. Someone had turned on the lights, and the evil bad guys knew that he had been on top of the boxes… WATCHING!
Shaking his head and recovering from the initial shock of losing his vision he fumbled around. His adrenaline started to pump as he realized he was in danger. There were foot steps clamoring up toward the ship signaling that the creepy bad men would be where Solomon was very quickly, if he didn’t figure a new place to hide.
“How ironic.” Solomon popped his visor back on and turned off the infrared view returning his vision back to normal. I guess that means I’m not gathering intel today…”
He measured the distance between the girl and where he stood and jumped off the cargo boat activating his jets, which sent him flying toward the girl. Shocked by a fully armored man hurtling towards them at high speeds, the evil baddies didn’t even get a chance to take out their guns. Solomon had swooped the girl out of the chair and was halfway toward the nearest exit when he heard bullets whiz by as he dashed faster and faster toward the nearest door. As he neared it, he jumped up and slammed into the door feet first, which smacked one of Yamamoto’s henchmen in the back.
Flying through the air, Solomon held the girl tightly, riding the door, and simultaneously riding one of the henchmen. Solomon smashed into the ground, smashing the man underneath the door and continued to run.
“Ouch that’s gotta hurt… I guess next time you won’t stand in front of the door, when Solomon needs a quick get away.” Solomon shook his head and leapt up the side of a building, then hoped to the next.
He noticed the girl mumble something and Solomon took the liberty of removing the cloth tied around her face so she could see and communicate.
“What the hell are you doing?! Put me down right now!”
Solomon lifted his visor half way so that he could talk to the girl yet keep his identity hidden. Puzzled he looked down at the girl as he continued to hop from building to building leaving the docks behind in the thick fog. Rain started to drizzle across the bay as he continued to run away from the dock.
“Excuse me?” Solomon looked down.
“K-k-kendrick!? Kendrick, what is this?! Is this some kind of joke!?”
Solomon, now a little confused and a bit irritated checked the distance from the docks on his visors and decided it was safe to let the girl down. The fog would cover his tracks, and it was safe enough to drop the girl off in the current area. He cut the ropes off her hands and feet and could see that she was a bit mad.
“You know, I just rescued you from some really bad people.”
“Kendrick, if you’re trying to make up for what happened today, it’s not working. You know that I’m going to be a journalist, and the best there is. Even if I have to put myself in danger to do so!” Her eyes glowed with passion as she stared off into the distance monologuing.
Solomon started to string the situation together. “I’m sorry, but I believe you are mixing me up with someone else.”
“OH PLEASE! Lose the super hero gag Kendrick. How could it not be you?! Same hair as this morning popping out of that helmet thing of yours, same height, you could change your voice just a bit to make you sound a little bit more heroic, and heck… I can spot you standing around from a million miles away. Don’t even try that on your girlfriend.”
Solomon flinched backwards as he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He began to think that she may be a stalker that was infatuated with him.. After all, he was a boy billionaire. Could Kendrick be her special nickname for him? Solomon, Kendrick? No, nothing added up.
“Look, I don’t know Kendrick, and I am not your boyfriend. Obviously…”
“Obviously what? Obviously, you are stupid. I can’t believe you’d go through this much trouble… You know, all I ever want to hear, is a SORRY?”
With that statement Solomon concluded that the girl was insane. In a split second, disregarding keeping his identity a secret, and a bit of frustration, he accidentally slipped a thought to open his visor revealing the entirety of his face. The female gasped and slapped him in the face.
“You are so kidding me…” Solomon rubbed the side of his cheek. The girl knew how to hit.
“You’re not… Kendrick.”
“Like i said…” Solomon shook his head and flipped his visor half way. “Take a cab from here. Don’t do anything stupid like that anymore. Mixing yourself up with Yamamoto will only end with you dieing.” Her eyes were still wide as saucers unable to comprehend the situation. She looked as if she was about to fall into shock.
“The area should be safe, so take a cab out.” Solomon’s visor slipped down covering the rest of his face and he sped off. Her eyes were still wide with fright and shock, not knowing how to react to the situation. Before the girl had returned to Earth, Solomon was three buildings away. No, make that four.