he abundant humidity of Blüdhaven
caused his uniform to cling desperately to him, tracing his every curve and leaving little to the imagination. Any attempts at freeing himself would be met with a grip akin to rigor mortis, accompanied by a peeling, thick lewd smear on his body. The streets had become plagued with filth, disgust congregated in mass to nearly make a swamp of the concrete jungle. It had become so entrenched in its own waste, the task of finding parts of the city that weren’t
flooded with it had become easier. There was garbage
; the natives were the infection and the city was the virus. Roy paid it no mind, though, having been here so many times in his life. The heat, the odors, the crime. Just another Tuesday. He couldn’t be bothered; he was too focused on his task.
On the outskirts of town [barely] stood countless abandoned buildings. What were once homes and communities had fallen to drug dens for slingers and users alike. They drew to it desperately, hoping to barter with their suppliers with whatever they could manage to find. The suppliers would take it as ransom only to pawn it for a profit then have said shops broken into and take back what it was that was sold, ultimately to repeat the cycle of money, theft and drugs.
It was all so. . .familiar.
An arrow sniped through the murky night sky before piercing an outer wall of a particular warehouse. Roy’s muscles relaxed as the bowstring jittered until it was still again, a
monotonous, repeated action he’d come to know as second-nature. This arrow, however, was different than his others. On its tip pinged a blinking, red light and emitted a high-frequency pitch akin to a dog whistle. The LED HUD in his goggles [Roy
-Ban] lit up to show the perimeter and everything inside in an x-ray-like display. In waves of crystal blue and icy whites, he was able to see all who occupied the building and even listen in on their conversations.
,” he said tapping two fingers to his earpiece. “You getting this?”
,” quipped a familiar, feminine voice. “The place is crawling
with sleezeballs.” From the safety of an undisclosed hideout, Felicity Smoke
typed away at her two-keyboard, three-monitor setup. One of Roy’s making. While he didn’t have the same lucrative assets that both Queen Industries
and Wayne Enterprises
had, he well than made up for it with his own genius and knack for anything tech based. Signals were completely cloaked from even the most invasive of programs and fully outfitted with the most luxurious of office chairs for the countless hours she would be seated in it. It was another office for her, but a haven for him. “If I didn’t know any better,” she continued as she enhanced the visuals on one monitor while keeping close eye on Roy’s vitals and current arrow ammunition on another. “I’d say this was a place where all my exes came to meet up.” Her attempt at humor was accurately dry.
“Nah, that can’t be it. That would be imply that you actually date,” he quipped. “Besides, none of these guys look like they live in their mom’s basement
“Hey! I do too
“Five-hour sessions of World of WarCraft
does not constitute as dating.”
“I do NOT
play WoW. . .”
“. . .”
“. . .”
“. . .”
“. . .it was fortnite
it was,” Roy drew back another special arrow and let it fly. It took only another second to see it stuck to a perch just above a boarded-up window. Attached at its nook was a long rope that hung loosely between his building and theirs. Using another, spare, original arrow, he slammed it down into his roof’s flooring he stood on and coiled it around it until there was no more slack. “Scrub,” he chided.
“You know, Roy,” she tried to push on past their current topic. “This place is kinda small to be a drug den.”
“That’s because it’s not the source.” Roy had been following leads he’d found on a new drug that his the streets. If any amount of crime had an originator, it was Gotham City
. However, Blüdhaven would reap its own rewards. “We’re not gonna find it here, but it will lead us in the right direction.” Felicity stayed quiet. She could tell by his tone he’d known this kind of work before, knowledge that reigned from his own troubled past — one without the Titans and heroics involved. “Hey,” he said to break the silence. “Don’t let this silence fool you. You can’t pivot away from the fact you’re still a scrub for playing Fortnite.”
“What was I supposed to do?”
She asked excitedly, catching on with a grin of her own.
