Hackers with(out) Remorse - (Book 4 of the Marvelous 3 Saga)

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4 - Baby, I'm an Anarchist

Hacker Rule #18: Use handles, never real names, during an operation.

(Dante Morris aka Silos, Owen Evans aka Cyclops, Tyler Evans aka Droid, Jason Davis aka Berserker, Darren Kim aka Cyber, Anna Sanchez aka Façade, Joey Patel aka The Voice)

“What did you say your name was again?”

“T-Tara!”

“Tara, huh?” Owen grinned as he molded his body to the extremely talkative, extremely naive, and extremely horny blonde-haired, green-eyed Tara O’Connor. Secretary to the CEO of Lincoln Holdings LLP and Owen’s target assignment. From the moment Owen walked into the loud, hectic rave in one of downtown Manhattan’s most popular nightclubs, every woman eyed him like prey. But it was Tara he was after, much to her delight.

Tara moved her hips against Owen’s pelvis as he roamed his hands down her waist. Both of their bodies pressed hard against each other, in rhythm to the music. “Tell me, Tara,” Owen whispered headily in her ear. “What kind of panties are you wearing?”

Tara glanced back at him with a sultry smirk. “In just a second?... None,” she said, reaching underneath her skirt.

Owen quickly moved her hands away and flushed her body to his. “Let me, beautiful...” he said in her ear. He slowly crouched down, roaming his hands over the back of her skirt till he got to her thighs. Tara let out a slight moan as her head fell back. His tender caresses on her inner thigh sent a wave of goosebumps over her body. Suddenly, Owen abruptly stood back up.

“What happened?!” she asked, looking at him. “I thought you were going to-”

“I don’t think I can keep my hands off of you, beautiful,” Owen said, grabbing her hips and pulling her roughly against him. She bit her lip in agony when she felt his bulge against her pelvis. “Why don’t you and I take this somewhere a little more private,” he whispered.

Tara’s green eyes lit up with excitement. “We can go back to my apartment!”

“Go wait for me in your car,” he said, kissing her cheek. “And be ready for me.” Tara practically squealed with delight as she raced out of the nightclub like she was on fire. Owen watched her leave before he did a 180 and headed out through another door.

“Did you get it?” he heard Tyler’s voice ask from the tiny earpiece.

“Of course, I got it,” Owen said, flipping Tara’s key card in his hand. He pushed open the back door into the cool night air and jogged down the steps.

“Was she hot?” came Jason’s voice through the earpiece.

“Eh... like a 6.38,” Owen said, hopping on his bike.

“This bitch out here using decimals,” Dante’s voice came from the earpiece.

“So, basically a 6,” Jason’s voice came again. “I’d fuck her.”

“You’d fuck anybody,” Owen smirked.

“Would you all shut the hell up,” Tyler said from the earpiece. “Cyclops, are you headed to the site?”

“Already halfway there,” Owen said, revving his bike. He sped down the side streets of Manhattan, swerving through lanes.

“You have about… 45 minutes before Lincoln’s secretary figures out you stood her ass up,” Tyler said. “Silos is already at the spot.”

“Security is weak as shit,” Dante said, pulling on his mask. He snuck behind a tall, sleek downtown Manhattan-style building. He used a small set of sharp screws to tinker with the lock before it beeped and he quickly stepped inside. “I’m in,” Dante said, scanning the large dimly lit lobby. “One security personnel at the desk. Two... maybe three by the northwest corridor.”

“I’ll take the southeast entrance. Meet you at the elevators,” Owen said, parking his bike. He quickly jogged up to the same building as he pulled his mask on. He shot a red laser at the cameras in the corner before slipping inside.

“Lincoln’s office is on the 59th floor,” Tyler said, tapping away from the staircase of a small warehouse where he and Jason waited. “Once you access his system and locate the backup generators, Berserker and I will tie up the loose ends.”

“Just don’t make a mess this time,” Dante said, stepping into the elevator just as Owen stepped in as well.

“I never make a mess. I’m the smoothest motherfucker around,” Jason said into their earpieces. Owen and Dante both rolled their eyes as the elevator shot up to the 59th floor.

