Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Knight Dragon vs. Evil Santa | Heroes & Villains 1.7

“Can you believe the school would give us this much homework over Christmas break?” Kacey Baker asked looking up at her older brother Ben. Ben glanced across his desk towards her.
“That’s high school.” Ben shrugged, indifferent. “Getting you prepped for real life I suppose. Work never rests when you're working in this company.”
“Please,” Kacey grinned. “I’m the only girl in the family, I will never have to do anything.” Ben rolled his eyes.
“I think your other brothers have the same mindset as you,”  Ben admitted turning back to his computer. “They’ve never done anything to help out here.” Kacey looked over Ben carefully, pouting out her lower lip. Kacey knew her brother well and understood exactly what was really on his mind.
“Brian will come around,” Kacey said looking back down at her notebook. They sat in silence in Ben’s office, Kacey’s favorite spot to do homework. Kacey kept quiet as Ben worked. Unlike all her brothers, Kacey enjoyed school and found most subjects easy; homework never felt like a chore. Ben’s phone intercom beeped.
“Mr. Baker, I have an Eleanor Washington requesting to see you.” Wilma’s voice came over the speaker. “Again,” Wilma added irritably. Ben fought back a smile.
“Send her in,” Ben said pressing down the intercom button on his phone. He looked up to find Kacey watching him.
“Your latest dating conquest?” Kacey asked with an exaggerated sigh. Ben frowned.
“Come on Kacey, the whole city thinks I’m some kind of player, I don’t need you thinking it too.”
“I wouldn’t think it if it wasn’t true,” Kacey smirked. Ben scowled and she broke into a fit of giggles at his reaction. “You know I kid, but your dating life is much more active than most people.”
“I’m not dating her,” Ben said. “She’s a friend and she works here.” The office door opened and Ellie stepped in. Her eyes fell on Kacey and she frowned slightly.
“I’m sorry,” Ellie began to ramble. “I didn’t realize your sister was here, I would have waited if I knew. Wilma didn’t say anything.”
“It’s fine, Ellie,” Ben smiled. “Kacey, this is Ellie she works downstairs in data entry.”
“You have really pretty hair,” Kacey spoke up, entranced by Ellie’s dyed red hair. “My mom won’t let me dye my hair. She says I’m too young and that it looks fine the way it is.”
“Well it does,” Ellie said with a smile, admiring Kacey’s long, thick blonde hair. “Trust me, there are hundreds of little girls out there wishing they had your hair. Mother knows best, or so I’ve heard.” Ben cleared his throat to interrupt, not wanting Ellie to begin rambling about her parent’s death in front of his sister.
“What brings you up here?” Ben asked. Ellie gave Kacey a quick glance before focusing a fixed stare on Ben, lifting her arm and holding up a flash drive.
“Work proposition,” Ellie replied. Ben bit down on the inside of his cheek.
“Hey, Kacey,” Ben spoke up. “Can you give me a minute alone with Ellie?” Kacey turned on him quickly. “Just for a little bit, it’s private work stuff.” Kacey lifted an eyebrow towards him.
“You sure that’s what it’s about?” She whispered, leaning over his desk. Ben leaned towards her.
“Yes,” Ben replied with a grin. “Go bother dad.” Kacey let out a dramatic groan and stood from her chair. As she walked by Ellie she looked her over again.
“You’re very pretty,” Kacey said.
“Thank you,” Ellie said watching Kacey leave.
“Sorry about her,” Ben said. “She likes to come do her homework here sometimes.”
“No need to apologize,” Ellie said walking over towards Ben’s desk. “I was just told I was pretty by a high schooler. Teenage girls can be the cruelest, but I just got approval.” Ellie grinned. Ben laughed.
“What’s up?” Ben asked. Ellie inserted the flash drive into Ben’s computer and somehow managed to effortlessly kneel down beside his desk in her pencil skirt and heels.
