Word count: 1,051
Warnings: One or two bad words, maybe
Fandom: City of Heroes/Sunday 9s
Characters: Most of 'em. No, really.
Timeline: Takes place after "The Situation Stinks".
If you've read the previous fics, you know who these people are and what's going on. If you haven't, you might want to go read them first, 'cause this will make lots more sense after you read the other ones. Check the Memories section, under "CoH Fiction" in my LJ info.
Copyrights 'n stuff: The City of Heroes universe is copyright Cryptic Studios/NCSoft. The individual characters of the Sunday 9s were created by their players. I created Heat Lightning, Boneshatter, most of the NPCs, the shard and all of the Aligned and their concepts.
"Man, who beefed?"
Ray wrinkled his nose at the faint odor permeating the warehouse. No, on second thought, it wasn't flatulence, it was more toilet-y. Great. "Hello? Anyone here?" It wasn't normal for the 9s' headquarters to be completely empty like this.
"So someone caused a major toilet blockage, left it to ferment, and nobody wants to be here when I get back and find out," Ray surmised out loud. "Good job, guys." He wondered who'd caused the problem. Well, he could live with it long enough to at least get some work done; it wasn't that strong.
He made his way to his office - Hey, I can turn my music up for once! - and tried to figure out what the assortment of notes, receipts, and mail left on his desk meant. Petty cash was also empty except for a Canadian quarter and two pennies, which Ray knew meant there'd been a lot of pizza and donuts eaten in the past three days. He hoped some of the receipts on his desk accounted for those.
This is why he didn't want to entirely give up his heroic career, though Jamie pushed him on that front. Someone had to take care of the boring little everyday crap, and Ray was the only one who had the necessary guilt to do so, as far as he could tell. It was part of being a leader: you had to do the stuff you didn't necessarily want to do, to keep things moving.
On the other hand, faced with the mess of paperwork before him, going back to culinary school sounded like a really good idea and way more fun.
Ray produced his school application paperwork. Yeah, he could probably get this finished up and overnighted by the afternoon. He found a pen and started.
~ ~ ~
"Did anyone leave a note for Heat about the sewer?" Epsilon asked via teamwide broadcast.
"I did!" Kawaii Kidd sang out. "I left it on his desk."
"Why not just call him?" Doc asked.
"He's off with Jamie... why interrupt their time together?" Vixen suggested.
"Uh... We're here at the sewer entrance. Where are all you 'big guys'?" Kidd asked.
"See, those zombies aren't really much of a challenge for us," Lapis said. "It'll be a good exercise for you 'lowbies' to clear them out."
"Good exercise for the nose," Epsilon murmured. "And I just got a new toga. I'm not going barefoot in that mess."
"It figures," sighed a gloomy teenage voice. It was Little Emo, whose ability to wail and cry on command proved startlingly effective at stopping all activity in an area. "The sewers are as dank as the pit of my soul. It's something most could not withstand, but which I must endure every day of my miserable existence..."
"You need a hug, Emo!" Kawaii Kidd chirped. "C'mere!"
"I beg you, no." But it did shut him up for the moment.
~ ~ ~
Terecito switched his communicator off broadcast, since he was standing right there with the rest of the 'lowbies' – the heroes who were still considered neophytes. "Forget 'em," he said, referring to the other, more experienced heroes. "We can take on a bunch of zombies."
"No offense, Ter," said Reign-Bow, whose costume (complete with longbow and trick arrows) fully lived up to its colorful moniker. "But you've got electrical powers, and if anything, the methane's probably worse down there than in the warehouse."
"It's really not that bad," Terecito said. "In the warehouse, I mean. It's kinda smelly, but as long as you stay out of the bathrooms – "
"I think Reign-Bow might be right," Kidd said. "Terecito, you've got storm powers, and can cause gales, and, well, that might not be for the best down there."
"But – " Disappointment at being left behind warred with his old shard-minion mentality of doing what he was told, without backtalk. "Okay. I'll go keep the Clocks off the roof or something." He added a few more colorful Spanish words describing his teammates, but under his breath.
The 'lowbies' went down into the sewer, which smelled like a few good fireballs would solve the too-much-methane problem quite nicely, if dramatically. Terecito watched, then turned up his iPod and flew back to the warehouse. He didn't feel so bad about it now that he'd gotten a whiff of the stink. Maybe he only had jeans and a T-shirt instead of spandex, but at least he wouldn't have to buy new clothes after the trip.
~ ~ ~
Eric worked out some of his frustration on the Council soldiers that he encountered deep in the cave. At least nobody would mind if he "arrested" some of them a bit strenuously.
Why the hell did Teff have to show up again? Maybe he'd gotten the message that he wasn't welcome. Okay, Vicky knew, kinda, about Teff, and Eric, but she didn’t say anything about it, and Eric wanted to keep it that way.
When the team began talking on broadcast – something about the sewers – Eric turned it off. Right now he just wanted to beat things up, and fortunately for him, he had a license to do exactly that if he found the right kind of people.
~ ~ ~
Ray mulled over the section he liked to think of as "anything else you think we should know." The fact that he'd caused a gas explosion the last time he'd gone to college, should he put that? That might prevent admission to school this time around. On the other hand, he didn't want to later be found out for withholding information...
There was a knock at the door. "Come in," Ray said automatically, continuing to stare at the admissions forms for a moment.
Whoever it was came up to the desk. Ray finally looked up, and frowned. It wasn't one of the 9s, but some dark-haired guy. Dressed in 'casual nice', didn't look like the stereotypical superhero. Ray couldn't remember if he'd ever seen the guy before. More importantly, how'd he get in? The doors were passcoded, unless one of the 9s let him in, but he (Ray) was the only one here, wasn't he?
"Can I help you?" Ray asked.
"Hi." The man smiled and waved. "You're Heat Lightning, right? My name's Joseph Teflin."