As soon as the door opened, they quickly hid behind a wall away from the motion sensor alarm. Owen targeted his laser at a few more cameras before scanning the key card into Lincoln’s office. “This son of a bitch is really living his best damn life in the fucking penthouse corner suite,” Owen said. He analyzed the large office that looked out over the water bordering downtown Manhattan.

“Yea, well, you know how these rich white folks are,” Dante said. He plopped down in Lincoln’s large office chair and plugged in a USB. He immediately started typing away at the computer on the desk.

“No, the fuck I don’t. Or else I wouldn’t be here doing this shit right now,” Owen scoffed as he flicked a small glass sculpture off the desk, letting it smash onto the floor. Dante sucked his teeth as he continued to tap away. “I bet you he fucks her on that couch... against that wall...” Owen said, analyzing the room. He looked at Dante. “And on top of that desk. 80 bucks there’s cum stains on the keyboard.”

“That’s nasty, bro,” Dante groaned. “Stop distracting me. Aren’t you supposed to be my lookout?”

Owen smirked as he shoved his hands into his pockets and walked to the edge of the office. He stared outside the glass window into the corridor. “Their cameras are Polynine Edition 3.2. Way outdated. Didn’t take much to deactivate them upon arrival. 4 alarm systems that are only triggered through movement. You’d think a multi-billionaire who owns a quarter of central Manhattan’s properties would spend a little more cash on the security of his headquarters,” Owen scoffed.

“Told you their shit was weak,” Dante smirked as he eyed the screen. “The virus is in. Half of his account has already been wiped. Let’s get the fuck out of here.” Dante shot up from the desk and headed towards the door.

“Motion sensors, remember,” Owen said, grabbing his arm and pushing Dante to another door. “He’s got an emergency escape.”

“Oh, so he’s not that dumb,” Dante said.

“Well, I didn’t say that,” Owen smirked as they headed out the door. “Droid, you’re on,” Owen said into his mic as he and Dante headed down the long-winding stairs.

“Backup generators are in a construction building on 28th near the piers. There’s 8 of them on the lower level, 5 floors down,” Dante huffed as he ran down the stairs.

“Got it,” Tyler said. He revved the engine of his bike and sped next to Jason down the boulevard.

“I didn’t do enough lunges for this shit. My thighs are on fire,” Dante groaned.

“I know the perfect exercise for that,” Owen teased.

“Shut yo nasty ass up!” Dante rolled his eyes.

“I’m gonna tell Facade she’s not putting in enough work if you don’t have abs from fucking the shit out of her,” Owen continued. “Like come on, Silos, there’s no excuse for-”

“Can we not talk about this right now?” Dante said exasperated.

“I thought you and Facade had a great sex life,” Jason chimed in from the earpiece. The wind could be heard whipping in the back as he sped on his bike. “Is your relationship on the rocks or something?”

“Our relationship is fine,” Dante muttered.

“He’s lying,” Owen said. “His ass been sleeping in the lounge for 6 days straight after his last client fucked her over.”

“You haven’t had pussy in 6 days, bro?!” Jason gasped.

“I swear if y’all motherfuckers don’t shut the hell up,” Dante barked.

“We’re here,” Tyler said as he and Jason pulled up to the warehouse. They both pulled on their masks as they prepared themselves. Jason hopped off his bike and grabbed a bat. Tyler looked at him confused. “The fuck with the bat?” Tyler asked.

“You said don’t be messy.”

“How the fuck is a bat not messy?!”

“Last time you said the hammer did too much, so I got a bat. Now you have a problem with that too?! Honestly, you got me by the balls here, bro,” Jason sighed.

Tyler rolled his eyes as they jogged to the gate. He used a pair of pliers to cut through, and they both crawled in. They moved inconspicuously in the shadows of the building as they hustled inside. “Hold up,” Tyler whispered. He crouched down behind the railing and saw a couple of men below. “Cyclops, I’m getting a read of 22 bodies.”