“I’m proposing we go after a villain,” Ellie said pulling open a file on the screen, with a profile from the BOS. “The news is calling him the Evil Santa. He sneaks into houses in the Island and steals stuff. He’s actually been doing this for years now.”
“How does he get in?” Ben asked, taking in every bit of information the profile on the screen offered him.
“His power is the ability to stretch out his limbs. He basically just stretches out his body and slides on in through the chimney.” Ellie explained. “Actually, I don’t think he always goes through the chimney, it’s just usually the easiest way. It’s the reasoning behind the whole Santa parallel the news gave him. I think he wears red too.”  Ben leaned back in his chair.
“Ellie, you know that there is a board of superheroes that usually determines what villains I go after. I can’t pick my own unless it’s something from them or the cops.”
“Yes, but I may have hacked into BOS Theaters, AKA your Board of Supers, and they have not been able to track him at all. Mostly because they don’t really care about what happens in the Island. Unfortunately, criminals can get away with a lot in the Island since no one seems to care. But I know exactly where he’s hitting next, and was able to put your name on the list to go after this guy.” Ellie said. Ben frowned.
“Ellie, you hacked into the BOS?” Ben asked with a sigh. Ellie bit down on her tongue.
“I don’t think anyone can prove that,” Ellie replied.
“Then where did you get this?” Ben motioned to the computer screen. Ellie sighed.
“Ben, my grandpa’s house is next in line.” Ellie blurted. Ben frowned. “My grandpa hardly has anything to begin with and he won’t be able to handle a burglary. Besides, this Evil Santa tends to hurt anyone who fights back and my grandpa will be one to fight back. I need you to help him or I know he will get himself hurt again.”
“Ellie,” Ben sighed, drumming his fingers on the edge of his desk.
“This man has been ruining Christmas for dozens of poor families in the Island. Taking away the Christmas presents of families who can barely afford to feed their children. Ben, I grew up in the Island, I know what it’s like to have nothing and then have the few items you do own taken away from you. Please, this isn’t just about my grandpa or something personal. It’s about saving Christmas for people who really depend on this time of year.” Ben stared at Ellie a moment, taking it all in.
“Okay,” Ben said. Ellie’s eyes widened. “We’ll go after this guy. I’m sure you’ll give me all the information I need and contact Roger.”
“Yeah, of course.” Ellie grinned. “I'll take care of everything, I'll plan the whole thing. All I will need you for is the fire and muscle. Not that that's all you're good for but in this instance I just need… Thank you.” Ellie stopped her rambling and smiled towards him. Ben nodded.
“You said you would help me with my job as long as we were helping people,” Ben said. “So we might as well help some people.”

“What name is your motorcycle registered under?” Ellie asked over her headset leaning back in her chair in the Knight Dragon’s command center.
“Mine,” Ben replied. He was on his way to the Island on his motorcycle as Ellie sat under Bakersfield as his backup. Roger was busy with a Christmas dinner with his future in-laws and Ben was confident he would be fine on his own. Ellie was simply listening in through the headset, just in case.
“You as in Benjamin Baker or you as in the Knight Dragon?” Ellie continued to prod.
“I don’t think they would register a vehicle under the name ‘Knight Dragon.’”
“So what happens if someone sees the Knight Dragon on a motorcycle registered under Benjamin Baker’s name?” Ellie asked. There was a slight pause across the headset and Ellie waited patiently, spinning in her chair.
“Ellie I don’t think people are concerned with that.” Ben finally answered.
“I know you have connections with the police, but…”
“Would you be questioning me like this if Roger were here?” Ben interrupted. It was Ellie’s turn to pause, thinking over his question.
“Ben,” Ellie’s voice turned stern. “You should know by now I have a hard time stopping myself from asking random questions anytime. It doesn’t matter who is around.” Ben laughed.
“Yeah I’m well aware of that,” Ben said. “Do you have eyes on me out here?”
“In the Island? Not a chance.” Ellie replied. “No traffic cameras or security.”
