Friday, July 8, 2011

Redefining Superman Part Seven

Redefining Superman

Chapter 7

By the time Meredith Montgomery and her FBI partner Evan Robertson arrived at the foundry and machine shop, the local police were already present and had taken custody of the steel worker, charging him with attempted murder. The officer on the scene, upon entering the office where the man was being held, had taken one look at Solar Eclipse and immediately pulled his weapon from the holster at his side, aiming it at the hero's chest.
"Officer, please holster your weapon and stand down," Solar Eclipse spoke as calmly as his voice modulator allowed. Even whispering he realized his voice came out sounding harsh and menacing. He decided he needed to make some adjustments so he didn't accidentally get himself in trouble with any law enforcement professionals. "I'm the one who apprehended the individual and contacted emergency services so you could hold him for the FBI."
"What? What's the FBI got to do with any of this?" the police officer was clearly unnerved by the presence of this costumed individual who held himself with too much assurance for someone like the officer who obviously could stand to use a little more for himself. "And why should I believe you? For all I know you're in it with him."
"In what, officer?" Solar Eclipse asked, trying his best to make his body more relaxed and less threatening. It wasn't easy. His entire crime-fighting career he had held himself tall and proud, the musculature of his form standing out regal and stately for all to see. Now they quaked in fear. Even the police were scared of him. "How could I be involved in trying to kill this man," he gestured easily over toward the foreman, who sat in an old metal chair behind a rickety desk reserved for the foreman of whichever shift was working at any given time of day, "when I saved him from being consumed in the cauldron of molten metal?"
The policeman glanced over at the foreman, who looked somewhat sheepish, his hands folded atop the desk and his elbows leaning against the aged, scarred surface.
"That true, Leo?" the officer, who obviously knew the foreman, asked uncertainly.
The foreman nodded. "Yup, it's true, Howie. Bunso over there slugged me a coupla times and knocked me on my ass. I was unconscious after that, but I believe this other fella when he said Bunso tried to dump me in the kettle. I felt burning heat just as I was coming to. Couldn't have been anything but the contents of the kettle caused that."
"Howie" held his weapon out before him uncertainly a few moments more, but then decided to accept what "Leo" had told him as the truth and slipped his Glock back into his holster. He kept the safety snap unfastened, just in case.
About that time the two FBI agents walked into the small office through the only door. Meredith looked up at the costumed man she knew as her husband, but held her eyes on him only momentarily before looking over the individuals present and centering her gaze on the only one in handcuffs with his hands behind his back.
Special Agent Evan Robertson entered the office and fixed his gaze directly on the costumed man as well. Unfortunately he had no personal reference with which to qualify this man as safe and differentiate him from any others. "How are you involved in this case?" he nearly barked his question at Solar Eclipse, pointing an accusing finger.
"I'm the one who caught the perp and saved this other man from dying." Solar Eclipse scowled at the male agent before remembering that his facial expression couldn't be seen.
"Okay," Robertson barked slightly less loudly, "you can wait outside," he hooked his thumb toward the door. "We'll call you when we're ready to take your statement."
The unnecessary callousness with which he was ordered about caused the costumed Super to take an involuntary step forward. Meredith caught the move and stepped in between her husband and partner, her arms outstretched and her hands open, preventing the two alphas from moving toward one another.
"I think we're starting off on the wrong foot here, Evan," she scowled with almost the same intensity her husband had; only she hadn't seen his expression. "Have you ever worked on a case with a Super before?"
"Wha..? No. No, I haven't he grudgingly admitted. "What's that got..?"
"I've worked a lot with various Supers over the years," Meredith continued on with her reasoning behind the question, "and I've learned it's best to keep in mind that Supers are here to assist without the incentive of rank or salary. Even the most powerful among them can be injured and so I find it's best to be cooperative with someone who's going into battle with the serious possibility of being harmed for no other reason than caring about the safety of others.
"Maybe we could keep this meeting more civil?"
Robertson glowered at her momentarily, but nodded slightly, indicating his agreement. Solar Eclipse relaxed visibly as well.