“Shit...” Owen said as he hopped on his bike while Dante got into a large truck. “How the hell does this motherfucker have more protection on his backup generators than his own damn headquarters?”

“34,” Jason said, using his bat to point at the additional men. “Anyone ever wonder why bad guys always have to look like stereotypical bad guys? I mean is wearing all black leather the typical bad guy outfit?”

“Dammit... this was supposed to be clean,” Tyler groaned. He glanced at Jason who had a smirk on his face. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

Jason shrugged. “Just think of it as an anger management session for all that crankiness pent up inside of you from not having a good fuck in a long while, making you so unhappy all the time.”

“I don’t need to fuck to be happy,” Tyler snapped.

“Said no man ever,” Jason said, jumping off the railing and landing in front of the group of security men.

“Woah!” one of them said, jumping back startled. “Whassamatta wit yous!” he said in a thick NY Italian accent. “What the fuck this pretty boy doin’ here? How’d you get past the alarm?”

“Why do you sound like an extra from the Godfather?” Jason laughed. He quickly ducked as one guy swung at him before he rammed the bat against the guy’s leg and quickly knocked him out. The men immediately swarmed Jason as he moved, spinning around them in circles and laughing as if he were having the time of his life.

Tyler smirked as he slipped in the other direction towards the generators. He took a freight elevator down to the 5th level and immediately switched on his flashlight in the dark room. The hum of the generators was so loud it vibrated the floor beneath his feet. “Jackpot,” Tyler said into his mic as he walked the length of the room, analyzing the specs. “This shit is huge, guys,” he said into his mic. “It’s going to take us more time than we have to shut it down.”

“Blow the shit up,” Jason said into his mic.

“Fuck no!” Dante said into the mic. “We’re in the middle of fucking midtown. You know how many streets will be cut off for them to fix that shit? You know it takes NYC an eternity just to fix a damn pothole.”

“NYC fixes their potholes now? Since when?” Jason mocked sarcastically. Violent hitting noises could be heard from his mic followed by the groaning of several men.

“Just wait, Droid,” Dante said. “We’re here.”

Tyler inputted a few numbers to a device that he connected to the generators, and a tiny progress bar showed up just barely inching along. “Goddamn...” Tyler groaned. He looked up as the freight descended to see Dante jump off before it reached the ground. “Where’s Cyclops?” Tyler asked.

“Knocking heads with Berserker. Peas in a pod, those two,” Dante smirked as he walked up to the generator. He looked it over as he ran a couple of numbers in his head. “Shit, you’re right,” Dante groaned.

“Motherfucker, I told you!” Tyler sighed.

“Idea,” Dante said. “I can wipe out the main circuit breaker so it’s non-recoverable.”

“And then?” Tyler asked.

“And then...” Dante sighed, scratching his head. “...we blow the shit up.”

“HELL YEA!” Jason could be heard screaming into the earpiece. Dante rolled his eyes as he quickly typed in a few codes.

“Looks like Lincoln’s secretary figured shit out,” Tyler said, checking his phone. “More security personnel on the way.”

“It’s fine. We’re already good to go,” Dante said, pulling out a cord. “Work your magic.”

Tyler pulled out a switchblade and got on the floor to unscrew the underbelly of the generator until the main piece fell off. He lay down on his back and shimmied underneath to analyze the cords. “Red to green.. blue to yellow... white to black...” he said to himself as his fingers made quick work, unhooking cords and reconnecting them.

“We gotta go, Droid,” Dante said, rushing him.

“I’m almost done,” Tyler said, pulling a small device from out of his pocket. Dante eyed the flashing little piece of metal that Tyler wedged into the generator before crawling back out again.

“Word? So you just be carrying around little detonators on you?” Dante asked with a raised brow.

“They’re really easy to make... You never know when you might need one...” Tyler said sheepishly.

“Uh-huh,” Dante shook his head as they headed back to the freight. When they reached the main floor they saw Owen pummeling a guy’s face into the ground as Jason broke a guy’s arm with the bat in his hand. They were both splattered with blood. Dante shook his head and quickly dodged a man coming straight for him that Tyler kicked into the freight. “We gotta go before this place blows,” Dante said.