“So I’m all alone out here?”
“Are you afraid of the Island?” Ellie teased. “Most rich people in Apple Creek are.”
“I’m not afraid of the Island.”
“Oh good.” Ellie smiled. “You know I grew up there.”
“Yeah, you’ve never mentioned that before,” Ben replied, sounding upset. “Is there a reason you never told me?”
“Is there a reason I should have?” Ellie countered. There was silence over the headset. Ellie pursed her lips with irritation. “You know the Island isn’t as bad as people make it seem. Sure the largest majority of villains come from the Island, but that’s only because the factory explosion was on the south side of town. The damage was the worst near the Island. I’m sure a lot of heroes could have come from the Island as well if…”
“Ellie I’m kind of in the middle of something here.” Ben cut her off. “You have a lovely voice and I don’t mind it much, but I need to concentrate.”
“Did you find him?” Ellie asked eagerly.
“Yep,” Ben replied. Ellie fell silent. She listened carefully for any sign of what was happening. It was nerve wracking to sit uselessly as Ben’s backup with no clue as to what was going on. Ellie scooted her chair closer to one of the computers and began typing on the keyboard, trying to find a more productive way to help Ben. She pulled up a program which allowed her to track the GPS signals and heart rate monitor in Ben’s suit. She left it in the background as she continued to search for any camera in the Island.
“Stop!” Ben’s voice came as a shout across the headset, causing Ellie to jump. She could feel her adrenaline spike by hearing Ben’s own panting breath in her ears. Ellie closed her eyes and tried to picture what was happening. She imagined him shooting fireballs, his body igniting, using his own fighting skills. Ellie’s eyes opened and she made a mental note to ask Ben where he had learned to fight, it was never random when she had seen him fight. Every move Ben made was precise and thought through. He had clearly been trained. Ellie’s mind drifted, thinking about the Golden Man and his fighting style, trying to figure out if they were the same.
Ben let out a groan of pain. Ellie bit down on her lower lip and leaned back in her chair. She wished she could see what was happening. There had been times seeing him in action made her anxious, but hearing it and seeing nothing was much worse. There was no certainty. She was the most unreliable backup there was.
A loud noise like a roar, sounded through her headset, and Ellie gasped at the volume. She pulled her headset down around her neck as the computer in front of her started beeping loudly, startling her. Ellie frowned and leaned forward again in her chair, searching through the open programs for the source of the alarm. After closing the browser she stared at the screen of her own program with wide eyes, face going pale. Ben’s GPS signal, strong. His heart rate, zero.
“Ben?” Ellie exclaimed, pulling the headset back on. The seconds ticked by and there was no reply. “Ben!” Ellie began typing away on her computer, checking the volume levels and trying to pick up any signal from Ben’s microphone. “Ben, please be okay.” Ellie continued to mutter into her own mic. Ellie placed her left hand against her headset, pressing it against her ear, trying to hear anything. Ellie could feel her heart beating faster, fear washing over her. There was only silence. She stared at the screen, waiting for his heart rate to come back, watching the seconds pass by.
“Oh my gosh, I killed Benjamin Baker.” Ellie breathed, her own heart beating wildly. She continued to stare at her computer screen, frozen in shock. It took her a minute to move into action. She reached for her purse and pulled out her cellphone preparing to call an ambulance.
“You know maybe you should start calling me Knight Dragon over this thing in case anyone bugs the frequency.” Ben’s voice came loudly over her headset. Ellie breathed a sigh of relief.
“Ben! You’re alive!”
“What did I just say?” Ben teased, though a groan of pain followed soon after.
“Knight Dragon, sorry, are you hurt? That’s a dumb question. Why is your heart rate at zero? Do you need me to call an ambulance?”
“No ambulances. Ever.” Ben said sternly. “And I’ll be fine. Having a roof collapse on you isn’t the greatest thing, in case you were curious. It did do some damage to my suit.”
