Poison: superior (rank 2)
Information suggests that I'm not exactly dealing with the Syndicate here. This is street gang stuff, thugs that think the rule the neighbourhood. Not a huge problem on the surface, but there is going to be a lot of them, and the smart ones will be armed. I can handle it, but I'm going to need all of my equipment.
That means I'm taking the Paralyser. The name is far from original, but it's definitely descriptive. My trademark and finest achievement. It's about the only thing I'm really known for amongst the Angels. A handgun of my own design, it doesn't fire ordinary bullets. It fires very small shells that burst on impact. Each one contains a chemical compound that shuts down the nerves local to where it hits, for around an hour. I use it to paralyse limbs, disarming opponents and slowing their escape. A well placed shot near the head is usually enough to knock an unprotected person out cold for a while, but this takes a good twenty or so minutes to take effect.
At first, I wasn't even sure it would work. Having already designed the gun, I'd spent weeks in the lab trying to concoct some sort of non-lethal chemical for use in my work. I enjoy my time in the lab, I always have, ever since I was a kid. It keeps my mind away from the outside world, and away from my own thoughts. I'd tested what was to become the final product on various smaller animals, frogs and rats. But I needed some kind of human test subject.
Who better than myself? I couldn't exactly go out with it and test it on the job; that kind of thing could lead to many unforeseen effects. I wasn't going to put anyone's life on the line. Mine was the only one worthless enough to risk in such a manner. I gripped a small handgun tightly in my right arm. I had to do this test properly, after all. In the other hand, I wielded a syringe, containing the chemical. I injected it into my right bicep. Within two seconds, I'd lost my grip of the handgun; I certainly wasn't able to fire it. Within five, the whole arm had gone limp.
I'm going to need the Paralyser if I plan to take out the whole gang. Unfortunately, the shells and chemical don't come cheap, and I don't have very many. I'm going to have to pick my shots.
Plans Are Best Formed From Above
Wall Crawling: standard (rank 1)
I'm going to need a better vantage point. I need to know what's happening down there before I go in, or I'm going to get myself shot at. I don't have the resources to win an outright fire-fight in there.
This old warehouse is perfect. It's tall, empty, and I can get to the roof from the back, so I'm not likely to be spotted. I grip the metal drainage piping, and pull myself up. The small, but strong magnetic disks inserted into the fingers of my gloves, and the larger plates in the soles of my boots were designed specifically for this situation. The piping creaks under the strain of my weight as I lift myself up, but it should hold. After a fairly short climb, I reach a window half way up the building. I take a little time to rest, the magnets keep me from dropping to the ground, but I still need to use my own strength to move. I sit on the window ledge for a few seconds, and then begin to climb again.
From the roof I can see the port perfectly. It's not a major port, used for fishermen normally. But that's no fishing boat. I've found my target, a small white merchant ship, probably stolen, with three men in trench coats nearby. The coats amuse me, it's clear these guys are playing up for the sellers, trying to make them think they're big shots. There are some big guys down there too, enforcers. Add a few more numbers for the guys likely to be inside the buildings down there and we're talking about eight to ten people. I've got what I need now to form a plan of attack.
A Fairly Decent Shot
Marksman: standard (rank 1)
I've been practicing. I'm a fairly decent shot now; I can certainly hit a target. It wasn't always like that of course, before taking up my current work, I'd had no interest in using a gun. But needs must, and I very quickly realised that I wasn't going to last long without at least being able to take out an enemy from range. I picked up training mostly from other Angels, and it was much easier than I had anticipated.
Just as well, because if I'm going to get into that port, I need to take out the guy guarding the gate. My gun doesn't kill, I can't afford to just run in and shoot or he'll be able to raise the alarm. If I can get him in the jaw, I should cut off his speech. That's the first priority, after that I can go for a leg shot, which will give me the chance to get in close and double the dosage - that should knock him out. I'll be using three of four shells on one man, but after that I shouldn't need to use many more. The problem is, it's night, and the area isn't very well lit. It's not a great problem, but it would certainly give a rookie trouble.
I take my position from the alleyway across the street. The first shot hits dead on target. The guard grabs his jaw, he's got no idea what has just happened. The second shot knocks him down, his leg has been paralysed. It's easy enough to get close and finish him off; the shock of the paralysis is enough to stop him from reacting. I'm able to start my work now.