“What happened to our ‘no killing’ policy,” Tyler said, looking at the men on the ground.

“They’re not dead, just... badly injured,” Jason shrugged.

“They can’t stay in here or the blast will kill them,” Tyler said. The four of them exchanged looks before Jason groaned in frustration. They moved quickly, dragging the bloodied, injured men outside. Jason and Tyler rolled their bikes into the large truck where Owen’s bike was already stored. They hopped into the truck and quickly took off. Tyler pulled off his mask and looked out of the side mirror from the passenger seat, counting down until the building imploded.

“That was the cleanest shit we’ve ever done!” Jason said, putting his feet up in the truck.

“I’d hardly call that clean,” Dante said, driving.

“Clean enough to please our clients,” Owen said, eyeing his phone. “Cause our account is looking pretty damn sweet right about now.”

Jason leaned over, looking at the number on Owen’s phone, and whistled. “I’m going to retire at 35,” he said, twirling a toothpick between his teeth.

“Not before you blow it all on some airhead with huge tits,” Tyler mocked.

“Fuck you, Ty,” Jason said, giving him the finger.

Suddenly, Owen’s phone went off before a young Asian man with short black hair and glasses came on screen. “Congrats, guys. Lincoln is currently having a psychological breakdown on the 10 o’clock news,” their friend Darren grinned.

“Poor baby. Maybe Tara can help him feel better,” Owen smirked as Dante laughed out loud.

“Anyway. Owen, one of your clients followed up. Says he wants to swap ideas with you about some projects he’s working on,” Darren said.

“Which client?” Owen asked.

Darren looked off-screen before adjusting his glasses. “Arthur Richardson.”

“SHIT! You snagged a Richardson?!” Jason said surprised.

“Hell yea. That operation we did in California that shut down the nightclub running an underground sex-trafficking ring somehow got his attention. He hit me up immediately after,” Owen said. “Thanks, Darren. I’ll contact him when we get back.” Owen turned off the screen and Darren’s face disappeared.

“What do you think he wants to talk to you about?” Jason asked.

Owen shrugged. “I don’t know. He seemed really impressed with our work. Hopefully, it’s the start to a partnership and a stream of income.”

“Do we really wanna work with these guys?” Dante asked. “They’re infamous for how many people they’ve killed. Especially the brothers. One is called the Blue Kaiser for crying out loud. And what’s the other one? Blonde Werewolf?”

“Blonde Lycan,” Jason said.

“Right,” Dante said. “Like what the fuck? Don’t nobody wanna mess with a dude who refers to himself as a damn German emperor.”

“Our clientele range from mobsters to killers to politicians, Dante. What makes them so different?” Owen asked.

Dante sighed. “I just feel we need to draw the line at some point.”

“I’m pretty sure they retired those titles,” Tyler defended.

“Nobody can retire from a life of violence...” Dante muttered. The truck got quiet as Dante’s concerns lingered in the air.

“Why don’t you join me for the call,” Owen offered. “Maybe talking to him will put your mind at ease.”

“Maybe...” Dante said. He looked down to see a text from Tiana. “Shit.” Owen looked down when his phone went off to see a similar text from her as well. “I gotta get home,” Dante said, turning the corner.

“I thought that’s where we were going?” Tyler said.

“My other home. Where my sister is,” Dante clarified. “Owen and I promised we’d watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones with her.”

“I like Game of Thrones. Can I come?” Jason smirked.

“No,” Dante and Owen said at the same time. Dante pulled up to an apartment building and jumped out of the car as Owen followed after him.

“We’ll meet you back at HQ tomorrow night,” Owen said, closing the door of the truck.

“I can’t keep bailing on her like this,” Dante said as they took the elevator up. “She’s already getting suspicious.”

“I really think you should just come clean and be honest with her,” Owen insisted. “Tiana’s a strong girl. She can handle it.”

“It’s not a matter of her being strong. I just don’t want her mixed up in this aspect of my life. Not when I have so much shit going on,” Dante sighed.

