“You can still walk away Goliath!” Kurt yelled up at the imposing figure. “Just go before the others come back!”
Goliath stared back at him with the same eyes as his brothers. Where Rico’s were warm and inviting, his were cold as ice. He had a clean-shaven head but a full beard. He wore a simple white tank, cargo shorts and the most current Air Jordan’s. Kurt was easily over 6ft tall and well built, being very judicious about his fitness yet Goliath still dwarfed him by at least a head. With such an obvious power, Goliath had chosen to forgo a hero’s life and worked for hire instead. Mostly, he ran with Legend’s crew but he was still known to allow himself a side gig here and there. Is that what this was?
“Get outta my way.” He stated flatly as Kurt continued to remain between the two. “I’m only here for her.”
“Why?” Goliath shrugged casually as he cracked his massive knuckles.
“Not my job to ask questions.” He advanced forward and Kurt let loose a right hook!
Even with all his weight behind it, the blow only managed to cripple Kurt’s hand when it connected with that massive jaw. As he staggered back gripping it, Goliath took the opportunity to backhand Kurt across the room. He slammed into the bedroom wall and fell to his side stunned. With two huge steps Goliath was upon the bed.
“Don’t…” Jordan began but was cut off as he grabbed her by the neck and threw her down on the bed!
She was gasping, clawing frantically at his hand. She tried to summon a flame, anything to defend herself but she couldn’t get enough air. Her back and side were screaming in pain yet she knew she couldn’t stop fighting. Darkness was creeping at the corner of her eyes, when Goliath drew out a small vial with sparkling blue liquid in it. Her eyes went wide. Nanites. He used his hand to tilt her head back enough for him to dump the contents down her throat.
“No,” she croaked. “Please!” He ignored her pleas as he pulled her towards him and brought the vial to her lips.
“Don’t worry, this shouldn’t hurt you nearly as much as it did your sister.” He told her with a sneer. Just then, the door burst open; Rico and Nona came rushing in.
“Let her go!”
Nona increased her density and delivered a vicious jab to Goliaths side that made him release his hold on Jordan. She fell to the bed gasping and was swept to the side by her sister before she could be grabbed again. Goliath roared and reached for the two sisters’ but was stopped short when he was enveloped in a crushing bear hug! Rico tightened his hold on his brother, trying to give the girls time to escape. Concentrating on his transformation, his legs became one long cylinder of muscle, the skin resembling an anaconda’s. He quickly wrapped his lower half around his brother squeezing until he felt the fight begin to leave him. With one last desperate attempt at escape, Goliath managed to get ahold of Nona’s ankle, pulling the sister’s toward him!
“Don’t. Even. Think. About. It.” He felt a cold sting against his Adam’s apple and looked up to see Quickstrike standing above him with a Katana pressed firmly against his neck. “Let her go. NOW.” He let his hand drop and the last thing he saw was the hilt of her Katana coming down on him.
Rico released his unconscious brother from his coils and returned to his human form. He looked around the room and spotted Kurt crumpled in a corner. Hurrying to him, he leaned him against the wall. Kurt opened his eyes slightly, and then they went wide when he realized what had happened.
“JORDAN!” He lurched upright but Rico pushed him back gently. “She’s safe.” He assured him. Kurt let out a pained breath as he let his head fall back against the wall.
Across the room, Nona was on the bed rocking and soothing a frantic Jordan. She was gasping for breath, tears streaming down her face as she clung desperately to her sister. Nona clutched Jordan tightly to her chest, horrified that they had nearly lost each other again. She kept whispering to her over and over again that it was okay; she was okay. How had Jordan gone through this with her? She felt her heart ache at how frail and afraid her big sister seemed. She tore her attention from Jordan to see where Goliath was but Quickstrike had already restrained him with some ripped curtains.
Kurt managed to stand up, staggering across the room towards them with Rico following close behind. “Get him out of my house.” He spat, then limped over to the bed, kneeling in front of the traumatized sisters. He touched Jordan’s knee gently, trying to get her attention. “Babe, look at me.” At first there was no response, only muffled sobs as her head stayed buried in Nona’s chest. “Jordan.”
