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10/11/2018 02:08 PM 

CHARACTER STUDY -- ROY HARPER PT. 2

 
 
MIAMI VICE
' [hero]in ! '
 

        There was havoc in the warehouse, no one was safe; when one found an opportune time to fire, another would have their palms and sternums reduced to pincushions. Arsenal was nothing if not adaptable. What would would see as mundane as silverware, he would see an opportunity. A bullet, an arrow, a knife — nothing was off-limits if it meant it could be the difference between life and death. Life, as he saw it, was something akin to a game. This was just him living it on HARD mode.

        “On your left!” Overwatch yelled. She’d been so accustomed to aiding multiple bodies out on the field that her enthused assistance had nearly fallen on deaf-made ears. Roy ignored it, however, it was mostly unintentional. His teaching from his Native American upbringing brought him a sense of serene focus, even in the heat of battle. He felt like the hunter he’d been raised to be standing his ground against a raging stampede. He’d delved so deeply into his focus that her words had traveled in one ear and out the other. The skill and precision he’d bestow with each, effortless shot made him out to be a smear of red amongst the ongoing hordes of slingers.

        “I know, I know,” he’d chide before spinning in an about-face to fire a ricocheting arrow. Like a bullet against vibranium, the arrow bounced around the room seeking a target that would not send it on its way.

        Doorknob.

        Floor.

        Light.

        THOK!

        Lumbar.

        “See?” He asked as he tapped his fingers to his earpiece again. “I got this!”

        “Wow,” she said, for once, at a loss for words. “Good, uh, work on. . .killing everyone.” Roy said nothing in return; she could feel him staring blankly at her as if he was right in front of her. “O-Okay, okay, maybe not killing them, per se, but they’re definitely gonna need medical attention.”

        “Cry me a river,” he muttered to himself as he looked around the sea of wounded, incapacitated, and, yes, dead bodies. The harsh realities of life were indoctrinated in him at such a young age that the sight of them had long since lost its novelty. Again, just another Tuesday. Felicity pretended not to hear it, using the sight of his work serve as a distraction from it.

        It was. . .odd, to her. She’d worked along side the Green Arrow for so long that, given that he was responsible for Roy’s training [at least in part], she expected to see similar end result. They both left bodies in their wake, but this was. . .almost excessive. When Green Arrow fought, he left most in handcuffs and the others too tired to do much else even without them. Arsenal, however, left blood trickling from every, newly-made orifice and no so much as a groan to comfort the downed assailants.

        If she didn’t know any better, she’d say this was personal.

         “Hey,” he said into his earpiece. “Overwatch. C’mon, don’t do that.”

        “What?”

        “That long, sullen silence thing you do. You do it when you worry and you have something to say — d’ah, that and followed by your usual stutter.”

        “You — I, well, that’s just — no one like’s a — you know what? I — ”

        “And there’s the stutter. Look, Overwatch, it’s okay. I’m good. No need to worry.”

        “It’s just that. . .well, the bodies and all. . .and, given the current objective and setting, I just thought. . .”

        “What? Not used to seeing a pile of bodies? Green Arrow does it all the time.”

        “Pretty sure he doesn’t completely cut his victims off at the knees.”

        “No? Guess I was the exception, then,” he muttered. Some part of him knew this equipment well enough to know the slightest sighs could be heard, much less offhanded comments. It was cathartic, yes, but born from a place he’d long since abandoned — to, at least he’d like to think he did. “Sorry,” he admitted just shortly after. “That was mean. I didn’t —,”

        “No, no,” she insisted. “It’s okay. . .but, Roy, you should really talk to him. He’s changed. He’s better now.”

        “No offense, but you didn’t know him back then. Not like I did.”

        “Maybe not, but still, Roy, you owe it to yourself to get closure.”

        “Oh, for my benefit?” He asked rhetorically as he looked over what was left of the tables they used to cook up their batches. “Since when has that ever been a factor?”

        “Roy —,”

         “—Whoa, whoa, hold up,” he interrupted. Felicity thought it was for his own benefit of not having to confront his own trauma and, in truth, at least in part, it was. However, a more pressing issue crossed his mind and visor. “Check this out.” His Roy-Ban’s operated doubly as a fashionable accessory to his uniform and a live feed to his HUD back at his own secret base. He fed it to one of her screens to pick up rather than another “scout arrow”, as he dubbed it.

        It was. . .different. Familiar. But, different. Where he was used to beakers and test tubes, hell, even pots over a stovetop, he was now greeted with the sight of mini-scales, bottles and. . .mirrors.

        Okay, maybe not everything was different.

        “It’s a drug setup,” Felicity said as she overlooked it herself. “So what? …am I missing something? I feel like I’m missing something.”

        “You are,” he said while reaching down to one of the exposed productions. It was a pill.

        “It’s a pill? So, what?”