With a sliding zip, Roy used his bow as a hook as he slid down his line and exploded through the window like a volcanic eruption.
“You were supposed to — play — PUBG!
” He offered between grunts and volleys of shot arrows. “It’s sooo
There was a ruckus in the warehouse. Excitement exploded throughout its every wall.
Where there was darkness from negligent, now-swinging lamps were exposed from excited, random gunshots. Roy knew their kind as well as he knew himself, because they were
his kind. Their first instincts would be to go after him, as he’d expect. Their aim wasn’t ever a priority since anyone with a gun [normally] already had the upper hand. They’d fire in a panic and Roy knew to keep his cool and know his mark. Every flinch caused an arrow to pierce another patella, femur or forearm. Some caused their guns to go flying in reaction and those, too, were pinned. Arsenal would fire more to slither arrows into the trigger guard to place them into the wooden wall.
“And just, what
,” he heard explode from his earpiece. “Oh, what makes PUBG better than Fortnite?”
Seeking shelter behind an upturned table from the gunfire, Roy ducked down to give his latest invention a test drive. Tapping the grips wrapped around his fingers, his secondary quiver [ the one on his hip ] had an electrical jolt sent through it. Middle finger to thumb, Roy tapped it twice, causing it to spin like a revolver and had his requested arrow shoot out for him to reach and have it magnetically summoned to his palm. It was a small effort and an even smaller change, 0.63 millisecond change, but it saved precious time that could be used for rescue.
“For starters,” he said as he stood up and released said arrow. As it flew, it split into four smaller, more precise arrows and pinned his attackers in their chests. “The graphics
. I don’t have to feel like I’m playing Nick Jr.’s
rendition of a shooter. Besides, you have a better chance at winning
The shot was a direct hit, but that didn’t stop more from rushing in behind the fallen dealers. Roy cursed to himself and ducked down again. The bullets flew even faster now, piercing the already tarnished wooden table to leave it resembling Swiss cheese. Had it not been for his Roy-Ban’s, he’d face the potential of losing vision in his left eye as the splinters shot out like cannonballs.
“They’re both battle royales,” Felicity rebuttaled.
“Yeah? So? Xbox
are both consoles; one’s clearly better than the other.”
“They’re the same thing!
“Oh, HELL no. Hang on — ” Roy rose from his cover to fire a flashbang arrow at his attackers. None were ready and all were stunned by it. In a near-synchronized groan, they all fell to their knees. He was safe for now. Shortly after, he placed his fingers back to his ear. “I know you did not
just say they’re the same thing.”
“Well, they are
“No, they most certainly are not!
One gives you a fun gameplay experience with a collective, progressive online community and the other dulls you with its lackluster graphics, whining twelve-year-olds and gives you hand cramps
as a reward.”
“I’ve never had that problem,” she managed to slip in in-between his breaths in his monologue.
— wait. What? You don’t get hand cramps?”
“Roy, I work for a multi-billion dollar corporation as a career, type 100 words a minute and spend my free time writing fan fictions. I do not
get hand cramps.”
Roy paused. “Y’know, some men would find that attractive in a woman.”
“Really? I didn’t think guys were into fan fictions.”
“Then why else would they care about hand cram—” she stopped abruptly to figure out what it was he was referring to. “. . .oh, that’s gross!
Roy couldn’t help but smile.
In moments like these, crazed frenzies with only the profanity screams and tinnitus-fighting ringing in his ears for ambience, Roy oddly felt. . .home. Free.
In his career, he’d allied himself with teams and even more partners. Some gave a facade of acceptance, others tried harder to understand, but each time he was met with betrayal. Pain. Now, with the freedom of independence [and the persistent assistance from Overwatch], he’d felt he could finally show his results without the judgmental stares or worrisome side-glances at his practices. It was true, his past wasn’t one for the faint of heart and as squeaky-clean hers was by comparison, there was no real way she would understand
, but she cared for him just the same.
And sometimes that’s all it takes.