Never Go in Without a Plan
Tactician: standard (rank 1)
The dock is far from quiet, for such a small gang they make far too much noise. My target isn't the gang though, it's the smugglers. The gang are just in the way. I can't engage them directly, as confident as I am in the Paralyser, I can't win ten to one. I need to divert their attention. It's easy enough to get past a few of the grunts, knock down a bin here, throw a stone there; the small distractions give me more than enough time to cross from one wall to the next without being spotted. The leaders, however, are a different matter. Standing right in front of the ship, they wait as the smugglers prepare their cargo for embankment, and I'm not going to get them moving without something major.
That's exactly what I can do. I've been carrying the guy I knocked out at the gate since I entered the dock. I place him in a dumpster, and wait. Eventually, one of the thugs spots him as I watch on from the roof of one of the dock buildings. Something like that won't go down well; street gangs tend to be paranoid, especially in Khazan. As far as they're concerned they might be being attacked by a meta-human. That kind of thing needs immediate attention from the gang leaders, so the discoverer calls for the bosses. They're only going to be gone for a couple of minutes, but it's enough time for me to get onto the ship.
I'm not prepared for what I find inside.
To Kill a Monster
Piercing Weapon: standard (rank 1)
The girl is just stood there, in tears. She must only be twelve, maybe thirteen years old. She's naked, and there are bruises all over her. At once I realise what's happening. This isn't a drug smuggling at all. The girl's a sample; it's a damn sex slave racket.
All at once, my mind goes blank, I can't think. I draw a pistol from my coat pocket, and the three men surrounding her drop to the ground. I don't care. Cowering and defenceless, within a couple more seconds they're dead.
It was never meant to be used like that. I was saving the pistol for myself, in case I ever lost control. To stop a monster. And that's what it did, though instead of stopping one monster, it stopped three. I drop to my knees, the shock is crippling. I'd never killed anyone before this moment, and now I'd shot down three without a thought.
For minutes I kneel there, my mind blank, blind to the world, before I begin to regain my senses. My surroundings begin to become clearer again, I remember where I am. The girl, she's still. She's probably in as much shock as I am, I don't think she can quite comprehend what's just happened either. She's so beautiful; despite the bruising and the tears, she's perfect. She's stunning. If I could just-
No. No, I couldn't. I never can. She's a scared child, alone with no protection. No matter what they did to her, she's innocent. I've given her the first glimmer of hope she's had for a long time. I can't afford to shatter it, to destroy it under the pressure of my own sick desires. She's crying, so am I. Her tears are of relief; mine are of horror. I can't be like those men on the ground, those creatures. I am not them, I refuse to be. I have to overcome. I can’t allow myself to fall into the abyss.
The girl grabs on to me. Of course she does, I just killed the guys that had made her life Hell. I'm her knight in shining armour. For me this is torture. My mind races, a million desires, a million ways in which this experience could end boil down to one: I have to get her out. I can't just run and leave her. There's a contact with the angels waiting not far from the docks, they'll be able to deal with her. I stand as she clings onto my back. I can feel her grip through my coat. It's probably as tight as she can make it, she's not going to let go any time soon. If she'd just loosen her grip, if I couldn't feel her so much, this might be so much easier. Sweat begins to build as I make my way to the edge of the boat. I stop for a moment, close my eyes. I am not a monster. I refuse to be a monster. I open my eyes and continue.
I leave the boat, and the gang is nowhere to be seen. The gunshots most likely scared them off. After I'd left one of them unconscious in a dumpster, the sound will likely have enforced their belief they were dealing with a meta-human. Your average street gang isn't equipped for that kind of thing, even in Khazan. I slowly make my way out of the docks. We are silent; I pretend she's not there. I don't have the will to speak, she just doesn't have the energy. I take the girl to the contact; I don't even look at her as I hand her over.
Visibly shaking, I begin to make my way home. I'm not going on patrol tonight.
In retrospect, I shouldn't have killed those men. It's not my place to be judge, jury and executioner, regardless of circumstance. But it made me realise one thing. I am different to those people. I'm a sick individual, and I need to seek help. But I’m not evil. I'm not a monster. Those men, they were real monsters. And I refuse to let myself become that. I intend to visit a psychiatrist; it will hopefully be my first step toward dealing with my problem. It's not much, but it’s all I can do.