        “Exactly,” he said bringing it closer to his visor so that she may see it in closer detail. “It’s small, secure,” he started. “It looks no different than a vitamin; you can keep this in your pocket and take it in the middle of a damn funeral and no one would question it.”

        “So, you’re saying it’ll be easier to slip under the radar.”

        “Oh, it’ll be EFFORTLESS,” he said jamming an arrow into the wooden floor by his side. True to his tinkering nature, Roy invented a communication arrow that would project holographic, live imaging. [ L I N K ] Now, in the same vein, he’d created an arrow, one that showed yet another holographic display, but, now, of the pill in question.

        Leaning down on the table, he’d broken down the pill against the fat of his palm to dust that scraped it up into a perfect line with an arrowhead. The broken-down, white powder it now was worried Felicity; she watched the way Roy eyed it. She saw how he crept closer, how examined the crumbled remains in his palm. She clenched her jaw, biting her tongue to reluctantly reserve judgment.

        Luckily, that was in her favor.

        Roy tapped his temple to zoom in on his visor to see each component holographically suspended and separated into individual segments for both of them to study. What was most astonishing, though, was what Roy found: substituted cathinones.

        “Oh, my God. . .” she said, nearly at a loss for words. “I mean, I’ve seen PSA’s on tobacco on all the gunk found in those, but these? Roy, you can find all this crap in cleaning supplies, incense — even FERTILIZER! Why would anyone use it?”

        “Because, sometimes, all we want to do is feel,” he said openly. “Doesn’t matter what we do to ourselves or what we put in our bodies — we just want to be normal again, and being normal starts with being. Feeling.” He fell silent to pause while Felicity feared where his mind went in this moment. “Cathinones are stimulants that attack the central nervous system while targeting the dopamine in the brain. It’s not the real thing like speed or E, but it’s close enough; work’s just the same. Blocks the reabsorption of excess dopamine and boosts the production of it, too.”

        “It’s like cocaine and meth at the same time,” she added.

        “Pretty much. Anyway, on cathinones, you feel again, but it’s bumped up to one-hundred, but you feel too good to give a damn what’s happening to you.”

        “Right…” she trailed for a second, but hoped to veer the conversation in a less personal tone. “That doesn’t explain, however, what it’s doing here.” She typed vigorously into the keyboard in front of her to breakdown the pill’s component further. “Cathinones come from a plant called ‘khat’ which is native to Africa and the Middle East.”

        “You just answered your own question. If you knew how difficult it would be to smuggle something like this into another continent — especially in this political climate — wouldn’t you charge top-damn-dollar for it?” He paused because he knew the answer to his rhetorical question. She just wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. Not even in thought would she consider taking drugs; that is where they would differ. “And, considering where I’m currently standing, guess who’s in line to make good on those profits?”

        “Felicity, think about it,” he continued. “Oscorp Industries just announced an expansion — they want to head East Bound — AND who just opened a medical branch in their company?”

        “If they’re already making tech with foreign components,” Felicity started as the wheels in her head began to steam at the rate in which they turned. “Nothing is stopping them from getting access to these materials from overseas… Africa. Roy, if this expansion goes through and they get access to pharmaceuticals —,”

        “—Then, there’s nothing stopping them from flooding the whole country with this junk.”

        “And that’s not all,” Felicity said typing away while a particular, unspecified component zoomed in on one of her many monitors. “There’s something else, something I can’t quite de-synthesize. Some kind of black. . .ooze. It’s a unique aspect to this drug; an X factor.”

        “And something else, else,” he added, nocking another arrow. “Something’s coming. Something big.”

        “Be careful.”

        “I’m quaking in my boots.”

        “I’m serious,” she objected. “I know you just took out a room full of these guys, but —,”

        “So am I, Overwatch.” He barked. “Whatever’s coming is large enough to make the floor shake; I’m literally shaking. And it’s coming fast.”

        WHAM!!!

        Doors flew open into the room he was standing with its wooden finish nearly flying off its hinges by the forceful shoulder-slam. Roy expected to see a lot of things, most of which were played up by his own imagination, others were due to his time spent in the field seeing off-the-wall things, but he had NEVER been this surprised before.

        There was no army of men. There were no more armed thugs ready to aim and fire at him. There were no screams of curses or even abusers looking for their next hit. It was only one person that was there. Only one.

        A girl.

        She stood with a slender physique, but monstrous in presence. She was strong enough to bash the doors off, she was not to be under estimated. At first, he expected to be armed-to-the-teeth ready to fire like he was hunting a raging elephant, but not her. She just stood still, jittering in place akin to an epileptic episode, muttering something to herself. Roy wasn’t bold enough to step forward knowing the dangers of working alone. Had he had his Outlaws to have his back, things may have been different. . .

        However, she looked at him and when she did. . .

He wished she hadn’t. . . !

Harper | ⤖

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