Kilowatt: The Family Business
He felt the rain pelt away at his suit as he watched intently through the filthy glass window. He could barely make out what the men in the warehouse were doing. The storm was just loud and hard enough to make this recon mission a bust.The storm was supposed to help mask his movements, and any noise he might make. For him, it was his training wheels, and he was ready to ride on his own. “Hey, Pop, ease up on the storm will ya? I can’t hear anything over your thundering.”
“Eh, mijo, no names, yeah? This is recon, not a picnic. It’s supposed to be hard. When you are out here on your own–”
““Yeah, yeah. I know. No names, mijo. When you are on your own, you won’t have me in your ear to help you, mijo,”” he said.
“Alright, let’s focus. What can you see?” his father asked.
“I see a group of guys, looks like, maybe, I don’t know. Looks like they’re buying something, maybe? I see long crates, and two of the guys have rifles slung over their shoulders. I count, one, two, yeah, looks like eight guys.”
“Alright, Kilowatt, you ready for a little more?”
“Sure thing, Po-, I mean, Thunderbolt. What am I doing?”
“Alright. In your Faraday side pocket, you will find a little disc. Just place it on the window, and we can hear everything, alright?”
Kilowatt reaches into his pocket, and pulls out a little grey disc. He sets it on the window and presses the center button. All of a sudden, the voice of the men came over his ear piece. “I can hear them! It’s so clear. Why didn’t you let me use this on the last job, huh?”
“Because you need to rely on you first and gadgets second. You might be an ultra, but you’re still green,” Thunderbolt said.
“I’m not green, I have experience. I’m getting better and better with my abilities. I busted that jewel thief last week,” he said. Kilowatt had been running some low-level crimes, robbers, drug dealers, scum of the earth kind of criminals. Truth be told Thunderbolt agreed, he just couldn’t let go yet.
“Mijo, I know, but making some YouTube videos isn’t experience. This is the real deal and those are real guns. You could get hurt if you aren’t careful. Or worse, you could kill someone with your gifts. That’s a stain you keep with you always.”
“You mean, like you?”
“Yeah, like me. Let’s get back to it, yeah?”
Kilowatt listened intently as the men discussed their deal.
“I got exactly what you ordered, right here man,” the man said.
Kilowatt could see the sleaziness oozing off of him. He wore a suit that looked too broad in the shoulders for the weasel like man, and his hair was pasted, back showing his perspiring greasy forehead. He was trying too hard, like a used car salesman, with a lot full of junkers. He was clearly the dealer. The other men wore leather cuts, the backs emblazoned with the emblem of the Devil.
“I think these other men are part of that motorcycle gang, Los Bandidos del Diablo.”
Thunderbolt felt the blood drain from his face. Instinctively, he reached down toward the phantom itch just below his prosthetic. “Kilowatt, get out of there. Right now.”
“No way. I just about have the purchase recorded,” he said.
The biker stepped forward, “Hermanos, step up, take a look at these guns.”
“I swear, they’re the best money can buy. Hell, I’ll even throw in some ammo as a good faith offer. Whaddya say? You interested-o?”
Pendejo. Fucking moron. The gang members exchanged glances, looks of unamused intolerance clouded their faces. The leader spoke up first.
“They look good. How much for the case?”
“They, they do? I mean, yeah of course they do. Best on the market. It’s, uh, 30k for the case, but buy more than one and I’ll take ten percent off each.”
“Alright, I’ll take three cases. Half down, half on delivery?”
“Sounds good. I’ll get it set up. I’ll be in touch with a drop off point,” the sleazy man said.
“Damn it! Get out of there right now!” Thunderbolt said.
“No, Dad! Just because youlet them take your leg doesn’t mean that it’ll happen to me too. We have to stop them. No one else loses because of these losers.”
Thunderbolt tapped into his live feed from Kilowatt’s contact lenses. They allowed Thunderbolt to see through his son’s eyes, and in a way let him relive the glory days. Not that he would admit to that. For him, it was his way of protecting his son. Kilowatt had made him promise not to watch anymore. He needed to make his own mistakes. ¡Dios Mio! The man he saw in the leather jacket was Miguel. The head of Los Bandidos del Diablo. He reached for his phone; it was time to call in some back up.
Kilowatt sat still a little longer, still watching as the two armed bikers loaded the crates into the back of a Marco’s Fish Market van. A front company no doubt. Thought I smelled something fishy going on.Kilowatt rolled his eyes at his own corny thought as he worked up the courage to enter the warehouse. If he was careful, he could open the window and slide in. From there, he could pull the electricity from the lights, blacking out the room. As he sat there, poised for action, he could feel the electricity surge through his muscles, raising the hair on his arms and the back of his neck. He was ready.
“Alright then, pleasure doin’ business with you fine gentlemen,” the dealer said.
The leader looks at his men. “Caballeros?” he said pointing to himself. “Not quite.” As he turned around toward the van, he reached into the front of his pants and pulled out his 9mm pistol. In the blink of an eye, he turned and put one right between the dealer’s eyes. “Cabrón,” he said as he walked over and spit on his body. “Hey, clean this up, eh?”
Kilowatt watched in horror, unaware he was leaning forward and putting too much weight on the glass. He didn’t hear the glass cracking as a thousand tiny splinters radiated from his body. Before he could react, the glass shattered beneath him. He was weightless for a millisecond before time caught up and sent him plummeting to the ground.
