Chapter 7- One at a time

Blessed Inversion SWAT Emblem

Previously on Blessed Inversion SWAT…

Despite their attack failing against RajTEK, Biohazard and his gang still held SWAT-Spider captive. A fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Doctor Khonshu or Gabriel. While Doctor Khonshu tracked the signal given by the Khonshu Band, Gabriel revealed his Inversion power of Super Speed and searched Golden Plains. When both meet in Bronze Plains, Gabriel dubs himself the hero Jetstream and together they free SWAT-Spider. Doctor Khonshu leaves his injured ally in a hospital to be cared for before informing Gabriel who remained ignorant of his father’s secret identity…

Steven Kessler/SWAT-Spider

-RajTEK Head of Security. Recovering

Gabriel Kessler/Jetstream

-Steven’s son. self-sufficient rookie hero

Doctor Khonshu/Kreon Galanis

-RajTEK R&D.

I don’t know how long I’ve been out before I finally come to. The last thing I remember was being shocked with electricity for the…I don’t even know how many times that asshole did at this point.* I just know when I open my eyes I’m in a hospital, the Khonshu Band nowhere in sight, and Gabe by my side. His eyes are red from crying. I can’t believe I left him like that…I try to move but every inch of my body hurts. But I push through it and grab Gabe’s hand. The shock and relief on his face remind me how important he is to me and why I kept doing what I was doing. “Miss me?” I ask getting a nod in return. Everything hurt but I fight through the pain and sit up. “You the only one here?”

*Blessed Inversion SWAT Chapter 4

“Miss me?” I ask getting a nod in return. Everything hurt but I fight through the pain and sit up. “You the only one here?”

“Yeah, but after telling me you were here Kreon and Raja said they were on their way.”

The Doctor actually went out of his way to save me? I’m legitimately surprised by this but I can’t let it show. “Guess they really are my friends huh?” I try to chuckle but strain at the effort.

“Take it easy dad.” Gabriel orders me jumping to his feet at the sight of me wincing.

“Mind getting a doctor Gabe?” I needed to know how bad I was. Gabe runs faster than I expected and in a few minutes, he’s back.

“Hello Mr. Kessler, I’m Doctor Holts and you are a very lucky man.” she said. Doctor Holts was about my age and from the look of her coat, I knew I was in Saint Taliesin’s.

“How bad?” I ask directly.

“Is there someone who can watch your son while we discuss this?”

“Gabe, would you mind…” I can see from the look in his eyes he’s not budging. “Let’s just get this over with.”

“If you say so…” she sighs. “Irregular heart rate, signs of both frostbite and thermal skin burns, several broken ribs, bruises and swelling on your face…” she pauses, shook her head, and took a deep breath. “Bruised jaw, bruised wrists, fatigue, and dehydration.”

“Is that all?” I try to make light of my injuries to keep Gabe from freaking out.

“Mr. Kessler, what is the last thing you remember before coming here?”

I think fast for an excuse. I can’t tell them the truth but I can’t give a poor lie in front of Gabe either. “I remember being at RajTEK doing my job. Next thing I know I’m here.” It was vague but I could at least explain it away.

“Do you remember anyone you haven’t met before?”

“I meet new people all the time. I’m the Head of Security.”

“I see.” she stopped to think. “Pardon me.” she leaves like she’s in a rush.

Given my injuries, I have two guesses why she was in a hurry to leave. The first is she already called the police and was waiting for them. The second was she suspects an Inversion was behind my injuries which meant she was out of her depth. Still too weak to move so I’ll likely have to just deal with the questions as they come. With Gabe here, I can’t risk using Guardian Aranea either. Not even sure I could in this condition…I might have to just take it easy for once. At least until Dr. K gets here.

“I’m sorry.”

“Huh?” Gabe said confused at my sudden apology.

“I’m not as good as you think I am. Shouldn’t have left you alone like that.”

“It’s fine dad. Besides, it had to have been some really bad Inversions to do this to you. No normal person could do that to you.” Gabe couldn’t see me doing any wrong. At least he was right about Inversions being responsible. For a moment I consider telling him the truth. But part of me hesitates, if I’m going to do it I need a better time and place.