They walked out of the elevator and headed towards the apartment. Owen eyed Dante. “You’ve been holed up in your private lab for longer than usual, Dante... When are you gonna share with me what you’ve been working on?”

Dante looked at Owen as his Adam’s apple bobbed with uncertainty. Suddenly, the door opened as Tiana stood in front of them in a pair of shorts and a tank top. “FINALLY!” she blurted.

Owen instinctively eyed her up as Dante hugged her. “What’s good, sis?” he greeted.

“Your asses are late. As usual,” Tiana said, rolling her eyes as Dante walked in. Owen barely tore his eyes away from her rich dark thighs before she was throwing her arms around his neck. “But at least you guys came,” she said, hugging Owen. Owen hugged her tightly and reveled in her scent as he inhaled deeply. Her body felt soft in his arms and he didn’t want to let go. But she was already pulling back. “Wait...” she paused, eyeing them. “What’s that red stuff on you guys?”

Owen and Dante glanced at each other, and it just occurred to them that they were stained with the blood of the men they had helped out of the warehouse.

“Ketchup,” Dante said quickly.

“Paint,” Owen said simultaneously.

Tiana looked at them confused. “Ketchup... and paint? What the hell were you guys doing?”

“Cooking,” Owen said.

“Painting,” Dante said simultaneously. Owen covered his face with a groan.

“Dang, if y’all gonna lie, at least be consistent,” she chuckled as she walked towards the kitchen. “I’m ready for Khaleesi to WHOOP SOME ASS!” she said, walking back with two bowls of ice cream.

“We seriously need to talk about your ice cream addiction,” Dante teased.

“It’s not an addiction; it’s a way of life,” Tiana said, handing him a bowl. “Besides, I need something to help get me through the cringe moments of Jorah getting constantly turned down and sitting alone in the friend zone. Oh! Chocolate syrup!” Owen watched her jog back to the kitchen.

“Yo... You feelin’ my baby sis or somethin’?” Dante asked, startling Owen.

“What? Bitch, please,” Owen rolled his eyes as he sat down on the couch next to Dante.

“I’m just sayin’,” Dante smirked. “I mean I know you’re into dudes, but... sometimes you be lookin’ at her the way I look at Anna.”

Owen shook his head. “Shut the fuck up, Dante.”

Dante chuckled as he heard Tiana moving in the kitchen. “Listen... O...” Dante said lowly. “There’s a lot of stuff I haven’t told you about... and I’m sorry... At some point when I’ve figured it out, I will. But right now, there are too many moving pieces for me to talk to anyone. Not even Anna.” Owen looked at Dante and noticed the fearful look in his eyes. “I know I originally asked you to look out for my baby sis, but... she really does care about you. I just... I need you to promise me that if anything ever happens to me... that you’ll take care of her.”

“Why are you talking like that?” Owen asked, annoyed. “You acting like you about to die tomorrow or some shit?”

“Just promise me, Owen,” Dante said, looking at him sharply. “Promise me you’ll protect her no matter what.”

Owen slowly exhaled as he stared into Dante’s deep brown eyes. “Yea... yea, I promise.”

~*~

Present day...

“You’re telling me that Dante, MY DANTE. My sweet, loving, kind brother was a part of... RaVage?” Tiana said, staring at Owen in shock. The moment he wrapped her swollen ankle and released her from her restraints to tell her the truth, she was in a state of shock. “Bullfuckingshit.”

“It’s true, T,” Owen said. “In our group, he was known as Silos.”

Tiana’s mouth dropped open. “DANTE WAS SILOS?! The infamous Silos that hacked into the NYPD camera security system and leaked all that footage?!” A small smile came to Owen’s face as he remembered the chaos Dante was happy to provoke. He had released camera footage of a man beaten to death by police at Union Square Park and protests broke out into the streets. “Is that stupid-ass smile on your face supposed to be a ‘yes’?!” Tiana blurted.

Owen looked at her startled. “Yes.”

“This is insane!” Tiana said, putting her head in her hands. “This nigga was living a whole ass double life right under my nose?!”

