The Bad Guy Wins in This One - Chapter Thirty Four (Jared)

Jared’s hopes that May would stay with him were crushed effectively along with their car as an eighteen wheeler hit it. May’s body had dropped unconscious at the wheel, swerving them into the oncoming behemoth of a truck. Jared flew through the windshield, crumpling up against the grill and then rolling up over the front of the vehicle through its own shattered windshield.

Damn, not sure whether to put this in the pro or con column for wearing a seat belt, he thought, looking at the crushed metal wreckage of what was left of the car he’d been in a second ago. A normal person wouldn’t have survived either way, but he’d be stuck in that wreck until they used the Jaws of Life to pull him out. Well, assuming he couldn’t tear or melt his way out with Patrick’s abilities. And on the other hand, crashing without one turned him into a human missile and he was a little concerned he’d killed the driver of the semi-truck. Things weren’t supposed to turn out this way.

He tried to take a deep breath to stem the rising tide of panic, but found himself unable to do that or anything else due to the broken neck. Well, if there’s a God out there, maybe this is his way of telling me to chill a moment. It wasn’t something he really wanted to do. He’d always known the odds of success were low, but he’d figured if anyone was going to die that Black Rain wouldn’t kill for sure anyways, it would be him and Patrick. Not exactly what he’d wanted to happen, but it almost beat living the rest of their lives in slavery to Redarctica via the pain chips.

He’d never expected there to be this type of collateral damage. There was no telling how many people the monstrosity created from his arm managed to massacre before they put it down and now even this innocent trucker was unconscious and potentially bleeding out because of him. Even worse than that was May might be dead. He had no way of knowing if her last body would drop dead in a few minutes and wouldn’t know unless he found her at the hospital.

No, thinking about things definitely not something I want to do at the moment, he thought, struggling to keep the tide of panic, grief and guilt from overwhelming him. Fortunately, his bones were knitting themselves together and soon he was able to feel his extremities again. Physical pain washed away his emotional pain and he was suddenly glad for the temporary reprieve from it that his broken neck had provided him with.

Given the extent of his damage, he was sure he was still healing much quicker than normal. But the near instant regeneration he’d had during the peak of the boost was gone. It was like being buttoned back together, methodical and precise, whereas previously he’d just been zipped back up in an instant.

“Ok buddy, good thing I’m heading to the hospital anyways, because it looks like you really need one,” he said to the unconscious truck driver, trying to carefully shift the man out of the driver’s seat. He hoped the vehicle was still drivable after totaling his. The truck started, which he figured was a good sign. He threw it in reverse, flinching at the sound of twisting metal as it disentangled itself from the wreckage. He’d be leaving behind a good chunk of the front surface of the truck, but so far it seemed everything needed to actually make the damn thing move was intact. It groaned as he backed it off the road, attempting a three point turn.

This is taking too long. It’s only a few miles away and I can run pretty damn fast with Patrick’s powers. But looking at the trucker, he could tell the man was barely breathing. He couldn’t just leave the man behind. He shuddered as he took one last glance at the wreck of his car, seeing May’s corpse. He’d seen a lot of them over the past months, though few belonging to copies as vibrant and full of life as this one was before she’d lost the connection. She can’t be dead. Not for good. She has to live. She can’t die here, not because of me. His grip tightened on the steering wheel and he prepared to make a break for it.

“Freeze!” he heard from outside the vehicle. “Get out of the vehicle and put your hands up!” Jared paused, cursing himself. He hadn’t even heard the sirens. He looked towards the rear-view to see if he could tell if Krieg’s holo-generator was still working, but it’d been shattered. So had the other mirrors and it was too dark, looking down at his arms, to tell for sure what pigment they were appearing as.

He considered just making a drive for it, but the cop car was no doubt faster and he didn’t think it a good idea to show up at the hospital with a tail. On the other hand… “Ok, I’m coming out. Don’t shoot!” He wondered how much the army had told the police about the current situation. There weren’t too many empowered criminals, but there’d been enough that the army may have entrusted them with the truth of their current predicament to properly prepare them. Especially given the remainder of the Sunlight City police force was likely to be extra sensitive regarding such offenders.

“Get on the ground,” the officer shouted. He at least suspects something, or he wouldn’t be so hostile towards someone that was just in an accident. Crap, I should have pretended I was injured and couldn’t get out. Oh well, too late now. He took a step towards the officer and put a quiver of fear into his voice. It wasn’t too hard an acting job, given how terrified he was for May and his sister’s safety.

“Please sir, don’t shoot, my friend needs help. He’s hurt bad, man. We need to get him to an ambulance,” Jared said, voice quivering. He wondered if he should get on the ground. If the officer didn’t know what he was, then he could take him by surprise when the office came to put cuffs on. But if the officer knew, then he’d just sit there with his gun trained on him until backup arrived.

He glanced at his upraised arms, trying to gauge the state of the holo-tech from the bright lights of the police cruiser. His arms were practically shining white. Yep, so much for disguises. Hopefully that abomination looked different enough no one recognizes me.

Get on the ground, or I WILL shoot you!” the police officer screamed. Good luck, thought Jared. He hardened his bones with Patrick’s powers. Then he reached out his mind, feeling the officer’s consciousness. Reacher’s a bastard for forcing my hand, but he certainly gave me a neat trick. The officer’s face shown with sweat, and Jared knew as he took another step that the man was going to lose his cool. He could practically feel the officer’s finger tighten around the trigger, and he slammed down with Reacher’s power, jerking the man’s hand off balance with his own nervous system.