Inside her mind Meredith sighed a breath of relief. She had seen her husband's muscles flex and hoped he wouldn't allow his "new persona" to get him in Dutch with her partner. He'd always been calm before, but he'd never before had his integrity questioned in such a manner, either.
"What do we call you?" Meredith aimed her query at the dark-clad being standing off to one side of the office. Beneath his mask he smiled, his wife's quick-wittedness changing his attitude the way she knew it would.
"Solar Eclipse, or simply Eclipse, if you like," he answered.
The corners of her lips turned up slightly, but she refrained from actually smiling.
"All right, Eclipse," she said, choosing the shorter version of his name, simply because she felt that was what most agents in her position would do, not wanting to lend too much credence to an unknown Super who might not be worth the respect. As with everyone else, her husband's worth as a Super would increase as he became more well-known and people began seeing how effective he was, "how about if you take a seat and fill us in on exactly what you witnessed and we'll branch out from there."
Eclipse glanced about the office, but didn't see any chairs other than the one the foreman sat in behind his desk and the folding chair the perp sat in, so he moved back and leaned against the edge of the desk, folding his arms loosely.
He began by explaining that he had received an anonymous tip that the person who committed the string of recent bank robberies might work at this foundry. He wasn't positive the tip was any good, so he decided to remain in the shadows and wait for something to prove one way or the other.
"When I witnessed the confrontation between these two and then this younger man slug the foreman here," he gestured back over his shoulder at the foreman seated at the desk and then turned his head slightly to catch a glimpse of the man he mentioned, "I knew something was up, even if he didn't turn out to be guilty of the robberies. By the time I got over to where they were, he..." Eclipse nodded at the handcuffed perp, "...was dumping him," he jerked his head backward toward the man behind him, "in the cauldron full of molten metal. I barely managed to grab Leo before he hit the burning liquid."
Robertson nodded appreciatively at the information, his lips pursed and his brow slightly furrowed. "Okay, thanks, ah, Eclipse. Is there any way we can get in touch with you in order to get a formal statement report filled out later, if we need it?"
Meredith had been standing slightly behind and to the side of her partner, not wanting any expression she might get on her face during the time her husband was talking to be taken the wrong way by him. When he in effect asked a Super for a phone number, her mouth dropped open and she leaned toward him in stupefied wonder.
"Actually," Eclipse turned and started to pick a pen up off the desk. He paused and looked up at the foreman, since it was, after all, his desk. "You mind?"
"Oh, sure. Go right ahead. Help yourself," Leo looked startled that the menacing, dark-clad figure would think to ask his permission. Somehow it made him happier with the man whose face he couldn't see; even more so than the fact this man had saved his life.
Eclipse wrote something down on a blue Post-It note and handed it to Robertson. "My cell phone number. It gets received by a special signal that will route it directly in here," he tapped the front of his helmet where his mouth would be were the helmet not in the way. "I can answer it or if I'm not suited-up, you can leave a voicemail message."
Meredith almost stared wide-eyed at her husband. Never before had she seen a Super give a cell number out. She was going to have to ask him about this later. She noted the effect it had on her partner, who looked at the slip of paper as though he'd been handed a moldy sandwich that should have been tossed weeks ago. Then Robertson folded the paper so the sticky side wouldn't get on the material of his suit and slipped it within his pocket.
"All right," Robertson said by way of trying to regain control of the moment, "I think we're done here for now. Since Mr..?" he stopped, not knowing Leo's surname.
"Williams," Leo answered. "Leonard Williams, actually. I'm in the book or you can reach me by leaving a message here. Not going anywhere."
"Right. If this man committed the crimes we believe he may have we won't be concerned over the attempted murder so much. If you want to press charges, however," he continued to look at Leo, "you'll need to speak to the local police. The FBI doesn't handle attempted murder investigations."
Robertson and Meredith took custody of the man in handcuffs, changing the cuffs the officer had placed on him with a set of their own, and headed for their car. Meredith glanced back at the dark, brooding figure in blue, purple and green and did her best not to blow him a kiss.

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