“It wasn’t for nothing, Tiana,” Owen said. “Dante was a fucking mastermind. He had one of the most unique minds I have ever seen. I wish you could see some of the brilliant shit he orchestrated all on his own. He helped make RaVage what we are today.”

“We?” she asked, looking at him. “You’re part of RaVage too?”

“...We all are, T,” he said. “Tyler is Droid. Jason is Berserker. Darren is Cyber. Joey’s The Voice and Anna is Facade.”

Tiana thought back to the YouTube video she had watched ages ago. It covered the infamous members of RaVage when they first became a hit all over social media, receiving both tons of opposition and support. One of her favorite British YouTube personalities, ComputerPhile, had done a brief rundown on the group, detailing why the majority of them had ended up on America’s Most Wanted:

“Droid, also known as The Silent Killer, can hack into any physical machine made by man. He knows the ins and outs of engineering better than most people know how to speak their first language. This bloke ended up on America’s Most Wanted for compromising Air Force One’s newly developed automated, self-flying fighter jets to self-implode upon exit of the nation’s border.”

“Berserker, a bit of a psychopath that one. He can deconstruct any system and redesign it to do anything he wishes, usually, if not always, something insanely destructive. This maniac was officially declared an enemy of the state after reprogramming US drones to attack militarized police using excessive force against protesting civilians.”

Cyber, the silent vigilante who, unlike his other RaVage companions, barely leaves a trace of his presence, angered several Congressmen both Democratic and Republican for hacking into Homeland Security’s database and wiping out criminal records of undocumented immigrants seeking asylum.”

The Voice, the one we all know so well. The smooth talker. Able to instill both fear and inspiration. He lost many fans for hacking the jumbotron during the highly-anticipated halftime show of the Superbowl’s New England Patriots vs. the Atlanta Falcons to call out Nike, an NFL sponsor, for running child labor sweatshops in India.”

Tiana couldn’t believe she was occupying the same space that every U.S. national agency was searching for. She suddenly looked up at Owen. “Then... that means you’re... Cyclops?”

Cyclops, a personal favorite of mine as the handle suits him well. The bloke can see everything. And I mean everything. Congress has a personal vendetta with this suicidal psychopath for hacking into the White House’s perimeter cameras, recording the FBI’s private investigation of the Secretary of State, and airing it to the public before authorized release on prime time telly leading to his imminent resignation.”

Owen looked at her surprised before he slowly nodded. “Yea... that’s me..”

“See... I knew your ass was too pretty and too clean not to have something wrong with you,” she groaned, covering her face. “I’m just trying to live a normal life and you’re out here thinking you’re Anonymous.”

“Anonymous is made up of a bunch of amateurs. They can’t do 1/4 of the shit we do,” Owen snapped.

Tiana looked at him surprised. “Well damn, sir.”

“Sorry...” he muttered. “We get compared to them a lot...”

~

“I’m willing to bet she’s a screamer,” Jason said. He sat on the table, tapping his drumsticks on the tabletop.

Tyler shook his head as he leaned back against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, waiting for his brother to finish speaking with Tiana. “Why the fuck do you sound so obsessed with her?” Tyler said flippantly. “You just met her.”

“You already know the answer to that,” Jason said. He flipped a stick in the air before catching it and drumming it again. “Dante was holding out on us. If I knew his sister looked like-”

“That’s probably why he never told your horny ass in the first place,” Tyler quipped. “And you’re a man-whore.”

Jason shrugged. “I like sex. What can I say.”

Tyler rolled his eyes. “I doubt she’s going to fuck you, Jason.”

“We’ll see...” Jason smirked as he hopped off the table. “Her fine ass is about to be my next assignment.”

Tyler sighed as he pulled out his phone. “It doesn’t matter how ‘fine’ she is. She shouldn’t be here. I told Owen this was a mistake. He’s not thinking straight.”

A small knock came at the door. “Is she chill now? Can we meet her?” Darren asked, walking into the room. Tyler looked at Darren who was waiting anxiously by the door. “I’ve been dying to finally talk to Dante’s genius sister.”