“Yeah, they were something else…” I replied laying back in my bed. Not much I can do right now as Steven Kessler so I wait and plan my next move. I’ll deal with the Inhibitors shit later. For now, I have some gangs to take down…Whenever I recover anyway. “Aside from the broken ribs, my main injuries should be superficial. At least not enough to stop me.” I thought to myself. They knew who I was so the longer it took me to act the better chance they had to move against my family. Especially with me being free…

A few minutes pass before Doctor Holts returns. She gives me the rundown on why I can or can’t do to recover faster. I tune her out largely, I had more pressing thoughts on my mind. This wasn’t my first hospital visit either, just the most inconvenient one. The only thing to break me out of my focus was the arrival of Doctor K and Raja. Raja looked relieved. Doctor K tried his best not to.

“You look like shit.” Raja chuckled.

“Wouldn’t be me if I didn’t.”

“If we didn’t need you I’d say you should be fired.” Doctor K chastises me.

“Didn’t know you cared Doc.”

Pfft, I don’t. But you do have some saccharine value. And I’m not going to waste my time getting someone else to learn our system.”

“Look at that Gabe, I matter.” I replied flatly.

“Of course you matter Steve. You’re the scariest looking guy we have.” Raja said with a shrug. I just shake my head. “Hey Gabe, mind letting Doctor K and your dad have some privacy? Work stuff.”

“Oh, okay.” he agreed to Raja’s request and leaves with him. Turning back one last time before closing the door.

“They tortured you didn’t they?” Doctor K asked directly. His shift in expression told me he could tell the answer from my eyes. “Well, at least that’s done. What happened?”

“Got blindsided by a guy named Biohazard.* Think he’s super strength and radiation. Claimed he was the kingpin in these parts. Some guy named Pheromaster is pulling his strings.** The guy who did most of the torturing had weather manipulation.”

*Blessed Inversion SWAT Chapter 4

**Blessed Inversion SWAT Chapter 6

“Oh yeah, Forecast. I dealt with him. Wish I knew sooner, I would’ve put a needless amount of effort into it.”

“Least you took a few of ’em down.”

“Yeah well, it sounds like I still have quite the work ahead of me.”

“You?” I asked confused. I have an idea what he’s implying and I don’t like it.

“I stopped Forecast, I had the rest of his jobbers arrested, I freed you, and I was the one who brought you here. You are alive because of me. Besides, with as fucked up as you are someone will have to…” he paused.

“What are you thinking?” I scowl more than normal.

“Just reviving an old idea I had. Forecast may have ruined my office but I still have my special stash. Get well soon Kessler, leave the criminal underground to me. Oh, and I’ll return the Khonshu Band when you get better.” he left with his hands clasped behind his back not even giving me a chance to reply. I let him go, no use trying to stop him now.

“One train wreck at a time Steven.” I think to myself before my danger sense activates. I go into high alert when Elle, Gabe, and Michael enter with Doctor Holts. “Shit.” is my first thought. I expect a chewing out but it’s just silence from her.

“Dad!” Michael said worried as he hurried to hug me. Hurt enough to make me flinch but I deal with it. “Are you okay?”

“Nothing I won’t live through.”

“Are you sure?” Elle interjects.

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“That’s good.” she came off actually concerned for once. “Did they say when you were getting out?”

“Nah, they’ve been saving the best for last.”

“I’m taking Gabriel.” she got straight to the point.

“What?!” Gabriel and Michael said in shock.

“You aren’t taking Gabe.” I answer back.

“When they were born you said you’d quit SWAT for something safer. This is not safer. Even with the lies, I was fine letting him live with you if you stayed safe. But I can’t anymore. I can’t, it’s not fair to him or me. What would he have done if something worse happened to you?” I couldn’t say anything to counter her.

“Elle…”

“I’m done, you can’t say anything to fix it this time. I just had to make sure you were still alive and tell you in person.” I could tell Gabe wanted to say something but couldn’t.

“You aren’t taking Gabe too. Yes, I got hurt. We got attacked by some Inversions for the first time since I got here. This doesn’t mean he’s not safe with me. I’ve raised him like this for years. I’m not gonna lose him over a freak incident.”

“He needs my help getting better anyway.” Gabe found the courage to speak.