Two shots went completely wide and a third clipped him on the arm. The officer regained his aim and the fourth and fifth hit Jared in the skull. But he was prepared for it this time, hardened skull so strong it flattened the bullets on impact. He couldn’t help but smile a little. He didn’t even try to stop the last bullet the police officer fired. The bullet took him square in the chest, missing his ribs and piercing straight through his heart.

But even without the boost, he was so much better at healing muscle than he’d started off that he scarcely missed a beat. It brought him to his knees, but he was back up and closing the gap between him and the officer before the officer could reload.

“My apologies,” Jared said, slamming his knee into the officer’s gut. He could feel the vest protecting the officer’s front and regretted that he’d probably have to give him a minor concussion to successfully knock him out. “You had impeccable aim. Just a few months ago that would have brought me down for a good while, if not killed me outright. Half a year ago it definitely would have killed me. But today, it’s just a minor inconvenience, and I’m in need of your car to make up for it.”

He did a double take for a second. And your clothes, for that matter. He could see the fear in the officer’s eyes as he tried to resist against Jared, but it was hopeless. He was drawing deep now from Patrick’s super strength and could have snapped the man in two. “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” Hopefully. He gave the man what he hoped was a light but sharp tap on the head, rendering the poor bastard unconscious. Then he stripped the man of his shirt and pants as quickly as he could, throwing on his attire. He grabbed the officer’s gun as well, hoping he wouldn’t need it. But it would help with the disguise, if nothing else.

It’d never pass close inspection, but it might help him get away with driving a police car the rest of the way to the hospital. He opened up the trunk and threw the cop inside. Then he rushed over to the semi-truck and took the driver into his arms as gently as he could. He rushed the driver over to the backseat of the cop car and placed him inside.

He got into the driver’s seat and hit the accelerator, leaving the lights on. He wasn’t sure what to hit to put the siren on, so he just had to hope that it wasn’t too suspicious for a cop car to be driving over a hundred miles per hour with lights but no noise. It was only a couple of minutes to the hospital anyways at that speed.

He arrived on the scene just in time to see an eighteen wheeler drive into the ER. The wall collapsed in on itself, sparks flew and glass shattered as the massive vehicle crushed through concrete and metal doors.

Holy shit, that can’t be good. He drove up to a door he knew was closer to his sister’s room and got out, sprinting through the hospital doors. People were running around frantically and he wondered how many were doing so with purpose and how many were just panicked and confused. Either way, he was paid little attention. It was amazing what a police uniform and badge could do. He just flashed it at anyone in the way. He grabbed a nurse.

“There’s a man in the backseat of my car out that door. I don’t think he’s going to last much longer if he doesn’t get medical attention.”

“What happened?” the nurse said.

“Crashed in his eighteen wheeler… not the same one as just hit the building.” She just shook her head and motioned for a couple of her fellow nurses to come help her. They looked torn, clearly in the middle of something important themselves, but finally they relented. Jared smiled a bit. Clearly I grabbed the right nurse.

He made his way to the stairs, unsure how long the elevator would take in the current circumstances. He didn’t even bother running up them, instead just drawing upon Patrick’s super strength to enable him to leap up the sides of the staircase. In only a couple of seconds he was on the third floor.

He burst into his sister’s room, prepared for a fight. But no one was there other than Lilly, laying peacefully in her bed, machines still breathing for her. I can’t get her out like this. But if she stays here, Black Rain will probably kill her.

He’d taken a longshot to try and save Hargrave after shooting him, with no idea whether it’d worked. But it was a longshot he’d have to take again on his own sister, if there was any chance of her surviving. How to do this, how to do this. He found a syringe and stabbed himself, drawing out blood. He tried tapping out any air bubbles like he’d sometimes seen them do on TV and shot out a bit.

Her brain is damaged, so how do I get my cells into her brain to heal it? He figured the base of her neck was as close as he was going to get, wishing he’d paid more attention in biology class and fully aware that if his cells were normal there was no question he’d be killing her right now.

He shot his blood into her neck, and waited. In only a few seconds she began convulsing and he was sure he’d failed, but then her hands grasped at the tubes running down her throat and a spark of hope went through him. He tried to remove the endotracheal tube as carefully as he could and once he had he could see she was breathing on her own. She looked at him. Her eyes were cloudy, but she was conscious. A hint of recognition passed across her face and she smiled weakly.

“Hey big bro, I knew you’d save me. Bobby says hi!” Then her eyes rolled back in her head and she fell back on the bed, lifeless. He checked for a pulse and felt nothing. No, no no no no, she can’t. Not after all that. She can’t die like that. It was working, God dammit, she can’t die like this!

Jared slumped over in shock. He’d seen this happen before, to at least a few classmates. The moment of almost gaining powers, but failing. Rejecting the gift, they’d started calling it over here. He didn’t know if his attempt to save her was responsible for this, but he did know there was nothing he could do now. He sat there completely despondent, which is why it took him a moment to register that there was someone standing in the doorway. But not just any someone, it was someone he could only see as a slightly orange haze as the contacts Krieg gave him fed him heat signature information.

Kevin Knight, he thought, anger building inside him. He struggled not to give away any sign he could see the normally invisible assassin, thinking of ways he could grab the revolver he’d set down and end the bastard who’d helped cause so much suffering. He might not be able to infiltrate Black Rain as he’d planned, but he sure as hell was going to kill as many of them as he could get his hands on. A fire bloomed deep inside him and dark sense of satisfaction came upon him. That’s right, I don’t even need a revolver.