Genius is a bit of an exaggeration. So, she knows how to use a computer. Big fucking deal. Doesn’t make her anything like Dante,” Tyler said, rolling his eyes. Darren furrowed his brows at Tyler’s cranky demeanor before he glanced at Jason who merely shrugged.

“Ty’s just cranky as fuck cause the last time he got pussy was when we still used dial-up. And there’s a fine piece of ass in the room over, so it’s just making him mad aggro,” Jason teased.

“You know what,” Tyler snapped. He walked out of the room past Darren who was still dazed and confused.

~

“I’m still waiting for you to connect the pieces as to why you had to kidnap me,” Tiana said impatiently. “You said it’s to protect me. But you haven’t said how. You haven’t given me the details of my brother’s death. The police told me and ma that it was a hit and run.”

“Did you see his body?” Owen asked.

“No! Of course not, Owen!” she snapped. “That shit would haunt me forever. He already haunts me as is...”

Owen sighed as he rubbed the back of his neck. “It wasn’t a hit and run, T... He... I think he was murdered.”

Tiana felt her chest hollow as her eyes dried out. “...explain,” she whispered.

“We were working an operation that we had been planning for months. We put a lot of work into making sure everything happened according to plan. Then Dante... went off course... I lost contact with him for a couple of hours. Next thing I knew, we found his body on the pavement outside of a random building far from our original location. His body was on the sidewalk, not the road. It wasn’t a hit and run. Someone... someone pushed him.”

Tiana felt tears stinging her eyes as she quickly wiped them away. “Are you telling me someone covered up his dea-... his murder?” she choked out.

Owen felt a lump in his throat as he watched Tiana struggle to hold back her tears. It was the one thing he couldn’t bear to handle. Watching her break down. “T...” Owen said softly as he walked up to her and wrapped her in his arms. He felt her body tremble in his embrace as she sobbed into his chest. The feeling of deja vu hit him as he remembered how she cried when she first found out Dante had passed away. And again at his funeral. And then many nights after that. He hated that he was the cause of another breakdown.

Tyler stormed into the room ready to break things up when he noticed Tiana crying in Owen’s arms. He groaned as he folded his arms across his chest, and leaned against the door, waiting for them to finish.

“I’m sorry, Tiana...” Owen said remorsefully, stroking the back of her head. “I wanted to tell you sooner, but-” Owen stumbled back before he could finish as Tiana shoved him off of her.

“This is all your fucking fault!” she growled at him. Her face was flushed and her cheeks were wet with tears. “He died because he’s part of your fucking vigilante group!”

“Tiana,” Owen defended. “That’s not it at all.”

“Dante created this group!” Tyler growled angrily, interrupting their conversation. Tiana looked at him surprised as he stepped further into the room. “We wouldn’t exist if not for him. So how about you educate yourself before shitting all over his work.”

“Excuuuuuuuse me?!” Tiana snapped at him. “I’M HIS FUCKING SISTER! You don’t get to be angry, you little CW-extra. I’m the one who was lied to!”

“Yea, well maybe he kept that shit from you for a reason cause you’re so fucking emotional!” Tyler said angrily.

“LOOK WHO’S TALKING, YOU ASSHOLE!” Tiana was about to jump on Tyler before Owen grabbed her.

“Tiana, please calm down,” Owen said, holding her.

“ON GOD, I swear I will hurt every single last one of you!” she growled. She shoved Owen off of her again and paced the room with a limp, tugging at her braids.

Owen turned to Tyler with a tense face. “Why the fuck are you here? I told you I needed a minute to talk to her. You’re just making this worse,” Owen said annoyed.

“We don’t have time for this shit, Owen,” Tyler snapped. “We have work to do.”

“FINE BY ME!” Tiana shouted, throwing her arms up in the air. She limped to the door, trying to pass Owen and Tyler. “Allow me to get out of your hair and just go home.” She opened the door to come face-to-face with Jason. “Move, you Green Arrow-look-alike,” she said, trying to move past him.

“Tiana, what the fuck did I just say?!” Owen said, grabbing her arm and pulling her back.

