Season Notes: violence, magical coercion, references to suicide, cliffhanger
HE walked out of the darkness with his hands raised. Mobb had a bead on him the minute he appeared but didn’t recognize him right away. Partly the darkness, partly, well, who the hell would believe it?
“I’ve come to surrender,” he called, and Mobb told him to step out into the light. He did, and she immediately stepped back a couple of paces. “Salem,” she said into her Bluetooth. “Salem, I need backup. Right fucking now.”
“Quickmoon’s on eir way. I’m monitoring.”
He looked like a cross between Idris Elba with a goatee and Doctor Strange (from the ’90s comics, before they changed him to look like Cumberbatch). Mobb knew him, of course, knew how dangerous he was. How impossible it was that he would appear, unarmed and alone.
But there he was.
Mobb should have waited for backup, but backup would take time. So when he did nothing, said nothing, when no ambush or trap sprung from the surrounding darkness, she unhooked the restraints from her belt and tossed them at his feet.
“Put those on.”
He bent to pick them up, and she braced herself for him to try something. But he didn’t. Just cuffed his wrists behind his back — not in front like she expected — and waited.
The damp from the earlier rain immediately soaked into the knees of his jeans, but he gave no sign that he noticed. She took a step toward him. Another. Another. When she was two yards away, she started circling around until she was directly behind him, her weapon aimed at the back of his head.
He had no weapon in his hands, no bomb or knife he’d palmed out of a pocket. His hands hung, open and limp.
“What’s on the security monitors?”
“Nothing.” Came the immediate response. “Nothing but you and… is that really…”
“Looks like it.”
“Right,” Salem took a shuddery breath. She could have gotten to them in an instant, but someone needed to watch the cameras, and Mobb needed armed backup more than escape. Probably. “Quickmoon is almost to you. Try not to get yourself killed in the next minute or so.”
For the first time since he had stepped into the light, Mobb believed that this might not be a trap. “I should kill you now,” she growled.
“I’m surprised you didn’t already,” he replied. His voice held the sardonic edge that was the closest to humor anyone had ever heard from him.
Before she could respond — or decide what response she wanted to give — Quickmoon came running out of the woods that surrounded their headquarters — their supposedly secret headquarters.
Quick had taken the time to invoke eir transformation, and all three of them knew eir sword could take his head before he could twitch. Mobb grimaced and slung her rifle, then grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feet.
Astaroth came over their coms, “Bring him in. If he gives you any trouble Quick, you know what to do.”
They uncuffed him and stood him facing the kitchen wall, with his hands over his head. He said nothing while they searched him. After some discussion, they had him strip his clothes off. He showed no hint of modesty, stripping down with no sign there was anything unusual about it. But he smirked a bit when several of them turned away from embarrassment. Salem stared at him defiantly. He was, most definitely, human.
They destroyed his clothing (and any electronics or weapons they might have hidden) and gave him a plain white t-shirt and sweatpants that were too small. But neither they nor he cared about the fit of his clothing at that point. Blade transformed briefly and dumped an entire vial of the anti-magic powder on him.
Taking prisoners had been no part of their conflict, so the team had no experience or plans for dealing with him. The restraints Mobb and the rest carried were because Mobb and Blade insisted on the precaution. Not because anyone expected powerful and high-ranking enemies to walk right up to their secret hideout.
For he — the ‘he’ now cuffed to a chair, wearing poorly fitting sweat pants and t-shirt — he was an incredibly high-ranking enemy. He was one of Mourningdagger’s lieutenants, perhaps the most important of them. Mourningdagger’s followers and slaves called him ‘lord.’ The team, after their second run-in with him, had simply referred to him as ‘that bastard.’ If he had a name, no one outside of Mourningdagger’s fortress had ever heard it.
He sat just as relaxed and apparently unconcerned now as he had been with Mobb’s weapon trained on his head. Of course they’d all seen how little effect bullets had when his defenses were up.
“What is your name,” Blade asked.
“I don’t have one.”
Mobb snorted. “Right, likely fucking story.”
He managed to shrug. “I can’t lie to you; that doesn’t mean you have to believe me.”
They stared at him. He stared back.
“Okay,” Blade started again, “Let’s say we believe you. You don’t have a name, and you can’t lie. Why not?”
“Magic.” Blade leaned back and looked at him. “You want some water?”
“So what brought you to Earth.”
“I thought that would be obvious. Mourningdagger.”
“What brought Mourningdagger to Earth?”
He said nothing.
“I thought you couldn’t lie, so why aren’t you answering?”
“I thought I was fluent in this language, but maybe not. I never said that I have to answer you.”
Mobb grabbed his hair and yanked his head back. “If you’re fluent, you might know the phrase good cop/bad cop? Blade is the good cop; I’m the fucking bad cop. You better answer his questions, so I don’t need to get involved.”
He rolled his eyes.
“What was that for?”
“Child, I served Mourningdagger for millennia. Do you think I care for your ‘bad cop’?”
“Enough,” Astaroth said. Mobb glared at him. “Enough, Mobb. He’s toying with us, don’t make it easy for him.”
After a moment, Mobb nodded and stepped back. Astaroth sat on the edge of the table and crossed his arms. “It’s late, and I, for one, am not interested in wasting any more time when I could be sleeping. I have one question. Give me a straight answer. Is anyone following you here?”
“No,” he paused, “Not tonight, and not by my intention.”
“Fine.” Astaroth looked at the rest of the team. “He isn’t lying. Don’t ask me how I know I just…” He shrugged. Mobb grimaced, but the others nodded. They’d all experienced the strange surety of their powers more than once since their first transformation. “So I say we lock him up somehow and figure out what to do with him tomorrow after we get some rest.”
Mighty Hero Force Epsilon (S1 E6)