“No, he doesn’t. The hospital staff can do that. You need to get as far away from him as possible.”

“I’m not abandoning him like you two did.” For better or worse, Gabe inherited way more of his personality from me.

Elle took a deep breath and tried to contain herself. “Gabriel, we’re leaving now.”

“I’m not going.” he remained defiant.

“Gabe.” I was proud of him but I couldn’t let this spiral more out of control.  “Just give me a minute with your mother.”

Gabe didn’t want to budge but he listened after a tense ten seconds. “Okay…”

“Keep your brother company, Michael.” Elle followed my lead in giving us privacy. “Say what you have to say.”

“One day, just let him stay with me one day then take it from there. Everyone’s emotional, I’m tired as shit, and we just need to take a break. Let everyone cool down so we don’t do something we regret.”

“You’re doing it again.”

“Doing what?”

“You’re pulling us back down with you. Why couldn’t we just have a normal life? Why do I have to worry the father of my children might just die while at work? Or worse disappear and we have no idea he even went missing? This isn’t something we should have to deal with.” she wiped her eyes and began pacing around the room. “We shouldn’t have to live every day worrying. We shouldn’t…” she stopped and sat down. As much as both of us acted like we hated each other, there was some part of us that still loved and cared about the other.

“I know. I really tried to find something safer for all of you. I don’t want to leave any of you alone like that. But…”

“Here we go.”

“What do you want me to say? My whole family has been law enforcement. It’s in our nature to do something to protect others. I can’t just drop it all for an office job. It’s not my nature.”

“I know.” she stood up. “Goodbye, Steve.” I didn’t say anything when she left. I just couldn’t…maybe she’ll be back but I don’t expect it.

“She’s stubborn like you isn’t she?” a male voice said from the opposite side of the room. He was an Indian man with dark brown eyes, straight black hair, and a well-maintained beard. The man sat with his legs crossed on the windowsill wearing a dark purple suit. Getting in without me sensing him meant he was a teleporter or psychic…

“Who are you?” I asked trying to sit up. The sudden movement caused me way more pain than I’d like to admit. Still too fresh to move properly.

“Haze, I’m sure you remember Forecast and my boss Biohazard. Don’t worry, if anyone comes in they’ll just think you’re asleep. Our conversation’s private SWAT-Spider.” he smirked when he saw the look in my eye change. “That’s right, Biohazard and Forecast aren’t the only two who know who you are. They also don’t know you’re missing yet.”

“What do you want?”

“To talk, which is something I hear you aren’t very fond of. You’re a man of action and until now we’ve never been able to pin you down.”

“If you’re gonna kill me spare me the monologue. Just leave my family out of this.”

“Fine, I have a deal for you. There’s a man, calls himself Pheromaster, he’s got big plans on the horizon. I want you to kill him before he succeeds.”

“Why the hell should I do that?”

“Because you’re a hero and I can do something you can’t. I can erase Biohazards memory of who you are.”

“What are you really after Haze?” This sounded too good to be true.

“A coup of sorts. Biohazard threw in with Pheromaster and when he goes down so does everyone following him. Without Pheromaster around and Biohazard weakened it wouldn’t be hard for me to slip in and take over. So now, you have to ask yourself. Do you take my offer, kill Pheromaster, spare your family an excruciating death, and have only one crime lord to worry about. Or do you pass, I erase your memories now, and just deal with whatever comes your way? Given how you look I don’t think the second option is a smart choice.”

I weigh my options and do the only thing I can think of right now. What’s best for my family. “What does he look like?”

“Oh, I can’t tell you that one. For all I know you’d go after him right away. No, I’m going to let you sit back and recover. When the time comes, you’ll know who to shoot. As a sign of good faith, I’ll tell you a little secret. The Inhibitors are already compromised. And I don’t mean Mentalist. Good luck SWAT-Spider.” Haze stands and fades away as quickly as he appeared.

The bad news just kept on coming. It’s gonna take a lot to salvage any of this but at least my family is safe…for now… “One train wreck at a time Steve…one train wreck at a time…”

Next Issue

Blessed Inversion SWAT Chapter 8- No More Secrets

Recommended Reading

Blessed Inversion Inhibitors Chapter 7- Reunited

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