“Seriously, Owen?! You guys are just going to keep me here against my will?” she asked, frustrated.

“It’s for your own safety, T,” Owen said, motioning to Jason to close the door.

“I can take care of myself. I don’t need a damn bodyguard, let alone three who KIDNAPPED ME by the way,” she snapped. “Like if you’re trying to get me to trust you, you’re off to a bad start.” Tyler rolled his eyes as he walked to the other side of the room, trying to stifle his impatience and irritation.

“We did what we had to do, Tiana,” Owen sighed. “Whoever killed Dante... we think they might be after you too. We had to move quickly, and you were being resistant. We didn’t have time to explain.”

“Why would they be after me?” she asked.

“I’ve been wondering the same fucking thing,” Tyler muttered as he rubbed at his temples. “As if you have anything of value.”

“Listen, mysterious brother who hadn’t existed up until a few hours ago. Keep coming at me like this, and it’s gonna be on sight from now on. ON... SIGHT!” Tiana said, clapping her hands. Jason burst out laughing as Tyler rolled his eyes, unbothered by her threats.

“Tiana, listen,” Owen said, grabbing her shoulders and turning her attention to him again. “There’s a lot we’re still trying to figure out. Such as what Dante was working on without our knowledge, and who would want him dead. We have enemies, but nobody knows our identities which is why this is such a big deal for us. He made us promise to protect you if anything ever happened to him, which leads me to believe he knew his time was coming. We just have to figure out what that is.”

Tiana looked at him warily. “I thought you guys just hacked into government databases...?”

“We troll the government cause it’s fun, and they’re all a bunch of morons with too much power,” Jason said perched on a desk. “But that’s only a small portion of what we do.”

“What is he talking about?” Tiana asked Owen apprehensively. “What else do you do?”

“We use our skills to attract clientele... and we make money...” Owen said almost as if he were ashamed. “It’s not exactly... ‘honorable’ work, T. Our shit is dangerous.”

Tiana looked at Owen confused. “You... you guys don’t kill people... do you?” A long silence lingered as Tyler, Owen, and Jason exchanged glances. “IF Y’ALL SERIOUSLY HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT, THAT’S NOT A GOOD SIGN!” she blurted.

“We haven’t,” Owen said quickly. There was a bit of uncertainty in his voice as he looked at Tyler, leading for a response.

“Yea... no... we have a strict ‘no killing’ policy,” Tyler said, thinking.

“You don’t sound convincing in the slightest,” Tiana groaned.

“I mean sometimes we beat the shit out of people, but we never kill them,” Owen said.

“What about that guy from Newmark?” Jason spoke up.

“He’s still alive. He was just in critical condition after you ran him over with your bike,” Tyler said.

“Oh, yea...” Jason said. “Fun times.”

“Something is seriously wrong with you people,” Tiana said, backing up against the wall. “I don’t wanna be involved in this in any way, shape, or form. I am a black woman in America. I got enough problems.”

“Yeah well, you don’t really have the fucking choice,” Tyler grunted annoyed.

“Alright, you know what. Let’s just fight-” she said, limping up to Tyler.

“Tiana,” Owen said, grabbing her and turning her around to face him. “Don’t you want to find out who killed your brother... and why?”

Tiana deeply exhaled. “Owen, I don’t trust you... or your band of merry men.” Owen swallowed hard as he felt a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach. “But yes...” she added. “If someone really did kill Dante... I want to know who and make sure their asses get locked up for life.”

“Shit, it’s about damn time. Let me show you to my room, beauty,” Jason grinned as he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder.

“WAIT WHAT?!” she said startled. “I didn’t-”

“Jason!” Tyler growled.

“I meant Dante’s room. I’ll bring her there. Show her around a little bit,” Jason chuckled. He carried a heavily resistant Tiana outside as she slapped his back in anger.

“I DIDN’T SAY I WAS STAYING!” she shouted. “Put me down, you freaking Decepticon! Why the fuck are you so damn big?! Let me go!”

“I honestly don’t think she’s the one that needs to be tied up...” Tyler muttered as Owen groaned.

~*~

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