Kilowatt was about to correct his fall, but just before he landed he created an electromagnetic barrier for him to fall on instead. Like a cloud. He rolled off using the momentum of the fall to spring himself to his feet. A move his father had perfected.
“Hey, what are you doing here, cabrón?” Miguel asked. He began stepping towards Kilowatt. “You’re in the wrong neck of the woods, yeah? Comic-Con is downtown, man,” he laughs, “or maybe, maybe you’re one of them extremos, Ultras, yeah?”
“Maybe, I am,” Kilowatt said, “but I know what you are. You’re one of the Los Bandidos del Diablo. You’re also a murderer. I’m sorry,but you need to come with me.”
“Hah! Need to come with you, eh? No, I don’t think so,” he says as he points his gun at Kilowatt. “Sounds like you’ve seen too much, though. You’re going to join your friend here.”
“Kilowatt! I thought I lost you. Quick, while he’s talking, take out the lights and turn on your infrared on your visor,” Thunderbolt said.
“I have infrared?” Kilowatt asked.
“Just take out the electricity first, then push the button on the left side of your visor, okay? Just like we practiced.”
“Who you talking to, cabrón? You have someone in there?” he said, tapping his head. “Este chico loco.” He waved his finger by his head.
“Quick question: Are you afraid of the dark?” Kilowatt asked as he raised his hands, pulling the electricity from the bulbs. He could feel the rush of power enter his body as the bulbs quickly flashed and shattered. Another trick of his father’s. Kilowatt quickly dropped to the floor as the other two bikers began shooting blindly into the darkness.
“Mijo, you okay? Kilowatt! Answer me, are you alright?” his dad asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine, but what do I do now?”
“Wait there. I notified the police, and sent them your live feed. Just stay put. Please, don’t try to be a hero yet. You aren’t ready.”
“Sorry, Pop, it’s time I had something of my own.” Kilowatt pulled the earpiece from his ear, and tried to stand up. He could see their heat signatures with the infrared. They were panicking, and he could hear it by the shaking in Miguel’s voice.
“You better hope I don’t find you man. You had the option of it going quick. Now? No way, cabrón. You’re mine to play with now. See these bullets? They’re special, yeah? They’re made for people like you, they keep you from powering up. Make you normal, like us. I shot a man with one once, I heard they had to take his leg. Infection or something.”
Kilowatt could feel the electricity building inside him. He could feel the surge of power burn within, boiling over.
“Come to think of it he was a la luciérnaga too. Little lightning bug. Hey you guys aren’t related or anything, right?”
Kilowatt stopped dead. All of a sudden, he couldn’t feel his legs anymore. He could feel bile rise up in protest of the revelation. He choked it back down, and without a second thought turned to Miguel.
“Hey! Over here you piece of shit. Yeah that’s right, you haven’t gotten me yet.” A shot rang out and he felt the bullet slice the air beside him. Miguel’s aim was better than he thought. He could feel the rage build within him, for his father. The air began to hum around him as he was electrifying the very atoms in the air.
Miguel felt his hair raise. The static in the air was thick, almost visible. Like a barrier you can feel but can’t see. He knew this too well, this feeling. He remembered that day with Thunderbolt so long ago. He was just a boy then, like this boy in the super suit now. He hated Ultras for everything they were. It was unnatural.
Kilowatt couldn’t contain it anymore. With burst of power and painful scream he released the building electricity within him in big Tesla-like arcs. Electricity shot in all directions, connecting with the surfaces closest to him, and he lit up like Christmas.
One of the arcs connected with Miguel and his two thugs. It strung them together, connecting them and lifting them off the ground.
“Kilowatt! Stop, mijo! Stop, please. Put them down, before you do something you regret,” Thunderbolt said. Kilowatt hadn’t even noticed his father come in. There he was, floating in front of him.
“You never told me! You never told me it was some biker that hurt you!”
“I’m sorry, son. I should have known, I should have told you, but this isn’t the way. The cops will be here, you’ve stopped him, and they have the evidence. Come on, power down.”
Cops in UPD cars rolled up, drawing their modified weapons. “Drop the men, and step back, Kilowatt,” the cop said through the microphone.
Thunderbolt lowered to the ground. “Please, officers, this is my son. Let me take care of this. He is a little, passionate about this one. Please.”
“Alright, Thunderbolt, this one time. If you can’t get him to calm down, we gotta take him out.”
“Kilowatt, come on. Power down. Everything is okay, mijo. It’s going to be okay.”
Kilowatt shut down his power, releasing the bikers. They dropped to the ground smoking and writhing in pain. But they were alive. Kilowatt approached his father and fell into his embrace. Still emotionally charged, he began crying.
“I’m sorry Papá,” Kilowatt said.
“It’s fine, it’s okay. You did a good job, yeah? Maybe work on a better entrance though. Not very graceful,” he said with a chuckle. Just then, red and blue lights appeared in the distance.
“Come on mijo. Let’s go home. This is enough for one night.”
“Yeah. But, how did you get here? We aren’t fliers.”
“I took an Uber.”
“No, I brought the car. Could you imagine me all dressed up, getting an Uber?” he asked, laughing.
“Can I drive home, then?”
“We already survived one disaster, maybe not make it two, yeah?” They approached ‘The Streak,’ Thunderbolt’s iconic car.
“I made a few modifications,” he said, tapping his right leg, “Open doors.” The doors to the car swung open and two captains’ chairs awaited them. Thunderbolt got in and Kilowatt slid in beside him.
“Take us home,” he said.