--Chapter Eight: Game Plan
Aeris (as Tetra, the pirate from The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. Aboard her ship, she talks with “Link” (Leo)): Your sister was taken to that fortress up ahead. You’ll have to go in there if you want to rescue her.
Leo: Wait, won’t you guys be going with me?
Aeris: One, it would arouse too much attention from all the guards they got there. Two, there’s only one way you’ll ever get in, and there’s no way I’m taking that route.
Leo: Oh, I see—hold up, why did you say, “no way?”
(Flash to minutes later. Leo is sitting in a barrel, at the end of a catapult.)
Aeris: Don’t worry. We’re at least forty percent sure you’ll land in water. Now keep your paws inside the barrel, and enjoy the flight. (She cuts the rope to send Leo flying.)
(Leo lands in the water. When he gets out, Aeris contacts him via the Pirate’s Charm.)
Aeris: Any famous words you want to remember your landing by?
Leo: (shakes off some water) Oh, you may jest now, Tetra. When my dry cleaning bill arrives, you shall pay.
Pants Man’s call was a simple one.
“P.M. with a progress report.”
“Found the target. Call it a TGIF at the Convention Center. A bogey corked the bottle and something’s fishy.”
“…And in English, that would mean…”
Pants Man sighed. “The Firm will be at the Convention Center this weekend. Someone welded all the emergency exit doors shut. Whatever they’re planning, It’s going to be big.”
“Ah. You need any help getting those things unstuck?”
“Nah, I can handle the doors. But send for some backup in case they’re still watching the place.”
With that, Pants Man crossed the street once more. The nearest police patrol would be there within minutes to give him some protection. Meantime, he could get a head start.
He went around to the nearest welded exit door and took his super soaker out from behind his back, where it hung hooked to a belt over his shoulder. He then took a flask from his pocket and checked the label.
“Always smart to keep some of the good stuff with ya,” he said to himself as he poured the flask contents into the squirt gun. He pumped the chamber a few times and aimed for the top of the door’s edge at point blank range. The gun shot a stream of liquid directly onto the welding.
Though the door was solid steel, its metal instantly rusted. The liquid flowed downward via the path of least resistance, which was along the welded edge. Soon the attachment was weak enough to cut through with a butter knife. Not having a knife on hand, though, the hero used a simple credit card. The edge easily tore through the disintegrated rust.
Pants Man checked his ammo once the job was done. He had enough for at least four or five more doors, but the convention center was much larger, he knew. Well, he could go home and prepare some more of the formula if he needed it. For now he would simply conserve what he had and get done what he could.
It was while he was cutting open the fourth door when something caught the corner of his eye…
Number Two received his partner’s page, and from coded text messaging he learned that Number Three had taken care of the doors. Good, thought the former. I’m afraid I’ll have to check that, though.
While his partner had been securing the outside of the building, Number two was on the inside, wearing a full-body suit designed to make himself invisible in the electronic eyes of countless motion detectors in various halls of the building. His job was simple: rig the building’s alarm system so that it would fail on the day of the convention.
He was done now, and he was ready to go, except that he wanted to test the integrity of his partner’s work on the emergency exits. He picked a one at random and approached it from the inside.
The door’s clash bar was hooked up to an alarm, so he cut the necessary wires before pressing on it. At first, the door jammed. Then, part of it moved, and suddenly the whole thing opened. The only sign of any tampering to the exit was some rust powder that fell from the side that should have been welded.
He stepped out into the night air and looked back at the open door. The spring on the clash bar must be broken, he thought, because the bar was still pressed in on itself.
“Now why would Three do that?” he asked himself, collecting his thoughts. “I can understand betrayal, but… just leaving the door open? Honestly, Three, you disappoint me. It’s a huge mistake to betray someone’s trust and leave them alive, and I thought you knew that.” Sarcastically he added, “The least you could have done was plant a bomb in the door…”
Then the clash bar popped back to its original position, and Number Two gained a whole new level of respect for the term, “ironic cue.”
The blast turned a good portion of the building to rubble in an instant. Pants Man ducked around the side and hid his face from the debris. When the dust cleared, there were already sirens sounding in the distance.
The hero ran to get a closer look at the explosion. He would not have the Commissioner blame him for the mess this time. If there were a villain in the near vicinity causing this trouble, then Pants Man would track him down.
However, instead of finding the explosion’s perpetrator, he found only the victim at the scene. The man did not look good. He was already missing an arm, and multiple pieces of debris were scattered about him.
Pants Man took off his makeshift cape and used it as a bandage for the wound at the shoulder. He rolled the man over and checked to see he was breathing; the sound was very faint, but the man was still alive.
The sirens were only a block away. Pants Man hurriedly shook the man’s face and tried to wake him up. He got a grumbled response.
“Hello? Can you hear me?” said Pants Man.
“Who did this to you?”
“Don’t be afraid. I’m a good guy.”
Number Two got up the strength to open his eyes. He saw the boxer shorts with eyeholes and almost gasped.
“Pants…” he said weakly.
“Yes, I’m Pants Man. Who did this to you?”
But the police and ambulance had arrived, and by the time the paramedics reached the body, Pants Man escaped.
The hero ran into the building heedless of the motion detector alarm that went off as he flew through the halls. He made his way to another emergency exit, one he had not broken the welding on from the outside. The clash bar, he noticed, looked like it had been repaired or replaced recently. He shot through the metal with his gun until he could see clearly enough that a trigger mechanism rested on the inside of the bar. He guessed that some plastic explosives were at work here.
Pants Man made his final exit through a window instead of a door, and he silently walked through the shadows until he was well out of earshot of the sirens. He thought to himself whether or not to give the Commissioner another call, then decided against it. He needed more information than was currently available. That, and he needed to sit and think things through for a while.