“I’m so sorry, this is my fault.”
“Not your fault,” Ben argued. “But Ellie, he’s moving onto the next home and I don’t know how to stop him. He’s a lot faster than I thought he would be.”
“Maybe I should have convinced Roger to come.”
“Sorry! The Speedster.” Ellie corrected herself.
“No, Ellie, focus. How do I stop this guy?” Ben was growing frustrated.
“Would you consider his power like rubber?” Ellie asked. There was a slight hesitation on the other end and Ellie could almost hear Ben trying to contain his irritation with her.
“Probably, why?”
“Rubber can break when it gets too cold,” Ellie replied. “Or melt, but I don’t think you burning someone’s body to a melting point would be very hero-like. Is there anything near you cold enough to cause frostbite?”
“Well, it’s snowing,” Ben suggested.
“Probably wouldn’t be fast enough.” Ellie frowned. “Oh! Those disks I gave you, the fire extinguisher ones, they have CO2 in them and if you can get direct skin contact it can cause frostburn, but it’ll be risky. You’ll have to use a lot of them all at once and I have a feeling your powers won’t be as effective if you get frostbite too, so you wouldn’t want them touching you so much.”
“Right,” Ben said slowly. “Ellie, does your grandpa share your last name?”
“The guy’s at your grandpa’s house then,” Ben said. Ellie held in a breath, biting down on her lips. “Ellie, do you know if your grandpa has anything to help?” Ellie closed her eyes picturing her grandpa’s small home.
“Ben, listen very carefully,” Ellie said. “You need to set a trap. The fire extinguisher disks are set up like firework poppers. Lay them all out and push him onto them. Preferably in the snow,, preferably after soaking him with water. The combination should give him enough frostbite to render him useless. My grandpa has a collection of actual fire extinguishers in his storage shed. Don’t ask why. Use as many of those as you can. My grandpa will help you if you need him too. In theory, if you can get him to freeze, his body will crack if he moves. That’s just a theory, though.”
“Good enough for me right now,” Ben said. Ellie closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. Her heartbeat was racing and she tried to calm it down. She hated this. Hated not seeing what was going on. Hated knowing the villain was in her grandpa’s home. Hated feeling useless.
“I’m glad you’re not dead,” Ellie said quietly.
“Me too,” Ben replied.
Ellie leaned back in her chair and began humming Christmas songs to herself to keep her brain occupied. She began to hear loud noises over her headset and a few voices. She cringed when she recognized her grandpa’s voice but she kept on humming. For a moment she tried to picture what her grandpa might be doing. He was a fighter, always had been. He would do everything he could to defend his home. He wouldn’t think about the cost, wouldn’t be concerned about his injured leg from a previous fight he had gotten into with a villain. He would fight, no matter what, even if it hurt him more.
Ellie shook her head and started loudly humming “Jingle Bells,” not wanting to think about it. She thought carefully about the current situation, doubting for a moment the intent of her fears. She was worried for Ben because she worked for him, right? The reason she was so scared for his safety was because she had gotten him into the situation. She had told Ben to go after this guy, for her. If something happened to Ben, or even to her grandpa, she would feel responsible for it. That was the reason she was so worried for him. It had to be.
Ellie began to think about how she would feel if she had sent her boyfriend off the way she had sent Ben. Art wasn’t a hero, didn’t have any powers, nor would he want any. Art didn’t grow up in Apple Creek, didn’t understand the superhero situation in the city and heavily disagreed with it. It was the only thing Art agreed with Bakersfield on, that a cure needed to be found and the superpowers taken away. If Art found out Ellie was working for a superhero he would be furious. But Ellie had always been good at keeping secrets and didn’t think keeping this from Art would be a problem.
