“There’s someone after me!”
Adam recognized the old lady’s voice. “Gladys! You have your skin.”
“Not important right now. I was out taking a walk and I just got attacked by someone.”
Dante stood up and began putting his gloves on. “Who was it?”
“I have no idea. Some tough guy with a helmet.”
“There’s been a lot of reports about a helmet guy in town. Why is he after you?”
“No idea, man!”
Dante pulled his mask on, its white eyes lighting up as it activated.
In the front room, glass shattered and the door blew off its hinges.
Adam, Gladys, and Dante ran into the front room.
Gladys said “That’s not the helmet guy, that’s–”
A levitating man raised one hand. “It is I, the Master of Trepanning!”
Adam stepped forward. Before he could speak, the Master continued.
“You! You are the apiarist who sought me? Well here I am. Behold my power.”
With a gesture, the Master caused a section of the drop ceiling to come crashing down.
“You want to speak to one who can bring your home down with mere thoughts? Speak your piece then!”
Adam cleared his throat. “Would you like to join us?”
“What the hell?” said Dante.
“Huh?” said Gladys.
“Pardon?” said the Master.
“I am serious.” Adam took another step forward. “We could do so much together. I acknowledge that you are powerful. There can be no doubt. And with your power you could do so much to improve society for everyone. We could help you do it.”
“Help me?” The Master smirked. “What possible help could specks like you provide?”
“Well, your criminal lifestyle must be lonely. You could have allies. Friends.”
“Hardly necessary. I have astounding self esteem.”
The Master raised a hand and Adam slammed into the wall.
Adam fell to the floor, dazed.
Telekinetically, the Master ripped sparking wires from the ceiling. They ensnared Adam, causing him to convulse. More of the ceiling followed the wires, burying him.
“Gladys,” Dante leapt forward, “save the kid!”
Unblinking, the Master caught Dante’s wrist just before the assassin’s claws could slash his eyes.
Amplifying the force with his mental powers, the Master slammed Dante into the floor. The tiles cracked.
The Master again turned his attention to Adam, whom Gladys had just pulled from the rubble.
Then: a buzzing.
Then: a cloud of angry bees flowed through the front window.
The bees surrounded the Master of Trepanning.
The Master set some aflame with his mind, but more continued to come.
Dante got back to his feet.
Adam looked on, unable to stand. “My bees!” He coughed.
“If you’ve got any control over them,” Dante said, “get them to make a hole.”
Adam closed his eyes. The bees cleared slightly on one side.
“Gladys,” said Dante, “Electric punch to his head.”
Gladys’s fist sparked as she jumped into the cloud of bees.
The punch knocked the Master to the floor.
Dante pounced on the fallen criminal and clawed at his neck.
Dante kicked the Master’s head and it careened into the wall.
Gladys helped Adam to his feet.
The surviving bees began to return outside. Some landed on Adam.
Adam looked down at the bees that did not make it.
Dante turned to him. “You wanted to be his friend?”
Adam looked at Dante, then away. There were tears in his eyes.
The assassin turned away as well.
Only Gladys saw the Master’s head rise into the air, hatred in its eyes. “Holy shit!” She let go of Adam, causing him to tumble back to the floor.
The head flew forward.
With a telepathic wail, the Master’s severed head flew at Adam.
It broadcast its thoughts: “You specks think you can defeat me? Impudent fools! I will destroy you!”
Making that proclamation, it bit into Adam’s shoulder.
Gladys grabbed the head, pulled it. Adam screamed as his flesh tore.
The head escaped Gladys’s grasp and spat Adam’s flesh at her.
“I am the most powerful mind on this planet!” the head broadcast. “I will never-”
Dante’s hand suddenly punctured the Master’s skull from behind, the clawed fingers exiting through the eyes.
Dante grunted. “And you wanted to be this asshole’s friend.”
While Dante bandaged Adam’s shoulder, they were both silent.
Gladys taped garbage bags over the broken windows. When Dante came back down, she asked “So what do we do with a body? I assume you have experience.”
Dante crushed another chunk of brain underfoot. “Leave it overnight, I guess. Get the door covered. Make sure the heat is off in here. I’ll get in touch with someone.”
“You have someone for this?”
“I prefer killing in places I don’t have to clean up, but yeah, it’s not my first. I know people who will want to study a superhuman’s corpse.”
The helmeted man watched the souvenir shop.
After his scuffle with the woman, he’d seen a flying man attack the shop, get overwhelmed and killed.
Just before sunrise a dark van pulled up. Two workers went inside.
A woman in a suit stood outside the door and watched the street. Metal covered part of her face.
Five minutes later the workers came out with bags that obviously contained the flying man.
They all left.
The helmeted man decided to leave the shop alone for now. It seemed beyond him.
Heading home, he failed to notice the bee that followed him.
“I lost so many bees,” said Adam. “I keep losing them.”
Adam was sitting on the roof, watching his hive. Dante sat nearby, nursing an energy drink. Gladys stood by the edge and watched the city.
“If it helps,” said Dante, “we wouldn’t have won without those bees. They died as heroes or whatever.”
“True,” said Adam. “I nearly died.”
“You get used to it,” said Dante.
Adam placed a hand on his bandaged shoulder. “I do not want to die like this.”
“You’re trying to make the world better, Adam? You probably won’t have a choice how you die.”