She lifted her head slowly, turning her face to look at him but not releasing her hold on Nona’s waist. He could see an angry bruise began to form around her neck. He also noticed a small vial on the bed and held it to the light. Both women shrank away from it.
“Are these what I think they are?” He asked. When Nona nodded he presented the vial to Jordan. “You need to destroy them. Can you do that?”
She nodded slowly, but still didn’t speak. It occurred to Kurt that her throat must be extremely sore after being grabbed like that. She plucked the vial from his hands and in seconds the glass glowed with heat and the liquid inside turned black. He threw the vial into the room’s fireplace for good measure and returned to Jordan. Gently probing her throat with his fingers, he took note of where she winced and pulled back.
“Nothing seems to be damaged,” he breathed with a sigh of relief. “But it’s definitely gonna be sore for awhile. Add it to the list.” His last comment elicited a small laugh from both sisters. Jordan untangled herself from her sister to get a better look at Kurt’s busted lip.
“I thought he was going to kill you.” Her voice was rough and raw, it even sounded painful. “Don’t you ever do that again…” She chastised, wincing as she used her battered vocal cords. Kurt pressed a soft kiss to her cheekbone.
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” He replied with a smile. “There’s only one hero in this relationship.” He wrapped his arms possessively around her and pulled her down to the floor with him, unaware of Rico hoisting his brother over his shoulder and removing him, or of Quickstrike following him with a worried expression.
Rico stole a glance back and wished he hadn’t. Jordan looked so frail at the moment, still reeling from an attack perpetuated by his own flesh and blood. Worse yet, she sought comfort from only one person, and it wasn’t him. It would clearly never be him; that hurt worst of all. Quickstrike tried to give him a comforting touch on the arm but he pulled away from her quickly, removing his brother as far away from his victims as he could.
All Kurt and Jordan saw was each other until a voice broke them out of their haze. “So, we’re back on again?” Nona asked from the bed above them. Both lovers turned to look up at her with sheepish expressions. She gazed back with an amused smirk. “About damn time.”
“Where is He!? I told them, told him! You mess with my family and I WILL kill you. Did this nigga think I was playing?”
Legend burst through the front door of the house like a raging bull. When news of what Goliath had attempted reached him, he dropped the search and headed immediately for the house. Now there, he was barely containing his rage. He spotted Rico sitting at the kitchen table and stormed up to him.
“You wanna tell me what the hell your brother thought he was doing? Going after Jordan like that! For what? Money! Revenge? You better start talking or I’ll make sure he will.”
Rico didn’t respond, mostly because he couldn’t. He didn’t have the answers everyone was looking for. He didn’t know why Goliath attacked Jordan or why he had most likely been the one to infect Nona as well. When Legend got no response, he pushed harder.
“Do you know why we came back? Why Jordan almost killed herself to help me make a three day jump?” Rico looked up. He had no idea they had jumped three days or that the jump was the reason Jordan was in such rough shape.
“I don’t…” He began but was soundly cut off.
“Because Nona died! Alright? She was DEAD and those nanoprobes or nanites or whatever were responsible. And now your brother comes into another man’s home, lays hands on his woman, and has a tube of those things with him. I want answers! Where is he?”
Rico felt like all the air had left the room. He knew Nona had been infected with those things but no one had told him it killed her! He had just been speaking to her moments before, had spoken to all of them and yet no one had mentioned why they came back. It all made sense now: Jordan working with Legend, the two of them being so protective over Nona, the desperate manhunt for CLU. Somehow, all those elements led to Nona’s demise and now they had to do everything in their power to avoid it. How could his brother be a part of this? Now Rico was incensed. He abruptly got to his feet.
“He’s in the shed out back.” Legend turned to go but was stopped by Rico. “No, let me talk to him first.” Legend frowned and began to protest but Rico was persistent. “He’s my brother, that makes him my responsibility. I brought him here and put everyone in danger.”
Legend nodded curtly but remained unhappy about the arrangement. “Ten minutes,” he growled. “You got ten minutes and I’m coming in hot and I won’t leave without answers.”
“NO.” Both men were startled by a voice from the entryway. They turned to find Nona standing in the doorway with Jordan leaning heavily on her shoulder. Their leader was definitely looking worse for wear but there was a fire in her eyes. “She wants to speak to him BEFORE you two go all Scarface on him.”
