Superpowers In A World Gone Mad
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The Midnight Runner, Issue #001

May 31, 2013 in The Midnight Runner Tags:

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Issue #001 – – – – – controlled by Ken Thompson – – – – – Credits 0

The thief came through air conditioning pipes in absolute silence.  He moved with grace and style, clearly a master at his trade.  The grill that fed a cool breeze into the executive offices of the Bull Corporation was removed quickly and efficiently and he lowered his lithe body down onto the top of a filing cabinet.  From there he shot a wire to the far wall and began shimmying across it, completely avoiding the delicate floor sensors that were switched on here at night.

At the far end, the thief hung upside-down from the wire by his knees and pulled the painting of Clinton away from the wall revealing the state of the art safe behind it.  Carefully, oh so carefully, he retrieved his tools from their zipped storage pocket.  The safe was tricky, but he was confident he could have it open in a few minutes.  Ten at the worst.  Well within the time space between guard foot patrols of this floor.

“Ahem,” The Midnight Runner said as the lights came up.  “Can I help you with something?”
The thief was so surprised he fell from the wire and hit the floor.  The sensor alarms didn’t sound.
“You are quite talented,” Midnight said, smiling broadly.  “But the corporation isn’t stupid.  We have all the aircon shafts and maintenance corridors alarmed in several different ways.  As you crept around, we’ve been watching and enjoying the show.”  This wasn’t entirely true.  It had taken some hard advice from Midnight before they’d installed the additional security that had caught this man.  Apparently, rich and powerful they may be, but the corporation was certainly capable of great stupidity too.
The thief said nothing, but went for the weapon concealed inside his jacket.

The Midnight Runner was faster.  Across the room in a flash his hand was at the thief’s throat, its soft blue glow lighting the area with its subtle colour.  “Don’t,” the hero said.  “A plasma burst at this close range could take your head off.”
“You wouldn’t,” the thief croaked.  “You’re a superhero.  You can’t kill.”
“Brave new world, my friend,” The Midnight Runner said.  But then conceded: “You’re right though, I wouldn’t kill you.  But it would certainly hurt a whole lot.  You might wish I had killed you for the next few weeks while suffering major burns, breathing difficulties and other medical complaints.  I’d suggest you just give it up.  I’ve caught you fair and square.”  The resolve seemed to just leak from the villain and he nodded, resignedly.

The side door burst open and three Minotaurs entered.  These were the shock troop security of the Bull Corporation, humans but in the heavy power armour made specifically and only for Bull’s protection.  Those suits made them stronger, faster and much harder to hurt.  They also looked damn scary too, fashioned like the legendary monsters of mythology.  “You have the thief in custody?” Minotaur 1 asked.
“You can plainly see I do,” The Midnight Runner said.
“We will take it from here,” Minotaur 2 added.
“I don’t think so,” The Midnight Runner said.  “I’m commissioned by Bull to stop these burglaries, not to bypass the legal system of the United States Of America, such as it is.”
“The Bull Corporation funds, provides and owns the legal system in this city,” Minotaur 1 reminded him.
The Midnight Runner sighed, knowing this was true.

When the thief had been removed, the Midnight Runner headed down to the Cashier.  It was a twenty-four hour job in the Bull Corporation – the cashier was always open.  He took payment for his successful mission, twelve thousand dollars.  One of the upsides to being one of the very few licensed superheroes in the city.  He could get paid.  Not that he did it for the money – but you have to put bread on the table somehow.

Arriving home to his luxury penthouse flat, The Midnight Runner dropped wearily into his electronic massage chair.  Around him the walls and ceiling lit up with silvery LCD light as his computers automatically fed him all the news channels, the press, social media feeds, data and video and audio from his surveillance cameras set about all around Helix Point, and his diary.  “Coffee,” he said.
“Acknowledged,” said a soft female voice with a slight mechanical edge.  Minutes later a tiny rover bot rolled across the room, atop which rested a steaming mug of java, made perfectly to his tastes.  “Thanks,” Midnight Runner said.
“You’re welcome,” came the female response.

“Anything to report?”  Midnight Runner asked.
“Your third spare costume is dry cleaned and ready for use.  There were three bills today which I have settled as per your standing instructions.  Current account shows successful addition of your services payment from the Bull Corporation.  There was an attempted violation of the Deep Storage Centre.  The cat has been fed and is currently out, and…”
“Wait.  Stop!  Go back.  What was that about the Deep Storage Centre?”
“There was an attempted violation.”
“What kind of violation?  A break-in?”
“What do you mean unknown?”
“Unknown, Adjective, Not known or familiar.”
“Yeah.  Thanks Xara, that’s helpful.  Let me ask in a way your computer brain can deal with.  How did the situation with the Deep Storage Centre resolve itself?”
“It did not,” the Base Operating System known as Xara responded, “It is still here.”
A cold chill passed down The Midnight Runner’s spine.

Still here?

One Response to “The Midnight Runner, Issue #001”

  1. Keith Nixon Says:

    Ooo, is this somebody I know inside a computer?


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