Sure Art had noticed her coming home later some nights, but she had easily been able to convince him it was for work. Art didn’t know much about Bakersfield, and fought hard to keep it that way. But he knew Ellie’s background and intellect and felt Ellie was wasted in a low level position. Unlike her grandpa, Art didn’t understand why she didn’t find something better suited to her college degrees. Art wanted her to quit Bakersfield entirely and find something new.
“Ellie, you’re a genius,” Ben’s voice came over her headset. Ellie stopped humming and opened her eyes, staring across the room.
“Am I?” Ellie asked.
“Your plan worked,” Ben said. “The cold definitely hurt him. I had to knock him out to get the cuffs on him. Your grandpa was a big help. The board should be able to take care of him from here. But you’re a genius. I could have never done this without you.” Ellie blushed and fought back a smile.  
“And you’re okay?” Ellie asked.
“I’m fine,” Ben replied. “Your grandpa and his home are safe as well.” Ellie felt herself finally relax.
“Thank you. You’re a hero.” Ellie smiled.
“That’s what the press calls me,” Ben replied with a laugh.

“What do you think dad will get you this year for Christmas?” Kacey asked. Ben smiled and shook his head.
“Mom and dad usually just give me money,” Ben replied. “It comes with being an adult.”
“Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still get presents.” Kacey frowned. “I asked mom for a new vanity table, though she’s always telling me to use less makeup so who knows if I’ll actually get it.” Kacey pouted. Ben laughed.
“Well if you really want one you’re more than capable of buying one.”
“It’s more fun if someone gives it to you as a gift.”
“Then maybe I’ll have to get it for you.” Ben watched as her face lit up. “But only if you made the nice list this year.” Kacey giggled as Ben’s office door opened. They both turned their attention to the door as Ellie stepped into Ben’s office.
“Hi, again,” Ellie said. “I actually didn’t think either of you would be here. Wilma wasn’t around so I just came in.”
“So why are you here a second time?” Kacey asked, glancing towards Ben, grinning and lifting her eyebrows. Ellie held up a small package in her hand.
“Christmas present,” Ellie replied. Ben frowned.
“Ellie, you didn’t have to get me anything,” Ben argued. Ellie nodded and moved towards his desk.
“Oh, I know, it’s also a thank you gift,” Ellie said. “I really appreciated that you took the time to help me with a personal problem. I don’t think a lot of high society CEOs would do that for their incredibly minor employees. So I wanted to make sure you knew how grateful I was.” Ellie set the package down on Ben’s desk.
“It was no problem, Ellie.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t,” Ellie said, backing away. “Merry Christmas.” She smiled to them both before turning and leaving the office.
“Merry Christmas!” Kacey called after her. She whipped back around to face Ben. “Are you seriously going to keep lying to me and say you two aren’t dating?”
“We’re not dating, Kacey.” Ben rolled his eyes. “She has a boyfriend. Ellie and I are just friends.”
“Yeah right, she is so totally in love with you!” Kacey exclaimed. Ben shook his head.
“Kacey, she’s not. She’s dating someone else.”
“What did she get you?” Kacey said bouncing in her chair. Ben took the small wrapped package into his hands and hesitated, trying to decide if it could be anything that would clue Kacey into his secret identity. He hoped for the best and began ripping the green and red paper off a plain white box. He set the box down on his desk and pulled off the lid. Inside sat a beautiful, sleek black watch.
“Oh my gosh,” Kacey breathed. “Is she rich?”
“Not even a little.” Ben frowned, running his finger across the round clock face.
“That looks expensive.” Kacey reached across the desk and lifted the watch from the box. She examined it from every angle. “Boyfriend or not, she really likes you.” Ben didn’t say anything. He owed Ellie big time.

This story was a favorite, but I had the most difficult time editing it due to the craziness of the holiday season. So if it's a bit of a mess, I apologize. I hope the story comes across, though. I don't recommend doing any research on the technical details of this story. They probably won't hold up.

I love all my blog readers, you're some of my greatest friends and I wish you all a Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a lovely holiday and that you stay safe and get all the presents you most dreamed of.

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