“He’s dangerous! I’m not gonna let her go out there in this condition.” Legend protested, sliding back into big brother mode easily. Jordan pushed herself away from Nona, one arm wrapped protectively around her injured side and over to Legend, slowly but steadily. When she reached him, she finally spoke.
“I appreciate the concern,” her voice was barely more than a hoarse whisper. “But this situation is quickly spinning out of control. We need to start containing things NOW. If he has answers, I intend to get them.”
She stared Legend down, showing strength she hadn’t in the last few hours prior. He could tell she was not going to take no for an answer, or that she would let him stop her. Legend sighed and offered his arm for her to hold. She latched on gratefully, not sure how much longer she could maintain that dominant stance without assistance.
“Let’s go.” He led her to the back door, preparing to go out and question her assailant. He glanced over his shoulder. “You two coming?” Nona nodded but Rico stopped her before she went out the door.
“Give us a second,” he replied. Nona looked confused but hung back.
“Why didn’t you tell me?!” He demanded. Nona was even more confused.
“Tell you what? About Goliath? I didn’t know!”
“Not him! Why didn’t you tell me what happened to you?”
Nona stepped back stunned. She hadn’t planned on telling the others everything but it was obvious Rico knew. He stared at her expectantly, hurt written plainly across his face. She should have told him but she didn’t really believe it herself. She sighed heavily.
“Because it hasn’t happened. And maybe now it won’t.” This was not the answer Rico was looking for.
“You DIED! Don’t you think your friends would want to know that BEFORE they go on a mission to find this guy?”
“I know what happened! Do you think this is easy for me? Knowing I was out of control, seeing what I’ve done to my own sister and then knowing that if I can’t make it right my son will grow up without me thinking I was some kind of maniac?” She jabbed a finger into Rico’s chest, tired of putting on a brave face.
She was angry and scared, knowing her life was still in danger. Knowing Jordan and Legend would be willing to lay their lives on the line again if need be. She couldn’t let them do that, didn’t believe Jordan would survive the process. Rico seemed taken aback by her response but he had confronted her. This is what he wanted!
“I can barely even look at Jordan. Seeing her like that, so fragile and broken, knowing I did that to her. And she still did everything in her power to save me…” Rico reached a hand for her but she pulled away.
“We’ve seen her bounce back from much worse. She’ll be okay, Nona.” He tried to reassure her.
“Yeah, she’ll be fine! Unless those things are still in me somewhere! Unless I suffocate her in her sleep with my powers! I can’t trust myself around her until we find CLU and make sure he can NEVER hurt anyone again. I didn’t tell you because it doesn’t matter. I will NOT put her through that again!” She pushed past him on her way out the back door. “Let’s go get some answers.”
Her shoulder slammed heavily into him when he tried to block her. The screen door banged against the house as she exited angrily. Rico followed her across the back lawn, unsure of what to say or do to comfort her. She didn’t seem like she really wanted comfort or company for that matter as she stalked toward the shed as if she was alone. When they got close he could see Jordan sitting on a small bench, her head resting on her crossed arms, elbows on her knees. She seemed to be gathering her strength, which made Rico think this was a bad idea after all. Legend was kneeling down in front of her and they appeared to be having a muffled conversation, perhaps about reconsidering the safety of this plan. Both looked up as they heard the others approach.
“Ready?” Nona asked her sister, seemingly oblivious to the danger. Jordan nodded and got to her feet without as much difficulty as before.
“Wait.” Legend put a hand on Jordan’s arm. “ You’re weak and your powers aren’t reliable right now; You should take someone with you.”
“She is.” Nona replied confidently. “I’m going in too.”
“OH, no! Hell, no.” Legend pulled them away from the shed so he could properly yell without their prisoner knowing what was going on. Nona stood her ground, refusing to back down.
“Hell yes! We are the leaders of this team, Legend. I know you feel like this should be handled by ‘street code’ but we have too much riding on this. We have lives, careers and families.” She emphasized the last word for his benefit. Legend opened his mouth but Nona kept pushing her point. “If we don’t find out what CLU is planning, then you guys came back for nothing.”
Legend considered the validity of her statement, thinking of ways to counter her. Through the whole exchange Rico had just looked back and forth between the arguing ex-lovers and Jordan remained eerily quiet. She finally stepped forward between the two and quietly ended the argument.
“We go in.” She rasped. “You can stay outside. Nona will call if we need you.”
Both men grumbled under their breath but stood their ground as the two women entered the shed. Once inside, they could clearly see Goliath kneeling in the middle, bound and looking furious. Jordan leaned against the wall near the door, watching warily for any signs of a threat to her sister. Nona approached Goliath and kneeled down to his level, careful to stay out of arm’s reach. She placed one hand palm down on the ground, concentrating as she spoke.
“You might be feeling some pressure, right now.” She spoke casually, even as her powers steadily bore down on him. “We need some answers. You’ve attacked us both and we need to know why. What is CLU planning?”
Goliath sneered but didn’t answer right away. He glanced from Nona and back to Jordan who had covered her bruised neck and torso with the jacket from her uniform. She hadn’t moved or spoken since the women entered. Goliath knew she must be in pain, he had heard all about her previous injuries before the others knew whom he was working for. When he finally answered, he addressed his words to Jordan.
“Nothing to say?” He taunted her. “Bet your neck’s pretty sore, huh? He never told me I had to be gentle with you.” He gave a strangled laugh as Nona increased the pressure pushing down on him. He turned his attention back to her. “Touchy, touchy.”
“You don’t talk to her. You don’t even look at her!” Nona was seething. She lifted her other hand and began to curl it into a fist. Goliath let out a strangled cry as the force around him began crushing inwards. “You will tell us what we want to know or…”
“Or what?!” He spat at her. “You’re gonna crush my bones one by one. You don’t have it in you!” He barely got the last sentence out before the pressure increased once more. He was barely staying upright and she was hell-bent on making sure he knew how serious she was.
“Or we leave and let Legend in here.”
This got Goliath’s attention. He had pledged loyalty to Legends crew, Urban Myth. Had sworn to protect its members and destroy its enemies. He had also sworn, as had the whole crew, to leave Nona, her sister, and their team unharmed. Breaking one oath was serious, but all three-guaranteed Goliath would suffer and possibly never be heard from again. Not to mention, they had somehow figured out he had been the one who poisoned Nona with the nanites.
“You wouldn’t.” He countered through gritted teeth.
“We would.” Both Goliath and Nona turned towards the door, shocked Jordan had spoken. Her voice still sounded like she smoked a pack a day but there was an undeniable strength in it. Nona dropped her hand just a fraction and Goliath was on her! He pinned her down with his shoulder, breathing hotly on her.
“Whose got the upper hand now!” He snarled inches from her face. His enormous body was quickly crushing the air out of Nona; she would be unconscious in seconds leaving a very wounded Jordan to fend for herself. Her mind was racing. Save her! Her heart pounded hard against her battered rib cage. One chance, she had one chance. She didn’t even know if it would work again but they were out of options.
“ENOUGH!” Jordan pushed off the wall and moved behind her sister so he could clearly hear her next words. As she moved towards them her skin began to glow red-hot, her hair bursting into flames. When she spoke again, her voice held the intensity of a five-alarm fire. “We don’t give a damn what happens to you and neither does CLU. Help us, or Legend will make an example out of you. Now release her.”
Goliath was taken aback by Jordan’s transformation; he could feel the heat rolling off her in waves. When he attacked her earlier that day, she had barely been able to summon a spark and now she stood before him glowing like a blazing inferno! He had clearly struck a nerve. He used his knees to push off Nona and she immediately scrambled away but used her power to restrain him once more. She kept glancing back between him and her sister, obviously just as surprised as he was. Goliath made one last desperate gamble.
“I want to see my brother!”
“He has nothing to say to you and we both know he can’t stop Legend from getting to you.” Nona had stepped in again, unsure of the longevity of her sister’s transformation. She knew for a certainty Jordan’s voice wouldn’t hold.
Goliath swallowed hard, still under tremendous pressure from Nona and considered his options. With his payday out the window, his brother disowning him and Legend waiting in the wings to make him disappear, he came to only one conclusion. He had to tell the women everything they wanted to know.